Paid to do what you love

Question of Day August 15, 2011 ~ Paid to do what you love

How can you get paid to do what you love?

I went to school and university, but enjoyed fishing in my weekends, so I went commercial fishing for 17 years.

I enjoyed playing with computers, and built my first one in 1980, then bought a TRS80 model III, then a model 100, then and IBM PC, and in 1986 started a software company, and sold my fishing business.

I still own the software business, and it makes enough on a couple of hours a week that I can do pretty much what I want with the rest of my time, provided I don’t spend much.

Now I just like exploring ideas, and solving problems that seem really important to me, like:
how to stop aging?
how to create real security?
what is value?

[followed by]

Hi Andrew and Torch

@Andrew – the point is to stop aging and avoid death (hence the focus on security, in all its aspects).

@torch – will do. Many of the security ideas are coming out here in various ways.
I’m not doing much directly on the aging thing at present, but many others are.
It seems that we should be able to halt aging quite soon, but it is likely to be half a century or more before we have the technical ability to replace all the genetic material in all the cells (both the chromosomes in the nucleus and the mitochondrial DNA); and thus return our bodies to a much younger biological age. Replicating the DNA is a relatively trivial process, but maintaining the epigenetic modifiers is extremely tricky; lots more to do before that becomes technically possible and reliably tested.
I envisage that in about 50 years or so we will have the ability to climb into a regeneration tank, spend a couple of weeks in there unconscious, then wake up in our twenty year old body, with all scars and injuries repaired, and with available genetic enhancements added (like disease resistance, deep diving ability etc). I suspect we will need to redo this process every so often (30-50 years).

[followed by]

Hi christine

I’m not afraid of death, I’d just rather not die is all. All the evidence I have is that death is final – the end, nothing more. I know some people believe otherwise, and I’m not one of them.

I rather enjoy living.
I’m not fretting or worrying about dying, just looking for options where I can avoid it.

Being told 15 months ago by a medical expert that I had less than 1 chance in 5 of living past a year, was a bit of a shock. Very glad to be past that particular “deadline”.

@ Andrew
Yeah – much like that. Difference is, that I am a biochemist by training. The subject has always fascinated me. Unfortunately, I was badly poisoned by exposure to 24D as a teenager, and as a result, I get intense headaches when exposed to polycyclic aromatics – which about rules me out of any sort of laboratory work.
I still keep an eye on what others are doing, and talk to friends still working in the field.

To me, the fact that all cells alive today appear to be part of an unbroken cellular line that goes back some 3 billion years rather puts the lie to the claims by some that aging is inevitable.
Certainly, most complex multicellular organisms experience aging. All sorts of reasons for aging to evolve as a mechanism to empower rapid evolution. Simple organisms do not age – they are essentially immortal (which seems to me to be a major reason for their relative simplicity).

[followed by]

Hi Christine and John,

For me, the situation is very different.
For me, so long as infinity has unanswered questions that seem interesting to me, I would like to keep living and keep investigating.
For me, so long as it seems potentially possible to make a difference for someone or something through my choices, then there is reason to live.

I’m not a fan of pain, and like to minimise it; and I have had quite a bit of it, including having three fingernails pulled out, and my lower back damaged to the point that I couldn’t walk. Pain is a daily visitor in my life, and it is not present every second, usually only a few hundred seconds a day. I can usually clear it by stretching into it, and going through it.

In the future I envisage, my body would be forever youngish (20-50) and essentially pain free – except when I do something a little too dangerous and damaging.

With a future of freedom and interest, I cannot imagine a situation where I would choose to leave it voluntarily if I had a real choice in the matter.

[followed by]

Hi Andrew

It is complex, and it seems to me that basically it comes down to this: If organisms do not “age” then the population will only change very slowly. As an example, it took about 2 billion years to get form the first single celled organism, to the first multi celled organism, and only another billion to get from there to all the diversity of life we see.

So it seems that those organisms that didn’t age, their populations didn’t change very fast at all, so they’re still there, still much the same as they were a billion years ago.
Those that aged, well – here we are.
Aging allows for much more rapid evolution than immortality.

[followed by]

Hi Andrew

You said:
It would follow then Ted that the will to survive, or the instinct to ensure survival of a species is deteriorating as each species evolves.

That does not follow at all.
That presupposes that there is some “will to survive” or some “instinct to survive”.

The thing that biology seems seems to have taught us is that there is no such thing in simple organisms.

All there seems to be in most life forms, are actions that are triggered in particular circumstances. In certain sets of circumstances those actions lead to survival, in other ones they lead to death. thus, particular sets of triggers/actions survive in particular niches, and not in others. Variations that survive in one niche may not survive in another.

This is the key to gradual evolution.

There is much more to evolution than this gradualism.

Evolution is also punctuated with disasters. These disasters tend to both clear niches of competitors and alter niches; both of which create new opportunities.
There is much more to evolution also, but this is not a deep exploration of evolution.

So – no – I see no “will to survive” in most life forms (only in the higher sets of life forms).
Will is an emergent property that does not appear to be a part of early life forms.

What I see is the the evolution of complex life forms has allowed for the emergence of a “will to survive”, which now it has arrived is growing stronger, not weaker.

Thus, what I see is a cause for great optimism, not pessimism.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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1 Response to Paid to do what you love

  1. holessence says:

    Ted – I’m so very fortunate in that I love what I do; I do what I love; and I get paid for it.

    Like

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