We have the basis, the infrastructure to develop upon – further thoughts from Jeff Bezos


All Writings, Observations, Self improvement, Society / Sunday, January 6th, 2019

We have the basis today for a life hardly conceivable even a few decades ago. Great strides have been made, thanks to science, architecture, and the development of the arts through its expressions. A young person today can work at home, and then, walk to the nearest coffee shop. There he can sit alone or with a friend. One might even find a company with some strangers that frequent the place. A Wi-Fi network is available for those with the need of a few private moments. A Kindle or some other e-reader holds all the books one has in the library. If there is William Blake’s poetry, letters by Lord Byron, or a play by Oscar Wilde, or the philosophy of Noam Chomsky – all these in one device, in one place, delivered wirelessly. How could we possibly take this for granted, or not want to have the pleasure!

Jeff Bezos’s optimism and appreciation for the existing infrastructure

In my previous post, I wrote about why Jeff Bezos feels optimistic about the future. His view of the world and of the future are worthy of being listened to. This is not because he is a rich man, and at present, the richest. It has more to do with having confidence, being relaxed and taking practical steps to move toward a healthy vision. His vision includes personal success – as it ought to for an entrepreneur – but also success for others. The element of teamwork and philanthropy is evident from how Amazon has grown as a company. He discusses this and other matters with David Rubenstein in that same interview. He mentions one thing that we ought to pay attention to – the fact that we have the basis, the infrastructure for further development.

Before Jeff gets into discussing his vision with David Rubenstein, he expresses appreciation for what he found ready to be utilized. There was the postal system, the roads and transport, and then, of course, the development of the Internet technology. From starting out with books and then moving on to all other items, he admits none of it would have been possible if the earlier developments had not taken place.

The basis, the infrastructure and the vision for moving forward

I found his humble acknowledgment and understanding to be really interesting in this case. He admitted that it is a “legitimate choice” that we come into stasis as far as development is concerned. We could choose to stop innovation and further developments. We could simply choose to no longer go along with the scientific progress and with it the developments that have occurred. However, with the basis that we have now, there is the possibility for mankind to move forward in a way previously only imaginable. Today, with the efforts of men like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, it is realistic to speak of actually having human beings living on other planets in the solar system! This must strike us as extraordinary, amazing, and at the same time worthy of pursuing.

For reasons as backward as political instability, unquestioned ideologies, and religious indoctrination, we are still threatened by the same things as before. We still have wars, we still have poverty, and we still have possibilities of cataclysm. In all this, we are simply to consider the human factor primarily, and not even consider the supernatural factors.

The amazing cost and effort of rebuilding – Syria, an example

We have, of course, hardly a day now when the decisions of the American Republican party and the President, Donald Trump not being mentioned. The sudden, most recent decision to pull all American troops out of Syria and then let the regional powers like Turkey or Iran handle the situation took everyone by surprise. Political or military decisions aside and putting aside views of who should hold power, just consider the scale of damage and the efforts required to rebuild.

The younger generations of today might be blamed for many things, but not having a propensity or the desire for war – as seen in many – is certainly a good thing. There hasn’t been a single war in human history that has solved anything. Fear is created, and on its basis, a system of supremacy is established. This lasts for a few decades, and then, the ones holding power start to weaken. Every single kingdom and government has gone through these rises and falls and mankind simply does not seem to learn.

Large organization, and an abundance of resources

For the present-day situation, we should count very large organizations like Amazon or Reliance (India) as part of the infrastructure. Why? It is because such large organizations have already brought together available resources on a massive scale. What remains to be done is for human populations to find places to sustain the present achievements.

The reality remains that every single person would not have all their desires met, and a lot of the work is seemingly menial. This is true, even at the highest levels of accomplishment. 1 However, one cannot ever lose sight of the overall accomplishment. The overall accomplishment stands to bring greater benefit than possible for an individual or a small organization. It is this ability to look at things on two vastly different scales and maintain their connection that is needed. Jeff Bezos has done that and so many others have, who got the opportunity to rise through their lives – with luck, with courage, and yes, with a lot of old-fashioned effort.

Footnotes

  1. It is interesting to see how so many admired men and women – Jeff Bezos, Sundar Pichai (Google CEO), or Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook COO) like to start their day in a very ordinary fashion.

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