Less is Enough Hero #2

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Less Is Enough Hero #2: Tim Berners-Lee

Tim Berners-Lee

Tim Berner-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web.

I’ve admired Tim Berners-Lee for many years, and loved this quote when I first read it, and am putting him up here in my Hall of Fame to make myself feel better about the fact that I managed to come up with a project that was hugely disruptive to my life, enormously useful to other people, and garnered great deal of publicity and public interest while generating virtually no income for me. (Some of which is my own fault because I’m philosopically opposed to pervasive advertising … that’s what I get for sticking to my values and not plastering my blog with ads.)

Emphasis (italicized text) in the quote is mine.

“People have sometimes asked me whether I am upset that I have not made a lot of money from the Web. In fact, I made some quite conscious decisions about which way to take my life. These I would not change—though I am making no comment on what I might do in the future.

What does distress me, though, is how important a question it seems to be to some. This happens mostly in America, not Europe.

What is maddening is the terrible notion that a person’s value depends on how important and financially successful they are, and that that is measured in terms of money. That suggests disrespect for the researchers across the globe developing ideas for the next leaps in science and technology. Core in my upbringing was a value system that put monetary gain well in its place, behind things like doing what I really want to do.

To use net worth as a criterion by which to judge people is to set our children’s sights on cash rather than on things that will actually make them happy.

Amen.

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4 Responses to “Less is Enough Hero #2”


  1. I totally agree. And maybe it is why the concept or value of Less IS Enough resonates. In my own world, I think of “success” as being able to do what I love (paint) and give away a chunk of every piece of work to help homeless animals find their health or second (3rd, 4th,) chance at a home. I’ll never be rich in funds but the value of each animal I helped, even a little, to save makes me humbled and happy. Less for ME, More for Them!
    Keep at it…I will enjoy your latest project following along.

  2. Lola Says:

    It’s not surprising that the father of the wwweb would have such insight into what is really valuable. I agree that in this country, there is rather too much emphasis put on earnings and even job title over a person’s character and the value they add to the lives around them. Some years ago, an English friend commented that our respective cultures tended to view the subject of jobs & prestige rather differently. He said that in the UK, the Duke of Northumberland is the Duke of Northumberland, even if he’s flat broke. In America, if a person loses his job, he loses his identity. We need to move away from investing all our identity into jobs and incomes.

  3. Fred Says:

    If we don’t value wealth, then how else are we to compare?

    Sorry, “dearie”, but we live in a world, where we have only one life, and we have to make something of it.

    We are instinctively driven to select mates based on their desirability; while some of that is slightly perverted by Madison Avenue, the drive is still innate.

    In modern society, unless you’re genetically blessed (6′, blond hair, blue-eyed, natural V-shape and sixpack), as a man, you’re fighting an uphill battle to attract mates. Women don’t go for guys who shun Mercedes and a penthouse suite in favor of a tent and a bicycle. Even with wealth, fate favors the tall and handsome, not the average Joe.

    I wish it were not so, but in my life, I’ve lived in both scenarios, and the latter is not preferable, unless you desire to sleep alone.

  4. lessisenough Says:

    Yes, we only have one life and we have to make something of it.

    All the more reason not to spend it trying to impress shallow people.

    There’s a lid for every pot. There are as many people who are attracted to people with tents and bicycles as those who are attracted to people with Mercedes and penthouse suites. You just need to look in the right place for who you want to find.


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