Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Question #50

Why do we think that great literature or great movies have to be disturbing? That they have to make you think? Why can't we just think about something good, or be happy that we were well entertained? Do we think we don't deserve it?

Just askin'

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Question #49

If you had the power to reverse your last three decisions and their effects, would you still have not washed your hands before eating those barbeque ribs?

Just askin'

Friday, May 27, 2011

Question #48

I am convinced that most people are programmed to always either downplay their skills and abilites in a self deprecating way, or they overstate them in an arrogant way. Think about it, can you picture shuffling your feet and saying the equivalent of "aw shucks, t'warnt nothin'" when you get complimented? What about forcefully saying "yup, that was me," when someone expresses thanks for something that happened?

Do you think people with super powers would be like that? Like Aquaman says "nah, Wonder Woman really captured most of the zombies, all I did was the waterspout that washed them into the cages. You should give her the medal, not me." Or maybe the opposite, Robin says "Yeah, but what about me, if I hadn't knocked over the barrel of oil they wouldn't have been there for Batman to singlehandedly defeat and immobilize until the police got here. And I brought Starbucks for everyone. That counts, right?"

Just askin'

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Question #47

When do you think the best time of the day to be cold?

Just askin'

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Question #46

Most religions have some type of creation myth in which the deity creates people and the world they live on, and is pleased with the outcome. (Christians and Jews believe people are made in god's image, etc.) Most people also believe that they themselves are fairly nice, or are at least they try to be. So if our gods are nice, and we are nice, and our gods created us, then:

Why are people so likely to believe that other people are literally evil?

Just askin'

Monday, May 23, 2011

Question #45

If you think about it, there are many things that society in general takes for granted that all of its members understand. I am not convinced that this is really possible, given that our memories and experiences and therefore our definitions of anything in our reality are vastly different from each other. With that in mind:

How do you know that you love the people you love? What if what you think is love is just benign neglect? Or smothering? Or lust? Or something creepy that I will leave to your imagination? Or is there just one type or a few types of love? Or is it not even something that you can define?

Just askin'

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Question #44

If you could pick any person to be stuck in an elevator with for three hours, who would that person be, and would it matter if there was a camera in the elevator so security could see what you were doing? What if it was totally dark in there?

Just askin'

Question #43

If you knew that after you donated some of your clothes to a worthy cause, would it bother you if you knew that people were using them for dust rags, or wearing them without having had a shower for quite some time, or if they were going to wear them to a political rally supporting someone whose opinios you think are awful?

Just askin'

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Question #41

If you could donate a kidney to a person who had done incredibly awful things, like a dictator or a serial killer, in order to obtain a multi-million dollar donation to end child hunger, would you do it? What if you didn't have to do it yourself, but you could pick someone standing within 100 feet of you right now? Who would it be, if anyone? What if you couldn't tell them beforehand?

Just askin'

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Question #40

I am convinced that empathy is relative, and is also usually guesswork on most people's part. You can never truly know what other people are thinking or wanting, but you can observe them closely and decide what you are going to do based on what you think they are feeling at that time. Some of us are better than others at it. I would bet that those who are motivated to either please others or thwart the will of others are the best at it.

Can you think of times you have done things perhaps not even consciously that you figured out would be likely to be bad for someone else but have no effect on you? I guess basically it would only be to mess with them?

Later, does it feel like a waste of time to have done so? Why or why not?

Just askin'

Monday, May 16, 2011

Question #39

There is a posit which can also fit into various explanations or worldviews, that it is the choices you make that lead you to where you are today. It makes sense, right? Turning left when you could go either way when walking down the street, and you avoid the safe falling out of the window that would have crushed you; giving your future spouse and parent of your children another chance after an awful first date; not taking the job that might have led to a future criminal indictment for insider trading; checking again that you had turned off the oven so you didn't burn down your house. These choices all affected your life and put you on another path to your present location.

If you accept this as true, why would you attempt to prevent your children from repeating your mistakes?

Just askin'

Question #38

What is a more arrogant statement: "God loves you!", or "We're destroying the Earth."?

Just askin'

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Question #37

What is the nicest thing you have ever seen done by the meanest person you know?

Just askin'

Friday, May 13, 2011

Question #36

When you think about it, the concepts that keep society moving are pretty fragile. Take value for example. I can take a piece of paper, (nice paper, to be sure,) and print a 1 on each corner, and put a picture of a dead guy on it, and convince people that this is a one jablonky bill. Then if I can convince people to accept one jablonky for something, I have made that bill worth something. Then I make one with a different guy and a 5000 on each corner and now that we have established the value of one jablonky, it is a small leap to what a 5000 jablonky bill is worth. Or I can write on another, less nice paper that my bank gave me that I can give you 100 jablonkies from my bank account. But if you lose that paper, you have nothing. So you hustle over to your bank and deposit it and then they call the other bank, and say "Hey, I just got this note from one of your customers that says they are giving my customer 100 jablonkies, can you send that over? Thanks, buh-bye."

It works basically the same for a lot of things, as in somebody paying $2.8 million for a baseball card that is actually only an even smaller piece of paper that some people have decided is worth that much instead of the 3 cents that it took to make, or someone having arranged paint on canvas in a way that suddenly makes that $32 worth of supplies worth $82 million. And don't get me started on services and salaries and what they are really worth. Just compare a teacher and a Fortune 500 CEO. Granted, the CEO affects more people, but are they worth up to ten thousand times more than a teacher? Imagine in one hand, you have a one jablonky bill, and you can buy a candy bar with it. Then in the other you have a ten thousand jablonky bill (the one with Bob Marley on it,) and you take that and buy a late model Toyota Corolla. Is the CEO car valuable, while the teacher is candy bar valuable?

So the question is: We accept this state of affairs and we all apparently agree on it enough so that society hums along, but it doesn't really make much sense, and it only works because we agree.

Is that scary?

Just askin'

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Question #35

Building on the theme from the previous post, if you were a super hero, why would you decide to wear a skintight lycra bodysuit? Wouldn't that tend to make people take you less seriously? Basically, all of the same startes and lack of focus that wearing such a getup would get you in a gym would still apply here, i.e. bystanders losing focus on what you are saying as they ogled your body.

"You there, tell me where the nearest authorities are so I can take these criminals in."
"What? Oh, sorry, I was overcome by your amazing breasts. Sorry, what was that?" And so forth.

Just askin'

Question #34

I know the comic books are all "With GREAT POWER comes GREAT RESPONSIBILITY (Dah Dah DAH!!!!)," but most people I know are neither that well-endowed or muscly, and I would imagine them having the same thought processes now as they would after the mysterious green mist overtook them and changed them into Captain Whozenfutz or Dynalesbian or The Red Squirrel or whatever. But they would pretty much still be the same schmoes that they were before, getting all their news from The Daily Show, drinking too much and exhibiting poor judgement, being passive agressive to their friends and colleagues, etc. Basically just humans.


How would your ethics change if you had super powers? Would you still go to protests against war or would you take the same amount of knowledge you have now and take it upon yourself to "fix" things? What if you were wrong? What would you do?

Just askin'

Question #33

If there are huge amounts of people, (many tens of millions,) who were not autistic before, but they will be considered somewhere on the autism spectrum now, who were they before? Were they just considered odd? Did they all work in IT with me? Is it a problem, now that the cat is out of the bag, or the diagnosis is out of the medical journal as it were? How about the fact that not only can we not really do much about it, but that the people have just gotten on with life?

Just askin'

Question #32

As a percentage, how crazy are you? Figure 100% is drooly psychotic with totally altered reality, 50% is many things you believe are not widely held beliefs or verifiable in any way, 25% depends on who you ask, and 0% is mythical.

Just askin'

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Question #31

The dinosaurs were around for more than 200 million years. In comparison, humans have been around for but a tiny fraction of that time.

We have built cities, flown to the moon, created many different kinds of pudding, developed colorful vinyl siding choices, solved the problem of deciding which show to watch and which to TiVo, produced eleven Star Trek movies and counting, and many of us claim to have figured out way ahead of time that Bruce Willis' character in The Sixth Sense was dead by about a half an hour in to the movie.

In contrast, as far as we know, the dinosaurs basically walked around roaring at each other and having vicious tooth and claw battles until they were eaten. Although some have said that any evidence of a dinosaur society would be long gone, and that it is possible that somewhere along the line there were some that were smarter than others and they could have accomplished more and the evidence would be gone long long ago, there is no way to prove it one way or another.

With that in mind, would you like to imagine dinosaurs as religious? How about gay? Would it matter if they had a particular pattern of scales, or would they discriminate againt each other based on other things? Can you imagine how the political debates would go if one side always ended the debate by eating the other?

Just askin'

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Question #30

What do you think would make Fred Rogers angry enough to turn into the Hulk? (You wouldn't like my neighborhood when I'm angry.) And then what would he do about it? Would he tear out of his shoes, or take them off? Would he sing a song about transforming into the Hulk?

Just askin'

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Question #29

If you had 2 hours and no limitations, what method of torture would you use to extract a confession from a suspect?

Just askin'

Monday, May 2, 2011

Question #28

What would you have gotten as a tattoo when you were seven and where would you have put it? How sad would you be about it now?

Just askin'

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Question #27

So imagine you are walking down a long corridor with an endless number of doors on either side. The hallway is a gentle inoffensive taupe color which is so innocuous that you wouldn't be able to describe it later. The doors are all unlabeled, and they have hotel style key readers and lever doorhandles. The lights are recessed bulbs in the ceiling that cast a neutral yellowish light. Additionally, each door has a light at the top of its recessed alcove. The floor is tiled in off white linoleum with a subtle pattern on it, and your feet make slight squeaking noises as you walk. This is the only sound you hear save for a faint background hum you understand to be the air conditioning system.

The corridor stretches unchanged into the distance as far as you can see. Every quarter mile or so, there is a weathered copy of USA Today laying on the ground in front of one of the doors. The dates on the papers are all different, but none of them is any more recent than March 11, 2006.

Do you have the picture?

The question is:

Why are you there?

Just askin'

Question #26

Here is another one you may need to ask your geek friends to translate:

The machines of The Matrix or SkyNet? I guess also maybe or the humans?

Just askin'