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  1. 2 points
    softwareNerd

    Buy gold and silver?

    The typical advice from financial advisers to clients is to put their money into an index fund, getting a combination of: low commissions and lowered temptation to try an beat the market. In general, this is still good advice. but... ... it is based on a key assumption that the future U.S. performance will be pretty much like the past. Stocks can be hurt by inflation, but their prices inflate too. And, couple that to an unwritten assumption that statist governments have an incentive to subsidize the most common vehicle of investment. A true hyper-inflation type scenario is different. But, since such situation has not really occurred in U.S. history, a financial adviser will never advise you to plan for it; not qua financial adviser. A few economists might be willing to predict hyper-inflation in the U.S., but they're basing their advice on a theory that has not been borne out for a century. One can compare the DOW vs. Gold, but looking at the DOW "priced in gold", how many ounces of gold would it take to buy the DOW. Source: https://www.macrotrends.net/1378/dow-to-gold-ratio-100-year-historical-chart A big problem with this raw chart is that the price of gold was fixed in the U.S. from the great depression all the way to Nixon. So, the relatively bad performance of the DOW during the 1970s was gold shooting up in price from many years of pent up legal binding. Given that legal context, one really ought to look at post-1980 data. Which gives us this portion: Since 1980, the only time when one could have bought gold and still be better off than the Dow today was the years between 2000 and 2008. Notice that this is pre-Great recession, pre-housing-crisis, not post. Why? because the factor at play was the DOW rather than gold. It was the DOW that was shooting up. Since 2009, the DOW has shot up again, far beyond its previous highs. Since about 2012, the price of gold has not followed. Consequently, the DOW has risen significantly in gold terms. if you think the DOW is in a new bubble, then that might be an even better (as in history-based) reason to buy gold than a hyper-inflation scenario. However, betting against the stock market averages is something that a typical financial adviser will not recommend because it is usually a way to under-perform. My personal view on gold is that if I own it, it will likely under-perform the stock-market over most multi-decade periods. Personally, I don't see a complete break down of the U.S. system during my lifetime. I'm also aware that in a complete breakdown, either the government or some thug is likely to take my gold from me, and to prevent that it may become necessary to hide it and not actually use it... making its value theoretical. But, as I said, I don't expect anything even close to this scenario in my lifetime. I think gold is a decent multi-generation asset, if you want to buy some to leave to your grand children. Even here, buying something like a rental property is likely to have better returns, because it is a true investment. Finally, if you do buy gold, beware of the scammers out there. Companies that hype the coming inflation etc. are dicey. Many of them try to convince their customers to buy coins that are not near 100% gold. So, if you do buy physical gold, stick with regular U.S. Gold eagles and the like.
  2. 1 point
    Doug Morris

    Buy gold and silver?

    Thank you for the helpful information and advice.
  3. 1 point
    Thank you very much SL, I really appreciate the effort gone into the story-telling, it works well as a clear explication — very helpful indeed. My last post seems to have ended on a bum note! Of my three alternatives regarding the best conceptualization for the spacetime/entity relationship, SL went with 3, whereas I had plumped for 1. Let’s see who is right and why… After absorbing the analogy of ‘proto-matter’ + ‘nega-matter’ and the intentionally spurious introduction of ‘spacetime-filling’ ‘mono-fundamento-matter’ the habitual errors are exposed as clear as a clanging bell: The reification of nothing with something (exhortatory spacetime-filling). We need actual observable evidence of the unification of stuffs, otherwise keep conceptually separate (as they are objectively observed to be). The story continues into the realms of ‘extenz’ with a further such unification of everything and nothing, underscoring the absurdity of a meta-melding into meaninglessness (meaning = contradistinction). NB, an interesting way to look at it — the pull towards conceptual unification has the air of keen razoring — why have two concept when one will do. However, this intuition is perfidious: unobserved unification is an additional intruder/usurper which itself necessitates razoring away. 1. Utterly separable? I had written: I suspect the correct answer for now is conceptually ‘utterly separable’ because that’s the way we currently perceive things to be (via colliders and calculations)… But I was wrong. ‘Utterly separable’ is not the way we currently perceive of spacetime & entities. We naturally perceive space and time as the indispensable dimensions of (and between) entities. I was confusing this natural perception with that common naive conceptualization of entities being contained within pre-existing space and time. This childish conception is further cemented by talk of ‘empty space’, Kantian a priori, etc., and so it deftly takes on the mantle of a pure percept rather than the infectious proto-concept that it is. More to the point, our concepts must match observable reality! We ‘see’ space and time as abstracted out from observed entities, we experience these dimensions as utterly relational and therefore un-separable from entities/events. I’ll risk letting you in to my germinating thought process on reading of SL’s reply: …Oh but I was speaking conceptually, not actually — arghhh whoops! There's my mistake laid bare — there ought not be any difference: objective actuality is the only valid building-block for concepts. Therefore SL is correct, spacetime (space–time) is actually relational and thus can not garner ‘separate concept status’ from entities (mass-energy). NB, our maintenance of separate words for ‘spacetime’ and ‘entities’ doesn’t amount to ‘separate concept status’ because ‘spacetime’ is still a legitimate abstraction, similar to any mathematical abstraction derived from observable entities and their relationships. 2. Both parts working together as a mutually generating dichotomy? Agreed, as I’ve just argued, a relational existent isn’t a ‘separable part’ or ‘conceptual concrete’ so it follows that spacetime shouldn’t be thought of as ‘one part’ of a ‘dichotomy’ with entities. 3. Neither? By process of elimination we find ourselves going with the third alternative (I suppose I could have offered a fourth ‘both 1&2 option’ ~ but two wrongs don’t make a right!). To reiterate… If the simpler model is valid, these ‘twin’ existents (mass-energy + spacetime curvature) are best conceived as: Mass-energy (absolute entities) acting in a spacial–temporal (‘spacetime’) relationship. Simple really, and I think this fits in with the spirit of SL’s… It also chimes with MisterSwig’s insistence that “…space is not material”. Good — I feel cleansed! Now, shall we end the topic here ~ an initial foray into conceptualizing spacetime? (Or are there still flaws in my reasoning)? P.S. As we are in the forum’s Physics and Mathematics department, I’ll remind inquisitive minds of the previous links to John A Macken’s physics-heavy work; The Universe is Only Spacetime: Particles, Fields and Forces Derived from the Simplest Starting Assumption + his recent draft summary — Single Component Model of the Universe. If you think this represents a route towards a fuller understanding of the physical universe ~ or not ~ please post below.
  4. 1 point
    Curious about the fact that Bernie Sanders became a millionaire off a bestseller, I stumbled upon a piece from a quite while back in the New York Times about unread bestsellers. Among other things, it contained a couple of amusing bits, such as the following: Photo by Markos Mant on Unsplash, license.[Michael] Kinsley and a colleague put coupons redeemable for five dollars each in the back of 70 copies of selected books in Washington bookstores. Two of the books were Deadly Gambits: The Reagan Administration and the Stalemate in Nuclear Arms Control by Strobe Talbott and The Good News Is the Bad News Is Wrong by Ben J. Wattenberg. Though neither was a national best seller, they were chosen, Mr. Kinsley said, as the kinds of books Washingtonians were most likely to claim to have read. No one ever redeemed a coupon. The Kinsley report may be as scientific a study as there is. The unread best seller seems to be a subject that makes many people, and not just book buyers, uncomfortable. One New York retailer at first said, "We do regularly laugh about this," and quickly named the latest Tom Wolfe novel, A Man in Full ("Everybody thought they had to have it") and Harold Bloom's Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human ("Everybody would like to think they're going to read that much about Shakespeare, but then they don't") as two books she thought were more bought than read. But ultimately she decided not to be quoted by name. Still, she did recount the story of a friend's husband who had "actually read the Hawking and then went around for a month trying to get a conversation going about it -- but no one else had read it." [format edits]This suggests at once that being "the guy who actually reads the books" can -- much more easily than one might anticipate -- put one in prime position to call out virtue signalers at parties or significantly aid in the spread of the good ideas contained in some of these books. (People who bash the likes of Atlas Shrugged after practically bragging that they "couldn't" read Galt's speech come to mind.) Who knows: It could even make a profound difference for the better in one's life -- as comedienne Julia Sweeney notes of reading the Bible -- history's Number One Unread Bestseller -- in Letting Go of God. (I highly recommend this engaging and soulful account of her intellectual journey.) It also suggests a housecleaning tip for anyone who might have at any point proven bad at estimating his reading time or succumbed to the idea of having an "impressive bookshelf." Periodically get rid of anything you haven't actually read and know (by now) you don't intend to read. -- CAV Link to Original
  5. 1 point
    The concerns about nationalism stem from a bunch of linked issues that have recently risen to the fore: migrants and borders, (purported) racial supremacy, egalitarianism, "inclusivism/exclusivism", trade tariff wars, military wars with neighbors, and so on. The entire problem superficially appears to be answered by nations being absorbed into one another. No borders ... etc. Take away national, ethnic, wealth inequalities/differences, say the anti-nationalist globalists, and there would be assured amicability and harmony for all. "Nothing to kill or die for...imagine all the people, living life in peace..." (nice song). But I think this is a dangerously unrealistic, naive view of human nature. We can see from history and from our general experience of individuals and 'groups' of individuals that people have and still have, perversely, reveled in their "differences". Superficial ones, or not so. Sometimes this was a weak attempt at individualism, sometimes a collective/tribalist fear of 'the other' (tribe), sometimes the same tribalist assumption of superiority: we are right/good, they are wrong/bad. (If - rational - Objectivist organizations and individuals could 'split' - for ultimately inessential causes - it doesn't look hopeful for larger populations). People will *find* differences, rational and irrational, one example being civil wars. In a nutshell, if such differences can't be rationally dealt with within a present 'Sovereign State', they will simply be exacerbated and multiplied within a much larger context. The answer naturally is individual rights. An individual is "different" so to say, in that he/she is autonomous. "Such a nation has the right to its own sovereignty (derived from the rights of its civilians)". AR I take this to mean that, causally, the individualism of the nation (nation-ism, nationalism) is conferred by the individualism of its people, an *extension* of their rights.. When and where citizens in a nation/country can, to begin with, respect the rights of others, their freedom of expression, of association, etc., the fact of and conviction in others' individual sovereignty will become solidified, and so increased benevolence and so more considerate, mannered behavior to others. It's not a 'perfect' system, since no large number of people, nor a (minimal) government, nor an individual at all times, can be 'perfect' - but better than perfect: the only one, ever, which is based on the nature of mankind. For all the globalists' possibly "good intentions", any Utopianist project involving the dissolution of a nation's character into others, 'the one into the many', I think will necessarily be totalitarian to end with if not to begin, and where then, the individual's freedom of action? Conversely, nations which respect each others' national sovereignty and deal with each other from common values and rational self-interest (or not, with those who are beyond the pale) gives the greatest probability for enduring international goodwill.
  6. 1 point
    StrictlyLogical

    Consciousness as Irreducible

    I'll respect your holding off going into a full blown exploration. So I'll only remind you of this: Whenever you get around to it, whatever your conception of mental things, which consist of themselves, and do not have physical "components", recall that they are causally and necessarily linked to the natural world - their very existence, and their nature, i.e. their identity, is wholly dependent upon the natural world. Whatever concept you come up for mental things, it must be consistent with what we know about mental things' dependence upon the existence of a brain and the brain's function and configuration, as when either of these is interfered with or destroyed so also are mental things interfered with or destroyed. Moreover, mental things do not and cannot exist in any way independently of a functioning brain, and as such mental things exhibit a one way absolute metaphysical dependence upon the configuration and functioning of a natural material system. This undeniable one way absolute dependence has metaphysical philosophical consequences which should not be ignored during the full blown exploration. Good luck!
  7. 1 point
    National Rights ¶ A nation, like any other group, is only a number of individuals and can have no rights other than the rights of its individual citizens. A free nation—a nation that recognizes, respects and protects the individual rights of its citizens—has a right to its territorial integrity, its social system and its form of government. The government of such a nation is not the ruler, but the servant or agent of its citizens and has no rights other than the rights delegated to it by the citizens for a specific, delimited task (the task of protecting them from physical force, derived from their right of self-defense) . . . . Such a nation has a right to its sovereignty (derived from the rights of its citizens) and a right to demand that its sovereignty be respected by all other nations. “Collectivized ‘Rights,’” The Virtue of Selfishness, ---- "Such a nation has a right to its own sovereignty (derived from the rights of its citizens)..." [AR] No one is there yet. So? Does one put on hold one's nation's sovereignty and national interests until this is achieved? It is national *identity* which I think concerns us here. If that identity is not 'perfect' as yet, one may be advised to "not let the perfect be the enemy of the good". That's a source of frustration and unhappiness, and, most probably, an obstacle to achieving this desired state of affairs. The "good" has to be emphasized, not left behind and forgotten. To mention again the "esteem" one has (or has not?) "...for one's country's liberties... etc.". Perhaps some would think that one cannot hold any value for one's country and the amount of freedom all individuals have - until - individual rights are attained? I disagree. E.g. Americans have much to be proud of due to their aggregated national culture - their specific identity - which was and is still individualism, implicit and not fully realized as it may be. I would think this is THE sound base to be built upon. To expect individual rights and laissez-faire to arrive in one's lifetime, is likely unrealistic (depending on your age ;)). A national identity is what anti-nationalists, internationalists/globalists repudiate, quite as altruist-collectivists do an individual's identity, by playing on fears of war-mongering, xenophobia, etc.. (I.e., a person's subjective, predatory 'selfishness'). From what I observe there are hidden motives here to merge a nation's unique identity with other nations, so to sacrifice it.
  8. 1 point
    The centrality of individual rights as an organizing principle in the conduct of government is itself an aspect of a culture only few nations have ever possessed.
  9. 1 point
    Grames

    Consciousness as Irreducible

    He does not know or accept that information is a physical phenomenon properly included within the scope of physics, first defined by Claude Shannon in "A Mathematical Theory of Communication". If information can only be semantic he cannot conceive of studying information non-semantically. For those that persist in doing so anyway, they must be denying the existence of semantic information. Then he has the additional problem, how is it possible for purely semantic information to have physical consequences such moving one's limbs and communicating thoughts in speech or writing? The new mental force or substance bridges the gap between semantic meaning and physical causation. Binswanger also misuses the concept of irreducible in the context of the axiomatic concept of consciousness. What is epistemologically irreducible is not necessarily physically or metaphysically irreducible. Life is also an axiomatic concept but it is absurd to claim living things are not composed of physical parts that can be studied. This line directly addresses the title of the thread: Consciousness is epistemologically irreducible because it is axiomatic but it is an error to claim consciousness is physically or metaphysically irreducible.
  10. 1 point
    StrictlyLogical

    Consciousness as Irreducible

    Mr Swig: You claim this statement by Eiuol is unnecessary or imprecise... BUT it is logically equivalent to "no disembodied actions exit".... Are you proposing the possibility of "disembodied action"? A - I saw running in the lobby today. B - Sorry, WHAT did you see running in the lobby? A - No, I saw running in the lobby just "running". B - Did you see people running, or dogs running or ... mice running? I mean you must have seen SOMETHING running in the lobby? A - Nope just "running"... I saw it in the lobby today. B - <shakes head> that's incredible, that's fantastic and impossible... there cannot be running without something running <walks away>
  11. 1 point
    Grames

    Consciousness as Irreducible

    Consciousness is an attribute of living things. Living is action. Consciousness is a type of action. The concept of action assumes entities that act, nevertheless the action is distinguishable and distinct from the entity that acts. So yes, as Binswanger writes “Consciousness exists and matter exist” but also I would add consciousness can only exist because matter exists, matter as both subject and object of consciousness. Binswanger is correct to argue against a version of reductionism that would deny consciousness exists. But to investigate the physiological nature of brains (human or animal) to identify what actions of consciousness are and how they occur is not reductionist. Binswanger is wrong to adopt the dualist premise that consciousness is one of the fundamental ontological components of the universe, literally a yet to be discovered substance.
  12. 1 point
    StrictlyLogical

    Consciousness as Irreducible

    Hello Boydstun: I think it likely assumed to be crucial to any discussion of consciousness to keep in tact the integrations of Rand regarding the natural world and consciousness, the complete rejection of the supernatural, and the repudiation of any dichotomy in the natural world. We are neither ghosts nor corpses NOR some mongrel marriage of the two. We, including our consciousness's ARE part of the natural world and not in any way exempt of the absolutes of identity and causation. Some fear by a layperson, is quite understandable given the false alternatives offered out there: consciousness is an illusion, free will is impossible, the part of the mind which IS conscious is causally impotent (this one definitely is self refuting as no one could self report consciousness on a piece of paper...), free will is supernatural etc.. SO, I think the concern and confusion here is not entirely surprising. Personally, upon my first read of How We Know, I was completely perplexed by Dr. Binswanger's presentation of the irreducibility of "consciousness". I do not recall ever having been put on notice in the text that the "consciousness" discussed there was defined AS only that which one calls the "first-person viewpoint" or the "first person experience" rather than being defined as the objectively existing natural phenomenon occurring in the complex natural system which is the brain we each have. Equivalently, I do not recall a clear explanation that the only type of reducibility which is impossible (in the context), i.e. restricted from any analytic division, is that of "first-person viewpoints". I take it assumed that once the natural phenomenon of consciousness, from all viewpoints (after all, every existent is an existence of ONE, in THIS world, in reality ... i.e. having absolute "identity" no ideal vs. projection, no multiplicity, no existential duality), is understood completely and identified as a complex phenomenon, we could one day be routinely "reducing" observed natural (perhaps non-biological) consciousness's in myriad ways when dealing with their creation and study. After reading so many perplexing and completely unintelligible statements (to me) about "consciousness" and "irreducibility", I began to conclude that what was being referred to could not have been the "natural phenomenon" in existence as such, and that what was being discussed was restricted only to the "first-person experience" ASPECT of what I considered the phenomenon of consciousness to BE in reality. I wonder if there was any reason why this was not made explicit, and why there was not a better and fuller description of both this "aspect" of "consciousness" and "consciousness" as an existent as such, and the differentia between them. Is this just assumed in philosophical circles? Scientific (psychology and physics) circles? I also could be completely wrong, and missed entirely the careful and explicit disclosure in there as to what in reality the subject of the discussion of "consciousness" was all about. If so, could you (or anyone) point me to those more explicit passages so I can reread them? I am not entirely certain that there is not some danger, some dichotomy, lying at the base of even the most benign looking "dualism"... I fear that holding such a view makes us feel we ARE not what we ARE made and consist of... what we DO not what functions and processes we perform... I fear that we will feel that We ARE not and DO not what we ARE and DO.... and hence feel that we are somehow exceptions to identity and causation... and hence outside of existence itself. SL
  13. 1 point
    Craig24

    The Trolley Problem

    My action? I'm stuck on a train that will kill 1 person or 5 people no matter what I do. I can only minimize the casualties.
  14. 1 point
    MisterSwig

    Gravity Threads are Real

    If a figurative or metaphorical explanation is presented as literal truth, I think that can be disastrous, on par with religious myths that people faithfully believe. But metaphor presented as such can be useful in understanding difficult concepts. Also, I considered arguing that "gravity thread" is an anti-concept, until I realized what you were doing and that there was no real epistemological issue to fix. Even if there were, it is risky to begin by accusing someone of rationalism. I prefer addressing the cause of the conceptual error, which is the original misidentification of the existent in question.
  15. 1 point
    AlexL

    Gravity Threads are Real

    Oh, I see!!! Your „gravity threads theory“ wasn’t for real, you intended it as an exercise in philosophical detection! Possibly in the context of the discussion in the thread “Fundamentally, is there only ‘spacetime’?", which I did not follow...
  16. 1 point
    It's pretty sad that the world prefers to go from evil one horn of the dichotomy to the other, instead of looking for the (abstract) solution that philosophers have long advised: go through the horns of the dichotomy.
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