Thursday, June 5, 2014

Blueprints & Recipes

- That's the Guru. Where's he going?
- To borrow money from Rothschild, the old black guy who's living and dying at the bus stop.
- His name isn't Rothschild.
- No, I gave him the name when the Guru told me he was his regular banker after he'd given away his weekly allowance.
- And that old guy, sleeps on the street, talks to himself, with his open sores, convulsed with delirium tremens, he loans the Guru money? Incredible! I didn't even think he was sane.
- Who says he is?
- Come on then, admit the Guru is also insane.
- No. I don't think I can.
- It's sane every week to give away all your money and then borrow some back from a lunatic dying on corner?
- Most people believe that if they follow the rules in life, do their job, they don't have to do more, what they have done is good. Is good for society. The Guru, by following the rule, 'give away all your income and you'll be a good man', is a really good example. If anyone is going to do social good by following rules, it's going to be him, right?
- I guess so. But he's insane!
- Why? Because he's established a kind of community, he living in his Beverly Hills apartment, with Rothschild dying miserably on the bus stop on the corner? Perhaps you mean that the community he makes is insane.
- Yes.
- So you think that there is something wrong with a life only of following rules, even when the rule is give away all your income.
- After listening to you, yes.
- Have you ever heard about the difference between making something by following a blueprint or according to a recipe*?
- No. Tell me.
- A blueprint contains a description of the entire building, part by part. A recipe describes an activity, with the results of each step influencing the material the next step in the activity has to work with. A recipe does not describe the completed product. The genetic code in our bodies is a recipe how to make a body, not blueprint of the finished body. Ok?
- That's great.
- Now living a life by the rules we are trying to make a life according to a blueprint. The Guru has his rule, give away money, but the people he gives away money to don't enter into his life in a way that develops his life.
- He doesn't cook with them.
- No. Nothing changes. What we see in the case of the Guru is how, despite the fact that most of us are living according to blueprint, we intuitively know that living according to recipe is right. We know something is wrong with a rich man making the poor man the object of his rule following, yet not taking the poor man into his life. In a life following recipe what the rich man has done with the poor man would influence the next step in his rule following. Instead the rich man pays no attention to the poor man's life, to his literal dying on the street, doesn't take the poor man into his life at all. In fact he holds himself even closer to following the blueprint, goes so far as, borrowing money from him, to use to poor man to smooth out the difficulties in his rich man's life of giving away money.
- Some people build houses, some people cook meals, some people give away money. They all think they are doing something good, something socially good. But they are not doing good if they don't take into the recipe of their lives the people who buy the houses or eat the meals or take their money. That's why you say the Guru is not crazy, not crazier than the rest of us.

(From Totalitarianism, Public & Private, in the series Beverly Hills Stories)
* See Killer Metaphysics