RADIO SHOW/AUDIO PODCAST
Solutions...with Courtney Anderson! (SwCA)
Episode 180 -
Originally aired 9/1/2014 9:00 AM -
JOYFUL ART OF BUSINESS! series -
"Would you rather be a pig happy or Socrates unhappy?”
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TALK SHOW EPISODE NOTES
In our JOYFUL ART OF BUSINESS™ series we explore how to combine the positive benefits of our professional endeavors (“business”) with the overall positive emotional return on our efforts (“joy”). The act of engaging in professional endeavors, in any capacity (i.e., as an employee, employer, entrepreneur, contractor, volunteer, paid, full time, part time, intermittently, etc.) is an expression of our ideas and creative talents (“art”). All of this is in furtherance of our mission to surpass our goals! Our episode today is, “Would you rather be a pig happy or Socrates unhappy?” (i.e., is ignorance bliss?)
1) Where did the show topic come from?
From a book written by John Stuart Mill. The book is titled, “Utilitarianism” and was first published in 1861.
From Frostburg University, “Is the high-strung and hardworking intellectual superior to the relaxed and benevolent airhead? Considering that high culture requires so much attention and effort, and that it does not seem to pay off too well in terms of sociability and contentment, is it really worth the price it exacts? This is the question that John Stuart Mill tries to answer in the second chapter of his book Utilitarianism (first published in 1861). In that chapter Mill offers the famous judgment (in favor of the New Yorkers, as it were) that "it is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied." Basically Mill contends that a highly cultured person is a happier person, a person who gets more pleasure out of life than an airhead--even if such a person experiences a great deal of frustration and dissatisfaction as a result of being educated and cultured.” (http://faculty.frostburg.edu/phil/forum/Mill.htm)
2) What is Utilitarianism?
From Stanford University, “Though there are many varieties of the view discussed, utilitarianism is generally held to be the view that the morally right action is the action that produces the most good. There are many ways to spell out this general claim. One thing to note is that the theory is a form of consequentialism: the right action is understood entirely in terms of consequences produced. What distinguishes utilitarianism from egoism has to do with the scope of the relevant consequences. On the utilitarian view one ought to maximize the overall good — that is, consider the good of others as well as one's own good.” (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/utilitarianism-history/)
3) Who was Socrates?
“Socrates, (born c. 470 bce, Athens [Greece]—died 399 bce, Athens), Greek philosopher whose way of life, character, and thought exerted a profound influence on ancient and modern philosophy.” (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/551948/Socrates)
4) Are pigs ignorant or intelligent?
It appears that they may be much more intelligent than previously thought! From the New York Times, “Pigs Prove to Be Smart, if Not Vain […R]esearchers present evidence that domestic pigs can quickly learn how mirrors work and will use their understanding of reflected images to scope out their surroundings and find their food. The researchers cannot yet say whether the animals realize that the eyes in the mirror are their own, or whether pigs might rank with apes, dolphins and other species that have passed the famed “mirror self-recognition test” thought to be a marker of self-awareness and advanced intelligence. […]
The finding is just one in a series of recent discoveries from the nascent study of pig cognition. Other researchers have found that pigs are brilliant at remembering where food stores are cached and how big each stash is relative to the rest. They’ve shown that Pig A can almost instantly learn to follow Pig B when the second pig shows signs of knowing where good food is stored, and that Pig B will try to deceive the pursuing pig and throw it off the trail so that Pig B can hog its food in peace.
They’ve found that pigs are among the quickest of animals to learn a new routine, and pigs can do a circus’s worth of tricks: jump hoops, bow and stand, spin and make wordlike sounds on command, roll out rugs, herd sheep, close and open cages, play videogames with joysticks, and more. For better or worse, pigs are also slow to forget. “They can learn something on the first try, but then it’s difficult for them to unlearn it,” said Suzanne Held of the University of Bristol. “They may get scared once and then have trouble getting over it.” […] an international team of biologists released the first draft sequence of the pig genome, the complete set of genetic instructions for making the ruddy-furred Duroc breed of Sus scrofa. Even on a cursory glance, “the pig genome compares favorably with the human genome,” said Lawrence Schook of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, one of the team leaders. “Very large sections are maintained in complete pieces,” he said, barely changed in the 100-million-plus years since the ancestors of hogs and humans diverged.
5) Doesn’t it create more unhappiness and dissatisfaction to engage in deep thinking and analysis?
From The Harvard Crimson, “[…] psychologist James Webb reports that highly intelligent people are more likely to suffer from what he terms “existential depression,” which entails struggles with certain basic issues of existence: mortality, freedom, isolation, and meaninglessness.” (http://www.thecrimson.com/column/who-what-and-wyatt/article/2013/2/22/Wyatt-depression/)
Or, perhaps not.
From Inc., “Ignorance Isn't Bliss, It's Oblivion
Today, one of the greatest obstacles to progress isn't ignorance but the illusion of knowledge, which, as often as not, is bound up in our arrogance and our reluctance to admit that we may not know it all. Real knowledge is as much about knowing the extent of your ignorance as it is about what you actually do know.” (http://www.inc.com/howard-tullman/ignorance-isnt-bliss-its-oblivion.html)
6) Why don’t some people desire knowledge (and prefer ignorant bliss instead)?
From NPR, “humans don't always behave rationally. Sometimes people will go to great lengths to avoid hearing bad news. Social scientists call this sort of behavior information aversion, or the ostrich effect (based on the old myth that ostriches bury their heads in the sand when they're scared).” (http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/07/28/333945706/why-we-think-ignorance-is-bliss-even-when-it-hurts-our-health)
Join me as we explore these questions in this mind-expanding show!
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