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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Single Irreducible Purpose of Existence

Suppose that you were destined to live the rest of your life in a dark, closely fitting, narrow box. How would you spend your time? You couldn’t read any books—there are no books, nor light to read by. You couldn’t write letters—there’s no-one to read them, and nothing to write with. You couldn’t exercise—there’s no room. What would you do?

In this bare minimum of existence, if you can figure out what you would do, how you would stay sane—this would be your Single Irreducible Purpose of Existence, your SIPE. It’s not much different from being imprisoned by torturers, or confined to a bed for the remainder of your life. This thing that you would do, without mobility, without light—this would be your single irreducible purpose.

I think I know what I would do. What would you?

6 Comments:

  • If I could move at all I'd learn Morse code.

    Otherwise, I would develop an intricate fantasy world or I would go insane. What would you do?

    (Ah, weird, my CAPTCHA said "morseec")

    By Blogger Chris Sivori, at 9/18/2009 8:11 AM  

  • I think no matter what one decides, going in, what one's SIPE will be, the medium/long term consequences will be irreversible mental and physical disfunction and perhaps unavoidable compulsion to suicide:

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/03/30/090330fa_fact_gawande

    (Sorry to be a bummer on such an otherwise beautiful Friday.)

    By Anonymous David, at 9/18/2009 8:32 AM  

  • Chris - Interesting! So you'd make your own reality in a sense.

    I would spend my life praying.

    David - I skimmed the article. It would indeed be a terrible existence.

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 9/18/2009 11:16 PM  

  • That's an easy question for Muslims I think. If i were to be in that situation, free of hunger and all bodily needs, I'd spend my time praying and glorifying Allah. Many monks and saints have already done this you know, not in a dark room, but in "a" room.

    By Blogger Nabeel, at 9/20/2009 9:13 PM  

  • Good point, Nabeel!

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 9/20/2009 11:51 PM  

  • I would squeeze a mini nylon string guitar in my box which would be painted with glow in the dark paint, preferably purple. I would strum away on my axe and sing my little heart out. I would perfect my flamenco and blues skillz.
    -Lola

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/05/2010 10:20 PM  

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