1/11/2017

Receipt Paper Note: The Shark Attack

[ I'm at a public pool. There are a bunch of people in the water swimming around and having a good time. I'm sitting down with a few friends. We're just looking out at the water. Somehow there don't seem to be as many people in the water as before. I didn't see anyone leave. I tell my friends, but they don't acknowledge me and continue staring at the water.

I stand up and walk over to the water's edge. Something definitely isn't right. I look over at an old man doing the backstroke. He is the only one left in the pool. How is that possible?

One arm in, one arm out, kicking his legs as he moves along at a swift pace. I'm always amazed by old folks who can just keep swimming and swimming. I keep my eyes on the old man. One arm in, the other arm....... is missing!

The old man splashes around and seems to be having a panic attack. He looks in my direction and desperately calls for help. "Shark!! Help me!!", he screams. I turn around and shout at my friends to come help me rescue the old man. But they're still just sitting there not responding to me. I turn back around in the old man's direction.. but he is not there.

I start sweating. I start scanning the water for any sign of the old man... running up and down the edge of the pool. I can't believe there's no sign of him. I run back over to my friends... are they even my friends? They are complete zombies; they just sit there. I don't understand what is going.

"Help!" The old man is alive. He's at the edge of the water, clutching the area where his arm used to exist. I quickly grab my beach towel and run over to him. "Pull me out of the water! Please!" He is bleeding profusely - not only from his arm, but what appear to bite marks all around his body. I muster up the strength, grab his only arm, pull as hard as I can until his whole body is out of the water.

I use my towel to wrap up his wound as best I can. "Thank you. I thought I was a goner. Tell your friends not to go in the water." - as he looked over my shoulder. I turn around to see all of them standing there behind us, looking out at the water. Why were they not concerned about the old man? They begin to walk toward the water. "Don't go in the water!", we both shout. We can't seem to get through to them. "You will die! It isn't safe. Look what happened to this old man!". Still they kept walking on. They all jumped into the water and swam out to the middle of the pool.

One by one they're pulled down beneath the surface - most of them being torn to shreds. Some manage to come up above the surface just long enough shout for help. All of a suddenly they have voices again. I look over at the old man, horrified at what is happening. "I warned them! Why wouldn't they listen??", I said. "You tried, my boy. It's too late for them." The old man and I just sat there watching this madness unfold. ]

Okay, so I admit I spiced this one up a bit - I don't think I've ever had a dream with actual dialogue in it. However, this modified version does capture the essence of my dream.

1/10/2017

Receipt Paper Note: My Original Nightmare

What could a five year old boy, having an ordinary life, be so afraid of that he leaps down what seemed to be an entire flight of stairs to escape?

I'll tell you. But it doesn't make any sense. The contents had no tie to his reality. It's just a dark and deeply terrifying experience which likely can't be captured here with tiny, un-scary letters. But, I'll to to explain what he experienced about once a month, for about a year.

[ My Original Nightmare

It's dark, very dark, but there is a glimmer of moonlight on the horizon - but I can barely see the outline of my arms and hands. I'm in a big lake, but I can't see the edge. There is no boat. Am I in the water? I don't know. I can't just be hovering over the water.... ? My legs aren't visible... so they must be in the water - but I am not moving at all. How am I not sinking? It's not ice because I can make a splash - but there is no sound. Everything is so still and quiet. I keep looking around. There is nothing. Maybe this isn't a lake...am I in the middle of an ocean? That can't be....

The light source, as small as it was, seemed to be receding. I panic and begin to paddle my way toward the light. I'm not moving very fast. Am I moving at all? Aside from the light source, there was no way to tell if I had moved from my original position.

I am alone - or so I initially believe. I can feel something. There is still no sound, but I know something is behind me. I can feel a sort of tugging.... not on my physical body... what is this feeling? It's pulling at me... I swivel around but still see nothing. I'm being pulled away from the light. This force... it wants something... it wants to pull me in.. it wants to smother me...it wants to kill me.

I have to get away. I try and I try and I try...but I am not moving. I feel like I am going to die. I can sense the intention of this..... this thing.... this evil.... this nothingness....tears are steaming down my face and in to the water.... my body is being engulfed, my existence is collapsing, I close my eyes and I start to accept my fate.... but I realize I can't give up. I can NEVER give up.

I force my eyes open. I am no longer in the lake. I can move my legs. I stand up and look it around. It still still dark. I look around slowly... just as I look over my shoulder, I see a large, dark mass in the distance.........and I hear a low growl from the same direction. My skin crawls and my hair stands on end and my eyes widen as the fear takes hold of me. I scream as loud as I can as I start running in opposite direction. There's a light and I run for it. Through a doorway and down a dark hallway... the light becomes more intense. I quickly look behind me and the darkness follows - it is all along the walls and moving quickly behind me.

I come to a flight of stairs and take a leap of faith as I try to save my own life. As I am flying through the air I can see the darkness following still along the wall. I don't know what's going to happen. By instinct I grab at the railing to slow my fall as I approach the last few steps. I slam into the stairs and the railing as gravity takes over, toppling over at the bottom of the stairs. My back is against a wall and I am looking up at the stairs from the bottom. My heart was beating so fast it felt like it was about to burst out of my throat. But there was nothing. Just the staircase in my house that leads up to my bedroom.

My parents crash out of bed and rush over to me, startled to find me out of breath crumbled up at the bottom of the stairs. I was finally safe. Or so I thought. ]

Little did I know this would be a recurring dream. The stair incident only happened once and it never was quite as scary as the first time, but I always woke up in a sweat. To this day, I have no idea what caused such a dream. Like I said, my childhood was fairly ordinary. Nothing bad or scary ever happened to me and I don't remember being particularly afraid of the dark. One thing I can think of was that I lived in Alaska during the period of the monthly dreams.The days were short, so I had to make the most out of the sunlight.

Some things just can't be explained I suppose. Perhaps I was more afraid of the dark than I remember. Or perhaps something did happen - but has since been purged from my memory. I think the most likely scenario however, is that it was just an innate fear that randomly manifested itself. The dream did stop, thankfully - but I will never forget it. I have never been more scared in my life.

Receipt Paper Note: The T-Rex Attack

[ I'm in a shopping mall walking through the aisle, mostly just wandering around and people watching. Suddenly a friggin' T-Rex crashes through wall of the building Jurassic park style and starts to roar like in the movies. Naturally I begin running away like everyone else. Out of all the friggin' people in the mall, it starts chasing after me. (Of course it is - it's my nightmare after all)

I try to think quickly how I can get away so I turn in to one of the department stores hoping it didn't see me. I was hiding in a clothes rack peeking through some shirt sleeves over at the window to the store. And there it was. It's gigantic head just outside the glass, fogging up the window ass it breathed. It must have had my scent or something because I knew it couldn't see me; I was so still after all! A T-Rex can only see movement, according to the movie!

I knew it was waiting for me. It was just sitting there, panting, looking through the department store's window with it's freakishly huge eyeball - straining to tell my location. I knew that the moment I moved it would lunge at me and likely bite me in half. I'm dead, I thought. I couldn't go back the way I came - and if I moved a muscle it would be able to tell where I was. I decided I needed to risk it. I was betting there was a rear entrance to the store; if I was fast enough I'd be able to escape.

That bastard was dead-set on eating me. It was not going to leave me alone. I knew it was true. So then I acted. I ran as fast as I could toward the back of the store. But what the hell am I stepping on as I run...peanut butter and molasses?  I look  down and see nothing... it's just a regular floor...I hear the glass window shatter into pieces as the big bastard roars again and starts stampeding in my direction.

Just like in the first movie, instead of being helpless on a toilet bowl, I'm stuck in some sort of imaginary peanut butter glue as I stare up on this monster about to have his lunch - me. In a flash it has it's jaws around my body - about to sink it's teeth in - and then someone hits the rewind button. I'm transported to another scene. I'm confused. And then I wake up. ]

That is all. Until next time.

1/08/2017

Receipt Paper Note: The Expensive Football

I used to work at a drugstore as a cashier and I was extremely bored most of the time. Whenever I was up at the register and there were no customers, you are supposed to find something productive to do like sweep the floor, or straighten out the candy selection. Instead - when I knew the manager wasn't keeping an eye on me - which I'm assuming he did often, I would let my mind wander and I would jot down random notes on receipt paper that I would manually feed through the machine. The notes include random ideas or memories - either from actual experiences or dreams.

I did this quite often, so I accumulated a pile of receipt-paper notes that I never got rid of. I've been carrying them around, from apartment to apartment, held together by a big binder clip. I thought I would share some of them.

[ 'The Expensive Football'

I think I was around 10 years old. My mother and I were in a store - probably a Target or Walmart. As we were walking down one of the aisles, I spotted one of those big cages full of balls - you know, the ones that usually contain either basketballs, bouncy balls, foam balls. Like most kids, I grabbed one to play with while we were shopping. I don't quite remember what kind of ball it was, but I think it may have been a small foam football of some sort.

As we approached the registers to check out, I asked my mother if she would buy the ball for me. She almost immediate say, "No". I can't remember the wording exactly, but I believe she said it was pricey and that I wouldn't even play with it much. I didn't cry, but became quite sad that I wouldn't get to keep the ball I had grown fond of in the last twenty minutes or so. I don't recall if I put up a fight or begged - or if she just felt bad and sensed my disappointment, but she gave in and bought the ball for me.

At first I was happy, but later on during the drive home I started to feel bad. My family wasn't poor, but we weren't too well off either. I realized maybe I shouldn't have asked for the ball. Maybe I should have just been happy with the toys I already had. Right after getting back home and just as both my mother and I got out of the car, I told her how I felt. She told me, yes the ball was a little expensive, but as long as I enjoyed it, that would make the purchase worthwhile. I smiled and went off to play. I played with the ball for the remainder of the day. I felt better about the purchase and I was determined to get as much joy out of it as possible. ]


This is more or less a true story. I don't know what happened to that ball, but I think I kept it for at least a little while and played with it several more times. Sadly, those foam balls don't last forever before they start to break apart. I wasn't a dramatic child; from what I remember and what I've been told. I was pretty mellow, much like I am now, so I don't think I put up a fuss or begged too much for that ball. I actually don't remember begging for much of anything as a child - and I don't think it had much to do with my family's finances.

If I were to extract a moral of the story, it would be to make the best of the situation - whatever the situation might be. Express how you feel and do something about it.

That's all for now. Stay tuned...


6/28/2014

Things We Can Learn From A Cat

Avoid car rides at all costs; cars are death mobiles… driving is one of the more dangerous things you can do!

Allow the experience of fresh air to be enjoyable and avoid the wind in your face because it is damn annoying!

When loved ones come home, always approach them and demand food and exactly 30 seconds of attention.

When it’s in your best interest, practice your pity meow.

Let others know they’ve invaded your territory by clawing the hell out of their hands.

Take long naps and stretch before rising; after rising, circle around the same spot about six times, and then take another nap.

Run, romp, play daily, and chew on all plastic bags in the house.

Eat slowly, loudly, and with your mouth open so that those who fed you are aware that it has been too long since they last fed you.

Be just loyal enough so that you keep getting fed.

Practice the art of pretending so that you can get what you want.

If you have what you want buried, leave it there for someone to clean up later.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, keep your distance and let them deal with their own issues.

Thrive on very short increments of attention and do not let people hug you – head pets and neck rubs only.

Avoid biting when a simple hiss will do, unless you can get away with it.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lay on the highest branch of a shady tree so that you may keep track of your inferiors and feel important.

When you’re happy, run around the house like a lunatic, stopping once in a while to practice your ever menacing back arch and sideways hop.

No matter how often you’re scolded, don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout – run away and stay away from that unreasonable person…

Delight in the relaxing form of cat masturbation: kneading.



Things We Can Learn From A Dog

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy ride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

When it’s in your best interest, practice obedience.

Let others know they’ve invaded your territory.

Take naps and stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you’re not.

If what you want lies buried, dig for it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.

Thrive on attention and let people hug you.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lay under a shady tree.

When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

No matter how often you’re scolded, don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout – run right back and make friends.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.




5/27/2014

Dealing With Insults

Hey idiot! Why are you so fat? Were you born this ugly?


Have you ever been 'hurt' or 'offended' by what someone has said to you? Has it haunted you for days, weeks, or even months on end because someone thought or thinks you are either stupid, fat, or ugly?


Do you think the reason your feelings are hurt is because you are insecure about something? Do you think that maybe what that person said is true?


It may be true. It may not be. But, it isn't for them to decide. You'll notice in life that people judge others very quickly. Even long-term judgements may be incorrect. No one will ever know you as well as you should know yourself.


You should know who you are. You should know what you look like. You should know what you are capable of. Any thoughts from others are just opinions. Know yourself and embrace what and who you are; be comfortable with things you cannot change and change things you that are possible to change.


It may not be clear what is possible and what is not - but lots of things are possible that may seem impossible at first. The only way to find out is to try; sometimes you need to make a tremendous effort to see the light at the end of the tunnel.


"Offence": annoyance or resentment brought about by a perceived insult to or disregard for oneself or one's standards or principles.


I see it all the time; even people who are older - so many people are so sensitive to getting their feelings hurt because of 'offensive' remarks.  They feel insulted, hurt, and sad. Why do other's opinions matter so much to an individual?


"Insult": speak to or treat with disrespect or scornful abuse.


I used to get sad if someone said something perceivably insulting. I remember I was in high school and a classmate of mine pointed out that I had a big head. He was with his girlfriend at the time and they both laughed at me. Thinking back, they had very tiny heads compared to the average; I wonder if they ever graduated high school...hmm.


I also remember doing an activity in elementary school where we would dim the lights in the classroom, set-up the old-fashioned projector, and have each student sit in front of the projector so that their heads would cast a shadow on the wall in which we hung a big blank piece of white paper that we would then use to outline the perimeter of our heads with a pencil. Mine was bigger than everyone else's and my classmates made sure to comment on it and laugh about it.


Were they making fun of me? Probably. Why was I hurt? I felt like an outcast; I felt like I didn't belong. For some reason I wanted to be like everyone else. I cowered away and kept my distance from everyone meanwhile feeling like a mutant that no one liked.


Why does it matter so much that you fall within the average? Why does it matter so much that people like you?  It doesn't - at least to me.


If some random person told me today, "Wow man, you have huge fucking head - how do you carry that thing around all day? Haha". If I knew the person, I'd laugh with him or her and joke about it. I wouldn't be hurt or offended. Even if I didn't know the person, I wouldn't be insulted - and even if I was I wouldn't give them the satisfaction of hurting someones feelings or getting a rise out of someone. I might shrug my shoulders and say, "Okay" or "Do you spend all day pointing out obvious things?" or "That's why my legs are so strong!".


Depending on the person, more than likely the person isn't even trying to offend you. You should know you have a bigger than average head, so why would someone pointing it out annoy you? If you didn't think it was true, you might ask them to explain why they think so.  If you don't agree, that's okay. Opinions are just opinions.


This applies to anything. Constructive criticism is a big one. Why can't people take it? Criticisms are also opinions. They may be true and they may not be. Is someone criticising you and making you angry? Why are you getting angry?


You'll often hear people say that they get a criticism and it is something about them that they don't want to believe is true, but is. Why is it annoying to you that someone pointed it out? If you think it's true, then look into it. If it's something you'd like to change and it is possible to change, then work toward changing it.


I think a lot of criticisms and opinions that fly around really get under people's skin - they strike a nerve, but it is most likely that person's problem. They aren't annoyed with the criticisms, they are annoyed with themselves. They either haven't come to terms with who they are or they are angry with themselves for not putting more effort to change what they'd like to change.


I'm not saying you should feel free to dish out insults to others because it shouldn't affect them. I'm also not saying you shouldn't defend yourself if someone is trying to insult you or committing slander. Certain situations require defense such as a work environment or if your reputation is on the line.


In any situation though, you should first think about what is being said about you and why. You should then formulate a response and calmly deliver it.


This is all my opinion though, so you may do what you like. But do me a favor and think about what's important - other's opinions of you or your view of yourself. Your happiness is yours to control.


Thanks for reading. Cheers!

1/31/2013

On Certainty Part II

* Update* Related article (not written by me)

http://www.learning-mind.com/10-mind-blowing-theories-that-will-change-your-perception-of-the-world/

Following directly from my last post, I can be certain of at least two things:

1) Everything that we think (ideas) or experience (what we perceive) exists to some capacity.
2) There's no way of knowing the exact (or type of) capacity. (perhaps everything is pure idea)

The computer screen in front of me exists to some extent. Is it a material object that exists objectively, outside my thoughts and perceivances or is it just an idea? I don't know, but it certainly exists!
Okay, I think I can lump this idea into one bullet point: Everything we think of, experience, or perceive exists - but there is no way of knowing to what capacity.

That is a pretty general statement, but it is also pretty solid (in my opinion) in terms of certainty.
So what else can you be certain of? I have provided one thing that I believe to be certain. Descartes was a foundationalist; in essence his whole philosophy was built upon his first meditations - his basic 'foundation' was that since he thinks, he exists. This is the first conclusion he came to - therefore that was his foundation. What I did was similar, but I don't know if I would call it a foundation. In any case, if we can think of anything else we can be certain of, everything must agree and not be contradictory.

The first thing that came to mind is human feelings. Right now I feel happy. Am I certain I feel happy? How the heck could I not be certain that feel happy? I suppose we could follow from our first certainty conclusion. To feel happy is to experience joy. The joy necessarily exists to some extent, to some capacity. The joy exists since we experience it, therefore we feel happy. It is certain!

Even if there is an 'evil god' or 'evil genius' controlling our thoughts in a way that makes us feel happy, but we really aren't. We experience happiness nonetheless. Therefor we are certainly happy at that instant! Let's add it to the list.

1) Everything we think of, experience, or perceive exists - but there is no way of knowing to what capacity.
2) Emotional feelings are certain at the instant they are felt.

You may be thinking that we could just modify 1) to include 2) saying that whatever we experience exists and is certain, but we can't say this! We have to be careful.

TBC ......



On Certainty Part I


I no longer know what I believe. I think it is time to start over (again). Does this sound familiar? René Descartes did something similar in the 1600s. I think it is a good idea to look at yourself and your beliefs once in a while to reevaluate what you think you know. It might seem (at least to myself) that I know quite a lot. But actually, I know very little - perhaps even nothing!

Do I possess the intellect or moral capactiy to judge an objective right from an objective wrong? No.

Do objective right and wrongs even exist? (I don't think so)

Do I know for sure that the sun will rise tomorrow? No. It hasn't happened yet!

Do I know that I will die? No! I cannot predict the future! (You hear all time that 'death and taxes are certain'. Surely you can imagine that tomorrow science will provide a breakthrough allowing our lifespans to exist forever. And taxes? What if I remove myself from society and lose myself in the wilderness?)

It's perhaps even possible that I don't know that a week from now, 2 + 2 will no longer be 4! It might be 9! Indeed I might be just something that is being brain washed or mentally controlled by an 'evil genius' as René Descartes would say, or perhaps an evil god!

I once thought science was safe. Now mathematics is no longer safe... what about pure logic? Perhaps all my thoughts are controlled by something else and what I think is logical actually isn't...(completely objectively without any sort of evil god).

I am lost! I have no ground to stand on. I am floating among clouds of uncertainty...am I happy? Perhaps.. Am I nervous or uneasy? Perhaps..

Wait a minute. This writing. These thoughts. They exist. To some extent they exist. If I am just a computer simulation, it still exists. The evil god might be fooling me into believing  that these things exist, but even if that is true the 'fake' things exist to some extent, even if they only exist as ideas. If none of this existed, it would not occur at all.

So I am certain of something! I am jubilant! What am I certain of? Descartes is popular for the saying, 'I think, I exist' as in 'I think therefore I am' or 'I think therefore I exist'. I think I can go a bit further in my certainty than even this! Everything that I experience exists! Descartes refers to the 'I' that necessarily exists. The I in this case is the producer of the thoughts, the 'thinking thing'. Okay, I can agree with that. But what about everything else? This text on the screen, the walls of this building, my fingers pressing buttons. All those things exist as well to some capacity. It all exists, but I am unsure of the capacity. No matter how much I think about it, there's no way to know the capacity to which things exist.

So there you have it. I can be certain of at least two things:

1) Everything we think or experience exists to some capacity.
2) There is no way of knowing the exact (or type of) capacity (perhaps everything is pure idea).

How then shall we proceed to live our lives and attain 'knowledge' if these two things are really the only certainties? Well, we must make assumptions unfortunately. Many of my previous posts made claims of certainty based on big assumptions. It is likely that my future posts will as well, but from now on I will be aware (and will probably mention) that I am reasoning based on an initial assumption.

For example, logic can not exist with the possibility that a nefarious being is controlling our thoughts. But if we eliminate that possibility, we may proceed.

Are there more than 2? Maybe!


10/16/2012

On Morality

Okay, let's try this again. I initially wanted to try and prove my point like I would a mathematical proof, but that is proving to be difficult (the first attempt can be found at the bottom of the page). So instead I'm just going to lay it out as logically as I can so that it makes perfect sense to anyone who might encounter this. Most of what was already written still applies, but it won't be used in the argument.

Argument:

[       Human behavior comes only from natural needs, instinct, and logical thought processes. The idea of morality is strange, illogical, and is not necessary.      ]

First I need you to be open-minded and willing to be completely objective. I want you to imagine being raised by animals in the jungle, sort of like Mowgli in the Jungle Book. Unlike the Disney movie, I need you to imagine Mowgli being raised without speech. No words. Okay? Great. Also, the Jungle Book implemented moral teachings; what I am doing here is almost the complete opposite.

I think we can all agree that we have a natural sort of pulling for something, a natural hunger for things. This includes a hunger for food, rest, sex, etc. The longer this hunger exists, the more uneasy we become (although not necessarily, e.g. hunger for sex can be suppressed ;). Obviously this hunger is different from person to person.

What comes next? Assuming we are able, we like very much to pursue our desire. This is an example of human behavior that stems from a natural need of something. Since we are thinking beings, along with many other animals, we will probably think about how to acquire what we want. We will weigh our options and go with the route that will benefit us the most.

Human behavior will also be the result of our instincts, where an instinct is a natural sort of response to stimuli . Depending on the circumstance we may have time to think about the proper reaction - the reaction that will again result in the most benefit to us. We may also train ourselves to react a certain way like we do with marital arts.

I just want to clarity something: when say natural, I mean according to our genetic makeup and how are brains are formed. Without any outside teaching, we will be automatically equipped with a need/hunger and a response mechanism. Everyone is different in their body's makeup and therefore have different needs and instincts. We often here about psychopaths and their innate want to hurt others. This may be rare in the human population, but it might also be the case that there are more of these kinds of people out there who are able to suppress this need. In any case, we all have different wants, needs, and desires. Our thought processes are often very different too.

Let's think back to our friend Mowgli. He grows up completely in the woods with no spoken language. Do you think he has any concept of God? What about the idea of morality? I kind of doubt it. How does he make his decisions? He makes them according to his needs and instinct and his ever developing thought process.

Morality today is a big deal among the human population, as is religion and God. Many like to think that morality is universal and that there is a unique set of rules that everyone should follow. Does that sound familiar to you? It sounds to me like the 10 commandments. Morality is defined as a set of principles concerning the distinction between what is 'right' and what is 'wrong'.

I think over the span of time that humans have occupied the Earth, many different tribes, organizations, etc have created their own Morality or Moral Code in which the people of that group came together and lumped  their needs and instincts (given certain situations) and came up with an averaged set of policies which everyone should follow. Morality is often interchanged with the word, 'ethics'.

Let's discuss the words 'right' and 'wrong'. Obviously the English language is very confusing because there are so many words with double meanings. When performing a procedure like starting your car, there is a right way to start it and there is a wrong way to attempt to start it. The two words are also used in matters of morality and religion. When not dealing with a procedure, the 'right' thing to do is a reaction in accordance with that particular morality. A 'wrong' action goes against the morality or moral code.

It should be clear now that a 'moral code' or 'code of ethics' are lists made by either an individual or a group; in the latter, they most likely took an average of what everyone thought was 'right'. By 'right', I mean according to each person's sense of instinct. Since instinct varies from person to person, there is no possible way for it to be universal. It is possible that a large portion of the human population agrees with many aspects of every groups system of morality, but it is not guaranteed.

As a result of this kind of thinking, I do not follow any moral code. I follow my instincts, which are different than yours (although I'm sure we have a lot in common). I don't see 'right' and 'wrong' choices - I see choices and outcomes that benefit me the most. I cannot be a judge as to whether another person's choices are 'right' or 'wrong', because they have different needs and instincts. Might I avoid the person if they decide to kill someone for no apparent reason? Absolutely. But I don't say they did something 'wrong' or 'evil'. People may say that I am a moral and ethical person, but I certainly don't follow any code.

* I'd like to add one more thing because it might not have been obvious. While I am indeed a selfish individual ( I think we all are) and I actually made a post about it a while back, I do things for others. Why do I do things for others? Because it makes me feel good. It is part of who I am as an individual, part of my natural needs to sometimes help others depending on the situation. I may appear to be self-less, but I'm doing it because it is going to satisfy my desire to help others.

Well, I hope that made some sense. :) "And that's all I have to say about that... " - Forest Gump




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[What follows is experimentation only]

Here's my argument plain and simple:

Instinct and logical thought processes are the only driving forces for human behavior assuming the human is not under a false belief; if the person is under a false belief, obviously it is the 3rd driving force. I intend to argue that the idea of morality leads to false beliefs.

Personally, I think that I am driven by the first 2 forces. That is to say I don't follow any structure of morality.

Let's start off with some definitions since they are critical to any argument; I'll be pulling them from google's 'define:' function in their search bar.

Morality:
1. Principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.
2. Behavior as it is affected by the observation of these principles.

Conscience:
1. An inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one's behavior.

Instinct:
1. An innate, typically fixed pattern of behavior in animals in response to certain stimuli: "predatory instincts".
2. A natural or intuitive way of acting or thinking: "rely on your instincts".

Now that we have the definitions out of the way, I can start my argument. Let's start off by proposing that we can define anything we can think of. We can even get it published in a dictionary if 1. we can get enough people backing the idea and 2. we can convince the publishers to publish the proposed definition. Imagine for a second that the idea of God had never come up before today. All of a sudden I propose just now the idea that there is an all powerful being who created the universe. So I define 'God' to be just that. Will I be able to publish this in a dictionary? Unless I can convince people that my idea is a real thing, the odds are I won't be able to. I wouldn't have a sound argument for the existence of such a being. Contrary to what some people might believe, there is not a single argument that proves that God exists. Of course, 'God' is in the dictionary under a few definitions depending on the religion it is referring to. That is of course because of the very large backing to the idea of a God.

So that is precisely my point - definitions are ideas and the ideas don't necessarily have any concrete basis in real life. Now you could argue, and I tend to agree with this argument - that any idea which we define, we cannot prove to have any correlation to reality, no matter what the idea is (unless it is a logic or mathematical-based idea). Some ideas and definitions are meant to have some correlation to our reality while others are purely logical.

Let's give an example to further illustrate my point. I'm going to define a flying spaghetti monster to be an animal made completely out of pasta which only appears at night in Antarctica on the 5th of October. This is a definition. Do you think the idea exists in our reality? Probably not, but of course we can't prove that it doesn't. The same is true for any definitions we can think of or that already exist.

Okay, so let's get to the bigger point of this blog. Morality!

But first I'd like to say that in order to argue, you need to make your argument directly from definitions and implications of the definitions. Implications are deductions that you can make logically. In fact, we don't prove definitions, we prove the implications. For example, we define a triangle as a figure with three sides. We can prove that the interior angles always add up to 180 degrees (this is the implication). We prove the implication from the definition.

Morality has a definition, just like anything else. Like I explained before, it has gotten a lot of attentions like the idea of 'God'. The idea of morality is much much different than the idea of a triangle - it is much more complicated and from my point of view it is much more like my idea of a flying spaghetti monster. From a logical point of view, assuming I can understand the argument I have no choice but to believe that all triangles have an interior sum of angles of 180 degrees. If I chose not to believe it, then I would be going against logic and have no basis for argument and proof.

So are there any implications we can prove from the definition of morality? Let's state the definition again:

Morality:
1. Principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.
2. Behavior as it is affected by the observation of these principles.

This is a work in progress but I will publish it now just in case anyone wants to help me finish it.... I haven't yet figured out how to explain what I'm thinking....

To be continued...



1/13/2012

Thump, Thump


Hey you. Yeah, you. I'd like to ask you a simple question and I want you to answer honestly. Are you happy? Truly happy? If not, do you know why? You must know why. There must be something tugging at your heart. You know that feeling. Like someone has their hand around your heart and they give it a slight squeeze every now and then. Every time this happens, you think of a memory. You know what memories I'm talking about. I want you to do something right now. You'll thank me later. I want you to dim all the lights in your room, almost to complete blackness. If there is any noise in your house or apartment, grab some earplugs, or something to block out the noise. Are you following my instructions? I sure hope so.

I now want you to sit down in a comfortable manner. Close your eyes and calm your breathing. Now listen. Do you hear anything? I hope not since I told you to get some earplugs. But now I want you to listen harder. You should be able to hear your heart beat. I am hoping by now with your controlled breathing, it is beating at a slow, steady rate. I don't know if you know anything about our Biology, but this thing in your chest beats only a certain number of times. Then it gives out, sort of like a battery. If you think about it, if you slow the rate at which your heart beats, you are essentially extending your lifespan. So right now as you are breathing easy, you are allowing yourself to live a bit longer. Isn't that neat? But this isn't the main point of this experiment. Yes, I am experimenting on you - I hope you don't mind.

By the way, this is not a meditation. You should not be 'clearing your mind'. You should hear something. You should be hearing your memories. All of those electric tidbits of information in that noggin of yours - they should be dancing around and seem to be displaying themselves on the backs of your eyelids like a projecting mechanism. Flashbacks of your childhood. Your first love. Regrets. Nightmares. Your biggest orgasm. What I want you to do now is focus on the orgasm memory. No, really - trust me. Are you smiling yet? Okay, good. Actually, we're finished here.

Were you expecting something more climactic? Get it - orgasm, climactic; oh man I crack myself up. You do realize how powerful this orgasm, I mean experiment was, right? Not only did you extend your lifespan by slowing down your heart rate, but you even smiled - perhaps even laughed. What you really did was think of a happy memory which provided you with a moment or two of happiness. I want you to do this whenever you are feeling down. Whenever your heart feels like it's being crushed. Sit down and 'stop' time for a few minutes and listen. I promise that if you keep doing this, you'll learn that this is just the first step. First step towards what you ask? A better orgasm of course. ;)

8/25/2011

Back to Basics

Every once in a while I sit back and reevaluate my belief system. I try to make it a habit of mine to constantly question until either everything makes sense, or I reach a dead end. The base of my belief system doesn't often change much, but I sometimes discover properties of the system that I hand't initially thought of. For example a much earlier post of mine questioned the issue of free will in a purely cause and effect world.

In a nutshell, my belief system is pretty simple and can be described by determinism. I don't believe that there was a beginning and I don't believe there will be an end, to the universe that is. We are a bunch of bundles of energy that collide and combine together to form particles, atoms, molecules, etc. Somehow out of the collisions of particles at the proper angles and momentum, we came in to being. All because of cause and effect.

Last night I was thinking about fate. Fate is something I always ascribed to religion, so I always put it out of my head. You always hear from theists that God as a grand plan for us all. Fate always sounded to me like something that was beyond my control. Something is going to happen to me whether I like it or not. Anything to do with predetermined fate or destiny always put me off.

Sure, you can hold an object up in the air and say it is predetermined to fall to the ground. But can you really be sure that it will hit the ground? No, you can't. Say a gust of wind blows you over on your back and the object lands on your groin. We can't know because we don't know or have control over all of the globules of energy in the world or universe. If we did and we knew nothing would interrupt the object as it fell, you think it would be okay assume that the object was predetermined to hit the ground. But, this is also not possible.

Now unless there did exist a god who knew everything and had absolutely no effect on the universe unless he or she willed it and this god told us everything there was to know about the universe, there is no way we could know for sure. Why? Because in order to find out for ourselves, we would have to measure. And in the process of measuring, we change what we are measuring, giving us skewed results (Uncertainty Principle).

But with this deterministic viewpoint, everything is predetermined - but there is no way for us to know exactly what the results will be. So in a sense, we are fated, and we do have a destiny.

An atheist who believes in fate. Weird!

It is bizarre to think that every whimsical action we take is predetermined. Like mentioned before, imagine that we know everything there is to know about the universe without making any measurements. We would then be able to determine or calculate that John Smith from Austin Texas will perform a cartwheel on his front lawn at 5:34 p.m. to show off to his children. It is difficult to accept that everything I am doing right now could have been foreseen if this knowledge was available. Every letter I type is predetermined. It seems very bizarre, but it seems to make sense.

In the same way, it seems far fetched to believe that if I tap the floor right now with my finger, it will send energy from the point of contact all the way to the other side of the earth. But it all boils down to cause and effect. We may not be able to measure it in its finest detail, but it exists.

7/25/2011

Stand Up!

It's been a long time coming, but I am finally trying the standing approach to using a computer. For the time being I am using my bureau since it is just about tall enough. I am one of many who is glued to their computer pretty much all day. There's homework, reddit, email, cheggit ( I dare you to look this up ;), video games (damn you Steam), blogging, did I say reddit already ಠ_ಠ?

After doing much research and even giving a presentation in college about it, I think it's about time for me to try the experiment. If after about a month I like it, I'll be making a trip to Ikea to acquire the parts to make a real desk of my own. I say a month because supposedly it takes about that long for your body and especially feet to get used to standing for long periods of time.

If you are interested, I am trying to get my sitting time down below 5 hours a day. Considering the time I spend in class, eating, driving, and pooping - this becomes somewhat difficult to do. There are many scientific studies on the subject, but my interest spawned from an article that was posted on reddit a while back.

http://www.medicalbillingandcoding.org/sitting-kills/

I will try to post again regarding my results.