The Evolving Monkey

  1. What does it mean to be good?

    • Stages to developing a mature understanding of goodness:
      • First step, babies and children equate receiving approval with being good.
      • Second step, older children will begin to understand, vaguely, that being a good person requires more than just receiving approval.
      • Third step, starting with teenagers, is the realization that being a good person and receiving approval are two separate things. Sometimes they overlap, often they don’t.
      • Often a person will get stuck on the first or second step.
    • What goodness is not:
      • Defending family, friend, or coworker even though you know they are wrong.
      • Arbitrarily fighting the other group or tribe simply because they are other.
      • Never backing down without considering if perhaps you are wrong.
      • Being better than others at doing something.
      • Being tougher and stronger than others.
      • Being first to do something.
      • Displaying certainty about something.
    Good Omens movie poster
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  2. Why do people believe things that are not true?

    • Truth is best determined by if something works.
      • If something works you can reasonably call it true.
      • If it does not work, then you can know it is not true.
    • Should belief in what is True, that which works, lead to better lives?
      • Yes, it should.
      • Leading a life based on Truth is leading a life in accordance with the way the universe actually is, the way it actually works, and that should lead to better outcomes.
    • Examples of beliefs that do not conform to the real world.
      • I’m talking about such ideas as Astrology, magic, faith healing, and prayer (as a means for getting what you want).
      • I personally would also include ideas like vaccine denial, climate denial, gun rights (as a way of improving our society), and racial superiority.
      • Many conspiracy theories, although not necessarily all of them.
      • You probably have your own list.
    sojourner truth
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  3. How can you know what to believe?

    • A belief can never be certain.
      • A currently known fact might be discovered that will overturn the belief.
      • There’s no way to know if such an undiscovered fact is out there waiting to be discovered.
      • So, there is no way to know with absolute certainty the Truth of a belief.
      • All you can do is develop a reasonable judgment as to what is true and what is false.
    Cute, colorful dragon Chinadrag
    Do you believe in dragons?
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  4. Why don’t you believe what I believe?

    • What is belief?
      • I assume there is a Truth.
      • I can’t prove this, but I believe it.
      • Beliefs are based on assumptions.
      • Assumptions are based on many things, much having nothing to do with Truth.
      • Such as your personality, a desire to fit in, a desire to be different and stand out, other assumptions about the world.
    • What beliefs are best?
      • Beliefs that work are the best.
      • But the judgments of what works and does not work are based on assumptions.
      • Assumptions which are based on our very narrow experiences from life.
    Challenge Assumptions
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  5. Are you special? And does thinking you are destroy your life?

    • First answer.
      • No and yes.
      • But the answer can also be: yes and no.
      • It depends on what you mean by "special".
    • You are not special.
      • In almost all possible ways, this is true.
      • No one, including you and me, are special.
      • We, you, are no more special than the squirrel in the backyard, or the rock in the ground, or the ground itself.
      • This does not mean you and I do not matter, we do, only that we are not special.
      • The squirrel, rock and ground also matter, but are not special.
      • On a universal scale, nothing is special.
    Mother holding baby
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  6. Why do we hate and why should we not?

    • Background:
      • Humans are survival generalist.
      • We are born with just enough knowledge and inner drive to get us going.
      • We are born with the ability to hate, but also with the ability to not hate.
      • We have to learn how to handle our emotions.
    • What is hate?
      • Hate is the feeling of ill will towards someone else or to a group.
      • Hate is the feeling that the other person or group is "wrong" and not deserving of a good life.
    • What is non-hate?
      • It’s not the same as friendship, caring, or love.
      • Not hating can be those things, but it can also be indifference.
      • But most of all it’s the acceptance if a person or group has a good life, then that is okay.
      • It comes down to a lack of ill will.
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  7. Why you will always do your best, even if you don’t try to

    • First reason
      • Everyone wishes for the best life possible
      • Everyone seeks happiness and fulfillment
      • Everyone hopes each day will be a good day
      • No one wishes to sabotage their own life and happiness
    • Second reason: If a you have two choices…
      • To do a good job with the possibility of something good at the end of the job or even during the job…
      • Or doing a bad job just for the hack of it, knowing you are giving up the possibility of a great reward…
      • You will always seek to do a good job
    Puppies playing
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  8. Why it’s true “People kill people, not guns” but guns are still dangerous

    • First Reason
      • Guns have a mystic.
      • This mystic is born from movies and TV based on old western fantasies, modern day crime fantasies, and very naive war fantasies.
      • It’s a fantasy many people very much want to believe, and often seek to prove, both to themselves and others.
      • The belief that caring a gun will make you strong is wrong.
      • It might give you a false sense that you can bully others and get away with it.
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  9. Why the American jury system does not work


    We have too many biases

    • Juries can see the defendant and make judgments based on factors not important to the case
    • Not all defendants present themselves well and are judge negatively
    • Some defendants present themselves very well and are judged positively

    Juries of private citizens do not know what they are doing

    • Juries are asked to make judgments on law they have little understanding of
    • Juries are not trained to ask the correct questions concerning how the lawyers conduct their cases (i.e. did the lawyers ask leading questions, important questions, questions that mattered to the case, etc.)
    • Juries make too many judgments based on gut feelings.
    Bored Jurors
    Bored Jurors
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  10. Why you have duties to others


    First reason

    • No on has absolute ownership of anything
    • Others have as much right to what you have as you do
    • Cooperation is necessary to resolve issues of who controls what

    Second reason

    • You live in a society of other humans and beings
    • They have rights just as you do
    • You must respect those rights willingly or be forced to do so
    a green mother earth with tree
    Mother Earth
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