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working to live

I may send brother-who-used-to-live-on-street a copy of the Apophis contest paper that Ski and I wrote a few years back.  The paper didn't win, but researching and writing it was great fun, and might help convince him that I'm not "wasting my life".  He feels that I could do better than the job I currently have.

And I'm pretty sure I could, if I upset certain other aspects of my life to do it.  The thing is - as I concluded back when I worked for the aerospace company - all human endeavors are ultimately futile.  The marginal value of one job over another is pretty small.  It gets dangerous, hanging one's sense of self-worth off of one's employment:  you can concentrate on reaching the pinnacle of your career and then find that its effect on the world is still pretty darn small, and now you have nowhere else to go.

I don't mean that as a "what's the point" conclusion.  I mean that if "the point" is to work toward some sort of immortality, then we're all screwed.  Even long-dead people whose names are still known will eventually be forgotten, as mankind dies off or changes beyond all recognition. 

The part we play is not so self-centered.  The only change we can really make to the universe is to the lives of the people around us.  I define my worth by what I can do to ease the life of those around me, and by promoting and indulging in a general curiosity about the world.  These things aren't tied to a career - they can be, for some...but not for me, because my interests range too widely to be encompassed by any single salary-paying job.  And I don't have a problem with that:  the job has its uses, and one of them is to support the part of my life that actually matters. 

Having a life that is less than picture-perfect has its uses too:  I have a more well-developed sense of compassion than I otherwise would, and that has served me well.  Given a choice, I don't know as I would choose a life without difficulties (although a couple months' rest and respite would be appreciated).

I've been on good terms with my personal philosophy for some time now.  But I have no clue how to convey this to my brother, with his odd logic.  So, I will probably gloss over it all by giving him "proof" that I'm not wasting my life.
Friending welcome, but lurking is fine too.

Constructive criticism is also welcome - whatever it is, trust me, I've heard worse.



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