Friday, January 28, 2005

From Tim O'Reilly

From an article by Tim O'Reilly, talking about why they're in business:

Aristotle pointed out that the pursuit of happiness was the highest end we could seek. And while modern culture too often confuses the pursuit of happiness with the pursuit of pleasure, thinking people have always realized that happiness comes from doing the _right_ things, and doing them in moderation. There were two inscriptions on the walls of the temple at Delphi where the oracle of Apollo held sway: "Know thyself" and "Nothing too much."

(Really, there were three, but the third one: an E standing alone, has everyone baffled. Maybe it was an unfinished inscription, or a symbol with a meaning long lost, but I like to think of it as a reminder of the unknown, a zen koan if you will. There's a humorous but profound Tarot deck called "Morgan's Tarot" with thoughtful cartoons. My favorite says "Always Remember This" below a blank box. Like the E at Delphi, it makes me think: what am I forgetting? what is it that I don't know? how do I get back to the secret core and wellspring of my life?)


It's an illusion promulgated by those afraid of life that a company, a country, or any assembly of humans can be so perfectly managed that everything will always stay the same. Life's beauty is its variety, its ability to surprise us. An organization that expects to succeed must always be flexible.

The whole article is located here, and if I didn't enjoy my current job so much, I'd consider going to work for Tim.

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