Yesterday, I wrote a post "Good With Money vs. Good With Resources," but I had a problem: The word resource is almost, but not quite correct to cover the space of idea I was talking about.
I meant something along the line of "factors that you can gain influence over, that once gained have some persistent quality, that you don't have complete control over, but rather there's some way the factor can provide feedback to you, that used appropriately can be useful" - and that comes pretty close to being a "resource," does it not?
Wikipedia has "resource" as thus - "A resource is any physical or virtual entity of limited availability that needs to be consumed to obtain a benefit from it. In most cases, commercial or even non-commercial factors require resource allocation through resource management. There are two types of resources; renewable and non-renewable."
Close! But not quite, as I was experiencing yesterday:
I also think the word “resource” isn’t the best particular word, since there’s a lot of things that are resource-like that aren’t really resources… obviously our relationships aren’t resources, but can also be invested in similar to a resource. You can go out of your way to do nice things for people who have done right by you, you can be thoughtful, you can go out of your way to travel to a place if someone you really admire is there.
But what is the space that contains the skills, knowledge, securities, cash, bonds, stocks, real estate, prestige, credentials, relationships, and also tools and clothing and all sorts of other things? What are those called? "Assets"? Sort of. Not quite. "Resources"? Not quite perfect.
I guess we could go more ambiguous with something like "factors" and throw an adjective in front of it - "useful factors or "beneficial factors"... but that doesn't really solve the problem, now does it? That's why you get academic papers like, "Factors promoting the usage and movement of materials with dimensions of time and space involved" - which is, like, blah.
I don't have any successful resolution to it. In one of my favorite short stories, the protagonist gains super-human intelligence and needs to create his own semi-mathematical language in order to be able to think correctly.
Consider that! In order to just think - not even to communicate - he had to create a new language!
A lot of times I need better words. The words we've got now have box us into certain kinds of thinking and limit our ability to communicate. But going ultra-general and verbose and clarifying everything isn't a great solution either.
So... life sucks, and then you die? Your input is very welcome, dear reader. This strikes me as a serious problem that most people don't even realize is a problem.
This is of great interest to me.
The author of the short story is basing his story on the "Whorfian hypothesis" or "hypothesis of linguistic relativity," which holds that one thinks in accordance with their language. This principle was the basis for Orwell's Newspeak in 1984.
According to this hypothesis, then, to improve one's thought-processes and level of understanding, one must improve their language. Such is why I find the study of language to be of paramount importance.
After first learning of linguistic relativity, I started studying a logically constructed language called Lojban (from logji (logical) + bangu (language) (1). The idea behind this language, is that learning Lojban helps one think more logically and precisely. History is littered with various attempts of people creating "ideal" philosophical languages, due to recognizing that one's language affects one's thinking, yet Lojban is the best I've come across thus far.
John Stuart Mill, begins his treatise on logic with the following statement:
Language is evidently one of the principal instruments or helps of thought; and any imperfection in the instrument, or in the mode of employing it, is confessedly liable, still more than in almost any other art, to confuse and impede the process, and destroy all ground of confidence in the result.
Ayn Rand on language:
Concepts and, therefore, language are primarily a tool of cognition—not of communication, as is usually assumed. Communication is merely the consequence, not the cause nor the primary purpose of concept-formation—a crucial consequence, of invaluable importance to men, but still only a consequence. Cognition precedes communication ; the necessary pre-condition of communication is that one have something to communicate. (This is true even of communication among animals, or of communication by grunts and growls among inarticulate men, let alone of communication by means of so complex and exacting a tool as language.) The primary purpose of concepts and of language is to provide man with a system of cognitive classification and organization, which enables him to acquire knowledge on an unlimited scale; this means: to keep order in man’s mind and enable him to think.
From the Wiki on linguistic relativity:
In their fiction, authors such as Ayn Rand and George Orwell have explored how linguistic relativity might be exploited for political purposes. In Rand's work a fictive communist society have removed the possibility of individualism by removing the word "I" from the language of their community, and in Orwell's 1984 the authoritarian state has created the language "Newspeak" to make it impossible for people to think critically about the government.
Others have been fascinated by the possibilities of creating new languages that could enable new, and perhaps better, ways of thinking. Examples of such languages designed to explore the human mind includeLoglan, explicitly designed by its inventor James Cooke Brown to test the hypothesis of linguistic relativity, by experimenting whether it would make its speakers think more logically. Speakers of Lojban, a development of Loglan, report that they feel speaking the language enhances their ability for logical thinking.
Kenneth E. Iverson, the originator of the APL programming language, believed that the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis applied to computer languages (without actually mentioning the hypothesis by name). His Turing award lecture, "Notation as a tool of thought", was devoted to this theme, arguing that more powerful notations aided thinking about computer algorithms.
The essays of Paul Graham explore similar themes, such as a conceptual hierarchy of computer languages, with more expressive and succinct languages at the top. Thus, the so-called blub paradox (after a hypothetical programming language of average complexity called Blub) says that anyone preferentially using some particular programming language will know that it is more powerful than some, but not that it is less powerful than others. The reason is that writing in some language means thinking in that language. Hence the paradox, because typically programmers are "satisfied with whatever language they happen to use, because it dictates the way they think about programs".
In a 2003 presentation at an open source convention, Yukihiro Matsumoto, creator of the programming language Ruby, said that one of his inspirations for developing the language was the science fiction novelBabel-17, based on the Sapir–Whorf Hypothesis.[83
As for your particular concern (even though this is from four years ago, so it's likely a non-issue now), I think "resource" is a fine word, if one considers its full definition (the following is from the Oxford English Dictionary- the most thorough and precise dictionary I have come across):
1) A stock or supply of money, materials, staff, and other assets that can be drawn on by a person or organization in order to function effectively:
1.1 A country’s collective means of supporting itself or becoming wealthier, as represented by its reserves of minerals, land, and other asset
1.2 North American Available assets
2) An action or strategy that may be adopted in adverse circumstances:.
2.1 One’s personal attributes and capabilities regarded as able to help or sustain one in adverse circumstances:
2.2 The ability to find quick and clever ways to overcome difficulties:
2.3 archaic The possibility of aid or assistance:
.I would call relationships, skills, clothing, etc., resources, for they are something one can draw upon in order to function effectively.
(1) To show Lojban in action, here are the full, logically structured definitions for logji + bangu:
*logji: logic; x1 [rules/methods] is a logic for deducing/concluding/inferring/reasoning to/about x2
This is the second time this week that I've been strongly reminded of Muted Group Theory, in the context of people being unable to express themselves without sounding ridiculously vague and long-winded. Although I'm not sure I would go so far as to say that strategists even exist as a coherent group such that it would make sense to talk about whether they're muted or not.
New words => new meaning =>new "world". It is difficult but not impossible, I think there must be a hack using existing symbol languages but will be very difficult. Have you thought how different are Japanese or Chinese writtent "words" and how this affects their perception. Their foundation is very different than the other languages.
By the way I also like "Understand" and everything from Ted Chiang.
This is related, but probably not quiet the definition you are looking for: terminal value. A 'terminal value' is something you value for its own sake. Like happiness, life, experiences, etc... A relationship can be a terminal value, but most likely, if you think about it, you'll break it down into: happiness, comfort, physical affection, friendship, and other values that are more obviously terminal.
So then what does that make a relationship? It makes it simply one of the ways you can fulfill you terminal values. You could, potentially, fulfill all those values by other separate means (friends and prostitutes?). So, and this is tangential to your main point, being good with resources also means knowing how to best fulfill your terminal values (often using limited resources).
There are only 2 hard problems in Computer Science:
Naming things, Cache invalidation, and off by one errors.
Important question from a reader -
I have come to believe that motivation is a limited and renewable resource. My day job as a trader is intense and stressful and I am left with little motivation by the end of the day. I have realized that I need to shift from working hard to working smart. In my case, this means giving away maintenance tasks to others while I work on new creative projects. Unfortunately, this is a challenge because I take on too much responsibility over my creations. I am hesitant to hand things off to others because I tend to micromanage. I need to learn how to let go of old responsibilities so I can take on new, and more profitable ones.
I suffered through the same thing.
You're probably a maximizer.
I've been thinking more and more lately about sustainable living. By "sustainable", I mean existing on this planet in ways that do not waste precious resources like water, electricity, and basically anything that comes from the earth.
For now, I take a bunch of items such as plastic bottles, glass, and plastic bags to be recycled once a week. Anything I don't use I donate to Goodwill for someone else to utilize. I've quit driving to the gym in favor of walking and riding my bike in my neighborhood. I take quick showers, and I'm thinking of planting a small vegetable garden. These are tiny baby steps in my life that I take to live more harmoniously and less selfishly in this world.
I've been thinking more and more about other teeny, tiny steps I can take.
The other day, I found this . . .