February 27 2016
My value system is a three-tired pyramid, I stop climbing if the layer below is not solid rock, I retreat and reinforce when cracks appear below. - the foundation: family - the grind: career - the pinnacle: meaning The currency of my life is time; how I spend time defines me. I do not know the total amount I possess, but I can design the outflow so that if short-changed, my spending up to death establishes who I am. Thus, the pyramid is built, one layer at a time. Thus, the pyramid is climbed, from the bottom to top, the size of each layer roughly proportional to the sands of time required to fill it to satisfaction. If I die before I build a family, I spent my life trying to build a family. If I die before I build a career, I had a family worth making money for. If I die before I find meaning, I had a family that I had provided for. If I die after I complete my pyramid, I have lived a fulfilling and meaningful life. The size of the layers are inversely proportional to the amount of discretion permitted. I have one family to devote to, many careers to choose from, and an infinite variations of meaning to pursue. Family Family is the foundation for meaning in my life. It is why I work. It is the safety net above which I can take risky flight, the unassailable fortress that I can retreat to in order to recover and reassess. Family takes up the majority of my time. The time spent building this safe haven can be trying. As I get bored and frustrated, I will bottle up the angst to expend with zeal in other pursuits, this is the contract I have entered into with myself. All my other ambitions have counter-balancing considerations. Only family, where I have been gifted unconditionally and must repay unconditionally, is pure in its reward system, time spent here is time I will not regret at the end. Family is the Why for which any How is bearable. It is the end and the means. It is the tool for unlocking meaning in my life and is the meaning of my life. Career Career is complex. I have the basic need to providing sustenance for my family, but having spent so much time in school and at work, career has also become intractably entwined with my sense of self-worth. I need to feel my career's pay-off is more than monetary, I need to feel it has led me to being better off and more powerful than others. This is moronic. It is looking for meaning where only only basic instincts exist. This is also dangerous. It is yanking my self-esteem out of where it belongs and equating it with the displacement of others. This is also the human condition. Only the gravitational pull of family and the search for meaning will keep the insatiable demands of the profit-motive in check. Meaning Devoting time to build family for its own sake and to build career for sustenance and incremental self-worth leaves little time for discretionary pursuits. With my spare time, I pursue meaning through stories and meaning through science.