Howardism Musings from my Awakening Dementia
My collected thoughts flamed by hubris
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Tensions? What Tensions?

You may have heard of this "test". I took it a few years ago, and had registered quite a few tensions. The tensions are created by giving a list of "statements" (cliches mostly) that can be contradictory. Believing in two conflicting ideas can be a source of tension, and if nothing else, could stimulate some good conversation.

I've been redoing this test (and some others that are also online) after picking up a book based on this research called Do You Think What You Think You Think? by Julian Baggini and Jeremy Stangroom (editors of Philosophers' Magazine).

First time around, I had clicked the "It is always wrong to take another person's life", but really, I don't believe that. In an ideal world, that would be so, however, defending yourself, your loved ones, or your society conflicts that adage.

In the book (and I believe on the website) is a test of your logic ability, and this goes right along with Trent's treatment of my last question on the environmental impact of a carnivorous diet.

If man-made global warming is really happening, then the polar ice caps will be melting.
The polar ice caps are melting.
Therefore, man-made global warming is really happening.

I caught the logical fallacy of that statement, but of course, most of the environmental issues are based on this sort of logic. I would think that most scientists who are trying to curb carbon emissions are not doing it based on this argument, but are doing it based on:

The polar ice caps are melting.
Therefore, global warming is happening.
One cause may be human carbon emissions, deforestation, etc.
Since we can affect these, we ought to just to be sure.

Kantian oughts like these often change lifestyles… and not always for the easier, and can be painful at first. This leads to one tension that I have, and actually want to have. Take a look at these two questions:

The environment should not be damaged unnecessarily in the pursuit of human ends


People should not journey by car if they can walk, cycle or take a train instead.

In the second question should is an ought , and while I actually try to live that sort of life, my human lifestyle can only make so many sacrifices. Sure, I'm a vegetarian, swapped my light-bulbs out, and work from home, however, I did those for other reasons. Allowing me to environmentally gloat is just icing on my lifestyle cake.

Are there any tensions that you might want to share? Are these tensions good for someone to think about? Are they necessary to remove in order to have better mental health?

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