Being stuck on a Desert Island doesn’t sound so bad…

by thelirivalley


The talking duck can read and write what it hears and sees, it can even play the piano. It plays the most beautiful Chopin piece note for note, as if you were listening to a record!

There was once a time (this is the part where I pretend that I grew up in a different era than everyone else and by that extension a better era) that “What If” questions had a lot more promise than they do now. Along with the technological era we are all currently experiencing, we lost a magic that came with sitting around a table arguing. I for one am a huge fan of arguing and to prove it I know doubt will have an entirely different argument by the end of this post; an argument which by that time will most likely be an absolute retort to what I’m about to say. The magic of table arguments faded when cell phones started carrying IMDB apps and therefore had absolute answers to all the questions we decided that we all knew different answers to.

I see both sides of the problem; I think it’s unquestioningly less interesting when someone can simply pull out their phones to end a discussion on who starred in the original “Bullets over Broadway,” but on the other hand I enjoy knowing that I’m right and having someone back me up makes me all the more proud. I kid of course; I’m equal parts right and wrong when it comes to table arguments. The real danger that technology poses is the literal loss of imagination in regards to the hypothetical.

“If you could only bring one book to a desert island, what would you bring?” Let’s look past the true nature of the question (which of course is to find out the person’s favourite book)and look at the “intellectual” power it gives the answerer. No one likes a smart ass but this “clever” man would answer, “I’m just bring my kindle – with over 1000 books on it!” This isn’t to say technology ruins the hypothetical, but it make it easier to provide a “non-answer.”

What is the “non-answer?”:

I was sitting around a comfortable living room a few weeks ago with friends and we came up to asking each other hypothetical questions to which every non-answer was to them an answer.

“Hypothetically…” I’d ask them, “If you were to be only able to bring one item that only costs $30.00 to a desert island where you’d know you’d spend a year, what would you bring?” The first answers were organized by price on The problem is you can’t poke holes in a point they bring to the table backed by a website; I can’t say, “well what would you do with it?” because all they have to do is read the item description and YouTube a video of someone using it.

It’s not that we weren’t learning anything new, the opposite in fact, we were learning more than we ever have before. We can jump on google the minute we don’t understand a word and the way its’ being used. I can google the word, “Galvanized,” and stop feeling offended by what I thought meant that I had small testicles. The problem is that the application phase of newly acquired information is faulty. The wire which bridges the understanding into actual practice is growing smaller.

I talk often of the acceptance of knowledge and the application of knowledge and the difference between the two and I think the point is moot in regards to which needs to be worked on, but we’re missing the picture and the “non-answer” is winning. Whether you’re right or wrong I want to hear your reasons for WHY you chose what you chose and the real world application of your choice. And in the end, to me, that is the real sign of “wisdom,” or “understanding,” or even “intelligence,” anyone can spell correctly or read a famous book or think a supposedly original thought, but if you can’t apply that anywhere else then how are you any more interesting than a talking duck.

The talking duck is hilarious, sure, but I wouldn’t want to talk to it as it has no value added – no benefit. It won’t teach me anything and it won’t learn anything from me other than what it can recite.


The hypothetical island is easy now as I will be Googling, “Best things to bring on a Desert Island,” and I don’t have to understand why.