The Gift of the Immaterial Part 2 | Tzemah Yoreh


The Gift of the Immaterial Part 2

In previous posts I’ve spoken about how I don’t connect with the material world.

I could mostly be a brain in a jar for all I care about objects and their acquisition. Of course, I wouldn’t be able to eat blueberries if this were the sum of my existence, so this route to immortality is probably not for me.

I care about utility and function, I care that things work, and I care about aesthetics.

My lack of care for the material extends to intellectual property as well. It gives me great joy to write something well, but I derive a similar joy from reading a pithy phrase or a poignant essay.

If anyone chooses to steal an idea from me, and some have, I take it as a compliment. That means it was a good idea. If you wish to honor me with a footnote that’s really up to you. And if you monetized the idea, then kudos to you, I’d appreciate if you let me know how you did it. Please don’t take this as encouragement to steal from me… I have people who care for me who don’t share my views, and some of them are good lawyers.

In the religious community I inhabited as a youth it was customary to write in books ‘The land and all that is in it are the deity’s, this book is temporarily under the domain of Norman Cohen’. This resonated with me in one sense. Not the theology of this statement, just the notion that objects did not truly belong to anyone. This is what put me off of libertarianism, there is too much focus on private property protected by guns. I am invested in some libertarian notions like the healthy distrust of centralized power, and keeping the government out of the bedroom. But. It is never worth dying for a piece of property. A live dog is so much better than a dead lion, says Ecclesiastes and is so much friendlier.

I have learned the hard way that others do care about objects. This is hard for me to fathom intellectually, but I really do try because I know that it is important to most of the rest of the world, and even some of my  best friends. I learnt the hard way that one must care for a friend’s favorite sci fi book, otherwise they may not be your friend for long.

Others care, among them members of my congregation.

In the unwritten part of my contract with my congregation is a dress code. This was articulated to me explicitly by the search committee, and I am very grateful to them, without it I would be coming in crocs and shorts to High Holiday services because I just don’t care about clothes. Clothes in my mind are functional they are meant to cover nakedness and keep you warm and comfortable. Sure, I enjoy seeing nice clothes on others, especially women, I am a heterosexual male after all, but I don’t confuse that with worth.

You may assume that because I don’t care about material goods, that I would be bad at managing money. You would be wrong. Money is a means to an end and if you don’t have enough means your aspirations may suffer ignominious ends. Lots of people do not have enough and that is not fair at all. I don’t believe that life is a race to the grave and he who has a bigger mountain of dough wins like many of my capitalist friends do, but I do believe in balancing my checkbook.

I am a numbers person and it gives me a deep satisfaction to get those numbers right.

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The Gifts of the Neuro-atypical

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