“Jeg kan ikke holde ud at tænke på, at livet går så hurtigt, og jeg ikke lever fuldt ud.”
“Der er aldrig nogen der lever fuldt ud, undtagen tyrefægtere.”
“Jeg er ikke interesseret i tyrefægtere. Det er ikke noget normalt liv. Jeg har lyst til at rejse ind i baglandet i Sydamerika. Vi kunne få en fantastisk tur.”
“Du Jake,” han lænede sig frem over baren. “Har du aldrig den fornemmelse af at hele livet går, og du får ikke noget ud af det? Er du klar over at du allerede har levet næsten halvdelen af den tid du har?”
“Jo, engang imellem.”
“Ved du at om cirka femogtredive år er vi døde?”
“Ja, hvad faen, Robert, hvad faen.”
“Det er alvor.”
“Det er i hvert fald en af de ting jeg ikke bekymrer mig om.”
“Det burde du gøre.”
“Jeg har haft nok af at bekymre mig om i min tid. Jeg er færdig med at bekymre mig.”
“Ja, jeg ville nu gerne til Sydamerika.”
“Ærligt talt, Robert, det hjælper ikke at rejse til et andet land. Det har jeg prøvet altsammen. Man kan ikke komme væk fra sig selv ved at flytte sig fra et sted til et andet. Det duer ikke.”
I’m with Mankiw on this one. To me, to compare the utility of those who have never been born with those who have been born does not make any sense. Also, I think there’s a big difference between never having been born, and having been born and committing suicide.
Caplan’s position is that we, by not committing suicide, reveal that humans in general prefer existence to non-existence, and that those not yet born would therefore prefer being born to not being born. But as I see it, we can’t conclude anything of the sort. What we know is that people who have already been born in general prefer life to death. Two problems arise. i) Maybe people who are already born have preferences that are different from those who have not yet been born. Maybe the very act of being born changes your preferences systematically. This question leads to the second problem: ii) The life and death comparison is not what we’re interested in here. What we’re interested in is instead the question of existence vs. non-existence. There’s no way we can answer this question, as none of us has any experience when it comes to non-existence. The non-existence option is simply not available to us, it was taken from all of us the moment we were born.
Death and non-existence are two very different things. They are not equivalent. Non-existence is a difficult concept to grasp. Asking what non-existence feels like is a little like asking what was “before” the concept of time even existed (which is, incidentally, what we ask about when we pose the question of what was “before the Big Bang”). We don’t know.
…well, one of them at least: Watching Nigel Short beat the crap out of random GM’s on playchess. From a game played two minutes ago:
Nigel Short-Chris Bhajarangi
20.c5 … Qxc5,
21.dxc6+ … Kh8,
22.cxd7 … Rad8,
23.Nf4 … Rxd7,
24.Qe1 … Nd3,
Excellent chess! Short had 2.19 left on the clock (it was a 3 minute + 1 sec. increment game), and it only took him 3 seconds to find Nxg6. I’d wish he’d defeated Kasparov in 93, taking into account how many different world champions we’ve seen the last few years, to think he’s never had the title is just depressing.
Well, let’s just put it this way: Wikipedia is great!
I am somewhat interested in (modern) military history, and look where I ended up recently. From one of the articles:
“A major problem with the Tiger was its very high production cost. During the Second World War over 40,000 American Sherman and 58,000 Soviet T-34s were produced, compared to 1,355 Tiger I and some 500 Tiger II tanks. The German designs were expensive in terms of time, raw materials and Reichsmarks, the Tiger I costing over twice as much as a contemporary Panzer IV and four times as a Stug III assault gun.”
If we are to believe the numbers provided in the wikipedia articles, the Germans did produce more than 9000 Panzer IV tanks and roughly the same amount of Sturmgeschütz III – and almost half of the T-34’s were not produced until 44-45, so the production ratios were perhaps not as skewed as it might sound from the quote above, at least not until the end of the war.
Det er altid dejligt at vide, at man gør fremskridt, og på et område fik jeg i dag en meget tydelig indikation af, at jeg har udviklet mig: Jeg bankede i morges for første gang nogensinde en FM i et lynskakparti (2+0). Nej, ikke ved at vinde på tid i en tabt stilling – slutstillingen var 3 bønder + tårn + springer for mit vedkommende, modstander havde 1 bonde + tårn + løber tilbage. Lækkert!