Nth order work

I have a few pet peeves, and the one that gets me into the most trouble would be my refusal to do any zeroth order work. Zeroth order work is work that when done now saves one exactly the same amount of effort as when it is done later. It is the merest type of work, work with a zero interest rate, work that doesn’t reflect any form of investment. Granted, work of the purely zeroth order type is not easy to find – even doing the laundry makes one more proficient at doing laundry, after all. However, amongst the different tasks available, there are just some that are so blatantly close to zeroth order that I cannot bear to do them. These are the tasks that, as I do them, I feel the clock of mortality ticking away, and I feel guilt at having wasted another second, minute or hour of my biological life while the mental clock was stopped.

High order activity, on the other hand, is a delight. It is usually hard to determine exactly how many orders up a particular activity is, but I’ve always looked to philosophy as ultra-long-term investment, fruitful activity that may take a while, but inevitably trickled down into one’s life in a myriad of ways, enriching many branches with subtle, strengthening transformations.

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