A dedication to the labourers of the world

This article comes a day late but it is dedicated to the workers of the world. Labour day in Singapore is on the 1st of May every year. Today is 2nd of May. Anyone who bothers about Labour day, read on.

There is no labour in this world that does not need any physical and mental activities regardless of whether there is machineries involved in the work. There is no work that is not paid for in this present day – slavery is history and should remain so.

Unethical employers and employees aside, for those who are good workers and industrious, and fortunate enough for their work to be recognised and rewarded (with fair assessment and appraisal) by their management can be the most gratifying moment any person can have. For those who are less fortunate, the work may continue but the dissatisfaction will persists – the going gets tougher but the toughness never goes away. What makes up good labour? Does the white-collar worker deserves more recognition than the blue-collar worker? Does the pink-collar worker deserves more scrutiny than any other collar workers simply because in the service industry, good customer service is ever more desirable and critical in the reputation of a company? Does labour always mean unhealthy competition and no deserved recognition from the management?

Labour Day is an annual holiday to celebrate the achievements of workers. Labour Day has its origins in the labour union movement, specifically the eight-hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest. For anyone who lives in any cosmopolitan city, we all know that eight hours is no longer just  for work, some might not even have eight hours of sleep while others work more so that they can spend more during their recreational hours – recreation does not mean family time though.

It is not that the title of being the employee-of-the-month gives someone the happiness equivalent to that of someone who is awarded the Nobel Prize. It is certainly not the rewards associated with the title, let alone being the Nobel prize winner. For those who feel that recognition is important in one’s work, they understand that each effort and idea made an impact in the company and positive changes can be felt. The recognition makes one feel that he is not just anybody that simply do without thinking or think without doing. If recognition of someone’s work is anything to go, it certainly fulfils the esteem needs of a person while making him/her feel valuable as a person and as a worker. The recognition and achievement are the means but the end is pride, but not conceitedness. It is pride for both the employee and the employer. Pride as defined by Aristotle in his Nicomachean ethics – balanced ambitiousness concerning smaller honour. Workers are not Nobel prize winners and does not have the same social status as the Nobel laureates but they are also humans who value dignity and hard work, and they are certainly not robots or animals that cannot feel (robots) or think (animals). They also do not enjoy the same social status as actors and actresses or those in the creative industry that are recognised for their popularity and successes.

What is labour? I shall define labour to the broader economic sense. Labour is the aggregate of all human physical and mental effort used in creation of goods and services. Labour is a primary factor of production. The size of a nation’s labor force is determined by the size of its adult population, and the extent to which the adults are either working or are prepared to offer their labor for wages.

Physical and mental efforts. There is no labour in this world that does not require any physical and mental activities. This is regardless of the social classes within the society. There is labour that requires mostly physical work and some mental work (construction workers); there is labour that requires moderate physical work and moderate mental work (those in the retail have to stand most times); there is labour that requires some physical work and mostly mental work (scientists and researchers); and there is labour that requires   little or no physical work and mostly mental work (CEOs, politicians and actors). These physical and mental efforts are only considered to be productive when the work is being measured to be of useful output – productivity is the measure of efficiency of a person, machine, factory, system. etc, in producing the same amount of output by using lesser inputs or resources. Productivity is straightforward when measuring physical labour but it isn’t so when it comes to mental efforts. Mental efforts of a machine, factory or system can come from anybody in the structure of the work or system being measured. The CEO of a company overlooks the day-to-day operations but he still reports to the board of directors of the organisation. He is someone who provides mostly mental efforts and no physical labour in the organisation. Labour day is certainly not a tribute to mental efforts alone and has more to do with the origins of the labour union movement which everyone has taken for granted, it seems.

We all agree that labour in the economic sense is the physical and mental efforts used in creation of goods and services. There is hardly any dispute where the definition of productivity is concerned. However when it comes to the recognitions and achievements of the workers, there is always dispute of some form or another. In certain social milieu where the cultural values are deemed as more important than any other definition for ethics and labour (be it labour in creative or productive sense), Labour day doesn’t seem to be a day worth celebrating for those who truly contribute, much less for those who do not deserve the recognitions and achievements of the workers – public holidays is only a day of rest (from labour) and has less or nothing to do with the significance of the public holiday – National Day is not about the celebrating the independence of the nation but a day where the government make additional efforts to highlight the progress and prosperity of the nation; Valentine’s Day is not celebrating the meaning of romance but a day that the cost of roses is highest in the year; and Christmas Day is not a remembrance of the birth of Jesus Christ and him being the son of God but a day for gift exchanges. My birthday is not a public holiday but a celebration of me getting older by a year without being any wiser!

What is the achievement of the workers? From the origins of the labour union movement, the eight-hour work day movement no longer seems to hold true or valid. When a person shows his discontent at work for working more than eight hours, he might be faced with unfriendly management and colleagues. When a person demands recognition at work, he might be seen as showing too much pride that perhaps is not deserving. When a person is being discriminated for doing good work, he might be seen as trying too hard to impress because the cultural values of the workers in the company is one that is slack and not flourishing. As mentioned earlier, unethical employers and employees aside, the achievement of the worker, in the 21st century, with a work schedule of more than eight hours a day, is his ability to master his responsibilities in his job and play a positive role in the function of the company (within and among all the departments). This is my definition of a good employee that deserves the honour of the labour union movement that celebrates Labour Day as a public holiday. This is on top, if not on par, with being what is productive as defined by the employer. Good employees are rare these days but good employers are also of the far and few. With such globalised economy, the educational qualifications of the employers, employees and workers seemed more and more professionally oriented and human goodness less and less of importance. Life seems more narrowly focused on the achievements of persons than the greater good of a society. Ethics are being forsaken at the cost of selfish personal gratification – this is so when someone’s contributions to the company is being deliberately attributed to the success of another simply because the person is not showing respect to the cultural values of the society regardless of the International Declaration of Human Rights. Ethics are not universal in that there isn’t an ISO standard for every human beings to follow a particular set of ethics. People follow ISO standard because there are particular economic benefits and social gains (of acquiring quality goods and services). People are not coerced to follow any religious beliefs or cultural social norms but there are those who discriminate others based on social status, cultural biases and social class.

Labour day is blind to such narrow discriminations but for those employees who know that they are contributing positively or those who are at least good employees (without feeling inappropriate or useless about not contributing positively but nonetheless provide certain positive symbiotic work relationship at the workplace), I feel and think that you are more worthy to live your life than those who scheme and plot to gain an unfair advantage for wealth and glory. And in the true spirit of Labour Day, all workers should take matters in their own hands and discourage those unethical employers or employees who thrived not on merits but selfish connivance.

Know your rights as an employees and employer. Here are two websites that I recently visited personally about my previous employment – Ministry of Manpower (for the Employment Act) and Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (for my unfair dismissal). I seriously wondered how MOM or TAFEP is able to differentiate a true story from a cock and bull one.

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A tricky but necessary love.

There is conditional love and unconditional love.

When there is money involve the love is more conditional than unconditional.

Personally knowledge and wisdom is regardless of wealth. And when we have the knowledge and wisdom to love, wealth becomes an intermediate good.

Where the economy is concerned, in the exchange of goods and services, it cannot be unconditional love. If it is unconditional, no one will ever need to repay the loan or money borrowed. In this case, there will not be growth. When there is no growth, there is no economy.

Unconditional love happens between two lovers, ideally. Because it is about love more than anything else, the gifts involved between two lovers are unconditional. This include the gift of sex from the female and, from the male, the gift of life (protection and sacrifice). When the love results in the labour of love, the unconditional love extends to the children when they are young. In the growing up years, this unconditional love is most noticeable when the children are young and helpless, thus needed more attention and love. It is the duty of the parents to protect and educate the young till they reach maturity (mentally mature with right knowledge of social, economy and politics) as well as adulthood. When the child reaches adulthood, he/she would then be able to understand the same unconditional love from their parents when they become parents. Before they are parents and had become an adult, the child would have to provide love (conditional to friends and relatives and unconditional to parents and some other worthy parties) to the society. In this process of loving, the child would love, through trial and error, and also to receive love from others in the social milieu. Such a process would also involved getting hurt and betrayed until perhaps the child is emotionally drained. If the child is fortunate, the parents would continue to provide the same unconditional love and some lucky ones will receive other unconditional love from friends and relatives. This helped the child to heal emotionally and regain confidence in the idea of love and loving.

Of course this process is ideal only when the child receive appropriate and correct knowledge from a reliable source, I.e, a beacon latching unto the wise and knowledgable parents until the day the child is able to become an independent adult with the mental capacity for intellectual and moral virtues plus the knowledge and art of loving.

This is a remarkable journey and experience that only humans are able to endeavour and live. This journey is unique to each living person and it is truly a tricky but necessary life; a life filled with the ups and downs of loving – loving ourselves and others.

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When knowledge is the only Good…

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According to Aristotle, knowledge is the only good and ignorance is the only evil. When knowledge is the only good, where do we start from since ignorance is the only evil? In Herrmann’s whole brain thinking, how rational can we get when in fact the majority of the time we are irrational (irrational due to ignorance because knowledge is the only good, thus knowledge keep us rational).

To begin I refer you to this short video from ASAP science.

As you can see, we were all females before we were born. We are gender neutral at certain point of time in the womb of our mothers. In the first 5 to 6 weeks we are the X chromosome. One chromosome pair – the sex chromosomes – is unique. You don’t necessarily end up with a matching pair. Typically females have two X chromosomes and males have an X and a Y. Mothers always pass an X chromosome on to their children. Whether your father passes on his X chromosome (leading to a pair of X chromosomes) or his Y chromosome (making a mixed set) determines your sex.

That’s knowledge! We now know that we are all females once. The next thing we know, in terms of knowledge, is that we are born after nine months of gestational period. Depending on the X and Y chromosome combination, we are either male or female. As a baby, it is safe to say that we are all irrational since a baby will not be able to learn until perhaps a few years later. Our biological parents, despite their educational levels, will continue to nourish us and nurture us with knowledge and their emotions. We continue to stay irrational (as babies we only have emotions and perhaps basic knowledge) thus ignorant as long as we are babies and growing up to be a child that is able to stand on two feet, literally speaking. Our parents shower us with love and care. We cannot say that the child is evil simply because he is ignorant since a child has the right to be innocent and naive until he or she is of legal age (legal age varies according to different constitutions) to decide for him/herself. Since the child (below legal age) is ignorant and innocent, he cannot be evil in the absence of knowledge. The child begins to acquire basic knowledge when he or she is enrolled into pre-school, perhaps through play. When the child proceeds to higher education, he or she begins to acquire more knowledge through directed learning. When the child becomes an adult, he or she narrows down his or her learning education when he or she choose a particular field of study, i.e. law, medicine, commuter engineering, etc. In other words, apart from learning in schools, we start to gain knowledge when we feel that we have insufficient knowledge to understand a particular situation or subject. We improve ourselves when we feel inadequate. This is what the reflexive theory says when we try to understand a particular situation with our cognitive function and then sort to participate or manipulate that situation.

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If we equate irrationality with emotions and rationality with knowledge, we understand that knowledge is good and keep us rational. In addition, if we consider moral and ethical values to be knowledge as well, we acquire moral virtues through these ethics/morals using our intellectual virtues, thus providing us virtuous living. It is only when these ethics/moral virtues are practice to become second nature that we can truly consider ourselves good (since knowledge is the only good and ignorance the only evil). In the tree of knowledge above, it offers us an analogy of how knowledge is a living thing and not an end in itself.

Knowledge is your power, hence knowledge empowers you. Please also understand that knowledge does not make you more equal than others, above others or even above the law. If that is the case, knowledge is not good anymore and ignorance will not be the evil (knowledge becomes the evil and not ignorance). It is also fair to argue that these people who think that they are above others is ignorant in the sense that they may have too little knowledge or too narrow of the idea of knowledge to think that they are above all others. This is where my earlier posting on equality comes into the picture. Thus we cannot blame evil on knowledge, we can only point the finger at ignorance when it comes to evil. Aristotle is right on!

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It is the person with the knowledge to apply that truly lives knowledge – knowledge empowers you. When knowledge is living, it becomes good. When we are able to share knowledge, we will be able to multiply that power. This is when the notion government of the people, by the people and for the people is fully in function.

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Moral virtues are also a form of knowledge. However it also has to be practice. If one is ignorant of a moral/ethical value, it can be said that he is ignorant of it. But once that knowledge is shared and the person understand it (unless the person does not have the intellectual ability to understand), he is no longer ignorant of it. This is not to say that he is good since he only understand the superficial value of that ethic/moral. There isn’t a universal theory on what good ethic/moral is as well as a universally accepted moral or ethical person. Virtues do not happen at a particular time of the week, i.e. from 8am to 9am on Sunday. It is something that is second nature to the person of ethical value. We are able to learn and teach virtues because we are able to point to an instance of that ethical value of a person. Since we are able to learn and teach virtues, most people will understand and know that ethical value. It still has to be practiced in order for it to become second nature to anyone. It does not matter that we keep failing but it does mater that we are always mindful of the virtues (thus becoming second nature). To me, when it is second nature, it is the intellectual virtues that will make the person with the ethical value to truly carry out the ethical purpose. This is when phronesis, episteme and nous come into the picture. When all are present, wisdom will then present itself in its beautiful form thus resulting in the notion that beautiful actions come from beautiful characters aiming at beauty – thus Aristotle’s kalos kagathos.

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We are all females once when we were fetuses in the embryonic stage. We are all irrational (emotions) when we are only babies or children. We are all ignorant (perhaps not evil) when we were young. We are only good when we have the knowledge to understand why because knowledge is the only good and ignorance the only evil.

What I meant by ‘post-punk’?

My book is called ‘Post-punk perception’ for a reason; it is punk only because my family belong to the lower-middle social class, and I come from a single parent family. The subtitle ‘Living in the social milieu’ is about how my upbringing had influenced me before and after I encounter philosophy (East and West), religion and Aristotle ethics.

My book is not a biography nor is it a scholarly work on ethics and philosophy. However, where friendship is concern I am no longer influenced by the punks. The punks I was with while growing up as a teenager aren’t the kind that the West experienced that involves the idea of anarchy. I was a punk in the sense that I was brash, a little hooligan-ish and unpolished. When your English is not good and is laced with hokkien and Singlish, you will be perceived as, well, punks, by the English-speaking community. My English language ability has come a long way since, though there is room for improvement.

‘Post-punk’ will then be, for me, a person that is aware of his past and is constantly becoming to be a person aiming at virtuous living and towards a flourishing form of life (eudaimonia). ‘Living in the social milieu’ will then be utilising Aristotle friendship and ethics as the approach to life in society. ‘Post-punk’ describes a part of me but it is not an absolute part of me. For a person with the psychology of a cup half filled with water, it can be good or bad when someone describes himself as ‘post-punk’. Good because the ‘punk’ in him is now a part of his history; and bad because he could still return to his roots since a leopard does not change its spots.

The fact is life is as it is – we learn and progress with knowledge since it is the only good and ignorance the only evil. Virtuous living is not impossible, it needs to have an understanding of the kind of relationships in the social milieu. Before virtuous living can happen, life needs to be aware of itself. It is with awareness that we are able to make a conscious choice and strive towards a flourishing form of life. It is with awareness that we are able to recognise the different types of Aristotelian friendship (perfect, utility and sense pleasure). It is with awareness that we are able to perceive each relationship as a cup half-empty or half-full so that we can improve or maintain the relationship to be as amicable as possible. Relationship need not become perfect friendship but I am sure everyone agrees that it has to be genuine and sincere. It is the friendship of sense pleasure that allows everyone to be merry in the company of another. It is the utility friendship that allows smooth operation of work in the workplace. It is utilitarian because at the workplace such friendship serves a further end and at the end of the day the ultimate end is uselessness. Even if it is in the form of mutual benefit, it can still be a friendly exchange of interpersonal interactions as long as we do not take each other’s emotions for granted. Thus relationship can be simple though not necessarily enjoyable when everyone gets uptight about each other’s idiosyncrasies.

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Hence post-punk perception is simply a perception that is being altered by the virtuous cycle of contemplation and beliefs that make me happy – virtuous living. It is reflecting on life and the code of conduct that defines my behaviour. It is this virtuous cycle that allows contemplation to pursue a flourishing form of life that will engage the city and the people living in it. It is this virtuous cycle that allows eudaimonia in the social milieu. Most importantly, it is living in the social milieu that gives the city its character, charm and towards a flourishing form of life.

After all, life is transitory.

I concede defeat. After all, I am not going to win the hypocrites and they are not going to kill me. I cannot win because the snooping they have done provide them all the ammunition they need to exclude any that is not part of them. The worst thing is, they think they are doing it as God’s will. This is my impression of them anyway because if it is not God’s will, what other ideology can they justify trying to manipulate people’s lives that have a different approach or ideals to theirs? After all, they have the authority and wealth to do anything they seem right and justified.davidarmano_brand_heaven_hell_2

I am not a religious person but I do have the intelligence to observe and gather for myself how others are and how they think they can trick many to see it from their point of view about the things they do. If I believe in karma, the right action always starts with the right intention.  If anything goes, I think Edward Snowden will know at least for himself that he is doing what he does not as God himself but as someone who thinks justice needs a better governing body, rather than a busybody. Aristotle mentioned in Rhetorics that apart from ethos, a person will also need arete (virtues) and eunoia (good will). If the reflexive theory holds any truth at all, snooping is one issue; it is another issue when we try to understand what we snoop with our cognitive function and how we try to participate or manipulate the situation. Unless you claimed to be God, manipulating others by snooping is not what an ethical person will do. Of course it depends on the situation and to what ends since snooping is the means. If it is to show wisdom, there has to be a point, after all these years to conclude on either sides that we only have so much wisdom and to accept that we can only achieve so much with this limited wisdom. However, if an ethical person does snoop how much good can he contributed with his ethos? After all, we are only humans.

Can snooping be based on good will and virtues since it is part of a global ethos now? Such a snooping would probably involve a rigorous rhetorics based on philosophical foundations for a good republic because according to Aristotle, rhetorics without philosophy would be for personal gains. However, is there a good rhetorics to begin snooping? And if Edward Snowden is right about his ethos, how would these political authorities respond? Would they admit to their flaws and embarrassments? Would Snowden devise his own set of rhetorics for what he did? After all, who dares to speak up against these powerful political figures?

On the stairways to Heaven and Hell, the demarcation point is that of interactions – positive or negative ones. There is certainly interactions when we are snooping but they are passive. The observer listens in and gathers all facts and information for or against the snooped person. This is already in violation of someone’s privacy though there is no law against it. If snooping is for national security, then shouldn’t the cognitive function at least tell us that the person does not have any intent to cause trouble? If snooping is to gather the character traits of the person, then shouldn’t the cognitive function tells us about his likes or dislikes? Snooping becomes active when we participate or even manipulates to our advantage. This is ok if we do it out of good will. However it is debatable about the initial intend as well as any honest mistakes that one makes during the participation or manipulation. If it is participating with good intent, any mistakes will be honest but if it was manipulating, any mistakes becomes part of the manipulation. Someone who manipulates your life and claims to be your friend to me is definitely a hypocrite! What is so wrong about disliking hypocrites anyway? In addition, I presumed, it is because there isn’t any established positive relationship which provides the biggest reason for the basis of snooping. After all, we are all subject to hypocrisy of one form or another.

When things go awry, the positive interactions turn to negative ones. This is when we progress from trust to distrust. It is only when we lose trust that everyone starts to get paranoid and defensive about their actions, which leads us to the road of inconsistent and inauthentic behaviours that in turn make us have lesser credibility and thus disloyalty reigns. For those who have a clear conscience, they probably would not be affected much but there might be accusations that leads to inconsistent and inauthentic behaviours too. Hence in order to participate rather than manipulate in times of uncertainty, our cognitive functions have to understand the situation correctly. This would involve using any existing knowledge to comprehend the situation and to clear any misunderstanding all parties may have. Denial does not help and acceptance can be embarrassing, especially when the public finds out. The process is difficult with negative emotions during the mediation thus the potential of losing any credible relationships, making the relationship unsound. Once there is this wound in a sound relationship, there will be scars depending on the severity, and scar will always remain. After all, we do not love everyone the same.

Relationships are only sound or unsound. With snooping it can reveal a person’s integrity or dishonesty. Over time, it reveals that the person is only human. Similarly those who snoop are also humans. The difference is that those who snoop justify themselves due to their insecurities (since there isn’t any positive interactions between them). I do not see how snooping can increase the soundness of a relationship since the participating function would be to convince the snooped person that they are wiser, more knowledgable and more worthy than the snooped person. If that is the case, then we do not need equality at all and our birth will decide who and what we are. We do not need to learn or even to interact, all we need is the ability to snoop and pretend that we are gods so that any information we gather can be used to our advantage and convince others of our wisdom. I think the only good that snooping achieve is that it leads to others being honest out of fear of being caught because it compels good behaviour, though not necessarily exuding wisdom. Any good behaviour is a result of good upbringing, the right knowledge and the right disposition to comprehend well all phenomenons and human natures. Virtues can be taught by pointing to an instance of a good deed. The entire ethos of a virtuous person, though can be seen in an instance, is still subject to the scrutiny by the public in the course of his entire life. Regardless of snooping, a virtuous person will continue to live virtuously even when he knows that no one is watching him or her. And if God exists, He would be humanity’s ultimate snooper because, after all, life is transitory.

I would think that God loves everyone the same, He does not love me more because I am a Buddhist or you are a Christian. He does not love you more because you are his messenger or I am not doing my prayers enough. He loves because He is God not because He have to but because it is His nature. After all, all lives are precious.

What exactly is a paradox?

“When we are able to understand paradoxes, we understand our own limitations.” – Unknown.

It is not good or bad. It is not ‘yes’ or ‘no’. It is also not the grey area. If ‘hard is the good’, paradoxes tell us that we have to swallow hard truths, no matter how bitter or sweet.

In the case of the European debt crisis, it seems that austerity measures and reducing the debt loads of the troubled countries that set off the European debt crisis over the last three years just isn’t working. The bitter pills that the Europeans are told to swallow for the past years isn’t producing much result – the latest sign suggest so.

A paradox is a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true.

Hmmm…that sounds baffling. A situation can be so baffling that it is true yet there isn’t any clear solution to the situation. One example of a paradox would be an online newspaper that peddles porn in order to block online porn. The idea is to have family friendly filters to automatically block all internet pornography. Any internet subscriber who wishes to opt out of filtering will have to contact their provider to get it turned off. However, those who opt out would still be in violation of the law if they searched for porn that depicts rape or children. This idea is to legally allow porn – depicting consenting adults – and outlawing the possession of pornography that depicts rape or children (child porn is already illegal). This has been met with controversies, of course. To me, it is a measure, albeit a paradoxical one, that is for us to understand our limitations as well as our well-being. I’d like to argue that the intent is good but the implementation is tricky.

When it comes to economy, every nation wants growth. The austerity measure by European powers is good but the implementation produces a less desirable result – lower tax revenues, higher spending on social welfare programs, and zero progress on cutting debt. Furthermore, steep budget cuts can lead to hardship and suffering—and social unrest. The is what John Maynard Keynes referred to as the ‘paradox of thrift’. The paradox states that if everyone tries to save more money during times of economic recession (the smaller context), then aggregate demand will fall and this, in turn, lower total savings in the larger population (the larger context) due to lack of consumption and economic growth. The smaller and larger context are paradoxical in that what is true of the smaller context must also be true of the larger context. The smaller context contradicts this assumption and the larger one contradicts by implication because while individual thrift is generally averred to be good for the economy, the paradox of thrift asserts that collective thrift may be bad for the economy.

In simple words, Quartz (online digital news outlet) elegantly states,

‘while it is considered prudent for heavily indebted individuals and families to cut down on spending, the same process isn’t always wise for entire economies. That’s because unlike with an individual or family, in an economy spending on consumption and investment is needed to spur growth. One person’s spending becomes another person’s income. And if everyone tries to cut spending and boost savings at once, it means that the economy as a whole slows.’

Similarly, while it is considered prudent for authorities to govern illegal pornographic materials as well as to block internet pornography, the same process isn’t always wise for not doing so. This is because while majority of mature adults feel they have their rights to access legal pornography, they do not want to be caught red-handed about surfing into those that are illegal, intentionally or not. Hence the filtering process to block illegal pornographic materials. At the same time, in the case of the porn filters of Daily Mail, Britons are not anonymous when they surf porn, but that’s besides the point. The auto porn filters is a measure to tackle illegal porn – those related to rape or children.

This is what paradoxical means – a self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true. Regardless of intent, in the case of European cutting debt or auto porn filters of UK web, understanding paradoxes does help us to understand the limitations within us. The solution is not apparent and the implementation is tricky but the paradox remains.

A slow growth economy hurts while huge debt is a headache. Similarly a zero porn internet is improbable but a legal porn site sounds as sinful as it should. In the words of George Bataille in his paradox of utility, ‘if being useful means serving a further end, then the ultimate end of utility can only be uselessness.’