[Okay, so I’ve got an assignment due in a few hours for PACS 3. I started off the prep sheet as usual, skimming the readings and the questions, no big deal. But then I started responding to the first question…and was “done” about an hour later. Holy shit, right? But this is why I love this class; I don’t get to write like this in my usual classes at all. So, in lieu of an actual post, here’s the first question and my response. You’ll find that it’s basically like any other post that I write on here; I think that keeping a blog where I just write things out for its own sake gives me a bit of an edge.]
1. What would you do with the Gyges ring? Are you good at resisting temptations?
While I’ll admit that the first thought that entered into my head was “Get an iPod touch from Best Buy for the wonderful price of free”, I now find myself with something altogether different in mind for the Ring of Gyges. It helps that, nowadays, the things worth stealing (an entirely subjective worth, mind you) have a bunch of other security measures that would thwart mere invisibility like magnetic tags. What would be the point of going invisible if that stupid thing at the door would beep were you to pass by with the item in question. And even before then, I’d have to do a full battery of obligatory preliminary tests to see the ring’s power for myself. Can I still wear clothes while invisible? I’m sure I still make sounds while I’m invisible, so just how close would I have to be for someone to hear me breathe and be tipped off to my presence? What is the average reaction to a door opening by itself in this day and age? No, I could not be a master thief with the Ring of Gyges; too much thinking is involved in circumventing it’s inherent weaknesses and an iPod touch is not even worth it when I can just buy it used from Amazon.
No, I’d probably peoplewatch instead. Or use it to travel safely in the dead of night; you can’t mug what you can’t see, right? Unless you can see their shadow; I’m assuming that, because you don’t become immaterial when you turn it on, the Ring can’t stop your matter from casting a shadow. But nobody looks down, anyway, so I should be safe.
Eavesdropping is good too, provided the conversation is actually worth listening to. Would I be the best anonymous journalistic source ever? Hell yes; I could probably be able to sneak into meetings at corporations and blow the whistle on them. I dunno, I don’t trust them as far as I can throw them. Spy on them, spy on committee meetings in D.C.; someone’s gotta keep them accountable. Though I’m probably going to need money anyway, just to have a home to return to at the end of the day and somewhere to shower. Ugh, I’m probably going to have to be all sorts of careful picking out body wash, aren’t I? Can’t pick something that smells too nice, otherwise people’d know that someone is there and be on their guard. That’s easily enough solved; just pick something close to what they’re wearing.
As for money, perhaps the occasional blackmail? Something so secret that they would rather die than go to the cops or blab about it to their friends (or “friends”; I’m counting on them to be big enough jerks that they’re the kind of people who think everyone’s out to get them), making them more amenable to fulfilling my request of basically paying my rent (plus utilities) with just a bit left over for basic foodstuffs. Invisible or not, I’m fairly cheap.
…Damn, now I want this ring to be an actual thing. I mean, sure, I could spend my life in the pursuit of a cure to cancer, which I think doesn’t exist. I mean, curing cancer would be neat, but now that I know more about the disease, I can’t think of it as a “disease”. It seems to be a condition inherent to organisms outliving their natural lifespans; people just aren’t meant to live that long. I can understand why we still fight. Living is nice. I rather like being alive. So, rather than funneling funding towards something that is inherently pointless, let’s use it to enrich people’s lives instead. “This Ring could basically be my day job instead of searching for the cure to a disease whose essence is too integral to humanity” is the point I’m trying to get across. Might as well do something productive for the world while I still breathe.
Now for the other half of the question: am I good at resisting temptations? Simply put, no. Again, if the Ring of Gyges actually did exist and wasn‘t just for an overly thought out experiment in morality, I would go off and do exactly as I’ve said vis-à-vis the whole do-gooder spy thing. I would make the degree I’ve been working on for four years now utterly pointless in a heartbeat. If that’s not the very definition of an impulse, I don’t know what is honestly.
Then again, I do happen to ignore other so-called “temptations”. Drinking in general doesn’t interest me, though I do appreciate a dark ale. I’m too cheap to gamble (it’s so wasteful!); smoking’s a straight-up “no” because my grandmother fell to lung cancer and it’s just gross. Would I date a smoker? Hell no and I’ll sit upwind of them for good measure. Sex seems rather boring, one of the few factors that I find accounts for my chastity remaining intact. It’s not for the lack of people I’d like to get it on with, I just don’t appreciate them clinging. All we did was sleep together, geez.
Maybe I am good at resisting temptations of a conventional sort, if only because I can rationalize them away into nothing. Just not temptations like skipping out on studying for an exam to go see a choir recital for someone that I like very much or staying up until 2:30 in the morning to see a rather boring show in order to appease my friends. Friends, then, are the source of many a temptation that I just can’t make go away. Peer pressure is dreadful.