Stranded Island Dilemma

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This is a philosophical thought experiment designed to increase our empathy towards others in the world.

A plane crashes on a stranded island. You are one of one hundred survivors, all strangers. After searching around for a while, you discover that there is no source of food anywhere in sight, and everyone is in danger of starving to death. 

Then, you come across a giant mountain. Since this is the only place you haven’t been to yet on the island, everyone decides that trying to climb it is the only hope left for finding some sort of food supply to survive. But this mountain is extremely dangerous to navigate, and it is uncertain if anyone will even be able to get to the top.

Fortunately for you and nineteen of the other survivors (ten women and ten men in total), you are expert mountain climbers. On the way up the mountain, the other 80 people try as hard as they can, but are physically unable to make it to the top. Some are old, some are young, and some are physically or mentally handicapped. Others are just not physically gifted enough to make it up.

You and the nineteen other climbers finally make it to the top. When you get there, you discover a giant lake, with rows of fruits, vegetables, and nuts. It is more than enough food to feed all one hundred survivors for the foreseeable future. You and the other climbers who made it are ecstatic, realizing that starvation will no longer be an issue, and that you can now relax a little.

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While searching around the mountaintop, you come across a field full of grapes. The grape vines are some of the longest and strongest vines you have ever seen. Then, you remember that the other 80 survivors are still stuck down at the bottom of the mountain, and that if you tried hard enough, you could figure out a way to use these vines to help the others reach the top. 

Here comes the million-dollar question. Do you:

A) Use the grape vines to help the other 80 survivors make it to the top of the mountain, even though doing so would mean risking the possibility that you fall off, increasing how fast you use your food supply, and exerting lots of time and effort?

OR -

B) Go on just relaxing and living your easy life with the other climbers who made it, and say that it’s survival of the fittest, so it sucks for the rest of those who couldn’t make it to the top? 

(By the way, the majority of the people atop the mountain with you have chosen option B. So if you choose option A, you will likely be considered someone with unpopular and strange views that diverge from the mainstream. Additionally, you will find very little help or support from others, and constantly have to deal with ridicule and intentional setbacks from others who do not want to see things change.)

Give this scenario some thought. Can you figure out how this is relevant to the world we live in today?

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Through the years, 100% of people surveyed have responded that they would choose option A. Not one person has said that choosing option B is the right thing to do. 

Here’s the real reason why I created this question:

-Right now, nearly half of the children on our planet do not have food.

-50% of the world lives on less than $2.50 a day.

-80% of the world lives on less than $10 a day.

Anyone who is reading this likely:

-Is literate.

-Has food and water.

-Has shelter.

-Has electricity.

-Has the time, money, and energy to lift people out of poverty.

We are the top 20% of people who made it up the mountain. There are many people out there who desperately need our help. In a simplified hypothetical scenario, every one of us is risking our lives and dedicating ourselves to lifting people out of poverty. Are we actually living up to these ideals in real life? Are we summoning the courage to look outside of our social circles and societal norms to do what we know deep down is right, even if this means potentially having to challenge the beliefs of all of the people we’ve ever known? If we are not doing these things yet, what changes should we be making right now? These are the real questions we each need to ask ourselves.

If you enjoyed this article, imagine what would happen if someone were to extend it to 200+ pages, then make it slightly more awesome. This new book represents over six years’ worth of my life experiences, insights, and ideas on creating a better way of living for all of us: 

It’s All My Fault: How I Messed Up the World, and Why I Need Your Help to Fix It

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What does mysticism really mean? It means the way to attain knowledge. It’s close to philosophy, except in philosophy you go horizontally while in mysticism you go vertically. You plunge into it. Philosophy is a slow process of logic and logical discourse: A bringing B bringing C and so forth. In mysticism you can jump from A to Z. But the ultimate objective is the same. It’s knowledge. It’s truth.

Elie Wiesel (b. September 30, 1928) in Conversations with Elie Wiesel

Song: “Know Better Learn Faster” by Thao

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Potential - that is the meaning of life. That is what separates humans from the rest, that is what is found in anything that is not a slave - it has potential, and what makes the use of human potential so fantastic is the fact that almost no one in western society uses it as they should.

'O Zarathustra, you stone of wisdom, you projectile, you star-destroyer! You have thrown yourself thus high, but every stone that is thrown — must fall!'

Thereupon the dwarf fell silent; and long he continued so. But his silence oppressed me; and to be thus in company is truly more lonely than to be alone…

But there is something in me that I call courage: it has always destroyed every discouragement in me. This courage bade me stop and say: ‘Dwarf! You! Or I!’

For courage is the best destroyer — courage that attacks: for in every attack there is a triumphant shout…

Courage also destroys giddiness at abysses: and where does man not stand at an abyss?

Courage destroys even death, for it says: ‘Was that life? Well then! Once more!’

—  Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra
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I’m working on a new series of mini’s which I’m aiming to collect end of next year with some older work and some unreleased stuff.

It feels great to just slam a long comic online, so I’m not sure if I’ll get around to printing out too many of this one… I’ll have 20 to give away for free free free this Friday at the NY NY launch, and I might print some for fests, but yeah, online yo.

Hope you dig! Cool if you don’t :)

love ya

Praise of the selfless, sacrificing, virtuous - that is to say, of those who do not expend all their strength and reason on their own preservation, evolution, elevation, advancement, amplification of their own power, but who live modestly and thoughtlessly, perhaps even indifferently or ironically with regard to themselves - this praise is in any event not a product of the spirit of selflessness! One’s ‘neighbor’ praises selflessness because he derives advantage from it!…Herewith is indicated the fundamental contradiction of that morality which is precisely today held in such high esteem: the motives for this morality stand in antithesis to its principle!
—  Nietzsche
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