It’s Just Business

That’s what you want: a system. Why? Because you’re a nerd who likes and responds to systems and lists.

I’ve talked before about nerds.  We’re going to explore nerds for a bit; by so doing, we’ll learn more about ourselves, and about whores.

First:  why are nerds male?  Or rather, why are males nerds?  Why does someone become a nerd?  Socially, it’s no fun to be a nerd.  So why do it?

The reason is power.

The goals of science have been enumerated, in order:  “Observe, explain, predict, control.”  Science is a path to knowledge, and knowledge is power.

There are different kinds of power, of course.  There’s physical power, from just being strong.  There’s financial power, from controlling a company.

But, in the end, companies fail and the human body is finite.  Knowledge is the real thing.  God is Omnipotent and Omniscient, and couldn’t have one without the other.

Hence the nerd obsession with techne.  A nerd is much more likely to want to learn a martial art than, say, boxing.  The foreign suggests hidden knowledge, while the domestic is presumed to be well-known.

Humans in general like to know the rules.  We all like power.  I am no exception; look at the title of this blog.

The core of knowledge that leads to power is: if this, then that.  If we can build a chain of those rules from something we can do (this) to something we want (that), then we have power over that.

This even applies to humans.  We are not so free-willed and unique as we would like to believe.  I recently talked with a guy whose company installs special software on websites.  As customers visit the site, the software analyzes their pattern of clicks, and calculates the precise moment and amount such that if offered a discount, the customer will buy something (as opposed to not buying something).  They’ve had fantastic success.

It’s important to note that these customers are not being suckered.  They are making entirely rational choices.  Their choices are akin to:  would you prefer to have $100, or $5?  You’d probably pick the hundred.  Myself, I would too.  And so we find ourselves both a)not idiots, and b) very predictable.

This is good.  Our universe has laws, and we need to be good at adapting to them to survive.

However, that very adaptation can be our downfall.  Suppose that one morning you awoke to find a bag of money on your doorstep.  It contains $1000.  You are surprised and overjoyed (I would be).  You send a notice to the police perhaps, because you’re a good person, but they can’t find the owner.

Then the next week it happens again.  And the next week, and the one after that.

This goes on for years.

Sooner or later, you’re going to start spending it.  If it’s reliable enough, you’ll likely start to, well, rely on it.  It’s human nature.  Perhaps you buy a house and have a mortgage.

Then one day, in the bag, along with the money, is a small package.  There’s a note requesting that you deliver it to an address in your town.

Maybe you’re suspicious.  Maybe you open the package to see what’s in it (nothing).  Maybe you refuse to deliver it.

Next week comes, the bag of money is there like always—but there’s also another package, and a note to the effect that if you fail to deliver this one, the money will stop.

And boom!  Now you’re ensnared.  Keeping your house relies on keeping the money coming in.  But keeping the money coming in means becoming an errand boy for the Mob.

All this without a single gun waved in your face.  You brought it on yourself, really.

But that’s what most people would do.  This works in the real world, after all.

Just because you’re getting something out of the transaction, doesn’t mean it’s a good situation.  Here’s another, cruder one:  I wave my gun in your face, and you can trade your wallet for me not blowing your head off.

By behaving rationally, we make ourselves predictable.  By making ourselves predictable, we make ourselves controllable.

If the money were given, no strings attached, then there’s no threat to it.

This is the model of how husbands and wives are to behave toward each other in myriad things, but for the moment we’ll focus on sex.  Both spouses are to be sexually available to each other at all times, whether the other “deserves” it or not.

This is also the model for our obedience to God.  We are to obey Him in joy and sorrow.  We are not to use our obedience as a weapon or a bargaining chip (the two are the same), i.e. “if I get that promotion then I’ll tithe.”

whore is someone who takes a non-transactional relationship—marriage—and attempts to make it transactional.  With professional whores this is explicit and has a well-defined price tag; with amateurs there are a lot more emotions and justification going on.  But the two are the same.

With their excessive focus on the Law, the Pharisees hoped to control God.  When a wife uses sex an a weapon in her marriage, she is hoping to control her husband, just as it says in Genesis.

This is understandable.  We try to control God because we’re scared and we don’t trust him; the same is true in marriage.  But just because it’s understandable doesn’t make it right.

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3 comments on “It’s Just Business

  1. donalgraeme says:

    I wondered where this post was going at first, but you tied it together nicely at the end. Transactional thinking is very much rationalistic, and that can be a serious problem if you don’t ground it with something (like a moral code). The “frigid whore” routine that women pull in marriage is highly transactional, and fairly common these days. What I wonder is what could be considered the male counterpart?

    • I think it would involve relationships assumed not to be transactional. The government bureaucrat who needs something under the table just to do his job is a whore, or the politician who takes bribes to vote a certain way. And of course it’s rife in our relationships with God, as you’ve noted in Hosea.

      One thing I’ve noted is how some men advise reacting to a divorce by threatening destruction of all marital assets. I don’t think this is necessarily the best option, but I can see the merit in it. The lesson from it that I draw is that it’s unwise to allow yourself to be controlled by your incentives. This is, frankly, one advantage that men have over women. It’s what makes us a)more powerful and b)not as pleasant company.

  2. […] challenge is to do neither; to recognize and accept gifts as gifts, while discerning strings-attached gifts as such and refusing them.  And all of this is to be […]

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