Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Climbing

An interesting side-effect of the idea of Social Mobility is that we start to visualise a ladder. 'Upper', 'Middle' and 'Lower Class'. Once you are a Cultural Billionaire, that is actually bizarre. When you close your eyes for a nights rest, being able to sleep soundly is as good as it gets. There isn't first class sleep. A ranking of sleep. It's not a competition. There are several ways to fill the hours of your day with deeply fulfilling things to do. It is only when we choose to do restricted things that scarcity makes us feel envious.

You can't buy a better view. You can climb the mountain though. Free.

One reason we like climbing is recognition. Austin Kleon argues we should enjoy obscurity. Once you are known for something, it becomes an expectation. As you wake up from that incredibly expensive bed, each hour of your day becomes set. Your moves monitored. Your words scrutinised. When you are obscure, you can experiment. You can make mistakes. You can learn. Once you break from obscurity, you can break into time poverty.



The idea of progress is a strong motivator. I am here. I want to be there. Every move has its costs and benefits. In order to be there, there will be things that you give up. Hegel was a big fan of history. Progress is messy. There may be bits we did better, or questions we asked more beautifully, that were obscured by other things that were unpleasant. The same of different times in our lives. 

We need to be careful of being seduced by success. It can take us away from things that require competence rather than brilliance. Some of the greatest pleasures, most fulfilling activities, and worthwhile treasures are on the bottom rung of the ladder. All we need to do is make time. All we need to do is add space.
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