Open Question to Theists and non-Theists


Michael: let me briefly respond to some of your statements:

Mental illness is based upon statistical models, from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , used by mental health professionals. It takes a qualified professional (someone with the right degree, training and passing the approximate board licensing exams) to evaluate a person and match a diagnosis, to a corresponding category. Neither Michael nor Jason are qualified to do that.

Are you familiar with Grief Share, which is facilitated at various churches, in the US and around the world?

I remember a Star Trek, Next Generation episode. Wolf had somebody in a bar, play a Klington opera piece. To a Klingon, it was beautiful. I thought it was horrible. But Spock or Mr. Data could probably correctly argue, it had intrinsic value - in and of itself.


Perhaps not, but I have used the DSM IV to do bio/social/ psych intake intervies at Bowling Green Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Center in Pennsylvania (when I was doing my internship there–sorry I can’t remember the name of the town right now), and I doubt Jason has.

So of the two of us, I’m probably the more qualified.

I know you said you have a Master’s, but do you feel qualified to make such diagnosis over the internet?

I believe it’s “Worf,” not “Wolf,” and Spock and Data were fictional characters who saw little intrinsic value in anything.

Do you deny the existence of anything with intrinsic value?

Are you a licensed counsellor, with actual clients?

And do you recommend “Zen” Buddhist medition, and perscribe “homeopathic medicines” for those clients?


“While the DSM has been praised for standardizing psychiatric diagnostic categories and criteria, it has also generated controversy and criticism. Critics, including the National Institute of Mental Health, argue that the DSM represents an unscientific and subjective system.[1] There are ongoing issues concerning the validity and reliability of the diagnostic categories; the reliance on superficial symptoms; the use of artificial dividing lines between categories and from “normality”; possible cultural bias; and medicalization of human distress.[2][3][4][5][6] The publication of the DSM, with tightly guarded copyrights, now makes APA over $5 million a year, historically totaling over $100 million.[7]” - from a Wiki I happened across.

I’ve been told that DSM has ‘evolved’ to the point of being almost useless, since, looked at a certain way, no human being is ‘normal’ :laughing: - everything is a symptom of something - is that a valid criticism?


Michael - To a address your concern, I don’t claim to be 'qualified" to diagnose anyone as mentally ill - as I am NOT licensed. Nor would anyone who is properly qualified and licensed, make ANY diagnosis - over the Internet. They must meet with them in person.

Now someone once attacked me and claimed to be a prophet. But I am correct in saying that organic disease and mental illness, should first be ruled out - as a factor (an historical case is Ellen White, a Seventh Day Adventist historical prophet). Then one needs to apply the proper spiritual tests, like - can then prophesied something and we can see, if it comes true.

I was:

a volunteer at a crisis center
Worked as a supervisor, at a mental health, housing facility
Worked as a volunteer, at an adult social program, for mentally ill people

But I don’t go around arguing, who’s “closest” to being an “expert” on mental illness. Unless we are licensed to make that determination, we are NOT the “proper” experts. PERIOD :question:

Dave - the DSM might not be perfect, but it’s the closest thing we have, to a working tool, for classifying mental illness. And the fact they are now on version 5, means it’s a work in progress.

P.S. to everyone - since I look to historical figures from the Holy Fools tradition as “role models”, I don’t expect any of them, to be classified as sane. :laughing:


For the sake of those reading along, I’d you to clarify the fact that you’re not talking about me here, as I’ve never claimed to be a prophet, and I haven’t attacked you.

I agree, and I don’t believe I attempted to make any such diagnosis here.

Someone who doesn’t meet your qualification standard may have attempted to stigmatize me with such a diagnosis, but all I did was to make a general statement about the inadvisabilty of trying to convince someone you deem suicidal that he’s making a category error if (even in his grief) he holds onto the belief that life is a gift, and that there are states of existence that are better than non-existence.

It’s totally counter-productive to try to convince him there’s no cruelty in allowing an animal to exist in needless pain, because the animal would be no better off if it didn’t exist, and that even at his happiest moments here on earth (and in some future bliss in heaven) he himself is really no better off than he’d be if he never existed.

If you deem someone to be suicidal, and you have reason to think he believes in God, it’s far better to try to convince him that God is good, and that in the end he and those he loves will be better off than they’d be if they were never created, and (even if he’s seen loved ones suffer, and he himself is suffering now) they will have every reason to be truly grateful to their Creator for bringing them into existence when they’re reunited in heaven.

That’s Pastoral counselling 101.

And even if you’re dealing with a client who doesn’t believe in God, it would still make more sense to try to convince him that whatever good times his loved one had, and whatever good times they shared together, and whatever good times he may still be able to look forward to as long as he continues to exist, somehow make existence worthwhile.

Depending on the individual circumstances, that may be a much weaker argument, but it still makes more since than semanticly arguing to him that there’d be no “him” to be better or worse if he didn’t exist.

It would be gross malpractice for any licensed therapist to subject a client to that kind of nihilistic (and in my opinion, poisenous) thinking.

In the former Soviet Union, Psychological diagnosis were used to margenalize, stigmatize, and institutionalize political dissidents.

And here in the U.S. homosexuality has been classified as a disorder, and is now declassified.

And I’m pretty sure that when I was using the DSM IV, there was something in there called “gender identity disorder.”

Does anybody know if that’s still in there?

Does Caitlyn Jenner have a Psychological disorder by today’s diagnostic standards?

I don’t know, but that’s really beside the point here.

The real question is whether anything has any real, objective value.

All I’m saying is that there are conceivible states of existence that are better than non-existence, and that there are things with intrinsic value (totally independent of whether we are consciously able to recognize their value, or of any personal judgment on our part.)

And in answer to that question, I submit these learned opinions.


No, Michael - I don’t refer to you, as the prophet. That person no longer belongs to this group (or if they do, it is under another name and personally).

Our medical and psychological diagnostic systems are not perfect. And each person can be an expert or sounding board. For an approach to disease, I might consult a Native American medicine man or woman, conventional medical doctor and a homeopath. And it wouldn’t be contradictory, to work with all these experts.

And if medical tests can’t reveal a disease cause, i might consult an expert in Oriental Pulse Diagnosis or a medical intuitive.

And i would refer a person to talk to seminary trained and ordained clergy - on theological matters, academic professors with a PhD in philosophy - on philosophical matters, trained and licensed counselors, therapists and psychiatrists - on psychological matters and licensed medical doctors - on disease matters.

Now the experts and I, might see things differently. The theologians - for example - might say don’t hang around the Native American, spiritual healing practices and ceremonies. Don’t practice Zen and Mindfulness. And don’t emulate historical figures, in the Holy Fools traditions. Even if these things bring fresh light and depth, to traditional Christian theology.


Thanks for clarifying that.

You could have been easily misunderstood (especially after some of the things said on this thread by another poster), and I wanted anyone reading along to clearly understand that you weren’t refering to me.

I thank making that plain here.

Would a Franciscan, seminary trained and ordained, Anglican Catholic Priest (who teaches Physics and Theology, and also happens to be a hopeful universalist) meet your criteria?

I’ve been in contact with such a man for five or six years now, and he’s been very helpful.

And he’s never found it necessary to qualify the statement that there are states of existence that are better than non-existence.

Do you mean like Dr. Hilary Greaves, of Somerville College in Oxford, who wrote the paper I’ve been quoting here?

And the sources she cites in her paper (like Holtug, and Fleurbaey, and Voorhoeve)?



I always find a big difference between reading an expert, watching them on video, listening to them on audio - and talking to them in person.

For example:

My friend Dora has a PhD from Oxford in biblical Archaeology from Oxford and a masters in counseling, from the University of Chicago. One of her sons is a leading pioneer in genetic modeling and a professor at Harvard. I had many conversations over the years wit them.
I liked to talk with College of Dupage philosophy professors, who have PhD degrees in philosophy - when I took courses there. They have refreshing perspectives on philosophical matters
My favorite professor was a psychiatrist, who used to teach courses in abnormal psychology. He was also an expert in existentialism, phenomenology, and Zen.
Of course, hanging out with Indigenous medicine men and women, over the years - provided me with a wonderful learning experience.

Become friends with the experts and try to experience positive things - like a vision in the Lakota tradition, the satori experience of Zen, or a mystical experience of Christianity. Then come back down to earth and talk with the locals - like the folks on the forum here.

Probably I’ll continue this dialogue tomorrow.

And if you can find them - like the TV and movie A-Team - hang out with folks from the Holy Fools tradition A-Team,.:smiley:

Probably I’ll continue this dialogue tomorrow.


For face to face counselling I have my local parish priest, and for really deep Theological and Philosophical matters, I have my Franciscan friend in Sydney Australia.

Unfortunately, we have to communicate via email because I live on the other side of the world, but he’s a truly outanding Theologian (and Scientist), and I’m fortunate to able to exchange emails with him.

And, of course, there’s God (and the communion of saints.)

I think I asked for prayers for my dad in my opening post here.

Have you prayed for him?

Have you prayed for me?

I have nothing against the prayer rope, the Jesus prayer, the rosary, or a mystical experience of Christianity–but I’m not into yoga, the satori experience of Zen, or sweat lodges.

Didn’t some people out in California (or Arizona) die pursuing mystical experiences in sweat lodges not too long ago?

And don’t such native American practices often involve using peyote (or other mind altering drugs) to induce mystical experiences?

Do you reccomend that?

If yoga, or zen, or these native American practices have any thraputic value, couldn’t the same effects be acheived (much more scientifically, and safely) using biofeedback?

I will grant you one thing though.

I did know a medical doctor back in the eighties (in New Jersey) who’s daughter was a chiropractor, and whenever I threw my back out he could adjust it by using a trick he said he learned from her.

It probably took less than a minute, and worked every time.

It was really amazing.

BTW: You never answered a question I asked you–do you deny the existence of anything that has intrinsic value?

Someone here said “Value is always a personal judgment”–do you share that opinion?

Do you consider all things relative?

Is there (in your opinion) no intrinsic, objective value to existence in a state of beatitude?

How do you feel about vivisection?

Maybe that’s a bad example, because those in favor of it hope it will serve some higher purpose.

But is it true to say that it would be objectively wrong to do it for no purpose but to inflict pain on the animal?


And if you say it’s wrong, is it wrong simply because that’s your personal judgment, or mine, or God’s–or is it wrong because some things have real, objective, intrinsic value?

Is causing another being to suffer for no purpose not wrong in itself, because existence in a state of suffering (for no purpose) is undesirable?

Or is comparing existence in pain to non-existence meaningless?

Would it be true to tell the owners of the famous race horse who was euthanized after that race with Secretariat

Did these poor misguided humans do what they did only for themselves, when they thought they were doing it for the horse?

That’s clearly what Jason is saying here, and I disagree with him.

Do you believe there would have been nothing wrong with the owners letting Ruffian go on suffering, as long as it didn’t offend human sensibilities (or the angels, or God)?

Is it meaningless to say that a vivisection that served no higher purpose would still be wrong even if it didn’t offend the sensibilities of anyone watching (human or divine)?

Would it be wrong to bring an animal into existence to perform such a vivisection, if you knew in advance that it would serve no higher purpose?

Would it be wrong to bring Ruffian into existence in a permanent state of suffering?

If you say “yes,” and if you think the animal is in no meaningful sense any worse off existing in needless pain than it would be not existing, please explain why it would be wrong to bring it into that kind of existence.

These are philosophical questions, and this part of the forum is supposed to be a place where we can discuss philosophical questions.


But it really shouldn’t be about your education and job experience, my mental health (or the lack of it–or my education and job experience either for that matter), or Jason’s mental health, qualification (or lack of qualification) to make psychological diagnosis, or personal failings.

It should be about the philosophical issues raised by the questions asked–and I’d like to know where you stand on some of them.

Do you agree with Richard Hooker, who said

Or do you agree with the poster here, who said

I agree with Hooker, and if we continue this dialogue tomorrow, maybe you can tell me which statement you agree with?

Till then (as my Franciscan friend and priest would say), Pax Et Bonum.


To answer your questions, I always pray for people who request prayers. And I might direct folks to other sources for prayer:

Catholic sources, like Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal or the Shine of Saint Jude
To the new thought source Silent Unity
Or the Protestant site Guideposts

Would you have a surgeon preform surgery on you, who took a correspondence course on surgery and got his approval from someone - like Donald Trump?

The person pouring the lodge you mentioned, was a new age person. They covered the lodge completely with a tarp. Anyone who knows anything about building lodges, knows you keep the bottom portion uncovered - so the lodge can get fresh oxygen and not have a
nitrogen buildup. Lodges should only be poured and supervised by either indigenous people, trained in how to do them. Or folks trained and approved, by the appropriate indigenous people.

As far as what people call peyote and “mind altering drugs”, such things have been around for thousands of years. I neither endorse - nor condemn - such practices. Provided such ceremonies are done by an appropriate indigenous person, trained and approved to conduct such ceremonies. And such ceremonies are in accordance, with the federal laws, of the host country. But I am more familiar with such practices and ceremonies (I would never admit whether I ever participated), then probably anyone here is.

Yes and no.

If scientific gadgets can replace these traditions, then why is there a whole school of psychological therapy, devoted to mindfulness?
And why does the medicine man in the Native Healing video, report so many healings of things like cancer? And a 100% success rate, for those who follow his directions?

For answers to questions like these, go talk to:

Ordained seminary trained theologians, in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant traditions
Academic professors of philosophy and theology, with PhD degrees.
Folks of other religions, like Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Bahais, and Sikhs

In most cases, they will guide you to historical and contemporary philosophical and theological experts to read - if they are the academic type. Or to church teachings, if they are affiliated with a particular church.

In answer to questions like these, I shared this at the beginning:

It reminds me of a famous Zen story at Zen Story: A Cup of Tea - the best answers come from the silence

The key is to find what Zen masters, Holy Fools, indigenous holy and medicine people, and other such folks - find in the silence - that would help sustain them under all circumstances. It’s internal - not external. Then you can sing like Brian does (Note: Monty Python is expressing artistic and historical comedy. It’s NOT necessarily making fun of Christianity and the Crucifixion).



But if peyote is a purple powder, I have seen it used.

I remember pulling a shift once with a guy who was using something he said was peyote, and I don’t think he was native american.

I probably should have reported him for using an illegal substance on the job, but I didn’t.

And since you seem to only be interested in talking about native americans, and their practices, when you’re not talking about Buddhists and alternative medicine, I’ll tell you about the only time I was ever traveled outside the United States.

It was when some friends and I were invited to a wedding on a Mohawk reservation in Ontario.

I’ve never seen an American reservation, but I’ve heard a lot of negative things about them, and I was impressed by how well the Canadians seemed to be treating their indigenous population in comparison to the way I had heard we were treating ours.

The Island of Cornwall is a beautiful, green, wooded area dotted with cottages, where the Mohawk enjoy year round hunting and fishing rights (and where their actually is game to hunt, and fish to catch.)

We were staying with the brides brother, and after the wedding reception, where we all probably had a little too much to drink (but no peyote), he wanted to show us a pig he said he was fattening up for some kind of spring fair.

He took us out to the barn, and when he opened the door this huge thing tried to kill us.

As a city boy, I never knew pigs could get so big, or be so angry, and I figured he must have known what our friend was planing to do to him in the spring.

Anyway, I know something about the Mohawk, and the eastern tribes, and I think what Andrew Jackson did to the Cherokee was a national disgrace–especiall when you consider he did it in defiance of the supreme court, was never impeached, and the Cherokee were a peaceful tribe of people living on farms and growing corn.

Davy Crocket was the only one who stood up for them in congress, and he lost re-election and ended up at the Alamo.

But so it goes.

I’ve been a registered Republican since Nancy Pelosi became speaker of the house (and travelled to Syria when the state department asked her not to), but I’m hoping for a brokered convention, because I wouldn’t vote for Donald Trump if he were running for dog catcher.

Some say a brokered convention would be ignoring the voters, but I’ve never understood why Democrats and Independents are allowed to vote in so many of our primaries (and I believe in all the early states that gave Donald Trump his lead in the delegate count), and I see no reason not to ignore the votes of Democrats and Independents who probably wanted us to have a weak candidate in the general election.

But I’m derailing my own thread here, aren’t I?

Or did you do that–I forget.

Anyway, I like the Mohawk and the Cherokee, and I believe “Nvwadohiyadv” is a Cherokee word meanng much the same thing as “Shalom,” or “Pax Et Bonum.”

So I’ll say “Nvwadohiyadv” to you.

And if anyone reading along is actually interested in the correct answers to the questions raised on this thread, I’ll again submit these learned opinions (from trained Philosophers, with PHD’s in Philosophy):

Hilary Greaves.

Fleurbaey and Voorhoeve

Roberts, Holtug


– Shakespeare from Macbeth

When someone wishes to discuss the above soliloquy, along with the ramifications and bearing it has on their own life - a forum is NOT the proper place. The proper place is to defer them to:

Theologians in a Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox or Protestant church setting
Academic philosophers with PhD degrees
Licensed mental health professionals, with advanced degrees in counseling, psychiatry or psychology
Licensed medical doctors

And if they are “remotely curious” regarding that soliloquy, then they should be directed to read contemporary and historical figures on philosophy, psychology, religion and theology - to find the answers for themselves.


For your information, that soliloquy is from Hamlet–not Macbeth.

And Hilary Greaves et al are contemporary athorites on Philosophy.

I don’t know if you have a Master’s in psychology (as you say you do), but you certainly don’t seem to know much about Shakespeare (or Philosophy), and dating someone who has a PHD in something doesn’t make you an expert in anything.

I’m curious as to why you jumped into the discussion to begin with.

Did someone ask you to?

(If so I would suspect they’re somewhat disapointed in your performance about now, and you probably should have asked them to fight their own battles.)


My Masters in Psychology is from Norwich University. finished in August 1995.

And I had my share of philosophy courses, from Aurora University and the college of Dupage. Considering I usually got A’s in the courses, must mean the professors thought I was learning something regarding philosophy,.

It’s easy for me to make mistakes in things like Macbeth vs Hamlet, as I like to Multitask. And sometimes I multitask in different languages, like French, Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin.

And I don’t date someone with a PhD. I hang around folks with PhD degrees, as well as uneducated, blue collar workers. I often find the blue collar workers, the wiser of the lot.

And I jumped in, because Jason asked if anyone else, had anything to say to you.

And it would appropriate, in accordance with the Holy Fools tradition. And I’m too weird and strange, for anyone to normally upset or rattle me. :exclamation: :laughing:


That speech is one of the most famous in western literature, and it wouldn’t be easy for anyone who’s actually read Shakespeare to somehow confuse Hamlet with Macbeth.

Hamlet strugles with avengering his father’s murder, and MacBeth is himself a murderer.

The plays are entirely different, and in different settings.

One is set in Scotland, and one is set in Denmark.

I’ll have to take your word on that (and, as I believe you’re anonymous here, on your academic and professional credentials too.)

But you should at least recognize an associate Prof. of Philosophy at Somerville College in Oxford University as a contemporary figure in Philosophy.

And recognize the sources she cites in a published paper as contemporary figures.


I misunderstood you here.

My bad.

But why aren’t Greaves, Fleurbaey, Voorhoeve, and Roberts the right people?

I thought so.

Thank you.


hi Michael:

I do recognize the sources in philosophy you cite. Multitasking means you are working on several things - usually complex - at the same time. So simple mistakes can be made, as I don’t have time to review and rectify them all.

Tonight I am watching Super girl, Scorpion and NCIS LA on TV. The only other pressing thing (that can take me away from this forum), is a new episode of the Walking Dead, the Flash or Fear the Walking Dead.

I think the keywords for these shows are Zombies, Superheroes and Geniuses.

So I might not be able to continue until tomorrow. Take care. :smiley:


Thank you for finally doing that–instead of just repeatedly saying “if you have questions about philosophy, you should look to philosophers” (or some other words to that effect.)

I did look to proffesional philosophers when I found my own vocabulary insuffeciant to address Jason’s semantic arguments, and they were helpful.

I’ve cited those philosophers here, and this section of the forum is supposed to be a place where people can discuss philosophy.

So once again, these are the citations that address Jason’s “incoherence argument”:

Hilary Greaves.

Fleurbaey and Voorhoeve

Roberts, Holtug

P.S. One reason I’ve cited Philosophers who I believe offer perfectly sound answers to the “incoherence argument against existence comparativism” is for the benefit of anyone reading along–who may be struggling to hang in here under difficult circumstances (as I have been.)

If you tell yourself (or let someone else tell you) something long enough, you may come to believe it.

And I believe thinking that no state of existence is any better or worse than non-existence is unhealthy (and can effect the way you feel about life.)

The idea that thoughts can cause unhealthy emotions is the very basis of cognitive behavioral therapy, and I suppose I do see some merit in that particular school of Psychotherapy.

I certainly believe that (unless there’s some proven bio/chemical basis to an individual’s depression) that approach is better than the pharmacological approach.

And I suspect that for most people, it would probably be more helpful than zen or sitting in a sweat lodge.

What do you think counselor?


Philosophy is fun to read and study. If you must take that direction, then figure out how folks like Aristotle, Socrates, Buddha, Nietzsche, Laozi, Confucius, Kant and Sartre…would respond to Shakespeare’s “To be or not to be” soliloquy. Or to put it in musical terms. How would someone with a PhD in music, play a particular Beatles tune, in the style of Mozart, Bach or Beethoven?

But I’m a pragmatic person. In other words, I look for what works - regardless of source.

If a person is suffering from depression, I strongly feel that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is one of the best therapeutic approaches. It could be better than psycho-pharmacology. But again, that determination must be made by a licensed mental health professional and/or licensed medical doctor.

And regardless how folks might view it, homeopathy (under the guidance of a licensed medical doctor), has many remedies for treating depression.

And if you find an indigenous person, trained and approved by the right Native people, to conduct a sweat lodge… And if they invite you to join them… it’s one of the best healing moralities around. Considering they have four rounds and the third round is a healing round, what does that tell you? And if you ever did have a chance to experience an authentic Native American ayahuasca or peyote ceremony, you might find many healings take place there.

And mindfulness is a school of therapy. If someone wants to find out about whether it’s better to exist or not exist, then practicing Zen and mindfulness, is a great way to find the answers.

And you know what? There’s no better philosophical and theological construct then the Zombie, for talking about existence and non-existence. Considering that theological exile is a current alternative to ECT, annihilation and universalism. And philosophers like to talk about philosophical zombies or the P-zombie. Would a P-Zombie really be existing or non-existing, is a very deep, philosophical question.


I’d like to take this oportunity here to thank the only two posters on this forum who’ve ever said anything on this subject that was it all helpful to me (or is at all likely to be helpful to anyone else.)

First, Pilgrim.

Prof. Nils Holtug on the Positive Value of Existence

And now (more recently), Geoffrey.

Comparing Existence & Non-Existence, by Dr Hilary Greaves

The above comments were constructive, on topic, and helpful.

The one below was not.

If I had continued my studies, instead of caring for my parents, I could have been a licensed proffessional by now.

But I would have flunked out on life if I had put my education and career goals ahead of their needs.

And I doubt such a license can provide someone with the temperment, logic, or clearness of thought necessary to really help someone who’s situationally induced depression has been worsened by swallowing the unhealthy thoughts suggested by a published author he’s (wrongly) come to think of as his intellectual superior (as I once thought of Jason.)

It apparently takes something more (maybe common sense, maybe just empathy) to know that talk of zombies, and posting the kind of images you’ve posted here, is in poor tast on a thread started by someone with a loved one in ICU.

Thanks again pilgrim.

And it would seem the only argument against mlogic is a semantic agument that (at least some) “contemporary figures in philosophy” have recognized and exposed (for what it is):

Hilary Greaves

Fleurbaey and Voorhoeve

Roberts, Holtug

Many thanks to Greaves, Fleurbaey, Voorhoeve, Roberts, and Holtug.

No thanks to real or pretended “licensed proffesionals” who use philosophical discussion forums to mock and ridicule those asking philosophical questions (and especially not of they really consider their targets to weak, vulnerable, or mentally ill.)


Let me ask you some questions, Michael:

You cite your own knowledge of psychology and behavior. Tell me. Does a physician normally operate on themselves? Does a lawyer normally represent themselves in court? Does a psychologist try to resolve their own personal problems?
Why do you look to philosophy to resolve the “to be or not to be” dilemma, when the field of psychology teaches us that feelings and emotions - much more so than thoughts, logic, reason and intellect - govern our reaction to Shakespeare’s soliloquy?
Once I talked to a Native American elder, regarding a sun dancer (the sun dance is a sacred Native American ceremony), who killed themselves. His response was they continue their problems in the afterlife. And this person just made their problems 10 times worse for themselves. Do you wish to wager - like the philosopher Pascal (with his wager) - that the Native American elder is wrong?