IF THOUGHT WAS EQUIVALENT TO LABOR . . . ZEN MASTERS WOULD BE BILLIONAIRES
The progressive development of man is vitally dependent on invention and disruptive innovation. It is the most important product of his creative brain. Its ultimate purpose is the complete mastery of mind over the material world, the harnessing of the forces of nature to human needs. This is the difficult task of the inventor who is often misunderstood and unrewarded. But he finds ample compensation in the pleasing exercises of his powers and in the knowledge of being one of that exceptionally privileged class
without whom the race would have long ago perished in the bitter struggle against pitiless elements. Speaking for myself, I have already had more than my full measure of this exquisite enjoyment; so much, that for several years my life was little short of continuous rapture. I am credited with being one of the hardest workers and perhaps I am, if thought is the equivalent of labor, for I have devoted to it almost
all of my waking hours. But if work is interpreted to be a definite performance in a specified time according to a rigid rule, then I may be the worst of idlers.
Every effort under compulsion demands a sacrifice of life-energy. I never paid such a price. On the contrary, I have thrived on my thoughts. In attempting to give a connected and faithful account of my activities in this story of my life, I must dwell, however reluctantly, on the impressions of my youth and the circumstances and events which have been instrumental in determining my career. Our first endeavors are purely instinctive promptings of an imagination vivid and undisciplined. As we grow older reason asserts itself and we become more and more systematic and designing. But those early impulses, though not immediately productive, are of the greatest moment and may shape our very destinies. Indeed, I feel now that had I understood and cultivated instead of suppressing them, I would have added substantial value to my bequest to the world. But not until one has attained manhood that he begins to realize whether or not he/she is an inventor.
Sometimes I find myself tinkering with the idea of if every person in the world could happily invent and improve upon the world in their unique and little way, what kind of future would there be for the future generations? The problem is that there is barely enough time for any person to extend their hands beyond their personal ambitions and interest which are more urgent for almost everyone who appears to be of sane mind. This is the inner meaning of capitalism and civilization, that there is no consummation or wholeness in our separate tasks as humans. The assumptions, as Adam Smith or John Maynard Keynes would humbly agree, have adverse effects on the larger and more long-term human/universal needs and wants.