This is a mini-series of comics about a naive but curious ten-year-old boy who pesters a crude but wise old man while he sits on the steps to their dingy New Jersey apartment building trying to read the newspaper.
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An Old Man From Jersey Explains Life
- The meaning of life
- How to grow up
- What came first, the chicken or the egg?
- Does everything happen for a reason?
- Does free will exist?
- The social contract
- Right and wrong
- How to think
The Meaning of Life
- How do you find purpose without knowing the meaning of life?
- My quest to find the meaning of life
- The value of life
- Reality is amazing
- It’s okay to be lost
- The cosmic perspective
- If life is a game, how do you win?
- Why you shouldn’t commit suicide
- The danger in telling people life has no meaning
How to Think Like a Genius
- 8 steps to becoming a genius
- My quest to find enlightenment
- Your ability to think obligates you to
- Enlightenment through logic
- The map of everything
- My approach to thinking/problem solving
- 10 steps to winning an argument
- How to solve a problem with a team
- Creativity is logic, not magic.
- My two rules about rules
- What is wisdom?
- Wisdom I learned working in IT: Nothing is magical
- Wisdom I learned working in IT: Answers come from questions
- The relationship between sanity, reality, truth, religion, and science
- 11 ways mainstream academic philosophy has come to resemble religion
Knowledge and Learning
- The value of knowledge
- Every grain of knowledge is valuable. Every grain of ignorance is destructive.
- Why you should have high intellectual standards
- We’ve never raised an entire generation of adults ever
- They’re giving away free superpowers on the internet
- The Alphabits analogy (Why it’s bad to be stupid)
- It’s not cool to be stupid
- How to become an expert at anything
- How to read for truth
- Recommended intelligent books and videos
- 10 ways people get dumber as they get older
- A biker looks at social conformity
- A biker looks at bad weather
- A biker looks at the road
- A biker explains why we ride
- A biker makes a lot of beginner mistakes
My Tweets About Philosophy
Kid: Hey Mister!
Old Man: What do you want, kid.
Kid: Is man inherently good or evil?
Old Man: What’s good, and what’s evil?
Kid: I don’t know. I guess whatever God says.
Old Man: Which god is that then?
Kid: Don’t all religions basically say the same thing?
Old Man: And what do they say then?
Kid: To do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Old Man: They also tend to say that women and slaves should be obedient. Is that good?
Kid: Heck no. All people were created equal.
Old Man: Did God say that?
Kid: Didn’t He?
Old Man: Did He need to?
Kid: Didn’t He?
Old Man: Did God need to say that 2+2=4 for that to be true?
Kid: Does it matter? It’d still be true either way.
Old Man: What if I told you that 2+2=5?
Kid: Then I’d tell you you’re wrong.
Old Man: How do you know that?
Kid: Logic. Duh.
Old Man: Great. So what does logic say the difference between good and evil is?
Kid: Well, what’s good for people is good, and what’s bad for people is bad.
Old Man: I asked you to use logic, not circular logic.
Kid: What do I know about logic? I’m just a kid. Just tell me the final answer so I can get home and watch TV.
Old Man: Well, first you need a frame of reference to measure good and evil against.
Kid: What kind of frame of reference?
Old Man: The ultimate goal of life, what it’s all leading up to.
Kid: …like the meaning of life.
Old Man: Exactly.
Kid: So what’s the meaning of life?
Old Man: Nobody knows, and even if they thought they did couldn’t empirically prove they’re right.
Kid: Can’t we prove the meaning of life using logic?
Old Man: You can come up with all sorts of logical explanations for the meaning of life. You just can’t empirically prove any of them are right.
Kid: So we can’t be sure if we’ll ever know the true meaning of good and evil?
Old Man: We can’t even prove there is a true meaning of good and evil.
Kid: So what the heck are we doing here? How does the world function without a universal moral compass?
Old Man: Some would say the world isn’t doing a good job of functioning.
Kid: So how can we know if man is inherently good or evil if we can’t prove what good and evil are?
Old Man: Who said man is inherently good or evil?
Kid: You know, that old saying.
Old Man: Maybe you shouldn’t base your perception of reality on old sayings.
Kid: Look, people have to be inherently something.
Old Man: Well, we’re born ignorant if that helps.
Kid: Hey! ignorance doesn’t help you do anything. So ignorance is bad, and if ignorance is bad…and we’re ignorant…then we’re bad.
Old Man: But we’re also born with the capacity to learn and reason. We even know how to suckle without having to be taught. If ignorance is evil then our inherent capacity for intelligence makes us inherently good.
Kid: But babies are still inherently evil though, right? Since they don’t know nothing?
Old Man: There’s some who would agree that babies are evil, and there’s some who wouldn’t, but what does it matter?
Kid: It matters because I need to know what to do with my life.
Old Man: I’d suggest learning as much as possible and spending the rest of your life contemplating the meaning of life.
Kid: Ugh. That sounds like a lot of work.
Old Man: …and?
Kid: …and that sucks.
Old Man: Does it?
Kid: Yeah, it’s not fair!
Old Man: Isn’t it?
Kid: You’re hopeless. I’m going home.
Old Man: Okay. Well, be good for your mother.