Archive for the ‘Thought for the day’ Category

Why are we here?

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

“Why are we here?” An age old question that lots of people ask and nobody really has a good answer to. We look to religion and google, and google just refers us back to religion. That must be what religion is for, to answer the question, why are we here.

I don’t think there is one single correct answer for everybody, and I don’t think that everybody needs an answer in the first place. But if you do, you have to come up with an answer that suits you. And if you don’t want to, you can always use somebody else’s answer.

I’m reading this book called “Ishmael” by Daniel Quinn. It is one of those books that tells you a story that makes you think. I don’t know if its intention was to get me to think about why we’re here, but that’s what it did.

I believe there is no reason why we’re here. We just are. Here. I think if you have to have an answer to the reason why we’re here, you have to make one up.

The conclusion I’ve come to is this: We are here to increase our quality of life.

I don’t see any other purpose to being here, so while we’re here, we might as well make it as least miserable as possible. The next obvious question is: “Well, if there’s no point to being here, why don’t we kill ourselves?” Apparently we tried that, and evolution came up with ‘survival instinct’ so that we’d stop doing that. I have another rant about suicide, but that’s for another time. I’ll summarize that rant with this: “If you feel like you want to kill yourself, try running away first.” No problem is so large that it can not be run away from.

So we’re stuck here, or we run away, and we’re stuck somewhere else, still with no real purpose. So while we’re here sticking it out until our bodies give out on us, why not make it fun, or at least not unpleasant for ourselves. I’ve spent lots of time over the past 10-15 years mulling this idea over and I really haven’t come up with anything better than to try and make life enjoyable for the duration.

Of course it fits our American culture: more better faster. But if that’s what you like, then why not. Other cultures might have different answers but that’s what works for me in our culture that I was raised in.

The book goes on about how our civilization and culture is going to kill us. We keep multiplying in vast numbers and consuming irreplaceable resources, yet somehow think this will go on forever and science will solve the problems as they come up. By now most people realize we’re going to die out long before the sun stops burning. But there’s no one master body of power that says to everybody “Okay, look here people, this isn’t working, and if you want to survive as a species, you better stop what you’re doing now.” There are plenty of people who already say it’s too late for that. I think they’re wrong. But the fact is that there IS no one commanding body of power that can force that change, so in fact we will go on reproducing and consuming until the first thing that gives out, gives out.

It might be water, it might be breathable air, it might be food, land to live on, maybe some disease will do it to us that we have no antibiotic for because it’s become resistant to all known remedies. But no question, something is going to give out, and there’s nothing anybody can do about it. Because nobody can make everybody else stop.

So we will die out. Some future generation will start suffering, starving, dying of dehydration. It probably won’t happen all at once, and possibly our numbers will lower to a point where it becomes sustainable again and humans can go on for a while. Perhaps it depends on which humans survive. Given our society though, the self sufficient and the rich are likely to survive, and the rich won’t be very helpful.

Everybody is wrapped up in their day to day routine so much that rarely do they lift their heads to see what the future unquestionably holds. And since there are more problems to deal with right now than in the future, it is quickly forgotten in trade for remembering to pick up milk.

The reality is that there’s no law of physics that requires that everything be good and work out to our advantage. When the water runs out, we will dehydrate and die. Period. It may be the government’s fault, it may be the fault of some other species, but it doesn’t matter, because people will be dying. Assigning blame won’t change anything.

So far we’ve been lucky that things have worked out fairly well for lots of people, but that’s going to change. And this entitlement that we Americans have that we deserve things to be good, again, is not a law of physics. There will be a big wake-up call for a lot of people when suddenly things aren’t going their way and no amount of yelling and phone calls and lawyers will be able to do anything about it.

The twin towers collapse was a good example. We’re technologically more advanced than anybody in the history of mankind, but there was nothing anybody could do to stop those buildings from falling. Nothing anybody could do to rescue the people from those buildings. The laws of physics say the metal under extreme temperatures will weaken, and so they did. And that was that. No amount of blame, emotion, screaming or whining changed a thing.

That’s what’s going to happen to us in the future a few generations from now.

But we can all ignore it because we won’t be here to suffer the consequences. It will be our children’s problem, and while we can think enough ahead to say that, it appears to me we’re still not doing anything about it.

So why do you think we are here.

On perspective

Friday, November 7th, 2008

If you don’t get this picture, you shouldn’t be in public office.

Why STAR in new york is a bad idea

Friday, October 31st, 2008

The STAR program (I forget what it stands for, “Stupid Tax Assessment Reclamation” maybe?) is a great testament to the inefficiency of state government. I mean who really questions that, and does it really need to be brought up again? No, it doesn’t but I can’t resist.

The STAR program basically gives back money to property owners who pay property taxes.

Now most sane people would just organize it so that they’re charged less rather than charge more and then give back some of it. It’s a waste of time, and money.

Somewhere, greenburgh found a ton of money to rebuild the library. Now I’m all for libraries, so good for them. But while they’re building it, they’ve moved the books and other library materials into 3 satellite offices, one of them being in the also nearly brand-spanking-new town hall (you know, the place when you get ass fucked when you want to get a building permit to build a gazebo).

I go to the town hall nowadays to borrow DVDs from the library. I marvel that the library spends good tax money on buying the likes of “Jackass II” to put in the borrowable library materials, but that’s a rant for another day.

While walking to the back of the building where the library materials are, I always pass an office that says “STAR program. We will return 9am.”

They (I’m sorry, I mean WE THE TAXPAYERS) employ people and heat the space of an office to support the process of giving back money that they charged in property taxes when just a little more time could be spent in the existing tax office to make sure they charge me the right amount of taxes in the first place.

And for this extra expense, I’m sure my taxes have gone up.

We need a revolution. Just a little one.

And I’m sure that building a gazebo increased my property taxes.

Of which I will get some back from the STAR program.

The conspiracy of the eights.

Monday, October 6th, 2008

You notice something funny about the signs at gas stations lately?

And by lately I mean like the past year or two. Maybe three, I’ve certainly noticed this for quite a while.

The eights are upside down.

When I was a kid I was taught that a eight is drawn as two circles one on top of the other, and the one on the top is the same size or a little smaller.

But if you look at any eights that are posted on gas station signs, either on the pump or on the big billboards, more often than not, the eights are upside down.

One? An accident. Two? Two accidents, but MOST of them are upside down. So either they’re all learning the wrong thing from each other, or there’s a conspiracy.

I think the conspiracy is more interesting. But what could it be? “This gas station permits the disposal of used motor oil.” Somehow I doubt that’s it.

And what if there’s no eight in the price, then you couldn’t reliably communicate your intentions (Whatever the meaning of the upside down eight is) unless the price had an eight in it. Unless…. THEY’RE PRICE FIXING so that there will be an eight in the price.

What are we in for that we don’t know because we can’t decipher the meaning of the upside down eights?

The question in question

Friday, September 26th, 2008

I guess it would help if I posted the item in question. I added it to my learned cat site…

The question was how to avoid procrastination:

If you think for a second that you should do something and are about to put it off, drop whatever you are doing right now, and do that first. Make a habit of that process and you’ll find you’re rarely backlogged on things.

This never happens

Friday, September 26th, 2008

Today I got an email from somebody on linkedin asking if they could quote an answer I wrote on linked in in their blog.

I think that’s the first time I’ve ever heard somebody ask permission to copy something on the web. How could I say no, they could just do it anyway, and not even give me credit.

So inspired was I by this token of generosity that I decided to try the wordpress 5 minute install. So here I am.

It took only 5 minutes but that’s only because I have some handy dandy mysql tools.