People yearn for others to pay attention to them, to listen to their thoughts. Why? Do we feel, like infants, that we don't exist if somebody isn't looking at us? Or do we strive to inject our ideas into others, hoping to cheat death by leaving bits of our thinking in other minds, like a virus replicating through a series of hosts? These seem rather selfish and immature reasons to communicate. At best, do we try to help others by sharing with them the insights that we've won through our hard work?

Patents, copyrights, fame, fortune --- these material rewards for intellectual property may be appropriate at times ... but not always, and surely not for the most important discoveries of life. As authors and speakers, perhaps we should consider offering more of our contributions anonymously, rather than seeking glory for ourselves. As readers and listeners, conversely, perhaps we should turn away from celebrities and seek wisdom from those without big names and big advertising budgets. Maybe, in fact, we should try to be more observant and learn from sources without any names at all --- from the forgotten people who brush past us every day, ignored and unnoticed, quietly doing their jobs. What lessons do they have to teach us?

Thursday, June 24, 1999 at 05:59:48 (EDT) = 1999-06-24


(correlates: ImpossibleStandards, Comments on Three Man Boat, ArtificialScarcity, ...)