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Hypothetical Question About Life's Hardships & Rewards
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Big Mac
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Mar 11, 2010, 04:21 PM
 
I think the following hypothetical question is intriguing:

You have two choices in front of you put forth by a higher power: You can either a) choose to continue living your life as it is currently, with all your accumulated wisdom but also with the scars of past hardships and the potential difficulties of future hardships yet to come, or b) choose instead to start all over again as a baby, except in that life you will be born into wealth, perfect health (or close to perfection, at least from a genetic standpoint) and few obstacles to material happiness. Assuming you would be reborn the same year of your original birth to the same parents, and world history would transpire essentially the same way, which option would you choose?
( Last edited by Big Mac; Mar 14, 2010 at 06:53 AM. )

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
The Final Dakar
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Mar 11, 2010, 04:22 PM
 
"History would transpire essentially the same way."

World history, or the events of your life, only now with rich Corinthian leather and copious amounts of Grey Poupon?
     
Big Mac  (op)
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Mar 11, 2010, 04:32 PM
 
World history. . . your personal history would be dramatically altered due to your upgraded economic status. Your "rich Corinthian leather" and "Grey Poupon" description made me though.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
The Final Dakar
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Mar 11, 2010, 04:34 PM
 
Well, unless you've had a terrible life, are languishing in economic ruins, or really enjoy gambling, I don't see how someone doesn't choose A.

(Mandatory "Shoulda been a poll" comment)
     
turtle777
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Mar 11, 2010, 04:44 PM
 
I'd pick B).

I'd then hope that I would make the choice to use the wealth to help others, more so than I was able to under A).

-t
     
Laminar
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Mar 11, 2010, 04:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
I'd pick B).

I'd then hope that I would make the choice to use the wealth to help others, more so than I was able to under A).

-t
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The Final Dakar
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Mar 11, 2010, 04:52 PM
 
Gambler.
     
turtle777
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Mar 11, 2010, 04:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
I'd pick B).

I'd then become a Democrat and would make the choice to use OTHER PEOPLE'S wealth to help others, more so than I was able to under A)
For Laminar.

-t
     
Spheric Harlot
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Mar 11, 2010, 05:10 PM
 
I'd rather be happy than wealthy, any day of the week.
     
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Mar 11, 2010, 05:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
I'd rather be happy than wealthy, any day of the week.
I'll take both please.
     
Captain Obvious
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Mar 11, 2010, 05:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
Well, unless you've had a terrible life, are languishing in economic ruins, or really enjoy gambling, I don't see how someone doesn't choose A.


I'd pick B just to be rid of student loans.

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The Final Dakar
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Mar 11, 2010, 05:20 PM
 
But how do you know you family doesn't eventually end up disowning you, leaving you to have to get student loans to go through college again?
     
Captain Obvious
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Mar 11, 2010, 05:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
But how do you know you family doesn't eventually end up disowning you, leaving you to have to get student loans to go through college again?
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
Assuming you would be reborn the same year of your original birth to the same parents
that's how

Barack Obama: Four more years of the Carter Presidency
     
The Final Dakar
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Mar 11, 2010, 05:24 PM
 
So that guarantees the outcome? That's absurd.
     
Laminar
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Mar 11, 2010, 05:25 PM
 
You'd have to define "same parents." Same name/genes? It could be assumed that people with money would grow and develop differently. They could have raised you differently, or they could have different values than they do in this life, leading to being disowned.
     
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Mar 11, 2010, 05:33 PM
 
Option B sounds nice. Me and my family would be rich? Awesome.
     
ort888
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Mar 11, 2010, 05:42 PM
 
Do we retain the knowledge from our previous life?

Honestly I've had a pretty hardship free life. My parents are great and I've always been healthy and I've been surrounded by good people. Growing up we weren't wealthy but there was never a lack of necessities. Solidly middle class... just with a very thrifty (borderline cheap) dad.

That said, a complete do-over on my childhood might be fun.

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mattyb
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Mar 11, 2010, 06:17 PM
 
I'd really really like to know what its like to be very very rich. I mean, fly to a ski resort in a private jet for the weekend rich.
     
Big Mac  (op)
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Mar 11, 2010, 06:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
I'd pick B).

I'd then hope that I would make the choice to use the wealth to help others, more so than I was able to under A).

-t
That's a sensible choice, but there's also a distinct possibility that growing up with so much wealth and privilege could turn you into a Paris Hilton type.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
turtle777
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Mar 11, 2010, 06:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
I'd rather be happy than wealthy, any day of the week.
Money can't buy happiness, but neither can poverty. (L. Rosten)

-t
     
The Final Dakar
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Mar 11, 2010, 06:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
That's a sensible choice, but there's also a distinct possibility that growing up with so much wealth and privilege could turn you into a Paris Hilton type.
Exactly.
     
ort888
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Mar 11, 2010, 07:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
That's a sensible choice, but there's also a distinct possibility that growing up with so much wealth and privilege could turn you into a Paris Hilton type.
That's Hawt.

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Oisín
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Mar 11, 2010, 07:07 PM
 
Define ‘wealth’. Are we talking upper-middle-class, white picket fence, run-of-the-mill wealth; or are we talking Hilton family wealth?

If it’s the former, I’d probably choose B, just to try it all again (though I realise I’d have no memories of my ‘earlier’ life). We weren’t exactly wealthy when I was little, but I never lacked for anything, and by the time I was a teenager, we were relatively well off.

If it’s the latter, though, I’d stick with A. I have no desire to be filthy rich. I like being able to live without constantly worrying about money, but I don’t see the attraction of useless riches. If I had insane amounts of money, I’d probably give most of it away to someone who could put it to better use than me, and keep just what I needed to live comfortably. But I wouldn’t want to go through a childhood with that much money.
     
Big Mac  (op)
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Mar 11, 2010, 07:13 PM
 
Interesting response, Oisin. Personally, I could always find something to do with excess riches.
( Last edited by Big Mac; Mar 11, 2010 at 07:19 PM. )

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turtle777
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Mar 11, 2010, 07:19 PM
 
Thought about it some more.

I think B) is actually more of a challenge.

I like challenges

-t
     
Big Mac  (op)
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Mar 11, 2010, 07:22 PM
 
How do you figure b) is more challenging?

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Oisín
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Mar 11, 2010, 08:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
Interesting response, Oisin. Personally, I could always find something to do with excess riches.
I’m sure I could probably manage to waste it all away on unnecessary, useless things, too. But I have a feeling that would turn me into someone I’m not interested in becoming. If I have no actual use (as opposed to ‘just for the heck of it’ use) for money, I see no reason it having it, and having it would very likely turn me into someone I have no desire to become (viz., Paris Hilton).

Of course, this would be judging by the morals and values that I’ve accumulated in this life, the one I’ve already lived. If I were to live anew under different circumstances, I dare say my morals and values would accumulate differently, too, and I’d have no such objections to being such a person. But taking that into consideration in answering the question here would sort of make you end up in an infinite loop of going back and forth between A and B, so I won’t.
     
turtle777
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Mar 11, 2010, 08:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
How do you figure b) is more challenging?
Being a rich spoiled asshole is not hard.

Being rich and with good character sharing your fortune is an achievement.

-t
     
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Mar 11, 2010, 08:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by Captain Obvious View Post


I'd pick B just to be rid of student loans.
But you have J. D. after your name; you should be rich and successful, unlike us common "ordinary" people.
     
downinflames68
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Mar 11, 2010, 09:47 PM
 
I guess I would choose A, only because any rich kid I've known who grew up around wealth turned into a spoiled little shit that didn't amount to much.
     
dedalus
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Mar 12, 2010, 10:46 AM
 
Because I’m proud of my scars and my hard‑earned wisdom, I was going to choose A, but now that I’ve reflected on it, I’ve changed my mind. I’ve always acted like an aristocrat even when I didn’t have any money, there’s no reason to assume I’d be any different just because I’m rolling in it.
     
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Mar 12, 2010, 11:36 AM
 
Originally Posted by dedalus View Post
Because I’m proud of my scars and my hard‑earned wisdom, I was going to choose A, but now that I’ve reflected on it, I’ve changed my mind. I’ve always acted like an aristocrat even when I didn’t have any money, there’s no reason to assume I’d be any different just because I’m rolling in it.
Judging from this years list of billionaires, the majority aren't aristocrats. Nouveau riche baby !!
     
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Mar 12, 2010, 12:44 PM
 
Why does everyone assume having money suddenly turns one into a complete dick? I know plenty of people that want for nothing yet are perfectly fine humans.

All this 'suffering makes you a better person' is just a lame attempt to justify being miserable.

Option B for me! I can only imagine how much more I could live and enjoy my life if I didn't have to devote the majority of my waking hours in the quest for money.
     
Laminar
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Mar 12, 2010, 12:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by Atheist View Post
Why does everyone assume having money suddenly turns one into a complete dick?
It's very very clear that no one said anything remotely close to that.
     
analogue SPRINKLES
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Mar 12, 2010, 12:54 PM
 
I'll take the rich and dysfunctional option please.
     
olePigeon
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Mar 12, 2010, 12:55 PM
 
I don't have to be rich, but I wouldn't mind starting over assuming I kept my memories from the previous life. There's always something you could've done better in life.
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The Final Dakar
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Mar 12, 2010, 12:55 PM
 
It's been alluded to.

The assumption comes from the coverage the media gives the rich. MSM agenda!
     
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Mar 12, 2010, 02:30 PM
 
Option B please, because poverty sucks no matter how you slice it.
You can do a lot of good when you have money, just as long as you keep your head straight - but not so straight that you become a total douche.
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The Final Dakar
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Mar 12, 2010, 02:31 PM
 
You're living in poverty?
     
osiris
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Mar 12, 2010, 02:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
You're living in poverty?
Early in my life I lived in great poverty, if that's what you mean.
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olePigeon
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Mar 12, 2010, 02:47 PM
 
Great Poverty is the name of his yacht.

(I kid! I kid!)
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osiris
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Mar 12, 2010, 02:49 PM
 
lol that's funny, olePigeon. I had a 34 ft boat named S.S. Titanic - maybe the next one will be "Great Poverty".
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The Final Dakar
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Mar 12, 2010, 03:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by osiris View Post
Early in my life I lived in great poverty, if that's what you mean.
Not exactly, but thanks for the clarification.

Of course, there's no guarantee you'll have henchman in your new life. Our mutual hatred, however transcends parallel realities.
     
osiris
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Mar 12, 2010, 03:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
Not exactly, but thanks for the clarification.

Of course, there's no guarantee you'll have henchman in your new life. Our mutual hatred, however transcends parallel realities.
How about a few Great Henchmen - or are we sticking with the one involuntary intern, again? But without a doubt our mutual hatred transcends many things, including reality.
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Mar 12, 2010, 04:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
or b) choose instead to start all over again as a baby, except in that life you will be born into wealth, perfect health and few obstacles to material happiness.
History often leads us astray.
     
DrTacoMD
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Mar 12, 2010, 05:19 PM
 
A, easily. My life's been interesting and challenging, and I'm fairly happy with how it's turned out so far. I don't think adding a significant amount of money would make me any happier, so why bother? The possible benefits don't outweigh the risks.
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Hawkeye_a
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Mar 14, 2010, 06:42 AM
 
I remember reading somewhere something that went like this.... it is in times of hardships that we grow the most.

I havent had a particularly hard life, but there were relative hardships. And as much as i didn't like those periods as they transpired, i felt stronger/wiser when i came out on the other side...ready for the next challenge more confident and more prepared i guess.

To take away all those "challenges" would make me a very different person at the current point in my life...psychologically, spiritually, etc. And to choose option 'B' would sort-of mean that i regret what i've been through thus far, which i am not. I think the lessons learned and confidence gained from overcoming challenges are priceless, and probably adds a richness to this whole experience/experiment(life) of mine. IMHO.

So i'd go with option A.

Cheers
PS>> Thanks BigMac. I enjoy such questions that send me down different avenues of thought. Also brought back fond memories from philosophy and professional ethics classes .
     
Big Mac  (op)
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Mar 14, 2010, 06:52 AM
 
You're welcome, Hawkeye. This thought experiment just occurred to me during my musings. I thought it was an interesting hypothetical worth sharing, and I'm glad others agree.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
   
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