Friday, May 11, 2018

Wealth and choice

More money usually brings more opportunities, which is always good until it isn't. Too many choices and you wind up wasting time context switching, not to mention the bright ideas that never go anywhere. Remember Toad of Toad Hall? If you haven't read The Wind in the Willows, do.

I have 4 major projects I'm working on. That is probably 3 too many. I can flip a coin, or ask which is more likely to be finish-able, or rotate a week between each--but it needs a choice.

Sometimes being "spoiled for choice" becomes "failing to choose." I look at some of what our forebearers did, and sometimes they seem amazingly productive, especially given the relative size of the population and the fewer opportunities available then.

Maybe the impression is wrong--perhaps we have the same proportion of Jefferson's now as then, but the centralized nature of our society means we only see the best and luckiest of them, with the rest lost to view.

Or maybe we're swamped with a-muse-ments in the full sense of that term, and lose much of our creative time to passive entertainment.

Or perhaps we find it hard to choose, and do too many trials and too few commitments. Clint Smith said "Beware the man who only has one gun. He probably knows how to use it!"

I have known very few rich people (and them not very well), and no very rich people at all. I discount stories about them, but one thing crops up over and over--the heirs generally lack the concentration of the ones who formed the fortune. Is that a natural side effect of the increase in opportunities, as well as the result of a comfortable existence with nothing to goad them? (I know about regression to the mean, but if that plays a role you also expect to still see greater ability than average.)

1 comment:

Korora said...

"But instead of just one standout, now there's too many. So many choices..." -- Rainbow Dash, May the Best Pet Win