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The Burnsville Socrates Cafe Message Board The Burnsville Socrates Cafe Discussion Forum › 3/22/11 questions and discussion

3/22/11 questions and discussion

Jon A.
Group Organizer
Saint Paul, MN
What might happen if we nationalized "too big to fail"?
2. Are we philosophers?
3. Might the motivations for gambling and religion be similar?
4. Why does it seem everything is becoming so competitive?
5. Why do we travel?


Is the essence of reality risk? -- asked by Jim

Jim: my wife has MS. Her current drug mitigates the bad side of the MS. There's another drug that has a small chance of causing a fatal illness but is otherwise more effective. It's one of those things, if you don't risk it, stay passive, you're not really happy for not having taken the risk. In the playground they can't use fun equipment -- too dangerous. Health care -- can't have risky behavior. We constantly strive to cut down risk. I think no, the risky part is the real part of life.

Jon: risk is necessary for life?

Jim: right

Ron: the opposite of risk --- fear factor -- is comfort. As humans I think we strive for comfort. Once we feel comfort we can seek risk. A healthy person would first want comfort, then having reached it (boredom) they seek risk. In some ways risk is a last resort.

Jon: what about risks we don't choose?

Ron: if there's that much risk involved maybe we haven't thought about it long enough.

Dick: there are so many different levels of risk. .25 cent poker. Going to work. Sick people who don't want to go on suffering. Evil Kneival.

Ron: Evil Kneival's risk was so calculated, his risk was minimized. Only the human factor created his risk.

Shannon: risk/reward. Comfort level -- how much risk are we willing to take? It depends on the person. Thrill seekers need the adrenaline rush to "feel alive".

Jon: is it about not feeling pain?

Shannon: it's not necessarily an escape. For some it's the accomplishment, the state of mind involved. As we age our interest in risk declines.

Susan: I think it's each of us perceives as risk. None of us want an easy life in my family. Does life need risk? Life without risk would be boring. Risk is tough life choices.

Jon: example?

Susan: my private (therapeutic) practice. It was calculated, I knew what could likely go wrong. I live my life on the "less easy" side in order to have a more interesting life. I err on the side of risk.

Jim: Dick's right, over time we come to better appreciate risk. When I was a twenty-something I swam from shore out to an ocean island, some 400 meters or so. It was great. When I got back a native person asked me if I had just swam from shore to the island and back. When I answered yes he said "sharks" (!). Deciding to marry is in a certain way a consideration of risk. It's about luck, probabilities, statistics. I tend to migrate towards the more difficult stuff, even if it's doable I almost have to be at the point of saying "I'm not sure I can do that"

Shannon: since we can't eliminate risk, what then becomes important are the choices one makes and then how we remember results for similar choices. Risk is unavoidable so what we have to decide is what we're gonna do when faced with it.

Jon: last week's question and the St. Paul Socrates Cafe was "Does certainty remove all doubt and hope?" This is right up Jim's question's alley. In a world of pure certainty there can be no doubt, no hope. Risk is necessary for hope and doubt.

Jon: "the essence" of reality?

Jim; what human endeavor lacks risk?

Dick: even moving can feel risky

Jon: I have always worked for hire, admiring the self-starters. But my risk factor is too high trying the same thing myself. I am not an entrepreneur!

Shannon: also this is how one approaches their life, it can stop one from acting. Or life can be seen as an opportunity.

Jon: I have another acquaintance who is also autistic/asperger. She is very anxious about leaving her house, driving, almost anything outside her bedroom door. Yet she is very aware of her loneliness and depression. I wonder how much the way we're raised can affect the ways we relate to risks. If our parents made us do normal but -- for us at the time -- risky things in order to prepare us for adult life, does this kind of thing tend to make us less at the mercy of the risks out there?

Jim: we always find risk in all the things in reality.

Shannon: opportunity, or risk?

Jim: lack of risk is a lack of chaos

Shannon: the words are important. Using opportunity instead of risk sets one's mind in a totally different direction. I say it becomes more constructive.

Ron: for me to get through reality I make plans. I react adversely when my plan changes. It's a psychological security blanket. 3 day's out in advance. It's how I get through short term futures. It's why I see life about to be seeking comfort.

Shannon: some people need more structure in response to a world full of risks. Others less.

Susan: illusion of control vs. normal risk-reality. Control.

Jon: are sacrifices made as we attempt to "control" risk?

Susan: of course. Planning obsessively costs, driving the same car costs. Plan vs. risk. planning is to overcome risk. It's not about being a planner, it's about minimizing perceived risk.

Shannon: there's nothing wrong with planning, nothing wrong with disappointment when plans fail.

Jon: I agree. I also see problems for us when we forget that our wishes/thoughts are just that, not to function as actual substitutes for the reality that's constantly before us.


Burnsville Socrates Cafe welcome Susan to our number tonight. Thanks for stopping by, Susan! I hope we see you again soon.
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