Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
Are You A Comfort Addict?

By brain in a jar in Culture
Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 08:10:30 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

Do you find yourself unsatisfied, but unable to work out why?

Do you find yourself nodding during Fight Club when Tyler Durden tells his recruits that their struggle is a philosophical one... only to be dismayed with his idea of a solution?

Is everything okay, but nothing great?

You could well be a comfort addict.


Comfort and Pleasure

Comfort and pleasure are closely related. Pleasure is the reward we receive for scratching a biological itch. Whereas comfort is simply the feeling of not having any itches in need of a damn good scratching. Many things in life are pleasurable. Eating good food when starving hungry, lying down on a soft bed after working a twelve hour shift, having crazy, sweaty, urgent sex with someone you haven't seen for far too long. Each of these things have one thing in common. The more you want something, the more you enjoy it when you finally have it.

Therein lies the rub. Comfort is what we feel when we have no strong need for anything, when we are not hungry, not horny, not dying for a leak... and yet pleasure comes from relieving these urgent needs. If we want to feel true pleasure, we cannot be comfortable all the time.

This is not a new problem. As soon as we get rich enough the first thing we do is make ourselves comfortable. We make sure that we have enough food stored, so that even if bad weather hits, we never have to skip a meal. We get a car so that if it is cold or raining we don't have to expose ourselves to the elements. Comfort addiction is the essence of suburbia, a heavy blanket, suffocatingly soft.

There was a time when comfort addiction was a problem which only the rich could afford to suffer from. Hard labour and occasional shortages of the essentials of life were the norm. Fast forward a century or so and the middle classes make up a large proportion of the west's population. Millions of people across the western world have gained the ability to escape discomfort almost entirely, and many of them have been foolish enough to do so.

This attachment to comfort is an addiction, because the less often we experience discomfort, the less tolerance we have for it. In the end the comfort addict avoids even mild hunger by constant snacking and avoids physical exertion entirely with an endless list of labour saving devices. The life of the comfort addict is flat, never denied anything, and yet never truly satisfied. It is a life of avoidance, and those who live it end up avoiding life itself.

Calculus for Hedonists

It is clear that we need to strike a balance, but the question is where should it be struck. The simplest answer is that we should sleep when we are tired, eat when hungry and make love when horny, then and only then. But this only raises more questions:

How hungry should a man be before he allows himself to eat?

How hot must the fires of desire burn before he gives in to fleshly temptation?

We can try to think of the problem as an economist would, as a simple matter of optimisation. As time passes the pleasure which can be gained from satisfying a need increases. But it will not increase forever. At some point hunger starts to fade rather than grow stronger and the same is true for the desire for sex. There is no sense in subjecting ourselves to days of hunger just to make the eventual feast a tiny bit more satisfying. Thus there is an optimal time at which to satisfy any particular need.

This plan still has its limitations. Our pleasure is still limited by our appetites. If we are seldom really hungry, should we give up on the pleasure of eating? If after years of marriage, we find that desire fades, do we really have to give up on frequent pleasurable sex? The answer is of course no.

Although our desires are biological, we can still strengthen them. Exercising burns calories, builds muscle and speeds the metabolism. In short, it makes us hungrier and makes eating more pleasureable. Taking an aperitif (a small amount of strong alcohol), or a joint a half hour before a meal serves the same purpose. Similarly a good lover knows how to tease their partner, increasing their desire and making their mutual release that much more stimulating. Failing that, adding variety or making things more than a little kinky, usually works well enough that sordid affairs are unnecessary.

Should you find yourself stuck in a rut, where nothing really seems to provide any real joy remember this: To experience pleasure you must first deny yourself a little. So put away the snackfood and the self-pity and go for a long walk. When you have worked up a great hunger then is the time to eat. If its freezing cold outside all the better, a steaming hot bath and a whisky on your return will be heavenly.

In a similar vein, do not devote terabytes of storage to pornography, jacking-off three times a day is guaranteed to take the fun out of it.

Doubtless it has occurred to the reader that there are other ways of dealing with the conflict between comfort and pleasure.

Why would anyone choose to go through cycles of denial and release in pursuit of pleasure when certain drugs can provide a shortcut?

This is certainly a possible strategy, and many have taken it, but it has a number of well known disadvantages. The body is relatively quick to develop a tolerance to the most common drugs of abuse. Once a tolerance has developed, the pleasure to be gained from the drug quickly subsides.

Just as with any other source of pleasure, the pleasure which drugs can give must be intermittant or it will disappear entirely. To be replaced with the joyless routine suffering that is addiction.

Finally, what of the wirehead?

Studies have shown that the pleasure centres of the brain can be stimulated directly with electrodes. The stimulation never ceases to be pleasureable. Tolerance, the bane of the dope fiend, is never a problem.

So why would a person in pursuit of pleasure, choose anything else?

Fundamentally, pleasure exists to motivate us and to reward behaviors which help us to survive and prosper. A creature in a constant state of pleasure has no motivation to do anything whatsoever. It will not make the effort to eat, to sleep, to do anything to preserve itself whatsoever. So the fate of the wirehead is death: The surest end to pleasure that there ever has been. Even if the wirehead were able to limit his access to the wire and thus be able to survive, his life would still be far from enviable. His achievements in life would be few, because when you have pleasure on tap, why would you bother to earn it the hard way?

In the final analysis a man needs more than pleasure, he needs a feeling of purpose, he needs to feel he has achieved something, he needs to belong, he needs friends. The wirehead has none of these things, because the perfect pleasure of the wire denies him any possible source of motivation.

These psychological needs are the ones which shortcuts to pleasure like drugs and wireheading commonly fail to provide. And yet these gentle pleasures are some of the most durable.

As the ancient chinese proverb states:

To be happy for a day, get drunk.

To be happy for a week get a pig (i.e. become wealthy)

To be happy for a year, get married.

But to be happy for life, become a gardener.

The most enduring sources of satisfaction are often not those which are most immediately appealing. They take the form of pursuits which are creative and absorbing, and where a man can work all his life without any risk of the task ever being fully complete.

Perhaps a man is happiest when he patiently strives towards perfection.

Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Poll
Are you a Comfort Addict?
o Yes 59%
o No 18%
o Maybe 21%

Votes: 96
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o wirehead
o Also by brain in a jar


Display: Sort:
Are You A Comfort Addict? | 177 comments (153 topical, 24 editorial, 0 hidden)
-1 fight club (1.12 / 24) (#2)
by dammahum on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 05:49:58 PM EST



Send this essay to Fallujah (1.62 / 16) (#3)
by sllort on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 05:58:56 PM EST

I think it will make great reading at the local military hospital as GIs contemplate going home without their sight or their left leg.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
I was expecting (3.00 / 11) (#13)
by brain in a jar on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 01:44:58 AM EST

This kind of comment. But you might as well just go ahead and post "But Saddam Hussain gassed his own people" instead.

Seriously, just because there are a large number of people who do not suffer from something, does not mean that it isn't worth looking at.

Should we ignore the obesity epidemic, because the world is full of hungry people?

This is just what you are suggesting. Because some people desperately need more comfort and security we should not talk about the fact that some folks have too much.


Life is too important, to be taken entirely seriously.
[ Parent ]

You misread me. (none / 1) (#35)
by sllort on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 03:25:35 PM EST

I'm suggesting that you cure your problem by doing something more interesting with your life.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
Ah. (3.00 / 2) (#40)
by brain in a jar on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 04:51:17 PM EST

But I didn't actually ever say that I am presently suffering from the disorder which I describe.

Though I probably did so at some point in the past.


Life is too important, to be taken entirely seriously.
[ Parent ]

+1 I like pasta and beer (n/t) (2.71 / 7) (#4)
by gordonjcp on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 06:03:06 PM EST


Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


The problem with comfort (2.77 / 9) (#5)
by ror on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 06:50:55 PM EST

Is that it makes you lazy.

What's wrong with being comfortable and lazy? NT (2.85 / 7) (#63)
by freestylefiend on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 08:38:42 AM EST



[ Parent ]
I'd tell you (3.00 / 5) (#69)
by Cro Magnon on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 09:49:57 AM EST

but it's too much effort to type.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
you are not ready WHEN environment changes (3.00 / 5) (#93)
by svampa on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 07:44:35 PM EST

You are not motivated to work, and to learn new things. So when environment changes, you don't know how to survive.

No matter how safe you feel today, things may change tomorow suddenly. Give up a little comfort to be ready.



[ Parent ]
Exactly the opposite (none / 0) (#176)
by Boronx on Wed Jan 05, 2005 at 03:38:04 AM EST

Part of being comfortable is abandoning the need to rise and position yourself in a world that may turn you on its head at any moment.

Besides, either the author has distilled all utility out of his vision of humanity, or there's quite a bit more fucking of barn yard animals than I'd have guessed.
Subspace
[ Parent ]

Speaking of sex.. (2.20 / 5) (#6)
by Psychopath on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 06:53:04 PM EST

..I've a desire.
--
The only antidote to mental suffering is physical pain. -- Karl Marx
Don't you want to know (3.00 / 2) (#41)
by zrail on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 05:29:17 PM EST

how we keep starting fires?!

[ Parent ]
the first rule of comfort addiction is (1.80 / 20) (#8)
by circletimessquare on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 07:19:00 PM EST

you do not talk about comfort addiction

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

The first rule of fight club jokes is (2.86 / 46) (#10)
by Armin Hardwood on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 07:23:02 PM EST

shut the fuck up.


[ Parent ]
HA ;-P i think i've been spanked (nt) (3.00 / 4) (#27)
by circletimessquare on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 08:32:21 AM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Then what's ... (1.50 / 4) (#18)
by Peahippo on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 03:55:28 AM EST

... the second rule of comfort addiction? :^P


[ Parent ]
here (none / 1) (#28)
by circletimessquare on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 08:33:47 AM EST

http://www.angelfire.com/ny2/russkafin/fcrules.html

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Whats up with your behaviour recently? (2.33 / 3) (#108)
by VoiceOfGod on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 09:53:36 PM EST

You are becoming more of a troll. At least when you talked about politics you were respectable. I guess its the same way with me and religion though. I can type up pages of shit if someone mentions anything good about religion. I will attack it for the evil it is. Be like Mike. Play basketball.
cat /dev/america | grep "common sense"
[ Parent ]
cts has the following afflictions: (none / 0) (#152)
by Russell Dovey on Tue Nov 23, 2004 at 07:04:40 AM EST

  • he has lost his novelty value, and knows it;
  • he is a k5 playa, and knows it;
  • his posts, while novel, are fucking impossible to read;
  • his formatting makes every one of his ideas look exactly the same at first skim;
  • he's constantly telling the people who read his posts that they're leading meaningless lives, and should stop reading his posts.
  • the smart ones know he's right, and leave, so the average quality of responses to his posts is inexorably dropping.
in short, he's fucked

luckily, cts knows that everything in life is transient and you should enjoy it while you can

this too shall pass

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

Need a hit on the Lazyboy (2.20 / 5) (#14)
by IceTitan on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 01:45:28 AM EST

Is that what we're calling it now? Might explain the B&D S&M.
Nuke 'em from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
I've been doing this all my life, (2.88 / 9) (#15)
by Kasreyn on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 02:07:24 AM EST

but not deliberately. I find eating to be an almost intolerable nuisance. The only thing that ever makes it worthwhile is the pleasure from a big meal when really hungry. So I wait until I'm very hungry (really, I don't even notice hunger until then), then gorge. Repeat.

I'm sure it's quite hard on my digestion, but fuck my digestion, there are books to be read.


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
Damn... (3.00 / 4) (#19)
by Empedocles on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 04:01:14 AM EST

And I thought I was the only one who found eating to be a nuisance. As a result, I tend to eat alot of high-calorie foods and drink soda all day to compensate.

---
And I think it's gonna be a long long time
'Till touch down brings me 'round again to find
I'm not the man they think I am at home

[ Parent ]
I wonder... (3.00 / 3) (#24)
by Kasreyn on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 05:46:37 AM EST

...is that the first time you've ever replied to me, oh generous provider of 3's? ^_~

Hi.


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
Me three (none / 1) (#42)
by MotorMachineMercenary on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 06:02:31 PM EST

People usually look like I'm fucking nuts when I tell them 'I hate eating and I hate food.' I'd be ecstatic if I could just carry an IV with me all day and not eat anything. I don't know anyone else irl like me, although a friend of mine knows someone else.

I wonder if we have a support group. Not that I need one, but there's a support group for everything these days.

--
"If you cant think of your own sig, you are nothing." - noogie


[ Parent ]
Support me in my mission. (1.00 / 6) (#107)
by VoiceOfGod on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 09:50:06 PM EST

to suck my cock. I am acting like a total ass on kuro5hin. Is there a reason for it? I don't know. I am just trying to be comfortable. I want you to visit me and come to my house with a gun and make me do things. That will give my life true meaning. I have a pillow on my head tee hee.
cat /dev/america | grep "common sense"
[ Parent ]
Interesting (none / 1) (#149)
by skim123 on Tue Nov 23, 2004 at 12:11:37 AM EST

I have a friend who looks unnaturally skinny. He never has said he hated eating (we guys don't often talk about our feelings, y'know), but he seems uncomfortable sometimes when eating, and if he eats too much in one sitting you can tell he feels very ill.

I, on the other hand, love food, and look forward to eating, whereas this friend would rather just snack on a slice of bread every hour or so. Same thing for a cousin of mine who will only eat ground beef patties and baked potatoes. I wager these people's taste buds or digestive tracks are a bit "off". It has the nice cosmetic effect that they're usually pretty skinny, but they are robbed of the joy of eating. Yum.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
I used to avoid going outside (2.78 / 19) (#16)
by MichaelCrawford on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 02:23:30 AM EST

... because I didn't like being exposed to the heat and the cold.

But then I started bicycling every day, to try to get into better shape, and because it relieved my depression.

And I noticed that I was exposed to a wide range of weather phenomena. On some days I would arrive home dripping with sweat, on other days I rode with wool mittens on because it was so cold.

And you know what I noticed? That I enjoyed being outside more, just to be able to experience the weather.


--

Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy


NANCY NATURE BOY SUCKS JACK FROSTS COCK! n/t (1.00 / 10) (#106)
by VoiceOfGod on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 09:47:56 PM EST


cat /dev/america | grep "common sense"
[ Parent ]
Chill wind... (2.50 / 2) (#122)
by vhold on Sat Nov 20, 2004 at 03:00:30 AM EST

I don't know what it is, but there is something so great to me about a chill wind that sends shivers up and down my spine. It clears my head, makes me feel alive, and more specifically removes doubt from my mind, it somehow is reaffirming that things are right. Of course, that's if the chill wind is outside :) If I'm indoors and experience that, it's quite disheartening :)

[ Parent ]
Experiencing weather... (2.75 / 4) (#132)
by skyknight on Sat Nov 20, 2004 at 06:26:44 PM EST

is a truly wonderful thing when you're a nerd who spends a significant amount of time cooped up in front of a computer. I think I appreciate the sun and breeze on my face, and the color of the leaves, far more than most people.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Sweeeet! (2.84 / 13) (#20)
by Peahippo on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 04:02:03 AM EST

What an excellent topic. I've wondered as much myself. People nest as much as they can, for instance, and that may well exhibit comfort addiction. I found myself developing into an on-demand worker ... I'd work, but then after coming home I'd be so drained that I'd do little to develop my life (which is laborious) and would instead seek comforts. Remember, you can always read another book, or post yet another K5 message telling circletimessquare to fuck right the hell off ... and all that is particularly comfortable. But I've noticed that some real labor has to take place in order to get one's life out of (what I've come to accept as) the usual ruts. In short, I was seduced by comfort. I was comfort addicted.


Out of curiosity (2.81 / 11) (#21)
by godix on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 04:33:29 AM EST

Last and not least, do not devote terabytes of storage to pornography, jacking-off three times a day is guaranteed to take the fun out of it.

Clearly SOME porn and SOME jacking off are good. After all, if you NEVER do it then you never get fun from it. So I'd like to know, in your opinion how much porn and jacking off lead to the maximum amount of fun without going so far as to kill the fun? This may sound like a troll or something but I'm serious, I'm just interested in improving my sex life.

"Yeah, we rocked the vote all right. Those little bastards betrayed us again."
- Hunter S. Thompson on the 2004 election.
Well (2.84 / 19) (#23)
by brain in a jar on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 05:34:59 AM EST

The answer will depend entirely on the libido of the person in question.

For someone with a higher libido the optimal frequency for visiting Mrs. Hand and her five lovely daugters will obviously be greater than that for someone with lesser needs.

I guess the point is that people should try to use porn for the purpose it was made for only when they are geniunely rather horny. The risk with porn, is analogous the to risk of having snackfood around the house. It is so easy to get some quick shallow limited satisfaction, that you never end up enjoying yourself as much as you could if you only used it when you really needed it.

Also, as with snackfood, there is the risk that people use porn as a way of coping with boredom or avoiding dealing with their problems. In this case a person could end up stuck in a rut of joyless compulsive wanking, because the wanking is a displacement activity rather than being their to satisfy a real need.

So its hard to say how much is too much, but every day is probably too much, more often than that almost certainly is.


Life is too important, to be taken entirely seriously.
[ Parent ]

I gotta give you credit (2.75 / 12) (#25)
by godix on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 06:20:18 AM EST

You responded to an obvious asshole comment with a relevent reply reinforcing your central point. Nice job twisting a jerkoffs comments to your theme. Congrats.

"Yeah, we rocked the vote all right. Those little bastards betrayed us again."
- Hunter S. Thompson on the 2004 election.
[ Parent ]
I still have lots of cum in everyday though! (1.20 / 5) (#105)
by VoiceOfGod on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 09:45:59 PM EST

EXPLAIN THAT!
cat /dev/america | grep "common sense"
[ Parent ]
masterbation (2.25 / 4) (#73)
by yoders on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 10:30:07 AM EST

Masterbation is for the lonely coward and the frustrated spouse. Which are you?

[ Parent ]
WTF? (2.66 / 3) (#90)
by godix on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 06:09:24 PM EST

You say that like it's an either or choice. How many married men do you know that aren't lonely for female companionship? So the obvious answer is I'm both.

"Yeah, we rocked the vote all right. Those little bastards betrayed us again."
- Hunter S. Thompson on the 2004 election.
[ Parent ]
What about masturbating into her mouth? (3.00 / 2) (#111)
by Sesquipundalian on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 10:32:40 PM EST


Did you know that gullible is not actually an english word?
[ Parent ]
what about (none / 1) (#166)
by Prophet themusicgod1 on Sat Nov 27, 2004 at 04:52:52 PM EST


the ugly bastard
?

"I suspect the best way to deal with procrastination is to put off the procrastination itself until later. I've been meaning to try this, but haven't gotten around to it yet."swr
[ Parent ]
FIGHT CLUB IS SOOOOOO PRE-9/11 (1.29 / 24) (#32)
by fredo on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 12:11:12 PM EST



On the morning of 9/11 (2.28 / 7) (#65)
by Cadence on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 09:23:27 AM EST

I watched the news at work, and said aloud "Well I guess they had it coming!"

I could tell everyone was thinking it, and that's why I had to say it. But none of the hypocrites would admit it. They clung to the human element, ignoring the political situation. On Iraq, people do the exact opposite. When white men make a stand, and Arabs die, it's war. When Arabs make a stand, when Americans die, it's Terrorism.

If you regard my statement with the same scorn as my coworkers, you're just as inhuman and hypocritical as they are.

Fuck off.
[ Parent ]

Why do you talk to your co-workers? (none / 1) (#104)
by VoiceOfGod on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 09:43:33 PM EST

They are obviously dumb. I think you are quite possibly the best human being I've ever met on kuro5hin.
cat /dev/america | grep "common sense"
[ Parent ]
Inhuman. (none / 0) (#121)
by vhold on Sat Nov 20, 2004 at 02:49:44 AM EST

'They' had it coming. While I ageee with your basic sentiment where 'they' equals 'USA,' I consider myself when I think that way to be somewhat inhuman, or at least inhumane. It is a statement deserving of scorn, because 'they' were in reality quite a few people that most definitely did not deserve that. Only when you have the luxury of being totally detached from every single one of the individuals involved are you able to think in such a broad stroke and not consider yourself hypocritical for calling others inhuman.

[ Parent ]
Man, I'm going to burn for this, but... (none / 1) (#153)
by Russell Dovey on Tue Nov 23, 2004 at 07:21:05 AM EST

...if you think about it in an objective military sense, the WTC was a legitimate target.

The people in that building were the corporate elite of the American empire; the planning staff, if you will, who directly fight for the death of every alternative to American economy and culture. These people were good little fighters in the war on global cultural diversity, so they were legitimate targets for those on the other side of that war.

A lot of innocent bystanders died, you say? Of course they did; collateral damage is unavoidable in war.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

Imma stomp on your fawkin garden (1.26 / 19) (#43)
by ror on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 06:19:13 PM EST

ror

how is it possible? (2.42 / 7) (#45)
by CAIMLAS on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 06:26:10 PM EST

How is it possible to be content, when the contentedness addiction leads to a burdened feeling of depression, pressing down on you?
--

Socialism and communism better explained by a psychologist than a political theorist.

-1, you mentioned Fight Club [nt] (1.73 / 38) (#46)
by Stinky Bottoms on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 06:29:40 PM EST



Christ (2.57 / 7) (#48)
by MMcP on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 07:13:33 PM EST

When you are hungry, eat.  When you are tired, sleep.  

Not for long (2.00 / 2) (#88)
by Sen on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 03:59:08 PM EST

Eating and pooing. Drinking and peeing. It's like digging ditches, then filling them up again. The singularity will change that all. Take your last breath, and not die.

[ Parent ]
What? (none / 0) (#163)
by MMcP on Wed Nov 24, 2004 at 03:04:41 PM EST

(N)ot (T)ranslatable

[ Parent ]
a gramme is better than a damn [n/t] (2.37 / 8) (#50)
by joecool12321 on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 08:38:56 PM EST



Exactly (none / 1) (#54)
by Cant Say on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 09:43:39 PM EST

And the same people who don't 'get' that reference are probably the same people who thought this post was insightful or interesting.

For further reading, check out Niel Postman's "Amuzing Ourselves to Death".

[ Parent ]

Um.. (1.09 / 11) (#67)
by Magnetic North on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 09:35:21 AM EST

You stupid cunt. That's a reference to 'Brave New World' by Aldous Huxley, so why don't you mention him?

Niel Postman is yet another stupid fucking US asshole. And so are you.

--
<33333
[ Parent ]
Yeah, (3.00 / 5) (#77)
by it certainly is on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 11:05:42 AM EST

like nobody on K5 has read Brave New World or Nineteen Eighty-Four. Those books are almost as unpopular with K5 readers as watching The Matrix, or voting for Kerry.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

Then why (none / 0) (#86)
by Cant Say on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 03:53:17 PM EST

Certainly much of k5 has read Brave New World. (The distopian differences between Orwell and Huxley are interesting and important.) But my critique was that those who don't get the reference (i.e. those that haven't read BNW) also think this story is 'insightful' when its really a shallow examination of a much deeper problem.

[ Parent ]
I disagree. (none / 0) (#89)
by it certainly is on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 04:31:51 PM EST

Whether people have read dystopian fiction is irrelevant to their grounding in ontology.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

Brave New World wasn't dystopia (2.00 / 2) (#133)
by Polverone on Sat Nov 20, 2004 at 10:34:26 PM EST

I have a hard time calling Brave New World a dystopia. It was attempted utopia, imperfect but not nightmarish. It described a world no more horrifying than the one we actually live in.
--
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.
[ Parent ]
but... (2.50 / 2) (#76)
by jolt rush soon on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 10:39:47 AM EST

Bud: A repo man spends his life getting into tense situations.
--
Subosc — free electronic music.
[ Parent ]
In defense of wireheads (2.66 / 6) (#51)
by trane on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 08:41:43 PM EST

Fundamentally, pleasure exists to motivate us and to reward behaviors which help us to survive and prosper. A creature in a constant state of pleasure has no motivation to do anything whatsoever. It will not make the effort to eat, to sleep, to do anything to preserve itself whatsoever. So the fate of the wirehead is death: The surest end to pleasure that there ever has been. Even if the wirehead were able to limit his access to the wire and thus be able to survive, his life would still be far from enviable. His achievements in life would be few, because when you have pleasure on tap, why would you bother to earn it the hard way?

You are arguing from a position that seems to celebrate our evolutionary limitations. We are humans, we can choose for ourselves, we don't have to follow the dictates of evolution. If I want to be a wirehead, it should be no concern of yours.

Oh yeah, the fate of everyone is death; so what if the wirehead may get there sooner? You might be run over by a bus tomorrow, with all your knees-bent, running around advancing behavior...

You are arguing from a very restricted, common-place view of what an "achievement" is, in the last sentence quoted above. What if "achievement", to me, means experiencing maximum pleasure, while causing minimal harm?

Also you are making a lot of assumptions. The history of our civilization has many examples of individuals who achieved great things, made significant contributions to our knowledge, while also pursuing the "easy" way to pleasure. Coltrane, Parker, Armstrong all used drugs, yet contributed much.

I think you're really arguing against yourself. Which is fine, do what you want. But if I want to be a wirehead, let me be.

Heh (2.00 / 3) (#57)
by felixrayman on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 11:40:51 PM EST

We are humans, we can choose for ourselves, we don't have to follow the dictates of evolution

That's funny. You're dumb.

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]

how do you explain vhemt.org? nt. (2.00 / 3) (#58)
by trane on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 11:44:06 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Evolution (none / 0) (#92)
by vadim on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 07:13:31 PM EST

However great we might be, we can't do anything against evolution. We certainly can act as a selecting agent, choosing who dies and who lives, or even doing genetic engineering, however evolution will continue to work.

The fittest will pass their genes on, whatever "fittest" might mean. That we can influence the definition of "fittest" doesn't mean evolution suddenly vanishes.
--
<@chani> I *cannot* remember names. but I did memorize 214 digits of pi once.
[ Parent ]

I agree... (none / 0) (#98)
by trane on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 08:30:52 PM EST

But once we realize the mechanism, we can in addition to (as you say) artificially selecting, refuse to play its game, by choosing (for example) not to procreate. Once we become aware of evolution's operation we can decide that it's pointless and stupid and that we're not going to let it affect us (by dictating our conduct or whatever).

[ Parent ]
But it'll remain working anyway (none / 0) (#112)
by vadim on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 10:40:21 PM EST

If we choose not to procreate, then we'll die out. We'll just effectively declare ourselves unfit, and commit suicide. Evolution will have worked by removing a bad species.

Even in the case we suddenly started massively using genetic engineering and gave up on sex completely, it'd still work. I doubt people would like having children that aren't theirs in any way. We'd probably use our genes, and add improvements. Evolution's still in effect.

In the extremely unlikely case we decided to reproduce exclusively by clonation, and absolutely everybody did it exclusively that way, we'd get wiped out by some illness/disaster sooner or later. Probably a few people would remain, and evolution would still work.
--
<@chani> I *cannot* remember names. but I did memorize 214 digits of pi once.
[ Parent ]

SURVIVAL OF THE FIT (1.33 / 3) (#102)
by VoiceOfGod on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 09:40:04 PM EST

NOT THE FITTEST. YOU FAIL IT! you fail it so bad it goes in your asshole and out your mouth. It then splits your body in half and I can open up your ribs and stick my head in to tear out your beating heart.
cat /dev/america | grep "common sense"
[ Parent ]
question is inconsistent with your definitions (2.57 / 7) (#56)
by sal5ero on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 11:40:06 PM EST

If after years of marriage, we find that desire fades, do we really have to give up on frequent pleasurable sex?

how can it be pleasurable if the desire has faded? is it not then merely comfortable?



frequent pleasurable sex (2.83 / 6) (#62)
by skelter on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 07:25:22 AM EST

hes not saying "do we really have to give up on frequent pleasurable sex with our wives?".

[ Parent ]
oh yes he is (none / 0) (#162)
by livus on Wed Nov 24, 2004 at 04:40:20 AM EST

quote "a good lover knows how to tease their partner, increasing their desire and making their mutual release that much more stimulating. Failing that, adding variety or making things more than a little kinky, usually works well enough that sordid affairs are unnecessary ."

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
Indulgently sappy comment (2.37 / 8) (#59)
by llimllib on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 01:47:33 AM EST

This is the best article that K5 has seen in a long time. Thanks.

In short, the conclusion is (as it should be) that to be happy (or pleasured, I suppose) means to have a mission. When you have a pursuit, you are almost always in a state of discomfort - your pursuit has not been fulfilled. However, there are those brief, shining moments when the mission is complete.

For a parent, it may be at their child's graduation ceremony; for a programmer, it may be when he releases the first production version of his project; for a gardener, it may be the morning when the plant he has tended so carefully for so long comes to a spectacular bloom.

These are the moments that we remember, and these are the moments that make life worthwhile.

Peace.

That really is sappy! (2.75 / 4) (#75)
by Nursie on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 10:35:29 AM EST

And bullshit. That's not the only type of pleasure. What about the simple pleasure of cycling? I enjoy whilst I'm doing it, not because I feel like I'm going somwhere or I'm acheiving something.

Happy is different, happy implies contentment with life in general. That's different from pleasure, which is a more base thing tied up more with the physical than the cerebral.

Meta Sigs suck.

[ Parent ]
oh yeah it is (none / 1) (#117)
by llimllib on Sat Nov 20, 2004 at 02:06:53 AM EST

The parenthetical pleasure comment was to satisfy the hedonists, of which I am not one.

Anyway, I'm not going to spend a whole bunch of time here defending the comment. I had been coding for like 5 hours immediately before I wrote it, and I was in a sort of drunk coding haze when I wrote it (not actually drunk, mind you).

Peace.
[ Parent ]

+1 if you resection to op-ed (1.25 / 12) (#60)
by dammahum on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 03:17:49 AM EST

oh wait, it's already in voting. -1.

What? (2.50 / 8) (#64)
by gyan on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 09:03:13 AM EST

Fundamentally, pleasure exists to motivate us and to reward behaviors which help us to survive and prosper.

 A prescriptive view, but I digress.

A creature in a constant state of pleasure has no motivation to do anything whatsoever. It will not make the effort to eat, to sleep, to do anything to preserve itself whatsoever. So the fate of the wirehead is death: The surest end to pleasure that there ever has been.

 I didn't know non-wireheads were immortal. Death is inevitable. If you accept that the ultimate practical aim within life is happiness, then a shorter life with near-constant pleasure is preferable to a long life trying to induce our wetware into the same thing via 'conventional' methods.


 Even if the wirehead were able to limit his access to the wire and thus be able to survive, his life would still be far from enviable. His achievements in life would be few, because when you have pleasure on tap, why would you bother to earn it the hard way?

 Like I said, if you hold the the values in life to be absolute, then being a wirehead is a problem. The notion that one way of life is preferable to another in trying to achieve the same fundamental endgame, holds true only if the premise of _"achievements" = laudable_ is rigid. In other words, I strongly doubt that homo sapiens 40,000 years ago cared about 'achievements'. The concept is a product of civilization. A civilization, that during development, included attempts to find equivalent alchemical "wires", but failed. So, the evolving consensus dogma within collective units on how to achieve this, was improving relative standing among the collective, as evidenced by approval of one's 'achievements' by one's peers. If the hedonistic imperative of constant bliss is practically realizable, then there would be no practical point in clinging to older ideals, out of some misguided notion that they're preferable in an absolute sense.

********************************

Social standing existed before civilization. (2.80 / 5) (#78)
by ghjm on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 11:12:15 AM EST

Read some Jared Diamond, or Robert Wright, or even Richard Dawkins. Social standing is a fact of existence for many species and was certainly present in humans from the moment they existed. Neolithic people were probably far *more* dependent on social standing than modern people, because severe social errors could result in your death. Seeing social standing as optional is a product of civilization, not the other way around.

-Graham

[ Parent ]

Doesn't conflict. (none / 1) (#96)
by gyan on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 08:22:51 PM EST

Social standing is a fact of existence for many species and was certainly present in humans from the moment they existed.

 For the point of survival. Co-operation as a team enabled better survival than alone. To that end, solidifying your place in the team was beneficial. Today, strong peer approval via good job, fame, fortune..etc are not necessary for adequate survival. They're touted as the path to 'happiness'. "I want to be a movie star" or "I want to be President".

********************************

[ Parent ]

So necessary it's mandated. (none / 1) (#119)
by vhold on Sat Nov 20, 2004 at 02:31:19 AM EST

I disagree that cooperation isn't neccesary for adequate survival. You are basically forced to cooperate with others, I suppose it's so transparent in the first world that you rely on such an insane number of people to live that you might actually be able to entertain the notion that you aren't working on a team. Can you imagine how difficult it would be to quit working with others entirely? No utilities, no taxes, no job, just you, out of society, trying to live. Foraging, hunting, finding shelter... It's something most people just simply could not do. The more practical forms of not working as a team with society will land you in prison.

[ Parent ]
Huh? (none / 0) (#123)
by gyan on Sat Nov 20, 2004 at 03:21:12 AM EST

I disagree that cooperation isn't neccesary for adequate survival.

 And I never said or implied that. The parent post to your parent post said that social standing existed during prehistoric times. True, but for the sake of survival. Today, social standing(not social co-operation) is not necessary for plain survival. Today, social standing is the measure of 'achievement'. This purpose is a recent evolution.

********************************

[ Parent ]

`Recent evolution'? (none / 1) (#144)
by biggoggs on Mon Nov 22, 2004 at 11:27:46 AM EST

Today, social standing(not social co-operation) is not necessary for plain survival.

How has `today's society' changed our need for social acceptance? And how is `social co-operation' a separate entity from `social standing'? Part of communication itself includes dominance, no matter what the environment. Whatever form of society (dictatorship, capitalism, communism, anarchy, etc) you're participating in, someone is always going to be `on top', whether at work, social gatherings, whatever. `Alpha male' situations are present in every form of society and animal kindom I can think of.

Today, social standing is the measure of 'achievement'. This purpose is a recent evolution.

No, it's not (imho of course, but that goes without saying). Many many years ago, the man who owned many slaves and wore expensive garments was seen as an achiever. Besides that, achievement is nothing but perspective. By the way, are you saying social standing isn't an effect of achievement?

Interesting discussion, and a great article :)

[ Parent ]

Eh. (none / 1) (#147)
by gyan on Mon Nov 22, 2004 at 05:38:51 PM EST

 Many many years ago, the man who owned many slaves and wore expensive garments was seen as an achiever.

 Civilization itself is a recent evolution. I think we're talking on different timescales.

`Alpha male' situations are present in every form of society and animal kindom I can think of.

 Yes. But they are paths linked to survival and comfort. The article author tries to make the case that a society of wireheads is not preferred because

In the final analysis a man needs more than pleasure, he needs a feeling of purpose, he needs to feel he has achieved something, he needs to belong, he needs friends.

 This sentiment is a product of civilization and does not precede it. Today being rich and/or famous are the landmark markers of achievement. Both markers measure criteria relative to other people. If everyone has a million bucks and you have less, you aren't rich. In today's model, success is a measure of your relative standing. Now, you have to ask, why does one want to be successful? It's certainly not needed. Billions of ordinary people are born, live till some old age and die. So do the rich and famous. So why the drive for success? For contentment, ego-reinforcement and ultimately the emotional qualia they produce. One likes to be in that agreeable state. So, if you could produce the final result without the 'achievements', why not? The author argues that people are hardwired for achievement. Nonsense. It's a cultural/civilizational meme, not a genetic one. People want to achieve because that's the advertised way to produce that emotional qualia. There's nothing absolute about it.

********************************

[ Parent ]

I agree, but... (none / 0) (#170)
by asliarun on Tue Nov 30, 2004 at 01:18:54 AM EST

"Now, you have to ask, why does one want to be successful?"

I agree with you that most of our modern behaviour is stemming from the side-effects of civilization. However, your above statement is somewhat ambiguous. You need to define "success" here. If by "success", you mean acquiring material wealth, power, respect, etc., i agree with you. However, success can also simply mean the achievement of a short term or a long term goal. For example, a hunter managing to kill an animal for food, thus satisfying his hunger, and thus managing to stay alive for a day, can also be called successful. Alternately, a person managing to produce an offspring can also be called successful.

Hence, you cannot simply say that "success" is artificial and only a causation of society. Yes, perhaps a path like Zen or the pursuit of enlightenment cannot be categorized in terms of success and failure, for it is an ongoing process of being (supremely?) aware of one's immediate surroundings and of oneself. In such a case, perhaps the difference is that the practitioner is not trying to achieve success or failure, but attaining it nonetheless (to varying degrees). Essentially, anything that is quantifiable can be categorized in terms of success and failure.

"The author argues that people are hardwired for achievement. Nonsense."

Not true. If the instinct for achievement was not present, we would never be able to fulfill our instincts in the first place! The drive for achievement is definitely hardwired in all living creatures.

[ Parent ]

Nope. (none / 0) (#171)
by gyan on Tue Nov 30, 2004 at 11:46:50 AM EST

For example, a hunter managing to kill an animal for food, thus satisfying his hunger, and thus managing to stay alive for a day, can also be called successful.

 You, and today's society, might define that a success. It's debatable whether the pre-civ hunter looks at it as anything other than routine as usual. Forget looking at it as an 'achievement'.

If the instinct for achievement was not present, we would never be able to fulfill our instincts in the first place!

 Fallacy. The other instincts, by themselves, are enough. That's why they're called instincts.

 The main problem in this discussion is the vague overloading of the word 'achievement'. I define it  as: activites accomplished for purposes other than survival, in order to produce satisfaction. Even this definition is slippery, but at the moment. I can't compose a more precise one. The underlying point being that a 6 year old boy from a suburb typically dreams to be someone big like an astronaut or a movie star or something. This focus and preferential ranking of professions and status is entirely a product of civilization, not some hardwired instinct.

********************************

[ Parent ]

On Achievement (none / 0) (#173)
by brain in a jar on Thu Dec 02, 2004 at 07:21:54 AM EST

I think I was referring more to the achievement of internal goals, rather than the pursuit of status. The first of these is a useful path to happiness the second usually is not.

If I set out to create something which I find aesthetically pleasing, then this act requires no other motivator. Absent society, such an activity is still worthwhile. It is a form of self-actualisation.

Achievement in the shallow sense of the pursuit of status within a group is a far less useful path to happiness because it is a zero sum game. As one person gains in status another falls. In the constant race to be "the best" only a few can succeed and find happiness.

But if the race is run only against ourselves, then such limits on our happiness as a group are not present.


Life is too important, to be taken entirely seriously.
[ Parent ]

It's simple (2.33 / 3) (#85)
by wurp on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 03:35:58 PM EST

The only absolute valuation system that matters will weed out wireheads: they won't have successful offspring.

I'm not going to argue with your right to be a wirehead.  I think it's fine to do so.  But in the long run, you can't be anything but marginalized because of it.
---
Buy my stuff
[ Parent ]

Americans fail at life (1.00 / 25) (#66)
by Magnetic North on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 09:29:06 AM EST

God damn you pigs are fucking pathetic.

Taking a break from your usual greedy and selfish agenda to read 'self help' trite like this? Do you imagine it'll help you to be more harmonious assholes? This 'article' reminds me of all those American 'The Zen of the stockmarket' or 'Zen and the art of making money' books that pass for spirituality in your fucked up heads. Your fucking excuse for a culture is probably the first culture in the history of man that manages to pervert Buddhism into wanton materialism.

You all fail at life. May you live in interesting times (please die soon).

--
<33333
Have you ever read (3.00 / 2) (#71)
by zrail on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 10:10:26 AM EST

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintinence? All those other books are just stealing the clever title.

[ Parent ]
nah it began with (none / 0) (#103)
by fleece on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 09:40:07 PM EST

"zen in the art of archery."

The title "Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance" as a title tells in 10 words or less that the book is an eastern-philosophical interpretation of the lifestyle and culture of the 20th century western world.



I feel like some drunken crazed lunatic trying to outguess a cat ~ Louis Winthorpe III
[ Parent ]
Zen Zen Zoom!!! (none / 0) (#101)
by VoiceOfGod on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 09:35:34 PM EST


cat /dev/america | grep "common sense"
[ Parent ]
Hate much? (2.00 / 4) (#118)
by vhold on Sat Nov 20, 2004 at 02:18:19 AM EST

Does being spiteful to the max pass as spirtuality or culture in your world?

[ Parent ]
No.. (2.00 / 3) (#126)
by Magnetic North on Sat Nov 20, 2004 at 09:34:00 AM EST

But I'm not the one claiming to be all spiritual and shit. Just saying, everything is about the green in the US. Even so called spirituality.

I've yet to meet a single decent American person. And I've met many. This makes me very sad, but it's true.

The ideas indoctrinated in their heads are dangerous. Their 'American Dream' is an idea that will turn even the most civil society into a society of dogs fighting over imaginary bones.

No, that's right. There are no bones. It's not possible to 'win' this game. That's a particularily sick delusion you animals got.

I liken Americans with pigs. Pigs are greedy animals who wallow in their own shit. But even pigs are more noble than you.

I refuse to live in a world where greed and sharp elbows are considered to be the ultimate human qualities.

Your ideas are contagious because people are weak and selfish. For the weak and selfish, the 'American Dream' is a perfect match.

--
<33333
[ Parent ]
No doubt, (none / 0) (#127)
by Sesquipundalian on Sat Nov 20, 2004 at 09:49:30 AM EST

we should all go back to a simpler, more agrarian lifestyle?


Did you know that gullible is not actually an english word?
[ Parent ]
No? (1.50 / 2) (#128)
by Magnetic North on Sat Nov 20, 2004 at 09:54:31 AM EST

But your reply beautifully demonstrates the mindset of the typical American.

--
<33333
[ Parent ]
Shouldn't feed the trolls, but... (none / 0) (#134)
by slashcart on Sat Nov 20, 2004 at 10:54:36 PM EST

I realize (of course) that you're trying to write the silliest and most inflammatory thing possible in order to provoke a response. And I realize that responding to you is like feeding a pigeon: you'll just get worse. But your troll is a bad one: you fool nobody. For example:

This 'article' reminds me of all those American 'The Zen of the stockmarket' or 'Zen and the art of making money' books...

The article has nothing to do with either Zen or the stock market. Also, none of the admittedly cheesy "zen" books are about money.

I liken Americans with pigs. Pigs are greedy animals who wallow in their own shit. But even pigs are more noble [sic] than you.

Pigs are among the cleanest of animals and do not wallow in their own shit, nor are they especially greedy.

In addition, nothing in the article relates specifically to Amercians. Everything in it would apply even more to Europeans or Australians.

And that brings me to my point. An effective troll is inflammatory but also plausible as a legitimate post. Take this post, for example. In the above paragraph, I insulted Europeans and Australians. But I didn't do it in the crude "FUCK AUSTRALIANS THEY'RE PIGS PLEASE DIE SOON" manner of your post. (I actually like Australians anyway).

Note that far more people rated you down than responded to you. That is the mark of a bad troll. If you're going to troll, at least be clever about it.

Now, try again. Respond to this post with something inflammatory. But this time, try something witty. And don't just say "FUCK YOU" or implausibly compare this post to a "Zen" book.

[ Parent ]

Hey, you've given me a great title! (none / 1) (#154)
by Russell Dovey on Tue Nov 23, 2004 at 07:50:59 AM EST

Won-ton Materialism!

I'll make millions in the self-help market, and with those millions I'll buy a diamond statue of the Buddha to put on top of my TV.

He's sure to pick me for enlightenment!

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

Already there (2.60 / 10) (#68)
by Apreche on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 09:37:19 AM EST

To be happy for a day, get drunk.
To be happy for a week get a pig (i.e. become wealthy)
To be happy for a year, get married.
But to be happy for life, become a gardener.

Somehow, I don't think I am a comfort addict, but I know many who are. It is very hard for me to get them to change their ways, as they are resistant to any change. Even if the change will result in a greater level of comfort, the discomfort of the effort needed to get there is too much for them.

Myself, I am already a gardender ( nerd/computer programmer ). My problem isn't that I'm not happy. I'm very happy. But lately people have been coming and digging up my plants. Weeds have been growing, and it isn't due to lack of maintenance. All I want to do is sit around and do geeky things with my geeky friends and not have to worry about bullshit like the possibility of a draft, corporate interference, the FCC or anything else.

I can be happy for life as a gardener. But only if I have a garden and some seeds. I ask nothing more.

What is a Mindflayer? (none / 1) (#82)
by andreiko on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 01:48:25 PM EST

What is the origin of your signature?

Thanks.

[ Parent ]

A Mindflayer Is... (OT) (3.00 / 3) (#84)
by Vaevictis666 on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 02:13:05 PM EST

... a monster in the Dungeons and Dragons game, dating back to the first edition, that has strong Psionic powers in place of magical abilities, has a bulbous head, and four tenticles around its mouth that it uses to hold the head in place as it eats the brain.

[ Parent ]
Definition wrong, entire article wrong. (2.36 / 11) (#70)
by Remus Shepherd on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 10:04:50 AM EST

The first thing you did is confuse 'comfort' with 'complacency'. The second thing you did is offer no real solution or advice. 'Just don't do it' is not helpful. To escape complacency, you need a firm goal and to educate yourself on your options. This may be the most useless article I've ever seen posted on kuro5hin. And that's saying something.
...
Remus Shepherd <remus@panix.com>
Creator and holder of many Indefensible Positions.
Thanks (2.26 / 15) (#72)
by ljj on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 10:21:46 AM EST

You have reminded my why I was intrigued by K5 in the first place. Because of articles like this.

My view is that we have two natures. Animalist, and god-like. Being human is being trapped between the two and living in that tension.

Your body wants for the things you have mentioned - and often they are in conflict with what your spirit wants. This is the dilemma of being human. Because of you keep succumbing to what the body wants, you will get fat, die of STDs or whatever other penalty nature has designed.

One more note, animals seems to seek comfort all the time too. My cats do anyway, freakily, this morning I was looking at my boy cat Kevin, all snugged up in the duvet, realising how unnatural it is. But after reading your article, it now also strikes me that an animal could never manufacture its own delayed gratification - like going for a walk in the cold in order to better enjoy its warm food. Perhaps, in the context of my body/spirit arguement that proves that animals don't have souls? Interesting stuff.

Brilliant article. Thanks again.

--
ljj

Souls? oh please (nt) (2.25 / 4) (#74)
by jolt rush soon on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 10:35:21 AM EST


--
Subosc — free electronic music.
[ Parent ]
no souls? (none / 1) (#91)
by sal5ero on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 06:40:38 PM EST

Perhaps, in the context of my body/spirit arguement that proves that animals don't have souls? Interesting stuff.

so babies don't have souls either?



[ Parent ]
Do Soles have souls? (none / 0) (#109)
by Sesquipundalian on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 10:16:22 PM EST


Did you know that gullible is not actually an english word?
[ Parent ]
I have no soul! (none / 1) (#100)
by VoiceOfGod on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 09:34:07 PM EST

I demand an apology for such a racist idea. The idea that I have a soul is racist and I want an apology!
cat /dev/america | grep "common sense"
[ Parent ]
cats have souls (none / 0) (#136)
by peter318200 on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 01:37:59 AM EST

my cat practises mewo philosiphy!

[ Parent ]
Great Story (2.33 / 6) (#79)
by Reverend Tim on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 11:35:58 AM EST

That's a terrific piece, and really resonated with me today. Like William Blake said, all things in moderation, including moderation.

buy and ad (1.00 / 6) (#80)
by the77x42 on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 12:53:25 PM EST




"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

I want progress--cyberthalamus (2.00 / 7) (#81)
by Sen on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 01:09:31 PM EST

Imagine taking your last breath, and not dying. You could explore other planets, or even the sun with appropriate shielding. I don't envision wire-heading, although that is a possibility. You will control your inputs and know your outputs. That can be tied to virtual reality, or reality. You have the choice to wirehead, but also the choice to live exactly as we do now.

I am tired of essentially both digging and filling in ditches. There is no need to hunger and thirst. Post-cyberthalamus/singularity, I will set up work for reward, but it will be under my control. Like a video game that is challenging enough for you to enjoy the ending.

I live for this more than anything. I had a castration done so I am not distracted by pornography. Post-singularity, I can simulate jacking off all I want.

You're mental. (1.33 / 3) (#142)
by Nursie on Mon Nov 22, 2004 at 06:12:28 AM EST

The first few of your posts annoyed me as you pushed your weird transhumanist agenda - one which will most likely never take off even if we do get the technology.

Now i realise how funny you are. And I do hope you're joking about the castration as I'm laughing real hard here.

Meta Sigs suck.

[ Parent ]
male dominance in language (1.20 / 29) (#83)
by chocolatetrumpet on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 02:05:53 PM EST

Perhaps a man is happiest when he patiently strives towards perfection.

Sorry, man, but I thought western society was in the process of getting over male dominance in language.

If you really don't think it matters, then you don't understand oppression, or you don't understand the power of language.

You wield a powerful tool that may move mountains or end wars. Worst is when it is used for evil unknowingly. Wake up!

The truth is in the ice cream.

Why not? (2.16 / 6) (#87)
by Stoutlimb on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 03:56:51 PM EST

I see nothing wrong with a little male dominance here and there. It certainly will keep the pendulum from swinging too far in the other direction, which it seems to be doing now.

[ Parent ]
Jeez, relax (3.00 / 5) (#95)
by snowjack on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 08:20:57 PM EST

He^H^HThe writer was commenting on an ancient Chinese proverb.

[ Parent ]
BITE (1.37 / 8) (#97)
by MrShmowza on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 08:23:16 PM EST

I don't know who unchained you from the stove, but they erred gravely in doing so. You should go back to pies and dinner like a good wife, and not concern yourself with discussions like this, as your female brain is simply unequipped for that kind of thing. Also, voting.

Now, shhhh, the men are talking.

P.S. Fuck you troll.

[ Parent ]

You are my hero woman! (1.12 / 8) (#99)
by VoiceOfGod on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 09:31:17 PM EST

now would you please give me a blowjob?
cat /dev/america | grep "common sense"
[ Parent ]
not trolling (1.20 / 5) (#115)
by chocolatetrumpet on Sat Nov 20, 2004 at 12:36:31 AM EST

I am actually disturbed by these troll replies... I thought K5 had some intelligence!

I am also a guy.

There's nothing funny about sexism or the power of language. It's real and it effects your life every day.

Come on K5, we're better than this!

The truth is in the ice cream.
[ Parent ]

not trolling (none / 0) (#167)
by yndrd1984 on Sat Nov 27, 2004 at 05:43:18 PM EST

OK. He's overreacting.

From dictionary.com's entry for man:
2) A human regardless of sex or age; a person.
4) The human race; mankind: man's quest for peace.

I wish the great-grandparent poster had gone with 4 rather than 2, then he would have been making a comment on human nature. But in any case, he was not specifically excluding women/girls, there's no real sexism implied in his post.

[ Parent ]

Swing and a miss (2.83 / 6) (#120)
by fuchikoma on Sat Nov 20, 2004 at 02:41:30 AM EST

That's actually common proper formal English, as you would find in most reports. If you look at the context it's used in, you'll see it's only sexist if you choose to interpret it that way.

The alternative technique of using plural pronouns to refer to a single non gender specific individual is incorrect, and while it is commonly accepted in casual spoken language, formal writing tends toward the technically correct generic use of male pronouns, and is not incorrect in doing so.

[ Parent ]

not so (none / 0) (#145)
by Kenji on Mon Nov 22, 2004 at 03:37:16 PM EST

The word man can be gender specific but it is not necessarily so. It can also be short for human. We all know the word mankind is short for humankind and fully includes both genders. The word man in its plural form can include any individual that can be described as a human whether it be a man or a woman. Perhaps the author of the thread fully understands oppression and the power of language and it is you who fails to understand the nature of language and its inherent flexibility. As for the tool of language being used for evil unknowingly, linguists agree that the active part of communication is listening. Whether the use is dubbed good or evil depends upon and varies upon the interpretation of the listener. For example I may greet a friend: "hey fucker", but it will be correctly interpreted as a jest. Also the case for a male dominated language is arguable. Sailors always refer to their vessels with female pronouns, patriots refer to their countries with female pronouns, "mother" nature, etc. If you were truly fighting for equality you could argue against a female dominated language just as easily. More likely you're pro-female or anti-male or both whatever the case may be. The point is I know what the author meant and so do you.

[ Parent ]
Human brain is not made for comfort (2.33 / 3) (#94)
by svampa on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 08:12:12 PM EST

Fundamentally, pleasure exists to motivate us and to reward behaviors which help us to survive and prosper

Evolution has created behaviors (some of them very complex) in order to cover basic necesities: eat, drink, reproduction etc. In the wild nature those necesities are not easy to satisfy. What evolution never thought is that it will be so successful that such necsities don't exist anymore, and behaviors stop being useful.

In fact, evolution is doing a good work, that problem of comfort affects only 10% of the specie. For the rest of human kind, that persuit of pleasure is still very useful for survival.

And nobody knows what could happen tomorrow to taht 10%, a new 1929 crack? a war? a meteorite?.... Instinct will always stand there to help us to survive.



Yawn (2.14 / 7) (#110)
by pickpocket on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 10:27:18 PM EST

Bourgeois Epicureanism...how original.

"Just as with any other source of pleasure, the pleasure which drugs can give must be intermittant or it will disappear entirely. To be replaced with the joyless routine suffering that is addiction." Not true. Benign drugs, such as ecstasy and pot, are not physically addictive whatsoever. Of course, psychological addiction is always a possibility, but it's a completely different thing. In my experience, drugs CAN make you happy and are much more reliable and effective than changes in behaviour or cognition. Regardless, any pleasure you get from, say, gardening, love or a walk in the rain could, given enough time, be traced back to certain chemicals and artificially synthesized.

"Fundamentally, pleasure exists to motivate us and to reward behaviors which help us to survive and prosper. A creature in a constant state of pleasure has no motivation to do anything whatsoever." False choice. Most people suffer needlessly, to different extents, from everyday problems like depression, anxiety and stress. This must cost the economy millions or even billions in wasted money, not to mention lost time and energy. It's quite possible, and rational, to use drugs or even "wireheading" to alleviate unnecessary suffering without distracting the user from reality. That's the idea of anti-depressants, of course.

I <3 U (none / 1) (#113)
by MrShmowza on Sat Nov 20, 2004 at 12:17:07 AM EST

Love can be traced back to a chemical...good ol' Oxytocin I think it is. Not sure I agree with what you're saying about medicating and the role of anti-depressants, but I may not be reading you right. Regardless, well...I'd make a summary here, but I'm not sure what I'm trying to say, just felt compelled to respond.

[ Parent ]
Oh yeah (none / 0) (#114)
by MrShmowza on Sat Nov 20, 2004 at 12:20:31 AM EST

I remembered what I was going to say. I don't think epicureanism is really what he's after. Yeah they did preach pleasure in moderation, but there was a large emphasis on elminating discomfort entirely from one's life if I remember right, which seems to be 180° from what brain is saying in the article. Ok, I feel better now.

[ Parent ]
love neurotransmitter (none / 0) (#130)
by gilgul on Sat Nov 20, 2004 at 01:51:48 PM EST

When reading your comment, I thought, "Oxytocin?  Love NT?  Ridiculous!"  The question arose, "what is the love NT?"  So I looked it up.

From http://whyfiles.org/shorties/love.html

"Lust responds mainly -- in both sexes -- to testosterone, the "male" hormone.

Attraction is marked by high levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine (also activated by cocaine and nicotine), norepinehprine (adrenaline), the heart-pumping hormone used to respond to emergencies, and low levels of serotonin, another major neurotransmitter.

Attachment is associated with oxytocin, a hormone released during childbirth and nursing, and vasopressin, or anti-diuresis hormone. Vasopressin slows the formation of urine, and at high levels, increases pressure in certain blood vessels. "

So indeed, oxytocin is involved in love, to the extent of attachment.  Makes biological sense--women secrete crazy amounts of oxytocin, and in most modern Labor & Delivery departments, labor is augmented and induced with still further amounts of oxytocin.  Maternal attachment to the baby is hard-wired, then, by the acts of giving birth and of breastfeeding.  

Oxytocin is also released during orgasm--potentially this also represents love as biological hard-wiring for survival and species-propogation, i.e. two heads/parents are better than one.

[ Parent ]

Bourgouis? (3.00 / 2) (#150)
by brain in a jar on Tue Nov 23, 2004 at 04:11:25 AM EST

I think you are missing the point. The middle classes of the western world are now rich enough that they suffer to some extent from problems which used to be the preserve of the Bourgouisie.

Because this is a newish phenomenon much of this group has not yet developed the behaviours and strategies they need to deal with their newfound position.

I never tried to argue that drugs are not pleasureable. I did however argue that if used too frequently they lose their novelty, which is a major part of their appeal (drugs as a holiday from reality). Secondly I would argue that as sources of pleasure go they are one of the ones that is easiest to overuse. Though its fair to say that overuse of food is much more common.

Finally you argue that every experience is just a sequence of chemicals in the brain which could be replicated by taking the right drugs. In theory you are right, but in practice you are wrong. The majority of recreational drugs are rather blunt instruments. Thy describing the sequence of drugs that will provide me with the same feeling I get from playing a song that I wrote myself on my guitar, and recieving recognition for this from my friends.

Finally, although you can use drugs to enhance other experiences. e.g. smoking pot to make music sound better, the fundamental problem of drugs is the same as any other source of pleasure. If you over use them you get used to them, and they cease to be particularly pleasureable. The potential for addiction is just an added nasty which accompanies some drugs (nicotine, alcohol, cocaine, heroin etc.).

Life is too important, to be taken entirely seriously.
[ Parent ]

Bourgeouis? (none / 0) (#160)
by livus on Wed Nov 24, 2004 at 04:34:51 AM EST

Erm, the borgeois class was the middle class.

Meanwhile statistically speaking, the entirety of "the western world" is at least middle class in terms of wealth compared to the majority population.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

borgeois = borg class n/t (none / 0) (#161)
by livus on Wed Nov 24, 2004 at 04:35:52 AM EST



---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
Ecstasy is benign? (none / 0) (#175)
by aussie sarah 17 on Fri Dec 24, 2004 at 06:35:24 AM EST

You should strike up a conversation with someone who's been going to clubs, every weekend for a year.  Half the braincells. I've seen it happen to three people I know. And it's physically addictive.

[ Parent ]
There's one solution to the 'wirehead problem'... (2.75 / 4) (#116)
by anakata on Sat Nov 20, 2004 at 01:39:02 AM EST

Make it increase naturally originated pleasure instead of blasting the damn thing on max all the time. That way you'll still have a drive to eat, sleep, fuck, create, etc., but everything will be SO much more fun.
Cogito, ergo infestus sum.
What of Comfort (1.50 / 2) (#124)
by computao on Sat Nov 20, 2004 at 04:51:44 AM EST

What of Pleasure
BBE8 DOTCOM
weakness in final analysis (1.85 / 7) (#125)
by boxofcookie on Sat Nov 20, 2004 at 07:34:16 AM EST

hi im new here... per the faq thing i prob. couldve reviewed your article b4 release if i joined earlier. but your article compelled me to join :)

definitely a nice article. but i must point out a weakness in your article, if you ever get to read this though.

your argument is weakened when you say "his life would still be far from enviable."

being a philosophic writing, esp. dealing with perception of self and relation of self to society, you would want to reevaluate what "enviable" would be. If i lack biological pleasure, i would envy the guy who can produce pleasure at will (of course, removed of the fear of death, from starving or practical uselessness in society, and removed of other aversions).
that said, the only reason, i think, that any human would get out of the wirehead state, is cognitive, as in, if you didn't have ability to reason, pleasuring yourself to death is a fair option.

thus your final analysis can be attacked.
nothing necessitates a feeling of purpose. a feeling of purpose is also cognitively on a higher level than the wirehead stimulation. nothing guarantees a "need" of feeling of achievement.

so to answer "why would anybody choose anything else?" it would be less of a separate need of pleasure (ie a need of feeling of accomplishment), but more because people reason, and they would reason they are better off (in their personal definition of value) not becoming a wirehead.

If you were kept in a box and never educated, and suddenly got the device to control all pleasure in your head, i dont think anything would prevent you from becoming like the rat that got itself starved from lever pressing

death to the world... (2.77 / 9) (#129)
by gzt on Sat Nov 20, 2004 at 10:31:31 AM EST

...is the last true rebellion.

here is what st. isaac the syrian says about the world:

The world is the general name for all passions. When we wish to call the passions by a common name, we call them the world. But when we wish to distinguish them by their special names, we call them passions. The passions are the following: love of riches, desire for possessions, bodily pleasures from which comes sexual passion, love of honor gives rise to envy, lust for power, arrogance and pride of position, the craving to adorn oneself with luxurious clothing and vain ornaments, the itch for human glory which is a source of rancor and resentment, and physical fear. Where these passions cease to be active, there the world is dead....

Someone has said of the Saints that while alive they were dead; for though living in the flesh, they did not live for the flesh. See for which of these passions you are alive. Then you will know how far you are alive to the world, and how far you are dead to it.
--St. Isaac the Syrian, 7th Century

yours is rather pedestrian in comparison, yo. totally not punk rock enough.

Interesting (none / 1) (#156)
by ubu on Tue Nov 23, 2004 at 03:02:13 PM EST

How would St. Isaac have described an academic passion, do you think? Even in his time there were men who devoted themselves to books and learning in a monastery, far from any of the passions listed above.


--
As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
[ Parent ]
passion is a technical term. (none / 1) (#157)
by gzt on Tue Nov 23, 2004 at 05:02:39 PM EST

one can be a dispassionate academic while still having the common description of "passion". perhaps this is a deficiency of english, i don't know how the original syriac rendered these things or how the greeks discussed them, but i suspect there are different terms, and if not, they were understood in this technical sense. specifically, they refer to appetites or urges. they must be controlled or directed towards god or else they will become a source of sin.

what you call an academic passion could, for example, be a desire for truth and goodness, and therefore the pursuit of god, or it could be born of a desire to have the biggest mind-cock on the block, in which case he would be a slave to the passions.

already here it becomes apparent that there are two different ways of talking about passions: something which must be extinguished completely, being intrinsically bad, and something which must be redirected to the good. the patristic authors use them in both ways and are aware of the distinction. which one they use depends on which one is more relevant to the context.

[ Parent ]

This is mostly a content free comment, (none / 1) (#131)
by skyknight on Sat Nov 20, 2004 at 06:18:50 PM EST

but I'll say it anyway...

This is the best K5 article in quite a while.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
Duh. (2.00 / 5) (#135)
by delmoi on Sat Nov 20, 2004 at 11:49:56 PM EST

Therein lies the rub. Comfort is what we feel when we have no strong need for anything, when we are not hungry, not horny, not dying for a leak... and yet pleasure comes from relieving these urgent needs. If we want to feel true pleasure, we cannot be comfortable all the time. That's what drugs are for.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
Doy (2.33 / 3) (#143)
by cassydd on Mon Nov 22, 2004 at 10:42:57 AM EST

Yeah, that was covered - the pleasure from drugs fizzles and all you're left with is another addiction that you have to feed.

[ Parent ]
You've been taking the wrong ones (3.00 / 2) (#151)
by Nursie on Tue Nov 23, 2004 at 06:55:04 AM EST

Seriously. They're not all addictive and they don't all "fizzle".

LSD is certainly not addictive (except psychologically in a few cases). It does "fizzle" though, in as much as it gets dull to most people after a while (usually a few years of infrequent use).
Cannibis OTOH is not demonstrably addictive and neither does it fizzle.

Meta Sigs suck.

[ Parent ]
My opinion. Questions. Reading. (2.50 / 4) (#138)
by freestylefiend on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 06:12:29 PM EST

I find this interesting because I have been wondering what happiness is for some time. I had begun to favour another answer, namely that happiness is comfort and that pleasure is essential to happiness only in that it is a consequence of relieving inevitable discomfort.

A related question which interests me is how my level of comfort could be compared to me not having any sensation at all. Some people feel that death (assuming that there is no sensation in death) is better than severe discomfort, while others feel that living is always better than being dead. Does discomfort always make life not worth living? Should everybody who could have been less comfortable be glad to live? Is there some other point at which a level of comfort makes life worth living? Can no reasonable comparison be made between the comfort of the living and the dead? (If we can't compare the living and the dead, then can it ever be rational to commit suicide)?

Can you suggest any further reading?

Perhaps (3.00 / 3) (#141)
by brain in a jar on Mon Nov 22, 2004 at 02:51:59 AM EST

A book called "The joyless Economy" by a guy called Scitikovsky, spends a fair amount of time trying to work out what makes people happy.

The bits on economics you could skip if you wanted, but they are interesting too.


Life is too important, to be taken entirely seriously.
[ Parent ]

Pleasure and comfort are BOTH distractions (1.75 / 4) (#139)
by rpresser on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 11:26:47 PM EST

"For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life."
------------
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
Oh (1.20 / 5) (#140)
by ShiftyStoner on Mon Nov 22, 2004 at 12:26:24 AM EST

 At first I thought this was going to be a a joke.

 Like, if you're surrounded by empty bottles and boxes of tweenkies, you just might be a comfort addict.

 Or, if your asshole grows a clit and starts menstruating, you just might be a comfort addict.
( @ )'( @ ) The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force. - Adolf Hitler

nothing is before thinking (none / 1) (#146)
by oh ah eric cantona on Mon Nov 22, 2004 at 04:05:14 PM EST

before thinking is nothing, only once you give up your attachments will you find nothing, when you have found nothing you will have : enlightenment. KATZ . this is zen
01->1, 10->1, 00->0, 11->0
"why" (3.00 / 3) (#148)
by horseflesh on Mon Nov 22, 2004 at 07:09:12 PM EST

While thought provoking, this article does not take into account the "why". Making love to your rivals significant other is more pleasurable than just making love. Gorging on truly healthy food can be more enjoyable than just gorging (for some). The "why" or reasoning behind pleasurable experiences can physically alter or enhance the experience itself. Therefore making pure stimulation a bit lacking in dimension for the fully concsious human, and as such less pleasurable. The brain will take into account sensory and informatic experience. We cannot reasonably expect wires to replace the diversity of the world translated with its particulars (to the individual) for causing pleasure.

excellent analogy (none / 0) (#159)
by livus on Wed Nov 24, 2004 at 04:29:20 AM EST

my rival's wife closely resembles tofu.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
Society Knows This (2.50 / 2) (#155)
by Russell Dovey on Tue Nov 23, 2004 at 08:03:40 AM EST

This addiction to comfort has provoked cries for help such as fantasy novels, sci-fi novels, movies etc in which life isn't so comfortable, but a person's actions actually mean something.

I find this irritating. We already live in such a world, but the fantasists are TOO FUCKING COMFORTABLE in their particular part of it to go out and make a difference!

It's a vicious cycle, of course.

Maybe that's what wars are for. Shake things up, jolt people out of their lotus-eating, self-centred, hypocritical lives and force them to LIVE damnit LIVE!

Must be a better way.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan

I seem to remember... (2.50 / 2) (#158)
by localroger on Tue Nov 23, 2004 at 10:44:31 PM EST

...reading a story about this once. In fact, it was by someone with a name a lot like mine. There might even be a link to it in the header of this comment.

Too bad this went up while I was on vacation, because I'd have voted for it; it is the central problem the Singularitarians have failed to face.

BTW, you should read A Criminal History of Mankind by Colin Wilson. In the guise of an omnibus review of the history of murder, he proposes a solution to this particular problem. It impressed me, but I'm not sure how universally workable it is.

What will people of the future think of us? Will they say, as Roger Williams said of some of the Massachusetts Indians, that we were wolves with the min

what problem? (none / 0) (#164)
by khallow on Thu Nov 25, 2004 at 09:21:40 PM EST

Too bad this went up while I was on vacation, because I'd have voted for it; it is the central problem the Singularitarians have failed to face.

What's the problem? And why should the Singularitarians be the ones to deal with it? As I see it, people tend to embed themselves in a coccoon and isolate themselves from the world. If it's a problem, then it sounds like a personal problem and should be dealt with on that level.

BTW, you should read A Criminal History of Mankind by Colin Wilson. In the guise of an omnibus review of the history of murder, he proposes a solution to this particular problem. It impressed me, but I'm not sure how universally workable it is.

What is his solution? I don't feel like reading the book without more information.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

It's kind of hard to explain (none / 0) (#168)
by localroger on Sun Nov 28, 2004 at 06:01:35 PM EST

It involves focusing of mental energy to create an at-will state of epiphany. Some of his language is metaphysical and might be off-putting, but he provides a lot of background that makes it obvious he is on to something, even if his foundational explanations aren't right.

It's a damn entertaining book even if you don't like his conclusions, and I highly recommend that you at least give it a try, not just to see what I'm getting at here because it's a mind-blowing and just plain fun book to read.

What will people of the future think of us? Will they say, as Roger Williams said of some of the Massachusetts Indians, that we were wolves with the min
[ Parent ]

It has been a while since I read MOPI, (none / 1) (#165)
by Danzig on Fri Nov 26, 2004 at 01:06:19 AM EST

so perhaps I am forgetting something, but I disagreed with the premise. You, brain in a jar, and everyone else who denies hedonism have stated over and over that pleasure needs pain, but have never given any proof. Opioids work whether or not one is in any acute pain. Your novel used a few restrictions on PI (and thus wireheading) as plot devices, but those restrictions are not essential to the concept. PI refused to do it because he thought it was "harmful". He thought so because you did. Why?

Achievement is relative. Do our brains need changing stimuli to be happy? Perhaps, but that is why we have kappa opioid and 5HT2 receptors. D2 and mu opioid receptors should be constantly on maximum. When your own mind can create its own beauty, outside artistic endeavours become superfluous.

You are not a fucking Fight Club quotation.
rmg for editor!
If you disagree, moderate, don't post.
Kill whitey.
[ Parent ]
Good. (none / 0) (#169)
by PunkAssBitch on Mon Nov 29, 2004 at 01:21:43 PM EST

I've always casually wondered about variations of this topic, the question of why we sometimes do things that aren't easiest, never really coming up with a good answer.

"Why go through the trouble of preparing a meal from scratch after work when we're both hungry? Why not just go out to eat tonight?"  Dunno.  It's cheaper, sort of.  Food cooked at home is better ... sometimes.  It's more fun to make it.  It's healthier ... but not if we go somewhere healthy.  None of those answers really satisfy - it just seems like the right thing to do.

"Why grow tomatoes when the farmer's market has good ones that are actually cheaper", "why build shit when we could just buy it", "why not have a snack if you're hungry while waiting for dinner", etc.

My own half ass answers have included vague ramblings on yins and yangs, talk of no good without bad, and so forth.  Your answer is better, and provides a context for such questions that may just be convincing.

This is just the beginning (3.00 / 2) (#172)
by Steeltoe on Wed Dec 01, 2004 at 09:22:04 AM EST

As long as life is a struggle, there is an illusionary meaning to it. Always something more to be gained, to "improve" around you.

People start at a young age, starting to think grownups have more fun. People go to school, longing to be in a job and making money. As we get a job, we fancy a new car would make things sweeter. A new car later, something still feels lacking, but we quickly find the answer: new gadgets, bigger housing, a lawn, a new partner and a few more GHz.

We do this, thinking that when we reach this next stage, then we will be happy. But when that moment arrives, a new hindrance to happiness has arrived, in our mind. We continue to postpone happiness. Haven't we been doing this our whole life?

We have the privilege to truly investigate life, because most 95% of the population is busy with just staying alive.

Only one moment truly exists: Now. Can you ever be happy in the future, or in the past? Neither truly exist in a sense. Except in our mind, where we let that imaginary existence disturb us daily.

I've found what I have been searching for, called many names in the past, in Spirituality. To name one organisation that truly live the human values 100% I have to mention Art of Living. I absolutely vouch for their course, and always recommend it to people I meet who are interested. There is such depth and broadness, truly eye-openers and all the magic ingredients for living life to its full potential is there. It is so simple, it may seem too simple, this is how you know you're on the right path.

There is a remedy for your pains and struggle, but comfort is not it.

You can easily become comfortable with Everything though.


Explore the Art of Living

Reminds me of the Unabomber manifesto (none / 0) (#174)
by Hari Seldon on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 07:47:28 AM EST

I enjoyed the article and it puts me in mind of the Unabobmer manifesto. I actually read the manifesto prior to his apprehension and before knowing anything about his 'solution'.

Here in the UK, until he was caught, the unabomber didn't get any coverage (that I could see anyway). So I was with him most of the way until he said something like "this is why we have to kill people".

Anyway, the article, it seems to me touches on the same fundamental issues.

The article:

"middle classes make up a large proportion of the west's population. Millions of people across the western world have gained the ability to escape discomfort almost entirely, and many of them have been foolish enough to do so".

The Unabomber Manifesto:

"In modern industrial society only minimal effort is necessary to satisfy one's physical needs. It is enough to go through a training program to acquire some petty technical skill, then come to work on time and exert very modest effort needed to hold a job. The only requirements are a moderate amount of intelligence, and most of all, simple OBEDIENCE. If one has those, society takes care of one from cradle to grave"

Just a thought

Hari

welcome (none / 1) (#177)
by keleyu on Mon Mar 21, 2005 at 02:44:21 AM EST

lyrics lyrics

Are You A Comfort Addict? | 177 comments (153 topical, 24 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!