Sunday, June 17, 2018

Hedonistic Calculus

To determine an individual's pleasure or pain from an action, English utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) suggested weighing intensity (pleasure's strength), duration (how long pleasure would last), certainty (the probability that the action will result in pleasure), propinquity (how soon the pleasure might occur), fecundity (the chance that the pleasure would result in further actions), and purity (the probability these further actions would be further pleasures and not pains). He also added extent, taking into account the effects of the said decision on other people. 

Because universities are yet to offer a course in Hedonistic Calculus, we can only guess the specific algebra required to compare these variables, on how to quantify, for example, the intensity of pleasure. 

We can, however, look to J.S. Mill via Sandel, at this Harvard University lecture on the philosophical notion of utilitarianism. 

If this sort of lecture isn't your thing, follow these instructions.

Do that which brings you pleasure. 
Prior to the dissipation of the pleasurable sensation, ask yourself these five questions: 

  1. Are you feeling good? 
  2. Do you want to do this again? 
  3. To what extent are your thoughts different from ordinary, pleasure-deficient thoughts? 
  4. How willing are you to repeat that which just brought you pleasure? 
  5. If you could, would you choose this sensation, uninterrupted and ad infinitum? 

Write down your answers. 
Think about them. 
Repeat, as necessary, to formulate your opinion. 
Compare and contrast your opinion against your opinion outside the pleasure state. 
How do these opinions differ? How do you account for the differentiation? 

Formulating pleasure into a body of science requires a demonstrated replicability both of the application of the method and of the results obtained in this way. 

When in doubt, guess. 

Pencil and Paper Role Playing Games: Genres and Major Examples

You're welcome.


Thanks, Garth Sundem, Author of The Geeks' Guide To World Domination, for teaching me all about those things which my mother made me cover my eyes. 

Thank You Note To Happy Thoughts Travel Fast Followers

Dear Happy Thoughts Travel Fast Followers: 

You're brilliant. Or maybe I'm brilliant because I'm writing to you. Either way, Happy Thoughts Travel Fast is back on track to being the incredible journey it was meant to be, and you're a little too awesome in your reading habits, which is why you're here. 

Some people are just plain old everyday people and then there's you; you superhuman, crazy smart beings who everybody loves cause you're so freaking amazing!

When the universe held that pre-existence party and all the talents, smarts and good looks were being handed out, you arrived early and in gluttonous fashion indulged in as many party favors as your ethereal selves could handle. 

Well I, for one, am darn glad you did attend that party and that you've decided to grace Happy Thoughts Travel Fast with your presence.

In other words, of all the Charlie Brown's in the world, you're not the Charlie Browniest!

For that, I am sending you this thank you card for your sheer awesomeness - and for returning. 

Now that I've thanked you and thanked you and thanked you and thanked you, it's time to move along to the world of material manifestation. Yes, you know what I mean, the domesticities of living in physical form: in communities, among plants, animals, and other human beings. 

Because we're all philosophers here, you won't mind my quietly admitting that you're all an above-the-crowd type of folk. And if you ask me, annoyingly perfect. So much so, I need to take a deep breath just to take-in all of your awesomeness.

Admittedly, asana and pranayama energetic principles: brahama and langhana do a lot to energize the body and mind.

While we're on the topic, Pranayama breathing exercises, such as kapalabhati, energize the body and increase our brahamaness, or in words: deep, calming, structured breathing exercises increase our awareness of the fact that ordinary breathing leaves us dangerously devoid of oxygen, which makes one wonder about the efficacy of one's own thoughts when they stem from an oxygen-deficient state.

For now, let's just pretend that all of our thoughts, beliefs, ideas, and opinions are properly oxygenated.

Moving on. 

In a world of proverbial good guys and bad guys who cut us off in traffic, we're seated high among the good. 

I once saw an ego:

<---------------------------------------------------THIS BIG---------------------------------------------------->

Back to your Thank You Note ... 

Electric. You are positively electric! 

You can do anything, fix anything and be anything. You're pretty darn powerful, and I thank you for that. It's nice to be in your intellectual presence. 

I don't want to make myself bilious by going on and on thanking you for being so amazingly cool, so I'll only send you this one note with the words Thank You in BIG PRINT as the title of this post. Now, let's forget everything that happened before and move along. 

Since all awesome people have in common an inflated version of self-worth, let me add to the pile - YOU, my HTTF-Friend, are simply WONDERFUL! So much so that I am obligated to publish this post dripping with gratitude, gheesh. 

Okay, let's abandon the cynical sarcasm. It's not really our style. Oh, maybe it is for 5 minutes or so, but if you're a true follower of HTTF, you know that the author is not an advocate of sarcasm, even if it is so easy to reach. 

Sarcasm is akin to the first level of Dante's Inferno: the after-place for those of misguided wit and bad table manners. In this world of movers and shakers, there are many.

Thanks for not being one of them. 

Presumably in a galaxy far far away, there's a missing poster of you. For you cannot be of this world. Therefore a thank you seems so small.

Amazing as You are, you've never given up on Happy Thoughts Travel Fast. You've reached out, time and time again, requesting another post. Any post. Thanks for being so tenacious. Mildly-irritating as you were, you kept me considering the enterprise and in doing so, are quite possibly the reason Happy Thoughts Travel Fast is back. 

I have therefore declared June 17th as National HTTF Day. Every year from this point forward we'll toast You for what YOU did - cause saying Thank You on a daily basis is bad manners.

So, this post is your trophy. It might not adorn your mantle unless you frame it. But to do so, you may have to re-format it because printing directly from Google's Blogger platform isn't pretty. 

Personally, I'd rather send Happy Thoughts Travel Fast followers on a paid vacation to Hawaii as a thank you, and you'd probably prefer that, too. But then you'd arrive in Hawaii with nothing new to read from HTTF, and what fun would that be? 

The world is our school
and all things are our teachers.
~Soph Laugh

Somewhere over the rainbow is your pot of gold for all your coolness, for all the help you've given others, and for all the good you've brought to the world. 

The point of all this unleashed gratitude is to make you smile. You are the readers of Happy Thoughts Travel Fast and I understand that silliness is as essential as our Pranayama breathing exercises. 

For you, I put on my best and most sincere thoughts. I toast you with my cup of coffee, toasting to Your fantastic and generous nature.

I think you should all go out and buy yourselves a gift to remind You just how very much You are appreciated. So, National HTTF Day is also National Go Shopping & Buy Something Nice For Yourself Day, all wrapped up into the same National Because I'm Awesome Day! 

In the words of Netflix: 

Are you still there? 

For those of you still with me, what do you say we wrap up this Thank You Note so that we might move along to our new regularly scheduled Happy Thoughts Travel Fast program? 

So, what shall we talk about next? 

Shall we joke and make light? 
Shall I continue to pat HTTF Readers on the back? 
Shall we re-visit the Tootsie Pop Problem
Shall we put on our best dress and best suits and attend a Broadway play?
Shall we do that which is easy or that which is necessary? 
By which criteria should Happy Thoughts Travel Fast continue? 

I, being the author of Happy Thoughts Travel Fast, vote we continue from where we originally started, which was an exploration of authentic thought.

The enterprise of philosophizing is inherently funny, if only because we are held in a materialistic form while doing it. 

Which makes me think. If there's a God, I think he/she/It was freestyling when it came time to create the universe. The reason I think this is because there is no universal mold. There is only existence. If there is non-existence it doesn't exist and therefore cannot be counted. Perhaps Menedemus was onto something when he said that only affirmations and simple doctrines were true. 

We're now in a bit of a pickle; we've exhausted the Thank You Note, transforming it into this kooky, back-patting essay on YOUR awesomeness, sprinkled with a few out-of-context details from the author's personal life (and various edits), while simultaneously appealing to authority by evoking the members of the Socratic sect - and Socrates himself, that loveable, well-meaning Athenian who gave us The Scientific Method. 

Thanks, Buddy!

You're welcome.

Before I close, did I ever thank You, Dear Reader, for all your loyal reading? In case I didn't, let this card be your notice of thanks. 

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Stand Up and Paint Me Well

One day, a very religious painter was about to start painting God. Overwhelmed by the grandeur of the subject matter, and in order to show his full respect to the Lord, he decided to paint on his knees. He set up the easel to the appropriate height, laid down all of his brushes, palette, and colors, and after a short prayer, was ready to start. Suddenly he heard a voice coming from above, telling him, 

"Don't paint me on your knees, you idiot! 
Stand up and paint me WELL." 

The Fourth Dimension of a Bicycle

To see a World in a Swoosh of Movement
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of an hour
And Eternity in an outstretched hand.

~Sophy Laughing, "Auguries of Innocent Play"

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

What happens when a Philosopher joins your company's legal department

Solipsism Warning: 

The consumer should be aware that he or she may be the only entity in the universe, and therefore that any perceived defects in product quality are the consumer's own fault.

Determinism Safety Advisory:

Every citizen is advised that despite the possibility that his or her acts are all entirely predetermined by the blind mechanical nature of the universe and are therefore unavoidable and inescapable, he or she will still incur a legal responsibility and liability for any torts, violations, misdemeanors, or felonies he or she commits.

Knowledge-Definition Warning:

Because knowledge is defined for the purpose of this product literature as "justified true belief", the manufacturer cannot prove that they "know" any of the information provided with this product to be true, correct, complete, or consistent because they cannot demonstrate their internal belief states through the principle of Philosophic Privacy.

Cartesian Evil Genius Alert:

The reader is advised that he or she may be subject to an illusion generated by an evil genius and that his or her "sensory fibers" may be falsely manipulated at any time with neither advance warning nor any possible legal remedy.

Epistemological Denotation Warning:

The consumer must understand that due to the a-priori impossibility of assuring a shared denotation amongst independent agents, none of the advertising material, product literature, instructions, or safety warnings (including this one), associated with this product may contain what the consumer perceives to be factual information.

Non-Universal Ethics Notice:

Due to the possibility that a common notion of ethics is not universally shared by all sentient beings, and that therefore the manufacturer may have entirely different concept of "fairness", "equity", "honesty", and "integrity" than the consumer, the consumer should not expect the product purchased to conform in any way to the advertised properties of the product.

Godelian Product Disclaimer:

As it has been proven that there are many true but unprovable statements, the manufacturer cannot be held liable for any of its unsupported product claims.

Penrose Addendum to Godelian Disclaimer:

Despite the above warning, the manufacturer is confident that all its product claims are true because of its mystically acquired and computationally unrepudiable organic intuition. Unfortunately, the manufacturer cannot in any way demonstrate that its intuition is correct, or indeed that it has an intuition.

Philosopher-General's Existentialist Tobacco Products Label:

Warning! this product has been found to cause cancer and emphysema and to lead to increased likelihood of strokes and heart disease. However, as the Universe is a soulless waste inhabited by unthinking machines it doesn't matter in the least whether you smoke or not. Go ahead, light up, it's all the same in the end.

Philosophical Break-Up Lines, Infographic