DX4 Topic 7 - Is There Life After Food, Drink and Sex?

Saturday 26 September 2020, 3pm - 5pm

Venue: - Cafe Brunelli, 187 Rundle St · Adelaide

About Focus Questions: a) Please read them before you come to the meetup. Think about them so you have more than "instant opinions" to offer. b) Feel free to add more focus questions. c) THE FOCUS QUESTIONS ARE JUST A MENU TO CHOOSE FROM. From this menu we can discuss whatever seems interesting. d) Focus questions are not intended to push one viewpoint! You can adopt any position you wish. We actually like friendly disagreement - it can lead to deeper understanding

Focus Questions

1. Life in Adelaide tends to be rather comfortable. The natural environment is good. Food, drink and (probably) sex are celebrated in sprawling family suburbs and a generous amount of cafe dining, pubs & entertainment. Is anything missing?

2. What are people really looking for in a discussion meetup like DX4? It seems that the pleasure of exploring ideas is not enough (indeed many people seem to find competing ideas aversive). If I run a discussion meetup in a place where there is no food or drink, most people won't come. In fact, some are even choosy about attending if the venue is not 'classy' enough (as I learned trying to run the meetup in a food court). An attempt at Zoom discussion meetups also died.

3. Food, drink and sex are a primal source of happiness. In one way or another, their consumption or pursuit drive most human (and animal) activity. Yet, in one way or another, they also cause more unhappiness than anything else. Many religions push the philosophy that unhappiness can be restricted by limiting the desire for food, drink and sex. What is your view on this? Why?

4. Suppose you wake up one morning in a place like Damascus or Beirut and find that your partner and children have been killed, the apartment you were finally able to buy has been blown up, your workplace has been destroyed. What would you aim for now? [This is a terrible question that has confronted millions of people throughout history]

5. How firmly is your social class established, and the people you are able to meet, controlled by where you go to eat and drink outside your home? Do people really go to expensive restaurants for the quality of the food, or for the class of people they hope to be seen among?

6. How would we change as a species if eating, drinking and having sex were set by impersonal regulation and enforced by robot overlords? [Recall that this has been exactly the situation historically in the world's many slave cultures]

7. Has self indulgence (measured in waistlines and SUVs) brought greater happiness? What are the downsides of easy living? Could Australians survive without importing immigrant and temporary labour to do the heavy lifting? My impression over the decades has been that Australian culture has become increasingly self-indulgent, especially compared to the desperate struggle for survival during the Great Depression of the 1930s, and terror of near invasion and death from imperial Japan in World War !!.

8. Some religious institutions promote celibacy as a way to focus followers' minds on things spiritual. Has this been a credible strategy? Historically, certain kinds of scholars have found religious retreats a good, undisturbed venue for research and scholarship. Is there any evidence that this is s still viable?

9. Why are places that specialize in knowledge, like universities, seen by most people as pretentious and 'impractical'? Humans are natural predators, both amongst their own kind, and across other species. The predation was originally driven by food and sex (i.e. species survival). But actual survival now depends upon much more complex knowledge.

10. Why is there this division and resentment between advanced knowledge workers who need to ask deep questions and the general public? Why do you think that most people are content with magical thinking? For example people learn how to push buttons to make things like smart phones and cars operate, but most really have no interest in HOW these things work. That's magic. They have no real idea how modern economies or governments work. That's magic. Food, sex, a family are important to them, but not how things really work. Many of them resent the small minority who do know how things work. They don't mind the rich, but they don't like people who seem to have more knowledge than them. Is there a way around this dilemma?


Extra Reading

Quora.com [many responses] "What is the point of life when we just eat, drink, have sex and die?" @ https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-point-of-life-when-we-just-eat-drink-have-sex-and-die 

Quora.com (2020) "What is the saddest truth about smart people?" - various answers on Quora on at https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-saddest-truth-about-smart-people 

Zoe Williams ( 20 June 2017) "From the Rescuer to the Aggressor – understanding the 10 types of human". The Guardian @ https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/jun/19/dexter-dias-10-types-of-human-fgm-child-soldiers 

Kerwin Rae (Jul 13, 2018) "How do you know if you are in the right herd?" Kerwin Rae website @ https://www.kerwinrae.com/how-do-you-know-if-youre-in-the-right-herd/ 

Jim Taylor (1 November 2010) "Popular Culture: What It Means to Be a Badass - What does it take to be a badass today?" Psychology Today @ https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-power-prime/201011/popular-culture-what-it-means-be-badass 

Manoush Zomorodi (October 26, 2017) "What Boredom Does to You - The science of the wandering mind". Nautilus @ http://nautil.us/issue/53/monsters/what-boredom-does-to-you

Rutger Bregman(9 May 2020) "The real Lord of the Flies: what happened when six boys were shipwrecked for 15 months - When a group of schoolboys were marooned on an island in 1965, it turned out very differently from William Golding’s bestseller" The Guardian @ https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/may/09/the-real-lord-of-the-flies-what-happened-when-six-boys-were-shipwrecked-for-15-months#Echobox=1589017302

Derek Thompson (November 2017) "Google X and the Science of Radical Creativity - How the secretive Silicon Valley lab is trying to resurrect the lost art of invention" The Atlantic @ https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/11/x-google-moonshot-factory/540648/ 

Eugene Soltes (Dec 14, 2016) "The Psychology of White-Collar Criminals - A researcher reflects on conversations with nearly 50 convicted executives about why they did what they did". The Atlantic @ https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/12/pyschology-white-collar-criminal/503408/

Atul Gawande (June 2, 2018) "Curiosity and What Equality Really Means - The following was delivered as the commencement address at U.C.L.A. Medical School on Friday, June 1st, 2018". The New Yorker @ https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/curiosity-and-the-prisoner

Caren Chesler (March 1, 2018) "BURNING OUT: WHAT REALLY HAPPENS INSIDE A CREMATORIUM - Four decades ago, less than 5 percent of Americans were cremated. Now that figure stands at nearly 50 percent. This is how cremation actually works, and the story of what happens to a culture when its attitudes about memorializing the dead undergo a revolution". Popular Mechanics @ https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/health/a18923323/cremation/

Justine Toh (14 April 2019) "What monks can teach us about binge-watching bouts of distraction - Almost two millennia separates the earliest monks from modern secular Westerners today — and yet the two groups have more in common than you might think." ABC @ https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-04-14/monks-teach-about-binge-watching-netflix-distraction/10976528 

Poppy Noor (12 Oct 2019) "Why I can still be best friends with someone whose politics I despise - We’ve always disagreed politically, but is a homogeneous viewpoint really an informed opinion?" The Guardian @ https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/oct/12/why-i-can-still-be-best-friends-with-someone-whose-politics-i-despise 

David Epstein (12 July 2019) "Generalise, don't specialise: why focusing too narrowly is bad for us - The 10,000-hour rule says intense, dedicated practice makes perfect – at that one thing. But what if breadth actually serves us better than depth?" The Guardian @ https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/jul/12/generalise-dont-specialise-why-focusing-too-narrowly-is-bad-for-us

Lone Frank (May 3 2018) "Can You Overdose on Happiness? - The science and philosophy of deep brain stimulation.
Nautilus @ http://nautil.us/issue/60/searches/can-you-overdose-on-happiness

Joe Pinkster (April 26 2016) "Why So Many Smart People Aren’t Happy - It’s a paradox: Shouldn’t the most accomplished be well equipped to make choices that maximize life satisfaction?" The Atlantic @ https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/04/why-so-many-smart-people-arent-happy/479832/ 

Deborah Levy (24 March 2018) ‘What’s the point of a risk-free life?’ – Deborah Levy on starting again at 50 At 50, two decades of stable family life fell apart. In this extract from her memoir, the novelist recalls finding strength in the chaos – and a new voice" The Guardian @ https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/mar/24/whats-the-point-of-a-risk-free-life-deborah-levy-on-starting-a-new-life-at-50

Michael Simmons (Apr 5 2018) "People Who Have “Too Many Interests” Are More Likely To Be Successful According To Research" Medium @ https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelsimmons/2015/08/06/the-one-trait-that-elon-musk-benjamin-franklin-and-marie-curie-have-in-common/#5c790f49130f 

Nathan J Robinsone (March 14, 2018) "The Intellectual We Deserve - Jordan Peterson’s popularity is the sign of a deeply impoverished political and intellectual landscape…" Current Affairs @ https://www.currentaffairs.org/2018/03/the-intellectual-we-deserve

Thomas West (2019) "Why do some geniuses end up poor?" Quora @ https://www.quora.com/Why-do-some-geniuses-end-up-poor 



Index of past discussion topics & questions: http://thormay.net/unwiseideas/DiscussionTopics/DiscussionIndex.htm

Convenor : Thor May thormay@yahoo.com Personal website (legacy) http://thormay.net
Articles http://independent.academia.edu/thormay  (.. about 147 articles by Thor)


Is There Life After Food, Drink and Sex? (c) Thor May 2020 

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