Anyone want an interview?
You have a much closer relationship with your parents than it seems like a lot of people our age/social group/etc do.
- Why do you think this is?
Because I was a mostly upstanding geek in high school with nothing to hide? Although that's not quite true. Upstanding isn't, although only from a legal perspective. Mostly I just had very little to hide, and that's mostly to the credit of my parents. Many of you have met them; they are mellow, laid-back and/or at least rational. They generally have a pretty decent grasp of what's going on at what points -- perhaps the most graceful let our kid go to college and accept that not only is he not coming home, but that he's no longer a child and must be treated like an adult if we ever want to hear from him again of any of the parents in my dorm. And so I think the mix of not really having much to hide (didn't and don't drink, or do drugs; sex at appropriate age; and my computer "security" background was covered under a "we don't want to know, we just don't want men in suits and sunglasses at our door" policy.
I view my parents as a resource and as a source of trust. I don't really understand people who hide everything from their parents; inevitably, they either sort-of know what's up, or should. Responsible Parents, and Children, are like dogs in their pack-observation ability -- with a dog, you will inevitably get the personality that you want, whether that's conscious or not, because they are highly tuned to our bodylanguage. Same with parents and kids, at least ones that are around enough -- you know your parents better than they know themselves, and likely it is true the other way around. Withholding information only makes their model worse -- and does the same on the other side.
- How do you think this has influenced your world view, life direction, and so on?
I have them both as a base, and as rolemodels... and as rolemodels, they have completely de-stressed job worries. Unlike most of my peers, I've never worried about finding the job or the field for me. I value education, and skills that apply across boundries. But it took n careers for my dad to settle (and I think he has settled) on what he loves to do. My mom continues her search. You just have to take advantage of what opportunities, and what drives one has, and I'm lead to believe that things will work out. So far, that's been true for me -- I'm in a pretty out-of-spec opportunity. As I was reminded on the phone this morning by my mother. :)
2. If you could have any one skill for free ("Whoah... I know kung fu!") what would you choose, and why?
Similar answer to wishes (...for more wishes), one answer would be skill acquisition. I'd really like to be able to learn human languages like I can computer languages; to dance from just exposure to it, or reading; and so on. And I think to an extent, most of this is true it is just that the time and costs of acquisition are higher than we are willing or able to pay. I would like to lower that barrier.
Barring that, I approach the problem like I cite for why I studied Chemistry -- I'd like to have the least easy but useful skill for me to acquire. I don't know what that is.
3. What does "happiness" mean to you? How did you arrive at your definition, and how has it influenced the choices you've made so far?
I try not to think about it. That's a danger subject, which I've learned to avoid. I've arrived at that from counselling. Happiness, and a definition of it, is not a terribly useful concept. We all depend on it, but if you stop to think about it, you will inevitably stop to think about it. It is like asking Am I significant?.
How has it influenced the choices I've made so far? The better choices I've made have come from following my aesthetics of what would be desirable -- but that is a rapidly shifting function. Not quite "if it feels good, do it", not quite a utility calculation...
4. If you lived in the time before the rise of the scientific method, what do you think your occupation would be (you can choose any culture, and need not be constrained by the "my dad was a shepherd, his dad was a shepherd, guess I'll have to be a shepherd too" phenomenon)?
That's pretty broad, regarding the time (and choices) available. And the think you would be is a fine line between how I would like to imagine myself to be (who wouldn't want to be a Great Philosopher-King, or Legendary Samurai) and what I might reasonably have ended up being (statistically - villager/farmer/soldier).
I suspect that for many of the time periods, I would likely have wound up in religious service -- a monk, a druid. Wandering lunatic, otherwise.
5. Consider the following scenario:
The community-minded local mad scientist seen in a previous interview has grown bored with his research into superpowers and has turned his attention to the study of physics. Unfortunately, he didn't exactly run his latest venture by the city planning board. This experiment had a very small but nonetheless non-zero probability of making the universe go "all-gone", and, well... oops. There is no Off switch. In 30 days, you, everyone else on the planet, and the entire rest of the universe will join together in shuffling off this mortal coil.
How do you spend your 30 days? In particular, in what ways (if any) is your answer different from how you would look at the classic "you have a terminal, incurable disease from which you (and only you) will die in 30 days" scenario?
It is a completely different scenerio, because what you are describing is the end of history. Anything I do becomes completely irrelevant within 30 days, and I'd imagine there would be a rather large social breakdown as a result. On a large scale, I'd imagine rape-pillage-destruction would be tempered mostly by other hedonistic pursuits. And other meditative solutions. I'm hard pressed to imagine what I'd do because I'm overwhelmed by how little it would matter... in reality, I would probably try and watch as much of the decay as possible; but I'm not sure if I'd be involved.
It is unlikely, however, that I would get religious and reflective and hope to improve my chances in the afterlife.