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
    Continue reading
  2. 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
    Continue reading
  3. 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.
    Continue reading
  4. 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
    Continue reading
  5. 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
    Continue reading
  6. If no one wants to be evil, why don’t evil people just stop being evil?


    How we are raised and habits learned.

    • Humans are creatures of habit.
    • If we develop immoral behavioral patterns, we will be immoral. (i.e. In other words, "teach your children well".)
    • Habits, good or bad, will become a part of who you are and can be difficult for a person to recognize in themselves.

    How we think

    • Thinking is habitual too.
    • We think in loops. Rehashing the same thinking habits over and over. If it’s a good thinking habit, well that’s good. If not, it can lead bad behavior.
    • We often never consider that we might be wrong, preventing any hope of correcting personal errors. Self-examination can be one of those good thinking loops.
    Doctor Evil
    Continue reading