Original, Unmodified Speech #

March 22nd, 2017 (started January 31st, 2017, title known earlier, January 30th, 2017) #

To Recap: The meaning of life I found is to have meaningful connections with other human beings.

The dilemma: Why should I be willing to sacrifice my life to save a single human connection, when living I have the potential to form many more human connections?

My answer: If I was not willing to make sacrifices for someone else, then I would not truly have a meaningful human connection with them. If I was not willing to sacrifice my life for a very strong human connection, then it wouldn’t have truly been a very strong human connection. That means that if I were to continue my life without the sacrifice, then, to me, future meaningful connections lose some of their meaning.

In other words, all future and current human connections would mean significantly less, and to someone with my meaning in life, this would be irreconcilably devastating.

Now to today’s topic: objectifying people. What do I mean? You view people as objects, not as conscious human beings. Try imagining someone else thinking. Put yourself in their mind, and try thinking as if you were them. It’s hard to explain, but the point is that it isn’t possible. They have their own values, hobbies, opinions, memories, etc., that while you might be able to predict, you can’t fully experience. Here’s a bad attempt at an example:

You all know that I enjoy playing Go, and sometimes it just pops into my head. If you were trying to think as if you were me, you might be able to say, “hm… Ofek enjoys playing Go so maybe he’s thinking about it now,” and then start thinking about Go as if you were me, but you wouldn’t be able to just pretend you were me and then suddenly, without consciously thinking about it, have Go pop into your mind.

What I’m trying to say is: As human beings, we draw our thoughts from all our previous experiences and morals, and while you may be able to predict others’ thoughts, we can’t naturally experience them, or attempt to simulate them.

And of course, I went way off on a tangent. Your mind cannot store every other person you meet as a complete person, it has to simplify everything to be manageable. When you say that someone is nice, you classify them as someone nice (duh).

What’s interesting is how quickly you start classifying people—you start categorizing people into groups from the moment you meet them, you don’t need to get to know them to start classifying them. Let me give you an example: If I’m waiting at a stop sign, and then about to go, when the person to my left doesn’t wait his turn and cuts me off, I’d be pissed off at them and think of them as assholes, just plain awful people.

On the other hand, if I was driving with someone to Safeway, and then they suddenly started coughing up blood, I’d drive as quickly as possible to the nearest hospital, not giving a damn about the traffic laws. Everyone who I cut or disrespect in the road is going to have a bad impression of me, and think of me badly, without caring to inquire as to the reasons behind me cutting them off.

I hate to leave you like this, but I have to end this at some point. The takeaway is—you simplify everything you see, including people, and categorize them (often subconsciously). The implications of this will be covered in a future article. Until then, try thinking of the implications yourself, it’s very possible you will discover something that I overlooked.

Next post #

In the next post, we talk about why to do justify doing ‘altruistic’ things, given the reality that we are all egoists.