On Determinism II

The more I experience life and the choices that it forces me to deliberate on and make, the more convinced I am that determinism is so far removed from my reality that it would require an ongoing and conscious effort to engage in delusional thinking to accept it as some sort of truth of our universe. Not even determinists are able to do this. They talk and behave as if they have free will 99% of the time, then take 1% to talk about the reality of determinism. It’s bonkers when you really consider what’s happening and why. If we don’t have free will, then we are all quite literally operating on autopilot. Nobody’s in control, the captain’s seat is empty. I dare say that without free will, we are not. There seems to be no other conclusion to make from the determinist view. And that’s today’s two cents.

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On Empathy II

Penn Jillette shared some fascinating insight recently. Do we not have a natural propensity to be deeply affected by the emotions experienced and portrayed by others right in front of us? Do we not want to either reach out and hold them, to soothe them or on the other end, to smile and to dance with them? Imagine the ability to view someone suffer, in some great way, perhaps someone you know, from behind a sound-proof one-way mirror. Our empathy would be barred, stunted. What if I told you that from an early age we are trained and conditioned to repress this natural propensity due to this barrier? Assuming this is the case, what effect does this have on us as empathetic creatures? Now, you might be wondering what in the world I am talking about. I am talking about something that humanity never experienced until the last century. I am talking about the emergence of witnessing other people’s grief or happiness and not having any responsibility for sharing in it. Never before have human beings witnessed other people’s emotions that were not right in front of them, that is, not until the invention of video recording devices and the creation of cinema. That’s something to think about, and today’s two cents.

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On Entitlements II

Many are the reasons that people give in support of their preferred entitlements, which the guarantee of such by government necessarily entails the violation of other people’s liberties. “Without retirement entitlements, old people will be forced from their homes by medical bankruptcy.” “Without welfare entitlements, poor people will be forced to beg on the streets.” “Without schooling entitlements, nobody will be properly educated and our democracy will fail.” “Without law enforcement entitlements, people will be robbing, raping, and murdering each other all day, every day.” “Without national defense entitlements, other countries will invade us and slaughter our children.” There is no end to the number of reasons people can find to violate other people’s liberties. I said it before and I’ll say it again: entitlements are antithetical to liberty. Pick one, abandon the other, and be honest about it. And that’s today’s two cents.

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On Motivation

One of the principles that unschoolers live by concerns motivation. It should be obvious to all that motivation borne inside of us (intrinsic), such as when we are pursuing an interest or passion, is superior to forms of motivation that had their origin in a threat (extrinsic). If this is not obvious to you, then consider the child, probably yourself at some point, who works twice as hard to get out of an unchosen obligation than would be required to fulfill the obligation. We’ve all either seen this or done this. I know I have, and I know that my children have, too. When I realize what is happening, I am compelled to reevaluate either what is being demanded of me or what I am demanding of others. I don’t care to use threats to motivate (nor tolerate them), because I believe that doing so is wrong, on many levels. Instead, I should help those I need to do something to find an intrinsic reason to do it. That’s called being a civilized adult, and today’s two cents.

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On Toxic Masculinity

Feminists have a communications problem when it comes to concerns about “toxic masculinity”. Let me demonstrate this with the following: incompetent women make very poor drivers. Alright then, how did you read that? Did you read 1) “all women are incompetent and make for very poor drivers” or 2) “only women who are incompetent make for very poor drivers”? If you read it as 2) then you took your time and considered what was being said. Congratulations! If you read it like 1), then you made quick assumptions looking for someone to feel outrage toward. Reading as 2) probably also had you consider whether or not incompetent men made for very poor drivers, as well, and such would be a rational inference. Reading as 1) gave you bad feelings toward the person saying it, wondering strongly about how long they’ve been a misogynist. Now, do you understand why the phrase “toxic masculinity” is not being received very well? If you need me to mansplain it further for you, I will. And that’s today’s two cents.

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On Freedom

Here’s a memetastic peeve of mine:  the bumper stickers and signs that say “Freedom is not free.” Talk about an equivocation. What is being implied by this statement is support for the armed forces and law enforcement. Little thought seems to be given in what this support entails, forcing other people to part with their hard-earned money to pay for these misidentified “services”. I suppose it could be argued that there is no equivocation if what is meant with this phrase is something along the lines of “It costs your freedom to protect your freedom.” In which case, keep your protection to yourself, nobody asked you. And that’s today’s two cents.

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