Re: PHIL: Egoism (Was ART: What Art Is)

From: Zero Powers (
Date: Tue May 30 2000 - 13:29:47 MDT

>From: "Emlyn" <>

>Daniel Ust (or Damien Broderick hacking his account) wrote:
> > > Every Mother Theresa after the first (at any point, the "marginal"
> > > Theresa) adds something (even if only a little) to society; a net
> > > Perhaps at some extreme adding extra Mother Theresas becomes a cost.
> > > does a society made excludively of Mother Theresas do, there being no
> > to
> > > save? However, one might safely assume that 100 is a lower quantity
> > > that necessary to fall to the break-even point.
> > >
> > > We can say that one Bill Gates, also, is a net benefit, for argument's
> > sake.
> > > Although you can't be sure; the benefit of Bill Gates is in what he
> > > built; the cost in what he has destroyed.
> >
> > Given Mother Theresa openly _professed_ views on human suffering --
> > its necessity; i.e., the necessity of it in the form of the stifling
> > and rampant disease in Third World countries and not in the sense of,
> > needing a little adversity to make us stronger -- I'd think there's a
> > cost associated with even one Mother Theresa. If ever there was a
> > that seems almost out of a Rand novel, it is her.
> >
>I'm not sure I understand this point. Could you expand on it? Type slowly,
>have trouble keeping up...
> > > After the first Bill, however, you end up in a blood bath. If anyone
> > > subscribes to the "there can only be one" philosophy of existence, it
> > > Bill. So marginal Bills just add to the general multi-sided chaos &
> > > destruction; a net cost.
> >
> > Since Gates has yet to use or advocate murder and mayhem or even to show
> > bias toward such, I disagree. (This is not to put Gates on a pedestal.)
>I'm talking economically here; rather than actually physically killing each
>other, 100 Bill Gates could be expected to spend a lot of effort trying to
>economically dominate each other, using (not exclusively) extremely
>destructive competitive practices, in an attempt to gain a monopoly
>Another point of view is that most of the value of both Bill Gates and
>Mother Theresa is as icons; they symbolise particular sets of values to
>great amounts of people. From this point of view, 100 of either is only
>marginally more useful than one; those instances occuring after the first
>not carrying any extra symbolic value.

Having started this particular line of discussion with (on second thought) a
not-so-perfect analogy, I feel obliged to chime in. When I was comparing
Gates to Theresa I was thinking more of the work done by each, and the
comparative benefit to society of that work.

I did not have in mind 100 Microsofts competing with each other or 100
Theresas competing for the attention of the world population as the most
committed do-gooder of them all (I realize this was likely not Theresa's
primary goal -- but you get the point).

That being said, I realize that the societal "benefit" of Microsoft's work
is arguable and therefore the analogy could have been better. But I think
the point I was trying to make is a good one -- if I can just remember what
it was :)


"I like dreams of the future better than the history of the past"
--Thomas Jefferson

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