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The Hypotheticals

by Chris Brion

Hypothetically, certain forms of humor could be objectively superior to others. The implications of this being that, given a utilitarian framework, it would provide more utility for someone to utilize a particular form of humor over another, as a general rule. Fundamentally, it would depend on the circumstance which form of humor should be employed, however in general as an objective rule, this would mean that a particular form of humor should be employed in most, or all circumstances.

Hypothetically, you could have a hole in your shoe right now.

Hypothetically, if you were a peasant in fourteenth century England, what would your lifestyle be like? We may be able to imagine general ideas disseminated by our culture of what such a life would be like, and those who are more well-educated may be able to give a more detailed hypothesis as to what it would be like, however the concept of being able to imagine what it would be like to have been raised and be living in another culture, especially one which is separated distantly in time can be argued to be fundamentally flawed, as it would be impossible to grasp such an experience, when we are inherently be prone to viewing things with a modern mindset. It raises the question of whether a fourteenth century English peasant would even consider himself able to imagine what it would be like to be, perhaps, a seventh century Byzantine Emperor. At the heart of the issue is whether the human mind is so rigid as to be paralyzed by the constraints of its upbringing or culture, leading to the distortion of any thought experiment of existing in an alternative culture, or whether, and by what method, it would be possible to make visible the view of another person.

Hypothetically, you could live next to a waterfall. Wouldn't that be nice? Perhaps the sound of rushing water would get annoying? Or, on the contrary, it may be continuously relaxing? Most likely, it would become normal after a few weeks.

Hypothetically, we are on the edge of the existence of humanity. Radiation. Not in the sense of Fukuyama's "end of history" (a disgusting concept), but of a real apocalypse, perhaps in the traditional sense, or perhaps in the sense of being replaced by another form of life (in the biological sense).

Hypothetically, your citizenship could be revoked tomorrow. There could already be plans to do so. Depending on who you are, how "important" you are, what you have done, how you got to where you are, such would be the typical phrases of someone in denial of the absolute power of the state. Hypothetically, your citizenship could be revoked tomorrow. Period. Chris Brion does not make a value judgement on this within his hypothetical, it is a simple fact of the absolute authority of the state over the definition of who is a citizen, and who is given rights within the territory of the state.

Hypothetically, there could be a missile underneath your house. Perhaps from the Second World War.

Hypothetically, you could be completely ignorant of a particular fact, such as that a decoration in your house was changed, and you never learn about it for the rest of your life, despite that if you were to hypothetically learn about it, it would seem obvious in retrospect, as you would have correspondent memories that provide evidence for that fact. Yet, hypothetically, you would never know.