What I like most about me is that I am me. My favourite person in the world is me, and what me likes about me is being me…therefore me and I are exactly the same.
(Real name is being kept discreet but ‘Jonah’ will have to do for now).
Chris: Okay, Jonah, if you had to become any animal, what would you be and why?
Jonah : I would want to become a lion ‘cause lions are very strong and ferocious and also like to run really fast and they are also at the top of the hierarchy so I would like to become a lion.
Chris: Okay, that’s…that’s an interesting response. Now…would you ever eat a lion for dinner?
Jonah: Um…no. Because it’s not allowed in my religion because I can’t eat any sort of animal which, which like actually eats meat, so no.
Chris: Oh really? I never knew…
Chris: So you can only eat herbivores?
Jonah: I can only eat herbivores, yeah, like cows, goats and stuff so I can’t eat anything [which eats meat].
Chris: So, so…can you eat shark fin? Because sharks…
Jonah: I’ve never had shark, so…
Chris: Oh, so you’ve never tried shark’s fin?
Jonah: No, I’ve never tried shark’s fin, so…I’m not sure because no one in my family, no one in my family has tried it, so I can’t give an accurate response but I don’t think so because we can’t eat dogs…
Jonah: Because dogs eat meat so we can’t eat that and we can’t eat snakes either.
Chris: Alright, now, would you rather be eaten by a pack of sharks or swallowed by a whale?
Jonah: I would rather be swallowed by a whale.
Chris: How come?
Jonah: I would rather be swallowed by one animal rather than, you know, many animals eating you up. I would rather want one animal to, you know, finish off you quickly rather than everyone having, you know…a small piece.
Chris: A slice of the pizza?
Jonah: A slice of the pizza, so I’d rather want one person to have as much as he can.
Chris: I see…would, would you rather be eaten by a whale or an elephant?
Jonah: Um…it’s quite difficult but…it’s quite difficult to say an answer but…I would probably say…elephant maybe, because I think elephants are nice animals rather than whales, ‘cause you know, normally people regards elephants as, you know, quite friendly animals, so I’d rather be eaten by an elephant. Because whales…I’m not sure, whales…thing is, whales, I’ve never, you know, I’ve actually never seen a whale in my life so I’m not sure I should be eaten by a whale but an elephant, you know, there are actually many kinds of elephants, and they’re actually quite friendly, so I’d rather be eaten by an elephant.
Jonah: Yeah I think, I think elephants are…quite friendly, I think they’re quite friendly when compared to lions, tigers and other sorts of animals.
Chris: Even when an elephant’s eating you?
Jonah: Well, if it’s eating you, it’s not gonna be friendly, obviously but it’s, you know, finishing you off, but if I have an option to be, you know, finished off by a whale or an elephant I’d rather be finished off by an elephant.
Chris: I…I see. Do you…if, if you…would you keep an elephant as a pet?
Jonah: Um…I wouldn’t keep an elephant as a pet because, you know, elephants are really big firstly, and number two, they can also get really…they can also get angry really quickly I think and can get really angry and, um, I think to, also, you know…it’s a really weird question I don’t…I don’t really know how to put it into words. I think, you know, elephants also have trunks, which makes it a bit harder to, you know, it makes it a bit harder for the person to look after it. I think the main reason is that elephants are really big and they also make a lot of noise so wherever you live and if you have an elephant it’s gonna be really weird for all the people living around you and also hard for the people living with you.
Chris: Ok, ok, thanks for your time [Undisclosed name].
Jonah: No problem. Pretty weird questions, eh?
‘Evil’ is a manmade construct to simplify to process of deciding what ‘ought’ not to be done. It does not exist as many intrinsic property of the universe – indeed, without mankind, the concept of ‘evil’ would not exist. Because of this, ‘evil’ is very subjective indeed – with different people having different ideas about what is ‘good’ or ‘bad’. This is the basis of Relative Morality, which really, is the only way we can look at things when comparing one individual to another. You need only look to the Romans to verify this – of course the slaughter of prisoners in (arguably) entertaining ring matches would be condemned today, however, back then it would well accepted. If not, then it wouldn’t have been so popular.
As one might expect, there have been many attempts at providing an objective basis for morality. Perhaps the simplest is the use of the Hedonic Calculus. Put as simply as possible – morally positive actions are those which bring about an increase in the overall level of happiness. This takes into account how many people are happy, how happy they are, and for how long. We’re effectively trying to maximise happiness as much as possible. The ‘number of people’ variable within the Hedonic Calculus also acts as an instrument of fairness. Surely, as many of us would think, it is better to have many people moderately happy than to have one person incredible happy. But then again – this is arguable, and I’m sure many of you would disagree, for one reason or another.
But then again, this method of ‘Absolute Morality’ implies that maximising human well-being and happiness is a good thing, but who’s to say that it is? If I asked anybody to explain exactly why they think that human well-being is good, they would probably just reply with “because it just is”. Of course, this is derived solely from my experience with that fundamental question, but there may be other answers out there, and I would be thrilled to hear them.
The basic reason why I believe that we generally like well-being is that we are programmed to do so. Our ancestors, presumably, survived amongst the rest because of their outstanding will to survive, which fuelled their struggle – and with that will to live comes an aversion or disgust to anything of the otherwise capacity – things which would lower our well-being. And so, this is why our brains scream “evil!” when we see a man being stabbed on the street or remember the tragedies of the Holocaust…because all those things do indeed lower human well-being, or at least, are perceived to in the short term.
So…if this tendency has been programmed into us, then shouldn’t we all be the same? Why, then, did I decide to point out the subjectivity of morality before? The simple answer is – this basic tendency is sometimes interrupted by other factors, most of them social or experiential, some of them even biological. No two humans are ever the same, but there’s a reason, as my opinion goes, why we hold an aversion to this thing which we call ‘evil’, which can’t really even be defined except only vaguely.
However, we should all try to understand one another. We all hold moral compasses, no matter who we are…some are just different to others. Who’s to say who is right or wrong, moralistically? This business is purely subjective, and concepts such as ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ are fabrications of the mind, so to ask who is right or wrong is the wrong question. Or at least in my opinion it is. To stay to the spirit of our discourse, I must mention that nothing I say here should be taken without criticism, we should all form our own ideas about the nature of ‘evil’ and our own models of morality. Then again – who am I to tell you what you ‘should’ do? Should I even be telling you what to do? Oh, screw it, I’m going to bed.
- What is your favorite word?
- What is your least favorite word?
- What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
- What turns you off?
- What is your favorite curse word?
- What sound or noise do you love?
- What sound or noise do you hate?
- What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
- What profession would you not like to do?
- If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
- McGuffin. Come on, just say it – Mac…GUFF-in
- Extraordinary. Said in a British manner. It tastes like poison but smells like roses.
- A good book or film. I haven’t quite found the need for substances…yet.
- The crunch of cereal in one’s mouth
- WUB WUB WUB
- Badly-paid Cosmonaut.
- I’ll let you become an invisible ghost who can roam the Earth going anywhere and seeing anything you want. Nothing implied, of course.
Welcome to Four-Way Chess, a game that has probably never been attempted, probably never should be attempted, and might end up catastrophically if one does attempt it. But, nevertheless, four good friends have a go anyway.
Meet Brian – He’s a rather sad little fellow who seems to fail at life and everything in it. He does try, and he tries very hard, in fact, but some men (and women) just weren’t born for success. Or at least, Brian would make one think so.
Meet Albert – He’s a nice guy, and as it turns out, he pities Brian. All he wants is to one day see him succeed in something. It doesn’t matter what. Just anything.
Meet Catherine – Spoilt princess to the maximum, always wants things done her way, always makes a fuss when they aren’t. High-achiever and a top class chess player, rivaled only by Albert – who looks upon her as he would upon a cockroach.
Meet Toby – Indifferent, adventurous and highly susceptible to dares. You can make him sad, jealous or even just angry; he won’t care…as long as he’s not bored.
Game. Set. Match.
“But I want to be red!” Catherine wails, immediately snatching a piece from the box. “But Toby’s already set them up” says Albert, calmly yet with bite. There is a limit to how much he could take…and it’s fast approaching. “It’s fine” Toby’s voice comes from the corner, as he shifts his seat and gives way for Catherine. “You don’t have to, Toby” says Albert.
“No, no, it’s fine”. Catherine gives a wide smile and rubs her hands together. “Let’s go!” she says.
“Wait…Brian hasn’t set up yet” says Albert.
“Oh, hurry up!” At this point, Albert could feel the veins in his neck screaming away.
The board is now set and the game starts rolling. Immediately, Catherine brings a barrage upon Brian, decimating a quarter of his troops within the first several moves. Albert starts to feel uneasy and shifts his troops in between the two, halting Catherine’s attacks. She flinches as he decapitates her bishops, “Oh, you’re cheating! I use my guys to attack him and then you come in” she pokes. “You mean…I’m handing your ass to you?” Albert replies, with a slight grin.
Before long, Brian’s own troops start to attack Albert’s forces. “Ah, snap” goes Albert, “you got me again”, as piece after piece falls to Brian’s army. Albert could see his smile widening, and so widens his own.
Both Catherine and Albert couldn’t help but notice that although Toby wasn’t taking many losses, he wasn’t doing any killing either. “Toby” says Albert.
“Why aren’t you doing anything?”
“Why aren’t you doing anything to me?” Toby replies.
The answer – because Albert and Catherine have been too busy killing each other. In fact, throughout the entire match, Toby has been sending his troops into the middle of the warzone, in perfect range of his enemies, yet he hasn’t claimed a single piece. “T-Toby?” goes Albert again.
“Don’t tell me you’re trying to lose, are you?” Silence.
As the war wages further, Albert’s altruism takes its toll. With only a few pieces left, yet Catherine’s army at good strength, he begins to pull back his troops to recover. “Oh my god, B-R-B” Catherine cuts in, “Don’t go anything without me” before running off to the ladies’. The battlefield froze.
“Toby” Albert leans over.
“Come on, man…don’t you want to see her burn?” Clearly, Toby’s thinking…
“After all those years of pain and suffering, don’t you just want to slam her down and rub it in where it hurts?” More thinking…
Before he could finish, Catherine waltzes back. “I’m back! Let’s go”.
Albert shoots Toby a glance, “don’t fail on me now!” Toby doesn’t reply, but he sets his eyes straight on the board. It looks like he has made his decision.
With nothing to lose, Albert fires off all his units toward Catherine’s territory, losing many but claiming many. Catherine gives a giggle, “Looks like I’ve won, Ally” she sniggers. “It’s Albert”. However, her smile fades as she notices a new threat to the East. As dawn approaches, the tide of Toby’s blue army rolls in – silent up ‘till now, but ready to make its name known across the entirety of the battlefield.
“No!” Catherine screams as the oncoming tide obliterates the remains of her forces. Albert sits in amazement, his army crippled, his strength waned – but at least there is still hope. And best of all – the look on Catherine’s face as she witnesses the last of her kind being trampled upon by the might of Toby’s aquamarine battalion. “Looks like we’ve won, Cathy” Albert fires, as Catherine stomped the floor and stood up. “This game sucks!” she screams, as she flips the table over, sending hundreds of pieces falling to the floor.
Albert gives Toby a smile, “Job well done”.
“Don’t mention it. Now…back to making flapjacks”. Toby stands up, stretching a little, and walks over to the kitchen. “How did I do?” Brian asks, as if a poodle at Albert’s feet. “Splendidly”.
“I did crap, didn’t I?” he straightened.
“Every single goddamn time…” Brian mutters as he makes his exit.
“I think you ought to be a little straighter with him these days. He’s not a kid anymore, you know?” Toby comments, still preparing his flapjacks.
“Yeah, I know…” Albert concedes, “But he’s just a bit fragile”.
“Not as fragile as you think. Give him a chance. Let go of the brakes a little.”
“Alright” Albert smiles, as they both proceed to enjoy a rather scrumptious batch of flapjacks.
This, my friends, is a script of my life. Really, my thoughts. Really, whatever the prodding stick of the Daily Prompt attempts to extract from me that day. But here, you will find my unique view of the world around me. Why, unique, you might say? Because everybody’s is unique, and mine is but a speck amid the seething bubble of human thought that pervades the world.
And what a brilliant world it is.
So there you go, my comrades – please, have a look and read. Judge, as I know you will, for none can resist, and I encourage you, judge away. Perhaps you may see a reflection of yourself in these words, perhaps not. People will disagree, and by no means do I mean to please everybody. But there is one cardinal sin which I would never commit – to be boring.
So, enjoy – and if you find interest in the art of blogging yet have delayed your words from spitting out into the world – I implore you to delay no further. There is a joy in writing, unexplainable almost, that makes it so very fun…
Oh, what was that? 10 years from now, you say? This blog’s nature has been consistent throughout the entirety of its short existence, and I don’t intend to change it. A fruit salad is a mosh pit…a melting pot of all shapes and colours that come and mingle in newfound harmony. Delicious, yes?
Recently, (and I’m sorry but on this occasion, I must cheat), I have discovered a truly amazing spot of news that might seem trivial at first but in fact impacts all of our lives greatly. Scientists and engineers have been able to remote-control cockroaches. Hang on…remote control what? That’s right – by attaching a compact device onto a cockroach’s back, we are now able to control these little beasts.
How does this work, you may ask? I have gathered, from my limited understanding, that signals are sent to the cockroach’s antennae – signals which we can choose and determine using our remote. Since cockroaches respond to their surroundings using information from their antennae (like how we see, smell and touch), they will perceive this fake information in a certain way and act accordingly. As it turns out, we can use this method to control the cockroach’s every action, effectively turning it into a mindless slave.
Now…does this apply to humans? Are we only responding mechanically to what we sense in our surroundings? With cockroaches, it is a bit simpler judging by the complexity of their brains, but even in human beings, I am convinced that sense and perception control everything. We react to stimuli in a certain way – and this is different to every person – but if we are to take John, for example, and throw a ball at him, seeing his reaction – then reverse time and throw him the ball again, he will react in the exact same way as before. Are we then, purely mechanistic in this sense? Does remote-controlling a cockroach mean that we will eventually be able to remote-control humans once the complexity of our thoughts is taken into account?
All that we’ve gathered from research tells us that this is true…we are as prone to mechanistic behaviour as cockroaches are, just on such a high level of complexity that we do not notice it. The cockroach would, after all, not notice its own mechanisticity, so why would we? If we take a step back, will we see that humans operate on a set of simple rules and instructions? Are we nothing but a conglomerate of complex molecules obeying the unshakable laws of physics?