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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:10 pm 
Avisaru
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Not to be confused with the other thought experiment thread.

I begin.
-----------
If you ran a foreign aid organisation that helps starving children, and you were offered $1 billion on condition that you changed the organisation's name to "The Malthus Foundation", would you do it?


Last edited by dhok on Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:50 pm 
Lebom
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dhokarena56 wrote:
Not to be confused with the other thought experiment thread.

If you ran a foreign aid organisation that helps starving children, and you were offered $1 billion on condition that you changed the organisation's name to "The Malthus Foundation", would you do it?


Yes, and I would use the money for the purpose it is for (that is, helping starving children to keep living), and make a very public show out of doing it, just to stick it to Malthus.

You accidentally discover in the course of a scientific experiment that not only can one travel backwards in time, but that it IS possible to violate causality.without destroying the universe. What do you do now?

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:41 am 
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bulbaquil wrote:
You accidentally discover in the course of a scientific experiment that not only can one travel backwards in time, but that it IS possible to violate causality.without destroying the universe. What do you do now?


Not sure if I understand, but I would write a paper about it with mathematical proof of the ability to violate causality without destruction of the universe, bringing myself acclaim without doing something really stupid, like going back in time to kill Hitler, or have sex with my Grandmother.


Your "shady uncle" gives you a very expensive gift for your birthday. You have heard tell from some cousins that he could be involved in some illegal dealings, which could be how he could afford the gift. He may have stolen it instead. But it is possible that he did not get the gift by ill-gotten means. Do you accept the gift, or do you decline it?

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:52 am 
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Bristel wrote:
Your "shady uncle" gives you a very expensive gift for your birthday. You have heard tell from some cousins that he could be involved in some illegal dealings, which could be how he could afford the gift. He may have stolen it instead. But it is possible that he did not get the gift by ill-gotten means. Do you accept the gift, or do you decline it?


I accept the gift. If the gift was obtained through illegal measures it in no way concerns me legally. It's like buying from a pawn shop. Chances are good you're buying stolen goods, but if you can live with that on your conscious (as I can), then there is no problem whatsoever.

You're girlfriend or boyfriend has a friend of their same sex who you've never met but have talked to over Facebook and you know they are a decent person. You're partner asks you if y'all could invite this friend over for a threeway. Would you accept?

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:43 pm 
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Viktor77 wrote:
You're girlfriend or boyfriend has a friend of their same sex who you've never met but have talked to over Facebook and you know they are a decent person. You're partner asks you if y'all could invite this friend over for a threeway. Would you accept?

I'd definitely be down with this. I think not knowing him or her very well but knowing that they are still trustworthy is a plus.

You're standing with a stranger by train tracks, one set right in front of you and one farther ahead. Trains are rapidly advancing on both tracks. You realize a group of deaf people including a few children is walking along the opposite tracks and isn't aware of the impending danger. The track switch for the farther rail is in front of you. The only way to activate it in time is to push the stranger standing near you into the switch and onto the tracks, killing the stranger but saving the deaf people. Would you sacrifice one life to save the group?


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:18 pm 
Avisaru
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Why bother just responding to one? I'll respond to all!

dhokarena56 wrote:
If you ran a foreign aid organisation that helps starving children, and you were offered $1 billion on condition that you changed the organisation's name to "The Malthus Foundation", would you do it?


Malthus may have possessed some horrible ideas, but if Andrew Jackson is honored so well AND one of the US's shittiest presidents, one can do good things in his name. People might remember the good more than the bad--which'll mean that history will honor Malthus more. If that's the price to be paid for helping people--sure, why not?

bulbaquil wrote:
You accidentally discover in the course of a scientific experiment that not only can one travel backwards in time, but that it IS possible to violate causality.without destroying the universe. What do you do now?


I'd capitalize on it. I'd develop a team to go back into time and gather historical data, and publish papers on linguistics, history, and archeology. One day people'll realize my secrets, or my team would die somewhere in the past in a horrible accident, but a few of them made it back and call me a monster for being a capitalist. Wait. That's kinda the plot to Timeline.

Bristel wrote:
Your "shady uncle" gives you a very expensive gift for your birthday. You have heard tell from some cousins that he could be involved in some illegal dealings, which could be how he could afford the gift. He may have stolen it instead. But it is possible that he did not get the gift by ill-gotten means. Do you accept the gift, or do you decline it?


I would have to take it. A gift's a gift, and therefore cannot be denied.


Viktor77 wrote:
You're girlfriend or boyfriend has a friend of their same sex who you've never met but have talked to over Facebook and you know they are a decent person. You're partner asks you if y'all could invite this friend over for a threeway. Would you accept?


YOU'RE ≠ YOUR You're on one of the most literate boards in the internet, and you unabashedly make this mistake. Knock it the hell off.

And no; not that I'd be interested, but it'd raise some red flags: If this hypothetical partner brings up wanting a threesome with a veritable stranger to me, then I'd suspect it's a ruse to engage in sexual acts and not cheat at me the same time. I'd then wonder if guilt is driving these two to be honest, and I've already been cheated on. So, no. Hell, I'd probably break up with this person.

ná'oolkiłí wrote:
You're standing with a stranger by train tracks, one set right in front of you and one farther ahead. Trains are rapidly advancing on both tracks. You realize a group of deaf people including a few children is walking along the opposite tracks and isn't aware of the impending danger. The track switch for the farther rail is in front of you. The only way to activate it in time is to push the stranger standing near you into the switch and onto the tracks, killing the stranger but saving the deaf people. Would you sacrifice one life to save the group?


I'd do neither; the guilt would be overwhelming to allow some stranger to die for another set of strangers. I'm not God, and I cannot force someone to make the choice of self-sacrifice. But I can make that choice myself (I'm already in a position where that'd be required of me). I'd sacrifice myself for those people, not some veritable stranger.

You're a military officer in Afghanistan, and you're ordered into a village to size up the area and determine whether or not insurgents are working with the villagers. The outlying areas are decomissioned soviet minefields, and people's herds constantly go into the area and graze--the herders ignore the warnings and try to pull their livestock out of the region, and thus injury rates in the area are high. You discover in your routine search a massive cache of possibly stolen medical supplies and tools for making illicit drugs in the medical clinic, as well as a still and a massive amount of poppies. The local doctor claims that he's trying to make his own medicines to help people in the village who get injured when they go into the minefield. Your SOP states you have to seize the stolen medical goods and poppies. You can offer medical goods to be delivered, but you know that this promise is hollow, and they might not receive it. Do you trust the doctor, and turn a blind eye in the hopes that he's being honest (which runs the risk of allowing heroin production), or do you follow the SOP and put people at risk of infection and death?

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:24 pm 
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Neek wrote:
Malthus may have possessed some horrible ideas, but if Andrew Jackson is honored so well AND one of the US's shittiest presidents,


Whoa, finally something we agree on. I do loathe Andrew Jackson.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:31 pm 
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Neek wrote:
You're a military officer in Afghanistan, and you're ordered into a village to size up the area and determine whether or not insurgents are working with the villagers. The outlying areas are decomissioned soviet minefields, and people's herds constantly go into the area and graze--the herders ignore the warnings and try to pull their livestock out of the region, and thus injury rates in the area are high. You discover in your routine search a massive cache of possibly stolen medical supplies and tools for making illicit drugs in the medical clinic, as well as a still and a massive amount of poppies. The local doctor claims that he's trying to make his own medicines to help people in the village who get injured when they go into the minefield. Your SOP states you have to seize the stolen medical goods and poppies. You can offer medical goods to be delivered, but you know that this promise is hollow, and they might not receive it. Do you trust the doctor, and turn a blind eye in the hopes that he's being honest (which runs the risk of allowing heroin production), or do you follow the SOP and put people at risk of infection and death?


Follow the SOP but make sure that med supplies get to them eventually.

You are in a plane crash in fridged water, there are 6 of you. All of the others are less healthy than you. Do you risk your life to help them get to a rescue helicopter or do you take the next basket that is lowered to you?

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[triangular slavery] > [african polyrythms] + [western folk music] (+ (sometimes) [western art music]) = [biggest explosion in diversity since the Cambrian]


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:55 pm 
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ná'oolkiłí wrote:

You're standing with a stranger by train tracks, one set right in front of you and one farther ahead. Trains are rapidly advancing on both tracks. You realize a group of deaf people including a few children is walking along the opposite tracks and isn't aware of the impending danger. The track switch for the farther rail is in front of you. The only way to activate it in time is to push the stranger standing near you into the switch and onto the tracks, killing the stranger but saving the deaf people. Would you sacrifice one life to save the group?
This is a classic problem in ethics. I thought it was based on a true story. but http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolley_problem says it's an urban legend. If I was in a situation like this, I'd probably just use myself as the trainstopper and save both of the other groups of people. Perhaps I'd be a considered a hero for this; however on the other hand I could see myself indirectly killing someone on a lifeboat if I was sure they were going to die anyway.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 10:00 pm 
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ná'oolkiłí wrote:
You're standing with a stranger by train tracks, one set right in front of you and one farther ahead. Trains are rapidly advancing on both tracks. You realize a group of deaf people including a few children is walking along the opposite tracks and isn't aware of the impending danger. The track switch for the farther rail is in front of you. The only way to activate it in time is to push the stranger standing near you into the switch and onto the tracks, killing the stranger but saving the deaf people. Would you sacrifice one life to save the group?


I record the accident on my cell phone and send it off to the Darwin Awards. Seriously, a group of deaf people are walking along train tracks and not one of them is smart enough to look to see if there's a train coming?

Kill one:

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 3:42 am 
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bulbaquil wrote:
You accidentally discover in the course of a scientific experiment that not only can one travel backwards in time, but that it IS possible to violate causality.without destroying the universe. What do you do now?

I would go back in time and utterly destroy the experiment apparatus, along with any related notes, and then probably kill my other self, just to be safe.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 6:17 am 
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Trailsend wrote:
bulbaquil wrote:
You accidentally discover in the course of a scientific experiment that not only can one travel backwards in time, but that it IS possible to violate causality.without destroying the universe. What do you do now?

I would go back in time and utterly destroy the experiment apparatus, along with any related notes, and then probably kill my other self, just to be safe.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 7:18 pm 
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Count Iblis wrote:
Kill one:

Baby Hitler
Bambi's mom


Bambi's mom

Again, i'll ask:
You are in a plane crash in fridged water, there are 6 of you. All of the others are less healthy than you. Do you risk your life to help them get to a rescue helicopter or do you take the next basket that is lowered to you?

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[triangular slavery] > [african polyrythms] + [western folk music] (+ (sometimes) [western art music]) = [biggest explosion in diversity since the Cambrian]


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 8:08 pm 
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Zapcon wrote:
You are in a plane crash in fridged water, there are 6 of you. All of the others are less healthy than you. Do you risk your life to help them get to a rescue helicopter or do you take the next basket that is lowered to you?


I take the one that's lowered to me, without apology.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 8:13 pm 
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Here is where I got that from. And you forgot to give a next scenario.

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Legion wrote:
[triangular slavery] > [african polyrythms] + [western folk music] (+ (sometimes) [western art music]) = [biggest explosion in diversity since the Cambrian]


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 8:18 pm 
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Zapcon wrote:
You are in a plane crash in fridged water, there are 6 of you. All of the others are less healthy than you. Do you risk your life to help them get to a rescue helicopter or do you take the next basket that is lowered to you?


It depends.

Do I have time? Am I in danger of hypothermia or something? Are the rescuers in a hurry?
Where are the other five people? In the water? Still on the plane? Is the plane on fire?
How much less healthy are they? Can they at least move on their own? Or are they unconscious?

Is their English rhotic? :P :D

Sorry, I don't have a new scenario. :(

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 6:39 am 
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Bedelato wrote:
Do I have time? Am I in danger of hypothermia or something? Are the rescuers in a hurry?
Where are the other five people? In the water? Still on the plane? Is the plane on fire?
How much less healthy are they? Can they at least move on their own? Or are they unconscious?

Is their English rhotic? :P :D

Sorry, I don't have a new scenario. :(


You don't know about time. You are in danger of hypothermia. The water is very cold. The other five people are in the water next to you within arms reach holding the plane. Less healthy being, elderly where they have a higher chance of dieing faster, and young kids who also have a higher chance of dieing faster than you. They are all conscious.

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[triangular slavery] > [african polyrythms] + [western folk music] (+ (sometimes) [western art music]) = [biggest explosion in diversity since the Cambrian]


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 7:27 am 
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You can go back in time and make three changes to Proto-Indo-European. What do you do?

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 8:39 am 
Smeric
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Nancy Blackett wrote:
You can go back in time and make three changes to Proto-Indo-European. What do you do?


1. I would switch all cases of s-mobile... so in Latin, snow would be snix, in Greek snipha, in Irish neachta and in English now. /snɪks snipʰa nʲãxt̪ˠə noʊ/

2. I would change the word for God to be /bristel/ somehow...

3. I would make the language more complex just to f*ck with Schleicher thousands of years later...

----
You find out that your most beloved family member is a serial killer... You know that he/she won't kill anyone you know, or your own family, but the murders get more frequent... Do you turn this person in, even though you love them so much? There isn't any evidence of guilt, you just know.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 3:10 pm 
Avisaru
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Bristel wrote:
You find out that your most beloved family member is a serial killer... You know that he/she won't kill anyone you know, or your own family, but the murders get more frequent... Do you turn this person in, even though you love them so much? There isn't any evidence of guilt, you just know.
Yes, I would turn them in. Doing the nice thing (for the loved one) is not always the same as doing the right thing. It wouldn't be responsible otherwise, love or not.

Teleportation is invented, by means of recording, eradicating, then rebuilding matter in your chosen destination. There is a split second delay between the rebuilding and the eradication, as a fail-safe. Is this murder? How long does the duplicate have to exist simultaneously with the original to count as murder, as they are both experiencing the world independently? If you believe in the idea of a soul, what happens to that?


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 3:17 pm 
Lebom
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Gulliver wrote:
Bristel wrote:
You find out that your most beloved family member is a serial killer... You know that he/she won't kill anyone you know, or your own family, but the murders get more frequent... Do you turn this person in, even though you love them so much? There isn't any evidence of guilt, you just know.
Yes, I would turn them in. Doing the nice thing (for the loved one) is not always the same as doing the right thing.

Ah, you ninja-edited; I was going to say, I think doing the right thing is doing the kind thing here, you just happen to not know all the untold people you're being kind to (future victims + friends and family and other connections thereof etc.)

Quote:
Teleportation is invented, by means of recording, eradicating, then rebuilding matter in a destination. There is a split second delay between the rebuilding and the eradication, as a fail-safe. Is this murder? How long does the duplicate have to exist simultaneously with the original to count as murder, as they are both experiencing the world independently? If you believe in the idea of a soul, what happens to that?

Mmm...I don't think so. It'd be creepy for sure, but there is no intent to end a life. I'm of the opinion that what makes a person a person isn't the incidental arrangement of carbon from which they perceive the universe, it's the conglomeration of cause and effect, thought and motivation, and general life story that they accrue over time. Since all this is preserved, I wouldn't say anything has been murdered. (Note that in this way, I do believe in the idea of a soul, but not really in the dualistic sense, so there's no dilemma--your soul moves with you just fine.)


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 3:27 pm 
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I believe this might have been lifted from Timeline, where going back into time was entirely based on that concept: The original is destroyed, stored, literally faxed through quantum foam into a specific time/location (though all time is concurrent, it's just an alternate universe where that event is happening now), and you are recreated. The technology for recreating you hasn't been discovered yet, so you are actually from another universe where the technology has already happened. The consensus is, "You get used to it." </aside>

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:43 pm 
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Yeah, I just couldn't stay away from this one. :D
Nancy Blackett wrote:
You can go back in time and make three changes to Proto-Indo-European. What do you do?


1. Grimm's law... five thousand years ahead of schedule. Mwahaha.

2. Introduce the Latin alphabet. No more ugly asterisks!

3. All sounds merge into *h1.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 6:57 pm 
Lebom
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You can go back in time and make three changes to Proto-Indo-European. What do you do?

- Change all those */kʷ/s and */ɡʷ/s.
- Make the number system duodecimal.
- Change the word for "devil" or its closest equivalent to /lɒlθ/, because no time-travel trip is complete without inserting a D&D joke into ancient prehistory. Hope that the /θ/ drops out in the intervening 3500 or so years, at least in whatever language ends up being spoken in whichever region the Butterflies of the Timestream cause my analogue to pop out in.

Bristel wrote:
You find out that your most beloved family member is a serial killer... You know that he/she won't kill anyone you know, or your own family, but the murders get more frequent... Do you turn this person in, even though you love them so much? There isn't any evidence of guilt, you just know.


Well, if there isn't any evidence of guilt, how would turning them in help?

Gulliver wrote:
Teleportation is invented, by means of recording, eradicating, then rebuilding matter in your chosen destination. There is a split second delay between the rebuilding and the eradication, as a fail-safe. Is this murder? How long does the duplicate have to exist simultaneously with the original to count as murder, as they are both experiencing the world independently? If you believe in the idea of a soul, what happens to that?


I'm more concerned about the conservation-of-energy issues involved here. Presumably, you don't actually "destroy" the matter, just convert it to energy (or other forms of matter), and then transform the energy (or other matter) into matter. Since you voluntarily entered the teleporter with the full knowledge of what was going to happen, I don't think it would be murder so long as you were rebuilt properly and the original you did not exit the teleporter.

As for the matter of souls: In English and in many other languages we often concretize things that are actually processes. The two that come most immediately to mind are fire and waves. Fire is the concretized notion of combustion; waves the concretized notion of oscillation. It stands to reason that one could consider the soul a manifestation of sapience or at least a high level of sentience. As such, because the "full knowledge of what was going to happen" is an element of the user's sapience, it could do little other than be a part of the "copy."

Basically what Trailsend says. A person is his/her sapience; if a person were just a collection of matter, there'd be no reason to treat him/her any different than any other collection of matter.

Mine:

You are offered the chance to spend the rest of your life in a world where there is absolutely no threat of war, terrorism, natural disaster (including famine and pandemic), being the victim of any crime more serious than petty theft or minor vandalism (like being toilet-papered or having your car egged), or anything of that sort. You are assured a decent-paying, if not necessarily always satisfying, job, and if you do happen to get fired you will always be able to get a new decent-paying, if not necessarily always satisfying, job within three weeks, when your severance pay runs out. When you retire, you will receive a pension sufficient in size to support yourself. You will never (again) run the risk of experiencing poverty, homelessness, civil strife, etc.

The catch: This world is basically a stereotype of the nostalgic American 1950s. Upon entering, you will be expected to give up anything anachronistic (you will be furnished with period-appropriate clothes and sufficient resources to get settled), and you are expected to conform to the appropriate social mores, including gender roles. This world is static socially, technologically, and environmentally (i.e. climate isn't changing, trees shoot up as fast as loggers cut them down, oil keeps magicking itself into existence as fast as it's pulled out of the ground, etc.). (Note that if you're non-white, everyone else will treat you as though you were white - this is Nostalgic Fifties, not Real Fifties after all.) The main thing here is that nothing you do, no action you undertake, will change this stasis. Activism of any sort but for local, minor things ("I think we should build the park on the east side of town, not on Fifth Street") is utterly useless; the plot of Pleasantville would fail here. Certainly, things and people change with time, but the changes are things like different TV shows, presidents being elected "on schedule," etc. And if you choose to enter this world, there's no out - you will remain there until you die.

I understand the premise is somewhat convoluted; feel free to ask me for clarification. Basically it boils down to this: would you rather live in a nostalgia-world that never changes but is completely safe, or a rapidly-changing world fraught with risk?

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 7:03 pm 
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bulbaquil wrote:
You are offered the chance to spend the rest of your life in a world where there is absolutely no threat of war, terrorism, natural disaster (including famine and pandemic), being the victim of any crime more serious than petty theft or minor vandalism (like being toilet-papered or having your car egged), or anything of that sort. You are assured a decent-paying, if not necessarily always satisfying, job, and if you do happen to get fired you will always be able to get a new decent-paying, if not necessarily always satisfying, job within three weeks, when your severance pay runs out. When you retire, you will receive a pension sufficient in size to support yourself. You will never (again) run the risk of experiencing poverty, homelessness, civil strife, etc.

The catch: This world is basically a stereotype of the nostalgic American 1950s. Upon entering, you will be expected to give up anything anachronistic (you will be furnished with period-appropriate clothes and sufficient resources to get settled), and you are expected to conform to the appropriate social mores. This world is static socially, technologically, and environmentally (i.e. climate isn't changing, trees shoot up as fast as loggers cut them down, oil keeps magicking itself into existence as fast as it's pulled out of the ground, etc.). (Note that if you're non-white, everyone else will treat you as though you were white - this is Nostalgic Fifties, not Real Fifties after all.) The main thing here is that nothing you do, no action you undertake, will change this stasis. Activism of any sort but for local, minor things ("I think we should build the park on the east side of town, not on Fifth Street") is utterly useless; the plot of Pleasantville would fail here. Certainly, things and people change with time, but the changes are things like different TV shows, presidents being elected "on schedule," etc. And if you choose to enter this world, there's no out - you will remain there until you die.

Basically: would you rather live in a nostalgia-world that never changes but is completely safe, or a rapidly-changing world fraught with risk?
No bloody way.


The Language Fairy offers you a native-level command of every language in the world, bar one. Which would you choose to be not fluent in?


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