Monthly Archives: June 2011
“I will eat a doughnut.”
That seems quite simple and straight forward. There is a doughnut and you are making a decision to consume it. But does that actually mean your choice is pure and untainted? Or does it mean your decision-making process has been guided by the world around you?
Think of the processes involved that lead you to that make that decision. The list of effects can be quite long but I think it can be summed up with these facts: 1) Knowledge of the existence of a doughnut – 2) Hunger for something sweet and sugary – 3) Desire to try something you have only heard/read about – 4) Your proximity to and availability of a doughnut – 5) Receptors in your brain, chemical needs in your blood and the rumbling in your tummy tell you that a doughnut will satisfy your current needs.
So you may think you are making a choice to scoff down a doughnut but the decision has already been made through cause and effect. Imagine you are walking along a sea front promenade and you smell a hot yummy batch of doughnuts, there is the cause, the effect is you buying a doughnut and chucking it down your throat.
There were 2 closely related topics on the Daily Post that got me thinking:
Both questions prompted a lively debate but I couldn’t help wondering how so many people brought the issue of religion, ethics and morals into it. I know cause and effect is a branch of philosophy but it does make sense that everything in the universe happens because of something else.
Gravity & Spacey Stuff
If we set aside the creationist view-point for a moment and think about the universe and how it doesn’t have a choice in how things happen, we then start to get a picture of cause and effect. Swirling gas clouds condense due to gravity, not choice, stars are formed and planets are the result of debris gathering together under gravitational forces.
A few billion years later you are about to eat a doughnut. It seems like a bit of a stretch to say because of gravity and the sun and our planet you therefore eat a tasty snack, but it does kind of demonstrate cause and effect.
God Created the Doughnut.
Now if we look at this from a religious stand point (I’m generalising here, using my own experience and limited knowledge of the Bible) God created the world and everything in it. He told Adam and Eve that eating the apple would be a bad idea, thus granting them the ability to choose. However, by telling them not to eat the juicy fruit he successfully planted the seed of curiosity, thereby removing freedom of choice. Clearly there is an argument that suggests without any warning from God, Adam & Eve would eventually eat the apple due to their own curiosity, but then since God made them, curiosity was built in. And then there is the issue of the dirty snake giving his opinion and acting the bully. That also influenced them, again removing choice and prompting cause and effect to take over.
Days 1 – 7 were the cause and everything from Day 8 has been the effect. To me that makes sense. It doesn’t matter whether God plays a part in this or not, or if we are all aliens evolved from single-celled organisms brought to Earth on the back of a meteorite. Something caused these events to happen. Was God prompted to create everything?
So after all the amazing adventures laid out in whatever religious texts you happen to believe, we arrive in the modern world and the subject of the doughnut. Everything that has happened has led you to the point where you are about to eat that doughnut. By the way, the type of doughnut is not at question here, it can be glazed, sugared, topped with pink stuff or smothered in sprinkles. It is yours to enjoy regardless.
My Nothing Theory.
Imagine for a moment you have been created in isolation. No light, no dark, no heat or cold, no language or social group. You have no emotional state because there has never been a need for it. No loneliness because that implies experience of connection and thus loss and longing for that connection. You have no memory, no assumptions, no influences of any sort. The only thing you have is what your body needs, nourishment in its various forms. How this is delivered is irrelevant for this argument. The only cause and effect here is your body growing from that nourishment and expelling waste. Nothing else.
Now imagine the doughnut appearing beside you. How would you react to that? Would you understand what the smell was or that it was related to the doughnut? Given that your senses have never experienced anything would you touch it or taste it? Would you simply not acknowledge it because it is meaningless to you?
Two hypothesis can come from this:
1) That is the only time where choice can be true and pure.
2) Because of your situation the sudden appearance of a doughnut, the cause, prompts you to acknowledge it and everything else that follows, the effect, – smell, touch, taste, eat, vomit, desire, hate, love and so on.
Point of View.
I like the idea of cause and effect. It’s simple and logical. But I also like the idea of choice, that I am in control of my life, my destiny and the doughnut’s immediate future. I am influenced by my surroundings but ultimately I choose to eat the doughnut or not. So isn’t this about your point of view and not which is right or wrong?
In The Matrix, Neo and his pals visit The Merovingian who ends their conversation by saying he must leave. His wife/partner/girlfriend asks where he is going to which he replies he has drunk a lot of wine and must go pee-pee, ergo cause and effect.
But he could just as easily not use the loo and wet his pants, after all it’s his choice where and how he drains the weasel isn’t it? However, the fact that he consumed wine, the cause, means the eventual effect will be the need to expel waste. Again, it could be argued that he didn’t need to consume the wine and then not need the toilet.
Ultimately can’t cause and effect work in tandem with choice? Can one exist without the other? Or does all choice come from cause and effect? Is choice an illusion because we don’t understand how cause and effect works or refuse to believe we don’t have choice?
I do know one thing is certain, my brain hurts after giving this a couple of hours thought, and I’m pretty sure that is a good example of cause and effect!
It was 28 degrees in Cambridge today and Tesco were all out of water, Coke, Pepsi and fruit juice! Gotta love folks who avoid Mountain Dew like the plague! Damn that bottle was ice cold (for about 1 minute!) and hit the spot perfectly!
As requested by Pascale – Mountain Dew on location at The Rockies!
Why do young lads and men shave their body hair?
In a long running debate about guys shaving off their body hair I would like get a female perspective about this. So before I go into my own personal thoughts I’d like you to take a look at these two photos and let me know which one is more appealing for whatever reason.
Picture 1 – The Shaven Boy
Picture 2 – The All Natural Man
I’ve looked online for an answer to this question and the results are a bit strange. It seems shaving body hair is mainly due to media hype pushing social convention. Just look at how the “perfect” woman is portrayed, slim waist, big sensual eyes, large breast, flawless skin and so on. So if you look at he “perfect” man is it right to assume the media is selling us an image of the muscular, strong, macho, hairless guy because that’s what women want? Or is it just to sell more Calvin Klein boxer shorts, cologne and copies of Men’s Health, Muscle Mania Magazine or some variation of homo-erotica, you know, top shelf stuff?
Teenagers & The Muscle Parade!
I understand the desire to maintain a decent level of hygiene but does that really mean guys who shave their arm pits don’t stink as much as the more hirsute guy? I know I don’t stink. I’ve noticed a collection of teenage lads at the gym who do nothing but hang around the free weights, admiring their pea sized muscles, admiring their mates muscles and making a lot of macho grunting noises.
They don’t care about the cardio machines at all! They are there to pump some iron and because they don’t have expensive flashy penis extensions in the car park they need to work those muscles to feel better about themselves.
It’s all about wearing a skinny vest and working those biceps because chicks dig a pale skinny guy with well-defined biceps and weak stringy legs, right?
The Hairy Study.
A study was conducted at Leipzig University, Germany, into why people shaved their body hair off. Professor Elmar Braehler, who conducted the study, said it was because of a cultural trend. He asked a bunch of students why they shaved their body hair and found it was because they wanted to look attractive and meet the norms of society. I call that the sheep mentality where people aren’t brave enough to be themselves.
The research also showed that among women the desire to shave hair from their lady parts was due to a desire to look pre-pubescent and show sexual immaturity. Gross!! Apparently this in turn reinforced a man’s feeling of superiority. WTF!
Um, okay, I kind of understand the warped gross logic behind that but what does that have to do with lads shaving their armpits? And why do some of them shave their butts too? Don’t they realise that at some point they will end up with naturally hairy legs but appear to have a gorilla glued to their backsides? The same with the chest area, unless the lad/boy/man in question is prepared to make a long life commitment to shaving their body hair off every day, they will eventually end up looking like a yeti – won’t they?
The Shaven Forum.
This train of thought led me to the hilarious popular Yahoo! Answers Forum. It seems not everyone likes the shaven man. Take a look at the question asked:
Why do some boys shave their body hair off?I’ve seen some boys at my school with hairless arms and legs. it’s so nasty looking. men are to have hair, that’s what makes them manly and masculine! ugh! why do boys want to look like girls now?!
And now for some of the interesting answers:
Apart from the media and cultural thingy I just don’t get it. So lads are shaving their body hair to appear more attractive to the ladies? Seriously? Do women actually desire a smooth man? Is a man with shaven arms, arm pits, legs, junk, chest, butt etc a turn on? If you’re in the company of a guy who has obviously shaven various parts of his body, do you think:
“Nice, he takes care of himself, maybe he’s the sensitive, caring sort and just the kind of man I’m looking for to fulfil my desires/life/future family plans/one night stand/steamy weekend or financial security.”
Or do you think:
“Jeepers! That guy has spent so much time grooming himself he hasn’t stopped to think women are more interested in personality/sense of humour/good smile/conversation etc, and also doesn’t realise he might be attracting more than just women?”
Are men just doing this because other men do? Is this a macho self-serving, self involved thingy? Is this really just media driven sheep mentality in other words? More importantly is this simply a sign of immaturity? It’s worth mentioning that I don’t feel any kind of envy for those who shave, I’m happy with my skin!! I’m just trying to understand the why, why, why!!!!
So, after my little rant about something very small and laughable I’d like to know where people stand on the shaving body hair issue, especially what women prefer. I’m sure there is obviously an age thingy going on here, and those teeny boppers like shaved bodies because that’s what MTV and their magazines tell them to like. I’m interested in real women, those who aren’t mind controlled by the media.
What are your thoughts? I’d really like to know.