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RE: Productivity as a burden [was RE: The Eternal Jew - Full On-g oing Text]

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  • Chen Shapira
    ... I think we have diffrent definitions of natural . IMO if something requires philosophical and psychological advancements (like growing up :-), its very
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 4, 2002
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      > Everyone at his or her natural state will strive to be as
      > productive as
      > possible, and would in fact grow in his productivity. Becoming such
      > requires some philosophical and psychological advancements from the
      > person's part.

      I think we have diffrent definitions of "natural".
      IMO if something requires philosophical and psychological advancements (like
      growing up :-), its very un-natural...

      In any case, I don't see why should I strive to be as productive as
      possible. Its too much work :-)


      > First of all, let's distinguish between productive actions
      > and working in
      > a firm proper. I consider spending time for studying or
      > writing Open-Source
      > hacks, reading, etc. as also being productive time. That's because I
      > actually contribute values to myself and society by doing them.

      Lets define productinve activity as something that results in a product with
      an objective value.

      Studying at large doesn't have an objective value, all those unemployed
      social science students may prove that.
      Hacking can be productive. Reading can be productive, but not necessarily -
      I may be reading junk, even unintentionally.

      I hope we can work with this definition.

      > I am productive because being such makes me a happier, better
      > person. I
      > think every person can reach the state in which he feels this
      > way about
      > being productive.

      Usually I'm happy being productive, but I can be very happy being
      un-productive as well (a bubble-bath comes to mind).

      > I think you can become a person who actually derives a lot of pleasure
      > from being productive. Undoubtedly, many people would not be
      > productive by
      > choice, but that usually indicates some flaw in their
      > inherent philosophy
      > towards life.

      Some of my communist friends used similar rhetorics (I'm not implying that
      you are a communist!), they tried to explain why "from each according to his
      ability" would work.
      I used to make fun of them, and say that I would personaly wreak their
      socialist state by working as little as possible and taking as much as I
      can. Probably my Russian genes :-)

      I'm pretty sure my philosophy is all flawed (I don't have much of it, thats
      why I'm talking so much), but in any case, I still assert that most people
      enjoy being somewhat productive, but not exectly as productive as possible.

      I think almost everyone has a tendency to laze off.

      Now that I think of it, during the entire passover vacation, I did almost
      nothing. I was utterly burned out from my tests and a horrible CS project.

      Thanks,
      Chen.
    • Shlomi Fish
      ... Some people arrive at this state at a very small age. But everything that is natural AFAH is concerned requires a lot of work. If you want to be a better
      Message 2 of 2 , Apr 5, 2002
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        On Thu, 4 Apr 2002, Chen Shapira wrote:

        >
        >
        > > Everyone at his or her natural state will strive to be as
        > > productive as
        > > possible, and would in fact grow in his productivity. Becoming such
        > > requires some philosophical and psychological advancements from the
        > > person's part.
        >
        > I think we have diffrent definitions of "natural".
        > IMO if something requires philosophical and psychological advancements (like
        > growing up :-), its very un-natural...
        >

        Some people arrive at this state at a very small age. But everything that
        is natural AFAH is concerned requires a lot of work. If you want to be a
        better programmer, you have to work a lot. If you want to get a serious
        academic degree, you have to work a lot. Similarily, if you want to become
        a happier, better person, you have to work a lot.

        Note that there is a difference, between the amount of work one invests to
        the amount of frustration he receives from working on it. For instance,
        I many times found working on Technion courses to be highly enlightening
        despite the fact that it took a lot of time. And programming, writing
        lectures, etc. is even more so.

        > In any case, I don't see why should I strive to be as productive as
        > possible. Its too much work :-)
        >

        This is the chicken and the egg problem. If you wish to have long term
        benefits, you should make some short-term investment. It took a relatively
        long time to build commercial empires, and a lot of hard work from many
        people at their top. I think of "Shlomi Fish" as one of my pet projects,
        which I invest time at to make a more capable person.

        >
        > > First of all, let's distinguish between productive actions
        > > and working in
        > > a firm proper. I consider spending time for studying or
        > > writing Open-Source
        > > hacks, reading, etc. as also being productive time. That's because I
        > > actually contribute values to myself and society by doing them.
        >
        > Lets define productinve activity as something that results in a product with
        > an objective value.
        >

        I disagree here. Productive can be something that results in such only in
        the long run. I.e: it brings knowledge or insights that later enable
        producing tangible values more easily.

        > Studying at large doesn't have an objective value, all those unemployed
        > social science students may prove that.

        According to Neo-Tech Social Science is a bogus science, which can never
        truly be formalized or studied. I tend to agree with it a bit, so I think
        it's a bad example.

        > Hacking can be productive. Reading can be productive, but not necessarily -
        > I may be reading junk, even unintentionally.
        >
        > I hope we can work with this definition.
        >

        I think we can. Obviously, if someone writes a trivial perl or shell
        script, which is an ad-hoc one and he has no intention of making very
        modular, he may gain very little insights from it. However, most of the
        things a person can do are productive.

        > > I am productive because being such makes me a happier, better
        > > person. I
        > > think every person can reach the state in which he feels this
        > > way about
        > > being productive.
        >
        > Usually I'm happy being productive, but I can be very happy being
        > un-productive as well (a bubble-bath comes to mind).
        >

        I don't consider enjoying oneself as un-productive. Maybe it's
        non-productive, but it's a completely different thing. Sometimes, one
        needs to relax and recreate if he wishes to be productive the rest of the
        time. And for the record, thoughts per-ce can be productive too.

        > > I think you can become a person who actually derives a lot of pleasure
        > > from being productive. Undoubtedly, many people would not be
        > > productive by
        > > choice, but that usually indicates some flaw in their
        > > inherent philosophy
        > > towards life.
        >
        > Some of my communist friends used similar rhetorics (I'm not implying that
        > you are a communist!), they tried to explain why "from each according to his
        > ability" would work.
        > I used to make fun of them, and say that I would personaly wreak their
        > socialist state by working as little as possible and taking as much as I
        > can. Probably my Russian genes :-)
        >

        Interesting. You read Atlas Shrugged, right? Well, you may remember the
        case study Ayn Rand gave to disprove this. Basically, most people will
        follow the path of least resistance if they are given a choice. A system
        which methodically and inherently allows for such thing to occur is bound
        to fail.

        My (and I believe Neo-Tech's too) idea for creating the perfect world is
        to make sure the cost of living becomes nil. Many people will use to just
        enjoy themselves and do nothing, which is OK, because it's not a crime to
        be un-productive. And society will be very advanced to make sure that this
        fact will not hamper it in any way. Now, those people that find happiness
        and joy in being productive will be able to be super-productive and play
        with a much more advanced technology.

        This perfect world is a pipe-dream for the time being, but I believe we
        are getting there. And we could get there much more quickly in a
        Laissez-Faire Capitalism society with no compromises of individual rights.
        (Unless, of course, you think technology is advancing at its maximal rate,
        right now, but all is a different issue altogether)

        > I'm pretty sure my philosophy is all flawed (I don't have much of it, thats
        > why I'm talking so much), but in any case, I still assert that most people
        > enjoy being somewhat productive, but not exectly as productive as possible.
        >

        I don't have anything against people who are not very productive. In one
        of the Neo-Tech "advantages", they say that a factory worker deserves to
        live forever, as much as Albert Einstein did, despite the fact that the
        latter was much more productive. (Neo-Tech people are proponents of
        biological immortality). That's because any value-producing life is a good
        one, regardless of its net "contribution to society".

        As a side note, I should add that I'm reading now a self-help book about
        cognitive psychology. The author there marks obsession for productivity
        and gaining "worth" as one of the chief internal philosophical errors that
        cause depressions and anxieties. Strangely, even some highly productive
        individuals exhibited depressions because of this, due to their
        obsessiveness. So, it is important not to feel that one is obliged to
        become productive.

        > I think almost everyone has a tendency to laze off.
        >

        Don't you enjoy working in your workplace? When I worked, I found it very
        enjoyable. I enjoy my studies much less, but I consider them as a long
        term investment. I was not productive 100% of the time (part of the reason
        is that the Internet can be a very big distraction), but I was
        nevertheless able to do a lot of important work that proved useful for my
        employer and his customers.

        BTW, I recently had a chat with my boss at a previous workplace, and it
        turned out a piece of software I wrote and maintained there, was
        re-written from scratch several times since I left. Of course, the
        software was ill-designed in all together too many ways (and I knew it
        was so, when I left that firm, just did not have time to fix it), but I
        think re-factoring it could have done the trick as well. Maybe we should
        tell Joel Spolsky, so he can add them to his black-list of projects which
        were re-written from scratch. (or worse... ;-) )

        Seriously now, I was a little disappointed that my original design "went
        down the drain".

        > Now that I think of it, during the entire passover vacation, I did
        almost
        > nothing. I was utterly burned out from my tests and a horrible CS project.
        >

        During my Passover vacation, I biked a lot, did "useless" things with the
        computer, self-mowned about the presence of the rain. Nevertheless, I was
        able to work a little on Logic Mazes Solver. The code is pretty stable,
        but I'd like to work on the documentation before the first stable release.
        A program where the file formats it use are not documented is quite
        useless.

        Regards,

        Shlomi Fish

        > Thanks,
        > Chen.
        >
        >
        >
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        Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
        Home Page: http://t2.technion.ac.il/~shlomif/
        Home E-mail: shlomif@...

        "Let's suppose you have a table with 2^n cups..."
        "Wait a second - is n a natural number?"
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