Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Would they hide me?

This is pretty much exclusively a technical blog, but I was very struck by something legendary investor Warren Buffett said when answering the question "How do you define happiness and what about your life makes you most happy?":

I know a woman in her 80’s, a Polish Jew woman forced into a concentration camp with her family but not all of them came out. She says, “I am slow to make friends because when I look at people, I have one question in mind; would they hide me?” If you get to be my age, or younger for that matter, and have a lot of people that would hide you, then you can feel pretty good about how you’ve lived your life.

I know people on the Forbes 400 list whose children would not hide them. “He’s in the attic, he’s in the attic.” Some of them keep compensating by joining board seats or getting honorary degrees, but it doesn’t change the fact that no one will give a damn when they are gone. The most powerful force in the world is unconditional love. To hoard it is a terrible mistake in life. The more you try to give it away, the more you get it back.


Tnevzn said...

I'm sorry, but I don't care who it comes from - warren buffet, steve jobs or bill gates - this is just pretentious bullshit. There is no unconditional love. If it comes to making a choice between your own survival and 'hiding others', you would be surprised at the choices you ( or anybody else for that matter ) would make.

If you feel someone else's life is more important that yours, just donate your organs and die already. Perhaps the only case that I 'might' consider are parents 'hiding' their children, since there's an evolutionary imperative involved, but almost all other cases fail unless there's a good amount of stupidity involved.

And about unconditional love - it's just as fleeting as all the other human emotions. Nothing matters - everything fades away. Do people actually have unconditional love for Gandhi ? Mother Teresa ? In the face of death, would an 18 year old you give up yourself to save mother teresa ? No. Depending on your hopes and ambitions, the chances of that happening diminish.

The cold hard truth is that the only people who 'hide' other people and give themselves up for others are those with nothing else they can contribute to the world and make a difference - so they attempt this as a last ditch effort to matter.

Too bad, their sacrifice will ONLY have a lasting impact on 1.0 people ( the one directly being hidden ) - and after that person dies, the unconditional love is gone too.

Orc said...

@Tnevzn: Scrooge, is that you??

Orc said...

@Tnevzn: Scrooge, is that you?

Anonymous said...

Tnevzn, I'm sorry you feel that way. If you had unconditional love for someone else, you would know what it's like.