2014-09-30

Impact, Purpose, & Time

I’m interested in realizing impacts on scales beyond a single lifetime. Such a pursuit has a profound effect on my worldview. For example, it eliminates any illusion of urgency on progress. I understand that—if successful at all—the greatest sum of such an impact must necessarily exist in a long tail distribution, and that my experience of the totality of this will be zero or infinitesimally small.

This is what defines a major impact of this rank: the utility of it continues in direct proportion with the development of the civilization itself until both end or the impact is superseded by another. In the case of succession, an impact has still been worthwhile, as it may have been a necessary condition for the arrival of another major impact, e.g. eras of stone, bronze, and iron.

For me, if the value of the impact diminishes over time then it is not valuable enough to justify the giving of my life to it. And, whether or not we consciously act in value of our time, we are in constant giving of our lives; we each have finite time, not to mention the probable lessening of it from the unavoidable risks of living. This speaks of a great discounting that people give to the valuation of the time that constitutes their life. It is no surprise then that g-factor is positively correlated by 0.2 with self-efficacy.

Ultimately, one has to choose a balance between the locally optimal and the globally optimal that could be or would have been. The choice I make is to converge as much as possible, so that greater works can be realized while tending to external demands. This appears trivial on the face of it, but runs deeper than the daily balance of responsibilities; it is extremely difficult to set up one’s life so that day-to-day work shares a significant overlap with impacts of this scale.