Recently I have been wondering how people of intelligence put their brains to use. First, do they feel an obligation to society or humanity to use their intelligence? Or is the allegiance to their families, or to themselves? I suppose some don't use it at all. But if I can use myself as a guideline, I'd guess that needing to challenge the mind is a compulsion, and if you don't, you can't even watch TV without getting fidgety and wondering why there isn't anything to DO. But I digress.
Assuming people want to use their brains, how do they fulfill their own expectations? Most people I've encountered in corporate America (admittedly not many) are content lending their brains to the company in exchange for pay and benefits. To them, this fulfills obligations to themselves, their family, and society. But it's so temporary. I am proud to be part of the greater project on which I'm working, as is everyone around me. But in 100 years, who's going to care? It'll be ancient technology by then. Our pride won't fade over the years, but others' respect will.
Why do I care, since *now* is what matters? It makes me feel less reluctant to reliquish my hold on the rat race. Sure, what I do is fun and way better than engineering gear teeth, but the only real reason I keep it up is the compensation. I still have pride in my work, but it will not keep me tied to this lifestyle.