Hanlon’s Razor

0001365_95-701-platinum-series-double-edge-razor-blades_300You have probably heard of Occam’s (Ockham’s) Razor, but have you heard that Hanlon has one, too? Robert Hanlon’s Razor is as follows:

Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

I was introduced to this by my therapist because it seemed appropriate for the state of mind I was in at the time (and still am many times). My issue is, and always has been, that I expect too much from people. I expect them to behave with civility, to seek truth and knowledge, and to be humble. As you may expect, human beings often disappoint me.

For example, I expect people to put their shopping carts in the corral, not in the middle of a parking space. Moreover, I expect that when they do decide to walk to the corral that they also put the cart all the way in rather than just at the edge. It totally screws up the stacking process. It pisses me off.

On the surface, Hanlon’s Razor gives the stupid among us a free pass. In my example above, it guides me to simply forgive them for being incompetent rather than be angry at them for being malicious. One could make the argument that willful ignorance or laziness is malicious in intent, but let’s not go there for now.

But, you need to look a little deeper into Hanlon’s Razor to see what the complete context is because, for me, letting people get away with stupidity is not enough for forgiveness. In the link, the author, Matthew Cook, asks the reader to “replace ‘stupidity’ with tiredness, hunger, laziness, ignorance, misunderstanding, shyness…”. Try it with me:

Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by tiredness. 

Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by shyness.

Makes it a different statement altogether, doesn’t it? The message is here is that people do what they do for various reasons and we cannot assume, based on our own biases or justifications, that people act in accordance with our worldview. They simply have a different set of experiences and biology that have brought them to the place where they are, carrying the baggage they have, making the decisions they do. Even “smart” people do stupid things sometimes and it’s not necessarily out of malice.

One thing I want to clear up – ignorance does not necessarily mean someone is mean-spirited. It can also mean that they have not had a comparable experience and, therefore, do not know the proper way to act or respond. Google the definition and it simply says “lack of knowledge or information.” You can’t really blame someone for not knowing what they don’t know. Now, willful ignorance is a different topic altogether, which I will probably address in a different post, but, to choose to have a lack of knowledge on a particular subject is not bad as long as you don’t also try to be an expert. I don’t know anything about ceramics, and I choose not to, but I also don’t act like I know all about it when, if ever, I am engaged in a conversation about earthenware, porcelain or stoneware (I looked that up).

I guess the moral of this story is that we should not assume what we don’t know or else that makes us the potential target for the bloodletting of Hanlon’s Razor. Of course, the person could just be an asshole, too.

 

 

 

 

Philosophy for Dummies

death-of-socratesWhen I tell some people that I am studying philosophy they, understandably, assume I want to be a Philosophy teacher. I think it would be cool to get my Master’s and become a teacher, but I have no illusions that it will actually happen. I do enjoy studying the subject of philosophy because it engages my critical thinking skills, which is something we are not taught to do often enough. This leads to a population that is woefully unprepared to discuss and answer the big questions. Sometimes we purposefully avoid knowledge, but sometimes we are willfully ignorant.

Philosophy is the study of knowledge, reality or our existence. We have those types of discussions every day without even knowing it, so philosophy shouldn’t be treated as some sort of esoteric study. It’s not about knowing who Hobbes, Camus or Aquinas are, it’s about understanding what contributions they made to our public discourse, or just knowing that they simply made an argument at all. Maybe that argument is something you agree with now or maybe it’s simply a point of view you cannot accept, but if you cannot accept it, you must have a reason for it. That would require critical thinking.

So, breaking down the major philosophical questions would probably help exemplify what I’m getting at.

Knowledge or “Epistemology”

What do you actually know and how do you know it? These are big questions, especially in the age of “fake news”. Putting aside the whole effort of getting fed information through memes, blogs and articles that cite anonymous sources, we seem to accept information willingly if it confirms to our biases or we reject it if it is contrary to our beliefs.

The biggest epistemological question that has been around for thousands of years is what people believe versus what they know in regard to the existence of a divine being. Sure, people may believe in something, but do they actually know it? This is a different question than whether or not there is a god or gods (as explained below under “Metaphysics”) because the epistemological question addresses knowledge. For those that claim to know divinity exists, philosophers and critical thinkers ask what their rationale is for that confidence and how can they prove it so that others may also share their in what they claim to know? I’m not going to get into too much detail around agnosticism and atheism here, but they are two different concepts. Agnosticism is “without knowledge” while atheism is “without belief in a god or gods”. To give a more relatable example, I will use one that the folks at The Atheist Experience use often because it really delivers.

Given a jar full of gum balls, one may believe there are an odd number (and have a 50% chance of being correct), or you can count them and know that there actually are 53 of them. So, I can be agnostic as to how many gum balls there are (if I don’t count them), but still be a believer in the odd amount, In terms of religion, as an agnostic atheist, I do not believe there are any gods (atheism), but I certainly don’t know it to be true (agnosticism).

Take, as an example, also, eyewitness testimony. People can be convinced that they know the perpetrator of a crime, yet, studies show consistently that eyewitnesses and memory are not reliable. One might believe they know the guilty party, but science may proves otherwise through something like DNA tests.

There are countless other arguments we make based on our beliefs versus our knowledge. Among them are the existence of life on other planets, Sasquatch, angels and ghosts.

For more on epistemology, look up Aristotle, known to be the Father of modern science.

Morals or “Ethics”

Moral problems hit us in big ways every day. When we discuss reproduction rights or homosexuality, as a culture, we are discussing moral issues. People who protest the death penalty may be doing so on moral grounds. Perhaps, you see someone at work acting in a way that rubs you the wrong way because you are making a moral judgement on that person. Maybe you think nothing of a person parked in a parking spot reserved for physically disabled people or expectant mothers, but maybe you are. Perhaps, you get angry when someone talks too loud in a restaurant or maybe you don’t. These are all potentially moral questions.

The famous example of our moral elasticity is the Trolley Problem. The scenario is that a runaway trolley is barreling down the tracks and it’s coming to a fork. You have control over the switch and can send that trolley to the left or the right. On the left track is a single person and on the left is a group of people. Who would you save? Most people would try and find a way out of the problem, but, eventually, most would want to save the most people they can, so they choose to save the group. Now, imagine that the group of people are drug dealers and the single person is a father of five small children. How does that change your thought process?

Another part of ethical philosophy is the question of nature versus nurture. Psychologists and other social scientists study this question as well. Where do we get our morals? Are they from our learned experiences or from evolution? Philosophy weighs in on this as well.

Aristotle wrote Nichomachean Ethics, if you want to try that one out, but other philosophers who have tackled ethics and that you may know are Plato (in Euthyphro, et al), Immanuel Kant and Jeremy Bentham. In “Euthyphro”, Plato addressed the question of divine command theory. The question there is whether or not something is moral because a god commands it. Interesting read and great argument. Bentham argued that morality is based on more utilitarian means, or, the more moral choice choice is the one that does the most good for the most people and causes the least suffering for the least amount of people. You can agree or disagree, but that’s the whole point of philosophy.

Metaphysics

Anyone that know philosophy will tell you that metaphysics is the place to go for a lot of our most pressing and profound discussions. This is the field where big ticket items like free will and existentialism, the existence of god and the nature of our reality are debated. Aristotle himself called this the “first philosophy” with good reason. Metaphysics is a huge circle with many circles within.

I’ve written about the concept of free will and determinism before. The idea that we do not have free will can upset some people, but it is an important conversation to have when dealing with topics such as mental illness and crime. In order to try and find a solution to a problem, we have to try and understand the reason why it exists. For people that are mentally ill or are lifetime criminals, we have to wonder whether or not they are pre-disposed to a certain behavior that conflicts with social norms so we can find out how to deal with it. This is where the marriage of critical thinking and science is most important. We use the scientific method to gather data that we use to draw conclusions.

The nature of our reality is a huge philosophical question. Folks Like Nick Bostrom believe we live in a simulation. Think about that for a second. Rather, read his paper.

Descartes once said about our existence, “I think, therefore, I am”. This is the quintessential argument for consciousness that almost everyone has heard before. But, is it true? Do people in comas think? If not, then do they exist?  It’s a good question that philosophers can debate over.

Lastly metaphysics attempts to answer the “god” questions. Does one or many exist? Is it possible to know (see above under Epistemology)? Does the divine insert themselves into society and humanity or do they not? Every Sunday, I think, these questions are asked and there are different answers based on the religion and sect. We are all trying to figure it out.

In Conclusion

Philosophers are not flakes who talk about things that no one else talks about. They try to make sense of the big questions by debating with those that disagree with them. A good skeptic will always change their mind given new, more enlightening information, and that is what a philosopher is. A good skeptic. So, hug a skeptic today.

The Great Facebook Escape

no-facebookI’ve been thinking about it for a while and finally pulled the trigger. I killed my Facebook account after 8 long years.

At first, the idea of Facebook was intriguing, even exciting. After leaving college and being out in the real world, I had lost track of many people from my earlier years. Even later, when I switched jobs, I lost track of people that I had considered to be friends and it kind of made me a little bit sad. But Facebook offered me the opportunity to “connect” with my long lost brothers and sisters; I could catch up with their lives without actually being a part of them. This was extremely satisfying for a while.

However, circumstances, and people, change.

At first, I was able to ignore the mundane daily postings telling me that this friend was at some gym in Maryland or this other friend was eating at a new Spanish restaurant somewhere in Georgia. Sharing is caring, I thought.

And I was also able to ignore the ever-growing number of “Repost this if you care” posts. It’s not that I don’t care about Suicide Awareness, it’ just that I don’t care enough to forward it on the first time or even the millionth.

Then came the invites to parties or other events.  I can’t count the number of invitations that I was “Not Interested” in, but there was a multitude, for sure. And I’m not sure why anyone would think I would be interested in attending a “Civil War Re-enactment Party”. If you know me, then you would also know that that is not my bag.  Kudos to you if it’s yours.

And, let’s not forget all the memes that everyone took literally.  I hardly believe Jean-Luc Picard said one-quarter of the shit people attribute to him. And, to me, it’s highly unlikely that either Boromir or Inigo Montoya have an opinion on everything. But, hey, there are pictures with quotes, so it must be true.

I tried to up the ante and provide links to TED talks or other videos of smart people talking about deep questions, philosophical subjects such as metaphysics, ethics and existentialism, but they fell on mostly deaf ears. I guess my “friends” don’t really want to think that hard when there are some cute kitten videos to be seen.

Let me tell you a secret: announcing deeply personal items on social media should totally remove any expectation that it is still personal. You are turning your own tragedy into a plea for “thoughts and prayers”. It’s like sending an email out to 400 people and watching them all hit “Reply All”. It loses its efficacy as a personal, intimate communication and metamorphisizes it into a “Tragedy Party” where everyone you know is invited including the people that are friends of friends. Personally, I would appreciate a call or text from you so I can give you first-hand empathy rather than respond with a few sad-face emojis.

I appreciate the birthday wishes, but sometimes I wonder if you only do it because it pops up in your alerts and you just want to clear the notification. Maybe that’s my cynicism showing, but maybe not. I do know that you aren’t watching me blow out the candles on my cake unless someone takes a video of it and posts it. Not the same. But, a birthday text message or a call is simply awesome. Really, it is.

Ok, I get that you like to take a lot of pictures. I’m not really interested most of the time. There have been a few that I enjoyed, but those pictures normally don’t have you in them.  Thanks to all of you that have posted pictures of the Rockies, Africa and other exotic places. Those have been much appreciated.

But, of all the reasons I have for quitting Facebook, it has to be the politics. Yes, I am a hypocrite because I have posted my share of partisan bickering, but it really has gotten out of hand. Worse yet, some of the stuff that has been posted was done so just to piss off people with differing ideologies. It’s just simply mean and unnecessary and does little to advance the discourse.

That’s what we’ve become – people who need to hide behind software in order to have meaningful conversations or to share our personal tragedies/triumphs. We are deluded into thinking that the more “Likes” we have, the more we are liked, that the more “friends” we have, the popular we are. When we share our thoughts on social media, we actually expect others to listen and comment, yet, in real life, the actual percentage of Facebook “friends” you see every day, or week or even once a month, is probably minute in comparison to the people that you do see every day. In my Friends list, there were actually people I never even met face to face, and I bet I am not unique in that regard. That doesn’t mean that those folks don’t have the potential of being really important in my life, yet I’ve allowed Facebook to be the determinator of how I interact with them. I basically have accepted our partial anonymity as a replacement for true friendship.

You might think that I disconnected because of the current political climate and the advertisements that run on Facebook. Maybe it was because of Mark Zuckerberg’s recent interview on Fox News that turned me off, but I think that’s only part of it. I’ve been contemplating this move for a long time now because, unfortunately, Facebook stresses me out. Sad to say, but it does. BBC asked the question, “Is Social Media Bad for You?” and while there were some unknowns, there was still plenty of evidence that suggested that social media had negative effects including depression, anxiety and poor sleep patterns. For some, it can be very unhealthy for your mental state. I have to admit that I am one of those people, so the choice to disconnect was clearly the right thing and I should have done it much sooner.

Disconnecting from Facebook may ultimately turn out to be an experiment that fails. At some point, I may have to accept defeat and go back to it in order to have any social interaction, but I hope not. I hope that others follow me as I have followed many before me. We shall see.

Anti-Abortion Laws Are Attacks On Freedom Itself

Much is in the news about recent laws in Alabama, Georgia and Ohio that greatly restrict a woman’s right to choose whether or not they can have an abortion. It is not difficult to see how these draconian laws are being compared to the images evoked in Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale in which a quasi-religious, totalitarian government reduces women to a mere means to an end, rather than a person with feelings, opinions and agency. Social media has erupted, rightfully so, with disdain for the establishment patriarchy, the rights of women to reproductive freedom as well as the right to be free from religious doctrine disguised as government legislation. These are all important and completely valid concerns and arguments, but what may be getting lost in all those pleas is that this is also a very personal attack on freedom itself.

In 1971, moral philosopher, Judith Jarvis Thomson, wrote a compelling essay called “A Defense of Abortion” which outlines the argument for on-demand abortion. I highly suggest you read it yourself since I will not be able to summarize her masterful arguments and do them justice. In that essay, she grants that a “fetus is a person from the moment of conception” in order to redirect the argument to where it should actually be – body autonomy. Using the metaphor of an “unconscious violist” in need of a life-saving blood transfusion, she proposes the thought experiment that you are taken against your will and hooked up to the violinist for nine long months in order to save his life, regardless of the risk to your own. Ultimately, the moral questions Thomson raises in this essay are answered simply by writing “I have argued that you are not morally required to spend nine months in bed, sustaining the life of the violinist…”, but the lesson we should glean is that she is also stating that we should have complete autonomy over our own bodies. She states that a woman is granting the fetus permission to use her body and the woman should ultimately be the one to exercise her agency – her ability to make free choice.

This concept is not new in American history. Thomas Jefferson, when drafting the Declaration of Independence, added the words:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

He and the American Revolutionaries understood that the people of the Americas needed to be free from government involvement in their personal lives, to have agency. In the First Amendment, it clearly states in regard to religious freedom, that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”. In the Fourth Amendment, they declared the right of all “persons, houses, papers and affects” against unreasonable search and seizure. Jefferson himself said in the case of Howell vs. Netherland (1770):

Under the law of nature, all men are born free, every one comes into the world with a right to his own person, which includes the liberty of moving and using it at his own will. This is what is called personal liberty, and is given him by the author of nature, because necessary for his own sustenance.

But, let’s forget for a moment what other people have said and really think about what we are condoning when we say that it is alright for one person to claim agency over another because that is what these laws are doing. They are saying to women, to all of us, that the government knows what to do with your body better than you do and they have the right to enforce their will upon you.

They are nullifying your agency. They are declaring control over your body and taking away your choices. They are closing doors of opportunity and putting you on a path that is not your choosing.

Is it unfair to make the slippery slope argument? How can you argue that it isn’t except to say to yourself “they would never do that” – whatever that is. If the government is dictating to a woman that they must give up nine months of their lives to be hooked up to the “unconscious violist” inside of them, then think of all the things they can now empower themselves to do to anyone at any time for any reason. As an example, here are some of the 613 commandments from the Old Testament.

    1. Men must not shave the hair off the sides of their head — Lev. 19:27
    2. Men must not shave their beards with a razor — Lev. 19:27
    3. Men must not wear women’s clothing — Deut. 22:5
    4. Women must not wear men’s clothing — Deut. 22:5
    5. Not to tattoo the skin — Lev. 19:28
    6. Not to tear the skin in mourning — Deut. 14:1
    7. Not to make a bald spot in mourning — Deut. 14:1
    8. To circumcise all males on the eighth day after their birth — Gen. 17:10
    9. To have children with one’s wife — Gen. 1:28
    10. The rapist must marry his victim if she is unwed — Deut. 22:29

With the exception of #9 and #10, how many of these are worse than forcing a woman to have an unwanted pregnancy? None. So what could stop the government from forcing circumcision? Outlaw tattoos? Dictate the clothes you wear (like Atwood’s Handmaids)?

These anti-abortion laws are actually a worst case scenario when you compare them to the first eight items listed. In fact, how much worse can it be after we have told women that they can no longer decide how their bodies are to be used? If not for the institutional patriarchy, what could possibly stop women in power from ordering the sterilization of men due to grievances such as unpaid alimony and child care payments?

What could prevent another group of any philosophical leaning to impose their will upon your person? What if the followers of someone like philosopher John Harris, the author of “The Survival Lottery”, had complete power and decided that you are now eligible to be forced to give up your life if it could save others? That’s right. You don’t have a choice. Your name is put into a computer and if the algorithm says you are the perfect match to save someone else’s life, then you are plucked off the street and put on the operating table to give up a few organs for a complete stranger even if it kills you.

The body you have is uniquely yours. No one can know how you feel because they do not have your sensations. They cannot know how you think because they do not have your brain. Yet, other people are making a decision for you without any regard for your feelings or thoughts and they are doing so without any culpability of their own. You will be the only one that suffers the consequences of a decision that was made for you. This is about more than reproductive freedom. This is about all freedom. Join the revolution.

The Facebook Food Experiment with Friends

free-will

Call me a dork, but I’m always thinking about the question of free will. Not too many people ponder this question because the answer to whether or not you have free will becomes onerous either way you look at it. On one hand, you are consciously responsible for every decision you make. You are the sole agent of that choice. On the other hand, you can’t help yourself and you have no conscious control over the decisions you make.

The first choice, that you have free will, is known as libertarian free will. You are the master of your destiny, you make all your choices. The second option is called determinism. Your decisions are pre-determined based on both known and unknown causes. In other words, you’re just doing what you were supposed to do.

For now, I’m not going to break down both philosophies into their smaller parts because that can get confusing. Philosophical ideas run on a spectrum much like political and religious views. There are extremes on both sides as well as a middle ground known as compatiblism. All that isn’t relevant to this discussion, but if you want to no more, go here.

What is relevant is what we experience. I watched an excellent video from CosmicSkeptic that summed up the question of free will quite nicely. He said, and I paraphrase, that you cannot choose what you want so, you do not have free will. I found this compelling and decided to interpret that also as “you cannot choose what you like/don’t like” and wanted to do an experiment.

Let’s not assume that my experiment is any way scientific and satisfies the Scientific Method. The sample size is small and it was done on Facebook, but I’m confident the results would be the same no matter what sample size I chose or the demographic of the subjects. On different, consecutive days, I handed out 3 assignments. Here they are:

Assignment #1 was to choose a food you hated. Over 50 responses which I deemed quite good. Liver, mushrooms and olives were the big losers. Raw tomatoes and Brussel sprouts also had a decent showing.

Assignment #2 was to name a food you loved. This one only received 29 responses. Not sure why I got less, but it could be the Facebook algorithm and not everyone saw this one. Bacon was the huge winner here. Pizza and pasta made a strong showing as well.

Assignment #3 was to switch them. Yup, I asked everyone to choose to like what they previously hated and hate what they previously loved.  This post got 25 replies and contained the expected “Hell to the NO!” as a general reaction. Here are some quotes:

“…If it makes me gag, I figure my body is telling me something…”

“..I was forced to eat fish as a child and physically gagging at the table gave me such an aversion to the smell and look…”

“…it (coffee)  makes me physically ill to smell.”

“I wish it was that simple to eat foods I dislike…”

These quotes tell me exactly what I need to know.  These folks are not making a free choice to like or dislike a food and they cannot choose to do anything different. We like what we like and we cannot choose to do otherwise.  Apply this to other aspects of your life – the type of ice cream, a piece of art, a quality in a friend, a book – the list goes on.  How much control do you have over who and what you are and how does this affect you?

How about your sense of humor? Do you make a conscious decision as to what you find funny? Like most people, this is an automatic reaction. You don’t choose what’s funny, you just laugh. Maybe you don’t get the joke, but that says you also cannot choose to understand it.

When you laugh at that joke, you are also physically expressing it with a smile or laughter.  When you are angry, you express it on your face as well with a scowl.  And the thing is that everyone essentially does the same thing the same way.  There are universal facial expressions that we use to signal others as to how we feel.  This is not learned behavior, it is innate within us. And, once again, you do not choose which face you’re going to put on.  When you hear something that makes you angry, you will express it in a way that others will recognize.

There is a phenomenon called frisson that you all have experienced at one time or another. It’s those goosebumps you get when you are excited about something like hearing a song that touches you. I did an experiment and found I experience frisson any time I hear a simultaneous crescendo of a singer’s voice and the background music. Can’t help it. Can’t choose to not do it, either. After a time it may wear off, but, for me, I still get goosebumps at the end of Tool’s “Sober” when Maynard screams the chorus. I’ve listened to that song thousands of times. It still gets me. I even felt it during Lady Gaga’s National Anthem and I’m not even a big fan of hers.

Having an uncontrolled preference or reaction means that a choice is being made for you.  Your brain has decided without you being conscious of it until you experience the end result. It does what it does, following the subconscious around while you are just a drooling meat sack obeying its every whim.

So, how do you feel about your sense of free will now?

Random Acts of Kindness

I am a cynic. I’d like to think that I’m not, but I remind myself that I am all the time. I just don’t trust people. It’s the reason I lock my car doors when my car is in the driveway, even in the daytime. It serves me well sometimes, other times, not so much.

So, in my Intro to Psych class, we have an assignment to do 5 random acts of kindness and write a paper about what we did and we felt. These acts of kindness were described as ones that were truly random and that we did not expect a thank you or any kind of selfish acknowledgement. Sounds like an interesting and philanthropic endeavor that a normal person would welcome as a way to better themselves, right?

Not for me. I already see the assignment as impossible to accomplish.

First, it’s an assignment. It’s already forced and, therefore, not genuine. I can’t see how any student can feel better about doing the act than fulfilling the requirement. Now, anything we do is part of a checklist and not a gesture that we would forget due to its personal meaninglessness. A true random act of kindness, to me, should be one soon forgotten by the executor, although it may have long lasting impact on the receiver.

Second, they can’t be random if they are mandated. True randomness happens organically, not in such a deterministic fashion. Students will be planning these acts beforehand or actively seeking them out. They cannot be random when there is a distinct order. It just doesn’t work that way.

Thirdly, there is no way this cannot be selfish. We’re trying to get a good grade, first off. We are doing it for a desired result that satisfies ourselves. You do it because it’s right and satisfy your own sense of morality or you do it to make someone else happy so you feel happy. Either way, you are a recipient of your own deed.

I’m sure you, the reader, will have some sort of objection to my hypothesis, but I want you to walk it back for a minute and really think about what I’ve written. I have not made a judgment. If you think that I did, point it out, but I’m going to guess that you think I’m saying everyone is selfish and that’s a bad thing. Did I actually say that selfishness was bad? Nope. You can argue that if the result of being selfish is selflessness, then it can’t be all that bad. It actually advances humanity. If you donate time or money to homeless veterans to make yourself feel better for having disposable income, then what’s the harm? In this case, money that you’ve worked hard to earn, to buy that big TV or nice car, really does buy happiness not only for yourself but for someone else. I don’t think you can dispute that. But, it’s no random act of kindness. It’s planned. Deliberate.

So, getting back to my assignment.

Of course, I’ll do it. But I’ll do it without pretense that it’s random or completely selfless. I’ll do it because I have to, whether to get a good grade or to truly make myself or someone else happy, but I’m not going to have any illusions about it.

Random Thoughts on my 50th Birthday.

Today, I turn a half-century old. To humanity, this is somewhat of a milestone, yet to the universe, it doesn’t mean a fucking thing. That being said, I decided I wanted it to mean something, so I wanted to confess some things to you. Some of these tidbits you may have already known or picked up on, while others you had no clue. Here you go, in no particular order.

  • I am a recovering Extrovert. I realized I like myself best. I’m funny, witty and agree with almost all of my own opinions. Most other people annoy the fuck out of me.
  • I have a “way-t” problem. First, I can’t stop being overweight. I’ve successfully lost poundage, but it keeps coming back. It has been the struggle of my life and the bane of my existence. I also have no patience, hence I also have a “wait” problem.
  • I am 95% confident that 95% of my opinions are correct.
  • I do not like looking at pictures of your family because I’m not in them. I also don’t like looking at pictures that I am in. I guess I don’t like pictures of people. No offense. I’m sure you’re beautiful, but I’d rather look at a pic of nature.
  • I meditate, but I’m horrible at it. I do it every day, but it hasn’t helped me become more present. I’m gonna keep trying, though.
  • The thought of working until I’m 70-75 is depressing. What a waste of time.
  • Free Will is bullshit. I totally believe that people are unique because they have different chemistry and experiences.
  • I would love to state unequivocally that no god exists, but I can’t and still be an honest person. I don’t think we can ever prove or disprove a god’s existence. Except, if you think Stan Lee is god. He does appear in every MCU production in various roles on various planets in various timelines.
  • I love going back to school. If you asked “21 year old me” if I would ever go back to college, I’d have punched you in the privates. Now, college seems so much more fun and interesting. I think it’s because I’m doing it without the pressure of looking forward and figuring out what the hell I want to do for the rest of my life. The rest of my life is much shorter now then back then.
  • When I was 19, I attempted suicide. Obviously, I didn’t succeed. Say what you want about failure, but that’s probably one thing you definitely want to fail at. If you do succeed, there’s no going back. Ever.
  • I don’t feel close to my family. It’s not their fault. I don’t really feel close to anyone except my wife. I tend to feel misunderstood even when I’m being transparent and I don’t like explaining myself. I tend to over explain and it gets messy.
  • I absolutely hate public speaking, but I would love to teach. Seems like a problem I should figure out.
  • I don’t do drugs and I barely drink. I’m not saying I never have, I just don’t do them now. The hardest drug I ever did was marijuana. That almost doesn’t count. I don’t understand why people like drugs or booze because they always made me feel shitty. I’m not sure how they really make anyone feel good if they were honest with themselves.
  • I’m incredibly skeptical of Deepak Chopra. He seems nice – for a snake oil salesman.
  • I always said I hated cats. I don’t. I am allergic to them. Sorry for saying bad things about our feline friends.
  • I think having a dog is the closest you can get to unconditional love if you’re anywhere close to being a feeling, thinking human being. If you’re an asshole, own a cat. Just kidding.
  • Money does buy happiness. I’m not saying it’s the only thing that does so, but it helps. Tell me that watching a movie on a 65″ TV doesn’t make you tingle inside. Plus, a roof over your head is nice. Debt, however, does not make people happy.
  • I hope parachute pants never make a comeback. They make your privates sweat for no reason at all. It seems like torture.
  • Gyms suck. That’s it.
  • Food shopping is the ultimate experience in pleasure and pain. On one hand, you get Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. On the other hand, you get people who can’t put their fucking shopping carts away properly.
  • I miss smoking cigarettes. I felt the coolest I ever felt when I had one in my hand, but I couldn’t tell I stunk like ass all the time. Even my clothes. Plus, they got real expensive. Oh yeah, cancer.
  • I’m not afraid of dying. I am afraid of dying slowly, so I’m staying away from Guantanamo Bay and cigarettes. And leprosy.
  • Really good TV shows are hard to find. Really shitty ones are on Bravo. How many reality shows does it take to diminish our mental capacity to that of a jellyfish? Apparently, not enough.
  • The music I listen to is better than yours. And yours is better than mine. Unless, it’s country music. Or pop. Then yours sucks a lot. A whole lot.
  • Having a lawn is such a waste. It’s a waste of time and resources.
  • I consider myself an amateur philosopher. I’ve been wishy-washy for a long time, but now I have a name for it. I have such a hard time being black and white when it comes to people’s motivations. It can get annoying for others who ask advice. So, I guess don’t ask for advice if you don’t know who Camus is.
  • I love to write, but my attention span is so short that everything I start becomes a dangling participle. I’ve started a book 3 times and got as far as