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A Few Crazy Ideas and Questions

There is no rhyme or reason to the collection of ideas here. They are simply things I've been thinking about and questions that needed to be asked. I'll look at aspects of human psychology, the development of plant people, and why soldiers can't quit their jobs, among other topics. And please don't complain about the lack of focus or purpose. This is my own idea-generating exercise, and if it isn't interesting to you, the little "x" up there to the right will help you escape.

Plant People

Torturing animals for entertainment used to be acceptable, but now you can go to jail for kicking a dog. Cultural norms change as enough individuals change. Vegetarianism is becoming more common as it becomes easier to eat well without the necessity of killing animals. Veganism is increasingly popular also (no animal products at all). The trend is clear, and it seems that if and when we find evidence that plants suffer, there could also be a movement away from killing plants. What's left? Fruit can be eaten without hurting the plant that produces it.

Anyhow, as I pondered this move toward imposing ourselves on other species as little as possible, a thought occurred to me. If we were to evolve into a plant-like animal but retain our intelligence, we might eventually be able to derive basic nutrients from minerals and organic debris, as plants do, and the eat our own fruit. You know, reach over and pluck that fruit growing out of your shoulder when you need a snack. We would not require any other living being to survive.

Why Can't Soldiers Quit?

If you work for any other employer you are free to quit when you like. The arguments for suspending that freedom when a person joins the military are weak. I think the easy acceptance of this form of enslavement shows that people really believe in the right to own other's lives, at least if they do so as a "society" rather than individually. No reasonable conception of freedom could include forcing people to do deadly work. I wrote about this military slavery in more detail on my blog.

Movie Metaphor

One of my favorite metaphors is a useful way to look at our tendency to dwell on negative thoughts and memories. Here it is: A man keeps going back to the same bad movie over and over, complaining about it each time. We might laugh at this silliness, but we revisit our own terrible internal movies again and again.

Time Machine

Here's an idea for a fun invention, and we're close to having the necessary technology. Use virtual reality goggles and whatever other tools will help the experience, to put people onto a scene where they can walk around. Now, this has been done to some extent. My idea is to make the settings authentic representations of places at different times in history. Then the user can choose a year and go there, almost like a real time machine.

Contextual Environmentalism

There is a tendency to demonize certain things and behaviors because of their supposed impact on the environment. I think we need to take a more contextual approach to analyzing such things and to implementing solutions. For example, some see SUV's as bad because they guzzle gas. But what if an owner of a SUV drives just 6,000 miles in a year while an environmentalist who likes to travel puts 24,000 miles on his small sedan each year? Who guzzles more gas? The car isn't good or bad, even if we think using a lot of gas is bad (and that is a more complex issue than commonly thought).

I think there are real environmental problems that have to be addressed, but I would like to see smarter approaches. For example, the southwest is running out of water. But the cause is not any one super-sized Phoenix lawn that gets flooded daily to keep it green. The problem is that the total amount of water used is beyond the aquifer and river replenishment rates. It isn't directly about how the water is used. My solution: Let each home use a certain amount of water at a reasonable price, as a sort of "survival allotment." Then raise the price sharply for any usage beyond that, and keep raising it until demand equals replenishment rates. At that point people have what they need and is some wealthy person wants to pay $18,000 per year to water his lawn it isn't a problem.

Seeing Through Our Words

Language comes with many potential risks, like leading us to do things that would make no sense if we did not have sacred words to misguide us. But it also opens up many new ways to see the world. A dog can watch you do something stupid, but only a human (probably one other than yourself) can see the stupidity of the action. If I am right about this it seems logical that animals can also see only physical beauty, while humans can see the beauty of an idea or intention. So we have that going for us.

One Liners

Can a consciousness be transmitted from one to another like possession?

Money is more important than people think, but less valuable than they assume.

Nobody owes you a thing, but most people are willing to do almost anything for you if you can help them get what they want.

If you become self-aware are the self and the awareness still separate?

Anything is possible, including the possibility that this statement is false.

Most of the time it is better (more accurate) to replace "all, always, never, same," with "many, usually, seldom, similar."

How would your life change if you acted according to all of the things you say you believe?

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Crazy Ideas