Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Leaderboard


Popular Content

Showing most liked content since 09/21/17 in all areas

  1. 3 points
    I think this smuggles in the premise that pursuing survival (the 'pure' type) would never require you to temporarily diminish your momentary wellbeing for the sake of increased survival later on. In reality, pursuing survival pretty much requires you to incur 'hits' to your momentary survival. As the norm, I might add. A while ago I heard an anecdote by Harry Binswanger in which Ayn Rand was arguing with somebody who denied the law of Identity (A=A) on the grounds that a moving object has no particular spatial position. Every time you look at the object, it is in a different position, so where is it? Ayn Rand replied that the particular object isn't anywhere, it is in transition. Its identity is that it is changing its location. I think that the same thing can be applied to ethics. In fact, it was captured by Rand in her definition of life: 'A process of self-sustaining, self-generated action'. While it may appear a stationary definition, it is exactly the opposite. Survival is not merely a process of staying alive - it is a constant, never ending departure from your current position to a better state. This fact seems to have a expression in the way our brains are made: once you get where you want, you always have to move higher and higher, because you become progressively desensitized to what you currently have. If you suddenly find yourself without intellectual challenge, or doing the same things over and over, you become bored out of your mind. A lot of enjoyment is derived from the process of moving forward itself, from gaining values as well as enjoying values. Just to be clear, I agree with SL (and even Kelley) that flourishing is not the goal of life. To sunder the two is to ignore the hierarchy: life -> value -> survival -> moving forward (flourshing). Ayn Rand understood survival to be a state of transition from a lower state of robustness to a higher one. Death is also a state of transition, which is why you can't judge somebody's course by the claim that he is 'happy'. If his happiness is a slow march into the Lion's den, he's wilfully undergoing a process of slow death, no matter how well he tends to his physical health in the meantime. The excessive prudence that the' survivalist' displays is the result of his Gryllsian view of survival. He don't see the fact that life is actually a broad timeline filled with factors that cannot be separated from each other. Flourishers, on the other hand, tend to speak on the unstated, or unidentified premise that reality is full of things that conflict with survival while enabling flourishing. The flourishing-survival dichotomy is similar to the classical variants of the mind-body break: love vs sex, percepts vs. concepts. In reality, the thrill seeking & cool things that flourishers say they want to do (insteading of being tied to the 'boring' survivalist view) ARE what survival entails. A lack of pleasure and excitement is anti-life in the sense that it moves you away from survival and proper functioning. Rand captured this in the virtue of Pride: a person of unsundered rationality not only has the best life possible to him at any given moment in time, but he's also necessarily in a state of 'transition' to even higher self-esteem, wealth, health etc. Stilness means death, in the sense that every time somebody tries to remain where he already is ('freezing' his survival in place), he is actively hurting his survival, not maintaining it. In the example above, the hero does not gain five years of life by giving up his dream. Instead, he becomes spiritualy diseased. A person who shortens his life for a fuller experience does not forfeit survival, he acts exclusively on the principle of survival. This is not a negation of A=A. Ayn Rand was clear that the standard of value is survival as a specific kind of being. Survival as man does not mean merely longevity. It means pleasure, challenge, hobbies, love, art, friendship, constantly moving forward and other factors relevant to what he is. The values that man needs qua man are his actual means to longevity. A lot of people turn longevity into a contextless standard and then proceed to seek it in ways that not only hurts their own goal, but makes them survive not as men, but as diseased forms of life. Ayn Rand used the term 'metaphysical monstruosity' in Galt's Speech, and gave the example of a bird struggling to break its own wings, or a plant trying to destroy its own roots. So we can identfiy yet another dichotomy here: the longevity vs identity dichotomy. I think Rand would have agreed with me, since she put some examples in her books. For example, the before-mention Galt suicide threat, which appears in the same book as Galt's speech. Surely she must have counted on the fact that Galt's actions would shed some context on her abstract presentation. Galt is not choosing between death (suicide) and survival. He is choosing between two different types of death: by slow torture, or instantaneous. Galt is not motivated by any flourishing-survival dichotomy. His best use of reason told him that he has legitimate grounds to be 100% convinced that his life would become a living embodiment of precisely the thing that his own ethical code condemned. So paradoxically, his suicide over Dagny was a statement of a moral choice, in total agreement with survival qua man. There are legitimate cases where a change to a different course really isn't possible. Let's look at Galt. He longed for Dagny for a decade, a process that slowly imprinted her into his psyche as each day passed. Every time he had trouble getting motivated, he used her as fuel. He watched her go into the beds of two men he admired. He then got her, but.. what if she died at the hands of a bunch of petty people that represent what he despises the most? 10 years of striving and emotional investment, negated in an instant. A decade of his life, wasted. He probably understood the repercussions on his psychology that her death would have caused. He would lose desire to do anything, no matter how heroically he'd try to get on track. Implying he then wasted 5 more years in depression, and that eventually his desire for women returned, what competiton would there be? If another mercilessly-rational woman with the brains and character to build the John Galt line in a collapsing country was around, he would have known about her. For him, it's either the vice-president or nothing. It would haunt him forever. So, contra SL, I would say that sometimes, but not always, 'pursuing a different dream' can be anti-life. I will go on a limb and say that the pure survivalist, Kelley-type position is really the absolute same as the flourisher position, when all of the factors are brought into question. The most ardent Flourisher is actually the most ardent, pure and bare-bones Survivalist. And all 'self-actualization'-based ethical systems are useless unless people understand that self-actualization is not an intrinsic end in itself, but the effect, the natural result of a survivalist ethics. The alternative is accidentaly pursuing 'self-actualization' in a way that goes against its root (survival), which leads to consequences that are too obvious to mention. The self-realization vs survival dichotomy.
  2. 3 points
    Grames

    Donald Trump

    A philosophy of Objectivism that distorts itself and compromises its principles for the sake of wider acceptance is not what I want. Have children and raise them rationally, that is one method that can help gain some additional practitioners without compromising.
  3. 3 points
    Okay, in the spirit of the OP's request, this is my two cents: There is the psychological plane of existence, the experience of life, pain pleasure, happiness. Then there is the epistemological plane, the abstraction of life, the concept of flourishing and the moral code. And then the metaphysical plane, the organism, existence or nonexistence. From the metaphysical plane, the main thing that I learned from Rand was that there was no "my reality" vs. "your reality". There was just reality and the search for the truth is honorable. From the psychological/experiential plane: Objectivism taught me that I have a right to my life. I understood that when someone calls me selfish "they want something". I learned to strive for greatness rather than strive to look great. I found that if I held onto things that didn't make sense, if I went along for too long, I suddenly drowned in anxiety. I learned that living as a parasite can creep up on people. Objectivism gave me a path to follow to find my way back, to happiness. She awoke me to the existence of unearned guilt. I learn that when I have a sense of having achieved something, the pleasure was moral, it was good. And of course, I learned that the good was not what religion said and what a majority believed did not mean wisdom. Ultimately, with her attack on altruism, I learned that defining my boundaries, determining who I am and what I want was my fundamental responsibility and a never-ending task. She reminded me that the merging and melding with others, at the cost of my core self, was being dead before my time. And in the process, I have fought to hold on to who I am, to be myself. And now, I am here to learn what I put aside for later.
  4. 2 points
    I don't think this is true. I think it's an interesting notion, being "committed to evasion." Someday -- and it's sooner now than ever -- I plan on opening up a topic to really try to explore evasion... but in the meantime, do we think it's true that people are committed to evasion? Were it so, how could any of us survive? We depend upon reason for survival itself (whether or not we account "survival," in any sense, the standard of value ). And so I think that we in the West, as elsewhere, must be open to reason to some certain extent. And if we manage marvels, like constructing skyscrapers, conquering disease, etc. -- and we do -- then that is all the more evidence that reason carries great sway among men. And Objectivism, as truth, has literally everything worth valuing to offer. If we can get it right -- as we must attempt to do for ourselves, our own sakes, let alone proselytization -- then we have the formula for earthly happiness, inclusive of all values and virtues, including "fun." I'm taking a bit of a flyer, and I'd rather discuss this in full when I do commit to a topic on evasion, but I suspect that it does not come out of nowhere, unmotivated. I suspect that it's something like a psychological defense mechanism... and as such, I think that there are means by which we may come to understand evasion, such that we could be more or less effective in communicating our message. I don't think it's hopeless or fruitless. I think we can do better.
  5. 2 points
    Try this on for fun https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KIs9xM7Sac8
  6. 2 points
    dream_weaver

    Donald Trump

    From The Objectivist Ethics, The Virtue of Selfishness, p. 32-33 This is the fallacy inherent in hedonism — in any variant of ethical hedonism, personal or social, individual or collective. “Happiness” can properly be the purpose of ethics, but not the standard. The task of ethics is to define man’s proper code of values and thus to give him the means of achieving happiness. To declare, as the ethical hedonists do, that “the proper value is whatever gives you pleasure” is to declare that “the proper value is whatever you happen to value” — which is an act of intellectual and philosophical abdication, an act which merely proclaims the futility of ethics and invites all men to play it deuces wild. I don't know what you expect of "opposition", but this certainly is not an advocation of hedonism.
  7. 2 points
    But, to also answer part of your question, there just isn't going to be one single "undisputed" account, just like there isn't one single undisputed account of what "health" includes. Health is individual, contextual, but also generic and inclusive. Health isn't just "I don't know what it is, but I know it when I see it," it is an objective state that is scientifically describable. But still my health may be different from yours. There may be a cutoff point below which you don't have it, and above which you do, but at the same time degrees in which this person has more than that person. Flourishing is individualistic like this. My flourishing is different form yours. To get a complete description you're going to have to take multiple accounts and multiple approaches and integrate them with your observations.
  8. 2 points
    I can't quite agree that her starting point is question begging. It would seem to me that there is a set of principle data that the philosopher starts off with in every branch. A sort of foundation that any philosopher as such starts out with. The metaphysician starts by outward look at things and noticing that there is something rather than nothing, that he is a something, that he has questions. The epistemologist starts off with noticing that he has been correct sometimes, and incorrect other times, that he has selective awareness, that being wrong has consequences for him, and that he doesn't not automatically know which things are correct and incorrect. Unless he had noticed that he has fallen into error, he would not have reason to examine the processes that led him there. If we had a mode of operation that provided us with automatic knowledge, then we wouldn't need to distinguish between certitude and error, and thus wouldn't need epistemology. The ethicist proceeds in a similar manner. The ethicist must start from the fact of human action, that we deliberate between alternatives, say A or B, that we can't not act as long as we are alive and awake, and that our actions have consequences for us. Asking "why do we need ethics at all" is, in my view the exact right question. After all, maybe we don't need ethics, if we were provided with automatic action we wouldn't need to deliberate between alternatives. Or maybe our action automatically is aimed at life-sustainment or some other end. Rand follows Aristotle in starting with examining the concept of action, and differentiating between vegetative action, sensitive action (animals), and deliberative action. She does differentiate between types of action, volitional and non. Analyzing human action is just about the most non question begging way to start off ethics. In that she defines it as code of values, she doesn't mean values in a normative sense. As Smith points out, sometimes she uses "value" as "that which one ought to act for" and value as "that which one acts to gain/keep." But regardless, when she defines ethics as a code of values, value just definitionally refering to the object of action. "Values," descriptively, are interchangeable with "ends." Thus, saying it's a code of values is simply recognizing that man acts to attain ends, and deliberates about them. True there is deontology, divine command, consequentialism, emotivism, nihilism, Stoicism, all sorts of different codes, and that code man needs could be any of these things. But all of these things has to start out with the principle data, that the philosopher notices that man acts to attain ends (values), and has no automatic guide to them. This, I see as Rand's reformulating the first line of the Nicomachean Ethics, that every inquiry and activity aims at some good, into more modern language.
  9. 2 points
    itsjames

    False concept

    Gio, I would recommend listening to Leonard Peikoff's lecture series entitled "Unity in Epistemology and Ethics". I think it was the third lecture where he discusses a topic which is, in my view, closely related to your question. Basically, he argues that there are certain concepts which, in order to be properly understood and applied, must have two distinct definitions. The main concept he considers in the lecture is "value", but his analysis (which is still somewhat unrefined at the time this lecture was given) applies to other concepts too and I think also applies to the concept "concept", which is why I'm bring this up. For "value", the two definitions would be (roughly): 1. That which one acts to gain and/or keep, and 2. Something which one acts to gain and/or keep which sustains one's life. The second definition is "pure" form of the first, and refers to values in the complete and consistent sense. The first definition subsumes "values" which may in fact be life destroying (eg. "valuing" Nazism). With "concept", I think the analagous definitions would be (very roughly): 1. An idea represented by a word, and 2. A mental integration of two or more concretes [insert rest of Ayn Rand's definition here]. Peikoff offers his best explanation (at the time the lecture was delivered at least, which was in 1996) for why this is so. I think he argues that this only applies to certain normative concepts, or concepts which directly or indirectly refer to something volitional. Another example he gives is egoism. I think the basic point is that one first grasps these concepts in one context, and then discovers later on what their fully consistent definition is. Yet, the original definition is still useful since these concepts are still used and held by others in a form which is not fully consistent. If, having grasped the fully consistent definition of "concept", we did not permit ourselves to call things like "altruism" anti-concepts (thus viewing them as a subcategory of concepts), we would not be able to evaluate these anti-concepts at all; we wouldn't even be able to talk about them (because, "what" are they?).
  10. 2 points
    "Virtue is not an end in itself. Virtue is not its own reward or sacrificial fodder for the reward of evil. Life is the reward of virtue—and happiness is the goal and the reward of life." -John Galt (from John Galt's speech) Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  11. 2 points
    Grames

    Is this rape? Consent? Something else?

    That would be me. I just try to be objective, if there is any method to my apparent madness it is objectivity. I don't think objectivity is as well studied among self-professed Objectivists as it should be.
  12. 2 points
    DA: I'm not certain why, but this discussion of your has lead me see a sort of asymmetry... there are different kinds of consequences being considered. As Objectivists we hold that acting morally (toward the correct end according to the proper standard) as a finite, fallible, non-omniscient man, is based on anticipated consequences of those actions. If a consequentialist only looks ex post facto at actual consequences (including some unforeseeable by a finite, fallible, non-omniscient man) that is a completely different thing. As Objectivists we know that moral action is moral when a decision has been made to act, it is also moral at the time the action is taken, i.e. morality is not solely an exercise post mortem... it is entirely based on anticipated consequences. It would appear that a Consequentialist, IF bound to the law that only actual outcomes determine morality of action, can never actually BE moral when making a decision to act, nor while acting, because the outcomes of the action are not yet known. In other words Consequentialists cannot act morally, only their actions can be judged as moral or not, and only after the actual consequences are known. Of course this seems incredibly silly, but it would seem to be the case.
  13. 2 points
    I had tried to anticipate this sort of thing here: If one takes "selfish" to include those acts which destroy others (i.e. via the initiation of the use of force), then neither is selfishness necessarily moral. But if one is rational in his selfishness, I would argue that he is moral; and, too, a moral man would make a rational appeal to consequences. An Objectivist would reject the supposed morality (or the morality of the actions) of a man who wound up justly and characteristically impoverished, downtrodden, etc., etc., yet accidentally stumbled over some sort of buried treasure, say. But why? Have we sundered morality from consequence? Not at all. In the first place, we recognize that one may not be assured of stumbling over such treasures; that acting in the ways that characteristically lead to impoverishment are, more often than not, going to result in impoverishment, not wealth. And that this will probably be true over a long enough span of time as well (if the lucky man who stumbled over the treasure above does not amend his ways, it is likely he will return to his poverty and poor fortune soon enough). And then there is the fact that "life" in the sense of "that which causes life" or "consequence of enhancing life" is rather broad. It is not wealth alone, it is not longevity alone, and so forth. The full flourishing that we seek is unlikely to be found accidentally; and the man who has death as his just due but is kept alive through accident (as in tripping over buried treasure) will probably yet be suffering in many aspects of his life, and perhaps also through psychological awareness of his precarious state. Yet in all of this, supposed "virtues" are not accounted virtue for their own sake; they are virtuous due to the consequences that the Objectivist expects in adopting them as principled approaches to living -- with the ultimate consequence being the Objectivist's experience of his own life, or happiness.
  14. 2 points
    If we go by the definition of Consequentialism as: "the doctrine that the morality of an action is to be judged solely by its consequences." Consequentialism can end up having different meanings, concretized differently. The definition is vague, therefore it can end up turning into contradictory philosophies. There is a continuum. From irrational consequentialist to rational consequentialist. Some consequentialist philosophies include: Utilitarianism, Hedonism, Epicureanism, Egoism, Asceticism, Altruism, etc. I think that at the core of Rand's objection to pragmatism is that one could be a consequentialist and believe that contradictions exist in reality. The irrational versions reject absolute truth, the primacy of existence, self-interest. It goes without saying that a rational version of any philosophy rejects the existence of contradiction. A rational/comprehensive version of consequentialism is compatible with Objectivism if life is the ultimate consequence. If "a consequentialist" considered consequences as part of causality, its absoluteness, I don't see any conflict. Therefore, I think that one can say that Objectivism is a type of rational consequentialism, which means a type of consequentialism.
  15. 2 points
    Objectivists are people, too. Best case scenario is that their philosophy is superior, but even that is not a given - do they practice what they preach? Even with a superior philosophy, have they been able to translate that into life success? Can they get along with others? That is, do they have value to trade? People are people, too. They're not explicitly rational by choice, they don't explicitly pursue their own personal interests, but in practice, most do live this way most of the time. They are Objectivists to degrees and have translated that into life success, and have a lot of value to offer and trade. The world will never, ever present itself to you as the polar choice illustrated in Atlas Shrugged. People are fluid, choosing to change or not change. Atlas Shrugged is meant to crystalize principles, allowing you to make better day to day choices for yourself. It's an exaggeration which will never be a reality, because people have the ability to choose and change, and few of them are all evil or all good. Even more so today, a "band together and separate" fantasy shouldn't be given a fleeting thought, when everyone carries around pocket computers representing perfectly all the value the world has to offer to trade, the world's largest country is heading in the right direction, poverty is low, etc. etc. Why would anyone want to run from that? The world's never been better.
  16. 2 points
    I can't speak much to the term "consequentialism" in the context of the history of philosophy, but I wonder... If I said that I planned on pursuing a flourishing life by any means necessary -- and that I will judge (and amend) my efforts by their success in winning me a flourishing life -- what would we make of it? Would this put me in the "consequentialist" camp? Would it be outside the bounds of Objectivism? It is potentially a danger to reject principled thinking in the face of some accident. If I stop at red lights because I do not want to get into an auto accident, but one day I stop and... BANG, someone hits me from behind, I would not therefore abandon my strategy of stopping at red lights. But this does not change the fact that I adopt and maintain the approach of stopping at red lights in order to avoid such accidents. What an Objectivist means to do by adopting "principles" -- isn't this according to the consequences he expects through the adoption of such principles? Maybe that's not what's conventionally meant by "consequentialism," but it is what it is.
  17. 2 points
    People have to learn to handle their subconscious premises, and they can make innocent mistakes about it. Thus it doesn't follow that someone with an unbreached rationality will be perfectly integrated in his psychology. Conversely, it doesn't follow that someone who feels an out-of-context desire has been irrational somewhere. The long-term ideal of the rational man is to achieve perfect integration between conscious and subconscious, and this needs to be striven for. But its lack at any given time is not a sure sign of irrationality, and it doesn't defeat the virtue of actions based on explicit moral principle. Ayn Rand agreed with me: http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/psychologizing.html#order_4 In Atlas Shrugged, Rand also had her supremely ideal man, John Galt, relate an instance in which he experienced an out-of-context desire while observing Hank Rearden. That he felt that desire did not make him immoral. A consequence of the view that you ascribe to Rand would be that psychology is an illegitimate profession: It would just be a sanction of irrationality: a cover that allows the irrational to pretend that they're rational. Any rational man would have his psychology completely figured out and integrated, with no conflicts. (The most we might say a psychologist would be useful for would be to hear about the patient's emotional conflicts and then condemn him for his bad premises. The psychologist would merely act as a form of punishment for a perpetrator of irrationality. But then this wouldn't require any specialized training, only philosophical education.)
  18. 2 points
    I think this helps illustrate important facts about purpose. 1. Chosen: Purpose is volitionally chosen, not automatic, and therefore it's most likely a uniquely human thing. (I doubt chimps could have a human-like purpose.) It's possible to not choose a purpose, in which case we would act pre-volitionally like a baby or post-volitionally like an emotion-driven looney. 2. Good or bad, harmony or discord: Because man is fallible, his chosen purpose might be good or bad for his individual survival. Likewise, it might be in harmony or discord with his particular moral code. The two evaluations are separate and unique questions, meaning that a particular purpose could be good for survival while in discord with one's moral code, and vice versa. 3. Complex: Man is capable of setting short, mid, and long-term goals. And so there may be multiple chosen purposes for any particular action. When properly integrated, these single purposes become one complex purpose which we use to guide our entire life process. It's possible for man to set only short-term goals, in which case he drops the context of a future life and lives only for the present purpose. It's also possible for man to have a longer-term goal but lack the planning skills or ability to achieve it, in which case his shorter-range goals will not be integrated with the longer-term one, and ultimately he will fail or be frustrated, unless he learns and adjusts his goals accordingly. 4. Post-life: On account of having imagination, it is possible for man to set a post-life goal which is achieved (or not) only after and on account of his death. Despite not being alive to see this final purpose fulfilled, he can still act with purpose before death in order to best ensure that the imagined goal is achieved. And like all purposes, even this one can be good or bad for survival, and in harmony or discord with one's moral code. To elaborate a bit on #4, a popular example of a post-life goal is: to get into Heaven and be with God. Religious folk may or may not attempt to integrate this final goal with their short, mid, and long-term goals in life before death. They may routinely choose to drop the context of such a supernatural afterlife and focus on pursuing more this-worldly purposes such as making money and raising a family. But if they do pursue Heaven, then they must do so according to some standard of value, such as whatever moral code they can glean from their favorite religious text. If they should decide that getting to Heaven and being with God requires killing infidels because that's what their favorite prophet said, then their shorter-range goals in life will probably include waging war upon non-believers. They might even conduct a suicide mission against the enemy to prove their devotion to their ultimate purpose. Another popular post-life goal is: helping loved ones. This is accomplished by creating a will and bequeathing property to the people we love. But in order to have something to bequeath, this purpose must be properly integrated with pre-death goals, such as making a good living and buying valuable property. If one chooses to live hedonistically and spend everything on booze and gambling, there may be nothing left for loved ones in the end.
  19. 1 point
    dream_weaver

    Is it time, is the hour striking?

    You describe a man-made issue, then offer the "solution" is to accept it as one ought the metaphysically given.
  20. 1 point
    It's literally impossible for a man who has already abdicated (consciously or unconsciously) his responsibility to judge things for himself, deferring wholly to and depending wholly upon others, to consciously and with intention in a committed fashion, repeatedly decide not to engage in independent thought, not unless he second guesses his abdication and wrests back his responsibility each time. No, a person is not voluntarily committed fully and intentionally and continually, they simply, at some point in their distant past, have put aside what they would need to avoid evasion, the responsibility of thinking. From there it is a simple matter: thinking has been evaded, the only thing left to do is to latch onto and accept any one of the contradictory answers, ideas, thoughts, sentiments, on the basis of how one feels in the moment, or how easy it is to accept for the nonce. These of course build up into the baseless irrational edifices we all encounter so often in the psychology of others. What little left of a man's mind after he has decided not to think for himself, are the ideas and doctrines and sentiments of his immediate surroundings which he latches onto. They may be there due to habit, the past ease with which they could be latched onto, the feelings they produced, or they could be due to indoctrination, religion, messages of the media, teachers, parents, or priests: baseless guilt and unfounded admonishment. These form false structures in a psyche, posing as morality, virtues, principles... a slowly hardened, monumental edifice of falsehood... and YES this IS defended from thought .... and EVASION IS the psychological defense mechanism at play.., how else to defend the false, the incorrect, the irrational, against the process of fully integrative and flawlessly logical thought...? It must be the suspension of the act of thought ITSELF, and evasion of any momentary thought before they can be fully embraced, understood, integrated, and remembered... else they would bring the whole house of cards falling down. You will note, that the above implies falsehoods in a sense should be powerless against, to put it simply, thinking, ... as if thiking were a time bomb ready to set off a chain reaction... so why is the world filled with so much falsity and insanity? Precisely because Evasion IS effective, its mechanism enables the negation of thought as a process at its root... and whenever it springs up... like a depraved self abusive game of whack-a-mole... threatening thoughts are smashed over and over wherever and whenever they appear... shielding the false edifice in all its distorted glory. Falsehoods cannot win the face of thinking ... they only win in the emptiness of a desolate mind whose only lonely sounds are the guarding winds of evasion where the buzz and life of a thought should have been.
  21. 1 point
    Only you can find the right balance that works for you. You are like a chameleon. You can put on different colors depending on who you are with. You can be yourself, but not truly show who you are. Truly you always act in your self-interest, but you don't always have to clue people in on what you are doing, especially if you know that they won't approve. This is an act which takes YEARS of practice. I haven't always been an Objectivist, but I've always been selfish. Always. I cried tears of joy when I found objectivism because it finally made sense to me, that a part of me had always been that way. In my 25 years, I have integrated the act of blending into a non-egoist world into an art form. If you need advice on how to handle certain social situations, don't be afraid to ask me (even if I am younger than you, I am an "old soul" compared to most).
  22. 1 point
    Someone asked: "is determinism (or causation, I may be mixing the two up if they're different) not the way all logic and science works when talking about anything? ... studies that seem to indicate that free will may be more of an illusion" The reductionist materialism of the "scientific worldview", does embrace determinism and the idea that free will is an illusion. Logic does not dictate this, though, actually the reductionist worldview is incoherent. Without free will, morality or ethics would be a meaningless science, people will act strictly according to prior causes, and can't change their behavior based on a morality. So there would be no "good" or "bad", no right or wrong, no justice, nothing. These terms would be essentially meaningless. If behavior is determined, then what people do, just *is* what they do, there's no alternative to compare it against, it wasn't right or wrong, or better or worse, it just *happened*. Worse than that, if reductionism is true, then all that exists in a metaphysically basic sense are millions of identical particles, behaving according to simple mathematical rules, a la Conway's game of life. There is no real line you can draw around one group of particles and think of it as a person, that would be a purely subjective choice that doesn't actually mean anything in reality. The things that you think you see around you aren't real. There are no men or women, there isn't even a self. Furthermore, statements or propositions you make don't have any meaning in the sense of true or false either since the concepts that make them up don't mean anything, and therefore neither does logic hold. So in this materialist worldview there is no justice, no morality, no truth or reason or logic, or even self. These concepts are all contradicted by the nature of reality. They are essentially meaningless and impossible. Yet despite all of this, they will still continue to speak as if these were true. They will talk about what you ought to do for your well-being, how you should be rational, use reason, seek truth, be logical, and speak as if people are real, that things around them are real, that they matter, and that there is meaning in life. All of this is contradicted by their own philosophy, and so they are being incoherent, and engaging wholesale in the fallacy of the stolen concept.
  23. 1 point
    No. Not if you mean by "Narcissistic" the clinical definition of Narcissistic Personality Disorder: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_personality_disorder Absolutely. Sure it is! Of course. As those who brought about and voted in Hitler into power found out! Being AWARE of anything (i.e. identifying reality) as such does not have pitfalls. Obsessing over anything you can be aware of, being obsessively and continually aware of one thing to the detriment of being aware of anything else, or to the detriment of acting certainly are pitfalls. Being socially aware if done rationally (like being aware of anything else) should be smooth sailing... the only pitfalls are not to be found in the being aware of something, but in the HOW or WHAT you then think about or evaluate that something of which you are aware. THAT is where the real error occurs. In fact, being as fully and accurately and rationally aware as possible of the fact of people's existence and their actual character, value, and relationship to a man is the opposite of a pitfall .. it is VERY useful.
  24. 1 point
    Moral psychology just refers to the part of psychology that influences philosophy. Things like free will, the nature of choice, emotion, consciousness, etc. Yes that's kind of a huge part of Rand's novels is the interplay between the characters' emotions and their consciously held thoughts and premises. An example would be Dagny and Dominique at the end, once they had integrated correct premises with their emotions. Another is the character of Rearden, who is disgusted with his family, but supports them anyway out of conscious conviction. His emotions give him correct knowledge, but he can't act on it until he smoothes out the contradicting premises he held, then he acts on it by bucking their mooching advances. Another example is when Dominique tells Wynand to fire Toohey, Rand has her openly say that she doesn't know why she wants him gone (yet), just that she hates him. She even says "it'll take years for me to understand" (around p. 499-500 in my version.) Another supporting quote for my claim is in VOS (p.27) when Rand says emotions are estimates of what can be "for or against" you, and says they are "lightning calculators giving him the sum of his profit or loss." There is a scene towards the end of AS when Dagny even says she can "surrender her consciousness" and that her emotions are like a "voice telling her by means of a feeling" (AS p.674.) I think what Rand means to say is that emotions are inert by themselves, and so you'd have to trace them to the experiences that programmed them, but once one did, if they stem from rational thoughts, they can help take part in cognition and guide action. Aristotle more plainly sees emotional disposition as evidence of a virtuous character. While Rand officially held otherwise, I think her fiction seems to hold the more Aristotelian view. Her descriptions of the fully integrated hero/heroines are ones where their stated thoughts and emotional dispositions are aligned and both working "for" their wellbeing.
  25. 1 point
    Nicky

    Donald Trump

    You are deliberately equivocating on the term "invasion", to misrepresent Ayn Rand's views on the proper role of government. You're welcome to be a nationalist and a racist. But, please, don't lie about Ayn Rand agreeing with you. Here's Rand's position on the issue, as stated in a 1973 Q&A: She was asked: “What is your attitude toward immigration? Doesn’t open immigration have a negative effect on a country’s standard of living?” This is her answer: You don’t know my conception of self-interest. No one has the right to pursue his self-interest by law or by force, which is what you’re suggesting. You want to forbid immigration on the grounds that it lowers your standard of living — which isn’t true, though if it were true, you’d still have no right to close the borders. You’re not entitled to any “self-interest” that injures others, especially when you can’t prove that open immigration affects your self-interest. You can’t claim that anything others may do — for example, simply through competition — is against your self-interest. But above all, aren’t you dropping a personal context? How could I advocate restricting immigration when I wouldn’t be alive today if our borders had been closed?
  26. 1 point
    2046

    Is objectivism consequentialist?

    I certainly don't think it's subjective. Subjective vs objective isn't about whether something has a clear line, as if something that is objective just can't have any debate about and everyone will agree. Objective means having mind-independent qualities that are what they are, subjective means existing in the mind without relation to external reality. Theres always going to be interpretation over certain objective facts, including flourishing. Many people might think Hugh Hefner lived the ultimate flourishing life, while other accounts might think he lived a sad and pathetic existence. Having different interpretations of facts is just part of life. Life or death is a very important distinction, but not every decision is a life or death one, and it's important to understand varying degrees of living because that's where most of our choices are.
  27. 1 point
    Even in the description in the cited study on Wikipedia, the authors note that flourishing is an objective state, and not reducible to felt experiences. You mention prison, interesting because Aristotle discusses whether a man trapped at the bottom of a well can be eudaimon, and he answers no (other Greeks like Socrates would say yes, so A is arguing against them.) A goes into detail describing the content of eudaimonia. It is something that includes "doing and living well," something that includes "everything choiceworthy and lacking in nothing" and overall "a complete life, well-lived." A's language is forgein to us and he is difficult to read and interpret. Various modern philosophers in the virtue ethics movement and psychologists have given accounts to describe flourishing. Researchers are taking note of accounts of eudaimonia. In addition to internal goods, external goods one may include such as a wealth and health, meaningful friendship and social relations, career choices, political freedom and autonomy, and so on. Even things out of your control, such as luck and natural disasters are going to effect your flourishing. You can see in both approaches broad generalized goods that everyone needs that are then individualized in the context of each person's life. Aristotle thinks it is comprised of these two categories, of internal and external goods. Rand thinks it is comprised of her three cardinal values, reason, purpose, and self-esteem. In both, flourishing is generic (constituted of generic human needs as defined by biology, psychology, medical science) but also agent-relative and individualistic, and a continuously maintained process. The virtue ethicists have many pro-reason, individualistic discussions, as do many of the classical eudaimonists. The Roman philosopher Cicero, for example, has four categories of flourishing (universal human nature, the individual's unborn talents, social context, and personal choices.)
  28. 1 point
    I would find that part of the ethicist charge is to objectively evaluate the sciences, ascertaining if they are furthering or threatening the ultimate value. Life can be kept in existence only by a constant process of self-sustaining action. The goal of that action, the ultimate value which, to be kept, must be gained through its every moment, is the organism’s life. An ultimate value is that final goal or end to which all lesser goals are the means — and it sets the standard by which all lesser goals are evaluated. An organism’s life is its standard of value: that which furthers its life is the good, that which threatens it is the evil. On one hand, the climatologists provide useful information for investing in the futures markets for farming. On the other, global warming claims are diverting time and attention away from other matters those resources might have been better allocated.
  29. 1 point
    The page 2 link now points to page 2. StrictlyLogical, your breakdown on this has been impeccable thus far. I've found myself searching the CD for identity near nature, where the usage of nature and identity are nearly synonymous. In OPAR, Peikoff writes: "Happiness is properly the purpose of ethics, but not the standard." In The Objectivists Ethics, Rand serves as the voice of Peikoff's echo when she wrote: ""Happiness" can properly be the purpose of ethics, but not the standard." Buttressing this in Galt's Speech, Rand prefaced these last two excerpts with: "Man's life is the standard of morality, but your own life is its purpose. If existence on earth is your goal, you must choose your actions and values by the standard of that which is proper to man—for the purpose of preserving, fulfilling and enjoying the irreplaceable value which is your life." Parsing for clarity requires the lens of reason be positioned such that the observations of the senses are in proper focus.
  30. 1 point
    The problem is not yours, but that reader's. I had no trouble at all understanding your position or that you were agreeing with me. No other interpretation was possible. At some point, one must conclude that a particular reader is either too sloppy or too hostile to understand what one is saying. At that point, further attempts at persuasion are irrational.
  31. 1 point
    You're waiting till you have something coherent to say? LOL, you really are new around here, aren't you? Absolutely right. But I raise it because I suspect it might sound different than the ice cream discussion to some, which perhaps seems a little unserious, and why can't a person just learn to live without ice cream anyways -- what's so bad about that? (I'd say there's plenty bad about it, but then I'm more familiar with my own perspective on this matter than I can expect anyone else to be.) But when we're looking at questions of people following their dreams, pursuing their passions -- even at the expense of longevity (though I recognize you have disavowed that's your meaning; yet I continue to use the term for what I consider to be good reason) -- then I think (or hope) it might be easier for others to see the essential issue I'm driving at. I think these are good questions, but by asking them we've already made a decision of a kind that I don't believe has yet been conceded: that we can call something a "benefit" at all if it results in the shortening of one's life. For if our ultimate end -- or our standard of value -- is "survival," and if "survival" is (per Kelley) "the literal alternative of life versus death, existence versus nonexistence," then we cannot describe taking the mission to deep space as a benefit at all; rather, it would be highly immoral -- it would be an instance of self-harm. But I don't believe it is immoral or self-harm. Do you? I don't think survivalism provides a sufficient basis for ethical reasoning. I think it looks at one aspect of life (a key aspect), but that life is more than mere survival, more than a simple question of "existence versus nonexistence" -- and fundamentally so, such that when we talk in terms of "ultimate ends" or our "standard of value," even there we must mean more than survival. Otherwise, you're right: we should ultimately prefer "a cheerless, pointless existence as a comatose vegetable tended by hordes of well paid medical experts" over "a [shorter] life full of happiness -- and risk," or Harrison's offer of endless (but pointless) existence. If existence, as such, is truly our ultimate end, then our ethics should counsel us to pursue existence at any (supposed) cost -- but it does not. So it is not, in truth, our ultimate end. I agree. This is as much as saying that it is not "existence," as such, that we value -- but a particular kind of existence. I've described it, at various times, as a life "characterized by pleasures and happiness" or "filled with pleasures and happiness," or "of maximized experience," or "the good life." I'm not satisfied that I've formulated this (let alone conveyed any part of it) particularly well, but I'm trying to find my way to such a formulation. This is the reason why, for instance, Galt was willing to die (even by his own hands) rather than allow harm to come to Dagny (or rather than live with the results). In my experience, survivalists do not want much to discuss such topics, shunting them off to some "amoral" or even "pre-moral" area of decision making... and over the course of this conversation, we've found that StrictlyLogical (taking him to be a "survivalist") considers a good deal of what we choose to value and pursue to be outside of moral consideration altogether. But then, this is precisely what we should expect if, as I've claimed above, survivalism fails to provide a sufficient basis for ethical reasoning. It means that some of our decisions may be arrived at through ethical reasoning... and some (the majority?) cannot, leaving them to be inspired by... what? Whim? It renders Ethics, as a discipline, unsuitable "to guide man’s choices and actions." Or, if we reject that seeming consequence and cling to survivalism the more tightly, then we will make decisions to prolong our longevity... at the cost of our actual experience of life and our happiness.
  32. 1 point
    Okay so regarding DonAthos's example, are you saying that the Potential Astronaut has to know his nature first to make an ethical choice? Or that depending on his being good or bad (his nature) he will choose something? Don, are you also Stipulating that this person's passion is so strong that it is NOT malleable? Such an integrity of thoughts that he will not change his mind when it gets really hard? Would that mean that the highest ethical question/task be to "know thyself"? (know thy nature, who you really are)
  33. 1 point
    I've been trying to give myself some breathing room here -- partly because softwareNerd recently said something about thinking that it's best when people step back from contentious conversations quickly, and that's stuck with me. But I've also been tossing Harrison's hypothetical around in my mind, and what finally tumbled out was another hypothetical of my own, to try to further elucidate points of view (not just my own)... Suppose a man who, from childhood, loves space and space travel and science and exploration and all that. He grows up to be a scientist, and then one day he receives an incredible offer: if he chooses, he can be the first to perform some incredible form of deep space exploration (where am I getting "deep space" from... Buck Rogers?). But. Because shielding technology hasn't kept pace with the rest of the technological developments, or something, if he accepts this mission, it will shave as many as five years of his life off of the back end. What would we make of it -- in terms of morality -- should he choose to accept the job anyways, because he wants so badly to do this thing?
  34. 1 point
    Actually, I would say that "survival appropriate to man" entails "flourishing", as opposed to "flourishing" being something added to "survival appropriate to man". That also appears to be Kelley's position in TLSO, though I'd have to reread to be sure. Anyway.... I haven't been getting enough sleep the last few days, so I haven't been able to properly organize my thoughts for writing on this topic. However, there is one point I think I should bring up, because it identifies a central error in this and similar discussions. A living entity enacts a goal-directed process, with its goal the continuance of itself. It's important to keep in mind that this goal isn't "to live forever" or even "to live a long time", it is "to keep on living". An action that supports the goal, supports the goal, even if there is an alternative action that would result in a longer life. (This is consistent with the fact that living beings evolved; in evolution, organisms are selected, not for longevity, but for reproductive effectiveness.) All entities have the future possibility of not existing, and this is what gives rise to the concept of value in relation to living entities, as Rand pointed out. But indefinite life is not the goal of life, rather the goal is merely life's continuation. So, in forming one's value hierarchy, the top is not indefinite survival, it is continuing one's life. This is a seemingly hair-splitting difference, but it is a real and important one. Were living as long as possible the proper ultimate goal of one's actions, mere survival -- survival regardless of one's circumstances -- would be one's target. On that view, a cheerless, pointless existence as a comatose vegetable tended by hordes of well paid medical experts could be better than a life full of happiness -- and risk. I don't think any of us accept that conclusion. I don't think any even semi-rational person, except maybe a drug addict, would accept that conclusion. I'd go further: If that's all that ethics had to offer as its view of the proper life, I (and I expect you) would say, be damned to ethics. But that isn't the proper ultimate goal. It also isn't merely continuing one's life. Were that the proper ultimate goal, a life of "just getting by" would be moral.... And that's where I leave off, too sleepy to do a proper job of expressing my thoughts. I will say that this is where Rand's "man qua man" enters the picture.
  35. 1 point
    As I've mentioned elsewhere, I am making a YouTube video about Sonic The Hedgehog and why the character remains so popular, despite decades of declining game sales. I tie this in to the Objectivist conception of good vs. evil, and how that is such a powerful idea conveyed by Sonic and how he acts within the world of his games. Most Sonic fans understand this conception at a subconscious level, as this conception resonates deeply with them, but it has never been stated outright on the internet in these terms. My script for the video is available below; please provide any feedback that you think might make it better. ===== Why Is Sonic the Hedgehog Such a Popular Character? Sonic the Hedgehog has always been one of my favorite fictional characters, and I’m not alone. Sonic has maintained a persistent popularity among internet fans, especially compared to long-time rival Mario. Look at the number of fanfics that have been written about Sonic the Hedgehog on Fanfiction.net. Absolutely dwarfs Mario, with 38k Sonic fanfics compared to 9k for Mario. The number of Sonic deviations is over 2 and 1/2 times as many as Mario deviations on DeviantArt. Sonic AMVs on YouTube are 1.5 million strong, almost neck and neck with Mario AMVs, which number 1.51 million. This is despite decades of declining game sales. No Sonic game has sold more than five million copies since 1994. Compare this to Mario, Sonic’s longtime rival, during the same time period. Mario games still sell like hotcakes, with New Super Mario Bros. Wii selling 30 million copies in 2009, one of the best-selling games of all time. And he’s still going strong to this day. Despite declining game sales, Sonic fans still love him as a character. Something about Sonic as a character is so appealing that his fans are inspired to create thousands and thousands of works of the mind that Mario fans simply don't make. Something about Sonic strikes his fans at a much deeper level than Mario strikes his fans. Maybe it's Sonic's coolness. Sonic is fast, he’s got attitude, he’s like a living sports car. That makes Sonic cool, right? Well, to answer that question, we must first establish what “coolness” is. Coolness is an admiration that people have for a person or object, based upon certain traits which they celebrate as superior to other traits. Cool is relative, and can only exist in a certain context. Smoking used to be cool back in the 1950’s. It was sleek, glamorous, and cigarettes tasted smooth. Society saw models and actors who smoked as better than ones who didn’t. But then the health consequences of smoking were discovered, and over the next few decades, smoking’s perception among the public changed. Smoking went from being a cool, sexy, and badass habit to a nasty, stinky, and dirty habit. I still smoke, though. Sorry Sonic, I know you told me not to. In the same way as cigarettes were once seen as cool, Sonic might have been seen by the gaming public as cool back in the 1990’s. But cool doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and the declining game quality in Sonic is legendary. In this decade? He’s unfortunately gone from being cool, to being an internet joke. Fans of Sonic don’t seem to care, though. Despite Sonic and his fandom being ridiculed online, they continue to produce creative works praising their beloved mascot. He might not be cool to the internet or to most gamers anymore, but he’s still cool to the fandom. Why? Does the answer lie in-universe? Is Sonic cool within the context of his own games, comics, and shows? Admittedly I haven’t seen every piece of Sonic media, or played every Sonic games, and I’ll leave the deeper nuances for YouTube commenters who might know a little more to answer this question than I do. Even if I did know more, Sonic is often portrayed differently depending on the games, the plots of which often are incomprehensible even to diehard Sonic fans. Nevertheless, I believe I have enough of a basis to answer the cool-in-universe question…. let’s begin. Cool is relative, so we must judge Sonic’s coolness in his own universe by comparing him to other characters in universe. Sonic is always the fastest character in the games, enabling him to enhance his powers with rings and chaos emeralds. His self-proclaimed “girlfriend” Amy is attracted to his power and speed. Sonic is orders more powerful than the defenseless woodland creatures or clueless humans that he saves from destruction in the games. Sonic also has attitude, but never in a condescending way like his friend Knuckles often has. His attitude arises from his confidence in himself, his abilities, and his smarts... compare that to the insecure Tails who looks up to Sonic. Sonic isn’t a genius like Tails, but he’s certainly on the smart end, and I would say has more common sense than most of his friends, who look to him in a leadership role. The Sonic games all reward inquisitiveness and exploration, and many of them reward the ability to solve puzzles… or just the ability to try out “self-evident” solutions. Most importantly, though, Sonic is a good guy. He pursues his own ends and goals as a good guy should, never using underhanded methods to get them like Dr. Eggman does. Sonic is also friendly, and inspires loyalty among his friends because they all have each others’ backs. Sonic always rescues his friends when they’re in a bind, and they come to his aid when he needs them. Sonic’s friendships, from his point of view, are based on mutual exchange of value. I won’t get into all of Sonic’s friends, but suffice it to say that Sonic is a confident and capable ring leader. Heh. For all of these reasons, I think it’s safe to say that Sonic is cool within universe. Is being cool and having a large cast of friends enough to inspire such loyalty amongst Sonic fans? Not by itself, no. Sonic is not just cool, he’s also a heroic character. Sonic is fast, smart, and has a can-do attitude. Compare that to his evil nemesis, the slow, lumbering, incompetent Eggman, or Robotnik as he was once known. While Sonic inspires loyalty and friendship, Dr. Eggman can inspire nothing. His goal of “roboticizing” everything by force and bringing about “Eggtopia” are laughable. Thus, Eggman must resort to enslaving small woodland creatures to fight for him. Eggman’s own creations like Metal Sonic often rebel against him and his bizarre goals, as do many of his former partners including Knuckles and the Deadly Six. For these reasons, Eggman has come to hate Sonic over the years… solely because he’s the good guy, and Eggman’s obsession over destroying Sonic often leads to his own defeat. Sonic, though, has no similar hate towards Eggman. If anything, he views him as a minor nuisance. As the good guy, Sonic realizes how competent and excellent he is, and how weak and pathetic Eggman is. Defeating Eggman is still challenging for him (and the player), but it’s a challenge that he always knows that he can win, and his confidence and indomitable spirit takes him and you, the player, to eventual victory. Sonic knows that, if he’s ever in a bind, he can count on his friends like Tails and Knuckles—to name just a few. In the original trilogy at least, Sonic fights Eggman not to rescue some princess like Mario. Not blindly guided by prophecy like Link. Not for unearned gain like the evil GTA “protagonists.” Sonic feels no cumbersome duty to fight Eggman… he fights Eggman because it’s fun for him! Sonic is such a powerful figure because he teaches us something about life in a way that other video games simply don’t. This giant contrast in the Sonic games between good’s competence and evil’s impotence strikes the hearts of fans more than anything else. Most fans might only grasp this at a subconscious level, and a lot of Sonic fans don't even know why they like Sonic. But the contrast resonates with them because it’s true to life. Sonic’s can-do attitude demonstrates that no matter what evil you observe in your surroundings, you must never accept it as normal or permanent. You’ve got to fight against whatever evil you find in your life. We don’t have super speed like Sonic. We can’t turn invincible and fly. What we do have is the internet, which enables us to spread our good ideas at lightspeed around the world. Your mind matters. Your reason matters. Your ideas matter. Your words matter. Many governments and religious fanatics around the world have a vested interest in suppressing your speech. Corrupt, evil politicians hide their theft and graft in the darkest of corners; they hide their evil plans to trample, enslave, and replace their own people, to terrorize them. They jail, tax, and even kill those who speak out against them. Standing up to them is not, and will not be easy. But just like Sonic, our ideas are true, our motives are pure, and we will win. All Sonic needs is one ring to survive, and so long as he keeps picking it up, he’s invincible. All freedom needs is one person who refuses to accept evil’s dominance, and he can spread his ideas far faster than censorship or oppression can contain him. We need Sonic as a culture, because he condenses this long speech I just gave into a simple idea. A powerful good guy against a bad guy who at first seems intimidating, but in the end is revealed for the paper tiger he always was… that all evil men are. Once you know that, fighting evil can become as fun for you as it is for Sonic and the players of the Sonic games. I leave you all with one of my favorite songs in the world… the song “Sonic Boom” by Pastiche and Spenser Nielsen. These four didn’t care or know about Sonic before being commissioned by Sega to write this song. They were probably just told to write a song expressing the triumph of good over evil, how fighting evil is fun once good guys realize their own power. In that, they succeeded. ===== So, what does Objectivism Online think? Have I clearly enough tied the concept of the impotence of evil, and its subconscious adoption by Sonic fans, to his disproportionately large popularity as a character? Does this strike you as a reasonable explanation, or have I missed something? Eager to hear everybody's thoughts.
  36. 1 point
    I don't disagree. And if the primacy of existence, the necessity (and exact nature) of reason or that of acting in my own self-interest are ever legitimately disproven, I will not call whatever result I convert to "Objectivism" (nor any prefixed or suffixed variation of it). However, considering that she was the very first philosopher in history to define and consistently uphold these fundamentals, I'd give her namesake to any philosophy which uses them as the foundation from which to consistently* derive the rest. I think it's a conceptual thing. It's not about the specific word "Objectivism" (that would just be silly); it's about whether slightly-divergent views can still be fundamentally the same as those of Ayn Rand or whether any disagreement, of any size and over any issue at all, constitutes a full break with "reality, reason, egoism, Capitalism, Romanticism". *Within the context of everything we know, so far. There can only be one ultimately "true" form of Objectivism, but that doesn't mean that whichever form that is will be obvious to us (or even the greatest minds among us) anytime soon. Andeven if it were I'd still grant that title to reasonable, level-headed newcomers, while they come to grasp it for themselves.
  37. 1 point
    Hi, what's up, this is CartsBeforeHorses, and I'm a 25-year-old Objectivist from Colorado Springs, Colorado. I'm a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) by trade. and in my spare time I enjoy cycling, video gaming, reading, and writing my novel. The novel I am working on is an Objectivism-inspired sci-fi novel that takes place in a world 1,000 years from now where man has been divided into three distinct races after centuries of genetic engineering. Aside from that, I write Objectivist-themed blogs and videos to try to reach audiences that might not otherwise hear of our ideas. One such project should be completed by this weekend, and I will share once ready.
  38. 1 point
    Easy Truth

    The value of apologizing

    Yes, the fear of being discovered by others goes away which helps a lot. There is also, the disgust at oneself that can go away too. An apology is an indication of change due to knowledge. It helps to reset one's relationship with others and the world. In some cases, an apology has to be accompanied with a promise not to do it again. Sometimes it even requires more. An attempt to fix what was broken. Like "I am sorry I broke your window, I will have it fixed and I assure I won't play ball in your area anymore". Assuming it is carried through. one is not looked at with suspicion and trade and betterment of life is maximized. Finally, there is the issue of psychological visibility, being seen as you are and not a hateful entity. It is with an apology that one removes the ugliness that others were seeing. It opens the door for both people, the one apologizing and the one accepting it.
  39. 1 point
    The nature of certainty, I believe, is something which needs to be explored further. I think that many folks (Objectivist and other) are looking for some permanent, final fix, such that whatever ideas or opinions they hold, they never need be challenged again, or subject to error, or revisited. I guess I understand the emotional motivation, but I question the pursuit overall, and I think its fruits rotten. Once someone reaches the point that they no longer are willing to entertain the possibility of their being mistaken, they are cut off from further rational discourse. If we read this as me talking about, oh, religionists, then we within the Objectivist community will typically have a reaction of "oh, of course!" or similar. We would advise a religionist to "check his premises," even if he considers himself quite certain of the truth of his beliefs, and if he is not willing to do so, we would recognize that he will never be in the position to correct his errors. But if we read this as me talking about people within the Objectivist community, then all sorts of defenses are typically activated: what's this about "possibility" (and how does it relate to the "arbitrary"), and aren't some things proven beyond the point of doubt (and aren't the axioms immune), and what specific Objectivist ideas do I find questionable, and etc. Yet there are a plethora of debates within the Objectivist community (to which this forum stands testament), and on that basis alone, we should not be insensitive to the need to continue to examine and re-examine our own ideas, to "check our premises" even against our own experience of certainty (which, again, needs further exploration). We all seem to consider ourselves "certain" -- even when and where we disagree with one another. Without what you describe as "an openness to seemingly untrue ideas," we are all sunk. We rely on that openness from people outside of the Objectivist community, if we mean to spread our ideas (without an openness to seemingly untrue ideas, I would never have read Ayn Rand in the first place); and we must recognize it as virtuous in ourselves, as well, if we mean to continue to eliminate the errors in our thinking. I think no one has the obligation to try to convince another person of the truth of any given position (except as is necessitated by the pursuit of one's own values). So we all have the right to communicate, or not, as best suits our individual lives. But it is a separate question as to when we may justly conclude that another person cannot be reached by reason. (And, further, to distinguish this from failures in communication; I may present a sound argument well or poorly, in a given context, and if I present my argument poorly, it may not be your "fault" if you reject it.) It's a tricky question, especially since I've found that some people may be quite rational with respect to certain subjects, and highly irrational or dishonest or evasive or etc., with respect to others. In general, I try to extend the "benefit of the doubt" as far as I can, and to keep all of the relevant context in mind; some people are very bad at expressing themselves (and we all struggle at times), and in my experience there's great potential to confuse such poor communication with moral failure. This does not even begin to touch the subject of the process by which people discard bad ideas and adopt good ones; I have again found that "coming to truth" is a process which plays out over time, and it does not always proceed in a clear, straight line, or instantaneously. Some people express confusions honestly, or are mistaken honestly, or take (sometimes large amounts of) time to process ideas, and the ability to distinguish this from someone who is fundamentally irrational is... hard won, at best. And then: people can change. But, as above, I think we can recognize approaches that are not conducive to reasoning, and work on improving our own mental (and social) habits.
  40. 1 point
    I would go so far as to say almost all values (I am adhering here to the objective theory of values) in fact ARE instrumental, imho all but one value is instrumental, instrumental to the only value which is at once both an end in itself and a choice: life.
  41. 1 point
    Sorry for interjecting... your response was to ET, but this is tantamount to arguing against the Objectivist standard of morality itself. It claims that bad conduct can support life long range... implying that the standard of morality is wrong. It amounts to saying really, conduct is to be judged as "good" or "bad" according to something which is not the Objectivist standard of morality. This is an error. Actions are bad precisely because they are inimical to life, long range, and any action which is not inimical to life, long range simply is not bad.
  42. 1 point
    Strictly speaking, this is a contradiction in terms. If you were fully aware of what you were doing, you weren't evading per se. It might surprise you to know that many men who hire "escorts" have similar experiences to yours, even if they have never heard of Objectivism. Ongoing sexual loneliness can be terribly painful. If you've never experienced sex, you can feel like you're missing out on an essential part of life. (You are.) Under such circumstances, the idea of paying for sex — if only to see what it's like — can seem alluring. I don't think what you did is immoral, but I'm not surprised that it made you feel the way it did. You may think you wasted your money, but actually you didn't. You learned a valuable lesson that you should never forget. It's easy to think of sex as a physical experience with a strong spiritual component. In fact, the inverse is true. Sex minus any spiritual aspect — sex which is the result of a commercial transaction and is divorced from any larger relationship — is unsatisfying because it's essentially meaningless. We think we want the physical elements of sex, and we do, to a degree, but what we really want is the spiritual meaning that those physical elements convey and represent.
  43. 1 point
    Unless a principled right rises in popularity and power, it is inevitable. I hope the unprincipled right's broken promise to those who rebelled against the left and big government, and the bitter pill of what they had to vote for, will bear fruit and give rise to something .. something better than Gary Johnson. Socialized medicine will look exactly like the various universal systems throughout the world (e.g. Canada). Second rate and backward. You will count on taxes raising by another 33 to 50 percent ending up to a quarter to a third of your tax dollars going to support it. Doctors will be even less free from regulations to do medicine as they see best, in fact because they are beholden to the government system they will become (essentially) government workers, part of the "public sector". As medical salaries dwindle (controlled by government), medical services will suffer. R&D will not be value driven but forced. It's spirit dead, cutting edge medicine will disappear. U.S. citizens will look to escape from the US medical system to get treatment in freer countries (New Zealand?) the same way Canadians rely upon US innovations and come to the US as and when needed. Waiting times for diagnostics and seeing specialists will become unreasonable to the point that lives will be risked due to delays, and emergency room deaths will sky rocket due to the unavailability of beds. Soon after the medical system is decimated, the pharmaceutical industry will be nationalized in the name of keeping prices "in control". Drug development will stagnate as the fires of profit is put out in favor of the dull inept motivation of force ... i.e. public funding. Truly egalitarian, everyone will be barred from good health care in equal measure. Individuals will languish and die... for the "good of the people" and in the name of "equality".
  44. 1 point
    softwareNerd

    Shadow Banking

    Since you say you don't have much of a background on the topic, let's start with a really trivial example: you, as an individual could lend money to another individual, and you would not be regulated as a bank. If the borrower does not pay you back, you will suffer a loss. If a lot of people lend money this way, and the economy turns down, many borrowers may not be able to pay back their loans, and a lot of such lenders will suffer losses. Lending: Now, one small step up: imagine you do not know anyone worth lending to, but you have a friend who has a lot of family/friends, who run some type of businesses (gas stations, corner stores, restaurants, etc.). You -- and many like you who trust him -- lend him money, and he figures out whom he trusts and how much, and he lends the money to them. When they pay interest or return the principal, ... that's when he returns it to you. Once again, if a higher than average number of borrowers turn out to be duds, then the lenders ultimately suffer. Next, imagine the middleman is personally wealthy. So, he tells you that he will pay you from his pocket, if the actual borrowers don't. This provides some degree of buffer. Now, to make it more realistic, imagine a billion-dollar company that borrows money for various investors and lends it to borrowers. None of these examples are quite completely "banking" in the sense meant by McCulley; rather, they're "lending". Lending has its own regulations, but they're not banking regulations. Folk like McCulley would not include any of the above as being shadow banking. Banking: Now, imagine the middle man says that you do not have to wait for the original borrowers to repay their loans. If you suddenly need your cash, he will pay you back out of his own money, because he's confident that others will be depositing more money anyway, and he also has other ways of getting additional cash. This is where things become "banking" in the sense meant by the term "shadow banking". This is where some new benefits and risks come in. The key difference in such a system is that the original borrower has been given a certain amount of time to pay, but the original lender has been told he can have his funds back sooner. This is called a "duration mismatch". The middleman keeps a reserve of money from which he pays folk who want to withdraw. As they withdraw, others make deposits. If people withdraw from one bank and deposit in another, one bank can then borrow back the funds from the other bank. The system works pretty well most of the time. This system is called a "Fractional Reserve System" since the bank does not keep all the cash on hand that depositors may theoretically withdraw; it only keeps enough to meet the normal range of activities. The danger arises if lots of depositors demand their money back because they fear they will not get it if they leave it in. The bank does not have the money and isn't going to get it quickly. That's the "run on the bank". It becomes particularly problematic if there is a run not just on one or two banks, but on banks as such. That's when it becomes a banking panic. [Aside: Some libertarians say that it should be illegal for bankers to promise to pay out "on demand" if they do not hold 100% of the possible cash that might be withdrawn.] Panics and response: There have been repeated panics across history. Over decades, people (aka the market) figured out various ways to address the issue of duration-mismatch and thus bank-runs. But, a full and robust solution had not yet evolved. In parallel, the government also started to build systems that would take on some of the risk. When the government takes on risk, the market sees no need to plan for that risk. So, this undercut the private systems that were evolving. Also, when the government takes on risk, it cannot do so willy-nilly. It has to specify rules that the lenders should follow, in order to get government protection. Shadow banking: Finance is pretty sophisticated these days, with some very complex instruments available. Companies that are not banks can buy and sell combinations of instruments that leave them with huge "duration risk". Yet, when they do not do so in the normal way of having deposit accounts etc. they don't have to follow the rules that apply there. That's shadow banking.
  45. 1 point
    One can agree with Objectivism 100% and still think Rand modified her views over time. I assume you do not see a contradiction in that. Similarly, one can agree with Objectivism 100% and still think that Rand was wrong on some conclusions, even where she used her philosophy of Objectivism as part of reaching those wrong conclusions.
  46. 1 point
    No. First, I want to know the truth about reality, i.e. to hold the correct philosophy. Secondarily, I would want others to also know the truth about reality and hold the correct philosophy (it would make life better for me). Merely having "an impact" of any kind as such has no value... it is only the particular kind of impact that might result which matters. If everyone already knew the truth and had the correct philosophy I would not be pining and wishing to have an impact on someone. You imply by your OP and other posts that either A) the philosophy is incorrect/erroneous, or that B ) the philosophy is correct but people are inherently flawed and cannot accept it. You then admonish us to action of one sort or another, which make little sense. An individual surely must seek out the truth and on the evidence he/she should accept a correct philosophy and reject a false one, and insofar as possible and when it is in his self interest to do so, to teach what he knows to others, thereby increasing their potential spiritual and economic value to him. If A) is the case, then only by evidence and reason can a person be shown that A) is the case. If B ) is the case, then a person who knows the truth can either try to convince others, or simply refrain from doing so. Since you seem to indicate that people just don't accept it, you imply it is futile to attempt to convince others. I see you are already trying to show why A) is the case (in other threads). If you are implying the philosophy is wrong, I take it you are proceeding in the attempt to show that. If B ) is the case, then logic would dictate from your premises, that since it is futile, one should not try to convince others. Which is odd, because at the same time you state we should "want" to convince others. All I can think is that maybe B ) is that case, but not all people are impervious to the truth (after all there are people who have heard the evidence and accepted the philosophy) and hence attempting to convince others, although difficult, is not futile. The point of your OP and your ensuing argument, if there is one, is elusive. Please be more succinct if you would like a direct answer.
  47. 1 point
    Eiuol

    Choosing to Live, Choosing to Die

    Newborns have that context. You would just need to ask if the choice to live is a choice actually pre-volitional. I have no reason to say newborns lack volition, though. Or just ask if life is a given start to all people, thus "choosing" a given makes no sense, as if this is true, all people reach for life by nature, by teleology. I have no reason to call life a given start.
  48. 1 point
    Everybody does agree on everything. It only seems like they don't, because some people enjoy playing devil's advocate. In fact some people devote their entire lives to lying, even taking it so far as to cause bitter family breakups and global wars. So, you see, disagreement is actually a myth and reality is indeed objective.
  49. 1 point
    People have led happy and productive lives for centuries before Rand. Objectivism can set the context, integrate practices, explain why some things are right, and make it all work so much more smoothly, but it will never substitute for the best-practices. And, these best practices for human happiness are ancient. A philosopher might put it this way: man is a rational animal; not just rational, but rational animal. Man has not simply ditched all the attributes that continue to be present in dogs and tigers and deer. Man can be transfixed in headlights, or he can act with violent overkill, or he can grab at something like he's starving now without concern for the consequences of tomorrow. That's all part of being a rational animal (perhaps that should be hyphenated "rational-animal"). Formal psychology is a much younger field than philosophy, and much of it has been useless junk or even politically-motivated cynical malevolence about a human need for power and so on. Too much of it seemed to ignore the rational, and dwell on man as if he were just an emotional animal. However, I think that's changed now. There's recently been quite a bit of work on cognition: the process, the flaws etc. One can read most of this work cynically and conclude: rationality is impossible. However, the right conclusion is that one has to work at rationality consciously, and not just by thinking, but also by developing certain habits, avoiding certain practices, tuning oneself to potential flaws and short-cuts in thinking, etc. There are a fair number of popular books on this. I recommend "Influence" by Cialdini, "What makes your Brain Happy..." by DiSalvo, and (slightly more theoretical) "Thinking Fast and Slow" by Kahneman. I'm sure there are many similar books out there, but these are ones I've read. Other self-help books -- that focus on specific topics -- can be useful too.
  50. 1 point
    Grames

    What is the role of ontology in Oism?

    Ontology in Objectivism and the distinction between primary and extended senses of the word entity are discussed in the thread Existents and Entities (only 4 pages) There is also a kind of taxonomy of what exists and discussion of what metaphysics is limited to. edit: added here some of my contributions in that other thread: This is all that is metaphysically important about the "categories of existents". An entity is a solid thing with a definite boundary within the human perceptual scale. a) primary existents a1) living entities - those entities engaging in self-sustaining and self-generated action. a11) human beings - the rational animals a12) non-human beings - all other animals and plants a2) non-living entities b ) non-primary existents b1) entities in an “extended sense” b11) entities not self-evident or only self-evident to augmented perception b12) collections and collective nouns with indefinite boundaries - fluids, flocks b13) parts of entities or "extended sense" entities b2) non-entity existents b21) attributes b22) actions b23) relationships "Entity" needed to be defined. The genus is existents, differentia is the things with perceivable boundaries. This sets up the vocabulary necessary for further reasoning and the rest of philosophy, and it is accessible without any scientific background. The whole business with the 'extended sense' is how scientific knowledge of other kinds of entities is integrated into this scheme. The laws of identity and causality are explained in terms of entities. For the purpose of making it clear that identity and causality apply to things known only by inference they too are identified as entities, but in an extended sense that preserves the original distinction.
×