Archive for May, 2011

So you’ll have to help me with this one, but I thought that it might be useful to start a list of the things that you yourself should be, and that you should do, in order to find an ideal soul mate.  I wrote in another post on marriage that, for some reason, we keep getting married; and I concluded that the ideal of it seems to be hardwired into our biology, and we find it fulfilling in many fundamental ways:  that is why we consider it to be the ideal.  Not least of these includes the idea that except in exceptional circumstances, kids want their parents to stay together, not just for a while, but for all time; even when parents get divorced when kids are in their 30s, kids get adversely affected, and begin to despair that their own marriages must be somehow doomed.  Even elderly seniors divorcing have serious negative repercussions on younger folk who can’t help but look to their example to see whether it is possible to ‘live happily ever after.’  A recent onion article, in typical parodic fashion, ends up listing the traits of an ideal marriage, and incidentally notes the fact that most of us continue to see the ‘happily ever after’ thing as an ideal.

Of course, in order to live happily ever after, you need to find a soul mate first:  it’s no fun to live happily ever after with someone who is only sort of suited to you:  the ideal of course is to be with someone so in tune with you, that you can’t imagine being not around them for more than a few hours here and there.

And, as any councillor or psychologist will tell you these days, the main thing that determines whether or not you find a soul mate is you.  You’re almost entirely in charge of your destiny there.  Yes, it may be hard to meet people in certain situations, but, if you were doing things differently, you would find them, and relatively quickly.  So how do you do it?  Let’s try making a list and see what we come up with.

1)  You have to believe in love, as the horrendous autotuned song goes.  I.e., you have to be willing to have faith, and trust, and not be essentially cynical about relationships and marriages.  You have to believe that it is possible for people to live happily ever after.  If you’ve convinced yourself that marriages, relationships, etc are doomed, and that all members of the opposite sex are mercenary, lying, cheating scum, well, guess what?  However, there are at least a third of people out there who manage to live life in stable, healthy, happy marriages, and a decent number of these folks are eternally in love, and would vastly prefer the company of their partner to anyone else, to death do them part.  So yes, it’s entirely possible, and so, if you want it, you gotta believe in it first. (more…)


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So the other day, someone reading my post on ‘the matrix effect’ said, ok:  how do we make a policy of limiting global population growth actually work in practice?  Do we have a world government that can help us to set these policies?   And this made me rethink the issue of ‘world government.’  What would an ideal world government look like, anyway?

So a couple of points to start:

1)  A world government must have some federalism built in.  I am a believer in small countries being semi sovereign, to the extent possible.  I have seen, from travelling and living in a lot of countries, that people in smaller countries (i.e., with low populations, thus including Canada) are on the whole happier.   Why is this? (more…)

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So I was bumming around the LSE bookstore a few weeks back, and found Tim Jackson’s “Propserity without Growth:  Economics for a Finite Planet”  sitting front and centre as a “staff pick featured read.”

And I thought, thank gravy that someone in the establishment is actually beginning to talk about the relationship between population and economics in a way counter to the prevailing wisdom.  As Tim succinctly explains in the first chapter of his book, the current economic model is fundamentally grounded upon one basic mantra, which is that population growth is essential to economic growth.   Economists assume that as population grows, the economy will grow slightly faster, increasing per capita wealth, and thereby making everyone richer.  As Tim points out, however, we’re rapidly coming up against the limits that our planet’s quite finite resources can possibly tolerate, in terms of food growable, food fishable, biological sustainability, waste disposal, not to mention the still not at all solveable fuel shortage problem, and the global warming problem that the oil industry has so successfully spread misinformation about.  I’ve already talked about this stuff in my post “what is the ideal population of the earth.” (more…)

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