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Author Topic: Ecological utility vs. modern utility  (Read 8004 times)
Triarius Fidelis
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« Reply #30 on: April 12, 2010, 03:04:44 pm »

Quote
It's debatable whether I've been inconsiderate.

Be that as it may, nobody's debating it.  One person even said that if you did it on his site, you would be banned permanently.

And in some countries I might even be imprisoned or lynched for advocating human GE ... like I imagine in some Islamic countries it would be considered blasphemy or something

And maybe the rule in question is just dumb

So?

And I don't see a whole lot of people jumping in here to defend you.

So?

So you can believe what you like, but you might want to consider what some of the reasons could be for some of the reactions that you get from people.  Your defense of your use of the word "gay" some time ago comes to mind.  If a lot of people get angry about things you write, it may not be only because you're more intelligent than they are and can't see things they way you do.  There might be other reasons.

Well sure

But I really only care about what other people think insofar as it helps me achieve some goal I have in mind

I might hold my tongue if it means it will enable me to do something later but otherwise I don't really care

I question your judgement and qualifications in these matters because it's unwise to hand over large responsibilities to someone who has shown that he can't handle small ones.

Why

A lot of people who handled large responsibilities very well were incredibly petty in some ways

Look at what Newton did to Robert Hooke. He was an utter asswipe as a person, but he managed to invent the calculus and a lot of modern physics and serve as an official competently

That sounds like a good idea.  I'm sure you have a lot to contribute to the discussion.

Cool
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tomh38
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« Reply #31 on: April 12, 2010, 03:43:55 pm »

Quote
But I really only care about what other people think insofar as it helps me achieve some goal I have in mind.

If you are simply stating a fact and not being merely being defensive ... I find this very disturbing.  The clear implication is that your personal goals are more important to you than social norms, or possibly even the people around you except insofar as you can use them to achieve your ends.

I really did not expect that kind of answer.  You claim it doesn't bother you that nobody is taking your side.  You say that what others think doesn't matter except in helping you get what you want.

I suppose sometimes you do find out what people are really like, even on the Internet.

I hope I never meet you in person.
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« Reply #32 on: April 12, 2010, 04:05:28 pm »

Quote
Look at what Newton did to Robert Hooke. He was an utter asswipe as a person, but he managed to invent the calculus and a lot of modern physics and serve as an official competently

Well at least in your world we could have wiped out Newton before he was even born because he is carrying the 'asswipe' gene.

   I can't believe you can't see the downside.  I'm beginning to think you form an emotionally attachment to your ideas and can not remain impartial and subjective.  

   You will not find a scientist anywhere that will state that any human behavior is 100% hereditary.  Most agree that at best heredity plays a 50% probability in determining future behavior and that is only for a few select behaviors.  For the most part we are creatures of our environment and of our nurturing.  

Is there a practical purpose for such technology, sure.  It is currently being used to help parents help screen for down syndrome. Something that works because of its high probability.  There is some hope that it may be able to determine which zygotes are destined to be psychopaths.  Even in that case I think science would have to prove that the probability of the test would have to be close to 100% before being allowed to terminate on that evidence alone.

Here are where I think you have some false beliefs...
1. You seem to think a genetic disposition to a behavior is 100% conclusive.  It is not. People without the 'greed' gene are 'greedy' and not all men with an extra 'Y' chromosome are in jail or committing crimes.

2. You see this as a way to bring world order.  But, you have to also be able to see that it is a way to make the gap between the have's and the have-nots even wider.  Some classes would even consider themselves evolutionarily superior, this is not a level playing field for mankind.

3. You say we are an imperfect people right now, but don't recognize this as the catch-22 you should fear.  It is the imperfect people of the current of near future that will be administering this program and sure enough they will screw it up.

You may not agree with the above statement and that is fine.  Could you at least reply with some comments that show you are capable of playing devils advocate to your own ideas.  If not, then I find it hard to believe you will be successful within the scientific process.
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Triarius Fidelis
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« Reply #33 on: April 12, 2010, 04:20:24 pm »

Quote
But I really only care about what other people think insofar as it helps me achieve some goal I have in mind.

If you are simply stating a fact and not being merely being defensive ... I find this very disturbing.

I pretty much stopped getting butthurt about things a while ago

The actions of other people against me from childhood onwards have taken their toll

So yes I am stating a fact

The clear implication is that your personal goals are more important to you than social norms

Of course

A lot of social norms are really, really dumb

So?

or possibly even the people around you except insofar as you can use them to achieve your ends.

Well, I like a few people

But not many

I really did not expect that kind of answer.  You claim it doesn't bother you that nobody is taking your side.

Of course not ... why should I entertain an argumentum ad populum?

You say that what others think doesn't matter except in helping you get what you want.

How is this different from anyone else? I just have unusual goals

I suppose sometimes you do find out what people are really like, even on the Internet.

I hope I never meet you in person.

Well what do you fear from me? Unlike many other people I come across, I'm really not willing to take a dump on people without real cause. I see no reason to engage in thievery (copyright infringement doesn't count btw), commit acts of gratuitous violence against other sentient animals, or abuse the environment. In fact I mean to work on becoming a vegetarian in the next few years, and join the Peace Corps as soon as I graduate. I am also opposed to the "corrections" system as it is implemented in the US and would probably not call the cops for all but the most dangerous offenses

So, if we met, there is like no chance you would come to harm from me unless you tried to kill me or something. You could probably even get away with ripping off my possessions. How many people do you know where you could say that of them? Imagine, furthermore, we lived in a place and time when, for example, burning witches and other heretics was considered acceptable. Which side of this issue do you think I'd be on?

Incidentally, I do find it valuable that my affect deeply disturbs a lot of people. I'm not going to do anything bad to them, so it flummoxes me, but it is useful. If I just give off the impression that I am an inexorable Terminator-esque psychopath (probably only half true), people give me a wide berth and keep their dumb ideas to themselves so that I can get a move on, and have a few cheap lulz to boot. And no one is really worse off because I wouldn't actually bring them to harm

So what you are saying, essentially, is that I'm some kind of sick **** because I don't care whether I hurt someone's feelings when accommodating them would get in the way of doing something useful

I see your accusation and raise you a BAWWWWW bunny



Quote
Look at what Newton did to Robert Hooke. He was an utter asswipe as a person, but he managed to invent the calculus and a lot of modern physics and serve as an official competently

Well at least in your world we could have wiped out Newton before he was even born because he is carrying the 'asswipe' gene.

Well how awful would it be to forgo Newton for ten ethically superior Newtonesque people

I can't believe you can't see the downside.

I can. But the expected benefits outweigh the expected costs IMO

I'm beginning to think you form an emotionally attachment to your ideas and can not remain impartial and subjective.

Maybe. I think you meant "objective." But because I'm talking ethics, subjectivity is unavoidable

You will not find a scientist anywhere that will state that any human behavior is 100% hereditary.  Most agree that at best heredity plays a 50% probability in determining future behavior and that is only for a few select behaviors.

Yes

If you can imagine utility achieved for society by a given person as a function of genetics and environment you can imagine that changing both will profoundly affect its value

We probably can't maximize it unless we manipulate both

Furthermore, the good news is that there would be positive feedback. Environmental (cultural / societal) factors are what would enable GE in the first place. But then the human products of GE would affect society later on, and influence the genetics more, and so on back and forth

Is there a practical purpose for such technology, sure.  It is currently being used to help parents help screen for down syndrome. Something that works because of its high probability.  There is some hope that it may be able to determine which zygotes are destined to be psychopaths.  Even in that case I think science would have to prove that the probability of the test would have to be close to 100% before being allowed to terminate on that evidence alone.

It could be much less. The cost of getting rid of a zygote is negligible. It's not like it's hard to generate zygotes

Here are where I think you have some false beliefs...

You've misconstrued them but ...

2. You see this as a way to bring world order.  But, you have to also be able to see that it is a way to make the gap between the have's and the have-nots even wider.

Could genetic manipulation confer superior ability on people or not? You seem to be admitting that it could here, at least tacitly, just after downplaying the importance of the same. Make up your mind

Some classes would even consider themselves evolutionarily superior, this is not a level playing field for mankind.

This is where legal institutions come in

3. You say we are an imperfect people right now, but don't recognize this as the catch-22 you should fear.  It is the imperfect people of the current of near future that will be administering this program and sure enough they will screw it up.

There's the biggest obstacle, I think. For this reason genetic engineering of humans would have be regulated and incremental

You may not agree with the above statement and that is fine.  Could you at least reply with some comments that show you are capable of playing devils advocate to your own ideas.  If not, then I find it hard to believe you will be successful within the scientific process.

There are people who are way more biased in the scientific community than I am lol
« Last Edit: April 12, 2010, 04:48:31 pm by Triarius Fidelis » Logged

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bigpaws
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« Reply #34 on: April 12, 2010, 04:52:36 pm »

The question to be correct would be in saving the earth, if not than forgive this thought.

If the earth can not support the current population. Then how is the logical choice being that
we should GE so that we live longer? Of course with the wisdom and longevity, then so
shall the need for even more resources to support them. It would be better to answer the
question of how to make better use of resources vs increasing the demands upon the earth.
Before bestowing a superior human.

It is amazing the current rate of waste is greater than ever expected. In "modern society" we
simply dispose of our waste vs fixing it. Consider our fore fathers where they created what
they needed with a pretense of Longevity, today that does not hold true. We need to change
that mentality.

WHERE DID THE WHITE MAN GO WRONG?  TOUGH TO ARGUE WITH THIS ONE
Indian Chief 'Two Eagles' was asked by a white government official, 'You have observed the white man for 90 years. You've seen his wars and his technological advances. You've seen his progress, and the damage he's done.'
The Chief nodded in agreement.
The official continued, 'Considering all these events, in your opinion, where did the white man go wrong?'

The Chief stared at the government official for over a minute and then calmly replied. 'When white man find land, Indians running it, no taxes, no debt, plenty buffalo, plenty beaver, clean water.
Women did all the work, Medicine man free. Indian man spend all day hunting and fishing; all night having sex.'

Then the chief leaned back and smiled. 'Only white man dumb enough to think he could improve system like that.'

Bigpaws
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Triarius Fidelis
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« Reply #35 on: April 12, 2010, 05:06:01 pm »

The question to be correct would be in saving the earth, if not than forgive this thought.

If the earth can not support the current population. Then how is the logical choice being that
we should GE so that we live longer? Of course with the wisdom and longevity, then so
shall the need for even more resources to support them. It would be better to answer the
question of how to make better use of resources vs increasing the demands upon the earth.
Before bestowing a superior human.

It is amazing the current rate of waste is greater than ever expected. In "modern society" we
simply dispose of our waste vs fixing it. Consider our fore fathers where they created what
they needed with a pretense of Longevity, today that does not hold true. We need to change
that mentality.

I have made the importance of environmental stewardship explicitly clear all throughout this thread

Did you not read it?

I don't see how human GE and environmentalism are mutually exclusive; indeed, they may be deeply compatible

WHERE DID THE WHITE MAN GO WRONG?  TOUGH TO ARGUE WITH THIS ONE

Your anecdote, aside from being condescending, is untrue. Aboriginal populations in America and Australia, often juxtaposed to industrial civilizations to point out its flaws, hunted dozens of giant animal species into extinction upon their arrival. The American landscape would look very different without their impact on the environment, being swarmed over by great predatory cats, rhinoceros, and even giant sloths
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GrannyGeek
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« Reply #36 on: April 12, 2010, 06:20:36 pm »

Whatever the merits and demerits of human GE in improving the species, politically it's a non-starter.

Consider the huge flap over embryonic stem cell research in the US. These early embryos were not ever going to become babies but were destined for eventual destruction. Yet there are large numbers of citizens who consider a fertilized egg to be fully human from the moment of conception.

There are billions in the world who hold the same opinion. I doubt they and their religions are going to have a mass change of mind over the benefits of human GE. So how could this be implemented on a wide enough scale to make difference? Would we need a dictatorship to force human GE on all those who are opposed? Nor could it be a private decision, any more than opponents are disposed to allow abortion to be a private decision.

Agree or disagree, human GE (especially involving killing a zygote) would face a massive wall of opposition. Since much (most?) of this opposition is religion-based, mustering rational arguments in favor of your proposition would go nowhere.
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Triarius Fidelis
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« Reply #37 on: April 12, 2010, 06:47:10 pm »

There are billions in the world who hold the same opinion. I doubt they and their religions are going to have a mass change of mind over the benefits of human GE.

A lot of people don't think neo-Darwinian evolution should be taught either

They have some influence in really crappy states like Alabama and Texas, but even there they haven't had much of an impact on higher education

Being dumb severely limits the recourse that people have, even if they are present in large numbers

So how could this be implemented on a wide enough scale to make difference?

People would notice the benefits if just one small place was able to carry it out

The ideas of one poor rocky Mediterranean backwater of the ancient world are of course widespread in the world today, despite centuries of tremendous bigotry

Good ideas have a way of slowly forcing out bad ones, because bad ideas are, contrary to popular belief, useless

Would we need a dictatorship to force human GE on all those who are opposed?

I hope not

Nor could it be a private decision, any more than opponents are disposed to allow abortion to be a private decision.

Agree or disagree, human GE (especially involving killing a zygote) would face a massive wall of opposition. Since much (most?) of this opposition is religion-based, mustering rational arguments in favor of your proposition would go nowhere.
--GrannyGeek

America =/= the world

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_atheism

I intend to live out the rest of my years in Sweden as soon as possible because it's one of the few parts of the world that's sort of tolerable ... although NZ and Canada, e.g., aren't bad either actually

ps nonreligious is the fastest growing religious demo in the US
« Last Edit: April 12, 2010, 06:56:14 pm by Triarius Fidelis » Logged

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« Reply #38 on: April 12, 2010, 07:05:54 pm »


They have some influence in really crappy states like Alabama and Texas, but even there they haven't had much of an impact on higher education

Being dumb severely limits the recourse that people have, even if they are present in large numbers

It's painfully obvious you've never traveled much outside your little sphere if ignorance. Otherwise you wouldn't make such a sweeping statement.

Quote
People would notice the benefits if just one small place was able to carry it out

The ideas of one poor rocky Mediterranean backwater of the ancient world are of course widespread in the world today, despite centuries of tremendous bigotry

Good ideas have a way of slowly forcing out bad ones, because bad ideas are, contrary to popular belief, useless

One person's good idea, may indeed be a bad idea for everyone else. Just because you think Eugenics is mankind's salvation, I submit it would create a rift that would lead to more violence. Especially when those that are genetically engineered start considering themselves better than "non-engineered" individuals.

Quote
America =/= the world

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_atheism

I intend to live out the rest of my years in Sweden as soon as possible because it's one of the few parts of the world that's sort of tolerable ... although NZ and Canada, e.g., aren't bad either actually

ps nonreligious is the fastest growing religious demo in the US

Just because one does not associate with "religion" does not equate to being non-spiritual. I suspect you'll never find a comfortable place to live as your ideas are not what mainstream society would consider "normal". As I stated earlier, thinking Eugenics can solve the world's problems is no different than those societies that used other methods to achieve the same goals.
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Triarius Fidelis
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« Reply #39 on: April 12, 2010, 07:48:26 pm »

It's painfully obvious you've never traveled much outside your little sphere if ignorance. Otherwise you wouldn't make such a sweeping statement.

Well

I'm not saying that everyone from these areas sucks. In fact, it isn't true at all

Overall they are crappy states though

For instance, Alabama—like other Deep South states—is a federal tax burden and the Texas Board of Education is currently embarrassing the whole country

One person's good idea, may indeed be a bad idea for everyone else.

Empiricism is bad for believers ... and especially priests

So?

A lot of people get all pissed when a true but unsettling finding comes out

So?

Just because you think Eugenics is mankind's salvation, I submit it would create a rift that would lead to more violence. Especially when those that are genetically engineered start considering themselves better than "non-engineered" individuals.

I don't see how considering oneself superior would necessarily be a bar to accepting utilitarianism (i.e., weighing everyone's utility equally)

Obviously people are right to consider themselves superior to other animals in many ways, although we at least claim that humane slaughter is preferable, abhor frivolous animal testing and vivisection ... and some people don't eat animals at all

Just because one does not associate with "religion" does not equate to being non-spiritual.

Eurobarometer accounts for this distinction



Notice the correlation, quite possibly causal, between lack of religious belief and standards of living

A significant minority of Swedes, for instance, categorically do not believe in a supernatural element

Also, "spirit or life force" is vaguely defined. I wonder whether these terms are clearer in other languages but in English at least I might be tempted to answer that I do believe in, at least, a "life force" even though I am an atheist

I suspect you'll never find a comfortable place to live as your ideas are not what mainstream society would consider "normal".

Perhaps not

But ... that doesn't imply it would be the right thing for me to toe the line

As long as everyone else just gets my fries to me piping hot and doesn't put my bread at the bottom of the bag where it will get crushed we can agree to disagree

As I stated earlier, thinking Eugenics can solve the world's problems is no different than those societies that used other methods to achieve the same goals.

You've said it three times

But not justified it once
« Last Edit: April 12, 2010, 07:55:52 pm by Triarius Fidelis » Logged

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bigpaws
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« Reply #40 on: April 12, 2010, 07:53:41 pm »

Quote
I have made the importance of environmental stewardship explicitly clear all throughout this thread

Did you not read it?

I don't see how human GE and environmentalism are mutually exclusive; indeed, they may be deeply compatible

Your responses are becoming adversarial which is what you have accused others of. Your age is now showing.
It is interesting that you make these statements about other parts of the world, when to the best of my knowledge
I can check you have lived your life in Pennsylvania.

Continuing this thread at least for me is like GE futile.

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Triarius Fidelis
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« Reply #41 on: April 12, 2010, 08:05:47 pm »

Your responses are becoming adversarial which is what you have accused others of.

Oh come now, have a sense of humor

Your age is now showing.

Well you didn't read what I said and then condescended to aboriginal Americans

That's not very nice you know

It is interesting that you make these statements about other parts of the world, when to the best of my knowledge
I can check you have lived your life in Pennsylvania.

Well yes but I don't go to school here

I've been around enough to tell I like some places more than others

Plus I know people from a lot of different places

And finally, learning about distant places allows one to reasonable inferences about them

I must admit I have not been to one of Jupiter's major moons, Io, but I can categorically assert that I would not want to live there

Io actually seems worse than the South

Continuing this thread at least for me is like GE futile.

There. I dignified your irrelevant ad hominem attack with a response. You're welcome
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« Reply #42 on: April 12, 2010, 08:26:19 pm »

Incidentally, I do find it valuable that my affect deeply disturbs a lot of people.

Triarius Fidelis:


I imagine you do.  But that word ... "affect."  Lack of affect is what I would expect to find, were I to meet you, at which time I would make sure I was somewhere else very quickly.

Nice rabbit ... it just reinforces what I'm about to write.

You can backpedal all you like, talk about joining the Peace Corps or becoming a vegetarian, but you've already admitted that other people only matter to you insofar as they help you achieve your goals.  You can't unring the bell.  I'm not accusing you of anything.  You've done that yourself.
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Triarius Fidelis
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« Reply #43 on: April 12, 2010, 09:03:59 pm »

Incidentally, I do find it valuable that my affect deeply disturbs a lot of people.

Triarius Fidelis:


I imagine you do.  But that word ... "affect."  Lack of affect is what I would expect to find, were I to meet you, at which time I would make sure I was somewhere else very quickly.

To be fair

A psychiatrist diagnosed me as "schizoid"

This is a little known phenomenon; I never even heard of it before my dx, so I will post the Wikipedo summary here

Quote
Schizoid personality disorder (SPD) is a personality disorder characterized by a lack of interest in social relationships, a tendency towards a solitary lifestyle, secretiveness, and emotional coldness.[1] There is increased prevalence of the disorder in families with schizophrenia. SPD is not the same as schizophrenia, although they share some similar characteristics such as detachment or blunted affect.

There is some maternal history of schizophrenia, if I remember correctly. And it could be true that, to some extent, I am actually schizoid. However, it is not that simple. I got more friends when I started to attend uni. I make them laugh with my raunchy jokes. I don't have a stiff personality in that context. My expression of schizoid symptoms is heavily dependent on the immediate environment

I think it is worth noting, on balance, that I grew up in a rather toxic neighborhood and suffered a childhood ... trauma which caused me to be institutionalized, around the age of 11. This is important to know, and I refer you to the following article: http://www.aaets.org/article196.htm

Quote
When a child is threatened, various neurophysiological and neuroendocrine responses are initiated. If they persist, there will be ‘use-dependent’ alterations in the key neural systems involved in the stress response. These include the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. In animal models, chronic activation of the HPA system in response to stress has negative consequences. Chronic activation may "wear out" parts of the body including the hippocampus, a key area involved in memory, cognition and arousal. This may be occurring in traumatized children as well. Dr. Martin Teicher and colleagues have demonstrated hippocampal/limbic abnormalities in a sample of abused children.

Another set of neural systems that become sensitized by repetitive stressful experiences are the catecholamine systems including the dopaminergic and noradrenergic systems. These key neurochemical systems become altered following traumatic stress. The result is a cascade of associated changes in attention, impulse control, sleep, fine motor control and other functions mediated by the catecholamines. As these catecholamines and their target regions (e.g., amygdaloid nuclei) also mediate a variety of other emotional, cognitive and motor functions, sensitization of these systems by repetitive re-experiencing of the trauma leads to dysregulation in many functions. A traumatized child may, therefore, exhibit motor hyperactivity, anxiety, behavioral impulsivity, sleep problems, tachycardia and hypertension.

In other words, trauma incurred early in life tends to gear relevant neural substrates towards filtering everything through the prism of that experience. Along with the psychiatrist's interpretation, I find this to be a tenable, if not certain explanation of my present state of mind. I do have fairly severe sleep problems, often times a sense of alertness or vigilance that I know to be excessive, and occasionally even painful twinges in my chest. More likely than not this is the result of cardiac disturbance brought on by an episode of acute anxiety ... it's the only reasonable explanation, I think, because whenever I get a health exam I'm in not good, but excellent cardiovascular condition. I've even gotten an EKG and it turned out just fine. These cardiac twinges, on the contrary, only come when I have these episodes

The reason I'm schizoid (arguably) is because the strain is immense and I've had to shut down inside to prevent myself from going under completely

But I guess I'm some kind of monster in your eyes

Oh well

I'm doing the best I can

Maybe my mental health is in the toilet, like you said

The cause of many of my problems is that I've had to deal with a lot of muppets and asstards. They've been caustic, caustic influences on my development and I never would have crossed paths with them if I had the choice, but that's in the past and all I can do now is advocate the development of a more rational society. And I don't suffer fools gladly now. I don't like people who don't want to think deeply about ethics and like issues. And that's most of them. I hope you can see just why

You can backpedal all you like, talk about joining the Peace Corps or becoming a vegetarian

This isn't backpedaling. Nothing I have said is inconsistent. I don't like a lot of people; on the same token, I still want to see society prosper. Hopes for the prosperity of society give my life meaning. Furthermore, I am willing to incur considerable pains to myself to see this happen. If this is not ethical, I don't know what is

but you've already admitted that other people only matter to you insofar as they help you achieve your goals

I didn't say that though

I said that I would hold my tongue, perhaps only briefly, if something like an academic promotion depended on it

That's just good sense

You can't unring the bell.  I'm not accusing you of anything.  You've done that yourself.

Well, whatever
« Last Edit: April 12, 2010, 09:11:53 pm by Triarius Fidelis » Logged

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« Reply #44 on: April 12, 2010, 09:28:18 pm »

In essence, you wish society to conform to your view of how it should be, not necessarily because society would benefit, but more so you would benefit?
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