Listen to what is being preached. Look at everyone around us … [how] they seek happiness and never find it. If any man stopped and asked himself whether he’s ever held a truly personal desire, he’d find the answer.
He’d see that all his wishes, his efforts, his dreams, his ambitions are motivated by other men. He’s not really struggling even for material wealth, but for the second-hander's delusion — prestige.
A stamp of approval, not his own.
He can find no joy in the struggle and no joy when he has succeeded. He can’t say about a single thing: “This is what I wanted because I wanted it, not because it made my neighbours gape at me.” In the end, he’s spent his life following other people’s demands. Then he wonders why he’s unhappy. / Ayn Rand P restige is the opinion of the rest of the world … Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. It causes you to work not on what you like, but what you’d like to like ... Prestige is just fossilized inspiration. If you do anything well enough, you’ll make it prestigious. Plenty of things we now consider prestigious were anything but at first.
Jazz comes to mind — though almost any established art form would do. So just do what you like, and let prestige take care of itself. Prestige is especially dangerous to the ambitious.
If you want to make ambitious people waste their time on errands, the way to do it is to bait the hook with prestige.
That’s the recipe for getting people to give talks, write forewords, serve on committees, be department heads, and so on. It might be a good rule simply to avoid any prestigious task. If it didn’t suck, they wouldn’t have had to make it prestigious. /Paul Graham.
/Michel Pireu (firstname.lastname@example.org)