Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

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Geese v. Lampon

Making slow-but-real progress towards moving. Sooner or later, I'll hopefully have a summer sublet arranged; that should be sufficient for me to figure if/where/how I'll be staying there. I gave notice at work (job will end in the beginning of July, although I hope to be partly moved by then). I'm hoping to inform my current landlord as late as possible so I'll have the most flexibility in moving out. Oh, hey, if anyone wants to assume my lease in SqHill, let me know. It's about $600/month, near the park, probably best considered a 1-person apartment with a large kitchen.

The Random Distance Run 2011 results are up. Everyone was surprised that this year ended up being a half-mile sprint (the collective groan from the track after the second die was rolled was amusing). I'm slightly disappointed in myself for misjudging how far I could hold a sprint; I could've started earlier and gotten a better time. I ran this barefoot, and there was cold rain during the race. I don't know if that sped me up or slowed me down. I could compare it to my first RDR 7 years ago; there I ran about an 8.2 minute mile (in a 2 mile race) where here I ran a 6.2 minute mile. That's not really a fair comparison given the lengths involved though, even though I know I'm in much better shape.

In a recent post on another person's blog, I surprised myself by explaining that I understand other people through their quirks. A bit more on this:

The intuition: character and specifics of another person are best seen through their quirks. If there are topics that make them livid or depressed, or about which they're irrationality, these hint at what's beneath what they present to others. If their upbringing was unusual (missing parent, sibling with a long-term illness, etc), I might be able to catch a glimse of their life-narrative, and that's the kind of understanding I want to have of people. I realise that this is only rarely something people consciously share with each other (too personal? too much vulnerability?), but it's what I reach for if I like or am interested in someone (I don't mean this in the romantic sense, although it covers that too).

Someone too-perfect is either someone whose cracks and bruises I haven't seen yet, or some theoretical person who has no such bruises. This makes me suspicious (and maybe a bit frustrated) if I am otherwise inclined to like them; I expect life to make us all a bit broken, and seeing those jagged edges on others helps us feel better about our own. Sure, I could attempt to like someone just by knowing their hobbies and listening to their words, but in the long-term that's tough. I am a curious person and some part of me is always building and testing elaborate theories about the mental states of those around me. If I were to not look for that depth, it'd feel almost like I'm objectifying them.

On the other hand, if other people don't see things this way, maybe I'm taking intimacy that's not offered, especially if I put together someone's relationship to their jagged edges in ways they're not ready to face. Perhaps this is a reason people don't talk about this kind of thing; between objectification and intrusion, one is bound to be stepping on someone's toes if one reveals one's state. Walking Schrödinger's Tightrope by keeping our mouths shut might be for the best.

I've been meaning to write about Euthanasia (gets into some legal theory, and might be kind of a raw/messy set of ideas):

My thoughts about Abortion and Euthanasia stem from the same perspective on life/death. I feel that under most circumstances it's an injustice to end the life of a sentient being without permission. Abortion is acceptable before the fœtus is at all sentient, and because gestation is a slow process of growth towards sentience, I hold that as the brain of the fœtus develops, it slowly acquires moral significance. My intuition is that ending that life does not acquire the full moral character of murder until sometime after birth; the beings involved are not sentient enough to count as persons yet even as they're human.

For humans who are or become irreversibly sufficiently mentally impaired/brain-dead, they may cease to become morally significant persons, and become effectively objects. When recognised as such, society may reasonably stop giving them the consideration due humans.

Open question: can/should they become property? We might be inclined to allow people to designate their body as property of a loved one (or institution) if/when they cease to be a person, but I don't see a reason we *must* permit this; people don't own their bodies as property when sentient (nobody does), so their idea that they can pass it on is permissible-not-required.

It follows from the above that should someone become irreversibly nonsentient, society should not generally continue to expend resources to keep the body alive (if the body is pregnant, that might be a reason to keep it alive for a time).

Cases of extreme pain divide:

  • For those sentient and able to communicate, they should be permitted to end their life or not.
  • For those sentient and unable to communicate, I don't have a position on this but would likely accept a variety of legal stances
  • For those no longer sentient, it would probably be a kindness to end their life, although I don't know how the wishes of those close to them should be considered
General principle:People should be permitted to end their life whenever they choose, and to enlist the help of whomever they choose in that act. To avoid legal messes, help from others should be documented as well as possible. It would be bad social policy for people to be able to end their life as part of a contract; any contracts that would reward people for ending their lives or contractually bind them into consenting to that should be nullifiable in part or whole by the legal system and should by policy be cancelled in a way as to penalise any attempt to bind people that way (for example, a "A will pay B's family $10k if B lets A end B's life, and by signing this B agrees that doing so is voluntary" contract may be reniged by B at any time while A is still bound - this ties on another general principle, below).

General principle: Continuing ConsentSome categories of perogatives may be assignable by contract but may be recovered at will (contrary to that contract) with the rest of the contract still binding as if that perogative had not been recovered. These are effectively limits to the ability of contracts to bind later behaviour. I expect contracts normally to only require consent at the time of agreement, but for these topics they require continuing consent on one or both sides for some of their provisions to hold. This is a distinct category from things that are invalid on-their-face in a contract, in that the intent to consent should be present when the contract is signed in the former, while in the latter it is acceptable to deal in bad faith on certain topics (for example, parts of a contract that require a spiritual belief or nondisclosure-potentially-against-the-public-interest are invalid on their face and it is acceptable to deal in bad faith on those topics).

I intend to talk about this area of jurisprudence more in the future; apologies if:

  • this is confusingly worded
  • you see no reason for these categories to be separate
  • the reasoning behind this is unclear

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