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Old 08-15-2006, 05:17 PM
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When I do my local radio gardening program (davisgardenshow.com, if you happen to be interested), I often call the things people 'should' be doing at certain times of year, or for certain plants, 'opportunities'. I don't refer to them as chores, and avoid the term 'should'. All gardening, after all, is optional, and my hope is that it will become a source of pleasure (as a preference) rather than a source of stress (as a bunch of 'shoulds').

I do slip up now and then and use the term! But my hope is that anytime you hear the words 'should, must, can't, always, never'--you'll have the SMART Recovery Absolute Thought Warning!!! and will immediately substitute a non-absolute alternative.


So sunflowers will give us the greatest satisfaction if we plant them in full sun. Of course, the sunflower doesn't care. So it is our expectations that are at issue. The customer who grows basil in her windowsill and is thrilled with her spindly, flavorless etiolated plant doesn't know that she 'should' be growing them in full sun.

"I'm rather attached to my shoulds!!!"
We all are. And as long as we know they are really preferences--some much stronger than others--then they aren't necessarily a source of stress. But our actual needs are very much like those of plants: food, air, water, light. Beyond that, pretty much everything is a preference. Simply comparing what different cultures value, what ascetics live comfortably without, and what we can pare our lives down to under duress can make that clear.

And what has gradually become a 'need' as we get wealthier and more pressed for time can become a major source of stress. Some people would experience extreme distress if they had to give up their housekeeper or cell phone.
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Old 08-15-2006, 06:35 PM
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Thanks Don. I had replied to Equus earlier, and didn't like the way it turned out. I took too long to edit, so I asked Morning Glory to scrap the whole post. But yeah..... thanks for putting in words the point I was trying to make! This is a work in progress for me. Frequent writing, such as on these boards, is a fine way to practice. I'm on a real serious mission to improve my use of the English language and application of words!

So you have a gardening show, huh? It sounds very interesting! I'm on dial-up, however, and unable to make use of Windows Media to hear it. But I'll check out that site for sure. If you knew me the way I know me, you wouldn't believe it if I told you I didn't do any gardening at all this year. I was so looking forward to spring too!

I was meaning to ask you a question about Fuschias last year. I bought them in 3 or 4" pots, transplanted them into hanging baskets (with lots of organic matter, since I know they're heavy feeders) and fertilized them regularly with Miracle Gro. Well, they barely grew. They remained healthy, but that's about it. Oh yeah, I had them hanging under pine trees in dappled sunlight (a nice setting for them, as with the Bleeding Heart underneath!). Any ideas? I'm pretty sure they prefer an acid soil, like the Bleeding Hearts, so I don't think pine needles were an issue.

(Gee, this thread is going everywhere except discussing anger - as if I can afford to discuss plants!)
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Old 08-16-2006, 12:14 AM
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Isn't using 'should' like saying...
"even though I can't or don't want to, I would like to believe that I'm at least morally obliged."

That's how it seems to fit with me all too often.
kinda like...."but at least I (almost-thought about) trying.
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Old 08-16-2006, 12:25 AM
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I think I will opt to keep the word - but with a mindfulness!! Perhaps because I'm a lover of language and it has puppy dog eyes I can't out it to sleep, maybe because I'm not yet fully of the belief it's better dispensed with. Your so right about different cultures some of which are built on obligation, I think carefully about that too.

I have my inlaws coming to stay at the weekend, I still live in a heavily asian community and they come from an all white community - this is my home, my husband moved to my growing up turf. On Friday night the chinese friends (also take out shop) will fill their obligation and cook more carefully having said they will make the finest food in our city for my husbands parents - because we are friends, because to them it's an honour to share the obligation of visiting inlaws - of course they've asked us to bring his parents when the food is collected!! With the take out food in hand my inlaws will be introduced to our pakistani friends in the kebab shop, I KNOW what will happen, a game of cat and mouse as they offer to cook free food, on the saturday D is keen to take his father to the hardware shop - the same will be repeated from the two bearded brothers, strict muslims who have a picture of Ghandi hanging above a prayer in their shop. When I travelled I got adopted as little sister or big sister and with that came obligation - not hard to fill, where I was big sister it was to give advice, where I was little sister it was to be advised - oh and wear a long skirt in the street (this last one I chose because I could see the difficulty in introducing me as family while I was wearing what seemed to be almost no clothes like the other travellers!!).

As I make my house ready, partly because I have my own sense of pride and belonging to cultures that have helped teach me, partly because my own culture is to be generous with a guest - the obligation is a valuable part of belonging. I will enjoy and celebrate it - sharing that matters just as family is introduced to me I 'must' introduce family - just as a friends family is my family, my family is to be shared with friends.

When I iron a shirt, cook a meal, or wash underpants - it's making a gift, so my attention is never a waste.

In the first week having stopped or it might have been the last week D drank the men in the kebab shop talked about marriage - about their culture and ours. They asked D some very hard questions, they spoke passionately about obligation but not as though it was a negative thing but instead an expressive language of love and respect. They also know their culture has done wrong things - as many as ours but we're all much the same in figuring out what WE want to keep, how WE want to live and it was that they were talking about.

Did you know in Sinhala (Sri lankan) want and need is the same word? There is no split concept. In trying to explain the differences between the word and hearing the argument that they are unneccessary I learned a lot.

There are two sides to obligation, the pride and the kindness my inlaws will be shown because of a very much wanted obligation is certain to excede considerably what the family I was born into will show.

On saturday night our friends (white and asian) will gather, eat curry out and share in family.
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Old 08-16-2006, 02:19 AM
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But our actual needs are very much like those of plants: food, air, water, light. Beyond that, pretty much everything is a preference.
Is this true? I'm serious - the rather obvious cruelty of bringing a child up with only the above would make it an unlikely experiment. I think though it has happened, I've never researched it carefully enough but have loose memories of the effects of emotional starvation studied after neglect. I would also point to the use of solitary confinement across so many cultures as a means of both punishment and torture. What rational base is there for for the belief that all we need is food, air, water, light etc? Is it based on any knowledge of survival with just those things? Is there any evidence of that having happened?

Taking as an example the history of sign language and the deaf; the affects of periods of time when deaf people were forbidden to use signing and instead forced to lip read and attempt speech, then comparing it to times when signing has been encouraged - I would suggest the results show a certain need for language.

Also I would offer dignity and freedom from persecution as something slightly more than just a desire. The impact of prolonged emotional abuse is well documented (I think this is safe enough not to reference but I will if you wish). What about slavery? Is it fair to say all NEEDS have been met if a person is given the contents of that small list and nothing more?

Is want versus need truly a clear black white line?
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Old 08-16-2006, 04:04 AM
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I only change the 'should's' and all the other absolute thought indicators when the thought coming with it will bother me/do me harm. Other than that I'm not gonna change my language.

Marte
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Old 08-16-2006, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by equus
Is this true? I'm serious - the rather obvious cruelty of bringing a child up with only the above would make it an unlikely experiment. I think though it has happened, I've never researched it carefully enough but have loose memories of the effects of emotional starvation studied after neglect. I would also point to the use of solitary confinement across so many cultures as a means of both punishment and torture. What rational base is there for for the belief that all we need is food, air, water, light etc? Is it based on any knowledge of survival with just those things? Is there any evidence of that having happened?

Taking as an example the history of sign language and the deaf; the affects of periods of time when deaf people were forbidden to use signing and instead forced to lip read and attempt speech, then comparing it to times when signing has been encouraged - I would suggest the results show a certain need for language.

Also I would offer dignity and freedom from persecution as something slightly more than just a desire. The impact of prolonged emotional abuse is well documented (I think this is safe enough not to reference but I will if you wish). What about slavery? Is it fair to say all NEEDS have been met if a person is given the contents of that small list and nothing more?

Is want versus need truly a clear black white line?
Again, this is taking the extreme situations and using them to illustrate the point. But what you are doing is taking the things which you value strongly and converting them from strong preferences to needs.
No, we really don't need anything more than the things I mentioned. But it is characteristic of an educated, affluent society that we will believe many things are needs and even basic rights. Examples would include good (not just adequate) nutrition, education, health care, emotional nurturing, effective communication, etc.
It is all well and good to consider that society 'should' provide those things. It is virtuous to act politically to bring them about. But once you adopt the concept that they are NEEDS (capitalized, no less!), then you are changing the whole basis of the debate.
What I learn from your list is the things you value highly, and that you are one who would work to advance a social welfare state. A conservative American would probably list individual freedoms, including property rights and civil liberties, somewhat higher than you would. Those are values, not needs. And many of the things you mention would fall further down on the value list in a society which is not safe or secure (we are often willing to exchange many rights for safety), or where there are so few resources that it isn't possible to have all the things you strongly prefer.
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Old 08-16-2006, 09:24 AM
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Again, this is taking the extreme situations and using them to illustrate the point. But what you are doing is taking the things which you value strongly and converting them from strong preferences to needs.
Alright Don - I suggested offering some evidence. I do value them - I value food as well so it's a bit of a null point. Do you have any evidence of survival with only the things you suggested. Do you know or do you just believe it would be possible?

I can't see it makes them any MORE or any LESS needs because I also value them - which seems to be the central point of your reply.

BTW - languauge is hardly restricted to affluent groups!
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Old 08-16-2006, 11:50 AM
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Examples of people who live with just food, air, water, light?
Ascetics and monks illustrate this for us, and I'm glad they do. They are a useful reminder of how little we actually 'need'. And thanks to them, I don't have to prove it for myself....

Lots of people live without the things that we would probably add to those as needs. For example, many people live without shelter, and from what I can see some percentage of those actually choose to do so. They value their freedom, or something, more than they value living in shelter provided by the state or charitable groups.

To bring this back to principles which we can apply to our own lives: we value shelter, and I'm guessing most folks here have a strong preference not to lose our homes. Some of us even value being able to express our individualism therein. But if we perceive that our homes must increase in size in proportion to our incomes, or we must be allowed to paint our dorm room vermillion, we are creating stress in our own lives by how we view the preference.
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Old 08-16-2006, 12:17 PM
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Ascetics and monks illustrate this for us, and I'm glad they do. They are a useful reminder of how little we actually 'need'. And thanks to them, I don't have to prove it for myself....
But they have already benefitted from much within my list too..

It's just a thought Don that maybe these words exist as more than just a bit of an error.

I would agree with the example of home size - utterly!! But I'm not arguing that evrything is a need, just that the shoulds/oughts/musts may often address real need.

For example, I believe (perhaps wrongly) that if a poster reported they were told at a meeting they didn't need their prescribed medication, that their taking it only expressed a want for it on their part you may be as hot as me to dispute that!!

For some people a medicine is as needed as food is for me, so where does that need fit? To get medicine you need the knowledge of it, whether it's a highly refined blood thinning product or the knowledge of plants that thin blood passed on through generations.

The relation between knowledge and having needs met is reflected in both the human and animal kingdom in the role and care given to animals/humans that have passed breeding/rearing age. The obligation is related to need for something.

Take another example - law. I need food to live but starvation is not the only threat to my survival, I can be equally dead from a bullet! If we look at collapsed states like Somalia we see the impact of a lack of some of the things I would list as needs and you wouldn't. The impact on life expectancy is to shorten it just as surely as from lack of regular food.

Even if I take the example of food, in a heavily populated city my food is not home grown, some degree of co-operation is needed. Again I would point to the correlations between war and famine to suggest the need for food leads to other needs which unless met results in starvation.

As a treatment avoiding must/need/should etc makes sense - of course if you believe all that you need is readily available then anxiety will drop. The problem arises when that almost irresistable temptation to turn treatments into philosophies occurs. Frighteningly accompanied with a new dictionary and a suggestion of restricting thoughts.

CBT works - it's excellent, a superb treatment I'd use myself at the drop of a hat. However it falls short as a philosophy to understand life by.
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Old 08-16-2006, 01:22 PM
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My Christian Scientist grandmother would have disagreed with your medicine example, and in fact chose to die rather than seek conventional treatment for an illness.
But on behalf of your example, I should add that when I give talks to groups about gardening, I always start with the 'what plants need' outline (regardless of the age of the audience; it seems to work). And then I usually add, 'and sometimes they need protection--from the weather, from pests, etc.' I usually get a laugh by adding 'and from us, sometimes!'

These concepts of absolute/needs vs. relative/preferences from REBT are actually useful to apply to life in many ways, and using the more extreme examples, as we have done here, simply illustrates how far they can go. Albert Ellis wrote an interesting essay after 9/11, for example, which I will try to find. It also can help us to have more civil debates when values conflict. In our country there has been debate since 9/11 about how to balance the values of security vs. freedom. On the other hand, when we watched as thousands of people crammed into the convention center in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, running out of food and water (and medicine), we realized what true needs are.

But Marte really summarized the way to use this: "I only change the 'should's' and all the other absolute thought indicators when the thought coming with it will bother me/do me harm. Other than that I'm not gonna change my language."
If we understand that need is often an exaggeration, if we know that we are using the language with some acceptable imprecision, then we can focus on the core principle: that we create our own distress, and that often it results from turning a preference into a need.
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Old 08-16-2006, 01:25 PM
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Getting rational about September 11

By Albert Ellis

Take a step back. Not bad advice to anyone struggling to deal with the aftermath and potential longer-term implications
of the September 11 attacks on New York. But, as many will agree, this is not a time during which it's easy to be dispassionate, rational or reasonable. On the contrary, the actions of the terrorists, George Bush's entourage and countless other factions around the world which have responded vociferously with a range of opinions to the events, all ooze irrationality. Who better to set you straight than Albert Ellis, the creator of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT). To anyone wondering how to cope with the situation, Ellis offers this rationality check.

Your irrational beliefs and shoulds that get in your way probably include:

1. "I absolutely must be able to figure out a way to stop terrorists from acting so brutally and killing and maiming so many people, and there is something very weak and inadequate about me because I can't find a way to stop this kind of terrorism."
2. "The terrorists and their backers have perpetrated some of the worst deeds imaginable; this makes them completely rotten people who should absolutely be exterminated-quickly-since only killing all of them will stop this deed from happening again."
3. "Because the world is so full of cruel violence and terrorism, it is a totally despicable place and I cannot continue to live in it and be at all happy."

These ideas are irrational because, as Alfred Korzybski noted in Science and Sanity in 1933, they are unrealistic and illogical overgeneralizations that render people "unsane". My 1962 book, Reason and Emotion in Psychotherapy, showed that all three of these beliefs-and many similar absolutistic shoulds and musts-lead you (and innumerable other people) to make yourself not only very sad and displeased with the terrorists' abominable behaviour, but also to dysfunctionally overwhelm yourself with panic, rage, and depression. Thus, the first of these irrational beliefs will cause you to loathe your entire self, or personhood, not to only deplore your weakness and inadequacy to halt terrorism. The second of these irrational beliefs will make you thoroughly despise the terrorists (and all other people who do cruel deeds) and consume yourself with rage. The third of these irrational beliefs will make you hopelessly depressed about the present and future state of the world and encourage you to obsessively contemplate-and perhaps actually commit-suicide.

Ironically, these three self-defeating shoulds and musts are probably very similar to those held by the terrorists who unsanely killed themselves and thousands of innocent people for what they considered a sacred holy crusade. They first considered themselves powerless because they could not stop America from "cruelly" siding with their enemies; and they therefore felt that they absolutely had to punish America to prove that they themselves were powerful and worthwhile individuals. Second, they devoutly believed that Americans absolutely must not oppose their position and that all Americas are complete devils who deserve to be wiped out. Third, they dogmatically convinced themselves there is no use living in and trying to lead a happy life in such a totally evil world; and therefore, by killing the infidels, they would attain eternal, blissful life. So, with these unsane beliefs, they enthusiastically killed themselves along with countless innocent people.

If you and the rest of American and world citizens keep reinforcing your irrational beliefs, you will enrage yourself against the terrorists and their backers and in the process will likely encourage them to increase their fury against Americans and other people who oppose them, and will encourage more retaliation by them, by us again, until the cycle of retaliation precipitates a world-wide war and quite possibly the end of our planet. As ancient lore and modern history have amply shown, love begets love and hatred and violence beget increased hatred and violence-with no end in sight!

You ask how REBT would help you cope with and help others cope with the tragic events of September 11th. That requires a long answer, which I can only briefly summarize here.

First, you can use REBT to teach yourself-and all others-unconditional self-acceptance. That is, you fully accept yourself with all of your warts and flaws, while heartily disliking and doing your best to change some of your self-defeating behaviours and poor behaviour toward others.

Second, you can use REBT to unconditionally accept all other people as persons, no matter how badly they act. You can, of course, firmly try to induce them, in a variety of ways, to change their self-sabotaging and immoral thoughts, feelings, and actions. In Christian terms, you unconditionally accept all sinners but not their sins. Ultimately, some behaviours may require sanctions or imprisonment for individuals.

Third, you unconditionally accept life, with its immense problems and difficulties, and teach yourself to have high frustration tolerance. As Reinhold Niebuhr said, you strive to change the unfortunate things that you can change, to accept (but not to like) those that you cannot change, and to have the wisdom to know the difference.

If you achieve a good measure of these three REBT philosophies-that is, unconditional self-acceptance, unconditional other-acceptance, and unconditional life-acceptance-will you therefore be able to convince terrorists to change their absolutist, bigoted ways? Not exactly. But you will cope much better with terrorism, help others to cope with it, and model behaviour that can, if you strongly encourage it to be followed around the world, eventually reduce it to a minimum. This will take many years to effect, and will require immense and persistent educational efforts by you and others to promote peaceful and cooperative solutions instead of hateful and destructive "solutions" to serious national and international difficulties. If we fail to work on our own belief systems to produce this long-term purpose, we will only insure renewed terrorism for decades, and perhaps centuries, to come.

Are you willing to keep relentlessly working for REBT's recommendations for self-peace, peace to other humans, and peace to the world? If so, you may help people of good will to think, plan, and execute eventual answers to terrorism and many other serious world problems.

- Albert Ellis is the President of the Institute for Rational Emotive Therapy in New York. He has published 54 books and over 600 articles on Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy, sex and marriage.
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Old 08-16-2006, 01:57 PM
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Discussing the civil war in sri lanka I asked my friend what he thought should be done. He said - we must make friends, I cannot kill my friend. A people who had seen huge violence, prolonged and in every town and village were begining to make friends - LITERALLY.

I've watched with interest as their war mongering leaders have damaged and broken the ceasefire and yet I also note there are no reports of the violence between the people. (many years ago each military attack was foloowed by street violence to match).

I agree with so much of that article - we pay attention to violence not because it's common but because it isn't. We don't note every door opened for another or every smile, but we note a door slammed in a face or a shaking fist.

We DO live in a beautiful world and I think perhaps we must make friends!!

CBT and REBT do rock, they are and should be treatments for when something is causing harm, a way of thinking when my own is causing harm. I like them there - it helps it all stay somewhat different from the long line of gurus that treatments have spawned!

It's been a pleasure Don! And I hope it is not the last!!
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Old 08-17-2006, 05:22 AM
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Sorry to jump in at the end, when discussion has moved on.

Actually, 'should' is an absolute.
actually, I don't think it is......

Must is an absolute, never/always and only are absolutes. Should has qualifiers and choice built in, think of MoSCoW rules for prioritising tasks:

Must, Should, Could, Won't
If applied here:

In order to be physically alive:

I MUST breathe
I SHOULD breathe decent quality air
I COULD breathe pure filtered mountain air
I WON'T breathe carbon monoxide fumes

should is by definition a choice: it has powerful arguments weighted in favour of the choice, but there is leeway for circumstances where it is not appropriate.

Must has no choice attached to it, and could has arguments both ways that are more balanced.

I think the problem with should is that it can end up being misinterpreted as "must", or used when "could" is more appropriate. But it is a valuable word in vocabulary - if you seek to eliminate the "shoulds" - you seek to eliminate situations where the arguments stack up very strongly in one direction, but you have to take the bull by the horns and own the power and consequences of your own choice to do something different. Guilt/anger are not a part of "should", it's a reaction to not accepting situations and owning our decisions.

"we should care for our children" - yes - we should, but if, for example, I (as a person) am incapable, then the arguments for it do not take away from the power I have to chose that someone else would be better doing it, or if we (as a society) find that caring for our children puts the species at risk (can't thnk of a non-extreme scenario for this, sorry) then the "should" doesn't preclude not doing it.

re needs:

all of the things that Don and Equus have put forward as needs, ARE needs, but they are needs for different things:

Humans need XYZ, is a meaningless statement - Humans need them for what?

Humans NEED air, water, light, food (and I'd argue protection against that which is not themselves - infection, large boulders dropping from the sky, poisonous gasses etc) IN ORDER TO live (ie be physically alive for a limited period of time - very narrow definition of live).

Humans NEED meaningful contact with other living beings, language, self-awareness etc IN ORDER TO live (ie. be mentally alive and thrive for an extended period of time - more nebulous definition of live).

define living, I don't think you can discuss need without defining what you need it for (not that this isn't fascinating to read!)
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Old 08-17-2006, 05:27 AM
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I love what you've written but I'd like to ask a question. If water only comes in bottles charged 30 coins a time, then do I need coins to live?

define living, I don't think you can discuss need without defining what you need it for (not that this isn't fascinating to read!)
Personally I think the more nebulous description is the result of our evolution driven by the narrow description. Not all animals are group animals but some are, those differences allow them to exploit different assets in the enviroment in order to survive. I believe our 'extras' do the same for us.

Take Don's example from hurricane Katrina, the people needed the most basic things for physical life. The people needed HELP in order to get the most basic things for life. This is in essence not so different from the way an elephant herd will wait and work together to retrieve a trapped member.

OUr co-operation and physical survival aren't seperate. Our huge brains led to complex culture and language and that in turn proved successful for our species... although the story is not yet finished!
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Old 08-17-2006, 06:01 AM
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Originally Posted by *Ceridwen
Humans NEED air, water, light, food (and I'd argue protection against that which is not themselves - infection, large boulders dropping from the sky, poisonous gasses etc) IN ORDER TO live (ie be physically alive for a limited period of time - very narrow definition of live).

LOL! I feel somehow reassured that I am protected from large boulders now.

I love this forum, at the risk of sounding like a 70s kid, it's fabby

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Old 08-17-2006, 06:25 AM
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Smile

I'd like to ask a question. If water only comes in bottles charged 30 coins a time, then do I need coins to live?
ahhh, in general I refuse to debate "alternate-reality" scenarios, as I never seem apply the appropriate amount of "this reality" rules for informed debate, my anti-favorite one goes thus:

Q: imagine if you were able to take your brain out, stretch all the neurones so that all your sensory apparatus (eyes nose, skin etc is in one room) is in one room and your brain is in another room: where are you?
Me: In two rooms
Q: no - think about it, you will perceive that you are in one room (with your eyes etc) but your brain which is processing the information is in another room - which room are you in
Me: No - I get it, why do I have to be in just one room?
Q: because you do. afterall, you will be sensing that you are in one of the rooms - you will think you are in one room, whereas, your thinking will be taking place in another room, which you won't be aware of.
Me: yes, honestly, I got where this was going from the start, and I obviously don't think it is as clever as you do, however, I'm fairly sure that I would have noticed that my brain was removed from my head, my neurones stretched, and it placed in another room, so my answer is still I am in 2 rooms
Q: - no - you are unaware that this has happened, and you can't be in two rooms
me - presumably then, my sight is limited to the room where my brain isn't, and I can't look behind me or turn round, or, for some unfathomable reason, move my hands to the top of my head, and none of my senses are working in any way which would give the "brain in a diffferent room" game away?"
Q - that's right
me - then I'm in two rooms
Q - no, you're not getting it - you can't be in 2 rooms - you have to decide whether *YOU* are in your brain or a product of your perceptions
me - no - you're not getting it - *I* am in 2 rooms, no matter how ridiculous this scenario is, I am both my brain and my body, my physicalness, my thoughts and my perceptions, they are all connected, if my leg goes to sleep does that mean it is any less part of me, or any less "on the bed"? - the entirity of *me* does not have to be what I am perceiving at any one time.
Q - what if we put your brain and body back together, chopped your "gone to sleep" leg off and put it in another room, would you be in 2 rooms now?
me: no I'd be in one room, and my leg would be in another room
Q - ahhhh, so if we chopped the connection between your body and your brain and put them in different rooms - where would you be?
me - I'd be dead......

I have a very literal mind

anyway - back to topic (and boulders falling from the sky), valid point about needing help to get those things that were neede (I can cope with a real-world scenario)
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Old 08-17-2006, 06:29 AM
  # 38 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by bahookie
LOL! I feel somehow reassured that I am protected from large boulders now.
and its not just you - for you to have come into being, every single one of your ancestors, going back to the dawn of time, must have been a boulder-avoiding expert, - truely awe inspiring - I'm adding it to my resume! LOL
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Old 08-17-2006, 06:32 AM
  # 39 (permalink)  
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But clean water is 30 rupees a bottle in Sri Lanka. That's nothing like your example, in fact I buy food every day and when economies collapse people do suffer malnutrition and starvation.
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Old 08-17-2006, 08:10 AM
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I'm not being naive, I understand where you are coming from, but, I wouldn't say that the money is a need in order to live (fairly narrow definition).

it is one of a means to get clean water, if I don't have the coins - do I have to die?

I have options: I could try
(outside of industrially polluted areas) boiling rain water and distilling the steam,
stealing the water bottles,
begging for water,
bartering services or goods for water,
moving to a less polluted area,
getting a job in the water bottling plant and being paid in kind,
get given water by wealthier friends/family/government/aid
The government of the country or other countries could get off their behinds and build a free clean water delivery system for all human beings

having money and buying the water in bottles may be a more practical, legal, easy or less degrading option than any or all of these, and I believe everyone has a right to clean water full stop (and in fact I think it should be free to all, given that it is a need to the most narrow definition of life).
but unless this is a hypothetical alternate reality (which is where my post came from) where there is (by some obscure law of physics) absolutely no alternative but to exchange coins for water, the coins are not a need. The water is a need and a means of access to it is implied in that need, because its useless if you can't drink it, but the way of getting access is not a need.

by contrast, if you asked if the coins were a need in order to thrive, with self-respect, legally, in Sri Lanka in areas where the natural water supply is poisonous, within the current system as it is now (iI have to bow to your knowledge of the system in Sri Lanka, as I have none), without the aid of bartering or being paid in kind, and accepting no offers of help to get water*, then yes, but I think you have to qualify it thus.

* none of which I think people should have to do to get water
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