Thursday, December 08, 2005


I've got a good life. I've got a beautiful, smart, loving, wife. I go to one of the premier law schools in the country. I have the entire usual set of appendages for a person of my gender. And today I even saw a living advertisement for Mexico's Tourist industry (no kidding, they had a giant "Mexico in a box" parked in front of Chinatown's Wok'n'Roll restaurant. It was a giant glass box on the back of a truck bed in which there were a painful number of heat lamps supplying needed warmth to what looked to be a sizeable chunk of actual Mexican land mass, complete with soil, vegetation, tiny insect, arachnid and reptilian species. And, oh yeah, a girl in a bikini top, and two other people who looked like they were engaged in either a) rock climbing on a horizontal surface, b) the most passive game of tug-o-war ever, or c) attempting to create a human zipline in which they would "glide" down the line by walking. The big sign on the truck said "Travel to Mexico!", and when I walked by the same spot an hour later the truck was gone, and I am left to assume that it simply took its own advice.)(Of course, this raises the obvious question: what kind of gas mileage do you get if you're driving Mexico?)(I'd wager it's still better than a Hummer).

Anyways, the point here is, my life is pretty dang good. But be that as it may I find myself plagued by the recent dearth of comments here on Philosofickle.

Look folks, I may seem successful on the outside, but I'm truly a very desperate man. My entire concept of self worth is tied up in those comments. And now that finals are here, I need as many comments as you can reasonably spare, so that I have something to distract me from the awful reality that is my impending failure of Natural Resources Law. But they've got to be real comments, no namby-pamby crap. Or you could just all update your blogs too. But that must be in addition to commenting, not instead of commenting.

Anyways. I figured the best way to encourage everyone to comment was to specifically solicit those comments with a great mind-bending question. Something along the lines of "who would win in a fight, Joe Frazier circa 1970 or an angry horde of fire ants?"

But not that question, though you can feel free to answer it as well, if you'd like. No, no, here's the question de jour:

You have two options. The first option is to live the best day of your life over and over again. It has to be your best day after you turned 16, because before that age "best" really probably turned on what presents you received, and nothing is going to top that Big Wheel when you were four. So we need to go with a certain maturity, and I'll say 16 is as good a cut-off as anything else. So, you can live this day over and over again, almost like the movie Ground Hog's Day, except it's your best day. And you've still got free will - you can change things around if you want, but you'll always be guaranteed that the result will be good. That doesn't mean you'll necessarily get the result you hope for, but it won't be so bad that it ruins the goodness of the day. No matter what, that goodness will be preserved. You will live this day over and over, always completely happy, going to bed knowing that you've just lived the best day of your life.

The second option is to live the normal course of life, always moving forward, always building on what has come before, and always with an uncertain knowledge about the future. The twist here is that you know you will never again have another day which approaches anywhere near your best day ever. You'll still have bad days, and you'll still have good days, but that goodness will be only "average".

So there's your options. A life of repetitive but certain happiness or a life of uncertain possibility but no chance of anything more than average happiness. Which do you choose?

She's as bored as bored can be


Paolo said...

Yuck. It's not a good choice.. but it's an obvious one. I would rather have new, real experiences than even my best day over and over again. That would be a nightmare,

How about you

Nate said...

Well, I would take the new experiences hands down. One reason is that doing anything too many times would drive me insane, no matter how great it is, and another reason is that I have never really had a "best day of my life" that amounts to a hill of beans, so I would cling to the hope that there is still something better out their waiting to happen to me, or have me happen to it, as the case may be. Dont get me wrong, I have had some good times, but no single day stands out in mind as worth living over and over again. On the other hand, there are plenty of "Worst days of my life" that I cower in fear over the prospect of having to live over. I hope you realize that it is expected that you will answer your own question as well. There may come a day when I update my blog, when hope vanishes from the hearts of man, but today is not that day. Charge! Yeah, I recently rewatched The Return of the King. Good luck with the studying and testing Matt. I have my last final today, in good ole Molecular Genetics and then I am free for the Holidays.

Matthew B. Novak said...

Apparently I didn't make myself entirely clear. The point of the first option - to live your best day over and over again, is that it will not be a nightmare. Every day you will go to bed satisfied and happy because you have had the best day of your life.

And, in the second example, there is no hope that something better out there is waiting to happen. You are assured a life of it never getting better.

So does that change anyone's mind?

Matthew B. Novak said...

I should also say that, while the repetition of the day may be annoying, it will never take away the overall happiness of the day. The annoyance won't be so bad that it isn't offset by the happiness.

the marvelous patric said...

okay, so here's really what the question is.... life as we currently know it, or heaven? i mean, seriously, isn't that really it? basically the new experiences is what we have now, and our perfect day over and over again, always happy...well that's heaven.
allow me to counter with a little something first....

in my darker moments, i once considered what if this life as i know it is hell? (this wasn't just a bad day, but more like a bad decade that lead to this thought.) let's face it.... it very well could be hell because things were making me very unhappy, and the idea that maybe if i'm good enough some day gave me just enough hope to keep going through the bad, but there's always that little nagging doubt in the back of my mind that, what if there is no heaven, at least for me. what if this is the best my existance is? okay, so then take it a bit further. if this isn't hell, if my only option out was to be (hypothetically) suicide, as a catholic, that's a mortal sin. i'm going to hell officially, right? well, if i'm miserable and i take suicide out and end up in hell, it's gonna be at least as bad as where i'm at now! it's, at best, a latteral move! of course, this would lead my neurotic self to contemplating, what if i did already committ suicide, and _AM_ in hell and didn't even realize it? i'm still stuck! what a good anti-suicide rational, eh? hell is a given, and it's at least as bad as life. fortunately, by that point i was so fascinated by thinking through it, i cheered up, made some comics, and ate some food. food is good. years later, here i am.

so, back to matt's question... life as i know it, which, if it sucks, would be at least as bad as hell, even if i don't realize it, or heaven? i'll take the perfect day over and over again. altho, i always think i was happiest when i was 15, so i'd probably want to pick a day from then. sorry, matt. i broke your rule. but, it makes me happy so i get to.

Matthew B. Novak said...

Hmm, I guess you do get to break the rule then. You got my there.

Personally, if I had to answer the question, I'd take the angry horde of fire ants.

No, I think I'd pick the average at best new experiences thing. Though your rational is very strong Pat. I didn't think about it as Heaven - I guess I hope Heaven is better then my best days on Earth could ever be. But setting that aside, my thinking isn't because of the monotony of the repetitve option, or anything like that: it's that to me, life is it's own worthwhile experience. So even if you're miserable, so long as life itself is calling you to that misery, it's a good thing. I don't think we can equate happy and good, but that we too often do. That might seem crazy, but I think I'll stick to it.

the marvelous patric said...

..... how angry are the fire ants? and, are they angry at Joe Frazier? or, are they just angry about their lot in life in general? does Joe Frazier antagonize the fire ants? also, is this a planned fight, or, do the ants surprise him in a dark alley? are there any weapons involved? how many ants are we talking? ballpark. is there a queen ant involved, or is it only drones?

see, that question is a lot harder.

emnovak said...

hahaha. you whined about comments just after i made fun of you for not getting comments. loser.

Lady said...

No, no, here's the question de jour:
if you are going to do it in french, do it in french!!
Non, Non, Ici est la question de jour
there you go
no the answer of course is this: yeah it would be nice to live the best day forever, but really if you still allow for free will and you expect one results one day and get different results wouldn't that be less than the best?!? and would some of the best days be better?
so basically the question is obsolete.
but i would choose new experiences. Cuz i mean half the good part of the "best day ever" is all the other crap you've had to deal with. If you only ever had good days it would be like something out of stepford wives-- for real. and you know what, yoiu only do get one best day anyway. and even when you think you've had that best day, you may not have had it, it may still be sometime off in the future.
but that's all i got well that and i vote for the fire ants, even if they weren't angry or a horde i would vote for them,cuz hey-- they're fire ants

Thinking Fool said...

I've had many wonderful days, but I think it'd be tough to pinpoint one as "the best" day ever. However, given that all the other days wouldn't approach the level of happiness on the best day, I think I'd actually go with living the best day in my life over and over again (assuming I could pinpoint one). It'd be nice not to have to go through agony, despair, i.e. with loved ones' deaths, world conflict, not being happy with the damage done when sitting on the toilet, etc. And, although the same day could be repetitive, you've indicated in your rules that the repetitiveness would not interfere with the enjoyment of the actual day. AND, I could still read a bunch of different books - rent a bunch of different movies - it'd be nice if life were on hold to catch up on things! So, I choose the Groundhog Day Option. Andie McDowell is purely optional.