Thursday, July 28, 2005

A Nice Life: Is It Worth It?

Today at work I broke the dishwasher.

Some would be proud of this achievement. Not me. I just felt like a complete, drooling idiot. I'd put the wrong kind of detergent in the machine: "dishwashing liquid" rather than "dishwasher liquid". As a result, after a while large amounts of white foam started frothing over the front door of the machine and wouldn't stop even after I'd switched it off. Much moppage was required. The room smelt of lemon.

An argument I've been having with various people recently: is having a "nice life" really what should be done with money? To live in a nice house, spend the extra money to buy top quality brands instead of "saver" varieties, no longer buy Christmas cards at £1 for 100, travel first class sometimes on trains... it seems like the easy way out, an escape route. Much better to save, and to continue saving, for one thing, one ideal. To pour all that money into something you really believe in, or something that you want more than anything else in the world. How can you be satisfied with yourself if you don't? My mother's argument is that there's nothing much that she wants in the world; if anything, all she wants is to have a nice life. In which case all that money would be much better given to people who do have ambitions and ideals, like me.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

I should really eat my hat

Well, wow. I don't want to risk this blog turning into an intelligent commentary, but just look at this.

I have to say that I had absolutely no idea about all of this when I wrote my previous post, and it makes me feel all warm inside to know that I correctly predicted a random controversy (well, sort of).

Are vitamin supplements dangerous? Read this article.

So: yes, they probably are. Pity really that this is an EU directive and that I am therefore fundamentally opposed to it. Maybe the EU will ban all cars that aren't on a list of 112 positive cars. That would increase my respect for those damn pen-pushing money-laundering bureaucratic culture-crushing jet-setting whiskey-drinking suit-wearing bastards in Brussels, or Strasbourg, or wherever the hell they are these days (on holiday in Tuscany, most likely). Damn them all to hell.

Whatever happened to that sweet but oh-so-random story I started? Replaced by *gasp* current affairs. How the mighty have fallen. I'm really hungry but it's only 11.45.

Sunday, July 10, 2005


I'm back from Germany and on fine form, although like all recent summers it's far too hot and stuffy (global warming?).

Various conversations have provoked me into thinking that I ought to put something that I really believe on here. Now, at the moment I'm not sure I believe anything. It was a long-held opinion of mine that opinions in general cause far more harm than good. Another belief of mine is that reason is fundamentally flawed because of the axioms from which everything must initially be derived; reason itself cannot prove these. As a result, reason can be used to prove anything as long as appropriate axioms are taken.

There we have two lovely contradictions: it is my opinion that no one should have opinions, and logic dictates that all logic is flawed. But far from doing this just for the sake of pretentiousness (moi?), I have a very specific purpose in mind with these ramblings: in essence, it's a disclaimer. My beliefs are far from consistent, and, as many of you will know, when I meet people who are supremely confident in their own beliefs I either hate them (in the majority of cases) or idolise them. Yes, this means that I hate a lot of people. Both the contradictions I mentioned lead to this conclusion: it is a bad thing to have beliefs, both because I believe so and because reason dictates that any belief reached through reason is only as valid as any other. A lot of people (the people I hate and idolise) seem to believe the opposite: that it is fundamentally better to believe something, and that because they have carefully reasoned through their belief (and they assume that others haven't!) it is superior to all others. This is a circularity. They believe it because it is correct. It is correct because they believe it.

Wow, even my preamble turned into a rant. Impressive, no? But let's not waste any more time. Let's get onto the meaty stuff.

Cars are one of this world's greatest evils. I do not drive and do not want to learn to drive. I seriously hope I will never learn to drive, although as in all matters I may change my mind. My dad also doesn't drive, and he's been accused of not driving simply to make a point. This is exactly what he is doing.

Cars damage the environment more than pretty much anything else on the planet. They are responsible for more deaths than pretty much anything else on the planet. To cause all this damage people pay vast sums of money.

Cars are bought because everyone else has cars, but cars are not necessary to live, no more than are mobile phones or vitamin pills. All three are solutions to a need; in the first case, transport, in the second, communication, and in the third, nutrition. All three are relatively modern inventions that many now consider indispensable simply because they deal with their respective needs more efficiently than previous solutions. The human race can manage perfectly well without any of them.

What's my point? People don't consider the cost of what they do, up to a certain point. Vitamin pills haven't been proven dangerous as far as I know, and there isnt even any clear evidence that mobile phones are, but even if they were as dangerous as smoking (a case in point) and drinking people would still do them. Cars are far more deadly than either. Why can't people just be more sensible? I suppose it comes down to the classic choice: a lifetime of pleasure and no regard for its effects on you or anyone else, or a life of consideration, trying to live the best you can. Everything seems to boil down to these diametric oppositions.

Lunch calls. More rants later.