Answer This Question:

There are a lot of funny questions in the card game Would You Rathar.  Last week we played this game as a family, and the question on one of the cards read:

Would you rathar be dumb and happy or smart and bitter?

Yes I know this is an extreme false dichotomy however- just taking the question as it is, silly, I would be interested to hear what every one reading this post has to say about this (we had mixed answers as a family and I kind of go back and forth, for my answer myself)

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~ by bonoboi on January 5, 2007.

6 Responses to “Answer This Question:”

  1. I’ll have to agree with J.S. Mill’s position on this: “It is better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a pig satisfied.” In “Utilitarianism.”

  2. Amen. Smart and bitter. This question is really like asking if you want to be human or beast, which I think is what JS Mill had in mind as opposed to implying that happy human’s are pigs. We don’t really have a choice about our natures, just whether we will be honest or lie about the nature of human experience.

  3. This all is dependant on what constitutes “smart” and “dumb”. Even if one’s smarter than all the humans that live, have ever lived, or will ever live they would still be pitifully stupid with respect to omniscience.

    I know a great number of people, many illiterate, that many would consider ‘dumb.’ But ultimately the gap seperating them from the intellectual elite of this planet has more in common with the gap between a rock and a hard place than they do with gaps like the grand canyon or the distance between us and alpha centauri.

    So are we talking omniscient vs. barely sentient? Or just relative to humans? Because, as I recall, if one takes the Bible at it’s word, the wisest among mere mortals was one King Solomon, and judging by many assessments of his ultimate standing before God at the end of his life I’d dare say he came about as close to the ultimate in “smart and bitter” that we could see as plausibly existing on this planet.

    And if you take the route of the secular humanist or the atheist then you run into the problem of the generally agreed upon limitations in human intelligence. Even then, the logical choice–if lacking a belief in the supernatural or the probability of such–is still ultimately happiness over intelligence. Such a belief has them taking into their bodies substances that provide pleasure at a known expense to life longevity and overall health.

  4. I’m with Watt and Jeremy. I’d rather be snarky. >:)

    Though if I were looking at it from the pig’s perspective and didn’t know any better, maybe I’d want to remain dumb and satisfied.

  5. Voltaire has a great short story called (I believe) The Good Brahmin, about this very question. Nice discussion, though I’m not sure he resolves it. I have to read it again myself. Never hurts to reread the master at this game we’re playing.

    thanks.

    Brad

  6. I’ll have to check that out, Brad. Thanks.

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