Internet Porn and Other Wrong Numbers

I tell my boys that God never created two people exactly alike. We all share enough in common with lots of others to be able to have friends with us when we head off on our adventures and to have others understand why we love certain songs more than others and all that sort of thing. But we are all also unique. We all were put on Earth for some special purpose.

He doesn’t tell us what it is though. We have to figure it out. It often is hard to do so. It often takes a lot of time and work. I tell my boys to be sure to figure out what that something is that they were meant to do because solving that mystery is one of the keys to achieving happiness in this life.

I have come to believe from seeing people’s reactions to my writings that the special thing that God created me for was to help people win financial freedom early in life. My writings often hit people in such a deep place that it seems to me that the work I do at this site is what I was truly put on earth to do.

Lots of people write about personal finance. For me to make a significant contribution, I need to be doing something different from what any of the others do. What I do different, I believe, is that I put the “personal” back into the phrase “personal finance.”

I was reading the posts at the discussion board associated with the RetireEarlyHomePage.com site early this morning when I saw a post by John Greaney (owner of the site) saying “maybe we should start a new board ‘Investigating the Tie Between Rob Bennett and Internet Porn’.” Greaney is leading a long-running Smear Campaign against me because I reported accurately what the historical stock-return days says re safe withdrawal rates and he got the number wrong in a study published at his site and does not want to admit it. He or someone in his Goon Squad once inserted my name as a search term into a page of pornography so that when people go to a search engine trying to find out about my book, they pull up the page of pornography with my name on it instead of what they are looking for. The words above are his way of threatening to take the Smear Campaign in new and even uglier directions.

There was another post on the same thread by a poster who goes by the screen-name “Tashina” which discussed the question of whether I get some sort of emotional satisfaction from trying to steer our discussion-board community back to a better place.

The trick that drives much of my writing is that I aim to identify connections between seemingly unrelated points and develop saving or investing or career-change insights out of the connections discovered. On reading the two posts, a connection between the Greaney post and the Tashina post quickly came to mind.

The reason why I find the work I do trying to steer our community back to a better place so rewarding is that I have long felt a deep need to do meaningful work and it satisfies that need of mine for me to be able to help thousands of community members win financial freedom early in life. That’s the answer to the question posed by Tashina. The first thought I had in response to the post put forward by Greaney was to acknowledge having looked at porn on the internet. His usual strategy is to aim to drive away honest posters by telling some lie about them, having members of the Goon Squad agree with the lie, and thereby try to make the honest poster feel a sense of shame in being rejected by this particularly vicious and hate-filled segment of our community. If Greaney were to find out that I have looked at porn on the internet, he would have something against me and I don’t like the idea of John Greaney having something against me.

I thought about it a bit and I decided that porn is an issue that is going to come up someday in my writings anyway, so I might as well just go ahead and suffer my embarrassment now and be done with it. I didn’t discuss any details because that is obviously not appropriate. But I did say in my response post that I have looked at porn, that I have reported the sin in the confession box (I am Catholic) and that I would be grateful if any community members would be willing to say a prayer for me to overcome any future temptations. My guess is that one or two just may do that, and that their prayers may help a bit.

So I think I turned something bad (a threat) into something good (an occasion for prayer). I also created for myself another strong reminder of how much more work there is to be done exploring the connection between money issues and real-life issues. Why do people look at porn? There are lots of reasons. One of them is that they have inside them a feeling of frustration or dissatisfaction with the real world that comes from their unrealized desire to be engaged in meaningful work.

You need to do calculations and jizz-jazz like that to win your financial freedom early in life. That’s not the most important thing, though. The most important thing is to integrate your life, work and money desires.

That means going down deep.

“Honey, that’s the hardest part,” argues a Bonnie Raitt song.

I like that song.

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