Entries in thought experiment (2)

Friday
Dec122014

A Jewish Paradox

I am far from a rabbi or Jewish scholar.  There is one question that I keep reciting in my head as a thought experiment.  If an orthodox Jew is stranded on a desert island, and the only source of food on the island was pig, what would this Jew do?

Some background:
-An orthodox Jew typically follows kashrut laws, meaning they keep kosher and do not eat pig or any derivation thereof.

-Suicide is literally killing yourself, and killing is not permitted by Jewish law.  (It's a commandment for those keeping score at home).

-There is only one day of fasting on the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur.  An orthodox Jew would typically not ingest anything (including water) on this holiday.  (Some exceptions would be young children, the sick, elderly, or pregnant women).  

There would only be 2 possible choices for the Jew:
1.  Eat the pig and survive.  Break kosher law, but keep from killing yourself.
2.  Do not eat the pig and die.  Break killing yourself law, but keep kosher law.
3.  Hope that an edible food source sprouts up after 21 days.  (Humans can't survive without food after about 21 days).
4.  Pretend that the day after eating the pig is Yom Kippur and atone for the sin of eating pig and hope that all is right with God.

Long story short: the Jew would spend 20 days debating what to do and hope a kosher food source would arrive.  Then on the 21 day, pig meal.

 

Tuesday
May132014

Pipe Dream

As a thought experiment, I imagined what the world would be like without violence.  Once I reasoned through all the nuances, I realized this would be an amazing place to live.  So, why can't/won't it happen?

First off, no violence.  Stay with me through this messy progression:
no violence > lower mortality > reduced aggression > reduced competition > reduced anger > reduced threat of life > no need to inflict violence because of survival > no weapons > reduced military > reduced police > reduced emergency room staff > reduced insurance policies > reduced greed > reduced competition

From this point, society would be completely unrecognizable.  I'm not sure where religion fits in, but religion and violence have been so completely intertwined, most religious texts I've read contain some element of violence.  Whether it be 10 plagues brought upon the Egyptians, crucifixions, jihads, or stoning suspected criminals to death, violence induces fear.  Which translates into respect for the higher power of God?

Once violence is removed from society, wars wouldn't have existed.  Cultures wouldn't have spread around the world.  For example, if the Europeans were sailing across the Atlantic solely for curiosity sake and not material wealth, the Native American/European conflict wouldn't have wiped out a large portion of the population.  (Granted, unfamiliar diseases would have still made a serious dent).  

I'm still uncertain how I interpret whether humans would have even existed if violence (and my messy progression chart above) was not programmed into behavior.  Our ancestors would not have had weapons or tools to fight off predators (lions, saber-toothed tigers, and bears oh my) and would have thus been a snack.

Pipe dreams are crazy to think about.