Thoughts On Paul Samuelson’s Economics Text

If you were to attend an Ivy League university and take economics, they’d hand you Paul Samuelson’s economics textbook.  Considering they’re using it, I figured I should read it and see things from their perspective.

Well, I’m very disappointed in this book.  I had read reviews by several Austrian economists, saying it was terrible — and I pretty much agree.

I enjoyed the first few chapters, where he gives an outline of what he’s preparing to talk about.  He’s clear and concise, and talks about relevant social issues.  Shortly after that he dives head first into “economics”, and it’s all equations, no analysis, and no relation to life at all.

It becomes a lifeless, dreary book, and I got to where I couldn’t stand reading but five or six pages a night.  When a book is really bad, and I feel it’s my duty to read it, that’s how I handle it.  I slowly work at it a few pages a night.

It’s full of things like what you find below: (I’m going to bold certain points, then talk about them)

Two Cheers For the Market, but not Three

We have seen that markets have remarkable efficiency properties.  But we cannot say that laissez-faire capitalism produces the greatest happiness of the greatest numbers.  Nor does it necessarily result in the fairest possible use of resources. Why not?  Because people are not equally endowed with purchasing powerSome are very poor through no fault of their own, while others are very rich through no virtue of their own.  So the weighting of dollar votes, which lie behind the individual demand curves, may look unfair.

A system of prices and markets may be one in which a few people have most of the income and wealth.  They may have inherited the society’s scarce land or may have valuable patents and oil fields.  The economy might be highly efficient, squeezing a great amount of guns and butter from its resources, but the rich few are eating the butter or feeding it to their poodles, while the guns are merely protecting the butter of the rich.

A society does not live on efficiency alone.  Philosophers and the populace ask, efficiency for what?  And for whom?  A society may choose to change a laissez-faire equilibrium to improve the equity or fairness of the distribution of income and wealthThe society may decide to sacrifice efficiency to improve equity. Is society satisfied with outcomes where the maximal amount of bread is produced?  Or will modern democracies take loaves from the wealthy and pass them out to the poor?

There are no correct answers here.  These are normative questions that are answered in the political arena by democratic voters or autocratic planners.  Positive economics cannot say what steps governments should take to improve equity.  But economics can offer some insights into the efficiency of different government policies that affect the distribution of income and consumption.

Ok, now I will comment.  First off, it’s terrible how he oversimplifies complex problems, and then slants the argument toward some vague sort of socialism, or maybe communism.  I can’t tell with this guy really.

Some people are not equally endowed with purchasing power…?  And?  I don’t really know how to interpret that, as it conflicts with everything else he’d been saying in the book earlier.  So if a doctor goes to school for ten years, and then gets paid a lot more than a desk clerk at the hotel, and has a lot more purchasing power, the system is “unfair”?   He even mentioned this as an example in his introductory chapters, but then later says things like this.  So really, I have no idea what he meant, or even what he believes.

Ok, here’s the real argument as I see it.  What percentage of people, under a free market system, end up rich without contributing anything worhwhile to society?  List out the biographies of all the wealthiest Americans, past and present, each with a nice fair case study, and tell how they made their money.  And then we can analyze and see if they made it through hard work and intelligence, or through other means and go from there.

How many people have become wealthy by inheriting oil fields?   Not very many.  Your argument is unfair, and you’re applying a blanket accusation to all wealthy people, as if nobody who is wealthy deserves it.

We also need to analyze the daily lives of everyday people, and then also inquire into what money is.  We find out that money is an indirect exchange of value.  So we have to analyze how valuable people are, as harsh as that may sound.

Lay out different people’s lives.  How hard are their jobs?  How much education did it require them to get there?  How valuable is it to society?  How much happiness does it bring to people?  Lay out each person as a case study, see how much happiness and value they contribute to society and those around them, and then list out how much money they make.  You’ll quickly find a correlation.

A world of love would never ask such questions or submit one another to such an analysis.  I don’t know if it’s even right to ask such questions.  I really don’t like it, but in the real world it’s how things operate.   I myself seem to be a contradiction at times.  I like Gandhi’s quote of being the change you want to see in the world.  In that case, I’d never analyze a person’s value, or put a little tag on their head showing their current  “worth.”  But then again, I have a practical side of me that sees the real world, and being a business man, I have to reward people based on their efforts and the value they bring to the table.

So from the practical Jason, I ask you – If you yourself don’t have much money, ask yourself that same question — what value am I providing to others?  What have I done to deserve someone handing me their money?   A man works as a scientist for an aviation company, designing aircraft.  He works 8-5, and comes home.  He earns $8,000 a month.  He’s taxed and then that money goes to you.  What have you done for him, or for society, to deserve his money?  Say you live in a country that provides assistance programs and you get $2000.  Why do you deserve an entire week’s worth of this man’s labor, which is what that money represents?  His labor provided value, and that value was taken from his employer, and given to you.

It is kind of hard to think about the idea that so much wealth today is concentrated in so few people’s hands.  But I don’t think we can necessarily jump toward the conclusion that they don’t deserve it.  Also, socialism may be more of a problem than a solution.  With a lot of rich people too, we might wish to inquire whether they have special perks and inside deals with the government, giving them an edge.  Did they lobby Congress and land some big contracts?  With capitalism, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Then there’s also inequalities in effort.  And what about inequalities in provided value toward society?

It is not a simple dilemma, and I hate it when such a complex thing is not discussed properly.   Like every rich man blows millions on his pet poodle, uncaring and unsympathetic to the world around him, providing no real value to anyone.   Such a shallow argument and it’s obvious what his intention is.

I think it’s irresponsible to make a great claim, and condemn so many people, yet not back the argument with solid evidence.   It really results in nasty name calling and gets us nowhere.

There are a whole lot of people who contribute little to society, and don’t even make a serious effort to do so.  In fact, very few people I meet believe in contributing value to society.  Instead, their job is about their own personal fulfillment.  I’ve even been harshly criticized by others when I talk about business projects I’ve done simply for the money, not because I wanted to do the work.  I’m looked down on.

It makes me sad when I hear this, but there’s nothing I can do.   I can’t make money doing what I truly want to do.  There is no such job.  I think it has to be asked though – Why does anyone owe you anything?   Why should someone carry you, and let you live your dreams, while they drive the trash truck, and work all day in the unconditioned warehouse, and stocking shelves in the supermarket?   Just drive around your town and look outside your car window.  Look at everyone doing things.  Who paved that road?  Who assembled that car?  Who designed the street lights?  Who put them up?  Who built all the buildings?  Who is cooking the food in the kitchens in the restaurants?

When you’re given money, those people are in a sense enslaved to you.  Why should that cook make you a burger?  What have you done for him?  That’s a core moral question.  That’s certainly something to consider when dealing with issues on  “fairness” and income distribution.

In the past I wrote a software project for a network of ambulance services.  You call 9-11 in that area, my software is part of what handles the event, and integrates them with the hospital.  That software was not fun for me to write.  But I got in there and did it.  And when you call 9-11, and everything goes smoothly, and all the records get processed, and the bills paid, just remember that I was a large factor behind why it went so smoothly.  That’s in the mid-western United States.

The Nobel laureate economist Fredrich Hayek once said that one his favorite things about capitalism was its incentive for people to produce things not for themselves, but for others.  That incentive is being paid money.

When I was young I didn’t dream of writing software like that.  The work isn’t exciting.  But I don’t look at employers and say, “I want to live my dream, and you’re going to pay me to do it!”  My dream is to save up money and have leisure time to study my books.  But nobody owes me a life of ease and leisure.  I don’t believe anyone owes me a living.  So I do crap for society, and then it takes care of me in return.  That’s my value exchange with society.  That’s the barter.

That’s also why this Keynesian economics in this textbook pisses me off.  To them, saving money is evil.  The “paradox of thrift.”  Money is like blood and has to circulate.  So they believe in printing money, and spending it in stimulus programs.  All that printed money destroying my savings.

Samuelson talks about “fairness”, but I think it’s very unfair to me when the government prints money.  I did honest work and earned my money through free trade.  Then they devalue it in their pet projects.   There is no job out there which pays me to do what I want to do.   Economic output is not prosperity.  People being happy is what we’re going for.  Samuelson’s economics in some ways is the opposite of freedom.  In my case it destroys it.  All in search of some vague notion of  “equality”, which I don’t think exists.

Speaking along these lines, it’s really hard sometimes to find your place in the world, and find a way to earn money, doing something you like, which also benefits society at the same time.

I believe in doing everything possible to help people get on their feet, and get their lives moving where they want.  But a lot of people don’t try, nor do they want to.  That in itself produces income inequalities.

I believe in giving everyone access to a university education, and providing for their daily needs while attending.  Democracy depends on it, and the contributions people make with their new skills will be far more valuable than what we had to pay to educate them.  I also believe in taking care of any person’s medical bills as well.  No questions asked.  People should always be treated if they’re sick or injured.  There has to be a point though where people stand on their own.

I understand the rat race.  I’ve lived in it a long time, and it’s been a real struggle for my projects moving.  I get it.  But oversimplifying the arguments, and bringing vague moral sentiments into this won’t fix anything.   And if we really want to talk fairness, let’s discuss that.

The nature of money is to flow toward value.  The more value you can control, the more money you’ll make.  That value can be lots of things.  Sometimes it’s intrinsic, such as being good looking.  Sometimes it’s cultivated, such as your education and skills.  Other times it’s inherited and owned through private property.  Whatever value it may be, whoever controls such things controls the flow of money and getting things from other people.

The unfairness in life comes about because not all value can be cultivated by effort, and not everyone has the same opportunities presented to them.   Some people are beautiful, and others aren’t very handsome or pretty.  That is truly unfair.  I’ve never liked that myself.  Others are born into a rich family, with good loving parents, and have opportunities granted to them others never have.   It’s very unfair and sad.

But what do you do?  Do we lay down and die?  Is that the only thing life has to offer?  Is there no hope for us?

Though it doesn’t always seem like it, our lives are not completely dictated by fate.  A lot of things can be changed by effort, and to at least some extent your actions will determine where you end up in life.  Some people have it easier than others, I’ll agree on that point.  But that does not mean “fairness” can be equated with everyone having the same amount of money.  That’s literal Marxist communism, and doesn’t work.

Samuelson doesn’t seem to like inheritances.  But what a sticky situation that is.  So if I one day have children, and leave behind my assets to them, whereas others have reckless parents who die broke, or even worse, in debt, did I something wrong?  My kids don’t “deserve” that money?  Ok Dr. Samuelson, who does?

Who inherits my businesses after I fall over dead?  Who gets the money in my bank accounts?  I can’t have a will, and leave my things to anyone?  Would that be “unfair” to leave my things to those I love?  It doesn’t seem that they “deserve” it.  It certainly gives them an edge over everyone else.

If that’s the case, we’re all morally bankrupt.  Almost everything in this world has been handed to us from past generations.  We owe everything to them.

When I closely examine his notion “fairness”, I can’t even really understand what he’s talking about.  His discourse is shallow.  Philosophers have a very hard time defining justice and equality, especially in relation to society.  He doesn’t even try. He slants his arguments, giving the worst possible examples, and avoids the critical arguments.  Yeah, it’s true it’s “unfair” when some guy strikes oil in his backyard and becomes a millionaire, even though he didn’t really do anything worthwhile for society.  Yeah, some people may control patents, and make a lot of money off them.  But what about the guy who made millions by providing real value to society and working hard?

I get the feeling he doesn’t like private ownership of anything, but he avoids the consequences of such thinking.  He conveniently dodges it.  How is he going to get around the problem of motivation?  If everyone gets paid the same, regardless of what they do for society, then what motivates someone to excel or do things for others?  Our brains and happiness, in our limbic system, are built around reward.  If we can’t better their lives through effort, and there’s no social mobility, economically we’ll suffer, because people won’t work as hard as they would have otherwise.

Sadly, without motivation, humans are generally lazy.  If you’ll get paid the same amount of money, regardless of the work you do, you’ll probably put in as little effort as possible, unless you enjoy your job — and most people don’t like their jobs.

With him there’s this vague notion of “too much” money.  And when you talk to people who feel this way, the “too much” amount seems to vary from person to person.   To Barack Obama, it’s $250,000 a year.  Others it may be far less.  To another it may be $10,000,000 in the bank.   None of this is objective at all.  Besides that, he never shows the other sides of the argument.

Lately I’ve been watching neuroscience lectures.  The professor was talking about morals and how we can’t make moral decisions without involving our limbic system, which is where our emotions take place.  I plan to write about the brain sometime soon.  These economic justice questions will never be solved through rational thought because we start to get into love and emotions.  Depending on how much love we have for one another, for good or ill, will dictate what policies get enacted.  Though as many economists will tell you, sometimes harsh policies are what we need.

Let’s give an example of love and applying it toward the economy and our policies.

His earlier chapters talk all about supply and demand, and he applies it to products and services.  Depending on the demand for a product and the supply, the prices vary and an equilibrium is found between the supplier and the consumer.  When he talks about intervening in markets for the little guy, he seems to want to disrupt this system for “fairness”, but man oh man, is that a can of worms!  Really what he wants the government to do is screw with the value system in order to promote a subjective sense of “equity” which nobody will possibly agree on.

If a strange hair came over all the American children, and they all wanted to become barbers, then after they all graduated high school, barber shops would open everywhere.  But there’s only so many people needing haircuts, producing an environment of insane competition among the barbers to get your business.  The price for a haircut would drop to next to nothing.  All these barbers would be desperate for customers.

On the other side, if nobody wanted to be a barber, and there was only one guy in the world who cut hair, he’d be booked in advanced for years.  It’d cost a fortune for each haircut, because demand would be so high.

That seems to me to be the core factor that sets wages – the value you either provide directly to customers, or your employer.  Or put more concisely – the subjective valuation or your services, abilities, and private property by a particular set of peers within that society.  Money certainly isn’t governed by “fairness”.  A harsh but very practical question to people is, “What value do you provide to the man next door?”  I’ve never met a poor person who could answer that question.  Money is an exchange of products and services.

But Samuelson did make a good argument for intervention for the small guy, which is what I wanted to share.  Even though we lose efficiency, we gain a more equal distribution in wealth.  He gave an example of this in his book.  He talked about farmers, and governments subsidizing family farms to keep them going.  The big farms would run them all out, so the government in those states artificially props them up, and sets various price controls.

The inefficiency here is small farmers working farms, even though we don’t need them to be doing so at all.  Some of their crops are literally burned, or buried under the ground, just so prices don’t drop too low.   The handful of big farmers could provide everyone with all we need.   And as technology progresses, the more inefficient this intervention will be.

But this is where a human sort of kindness steps in.  It’s not like once the small farmer loses his farm he can just get up and start selling something else.  It’s very hard to find a place in this world.  Very hard.  If he’s unskilled he’ll be flipping burgers, and that’s no life.   He’ll need to provide immediate money for his family, and if he doesn’t have any savings, he won’t even be able to go to college in order learn something new.  He’ll have to immediately start working some job to get income coming in.  He’ll spin wheels and his family will be thrown into poverty.  (Another reason why I believe college should be free, and families and individuals provided for while going.  There must be an opportunity to escape the rate race of spinning wheels.)

So Samuelson believes we should interfere here, and artificially prop up demand for the small farmer’s crops, so he can continue to earn a living.

Here’s where things blow up.  Once one guy gets bailed out, everyone wants bailed out.  Joe Schmo’s used furniture store wants their bailout, Joe the Plumber gets on Fox News with Hannity and causes a ruckus, and then we have Sally of Sally’s shoes demanding a bailout of her failed venture.  A lot of businesses go out of business because they provide horrible service, stock bad inventory nobody wants, don’t know what they’re doing, etc.

Ugh, what a mess.   *Pulls out hair*

Samuelson’s solution is worse than mine.  He wants to keep propping up things we don’t need.  Thing is, we have to close down these useless farms eventually.  What will happen 30 years later?  Will the kids inherit them, and keep them going?  The kids should’ve learned something new, and made a new life for themselves, not continued on the family farm.

I would only make one exception to this.  If the farmers are old, let them keep their farm.  But don’t let young men continue this.  Make them learn something new, and help them with the transition.

We should do all we can to help the farmer learn something new, but we can’t prop up what Greg and I call “bad basis.”  There’s no reason to continue those farm operations.  The more we do, the more we’ll hold back our own progress.  Imagine if we do this sort of thing in every industry.  We’d still have plants producing Model-T cars, just because we were worried someone would lose their job with changing times.

Money is a system that’s very messed up.  Very messed up.  I don’t like a lot of things about it.  It’s harsh in too many ways.

Everything in this world is about value, and controlling value. And value is valuable because it’s in some sense rare and special, and difficult to attain.  Otherwise people wouldn’t pay you for it.  That’s why things get nasty.  Everyone fights to control value so they can secure themselves a place in this cruel world.  What people dream of is controlling some exclusive renewable source of value, which can be produced on hand with very little effort, and can be exchanged for other people’s value.

The oil well is such a source.  It can be pumped out of the ground easily, and then sold for a lot of money.  Then this money can be used to purchase a mansion, whatever car you desire, and everything else that society produces.  You can sit back and let that pump earn you millions, while you sit and watch TV, enjoying everything life has to offer.

I’ve been reading a lot of history lately.  Mankind’s history is a struggle over who controls what’s valuable.  Wars are fought over controlling value.  Back in the 1600s everyone wanted to set up a colony to exploit, so they could get cheap sugar, spices, and other resources to sell.  They wanted to use those as valuable bartering chips with other nations.  This greed created all kinds of naval battles in attempts to control various trade routes.  Or take World War I.  The big economic super powers were all rushing to Africa to set up their colonies.  It was the race to exploit Africa, and take their valuable resources, and then use them to build things, or sell them to get ahead.  The entire war was economic, and due to nations only thinking of their own self interest.  Who was going to control the land and the wealth and dominate the world?  So everyone loaded up their guns and blasted away at each other.

It’s dumb.  It’s very very dumb.   Everyone wants to control someone else by controlling something valuable, and “owning” it exclusively.   This is what the big corporations do today.  They control their markets, and bully anyone else out.  Nobody is going to come inbetween them and their profits.

But I have no idea how you fix it.  When I look at this world, everything is run by value.  Everything.  Not fairness.  Not morals.  Not by governments or laws.  It’s run by value.

When I read history, I just see men trying to squirm their way out of the the natural order of this world and controlling value is the best means to do so.   That’s what money and power is.  Sex can only partially be controlled, as you can’t control your genetics or aging.  I’ve wrote about these things on my blog here many times.

I was also planning to write about some of the worthless mathematics found in Samuelson’s textbook, but I doubt anyone really cares, so I’ll spare you all the trouble.

Reflections On Love – Part III

The past week or so I’ve been writing a lot about love.  The first was a sort of philosophical inquiry about love, touching on various topics.  Next I tried to make another post about love, dealing with practical issues, but ended up off track and talking about all kinds of other things instead.

Well, today I’m going to try to write up another little entry on love, but this time about what I believe is the highest form of love.  This kind of love is found in very few people, mainly because it’s not ingrained in us biologically, and can only be cultivated in the mind.  This type of love would bring world peace and joy to most everyone living, but considering it’s hard for humans to develop, the chances of that happening any time soon are slim.

Everyone’s heard of Plato, the famous Greek philosopher. He wrote a great dialog about love in the Symposium.  In it we find the Greek sage Socrates talking with his “instructress in the art of love,” Diotima, who tells him that if a youth begins by loving a visibly beautiful form, “he will soon of himself perceive that the beauty of one form is akin to the beauty of another,” and, therefore, “how foolish would he be not to recognize that the beauty in every form is one and the same.”  He will then “abate his violent love of the one,” and will pass from being “a lover of beautiful forms” to the realization that “the beauty of the mind is more honorable than the beauty of the outward form.”   Then he will be led to love “the beauty of laws and institutions . . . and after laws and institutions, he will go on to the sciences, that he may see their beauty.”  As Diotima summarizes it, the true order of love “begins with the beauties of earth and mounts upwards . . . from fair forms to fair practices, and from fair practices to fair notions, until from fair notions we arrive at the notion of absolute beauty.”

That’s my kind of woman.  Speaking of beauty, I’d have to say to you Diotima, you are absolutely beautiful!  After delivering words like those, I’d probably ask you to marry me!  “Let’s study these laws which govern this world, figure out the nature of our social institutions, continually make them better, and build a world of equality, justice, and love, where all are one!”   Then we ride into the sunset, off to the science lab and to private libraries to read and study.  Then we explore remote sections of the world together examining the life there, studying all aspects of life, using the beautiful forms of this Earth as stepping stones to reach toward the heavens and understand the entire cosmos and our place in it … whew, it’s getting hot in here!  I’m in love with a woman who’s been dead for 2300 years.

Any Diotima’s out there?  Contact me!

This must be the equivalent of an intellectual’s romance novel.

The love Diotima is talking about starts with the family and your loved ones.  You then use that love and apply it toward social institutions.  Really what government is supposed to be is a big family unit.  It’s extended family.  Problem is, biologically we’re only wired  to deal with our wife and children.  The mind has a hard time keeping up with anything much bigger than a small tribe.  We easily get lost in a sea of faces, and can’t emotionally attach ourselves to so many people.  That’s what makes large government especially difficult.

The news doesn’t help either.  They constantly show us horror stories, and it’s a huge problem.  You see, our evolutionary instincts were devised to where if a fellow tribesman is injured, we feel compassion and go to help.  The thing is, now our tribe is so massive, someone is having something horrible happen to them every day, and this is displayed on our televisions every night.  It gets to where tragedies happen so often and to so many, we stop attaching ourselves to our fellow man, because it’s too painful.

Say within your life there’s twenty people who mean a lot to you.  When one of them dies, it’s a big deal.  But those deaths and tragedies which this world may inflict upon them don’t happen every day.  Hopefully you’ll only have to attend a handful of funerals related to people who were really close to you during your lifetime.

But imagine having to mourn for people every day.  You’d never have a happy moment.  Your mind can’t handle that.  It’s too much.  It starts to shut down that emotional faculty of compassion for others.

We become like the doctor who sees people die in the operating room everyday.  He’s been working in the emergency room for 30 years.  He’s seen so many awful things, his mind has just shut it off.  He does what he can, but never emotionally attaches himself to any of the patients.

It’s really difficult to extend the notion of family to millions of people.  Really it’s impossible.  That’s why we humans went from loving the individual to loving an abstract embodiment of a “good” principle. The notions of “good” and “evil” came along when men formed big societies.  They needed to abstract a set of principles which could be applied toward all men equally.  Hence came the notion of justice.

The mindset went something like this:  We must find a set of “good” principles which we will develop, and we shall call them laws, and these laws must be applied to everyone equally, all men being the same and subject to them.   If we follow these principles we shall all live in harmony and prosperity.

This type of love doesn’t have the biological satisifaction as say romantic love does, or even the feelings of compassion and love toward your children, or your parents.  It’s certainly not as strong as our sexual bonds.  When you’re with a beautiful woman, you don’t have to try to bond.  Natural processes just take over.   Yet this abstract love of laws, social institutions, and just principles is different.

You can take a young man to the movie theater, and he’ll see Megan Fox appear on the screen and his eyes are glued.  You don’t need to nurture those passions.  They take over.  His sexual reproductive drives find her a suitable mate, and go to work.

The same can’t be said about say, the U.S. Constitution.  I think it’s more beautiful than Megan Fox will ever be, and it certainly brings more people happiness, especially when our politicians respect it and follow it.  But a young man can’t appreciate it without education and instruction.

Take economics for instance.  I think the study of economics is love.  Possibly the highest forms of love when it comes to society.  Understanding why poverty exists, what can be done to eradicate it, what brings about our common success, and how to effectively work together and manage our scarce resources for the maximum benefit of all.

You may look at that stuff and think, “So, what’s the big deal?”  Our economic policies literally dictate whether there’s food on the table.  Whether there’s products on the shelves in the stores.  Whether there’ll be jobs to work, and income to be made.  Whether there’s money to send kids to school.

I mean, most everything related to human happiness is in some way governed by economics and money.  You find the love of your life and want to marry and get your own home.  How easy that home is to afford is completely dictated by economic policies.  All that stuff about banks, interest rates, loanable funds, and all that, literally run your life, even if you don’t understand it all.

Or you and your wife are expecting a child.  Is there a good medical system there to help with the birth?  What if the child has complications and needs medical attention?  What if your loved one gets sick and needs to see the doctor, and will die without proper treatment?

Economic policy dictates if there’s money to treat your loved one.  Whether you have money in your pocket to afford it.  Whether the state will fund medical care.  I mean, this stuff is really core.

It’s beautiful to love your wife and family.  But I think it’s also just as beautiful, if not more so, to keep a smooth running system, which protects the public, establishes peace, protects public property, educates all who are willing, and loves all equally under the law.  We can’t build our homes without these things.  You can’t establish a family without it.

And if we don’t care about politics and the world, future generations won’t be able to live the life we have.  It’s an uphill battle, and the natural forces of this world want to pull us back down into savagery and barbarism.

Society on a large scale is incompatible with our instincts and is only held together by education.  When education begins to falter, and people no longer understand what keeps the economy running smoothly, or how the complex machine which runs our society and our lives works, in at least some capacity, it all falls apart.

When it comes to romantic love, I don’t claim to know all that much.  I’m not the most romantic guy in the world, though one day I hope I’ll be better.  I’ve always been so busy and it’s not like I’ve had a lot of time to work at it.  But as for the type of love we’ve been talking about, I think I excel.  When it comes to practical concerns, getting things done, and making sure everything works out well for everyone else, I’m better than most.  I can plan and organize much better than the average person.  I like to take charge of a project, start delegating work, and organize.  I’m good at being the “brain” behind a complicated project.   Making sure everyone has what they need to get the job done.

Reflections On Love – Part II

The other day I wrote a little bit about love, but looking it over I seem to have fallen into the same trap I often do — speaking too generally, and not giving enough specifics.  Instead of reflecting about love at such an abstract level, I’ll be a lot more practical this time.   Here we go.  I’ll attempt to explain love, and good solid relationships, in practical, everyday terms.  I’m no expert really, but I’ll give it my best shot.

How to begin?  What I most often see people looking for in a partner is someone who has similar ideas toward life, accepts them as they are, and are generally just compatible.   A sort of ease when they’re together.  Conversations are easy.  Spending time together is easy and enjoyable.  They look for someone who they feel comfortable and at home with.   Someone who respects their beliefs and never dismisses things of great concern to them.

That’s how I see it get started in most people.   In young couples, such as high schoolers, and a lot of college students, that’s all there is to the relationship.  They don’t move beyond that, because they don’t live together, have to provide for one another, earn income, depend on one another’s decisions, and all of that.  But enjoying one another’s presence, sharing common concerns and beliefs, etc., are all good factors to get things rolling.  However there’s more hurdles up ahead.  Other matters start to become important as your lives begin to more closely intertwine and depend on one another.

I’d say the first on the list would be finances.    This includes not only how you earn your money, but how that money is spent.  If the couple has divergent views on how the finances should be handled, there’ll be a lot of arguments and fighting.   What kind of place do you live in currently, and where are you wanting to live?  How easy is it for you both to afford?  Do you like your jobs?  Are you trying to move upward to a different career?  How long is that taking?  How easy is it to afford things you’ve been wanting, and how much sacrifice are you having to make, and for how long?  Is one partner lazy, and does this bother the other?  Are you running up bills, such as credit cards and car loans?  Do you both have the same views toward finance and credit?

Finance is a huge factor to me.  I don’t like to waste money.  I’m not a miser, but I hate debts and watching money flushed down the toilet in interest payments.  I shiver when I see a woman running around with a credit card, buying $200 shoes, working a minimum wage job, and being eaten alive at 30% APR.  I think…. woooaahhhh.  Scccarrrrryyy.

I really don’t want to end up with a woman who spends money like its water, and doesn’t understand budgets, how credit works, and the basics of money.  “Buuutttt I wannntttt itttt.” … “We can’t afford it…”  … “We can charge it!” …. “No, if we really want it, we’ll save up for it.”  … “I don’t want to wait.  I want it NOW.”

Get with someone like her and next thing you know, you’re working two jobs, barely getting sleep, and all your income is going to the banks in interest.  She starts to use sex as bartering tool.   American woommaaannnn, stay away from mmmmeee eeeeeee..

I prefer spending my money on things that last, though I like to keep free money to relax as well.  You have to get away from the routine sometimes!  Primarily I like to put top priority on things I spend the most time with, such as getting nice furniture, good home appliances, and so forth, than blow it all in a short extravagant vacation in Hawaii.   But it depends on how easy I’m earning the money, how much I like my work, and how much I’m making.

Then again, with me, after a comfortable environment is established, such as a nice home, with nice furniture, TV, computers, and other things that matter, and grocery money, electric bill, water bill, and other necessities are covered, and significant buffer money in the savings account, the remainder can be spent on whatever.

You need to keep around a year worth of bill expenses in your savings account.  At least six months worth.  That way if you’re laid off, you can continue to make payments and not lose your home, or your cars.  Your electric won’t be shut off.  If you can’t afford to save up that kind of money, you’re living beyond your means.   You need to scale down.  And if you’re already living in the smallest possible apartment, then you should consider going to college and getting a new job that pays decent.

10 to 20% of every paycheck should be put away in savings.   There should be a minimum level in your account which you never fall below.  For a normal person, it should be, say $5000 in your savings.   This number depends on your lifestyle, but it has to match your income and expenses.  It should never drop below that number.  Ever.  That’s money in case an appliance breaks, or the car needs repaired, or whatever.  And once that money is spent, you should start working toward getting that account back up to $5000 again, and cut back your spending. But don’t live paycheck to paycheck, and then let every little problem turn into a crisis.   You’ll put strain on your relationship, and stress yourselves out.

Above some certain level you should just spend it.  Or plan to buy something worthwhile with it all.  Save up for a nice new home.  Go on vacations.  Whatever.  But always keep buffer money.

Don’t let savings become an obsession though.  I know some professors who save every dollar they make, and won’t spend any of it.  One professor makes over $100,000 a year, yet him and his wife both live off her income, and she makes just a little over minimum wage.   Every day he comes into work and eats a cheap TV dinner.  He has millions in the bank.  Probably earns over $80,000 a year in interest alone.

That man eventually died.  His kids ended up blowing all his money he saved up.  What good did that do?  He should’ve taken his wife out someplace nice, and eaten some good food.  Did some traveling.  Bought a new car. Extremes in money are bad.  Extreme misers, and spendthrifts.  You have to be somewhere in the middle.

I’m not a very materialistic person.  I mainly value books.  I have lots of them.  But I value freedom more than anything.  All my money is saved up toward a life of leisure and studying books, traveling around doing scientific research.  I hope one day I can live a life where I’m not bothered with working at all.  But I hate getting caught up in earning that money, because it’s self-defeating if it takes too long.  I have to have time to read my books, or what good are they?

I’m not someone who lives paycheck to paycheck.  Ever.

Next I come to the most important factor to me — intelligence.  The girl has to be intelligent.  As time goes by, that demand is becoming more and more prescient to me.  It’s become a necessity.  When we go out to dinner, if you can’t even understand half of what I want to talk about, in any capacity, I’m sorry.  It’s going to be difficult.

I can’t sit around and watch reality TV shows.  I can’t really watch TV period.  Not for more than ten minutes.

I think every good couple demands that they be on nearly the same intellectual level.

Third would probably be what I’d vaguely label “affection.”  This is simply how much effort you’re putting into it.  Depending on how compatible you are, the easier this will be, but I think all relationships demand both people putting serious effort into it.  One person can’t carry everything.  You have to try to make things interesting, go out with each other and do something, or do nice little things for one another.  Compliments.  Praise.  Buy gifts.  Cook a nice meal for your spouse.  Clean up after them.   Make an effort to put a smile on the other’s face and make their life easier, and more pleasant.

A relationship isn’t like winning a prize or something.  You don’t work hard, achieve the goal, then move on to something else.  You don’t work for it, then are “done.”  Hopefully you’re enjoying the time you’re putting into it.  If you’re not, then maybe you should find someone else.

Thinking on another note, there’s all those things that need to be done around the house.  Taking out the trash.  Washing dishes.  Cleaning out the fridge.  Dusting.  Vacuuming.  Mowing the grass.  Taking care of general “stuff” that goes around, such as getting the car repaired.  Don’t heap all those responsibilities onto one person.  Help each other out.

Care about things, even the small things.  Care about what dishes you use.  What cup you drink out of.  What silverware you use.  How your place is decorated and what is put on display.  Food preferences.  This sort of thing gives your spouse ways to be nice to you, in small ways.

Have your special cup, which she brings out to you at times.  Have a matching set.

But don’t be indifferent.  Care about lots of small things.  And always be working together on fixing the small things that bother you both.  Continual small goals, and achieving them, together, making bonds.

Caring about lots of things gives you both a chance to express what you like and don’t like, and provides opportunities to be nice to one another, all the time.   Overwhelm your spouse with small things, done well.

It’s not always easy to do, but at least try.

All those small things add up to a big thing in the end.  I think instinctively us men have drives to be the provider, and take good care of our woman.  To protect the home, and make it our “territory”, and to make it safe and pleasant for our family.

Hmm.  Ohh.  Don’t nag each other about things.  Everyone hates a nagging person.  Nag nag nag.  Especially annoying things.  And small things.

I myself never ask someone to do a small thing for me, unless I’m sick.   “Woman, fix me a sandwich.”  Get it yourself, lazy sloth.  If my girlfriend started doing that stuff to me, she’d start losing points real fast.  “Pick up the remote for me, I’m buried all under the covers, and don’t want to get up.”   So I get up out of my chair, kneel down under her rocker, dig out the remote, and hand it to her, and go back to my chair.   Or even worse, she starts yelling across the house, acting like she needs something.  “Jason!  Jason!  JJJAASSSSSSOONNNN!!!!”  … I’m in my study, hear this faint voice across the house, close my book, make my way in there, only to find out she just doesn’t want to get up.  Asks me to turn on the ceiling fan.  Oh my god.  That’s too much.  Only if you’re sick, injured, or something like that.

This one guy I know, I mean… I can’t believe he tolerates her.  She doesn’t work.  Doesn’t do anything.  He completely provides for her.  But she complains about doing anything.  And I mean anything.  She calls him up at work and whines that some dishes aren’t washed.  There’s a few plates and some silverware.  I mean, c’mon.  You don’t even work.  You’re not sick.  Your man’s working all day for you girl!  Then he comes home and washes your plates, and you call him at work to nag him about it because he forgot to last night?

Seriously.  I can’t tolerate that level of laziness and pettiness.  And to be nagged about it while at the office?

I think for me, the first offense would be, “We’ll talk about that when I get home dear.”  Then I’d tell her not to call me at work about petty things like that.  Even after working all day long, I could easily come home and wash the dishes, and not even complain.  In fact, I’d just see them in the sink and do it without even being asked.  That’s how I think it should be.  Just do it.  They’re there, it takes 5 minutes.  Do it.

I’ve worked 12 hour days on software projects.  5 minutes for the dishes?  You kidding me?

Speaking of time, a big thing for me is being on time.  Don’t waste my time.  “Hey hun, I’ll pick you up from work.”  … “Ok, I’ll be off around 4:30.”  Then she shows up 5:15.  45 minutes late?  What?  What?  Why?  Flakiness and unreliability.  Can’t stand that stuff.  It’s ok for it to happen every now and then, but when it’s consistent.   Unacceptable to me.  Being on time represents respect for the other person’s time.  Respect one another’s time.

Then there’s sex.  I think both members of the couple should take care of themselves, and not let themselves go.  Exercise and keep a decent figure.  Don’t neglect hygiene.  Take showers.  Brush your teeth.  Cut your nails.  Shave.  Get haircuts. You know, all that stuff.  Women should put effort into their appearance.  As a guy, I can speak for all of us — your efforts are much appreciated it, and your sex life will be better if you do.  Your relationship will also be better.  And guys, make sure to take note of your lady when she looks good, and let her know  🙂

Hmm.  What else.  Let’s tackle social relationships.  First off, don’t embarrass your spouse, making scenes in public.  Do your best to get along with in-laws, ex-laws, family, co-workers, and everyone else.  And it isn’t that hard if you just learn to keep your mouth shut.

If your wife’s cowoker is an idiot, and you’re at one of her work parties, don’t embarrass her by getting into a huge argument over politics, religion, and that sort of thing.  Be nice to everyone there, find something nice to say to everyone, compliment the hosts, and if you have something bad to say, don’t say it at all.  You’ll make life hell for her at work.  Don’t do it.

Try to be nice to all your family members.  Be good to your momma, and your woman’s momma too.   Take time to visit both sides of the family, and treat them all with respect, no matter how different they are.

Also, try very hard to be on good terms with all your spouse’s friends.

What else.  Hmm.  Well, always be honest with each other.  About everything.  Don’t lie or try to deceive.  But also, keep your partner’s feelings in mind.  Be careful when you point out her faults.  Be gentle.  It’s not always easy to balance these two things, but try.

I think good relationships have a general direction they’re both headed.  They work together on common goals, even if they’re minor.   Work together on those things, and bond.  It could be decorating the place, painting, or a common intellectual pursuit.  But have common goals, and celebrate together as often as possible.

Watch what you say, at all times.  Tact. Pay attention to your body language.  This is my worst area.  My personal flaw.  I speak too openly sometimes, and say things which hurt people.  It’s not always intentional.  I’ve been working hard at this the past year or so, but I’m still bad.   I’ll say things like, “That’s stupid.”  … “Do you really think that?”  … “Oh my god.  Just…”  *waves hand in the air in a ‘shoo’ motion*

That’s why I have to date an intelligent woman.  My problem has always been harsh words.  I’m fine as long as nobody’s a complete idiot.  I try hard to be nice, even to idiots, but I naturally just start to lash out on them.  Not humble idiots.  Prideful idiots.  Idiots who think they know stuff when they don’t.  And certain people just annoy the hell out of me.  I can only keep a fake grin on my face for so long.  I can last a maximum of two hours in horrible company.  Then I start to lose it.

It’s like listening to Pat Robertson talking about how Haiti made a pact with the devil, which is why they suffered from their recent tragedy.  I just want to scream, “You sick, disgusting human being! Are you THAT dumb?  Do you even know what causes an earthquake?  Do you?  The devil?  No sir, the devil is in you!”

I’m hard on people.  I lash out at stupidity, and I have to watch it.  I want to change that part of me so bad though.  There’s no need to be mean to anybody. And even when you do correct people, and point out their stupidity, it doesn’t do any good.  Most of the time it’s better just to stay quiet.  That’s what I need to do more often.  Just stay quiet.  I need a good smart woman who’s sitting beside me, and just as I sit up to tell them what I think she grabs my arm and yanks me back and shakes her head, “No.”   That’s when I sit back down, cool off, and say, “No Pat Robertson, you’re not worth it.  I’m going to sit here, and not argue with your stupidity.”

I’m hard on myself too though, which isn’t a good thing really.  I’ve always had high standards, but they’re also way too high.  I’m the type of person who wakes up and immediately goes running.  Wimpy, whiny people aren’t really compatible with me.   I’m not a gentle person, though I sometimes wish I could be.

Naturally I’m ambitious.  Everything I attempt is grand in scale.  I’m not satisfied with the ordinary.  My partner would have to deal with that, and be fine with it.   Ambition and initiative is a big thing in relationships.   Like I said before, it’s good to have common goals, and be on the same page one with another.  Your life directions have to line up and be compatible.

Then there’s what I’d in general just label “drama.”  This includes things like threats of leaving all the time, violence toward one another, yelling, jealousy and accusations, not talking to one another, not forgiving one another, cold shoulder treatments, slamming doors, punching holes in walls, having a huge argument then ignoring it the next day, like it never happened… yeah, that stuff.

I think I’m spoiled really.  I grew up in a family where there was no fighting at all.  Dad never yelled at mom.  Mom never yelled at Dad.  No threats of anyone leaving anyone.  My parents always forgave one another shortly after fights, living according to their Christian morals.

I think I only saw Dad get crazy mad one time.  He was trying to fix a weed eater and he became angry and yelled, “Stupid thing!  My GGOOOODDD!!!”  Then he started slamming it on the ground.  I was there, and found it pretty funny.  Mom would get nervous when me and my little brother were little, especially when we turned the living room into a wrestling rink.  The love seat was the ropes, and I’d throw my him into it as hard as I could, tipping it over.  LOL.   “But MMMaaaaaaaa.  It was Ek… Not mmeeeee.  He started it!”

Dad never would have any of that.  He’d tell me to go outside and cut switches.  If I brought in a flimsy one, he’d tell me to get another one, much thicker.  If I brought another flimsy one, he’d say for me to get another.  Then when I finally brought a thick one, he’d beat my butt with all of them.  And oh man, it hurt too.

Mom used leather belts.  “Don’t make me get out the belt!”

One time I threw this kid through the wall at church.  LOL.  Maybe it’s bad to laugh at that, but it’s so crazy thinking I actually did that!  Middle of church service is going, us kids playing in the nursery then, whooopssss, a kid flys through the wall and into the sanctuary.  I was just playing with him too.  Just imitating wrestlers.  He tripped and fell through the wall.  I got whipped for that one.  Oh man.

The pastor stopped the sermon.  The kid is crying, and I’m standing there, congregation staring at me.  Dad gives me the scariest look I’ve ever received in my life.  Mom covers her mouth like, “Oh my God!”  I was about to wet myself.

But believe it or not, when I got older they were the most lenient parents ever.  I had no oversight.  But then again, none of us were “bad” either.  None of us ever got into trouble.  All good kids.

I remember coming home at 1 AM on school nights.  They didn’t care.  When I was 17 years old I first started my business and was renting an office building uptown.  I wrote software and did work for companies.  I’d work all night long on things, and study my software.  Slept through school, lol.   Still got good grades anyway.

But yeah, got a bit off track there.  Try to keep things drama free.   And the biggest thing is just forgiving people, and accepting various bad things about them.  As they say, don’t let the sun go down upon your wrath.  Forgive each other before you go to bed.  Fix it that same day, and don’t let the steam build.

Thinking of drama, hypersensitivity can create a lot of drama.

One of the top reasons for divorce in the world is hypersensitivity.  I’ve met a few hypersensitive people in my lifetime.  You’re always walking on a tight rope.  I mean, you say one little thing and you can crush them.  Then you spend the next two weeks trying to make up with them.

I have to really watch my words when I’m around a hypersensitive person.  Body language too.  I’ll say mean things, roll my eyes, and be like, “Allllriiiggghhtttt.  If that’s what you want to believe.”

I’ve always admired the guy who’s always smiling, and treats everyone super kind, all the time.  Problem is you can’t run a company and be like that to everyone.  There’s a reason most bosses are strict.  Stuff doesn’t work out if you’re Mr. Nice to everyone. The company has to make money, or you can’t pay staff and the bills.  There has to be standards for customer service, your products, and various work protocols.

Sometimes the workplace requires a disciplined environment.  My mom is Mrs. Nice.  She started a daycare years back, but she had trouble confronting people about anything.   She had employees she couldn’t afford, but was too soft to let them go.  She was too lenient with customers, and they took advantage of her.  Eventually she had to start asking me for money keep the place operating.  Since she’s mom, I helped out.

Like for example.  Parents would come in and only want to them to watch their children for a short time after school.  I think those were called “part-timers.”  Problem is, my mom wouldn’t refuse anyone and the government mandates that there be a certain ratio of staff to children in the daycare at any given time, depending on their age.  One staff member for every four infants.  One for every 12 middle age children.  And so on and so forth.

The parents wanted to only pay for the time their kids were there, yet there was these staffing requirements.  And there was the heating bill in the winter and other expenses.   I would tell her, “Mom, you have to up your rates.  Let the part-time kids go.  You can’t operate with these part-time kids.  Require full time, or only let on a part-time kid in if they’re willing to pay the full time rate.”   But mom couldn’t do that.  She couldn’t confront the parents and say, “I’m sorry, we’ll need to charge you more.”

There was always a sad story.  So and so’s mom’s working two jobs, and barely makes it by as it is.  The Dad would make it to pick up the kids, if only he didn’t work so far away.  I don’t remember everything.  Thing is, what do you do?  You simply can’t afford it.

As things went on, that daycare became a black hole.  I eventually said, “Mom, I can’t keep funding this.  You have to change this business model, start confronting the parents about these things, keep better accounting records, charging proper rates… ” and so on.  They had to close down.

Lucky for her, she never had staff problems.  They always worked and did their jobs.  But you have to be able to confront people about that too.  Especially in a competitive market.  If people start goofing and slacking, they have to be confronted.  You have to be a strong assertive person who tells people how it’s going to be.  That doesn’t mean you’re mean.  You’re firm.  You lay out your expectations beforehand, and let people know when they’re meeting what’s expected of them.  You try to keep those expectations realistic and fair, but you have to hold them to standards.

The opposite is also true.  Praise people and thank them for doing good.  Offer bonuses, rewards, and other incentives for good behavior.

The best way to confront people is to say something like, “Hey Jane.  I’ve noticed you’ve been making a lot of mistakes lately, and coming in late consistently.  This isn’t like you.  Is everything ok?”

You believe in them, and make it clear that you’ve always believed in them since you’ve hired them.  They’re the best, and that’s why they’re working with you.  Stress a “we can” attitude.  But if that first confrontation doesn’t work out, you need to confront them again, getting more and more firm each time.  And eventually, if they’re too troublesome, you have to let them go.

That’s why it’s important to be able to read people, especially the larger your business gets.  You have to be able to see through B.S.  Not only in the boardroom, but when dealing with staff.

Like say someone’s going through a rough divorce, fighting for their children’s custody, and are worried about their future.  They’re being kicked out of their home and having to start a whole new life.  We’ve all seen this.  I can easily see what’s going on there, even if the staff member isn’t talking about it.  You can tell by the way they conduct themselves.

I wouldn’t give a staff member a hard time in that situation.  I’d be very lenient.  Very very lenient. But laziness is a different issue entirely.  “I can’t wake up, I stayed up too late watching movies all night long…” Those people I’m very firm with, and not near as tolerant.

It’s not always fun being that sort of guy, but that’s how it is when you lead.  You have to understand people, and also know what needs to get done.

What else.  Hmm.  You’ll have to treat your partner as an equal. Involve your spouse in every decision that’s being made related to the home.

You should both take part in the parenting of the children.  Don’t abuse the children.  Treat them well.  Be there for them.  It’s important that they’re never considered a burden or in the way.  Make time for them.  Always.

Stay away from religious drama.  Imposing your religious idiosyncrasies on others can make a relationship rough.  Be tolerant of one another’s beliefs, if at all possible.

Dating a religious fanatic could be rough on me.  There are some crazy religious people out there.  I mean, crazy.

I couldn’t imagine say dating a Mormon.  I think it’s the Mormons.  Imagine listening to your spouse go on about how the Jaherdites traveled to the America in 2500 B.C. and founded this huge civilization.  How there’s a big conspiracy by the schools and historical societies to suppress that information.  The book was supposedly written by Joseph Smith, and the story communicated to him by a resurrected native American, who had written the book ages ago.  I just couldn’t handle it.  Even if she was wonderful in every other way.  I couldn’t stay silent and just accept weird beliefs with no historical accuracy whatsoever.  And even worse, listening to her cram that crap into the children.  There’s no way.

And Mitt Romney is a Mormon.  I just.. How can someone like that be the most eligible man to represent the Republican Party?… and possibly be the president of the United States.  How.  How!

Jeez.  What else.  Be careful with alcohol.  A lot of homes are destroyed with it.  You can cause your family immense pain if you’re drunk all the time.  Try to control yourself.

That’ll do for Jason’s advice for the night.  I don’t know if some people would call all this sort of stuff “love” or not.  But I mean, it’s closely related.  Maybe I’ll write up Reflection on Love – Part III, next.

Reflections On Love

The other day I wrote about some of my more recent thoughts on love, but today I’d like to lay out a basic outline as to what I think “love” is, and the different forms of it.

Even as recent as two years ago, I never could have written this.  I think I’ve made some progress, but still, I don’t feel I understand love well.  Even so, if I was out for a long walk with a lovely intellectual woman, and she asked me, “So, what do you think love is?”  the conversation may go something like this:

Love is such a broad concept which includes so many things, yet I do think there’s at least a few principles behind every act of love.   But I don’t even think love is confined to actions.  Love really permeates our entire being, and without it I don’t think you’re even alive.

Love is the reason you wake up every morning.  What do you look forward to?  What do you work hard for?  When you put up with things which bother you, where do you find the strength to endure?  What’s important to you?

Love is your passions.  Your interests.  Your commitments.  Your dreams.  Your ambitions.

Yet, love is also oftentimes the reason behind our sadness and sorrow.

Morality cannot exist without love.  Society and all of our social institutions depend on love to operate.

I mean, really, there’s so many aspects to love.  To talk about love is to talk about all of society, and every aspect of life.  There’s no way I can talk about all that.  But instead, let’s dive right in and just start giving examples, beginning with with the most obvious example.

A man looks his lover in the eyes and tells her, “I love you.”  Does that have any set meaning, considering every couple is different in so many ways?  I really am not sure, but there may be at least a few things which this means.

I think the primary meaning behind it, which can pretty much always be assumed, is he feels his personal happiness depends on the girl he’s speaking to.  If the love is unrequited, he feels he’s lost something important.  If it’s not important to him, and he feels he loses little upon losing her, then I wouldn’t consider it love.  It’s some other sort of thing, but not really what I would consider love.

I would also say it has another meaning.  I think love always singles out someone or something in particular and makes it emotionally significant.  The level of this emotional significance can vary, but this always seems to exist in at least some degree — the more significant the object, the greater the love which is present.

This process of finding a precious gem in life, and wanting to possess it, is a very common meaning of love.  It may well be behind every meaning of the word love.  It’s also the fuel behind jealousy, and fear, if the couple starts to experience trust issues.  It also leads to disappointments and frustrations, when no matter what you do, you’re never able to get your hands on it.

Someone in love can’t bear to see their beloved with someone else.  They don’t want to hear about it.  Don’t want to see it.  It’s painful.

Lovers in every drama, poem, story, and in life, always creates world all to themselves.  It’s a special sort of place, unlike any other, where only they can go and be together.  This place exists outside of space and time, and is eternal.

As for that world they enter, I can’t say anything more.  I’ve never experienced it myself.

But I don’t know if I can really say if love always starts out by a singling out process.  At least, not on both sides. When I carefully started analyzing it over the past year and a half or so, I began to see other ways it could happen.

I thought about couples where say, the man isn’t very interested in the woman, but she keeps trying very hard, day after day.  Years later the guy eventually starts to fall for her.  Somehow her perseverance paid off.   She was able, through hard work, to get him to return her feelings.

In those situations, from what I’ve seen anyway, the woman slowly integrates herself into the man’s life.  Eventually he begins to depend on her, and the thought of life without her becomes difficult.  They slowly fuse together, and then become a couple.  Slowly, over time, he began to see how wonderful she’s always been, though it required a lot of changes in him first, in order to realize it.

In other words, the love, appreciation, and mutual admiration of one another took place at different times and at a difference pace.  In the first case, it was more immediately apparent, whereas in the second case, it built up slowly over time.

But when does a man know what’s good for him?  What he really loves and what will make him happy?  I don’t think we ever really know.  Life’s too complicated.  Sometimes good things have to be beaten into our thick skulls with a stake and mallet.  You find a good woman, who beats sense into you slowly over the years.  Eventually the heart cracks open and you have your epiphany.

But either way, in both cases, love came about when we realized something precious and irreplaceable in the other person.

I also think that the lover and the beloved object, through the love process, come to fuse into a unity of some sort.  People become what they love.  I don’t think you can love something or someone without changing on the inside and the outside.

It’s like quantum mechanics.  You can’t interact in this world without changing the world around you at the same time.  When you love, you, the one you love, and everything around you changes.

You talk differently.  You act differently.  You dress differently.  You’re a new person, changed as you fused with the object you love, or at least, came to love.

But there’s also a moral aspect to the love process.  Loyalty.  Compassion.  Putting up with each other’s quirks.   There’s more to it than just feeling good at that moment, and then up and leaving the second things get a little rough.

Morality comes into play because men love more than one thing.  You may well love more than one girl, even while you’re in a relationship.  I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this either.  Sometimes it can’t be helped.  But morals is a world of pick and choose.

There are certain morals and standards I live by.  I just do.  Attempting to justify them would require writing long books.  But I believe most of them are time tested principles, and happiness in humans depends on how well we follow them.

For example, you can live a life trying for quick easy money, date sleazy women with no principles, and only have interest in people for what you can get out of them.  You can live that way, and others can as well.  It creates a terrible world.  But nobody will stop you, or me, from choosing that world.

People who live like that end up with little.  You may get really lucky and get rich in some easy scheme which demands very little from you.  Who knows.  Maybe you’ll scratch off the big jackpot when you spend your entire paycheck at the gas-station on lotto tickets.  But the odds are against you, no matter how many tickets you buy.

Sometimes you get lucky and something absolutely amazing is handed to you.  It may be a business opportunity.  Your dream girl.  A captain of industry agrees to take you under his wing as his protege.  But with everything, your only security in keeping that is based on what you put into it, how hard you work at it, and how appreciative you are of it.  If something great is handed to you on a silver platter, and it required nothing of you to acquire it, there’s a good chance it will one day be taken away from you, just as quickly as it was given.  That is, unless you secure your position, and add enough value to the person handing you the platter to compensate.  Or at least, are thankful and treat that person well.  But if all you do is take, that platter will be ripped from you.

If you’re a talented 15 year old kid, and giant record company comes up to you and says, “We want to make you into a Disney star!”  That’s a platter handed to you.  But if you’re bratty, ungrateful, and let fame go to your head, failing to realize the true situation, they’ll boot you just as quickly as they made you a star.  They don’t need that.  There’s thousands of hunky young boys ready to dance and lip-sync for millions of dollars.

I don’t think both parties in a relationship have to be completely on the same level in every area of life, but they must appreciate one another and at least be able to see each other’s good points.  But this gets harder the more different your lifestyle, and the farther apart in life you may be.  When you’re not on the same level, it’s like winning a ticket to meet Warren Buffet, who is probably the world’s greatest investor, yet you don’t know anything about economics, money, finance, or investing.   True, if you could only understand his words, his advice could make you rich.  But you’re so far from his level, you can’t even grasp his value.  He’s just an old man in big thick glasses, talking about interest rates, the Fed, housing markets, loanable funds, and other things you don’t quite grasp. You leave and get nothing out of the entire meeting.

Life really is like a garden.  Every decision is a seed.  If you live life carefree, and just throw random seeds into the ground, you’ll reap ugly weeds.  Whatever flower seeds you did plant will not come up, as they were choked out by the weeds.

When I look at my grandparents, before my grandma died, I saw something that few see in their entire lifetime.  Grandpa treated that woman so well, I sometimes couldn’t believe it.  But do you know what that is?  Maybe you need to hear their story.

Their entire lives, grandma always took care of grandpa.  He worked and brought in the money, and she took care of the home, the children, washing clothes, cooking, and everything like that.  Even during times finances were really tight, she worked too.

Over the 50+ years they were married, they had weathered serious storms, and they never gave up on each other, even in the rough times.

With young people, and early couples, their garden is a little flower bed.  It’s pretty.  There’s roses, and daffodils, and bees buzzing about.  It’s quaint, and beautiful.  It’s very nice.

But a storm can wipe out a flower bed.  It’ll have to be replanted to bring it back.  But then again, flowers grow pretty quickly too.  They bloom for a short season, then they begin to age, decay, and die.

Now my grandparents had flower beds.  They were always doing nice little things for one another, which are what the flowers really are.  There was color, warmth, and sunshine in their relationship.  They also took time to weed the garden, which is what apologizing and accepting each other’s faults really is. But there was something else too.  They planted oak trees in their garden, and those grow slow.  Real slow.  Then again, they don’t die.  They just keep growing, bigger and bigger.  And when the storms blow, it may blow off a few leaves, and knock down some of the old limbs, but that tree isn’t going anywhere.

Every time grandma cooked for grandpa, and washed his clothes, and took good care of him, she was watering that tree.  In the early days, she could’ve killed that tree by harsh words, arguments, and general indifference to things that mattered.  But eventually that tree grew to such an extent, minor things could never bring it down.  And even when she grew old and feeble… so feeble she could barely even move out of her chair, grandpa never left her side.

And even now that grandma is gone, a lot of that tree is still there.  Grandma didn’t die alone in some bed, nobody caring that she left.  Our whole family was there.  She took good care of all of us.  We’re the limbs.  Grandma and grandpa, the trunk.  They built our family.  The hospital rooms were packed, with family.  Literally hundreds of people came.  Not just to her funeral, but to say goodbye during her last moments, even if she wasn’t conscious.

Oak trees are moral principles.  They’re ideas of being in it for the long haul.  But the amazing thing about trees is they eventually take care of themselves.  You have to baby them through their first years, but eventually they carry their own and provide a lot more strength and support compared to what you had to put into it.

If you live a flighty lifestyle, only thinking of yourself, and planting cheap little flower beds all over the place, that’s fine.  But you won’t reap anything significant during your lifetime.

Everything follows this principle.  Your education.  Your job.  Your business.  Your country.  Your world.  You put nothing in, you rarely get anything back out.

But I also have to tell you that the world doesn’t reward hard work.  And you can’t belittle this point.  There’s more than just putting hard work in.  A lot more.  If you toil all day long, and plant things in the wrong soil, at the wrong time of year, it doesn’t grow, matter how many times you do so, or how bad you wanted it to work.  The world won’t care.  Nothing will grow.

Certain things grow under certain conditions, and knowing those conditions is key.  That’s the true meaning of the Kung Fu lesson of snatching the pebble from the master’s hand.  Until you’re good enough to snatch the pebble, you’re not allowed to leave.  The lesson?  You have to keep going around the same trials in life until you pass.  Life doesn’t let you fail, then move on to things you’re not ready for.

It’s like a woman trying to get closer to me, yet doesn’t know me.  She buys me a hot pink sweater, little cute hats, and a little designer nik-nak for my place.   I won’t mind receiving such things.  I’ll take them, smile, and say, “Thank you.”  But that won’t win you many points from me.

I’ll probably throw away the sweater.  Or I’ll take it out into the woods, place it on a cardboard cut-out of John Madden, and blow it to bits with my shotgun.  I may keep the cute little hat in a drawer somewhere, out of respect for the girl’s friendship.  As for the nik-nak, that also depends on how much space it takes up.   But seeds placed in the wrong soil simply die.

If you’re never succeeding in life, no matter what you try, you have to ask yourself what sort of seeds you’re planting.  If nothing’s growing, stop planting those seeds and try planting something else.

Gifts for me?  Buy me some tangerines.  Or make me a big fresh salad with Italian dressing and black olives.  Cook me up something nice.  Chocolate bars.  M&Ms.  Take me out for a pizza, or buy me one of the books I’ve been wanting.  I like good food, books, Harley Davidson t-shirts, neat science magazines, Final Fantasy video games… if you want to know more, just ask?

You’ll be amazed.  I’ll get the gift, and actually be excited to receive it.  The “thank you” will have a different tone to it.  I’ll take out one of the tangerines and eat it right there beside you.  The outer peeling will come right off.  I’ll then take out one little chunk, slowly take a bite, close my eyes… there’ll be a pause and then… “Oh my god!  Oh oh…. Oh ho ho it’s mmagggiicccc.  You knowwwwwww.   My mouth is having an orgasm.  These are so awesome!”

But it doesn’t matter how many “nice” things you do for me, if they’re not the right things.  It doesn’t matter how much you spent.  How hard you worked for the money.  If they’re not the right type of seeds for my soil, they won’t grow.  Ever.  Life’s great master is going to close his hand before you grab the pebble, and you’re not going to be allowed to leave the temple.   You exclaim to the master, “Master!  I do love my husband, I really do!  It’s him, not me!  He doesn’t appreciate my gifts!”  Then he looks back at you and says, “So you love your husband, but don’t even know the things he likes?  Go back, and try again.”

Thinking of this stuff, reminds me that my own love life is a weed bed.  All my efforts have gone elsewhere.   Though really, for the first time in my life, I’ve seriously considered putting work into it.  Maybe that’s because over the past two years I’ve studied it a lot more.  But what I can tell you about is business, making money, and your education.

There’s flighty business men everywhere.  Everywhere.  They don’t know what they’re doing.  They just run around from project to project, wasting everyone’s time.  They’re more akin to wrecking crews than real entrepreneurs.  Spending time with them is just wasting your life.   My early years doing business were nothing but dealing with them.  I wasted so many years, and work hours.

From those I’ve watched in relationships, the flighty ones end up lonely.  They reap a few flowers with every relationship, but that’s about it.  Eventually those same old flowers don’t give them the thrill it used to.  Going through the same routine with the new girlfriend gets boring.  You’ve told the same stories a million times, and now there’s no life in any of it.  Another face, same story.

There’s more to a relationship than that, but you never planted anything nice.  You never committed.  So, you’ve reaped nothing worthwhile.

Same goes with education.  Maybe sometimes you read things I write about on here, and wonder about them.  Like the recent entry on quantum electrodynamics, or when I write posts about the economy. I don’t write about things in their full scope.  I could talk indepth about Hayek and his theories, and his difference from John Maynard Keynes, but who would understand it but a few specialists?  I just write about basic stuff.  But when I’m here in my study, I read 1000 page textbooks, and work through all the problems.  I look through economic data, and compare theories.

I really would like to be able to talk with others about things in their full scope.  I rarely exchange discourse with people on that level.  I used to do that with Littlejohn with physics.  He worked for NASA and Lockheed Martin.  But recently he died.  He had a lot of health problems and died in his sleep back in December.

Sad really.  I miss him.  I had a lot of things I wanted to ask him.

There’s a lot more I’d like to write about regarding love, but this entry is long enough already.  It’ll have to wait for another time.  Just like I need to write further entries on Space and Geometry.  I think there were others I planned to write as well, but never did.  I’ll have to look.