Monthly Archives: lokakuu 2015

Happiness Is a Warm Wallet

Normaali

Viikko 44


 

Motion: THB that there is no limit to how happy money can make a person, even if (s)he had a lot of it already
Role: Secretary (opp.)


Money has become a sacred cow, literally, of our times. Recently, a research group declared that money is instrumental in raising happiness. In the following, I state why this is so, but why the state of things is also artificial, detrimental and false.

First of all, the result was reached in the USA by a male-dominated team, who are working within the confines of the contemporary world. We know that these days money dominates everything, unlike in the past when there were counterforces at play. If the research had been conducted by female-led teams during the Cold War in Europe, the results could (and most probably would) have looked very different if not the opposite. Namely, the USA is known to put emphasis on monetary values, males tend to be bullish about money, and today is greedy, vacuous and competitive. The research team was headed by Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers at the University of Michigan.

Second, their team came to the conclusion and declaration that ”when the highest income class was $500,000+ a year, all respondents claimed that they were ’very happy’.” This is qualitative research, not quantitative, and even a single suicide among the highest earners might have revealed cracks in the armours of the bold and the rich; that not all was alive and well under the facade.

Namely, I can imagine why an income of over half a million a year brings happiness.
– The beneficiary can literally buy anything (s)he fancies in an ordinary store. Most items cost moderately, otherwise the poor couldn’t buy any of them.
– Because of wealth, any complaint others may have about the wealthy one will be aimed at things other than poverty, penury and misery. This would enhance one’s self-esteem.
– Thanks to a high income, the beneficiary may buy things such as guns, water, electricity generators, canned foods en masse and so on, giving an illusion of becoming emancipated from the intrusions in one’s life of the state, taxation and infrastructure. This kind of living can be practised at one’s summer or winter cabin, for example.

The latter reinforces a feeling of self-sufficiency and independence while helping to forget that usually most income-generation happens through the contributions of poor people. When the poor give their money to rich beneficiaries and through taxation to an infrastructure that enables all kinds of things, ”society” happens, as a matter of fact. Therefore, incomes of the highest orders of magnitude will just create a socio-cognitio-physical bubble that is especially contagious to the American mindset for entertaining a dream of a holistic rich independence. Elsewhere, it would be less appealing. Communist revolutions have happened everywhere else than on the North American continent. And it’s a matter of taste whether the Caribbean is part of North or Central America.

We, in Europe, have a more versatile perspective. Namely, one does not need €500K a year nor that warm bubble it creates to be and feel happy. The true sum is about a tithe of that, 50K. After that limit, our own talent, time and social relations with each other come to limit how we exist, interact and enjoy ourselves in this world. Our health, both mental and physical, is also affected by the lack of things of value other than money. No man is an island. The contrary caricature is the rich, AD/HD-riddled, autistic dilettante in any nation, North or South, East or West.


Puheen kesto: 5 min 5 sek
Arvio: * * ½. Puhe alkaa hyvin, mutta sitten se vajoaa omaan hieman vaikeasti avautuvaan ja tajuttavaan virtaansa. Erityisesti keskellä tehtävä koukkaaminen ns. tuomiopäivään varautuviin tyyppeihin on oikeastaan aiheesta harhautuminen tai aiheen vaihtaminen. Lopussa puhe taas paranee ja napakoituu. Lopputulos saa huonot pisteet mainitusta syystä, koska monet muut puheet ovat saaneet käänteisestä syystä hyviä pisteitä.

Perusteellista vai Perusteetonta II

Normaali

Viikko 43


 

Kun aloitin tämän blogin pitämisen, en uskonut sen jatkuvan niin säännöllisesti, tasaisesti ja yhtäjaksoisesti kuin se on tehnyt. Nyt on kuitenkin kulunut jo 1½ vuotta aloittamisesta, eikä loppua näy. Siksi tähän väliin kuuluu pitää ”erilaisuuden paussia” ja tehdä jonkinlaista suomalaista tekstiä väittelemisestä, joka on kiinni suuremmissa linjoissa ja väittelyn teoriassa.

Kausaation ja korrelaation välinen suhde on mielenkiintoinen suhde. Sillä voitetaan tai hävitään väittelyt, jos oikeus tapahtuu.

Korrelaatio on kyseessä olevan asian kanssa ylä- tai alapuolella olevaa samanaikaista toimintaa tai tapahtumista. Se ei ole merkityksellistä suhteessa siihen, mitä tarkastellaan, mutta se näyttäisi olevan sitä, koska se esiintyy samanaikaisesti tai samassa ahtaassa tilassa.

Kausaatio ei ole sama asia. Kausaatio on aikaisempaa tai myöhäisempää tapahtumista tai toimintaa, joka aiheutuu edellisestä tai aiheuttaa myöhempää. Jos pystyy tunnistamaan kausaatiota, on lähellä väittelyn ydintä. Kausaatiolla voi olla kunnioittava välimatka tai etumatka sitä edeltäneeseen tai jäljestävään ilmiöön, mutta sen ja ilmiön välisen linkin tunnistaminen on tärkeää.

Joskus kausaation voi järkeillä tai havaita, mutta muissa tapauksissa sen rekisteröimiseen tarvitaan tilastotiedettä, matematiikkaa, ulkopuolisten mielipiteitä tai sokeaa onnea.

kausaatio+korrelaatio
Ohjeeni niille, jotka eivät menesty väittelyissä on seuraava: menkää taaksepäin kausaatioketjua, kunnes löydätte ne syyt, miksi asiat tapahtuvat. Jos pysytte liian lähellä nykypäivän realiteetteja, löydätte enemmän korrelaatiota kuin kausaatiota. Tämän aikaansaamiseksi teillä pitää olla hyvä yleissivistys, mutta hyvää yleissivistystähän saa akateemisista kirjakaupoista, sanomalehdistä ja internetistä. Kyse ei ole mistään astrofysiikasta.

Kausaation ymmärtäminen vähentää tuntemuksia, sensaatioita ja fiiliksiä. Kun ihminen ei tiedä, mikä jonkin aiheuttaa, vaihtoehtojen määrä tuottaa erilaisia tunteita liittyen ilmiöön tai yleisesti. (Jos emme tiedä, mikä hakkaa ikkunaan, meitä pelottaa. Jos emme tiedä, kuka murhasi J. F. Kennedyn, meitä ahdistaa.) Kun syy selviää, tunteiden määrä alkaa korvautua järjen äänellä. Tämän huomaa väittelyissäkin. Korrelaatioryöppyjä suustaan suoltavat väittelijät ovat usein täysin tunteidensa vietävinä, kiihtyneitä, kiirehtiviä ja äksyjä. Kausaatio-”keihäästä” ei saa aikaiseksi ryöppyä, joten sen esittäjä on vastaavasti aina artikuloivampi, hitaammin puhuva ja selkeä-äänisempi. Pelkkä hänestä huokuva tunteen puute voi saada kuulijat kuuntelemaan, jos hän osaa asiansa ja tietää, mitkä sanat valitsee.

Kuunnelkaa siis väittelijöitä sillä korvalla. Jos he ”suoltavat” sanoja, heistä irtoaa todennnäköisesti vain korrelaatioita. Jos he eivät suolla, he voivat olla joko tyhjiä ja ujoja tynnyreitä tai kausalisteja. Tässä kohtaa autopilotti otetaan pois päältä. Kuunnellaan oikeasti, mitä hän sanoo. Sen jälkeen on aika päättää, oliko tämä kausalisti vai populisti, illan paras anti vai ei.

 

Letting Us Marvin Gaye the Night Away

Normaali

Viikko 42


 

Motion: THW allow for same-sex marriage unconditionally, changing all existing legislation at one fell swoop
Role: Minister (govt.)
Date: Dec 20th, 2014


In this speech as the govt’s minister I’m going to to defend and champion homosexuals’ right to a same-sex equal and legally binding marriage. I try to list as many reasons as I can in the 7 minutes I’m allotted just like everyone else (8 people in this case).

First of all, I have a number of proper or per-se reasons for allowing this ”unholy” union between man and man or woman and woman. The first one of them is cynical: marriage is already, by now, a ”broken toy” that does not interest the majority of sane heterosexuals. It provides two people with juridical shackles that have ramifications beyond the wedding vows in Las Vegas. Common-law marriage is virtually as good, and children are a nuisance. So, if gay people want to have that kind of trouble, let them have it. Young heterosexuals are going in the opposite direction, rather adopting lifestyles that remind of old gay San Francisco, such as ”fuck buddies” and Grnder (→ Tinder).

Second, being gay is not a crime nor an illness. This was established as early in this country as 1971, and 1981, respectively. If gay people have all the other signs and trappings of ”free citizens”, they should have the rest as well. Otherwise, it would look queer and perverted, from God’s perspective. The Christian God is not as vengeful as that of the Ottomans, Muslims or Jews. Remember that early Christians were killed as a sideshow to Roman gladiator battles in antiquity, for they were so ”soft”.

Now I’ll hop over to to the instrumental reasons or utilitarian reasons, but at this point I’ll allow questions on what I’ve just been preaching about, two at the maximum.

— (allowing questions for a minute)

Third, we in the Christian part of the world have already seen how two other pillars of the world of the cloth have fallen; namely, male priests have been allowed to marry (not so in the past) and female priests have been allowed in the first place (not so in the past). Consequently, what could solve it for the church would be that the three were brought to interact with each other. Let us have gay weddings officiated by female Reformist priests or grateful, married male Catholic priests. Since they have seen the mercy in the church, they’d be likely willing to pass it on to the liberal wing of the church in the absence of conservative forces. Gay weddings could be modest affairs, and little-attended events, but within the confines of the church nevertheless.

Fourth, I see gay couples as part of the adoption solution. There are far more children in need of great parents in the world than there are unfit adoption parents waiting in line. Waiting in itself tells about an earnest attitude towards the thing, as opposed to making babies on one’s own in the rush of the ”moment”. Children left out in the cold are far more likely to die and suffer than any given to functional adults of any shape or sort. I’m all for a ”machine” that receives babies from dysfunctional hetero adults at one end and gives them to all and sundry parents-to-be at the other end of its conveyor belt. In the past, it was often grandparents that raised kids into adulthood, so nowadays their place could be taken by gay non-relatives. Gay people may be promiscuous, but they would have to take care of an adopted child, anyway. It’s a commitment, and they understand that, like they understand their monetary commitments to their lenders and landlords. For all that, if gay parenthood failed, the child would be passed on to straight parents after a failed try.

I rest my case is here, and I hope that it convinced you. Thank you.


Puheen kesto: 5 min 7 sek
Arvio: * * * * ½. Puheessa mennään liberalismin nimissä erään ihmisryhmän ihmisoikeuksien täydellistä normalisointia kohti. Tätä kohti on menossa läntinen maailma, siinä missä muut laahaavat ajatuksineen perässä. Pisteitä ropisee kuitenkin ensisijassa hyvästä kappaleajaosta ja puheen pituudesta, joka jättää tilaa puheesta varmasti versoville kysymyksille, sekä selkeästä argumenttijaosta, jonka voi esittää vaikka nyrkki pystyssä sormiaan lasketellen.

To Nato or Not to Nato

Normaali

Viikko 41


 

Motion: THW change Finland’s defence doctrine in this century for the better
Role: Minister (govt.)
Date: Mar 14th, 2014


When talking about the NATO, emotions run high if not wild. The acronym is such a potential well for argumentation that here I want to focus on it impassively and bring the discourse to a head analytically.

In Finnish thinking on defence, the going rationale has been to think of Russia as the grizzly bear it was/still is, and try to steer clear of its path. If you think in terms of a real bear, how do you avoid or prevent a bear attack? First, you can play dead whenever you are faced with a bear in close proximity. Another means is to roam the woods with a posse with guns and mow down the occasional wandering bear. In time, the bear population would become such that it was rarer and rarer to encounter one in the wild, due to the scarcity of the numbers and caution on both sides. The only trouble is that Russia is a gun-toting bear in herself – and a menace not only to us but a host of nations around her.

Finland has, so far, historically, opted for the play-dead tactics. Her defence is built on methods that worked during the Second World War but would be now out of time and barely up to scratch. It’s not plausible that soldiers of today would go to the Eastern Border/front armed with tents, knives, bayonets, rifles and pea soup. That, however, is still the foundation of Finnish armed forces. Furthermore, the heavier artillery equipment that we use can be traced back to imported Russian arms from the 1960’s.

We have to think about defence in another way. It should be a federal rather than a national thing. As defence federations entail fighting in OTHER PEOPLE’S wars and not just those of our own, the right solution would be the federation whose wars we’d be willing to back up.

We can start ruling unions in and out. First of all, a defence union among EU member states is out of the question. Militarily, the EU is weak and astray, and we would be obliged to fight other people’s wars at any border of our quite a wide continent if we chose to do so. Secondly, the NATO is not much better. Its membership is so scattered that we’d end up in strange places of our familiar globe if we chose it instead.

Therefore, the only option that I consider wise to join in is with our nearest national relatives and the only direction that we know an attack would not come from: Denmark, Norway and Sweden. To that I’d add the buying of military equipment from the US and NATO, as their value base is also something that any of these countries share and practise even today widely. If we already fly F-18 Hornets and use other state-of-the-art gear, why couldn’t we buy more arsenal from the same people? That would make us NATO-compatible and technologically but not technically NATO.

World War II was a chance for Finns to show that we have a sense of national unity that overrides differences in class, province and gender. We did not crumble in the face of hardship and too loose a national foundation, as some more bitterly humiliated nations and peoples on other continents have sometimes done. That was 70 years ago. A generation has been born, raised, and taken through life to retirement during that time. We couldn’t fight any new war with the same emotion, weaponry, politics and personnel. We need new a navigation and political moves that are the least redundant. In my view, this would be accomplished through a Scandinavian defence union shored up by American defence material.

Thank you.


Puheen kesto: 4 min 30 sek
Arvio: * * *. Puheessa käsitellään aktuellia asiaa, josta ei saa puhua silloin, kun asia on aktuelli, eikä siitä puhumiselle ”ole tarvetta”, kun asia ei ole aktuelli. Kyseessä on siis poliittinen tabu, jonka voi puhkaista tai jättää rauhaan. Puhe ottaa ärhäkästi kantaa, mutta siinä saattaa olla väärä mielipide. Nykytiedon valossa siinä ehdotettu ehdotus ei olisi sen parempi kuin vääriksi katsotut vaihtoehdotkaan.

 

What Goes Up Doesn’t Have to Come Down

Normaali

Viikko 40


 

Motion: THB that fashionable diets play a role in national health
Role: Minister (govt.)
Date: Sep 16th, 2013


Dieting is a constant topic in the media. Lots of magazines are sold thanks to the public’s insatiable appetite for the subject, even if not a single person could lose weight in the short or long run. I will cast my nets into these waters and see what the catch is going to be.

First of all, let us look at the extant body types and via them what kind of weight loss is possible. According to the physiognomist Ernst Kretschmer (1888–1964), body types range from the pyknic, who is chubby and pear-shaped, to the athletic, who is muscular to the asthenic, who is thin, slim and without muscle power. When we talk about dieting colloquially, we refer to an athlete, who wants to become an asthene and lose the few pounds that separate a mediocre build from a thin build, or to a pyknic, who wants to shed dozens of kilos to become a person with a mediocre even frame. In other words, we can talk about two kinds of weight loss:
a) the medical kind, which leads to a better, healthier life quality and
b) the medial kind, which reflects the common people’s desire to be as good-looking as possible or as thin as one’s neighbour.

The trouble with dieting thus is that when we talk about weight loss and going down, these two types get tangled up. Thereafter, priorities, methods, aims, means, choices, and timetables all become an unholy mess!

For the sake of clarity, let’s concentrate on the ”novel” 5:2 diet by Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer that boils down to fasting for two days in a week on a caloric diet of 690 calories a day in return for being able to eat normally (at 2000 calories a day, or more) on all of the other weekdays. Since this diet is not extreme per design or realisation, it is clearly an example of a diet that aims to change an athletic person into an asthenic person for aesthetic reasons. It is kind of nice, balanced, not dangerous, and shouldn’t therefore be put down by the medical community, even though some people have brought up that anorexics and bulimics do not prosper under that regimen. Consequently, doctors should only be concerned about diets aiming to transform people in the medical way (see above), cases that they know and can best help. To medial weightlosers, self-help is the best kind of help.

But how to fast right on Mosley’s diet? The diet will fail and fall on its face, like most diets do, if people don’t grasp one fundamental thing: they can’t decide in advance what days they get to fast on (and on which ones to let go). If they do so, they will only think about food on those earmarked days and on every day of the week for that matter. The key is to leave food out of the day when it can be done spontaneously, because there’s something better to do rather than eat determinedly or by decision. In other words, when the one on the diet notices that (s)he hasn’t eaten all day, (s)he shouldn’t even try to during the rest of the day (but instead go to sleep and wake up hungry the next morning). End result: one day of absolute success.

5:2 is merely a sane and moderate reinvention of the wheel. It has already been proved in lab conditions on lab rats that caloric restriction lengthens the lives of its subjects. Leaner populations tax the overall resources less than indulgent populations, and that is one key to their survival. Because of this, we can safely state that fashionable diets can indeed be healthy and good to the general wellbeing of citizens out there.


Puheen kesto: 5 min 3 sek
Arvio: * * * *. Tässä asiassa kaikki eivät ole asiantuntijoita, joten ehkä lattia täytyy antaa niille, jotka joko ovat a) laihoja tai b) laihduttaneet menestyksekkäästi. Ilmoittaudun ensimmäisessä ryhmässä. Puheessa käydään läpi yksi käsitesarja, yksi kahtiajako ja yksi suhteellisen uusi dieetti, joten se aika kivasti menee hierarkkisesti yläkäsitteistä alaesimerkkiin niin, että kuulija pysyy mukana ja tuntee puhujan puhuvan asiaa.