MOST of life is maintenance, with little time or energy to spare for forward progress. Most of us get so caught up in maintenance that we may even think that we are actually making progress when in fact, weĠre just marking time. Progress can only be made by those who have the substantial part of maintenance removed from their shoulders, This is why, generally speaking, men make the discoveries and innovations that move mankind as a whole into its brave new world. Women, the hewers of wood and drawers of water, donĠt often have the support that is required. Most of humanity is, of course, in the same boat. Male or female makes no great difference, since there is so much maintenance and so little time in which to do it, the road from the cradle to the grave is paved with sowing and reaping, harness mending, dirty dishes, and laundry.

You buy a car to get to work, and you work to pay for the car and the house and the groceries and the orthodonture and to put your kids through school so they can get good jobs to pay for a house and a car and put their kids through school, and nobody gets anything done at all. Null set. The perfectly inefficient machine.

Every now and then somebody comes along who either manages to get work that actually accomplishes something or, more likely, finds himself in a position where somebody else does the maintenance and he finds himself with a little leisure, and instead of wasting it on more maintenance, actually moves things forward a little. Be patient. After a few million years things add up.

July 16, 1999

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