The rantings of a beautiful mind

On life, society, and computer technology.

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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I live in the Fortress of Solitude. I drive the Silver Beast. My obsession is justice. I used to be a Windows software developer. I retired in 2000 when my stock options helped me achieve financial security.

Monday, November 07, 2005

“Peace in a thatched hut – that is happiness,” says a Chinese proverb. My friend Ruth, a former nurse in a Nigerian village, recalls “a group of five- to seven-year-old boys wearing rags for clothes and racing along our compound’s driveway with a toy truck made of tin cans from my trash. They had spent the greater part of a morning engineering the toy – and were squealing with delight as they pushed it with a stick. My sons, with Tonka trucks parked under their beds, looked on with envy.”

- The Pursuit of Happiness

There are two ways to be rich: One is to have great wealth. The other is to have few wants.

Since I achieved financial security in the late 1990s (thanks largely to my ATI stock options, but ALSO to my saving ways), I have acquired many “toys.” To name a few examples, a variety of desktop computers and notebooks, my home theatre audio system, a PDA, a cell phone, my Omega Seamaster watch, a camcorder. But none of these things have improved my well-being. I am no happier for owning them.

I’m suffering from toy overload. I just can’t get excited about new gadgets anymore. Materialism is waning in my life. (Just in case you’re wondering, I STILL want that plasma TV!)

But, seriously, I’ve got to move AWAY from material concerns, away from pursuing greater wealth. I have enough money to retire on; any more would only give me diminishing returns on my personal well-being.

So I shall live a more ascetic existence; I shall no longer worry about the future. If I avoid reckless spending, my money will last. If I should be struck down by calamity, I shall deal with it as it comes. Life is to be lived in the moment.