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Thread: What would the African you do?

  1. #1
    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    Default What would the African you do?

    If you found yourself suddenly living the life of the most miserable child in the most miserable "household" of the most messed up country in, I dunno, the worst part of Africa...

    ... would you prefer to die?

    Would it be a rational choice? An emotional choice? Would you defend your choice or recommend it to others in your situation?
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  2. #2
    Senior Member RandBlade's Avatar
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    I don't see how anyone can honestly answer the question. I would not be me had I been brought up in that situation and my priorities would no doubt be different.

  3. #3
    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    No I mean you as you are today, transferred to a dramatically different life.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

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    All Worship Ragnarök Loki's Avatar
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    Pretty sure that would mean you'd have virtually no mental and/or physical faculties, which would make this a pointless question.
    Hope is the denial of reality

  5. #5
    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    Okay, second-most miserable
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  6. #6
    Senior Member RandBlade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    No I mean you as you are today, transferred to a dramatically different life.
    How can I myself suddenly be a child?

  7. #7
    Nihilist Nessus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RandBlade View Post
    How can I myself suddenly be a child?
    I thought your user name originated from a book series that had, oh, "fantastical" elements?

    Anyways, it'd probably be the safest choice to at least attempt suicide, if there was some nefarious god-being toying with me it'd either prevent the suicide or revive me to experience the misery all over again. Either way, the possibility of success would mean escaping repeated rape and/or becoming a child soldier, so it'd be worth the try.
    In the future, the Berlin wall will be a mile high, and made of steel. You too will be made to crawl, to lick children's blood from jackboots. There will be no creativity, only productivity. Instead of love there will be fear and distrust, instead of surrender there will be submission. Contact will be replaced with isolation, and joy with shame. Hope will cease to exist as a concept. The Earth will be covered with steel and concrete. There will be an electronic policeman in every head. Your children will be born in chains, live only to serve, and die in anguish and ignorance.
    The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.

  8. #8
    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    If you found yourself suddenly living the life of the most miserable child in the most miserable "household" of the most messed up country in, I dunno, the worst part of Africa...

    ... would you prefer to die?

    Would it be a rational choice? An emotional choice? Would you defend your choice or recommend it to others in your situation?
    What is this, an extension of the "Luck/Random Chance" or "Best Decision" threads?

    In your scenario, I'd assume to have the same choices as those around me: wanting to stay alive and doing anything to stay alive vs dying quickly or without pain.

    I wouldn't know if they're rational or emotional reasons, would I? I'd only see two things....people who died at home, or people who walked away. It'd take a great deal of hope (and fantasy) to assume those who walked away didn't die in the desert, but found sanctuary in the distance. A distance I've never known and can't conceptualize, unless someone from my tribe returned, as proof of hope.

    It's all guesswork here, but I'd hope to be in the Die Trying group, even if no one came along to tell me that help is just around the bend...

  9. #9
    Volleyball is a cult ImAnOgre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    If you found yourself suddenly living the life of the most miserable child in the most miserable "household" of the most messed up country in, I dunno, the worst part of Africa...

    ... would you prefer to die?

    Would it be a rational choice? An emotional choice? Would you defend your choice or recommend it to others in your situation?
    Do I have all the knowledge I've gained through the years? Or, do I not know of anything better?
    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    It's not okay to shoot an innocent bank clerk but shooting a felon to death is commendable and do you should receive a reward rather than a punishment

  10. #10
    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    You are you, with all your experiences and memories and knowledge etc, although I don't know how long you'll retain your present identity under these circumstances, or stave off brain damage.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  11. #11
    Volleyball is a cult ImAnOgre's Avatar
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    I'll be the smartest baby ever!!!!!1. I'll make millions!!! This is gonna be awesome! Sign me up
    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    It's not okay to shoot an innocent bank clerk but shooting a felon to death is commendable and do you should receive a reward rather than a punishment

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    De Oppresso Liber CitizenCain's Avatar
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    Lol, Ogre. But if brains were the secret to wealth, I somehow suspect there'd be fewer college grads without jobs while the ghetto-rat du jour is making millions rapping about bling and bitches.

    Though, on the original question... freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose. So along the lines of "if you had 6 months to live, what would you do," I'd use my newfound lack of concern with my future to leave a smoldering crater in place of my enemies. Easier to do in shithole, Africa where AKs are as widely available and expensive as goats.

    Hell, the way Africa works, a murderous rampage would probably get me dictator-for-life status anyway, so bonus. Don't see vengeance as the path to success that often anymore. Damn modern world and its pussified inhabitants.
    "I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them."

    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

    -- Thomas Jefferson: American Founding Father, clairvoyant and seditious traitor.

  13. #13
    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    Bear in mind that you'd be a tiny malnourished kid, not some super-beefy super-connected warrior.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  14. #14
    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    You are you, with all your experiences and memories and knowledge etc, although I don't know how long you'll retain your present identity under these circumstances, or stave off brain damage.
    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    Bear in mind that you'd be a tiny malnourished kid, not some super-beefy super-connected warrior.
    We'd be tiny malnourished kids in Africa, but still have all our first world nation experiences and memories and knowledge? That's not quite what you laid out in the OP. What are you asking of us, anyway?

  15. #15
    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GGT View Post
    We'd be tiny malnourished kids in Africa, but still have all our first world nation experiences and memories and knowledge? That's not quite what you laid out in the OP. What are you asking of us, anyway?
    I'm asking you to read the OP

    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    If you found yourself suddenly living the life of the most miserable child in the most miserable "household" of the most messed up country in, I dunno, the worst part of Africa...

    ... would you prefer to die?


    Honestly, this isn't much of a trick question or anything. You can replace the conditions with any other supremely miserable collection. The essence of the question is basically: would you, personally, prefer death to a hopelessly miserable life of the sort led by very many on this planet.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  16. #16
    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    I'm asking you to read the OP
    I did read it, and you asked us to suddenly be children, living in a hellhole! You didn't say we could magically take our adult knowledge and experience with us, to analyze this hypothetical childhood hell.

    Honestly, this isn't much of a trick question or anything. You can replace the conditions with any other supremely miserable collection. The essence of the question is basically: would you, personally, prefer death to a hopelessly miserable life of the sort led by very many on this planet.
    Again, you're asking us to make decisions based on what we know, when people living in those situations don't necessarily know much beyond their own misery. Our own life experiences cancel out the hypothetical.

  17. #17
    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    Would you be you without your experiences?
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  18. #18
    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    Me and my experiences says your hypothetical is full of holes. Don't blame me if my answer didn't address what you and your experiences were hunting.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    The essence of the question is basically: would you, personally, prefer death to a hopelessly miserable life of the sort led by very many on this planet.
    Why then does the hypothetical require suddenly becoming the worst off child in all of Africa, when there are plenty of people living in First World countries who commit suicide, thus demonstrating that you don't have to live in squalid African conditions in order to consider death an answer to what is perceived to be a horrible life?

    Besides that, your hypothetical, if taken seriously, leaves too many loose ends. If I've suddenly found myself as an African child, with all my memories and experiences intact, that means that a) Something is horrifically wrong with reality and I have bigger things to worry about than being an African child b) There are now either two people who believe themselves to be me, or somewhere in the USA, someone is filing a missing person's report, and all I have to do to end my situation is make a long distance phone call, and make up some story as to how I've ended up in Africa. c) I'm not really me, but an African child with some type of mental illness causing them to believe they are someone else.

  20. #20
    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    I wanted to distance it from the regular western context and place you in an almost undeniably hopeless and miserable scenario where most of the deck is stacked against you (the person you are today).

    But if you have a problem with the OP then just choose another scenario
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  21. #21
    King of Ellipses...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    undeniably hopeless and miserable
    So the scenario is really: If we believe we live an undeniably hopeless and miserable life, would we contemplate suicide?

  22. #22
    De Oppresso Liber CitizenCain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    Bear in mind that you'd be a tiny malnourished kid, not some super-beefy super-connected warrior.
    Which would miraculously render my skills, knowledge and trigger finger obsolete? (Not to mention my disposition - those who have made my life not worth holding onto don't get to outlive me.) I thought you said I'd get to keep those.

    Quote Originally Posted by Illusions View Post
    So the scenario is really: If we believe we live an undeniably hopeless and miserable life, would we contemplate suicide?
    Right, no kidding. And nothing wrong with suicide, but at least be a fucking man about it and remove a bunch of your enemies from the world with you... or at least, the nearest government agent, in the event you're too depressed to have enemies. You know, leaving the world a better place than you found it and all that.
    "I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them."

    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

    -- Thomas Jefferson: American Founding Father, clairvoyant and seditious traitor.

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    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Illusions View Post
    So the scenario is really: If we believe we live an undeniably hopeless and miserable life, would we contemplate suicide?
    Almost undeniably. Contrast Nessie's post with Ogre's or even with Cain's "Ender's Shadow" variant. I dunno 'bout contemplate, I really meant "prefer".
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

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    There has to be a way to make their soil more fertile so we can grow crops there, and they can at some point be self-sufficient. Or we need to make it legal to bring them over here and pay them horrible wages for doing job, because it's better than dying. We have some lofty ideals.. oh everyone has to be paid at least 8 USD per hours or it's irresponsible. No, let people work for what they want to work for. Unions, and companies competing with eachother are the natural counterbalances to unfair pay.

    As for the question, I'd hope that I'd have the motivation, and creativity to find a way out. Both are needed in that situation. Maybe show some nearby white person, in a nice suit, that I have some talent or another, so I get selected higher in line to recieve money from those making donations.

    I don't see how anyone can honestly answer the question. I would not be me had I been brought up in that situation and my priorities would no doubt be different.
    I just put my current view/thought process into that situation. I realize if I literally was in that situation those things would be different. But how would my current self, if my brain was magically transported into such an individual behave... (keeping my personality but getting rid of facts/knowledge/information that i wouldn't know.) Granted the two are intertwined, but for the sake of the hypothetical imagine you somehow became this person.
    Last edited by Lebanese Dragon; 12-31-2011 at 05:42 PM.

  25. #25
    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    I wanted to distance it from the regular western context and place you in an almost undeniably hopeless and miserable scenario where most of the deck is stacked against you (the person you are today).

    But if you have a problem with the OP then just choose another scenario
    I wanted to answer, honestly, but the parameters were confusing. Hard to figure out if your hypothetical meant we kept our current knowledge (and western context), and magically awoke in an African child's body/reality....or if we were to "imagine" our childhood personalities as African children. It's hard to flip back and forth from adult to child, or between cultures, when our adult perceptions influence our answer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Illusions View Post
    So the scenario is really: If we believe we live an undeniably hopeless and miserable life, would we contemplate suicide?
    Or giving up, which in certain parts of Africa means a slow suicide.

    It's a tough question, minx, because children don't have the same experiences or knowledge as adults, and rarely contemplate suicide. Even African children slowly dehydrating toward death don't approach their problems the same way their parents or elders might. Our adult knowledge (the people we are today) isn't a very good context to understand or empathize with African children in hopeless and miserable scenarios.

    Might as well ask us how our "inner pediatric cancer patient" would react, even in a western context.

  26. #26
    De Oppresso Liber CitizenCain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lebanese Dragon View Post
    There has to be a way to make their soil more fertile so we can grow crops there, and they can at some point be self-sufficient.
    Yeah, that's really not the problem with Africa at all. It's got more to do with the fact that food is of very little use to people who've just been butchered for being from the "other" tribe/ethnicity or because they had the awful luck to own land that turned out to have something of even marginal value buried in (or near) it.
    "I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them."

    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

    -- Thomas Jefferson: American Founding Father, clairvoyant and seditious traitor.

  27. #27
    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CitizenCain View Post
    Yeah, that's really not the problem with Africa at all. It's got more to do with the fact that food is of very little use to people who've just been butchered for being from the "other" tribe/ethnicity or because they had the awful luck to own land that turned out to have something of even marginal value buried in (or near) it.
    I think Lebbie meant that if all African regions had fertile soil with rainwater (or irrigation access), the tribal overlord "terrorists" wouldn't have a stranglehold over their survival. Blocking roads or bridges might limit their trading, but not their ability to feed their own villages. Blocking irrigation AND emigration is like a death sentence, though.

  28. #28
    De Oppresso Liber CitizenCain's Avatar
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    I doubt that's what he meant, but if he did he's still wrong. The problems created by tribalism in our modern world have nothing to do with how fertile one's soil are, and in fact, tend to get worse as an area gets more prosperous.
    "I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them."

    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

    -- Thomas Jefferson: American Founding Father, clairvoyant and seditious traitor.

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    There have been many books and theories written on the subject which conclude that location is important. You just have to look at per-desertification North Africa which it was until about 2,000 years ago. There were prosperous cities that just disappeared because the rivers went away and rainfall ended. Same goes for cities in ancient mesopotamia where the rivers changed course.

    Of course now that we already have this sort of behavior, I agree that even if the landscape suddenly changed into a green and disease-free paradise, it would in some cases take many generations before this "tribalism" stopped significantly affecting the course of events.

  30. #30
    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    Thank you for your responses so far. For the record, this thread was indeed inspired by the notion brought up in recent threads that you shouldn't play games when the deck's stacked against you, eg. a national lottery. I was wondering if that held true in the case of the lottery of life. Loki's observation about the world collapsing without optimism may be relevant here
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

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