Yesterday, I was part of an exercise called “if you really knew me,” which took place in a room of about 40 people. The idea was for each of us to, for a few minutes, say “if you really knew me—-” and then allow whatever came out to come out.
When it was my turn, I said to the room “If you really knew me, you’d know I don’t have much ambition…
…and I get irritated when people judge that as a bad thing.”
I saw a few smiles.
“My favorite times of the day,” I continued, “are waking up, and eating. And I like making money, but only to further the pursuit of waking up… and eating.”
In my poorest year of business, I became intimate with how special it is to be able to buy food and have shelter. Truly, I’m blessed. I recognize that as a white woman with an education and a family that makes a comfortable middle-class income, I can only ever enter into elected poverty, not actual poverty. Not to mention, I have a massive assortment of highly successful friends- people who did have ambition in the years when I was gallivanting around New York City as a modern-day Beat.
I likely will never fall into dire straits –my life has not been designed that way. I recognize how truly fortunate this is. Nevertheless, I do not judge my value by my “output,” nor have I ever, really.
The only time I would let myself get down about it was when other people judged my value by my output. Why didn’t they see? All I wanted was love, and quiet. For me, waking up and eating was the definition of sublime. (And running too, eventually.) If I could sit by the water for a few hours every day, even better. Doesn’t even have to be fancy water. Dirty water like the East River suits me just fine.
One time I was meditating by that filthy estuary and I opened my eyes to see several police boats, and a police car approaching with flashing lights. Some cleaners thought they found a human body, which they do from time to time. Not that time, though. Even that water is fine. That water, eating, and waking up. That’s the elite trifecta.
Some of you will not understand this, but here’s the thing…
Ray Kurzweil predicted that in 2029, computers will pass the Turning Test and convince us that they have consciousness. Technology holds massively accelerating returns, and within a little over 15 years, we will expand our intelligence a billion-fold. So as threatening as it might sound to you, you were trained to be a piece of machinery to move a motor. That function will become obsolete.
Is it bad? Absolutely not. You’ll get to be with yourself again like you were when you were young, and you picked blades of grass and were giggly curious about everything you saw.
And I’m just here to help with the transitioning process… to help you see the value you hold as a cell in the organism of Earth.
That’s the view from the roof today.
Great and bold piece, Andee, and that you have to refer to AI to justify not feeling ambitious in the classical production oriented way just illustrates what a huge taboo you touched.