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  1. 3 points
    A man from deserts afar wrote this as he gazed to the stars: "There is no greater love than that which comes from god above. Pray the Lord your soul to keep do not thine understanding seek." A boy from Georgia read that book but never took a deeper look. If God's love was real inside this boy, Then why did it seem to steal his joy? He could not feel this god above. He did not know the truth of love. Was lost as those around him said, "You'll find your heaven in the end." For years he searched, blind and sad. Was love in this world not to be had? A woman from tundra afar wrote this as she gazed to the stars: "There is no greater love than what a man for himself does. Pull pride and reason off the shelf and let your guidance be yourself." The lost boy, then a man become Knew that his search was now done. He felt the love inside his soul; for his own sake, he was made whole. For the first time since his birth, he could have heaven here on earth. No waiting on a realm unseen, when this world can fulfill man's dreams. There is no greater love than this: to live life here in selfish bliss.
  2. 2 points
    DonAthos

    How Do You Achieve Bliss?

    There's a lot of conversation in this thread, and I might not have time for it all, at present, but I wanted to pull this out for response. I find it fascinating. The question of desert, I think, can be evaluated in two different ways: 1) Relating to cause and effect. We may say of a person that, if he has not done the things which in reality will lead to happiness, he does not "deserve" to be happy. And this sense is true enough; a person who does not "deserve happiness," because he has not done the things which his nature requires to achieve happiness, will not experience it (even if he has convinced himself that some other, ersatz emotion is "happiness"). 2) The second is something else. It is ostensibly an appeal to morality -- but which morality, and according to whose standard? If a man has done the things which his nature requires to achieve happiness, in reality, and thus experiences happiness... on what grounds could we say that he does not "deserve" it? Because perhaps he has done something bad in his past? Perhaps. But then, how could a man redeem himself sufficiently to be able to experience happiness thereafter; to what possible standard and judge could he appeal, apart from himself and his own natural capacity for happiness? Should a man, in any event, be capable of experiencing happiness... but tell himself, "I don't deserve this"? On what grounds? And what would that serve? I would say, rather, that every person in the world "deserves happiness," of their nature, of their capacity for happiness. And then it remains to discover the requirements of our nature, and to understand our context, such that we can achieve happiness for ourselves (in the "cause and effect" sense of desert described above). We require no further sanction than this, that we are ends in ourselves, and that our highest purpose is our own happiness.
  3. 1 point
    This post is all about the emotion of bliss. How is bliss different from happiness, how do you achieve and feel bliss? Below are my thoughts on the matter. Bliss is a strong positive emotion, more intense than happiness but shorter in duration. Unlike happiness as the result of the achievement of man's values in his general life, bliss is an achievement of sustained mental concentration on the mind itself, from moment to moment. You can walk around happy all the time without even thinking about it, but you can't walk around in bliss all the time. Bliss requires a conscious focus on your internal mental state. What does bliss feel like? It's a tranquil, unconditional feeling of selfish love. It's the kind that wraps you in a warm blanket and tells you that all is well, even if only because this one moment exists. People take drugs, join religions, and do all sorts of crazy or dangerous things to find bliss. Really, we all have the innate capacity to feel bliss just by willing ourselves to do so. The initial experience of bliss results from the acceptance of, and the intense focus on just five simple premises. This requires sustained focus (at first), so I'd suggest sitting in a comfortable, quiet place and repeating the following to yourself. Since these are all either true premises or declarative statements of intent, your mind should have no trouble accepting them. If not then feel free to modify them to suit your needs. 1. This moment is all that matters to me right now 2. I let go of all of my cares and worries 3. I love myself, I am in awe at what a wonderful person I am 4. I deserve to be as happy as I want right now 5. I have the capacity for as much happiness as I desire, and I'm using that ability now. You can help this process along while repeating these premises by visualizing your positive qualities, or your past accomplishments, whatever gets you into the mindset of fully loving and embracing yourself. Also visualizing your cares and worries just floating away like clouds passing overhead... in this moment they do not matter. They cannot matter. The universe is benevolent and is allowing you this moment for you. It takes time to train the "bliss circuits" in your brain to respond to your conscious directive, but respond they will if you are dedicated enough. Eventually--and I'm not sure how much mental conditioning that this takes as I've been practicing bliss for 10 years--but you might get to my level of skill. I am able to feel blissful just by telling myself "time to feel blissful" and focusing on letting the feeling flow. I don't really have to consciously repeat any of the premises I listed above anymore, but they are subconscious assumptions which enable this emotion in me. I've already described the emotional feeling of unconditional selfish love... but the physical, bodily sensations of bliss are also intense, and worth noting. It literally feels like every muscle throughout your body is having an orgasm, for as long as you want it to last, as long as you can sustain the concentration required. Ever get goosebumps, shivers down your spine at the thought of something pleasant? That will be magnified by about 10x as well. Hopefully I'm not overselling this, but I truly do see bliss as one of life's most cherished experiences. We might have our disagreements but I share this with my fellow Objectivists in hope that you too will find the bliss that I have found. You all are truly amazing people and you deserve to feel amazing, too. Or, maybe you've already found bliss. How have you found bliss in your life? What do the emotional and physical aspects feel like for you, and are they different from how I've described it? Far be it from me to claim that my own personal experiences are universal. Eager to hear your thoughts on the matter.
  4. 1 point
    CartsBeforeHorses

    How Do You Achieve Bliss?

    I say that I deserve to be happy, and mine is the only opinion which matters. Bliss is a very selfish experience. It's sufficient as itself. In a moment, it could happen, we could forgive, and be happy. People often run around from day to day with self-insecurities, or lists of things that we could do better. Lists of ways we're not living up to our potential. Regrets about past actions. Objectivism says that we shouldn't beat ourselves up, that we should acknowledge our flaws but learn from them and move on. Blissful meditation is an application of this principle. It's about letting all of those things go, forgiving yourself, and accepting that in that moment, you are sufficient as yourself to experience bliss in its purest form. My direct experience contradicts what you're saying. Emotions are the result of our premises, either conscious or subconscious. If my conscious premise is that "I deserve to be happy" and I believe it, then I will feel happiness. Focus on what part of existence? Existence includes everything we know, both good and evil. The crow epistemology would tell us that I can't focus on the entirety of existence all at once. So should I focus on the evil? Should I focus on the good? What parts of the good?
  5. 1 point
    StrictlyLogical

    Altruism Revisited

    IMHO your dividing it up into three categories is misguided. Benevolence is when you give something happily, you are glad to give it when you do so. If you are rational, your being glad to give it means, the gift is voluntary. So 1. there is no such thing as forced benevolence. Moreover as a rational person, benevolence, which by definition is voluntary, if it is to make you happy or glad while acting, must be the opposite of a sacrifice. Observe first that an exchange of something with the exact same value, inspires nothing but indifference. So 2. There is no such thing as indifferent or unsatisfactory benevolence, i.e. when things having the exact same value in the value hierarchy are exchanged. Back to the opposite of a sacrifice... recall, giving something which has a higher value in your value hierarchy in exchange for something ("something" here literally means anything, a service, a good, an outcome, something pertaining to the mind, admiration, friendship, an act, a promise to act, a promise to refrain from an act, money... etc. ) which has a lower value in your value hierarchy IS a sacrifice. In order for benevolence to obtain to a rational being, the giving (happily and gladly) must be of something lower in your hierarchy of values than whatever you receive. So how is this depart from the trader principle? It does not. It is in complete harmony with it... the distinguishing feature of this particular kind of trade, is that you are happy to make the trade... and in fact some of what you take as value from the trade is in the happiness you create in the other person. [[Edit: Notice happiness is not something you "give away", in the sense that you must lose some happiness for someone to gain it... you can create happiness in other people without "spending" any of your own happiness.]] E.g. you have something you think is junk. An old paint set and brushes. You thought you would like painting but you find it tedious and your fine motor skills are lacking and your results always underwhelmed you. Your neighbors kid would love to get into painting. That paint set is far higher on his value hierarchy than on yours, and he offers to mow your lawn in exchange for your paint set. Regardless of how much money the paint set could get in a garage sale, or how much you could pay someone else to mow your lawn, you know it would simply be worth it to you make the exchange, you could sit back on a Saturday instead of mowing your lawn, and think about how much fun your neighbor's kid will enjoy painting. Perhaps you also get a kick out of seeing what the kid could paint (which you couldn't). Recall also, a valid trade always conveys value to both parties. If no value or a disvalue was conveyed to either party, the trade would not happen, unless the party was mistaken, mislead, or forced (or is acting irrationally to self-sacrifice). So. 3. Benevolence is not a contradiction of or an exception to the trader principle, it is a recognition of the beneficence, the "win-win", every valid trade actually embodies.
  6. 1 point
    Sometimes in conversations such as these, the question comes up, "who is an Objectivist?" Here's Rand: I regard the "full philosophical system" she describes as being Objectivism. I believe that any person who agrees with the essence of her philosophy as described may justly consider himself an Objectivist. The endeavor to "hold these concepts with total consistency," that it may act as a lifetime guide, is itself the work of a life. There will be disagreements between Objectivists along the way. The philosophy does not somehow belong to Ayn Rand or to her bones; insofar as a philosophy may be said to belong to anyone, it belongs equally to every individual who holds it.
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