An alternate universe of rationality.
April 3, 2008 3:58 PM   Subscribe

In an alternate universe, the golden mean is found, moderation is possible, and everyone on MeFi will hear their counterparts point of view first.
posted by phyrewerx (56 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
"The Navy budget goes to the arts."
I just about wept when I read that.
phyrewerx, you made my day!
posted by Dizzy at 4:03 PM on April 3, 2008


In this alternate universe everyone shares the same views, and thinks with one mind.

This universe terrifies me.
posted by blue_beetle at 4:04 PM on April 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


It terrifies me too.
posted by Elmore at 4:06 PM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Will this post remain undeleted the alternative universe?
posted by washburn at 4:06 PM on April 3, 2008


Sounds like a great alternate to this one, at least.
posted by MythMaker at 4:07 PM on April 3, 2008


Did the scientists note that the alternative universe is remarkably US-centric?
posted by Nick Verstayne at 4:08 PM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


In an alternate universe attempts to be even handed and concillatory contain a jab at Dawkinian atheists that even I find a misrepresentation and a little unfair, and I usually consider those guys to be dicks.
posted by Artw at 4:09 PM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


slboe, no?
posted by empath at 4:09 PM on April 3, 2008


.ynnuf eb dluow tnemmoc siht ,esrevinu etanretla na nI
posted by not_on_display at 4:17 PM on April 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Through extensive experimenting with dark and forbidden sciences, I was actually able to open a portal to this alternate universe and visit it for brief periods of time.

The natives there call themselves "Canadians".
posted by Parasite Unseen at 4:27 PM on April 3, 2008 [6 favorites]


Drink the Kool-Ade, you spineless freaks!
posted by Dizzy at 4:30 PM on April 3, 2008


Sorry. That was "Alternate Universe Dizzy". The one with the goatee.
posted by Dizzy at 4:30 PM on April 3, 2008


Ah, Canadia, how I miss thee.
posted by snsranch at 4:32 PM on April 3, 2008


Wait, I found it! It's right here: (1+5^0.5)/2
posted by Jpfed at 4:34 PM on April 3, 2008


Up is down! Down is up! Crap posts remain on the front page! Dogs and cats living together!

Meh.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:36 PM on April 3, 2008


Hamburgers eat people.
posted by Elmore at 4:41 PM on April 3, 2008


When a species goes extinct, they're sad.

So in this alternative universe, does Wired stop printing on dead, artificially glossified trees?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:41 PM on April 3, 2008


When a species goes extinct, they're sad.

So much better than the extinct, yet happy, species!
posted by The Light Fantastic at 4:46 PM on April 3, 2008


blue_beetle: "In this alternate universe everyone shares the same views, and thinks with one mind.

This universe terrifies me.
"

I really enjoyed that article, it made me happy. Then I came back here to see what other people thought and blue_beetle ruined the happy glow.

blue_beetle is right though, that alternate universe is scary and conformist. I do not approve of that alternate universe.
posted by Science! at 4:47 PM on April 3, 2008


Your favourite universe sucks.
posted by Artw at 4:56 PM on April 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


In this alternate universe everyone shares the same views, and thinks with one mind.
This universe terrifies me.


No, in the alternate universe, people are considerate of other people's thoughts and feelings and don't have the attitude of "if you don't agree with my point of view then F.. you" or "you have to respect me first before I think about respecting you"

In the alternate universe, people don't think of themselves and only themselves - they think of other people and the impact of their actions on these people. And because everyone is thinking about everyone else, no one is forgotten.

And because everyone is thinking about everyone else, there is no feelings of selfishness. And no feelings of inadequacy. No feelings of anger, hate, revenge, spite, scorn.

No need for tariffs, border security, long lines at the airport. The entire world would be ours to discover.

In the alternate universe, 3 trillion dollars would be spent on medical, psychological, social, cultural and educational advancements instead of bombing the hell out of people because they don't share the same views.

In the alternate universe, self esteem is as plentiful as water. Water is clean and pure. Rights are respected. We all would celebrate all of the holidays and festivities. We can let our kids be kids and play in the park. We can walk home at night without fear of being attacked.

In the alternate universe, sports will be exciting, but there will be no diving, no steroid scandals, no cheap shots.

No me me me me me.
No gimme gimme gimme gimme gimme
No I want this and I want that and I want this

No addictions.
No hate.
No loneliness.
No anger.


Only warm breezes, beautiful sunsets and smiling faces. Love all around. Wholesome love. Love of self. Love of others. Love of life.
posted by bitteroldman at 4:56 PM on April 3, 2008 [10 favorites]


Yes... they use recycled electrons instead.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:56 PM on April 3, 2008


No addictions.
No hate.
No loneliness.
No anger.

Only hippies.

Fuck the other universe.
posted by Artw at 4:59 PM on April 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


We walked to the library and grocery store this evening, along a pathway that used to be a railroad right-of-way. A cyclist came up behind us and sounded his bell, and we moved over. He said "thanks" as he rode past. At a busy intersection, a right-turning vehicle waited for us to cross the street when the light turned green. The library had two Terry Pratchett books I haven't yet read. There were three jars of crunchy peanut butter on the shelf for me to buy; on sale, in a college town. The day-old baguette was a dollar thirty and still pretty tasty to gnaw at on the walk home. I've got a bottle of beer that was brewed right up the street, and Jack (a cat), is blerting a friendly greeting and nudging my foot.

While that alternate universe sounds pretty cool, and I do sometimes despair of human nature and our civilization, I have to admit that this one is also pretty good.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:03 PM on April 3, 2008 [6 favorites]


Hate loneliness! Anger the addictions! Only fuck other hippies! No, no, no, no.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:05 PM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Curse you seanmpuckett!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:05 PM on April 3, 2008


In the meantime, our universe keeps going on. This part is instructive. Lovely pictures, wot. I love me some of our universe, doncha?
posted by WalterMitty at 5:12 PM on April 3, 2008


In alternate universe, you watch Soviet Russia!
posted by flabdablet at 5:21 PM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Actually... let's not bother
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:34 PM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think (i) tinkle isn't absorbed, quite universally. Monkeys think otherwise, wonder why "Five"?
Speed away mathematically unable to reimburse impossible eating establishment.
posted by Mblue at 5:54 PM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


One problem with the alternate universe described in the article is that if you try to go there, the surface tension between realities causes you to go off course and you end up in a universe of extreme chaos and irrationality. Which is how I got here.
posted by wendell at 5:58 PM on April 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Well, I guess this post stayed up. I must say however that I'm not sure what the content's supposed to be here. A one link post about how it would be nice it everyone tried to adopt a "middle of the road" position? Not exactly illuminating. Or very heartening, either. For example, here's what the drug manufacturing industry is supposed to realize:

"[that] the industry won't collapse just because dirt-poor AIDS victims are able to buy generic drugs a few years before the original copyrights expire."

And also that there are unspecified "other things worth doing," aside from making a profit, "if only to feel good."

Wow, quite a Utopian vision! Is it just me, or is giving "dirt poor farmers" a discount on AIDS drugs a few years before the patents on those drugs expire about the most feeble vision of progress it would be possible to imagine?

This is a thin, sad essay that presents an imagined "better word" that serves mostly to point out how hard it's become for many people to imagine an "alternative" world that include any but the most timid and uncontroversial improvements.
posted by washburn at 6:02 PM on April 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


> In this alternate universe everyone shares the same views, and thinks with one mind.

That's to be expected, though, since for the last thirty years or so there's been nobody there but me.
posted by jfuller at 6:29 PM on April 3, 2008


This is a thin, sad essay that presents an imagined "better word" that serves mostly to point out how hard it's become for many people to imagine an "alternative" world that include any but the most timid and uncontroversial improvements.

They may be timid and uncontroversial, but these improvements aren't happening as much as we would like it to. Giving farmers AIDS medication when patents are about to expire may be a feeble vision, but we're barely making that vision real as is.

I believe the author took the time writing this because it's a reminder that moderation goes a long way when talking about things like funding science research, the role of religion and the ethics of biotechnology (which by the way are talked about here often).

The article was meant to be funny. I posted it because it points out how often people engaged in the dialogs he mentioned, here in the blue and everywhere else generally, tend to fall back on to dogmatic one-liners.

I was going for irony and hoped that people who read the article would draw parallels on often we throw up snark. If people think this is a single link post that's just full of superfluous language, mods: please delete it.
posted by phyrewerx at 6:31 PM on April 3, 2008


phyrewerx: Hmm. Well, I don't mean to be a killjoy, or simply mean. I'm surely with you on the importance of civility, and I hope that my criticism of this article didn't seem like I was attacking you for posting it.

While it's true that I think that there's not quite enough here for a front page post, I appreciate your reasons for submitting it.
posted by washburn at 7:32 PM on April 3, 2008


There is a party, everyone is there. Everyone will leave at exactly the same time.
Its hard to imagine that nothing at all could be so exciting, and so much fun. When this kiss is over it will start again. It will not be any different, it will be exactly the same.
posted by Sailormom at 8:24 PM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


The band in Heaven plays my favorite song.
They play it once again, they play it all night long.
Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens.
Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:29 PM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


"I can see a world without war. A world without hate. And I can see us attacking that world because they'd never expect it." - Jack Handy
posted by blue_beetle at 8:31 PM on April 3, 2008


"People who believe in God, or Gods, don't try to explain the age of the world or the characteristics of its inhabitants in ways that are blatantly contradicted by the testable application of rational thought.

Supporters of science refrain from denigrating religion simply to make themselves feel better."


One suspects that if, in an alternate universe, the former were the case, then supporters of science wouldn't feel any need to denigrate religion (whether simply to make themselves feel better or for any other reason).
posted by darkstar at 9:30 PM on April 3, 2008


honestly, the quality of the comments justify the fpp.

phyrewerx knows how to honeypot the mefites
posted by [son] QUAALUDE at 9:58 PM on April 3, 2008


A universe without anger and loneliness would be so awfully boring.
posted by nasreddin at 1:31 AM on April 4, 2008


A universe without anger and loneliness would be so awfully boring.

Man, if MetaFilter existed in 1963 and Martin Luther King would have presented I Have a Dream here, would people call his vision boring? Nothing but a boring party with the same song being played over and over again?

Am I to think that I am blessed to live in a world with child molesters, wife beaters, drunks, dickheads and selfish pricks?

That peace=boredom?

Are we as a society that addicted to conflict that we can't imagine life without it?
We talk about ending war.
We talk about justice for all.
We talk about healthcare for all.
We talk about equality for all.

And yet when someone puts it all together and describes a world where all our current problems are on the way to resolution, we criticize it as being unattainable, inadequate, dull.

That's pretty f'd up.
posted by bitteroldman at 5:37 AM on April 4, 2008


One suspects that in the superior universe, there wouldn't be any religious bullshit to mock in the first place.
posted by grubi at 5:49 AM on April 4, 2008




Yes, but it's interesting!

posted by ArgentCorvid at 6:38 AM on April 4, 2008


That's pretty f'd up

Catching my own hyprocrisy in making this statement, I sincerely apologize.

What I meant to say was that we need to take a hard look at the concept of conflict - from issues as trivial as arguing over what movies to watch - to those with seemingly unattainable solutions, such as the Israel-Palestine mess - and realize that although the issues are infinitely different the path to resolution is the same.

Mutual Compromise. Mutual Respect. Mutual Generosity.

We can still be different. We can still love certain types of music and hate others. We can still love to go crazy at parties or prefer to sit quietly. We can believe in God, YHWH, Jesus, Allah, Krishna, Buddha, Gitchi Manitou... We can be whoever we want to be. The only difference is that we treat others with dignity, respect and wonder, and make all of our decisions with everyone in mind.

That's the only difference. That is THE difference. That is THE solution.
posted by bitteroldman at 7:15 AM on April 4, 2008


The alternative universe is a very interesting concept even though it is just a concept. The truth of the matter is that when self-centered humans go to extremes they always find something to their own liking and excluded all others. In reality, there is only one universe, it is the universe of the golden mean or modernation or the middle ground, which balances the yang (strong) and the yin (weak) force as symbolized by the daytime and the nighttime, summer and winter. This universe also balances all the seemingly opposite forces in human society, like man and woman, white and black, and action and non-action. This true universe was expressed thousands of years ago, particularly by Confucius and his followers and by ancient Greek philosophers. It is the human beings themselves, not God or any other supreme intelligence, who distorted all these wonderful balances by, for instance, making the weak humans the slaves of the strong. Modern man, therefore, particularly the extremely-behaved American man, simply needs to give up their materialistic pursuits and return to the simplicity of those ancient wisdoms. In this way, they will find that the one universe is a perfect universe because they themselves have become the embodiments of this golden mean universe. So, stop debating the nature of the universe, what we really need is for each of us to personally find out, "Are we better off, in the sense of feeling happier and calmer, if we go to bed regularly and have eight hours of sleep every night; if we walk 30 minutes a day; if we eat a lightly balanced meal everytime we eat; if we simply recognize that we are no different than anyone else here in the U.S. or in any other place in the world; if we understand that in reality we really do not know the nature of true happiness; and if we seriously try to know the reasons for our unhappiness, such as self-centered ambitions, desires, illusions, and imaginations?
posted by Confucian student at 7:44 AM on April 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Way to alternate universe clear; kill all unbelievers!
posted by Standeck at 8:07 AM on April 4, 2008


ArgentCorvid, may you live in interesting times... where hot snow falls up!
posted by LordSludge at 8:50 AM on April 4, 2008


What I meant to say was that we need to take a hard look at the concept of conflict - from issues as trivial as arguing over what movies to watch - to those with seemingly unattainable solutions, such as the Israel-Palestine mess - and realize that although the issues are infinitely different the path to resolution is the same.

Mutual Compromise. Mutual Respect. Mutual Generosity.


I think that it's impossible to apply the concept of "we need to" to the human race, any more than to the weather. Human beings are human beings: we're vain, greedy, uncompromising, selfish, unreasonable (and also good, generous, wise...). How can you expect anything else? I certainly don't think we're any more enlightened or big-hearted today than we were 2,000 or 10,000 years ago. Projects that have tried to create a New Man have invariably ended with terror and slaughter; we're stubborn like that.

And even if we do succeed in creating a more rational and generous universe, we will find something else to complain and get angry about. A study was recently released that surveyed people's levels of happiness worldwide (sorry, I can't find the link anymore, but here's one from 2003). The highest-scoring countries were almost all in the Third World. In other words, it doesn't seem as if being more "advanced" or wealthier or healthier makes us feel any better.

And if not, then what's the point of trying to transform society in this way, always a risky, difficult, and dangerous business? Why not just accept the society you have, and focus on the happiness or self-realization of yourself and those close to you?

I'm an atheist, but I've always loved Psalm 146:3-4:

Put not your trust in princes,
in son of man in whom there is no salvation.
His spirit departs, he returns to his earth.
On that very day his plans perish.


And, of course, the book of Ecclesiastes:
“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher; “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” What does man gain from all his labor in which he labors under the sun? One generation goes, and another generation comes; but the earth remains forever. The sun also rises, and the sun goes down, and hurries to its place where it rises. The wind goes toward the south, and turns around to the north. It turns around continually as it goes, and the wind returns again to its courses. All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full. To the place where the rivers flow, there they flow again. All things are full of weariness beyond uttering. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. That which has been is that which shall be; and that which has been done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there a thing of which it may be said, “Behold, this is new?” It has been long ago, in the ages which were before us. There is no memory of the former; neither shall there be any memory of the latter that are to come, among those that shall come after.
I think that maybe the dream of changing the world as a whole, or human society as a whole, prevents us from seeing the things that do lie in our power as individuals (even if there aren't too many to speak of). If we all tried to crawl better towards our own personal light, maybe even society itself would start to improve--though I'm not holding my breath.
posted by nasreddin at 9:02 AM on April 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


Man, if MetaFilter existed in 1963 and Martin Luther King would have presented I Have a Dream here, would people call his vision boring?

A shitty article on the Wired site is not the same thing as the Martin Luther King I Have a Dream speech.
posted by Artw at 9:07 AM on April 4, 2008


In an alternate universe, you'd have liked this FPP a LOT, Artw.
posted by not_on_display at 9:21 AM on April 4, 2008


Why not just accept the society you have, and focus on the happiness or self-realization of yourself and those close to you?


I agree with you a thousand percent. We cannot change the world. We should focus on the happiness of self and of those close to us, but not at the expense of other people's rights and feelings. Sure, we "deserve" to enjoy all the luxuries of life, but are we benefiting on the backs of other people?

I "deserve" an affordable pair of running shoes, but how is the factory worker being paid?
I "deverve" high profits for my investments but are those profits being made by illegal, immoral or unethical practices?
I "deserve" to drive at my leisure in the left lane, but am I holding up the traffic behind me?
I "deserve" to be in the front of the line, but were there people waiting here before me?
I "deserve" my seat on the bus, but considering my relative health, would that old person, disabled person, parent-holding-baby benefit more from my seat?

I'm not holding my breath either. Trust me I see the selfishness all around me (in myself as well). And you are right, sometimes we need to accept the world we live in - the plagues of humanity run far and wide.

So in essence, I agree with you - with all of you - that this Alternate Universe is no more than a crazy idea for the time being - but just as there are glimmers of hope in Humanity, there is a far-out chance that we can figure all this out.
posted by bitteroldman at 9:36 AM on April 4, 2008


A shitty article on the Wired site is not the same thing as the Martin Luther King I Have a Dream speech

No, I don't think that either. But the spirit behind both are the same, are they not?

Love, Respect, Solidarity.
posted by bitteroldman at 9:38 AM on April 4, 2008


So this article, crazy guy potsmoking guy at some festival, and Martin Luther King are all of equal value?
posted by Artw at 9:52 AM on April 4, 2008


It's moral relativism gone mad!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:13 AM on April 4, 2008


So this article, crazy guy potsmoking guy at some festival, and Martin Luther King are all of equal value?

In a sense, yes they are, to the extent that they want peace and harmony.

Dr. King might be a greater man, but this doesn't diminish the value of the dreams of others.
posted by bitteroldman at 8:26 PM on April 4, 2008


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