Posts tagged Philosophy
I believe I’ve covered this before but I feel like making it official, there are stupid questions, this is a thing. I know teachers will say that there are no stupid questions but there indeed are, this has been covered by plenty of philosophers and major public figures over human history. I’m going to go over a few of them and for those of you that have been here for a long time you’ll see some familiar commentary.
Any question that cannot be answered is a stupid question, these questions are empty of substance and completely worthless. Even from a philosophical view I would argue that these questions are a waste of mental energy because there is no place to go. You can usually find these questions through replacement, if you can take the subject of the question and change it to absolutely anything else and it remains equally insurmountable it is a stupid question.
“What is the meaning of Life?”
“What is the meaning of Turnip?”
These are both stupid questions, yet one of them people hold in the highest esteem and it is seen as the source of why religion is necessary. But the question is inherently flawed and foolish, it takes something that doesn’t have an objective meaning and asks the user to define it. The answer is different for every observer and all answers are equally valid, which makes the question entirely devoid of substance.
This vestige of history hangs around like genital herpes and the fact that anyone gives it credence anymore astounds me. There is no meaning of life just like there is no meaning of turnip. Sure you could argue the meaning of turnip is to reproduce and thrive but then you could also argue that for life.
What about “What is the meaning of Rock?” we’ve just thrown a serious cog in the works now!
I touched on it a bit early but another example of a stupid question is any question that has a profound qualifier. What is a profound qualifier? I would define a profound qualifier as a qualifier that invalidates the profundity of the question.
“Why does life as we know it exist?”
I’m sure you’ve heard something like this before, if you haven’t you will hear it from every euphoric drug addict or smug theist you come across (not all theists, just the smug ones). Did you catch the profound qualifier?
“as we know it”
With that simple little line the question instantly becomes devoid of substance, and even without it that line is implied. I’ll explain why, because if I didn’t that would make me a jerk. There are two possible outcomes for any universe, life exists or life does not. In all instances where life does not exist, life will not observe itself existing.
The very fact that we are observing this universe means this universe is capable of sustaining life. Furthermore life as we know it could apply to absolutely any of the infinitely many ways that our biology could be comprised in the infinitely many ways the universe could be comprised because we only know life as we know it, we only know anything as we know it.
As we know it is a profound qualifier, and in mathematics it would be similar to replacing a number with X then feeling epiphanies when any number fits. “My god, X = X works for all possible numbers! I have discovered something deep and meaningful!”
Why are we here?
Ooh, that seems like a tough one, it could even be taken as a spinoff of the “What is the meaning of life?” Sounds like a deep question right? Heck I hear scientists and philosophers across all mediums stating that this is one of those deep questions in life.
Really? I’m much more interested in knowing how to create life than I am in this question. Good reason for that also, this question is pant shitting stupid.
As I stated before if we were not here we would not know we aren’t here, there is nothing special about us being here because here is the only place we could be. The thing is that any sentient species in any universe in any timeframe could ask this question and it would be equally valid because it is self fulfilling.
The very fact that you can ask it is the answer. You are here because here is the universe that could sustain you, there is nothing special about it. If this wasn’t what it is you wouldn’t be what you are but the question would be the same because the answer is mundane.
How about nihilism? The question of if any of this is real?
I call these WC questions, these are questions that inspire the simple response “Who Cares?” Not as an actual question because obviously someone has asked but more a plea for people to think the question through. If nihilism is correct then who cares? Who cares if the entire universe doesn’t really exist, everything you taste, touch, feel, and love is still as relatively real as it was before. Your emotions exist within the same state as all other things because they exist within the same laws as all other things, so the value of your own state versus that of the state of all things doesn’t change if this is true.
So woop-dee freaking do, absolutely nothing changes if nihilism is correct.
But what about what happens after death? This is another WC, religion tries to mold this question by giving you choices for your death. But given the obvious wrongness involved, I am left looking at death as death. It is currently inevitable so I am much more interested in making it not so than I am about what happens when it hits.
If I’m dead I won’t be around to worry about being dead and I won’t care. If somehow there is an afterlife I’ll be surprised and probably pleasantly so, but until that day it just doesn’t matter. Really jerking on about what happens after death ignores all the things that can be done and should still be done in life. Talk about counting your chickens before you even have eggs!
Why do these questions make me feel so weird then? They must mean something!
Nope, I hate to be so blunt but there is a very simple explanation for why these kind of questions cause you to get butterflies and leaves your mind wandering off into the fields. Your brain doesn’t appreciate unknowns, cognitive dissonance is the phenomenon created by situations where your experiences don’t conform with your beliefs. The two most common responses to this feeling are either complete surrender [aka depression] or remarkable violence [aka bigotry et al.].
Your brain doesn’t like either of these, the first will likely mean you won’t reproduce and the latter means you might die and not reproduce which is double bad! So what does it do? It tries to solve it (which it won’t) and when it decides that the question cannot be answered it responds with euphoria.
Think of it like that cliché moment in movies where someone asks a robot a paradox and it explodes. You, instead, have a braingasm.
But don’t be fooled, these questions are stupid, truly the bottom of the barrel. These are the kind of questions that children ask because they are making incorrect comparisons. In fact now that I mention it I’ve got one final one to close us out!
What made the universe?
I like this one, it is cute. This is usually where god comes in, folks make the bold statement that nothing can’t simply spawn something [sure did alright making god, but I digress]. However this makes the false conclusion that things end. The matter that makes you has always existed [in some fashion, it was just energy for a while, Einstein and all that], as far as we can see the matter that makes everyone has always existed. There are some interesting things at the quantum level where the particles that make up matter are blinking in and out of existence but on the atomic scale and above all matter is here and has been here.
The big bang, more accurately the great expansion, was a massive amount of energy that led to a series of incredibly amazing interactions with matter and anti matter, blah blah blah, here we are. There is absolutely no evidence or reason to believe the universe came from nothing. I’ve discussed it before and noted the Mobius strip, when you look at a Mobius strip it appears to have 2 sides but a careful run of the pencil along one side will find it not only meeting itself again but also covering “both” sides. That is, a Mobius strip is a 1 sided object in a 3 dimensional world, pretty amazing.
This is related to the frailty of our observational tools, eyes, ears, brains, etc. We are locked within three dimensions and we experience time in only one fashion. However I am quite certain that we’ll find that time itself is just like a Mobius strip, it looks like an object with a beginning and an end but it is in fact infinite. Even if this universe has a technical beginning at the big bang it will be found that it came from another mechanism that itself is infinite. The alternatives are just far too silly and contrived [and frankly boring].
It doesn’t even technically need to have no beginning and end to be infinite. There are an infinitely many numbers between 1 and 2, so you could create a line between 1 and 2 and you have an infinitely long line between two finite points. But I’m getting off track.
Nothing in all of human experience has ever begun and ended at the material level. Our animation gives us the biases that things have a beginning and an end when they do not. The best one could argue is that entropy requires that everything ordered will eventually become disordered, but this has nothing to do with creation or anything divine.
Children watch their neighbor die or see their brother or sister be born and they equate this to other broader concepts that it does not apply. But they are children and that is the beauty of the budding mind.
There is, however, no excuse for adults. There are so many beautiful questions waiting for answers, many wonderful particles to be found, chemistry to be done, flowers to be smelled, planets to be colonized, and lives to be enriched. Lets start enriching lives with actual substance instead of this McDonalds grade crap.
These questions are to the brain what a Big Mac is to your life expectancy. A cute diversion when had once in a blue moon, but if you do it daily you’ll be worse for it.
Man, I bet when you saw the title of this you were so amped. It is often said that there are two subjects that are utterly off limits, religion and politics. The people who say this are stupid and should be shocked with a car battery.
Now if you are going to enter politics or are even thinking about entering politics you need to sit down and say things in some recorded fashion that utterly ruin you in future election campaigns. So that is what this is! I want to run for Congress when I am 30 and so I feel it is my duty to blab my true feelings right now and have them come back to haunt me.
But why? Why would I do this? Honestly because if that’s all folks got, digging around weblogs from 2012, they are really boned and I figure that’ll say more about my opponents than me. See folks, that last sentence, that was projection. What I did was I immediately accused future people of a certain thing so that when they, possibly legitimately, responded with “actually that’s you that that describes.” it looks like a grade school “nuh-uh! You are!” situation.
Projection is extremely popular and is one of the most common modern tricks in politics. Watch any debate or any 24 hour news station and you’ll see it from almost every single person. Anywho! Now that I’ve shown you I am an expert at spin and deception I would like to get down to the details.
What I’m about to say is grossly oversimplified but it gives you the basic idea of what I consider the roles of the Government and of the people living under that Government. There are going to be things that seem obvious to you that I am forgetting but that is mostly because half a cup of coffee mixed with half a cup of chocolate almond milk does not a genius make. It does however make a bitchin’ cup of coffee. Onward!
The Government, any government anywhere, has three major tasks and it must complete these three tasks or else it is a bad government. Not only bad but unjust and immoral. These three things are providing solid education and training to all its citizens, healthcare to all its citizens, and finally providing protection to all its citizens. Not a thing less, now you’ll notice that the first two were very specific and the last one was wholly balls vague. That’s the kind of line you hear at a stump speech “I value protection!” I’m sure you do random fantasy candidate! I’ll describe it further shortly.
These three things are critically essentially and without them all governments fail. I do not mean that metaphorically, every failed city state in human history collapsed because it could not supply one or all of these three things. All of them, every last one, now you might be thinking of one that seemed to fall for a different reason but I’m going to argue that this is not the case. What’s that? I don’t have a history degree and shouldn’t be so bold?
This is ‘Merica! You commie! [Mmm, delicious McCarthyism.]
But why do the governments who do not supply these fail? Why would any government not want any of these things? This almost always comes back to individual greed and the nature of imbalance. I’m not entirely sure I’ll cover everything but I’ll give it a shot. In all societies that use a mercantile system, which I think is all of them, you have a situation of economic gravitation.
But what is economic gravitation? I created this term literally just now and am going to coin the shit out of it. Economic gravitation is not dissimilar to normal gravitation, and it involves the nature of funds to congregate in spots that have higher levels of currency than other locations. This gravitation grows and grows, those dense areas of revenue begin to suck up more and more funds.
Eventually you have catastrophic amounts of revenue stuck in single locations where the funds do not escape, save for some light radiation. Stephen Hawking has Hawking radiation, I’m jacking the Walker radiation.
One of the major reasons for this is that, as so many rappers have noted, more money means more power. More power means more influence and more influence means an easier time manipulating the markets to increase revenue streams to further increase revenue, then power, then influence, and repeat. This is a closed system that will continue ad infinitum, that is until the economy it is based around collapses.
It is these large dense sources of money that are literally the sole source of any of the above 3 essentials being ignored. These are the only entities in the trade system that benefit from any of these options lacking. In the case of education you want those with the least amount of revenue to also have the bare bottom education possible, this will keep them from making informed decisions and makes them much easier to manipulate.
A stupid population is a controlled one. This is the essence of starving education.
Keeping the healthcare system in your country at bare bones is also a very powerful strategic tool for these economic black holes, when healthcare costs are high you are more likely to keep the population more concerned with crushing debt from medical bills or from fear of disease or famine. If you have compounded this with a poor education you can use the fear of death to manipulate people in ways that make organized religions hard with envy [oh no, he didn’t just say that, there goes his election].
But then what about protection? This one is a little more broad. Protection covers a healthy and reasonable military (something we don’t have), it covers the expectation and delivery of housing at prices that match income (something we don’t have), and it covers the general expectation and delivery of all systems that are integral with security. Regulating businesses, regulating resource use, regulating construction and environmental impacts are all examples of protection. These are crucial because the nature of business is for money to aggregate and for those aggregates to become disconnected with the impact of their actions. A government is not a business and should never be seen as such.
So what is then the job of the citizen? Under a government that provides all of the above there are a few tasks of every good citizen. You must be willing to pay taxes, taxes are the source of revenue that drives the engine of the government. They keep you safe and healthy and you keep them running, this symbiosis is perfect. Taxes should not come from sources that improve the community. Home ownership is a positive actions as it shows support of your region or nation, having a job is a positive action and improves your region or nation. The main sources of revenue from taxation should come from business, either through taxation of industry and commerce or from sales taxes. The business and industrial sectors get the protection and support of the government and in return they invest in the government, just as the citizens spend their income from being good citizens and the sales tax from those luxury purchases further leads to perpetuating this system.
Secondly, a citizen must make all reasonable attempts to abide by the laws of their country and/or make a concerted effort to change those that are no longer valid. If a person can manage to be active in law making as well as abiding by those laws made and enforced, while also paying taxes, you shouldn’t see many if any cases where there are problems.
So that’s it, as far as I can tell. Citizens should pay taxes and be good (no brainer) and the government should supply Healthcare, Education, and Protection. There is nothing stopping businesses form doing these things as well but they must do them within the law and they may never stop the government from providing these things. Business is about profits and the Government is about symbiosis, healthcare, education, and protection should never be profit based systems. Receiving these from non-profits must always be available and must always be expected.
All else leads to national collapse. The nature of economic gravitation allows for no other conclusion. This is why we must have regulation and why we cannot privatize the government or privatize these three sectors exclusively. We must not, ever. [Though we currently are and this is why this nation, along with all others, is unjust and must be changed.]
So that’s that! Now you know my thoughts! I’m going to be totally flattered if I end up seeing this in a black and white commercial in a few years.
I’ve been reading again which has sparked my brain. In particular I would like to talk about water, water is easily my favorite drink. I’m not sure how many people would say that, but if you gave me the option of my favorite soda or juice and water I would choose water every time.
When I was little I was never informed about what dehydration feels like and for much of my young life before high school I felt like I was inferior, running with other students was difficult and painful. One day I mentioned it to my PE teacher and he simply said “Drink water, you are dehydrated.” Magically my performance improved dramatically and my confidence was boosted.
Water is fantastic.
But I’m not here to discuss how water saved my physical life (and dramatically reduced the amount of illnesses I get or was getting). I’m here to discuss water in its 3 forms and to push forward a notion from Richard Feynman that I felt was quite beautiful.
We’ll start from the most active and make our way down to the least active. The reason for this is I want to discuss a bit deeper to beat a “miracle” about ice to death. But first!
When you heat up water, or any liquid (most of which contain water), there is a point where the excitation of the molecules that make up water (the atoms two hydrogen and one oxygen) that the force that binds them together becomes weaker than the energy that is repelling them. When you do this enough the bonds that keep water together begin to break and they spread apart.
The close molecules are together the warmer they will become and the further apart they are the cooler they become. As the energy that separated the water into steam begins to cool the forces that attract the water molecules will start to take dominance and drag it back together.
Effectively the hydrogen atoms in water really enjoy being around the oxygen in it, this malleable bond is (to my knowledge) why water is a liquid. If you think about this bond as you would a pair of horse shoe magnets you can better get an understanding for how they stay together. The hydrogen atoms of various water particles are pushing away from one another while simultaneously trying to get sexy with the nearest oxygen atoms they can see.
Get too much of this excitation going on, perhaps by increasing the pressure or by increasing the energy being forced into the water and you will get these molecules attracting and repelling with such force that they will actually launch some of their brothers and sisters right out of the container. This is commonly called evaporating, which is one of those words that really clearly explains what it means in the name…kinda neat.
On a related note, ever wondered why increasing pressure on an object will make it warmer the more pressure you add? The crushing action of, say a piston, is very similar to hitting a ball with a racket or a bat. The speed that that ball bounces off either of those things is faster than the speed it had when it hit them. Increase speed leads to more collisions, which leads to more energy build up (through friction), which leads to more speed and more collisions and these things will keep banging against stuff until they find an escape. Alternatively they’ll keep doing this till all that energy is pulled away through the container (presuming the container is cooler than the water itself).
Everything is looking for equilibrium, if you give things a lot of space to level out they will be cool but if you force them into spaces that are smaller than their balanced state they will get warmer. Basically, that’s how I understand it.
As I jumped the gun in steam I mentioned the interesting interaction water has with itself. The hydrogen are trying to touch the oxygen which are trying to touch the hydrogen. This results in a lot of jiggling, like a bunch of McDonald’s customers at a rave, they begin to bump and grind against one another when they are near.
Atoms can certainly seem a bit homophobic when you put them in a pot, the hydrogen trying not to bump into other hydrogen for fear of being demoted to a less popular atom. Oxygen however doesn’t appear to be too averse to getting nice and close, perhaps oxygen is the more adventurous of the two, but the hatred that hydrogen has for its neighbors is big enough, or perhaps its love for oxygen is big enough, that the connections always end up looking like the following:
Now imagine if you built a network of magnets where all the white sides of the magnets are positively charged and all the red sides are negatively charged. Imagine if you had them all setup to be very close to one another. You would find that this would jiggle quite a lot as it constantly tries to find the most comfortable position. As with all cases (that I’m aware of) the goal is to reach a net neutral of push and pull, but the given layout of the molecules is just not conducive for it.
But these water molecules need energy to stay apart, apparently not all that much energy because they do damn well, and to their credit it takes a nice chunk of energy to get them consistently booking ass out into the air.
What happens when you suck all that energy out like some kind of energy vampire?
As mentioned previously in a manner that would make any professor cringe, the molecules have a very specific layout that they want to be in. These things are pretty anal about the whole thing, if you try to force them to be better friends they will lay themselves out in such a manner so as to reduce the nasty touching if possible. This stubborn attitude is why ice takes up more space than water does, the water molecules space as far apart as they can in the most awkward configuration as they can and this requires a lot of airspace.
Man…how many images will I be taking from Wikipedia today? Anyways… So as you can see in this example the whites are trying to get some sweet red action and the reds are trying to get some sweet white action. This requires a lot of space to get a nice even distribution across the entire ice structure.
This leads me to a notion that nearly made me go cross eyed many moons ago. My father-in-law brought up a line he had heard from a religious friend which was “one philosophical point for proving the existence of god is that ice gets larger when it freezes and becomes less dense meaning it floats to the top of the water, if it didn’t it would sink and kill all life in fresh water areas that freeze.”
These sort of “proofs” are incredibly hubristic and almost always moronic. It is an issue of the chicken and the egg, which again is not a complicated question but I’ve answered it before. Basically the ice wasn’t made the way it is so that the fish would survive, fish and other fresh water wildlife lives in there because the ice acts that way.
If the ice got more dense and sank, nothing would really change. You wouldn’t have fresh water fish (presumably) but that’s it. Fresh water animals are not essential for our existence or frankly the existence of just about anything. Life would simply be different, the environment didn’t change to be convenient for animals, animals adapted to the harsh environment to make it work for them.
The ocean doesn’t freeze over basically anywhere, so if the ice did sink it would not be much of an inconvenience for the largest source of life on the planet. If almost all life wouldn’t care about ice, then why should we find it to be such a miracle?
But then, you may say “Well why does all life depend on water then?! It must be special.” Once again I say nein! Water on Earth has the exceptional quality of existing in all three states naturally, this is why it is found in most (if not all) life. It’s the most abundant resource that exists in all the malleable stats that a biological organism would appreciate.
If the most common liquid was liquid arsenic, or mercury, or some other odd ditty like this then if any live did spring it would likely survive off these things. The world, and the universe, exist as we know it because they must exist as we know it. We only know what exists so no matter what variables you tweak the answers will always be the same.
Ice is not a miracle, it is tasty and fun and makes great for soothing bruises, but there is nothing about it that is a miracle. The only thing that would change in our universe if we changed some variable is that the universe would be changed to reflect that variable, there is no possible universe where life could exist and that life would not exist as life within it knows it exists.
That sounds confusing because the premise itself is basically retarded. It hurts my very being when people ask meaningless questions and feel they’ve been profound.
To put it another way, and I’m paraphrasing: “Look at water, look at all the things that water can do. It’s a simple continuation of the same molecule ad nauseam. This single molecule can make foam, clouds, fill massive seas, and show up in all sorts of forms. That’s the power of a single molecule, now imagine if you built something from many molecules.
Imagine all the things this thing could do!
Look at you, for instance. This is the power of the molecule.” – Richard Feynman
I am a big fan of conspiracies such as the Bielefeld Conspiracy, because they represent something much more interesting than one might initially observe.
How much evidence do we decide is necessary before we accept something as truth? Evolution is often attacked in the states (and basically nowhere else) because there is not enough evidence, the skeptics feel, to make it more compelling than the “just because” doctrine they had been raised in.
However by that logic, how much evidence is there for the moon? Or the sun? These are far away objects in the sky, they could just as easily be facades, flat surfaces on a sphere that surrounds the Earth.
What of Madagascar? Have you, the reader, ever been to Madagascar? Do you know anyone from there? The only time I’ve ever had close interactions with such a place is in an animated film. If I’m just accepting places from films as true then I’ll be packing up my bags and moving to Hogwarts.
Most skeptics of the sciences they don’t understand still accept the broader scientific knowledge. The Earth being spherical is widely accepted while most people, effectively everyone, will never physically see the Earth from a distance to unequivocally support this truth. Likewise the mathematics used to prove it on land are no more complicated than the fundamentals of Evolution. If we are to debate one we may as well debate the other.
Gravitation has no real strong backing. Seeing as the universe is a façade on the innards of a sphere created by god, gravity is merely there. IT just is, created in the seven days and we experience it. We don’t float off the surface of the Earth because we are not meant to, simple as that.
For something more close to home, for many skeptics, what of North Dakota? Honestly, have you ever met a person from this far away place? Have you ever seen it? Smelt it? Stood upon its surface? It would seem to me that North Dakota is a great conspiracy, formulated by the same folks who brought you Global Climate change.
How many things in our lives do we truly experience to the fullest? How many things do we, ourselves, gather all the evidence for an assure ourselves of. Once we begin picking and choosing not what to critique but what to unequivocally deny or accept, do we have anywhere to go but down?
Our minds can only naturally comprehend the things that exist within the scope of our senses. The rest involves philosophy and abstract thought, we can only understand enough about the things outside of our sensory range in a functional sense. Electrons are smaller than the smallest observable tool can detect, but we know they are there, we can interact with them in different ways and their existence does not conflict with any scientific theory or observation.
If electrons, something totally unmentioned in any ancient tome, are acceptable, if the moon, the stars, gravitation, North Dakota, and Madagascar are all acceptable. What then is the foundation for extreme resistance to other deeply data heavy discoveries and theories?
Do we really think there is a conspiracy that doesn’t necessitate any sort of special treatment or funding to any agency? Who would design such a thing and why? What benefit would there be to making up evolution? Even global climate change does not necessitate a punishing change to our lives. So where then is the benefit? Where is the win?
Is it so common to peddle fantasy to minors that we think that everyone is doing it? Is it not possible that there is an actual branch of humanity that wishes to learn something instead of merely smugly saying they already know?
This is why I enjoy that conspiracy, it provides a seemingly outlandish premise but poses an incredibly powerful question. When is there ever enough information to appease all people?
Pictured: A government conspiracy.
So apparently the internet is a bit abuzz about Rihana smoking a tree branch sized joint with Snoop Dogg. If you don’t know who either of these people are it doesn’t really matter, but just keep in mind that both of them are famous. I have nothing bad to say about either, Rihanna has a strong voice and I’m quite certain Snoop Dogg is the world’s greatest Dungeon Master.
What bothers me is the uproar, firstly because she couldn’t have picked a less harmful drug to be partying with, its not my thing but I just can’t see any sort of drama with it. But secondly, and more importantly, is the idea that she is supposed to be a role model.
No. Celebrities are not role models, period. You cannot force someone to be a role model, if someone says they want to be then I suppose they should be held to a higher standard until they change their mind, but for everyone else this is not acceptable. The only people who should be expected to be role models in a child’s life is their parents. Celebrities have a job, usually unrelated to being famous, they sing, they dance, they cook, or they act. Just because they got famous while doing these things does not mean other people get to expect more of them.
This is moronic, everyone is human, we all have desires and vices. To expect someone to suddenly not have them just because they happen to be more talented than you is moronic. Michael Phelps? He worked his whole life to be an exceptional swimmer, he won medals possibly while being high, that should have earned him another medal (frankly). People who got up in arms about him using drugs and being a poor role model are themselves terrible role models, if any of these folks have kids they should evaluate their life and start making changes.
A celebrity should not be a baby sitter for your children’s morality. Video games shouldn’t be used as a crutch, candy shouldn’t be used as a reward, and television doesn’t help children learn (Sesame Street being the only scientifically supported exception).
Stop blaming other people for critical failures in parenting. If a child ends up down a path of self destruction it is not the fault of a 140 lb. pot smoking Dungeon Master. (Again, much respect, I say this as a compliment, I love me some DND.)
I realize life is hard, there are lots of variables, its not always completely the fault of the parents, but it is never, ever, the fault of some “role model” living in the television.
Lets get our roll on…no seriously, where are your D20’s? – Snoop
The feeling like our life is racing ahead of us is something that I’m fairly certain everyone experiences at one time or another. In the past I have suggested that you spend your childhood trying to make time go by faster and then as an adult you spend your time trying to make it go slower.
The tragedy here is that in both cases you fail, that mad dash to 18 is quite an amazing mistake in the US. The illusion of a greater future and the idea that you’ll be doing something overwhelmingly powerful out the door of your youth is one that entrances millions of kids.
What most people don’t point out is that on the other side of 18 is an army of predatory adults just waiting to devour you whole. It’s unfortunate, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about.
Yeah! You better change the subject…
I think that what may contribute to our experience of time is the period between interactions and returns. As a child most of our interactions see a nearly immediate return on investment, you get school work on Monday and get schoolwork due for Tuesday. Your next full unit of return is 24 hours, this is compounded by the 6 classes you likely have. This means that each day is full of tasks that need to be completed and the next page of your life flips in a single day. Compare this with being an adult, you have tasks that are due over the course of weeks or months. You get paychecks once or twice a month (perhaps as high as four times). This is a difference on return of as much as 100x and can quite easily be even more than that. As a child if you tried to rush to the next task you’d jump forward a single day, if you rush to the next task as an adult you will be in many cases a couple weeks older.
There are only 52 weeks in the year, you can make this jump 26 times before you are suddenly older.
Each hour twisting closer to the last.
This is a societal construct. We put less value on the input of adults. As a child you can get great returns on minimal investment, the moment you become an adult it takes great swaths of time for most people to see any kind of recognition. It’s jarring, your natural instinct is to try and treat it like a game, to gather the most collections of return and then act on it. The problem is that while a video game character may be eternal, there are only so many sunsets any of us get to see.
I want to test this knowledge. Though I think I already have. The cruise I took felt like it was at least a month long where it was only about a week or two. Each day stretched on for eons and by the end of it I was exhausted by what felt like an eternity away from responsibility.
I want to capture this again, I want to be shocked (and pleased) that it is only Tuesday. Because all too often in my life now I find myself saying “Thursday again? Wasn’t yesterday Monday.” There is only so many times you can play that song before it falls silent. So I suggest to anyone reading this, try and catalog your outputs and returns for a month. See how far apart they are, find ways to fill the void, give your life a multitude of details and layers. Or perhaps not, really if you are comfortable with the speed of your year then you can ignore this. But it would be interesting to see if anything comes from this expansion of time.
Today’s update isn’t totally out of place, seeing as my short story takes place in the vast expanse of space and time I took some time today to reflect on my own time. Which is quite meta, I will admit, and by the end of it I realized that I really want things to slow down. I’ll do what I can to ensure that happens, I suppose. May someday soon be back with details on my success.
There is a very special period of time at night where my cats allow me to actually get some writing done. I’m in between a lap theft and what appears to be Artemis flipping out all over the bedroom. She is unhappy that she has located places in the room she cannot climb; it’s adorable when I’m awake, not so much when I’m trying to sleep at 7 in the morning.
The big talk in the US, at least for those of us not trying to win 600 million dollars, is the Supreme Court hearing on the Healthcare Law. This entire discussion is quite odd to me. You can be drafted, imprisoned against your will, killed without trial, and taxed. All of these things are forced, if you try to evade any of them you will either end up in prison, or eventually dead. Neither of these is optimal.
You are also required to have car insurance if you wish to drive, in a country literally designed to be driven in. You are not certain to get into a car accident, the odds are quite high, but they are not certain.
You will, however, get sick. This will happen; there is absolutely no chance that it will not. The rationale behind car insurance is that the only way to afford paying for any singular accident is by having lots of pay in. Since not everyone is getting into accidents you can use the money raised by the whole to help the others. It’s personal security, you know in an accident that you are highly likely to be taken care of because it is the law to have insurance and thusly whoever hits you (or whoever you hit) will be covered.
This is, as most people would notice, socialism but it is ok because it involves large sums of money going towards corporations. I won’t get too smug on the issue, but all arguments against health care mandates can just as easily be used against car insurance mandates.
Health insurance is far more important, it is not unprecedented, the government already forces people to do things, and there already is a forced insurance law (it may be state-to-state). This is not something new.
I will admit that the law is flawed and in some ways it is incredibly stupid. The single-payer option made way more sense, and this final law that was passed was entirely the result of obstructionism and lobbying. However it will likely lead to better healthcare laws in the future.
This is probably the true source of the propaganda against it. There is a perceived profit to be gained from leaving people sick, and at the personal level there is ignorance to the cost of illness at the national level, we already pay for every person who gets sick in this country. Very literally we pay; the country loses an enormous amount of money from uninsured people getting sick and from lost work hours to preventable illnesses.
There’s more to it and I’m probably missing quite a bit myself. But if we value life we should spend more towards life than we do towards death.
So like any normal person who is listening to the radio in their car (and I truly feel for you all) I came across the song “S&M” by Rihanna. In it she has a chorus line of “Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but chains and whips excite me.” I’m sure everyone was with me with where their minds went next, namely the odd reality for most folks who suffered from or perhaps even those who were bullies. (I am, of course, referring to the original line that her lyric is derived from. ‘Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.’)
It was the bruises that healed and were often forgotten, something about them makes them (and for me as a child) made them far less critical. The only act of physical violence that ever stuck with me was the attempted murder, beyond that extreme case I have largely forgotten every punch, kick, or scratch. A minor exception for taking a skateboard to the calf because that was a very unusual way to be harmed and the unusual remains in our minds for much longer than the mundane.
It was instead the words, both written and spoken, that truly carved an impression in me. They still do, and new words often find their ways deep under my skin to leave scars on my own metaphysical existence. I hated every rude word for much the same reason that I dislike and occasionally even hate marketing.
It’s so hauntingly invasive, a punch or a kick is stopped for the most part by your flesh, it remains external and temporary. A word invades your ear, it imprints itself upon your brain no matter how you feel about it. You cannot say no to words, they will force themselves upon you without trouble and in many cases without any appreciable end. Visuals too, marketing banners invade your eyes without your permission and settle down in your consciousness. It’s the missing layer of defense that makes me so uneasy about the whole matter, some folks may say that they are ‘just words’ but a punch is ‘just kinetic energy’.
After all when we die there is something intangible that vanishes, when an online game dies its data vanishes from the ether (at least in the functional sense) and so to does the human. You go from being Chris, or Will, or Jake, named things, living things, to “the body”. Just fleshy remains that no longer function. Yet it is that thing that you cannot hold that made those bodies special, the person that one projected from the brain.
It’s the intangible that we most appreciate, so much so that we invent our own ever stronger intangible heroes. Each culture attempting to make theirs better than the previous, the equivalent of “Oh yeah? My number is infinity + 1.”
It is the impact on these untouchable bits of ourselves that makes them so immortal. Those words of your first love, that first shocking realization, the bitter grumble of your first bully. You remember their names, their eyes, their persona. Over time you may actually shed the truth of them and leave behind an avatar of their essence, the culmination of their words into flesh. You manifest from all they forced upon you a beast to take residence in your mind.
I have broken quite a few bones in my life, and not a one has left any appreciable impact on my life. It has been so mundane in the past that a few times I was unaware I had broken a bone until someone pointed out I was favoring the uninjured limb. But the sting of insults carry with me, and in moments of silence I do find myself feeling earnest hate for people that likely no longer recall my existence. This plays a strong part in why I have no sympathy for hate speech, These are truly damning acts and they are anything but harmless. You do not need to be physically involved to both figuratively and sometimes literally kill someone.
So yeah, listened to the radio today.
We all like to think that we are unique snowflakes, beautiful individuals who shall pave singular fragments of history that will never be seen again. This may be true at the most literal of levels as we all have some small level of variance regardless of how hard we might try to copy someone. But there is a large part of what we do that is pretty much the same across people, gender, culture, religion, etc.
One of my favorite ways to show this is by looking at the environment around you. Look at the things that everyone is choosing to do and you will find beneath those actions a chain that links all people involved. In many cases you could simply call it laziness, we take the path of least resistance in most cases just like forces of nature.
Sometimes this can be very literal, for example the Desire path. When you look at an area that has sidewalks, or courtyards, or if you happen to be back on a trail, if you notice a secondary dirt trail stretching out that is a Desire Path. Basically people find the most convenient path to their goal, so many people will frequent this same path that they’ll kill all the vegetation on the ground.
An entire business has been built around this knowledge, its known as the service industry. It is more likely that the average person will choose to have someone take care of their problems for them than to actually address it at the individual level. Driving any walk able distance is another very common example. Fast food or TV dinners over preparing your own meal.
The desire to not meet conflict is also at the center of most political corruption. The people who are actually invested in a topic will continue to push it at the legal level, eventually those it would impact will give up on trying to stop it and the act will pass. This is about as complicated as lobbying is, you just continue to present the demand until the people it will hurt give up. Historically it doesn’t take all that long either.
You’ll also find the most violent reprisals in nations where being passive leads to a blatant increase in conflict. People are taken to the point where they can no longer enjoy life with the bare minimum of effort and they in turn punish whoever was involved (or appears involve) with the destruction of their all encompassing desire path.
I’m quite tired so there isn’t much more to add, but it does pay to look at your surroundings. See what paths other people are taking, see if you are doing the same, further see if you are doing it because they are. Did you really want to go that way? Was it really worth the spared time? Was it actually faster? Did reaching your location sooner improve your life in any way?
Really that would be my biggest question, while watching people endangering everyone around them to beat a yellow light. Will they feel like it was worth it? Laying there on their death bed some years from now, will all those extra seconds have added up to anything? Is our constant search for the path of least resistance costing us moments of reflection?
I do truly wonder how long it will be before people put reality before fantasy when handling public policy. The war on drug has been a spectacular failure of fundamentalism influencing the political sphere. Millions of people have died, that alone is tragic but to have it for something as harmless as drugs is mind blowing.
I know to call drugs harmless might seem nonsensical because they do quite literally harm people, but so does driving a car or lying out in the sun for longer than a brief period of time. Most human beings are given the remarkable gift of choice, our brains develop to a point where we can examine the dangers of a situation and we can decide whether we wish to be involved in that situation.
Drugs can be addicting, this has been proven time and again by many studies. But so too can substances we don’t commonly call drugs, sugar for one is highly addictive. People show the same signs to sugar withdrawal as they would to numerous hard drugs. Prescription drugs are most certainly addicting if you use anything beyond the listed dosage and for some of the more potent pain killers it doesn’t even require anything more than the minimum dose.
As far as I recall this is in part because these are either based or use derivatives of opium. If a drug is legal and people become addicted and wish to quit they can find any number of groups to help them quit. Similarly if you find yourself craving sugar you can find people to help you get away from it. These options are available and they are comforting.
When a drug is illegal your options are cold turkey, which basically doesn’t work, or watching your life fall apart. But why does it fall apart? It falls apart because of another grave addiction, a many thousands of year old addiction to fantasy. The desire to rule the lives of others because of strong feelings.
The more of this you do the more your brain becomes dependent on it and if you ever do try to quit you’ll find it quite hard if not impossible. It’ll seem so sensible, so rational, so perfect, just like Alcohol or Heroine.
And while it might not literally ruin the users life, it does on the grand scale ruin the lives of others. Perhaps not because of any particular individual user, but because of the momentum of the larger politically involved unit.
It’s tragic really, to read constantly about the deaths of so many innocent people, to know of the nightmares many thousands or millions more suffer through, for no better reason than to stroke the phallus of fundamentalism.