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Which is better?

  1. Jan 27, 2005 #1
    This started as an old joke, but the more I think about it the more it makes sense, which in turn doesn't make sense:

    Someone asks a logician, "Which would you choose, half a doughnut or immortality?" To which the logician replies, "Half a doughnut. Nothing's better than immortality, and half a doughnut is better than nothing."
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 28, 2005 #2
    Personally I don't agree that nothing's better than immortality. But I'd still chose the half a doughnut because, for me, half a doughnut is already better than immortality.
  4. Jan 28, 2005 #3
    I'd choose immortality, because I would always wonder where is the other half of the doughnut.
  5. Jan 29, 2005 #4


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    it's purely semantics and the way you ascribe the word "nothing" as a noun.
  6. Jan 29, 2005 #5
    The phrase "Nothing is better than immortality" has two meanings:

    a) It is better to have nothing at all than to have immortality hence immortality is a negative thing.

    b) There is nothing that is better than immortality hence immortality is the best possible thing to have and is very positive.

    It is a play on words that exploits this.
  7. Jan 29, 2005 #6
    From a practical point of view, what would you want to do with immortality at the end of the world?
  8. Jan 29, 2005 #7
    Float to some other planet.
  9. Jan 29, 2005 #8

    The whole attraction to the idea of immortality is the idea that things will somehow pretty much remain the same as they are now. In other words, when people think of immortality they think of it in terms of their current experiences.

    I've thought about this a lot and to be quite honest I don't think I would want to live more than about a thousand years at the most. And even that is based on the hope that things won't change too drastically during that time. All of humanity might evolve away after time and I'd find myself as the only human living with creatures called gokins or something.

    Right now I wouldn't mind being given some sort of guarantee that I'll live for another 25 years! :approve:

    My health is already quite poor, and I'm not sure how enjoyable those 25 years will be with deteriorating health, but I'm hoping to find out anyway.

    So if I were going to be given immortality, I would need a whole lot of other guarantees to go with it.

    For, example,…
    1. I'll always be healthy
    2. My environment will always be fairly hospitable
    3. I'll always have some kind of living creatures for company (even if it's just animals)
    4. And finally,... Please tell me that immortality really does come to an end at some time in the far-far future. I'm feeling exhausted already just thinking about it! :yuck:

    That would be like a sentence of life-imprisonment in physical reality for an eternal spirit.

    Now, on the other hand, if by immortality you really meant eternal life in any form including spiritual, then I'd still say, "Gimmie the half a doughnut".

    Why? Because I'm already an eternal spirit and I don't need anyone else to give that to me. :rofl:
  10. Jan 29, 2005 #9
    I don't mean to be rude, but that just seems like a play on words, not logic.

    That is what I am talking about when I say "play on words"
    In seeking wisdom thou art wise; in imagining that thou hast attained it - thou art a fool.
    Lord Chesterfield
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2005
  11. Jan 29, 2005 #10
    Yes, it is a play on words.
  12. Jan 29, 2005 #11
    The first nothing is refereing to value or quality. The second nothing is refereing to quantity.

    In seeking wisdom thou art wise; in imagining that thou hast attained it - thou art a fool.
    Lord Chesterfield
  13. Jan 30, 2005 #12
    Well, I would chose half a donught any day. the very basic idea of immortality deprives the life of its joy.

    you are alive, and have tasks to do, you try to live life to the full. learn as much as you want, do as much as you can, because you know, that life is limited, and you have to make the most of your life. if life would never end, you would have ample time to do everything, which means that you will not be in any hurry to do anything, which in turn means that you would do nothing at all.

    by robbing something of its end, we rob it of its beauty, and what is left is only misery. so, end is a very important part of everything. and i personally feel that end it is more important that what all comes before it.

    just think, how would you react , if you found out that you have to work for food(the idea of money diminishes if there is no mortality) everyday, till infinity.
  14. Jan 30, 2005 #13

    that brings up a new topic of disscussion-

    what changes do you see in this world(in all spheres of life) if all human beings were to be immortal. o:)
  15. Jan 30, 2005 #14
    There'd be a hell lot more lethargy.
  16. Jan 30, 2005 #15
    Personally I found you're conclusions hilarious. Not only am I going to die, but I'm going to die relatively soon, yet I don't feel rushed to do anything in a hurry. Where does that philosophy come from?

    Now I have met people who are trying to cram as much experience as possible into their lives. But there are two schools of thought on that. One is that quantity is better than quality, and the other is that quality is better than quantity. I much prefer quality experiences, and imho you can't attain that by running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

    Knowing when I'll die, or whether I will never die would not change my behavior one iota. I don't base my daily experiences on what might happen tomorrow. I live in the now.

    The philosophy that you suggest here applies only to people who are troubled by anxiety.

    I don't see the connection between mortality and money. Do you mean that if I am granted immortality all of a sudden I'll be exempt from having to pay or work for anything?

    Ultimately what is money? It is what you use to obtain the things you need or want. I've personally cut down on my reliance on money as must as I possibly can. For example, I heat with wood that I cut myself for free (well almost free, I do use a chainsaw. :biggrin:) But the point is, that if I had money I would use it to pay for heat to keep me warm.

    So your saying that if I become immortal I'll no longer need to keep warm? (i.e. either pay for heat with money, or pay for it via the act of producing it myself which is equivalently - WORK!).

    Same goes if I want anything. I either have to buy it from someone else, or work to produce it myself.

    I honestly don’t see the connection between money and immortality. Why would money (or the need to put out work to get something in return) be irrelevant if a person is immortal? Do immortal people no longer have any wants or needs?

    Neither of the conclusions that you have posted make any sense to me at all.
  17. Jan 30, 2005 #16
    I don't think I could possibly become any lazier than I already am! :rofl:
  18. Feb 1, 2005 #17
    Now from where the HECK did you get that idea :bugeye:

    i never siad that. infact, what i said was exactly the opposite. i said that if you are immortal, then you'll have to earn throughout your life, i.e. till infinity :surprised

    again, you said that you believe in quality education, but if you have all the time in the world, even more that that, then why would you be in a hurry to do anything, and then the definition of hurry would also change for you. it is quite possible that doing anything even slowly would seem as hurry to you, coz time is relative :tongue: and what now seems like a lazy person to you will seem to be a person in a hurry as then you'll have a lot more time than you have now(i again say, infinite)

    such a life would be just like a journey to reach the horizon, no matter how exciting you might think it is, it will eventually turn out to be unbearable.
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