Saturday, October 31, 2009

What do I want?

Hello all.  This is Saturday’s update, but I’m actually writing it Friday afternoon: tomorrow will be busy.  To take the heaviness of the last two posts down a notch, I want to talk about something that happens to all of us, and to me about an hour ago: I could not think of what to do.  I have reached a point of pause in a large project I am completing, and I am not scheduled for work this afternoon so my options are pretty much endless.  How is it that I could not find anything to do?

So what did I do?  Of all things, I sat down and thought about why I could think of nothing to do.  And, as it quickly became apparent, this was not at all the case: I was thinking of several things to do, and systematically rejecting them.  I thought about finding a party for tomorrow (today), but hesitated because I haven’t seen these friends for a while, I don’t like situations where I don’t know many people, and I haven’t completed my costume (out of a desire to not spend money).  I thought about working out, but I was feeling lazy.  I thought about embarking upon the next stage of the project, but I want to talk with my advisor before proceeding.  And the list goes on.
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Friday, October 30, 2009

Capitalism vs. Communism, part 1

The range of possible things I could say on this topic is nigh endless, and both your time and mine is valuable.  So, I will begin at the beginning, and end at a reasonable place, and save whatever remainder for another day.

At the fundamental core of this debate is the question of human nature.  How do we behave?  How dependent is our behavior upon our upbringing or our genetics?  These are, admittedly, questions to which I do not have the answer.  Well, noboby does: if someone knew the answer to the nature/nurture debate, a substantial number of psychologists would be out of a job.  However, I have an idea of what the answer might be, at least for the purposes of this debate.

I think that people are greedy by nature.  This is seen in children, who need to be taught not to snatch, to share, that all they see is not theirs...very basic stuff.  If we look at other primate societies, there is a well established pecking order in which the top monkey has first pick of whatever there is to be picked.  From a genetics perspective, this makes sense: our "prime directive" so to speak is to pass on our DNA.  Long story short, this leads to a slew of competitive behaviors even in fundamentally cooperative societies.  Ok, you don't buy the genetics argument: imagine a company has one position and one hundred people applying for it.  Imagine a ballet troupe has one position and one hundred people vying for it.  Imagine an auction house has one (particular) painting and one hundred people bidding on it.  I could go on.  The point is, where ever there is scarcity there will be competition.  And there will always be scarcity.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

The newspaper is a great starting place for ideas.

Even just glancing through the front page articles, there's bound to be at least one that touches upon something easy to talk about.  Today, it's an article in The Wall Street Journal about where the responsibility for a person's prescription drug use lies.  The article, by Amy Merrick, first talks about an incident in which a woman suspected of abusing painkillers hit two people at the side of the road, killing one and severely injuring the second.  Now, let me ask you: who is responsible for this unfortunate accident?

According to the lawsuit filed Mr. Martinez (the injured man), his family and the family of the deceased (Mr. Sanchez), Wall Mart is responsible.  Because the woman (Patricia Copening) bought her painkillers from their pharmacy, it is they who should be responsible for the accident.

At this point, I'm thinking something along the lines of, "WTF?"  And, the article goes on to say that this is "part of a broader movement under way to place more responsibility for patients' prescription-drug use on pharmacies."  Do you know what I think?  I think that Wall Mart is capable of paying much more in damages than Ms. Copening.  You do the math.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Break out the champagne!

And let's toss the bottle straight into the hull of this barely fledgling blog.  Right now I feel like I have moved into a new house: the site is completely barren, and I can almost see tumbleweed blowing through the space where posts ought to be.  I also feel like a kid in a candy store: as my first blog, I'm eagerly exploring the various options that managing such a site entails.  I by and large haven't the slightest idea of what I am doing, but I figure that actually attempting to do it will teach me faster than simply thinking about it.

This blog is currently without a central purpose: I plan to post regular entries here on thoughts I have in my head at the time.  So, you may end up reading strange posts raving about politics or obscure philosophy: while I try not to make comments on politics when I'm ill-informed, I probably will anyway.  I will pull no such punches with philosophical topics, as I believe that the only facts that can be found in the field of philosophy are simply what philosophers have already said.  Some others may post here as well in the future; for now, dear reader, you are stuck with me.

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