My mini-blogathon today for Secular Students Week hereby comes to an end — but you can still help out!
This week is Secular Students Week, when people around the Internet are celebrating the fantastic work the Secular Student Alliance is doing to empower students. Their goal is to get 500 donations now through June 17th: if they do, they’ll receive a $20,000 challenge grant! Help them keep up their amazing work by giving this week. A gift of $5, $10, or $20 will go a long way towards helping them reach this goal and empower secular students: please give today!
In today’s mini-blogathon, I’ll post a new blog post once an hour, from now (a little after 9:00 am Pacific time) until 5:00 pm Pacific time. In addition, for every donation that’s made today via my blogathon, I’ll post a new cat photo!
This hour’s post (and the final one for this blogathon): Invisibility or Flying?
The question “would you rather be able to fly, or be able to be invisible?” is widely discussed. I’m not sure why, although it is true that these two superpowers loom large in human imagination, and have been central to stories and myths for millennia. And the answer you give is often seen, in a reductive pop-psychology way, as a sign of your personality and character. (There was even a This American Life episode about it.)
So since it’s the end of the blogathon — sure. I’ll take this on.
For me, it’s flying. No question. But it’s not because flying itself would be so mega-awesome. (Although it would: I used to have flying dreams all the time, and they were always delightful. In them, I almost always was a non-flyer who figured out how to fly in the course of the dream — usually it was something really simple and (in the dream logic) obvious, like “notice when there are updrafts and step into them.” The learning curve was sometimes scary, but once I got the hang of it, it was really fun. I miss them.) But that’s only part of why I’d pick flying.
I’d pick flying because the only uses I can think of for invisibility would be unethical. Everything I can think of doing with invisibility — spying, theft, getting into things without paying — are things I think are wrong. I mean, maybe spying in some circumstances could be good — if I were spying on a person or organization I thought was really bad, for a person or organization I trusted to be really good — but even then, it’d be a “lesser of two evils” kind of good. If I’m going to pick a superpower, I wouldn’t want one that was morally ambiguous.
That being said, I’m not sure what kind of good I could do with flying. I guess it depends on how fast I could fly: if I could fly really fast, I guess I could race to fires and stuff, before the fire department could get there. And of course, I could travel pretty much wherever I wanted. (How quotidian is it that one of my first thoughts is, “I could fly to speaking gigs, and the host organizations wouldn’t have to pay airfare”?) But for some reason, I’ve always assumed that the “flying” option meant “flying at about the speed of a strong wind,” since that’s how I used to fly in my dreams — it was more like gliding on the wind. So that doesn’t get me anywhere faster than driving. Maybe I could rescue people from high, difficult-to-reach places?
But mostly, I’d want to fly just because it would be fun. And not unethical. I like non-unethical fun things.
What about you? Flying, or invisibility?
And since we got a couple more donations since the last set of cat pics — here are three more cat pics! Here’s Talisker in elegant profile:
Here’s Comet the contortionist (as Ingrid says, she looks like she’s hanging onto me like I’m the last lifeboat on the Titanic):
And here, as an extra special bonus, is Ingrid, with both cats on her lap:
Once again — please support the Secular Student Alliance! My little blogathon is over, but you can still help them get their challenge grant of $20,000 by reaching their goal of 500 donations now through June 17th. Even small donations help. Please support them today!
Greta Christina is author of four books: Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why, Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, and Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More.