Monday, 3 January 2011


When considering the merits of a situation, different people will consider different scales of consequences.  The scale in question is usually time, but I'm sure you can think of others.  For example, when deciding whether or not to smoke a cigarette, someone may weigh up the short-term benefit of it satisfying a nicotine craving, with the long-term effect of it ruining their health.

Although there is no a priory reason to view a long-term benefit as being preferable to a short-term benefit, it does seem to me to be logical if my happiness level is not below average at the time.  If my happiness level is reasonably high, and I am in the situation where I can choose between an immediate or a deferred benefit, it seems logical to defer it – my happiness is at an above-average level without it, so I may as well defer it so there is a chance it can increase my happiness at a later time when I'm down.  I save it for a rainy day, so to speak.

Everything in the world is consistent with everything else. It's not the case that I think 'everything happens for a reason', but everything is interconnected in many ways.   The way things are interconnected means that it is difficult to view anything as 'bad'.  There have been two huge climate changes in human history – the two ice ages.  During these times many animals became extinct. Most animal populations were, at best, decimated.   Were these 'bad' events? It is during times of great change that the evolutionary pressure on adaptability (a huge component of intelligence) is at its greatest.  Without these two periods of extreme climate change, which caused mass extinctions and decimated the human population, we would not have become the intelligent beasts we are today.  Skulls examined through our history show the dramatic change in brain size that these times precipitated.   The forest fires in California that caused much media coverage a while ago are a natural thing – the Californian redwood NEEDS a forest fire for its seeds to germinate – and so I can't think of the forest fire as being a natural disaster.
It's another reason that I suspect the whole premise of morality is wrong.

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