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JEFF: Do you ever want to unplug?

JUSTIN: That's a very common question. It's just like anything. There are times you want to and times you don't.
He's saying that everything in life involves compromise.

Justin wore a camera on his head and live-streamed his entire life to the internet for months. Did he like having the camera filming at all times? No. Sometimes he didn't. But, he says, that's just how life is. Whatever he was doing with his life, sometimes he wouldn't like it, just like everyone else. He's saying his problems weren't worse than regular life.

He doesn't think that all problems are solvable. He thinks you just have to put up with bad stuff in life. And what he's expressing is the dominant, mainstream view. Everyone believes it.

You can't get everything you want in life, people say. You have to compromise.

I disagree.

Most things are within human power to improve.

There are some things people cannot control or change. Like the speed of light in a vacuum. Or that non-genetically-modified roses need to be watered to grow.

But if we can't change something, that doesn't mean we have to put up with unsolved problems. Why are these things problems? Why do we want them to be different? Why not adapt ourselves to the few parts of reality which are actually completely unchangeable? What's bad about that?

A compromise involves accepting something bad. That's why compromise is bad. But if a person is wise enough that he doesn't have an impossible preference (or changes one), there is no compromise there, nothing bad is happening.

If someone wants to have live roses and have them grow, but not water them, and not have anyone else water them (including not using automated sprinklers), and doesn't want genetically modified roses that don't need water, and so on... That is their own fault. They are created a problem out of nothing by having a bad preference.

If people don't form bad preferences (or change the ones they do form), then no compromises are necessary. Compromises like, "I guess I'll put up with watering my roses" aren't necessary. The compromise comes from blocking all solutions (sprinklers, hiring a gardener, not wanting live roses, etc).

There is no need to want the impossible. And anything besides the impossible is possible. So all problems can be solved. Either there is a possible direct solution, or there is a possible solution of not wanting to do the impossible.

Sometimes the only possible ways to accomplish something are immoral, but it's possible. The solution here is to change one's mind about wanting accomplish this. People don't have to have immoral preferences, and if they do they can solve the problem by changing their mind.

Compromises are non-solutions to problems. They are ways that no one involved gets what they want. Compromises are ways of proceeding which no one thinks is a great idea. Most people accept this terrible concept, compromise, as a routine part of life. It shouldn't be, and doesn't have to be.

If you recognize all compromises as areas to improve, instead of accepting them, then you can have a better life.

Elliot Temple on August 5, 2014


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