Showing posts from 2006

Do we really "deserve to be happy"?

Happiness is not an evolutionary prerequisite. Nothing in the process of evolution selects for happiness (or lack thereof). Evolution cares about survival of the species and no advantages are conferred upon happy as opposed to less so individuals.

The "happiness industry" which convinces people that they "deserve to be happy" and in fact makes them miserable because they are not as happy as they "deserve to be", is a recent phenomenon.

When cave men brought home the antelope and everybody ate it around the fire, there was no cave man equivalent of Dr. Phil walking around trying to asses the degree of happiness of the group. In the Middle Ages, happiness was defined as not having the plague. It is only in recent times that the "entitlement of happiness" came about and as more of the basic needs were no longer an acute issue, mankind went searching for the next thing that will make them miserable.

Total bliss or complete happiness is not a default st…

Conspiracy theorists

It seems almost inappropriate not to comment in some way on the 5th anniversary of 9/11.

One of the things that I find most amazing about it is that 22% of Canadians to this day believe that the entire 9/11 incident was organized and implemented by the U.S. government. The depth of anti-Americanism that is required in order to take leave from logic which would make such belief possible is truly extraordinary.

Either the 9/11 hijackers flew those planes or somebody else did. The identity of the hijackers has been established beyond any doubt. They have been identified on video; they have been identified by passengers; their voices are on recordings of conversations from the planes. Everything is known about their lives from where and when they were born to where they were issued drivers licenses to how much rent one of them paid for a room he rented in Germany 10 years ago.

If those were indeed the people who committed those acts, the on…

How is Hezbollah like Bloc Quebecois

Both are political parties representing minority interests that are fervent and vocal. They have approximately the same representation in the respective country's parliament at 16-17 % of the total seats. Their positions are at odds with the general intent of the policies of the majority and therefore the country.

It would be nice to be able to continue the analogy but differences start to loom large. Imagine a Bloc Quebecois which has a military arm that is being supplied by arms by, say, Mexico which has an ax to grind with the United States for other reasons.

The Bloc's military then puts its missiles on the border and after first making an incursion into the US territory to capture a couple of Marines, it starts firing missiles across the border hitting Detroit.

Oh, yes, and throw in the additional element of religion and the issue in principle that B Q says the United States should not exist as a country.

Do Buddhist monks ever laugh out loud?

I don't think I have ever seen a picture of a monk laughing out loud in a belly-laugh kind of a way. I mean the kind where tears come to your face as when watching a Richard Pryor or an Eddie Murphy show.

They smile some, wear contented looking faces a lot but never something beyond a thoughtful, far-away looking smile.

In a book that I am reading by Lin Yutang he talks about 3 views of mankind - the traditional Christian, the Greek pagan view and the Chinese view. He adds - "(I do not include the Buddhist view because it is too sad.)"

Is the relative absence of highs a fair price to pay for the relative absence of lows. Is it consistent with human nature.

Some lines are just too good to pass up

Commenting on a guilty verdict against Ex-CEO of HealthSouth Richard Scrushy a lawyer representing the bondholders who lost money on HealthSouth said:

"Even though it's not directly related, the folks we represent can't see enough hurt get on that guy."

It's all about how you ask the question

So if you say:

"Is it within the power of the President to intercept enemy communications in times of war without the permission of a judge."

the answer becomes pretty self-evident.

Future Monitor

Received a request to participate in a survey called "Future Monitor" in which a whole bunch of presumably "thought leaders" around the world are asked to asses the likely future impact of certain trends.

The trends they offer are anything from blogging to information security to aging baby boomers.

One of the questions is when will the first nuclear weapon go off and several choices are offered. I picked "in 1 - 3 years". At the end they ask a more open ended question of which single trend we would single out as having the biggest potential impact.

I chose nuclear proliferation and the first nuke to go off. There is no way of predicting with certainty when it will happen or even whether it will happen, but there is no doubt that if it does, it will have an impact far beyond anything else (such as "China" or proliferation of RFID devices).

It will be like 9/11, everything will be different after it then before. The things to consider then is "H…