The Magic of “OP”

2143186-Wequiock_Falls_Green_BayMany there are who would be successful, if success just did not require that they become productive. Interestingly, for most, success is only partly attributable to what they do. Much of their success comes from what they get other people to do.

People become confused when they try to juxtapose “Success” with “Equality”. Pedagogues, philosophers, and hucksters fill the public discourse with multimedia information about #success, #personalgrowth, #happiness, #wealth.

One source of confusion comes from defining #success as “having more. . .” or “doing more. . .” Unfortunately, in this mode, people focus on what they do not have and they become envious of what others have. Actually this becomes a source of “generational conflict”. Many elderly people have been heard to say something like, “The problem with the current generation is that these kids want to start (economically) at the point where we worked for decades to be.”  The “kids” look at people who have been married for decades, and think that what their parent or grandparent have, is what they should have as they start their adult life.  In today’s world, any demographic or ethnic group can be divided into the “have’s” and “have not’s”, thanks to the massive impact of technology in public discourse.

Such divisions can be used to promote a “victim mentality”. This victim mentality, perhaps, should be credited with the creation of “community organizers” and the rash of “causes” which become a source of #money. Participation in such causes is increased by the “lottery mentality” that has been widely promoted by the government. The idea is that someone can get much more without making any greater contribution. What people fail to realize is that “government” has only the money which it takes from some other group. The “National Debt” to cover over-spending is, in fact, money taken from the next generations. About the lottery, the government – in collusion with the media—makes a big deal about “lottery winners”. It would present a very different picture to show how much money actually goes into the “government coffers”.

No person can add one minute to their day, but there is the magic of “OP”. For example, when people without money want wealth, they create a strategy to use “OPM” – that is, OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY. However, if the money is “borrowed”, it must be paid back. Until it is paid back, the debtor is a slave to the person or institution which made the loan. The alternatives are to convince other people to donate, invest, or buy. Thus some politicians, preachers, and door-to-door salesmen have found a way to acquire wealth. At this point, it would be cynical to not introduce the concept of “ethical success” #ethicalsuccess”. The wrong-headed pursuit of #success and the proliferation of the #victimmentality, have left far too many people with a jaundiced view of humanity.

Since humans are a gregarious species, the potential for an individual to leverage other people’s money (OPM), other people’s time (OPT),and other people’s strength (OPS) into a greater productivity. In this case, #success becomes something far more than material possessions; success becomes the fulfillment of “belonging” – a basic human need in Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs. As such, success at the level builds a foundation from which a person can move to higher needs – ultimately self-actualization.  The magic of one’s success, therefore, comes from what they get Other People to do.

Minimum, Minimum – Bah, Humbug!

Looking back, I suppose my “teacher burn-out” in my educational career began with the fad of Minimum Competency Standards. Although I was not able to speak eloquently of my distrust of the concept at the time, in retrospect I can now understand that seed of displeasure which lurked within me.


True learning does not come from achieving minimum standards; true learning is measured by that which is beyond the minimum. After all, what credit should be given to that person who only does what everybody else does? What person is recognized as a scholar, who knows only what everybody else knows? Heroes are those who go beyond the minimums; heroes are those who do those things which most other people will not do. Scholars are those who already know what others have not yet learned.


It is not enough for a student to gain learning by study. True learning comes from action which produces results. Sometimes this can be called experience. Not all action produces positive results, but even learning which comes from negative consequences can be a positive outcome.


In today’s culture, far too many people have accepted “Minimum Standards” as their personal goals. The very idea that a “Minimum Wage” should be a “Living Wage” is an idea that comes from a “Socialistic Perspective”. It is a leveling of humanity in which everybody shares the same level of misery. In recent years, the Chinese government has expressed a concern about the “lack of creativity and invention” by its younger population. Perhaps it sounds too simple to attribute such a lack of creativity and invention to a lack of a need to do better than the minimum, or to contribute more than the minimum. The mantra of Communist/Socialist: “From each according to his ability; to each according to his needs.”


Perhaps, the level of invention, or lack thereof, may be attributed to a felt need to stand out. When first stated, the concern that all people have a right to have their “needs” met by society sounds like an irrefutable statement of compassion. However, the human condition allows people to become comfortable at their “minimum level”. At the level of the cave dweller it becomes: “If I am warm, I can sleep; I don’t need to gather more wood for my fire.” Problems arise when the cave dweller awakes to find his fire is low and a storm is raging outside the cave. The cave dweller sees that the easiest source of more wood to be the supply that his neighbor brought in before the storm. The petty crime of stealing a twig becomes a war to decide who gets the woodpile.


And so it is in America today. America has groups of people who demand an increase in the minimum wage without considering any increase in the “value of the labor”. This is the miracle of “Capitalism”. “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a pathway to your door.” For proof, look at the chemical company which realized the limitations of mousetraps and then created “mouse poison.” That company, incidentally, is now selling that patented chemical to the medical community as a “blood thinner”.


Since I have been distracted, I would invite any reader to provide a concluding paragraph to this post.aavelken

The heresy of worshiptainment

Something to consider. America has a population that is more concerned about being entertained than it is about being inspired.

Mike Livingstone

The great heresy of the church today is that we think we’re in the entertainment business. A.W. Tozer believed this to be true back in the 1950s and 60s. Church members “want to be entertained while they are edified.” He said that in 1962. Tozer grieved, even then, that it was “scarcely possible in most places to get anyone to attend a meeting where the only attraction was God.”*

More recently, David Platt has asked: “What if we take away the cool music and the cushioned chairs? What if the screens are gone and the stage is no longer decorated? What if the air conditioning is off and the comforts are removed? Would His Word still be enough for his people to come together?” (Radical)

Would it be enough?

Tozer got it right: “Heresy of method may be as deadly as heresy of message.”


Like Tozer, we…

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