If you follow the news at all, you may have read or heard the phrase, “corporations are people.” I believe this began a few years ago with a Supreme Court ruling and has since become one of many concepts dividing left and right. Politics and taxes and so on aside, I must say, flat out, that corporations are not people. Corporations, like books, like websites, like families even, are ideas. People get ideas, and some of these ideas become real – but the ideas are not people.

I am pointing this out, here on this page about writing, because writers can – just like CEOs, apparently – sometimes confuse themselves with their ideas. That idea came from me, and so it is me. Steve Jobs was not Apple anymore than Shakespeare was Hamlet. Shakespeare and now Steve Jobs are both passed on, and yet the idea that is Apple and the idea that is Hamlet continue to exist in their non-human form.

Corporations exist to make money. They exist to make products, also, and certainly these products exist to hopefully bring pleasure into the world, but to survive a corporation must make money. Likewise, a work of art is created to entertain, amuse, enlighten, frighten, or any combination thereof. A person, meanwhile, does not exist solely to make money, nor to entertain or enlighten. A person exists only to be happy.

It is easy to forget this. It is easy to think we exist to make money, or to write great books, or to make babies. It would be simpler if it were so, wouldn’t it? It would be simpler if we were put on earth to complete some task and then were rewarded in heaven like a race of obedient dogs. All evidence points to the contrary. We seem to be free to create corporations or write books as our desire dictates. Such is our lot. Our ideas may outlive us, but until a corporation can birth a middle manager, or a book can write an author, we remain the only spring through which those waters flow.

If you like the ideas and perspectives expressed here, feel free to contact me about individual and group conferencing.

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