• Ilya B Shambat
    I never wanted money for the sake of money; but there was a time when I wanted money because I believed that it would afford me greater credibility. I found out since then that this is not the case. I was in San Francisco in 1998 and then again in 2000. The first time around I was making a lot of money; the second time around I was homeless. People found me more interesting the second time than the first time. That is because in 1998 I was yet another boring, boastful yuppie; whereas in 2000 I was doing something interesting and original and had interesting things to say.

    Credibility can be achieved in any number of ways. Some people achieve credibility by accomplishing impressive things. Others achieve credibility by developing in-depth insight or having life experience. Others still achieve credibility by developing strong character, courage and strength. I have made efforts in all of these directions, and there are any number of people who value what I have to say. I have found in all cases that not only did this enhance credibility but it also enhanced the quality of the material offered. What results in these cases is greater wisdom, and then it becomes possible to communicate things that are wise and have credibility for it.

    With what I have to say on the Internet, there are some people who like and are frequently grateful for what I write, and there are others who attack me. Most of the ones who attack me have very little of anything original to contribute. Some of them have more education than me; some of them are more skillful at arguing than me. But very few of them have actually anything to say.

    So I suppose the forums that are open to writers are also open to bullies, and one should get used to that kind of thing. However that does not mean taking the abuse lying down. I have in fact found that at times the people who attack you learn to respect you if you defend yourself well; and I have known people who started out flaming each other who became friends as they interacted.

    Back to the original subject. Money can be a path to credibility, but there are any number of other paths to credibility as well. And I advocate very much the character path and the experience path to those who want to both have something meaningful to say and to be taken seriously.
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