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Jam is obsolete

This is exactly the sort of high quality article for which I am here. Please promptly write an article on pastry alternatives, so that I might increase my knowledge of strange foods.

Become a person who Actually Does Things

I would base the justification of my response in regards to the validity of your argument on these terms:

1. In your opening statement, you admit to a false premise in order to grow the size of your audience.

2. In the body of your statement, you make many claims such as ‘some people’ and ‘more people ’, without any concrete example to cite- exactly how many people can or would benefit from doing more?

3. Your argument towards increasing ‘agency’ in others is thinly defined, without clearly stating whether or not this increased agency would also lead to increased happiness or production for the individual or society at large.

4. Your closing statement is an appeal towards personal emotions, and does not contain anything of substance.

5. Finally, your response to critical commentary contains most of these errors as well.

With all this in mind, I cannot personally agree with your argument that human beings should do more instead of less.

Using books to prime behavior

This seems like an awful way to read. Do you go to art museums to train your eyeballs? Do you flavor your meals so that your tongue will know the difference between spices? Why does your reading need any purpose, at all? What is the purpose of breath?

Become a person who Actually Does Things

I think this is bad advice. Further, I think that the worldview the author espouses is inherently false, and that she acknowledges this in the opening statement, which is about as good an example of Satre’s “bad faith” as I can think of, on the internet.

A thought exercise, taken from a recent podcast- a guru tells her followers to ‘do something’. The followers, in their existential modernist angst, agree to do the something that the guru says to do. In doing ‘the something’ the followers pay tens of thousands of dollars to the guru, and some of them die in a trust-fall mishap. Question- who are the lives of these followers made any better at all, from ‘doing something?’ An easy answer is, of course, that they are not.

The missing virtue/value is moderation. The followers of the guru who perhaps only paid $50 for her initial seminar, received inspiration from vague universal platitudes that truly helped their lives, mostly by giving them gratitude for the things they had already accomplished, and the lives they had already lived. More is not always better, and when you’re inner John Hammond leans on his cane and tells you ‘do something!” listen to your inner Ian Malcolm, reminding you that even if you can do something, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should.

"Can you keep this confidential? How do you know?"

It seems likely to me that when a person is saying 'can you keep a secret', to some level they are saying 'here is a piece of gossip'. Gossip seems to be one of the backbones of any society, enforcing social norms, and possibly disciplining otherwise impervious leaders/rulers who violate those norms. The 'secret' then is really, 'please keep it secret that I told you this from anyone who might punish me, or use this against me in any way.'

If you have a true secret that must be shared, a real threat of repercussions (violence) is all that may enforce this. Or not.

Self-sacrifice is a scarce resource

I’m very interested in your perspective. Mostly, because I find it so alien from my own. A little background- I work in law enforcement, and before that served in the American military. In these backgrounds I have come to see human suffering as the norm, and not a problem to be fixed. If I were to make a big-picture worldview of things, I would say that the ‘natural’ state of the universe is randomness and chaos. Human beings are a thing that make shaky structures-sometimes literally, but most often some sort of society that breeds more citizens then it can either feed or make use of. A very few of these shaky structures are sturdier than others. Classical virtue ethics have lasted a while. The sort of altruism/communal-ism found in Christ or the Buddha still makes an impact. But chaos is always there, and inescapable.

My reaction to this has been either to protect the perimeter of the things/people/ideas I care about, or to tend the garden of the place I want to be at. I do not want to give money to cure malaria, because I see no evidence at all that curing malaria will help anyone I might actually meet in the first world nation I live in, and I do not care about the lives of the animals I eat from the factory, other than how it might affect my personal health.

I find the idea that rationality can effect altruistic belief a fantasy that seems mostly to be shared by the sorts of people who have won at the current rules of meritocracy. This sounds much harsher than I intend it to- intelligent rational people indulging in flights of whimsy can produce wonderful things! But I do not believe this sort of thought is anything but that. Your story seems like a journey from foolishness to experience.