So for me, I was thinking about how when I was a child, totalitarian countries were the big scary thing that the news talked about. And it was presented as this brand new thing that came out of nowhere, that was somehow new and scary in the world. But tonight when we were preparing for our concluding statements I realized something: because Chi-ning said that thing about how in capitalism, you have to use every single bit. And that made me think of how in the Story of B they talked about totalitarian agriculture, that if something was the enemy of your crops, you had to destroy every bit of it. Like, wolves: we had to kill ALL the wolves, even though wolves don't actually threaten all of our cows. So it made me think that this is all on a continuum in our culture. The same ideas that started with the new kind of agriculture 12,000 years ago are the same ideas that led to capitalism and are the same ideas that lead to totalitarianism [極權主義／集權主義].
I don’t know if Angela arranged the paragraphs intentionally, that the capitalism was first and the balance was the last part. The paragraph that’s ‘in balance’ we should think, we are only guests in the world, I kind of agree with the idea that we’re only passengers, guests, we are not possessing what we thought we have, anything material or land or houses. And talking about the goal, I was thinking that, how can we decide or, I mentioned, define, that this is real or true or final goal for us, or for me! To pursue. I used to set the goal from others’ opinions, or social expectations, we should do this, this is good, this is better for your future or whatever. But I’m trying to discover, or define my own path or my goal for the next decade.
I thought the totalitarianism is not the same as capitalism. But if we want to be balanced in life, maybe we must try to use the benefit of capitalism. And also consider why totalitarianism is the little good…it’s not all good or all bad. I mean, sometime one thing is a good or bad, so it’s not totally the worst. If we want society to be better and better, we can consider capitalism and totalitarianism in balance
—Good idea, to not think about it as a dichotomy.
First, I think I agree with Josephine, that capitalism isn’t entirely bad. And also, when we discuss about this kind of theoretical terminology paradigm, we have to think about the background factors that come up. Because actually it was created or developed at a time that technology was just emerging, and society was undergoing a great change, and powers started to shift from ancient nobles to capitalists. So at the time, frankly it’s kind of like making people cautious about the time that you can make all your efforts, because time is money. But at this generation, that we face, the problem is different, because we have too much, we are over producing, we are not lacking things, so we will have to have a different perspective or different way to deal with the time. There’s still a lot to think about. And the second point is about the ‘in balance’. Actually I think that the rain dancing is an ancient wisdom to therapy. Because in face of this kind of tragedy from that kind of tragedy that those people try to…this ceremony makes people try to avoid complaining, or staying in a sense of sadness or hopelessness, so they group the people to dance together to make some nice words, to become more positive, to appreciate the gods and all they have, even though the difficulty didn’t really get solved, they get some strength to face it
—I’m kind of moved by that, what you just said.
—I’m impressed. You know what, in the intelligence test, there’s a question “the technology and fast-developing of the technology, what’s the cost, or what bad thing will happen, and you just mentioned when the technology is too much.”
—You mean if we use the tool too often we’ll become stupid?
—No it’s an actual question in the test!
—Oh, I passed! [laughter]
—The necessary part for human to live is hope, and what you just said is the ceremony gives people hope, and the catharsis is in the ceremony, it’s a kind of therapy.
So for this topic, I’m thinking about Franklin's introduction that time is money, making it more difficult to live for us nowadays!
—It’s his fault!!!
—Let’s blame him together!
—Because of him, nowadays we are thinking everything is based on money, value is judged on money, what we do, our success, what is good enough is usually about money. Money is an easy way to judge things, but it’s not always a good way to judge.
—I totally agree
—I don’t know how to say it, now the people need more time to find a good way to, like a goal like we discussed, we need to try very hard to find a goal. Because we don’t know what’s really worth for us to work for, to fight for. Because now I also struggle on my goal, I don’t know what is my future, really.
—Someone asked me recently, if I had a path (軌道). I didin't know what to answer, because I don't think you need a path necessarily. So what I said was, I know where I am standing, and I see that I want to end up over there, but in between there's like a wild mountain valley, and it's hard to see how I'm actually going to get through, just making my way over there as best I can.
—Your metaphor is useful.. Like we said a few discussions ago: if there’s a path that’s clear, then it’s not yours
—Because someone’s already gone that way!
—But if you are always finding a new route
—It’ll be wasting time!
—But it’ll be harder, and one day you’ll run out of energy
—But I’ll also be stronger, from the exercise
—I was thinking about maybe we should save some energy for our future
—It’s also okay to sometimes walk on someone else’s path, right?
—‘If I’ve seen farther than others it’s because I’m standing on the shoulders of giants.”
I still have a hard time putting everything together, but I sort of agree with Susan that we need to have a different way of thinking because we’re how many hundred of years later than franklin, he said time is money, but I started to think that time and money are different because which one is worth investing?
—I still have a hard time answering these questions, though. And also, the idea of waste, I mean, I feel like I’m wasting my time all the time, because I’m not doing what brings me money or what helped me reach my goal, I don’t even know if I have one! And, I feel like we’re so, sort of pathetic, that we have so many conflicting ideas to think about, and we can’t really find an answer or solution because things change so rapidly, and we just can’t keep up with them. So it’s sort of pathetic to me. People used to have goals, they know what they want to do to make a living, they know…I don’t know if it’s their goal, but at least they know what they’re doing. And now we’re not sure what we’re doing, and we don’t know why we’re doing these things, but the only thing we know is that if we don’t work hard we can’t feed ourselves, and we can’t think about why, because…I don’t know if we can’t think about why, but do we have time to think about why we are working hard, what we are pursuing? And after working hard, we still challenge ourselves, by asking ourselves ‘am I wasting my time’.
I was thinking about evolution. Today we’re talking about the change of human beings, of behavior, from rural life to urban life. I think Franklin’s metaphors truly revealed a new era of the use of life. Because just as the innovation of the … to create creatures, the ATP in the body cells, the energy unit, it generates energy from chemical. People are used to doing muscle work, and the concept of currency changed everything. Something like intelligence is valued, and more and more kinds of jobs are developed. I’ll say franklin didn’t actually introduce capitalism, but liberated capitalism and made it into the new motivation to change the world. And based on what I had mentioned about, I believe that the post-capitalism is the knowledge economy. And by the way I want to talk about why I think we may think capitalism is totalitarianism. Because: once our culture is a new innovation too, that everyone can benefit from it.
—It’s a good point about the knowledge economy
—Because the knowledge economy is already developed, I think. Because before franklin, there’s many jobs, like service, but it must be manipulated by some people who are in charge.
—I just want to mention, Ben Franklin didn't invent capitalism, it's more like he did the Ted talk explaining capitalism, and this quote went a long way to making a lot of people understand what this thing capitalism was and how to use it. Capitalism as a concept started up in England in the 1700s
—But China was doing markets and trading long before that.
—Oh! This is a common misconception: markets and capitalism are not synonymous. Markets are a thing that happens in capitalism, but not all markets are capitalist. That is to say, trading does not equal capitalism. I don't feel I'm going to explain this well right now, but I'll say this: capitalism is about accumulating a set of resources (capital!) and leveraging them to create more wealth. Capitalism is about creating the exponential growth of capital. Like someone said in the beginning of the discussion, you put a little money in and get a lot of money out. Trading can be the basis of some investment, but trading is not capitalism. I feel like this would be a good thing to talk about at a future discussion.
The point of wasting time, I think, this part, I feel, it doesn’t matter what you do, you have to work very hard to do it, regardless if it’s work or play. We work hard to play. And we also we always do appreciate, and are grateful, we don’t have to compete for or compare what we got. If we have the ability to give, we do our best to do it.
Notes from the discussion:
Is time still worth so much as it used to be?
Profit is everything
You need very little money to earn a lot of money (sometimes)
People work so hard, use so much time, and make less money than 20 or 30 years ago
With the time spent, we should get a better return
We were promised a 4-hour work day from ‘time-saving machines’, but now we have them, but we work harder!
Not spending money so don’t have to earn money
Not spending money by sharing, or repairing or making your own
Peter Drucker: management theory guy
“post capitalism is a society of knowledge” “knowledge economy”
What is wasting time?!?
There’s a balance, sometimes you’re happy sometimes you’re sad.
You shouldn’t waste your time, because you don’t know what happens next.
Sustainability is important to consider
Being efficient and multitasking vs. being undisturbed in the moment of focused creativity
Put your heart in to the moment you’re in—live with all your heart
Sometimes you work so hard, and nothing comes of it. Frustrating! A waste of time?
Sometimes you don’t work hard, and you get the thing
It’s like what we were talking about in 'Working Hard'
Capitalism gives a meaning to certain things, like: valuable or not, be wasted or not wasted
It’s Ben franklin’s fault! He’s the one talking about ‘wasted time’
Otherwise we’d just be talking about living!
If you’re not concerned about waste, you just enjoy the time. Talking with friends, watch TV with family, it’s just a good time.
If you feel good about how you use the time, then it’s not a waste
If it’s a hard time, we want to get away from it, but we must endure it. It’s an obligation. Like attending class.
If something’s a hard time, must we endure it?
Judging a waste of time is about the goal. For example if I want to pass the joint college exam. But if your goal is not that, then you can just skip class like artists
Or like bill gates!
But we are not Gates or Jobs! So we can't skip class.
How do you define or decide goals?
You don’t have to judge it by goals though. Sometimes through ‘wasting time’ you find out what’s really valuable to you.
In capitalism, you have to use every single bit. When you use everything, you take everything bit by bit from nature. Capitalists don’t appreciate what they take, the just use it to reach their goal, making more money. So the ‘in balance’ quote is opposite to the ‘time is money’ quote. We work hard to make more money. If we feel we’re not making enough, or not what we expected, we start to think about maybe if we don’t have to spend it, then we don’t have to make it. We start to think about another way of life. Some people are trying to go back to living like before. We’re pursuing a new balance.