H.I. No. 110: Love Monkey

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"Love Monkey"
Hello Internet episode
Episode no.110
Presented by
Original release dateSeptember 18, 2018 (2018-09-18)
Running time1:27:40
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"H.I. #110: Love Monkey" is the 110th episode of Hello Internet, released on September 18, 2018.[1]

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Episode 110 on the podcast YouTube channel

"Grey and Brady discuss questions from The Book of Thunks by Ian Gilbert and The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock."[1]


I swear, Gray, you don't realize how much sound there is in the world until you come to record a podcast. Oh, I do. I do, Brady. What you think of as a quiet, isolated room that you're in turns out it's not the moment there's a microphone live in it. Obviously, it's like that all the time, isn't it? And you just notice that when it matters, I'm presuming that the world's not conspiring against Hello Internet. Hello Internet affects the world. Perhaps the world also tries to affect Hello Internet. So a while back, what episode number was it? It was episode number 95 called Break Glass in case of emergency. When we broke the glass in case of an emergency, and I got out a book called The Book of Thunks, which is a book that's just full of thought-provoking questions by a chap named in Gilbert. And we just leafed through the pages and I asked you some of the questions and then we discussed them. Do you remember this? I remember that we did it. I remember almost nothing from that episode. Like I can't remember any of the questions. Now, I'm really worried about duplicating things too, so that's not going to help. So what you're saying, Brady, is The Book of Thunks is back. A lot of people wanted us to do more of these questions. We only got about halfway through the book. I'm not doing all the questions. I'm just doing ones that I thought were interesting and I got about halfway through the list of ones that I thought were interesting. And people have said, well, you should do some more. I already enjoyed that. So I thought maybe we should do some more. I also think this is a good episode for listeners at home to participate in. Brady asked the question. If you're in, say, a Hello Internet Listening Party, as I just presume many of you are every time an episode comes out, you know, pause the show, get a good conversation going with your Hello Internet Listening Party partners, perhaps at a pony party. And see what you think before hearing what Brady and I think put down the paintbrushes for just a minute and mull over that question while the painting has a little bit of hay and a drink of water. Yeah, give that poor pony a break. Do you know what? Before the last episode, you like retroactively recorded a message for the listeners with that same idea. Make sure you pause and discuss it with your friends and things like that. And I thought, oh, that's a good suggestion by Gray. But then when I listened to the episode, like before I even finished some of the questions, you just blur it out your answer. Like, no, that's all wrong. And so you need to answer the questions more gently now to give people time to pause and have a mull. What had happened in that recording is it didn't occur to me until after during the editing process that it would be a good idea to maybe have the whole question read before I'm just going to be able to interact that people might want to answer before I blur something out. So yeah, that's why I'm saying this for the listeners benefit, but also partly for my benefit to remind me because I probably blurted things out because questions were infuriating or poorly formed. That's my guess. That's probably what I would have interacted. So the only thing was I actually omitted a lot of the questions I thought would make you most angry for those reasons, but I was thinking maybe if throwing a few of them in today just to see how you react. So maybe I shouldn't. I will do my best to restrain myself really. The problem with Mr Gilbert is either he has a very poor understanding of like science in the physical world, or he pretends to have a very poor understanding of science in the physical world for the sake of his questions. So I think that's in the questions being like boring or angry making like I'll give you an example. Okay. Does a lined piece of paper way more than a blank piece of paper? I mean, it has to. Exactly. Like a question like, you know, to something that weighs a ton way more than something that weighs half a ton. Yes. I mean, maybe better version, but still not very scientific version of that question would be. Does a piece of paper with a shadow a top it way more than a piece of paper without a shadow a top it? Yeah. Like, well, we can start having an argument about does the weight include the force of light down upon the paper? You know, there's a better version of that, but that is a bit. But not just paper that's had ink added to it to make it, of course. And it will say like there's another one that's like is a room after it's painted smaller than the room was before. Yeah, that's how pink works. Yeah. Of course it is. Like, well, you know, it's got less volume. Like they're just like questions that just have like basic answers, like they're not thought provoking. They just they could only be thought provoking if you are a bit stupid. Whoa. Whoa. That's fired, Brady. Or you really, really went into total, total nerd mode and like started being all like you with shadows and forces of light and stuff like that, which I don't think is the point of this book. The book is not it's not like a set of interview questions because you're going to go work for a technical company and they want to see your tremendous problem solving ability. I don't think that's what this book is like. Maybe I'm stupid and that's exactly what this book is like. But I'm agreeing with you. I imagine that is not the intention of this book. Those books exist. I don't think this is one of those books because at the other end of the spectrum, we have here question 146, which says, do you own your own poo? Right. That'd be a good interview question, wouldn't that? That isn't one that I marked for great attention, by the way. No, I fully expect only completely well-defined questions are what is to be forthcoming on this episode. Oh, no, you're not going to get that. That's what I expect. But now I, these kinds of questions, I agree they can be interesting. But I'm aware with this episode that I think since the last time we did this, maybe even the seed was planted in my mind from the last episode. But I have come to regard hypothetical questions as almost the same kind of thing like their questions that are almost by definition really poorly defined and almost meaningless questions. And so now, I think that this book is possibly in this, in the same category of thing. Like the question itself is not defined enough to be a good question. I hate it when people say that, right? I hate it when people refuse to answer hypothetical questions. Oh, no, no, no, I'm not saying that politicians are the worst for that. What's your position on this highly controversial situation? I refuse to be drawn on hypothetical situations until they're real. Yeah, but we want to know what you'll do, so we know whether to vote for you or not. Okay, well, I mean, that just sounds like a question dodge about the future. Yeah, how would you vote on this issue? It doesn't strike me as a hypothetical question. Right. I'm not saying that hypothetical questions have no value. I think I've come to be aware that some hypothetical questions are ignoring a lot of the real relevant parts of the question. Some version of if there were no constraints, how would you act in this constrained situation? That's sort of the summary of what some hypothetical questions are like. I think that's kind of nonsensical, but no, but you're example of like dodging how one would act in the future is just a politician dodging something. I don't think that's right. I'm getting a total vibe that you're not in the right frame of mind for the book of thugs. So this could get very messy very quickly. Oh, no, Brady, let's do this. Let's start with a curly one right from the start. Okay. Is an official executioner a murderer? All right. There was a pause for the listeners. This was me pausing. Okay. Have a think at home. Stop painting your pony. Gather around. What do you think? Stop painting your room, making it smaller. Stop painting the pony, making it bigger with each bit of paint that you add, obviously. Yes, but not in a way that matters. That's my answer. Okay. What's your answer? No, they're not. Okay. Why do you say no? I think of murder as a crime. And if you're doing an officially state sanctioned execution, then you're probably not committing a crime. You are a killer. I know murder is also a moral act. I don't know. Yeah. Maybe you can move me on this. I was just thinking of murder in terms of like what in someone screams, you're a murderer. What they mean is you could kill someone or you just someone has gotten away with murder. Like you've gotten away with killing someone. Yeah. I'm looking at this is the first definition that I have found of murder. Okay. The unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another. So I guess by definition an official executioner hasn't acted unlawfully. Okay. All right. I withdraw my statement from the court. Yeah. Everything. Most of the definitions of murder I'm initially finding here do mention unlawful. Okay. Yeah. Then if murder, if the constrained definition of murder is that that is the crime, then no, then they can't be a murderer. Okay. So many of these questions are just about semantics out there. I don't know, Brady. This is just the first one. All right. Here's another one. Would you rather a family member married a traffic warden or a millionaire con artist? Okay. What a main question to traffic wardens that is. Question for clarity. Say traffic warden. Does that mean someone who gives out traffic tickets? Yes. Okay. Because surely there's there are a few jobs that inspire more disdain from people. Not for the person, but just when you see the traffic warden walking along your street, checking everyone's cars, like you rarely feel love or affection for that person. And I feel so sorry for someone has to do it. I mean, the traffic wardens there holding up civilization. They have the burden of order upon their shoulders. And nobody is going to feel like they're great friends with you. But no, like, okay. Clearly, I think the traffic warden is the better option because then also you can get out of traffic tickets in the future. Like, now you have strings to pull. Oh, this is true. Whereas a millionaire con artist, you can never trust them. This is true. I think the thing that underpins the question, though, perhaps more so than the likability of traffic wardens, is the financial means. Like, this is your family member who you want to be well-provided for. I'm assuming traffic wardens aren't particularly well-paid. Whereas by definition here, our con artist is a millionaire. So they're going to be able to provide for your family member. Oh, I'm supposed to be thinking in terms of the family member, not thinking in terms of me. Well, I know that's hard for you. That's very hard. Well, then it depends a lot on how incriminated will this family member be with the con artist's activities? I think that's the question. No, I still think the traffic warden is the way to go there. There's too many downside liabilities with someone who has earned a million dollars by being a con artist. There's too much downside risk with that endeavor. So according to Google, salaries begin for traffic wardens at around 15,000 pounds per year in a public capacity. Though this can rise up above 35,000 pounds if you continue moving up the career ladder through a supervisory role to the top ranked position of a parking manager. Oh, so the parking manager is on 35k, not just the veteran traffic warden. Yeah, that's the career enhancement there. But I think you can't use the parking warden as the stick by which you're measuring here because the question is clearly traffic warden. Yeah, the parking manager. Yeah, you're an interesting. Yeah, you agree, disagree, Brady? I don't know if I know any traffic wardens, but traffic warden would strike me as high on the list of jobs you wouldn't admit to being your job. So maybe I do know traffic wardens, but they just haven't told me. Yeah, because they don't want everybody leaning on them to pull those strings. Like I would want to do immediately. You think that's the reason they keep that secret? If I was a traffic warden, that's the reason I would keep it a secret. And it is like, boy, people are just going to tell you immediately about their unjust tickets. And hey, do you know a guy? There are many professions, as we have discussed many times, where you prefer not to tell people because like with names, people are going to blurt the first thing that comes into their mind. I had a really outrageous ticket this one time, right? You don't want to deal with it. Yeah, they're unlikely to say, you know what? I have had a series of excellent encounters with traffic wardens over the last two or three years. Yeah, thank you for maintaining order in our society. That's not what they're going to say. No, but I'm saying it to you, traffic wardens right now. Thank you for maintaining order in our society. Here's question 186, Gray. They've gendered it. So I'll just keep the gender they've used. Would a Martian know a beautiful woman if it saw one? Has this Martian been able to study human society ahead of time? Or are we assuming that the spaceship has just landed? They haven't been looking at any broadcasts. Let's assume that they've spent a week or two wondering around and meeting lots of people. Oh, it's haven't been told. They haven't been given the information that person's beautiful, that person's beautiful, that person's not, that person's not. So they can't have done like some kind of database about symmetry and size of eyes and things like that. They haven't been told who's beautiful and who's not beautiful and they haven't been able to figure out, you know, who seems to be attracting affection and who hasn't. But they have seen a large sample size of faces. Would they have an instinctive feel for what is beautiful and not? I think if you are a Martian hanging out in Cognito among the people, you're sitting in Starbucks or whatever and you're just watching people go by. And you're watching in any active way. I think you could pick up on, if not exactly attractiveness, the fact that some people seem to have a little bit of an aura that changes the interactions that others have with them. This is one of the like societally kind of unspoken but still totally true benefits of attractive people is that other people are nicer to them. And attractive people have these huge benefits that we sort of don't really ever want to acknowledge or talk about. And I think if you were a Martian, you could kind of pick up on that if you were just watching people and be like, oh, this person always has better interactions than this other person. Yeah. But what about in isolation? Obviously that's like, you know, drawing on data and then applying it. And what if it was just you were presented with two women sitting at a table and you're asking the Martian, like, what's their score on hot or not. Yeah, something like that. Well, here's the real problem. Here's the thing I'm trying not to say here, but I have to say it. Yeah. I think the inverse of this would be easy to do. Okay. Could a Martian identify the ugly people? I think a Martian could identify the ugly people in the same way that a human can identify an ugly dog where it's say, oh, okay. You're not the most handsome of dogs. I don't think that's true though, Gray, like, because I think sometimes the animals that are most sexually attractive to other animals are ones that we wouldn't necessarily think with the best looking like in some parts of the animal kingdom, you're considered more attractive if you've got more barnacles on your face or something like that. Like, there are all these weird things that we look at an animal is like, oh, I don't like that. But to the other animals, that's like a state of symbol or a sign of attractiveness. So maybe there were things about an attractive human woman that a Martian would think were really unattractive. Oh, she's got such a symmetrical face and such big eyes. You know, things that we quite like. Okay, this is getting into the ground level question here is, is symmetry intrinsically beautiful in some way? That's what I'm kind of basing the idea of. Yeah, obviously animals have different characteristics that are attractive to each other than human characteristics, which in this world like with everything, all seem ridiculous and hilariously arbitrary, right, until you apply them to your own species. You're like, oh, well, obviously this is attractive and that isn't attractive, right? But like those gorillas are so dumb with whatever they're thinking about. So the reason why I think you could identify ugly members of other species is because you can identify a symmetry in other species. It's terrible that such a thing exists, but it does exist that there are ugly dog competitions, which makes me just sad to think about. But sometimes it makes the rounds on the internet where people will be like, here's the winner of this ugly dog competition. And it's like, yeah, you know how angry this makes me. I have discussed this before. I get so angry at these competitions. Yeah, I like, I don't think they should exist. Like they're horrible. But nonetheless, like what is the defining feature? It's a kind of asymmetry. I'm going to put put my cards on the table here and say that symmetry is an intrinsic property of beauty, not just because we humans appreciate it. I think it's going to be a property of any system that reproduces like any system that you could consider alive, like a Martian. I would suspect that the ability for that system to be symmetrical is always going to be an external marker of an internal quality in the replication process. So I think it's a fundamental part of beauty. So I'm going to say that like, I don't know if they could pick out the beautiful ones, but they could pick out the ugly ones. Okay. Yeah, because you can be symmetrical and not beautiful. Do you think that that is a fundamental part of beauty or do you think an alien species could exist? Where it's the total reverse, like the more asymmetrical a partner is, the more attractive the partner is. I can see why symmetry is considered more beautiful for multiple reasons, one because of pattern recognition, how much we love seeing patterns in the universe. And also because of the way that reproduction works and growth works that the more properly it's working, the more symmetrical your object ends up being. So it's a sign of good genes. Not just good genes arbitrarily. I think it's good genes because symmetry allows concision in replication code. You don't have to have twice as many instructions. You have one set of instructions that gets mirrored. And then it's a question of how accurately are you able to mirror those instructions? I just think any kind of system that produces living beings is going to have some bias towards concision in replication code. Is that why there are other things in the world that maybe we don't like more when there's symmetrical that aren't living? Like a crazy painting by Jackson Pollock or something where there's not necessarily symmetry but because it's not a living thing, we're not applying that standard to it. That's an interesting question. Maybe I can't remember where I read it, but I remember reading a while back at an article talking about a lot of things in the art world as being triggering of something that sort of genetically built into our minds. Even if you don't necessarily recognize what it is. And it's like, oh, I can kind of see that in a variety of ways. Yeah, I think asymmetry has some advantage where it can latch on to pattern recognition or like with the Jackson Pollock painting. Why is it interesting to look at? It's interesting to look at perhaps because your brain is doing a pattern seeking. It's looking for patterns. Like exercise. Yeah, or you know, people will search for patterns and anything like say podcast release schedules. People will construct every time an episode goes up. A whole story about why this particular pattern is now the pattern that fits every time and it's hilarious. But yeah, I can't imagine they're working well for living systems. This is a silly question because I completely know your answer to this, but I do think there's more to it. You don't know me, man. Is it better to do your best and lose than it is to perform below par and win? I'm having a hard time with this question. I feel like it's obviously winning and not doing best feels like a double win. Like you won twice if you didn't have to fully exert yourself and you also won. Am I misunderstanding the question? I guess I'm applying it to sport and like sometimes to have performed really, you know, above expectations and to be really proud of your performance. But still not have been the best man or woman on the day. You can take something from. Whereas if you're an exceptional person and you actually perform poorly, but because your competition was poor as well, you still managed to win the day. There could be a feeling of, I don't really deserve that win. That's not really deserved. I didn't really make a good account of myself. Oh, see, okay, you're constructing a different world. Yeah, okay. Put it this way. Would you rather make a really crappy YouTube video that you're a bit embarrassed about how poorly animated it is and all the mistakes it has and yet it gets 200 million views or make an absolute cracking video that you think is your opposite of the best thing you've ever made and it only gets 10,000 views. Okay, that's a harder question. I mean, it depends on where I am in my YouTube career. If you're at the start of your YouTube career, clearly a viral video is the best thing ever and who cares how you get it. Well, what if you're only going to make one YouTube video, Gray? You only get to make one video. Is it going to be something you're super, super proud of but doesn't make you lots of money and get you lots of glory or something that isn't particularly good, but at least it was you cashed in. That's really clear because if you're not able to have a YouTube career, you're only going to have this one thing. Yeah, then one super viral thing is nothing but an albatross around your neck for the rest of your life. Like this is what happens to one-hit wonders, right? You have like one super successful thing and forget it. The rest of your life is compared to that. I think under those circumstances it's very clear. I'd rather have the thing that I really like and it's not super popular than the reverse if you can only make one YouTube video. I presume you'd feel the same way. Yeah, but you're kind of applying it to this thing where it's going to affect you for the rest of your life. What if that's not the case? You can still go about your job and it's not like every time you walk into a room people are going to say, oh, that's the guy that made that popular YouTube video and did nothing else. You can still just be a normal civilian. I'm guessing I'm thinking of this in the context of almost always super popular videos. Some poor person has become a living meme now that this is what has happened to them with their viral video. The question is, is it more important to be successful or to perform at your best? To have done the best you could do? Part of this is also the phrase, doing the best you can is so tainted to me from the world of education. That is often code for you can't do very well. That's what that often means. You did your best, which might as well say your capacity is very limited. But you are at the absolute capacity of your limited ability. That's a double insults now. You did your best and it wasn't great. That's why I almost can't think about that phrase in a different way. That's also why when the question is posed about you win and you didn't try very hard. I like that your mind goes to all the competitors must have flubbed up, which is how you win. Whereas my mind goes to, you're so awesome, you barely have to try and you still win. Was my assumption there? Your ability is so far beyond your competitors you put in 25% of the effort and you still trounced all of them. I think you wouldn't be as proud of your performance. If you're the fastest 100 metres runner in the world and you're capable of running 100 metres in 9 seconds. And the Olympic final, you just win by a hair's breath because you ran it in 10 seconds. I think you could come away from the Olympics feeling well I got the gold medal but I didn't really show people my best on the biggest stage. But the form when it counted as well as I could have. But the question is which would you rather be? And I'd rather be the Olympic medalist running at 25% of his capacity than someone running at maximum capacity who can't even make the 10th level down finals because they're too slow. It's a very context dependent question this one, right? It is. Let's try another one. Here we go. If a waiter leaves an item off the bill and you say nothing, is that stealing? Yes. Yes, that is stealing. Do you agree? Can I ask another question first? Oh my god, I cannot believe you're even hesitating on this one Brady. Okay, yes question. Do you still? Would you raise it? Or would you do the steal? I would tell the waiter. I have totally done this. And it's in no small part because this is one of the moments where I feel like the eye of society upon me. Where it's like, well yes, the dice did roll in your favour this time. But you'd be totally stealing if you didn't tell the restaurant about the item. Yeah. And if they put something extra on the bill, you would raise that. So it's not like you can say, hey, you know, this time it went my way next time it went against me. It's not like we take that attitude. Yeah, it's not like monopoly cards. I'm like, oh, this time I got it in my favour, but that time it wasn't in my favour. No, it doesn't work like that. Stealing seems like a harsh word for it though. Like it doesn't feel as bad as stealing. It's less bad than if you ran into the restaurant, grabbed someone's freshly laid down meal and ran away. That would be stealing, definitely. That's clearly worse. Yeah. The reason it feels less bad is because it's a thing that you could unintentionally do. Not necessarily. So you could take the bill and just never have noticed, right? Whereas there's not very many situations where you could unintentionally steal something. And this is one of them. So it feels like if you didn't notice, it's not the world's worst decision. Yeah. Do you think it would be a fair defense for someone who decides to not pay the full amount when this happens to say these occasional errors by the waiter for getting to put things on the bill have been priced into the margins at the restaurant. Like when they set their prices, this has kind of been included by default in their markups. So if I also start pointing out all their mistakes and giving them even more money, I'm actually giving them more profit than they should have. Okay. Well, I think that's quite ingenious defense. Right. We're in a court of law. You're on the stand there. Yeah. And that is your argument. No, it's a moral defense. I have a legal defense. Guilty of thevery without any hesitation. No. I'm using it as a moral defense, not a legal defense. Because otherwise, every criminal in the world could use the bank robber could say, oh, you press that into your interest rates that I would rob your bank. This is what insurance is for, right? I'm just helping you. Have your insurance be worth something? No. What I'm saying is like there's just some mistakes are kind of priced in. And it's not my job to find their mistakes. Right. It's not my job to go through the bill and do the job they were supposed to do. Obviously, they are priced in. This is just how this market mechanism works. It is already there. But I don't... Okay. We're in the morality court and you're sitting on the stand there. I can't give that as a moral defense. No. I'm a little too parcel-tongued that kind of explanation for me. So I'm not going to give it to you. I don't think you mean it either. I think you're bringing this up as a... No, of course. Yeah. Yeah. But how do you judge someone who doesn't then? If I said to you, oh, this happened to me just the other day, Graham, and I went, woo, and sneaked out. Didn't sneak out. I walked out paying the bill. Would you think, like, would you think, oh, Brady, you stole? Or would you just think, oh, fair enough? I would think of it as something of note in your personality. Right. I would like getting away with murder. But it would be something to just be aware of. Yeah. I think that's about as far as I would go with it. Just recently, not that recent, about a year or two ago, I was having drinks on the beach on a holiday and I got the bill. I think it was an all-inclusive holiday anyway, so it's not like I would have had to pay or not pay, but they still give you the bill so that they, you know, add it all onto your thing at the end. And they had me, someone had made a typo and they had had me down as drinking 80 cocktails in this hour that I'd been sitting on the beach. I loved it so much. Like, I wanted to keep it as like a trophy. 80 cocktails. What a day that was. That would be an impressive feedback, Brady. That's a good time to correct the bill, though. I'm kind of surprised the way you went on that so strongly about that. The bill and stealing. I also think it's stealing, but I'm surprised how strongly you felt about that. It was really interesting. I wouldn't have predicted you to have been so strident on that one. You don't know me, Brady. That's a man of infinite mystery. You think you know someone and it turns out he's really moral after all. Here's one question 220. Are you a different person by the end of each day? I don't know. This one strikes me as very lines on the paper. Like, yes. But who cares? Yes, you are a different person. I agree. Like in the way that his author means it. Yeah. Yeah. We have a new sponsor this week to Hello Internet. It's Amazon Prime channels. This is a feature of Amazon Prime Video, which you have if you are a member of Amazon Prime, which I feel like everybody should be. It's amazing. Now, in addition to all the great video that you get on Amazon Prime, Prime Video channels allows you to add and then watch 100 plus channels on all of Amazon. No cable required. You only have to pay for the channels you watch. This is like the dream that everyone wanted in TV. You don't want to have to buy a whole cable package and have a million Brazilian channels that you don't watch. No, you can create the TV lineup that you want. 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So once again, go to tryprimethanels.com slash Hello Internet and get started watching only the channels that you actually want to pay for. Thanks to Amazon for supporting the show and thanks to Amazon for letting people pay for just the TV they actually want to watch. The next question is, could you ever learn too much? I know why you're laughing whenever you hear me pausing and sighing. Because every time I can feel my brain constructing around this question, all of the necessary framework to actually answer it in a meaningful way. And you also go into this sort of devil's advocate slash nerd voice mode where you try and think of all the exceptions or clever ways you could answer it, like all the ways the Internet would answer it to try and be like, you know, a bit arse. These questions they pull things out of you. And this one in particular, I feel like the whole of the structure totally matters. There's a famous example of one of these guys with a photographic memory. And his own account of it was as a kind of curse. He could just remember everything, including what I imagine must have been super frustrating, was all of these memory tests where people would write out hundreds of numbers on pieces of paper and use it as a testing point. And like 10 years later, he could still get the questions right. And I think like, boy, that must be super frustrating to not only just be able to remember all the regular stuff, but to also have a bunch of scientists info dumping just random white noise into your head and asking you to recall it all the time. And it's like, that seems like learning too much in some sense because it's physically unpleasant or it just like it clutters your ability to think. But in the context that most people mean it most of the time, no, but I don't know. What do you think of this one really? I mean, if the question was, is it possible to be too knowledgeable on a subject? I would say the answer is no. The more knowledge the better. But the way the question's framed with a bit more loose language, could you ever learn too much? I mean, there are some things you probably don't want to know too much about if you're squeamish or sensitive or you like not knowing. You'd like not knowing how the sausage is made, for example. Like people used to always say to me when I was working as a news journalist, I'd already loved sports so much. Why don't you become a sports journalist? And I liked sport being sort of separate from it. And I don't think I would have liked being behind the scenes in the dressing rooms and knowing all the players and the coaches too well. And like I liked being my recreation. I kind of like not knowing too much about the sausage being made there. So sometimes like a little bit of ignorance can allow you to enjoy something that you may not enjoy if you know all the stuff that's going on under the hood. Yeah. I'd prefer not to learn the spoilers to every piece of fiction that humans have created in advance. I would ruin the whole world of storytelling for the rest of the time. One of my all-time favourite films and it's still one of my all-time favourite films is Chari At Sophia, which is a story about athletics in the early 1900s and a few famous athletes called Harold Abrahamson, Eric Little. How do I know if you know these guys or this film? I know the shot from the film that everybody does. Yeah, the slow motion running and the music's obviously very famous. It's a great film and it's a true story. And I love this film and I must have seen it 30, 40 times. But because of Wikipedia I've been able to go like in depth and read loads more about Abrahams and Little and find out about their careers and their rivalry and finding out all the things in the film that were not true or license was taken with is really, really disappointing. I wish I didn't know. Because to me what happens in the film, Chari At Sophia is the reality of history. Right. And when you find out all the extra bolt-on stuff that you should know, it's like, oh, I'd rather not have known that. The movie did that better. The movie made it much less complicated and interesting. I think we've come to the conclusion that as phrased the answer is yes. You can learn too much. If your name is part of who you are, would someone with the same name as you have a similar identity? What, that's like the dumbest question ever. Yeah. I don't really get why he's asking that. My question is how big a part of who you are is your name. That is an interesting question. How different a person would you be if you had a different name? Because I think your name is a big part of who you are. Yeah. Those feel like different questions though. How different a person would you be if your name was different versus how much of a part of you is your name? Obviously your name is like a part of you. The premise he's putting there that someone with the same name as you would have a similar identities would take you. Yeah. It's also, I agree with you. That is a question that is so weird. It makes me wonder what the author thinks names are. I don't know. It's my question is better. My question is how different would you be if you had a different name? Do you think you'd be very different if you'd been called something else and grew up with a different name? I can answer these questions in ways that feel like a contradiction but I don't think they are. I think that your name is a big part of who you are, but that also you probably wouldn't be a very different person if you had a different name. Ah. That seems correct to me. Okay. That you wouldn't really be that different. I think that's only true to a certain extent. I think you have to take all the names that you could be called and put them into different categories and if your name is suddenly moved into a different category, your life is different. For example, if you're called Ben or you're called Tim or you're called John, you know, normal boring names for lack of a better word, sorry, Tim. I'm talking about obviously just about, you know, our Western culture because I don't know much about other names. I think changing your name won't change your life that much, but if you've got a name that is unusual and then you swap to that for a boring name, I think your life turns out different. Brady was a very unusual name when I was a boy. It's still quite unusual, but it felt like an unusual name when I was a boy. And I think my life would have been very different if I was Ben. And same if you've got a name that can be ridiculed for some way like if you've got like an old person's name or something that's hard to pronounce or a name that for some reason becomes famous or infamous, like I think if your name category changes, your life changes a lot and your name is very important to how you identify yourself growing up because I probably identified myself as being quite different growing up because I had a different name and I think that's followed me through life and I remain someone who I think is quite, you know, likes to be unique and do things differently to other people and I think my name played into that and I'm not sure I would have been quite the same if I was playing O'John. I'm not saying you can't be different if you're John, but I'm saying it helps and it affects you. Yeah, I'm thinking of it like what you're saying as the like the statistical distribution of names in the society that you're in. If you take someone who is very near the norm and then give them a name that is very at the extreme, that seems like it could have an effect. No, yeah, see what you say. The name thing feels much more like an imprinting effect to me. That's why it seems like it can be a part of you, but you wouldn't necessarily change is there's like an imprinting process that's going on there with the name. I want to think more about this one. I like this. I like my question. It's making me think more. Yeah, your question is a better question. I'm also trying to remember if you're thinking of the probability distribution curve for names, there is a difference between the frequency for boys and the frequency of girls. Now, I cannot remember which way it goes, but parents tend to play it safer with one of those two categories and have more statistically unusual names with the other category. I cannot for the life of me remember which way it goes, but I think there's something there's like an interesting phenomenon there that one of those two categories ends up with more statistical outliner names on average than the other category is. I can't even guess which way it would go either. Like part of me for a minute for, yeah, of course you'd play it safe with the boy and then I thought, no, no, no, he'd play it safer with the girl, wouldn't you? Yeah, no, no, no, I can't even guess what way that's going to go. I've went through the exact same process. This is one of those cases where you can create a just so story for either version of it, right, which is like, who do you want to play it safe with? And it's like, if I had to put money down, like I don't even know, I don't know which way I would put it. I just remember that there is a noticeable statistical skewing between those two categories. I just don't know which one it is. If cows evolved to be cleverer, should we stop eating them? I mean, I think we should stop eating them now. They don't need to be cleverer. We mentioned on the show before, but like without a doubt, I think the, like, the clearest moral loss for society is like the mass production of meat. There are many moral issues where it feels like, oh, there's this huge complication, but that one to me just seems like such a clear case where it's a loss. Have you gone vegetarian, right? It sounds like you're on the brink. No, no, I totally haven't, right? And this is where my very next sentence was going to be. And it is without a doubt the worst moral thing that I do in my life is the consumption of meat. It sounds like you're on the brink. Frady, no, but this is why I want artificial meat to exist yesterday. It needs to come around because I just know I do not have the ability to stop eating meat and also still live in a, in a healthful way because the only way I don't eat meat is then I'm eating nothing but carbohydrates and I'm getting super fat. Right? So it's like, this is me at my moral worst. I'm trying to lose weight versus factory forming, which is terrible. And I'm coming out on the side of like, man, I'm going to try to keep these pounds off, but without a doubt it requires my increased consumption of meat. So I kind of hate this topic because this is exactly the topic that makes everybody angry. Nobody's happy with my position here. The vegetarians are furious because they're saying, you agree with us, but you just refuse to act and the answer is yes. And then people who are not vegetarians, I'm telling you like, we will all be just judged as moral monsters in decades to come. Like they don't want to hear that either. So I just, I am not remotely close to becoming a vegetarian. I just hold the world's most unpopular opinion when it comes to these issues. Now you have persuaded me of that in a previous episode where you sort of said that in the future we'll look back at these times, the people will just be aghast that we used to hate meat like, oh my God, can you believe they did that? They're like, they'll think we're like barbarians. And I think you're probably right about that. One day it will seem ridiculous that we ate, mate. And I do eat, mate. Like there are many things I think a future society could look back on our society and think are appalling. I'll also put like the current way the prison system is running that. But the factory farming and the meat production is just like the clearest no brainer of all of those sorts of things. But yeah, so if cows were much smarter, do you think we shouldn't farm them, Brady? How do you come down on this one? I don't know. And if they could talk, it would probably affect me quite a lot. And they could say, please stop doing this to us. I mean, what meat eater hasn't had a vegetarian lecture them about how smart pigs are. So obviously this intelligence debate comes up, but it hasn't stopped me eating pork. Obviously, these gradations of intelligence don't affect me until it gets probably to a higher level than where pigs are at. Yeah, it's somewhere above pigs. Again, I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but my personal uncomfortable one is watching people eat octopus. I get very uncomfortable with that. That's where my threshold is really like, this seems really bad. We have pretty good idea that that octopus can conceptualize what's occurring to it. I can't watch it. It makes me super uncomfortable. Have you read this octopus book? I've got it on my audible at the moment, but I haven't read it yet. No, if it's the one that everybody in the world has been recommending to me, I have not read it yet. Yeah, because I feel a little bit of resistance. Because I've mentioned octopus, octopus, and some previous podcast. Then everybody in the world is like, there's an octopus book out. Then I feel like, no, if everybody tells me to read it, I refuse to read it. It's code other minds. Yeah, that's the one I can see the cover in my head. I downloaded it on a recommendation as well, but I haven't started it yet. Maybe I'll have one more seafood meal before I start it. I'll agree with you, Brady. If cows are smart enough to be talking to us on their way to this slaughterhouse, then we would really need to stop tomorrow. There's a second reason to not eat octopus. Oh, God. And that is very rarely do you order it and you don't end up with the most embarrassing attention grabbing plate at the table. Like I remember being at a meal one time with a bunch of people who I didn't know. So I just wanted to blend in and be quiet and just like get through the night without drawing attention to myself. Right. And I think I ended up ordering like octopus as my starter and it ended up being this massive thing with tentacles everywhere and suction caps on the legs and it looked and like everyone in the restaurant turned to their head as it was brought out to the table because it just looked so bizarre and I was like, oh my God, I just wanted to crawl up in a hole and hard. I don't think I've ordered it since. Yeah. Good call, Brady. Question 244. Can you be afraid of fairies? I mean, you can. Well, what would you think of someone who was afraid of fairies? Obviously you can anything when these questions say can you. You could answer. Well, you could. Not all of them have a yes you could. This one has a yes you could. You could be afraid of fairies, but you would not have a good grasp on the world. What would you think of someone who was afraid of fairies? I guess it depends on the kind of fairies they're afraid of. Are they afraid of pictures of fairies or do they believe they're a fairies in the back garden that are going to come and attack them in the night in which case they start losing quite a lot of legitimacy. But if there's something about pictures of fairies that freaks you out, I guess I could be on board with that. No. So, no. No. This doesn't say are you afraid of pictures of fairies? No, I think this is very clearly implying you are afraid of actual fairies. Well, hang on. What's an actual fairie? An actual fairie is compared to a picture of a fairie. Well, actual fairies, you mean real fairies? Yeah, they ask scary. To be honest, if I went out the back garden, bumped into an actual fairie, I would be scared. Well, yeah. If there was an actual fairy that appeared, I too would be scared because magical creatures don't mess with them. If there's anything you've ever learned from any fairy tale, it's the sudden appearance of magic is not normally like a harbinger of good things to come, right? It's not all like Harry Potter for most mythical creatures. I need to put one little tiny asterisk in here, which I'm thinking of when I went to Iceland and they have in Iceland little houses for elves. And I can't remember now if it's like, what is the translation of the word? If the translation of the word is elf or if the translation of the word is fairy, but it's like little magical creatures. And I don't know if the Icelanders were being really serious about that or if they were not being serious about that or if it was a kind of sort of like a Japanese shintoism where there's a belief that things have animated spirits, which is like a cultural idea. Obviously if my neighbor popped over and we're having a conversation and midway during that conversation, they mentioned, oh, by the way, there might be fairies in the garden, watch out. The Huldal folk. The Huldal folk? Yeah, that's it. That's it. I would immediately assume that they were crazy. But in a cultural context, if someone in Iceland told me to watch out because in a particular area, there were bad fairies, I might slightly squint my eyes and wonder, how much do you really think this versus how much is this for the benefit of the tourism industry in your nation? But I would think of it differently than a neighbor mentioning this same thing in the same way that it's like if a Japanese person would tell me about like, oh, this forest is filled with bad spirits. It's like I would take that in a certain cultural way that I wouldn't, if again, a neighbor told me, watch out, that forest over there has ghosts in it. I just, I wouldn't hear it in the same way. Do you have it? I've never asked you. Do you have a fear? Is there something you're afraid of more than other stuff like spiders or snakes or things like that? Do you have like your most irrational fear or rational fear, I'm sure you will say, but you know, sharks or what's your thing? They all seem pretty rational to me. If I had to pick something though, I would probably go with jellyfish. There's something about the way jellyfish move and I don't like anything about them and I don't like them much more strongly than is rational, which actually brings up another Iceland story because perhaps one of the most uncomfortable times of my adult life was taking a boat out of Reykjavik to Puffin Island. And while we were on this boat, the water was filled with jellyfish, more jellyfish than I had ever seen ever in my life. Almost the whole surface covered with them and I was deeply uncomfortable with this situation. Don't think it was entirely unrational because if the boat had flipped over, it's not a good place to be swimming through. Bizzillions and bazillions of jellyfish. But perhaps the reaction is stronger than was warranted. I was swimming in Egypt one time and all the sort of wall of jellyfish sort of descended and started to surround me and I had to swim away as quick as I couldn't climb back up onto the pontoon and get out of the water and then 10 minutes later they shut the beach for the next three days because there was so many jellyfish in the water. Dill. Skinner my teeth. Jellyfish haven't got a lot going, like I don't have an irrational fear of jellyfish, but jellyfish haven't got a lot going for them. There's not a lot of merit to jellyfish. Like sharks, like a lot of people are afraid of sharks, but they're also cool. They're sleek and fast and killing machines. Yeah, you're afraid of them because of how awesome. Yeah, yeah. And like snakes are kind of interesting too and they're like, I don't know, most scary things have got something about them that's kind of cool. But jellyfish not only are they like, they're just unappealing, but they're also like, oh, ugly and fluffy and gross and I can't imagine there are lots of jellyfish lovers out there. But I'm sure I'm about to hear from them also. I'm sure you will hear from every one of them, but yeah, I agree. When we're playing the, which species can we knock off the face of the earth? Number one, mosquitoes. But number two, I wouldn't be personally sad to press the button on those jellyfish. You can all go away and I can never hear from you again. This episode of Hello Internet is brought to you by Backblaze. Backblaze is the unlimited cloud backup for Macs and PCs for just $5 a month. Do you have a Mac or PC? Maybe one that you're sitting in front of right now? Does that computer have documents on it that are important to you? 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They have over 30 billion files that they have restored. There's no wonky cost structures or limits. It's just very simple. $5 per month per computer. That's it. You don't need to worry about getting caught out by some crazy extra prices. So go to backblaze.com slash hello internet. That will let them know that you came from hello internet. And it will give you a full featured 15 day trial. So that's backblaze.com slash hello internet. If you're sitting in front of a computer right now that doesn't have backup on there, go to backblaze.com slash hello internet. Get your data protected in the cloud today. Here's a good question. $249. If I read a magazine in a shop without paying for it, is that still in here again? Here we are again. Read booting. God damn it. God. Yeah. Visceral reaction to the question. Well played Ian Gilbert. Well played. It's just annoyed. Like I'm annoyed and angry. He's played you like a cheap guitar here. Yeah. I've pointed you with his earlier questions. That's exactly what it feels like. It feels like I've been cornered somehow. Ah. Yes. I guess. Like this question at all. What do you think Brady? It depends on your motive. If your motive is previewing to decide whether or not to make a purchase, then it's definitely not stealing. It's just like test driving a car that you don't end up buying. But if you know you're not going to buy it and you're just curious about the headline and you want to get the information, then I guess it is a kind of minor, minor, minor stealing. But then hang on. If I do that in a shop, am I stealing? But what if someone has left the newspaper at like a hairdresser or something? I guess it's been paid for in that case by someone. So. Hmm. Is this stealing? What if what if I see a headline in a newspaper and it says something really enticing? And I want to know what the story is. Okay. But rather than picking up the paper in the shop and reading that story and then putting the paper back down, I wait for someone to buy it. And when they've bought it, I say, can you quickly read that story and tell me what it's about? Have I then stolen that way? No. No. You haven't. Because money has changed hands. It's like asking someone what happened in a movie that can't meaningfully be described as stealing if we still live in a sane world. Strange behavior. Okay. Yes, but stealing. No. But then hang on. If I sit there and read. No. If I read the front page story of the newspaper, I have to know what the story is about. And it's just sitting there in the shop. If I don't touch the paper and I look at it standing in a legal place, it's not my fault that the photons have been absorbed by the black ink there and are being reflected by the white paper there and the information happened to be conveyed into my eyeballs. What was I supposed to do? It was just there to be seen. Okay. So if the answer to the headline is on the first page and you can just see it from where it leads. Yep. Then no, that's not stupid because the whole front page is an advertisement to buy the newspaper. They want you to see it. Okay. So you had to touch the paper. But if you touch it and turn a page. Yeah. You can't open it. That's what's happening here. It has to be opened. It's like all those channels on YouTube that do nothing but upload movie trailers and they never get taken down for copyright infringement right because the trailer is like an advertisement for the movie. Like, I know that you technically can, but you almost can't really steal a trailer in a way that means anything. So this is similar to a question from the previous episode. I think. I can't remember, but it's different in a way. Should a baby born on a deserted island know right from wrong? Do you know the answer to this? Because if you do, I'd like to know. We need to discuss what right and wrong are, Brady. We're obviously struggling because we're after that newspaper question. Okay. And it's most core. If the words right and wrong are going to mean anything, it's almost like it's like beauty and ugliness, right? Beauty is harder to talk about than ugliness. Ugliness is the clearer one and a concept like right and wrong has the same relationship. Right, especially for a person who's alone on an island is a difficult idea to conceptualize. But wrong is clearer because wrong relates to suffering. Right. You know, it's like when people talk about the concept of evil, you can get into these weird things, but like what is evil? And I think again, if that word's going to mean anything, it like evil means a kind of intentional inflicting of unnecessary suffering. Yep. And so a child who is living on an island and then grows up, I don't know if they would naturally know it, but I think that they could come to understand the concept that inflicting intentional unnecessary suffering on whatever other living creatures are on the island is not a good thing to do. Like I think that they could develop some sense that it feels bad to do that. I guess the deeper question is like, is that intrinsic? Like do you have to learn it through either being told or through things that you say, or is it inbuilt into us? I'm going to phrase it this way. It's inbuilt in the sense that I think language is inbuilt, that there's something in the brain which is pre-adapted to this kind of behavior. But just like with super little kids, they obviously don't know how to talk. They haven't learned how to do this. A lot of the process of raising children in the world is attempting to attune their behavior. It's often sooner than they would otherwise like to like the concepts of being mean or being hurtful. And I think there is something that's in the brain that is, I'll put it that way, attuned to receive this knowledge different from other knowledge. In the same way that the brain is attuned to receive language as different from other sounds in the world. And I think a kid growing up on an island in total isolation could learn that. It's bad to hurt the animals on the island for no reason. Like it may be necessary to eat them, but I think that like in their 20s they could have some sense of like, hmm, tormenting these animals for no reason is a bad thing to do. I think it's easy when you talk about hurting animals. Yeah. I feel like I could kind of just pick that up. But what about lying? Like if you took that person off the island and dropped them straight into society, would they have a sense that they should tell the truth? Well, I mean, straight away. This is why I think the concept of what is good to do is less clear. Right. Like suffering is intrinsically bad, but a lot of good things are only good in relationship to other people. Where like a person living on an island on their own, it's almost impossible to say that almost anything they could do is good because it's like it's just them. Whereas like we value things in society, whereas like being truthful is a good characteristic, helping other people is a good characteristic. Yeah, but I was taking my, I was magically taking my person off the island, dropping them into society with the ability to talk and things like that. Yeah. Yeah, that's just great. Yeah. No. And if they told a lie, would they feel like I shouldn't have lied? Or would you have to learn that lying is bad? I think that person wouldn't really have a concept of what lying is. You know, again, presuming that you're able to just magically instill language in them. Yeah. I think the whole concept of learning to lie and then learning to tell the truth would be a thing that they would start to engage with upon their arrival in society. Yeah. Right. Because like who are you lying to on an island? There's no one to deceive there. Anything that's even close to that, like setting a trap for an animal. I think it's so different. It wouldn't even register as, oh, this, this trap is a deception. Like this creature doesn't know there's a hole here. But actually, then again, I'm just realizing I wonder. Another interesting question is, would that person be able to develop a theory of mind? How hard would it be for someone growing up in total isolation to learn the idea that the turtle has a different view of the world than he does? And so therefore, the turtle can be tricked into a turtle trap. I don't know. I wonder if you need to interact with other talking humans who are also playing the theory of mind game on you in order to learn that. You know, like if other animals are just simply not stimulating enough for a human brain to even pick up on that idea. That's interesting stuff, that. So many things we wish we could do to children growing up in isolation for scientific purposes. So many interesting questions would be answered. Here's a bit of a cliche question, which again, I think he's kind of mangled a bit, but anyway. If genetic research identifies that you have a condition that means you were dying ten years, should you be told whether you want to know or not? Whether you want to know or not. I know. Again, he's kind of, he's come up with a premise and kind of mangled it, but. That's a strange premise, okay. Yeah, I've never heard that suggested that people should be told that they're going to die with, like, I didn't know that was like a theory, yeah, but. That's great. Yeah, I do. Sometimes you run into these, I wish I could give another example, but you run into, you're in a disagreement with someone over something and they restate your argument in such a way where this is the exact response where you're like, wait a minute, the thing you think I'm proposing, I have heard of no one in the universe propose as the thing to do. Yeah. I can even understand how you're conceptualizing this. Yeah, I see it's conceptualizing some world where we all get letters in the post saying, you didn't know this until now, but we've just realized you've got three weeks to live. It's like, oh, okay. Presuming that world was the case, what do you think, pretty? Well, before I come to that, I'd like to know your answer to the more cliched question, which is would you like to know if you were going to die, you know, at a set time? Would you prefer to be ignorant of that or would you like to know so you can be somehow prepared for it if one can be prepared for it? Yeah, no, I definitely prefer to know without any doubt. I presume you would. So if I had an envelope here with the time and date of your demise, you would open up. Yeah, or even the, like the less certain version of, oh, you have a degenerative disease, you have X months or years. Like, sure, I would definitely want to know that. Now, what if I had the exact date and time? Well, now we're drifting, like, I don't, like, it's not in your genetic code, whether it's the exact date and time. But if you had the exact date and time, yes, I would want to know. Okay. Again, I presume that you wouldn't. I don't think I could resist. What a great answer. That's a great answer, Brady. I would like to resist. Right. You would like to be able to resist. I think having that sort of, damn, like, these hanging over you is not necessarily good in a lot of ways. There are ways in which it is good though. So I don't know. But I think my curiosity would get the better of me anyway. And I'd open the envelope, knowing the date and time of your death. I can't conceive of any way it wouldn't be motivating. Like momenta mori. I thought that's all it is. Okay. But yeah, this whole notion of people having it forced upon them is very, I don't know where did I wear that came from anyway. We could just blow past this strange dystopian world where, where every time you go into the doctor's office, you never know when they're going to force upon you knowledge, you would prefer not to have. I imagine in this world as well, they just tell you straight away what the gender of your baby is and you have no choice in this matter either. Yeah. I prefer not to know. Sorry, it's a boy. Two, seven, nine. Is it okay for your job to be really boring if it pays well? I mean, yeah, not not all jobs that pay very well are that way, but plenty of jobs that pay very well, pay very well because they're boring. That's part of what you're being compensated for. What's an example of that? I'm thinking of like actuarial work is the thing that comes to mind. Certain kinds of advanced accounting. It's not like thrilling. Work, a lot of legal work can be in this category. Yeah. It's super high stakes and it may not be very fun to go through thousands of pieces of paper work, but that is part of what you are being compensated for. Yeah. You know, many jobs that are very boring are not paid very well at all. The boringness is orthogonal to the pay scale. This episode of Hello Internet is brought to you by Hello Fresh. Hello Fresh is the meal kit delivery service that shops, plans and delivers step by step recipes and pre-measured ingredients so you can just cook, eat, and enjoy. Cooking can be a real hassle if you're not using Hello Fresh because Hello Fresh makes it super simple. You don't have to worry about planning that dinner. That's a real hassle. That's the kind of hassle I absolutely hate. 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For $30 off your first week of Hello Fresh, visit hellofresh.com and enter the promo code Hello Internet. All one word. That's hellofresh.com, promo code Hello Internet to get $30 off your first week. Thanks to Hello Fresh for supporting this show and for delivering easy to cook meals to our listeners. Would you be happy if you had all you wanted? Obviously not including happiness being a thing you want because then the question kind of defeats itself. I was already in the scaffolding that has to be immediately constructed around this question. Yeah, because surely the definition of happiness is having everything you want. Like is that like a definition of happiness that you've got everything you want in all ways? Not just like you know, in having an iPad and stuff but also having you know health and joy and love and when you say in all ways, if that also encompasses having emotional states of mind, then yes, I agree. I'm going to say I think people, people vastly overrate the acquiring of things in their ability to have an effect on happiness. I agree with that. Which is sort of the premise of this question is if you could go online and get all the things that you wanted, would you be happier? And it's like, well, not really. I always think of it this way like getting things can eliminate discomforts, but eliminating discomfort isn't the same thing as adding happiness. And there's lots of things in life that are like that. There are ways to reduce unhappiness, but that's not the same thing as making you happier. So presuming this is excluding the ability to want states of mind, I would disagree with the premise that having everything that you want makes you happy. I think having everything that you want can reduce dramatically unhappiness, but that's about as far as I'm willing to go on that one. And even then, it's like a conditional can. Like it can reduce unhappiness, but it's not a guarantee to you to fact. What's the thing you need the most of to make you happy at the moment? Like what's the light bulb that needs the most attention or the vessel that needs most feeling? Like what do you think is the stopping you being 100% happy, grey at the moment? What's holding you back? Is it like, is it a lack of money, a lack of time, a lack of health? Like for me personally, right now? Is that what you're asking? I was very personal Brady. It is, I think it is personal. Yeah, but like you've caught me at a moment where I'm perfectly fine saying it. And to me, I can't explain it in a concise way, but I know what it is. And for me, it's wanting to increase the number of quality, focused hours of work on projects that I want to work on in my life. Right. That's the thing where, again, it's not that it like makes me happy, but I always feel a particular way when I don't feel like I'm getting, and I always say like quality hours means a very particular thing to me, but like that is the thing that I want more of and would have the biggest change in the emotional state of myself at this point in time. It's increasing the number of quality work hours average over the last 30 days, like 30 day running average, that kind of thing. It's interesting that your answer is like work, like better work, more work. I wonder if there were people who are not self-employed that would answer that question that way as much. Like I wonder if that's a question if you're self-employed, you're more likely to answer that way. Because that's probably my answer at the moment too. Like at the moment I'm having a real some real time problems because I'm about to go on holiday and I can't get all the work done that I want to do. So if I could have anything right now, it would be like two or three extra days, more time, I need more time. Again, because I'm self-employed, but if I was just, you know, a parking inspector, I probably wouldn't say that would. I'd say that's okay. I finish work on Thursday and I'm off on holiday. I wonder if self-employed people are more likely to say I would be happier if I could work more and work better. Or everyone would answer that way. Two things. First, I'm going to reverse the arrow of causality there and say that people who have a feeling along these lines are more likely to become self-employed. And that also to me relates to why I'm saying quality hours. Because when I had a full-time job, that was also my feeling there like, man, I spent all this time working, but none of them were the hours on things that I think were the most important and that I wanted to work on. And so it wasn't like, I want to work more. It's I want to work more on these particular things. So that's why for me, I feel like a lot of my work hours have been much more on like administrative end of things and it's not like, boy, I want to work more. I always want to work less. But I want to have this ratio of like the time that I'm working on. I want that as close as possible to be real quality hours. That has just been out of skew for me for a little while for various reasons. But yeah, I think it's an aspect of people who are more likely to become self-employed. Not a thing that self-employed people are more likely to say. That's my guess anyway. Okay. I have two more questions. These aren't from the book of Thunks. Oh, these are Brady originals. No, they're not. They're from another book that is very similar. That my mum used to have on the bookshelf when I was a boy that I used to love taking off the shelf and reading. And I can tell you what it is because in the last few minutes, I went on to Amazon and I found it with the same cover. So I can tell you exactly what the book's called. It's called The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock. And it was just questions like this. And there were two that I remember really well, although they may have become a bit mangled with time. So I'll ask them how I want to ask them. I've actually just ordered this book as well on Amazon. So we've got it for the next time we need to break glass. Because I think we're just about done the Thunks. My favourite Thunks. One of the questions was, and I just remember it because it made an impression on me as a boy. It's a very cliche, crude question. But when I was thinking about it before we started recording, it had more to it than I initially thought. Basically, it's this. Would you play Russian roulette with a 10 chamber gun or something or one in 10 charts? If surviving meant you were given $100 million. End of money being an issue ever. You become wealthy beyond what you can imagine. A one in 10 risk of your life for that kind of security and money. Why did this one stick with you, Brady? And I'm also kind of curious why you think there's more layers to this one. This feels like a sort of straightforward question. I'll tell you what, start with me. But can I hear what the straightforward answer is first? Well, okay. Of course, my answer isn't perfectly straightforward. I have two straightforward answers. Which is, if you asked me now, I would say no. And I wasn't hesitated about it. Yeah. However, if I think about it for a couple of seconds, I am very confident that if I was a teenager, I would answer yes without hesitation. Right. That's just an indication of the difference between being an adult and being a teenager and also being a person with an established career versus a person who had no place in the world and no sense of direction whatsoever. And who also maybe wasn't the happiest person in the world. So yeah, teenage me, I think, review that is almost like entirely upside. Like, well, if I lose, I won't even know. Right? Because I'll be dead. And if I win, I never have to worry about the whole rest of my adult life. Whereas now I wouldn't take that. I wouldn't take that gamble. Yeah. I mean, I think as a boy, the reason that appeared to me was just because, you know, the fascination with things like lots of money and I was going to risk and gather. This is not lots of money. Yeah, but also, like, you know, the, you know, a fascination of boy will have with the whole notion of things like Russian roulette. Because when you're a boy and you learn about risky, stupid things like that, it's like, just fascinating to your brain. Yeah, of course. So that's why the question tickled me as like, a boy, just because it was like such a fanciful thing. But when I was thinking about it earlier, before the show, I was thinking, well, obviously the answer to this is no. That's not a risk worth taking. Like your life is really precious. You only get one of them. And money comes and goes and success comes and goes. And your life is very sacred. So I thought, no, Brainer, no way would I take that risk for any amount of money. But then I thought, well, in the course of my life now, in order to earn money and, you know, pay my bills and live, I'm taking risks all the time. I drive through the night to notting them in my car. I fly places. I like, I do things all the time that are, you know, adding all these elements of, admittedly not one in ten, risk of dying. But I'm forever increasing risk in my life in order to earn money and live. And I don't know how the sums would work out or how I would meet my demise. But would this one in ten moment of risk to eliminate all the rest of that risk for the rest of time be worth it? I don't actually know. Mathematically, would it have been, is it something even worth considering? I don't know. I do worry about your drives to notting him. No joke. Yeah. I always just think about it a little bit. You know, if an text message you tell me like you're on your way, or I quintupley think about it on the occasions that you call me from the car, which I always feel like, oh, Jesus Christ, I wish you would get off the phone because I said, don't talk to me on the phone while you're driving, but I know you're making phone calls anyway. So whatever. That's an interesting point. I don't know how that mathematical sum works out. But I would be curious, like, what is the math on that? And for these kind of things, I always think it's much more intuitive to think about the math and the reverse direction of what is the probability of not getting into an accident on any particular drive. It might be 99,999 out of 100,000, but it doesn't take long before you start multiplying those together and the number starts getting small. I don't know. It's an interesting angle to it. I had not considered. I think that angle doesn't affect me so personally because I don't drive anywhere, which surely is the biggest risk factor. But that's an interesting point. What about the stress of work and what it's doing to your body and your heart and things like that? Like, if I could remove all of that instantly by giving you $100 million and you didn't have to stress ever again about a podcast or a video or any other sort of business dealings, maybe I'm extending your life and increasing your probability of a long life by doing that. That's an interesting point, especially because over the last 18 months I've had particular business stresses in a way that I haven't had before. But I still don't think they're not bad enough that I feel like, oh God, these heart palpitations are reducing my life. I think the change has mainly been from totally unremarkable absence of stress to the presence of some stress. Right? But it's not like, I don't feel like it's cranked up to emergency red levels of stress. There was one other question in this book of questions that I remember really well. And I can't remember how it was worded, but I remember the gist of it. And I've always, I think I've always meant to ask you this because I've always wondered what your response would be. And the question was along the lines of, would you take like your dream holiday vacation for like a month, like come up in your head with whatever your absolute perfect, perfect holiday is no expense spared, whatever, whatever you want your perfect holiday. If the conditions was at the end of it, it was erased from your memory. You could never talk about it again. You don't even remember you took the holiday. It's just gone. A month of your life is erased from the record, erased from time, erased from your memory. But at the time, it was amazing. Do you still take the holiday? Interesting question, isn't it? It isn't an interesting question. I have a prediction. I predict the Brady answer is yes you would. I don't know. I actually don't know. It makes you question what the use of holidays and vacations are and what they mean to you. There's this idea and psychology about optimizing for memory as a path to maximum happiness. With a vacation, the strategy for optimizing happiness from a vacation is if you're debating extending a vacation, a good question to answer is, have I just had a great time? If you've just had a great time, you should probably go because the finale of a vacation has a big impact on how well you remember it. The same goes with any activity. You're almost certainly better off in the future cutting an activity short right after what seems like a really great experience rather than dragging it on. Yeah. But there's something about that that seems weird to me because the only thing that is real in life is the moment that you're living right now. This moment is the real moment. Is that depressing to you that the thing that matters most in the whole university at the moment is talking to me? It's not that it's the thing that matters the most, Brady. It's the only thing that's real right now. That's even worse. I don't think if that is good or bad, I think of that as clarifying. This is also a little bit more complicated for me because of my feelings like, I just don't really care about the past at all, including my own past. Yeah. So there's question about the vacation. Of would you take it versus would you not? Presuming that the month missing from your life is not a traumatic experience on the other end. It is explained to you why you're missing the last 30 days. Right. For me, it's making your life a month shorter. Because part of me thinks this is making my life a month shorter and I get absolutely nothing from it. Yeah. So why do it? I guess does having a good time matter if you can't remember it. But then I think about all the great things I've done and the good times I've had. And I hardly remember them now anyway. And I hardly ever look at the pictures. I'm sure my memory is faulty. Like just the start of this year I went to Antarctica and it was the best holiday I've ever been on in all my life. But already it seems a bit like this hazy dream that didn't really happen and give it another year and it will just be a couple of photos I have and give it a year or two after that. And I probably went and looked at the photos for a year. And like that has already become pointless. And that was like this once in a lifetime thing. So how important are the memories of these holidays? I don't know. It's a good question because it really does have on the other end of the scale that it effectively shortens your life by a month. And I'm going to take as part of this premise that like the reason you take vacations and the reason that a person takes breaks is like a recharging effect. And so not like you're losing a month of your life and you're also presumably losing the benefits of the recharging effect of a vacation like that. Why do you think the recharging is caused by the memory? So is the recharging just like a physical process and you will be recharged at the end anyway. Just not remembering. I think it's a totally psychological process, the recharging effect. Right. And so the functional effect here is you blink and a month is gone. Right. And you're just as stressed as you were before. Yeah. It's like no time subjectively seems to have passed for you. But then you look down at your watch and you go, oh god, it's a month later. And then someone comes along and says, hey, just so you know, you made this deal. And what happened is we put you in the little recharging. You just had a re-brilean holiday. Yeah. It was amazing. It was the best month of your life. You loved every moment of it. But you just have to take my word for it. Yeah. You just have to take my word for it. It was amazing. Or in fact, what I really did was had you landscape my garden for the last month. Yeah. Or I don't know. Like I actually don't think in this crazy premise of how do I even know. I think you could write a letter or record a video to yourself. And it would be functionally the same thing. Right. That like you were gone for a month. Here's a video that you took of you at the end. You know, here's you and your wife. And you're like, oh my god. We've just been on the most amazing vacation. We've done all the, and they could describe everything. And see if you're like, oh, I guess it really did happen. This is very total recona. But it is. There is a cost there. You are losing. There's a real cost you're losing time. I don't know. But because the only thing that matters is the moment that you're in, I think I would lean toward taking that experience. I think I would lean towards paying that price for a unique exceptional peak experience. Even if I won't remember that experience later. Yeah. Okay. Is that the vacation that you're packing for right now, Brady? No, it's not. And I'm not packing either. Yeah, I'm running out of time. I've got so much to do. I've got so much to do. And I'm sitting here talking about buddy hypothetical questions. I'll let you go then, Brady. You've got to get packing. Thank you Ian Gilbert for your occasionally good and sometimes very dodgy questions for the public. Link in the show notes. People can go check it out. And I've got, or you can have my copy now, which has got dog ears and red crosses and blue question marks all over it. I've still got some blue question marks left. So maybe we can milk a third episode out of it one day. Maybe, but you've got to go get ready for that trip, Brady. And you know, don't forget it. Hold tight every moment.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "H.I. #110: Love Monkey". Hello Internet. Retrieved 18 September 2018.