Lucas Cohen

Thoughts on Merit

Mert (DALL·E)

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Merit. We all have it.

Socially agreed upon standards of excellence.

Things that, in reference to others, we are better at. Worthy of praise, or approval.

But it's more nuanced than just skill comparison. Anything that exists at all deserves merit. The nature of reality deserves merit. The fact that anyone reading this can comprehend these symbols strung together and deeply understand what they mean in sequence deserves merit. A lot of what we take for granted is actually incredibly mind-blowingly impressive when we really focus in on what it took us to get here.

We don’t associate merit with basic, ordinary tasks. When we all get good at something, it becomes ordinary. What used to be extraordinary is now just a part of life. Typing these words, that’s not merit worthy today. But the first few people to type anything on a keyboard, who learned the skills of coordinating finger strokes rapidly and accurately, fairly close to the speed of thought, that's merit worthy.

Context matters. Timing matters. History matters. Merit is an ever-changing target.

Something has to be difficult or challenging in the present time frame to be merit-worthy. And difficult enough that not everyone can do it.

Merit depends on the perspectives we take. How zoomed in we look. What comparisons are available.

If you’re reading this, you got here, to this moment.

Whether or not we reach external, social, or prestigious standards of merit in our lives, that’s secondary. And it must be.

Otherwise we might miss the magic right in front of us.

– Apr. 28th, 2022