Ji Bonong has no other words besides utter gratitude.
The process was painfully beyond belief, and the sensation of pathways being burrowed through his body was almost unbearable. However, now, his entire body had already undergone a tremendous change.
His eyes were filled with aether, and he could view the flow of aether in this world.
Aether had also augmented his skin and muscles, making them stronger and tougher.
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More importantly, the flies that were previously torturing him hadn't disappeared completely. Instead, they were hidden somewhere in the void behind him and had become a power he could control...
"Mr. Ji is too kind. It's great that it is of help to you. Heh, I spent a long time picking out this book."
Lin Jie blushed with shame, but an exaggerated reaction like this from Ji Bonong was quite normal. After all, the might of this book was rather huge even back on Earth, let alone in this slightly backward other world.
He straightened his posture, assuming his habitual pose of crossed arms with a hand holding his chin, and said earnestly, "The power contained within this book could subvert society. It's like an invisible hand that can flip the balance of the entire world. I hope Mr. Ji can make good use of it."
An 'Invisible Hand' was the most concise summary of The Wealth of Nations.
The "Invisible Hand” theory was that an invisible hand automatically regulates the functioning of the economy, which promotes the interests of society as a whole, even if everyone is acting in their own interests.
This theory was also the foundation of the Western free economy, although there were some drawbacks to completely following this free economy. Moreover, in Lin Jie's 21st century society, most of the content of The Wealth of Nations was behind the times.
However, in Norzin's current circumstances, The Wealth of Nations could be considered significantly advanced.
Lin Jie himself had no ambitions and didn't have much practical use for books like this, so it was rather suitable for it to be given to President Ji.
"Invisible Hand…" Ji Bonong found it difficult to quell his excitement as he recited the words. Those flies hidden in the void... or perhaps something else had controlled him like a hand.
"Yes, the invisible hand," Lin Jie gave an affirmative answer.
Then, with a solemn expression, he added, "Mr. Ji, although I'm giving this book to you out of trust in Miss Ji, I still have a question for you. In this world, the weak are often bullied and no one punishes those who trample over them. Do you think there should be a righteous god to uphold justice for them?"
All the hairs on Ji Bonong's body stood on end when he heard this.
What did Boss Lin have in mind, but asking this question and telling him about the invisible hand that represented Void Palm?
In other words, the essence of this question seemed to be… whether such a god could use his invisible hand that could change the laws to carry out his own justice.
Ji Bonong was silent for some time before he replied unsteadily, "In my opinion, I think they should..."
"No no no." Lin Jie raised his index finger and shook it. "There shouldn't."
Ji Bonong choked.
"Things like the divine don't exist," said Lin Jie calmly as he spread his hands apart. "If we truly must have a god, it's probably because... the truth and laws of this world are too cheap that it requires a god descending from the heavens to save it."
Lin Jie had still chosen his words a little more carefully, considering the popularity of religion in Norzin.
"The weakness of human nature is to seek benefits and avoid harm." Lin Jie summarized another key point in The Wealth of Nations. "Humans are spurred on for benefits, while anything that goes against human interests and urges humans to do certain things is considered inhumane.
"It's precisely because of this that when the invisible hand pushes the laws, it often causes people to chase after benefits fervently when they have freedom, which ultimately leads toward destruction."
Ji Bonong suddenly recalled when he had previously eavesdropped—he considered it eavesdropping, but when he thought about it again now, it appeared that Boss Lin had deliberately said it for him to hear.
Boss Lin had said that the upper echelons of Norzin were filled with lots of vermin and the power of the remnants of old noble families was corroding Norzin. Those were the people who pursued profit.
Ji Bonong glanced down at the book, seemingly starting to understand why Boss Lin had meticulously selected this book for him.
"Rolle Resource wants to liberate humanity, to liberate the oppressed," he muttered softly before his eyes lit up with excitement. "This is Rolle Resource's true goal! Thank you for your guidance!"
Ahh? It's me, probably… Lin Jie felt slightly awkward on the inside. He had merely intended to make Ji Bonong more vigilant and not turn into a capitalist who only cared about benefits. However, it now appeared as if he had made the latter comprehend something extraordinary.
Lin Jie cleared his throat sheepishly. "In any case, what's most important is actually the effort and hard work of humans themselves. Subjugation and oppression aren't desirable at all."
That's right, oppressors are all inhumane. Those so-called religious organizations that restrained their congregations were all exploiting human nature. The Church of the Dome had long corroborated this point.
Boss Lin… Ji Bonong thought to himself. Boss Lin seems to be enemies of Supreme-ranks. His goal is to liberate humanity.
Wait a minute!
Ji Bonong suddenly seemed to think of something. If Boss Lin is a higher entity that surpasses Supreme-ranks, who only has unceasing sympathy for humans and tries to help them, and he can also easily change the laws...
Such benevolence, such power.
Could it be, he's... a creator?
Ji Bonong calmed his rampant thoughts with a deep breath as he clenched the book in his hand tightly. "I understand what Boss Lin means. I'll definitely remember your words and persevere on this path to lead Rolle Resource to a brighter future."
"Good that you think so." That's if you really understand and not comprehend something entirely weird...
Blinking several times, Lin Jie reiterated the main point earnestly, "In short, I reckon that the path for Rolle Resource lies not with the upper echelons, but instead should let the glory of humanitarianism spread throughout Norzin. It has to work for the benefit of the majority... And the love and recognition of these masses will become Rolle Resource."
"That's right." Ji Bonong nodded vigorously. "For the ordinary man just like me to one day extricate themselves from oppression!"
Lin Jie's lips twitched. Ordinary man? Old man, you really have a way with words... Ordinary Norzin's... richest?! That's the most extreme of humblebrags!
However, at least the main point hadn't been misunderstood. Given Rolle Resource's current monopoly, the negative impact that the book, The Wealth of Nations, might have ought to be greatly reduced.
Lin Jie cleared his throat. "We've already gone off topic and I almost forgot that we aren't in the bookstore now. Let's stop talking about books. I'm actually here to deliver a present."
He looked toward Ji Zhixiu and said with full sincerity, "A few months ago, during a storm, Miss Ji and I crossed paths and became friends through books. A long time has passed since, and in my opinion, we can already be considered best friends."
Lin Jie emphasized the word "friend" to let Ji Zhixiu understand their relationship.
"Happy birthday, Miss Ji." Lin Jie nonchalantly took out a plain wooden box from behind his back.
"Open it." Lin Jie pushed the box toward Ji Zhixiu.
Ji Zhixiu eyed the plain-looking box. Taking a deep breath, she glanced once at her father before plucking up her courage and gently opened the box.
The box was peeled away to reveal an exquisite mechanical clock-like structure.
Ji Zhixiu was stunned.
Seeing Ji Zhixiu's surprised expression, Lin Jie couldn't help coughing dryly. This was actually the Clockwheel Worm that Andrew had previously given Lin Jie which was now being reused as a present.
This was entirely because his dirt-poor bookstore really didn't have anything much to offer. Ji Zhixiu had a rather tight relationship with him, so Lin Jie reckoned he couldn't always be giving her lady's books every time.
Therefore, this exquisite clock came to Lin Jie's mind.
While he had silently complained that gifting a clock was a homophone for sending someone off (at a funeral), such a term didn't exist in Norzin. And since he didn't really have anything on hand, Lin Jie had just brought it along.
It was originally in an exquisite enamel box, but unfortunately, Boss Lin's weak human nature had made him peel it open—That box had seemed to be worth a bit as well.
"Don't just assume that this is just an ordinary clock," said Lin Jie with a smile. He took the clock out from the box and pointed at the tiny bug lying within. "It has an extraordinary power source."