Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Payback Time

There is no such thing as a free lunch. Wrong. Since there are lunches that we have to pay before or immediately after enjoying them, there are certainly free lunches, absolutely free with no attachments, no future obligations, no delayed stomach ache, no hidden costs. Everything on Earth has its extreme opposite pair, its paradox. If you can’t find the pair of a certain thing today, then it is hiding somewhere at a distance corner of the Universe.

Hence there are free and unfree lunches. They both exist. Some of what seems to be free lunches, as we all know, are not really free ones. One need to pay the hidden cost later, and it may come in different form of payments. At the end of the day the payments can be a lot more expensive and cause more pains than the actual value and the joy of the like-free lunches. These like-free lunches in essence are the unfree ones. They come with hidden costs, with unknown term of payments.

Like-free lunches can be in the form of justifiable or unjustifiable commission and precious gifts, job appointments, scholarships, convenient shopping environment at hypermarkets or malls, like-free software, like-free seminars, like-free credit cards, or maybe people who enrich themselves at Government expense. Like-free lunches exist everywhere, be it in personal, social, political, or even in science related fields.

The problem is that some people have selective memories. They choose not to remember which lunches were paid and which ones were delayed. Some people intentionally enveloped themselves in self-denials to justify that, yes, they deserve those like-free lunches, and do not want to pay the bills when they appear.

As an example, in a corruption case, perpetrator normally prefers to spend a big sum of money to pay lawyers, prosecutors, judges, or anybody who can be bought to help him or her to avoid justice. In this case, the pains from the forced payment can be more severe than what they had ever expected or prepared for.

Things like noble or dirty thoughts that were buried for years in the mind and heart that affect the way a person see the world, nice or nasty words that were spoken, good or evil actions that were committed, smart or silly actions that were delivered, nice or mean gestures that were revealed, will also have immediate or delayed consequences to the person who have done them. There will be payback times, sooner or later.

The lesson that a person gets during the payback times, however, can be far more meaningful than the experience that the person got during like-free lunches, provided that the person looks and deals the issue honestly.

What is the appropriate time to pay for the like-free lunches? No one knows, but there maybe indicators, clues, albeit they are sometimes quite subtle and vague. One thing for sure is that one cannot avoid a payback time. Payback times will come at any given time, mostly, unexpected.

It’s not always a personal choice to pay one's own lunch, even though by doing that the person needs not to worry for any future consequences as the lunch is paid already. Sometimes a person couldn't refuse the juicy offer or the seductive temptation of the like-free lunches.

What the person needs to do is to face the payback time wisely when it comes. Hence, when it strikes, look deep down inside, accept and pay the cost of the like-free lunch with big hearts, and by doing that, one will know himself or herself better, and most importantly, one will gain or keep his or her self-respect and dignity.

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  1. Such a beautiful vision of life. Its very true that payback times will come at any given time, mostly, unexpected. I am really impressed with your writing ability.

  2. This scrumptious post wetted my appetite with all its talk about free lunches ;)

  3. Hi, just dropping by to say Hello to you. Drop by at my blog whenever you have time. Thanks...

  4. Dropping by here... you got a nice blog and I will visit you again.

  5. @Werbegeschenke: thanks...
    @Cheap Hotels South Lake Tahoe: is there any free hotel??

    @Chizmosa, Choklats: will do, cheers.

  6. Free hotels?

    i don't think so.


    free lunches, definitely!

  7. @barry wheeler: yeah right :), maybe someday; as I wrote that if we couldn't find the paradox today, it's still hiding somewhere...

  8. Your explanation of this "free lunches and its payback time" reminds me to one of my lecturer philosophy about zero sum concept, which can be simplified that every things we do in live will have its consequence which will reverse the first things to more simpler word: karma

    You said: "payback times will come at any given time, mostly, unexpected" do you means also to afterlife..???

  9. I'm afraid there are no free hotels, especially not at Lake Tahoe ;)

  10. I'm sure we all wish to get more free lunches more often!!

  11. Zero sum concept yg dibilang fajrin itu mungkin bisa juga dikaitkan dgn 'hukum kekekalan energi',yah maksudnya sebenarnya di alam ini tidak ada energi yg hilang,apapun yg sudah kita berikan/keluarkan akan sesuai dgn apapun yg kt terima.sama aza dgn setiap perbuatan ada konsekuensinya.ngomong2 zaman skrg gak ada yg gratisan.

  12. you truly have a philosophical brain dude...

    you created concept of free lunches out of nothing :D

    good job

  13. @fajrin: your lecturer has a point. When, how, how long, in the form of what the zero condition is achieved, however, can only be seen by the third eyes, eyes of the hearts. Yes, the broad terms of karma can explain it better.

    For the believers, the paybacks afterlife are sure things, and they are all expected.

    @Cheap Hotels South Lake Tahoe: well, you can always spare a room free of charge once a week or once in a month perhaps, with no conditions whatsoever. See what will happen to your hotel in the next six months, and let me know....

    @travel site: not if you know the hidden bills that will haunt you afterwards....

    @awi: ya hukum thermodinamik yang pertama di fisika nduk. perbuatan untuk tidak berbuat pun juga kadang ada konsekuensi, yang bisa jauh lebih berat ketimbang berbuat apa saja.
    zaman skrg yang gak ada gratisannya itu kebanyakan hanya di kota2 besar nduk; di kampung, buang air masih gratis koq...:)

    @Bouncer: it's probably more on freeing the brain from the widely accepted wisdom, and try to see it in different angles...

  14. @Werbegeschenke: thanks...
    @Cheap Hotels South Lake Tahoe: is there any free hotel??

  15. You definitely spend a lot of time explaining the concept of the "like-free lunch", and I think the points you make ring true with me, but you set up the concept of an actual free lunch in the first paragraph, and it was this claim that drew me in. But you failed to offer an explanation as to what these "true" free lunches are and instead went into the whole argument of the not-free lunch that has been mulled over a bit. But you through out a compelling concept that deserves to be fleshed-out. I'd like to hear your commentary on the "truly" free lunch.

  16. @Rebecca: thanks; you are quite right with the fact that I haven't explored enough about "truly" free lunches. Whilst I believe the existence of "truly" free lunches, I realize that it's not that easy to find good examples of the “truly” ones. However, even if we couldn’t find one good example today, it doesn’t mean that the “truly” one does not exist.

    Just like the fact that there are so many colors between black and white, i.e. the different levels of grey, there are only one "truly" black and one "truly" white color. Whilst black and white can be identified easily, it may not be the case with any type of "truly" free lunches and "truly" paid lunches.

    The money that we spend to pay for our lunches at restaurants, no matter how expensive they are, may not be the true cost of what we suppose to pay. They can be hidden subsidies, over or under. It’s the same situation in all services and goods that we pay, be it in education, rehabilitation centers, transportation, accommodation, entertainment, energy, water, publicity, information, communication, friendship, or sex.

    The “truly” paid lunches shouldn’t come with immediate or delayed consequences after paying the bills, i.e. all the diseases or inconveniences as results of the way the food are prepared, the poisons in raw materials from pesticides or polluted water, and their impact on vital organ functions when they are consumed for years.

    Food, fruits, animal or fish taken directly from their natural habitats that haven’t been touched or modified by human’s hands maybe good candidates for “truly” free lunches.

    Wisdoms from the elderly, passed from generations to generations through traditional storytelling in remote areas in Java where modern magical devices such as TVs, refrigerators, game consoles, and personal computers haven’t brutally invaded their homes, may also serve the “truly” free ones. Modern people still have to spend money to get wisdom from wise men at mosques, churches, temples, bookstores or training centers.

    While modern life may also offer “truly” free lunches, but the closer we are to nature and live in harmony with it and abide by its laws, chances are better for us to experience the “truly” ones. Sometimes it’s the “truly” free lunches that greet the chosen people, not the other way around. Then, it raises a question as to why would a person deserves to get the “truly” free lunches, while others are not.

  17. People like you help us to open our minds to the reality of our minds. Time is so valuable and sometimes we waste it in superficial things. Nice man

  18. You have a nice vision of life and an impressive writing ability.

  19. Thanks for this informative post..I agree that in life we must be ready in all the unexpected or expected event in our daily activities.Just be strong and have faith..