Because they are right

THIS VIDEO is so good. My thoughts phrased eloquently. It is precisely what bothered me/what I thought about since I starting thinking more in… 2015? But things got worse/better/more thinking the past year.

There is still The Problem though: truth is out there right in front of our eyes, but we are choosing not to do what is right. It is not like we are oblivious/ignorant. Sure, some may argue that this isn’t truth (cough, lame excuses). Examples like: we need to sustain the current lifestyles that we are living because people’s livelihoods depend on things that are destroying the environment/causing problems. Plastic creation, cattle rearing; vegetarism or environmentalism isn’t a perfect solution – monocropping occurs, lack of biodiversity, etc. It’s easier to live how we are living like now.

Two points:

  • Uncertainty isn’t ignorance

A quote I heard from a TED talk: just because there is a lot of problems with trying to find out ‘things’ (our very very flawed understanding about ANYTHING in the world basically, from finding out about the impacts/effects/even existence of things like climate change, to understanding people, understanding diseases and illnesses etc), we have to admit that we know at least SOMETHING. There are some undeniable truths: Ceteris paribus, doctors washing hands before doing their medical practice is a good thing. Ceteris paribus, if more people become vegetarian it’s a good thing (the scale of more can be debated).

  • Real or imagined resistance? Laziness or lack of support?

Singapore’s plastic bag debate balloons at Jane Goodall lecture

“There are plenty of ways we can all reduce plastic on a personal level. But until there is a structural and policy change, the impact will be insignificant,” she said, which prompted enthusiastic applause in the packed auditorium of 1,500 people at Mediacorp’s MES Theatre.

To this, Lee replied that if plastic bag policy was greeted with the same enthusiasm at every forum where the issue was debated, “the battle would be won.”

He stressed that the responsibility for tackling the plastic bag issue was not the government’s alone.

“The question is whether we are able to change our lifestyles, and advocate for change among our loved ones and friends. Policy change is coercive, and can be done. But I think it’s important to make sure that we’re out there, everyone of us in this hall, speaking up for this cause,” Lee said.

I don’t know, but if everyone agrees that climate change is a bad thing and high plastic bag use is a bad thing yet no one wants to limit their plastic bag intake because of the ‘tragedy of the commons’/fear of losing out if people don’t take plastic bags or whatever, then… shouldn’t the government step in? It seems quite obvious to me that there is no ‘lack of support’ should the Singaporean government decide to implement a plastic bag ban? Sure, people will not like it and complain about it, BUT I don’t think that the backlash would be significant. After all, we know that despite the inconvenience, the rewards reaped are much greater, right? I think people are mature enough to be able to ‘delay gratification’.

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What are we good for?

I was in quite an irritable mood. My head hurt. I got all the more annoyed as I was on the bus and was forced to listen to stupid sounds. Kids shouting, reciting multiplication tables. 1 x 4 is 4, 2 x 3 is 6. Listening to them made me think, and I was tired, I didn’t want to think. I have enough information in my head. I thought about stupid things, like being patient with people around me, knowing that they would grow up to become sensible and useful. Thinking that this practice is good for them, it helps them learn. But can’t they do it more quietly? It’s good that they are vocal though, repressing children is not a good thing, brings about more problems in the future? Thinking about our education system and how best to teach children. How I was not always the best student, but I think I turned out pretty ok. How I don’t think I’m able to teach math/science to children now even though I’m a university undergraduate.

And then there were these two adults bickering next to me. I felt like I was dying a little as I listened to them. They were arguing about the most inane thing: ‘if we didn’t take 28, we would have taken 155, and 155 would have been faster, no it would not have been, 28 is better’. IT DOESN’T MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Yes, I admit. I think about this stuff sometimes. It’s not healthy for me, I get anxious lol. But I don’t ARGUE WITH PEOPLE about it (Right?). You are ALREADY ON THE BUS, GET OVER IT.

I got really depressed.


The Rise of the Machines – Why Automation is Different this Time

I watched this video this week. I really like it. This series. It asks good questions. It links to a module that I took and enjoyed a lot last semester.

But it questions our value as well. What are our purposes in life, what do we live for, can we be replaceable?

In primary school, I had a thought that school was a little useless. Sure, I learnt things like spelling and math, but I didn’t even know how to make an eraser, something that was so common and something that I could buy for a couple of cents. Something that is pretty easy to make, but I didn’t know how.

In university, one of the professors said that the value of what I’m studying is that I’m learnt to be a better thinker. The best thinker. It’s a better degree than everyone else’s since they’re learning how to make things/solve problems, but these are things that soon would be done by automations, that can be solved by algorithms. But thinking is irreplaceable. Machines cannot ‘think’. I’m not sure I like to think (I’m thinking about thinking. Oh my, the habits of mind. I’m questioning if machines can actually think. And to what extent is thinking. Deconstruction. Ok shut up). Thinking actually heads. It’s real and physical, my head hurts.

Going back to what I experienced on the bus. It felt a little depressive. That thinking beings were doing futile things like reciting multiplication tables. Things that have been done before, that machines can do better. Worse still, arguing about bus timings.

Let’s think, not too much, nor too little.

Being Stuck and addictive behaviour

A concept that I’ve been thinking about quite often as of late but haven’t had time and capacity to expand on. But basically questioning the idea that we’re freer than ever but that does not make us free. Access to help doesn’t mean that we are helped. An abundance of resources does not make all rich. Stuff like that. Getting stuck sometimes in my writing (of papers) as well; I guess all linked to ideas like the overconfidence effect and hence we are stuck in our own mindsets (thinking about Lvchw’s quote: the only way out of our suffering is by someone else helping us) since we believe it has worked before/believe that we can do it.

Anyway have been watching history stuff as well. Interesting content, and being saturated with it.