Tuesday, August 5, 2014

And he's the most unassuming guy ever

People are so impressed with the modest wealthy. "Oh, he wears rumpled flannels everywhere and drives an old Chevy with dents."

They can do that stuff because they are wealthy. They don't have to worry about getting and keeping a survivable job or looking presentable or appearing to be an upstanding member of the community, because they're already wealthy. There aren't any vital lessons we can learn about our own lives by watching them focus on what's most important, cruise to their Yoga class, spend thirty minutes a day meditating, speak plainly and directly to authority figures, or wear only hand-me-downs, because they're living in a different world where all those options are both open and irrelevant except as far as personal pleasure is concerned. Bill Gates can drop a hundred grand a suit on one of his exclusive bridge games, and even though he's the wealthiest person, that kind of behavior is not a model for our own success. It's something he can do because of his pre-existing position, just like selling a bad product at a make-believe crucial time to IBM or not taking a shower for a week and a half, either of which would be a death knell for those without the right connections. The ends don't justify the means, particularly when "the ends" were already taken care of and "the means" were just the coincidental ways some unworried bohemians filled all their spare time.

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