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Cochise
11-15-2005, 11:40 AM
The smoking ban thread gave me this idea. Poll forthcoming.

Let's say that some supernatural force gave you the power to eliminate tobacco, beverage alcohol, and all currently illegal drugs from existence. If you chose to do so, none of those things would exist any longer from this point in time. No one living on earth would remember that any of these things previously existed, and assume that they would not be discovered again in the future, either.

Given the number of deaths and hardships that could be eliminated by this - all the alcohol or drug related child abuse, spousal abuse, crime, murder, accidental deaths, associated social problems, family problems caused by addiciton, people out of work because of it, any and all bad consequences of these things - would you do it?

Assume for our purposes that this would simply stop the existence of these substances at this point in time, and make all living humans forget about them, including yourself. No one would know about this arrangement or that you had made the decision, including yourself. Assume that pharmacuticals such as Vicodin that are used for both legitimate and illicit purposes still exist, but are only used in legitimate contexts. Those who are currently addicted to these would experience temporary withdrawl symptoms, but not knowing of the substances needed to satisfy themselves, would have no possibility of relapse. Assume that no new 'drugs' or otherwise intoxicating, addictive substances as we know them come into existence in the future.

Your decision, if affirmative, would not resurrect people who have previously died because of these things or undo any harms that have already been caused by them. So, your hypothetical uncle Ted who died from emphysema 10 years ago would not still be alive, but your father's current inability to hold down a job due to his alcoholism would presumably be cured.

Would you decide that the world would be a better place overall without tobacco/drugs/alcohol and remove these things from existence? Or would you decide that the benefits of these outweigh the detriments to the human experience?

jAZ
11-15-2005, 11:42 AM
In such a fantasy land, I'd do it just to see what replacements (that I didn't ban because they didn't meet the criteria stated) developed.

Cochise
11-15-2005, 11:45 AM
In such a fantasy land, I'd do it just to see what replacements (that I didn't ban because they didn't meet the criteria stated) developed.

Well, replacements kind of defeat the construct. Assume that no new 'drugs' or otherwise intoxicating, addictive substances as we know them come into existence in the future.

NewChief
11-15-2005, 11:52 AM
Interesting scenario, and one of which I've actually thought about before. I'd have to say "no" because smoking, booze and drugs were precursors for some of the greatest literature and songwriting of our culture.

Extra Point
11-15-2005, 11:53 AM
"Ma'am. We're calling from the Fairway PD. It seems your son Johnny had a CO2 level above the legal limit. Your riding mower is in our lot, too. He broke the no-mowing-after-6-pm-on-the-third-Saturday-of-the-odd-month ordinance. Again."

cdcox
11-15-2005, 12:04 PM
I think addictive behavior is hard wired into the human pscyche. Some deal with/control it better than others, but it is part of what makes us human. So, no.

jAZ
11-15-2005, 12:08 PM
Well, replacements kind of defeat the construct. Assume that no new 'drugs' or otherwise intoxicating, addictive substances as we know them come into existence in the future.
Seems like a reasonable utopia. I'd vote in favor of that.

My main thing in life is "balance". I get testy when things are outa balance in one way or another. I wouldn't want to live in a litteral utopia because even that is out of balance. You would have no emotional lows to measure the highs against.

I do however think that this kind of utopia that you describe would still allow for natural human highs and lows that make life worth living each day. If you were to add putting everyone in the world on Prozac, I'd have to vote no.

That'd be boring.

StcChief
11-15-2005, 01:02 PM
Phase that come to mind....

Reality is for people that can't handle drugs

Black Jack Savage
11-15-2005, 01:10 PM
I agree that addictive personality traits are somewhat hardwired into the human psyche. If you didn't have these substances to throw yourself into, people would still find other ways to escape whether it is gambling, womanizing (or maninizing :) ) or reckless and wanton disregard for the laws of masturbation in the privacy of your own home.

Cochise
11-15-2005, 01:41 PM
I agree that addictive personality traits are somewhat hardwired into the human psyche. If you didn't have these substances to throw yourself into, people would still find other ways to escape whether it is gambling, womanizing (or maninizing :) ) or reckless and wanton disregard for the laws of masturbation in the privacy of your own home.

Undoubtedly, in this scenario humanity does still have vices.

Mark M
11-15-2005, 02:01 PM
As someone who's enjoyed a fair number of ... um ... "recreational pharmaceuticals," I'd have to say ...

No.

On one hand, you have a quote from Bill Maher (IIRC):
Without heroin, my record collection would be a lot less interesting.

But on the other hand, you have my mom's dad, who was a raging, ridiculously abusive alcoholic who died at 38. He helped start a Boy Scount camp (at Osceola), hung out with H. Roe Bartle, has a park named after his family stables (Sunnyside Park) ... and let it all go to hell over booze. What if he had lived?

But in the end, no matter how utopian you plan a society, something screws it up. And in this case, it's human nature.

You see, people will find something, somewhere, to abuse. Whether it's sex, TV, chocolate, electronics, golf, some retarded Internet message board full of idiots and geniouses (CP spelling) ... whatever ... people will find something, somewhere, to take over their lives in unhealthy ways.

Call it a genetic flaw, karmic influence, bad luck, or what have you. But the fact is people over-do it ... often ... and have fun doing so, damn the consequences.

And you can never, ever change that.

MM
~~:shrug:

Cochise
11-15-2005, 02:07 PM
I understand that people would still screw up. But, would an abusive husband come home hopped up on gambling and beat his wife, accidentally to death? Would babies be born addicted to gambling? Would someone womanize their way into running over a pedestrian crossing the street?

I don't understand the thought that other things would completely take their place. Sure, people would find something else to do with their time, but the things mentioned don't cause the same types or degree of bad consequences.

Black Jack Savage
11-15-2005, 02:09 PM
Someone's womanizing could kill their entire family...just look at the AIDS epidemic in Africa as an example.

Mark M
11-15-2005, 02:16 PM
I understand that people would still screw up. But, would an abusive husband come home hopped up on gambling and beat his wife, accidentally to death?

Poeple get beaten by sober folks all the time. Perhaps the couple were to fight about money, and that led to the beating?

Would babies be born addicted to gambling?
No ... they'd have at least 21 years before that happened. So, in this case, I can see your point (an angle I hadn't though of, to be honest).

But what about babies born with AIDS? They have NO chance. Shouldn't that be a bigger priority than smoking a bowl on Saturday afternoon?

Would someone womanize their way into running over a pedestrian crossing the street?
What if he was getting a hummer by his mistress while driving?

I don't understand the thought that other things would completely take their place.
But they do. Just look at food -- obesity is a huge issue (pun acknowledged, not intended) and much worse in a lot of ways than drugs.

You also ignore all the people who do drugs and don't hurt a soul. Would you like to sit through this football season without being able to have a few beers?

Sure, people would find something else to do with their time, but the things mentioned don't cause the same types or degree of bad consequences.
I disagree.

Don't get me wrong here -- I'm not saying drugs are all dandy and they don't cause suffering. They do. But, IMHO, they are just like a lot of other things -- it's how they're used that determines whether or not they are good or bad.

Besides, there's a lot of other things that kill far more and do a lot more damage.

MM
~~:D

cdcox
11-15-2005, 02:20 PM
I understand that people would still screw up. But, would an abusive husband come home hopped up on gambling and beat his wife, accidentally to death? Would babies be born addicted to gambling? Would someone womanize their way into running over a pedestrian crossing the street?

I don't understand the thought that other things would completely take their place. Sure, people would find something else to do with their time, but the things mentioned don't cause the same types or degree of bad consequences.

If you made the substances of problem now go away, I think humans would develop increased sensitivities to other chemicals like caffine, cocoa, pheramones, etc. But you have said that nothing else would develop to take their place. So in effect, you are asking us to void out all chemical interactions between humans and their environment. An that changes the definition of what is human. No thanks.

Cochise
11-15-2005, 02:30 PM
If you made the substances of problem now go away, I think humans would develop increased sensitivities to other chemicals like caffine, cocoa, pheramones, etc. But you have said that nothing else would develop to take their place. So in effect, you are asking us to void out all chemical interactions between humans and their environment. An that changes the definition of what is human. No thanks.

Granted, it's hard to be articulate. I didn't mean there would be no more caffiene or that its effects would change. I meant, intoxicating substances plus cigarettes would go away.

Maybe it's possible to ingest enough coffee to have a psychotic episode but I think the point is basically clear. Drugs as we know them now, gone, nothing with similar effects comes down the line in the future. Mild stimulants like caffiene don't apply.

What do you mean, humans would develop increased sensitivity? I thought greater amounts of exposure led to the body becoming more accustomed to something and requiring greater doses to produce the same effect.

I'm having a hard time accepting that coffee would be abused and become similar in effects to alcohol or what have you. I'm sure it could become a problem, but I'm not seeing the similarity.

Rausch
11-15-2005, 02:30 PM
Hell no...

Mark M
11-15-2005, 02:40 PM
You know, there is one part of the equation I'm surprised has yet to be addressed:

Freewill.

By taking away these substances, you are removing the choice people have to live their life a certain way. Granted, there may be some great benefits of that, but the fact remains that you have removed another choice we have.

By doing so you remove something fundamentally screwed up, yet also fundamentally human -- the ability to make the choices that determine the outcomes of our lives.

We will not always make the right ones, to be sure, but they are ours to make.

MM
~~:hmmm:

P.S. I'd also like to state something: This conversation is great, but it'd be a lot more interesting if I still smoked pot. :bong: :D

Cochise
11-15-2005, 02:46 PM
I didn't think I was touching free will. There are a billion things you could do with your time. You still choose which ones you want. There would just be a billion minus 3 now.

If this is the destruction of free will, because of the elmination of a couple of the innumerable choices available, then any kind of regulation or law in the history of man did the same and we never had it to begin with.

Mark M
11-15-2005, 02:55 PM
I didn't think I was touching free will. There are a billion things you could do with your time. You still choose which ones you want. There would just be a billion minus 3 now.

If this is the destruction of free will, because of the elmination of a couple of the innumerable choices available, then any kind of regulation or law in the history of man did the same and we never had it to begin with.

While I see where you're going, I will have to play a bit of devil's advocate here.

Laws do NOT impose upon freewill. You can still do something that is illegal, you just have to pay the price if your dumb ass gets caught (using "your dumb ass" in the generic, not at you, Cochise). Laws make things more difficult, they don't eliminate them.

What you suggest is that drugs used for illicit purposes are eliminated completely, or those with medical benefits (pain killers, perhaps even pot?) are only used for good, thus taking away someone's choice of what to put into his/her body and for what reasons.

So the scenario does, in fact, remove freewill.

If I want to take a bong hit for breakfast, follow that with a cigarette, double up on Percocets just for the rush, and then drink myself into oblivion because the Chiefs suck harder than Jenna Jammison at SuckFest '05, I should have the right to do so.

I will, however, have to face the consequences if I get caught buying the bag, get cancer from smoking, have my heart stop due to the pills, then get arrested for DWI while trying to drive myself to the hospital.

That may not be good, but at least I had the choice to do so.

Of course, I was high the day we discussed freewill in one of my college Philosophy courses, so I could be wrong.

MM
~~:D

Extra Point
11-15-2005, 03:00 PM
I can guarantee you one thing: I don't visit this sight for therapy to treat personality addiction.

Cochise
11-15-2005, 03:02 PM
To me, free will implies the ability to make some choices. It does not imply a certain number of choices, or the availability of a certain set of choices.

I mean, if I go to a place for lunch that has 10 items on the menu or one that only has 2, either way, I still have a free choice and thus free will. The only instance where my sovreignty is gone is if I have no choice whatsoever.

Mark M
11-15-2005, 03:04 PM
To me, free will implies the ability to make some choices. It does not imply a certain number of choices, or the availability of a certain set of choices.

I mean, if I go to a place for lunch that has 10 items on the menu or one that only has 2, either way, I still have a free choice and thus free will. The only instance where my sovreignty is gone is if I have no choice whatsoever.

But if the place that has 10 choices suddenly disappears, and the only choice you have is the one with 2 menu items, and no other choice whatsoever, you no longer have a choice, do you?

MM
~~:shrug:

Dr. Facebook Fever
11-15-2005, 03:13 PM
Without booze there would be no rock 'n roll...


... or anything to keep gochiefs warm on a saturday night....













(sorry man... cheap shot........ just couldn't resist... feel free to neg rep bomb me)

dirk digler
11-15-2005, 03:15 PM
Hell yeah I would do it in a heartbeat.

Cochise
11-15-2005, 03:19 PM
But if the place that has 10 choices suddenly disappears, and the only choice you have is the one with 2 menu items, and no other choice whatsoever, you no longer have a choice, do you?

MM
~~:shrug:

We're arguing in a circle here I think; unless we eliminated all choices free will would exist.

For example: I don't have the choice to fly myself up to the moon, then shoot laser beams out of my eyes and blow Mars to bits. That's something that is not possible in this universe. But I still have free will despite that, right?

Mark M
11-15-2005, 03:51 PM
We're arguing in a circle here I think; unless we eliminated all choices free will would exist.


Actually, I didn't really state my thoughts clearly:

Freewill would still exist, but more limited than before.

I just don't think limiting freewill is always the best choice, because it's what supposedly makes us human -- we can override instinct and make other choices. Any time you limit that, you're making us less human and more like robots.

Of course, all of this assumes freewill exists in the first place, and that's probably up for debate.

MM
~~:hmmm: