Monday, May 21, 2012

Chapter 27:Getting [it] done. This might be offensive.

“What is moral is what you feel good after, and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

Serge & Ernest (2 Geniuses at a bar)

This is a piece that I requested to a very good friend of mine. It started out with him trying to tell me a secret, which he didn't ever get around to telling at the time.

But, it was one of the most revealing conversations I've ever had with someone about myself. It went beyond what is written here, but this was a sample of it.

This isn't all exact, and a lot of it is paraphrased. I may or may not agree with some of the things said in this, but that doesn't really matter. It's what was said, more or less.

First of all, I'm a busy man. Not because I have a long list items to do, but because I don't want fill my day with meaningless errands that are not beneficial to myself. I was asked to do a small excerpt, and I'm doing it. Why? I'm not entirely sure. Why not? I'll let you decide. I was commissioned for a short entry because of a series of simple conversations that put me in a impressive light. One, in particular, started with me pointing out a characteristic that is often less than favorable (see attached speech) and then admitting that I envied that particular trait. He was flattered, and moreover intrigued. He had talked to me previously about his blog and the increasing audience and their involvement. Me, not daring to turn down an opportunity to offend so many people at once, decided to take time out of my "busy" day (I'll get around to you later, porn) and write a page.

Honest: Free of deceit and untruthfulness; sincere.

Honesty, is a dangerous, but powerful tool. I've seen my father cry and act out in anger because I answered a question honestly. It was a question he asked every time I had the grace of his presence. The question of religion. I don't mean this as a tattle on my father for not liking my life choices because his reaction was, what I want to say, based in an honest concern for myself. At first, I took it as disappointment, which for me, as a son, is utter failure. As a son, I'm a failure, which is to me, is a success. Sons are supposed to inherit their father's possessions, beliefs, ambitions, friends, and, if you ask Sigmund Freud, even their wives. I add the final to emphasize the ridiculousness of this notion of creating carbon copies. I'm not even saying I'm an exclusion to the rule. I one day hope to reproduce so that I can make a smaller idol of myself, hopefully with less flaws and more strengths. So why am I so adamant about expressing my failure as a son? Is it so hard to conceive that my father is imperfect and does not portray my image of my future self? No. Am I acting out to get the attention I was deprived from? Hopefully, not, but I'm not a psychiatrist. As soon as I hear a good suggestion from my dad, and it's in my best interest, as seen from my point of view, and I turn it down, just to turn it down, I'll let you know.

And now, a conversation that occurred between me and Greg Page, also known as "The Speech." This is not the full speech, the real one was much longer and more in depth.

Me: "Greg. I have a dark secret."

Greg: "Really? What is it?"

Me: "I want to tell you. Believe me, I do. This is a secret that I have not told anyone, but you would have the best perspective on it."

Greg: "Why me?"

Me: "Because you are one of the most [messed] up people I know. You really are. Do you take the sacrament every week at church?"

Greg: "Yes. And I never miss church."

Me: "Even after committing an act that would otherwise prevent you to in accordance with the church?"

Greg: "Yeah, maybe. Depends"

Me: "You do these things and you rationalize them with yourself not because you enjoy being wicked, not because you are rebelling, but because you have to. You NEED to do those things. You will go crazy if you don't do those. If you had a choice before you and you had to kill a man and you knew all the rational behind it, you could do it, and all you would have to say is, "you gotta do what you gotta do." and that is scary."

Greg: "So, what are you trying to say?"

Me: "I'm just saying you've got balls."

Greg: "Okay, cool."

Me: "Please don't hurt me."

I am a consequentialist.
My philosophy is that the end justifies the means.
It means that the benefits from something outweigh the harm done by the process. For example if somebody cured cancer, but had to kill 1 cancer patient to find the cure, they might say that curing cancer made the loss of 1 life to save many worth it. Of course, the family of the dead patient (and the legal authorities) might see the matter differently.

 The only right thing to do is to accomplish the task at hand. To me, it seems wrong to leave it undone.  

If the reasoning is sound, the only thing that matters is making it happen.

I think this is part of an interesting personality trait that may or may not explain the way I think and work.

Social dominance orientation (SDO) is a personality trait which predicts social and political attitudes, and is a widely usedsocial psychological scale. SDO is conceptualised as a measure of individual differences in levels of group-based discrimination and domination; that is, it is a measure of an individual's preference for hierarchy within any social system. The concept of SDO as a measurable individual difference is a product of Social Dominance Theory.

I think we'll talk more about this on the next one. 

Now, excuse me while I hop on a plane to Denver...then Salt Lake...

The Oilfield Romantic


  1. Interesting. I have a consequentialist-type question for you: If you had to choose between killing 100,000 Indonesians so your lover could live or killing your lover so that 100,000 Indonesians could live, which would you choose?

  2. Colonel, you pose an interesting and valid question.

    I must consider and answer this conundrum from a few points of view, not only from the standpoint of a consequentialist.

    In such an extreme (and far fetched) case, I'd choose the indonesians, for purely selfish reasons. I'm pretty sure I'd go straight to hell for choosing my lover over the poor people... it's kind of a choice between being a hero or being hated for all eternity.

    And what woman could live with a man who was responsible for the death of 100,000 people, albeit in exchange for her own life?

    The scenario becomes more interesting when we get down to 10 or 5 indonesians... the line becomes less and less defined.