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Thoughts For Thursday: Ten Questions I Have…

February 2, 2012 · 22 comments

in Commentary, Thoughts For Thursday

I was born in 1967.  Television was always a part of my life, along with cars and many other modern conveniences.

I have often wondered though, if human life was obliterated today and started over from scratch, what would it be like? How would the new world look? (We are removing religion from this conversation, this is all theoretical and for conversational purposes only.  Also, as part of the obliteration, all material things that are in the world now disappeared.)

  1. Would automobiles be invented one day?  Or, would some other form of transportation have been invented that was even more efficient than cars?
  2. Would electronic communications exist as they do today?  Cable TV?
  3. Would sugar and processed foods dominate diets yet again?
  4. Would gold still be the ‘standard’, or would some other commodity be of higher value?
  5. Would body piercings and tattoos be popular?
  6. Would clothes evolve again from conservative to more ‘revealing’?  Or, would modesty be tossed out the window and clothes wouldn’t even be necessary?  (Except in colder climates, of course.)
  7. Would people get married?  What would the family unit look like?
  8. What sports would be played, if any?  Or, would nobody even care about competition?
  9. Would prejudice exist, or would everyone be treated equally from the very beginning?
  10. Would there be more or less crime than there is today?
Obviously, I will never know the answers to my questions, but I often wonder about those issues.  I even chuckle sometimes when I think about how much money people spend to watch sporting events, when really, it is all about a ball going through a small hoop (or some variation).

Do you think that even better things would exist if our thinking wasn’t somewhat confined by the way our world operates today?  Have you often wondered what human kind would look like if we started all over again?  Or, do I just have too much time on my hands?

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Krantcents February 2, 2012 at 2:43 pm

There are many things that were invented in the last 10-20 years never existed before. iPod, iPad, light weight laptop, smartphones just to name a few. Would the world be different? I think we are constantly changing. Whether it is a new invention or how we think, each generation adds to the mix.
The reason we are willing to pay so much for sports is because it is a form of entertainment. People are willing to pay obsene sums to be at an event whether it is sports or live entertainment.

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Kris February 5, 2012 at 5:20 pm

It amazes me how much people are willing to pay for sports, when you think about sports at the most basic level: a ball going through a hoop, through goalposts, in a tin cup, etc…

There definitely have been a lot of innovations in my life time, but many have been based on previous innovations. I just wonder what would appear if we started from scratch.

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Squirrelers February 2, 2012 at 5:59 pm

Good questions, I think that human nature is what it is, and we might get to the same place we’re at now – or something close to it. Who knows though…sometimes I wonder how random occurrences impact the course of things going forward. Taken in that light, maybe some past random occurrences could have gone differently, thus leading us in a different path?

This concept can go pretty deep if one wants to go that direction. I better stop now 🙂

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Kris February 5, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Sometimes my brain just wears out when I think about things like this too much. It is kind of senseless since I will never know the answers, but you just never know where your brain will take you.

I look at the random occurrences in my own little world and where they have taken me. If you think about it on a much greater scale, who knows what could have happened?

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The Biz of Life February 3, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Sounds like there is a science fiction novel waiting to be born somewhere in these thoughts.

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Kris February 5, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Maybe I will dump blogging and become an author instead? The books would have to be pretty short though or I would lose focus!

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First Gen American February 3, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Along those lines…do you think as much innovation would have happened without America and without capitalism? I think governments do play a much bigger role than we’d like to believe. I mean immigration to America was a means to self select the scrappiest, most risk taking optimists of the world. I really think the makeup of our founding fathers shaped innovation to what it is today.

There are indigenous people out there that are still living the same way that they have been hundreds of years ago, so I really think that bringing all these wild and creative people together all in one place just brewed innovation and progress.

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Invest It Wisely February 4, 2012 at 11:15 am

Definitely, the importance of having good rules cannot be understated. It’s a form of soft technology that has played a crucial part in the modern development of the world, and the high living standards many of us enjoy today.

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Invest It Wisely February 4, 2012 at 11:15 am

Good incentives might be more accurate!

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Kris February 5, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Good incentives definitely help, along with tax breaks!

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Kris February 5, 2012 at 5:24 pm

That is a very interesting point. We also have a lot of land here and also great natural resources, which probably made an impact too.

I think Capitalism/Competition both play a huge role in innovation. We are seeing that even more now that we have a global economy. You can’t rest on your laurels and sit back, because now, someone is always breathing down your neck trying to win the race!

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Invest It Wisely February 3, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Garh… closed the window by accident!!!

I was just writing that… if you believe in the multiverse hypothesis, then space is infinite, and everything that can possibly happen, has happened somewhere. If you believe in the quantum multiverse hypothesis, then every random folding of quantum fluctuations which results in us making different choices… also leads to alternate parallel universes with every possible choice that we can make. Who knows what’s going on in these other realms of existence? In another universe, I didn’t hit that X by accident. 🙂

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiverse Check it out… pretty mind-blowing stuff!

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Kris February 5, 2012 at 5:36 pm

OK, my brain just exploded from reading that wikipedia article.

I would love to visit some of those parallel universes. I wonder if I think that in my other universes, wondering what I do in this universe…

The Big Bang Theory and the thought that all that we are started from such a small particle just confuses me and makes me shake my head!

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Miss T @ Prairie EcoThrifter February 4, 2012 at 11:12 am

I always pause to take a moment to appreciate where society has come. Even just think of a telephone. It still amazes me. Or take the lightbulb. What we have been able to do over the years is fascinating.

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Kris February 5, 2012 at 5:37 pm

It is absolutely amazing when you think about technology. I laugh when I see an old mainframe computer. I remember working on those and never would have thought about having a laptop that could store so much information, let alone the internet.

What will the next 50 years bring? Who knows, I am guessing it is something I am not even capable of imagining.

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Laura Vanderkam February 4, 2012 at 11:19 am

Researchers talk about something called the existence bias — basically our belief that because something exists now it will have some large role in the future. One obvious example was the social problem of horse manure taking over city streets. Problem solved! No one frets about that now. There’s something similar in this thought experiment you’re doing. Would there be something more efficient than cars? Maybe. Or something a lot less efficient. Or maybe people wouldn’t move around much at all. Is the wheel and axle intuitive? Most likely areas without animals that could carry burdens wouldn’t have had much use for the wheel and axle, so who knows if anything remotely car-related would have been invented if some variable was changed…

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Kris February 5, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Without cars, would we all be thin? Would suburbs even exist?

It is interesting because some things are obviously instinctive- the sucking of a newborn, sleeping, putting things in the mouth, etc. However, you raise an interesting thought, are other things instinctive that we don’t even realize?

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Don February 4, 2012 at 7:21 pm

Would prejudice exist, or would everyone be treated equally from the very beginning?

I think it would be a tribe think like the native Indians. There will always be competition, it’s what keeps us alive (unfortunately).

I play out similar thoughts in my head too. What if instead of cars, there was something that didn’t require paved roads… would that be awesome in itself? Instead were we would just float through the air somehow… Then again, with the internet, who need to even leave their house (lol, just joking).

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Kris February 5, 2012 at 5:46 pm

I have always wanted to float! I actually have a lot of dreams where I fly around.

As a kid, I did think that living like the Jetsons might actually happen,but so far it hasn’t. (I would be all for pressing a button and dinner just showing up.)

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Roshawn @ Watson Inc February 5, 2012 at 7:58 pm

These are interesting questions. Pondering such things is always a fun exercise. I’ll put away the cynicism and say by virtue of hindsight things would be better. I don’t know exactly which of these would change though 🙂

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