What you create is part of who you are.
This post presents a philosophical idea inspired by the text of today’s Daf. The Daf is one page in the Talmud that tens of thousands of people study each day. I explain the connection to the text in a comment below. My purpose is to show that there are underlying philosophical assumptions in the Talmud that can have great significance for anybody today trying to understand our complex reality.
I know nothing about you but I know two things. You won’t live forever and there’s no one else exactly like you in the world.
When you spend your valuable time building something, that is time that nobody can give back to you. You chose to spend your time on this rather than doing something else. You have invested your time in this object, idea, project, company or whatever else. What you built is part of who you are.
The way you worked on it, is also part of you. The decisions you made in working on this, were made because of who you are. If the creation is unique, its uniqueness is an expression of your own uniqueness. Everything you do, including the words you say or write down are in the exact form they are in because of who you are.
Sometimes you sell what you create. Sometimes you are hired to work on it. You could have also given it to someone or the Public Domain.
Now you no longer own you creation.
But that just shows that ownership does not tell the whole story.
You may not own it any more, but it will always remain part of who you are. When the now-owner of what you create does not respect that connection that you have, they are amputating a part of you.
Factory workers who create identical copies of the same object might have a problem. There is nothing of their uniqueness in the object. They might feel alienated from the product that they have devoted much of their life to. On the other hand, they may take pride in the fact that the products were produced so well and are now enjoyed. Also, they have not just created the products, they have helped grow the value of the company. When the company does not respect their share of the creation of value, they are denigrating the humanity of the creation process.
Ownership tell only one part of the story of the connection between us and the physical or abstract objects that we create.