Tuesday, October 25, 2011

On the Purpose of Man: The Dialogues of Jeff & Kim

Photo by: Luc Viatour / www.Lucnix.be

The Dialogues of Jeff and Kim: On the Purpose of Man
by Alraune

Our young lay-philosopher, Jeff, has just returned from his trip to the store. He enters the apartment and is immediately hit by the strong but pleasant odor of jasmine incense. Kim, an herbalist, is sitting on the living room couch, huddled over the coffee table thumbing through some plant matter. Jeff immediately heads to the kitchen and places the beer he just purchased in the refrigerator.

Kim: So are you ready to hit me with your big thoughts on what is good and what manner of society is correct?

Jeff: Well, first off I wouldn't call them big thoughts. Secondly, you know that I am not perfect and I certainly do not claim to know everything or have any of the answers. Third, all I want to do is contribute some thoughts. I don't intend to solve anything, I just want to add my thoughts to the discussion.

Kim: Yes. Yes. I know. I was just kidding, but please do tell.

Jeff: Okay, but first we have to discuss what our purpose is.

Kim: You mean as a society?

Jeff: No. Well, yes. I mean society, but right now I mean as individuals.

Kim: Our purpose in life is what we make it. I thought this is what the philosophers pretty much agreed upon some time ago?

Jeff: Yes, but I am talking about how we arrive at the objective conclusion that the meaning of life is subjective. Therein lies the true understanding of the purpose of humankind.

Kim: I see. I guess I never really thought about that.

Jeff: You're not alone, most people do not.

Kim: So what is your reasoning?

Jeff: Well, let me ask you. What do you think the meaning of life is?

Kim: To experience.

Jeff: Very good. I agree. But how do we know that?

Kim: Because that is what we do.

Jeff: Ha ha. Really funny. That is not an answer. But you are correct. So far as I can tell the reason it seems like our main or possibly sole purpose is to experience life is because it is what we are engineered to do. Whether you believe in a Creator, a higher force, or strict physicalism it does not matter. We are still "designed" to observe and report, as it were. It really doesn't matter whether you believe it was natural selection or an intelligent designer, we can still clearly observe what we are engineered to do. So we don't really need to answer any metaphysical question before answering one of the more important individual questions: What is my purpose?

Kim: How do you know we are designed for that?

Jeff: Well, we are essentially beings having a sensory experience which we observe, record, analyze, and incorporate. Every moment of every day we are observing something, experiencing something, processing something, and so on. We are basically observing or experiencing, and reporting.

Kim: Hmm. I guess I never really thought about it that way; it seems pretty sound to me. We are engineered to experience, but how does this pertain to our discussion and why does it matter?

Jeff: Because if we are engineered to experience it means that it is our primary purpose and possibly our only purpose. It also tells you that one of our "jobs," if you will, is to preserve data. We know that because there really isn't all that much sense or efficiency in experiencing things and not saving those experiences in some way for some reason. Whether you believe we are to pass those experiences on as best we can in the physical realm, the information is going back to some central computer or Creator, or even if you think it is a little of both, it still seems foolish to not save those experiences for some longer term or higher purpose.

Kim: But why not just for ourselves? I mean for our physical existence. Then again, why not for some sort of eternal consciousness or spirit?

Jeff: It could be for either or both. It really doesn't matter because when you get down to it, whether you are a physicalist, an idealist, or a spiritualist, you really only have two purposes: to experience and to live as long as possible in order to experience as much as possible.

Kim: That whole death thing certainly does place a bit of a limitation on experience.

Jeff: Unless death is just another part of the experience.

Kim: So if the purpose of each human is to live their life and experience it, then why all the disagreement?
Jeff: Actually the purpose of all life, not just humans, would be to live life and experience it, but as to your question I would say that people do not disagree over the overall purpose of life, but rather what happens after this life is over and precisely how we ought to direct our experiences, which is where the subjective nature of the purpose of humankind comes in.

Kim: So you mean that in reality people are killing one another and generally disagreeing over the purpose and meaning of death rather than life?

Jeff: Yes. That is what I think is going on when you really get down to the basic issues at hand.

Kim: Religion.

Jeff: Oh no! Don't just blame it on the religionists. Those who believe death is it and there is nothing else are just as guilty. There have been plenty of people who believe death is it and there is nothing after that who kill others and ruin lives precisely because they are convinced there is nothing after death and hence no equal judgement for all. They are just as guilty of doing ill to others based upon a mere belief as any religionist. Sometimes they are actually more dangerous because they not only believe some people can get away with doing bad things, but that doing such things actually benefits their genetic survival because they can "cheat" death by passing off what they plundered from others to their offspring. So please don't fall into the trap that it is only religion and religious people who are the perpetrators of all the evils in the world – that is the biggest lie currently being sold. In my opinion, it is those who have an actual concrete belief about what happens after death and who live their lives based upon that belief in such a way as to adversely impact others who are a huge part of society's problems.

Kim: So anyone who has an opinion on death and afterlife is evil?

Jeff: No, I didn't say that. I said that anyone who uses their opinion concerning death and afterlife as an excuse or justification for the negative treatment of others (ie. stepping on or screwing others over) is a large part of society's problems whether they be a religionist or not.

Kim: You do realize many atheists would argue that they do not have a belief on death, but they are rather stating known facts?

Jeff: Parlor tricks. A fact is nothing more than an established belief perceived to hold true in accordance with a specific interpretation. All reason begins with the first fact, the first principle, and the first condition, none of which can be proven by an objective means, but are simply taken as universal truths (ie. beliefs) necessary to conduct a rational inquiry. Any honest intellectual knows that. Don't believe people who try to convince you a fact is an absolute truth or even a half truth because that is not what a fact is. A fact is merely a degree of belief, which means what? It means it is still a belief, it is only of a different flavor than what is commonly referred to as "just a belief". We can only know what the limitations of our sensory perceptions and our minds allow us to know. Granted, we can know a lot through that means of experience, but we are still limited by it. There could still be some sort of transformation or transition which takes place upon death which we are incapable of perceiving or processing and honest people who are not religionists know this.

Kim: So you are saying we don't actually know anything, we only believe we do.

Jeff: You're damn right that's what I am saying! Although I am qualifying that statement by saying that some beliefs are more universally accepted than others.

Kim: So I only believe that if I jump off a cliff I will fall due to gravity?

Jeff: Yes. You would be believing you understand the fundamental forces of nature and that those forces are all which exists which actually impact what will happen, and that there is no other force at work. You would essentially be believing you have it all figured out and there is nothing more to figure out there other than what you think you know about gravity and what makes you fall.

Kim: I think I see what you are saying. It is more of a question of belief about the finality of knowledge than whether or not something actually is.

Jeff: Precisely. A claim of the finality of knowledge on a specific subject is nothing more than a belief. My thinking on what I mean goes a bit deeper than that, but since we are already off topic I'll let it go there for now. In any event, my point was that if someone believes they definitively know there is or is not an afterlife, and their beliefs about that impact others in an adverse way, then they are one of the largest problems society has, and it is not just the religionists. That is an incorrect assessment to blame spiritual people for the world's problems. In fact, some spiritual people are much more obsessed with life than death.

Kim: So you established that the purpose of each individual is to experience life and to try to sustain that life experience for as long as possible.

Jeff: Yes. That is what it appears we were engineered to do.

Kim: So what does it mean to experience, and is there a particular way we are to do so? Also, exactly what does prolonging our life experience entail? How far are we to go to make that happen? You've done a good job convincing me of what our purpose is (probably because I already figured it in a less complex way), but I'm really lost on the how and the why.

Jeff: Now we are starting to move into the territory of society and its nature and purpose because I see humans as social creatures. The fact is that eventhough some of us, such as myself, insist on independence and lots of alone time, we all like to experience things with others. It is perfectly natural for us to ask others, "Did you see that?", or "Do you want to do this?", or even "Hey baby. Can I buy you a drink? What do you say we go back to my place?"

Kim: Can you carry on any conversation without alluding to sex in some way?

Jeff: Nope. I figure it is one of the better experiences of life, so naturally it is always on my mind.

Kim: Why is that?

Jeff: That it's always on my mind?

Kim: No. That it is one of the better things in life?

Jeff: Well, your strict physicalists would say it is because it ensures the survival of the species, essentially stating that if it didn't feel good we wouldn't even want to do such things. I take the opposite route and say that it feels good because we do it, essentially going on the idea that we were engineered to experience and experience requires interaction.

Kim: Yes, but some things we experience do not feel good.

Jeff: But such experiences do make you feel something and feeling is part of experiencing.

Kim: Yes, but some things which we experience don't make you feel anything, like looking at a blank piece of paper.

Jeff: You are still interacting with that piece of paper though, only it is through your vision rather than your sense of touch. If you touch it you will feel something.

Kim: Okay, supposing I agree that experience is interaction and that interaction is actually our main driving force and not things which feel good, that still doesn't explain why sex feels good.

Jeff: Sometimes it does not. Do you suppose someone enjoys being raped?

Kim: Certainly not!

Jeff: Then your answer is that positive interaction feels good, negative interactionlike being punched in the facefeels bad, and some interactions are neutral.

Kim: Yes, but then you still have to define what is positive or negative. You can't weasle your way out of the question by providing new definitions for good and bad.

Jeff: The experience of a positive, negative, or neutral interaction would be purely subjective, so I cannot answer that.

Kim: You mean, you don't have an answer for me? Not even some bullshit response in an attempt to make it look like you have an answer to everything?

Jeff: No, I cannot answer that. The perception of the interaction which you experience is completely subjective.

Kim: Let me a get a pen and write this down. What time is it? Tuesday at 9:09 PM – Jeff admits he doesn't know everything.

Jeff: Ha ha ha. Just because you think that I think I know everything does not mean that I think that I think I know everything. You are projecting your perceptions of me onto me. How many times do I have to tell you I don't think I have any answers, I just like to throw my thoughts out there. I don't think any one individual has the answers and I am suspicious of anyone who claims such.

Kim: Oh, I'm just teasing you. Relax!

Jeff: Anyway... Since our primary purpose is to experience and live, then I figure our main objective in life ought to be to experience as much positive interaction as possible for as long as possible.

Kim: But why positive? Why not negative or all interaction?

Jeff: Because it is also our natural desire to experience positive interaction, which means that we are engineered to want positive interaction. Of course, we also want new interactions, but I figure that is only because we are driven to find more and more of the positive interactions and to discard or steer clear of the negative ones. The neutral ones we just sort of pick up along the way.

Kim: A serial killer who gets his kicks out of murdering others might find that to be a positive experience for them, so I see a hole in your logic.

Jeff: My answer to that would be that they are wired wrong and their brains got messed up somewhere along the way because it is not natural to want to have a positive interaction for yourself and negative interaction for whomever you targetted. It is natural to want to share a positive interaction.

Kim: But what about anger? Anger is natural and sometimes two people want to fight. In that case they both want to experience a negative interaction.

Jeff: I don't believe you thought that statement through. You make it sound like they just wanted to fight for the sake of fighting and that such an attitude is natural. I disagree. Again, I think they want to fight because they both believe they are going to get something positive out of the interaction while inflicting something negative upon the other. Their anger is not caused by a desire for a negative interaction, but a desire for a positive one, at least in their eyes. Something is haywire in their brains too, although probably only temporarily in comparison to the serial killer.

Kim: So in every case they are all driven by positive interaction, at the base level? Interesting. Then maybe you are right and the questions I raise are more moral issues than arguments against your hypothesis that our purpose is to experience positive interactions? But you said it is natural to want to share positive interactions and not to want them all to yourself. How do you justify that statement?

Jeff: I didn't say that. Be careful how you reword me. I said it is not natural to want a positive interaction for yourself by causing a negative interaction for another. You will notice that the way I put it leaves open the possibility that it is natural to want a positive interaction all to yourself. As I said, we are social creatures, but we are also individualistic and enjoy our alone time, which means it is natural to want positive experiences all to yourself, at least some of the time.

Kim: Okay, so our purpose is to try to live a long life and experience as many positive interactions as we can both by ourselves and shared with others. That doesn't sound that bad, although it still seems kind of pointless without answering the question of "why" we should be experiencing these things in the first place, especially if we only die and lose all of that information anyway. But to stay clear of the metaphysical issues, I suppose I only really have one question left: What exactly does prolonging our life experience entail?

Jeff: That is easy. Stay alive, stay healthy, stay happy, acquire your daily necessities, reproduce to prolong your genetic line, and leave a legacy (leave part of your experience behind and recorded in some manner to be shared with others).

Kim: You stated that way too simplistically. I think I'll ask again, only this time tell me what it does not entail.

Jeff: It does not entail suppressing others for personal gain or the benefit of your offspring. It does not entail grabbing power for the sake of power. It does not entail killing without necessity. It does not mean it is necessary to eliminate the perceived competition. It does not mean it is necessary to rule over others or control them.

Kim: I take it you are talking about social and moral issues again.

Jeff: Precisely. Now that we understand what the purpose of our individual life is we are equipped to discuss what the purpose of a society is. But we'll hold it right there for now because right now it is time to experience some of the more positive things in life.

Kim: I'll get you another beer.

Jeff: I'll put on some music. Sublime or Bob Marley?

Kim: Why not just put it on shuffle?

Jeff: Because I don't like Jopplin, she sounds like a dying moose.

Kim: Leave Janis alone!

Jeff: I can't help it, if it looks like a woman and sounds like a dead moose, it must be a woman who sounds like a dead moose. It's either that or a dead moose impersonating a woman. Take your pick!

Kim: I said stop it. Just think of it as your personal negative subjective experience.

Jeff: (mumbling) More like my personal subjective Hell.

Kim: What was that?

Jeff: I said the music selection looks swell!

Kim: Sure you did. Everybody uses the word "swell" nowadays.

Jeff: Maybe I was momentarily caught in a timeline split?

Kim: LOL! Just stop it.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

On Society & Morals: The Dialogues of Jeff & Kim

The Dialogues of Jeff & Kim: On Society & Morals
by Alraune

Our conversation begins in a small apartment somewhere in Pennsylvania. A young man and woman, both in their twenties, are sitting at a round oak kitchen table. It is daylight outside, but the evening has set. The two had just finished playing rummy and chatting about metaphysics. The young woman, named Kim, is shuffling a worn deck of cards while the man leans back in the wooden chair in which he is seated and stairs out the kitchen window onto the busy street below.

Kim: What are you thinking about, Jeff?

Jeff: I was thinking about how there are people who say we make our own world. And if that is so, and I think the world is a messed up placelike how that guy just cursed out that lady down therethen what does that say about me?

Kim: Well, what if we don't make our own world? What if someone or something else is making it? What would that say about that someone or something else?

Jeff: And if we all make our world, what does that say about us?

Kim: I guess no one is perfect, and we are all messed up.

Jeff: But we all know it, and yet some are more messed up than others. And still some think they are barely messed up and the bulk of our problems are the fault of those who are more messed up.

Kim: Well, doesn't the killer and the warmonger do more wrong to our world than the liar?

Jeff: I think my gut reaction would be “yes,” but any sort of reasoning would inevitably conclude that's probably not true.

Kim. Are you saying a little girl who lies to her mother is just as bad as a psychopath who kills hundreds of thousands of people? You can't be serious! Besides, maybe if we could stop the big problems we'd have time to correct the little ones.

Jeff: But the little ones add up.

Kim: Yes, but they are nowhere near as destructive as some.

Jeff: I don't know. A thousand little bugs make one big tick. Imagine if everyone or even 25% of people lied to everyone on a regular basis. Could they not wreak more havoc than most bullets or bombs?

Kim: I just don't believe lying is as bad as killing. Maybe in some instances, like huge lies where someone lies to the fireman and tells him there is no one in the building, or if the majority are lying the majority of the time, but certainly not always.

Jeff: Likewise, killing is not always the greater evil. We kill to eat, life must feed on life. And we kill for self defense. Killing for the preservation of life is considered good, for the one who's life it preserves. But can you really be all that certain a little “white lie” is as harmless as you think?

Kim: What if I told you that you were one of the most attractive men I've ever seen, but I was only telling you that to make you feel good about yourself (no offense), would that be so bad?

Jeff: Well, supposing I took you seriously, so that I thought more highly of myself than I ought too. And suppose I went out after a much more attractive woman than yourself (no offense), and I was shot down in a really mean and rude manner so that I developed some sort of complex, or depression, or worse. Would any of that be your fault?

Kim: No. It would be the ignorant woman who did that to you, who must have been much uglier inside than myself. You see, I was trying to be nice, but she was not. I couldn't have known the future, so I can't be held responsible for what you did with the information I provided you, or how that caused others to affect you.

Jeff: I see. Push it off on me and the other woman. You had no part in it.

Kim: I didn't say I had no part in it, but that I cannot be held responsible for what ocurred because I cannot tell the future. Not to mention, I would not be the only cause. If anything I was merely an indirect cause among many others.

Jeff: Ok, but do you see my point then?

Kim: No. I do not.

Jeff: A thousand little bugs make one big tick. You might be a good bug, just doing your “buggy thing,” maybe even trying to help out a little, but you're still a bug.

Kim: First off, don't call me a bug. Second off, even good intentions that are not lies can sometimes go horribly wrong. Supposing you told your best friend you saw his girlfriend cheating on him. You did not lie, and you did the socially acceptable thing and told him (him being your best friend and all), but then he went and beat her and the guy up. Would that not be at least partially your fault, using your logic?

Jeff: No. Because in that instance I was the only one actually doing the right thing. He did the wrong thing and his girlfriend and the other guy did the wrong thing. The truth, by definition, cannot be the wrong thing. Lying would have been the wrong thing for me to do. Besides, what good would I have done by lying or holding my tongue? At least there was the possibility of some good in me telling the truth and caring enough about my friend to do so.

Kim: I see. So it's not just the intention which counts with you, but right or wrong. And how do you know what is right and what is wrong?

Jeff: Experience!

Kim: I'm waiting...

Jeff: Like I said, “experience.” It is right for me to tell you the porch is icy so you do not fall and hurt yourself. It is right to do that which saves pain, sorrow, suffering, death, and generally protects happiness and well-being.

Kim: So how would my telling you that you are more attractive than you actually are be wrong under that definition? And how would telling your friend his girlfriend is cheating on him be right by that definition?

Jeff: Immediate necessity. It would not have been an immediate necessity for you to tell me I was very attractive in order to save me from loss of well-being. On the other hand, it would have been an immediate necessity to tell my friend his girlfriend was cheating on him to potentially save him pain and suffering. She could have given him a disease!

Kim: Ok, so you are saying that right and wrong is something you learn by experience, and that to do right is to save yourself or others from a loss of well-being by acting out of an immediate necessity to do so.

Jeff: Precisely.

Kim: But what about his girlfriend? Surely you did her wrong because you caused her a loss of well-being.

Jeff: Ah, I knew you were going to bring that up!

Kim: Of course.

Jeff: Well obviously, given the fact that we must kill to eat or preserve our own lives in certain situations, then I would say that an immediate and personal care is also a part of immediate necessity.

Kim: In other words, if you care for someone and you do not want their well-being to be endangered, you would do what you learned from experience to be the correct thing to do under such a circumstance to prevent a loss of well-being provided it was an immediate necessity.

Jeff: Yes. I would do unto them what I wanted done unto me.

Kim: But what if I would have wanted you to lie to me and tell me I was the most attractive woman you ever saw, even though I know that to not be the truth? Would I then, by your definition, be guilty of doing you wrong by telling you what I would have wanted to hear myself?

Jeff: I think you make a good point, and the answer is that morality cannot be totally subjective, otherwise problems such as you mention would arise.

Kim: If it is even a problem. You are trying to say that my little “white lie” can cause big problems. You called me a bug, remember.

Jeff: Oh yes, I seem to have forgotten about that. And there is your answer! Morality is both a subjective thing such as: Do unto others as you want done to yourself, and a form of social order in which you do what is best for society. In other words, don't be a bunch of fleas biting the dog! If everybody is telling little “white lies”, then nobody is telling the truth and society is bogged down and hindered in its progression.

Kim: There you go again you jerk!

Jeff: What?

Kim: You called me a bug again!

Jeff: Ah, sorry about that. Don't worry, I'm a bug too. We all are! And if one of us little bugs gets too annoying society swats us and squishes us, just like bugs.

Kim: Well, you might be a bug anyway, but if you are right, then how does society make such a judgement? Besides treating others as we would want to be treated how do we, as a society, decide what is right or wrong for its progression? And can one outweigh the other? For instance, supposing you were a social and political activist who the majority could all agree on a subjective and personal level really was no threat and certainly not deserving of imprisonment, but your ideas were a threat to the current social structure? In such circumstances it seems that society always wins and the individual is done away with. Just look at Christ, Ghandi, Mandella, and Martin Luther King, Jr., or on the other side of the coin: Hitler, Mao, or Stalin.

Jeff: I think you are confusing the force of government with society in many of your examples, but I get your point. Although we need to be careful not to confuse government with society.

Kim: But why? Isn't government what establishes and maintains social order?

Jeff: Hence why the world is messed up.

Kim: So what, now you want anarchy?

Jeff: No, but I don't think a government should be telling me what to do anymore than I would want another person telling me what to do.

Kim: Maybe that's the problem? Everybody has an opinion, even governments and whole societies.

Jeff: No opinions are not the problem, it is when they are enforced or hindered with force which is the problem.

Kim: I think you might be right.

Jeff: Of course I am.

Kim: About what? That I am a bug?

Jeff: I said I was sorry. I didn't mean it that way. Would you let it go already?

Kim: I'll let it go for now, just don't let it happen again.

Jeff: Agreed. Now, where were we?

Kim: Forcing or hindering opinions.

Jeff: Ah yes.

Kim: But what if one is of the opinion that they should hurt another group?

Jeff: You mean like a government?

Kim: No, I mean like a hate-group.

Jeff: Oh, you can see my obvious confusion.

Kim: There you go again. You really do want anarchy don't you?

Jeff: No, just peace.

Kim: So what of it?

Jeff: I believe they should be allowed to voice their opinion, but that they should be dealt with if they try to force their opinion on others by hurting others or hindering their well-being.

Kim: But what if their opinion hurts someone's well-being, like their feelings?

Jeff: That's not a good enough reason to force them to do anything.

Kim: But isn't their opinion dangerous, or potentially so?

Jeff: Yes, and that is the chance a free society is supposed to be willing to take. Otherwise, any government or majority could say anything is potentially dangerous and before long no one would have any freedom, and no opinion. At least not any opinion that ever mattered, in which case why have one?

Kim: But we still haven't resolved when it is that the moral opinion of society should supercede that of the individual, or even if so.

Jeff: The society is an organism like the individual, and like the individual it will ultimately place itself above all others if it comes down to it even if it means breaking the Golden Rule.

Kim: You mean eventhough no well functioning human being would want to be killed by another for self preservation they would still kill if they had to in order to preserve their own life, such as where self preservation overrides the Golden Rule in the case of eating or self defense. You mean a society will do that to?

Jeff: Yes. Eventhough it does not appear to be an organism like you or I would normally think of, it is still an organism and behaves exactly like one.

Kim: Well then it seems as if everything is really just “survival of the fittest” then. Why do we even bother?

Jeff: I think we bother because there is something else about our humanity that we are trying to figure out, something which rises above the animalistic survival-of-the-fittest mentality such as in the case of one who gives their life for another.

Kim: Self-sacrifice for a loved-one or for society is noble, but when have you ever known a society to be willing to sacrifice itself? And what does it really get you except dead? Is a child whose mother died saving her from a burning building better off than a dead child and a living mother? Who will raise her? How could she possibly not be messed up for the rest of her life? And what of sacrificing your child to save your own life (due to medical complications), is it any less noble to save yourself, whom you also love and others love? Maybe the mother has children already who need her?

Jeff: So you think sacrifice of the self is the same as sacrificing another, and it's really just a different expression of survival?

Kim: Yes. All it is really saying is, “Ok. I know we all have to eat, so I'll tell you what, how about you eat me today instead of fighting over it?” I mean, even if a mother dies saving her child, and especially if she knew it was going to turn out that way, wasn't she really just doing it to preserve her offspring? So in the end, she was really just doing it for herself eventhough we'd love to think she was some super noble and loving mother, she was only doing what she thought was in her own interest of self-preservation.

Jeff: Wow! And all of this coming from a mother. I'll never look at my own mother the same again! So a loving mother is nothing more than a woman who knows her time has come and gone so she offers to let her young eat her rather than eating her young. How depressing is that?

Kim: Hey, if it really is all survival-of-the-fittest then that is the reality, and “yes,” it is depressing. So maybe we bother with things like the Golden Rule because it is better to lie to ourselves in order to preserve our own happiness and well-being? I mean who could really find happiness knowing that that mysterious force we call love is nothing more than the depressing situation I described above?

Jeff: I think you just described the ultimate problem with the world and why it is so messed up.

Kim: I did?

Jeff: Yes. We all know we would not want to be used by another for its own preservation, yet we must and do use others for our own preservation. Even societies are built on that premise where it uses all of its members to preserve itself. We are all walking in a constant state of hypocrisy from which there is no escape if we love our own lives. All of our morals are really just “niceties” we do to make ourselves feel less hypocritical because in the end we are all just killers.

Kim: So now I am a killer because I want to live. Is there no difference between killing for fun and killing for necessity?

Jeff: Yes. And the difference we created is what makes our existence bearable, and it also helps to preserve our own lives by maintaining a sense of order where a bunch of psychopaths are not running around killing for sport.

Kim: Wow! And you said I was depressing. I get your point, but I don't agree with it.

Jeff: How so?

Kim: Well, I just don't believe that the only difference between me and some guy who hacks people up and eats them for breakfast is that I am well behaved. For starters, I do not eat people.

Jeff: Good point, and I was hoping you would say that, otherwise I would have had to of ended this conversation and ran to a public area for my own self-preservation.

Kim: But you do look tasty. I think I have some salt and ketchup packets in my purse.

Jeff: I make a better lollipop than a cheesburger.

Kim: Behave yourself, and get back to why you think I am a psychopathic cannibal bug, yet are perfectly willing to make corny passes at me.

Jeff: Oh that's easy! I'm a man. We'll make a pass at anything if the mood is right.

Kim: Gee thanks. You sure know how to charm a lady. So now I'm just anything too. You're a real Romeo there, Jeff.

Jeff: Why is it that everything I say to you is taken as an insult?

Kim: Because it is.

Jeff: Ok, let's drop it and get back to the discussion.

Kim: As I was saying (and some of your comments make me wonder why), I believe there is a basic good in humanity, so I just don't buy your estimation that we are all somehow walking hypocritical killers.

Jeff: I hear that a lot. What does that even mean? Where is this basic good? There are wars everywhere, the majority of the world's population is in poverty, corporate banks are out to make a buck and rob the little man at every turn, children are kidnapped and worse, women and men are kidnapped and worse, governments are killing people every day in the name of “civility”, an enormous number of people are doped up on some sort of prescription drugs because there is supposedly something wrong with everyone's mind or body or something or other, and the list could go on for days. Where is this basic good you are talking about?

Kim: Well, you don't have to fear for your life every time you leave your house do you? You can basically enjoy yourself and basically live your life, right?

Jeff: Living is not necessarily “good” living, and “basically enjoy” means what? That I can get up at 5am, be stuck in traffic, put up with people who hate their job, grab a cheeseburger for lunch, put up with more people who hate their job, get stuck in traffic again, go home take a hot shower, drink a beer, eat a steak, read a book and then go to bed only to do it again for five sometimes six days?

Kim: So what do you want, a free ride?

Jeff: See. You complain that I insult you, but so far you've called me a jerk, an anarchist, and now a free-loader.

Kim: Well all is fair in love and war.

Jeff: Yes it seems so, and “no” I do not want a free ride, but I do not believe what passes for a “basically good” life is basically good. I think it is tolerable for most people, and some can't take it, which is evidence that it can't be all that good. Look at the suicide, homocide and crime rates in a society and let that be your judge as to whether or not life is “basically good” and there is a “basic good” in the hearts of humanity. That's probably why our society is so quick to put everyone on meds, so they can mask how shitty it really is.

Kim: So then what do you believe is good and what is your grand idea?

Jeff: Grab some papers and I'll go get some beer. This is going to take awhile.