Thursday, December 3, 2015

Reinventing Himself

Robin Samson stared across his desk at his assistant James Johnson. And he was shaking his head because Johnson was telling him he should not do what he wanted to do. Samson was not at all pleased. As heir of the Samson fortune, he was the president of Innovation Unlimited and had large sums of money to do what he wished. But he was a rather ordinary man who owed what he had to his father's efforts. However, he planned to change all that. And Johnson was trying to talk him out of it.

"You cannot somehow define yourself based on a machine," stated Johnson. "You cannot define yourself at all. You need to understand yourself based on something objective, like God."

"Nonsense." replied Samson, "The machine will remake my body and mental processes into who I want to be. All I have to do is choose."

The next day Samson entered the machine and chose to become the shrewd business man. He found his mind bubbling with things he could do with his money. He invested it and traded it and came out with much more than he had originally. And he ended up wondering why he was bothering. He had had plenty of money to begin with with. Plus he had the feeling that money was beginning to run him rather than the other way around. He needed a different option.

Next he tried the party-going ladies' man. For a while it was a blast. Several failed relationships and hangovers later, he looked back on his experiences. They seemed to be all empty thrills and nothing permanent. After all, he was not really looking for anything permanent.  Also, he found he needed more and bigger experiences to give him the same stimulation. And he was beginning to wonder where he would end up. In an alley somewhere with a overdose of heroin? Also, he felt like he was neglecting all the rest of his life. Back to the machine again.

He chose the adventurous he-man for the next round. He drove fast cars and went hang-gliding.  He drove ATVs over rough country and learned to parachute. He went lion hunting in Africa and surfing in Hawaii. But he found once more that he needed more and more dangerous experiences to give himself the same thrill. And he was worried that he would end up trying something that would leave him dead or seriously injured. He had some very close calls motorbiking up narrow mountain roads. Also, not only was he neglecting to rest of his life, but he was spending money so fast that if he did not quit, he would have to become the shrewd businessman again to avoid going broke.

He decided on the social crusader for the next round. He recycled, gave to charity, and worked for political causes. But as time went on, he begin to question how much good he was doing. Were the charities and politicians really helping? Was the world really improving or gradually growing worse? There seemed to be contrary opinions to every cause he was advocating. Who was really right? And even if he was right, could he find any way to accomplish anything in spite of the opposition?

Samson sat down, himself again, and asked the hard questions. Which of these options should he choose, or should he try something else? How should he try to define himself? What should he base it on? How could he make a decision if he was choosing in some sort of a vacuum? Maybe he needed to talk to Johnson.

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