The Best Things

If it’s free to you, it just means someone else paid for it.

I was having a conversation with a friend earlier, and in the course of our talk, she mentioned, “I believe that the best things in life are free.” Of course I totally disagreed with this statement. So I asked her, “Give me an example of one thing that’s free?” She gave a few examples, and I kept coming back with, “Is it?” Finally she came up with an answer that didn’t disappoint me, “Being naked is free!” While I don’t agree with half of her ideas, to her credit, she does have an interesting mind. That’s not necessarily a good thing.

The best things, and the worst things, cost something. Because everything comes from either someone or something. That’s why we have laws such as the law of Conservation of Mass / Matter, which states that (in a closed system) matter can neither be created nor destroyed but merely rearranged, and Conservation of Energy, which is a similar that relates to energy only being transfered, not created or destroyed. The Conservation Laws are fundamental to our existence, and it’s best we are reminded of this so that we understand it’s implication. And where’s the cost? There’s the cost of turnning something into another thing , and there’s the opportunity cost lost for turning something into another thing and not another. (That’s a little confusing.) To put it simply, everything in the world can either be rearranged / transfered for beneficial purposes or harmful purposes We need to ask ourselves, “Are we rearrangers / transferers of the right kind?”

Change Ourselves Or Content Ourselves

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

– Edmund Burke

 

 

There was a rally yesterday. It clogged the streets, made a lot of noise, and hopefully it got the message across. I think it’s a good thing that people rally. It’s important that people exercise their rights. 

I just don’t think it’s enough.

Let’s say we get what we want, Arroyo leaves, and someone else takes over. What can we expect? Well, to be frank, a new set of crooks. (Not exactly, since many of them are old crooks back in this game of political musical chairs.)

 

 

A lot of the conversations now seem to lead to people bickering and complaining at how bad the government is, how bad things are, and how everything that’s happening is someone’s fault – someone else’s fault. Yes, it’s true that many of our problems are inherited, but that doesn’t change the fact that these problems are for the living to solve, and the fruits of overcoming, for the living to enjoy.

 

 

A lot of my present businesses were failing companies we took over with the hope of turning things around. These companies came with baggage that made things more difficult, but it also came with assets, if used properly, should allow our success. Now if one of them failed, I can’t say, “It’s not my fault. I didn’t create the problems.” IT IS MY FAULT. It’s my fault because, whether or not the problems originated from me, the company is my responsibility. It doesn’t matter if it was someone else’s mess. It’s my mess now.  I believe it’s the same thing with the other areas of our life. We can blame our limitations and failures on others or we can take responsibility. Taking responsibility is the first step to solving the problems.

By taking responsibility, I mean putting ourselves in a state that’s accountable for things that are going on. Obviously not everyone is in a position to be accountable for national decisions, that’s exactly why there’s a government. But we can, and should be accountable for our lives. In our own small way, do we make our families, communities, and nation better because of our existence? This is a question I pose to myself regularly, “Does my existence make things better? Does it make other people better? Do I litter? (No) Do I follow traffic rules? (Sometimes) Do I talk on my mobilephone while driving? (Yes, even if I shouldn’t) Do I charge people correctly?(Yes) Do I pay my employees well? (I could probably pay them better) Do I waste electricity, water, and gas (Yes…) Do I consider others more highly than myself? (This is getting tough)

 

I remember one particular conversation i had recently, where this one person complaining non-stop. Fed up, I told him, “Then you do something! Give us a good alternative. If not, shut-up.” Because the truth is, if we don’t change ourselves and take responsibility, nothing is going to change. We might as well learn to be content being cheated. That’s better than living frustrated at our impotence.

 

The Short-end of High-end (Part 2)

Here’s the contradiction that entered my mind: None of these people will ever enjoy any of these. Here they are selling, no, preaching the benefits and the superiority of their product, but they will never enjoy any of it.


I tried putting myself in the shoes of a salesman in a high-end shoe store, and I tried to imagine what his life might be like:

Single, hoping to save enough marry the love of his life who’s studying to be a nurse, at the same time putting younger siblings to school, and taking care of an aging mother. Professionally, he’s a talented salesman, with sales quotas, commission levels, and probably receives a base salary of P8000.00/month ($200/month).

Now if I were this man, and I had to wake up to the prospect of serving some rich brat as he or she spends my one year’s earnings in half an hour on shoes, all the while enduring the demands, and criticisms when a size or color is lacking, I honestly don’t think I’d last.


And that’s on a good day.

Some people might ask, “Why don’t they find another job?” There is no other job. And if there are, it’s either a job he’s not fit for, or a similar low-paying, not to mention thankless, post.

While class divides are present all over the world, the disparity, abuses, and dangers seem to be more evident in third-world nations. I think this is especially sad since none of this is new. I don’t remember how many studies on poverty and class differences we were required to read back in college. This is old. It’s so old, we miss it. To me that’s the dangerous part: we don’t see it anymore. Well maybe we do see it, but what do we do about it?