August 29, 2011

The Mother of All Analogies: Part 2

Here's the theory in it's pictorial form.
After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Unless - they're my words.
In which case it's worth…  well…. this whole post.
Precisely, 1,119 words or 5,160 characters, so far.

I've just re-discovered the word count tool.
Haven't used it since my Master's dissertation in university.

I missed you, Word Count tool.
You have stayed up with me all night, telling me how much more work was needed.
And when I'd done too much.
You have been a true friend.
I dedicate this post to you.

So here's the analogy I was talking about in Part 1.


I, initially wanted to study a LOT further and corroborate my theory with historical facts and how different stages relate to the evolution of human society like industrial revolution and so on - to increase it's impact and intellectual appeal.

But research and Pious Hippie-ness don't go together.
I needed to stay true to my principles.
Baseless claims with impunity.

Our grandparents generation was born into the FFB stage. They had tough lives. Money was hard to come by, and the little that was available had to be shared.

Unless they were crazy rich then… which would mean you're crazy rich now.
So this theory would make no sense to you.
Go buy a couple of Ferrari's- you silver spooned squirt.
I don't like you.

Anyway, technology was not as advanced then, and there was scarcity of resources and facilities. Epidemics, wars, independence struggles, civil wars and hardships were the order of the day. They earned money to subsist- to provide necessities for their family. They earned money to satisfy their hunger.

To use my Theory of Eating terminology:

"Taste buds take a back seat, as do your teeth and tongue. Your throat is working overtime to serves as a smooth, wide passageway from your mouth to your stomach".

Our parents, thanks to the efforts of the previous generation, were born into the BFFB stage.

More or less.

Their necessities had been fulfilled. The baby-boomers of the world, the post-war generation emerged from the necessity of money for bare subsistence and began earning money for the comforts it offered.

They aspired to attain a certain standard of living- for their families.

A comfortable car, a house with a backyard, good education for their kids etc. Some went beyond just a comfortable standard, some achieved just that while others are still trying.

The pursuit of money- was more for it's comforts- and the doors it opened.
Basically, they existed at the time when every additional penny coming into the household brought with it greater satisfaction.

This satisfaction was the incentive to pursue greater wealth.
And why not?

It was the BFFB stage.

"Little by little, you begin to discern the different flavors in your meal. Your taste buds take centre stage. This stage is where most people- begin the moaning about how darn GOOD the food is. The food starts playing it's role as the comfort provider".

And then comes our generation.

The 'Children of Abundance'.

Thanks to the previous generation, our every necessity was taken care of. We were given every comfort through our childhood. Protected from all the hardships of the FFB stage of our grandparents and skipped the stage where we had to work for our own comfort.

We were born in the B2FFB stage.

The dark side.

I can't stop gloating about how happy I am with the impression of smartness these stage name abbreviations impart.

It's just so darn cool.
Or should I say- it's JSDC.

Maybe not.

Every additional penny we are given gives us less and less satisfaction.
That's why when our parents led a good life in about $X a year, now even a salary of $10X + 10 isn't quite enough for us to be comfortable.

Okay so a part of it is inflation and what not.
But how much of it is greed?!?
And how much conspicuous consumption?!

We are in the stage where, we know we don't need more. Thanks to the previous generation, we are never going to need money i.e. we're independent of the pressure of money.

But our generation ironically seems to be the one that's the most crazy about it.

A car isn't enough. It has to be a Maserati.
A house isn't enough, it has to be a penthouse in downtown Manhattan.
A weekend off isn't enough, it has to be a luxury cruise on the Black Sea-
seven times a year.

In Eating terminology:
"You come up with a hundred excuses to keep eating.
And that's what you do.
You keep eating".

I know you sense a round of yuppie bashing coming up again….
But I'm going to resist the temptation.

Just a quote though, from the book I'm reading right now:

"I have always been taken aback at the high number of people in whom an astonishingly high income led to additional sycophancy as they become more dependant on their clients and employers and more addicted to making even more money".
-Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  The Black Swan

"You know you don't need to eat anymore.
You're quite comfortable.
Your pants fit exactly right.
You know that it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to signal to your brain that you're full.
So you really should stop.

But something- like an invisible hand is pushing each mouthful from your plate to your mouth".

And like I said about eating, the intensity of your hunger is directly linked to how long this stage will last. (Which means) If you led a less than comfortable childhood, the drive for amassing wealth and pursuing luxuries beyond reasonable comfort levels is going to be greater.

I totally sound like a scientist now.
My mom's right.
I should totally get a PhD.

I think it's an unbelievable stroke of luck to have been born in the B3FFB stage- but (ahem) with great luck comes great responsibility.

I know I've used the Spiderman line before, but I checked all the other superhero stories. None of them had uncles or aunts or anyone else, that imparted more true words than Uncle Ben.
Uncle Ben was a wise man.
We have much to learn from him.

We can't use the yardstick of success that was used by the previous generation.

A certain lifestyle and bank balance, was the finishing line for them because they're start line was at the level of subsistence. But their finish line becomes our start- and to spend our time in pursuing the same things they did- is a colossal waste of the opportunity they've given us.

Using Nassim Taleb's terminology, albeit out of context, we were born in that stage of wealth accumulation where the phrase "F*** you money" can very easily be a reality.

Okay I gotta admit.
This is where the brilliance of my theory ends.

Because if you ask me - what our finish line is- I draw a blank.
The most I can say is - it's taking risks.
And doing what we love.

Technically, the finish line is doing something great
But that's kinda vague.
Uh… okay.
I can do great.
I think.
Uh, great's easy.
Mental Note: Never read this blog ever again.
She's a freak.

But if we do something we love- we will automatically do something great eventually.

It's like this father wrote to his daughter- going off to college:

"Don't get caught up in talk on campus about which majors are the best stepping stones to financial success.

You'll hear plenty of that from kids who want or may be under pressure to get a quick return from their education. Forget them. Many of those kids will end up disliking their jobs and muddling through so-so careers.

(Notice here that he didn't say they won't be rich. They'll probably be rich, but that's not important).

You can make a great living doing almost anything, as long as you love it.

So take risks.
Switch majors.

Get your head out of the books and do something surprising.

There's time.
But find your bliss and pursue it.

Go ahead and get fluent in Spanish and study abroad if that makes your heart sing. Your knowledge and experience will pay off later on, I promise—just as you'll be rewarded for the joy you bring to tasks that excite you".

I'm speechless.

Okay…  not completely speechless.
That's NEVER happened.
Except when I see Ryan Reynolds on TV, but for completely different reasons.

The last stage has not been addressed, yet.

The "Eating to Generation" analogy would be people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet who are those will-powered and self-controlled 'Dinosaurs' who know when they've had enough- and after ensuring a reasonably comfortable standard of living for themselves, have decided to send the food left on their plates back. In other words, given away so much to charity.

I don't have specifics but I hear Buffet gave each of his kids $1 billion to do charitable work only.

"It counts if you do it because- you're a dinosaur.
You've had your fill and don't want anymore- ready to part with any remaining food on the plate. Without even a shadow of regret in your heart or a tear in your eye".

Our generation's Gates of Buffets are still probably in the B2FFB stage and only the coming years will show if they ever move beyond it.

I wasn't kidding when I said not many people reach this stage.

So this is it.
My thoughts on our generation- its fortunes and its responsibilities.

You can complete the standing ovation left over from Part 1.

Thank you.

Hey…  you…  at the back…
Don't think I cant see you from up here.
You got a problem with standing up?!?!
I don't care if you have a knee injury…..
Some people… I tell ya.
The envy of others is a by-product of glory… that's all I can say.
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The Pious Hippie by Ms. Pious Hippie is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.