Sunday, December 27, 2009

What Humans Value

It is an unquestionable fact that we human beings value things more when we have sought them. A man who spends his entire life in the pursuit of greater riches and security will value it more than his grandson, who has no reason not to squander the old money passed down to him. A man who has had to work to find a job will be more appreciative of the job when he finally gets it, than the man who finds a plumb position dropped right into his lap. And the sensation of finally grasping a difficult proof in philosophy or in math is a wondrous one that will never be experienced by the rare geniuses who understand such things at first reading. (To be sure, genius has its own consolations; but that is another matter.)