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January 9, 2020 / Congau

Useful Is Useless

What is truly useful, is useless. The best things in life serve no practical purpose; they are useless because they can’t be used for anything else than its own enjoyment. On the other hand, what is useful exists to achieve something other than itself, so itself it is useless.

We want to be happy; that is the ultimate goal of everything we do, but usually that idea is remote from the immediate needs of our daily life. Before we can think of happiness, we simply need to stay alive and secure the bare necessities. When that is taken care of, we need a certain comfort to spare us from inconveniences and then we need more comfort. It is all very useful since it improves our basic condition and better enables us to… to do what we really want, presumably.

So all that useful stuff is only needed to get somewhere else; we don’t need it for its own sake. What would happen if we reached a state without inconveniences and all those useful items were in place? It would be a useless condition if we didn’t use it for something we really enjoyed, something that was not useful.

An ultimate goal and a final purpose can’t be useful since it is the end of the chain. Whatever makes us happy is useless since it is not supposed to bring something else, but it is the most useful of all since it makes us happy.

Bread and butter and a pair of boots – so useful and so useless.

A house and a car – so what?

Give me the painting of the Sistine Madonna and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

Draw a picture and play a song, read a poem – it is useful.

Let the wheels of the economy grind and toil – it is useless.

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