"Never take down a fence until you understand why it was put up."
I used to use that one a lot with developers trying to improve on a predecessor's code...
That's also why rebuilding systems from scratch (the old "just rip it all out and do it again") usually doesn't work: there is a great deal of wisdom, however poorly implemented or documented, buried within that system. Starting over abandons those minute but critical bits, and must be re-discovered the hard way.
"Conservatism is about respect for established institutions!"
"But every conservative I see is running around tearing down those institutions."
"Those people aren't real conservatives!"
However, the world and the society we live in is changing so quickly (technology, cultural mixing, global warming, you name it) that the new norm for changing the rules is not generations but years or months. Using Facebook? Change your settings today or lose your entire life history to strangers! and so on.
I know because I share your approach. Having worked with a great many legacy / inherited systems, most with little or no documentation, and rarely with much in the way of contact with the system designer, it's a bit of an occupational hazard.
Sometimes you've just got to blow down the fences to see what happens. Sometimes it's nothing, sometimes it's the end of the world.
Fortunately, in technology, resurrecting fences is generally fairly straightforward, but not always.
That said, the worst fences are the ones you take down without realizing they were there ... which turn out to be critical.
 - "all due respect" has also been stripped of proper meaning, relegated to a barely-veiled insult.
"I don't know why this is here and I've tried to find out but hit a dead end so I'm getting rid anyway" is better than "I don't know why this is here so I'm just getting rid".
The biggest thing I would call a "success" in my life is the joy I've received from good friends and family, and the experiences I've had with them. Things that take a long time to cultivate and over which I often have little control.
Value is created when, by your action, you change the world to a state that you, or another person, find preferable to the previous state.
On the other hand, trade is profitable when both sides want what the other side is offering more than they have (with some caveats involving deceit).
That was a quibble with a minor stumble you made, now for a reply of substance:
As for wealth being a reflection of the value that you have created, it might be. It might be that you inherited it. It might be that you stole it. It might be that you tricked someone into believing you had something they wanted, and traded for it. Maybe you extracted rent (in the study-of-economics sense), without creating value. Maybe your wealth comes of virtuous value-generation, but you earned more wealth per value than another person, by virtue of skin colour or gender or whatever. There are many many ways to acquire wealth, and scant few of them require creating value, and even fewer reflect virtue in a linear and straightforward way.
And similarly, value that you create may not convert to wealth. Who created more value, Torvalds or Zuckerberg? Not that Linus is poor, but he's not a billionaire, afaik. I propose for consideration that it may be far easier to create value when wealth is not a priority (though I concede that in some circumstances, vehicles like corporations help with scaling your value-creation).
Now, all that said, you might amend your position thus: "Wealth earned in certain ways, with certain restrictions, is roughly proportionate to value created, perhaps modulo a scaling factor beyond anyone's control." Okay, I sort of agree. BUT! If you believe this, it follows that spending your wealth on yourself is destroying (consuming) value. I make a sandwich, wealth is generated. I eat the sandwich, wealth is destroyed. I make $1000 of software and get paid accordingly, wealth is created. I spend it on plane tickets, I consume/destroy the wealth. Only the money you give away (including via taxes) is wealth created-and-not-consumed. Bill Gates was a leech on society (rent-seeking friction-inducing market manipulation)... until he decided not to be, and redeemed himself twice over.
So, in summary: while there is a relationship, in some limited circumstances, between wealth and value-creation, taking wealth as a proxy for virtue is spectacularly mistaken.
I spend it on plane tickets, I consume/destroy the wealth.
Only the money you give away (including via taxes) is
Mad Dog for all bums now!
Not a good case, though.
I think the previous posters assertion was legitimate. It actually got me thinking.
"A hundred years ago we had the ideal of the Industrious Apprentice; boys were told that by thrift and work they would all become Lord Mayors."
Now the boys all want to become zillionairs like Zuckerburg or Jobs.
At the top you have a rookie author using an early 21st century platform (svbtle) to dispense bon mots about life and ingratiate himself with his readers who are turned off by current social mores by
--- Aligning himself with the words of a rookie author in the early 20th century platform (books) who dispensed bon mots about life at the turn of the 20th century who in turn ingratiates himself with his readers who are turned off by then current social mores by
--- Invoking the words of puritans of the early 19th century who in turn … well the trail ends since we don’t know what they thought. Plus we live in a puritan culture so I suppose we are stuck with whatever they thought and that is foundational.
Three level inception. Nice.
“Medium” guys take note, svtble is using a three level inception to gain readership. The game is on. You need a four level inception to convince me. Otherwise, I ain’t clicking on your ads.
Seriously though, I’m reminded of the foreword of another early 20th century book as noted by Oscar Wilde
In old days books were written
by men of letters and read by the
public. Nowadays books are written
by the public and read by nobody.
American Chesterton Society: http://www.chesterton.org/
Bertrand Russel was a deep thinker who often drew from a deep well of thought and understanding. When he wrote about politics, he seems to have covered the well and sucked his thoughts from a puddle.
Today, are developed agricultural robots to plant and collect vegetables automatically. One agroengineer will watch out for thousands of robots growing and collecting food by watching and telling his computers.
Google's developping robot cars. But what will be the killer application, is the robot truck! Already, in mines the use robot trucks (because human drivers are too hard to find to work in those remote places, and to drunk to drive them big trunks without straying away the tracks).
Kiva System's developing warehouse robots that store goods and prepare shipments without human intervention.
Amazon of course has developped the computer programs to let us tell the warehouse robots what we want.
Soon we'll celebrate the first google truck taking the first tomatoes and potatoes grown by robot tractors, and bringing them to a robotic warehouse, where Amazon will send food orders that will be prepared by Kiva's robots and distributed to your house by Google trucks and cars.
From the ground to your plate with zero human intervention.
Well some human investment. And maintainance, until we develop the maintaining robots. Machines making machines! Oh my!
The only reason why it doesn't go faster, is that companies have a hard time finding out how they'll make any money, trying to bring food and stuff to people who don't have to work for it, and therefore who don't have money for it. Google and Amazon are cheating the other companies, selling them advertisement space, while developping the systems that will make those other companies (their real customers) as obsolete as human workers (already, half the US jobs can be computerized. Federal government shut down? My eye! Just send half the country home, we don't need you to do anything more! Well, not yet, we still have to set up a global robotized agricultural, industrial and distribution system to feed you. But soon. In any case, it's not a question of money anymore.
What happens is that most jobs switch from agriculture & industry to the infamous "services"... most of us will be/are selling nonessential services (entertainment, leisure, nonessential medical services & care, advertising, etc..). Most of government is probably in the "nonessential" category.
Some % of the workforce will still work on R&D and essential services of course.
Having all the basics covered by a small percentage of the workforce doesn't mean the rest will have to work less.. on the contrary, the battle to divest people from their money will be fiercer than ever - more and better and more exotic services, more advertising, etc. It would be interesting to live in a post-scarcity society, but we're nowhere near there yet (and I'll be a bit Malthusian and say that we should curb the population growth a bit if we want to have what I consider to be a good standard of living in the future)
Agriculture ... industry ... service ... what's next?
The essay quoted in the blog post above is from this collection:
Many volunteers have shared recordings of themsevles reading Chesterton's writings aloud
That piece is about bad writing, and vapid self-help books.
Chesterton appears, in this essay, to be fully in favour of getting ahead in the world (though he does take time to suggest that Mr Vanderbilt might not be a deity, so we may conclude that he thinks that getting ahead in the world is not the only valuable thing).
Notice the bits about "if you want to be succeed at whist, great; either learn to be good at whist, or learn to cheat".
I don’t take issue with anything you say. Dismayed by the shape of discourse as I see it, I have been loath to take a position on anything. I merely point out that phrases like this one trigger a dismissive reflex in me, and I do so only in the hope that a mechanical proscription (“don’t say that”) can foster worthwhile reflection. After all, I would like to see your viewpoint spread.
Do you think that the world at large is being destroyed? Are there offsetting Hacker News posts which make you forget this world-destruction for a time, in favor of enthusiastic praise? Consider how you would view this rhetoric from someone you disagreed with. Again, I think we agree on the substance. My comment is about the style.
Today I ran some code through jsLint for the first time, and I remembered reading in “Coders at Work” where Douglas Crockford said that it would “hurt your feelings.” Several of the “error” codes indeed seem like unwarranted nitpicking. But I did find some real errors in the process.
Without meaning to single out your comments (either on this thread or on the Internet at large), I wonder whether some Strunk-&-White-style algorithm couldn’t “warn” us about text referencing “most persons today.” Yes, I know when I say I’m “attached” to some outcome, that Thunderbird is going to ask whether I’m forgetting something, and I know that it's the ignorant reflex of a machine. But sometimes, I really just forgot an attachment.
So for the moment, I will perform the inglorious task of linting an otherwise good remark, with the view that next time you will push yourself further. I believe it is Ecclesiastes that says “The love of money is the root of all evil,” so your view about this “religious fervency” has a scriptural basis. If it was destroying the world then, I suppose it would be destroyed by now. So maybe it is like the sun's fusion: a slow-burning fire. But let's keep things in perspective, and say what we mean.
That's neither the definition used by the critics of the system who coined the term to refer to the complex system by which 19th Century developed countries directed the rewards of economic productivity to the owners of capital, nor a sufficient description of what is proposed by the modern proponents of "capitalism".
And that Wikipedia article is confused -- accurately portraying the "mixed economy" the dominant economic form of the modern developed world, but inaccurately painting it as a form of capitalism (when it is called a mixed economy because it draws elements from both capitalism and socialism, and is distinct from both.) It also refers to state capitalism as a form of capitalism (which is accurate by the original definition, as state capitalism shares the features that were originally criticized in capitalism -- which isn't surprising since both the original definition and the term "state capitalism" come from socialist critics -- but not by the definition in the article.)
Yeah, that Chesterton, what an anti-capitalist.
Now what if the later changes his objective after the fact? IMO still a failure :-)
So success is not defined by what you have are or archive, but by the goals you set for yourself.
I am a big failure: I'm not 500 light years from here exploring the stars. :-(
So who are the new new Industrious Apprentices? Growth Hackers? ;)
I came away from this article feeling slightly unclean, as if wanting to improve myself is both pointless and somehow wrong. It appears that I should have no goals, aiming only for mediocrity.
Your goal shouldn't be to become Cornelius Vanderbilt, it should be to take advantage of your abilities and circumstances to find your own path to success.
The example in the article relates to money but success to a lonely man may be love. Perhaps success means only that which we most feel we need to be complete.
Unfortunately, it wasn't true in 1909, and still not true at all today
Or download ebook here: http://openlibrary.org/books/OL13992463M/All_things_consider...
What's even more amazing is that writing from these authors from the early 1900s and 1930s is clearer and stronger writing than a lot of stuff today - well at least compared to blogs.
If you lived in their time, you'd probably say same about people from 1850. And saying all those news articles are pretty mundane and bad. And that the thing people scribble on walls are very rude.
Technology changes, people don't.
That's not strange/amazing/weird.
They passed through filter of time.
For every Chesterton/Carnegie
there are thousand really bad contemporary writers,
prostitutes aspiring to be writers etc.