Posted by: bkivey | 18 November 2015

Earning and Deserving

‘Deserve’ is a word much in the public conversation. They (insert some group) deserve  this. They didn’t deserve that. Most dictionaries define the word as some variation of ‘to be worthy of’. Parsing further, worthy is in most cases defined as ‘deserving’. A bit of circular reasoning there.  Deconstructing the word, ‘serve’ usually means ‘to give to others’. ‘De’ is a prefix negating the suffix, so ‘deserve’ could be construed as ‘others give to me’. So what does it mean to ‘deserve’ something?

That depends on whether one is a child or an adult. Children do, in fact, deserve. They can’t do for themselves, and depend on others to do for them. It’s incumbent on society to provide for children. The first line of provision are the parents, but a functioning society should enable parents to meet their primary obligation of providing for their children. The assumption is that parents are interested in raising their children, rather than foisting that responsibility off on society at large.

The game changes once one reaches majority.

An adult is expected to contribute to their society. They’ve been carried for some number of years; now it’s time for them to contribute. The metric here is not about what others can do for them, it’s about what they can do for others. An adult earns their place in society. There are no participation trophies, no ‘good effort’ pats on the back. An adult is judged by their results, not their intentions. An adult deserves what they earn.

This should be a liberating concept. No longer tied to the shackles of childhood dependence, in a free society an adult is able to succeed or fail on their merits. And there will be failures as they find their place in society. There’s no shame in failure, but there is in giving up. Freedom is hard. A free person has to earn their place every day. No one can say they ‘deserve’ something if they haven’t earned it. By the same token, if someone flouts the societal rules, and suffers consequences, they can’t rightly complain. Albeit in a negative fashion, they’ve earned it. The universe by and large is value-neutral. Don’t complain if you’ve done wrong and get bit.

Why Uber is Succeeding

A few weeks ago I had to drop off the company vehicle at the mechanic’s shop, and needed a ride home. I called three taxi companies to secure that ride. I live in a city of 100,000, so it’s not like I’m out in the sticks. The first two companies didn’t answer their phone (?!), and the third didn’t have a cab available. I went on the Web, downloaded the Uber app, entered the info requested, and inside 15 minutes a driver showed up. On arrival, I was given a receipt for the trip. Fast, easy, and convenient. Cry me a river, cab companies. You all need to step up your game.

Word Watch

My work partner is half my age, and on occasion he’ll listen to top 40 radio. I don’t mind, as this gives me insight into the current culture. One radio station has a segment called ‘What’re you doing at the courthouse’ (or similar). I’ll refrain from commenting on that. On the segment I heard a gentleman remark that what he was saying was ‘straight from the jaw’. I like that.

Now you know my rap is raw

Because it be coming straight from the jaw.

Good stuff.





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