finite desires

The first thing we learn in any introductory economics class is the definition of economics, which is widely accepted to be how we, as rational humans, with infinite desires, should act in a world with finitely scarce resources.

There are two important notes here:

  1. Humans are rational
  2. We have infinite desires

Both of these concepts, when looked at carefully, actually seem very contradicting if you’ve lived past your teenage years.

Because, well, 1) humans are the exact opposite of rational, and 2) if we had infinite desires, why do people give away their goods to other people?

Economists rarely address the legitimacy of the rational choice model, unless you study the field of behavioral economics which blends psychology with microeconomics.

Most people understand though that we really aren’t rational.

The second note is humans having infinite desires, which also seems a bit off.

If I had infinite desires, why would I ever choose to share what I have with other people?

Rather, in life, my decisions aren’t actually to obtain as many goods as possible. Don’t get me wrong: material goods are great. But there is a limit.

The richest people often end up starting philanthropic work because there is indefinitely a point in our lives when we realize that earning income, although is necessary for modern day survival, does, in fact, feel rewarding, what is more fulfilling is actually giving.

To flip the terms:

Humans are irrational and we have finite desires.

With this framework, we shall see how humanity should better reflect choices.

This will be a future topic I will address once I’ve learned more about this framework. If you are interested in this framework, I learned it in my humanities professor’s amazing book that brings economics into conversation with Thomas Aquinas.

You can find it here: Aquinas and the Market: Toward a Humane Economy

 

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The best person

Daily Blog Post 398

Who is the best person you know?

If you had asked me this question a few years ago, I would have instantly responded with “my sister”

But now, I’d probably answer that question in a more self-aware narcissistic way: the best person I know is myself.

Not because I don’t think my sister is amazing. She is. But, I think I need to look at this question differently.

I grew up admiring my sister; I put her up on this pedestal as invincible. But, as John Green says in Paper Towns, “‘What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.” In childhood, I thought my mother loved her more. Teachers liked her more. Her grades were better. She was mature, smart, responsible. I played piano because she did, went to Chinese class and felt bad for how behind I was, and I even tried to pick up art and illustration at one point. And to me, those were all things I was supposedly meant to emulate.

But as I grew up, I started to find my own identity. I followed different passions. I created my own path.

In today’s readings in my Human Person class, we said that it was possible to know something and not love them, but then discussed whether it was possible to love something without knowing them. God was used in this context. Do we truly know God?

I spun it in a different way because I don’t follow a religion.

Can I truly know someone else?

I barely know myself… and all these spiraling thoughts from my mind that often run rampant. In fact, I often surprise myself with emotions, with actions, with feelings, with thoughts. Patrick Star said it best: “the inner machinations of my mind are an enigma”

But to love something is to discern that the thing you love is good and just, or at least is actively attempting to achieve that good we all seek.

So I love my sister. I love my friends and family. I love certain people, certain places, certain books, certain things.

And I love myself. So therefore, I am either good and just, or am actively working towards such. 

And because I barely know myself, how can I know what other people are truly like? If I never know them at their best and worst. It might be impossible to fully know who someone else is. Nonetheless, I still love other people.

But because I love myself, and because I am attempting to be good, and because I know myself the best out of anyone in this world, then I must answer that I am the best person I know.

If I were to answer with anyone else, then that would mean I am making a judgement call that I know what other people are like and distinguishing individuals from myself. But I don’t know who you are. Or who my sister is. Or who my family is. Not to a full extent that I can discern who they truly are.

And so, I am the best person I know.

Subsequently, I am also the worst person I know. You don’t want to know what cynical thoughts I have up there…

I can’t get a job

379

I can’t get a job

I don’t know why.

But if I can’t get an internship for the summer of 2019, I actually have thought about legitimate alternatives.

I’d either stay home in Vancouver and take a break from how much I did last year (where I went to Singapore then went to Shanghai for the summer). This would give me time to reconnect with my friends, spend more time with family, and just work on “me”. Maybe start new projects, learn new classes, and explore the city more and live a little more.

Or, I might go back to China and go to the Shaolin Temples and be a monk for 2 months.

It’s definitely on my bucket list to practice mindfulness and practice a life of asceticism.

I’d get to spend my days meditating, practicing martial arts, learning Chinese culture and language, calligraphy, and practice mindfulness. I’d imagine I’d have a lot more time to read and write, especially since I’d probably not be spending my spare time on Instagram.

So what do you plan to do for next summer?

Me? 

I’ll probably be working an investment bank job, or I’ll be in China in a temple.

Either way, I’m excited. And I think that’s a good place for me to be in, because I don’t have any expectations. I just expect to make the best out of whatever situation I’m placed in.