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  1. 5 points

    How much danger are we in? What can we do?

    Yes, of course. Western countries are democracies. Ordinary citizens decide who runs our governments. We should vote for leaders who recognize basic facts about Vladimir Putin, such as: 1. He is a murderer, behind a series of assassinations and assassination attempts both at home and in countries around the world (including Britain, which shows how brazen he is). 2. He is fueling the Ukrainian civil war. 3. His intelligence services hacked the DNC, and released compromising information to Wikileaks in order to prevent a Clinton victory. This was an unprecedentedly hostile act. While espionage, including hacking, is par for the course between competing world powers, none of them have dumped the information they obtained through espionage onto the web, to influence elections, before. As such, this is a new level of hostility, which warrants an equally hostile response. 4. The DNC hack is part of a media and intelligence campaign aimed at destabilizing western countries. It is Russian propagandists (behind outlets like Russia Today) and intelligence services working together to sow confusion and poison western politics. In other words, we need to elect leaders who recognize Vladimir Putin as the enemy, treat him and his government as such, and retaliate proportionally for every single act of aggression or attempt to interfere. And, of course, we need to speak up about these basic facts, whenever someone is willing to gloss over them and write them off as "the leftist media trying to justify losing the election". Not saying they're not doing that, by the way. But what the leftist media is doing doesn't change what the facts are.
  2. 5 points
    It is hard when something is mixed. Sometimes one's immediate feeling toward it comes from whatever side of it you're seeing that day. A couple of years ago, I was in a small mid-western resort town on July 4th and thousands of tourists (mostly from elsewhere in the state) had turned out to see the fireworks. Trucks streamed in from all the nearby little towns and farms. The atmosphere was festive. There was benevolence all around. The red-white-and blue was respected, not as a symbol of something above us on an altar, but as a symbol of who we are. Not on a pedestal to be saluted -- though that too -- but, in casual clothing, in funny head-dress, in flashing lights to be worn for the evening. All around was a feeling of family and of sharing a value. Very few cops in sight, and yet the thousands self-organizing in very orderly ways. If you asked those people, in that moment, if freedom was their top value, if the individual is important, if we should recognize the individual's right to his own life and happiness...you'd probably find lots of agreement. It's all good, but it is mostly emotional. As you peel away and understand the intellectual roots, contradictions appear. I won't say the emotions are unfounded, that there is no "there there". When Hollywood makes a movie of a maverick going up against the world and winning, huge audiences love the theme. It is who they are: sometimes, on some topics, and in some emotional states. Nationalism is dangerous when it goes beyond a general benevolent celebration of sharing good values like freedom and individualism. It usually does, and we have a good person like Robert E. Lee rejecting Lincoln's attempt to get him to lead a Union Army, even though he could "anticipate no greater calamity for the country than dissolution" and thought "secession is nothing but revolution". Why? For "honor" -- which really translates to honoring a convention where you are loyal to your home state. Throw in ideas about the role of government in helping people in all sorts of situations. Thrown in ideas about inequality being caused by oppression. And faulty ideas about economics. And suspicions about bankers running the world. Add back the occasional cheering of the maverick who defies authority; but also add back the desire to control other people's behavior: if they're gay, or marrying someone of another race, or smoking pot, or even having a beer when they're 20 years and 11 months! That is the contradiction that is America. Still, you should feel free to choose what emotions you wish to invest in symbols like the flag. You do not have to salute a flag and think you're saluting a tortured contradiction that is eating itself from the inside out . You can salute it for the right reasons, or for what you think it once stood for.
  3. 5 points
    An abstraction that existed metaphysically would not be an abstraction, it would be just another concrete. In fact abstractions are concretes, they are attributes of the brains of those abstractors who have preformed that mental action. But as a product of human action such abstractions are not metaphysically-given, which is why they must be acknowledged as epistemological. A metaphysically given abstraction is a contradiction in terms.
  4. 4 points

    The Serene Metaphysic

    Two quotes to begin. The first: “In general, it is absurd to make the fact that the things of this earth are observed to change and never to remain in the same state, the basis of our judgment about the truth. For in pursuing the truth one must start from the things that are always in the same state and suffer no change.” - Aristotle, Book 11, from his Metaphysics. Now the second: “Serenity comes from the ability to say ‘Yes’ to existence.” - Ayn Rand, 1973, from her essay “The Metaphysical versus the Man-Made”. Any science of first principles rightly supposes that the justificatory structure of our schemas and assertions are terminal. It would seem then that there ought to be a terminus of judgment also, for how is one to judge a thing which can not be justified, even in principle? Justification surely is a form of explanation, namely one which identifies a cause whose identification itself deals in adherence to a kind of normativity appropriate to the production of human knowledge. Aristotle points out that all explanation is in terms of something more fundamental, and nothing is truly capable of explaining itself, for nothing is more fundamental than itself - it simply is itself. It has seemed strange then to philosophers throughout history that those concepts and principles occupying the base of human knowledge, being capable neither of having explanation or justification, should still be the ultimate source of both, hence the perennial quest for and atheological concerns towards an explanation of something like Being as such. This sort of meta-attitude is not confined to metaphysics or what calls itself metaphysics. Indeed in Hume’s infamous passage about the inescapable bifurcation or rather the inexplicable marriage of descriptive and normative statements, we see the presence of an anxious, “something from nothing” worry more familiar to us in the context of discussions about God. We may find this sort of sentiment just as easily in epistemologies also of the last century, where neo-Kantians like Wilfred Sellars marshal the notion of inference as constitutive of the perceiving act so as to escape the undesirable conclusion that the perceptually given could at once be justificatory and non-propositional, i.e., not itself justified or justifiable. The ability of certain things to be a power unto themselves has always been met throughout history with skepticism and derision, especially by philosophers. While this fact may owe some to the prevalence and intuitive attractiveness of a naive necessitarian conception of causality (which itself necessarily invokes a prime mover), where the supposed constant conjunction of motion is appropriated as identifying the form of epistemic relations or ethical systems, I believe the source is more complicated in matter if not in form, and partly social. Namely, that in human interaction we constantly seek the identification of a final cause to explain the behavior of the human agents we interact with. And insofar as these motivations are explicit - as is the case with more noticeable, determined action - the cause can be expressed in propositional form, and we are thus loathe to think that any cause ought not to be able to expressed to one another someway, somehow. Even in relations lacking humans altogether, say perhaps the evolutionary development of an alternative organism, we identify the final cause of species survival and propagation as an explanatory summation of the efficient - and principally chemical - causes responsible for an organism’s biological integrity. We understand our mature language to be capable of reaching all corners of nature, both now, before, and forevermore. We understand and believe then that if there are no reasons to accept something, then there can certainly be no reasons not to reject it. And it is precisely here, in elevating a particularly - and this is key - conceptual mode of grasping existence to legislate what is and is not permissible to treat as existent that all philosophical hell breaks loose. The explicit error is thus: the holding of the man-made, for no conceptual artifact is necessary, to constrain the metaphysically given. That is, the total inversion of epistemological primacy, of treating not perception but conception as cognitively basic. There is really only one tradition in the history of philosophy which explicitly recognizes a kind of metaphysical acquiescence as the source of epistemological accuracy, and that is the Aristotelian one, of which Objectivism is a part. Just as Aristotle refuted logical determinism by affirming the direction of truth to move from the metaphysically given to the man-made, so we may chastise those anti-foundationalist tendencies which make much ado about the fact that those so-called primaries of cognition cannot be explained or justified, yet serve as the source of both; the primaries, insofar as they constitute an identification of the relation of man's necessary formatic apprehension (for to be aware is not merely to be aware of something, but to be aware of something somehow) of existence to existence are not to be judged. The man-made can not arbitrate how the metaphysically given ought to be, or how its epistemic status ought to present itself, indeed the very concept of “ought” is inapplicable. It as arbitrary to assert that because primaries are inexplicable they are somehow invalid or untrustworthy as it is to rule out the concept of “inertia” with Aristotelian physics. In both cases, perception, our primitive and primary contact with and awareness of reality - because it is metaphysically given and the identities of the human, sensory apparatus as well as the existents which act upon them are outside the power of human volition, of human making - vindicates what may be thought of as possible and trustworthy, and no more and no less. You may recall that I mentioned that there can be no reasons given not to reject the metaphysically given, and this is true unless those reasons are tied to some normative conception of what it is thought should be about and what it should serve. Indeed one is always free to ask: “why shouldn't I contradict myself?”. Objectivism has no answer to give this question save: man shall not live on thought alone, and if he is to acquire his bread also, he will need non-contradictory thought and a non-contradictory method to achieve it. Objectivism does not judge the metaphysically-given precisely because its recognition, its identification, is the means of making proper judgments about it, its very precondition. To say “yes” to the metaphysically-given is not to judge it as true or good, but to acknowledge the metaphysically-given fact that correspondence between and conformity of the metaphysically-given to the man-made is good or otherwise conducive to the survival of the man-made, and moreover still that the content of this relation is itself metaphysically-given. Objectivism does not promote an attitude of metaphysical acquiescence as true because it is good, but as good because it is true. Power over nature does not come from asserting man's omnipotence, but from asserting where and indeed how power is possible to him. To paraphrase Bacon: Nature, to be commanded, must not be judged.
  5. 4 points

    Donald Trump

    I'm not sure on what you base your view of the psychology of middle-class Americans. What Trump saw was the the number of whiny whites had grown to a point where they had become a voting bank that nobody was speaking to. He saw that the Democratic party had started ignoring these people, and not been giving them enough hand-outs. These people felt invisible. In the wake of the great recession, they were also scared. For 40 years, ever since early Japanese competition, people have been telling these cohorts that the world is changing and they'd better adapt. Many did. But, too many pouted and refused to adapt. As if the world owed them a living! Japan came, the Asian tigers came,...and there was blowback each time, but net-net the system adjusted. Then the Chinese came -- a billion workers. And these Americans, still competing mostly on their low-skilled labor -- and having not heeded a few decades of warnings -- were finally scared. The great recession was the final straw. These loser Americans were then looking for someone to blame for their folly. Trump saw that. And, trump is a master of blaming others. And truth has no meaning to him, so he was the right person at the right time. Hillary was seen as "status quo", so these unthinking Americans -- clueless about right and wrong political ideas -- wanted to kick out anyone conventional. A bit to his surprise, trump found himself leading. Being the zero-ego that he is, he was expert in reflecting back the emotions of the crowd. A populist in the worst possible sense. He does not represent self-reliance, self-esteem and independence. He won because he pandered to the whining low-middle class white voters who think the world owes them something, and who think any type of intellectualism is just trickery.
  6. 4 points
    The Soviets, and now the Russians, have been trying to influence U.S. politics for decades, primarily by influencing public opinion. And, not just U.S., they did the same all over the world. The most blatant way was to helping professors and intellectuals who were favorable to socialism. They would invite them to see how well their revolution was going, they would provide them with "data" about how well their economy was doing. It seems unbelievable now that Samuelson's widely used Economic text book kept projecting that the U.SS.S.r would surpass the U.S. in a decade a two... and continued to predict this through years of revisions. Another thrust was the aiding of anti-war and anti-nuke movements all over the world. Along with that, they always had an eye out for disaffected groups in the west, and would help fringe groups if they were railing against the political system of the west. It did not matter if the ideology of such groups was counter to their own. In the eyes of a Russian KGB/FSB officer, a fringe group with a religious agenda or even with a radically free-market agenda is a potential asset. There's potential for such groups to spread dissent while never actually succeeding too much; but there are all sorts of related advantages in using local groups for cover and to lend an domestic legitimacy to other activities that may otherwise appear suspiciously Russian. In the post Soviet era, semi-private organizations like RT work with this as their dual agenda. Social media opens another avenue. From their premises, the Russian FSB would be stupid not to use this new media, when it is available, and becoming the primary source of news for so many U.S. voters. It's also a place they have a slight advantage, because they are quicker to censor things they do not like. SO, they set up organizations to publish on social media, for a U.S. audience. Of course, "publish" means something different from traditional media. On FB, you have to create sock-puppet accounts, build networks of friends, build cred, and then start to send out the propaganda. In the last election, the Russians seemed to have preferred Trump over Hillary, but that is in keeping with their usual playbook of disrupting the establishment. I doubt the potential policies of the two candidates was a big deal. And, apart from social media, they also influenced people in Trump's campaign, promising them dirt on Hillary, and possibly delivering. U.S. Politics: None of this implies that Trump won because of Russian influence. Is it possible that he did? Yes, of course. Given the razor thin margin by which Trump won the election (only certain states matter in this calculus), and given how big a role Hillary's negatives played, it is possible that a small percentage in swing states might have voted differently. Even those voters themselves would not be able to tell you; so, it is an impossible question to answer either way. The only thing that makes it "possible" and plausible is the thin margins and the nature of the positives/negatives. It is really bad strategy -- from the Democratic perspective -- to think that Trump won because of the Russians. If they truly think this, they won't address their actual weaknesses: the things that explain the bulk of the difference in votes. In my judgement, influential mainstream Democrats do not believe this. They understand that people wanted to chuck them out, and that they had a candidate whose core message was "more of the same". However, most Democrats are willing to spread this narrative because it is the only explanation that many party faithful will buy. This is short-sighted, because their best long-term solution is to re-position themselves a bit, for which they need to explain the real reason they failed. Instead, they seem to be hoping that the country will tire of the buffoon in the White house in 4 years. it's a gamble; but they've been in this game for a long time, and understand how difficult it is to change their members' ideology. Back to the Russian menace: At heart, the problem with the country is the ignorant and confused American voter, who has mostly bought in to statism as a theory of politics. With such voters being the vast majority, they'll keep voting for statist politicians and cheering statist laws. Whether it's Trump or Hillary, ... that's not going to make any fundamental changes to the country.
  7. 4 points

    White Supremacist Protest Violence

    I do happen to believe they are the same, morally speaking. I had some experience with some Antifa groups, both online and at some protests. I naively thought they could be open to libertarian and individualist ideas, much in the way that objectivists hoped to influence the tea party groups in this way. After my interactions with them, I find them very similar to neo-Nazi types. Let me first explain a bit of history. Antifa, at least in so far as they claim, has its history in the KDP, the communist party of Germany during the Weimar years. Most of you are probably familiar with the stories of red shirts fighting brown shirts in the streets, which originated as the Sparticist Leage, and is basically a Bolshevik group that wants a communist dictatorship. The party is banned in Germany to this day. This is the intellectual heritage they claim and logos they use. It was resurrected in the 1980s by punk rock types and leftist agitators to fight against anything right wing using violence. It is not a singular organized group with a single goal or philosophy, much like the occupy movement, but are a disparate group of loosely networking individuals that get together for protests. I was drawn to them for the protest aspect. Many objectivists, I find, either put too much stock in voting and democratic politics, or are just too intellectual to be involved in practical action. I am interested in agorism and building alternative institutions, so naturally a group claiming to be about anti fascist action sounded promising. Objectivists, I still do believe, should be the real Antifa. They are also anti racism, anti sexism, anti bigotry, what are we if not all of those things? So I thought they were about using private, voluntary, and non-state means to fight these things through protests, boycotts, social pressure, doxing, etc, which sounded great. I thought, like many left-liberals dissatisfied with the Democratic Party establishment, they would be young, intellectual, and interested in fighting oppression and injustice, and I could influence them towards liberty and individualism. I knew many of them were left-libertarians or left-anarchists, but I had success in the past interacting with them. What I found was a group of extreme, violent anti-liberal racial collectivists who are basically social misfits and losers. Many of them are, in fact, extremely racists, much like the BLM folks I interacted with. Events such as "white people stay home day" on campus were endorsed. Yaron mentions this in his podcast, and I can confirm, yes violent leftist agitators were roaming around looking for white people to club. During a protest in California, there was a targeting of anyone who was white in a certain area because it was assumed they were pro-Trump. Many of them believe in some sort of reparation scheme, whereby all whites, regardless of their position in society, must be expropriated to repay for historical oppression. And, this is anecdotal, but I was interacting with an Antifa member who felt comfortable confiding in me, lamentably, that they couldn't openly support extermination of whites. When pushed on this, he circled and said he meant through promoting interracial marriage (except not marriage cause that's oppressive), which is a common thing you hear, that all whites would be technically gone and that would be a good thing. They are also virulently anti-Israel, and to such a point that they want to see it destroyed, and it's not hard to see how that turns into a general hatred of Jews. I think there's also a psychological aspect here and the analysis isn't complete without that. As many have pointed out, the type of person drawn to violent political extremism tends to be someone who is an outcast, is socially awkward or ignored in some way, people who just enjoy being edgy and contrarian, thumb their noses at established norms, and people who have psychopathic personality types. We can probably understand how easy it is, for some young people to be disasstisfied with mainstream conservatism, for example, and join the alt right or patriot type movements, only to be disgusted with them, then read Richard Spencer or something and become a full blown Nazi. Without a principled philosophy, this person is just drifting toward a cult or gang like group until they are embraced by the worst. The same thing happens on the left. Many were disgusted at the betrayal of the Bernie Sanders movement and looked for a better home that would embrace their psychopathic and nihilistic personalities. And the types I found numerous times. I saw a young girl pepper spray an elderly woman who she supposed was a Trump supporter. I saw kids, disabled people, women, moms and dads, random bystanders, etc. attacked with batons or sticks, or hit with projectiles. When I asked her if this was morally okay to her, I got the usual anti-conceptual "revolution isn't pretty" type response and was told this many times. "Break some eggs, if you want to make an omelette" slogan was repeated to me. I saw the group full of these punk rocker types and various social misfits that had no problem hitting women or elderly people. To the extent that I found anyone receptive to ethical egoism, I only found support of the egoism of Max Stirner, who believed that morality and law were artificial and limiting constructs, and supported a subjectivist and emotionalist type of egoism. But in generally, I found them to be anti-intellectual and not interested in ideas. Evaluation of whether something is threatening to me isn't a numerical comparison of sins, such that I would go "Antifa: socialists, Nazis: socialists + racists" that's two sins versus one, so Nazis are more immoral. Based on the foregoing, I do put Antifa in the same category as the Klan or Nazi type groups. Both involve bringing in people with nutjob views, dysfunctional personality types, social awkwardness, etc into the cultlike embrace of the group, and derive enjoyment from transgressing established norms of society. Both are racialist and both want socialist dictatorships. Both are perfectly fine with using violence to achieve that goal. Both are, in my view, one step removed from being domestic terrorist groups. Both are a danger to themselves and to me and to society as a whole. Im not sure how much political power they have, but Hilary Clinton was opposed by the Sanders movement, incredibly popular with young people. Many of those people moved on to Antifa and BLM groups. They have a way of infiltrating any leftist gathering and scouting for new recruits. I believe they are Soros funded and their actions whitewashed by the media. That's how we see things like mainstream liberal types who just think we need more peace and love protesting right next to a hardened left agitator with a hammer and sickle flag and nobody questions it. But everyone immediately knows Nazis are bad. One thing is certain, don't let your kids or friends join these groups, and don't go to these protests. Just stay away.
  8. 4 points

    Will Capitalism Collapse?

    For those whom capitalism is still an unknown ideal, capitalism is the complete seperation of economics and state and that has never existed. This clear, non-foggy, definition of capitalism is the basis for Rand's argument, that Laika just led himself to discover, on the difference between economic and political power.
  9. 4 points
    The following is a list of poems featured/mentioned in Poems I Like - and Why (lecture by Leonard Peikoff) ___________________________ LP's definition of poetry: "Poetry is the form of literature whose medium is the sound of concepts" Poems need not have events and characters Most suited to the eloquent, powerful statement of a relatively simple thought, sentiment or inspirational idea, an expression of love, a short story, a joke. Best suited to shorter works A cross between literature and music Like music scores, poems MUST be read out loud A poem must not sound like a poem - and yet it rhymes (must sound natural) Poems combine the sensory (auditory) field with the intellectual one; brain + ears, mind + body Two essential elements rhytm rhyme - "a repeated pattern of recognizable sounds at the end of the lines". Rhyming creates auditory expectations. The meaning can be a total twist - you hit the expected sound but it has a completely different meaning than what you anticipated ___________________________ METAPHYSICAL POEMS Richard Cory (Edward Robinson) - a malevolent universe poem with a punch Invictus (William Henley) - Byronic view of existence Say not the Struggle nought Availeth (Arthur Hugh Clough) - it looks bad, but stand back, we're winning The Gods of the Copybook Headings (Kipling) - the issue underneath the benevolent/malevolent universe premise: I wish vs it is. LP's top favorite. POEMS ON EPISTEMOLOGY Flower in the Crannied Wall (Lord Tennyson) - integration; the true is the Whole (Tennyson is LP's favorite poet) The Daffodils; The Tables Turned (William Wordsworth) - an opponent of reason and integration The Thinker (Berton Braley) - the theme of Atlas Shrugged POEMS ON MORALITY Two favorites of Ayn Rand, found in her papers: 1. Mourn Not The Dead (Ralph Chaplin) - on moral judgement 2. Short poem by 'A Nony Mous' (1960 July-August issue of Success Magazine) Why should you begrudge another The fortunes he does reap? Bless him, he's one brother That you don't have to keep! The Westerner (C. B. Clarke) - egoism and individualism. Ayn Rand had the last two lines of this poem in a placard frame. INSPIRATIONAL POEMS Poems that stress some virtue, such as strenght, heroism, persistence, courage. Columbus (Joachim Miller) - the virtue of persistence, Man the Hero If (Kipling) - a description of the Ideal Man (Ayn Rand's top favorite) LOVE POEMS To His Coy Mistress (Andrew Marvell) - what to say to a woman that won't put out... Sonnets from the Portuguese 43: How do I love thee? Let me count the ways (Elizabeth Browning) Love and Sleep (Algernon Charles Swinburne) POLITICAL POEMS Retaliation (Olver Goldsmith) - a thinker wants to go into politics A song: “Men of England” (Percy Bysshe Shelley) What is a communist? (Ebenezer Elliott) FUNNY POEMS Ogden Nash poems; The Pig; The Germ; The Duck; The Panther; The Ostrich; The Pizza; Which the chicken which the egg; Kind of an ode to duty (moral-practical dichotomy); Lines Fraught With Naught But Thought MISC POEMS The Lotos-eaters (Tennyson) - must be read in an increasingly sleepy way The Confessional (Robert Browning) - a tragic, compelling story Ulysses (Tennyson) - Man the Hero (white rhyme) Sometimes (Thomas S. Jones, Jr) - a man who betrayed his potential Dying Speech of an Old Philosopher (Walter Savage Landor) Do not go gentle into that good night (Dylan Thomas) Beethoven And Angelo (John Bannister Tabb) An Essay on Man: Epistle I | Epitaph on Sir Isaac Newton (Alexander Pope) The Arrow and the Song (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) The Song of Roland (translated by Dorothy L. Sayers) It's all a state of mind (Success Magazine, March 1963 issue) The Highwayman (Alfred Noyes) America for Me (Van Dyke) - an ode to America Drinking (Abraham Cowley) - or, as LP calls it, "The Metaphysics of Vodka" On a Girdle (Edmund Waller) Be Strong (Maltbie Davenport Babcock) Opportunity (John James Ingalls) Gunga Din (Kipling) - recommended by somebody in the audience Tennyson poems: Break, break, break; Crossing the bar; Rizpah (LP refused to read this one because it makes him cry) An ode to my mistress' breasts (mentioned during a Q&A session, LP might have referred to the girdle one by Waller)
  10. 4 points
    I wanted to add my thoughts, as a parent who is currently working through The Fountainhead for the first time. I appreciate the quote that was given on Rand' and motherhood being a career that can become outdated. This can be applied to fatherhood as well - which at this point in my life is my central purpose. Thus, I would characterize one's central purpose in life not in terms of an unchanging career, but in terms of a single building that Roark might have built - in the sense of a stage of ones life. A rational, discrete accomplishment and goal that consumes one with passion and leads to flourishing. Everything I do at this point in my life is in the very broad context of my being a father - even my mental "breaks" from fatherhood (such as dates with my wife, studying philosophy, going to the gym - which I require to come back and continue being the best father I can be, rejuvinated with fresh energy and perspective.) My marriage, my philosophical studies, my health/fitness, my personal time, my job - all of this (at this point in my life) supports my central purpose of being a father. More to the point - Within the context of my knowledge, I don't do anything antithetical to being a father in the long-run. My current "building/structure" must integrate and not contradict the others I have built in the past - for example I will rely on my marriage, life experiences and health/fitness to support my next structure, so they all form a support of whatever my current building is. As Rand alludes to, at some point it won't make sense for fatherhood to be my central purpose...my structure will be completed (for the most part...I know I will always be a father) just like my competitive bodybuilding, my college degrees, my career, my romantic life, a stable home, etc have all been important structures in my life for me in the past (in that chronological order, actually). But the important point is the structures one chooses to build in life may change and this presents no contradiction with the objectivist conception of a flourishing life. This is the integration referred to in the title of this thread - and it is deeply personal, and individualistic. The structure of one's value hierarchy should properly be completely unique and personal for that individual. Ultimately, the moral rule is that one pursue a flourishing life of reason, purpose, and self-esteem. The number of ways one may do this is limited only to their imagination. But just as Roark had multiple buildings that he architected during his life, a person's highest values may change as well. And Roarks buildings, although discrete, did not preclude one another. There is no reason that they should. And if I may share something a bit more to the point, if not exceptionally personal: It brought tears to my eyes when it occurred to me that my children are my Stoddard Temple. And I know that I will have to unveil them to the world someday, and it breaks my heart, in a selfish way, that I can't keep them perfect and sweet and pure and innocent forever. And they will be vandalized, and judged improperly by those who don't deserve to even look upon them. I will build it my way, according to the very best within me, no matter what it takes, through sleepless nights and tears, but also through joyous highs and laughter. And I will let no one sway me from my path unless the reasoning of my own mind convinces me of a better one. And when the time comes, as it will, for me to move on and choose a new structure in my life to focus on - I will look back on my temple and know it was built according to my highest values and to the best of my ability. And properly, and egoistically, I will be a better person for having built it.
  11. 3 points

    The Royal Family of Nominalism

    In the November 1966 issue of The Objectivist, Ayn Rand wrote: It might be said that fifty years ago nominalists self-identified as "non-binary definitionists." True and false pertained to propositions, but not definitions. A proposition suggests mere possibility, but a definition suggests actual certainty. And certainty implies knowledge of reality. If the goal is to enslave people's minds, then you certainly don't want to encourage them to pursue knowledge of reality. Fast forward fifty years to today, and the nominalists' appetite for slavery has turned to the social-political realm. Now they self-identify as "non-binary genderists." Male and female pertain to propositions, but not definitions; the mind, which possibly reflects reality, but not the body, which certainly reflects reality. If the goal is to enslave people's bodies, then you certainly don't want to encourage them to pursue knowledge of reality. Slavery is about controlling people's minds and bodies. Nominalism is a philosophy of slavery. A nominalist wants to be a master, a ruler of humans. And so he places himself above normal humans, both mentally and physically. Mentally he is a "non-binary" word-maker, whose speech must not be questioned. And physically he is a "non-binary" entity, whose very identity must not be questioned. When he says he is this or that, then he is this or that. And if he orders you to call him she or they, then your duty is to call him she or they. For he is the master, and you are the slave. He is a member of the "non-binary" royal family. And you are part of the lowly, unenlightened "binary" or "cisgender" class. If Rand were alive, she might say that nominalism has managed to reach an even deeper depth than anyone ever imagined possible. Verbal and sexual aberrants are being crowned as intellectual and moral superiors. And we, the normal ones, are the tolerated clown jesters of the circus kingdom. Drag queens and miladyboys. Bow down to your new rulers!
  12. 3 points

    A Complex Standard of Value

    There has been some great discussion about values lately, and so I'd like to present a brief case for my notion of a complex standard of value. Any feedback or criticism would be appreciated. This is only the beginning of a work in progress. I start with the idea that humans have three basic aspects: the physical, the mental, and the biological. Also, for each aspect we can hold a separate standard of value. For the physical it's pleasure over pain; for the mental, it's knowledge over ignorance; and for the biological, it's health over sickness. Next, many people seem to believe that man is primarily one of these aspects, while the others are secondary. They argue for what I call a simple standard of value. If man is primarily physical, then his standard of value is pleasure. If he's primarily mental, then his standard is knowledge. And if man is primarily biological, then the standard is health. I call such positions the Simple Man Fallacy. It means taking the standard of value for one aspect of man and applying it to the whole person. I suppose it's an example of the fallacy of composition. I believe it is critical that we form a complex standard of value which integrates the three standards of man's existence: pleasure, knowledge, and health. Rand of course argued for the standard of value being man's life. But there is much confusion over what that means precisely. She said it means: "that which is required for man's survival qua man." And what does that mean? She explained: This is a complex answer that is difficult to digest. For example, how do we figure out which terms, methods, conditions and goals are required for our survival as a rational being? Well, to answer that question, I suggest we consider in equal measure the three basic aspects of our existence: the physical, the mental, and the biological. We should formulate a complex standard of value which integrates our critical needs for pleasure, knowledge, and health.
  13. 3 points
    The Ayn Rand Letter Vol. III, No. 9 January 28, 1974 Philosophical Detection There is an old fable which I read in Russian (I do not know whether it exists in English). A pig comes upon an oak tree, devours the acorns strewn on the ground and, when his belly is full, starts digging the soil to undercut the oak tree's roots. A bird perched on a high branch upbraids him, saying: "If you could lift your snoot, you would discover that the acorns grow on this tree." Fable writer Ivan Krylov monument in Saint Petersburg A Poem: The Sow Under The Oak Tree A poem by Ivan Andreyevich Krylov, translated by Yana Kane Beneath an oak a sow pigged out on acorns, Then napped under the shady canopy, At last, refreshed, she set her snout to digging, Baring the roots that fed the ancient tree. “Stop! Stop!” called out a raven from the branches. “The oak tree’s roots are damaged when you dig.” “What do I care if this useless stump does wither? Acorns are all I’m after,” said the pig. The oak tree’s voice then joined the conversation. “Ingrate!” said to the swine the mighty tree, “If you could lift your snout up from your grubbing, You’d see that all the acorns come from me.” ------- An ignoramus mocking education, Scoffing at science, is blind just like that sow, Failing to see that on the tree of knowledge Ripened the comforts he’s enjoying now. A Hog under an Oak Ivan Krylov A Hog under a mighty Oak Had glutted tons of tasty acorns, then, supine, Napped in its shade; but when awoke, He, with persistence and the snoot of real swine, The giant's roots began to undermine. "The tree is hurt when they're exposed," A Raven on a branch arose. "It may dry up and perish - don't you care?" "Not in the least!" The Hog raised up its head. "Why would the prospect make me scared? The tree is useless; be it dead Two hundred fifty years, I won't regret a second. Nutritious acorns - only that's what's reckoned!" - "Ungrateful pig!" The tree exclaimed with scorn. "Had you been fit to turn your mug around You'd have a chance to figure out Where your beloved fruit is born." A paragraph from Alexander Volokh: Twenty-Five Years Of Environmental Regulation: What Americans Have Learned Even in the absence of the legal system to settle disputes, the very existence of private property was often an effective conservation device. For example (or rather, for a counterexample), many of you may remember the fable by Ivan Andreyevich Krylov about the pig beneath the oak, who ate its fill of acorns and started to dig up the roots of oak. "But this will harm the tree, you know," from the oak's branches said the crow. "Without its roots, the tree may dry." "Oh, let it!" was the pig's reply. "What do I care? The roots don't matter. I just want acorns -- for they make me fatter." In America, we call this the story of killing the goose that laid the golden eggs. Economists call this problem "The Tragedy of the Commons" -- when a resource is collectively owned, no one has an incentive to invest in the improvement of that resource. Instead, they have an incentive to chop down the tree and take the acorns before they are ripe, because if they don't, someone else will. This is why Americans have dirty public parks. On the other hand, private ownership of the resource encourages responsible stewardship. This is why Americans have clean private lawns. If the pig had been a shrewd businessman who owned the oak and had secure property rights, he would have waited until all the acorns were ripe, and probably would have planted more trees and sold the excess acorns. Click for additional illustration of the Krylov's fable "Pig under the oak" by aleks-klepnev found at Diviantart.
  14. 3 points
    I haven't watched it either but since that didn't stop you from posting about it I'll post about it too. There is no danger whatsoever. The whole Russia thing is a collective exercise on the part of the Democratic party to attempt to undermine the legitimacy of the last election while simultaneously helping them continue their psychological denial of responsibility for their loss.
  15. 3 points

    The Law of Identity

    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy -- Process Philosophy --Johanna Seibt (2017) The Activity of Being --Aryeh Kosman (2013) / From the publisher: “For Aristotle, to ask “what something is” is to inquire into a specific mode of its being, something ordinarily regarded as its “substance.” But to understand substance, we need the concept of energeia―a Greek term usually translated as “actuality.” In a move of far-reaching consequence, Kosman explains that the correct translation of energeia is not “actuality” but “activity.” We have subtly misunderstood the Metaphysics on this crucial point, says Kosman. Aristotle conceives of substance as a kind of dynamic activity, not some inert quality. Substance is something actively being what it is.” / This book from Kosman is not an argument over what is true in the matter, only over what Aristotle thought true in the matter. As for true in the matter, I think Aristotle (under this interpretation of him) was wrong, although one doesn’t have to go back to Plato or Parmenides and pals to get things right. And I take Rand as by her philosophy to agree with me in all that. I’d like to add to the other thought in this thread that on the mere face of ‘A is A’ one can say ‘change is change’ even while ignoring ties of change to stasis or to other categories of existence, such as entity (in the Randian sense of that term). But one is then saying much less than one who is saying ‘change is change’ while keeping those ties in mind. At Metaphysics 1030a25–27, Aristotle allows ‘nonbeing is nonbeing’. But he takes such a statement to say far less than were one to say ‘substance is substance’. Those of us who, like Rand, take ‘A is A’ to be making an assertion about existence of A, take A to have ties to other things (counting its own parts as one type of other thing), to have a nature, to have identity (in Rand’s broader sense of the term). For us, saying ‘nonexistence is nonexistence’ is only a sameness of words, a metaphysical zero.
  16. 3 points
    To briefly get back to the original question, it is clear that Peikoff rejects the standard philosophical concept "tautology". The problem with the transcription which KyaryPamyu cited is that it doesn't represent what Peikoff wrote, it's what he said. In his writings, you can see that he abjures the term because he always puts scare quotes around it (plus, of course, what he says about so-called tautologies). It's possible but unlikely that he did air quotes when he said "tautology", and the quotes were not transcribed. "Tautology" is an invalid concept (though you may plead for validity, by removing the thing that makes it invalid). To be valid, there has to be a definition: it has to identify a specific range of things. We don't know what "tautology" refers to, and until we do, it's pointless to get into an extended discussion of it. Since the term is widely used in philosophy, I am inclined to attribute some meaning to it, thus I would more or less accept William O's initial quote from the Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy: it is The pure form of these statements does not render them always true. A formula which is "always true" is something like "P ∨ ¬ P", but these are meaningless formulas. The proffered tautologies are not of this form. In the Cambridge examples, there might be a valid method of translating the statements into a symbolic form such that these are "tautologies". For example, you have to add a special stipulation of referential identity in these cases (see the last example: we must additionally assert that the first Socrates is the same individual as the second Socrates – we're not mixing Socrates the philosopher and Socrates my dog). Examples like "A brother is a male" is "tautological" not by dint of the form, but because of what we know of the referents of words "male" and "brother", and we know that experientially. It is particularly obvious that one cannot arrive at a formalization of "tautology" by simply inserting the definition of a word, when you are dealing with names, which have no definition. As for concepts and proper nouns, to quote ITOE, "A concept is a mental integration of two or more units which are isolated by a process of abstraction and united by a specific definition". A noun is the label by which we access a concept. A proper noun is a noun identifying units that name that name – they have no CCD. "Cow" identifies a range of existents with certain characteristics; "William" simply is a conventional label that some people have.
  17. 3 points


    We all know how awkward Thanksgiving can be at that moment when some family member asks all to state what they are "thankful" for. Particularly if you want to be completely honest and you are somewhat suspect of what others might consider "thankfulness" to be. While regretfully awaiting your turn... and after having counted the number of people in the "round the table" queue, you begin to ponder: Thankful to whom and for what? For that matter what does it mean to be "full" of thanks? What are these "thanks" you are full of? Are these left over pleasantries that you've gathered up like obligations and IOUs: there's that nice summer day I should have thanked the universe for, oh and that old guy kept the door open for me I should have said something to him, and the grocer lowered her price on bread which I really like I should have given her an innocent pat on the back, oh and my employees, clients/customers, and employer all rationally pursued their self-interest generating economic value all around, which is ALL good... I should have really said something to all of them (over and above eagerly and professionally participating in the value generating interactions themselves??...). A pile of pleasantries indeed... Then again, without a doubt I am proud, proud of myself and my accomplishments, and the bounty of my metaphorical harvests (which do not necessarily coincide with autumn), and proud of my family and friends, for what they have accomplished, who they are, and for the fact that they are my family and friends and that we have made strides and grown together. Without a doubt I am appreciative, appreciative of reality and of many others and their actions, appreciative in the sense that I fully recognize and treat rationally and with justice all that I deal with. And upon a reflection I realize that I already do generally try to exercise justice on a day to day basis, which requires that in every interaction just values in both matter and in spirit are exchanged, but that I could do better... So what is thanksgiving really? Is it a pile of pleasant IOUs to be balanced through a cosmic confessional around a dead turkey or is it a celebration and a reflection on life and its bounty? I think it is more the latter than the former, but perhaps as a small tribute to both, Thankgiving can be seen as a recognition and a celebration of life and a reflection of all its bounty and also an opportunity to resolve to go forward consciously keeping all of it in perspective so that, day to day, in all our interactions, value is created with everyone we deal with, in both matter and spirit, while we all pursue the happiness and life that is ours for the making. Happy LifeCelebMaking! EDIT: So what do you say when finally your turn arrives? Without being too picky about what thankfulness IS (to whom?) and the little cognitive white lie of actually using the term in order to ignore the concept's "inadequacies", the story could proceed as follows: Finally, after your uncle quips something about being thankful for Scotch, with his disarmingly odd smile, and looks your way, you stand up, and raising your glass, you clear your throat, and smile thoughtfully, "To be honest, I'm 'thankful' for this moment in time, a moment to celebrate life and all its bounty, to say how proud I am of us and all of you and everything we and each of us has accomplished and become, and I'm 'thankful' for the opportunity to reflect and resolve to go forward pursuing the happiness and the life that is all, each of ours for the making, and it is you, all of you, I 'thank' for being here, all together, for making this moment and opportunity possible. Thank you!"
  18. 3 points
    For one, that's the liberal left. The Communist left does not like identity politics and engages in class warfare. For the sake of identifying threats properly, you need to know who you're arguing against - we don't want to fight Communism by fighting liberals. The racial stuff is mostly liberal, filled with contradictions. The more important thing to do, at least when making arguments, is to state the position rationally. It would be better to dismantle an ideology alongside an alternative, rather than only point out stupid ideas. If people don't engage you, that's their problem. By doing that, you attract persuadable individuals. Yes, they exist. There's no need to say you'd need a therapist to do that. Appeals to rationality are appeals to people who might care, even the minority of good people who in fact will make a difference. Appeals with memes attracts the lowest common denominator, the people who don't care to think deeply. Sure, they are amusing sometimes, maybe even correct. The issue is that they are still shallow. This is what propaganda relies on, hoping you don't care where it came from, getting you to think the issue is as simple as the image. This is fine to a small degree as motivation where an issue really is that simple. Except, Nazis get that the issue is complex. So they simplify. Make it sound benign. Let people who don't know better keep saying IOTBW, they won't know the point is to slowly make white identity seem important and dominate the race war. No, most people who say IOTBW aren't neo-Nazis. That's the point. It hides the fact that neo-Nazis are running that dialogue. It makes the phrase defendable. An important thesis of Objectivism is that philosophy drives the course of history. It matters where ideas come from. It matters that IOTBW is from neo-Nazis. For this reason, we need a better strategy than to regurgitate a neo-Nazi phrase. The worst reply would be to say you don't care where IOTBW came from. You'd be saying origins of ideas don't matter.
  19. 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.
  20. 3 points
    I don't think philosophy is all that dissimilar to other ideas through history: man made flight, electricity, combustion engine etc., etc. All these ideas became popular because they resulted in worthwhile concretes. They weren't ideas the general public could've successfully been presented with, in theory alone. There was a need for concrete achievements, to go along with the ideas themselves. So that's the key: to go along with all the activism, people who like the ideas should live good lives, and that achievement will cause interest in the ideas that shaped that life. That doesn't mean activism is useless, but activists need to be conscious of the full range of their communication: both the intended and the unintended messages. For instance, an Oist activist focused on pointing out the flaws of the political system may think he's just communicating political ideas, but, in reality, to the average person, he projects a sense of isolation and even fatalism (us vs. them, as SN put it). When there's a contradiction between a more concrete and a more abstract message, people (rightfully) give more weight to the former. So that activist is hurting more than he's helping. To effectively control the message, and only communicate what he intends to, an activist needs to be well versed in communication and dedicated to the work full time. Even if you're naturally charismatic and an effective leader in your day job, it's not enough. Your message, no matter how convincing, can still be presented selectively, or misrepresented, by others (both in the traditional media and on social media). So you still have to be deliberate about everything you do and discerning about who you talk to...and that takes a lot of expertise and tedious research. Just to be clear: you don't have to be "fun", charming, or even nice and friendly, to be an effective communicator. Trump's an effective communicator...I doubt even his minions would ever accuse him of any of those four things. But you need to be aware of the times when you might be perceived as unhappy or a pessimist (as well as of the many other unintended messages we send out on a daily basis).
  21. 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.
  22. 3 points

    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.
  23. 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.
  24. 3 points

    Why Objectivism is so unpopular

    I think the problem really starts because self-improvement is not the focus. I think you're both right. The outward/political focus versus self-improvement or the pursuit of personal happiness, and also the combative style... though not necessarily so much Rand's (though that's part of the issue), as that of Objectivists who try to ape her style. In my experience, most Objectivists have no idea how to talk to people outside of the Objectivist community, and no apparent desire to try to distinguish those who might be fundamentally open to reason, yet mistaken on one or several points. How to talk to people, to discuss ideas, to persuade -- both within and outside of Objectivism -- is a topic that is not only under-explored, but is regarded with outright suspicion by some. Some people seem content to pass moral judgement and condemn others to hell, rather than the (admittedly more difficult) project of examining their own methods of communication. I have found that many Objectivists have the reputation of being "assholes"; so much so that it's arguably regarded as characteristic. I don't think it's even undeserved. But it doesn't have to be so. I've known many utterly pleasant and polite Objectivists, and I see no reason why someone cannot be both correct and nice. Even our expressions of anger, where merited, can stand critical examination and improvement. Above all, I think that empathy is a vital characteristic (I would not go so far as to say that it is a "virtue," because I am not prepared for the argument -- but I'm not dismissing it either). I've used this analogy before, and I think it still serves: Objectivists have the best product on the market. We have truth. We have reason and reality on our side -- and despite what you may have heard (and despite humanity's checkered history), reason and reality are fairly persuasive forces. They keep all of us alive, every day, and have formed the basis for all of humanity's many achievements. So despite everything we're working against (deeply ingrained cultural forces, including academia, the media, and political institutions), I think Objectivism stands poised to remake the world. What we need -- what any great product needs -- is sales. We need to examine and re-examine (and re-examine again) our means and methods of communicating our ideas to a world which is frankly starving for reason, for peace, for happiness. We must continue to improve upon our approach until we succeed.
  25. 3 points

    White Supremacist Protest Violence

    There's a meta aspect to this White Supremacist vs. BLM argument, which one sees repeatedly in similar fights across time and geography: Protestant vs. Catholic in Ireland, Hindu vs. Muslim along the Indo-Pakistan border, and many other such conflicts. The aspect is this: the more extreme elements are a small minority around which there is a larger set of people who identify with them to some extent. If one considers the larger group, people on both sides have different ideas, but would likely move closer toward each other's position if they would talk, would probably be willing to talk, and would likely be able to find a workable solution even while disagreeing. However, the extremes are the loudest voices, and this keeps the (larger) group around them polarized, rather than listening and attempting to understand the situation rationally. Often, there will be some specific issue that the larger groups disagree on: it could be confederacy statues in this case, it could be cows and pigs in another case, it could be religious affirmative action in another. The more extreme elements will take an all-or-nothing position, and that's the loudest position. If members of the larger group around them say anything else, they're branded as traitors to the cause. On top of this, the extreme elements on both sides will try to provoke physical violations: perhaps using police to enforce what they want, perhaps using private thugs, or perhaps using violence against members of the "enemy" group. This is further polarizing. Once the battle reaches a certain point where people think dialog isn't going to get them anywhere -- because the opposition will use violence in response -- then they do the "rational thing" by cheering on when their own side uses violence. From one perspective, white supremacists almost do not exist; from another, millions of white supremacists are out there. If we're speaking of people who want to get rid of blacks, they're a tiny minority. If we threw them all in jail, we'd still have disproportionately more black folk in jails. However, if we expand the definition to include people who think there's probably something biological/genetic about black people that makes them inferior, we now have a slightly bigger set. If we expand this further to include people who think there's probably something cultural about many black people that makes them inferior (in effect, even if not inevitably), then we have a pretty big set: many millions across all states. Similarly, the set of people who think these statues should stay up is far larger than the racist hard-core. If nobody addresses their views and their arguments with words, it is no surprise they will give a secret, guilty thumbs up to the thugs enforcing their wishes with force. It is also no surprise that they will point to the thugs on the other side as their primary argument.
  26. 3 points
    I haven't seen any evidence that North Korea has the ability to deliver nuclear warheads with any accuracy. There are also several missile defense systems in the area, that further reduce the success rate of NK missiles. The US is in the process of deploying THAAD missile defense to South Korea, Japan has the ship and air based AEGIS missile defense system, and I'm guessing US bases in the region are protected by both. So, to me at least, North Korea's ability to inflict massive casualties on either SK or Japan is being exaggerated in the media. If they attack with conventional weapons, they would have a few days at most before their offensive capabilities are fully destroyed. If they try to attack with nukes, I'm guessing they would have one try, before the US responds with tactical nukes against their launch sites. That's one of the few good things about Trump: he is unlikely to hold back the US military from using appropriate force. And that's IF Un even has the power to start a suicidal war. Seems like a tall order for an unpopular, unproven leader to get his military to march into certain death...no matter how ruthless and scary he is.
  27. 3 points
    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.
  28. 3 points
    . The strings of the harp return to silence. That is so not only for each individual, but for the species, and eventually for all life in the solar system, and eventually farther, for all life-organization and intelligence-organization in the universe. Stardust to stardust. “When we are here, death is not come. When death is come, we are not here.” –Lucretius Taking a third-person perspective on oneself, one can be in advance conscious of one’s death, one’s full stop. In the first-person perspective, full ending of any object of consciousness whatsoever is collapse of both together, conscious process and object. I like better the third-person perspective, which is the only perspective with real interest for one's endpoint. Value is here on this earth beyond one's own life. Look to here and to the tomorrows of here all through one’s own last look at all.
  29. 3 points

    Is Dignity a Right?

    Changing the conditions of your work in a way that is different from your contract could be construed as an initiation of force/fraud (and a contract is definitely needed in situations like these). And there would be legal issues associated with holding you ransom. You might say that the corporation didn't force you to stay there. But the issue of force is determined by the nature of reality. If somebody locked you in a room only they can open, you would essentially be held as a prisoner. By the nature of reality (i.e., by the constraints placed by the fact that you are physically unable to leave), the situation is very similar and legal issues can be involved. Also another thing: if this is the mentality, I doubt they would be the first to do anything in space. So situation is very unlikely as well.
  30. 3 points

    Will Capitalism Collapse?

    Such an obvious, absolute, and undeniably true statement of fact and of Rand's position, will resonate with those who get it. Well said. Unfortunately, lesser minds will quibble, squirm, equivocate, whine, and in the end babble some anti-conceptual, inconsistent, irrelevancy, and I am decidedly not talking about Laika.
  31. 3 points

    Will Capitalism Collapse?

    Laika: Your decision to purchase and actually read a work by Rand herself is an impressive display of your intent to learn for yourself and make up your own mind about her philosophy. You are to be commended for it and with that kind of approach nothing will stop you from finding all the answers you need.
  32. 3 points

    Objectivism in Academia

    . Religious Liberty or Religious License? Legal Schizophrenia and the Case against Exemptions Tara Smith – Journal of Law and Politics (25 April 2017) Abstract
  33. 3 points

    Joseph Campbell's Monomyth

    "Observe the persistence, in mankind's mythologies, of the legend about a paradise that men had once possessed, the city of Atlantis or the Garden of Eden or some kingdom of perfection, always behind us. The root of that legend exists, not in the past of the race, but in the past of every man. You still retain a sense—not as firm as a memory, but diffused like the pain of hopeless longing—that somewhere in the starting years of your childhood, before you had learned to submit, to absorb the terror of unreason and to doubt the value of your mind, you had known a radiant state of existence, you had known the independence of a rational consciousness facing an open universe. That is the paradise which you have lost, which you seek—which is yours for the taking. — For The New Intellectual, page 177 Joseph Campbell has done extensive work in collecting mythology from all around the world, offering one of the most secular explanations from his analysis of the similarity and differences between them. In The Romantic Manifesto, Ayn Rand decried the absence of rationality in the field of esthetics and provided her keen insights into the nature of art in her most controversial work. There are a few here, that have expressed interest in Joseph Campbell's works. His book The Hero With A Thousand Faces was to him what The Fountainhead was to Ayn Rand, setting each, in their respective areas, a notoriety they had not had prior to their respective publications.
  34. 3 points
    What exists, everything that is metaphysically given to us, needs to be accepted first. Existence has primacy; that means logical priority and semantic meaning moves in the direction from existence to consciousness. Existence exists, it needs no explanation to exist, no justification is required. Justification only applies to where choices are made. Existence has no choice, existence exists in the form it takes, its identity. There is no choice involved in existence existing. Justification can only be grounded in appealing to what exists and its identity. To ask for existence itself to have a justification is a logical fallacy because justification is logically dependent on existence and identity. "If I can't understand it then it can't exist" is a form of subjectivism.
  35. 3 points

    In the news

    The fact check site Snopes sets the record straight on an Ayn Rand quote by checking with Onkar Ghate associated with the Ayn Rand Institute. Did Ayn Rand Say 'The Question Isn’t Who Is Going to Let Me; It’s Who Is Going to Stop Me'?
  36. 2 points
    In the objectivist view, conflict over the use of goods is solved by adherence to strict private property rights. The function of government is to organize a body of law based on that principle. 1. Pollution is the export of harmful particles onto someone else's physical body or property. Just as if I came and dumped my garbage on your lawn, if I am exporting harmful air onto your property I can be made to stop via a legal injunction, and sued for the damages. Indeed, historically this was the legal tradition, the problems involving pollution have been caused by the governments failure to live up to this role and to allow certain producers to export pollution in the name of the "public good." 2 and 3. Again, in a free society people will always have conflicting values. Differing opinions regarding the use of scarce resources is part of human nature. I want to do this on some property, you want to do that, who decides? Private property rights involves a kind of meta-ethical space in which people can seek their interests without coming into physical confrontation. In a market economy, individual choices and tastes prevail. Not all members of society will approve of the choices of others. But, by and large, the mass of the consumer choices will determine the way in which resources are used. Ifa library or retail store started allowing dress (or non-dress) far out of line with cultural value systems of the mainstream, consumers will be quick to express dissatisfaction with these management decisions. Same in education services. Some prefer Catholic schools, creationism, others a liberal arts education, or progressive education. Who decides what the schools should do? There is not one monopoly decision. Parents, as consumers, decide with their money, and the owners pay the price of their decision in terms of profit or loss. That is the beauty of the market system, when there is not one single monopoly decision. Let a million different flowers bloom, as the Maoists say.
  37. 2 points
    I never understood how sex can be a topic for philosophy to make such statements on in the first place. This is a highly concrete and specialized issue that depends on an individual's concrete values, psychology and physical constitution. Who is to make statements about what your own concrete and objective values are? What values to look for in another person? How abstract they are to be? And in order to fulfill which actual needs of interaction with them and to what extend? And knowing that Objectivism enters into this topic, I typically detect certain ideas surrounding and relating to it, that I find rather strange: A ) Limitation of the need of "physical attraction" to a purely physical pleasure. No such thing in my opinion. Every physical feature you identify is an aspect of a conscious living being that perceives itself and this world through exactly those physical features of its body, and hence in that very form. And you know this, and only knowing this gives meaning to that attraction. Simple introspection tells you that. You like a particular form in which he or she exists as a perceptually conscious being (with certain implications even for some of its conceptual values). What you like is a form that physically best facilitates your contact to the reality of another human beings' existence. Of his or her existence as a conscious living entity. You cannot like "just his or her body", without demanding and knowing that it is the body of a conscious living being that you are liking. And you cannot like "just the aspect of his or her being alive and conscious" without it being so in a particular form that appeals to you. You are seeking some specific conceptual knowledge here, and you want it to manifest itself in a specific perceptual form. That's to a degree of 100% a mental, as well as of 100% a physical need, you cannot separate the two. Individuals may vary, but how one would exclude that this alone might form to certain individuals an indispensable prerequisite, possibly even a highly important value in and of itself, is incomprehensible to me. Just think of how you prefer watering certain plants only, and like to have certain animals as pets only. Now, how much more exciting is the case of a particular form of a human being?! It already starts with only wanting a particular sex to begin with. Not to talk about all the other physical features, of which there are numerous. B ) Sex as valid only in romantic love celebrating achievement. Well, what about things like "puppy love" among human beings? Love driven by infatuation? I can conceive of it as being an immense pleasure and source of mental energy. Certainly enough so, to be valuable. Something to want to keep living on for in order to enjoy. I find the idea of suppressing it repulsive, if not disgusting. Unless you can conceive of something more fulfilling. And assuming of course, the person in question is not harmful. I think I heard or red Ayn Rand say in some documentary that her sisters were into puppy love, while she was the only hero worshiper. And that she never really understood how that could be enough for them. Whether she outright condemned it, I don't know. But I'd rather doubt that she approved of it, given her demands for "appropriate sex". C ) The frequent emphasis that your enjoyment needs to be about your achievement. I find this mind boggling. There can be a million things I could value without having achieved them. Many of them come naturally (like beautiful landscapes I see in nature). Others were built by other people (like the sight of impressive Skylines). I certainly would like to keep them in reality, whether achieved by me or not. In some cases, I might even not want to know in detail how they came about (You certainly wanna eat the steak, but that doesn't mean you wanna meat the cow ). Identifying the fact that me or other people had to - or didn't have to - achieve those things to put them into this world is not what makes my enjoyment of them possible or impossible. My enjoyment stems from my need to survive, which requires having certain experiences that make it worthwhile. Knowing that "I build this" can be a pleasurable add-on, though. Achievement is also not the psychological root of the motivation. In order for me to say "oh, there's something I want to achieve", I must first say "oh, there's something I want to enjoy". All this tells me that values (realized or not) are considered values independent of their achievement, but rather due to the valuing, the prospect of their enjoyment. But achievement is very often necessary to realize them - whether on my own or on other people's part. Since other people cannot be my slaves and shouldn't, I recognize the need to engage in a certain amount of my own achievement. While recognizing also, that I benefit from the achievements of all the other people as well. Together, we're all better off, plus the free riding. The rest is done by mother nature. And due to all those achievements, the amount of daily achievement necessary to maintain a desired degree of enjoyment becomes less and less. Nevertheless, you must always maintain some level of achievement, to keep your brain active so you can figure out how to best enjoy. Or to prepare yourself in case some new idea happens to come about some time on what next to realize. Psychologically, this means that achievement is a means to the end of enjoyment. But it needn't be focused on explicitly. It's simply an implicit part whenever it is required. I would rather separate the means from the end this way, while still recognizing they're both necessary.
  38. 2 points

    What are you listening at the moment?

    I've been into Johnny Cash' American Recordings, the last few weeks. Especially "Help Me", off his final album. It's a very religious collection of songs, this one especially...but just so ridiculously, brilliantly touching, from a man mourning his soulmate. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jv4i4t2hj2I It's one of his many Kris Kristofferson covers. I think Kris wrote most of his truly great songs. But John made them eternal...especially this song would've been totally forgotten.
  39. 2 points
    Although I believe we have self proclaimed objectivists who are apparently ready to abandon reason by embracing studies that fail to adhere to basic methodological and scholarly standards, ready to abandon individualism by drawing invalid inferences about people based on these studies, and ready to abandon liberty by supporting deportation of those individuals that don't have the culture they want them to have, however I want to discuss is the original topic. The basic contention to me is within two opposing theses. On the one hand we have the "pro meme" thesis, which holds that the only conceptual content that matters is whatever you want it to mean (e.g., "ill say whatever I want to," "I'll take from the package whatever I want to,") and one can ignore the rest. On the other hand we have the "anti meme" thesis, which contends that the former is guilty of context dropping and that the origin, agenda, and background intent of a meme have consequences for the implicit meaning of that slogan. Consider that the meme was posted on a section of forums frequented by white nationalists claiming that spreading the message would feed social unrest and sway people to embrace white nationalism. The poster claimed that normal Americans would see that news outlets and leftists hate whites and then these would "convert to the white nationalist, alt-right side." White supremacists and neo-Nazis have believed for a long time in the strategy of the "white victim" as a means to gain more adherents. They also discuss watering down the message and removing references to other races in order to make it more palatable to normal white Americans to participate in their advert campaign. White nationalists and alt-right groups are also making efforts to "clean up" their image from the tattooed, cross burning skinhead, and taking their newly watered down message to campuses. They also are attempting to exploit social media and meme warfare. This is a young, hip, tech-savvy white supremacist movement, and they want to bait new believers and adherents by using social media to play off "leftist anti-white bias" (which certainly does exist on the leftist fringe) and portray campus diversity as inherently anti-white. By using a grain (a very small grain) of truth and a watered down message of triviality, they succeeded in getting "the normies," and apparently some self-proclaimed objectivists, to dance on a string. Although Grames claims I don't understand how memes work, I contend I perhaps understand it better than him, and I wholeheartedly reject it. As an individualist, I would rip one of those papers off and throw it in the dirt, happily. No alliance with fascists, no alliance with white supremacists, and objectivists cannot put enough daylight between themselves and these alt-right groups. We know how spontaneous orders work in economics, but there are also negative spontaneous orders that serve to sustain statism. We know that Republicans, right wingers often times hijack the rhetoric of capitalism and free markets to defend and advance statism. Just look at Rand's comments on Regan. She was an individualist of the old school, having been influenced by Rose Wilder Lane and Isabelle Patterson. The conservatives have been doing it for decades and now alt-right white nationalists and neo-Nazis are joining in. They are openly trying to water down their racism and cloak it under the guise of scientific studies, and wrap it in libertarian and free-market packaging. I hope my fellow individualists and objectivist friends are not so easily deceived.
  40. 2 points
    I did my bit for perspective and sanity, and I have nothing material to add. As for this terrorist, I prefer Roark's answer to Toohey: "But I don't think of you." Evil is not important, not unless it happens to significantly affect my life, and neither this scum nor his brothers-in-murder are likely to affect my life even a little. Unless, of course, public hysteria about terrorism is used as an excuse to tighten up the American police state. But whose fault would that be? All of which is a long-winded way of saying, "I'm outta here". I need to return my attention to where it belongs, on ways of making a better future.
  41. 2 points
    Harrison Danneskjold

    Pleasure and Value

    Because it doesn't have to be rare or ephemeral. As @DonAthos observed, although you may or may not be able to find happiness in the next few hours or days, in the long run your overall quality of life (the quantity of joy you can experience) is in your own hands. That's exactly what the purpose of Egoism is; for you to learn how to correctly apply your brain and your hands to the pursuit of consistently-experienced happiness. For example, I'm at work right now (on my lunch break). I've been working 10 hours a day, five or six days a week, and frankly it sucks. As much as it truly sucks right now, though, I know it'll be worth it on payday; it'll result in a net gain of my own happiness. This is exactly analogous to your working out in order to pick up hot chicks. The trick to doing it correctly is to understand which desires are worth pursuing (will lead to happiness) and which aren't, and that's where Egoism comes in. Whether it's worth it to pursue your own happiness, in the first place, is something you have to judge for yourself. All I can try to give you is hope.
  42. 2 points
    Try this on for fun https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KIs9xM7Sac8
  43. 2 points

    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?).
  44. 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.
  45. 2 points

    White Supremacist Protest Violence

    As suggested in the Yaron Brook video that 2046 linked, the monuments are artwork, not just artifacts of history like finding Machu Pichu or Auschwitz. Even more, since the 1920s (when the Robert E. Lee statue was built) aren't so long ago, we know why these monuments were built: to glorify or celebrate Confederate soldiers (who fought in large part for the "right" to own slaves). They are not built to be reminders of history. They are not Civil War era artifacts even. Rather, they are state-sanctioned pieces of artwork that are intended to honor Confederates and to intimidate those who see Confederate soldiers as evil or unAmerican. Don't forget that the most prominent defenders are literal Nazis and white supremacists. That they are the MOST worried is a sign of what these statues mean. The Unite the Right rally was using a symbol for racist ends to support a racist agenda. Those who attended, given that unification was the intent, endorsed or apologized for the supremacists who went. If there were those who attended and rejected, explicitly, the supremacists, I'd like to see it.
  46. 2 points
    There are so many good quotes on the CD containing "self-evident." Here's one selected from The Art of Nonfiction, 3. Judging One's Audience (pg. 21): An important principle here is that man is born tabula rasa. Writers often assume something is self-evident, since they themselves now take it for granted, when in fact it is complex. Nothing is self-evident except the evidence of your senses. Therefore, when you write, assume nothing is self-evident but logic. (Logic is actually not self-evident, but in order to communicate, you must assume a person knows how to make logical connections.) For the rest, since no knowledge exists at birth, you must judge what acquired knowledge is necessary to make your point understandable—and then you must communicate it. The evidence of the senses, properly identified, is comprised of both existence and consciousness in every moment of awareness. The concepts of existence, consciousness, identity, are only derived from the self-evident much later.
  47. 2 points

    Meaning of the newborn cry

    Boom. Because it's a drive, an inclination, an instinct. Man has a nature. Man has innate drives. Values are not chosen. Don't be afraid to throw out tabula rasa.
  48. 2 points
    Well the main thing I would point out is that the movie is centered around a personality. That's the point of it: it's not the sci fi plot, it's the sadness of a great intellect, that is portrayed masterfully, and with everything around Amy Adams carefully structured for one and only one purpose: to support her tragic screen presence. The incredible originality of both the plot and the structure of the movie (with the clever lie by omission at the start) are the cherry on top. But what really matters is how Adams' performance makes you feel. How strong and real the admiration and sadness feels as you're watching. Take Jeremy Renner's inconspicuous, almost expressionless acting, for instance: a conscious choice (on the director's part), along with many, many other similar, brilliant choices, to allow Amy Adams to keep the viewer's undivided attention for the full length of the movie...and it was a compelling performance, that made me grateful that I was able to enjoy her soulful presence without distractions. It felt like she was in the room, next to me. P.S. I wasn't an Amy Adams fan, before I saw the movie. Looking through her IMDB, the two movies she's been in that I've seen are Charlie Wilson's War and Catch Me if You Can, but I don't remember her in either. So this isn't fanboy talk, I went into it without any bias. When I went to see Interstellar, I was expecting McConaughey to deliver (and did he ever). With this, I wasn't expecting anything, but what I got was just as great.
  49. 2 points
    An acquaintance of mine replied on the circulating video used as part of the case: As I've always said, if your' going to carry or just own a gun, you're obligated to train and practice. One thing you have to consider in carrying is encounters with law enforcement. In states where I don't have to I don't inform the officer I have a gun unless asked.(like AZ) I don't. In states where I'm required to do so (like MI) I do. In either case when I'm pulled over, before the officer is out of his car, I have my license, registration and proof of insurance out and ready. Then if I do have to inform I'm not reaching for my wallet, making the cop uncomfortable. I can tell him I'm reaching for my ID but why should he believe me? I keep both hands in sight at all times. One MI officer requested I keep both hands out the window and visible to him while he went back to the car to run me.. If you didn't get your ID out ahead of time, and have to tell him you have a gun, both hands on the wheel and ask him how he wants you to proceed. That way no one gets carried away. Yes the cop needed better training. Personally when the driver started reaching I'd have warned him while drawing my weapon and aiming at him. I still would have had time to shoot were he to start to bring up a weapon. Mistakes were made by both. Plan ahead folks.
  50. 2 points
    Welcome back, Ilya It's always refreshing to view your multi-faceted concise and to-the-point interlocutions.