"The net worth of the 225* richest people in the world now equals the combined income of the poorest 2.6 billion, who comprise 47 percent of the world's population." (UNDP's 1998 Human Development Report)       (* billionaires)

                            one of David MacClement's pages

What do I like?

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Energy, joy, and "What do you like the most?"

At 17:14 3/03/99 -0600, Jill wrote: 
>David, ... - but just knowing that you are existing on such a
>small sum of money is a reality check for the rest of us, I think.  
>        How do you spend your time - what are your joys?
Then, at 21:34 22/03/99 -0600, she wrote:
>You did avoid answering my question about joy.  And I do not hear joy 
>in your writing.  So I worry about you missing out on it.
>        What in life do you like the most?
At 14:03 4/03/99 +1300, David wrote:
**  That is where my first and largest cut-backs are - spending money on my joys, like sailplane flying, travel to 3rd-world countries, financially supporting the struggle against human greed.

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At 09:19 24/03/99 +1200, David wrote to Jill:
**   I'll answer your: "What in life do you like the most?".

**  I'm a "fly on the wall" kind of person, at least in relation to other people. I'm happiest just observing. Even at the time of biggest contrast to that, at age 28 when I started to look seriously at getting tied up with someone else, it was a hypothetical or generalised wife that I wanted - no particular person. So any of the young women who turned up after the psychological tests, questionnaires, and Hollerith-card-matching as being suited to me would probably have done. I'm convinced I chose the best of them (before I even met her, by the way!).

**  But more to the point of your question.
(i)    I very much enjoy a sunny morning, any time of the year, in any of the nine temperate and tropic countries I've lived in.
(ii)   Some of the best times of my life have been when I'm on my own: skilfully travelling 10s of kilometres in a sailboat while dealing with very strong winds, flying 100 km across country (in Alberta and Saskatchewan) in a glider by knowing where to find lift, or reading an excellent story like The Moon is A Harsh Mistress (Heinlein) and The Gate to Women's Country (Sheri S. Tepper). However, having someone around for a few minutes during the following 24 hours, so that I can tell them about it, does add to my pleasure.
(iii)  Too rarely (I should do more of this), I listen entranced to some really excellent music; chamber music, some of Beethoven's symphonies, particularly good trumpet or French Horn playing.
(iv)   Nowadays, I really appreciate "little" luxuries like a ripe pear or peach, or eating a nicely-cooked meal (with or without meat). I might have each of these once to half-a-dozen times a year.
(v)   In the past I have enjoyed the feeling of success of creating a fairly major computer programme. There was one where I calculated the gravitational field in the vicinity of the earth and the moon, then plotted first the iso-potential lines, then the path of a spacecraft launched from near the earth, succeeding in getting it to do a (roughly) figure-8 path around the two masses.
(vi)   I seem to need silence; trucks going past, planes taking off while I'm trying to talk or listen, kids crying next door - are all major annoyances. I'll be very glad of the silence of the Kauaeranga Valley in the Coromandel Ranges, when we retire there in two or three years. {Compare * below.}

**  However: ".. do you like the most?" seems to assume I would try to increase the number of occasions when or where I'd do these things or have those experiences. I see pleasurable occasions as quite unexpected bonuses, not something to work for. Certainly not a focus for living. Living doesn't have a purpose. I happen to have lived a good life, at the peak of human civilisation; I don't need more.


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[ * ; a "signature" used by Arnie Anfinson: ]
"Without our familiar props, we are faced with just ourselves, a person we do not know, an unnerving stranger with whom we have been living all the time but we never really wanted to meet. Isn't that why we have tried to fill every moment of time with noise and activity, however boring or trivial, to ensure that we are never left in silence with this stranger on our own?"

    -  INTERBEING, by Thich Nhat Hanh

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