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I don't know if this is forum-appropriate, but here goes...


The Almighty Doer of Stuff

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Mind game: If you had to choose the manner of your own death, what would it be?

 

There are rules:

 

1. You cannot take intentional action to end your life, e.g. suicide, killing someone and getting shot by the police, blowing up the planet, etc.

2. You cannot choose the date or time of your death.

3. You cannot die peacefully in your sleep. This is the lazy person's answer and it is invalid.

 

I'll post my answer after a few posts, although some of you may have seen it on my Facebook Timeline. I think the only active Spidwebbers on my Friends list are Trenton and Actaeon, though.

 

(So yeah, mods, if this is no good for the forum, you may delete it.)

 

EDIT: Nope, Arancaytar is too. He never comments on my posts or reads my PMs though so he probably didn't see it.

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What brought this on, Dragonboy, was my romantic interest posted on Facebook, "What is your idea of heaven?" I answered, and then I posted this question as an attempt to gauge his personality a bit. He says he's happily not thinking about his demise at this point in his life. I don't know him very well, except that on a basics level we're compatible, and he likes to flatter me, so that's got me interested enough to try to pick his brain and see if I like what he has to say. I'm not sure whether he knows I'm crushing on him, but there's a definite possibility that he does.

 

Then I figured it might generate discussion here too.

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Death's not really common flirtation material, but I can see it as clever leveraging of misattribution of arousal. Kind of.

 

—Alorael, who would settle for any kind essentially instantaneous death. Ones that don't leave a gory mess would be a kindness those who have to clean up and anyone having to identify his body. Sudden massive stroke, maybe? Unwitnessed ventricular fibrillation's also usually a quick and probably fairly comfortable death. Unknowing asphyxiation by non-noxious gas is rather unlikely but not so bad either. Or a tragic factor of ten error in anesthesic during surgery. Gunshots (sadly likely) or falling pianos (quite unlikely) are definitely too quick to hurt much but very much fail the messiness part.

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Death's not really common flirtation material, but I can see it as clever leveraging of misattribution of arousal. Kind of.

Let's hear it for establishment psychology and its ability to try and explain away any behavior that doesn't meet social norms.

 

Also, seriously, the experiments backing up the linked theory are hilariously bad. The only way to draw any conclusions from their results requires making a bucketload of assumptions (some pretty unintuitive) at every turn. I'm not someone who usually derides psychology research, but sheesh. Leave the paraphilias alone.

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My answer: Eaten by a bear.

 

In downtown Boston.

 

Here's my thinking on this. Certain circumstances would have to coincide to make this possible: First of all, bears live in the woods, and there are no woods in downtown Boston. Therefore, either someone would have to secretly smuggle the bear in and and release it, or it would have had to wander through town from the nearest forest, and arrive downtown, with nobody noticing it, like a sneaky stealth bear.

 

Furthermore, I would have to be in the area at that time. The bear would have to ambush me because if I saw it I would run away. Also, anyone else in the area at the time would have to ignore or not notice the bear, not alert me that the bear is stalking me, and not intervene when the bear attacks.

 

Any way it goes, I think it would make for an interesting story on the news the next morning.

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Let's hear it for establishment psychology and its ability to try and explain away any behavior that doesn't meet social norms.

 

Also, seriously, the experiments backing up the linked theory are hilariously bad. The only way to draw any conclusions from their results requires making a bucketload of assumptions (some pretty unintuitive) at every turn. I'm not someone who usually derides psychology research, but sheesh. Leave the paraphilias alone.

I didn't say it was a good idea, just there's kind of a way you can rationalize it. I don't have any particular opinion on misattribution of arousal, and all of my familiarity with it comes from a friend, who's a psychologist, who finds it hilarious and uses it as the explanation/justification for all kinds of completely irrelevant stuff. Most recently, yesterday evening, it was his justification for extremely difficult exams with merciless grading. "It's not better to be loved than to be feared. Teach them to fear you and they'll find themselves loving you because of misattribution of arousal!"

 

—Alorael, who also supposes, along with bears, dying during the landing of a UFO is probably not a bad one. Likely pretty quick, you'll be in the history books as trivia forever, and hey, hugely momentous occasion for all of humanity!

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"Most recently, yesterday evening, it was his justification for extremely difficult exams with merciless grading."

 

When I was a grad student, another teaching assistant used merciless grading to convince student to drop the class. His goal was 50% reduction to reduce his work load. He said that my students thought I was merciless because I posted each week the dates that they could drop the class without and with the professor's signature.

 

Fear didn't do anything for us. :)

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Getting killed via meteor strike would be fairly painless and nearly instantaneous, but also violates the messiness rule. Of course I am assuming a large enough meteor to survive entry into and travel through the atmosphere and then impact at with me at 11.2 km/s or greater.

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The messiness rule is Alorael's. You don't have to adhere to it if you don't want to. Bear in mind that rules regarding how explicitly messy it is, is still his jurisdiction as forum administrator. :p

 

(Unrelated note: I just noticed the silliness of a forum that proudly tells people "Leave your sanity at the door" having a psychiatrist for an administrator. >_< )

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(Unrelated note: I just noticed the silliness of a forum that proudly tells people "Leave your sanity at the door" having a psychiatrist for an administrator. >_< )

Some one has to test new members to make sure they follow the rules. :)
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To you who thought a bear attacking you in downtown Boston is unlikely and would make a good story... what if it escaped from the zoo, and you were just one of several people it killed/mauled before it was subdued?

 

Would still be notable because zoo escapes don't happen every day, but the headline would be somewhat generic. Then again I don't know if there's any zoos in Downtown Boston.

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The messiness rule is Alorael's. You don't have to adhere to it if you don't want to. Bear in mind that rules regarding how explicitly messy it is, is still his jurisdiction as forum administrator. :p

 

(Unrelated note: I just noticed the silliness of a forum that proudly tells people "Leave your sanity at the door" having a psychiatrist for an administrator. >_< )

 

I happen to agree with Alorael on the messy thing. As to having the psychiatrist for an administrator, I have worked with a few who I thought were not that far removed on the scale from their patients, so maybe it is very appropriate.

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A friend's dad went from a brain aneurysm on a solo backpacking trip in Wyoming. We was gone so quick the poles were still in his hands when they found him. That trumps dying in ones sleep, in my book.

 

I admit, there's something to be said for a more dramatic death, but it's not like I'd be around to appreciate it. There's also something to be said for some time to put your affairs in order, except that it often goes with a lot of suffering. My cutesy answer a few years ago was smothered to death by kittens. Then I realized that would be horrible... slowly suffocating, unable to save yourself for fear of hurting the kittens.

 

In the end, unless I go out doing something really meaningful (pushing the last pair of an endangered species out from in front of a speeding train?), I'm more interested in how I life than how I die. I know that's trite, but it's true.

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If you're hit by a big enough meteorite strike it's not messy, or more accurately there's a big mess but most of it isn't you. And mass extinction means you're in good company!

 

—Alorael, who supposes he's now ethically obligated to append a notification that he is not your doctor and cannot provide professional opinions on sanity or optimal locations for it, nor should his statements be construed as medical advice. Talk with your doctor before undergoing any sanity relocations or for any insanity lasting longer than 4 hours. All that really takes a lot of the ring out of the Spiderweb motto, though.

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This is an interesting question, one which I'd never really thought much on.

 

I'd have to say, I don't really savor the idea of "death by inaction", dying in your sleep, or in a hospital somewhere of some disease or condition. Suicide is kinda lame too, I mean if it works for you go for it but it's not my cup of tea. When I die, I damn well better be doing something. One's last moments of life are their farewell tour to existence, might as well make it a good show.

 

When I die, I don't particularly care how, but I'd like people look back and say "Well, she went out with her boots on."

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I like in concept various variations of "dying with my boots on", but many of those possibilities leave messiness and/or psychological trauma to those around, if someone could suggest a good "dying with my boots on" that avoids the messiness issues, I would be very interested in keeping it in the back of my mind for hopefully 40 years or so.

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Can I choose to live forever? The idea of dying scares me because there may not be an afterlife at all, just oblivion and the maw of eternally not knowing anything at all (hope this isn't the case, but....)

 

Death, therefore, the most awful of evils, is nothing to us, seeing that, when we are, death is not come, and, when death is come, we are not. It is nothing, then, either to the living or to the dead, for with the living it is not and the dead exist no longer.

 

—Alorael, who is comfortable with the idea of going back to not existing. He'd just like to be as comfortable as possible in the process of getting there. Living a very long time might be possible within a human lifetime from now; forever isn't. It isn't remotely plausible even if you ignore the eventual ironclad laws of thermodynamics.

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Can I choose to live forever? The idea of dying scares me because there may not be an afterlife at all, just oblivion and the maw of eternally not knowing anything at all (hope this isn't the case, but....)

 

Ultimately, this mortal existence isn't feasible for eternity. Even if you could keep up culturally and linguistically, biologically man kind will become radically different given enough generations. You'll be the lone talking monkey in a world full of colossal brained six fingered telepaths or something otherwise bizarre. Even if you're okay with that, nature itself isn't.

 

I'm talking disasters here. Supervolcanoes and Asteroid Impacts. You can't die, so now you're buried under a hundred feet of ash. Civilization just kerploded by and large, so digging you out may well never, ever happen.

 

But let's say you manage to avoid all that. At some point the sun will expand and devour the inner solar system. Does your immortality let you survive that? Yes? Wow.

 

Okay, let's go trillions of years forward. Those ironclad laws of thermodynamics mentioned above are going to destroy everything. And I mean everything.

 

Most popular is the heat death of the universe - yes, the concept of "warm" isn't even immortal. Atrophy will result in an energy level so low that there's no longer enough energy to do anything. Period. With essentially no energy, essentially nothing happens. Ever. With no discernible change anywhere with anything, no activity, no change anywhere the universe is dead.

 

But let's say that those laws are less ironclad... yeah, that doesn't necessarily help. Dark Energy, the stuff that fuels spacial expansion is the most mysterious of the forces, so if anything breaks down, that's probably going to be it. If it goes overdrive? It rips apart all matter until there's nothing left. If it dies? Gravity wins and the universe collapses back in on itself.

 

On top of that there are far flung fringe theories which, perhaps as unlikely as they are interesting, suggest other important "ironclads" might start to shift, destabilizing matter and all of existence in the process. Or the stability of the universe itself could be in question, with the universe being hung up in a higher than minimum energy state, and if that slips, everything explodes. Even if it isn't likely or even possible, the fact that we live in an existence where these notions could even be conceivable by our brightest minds pretty much moons the idea of "eternity".

 

When I throw out the term "mortal existence" I'm not being flowery. All physics pretty much agree that universe itself is dying, and will inevitably die. It might freeze, it might get dissolved, it might implode, or something otherwise utterly insane may happen, but it won't be here indefinitely. We who are dying are in good company. And bad company. And all the company.

 

What comes next? Everything will find out eventually.

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I want to die after publishing the next update to my Skyrim mod.

 

Or, if I don't get completely and utterly rejected by this one person I like before then, shortly after they completely and utterly reject me in the future.

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Necris Omega wrote:

 

"When I throw out the term "mortal existence" I'm not being flowery. All physics pretty much agree that universe itself is dying, and will inevitably die. It might freeze, it might get dissolved, it might implode, or something otherwise utterly insane may happen, but it won't be here indefinitely. We who are dying are in good company. And bad company. And all the company.

 

What comes next? Everything will find out eventually."

 

One serious exception comes to mind: If death is really the complete cessation of all experience forever, we wouldn't ever be able to know what comes next, would we? I would go so far as to say we will never know that we died in this case.

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I mean, according to Freddy Nietzsche and some folks who like to back up his work with actual physics, the universe is recursive. We are all bound in a cycle, and thus we will face the eternal return of everything in the exact same manner as it has come and gone before.

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I mean, according to Freddy Nietzsche and some folks who like to back up his work with actual physics, the universe is recursive. We are all bound in a cycle, and thus we will face the eternal return of everything in the exact same manner as it has come and gone before.

Not puberty, again. The horror, the horror. :)
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I mean, according to Freddy Nietzsche and some folks who like to back up his work with actual physics, the universe is recursive. We are all bound in a cycle, and thus we will face the eternal return of everything in the exact same manner as it has come and gone before.

 

i mean, the Big Neech was always a li'l vague on whether that was his actual belief or just a kind of thought experiment, but

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It's possible that the universe will undergo a Big Crunch into another single singularity and then Big Bang all over again. Whether that will happen or not is still an active question in physics; whether another Big Bang would just reboot this universe or produce an entirely different one is at this time beyond the scope of any of the models we have; we don't understand the first seconds of the universe at all, which means we don't understand the Big Bang. Lots of speculation, very little evidence.

 

—Alorael, who prefers to believe that Hume was right to be suspicious of inductive reasoning all along and that one day the rules of the universe will suddenly change. The stars will relocate and the planets completely ignore their old, stead orbits! Entropy will run backwards! Even death may die! And there will be spontaneous, inexplicable pudding for everyone!

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I'm afraid the free pudding would be poor compensation for all the rest of that.

 

It may be the mania talking but what you said invoked a feeling in me like that type of horror movie where they take something innocent and sacred and totally corrupt it to invoke a feeling of revulsion. I think the Japanese like it a lot IIRC. Sorta like a really sexy actress who is playing a heavily-decomposing zombie eating her character's own child. Or something.

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THOMASINA: When you stir your rice pudding, Septimus, the spoonful of jam spreads itself round making red trails like the picture of a meteor in my astronomical atlas. But if you need stir backward, the jam will not come together again. Indeed, the pudding does not notice and continues to turn pink just as before. Do you think this odd?

SEPTIMUS: No.

THOMASINA: Well, I do. You cannot stir things apart.

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I want to be elected to the United States Senate and be caned to death by a rabid wingnut from Oklahoma. That way, I will have accomplished something and become an amusing footnote in history textbooks.

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THOMASINA: When you stir your rice pudding, Septimus, the spoonful of jam spreads itself round making red trails like the picture of a meteor in my astronomical atlas. But if you need stir backward, the jam will not come together again. Indeed, the pudding does not notice and continues to turn pink just as before. Do you think this odd?
SEPTIMUS:
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  • 2 weeks later...

ADoS,

You intrigue me.

How about this little twist;

I don't die, but my body is completely paralyzed, while my mind is still lucid, active ... ... ... and isolated.

Like being buried alive ... ... ... inside your own skin.

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