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  1. Is anyone interested in getting together and studying logic? I've worked through Peikoff's logic course and every week or two I work on analyzing one essay from Stephen Hick's Readings For Logical Analysis; I also plan on reading & studying with (1) Lionel Ruby's Logic: An Introduction and (2) Joseph H.W.B's An Introduction to Logic, in that order. The way I'd see us study together is by getting together once a week or fortnight and sharing our analyses of an essay from Readings For Logical Analysis. (I've attached my previous week's work from this book to give a feel for my approach.) Readings for Logical Analysis Work.pdf
  2. Did you find it?
  3. Okay I think I got it a few minutes after posting this :/ The key is "exclusive power" or "monopoly" over force, which, if I simply interpret as having the most powerful tools of force, the definition begins to make more sense. In this interpretation an "organization" (I'm using the term loosely here) of bank robbers or murderers are not government in the geographical area of the bank or victim's house, simply because there's another organization with more powerful tools of force which includes that area as it's own. If an area was in anarchy then any guns in any given area might form a government for one or two days before being killed by another "government"--this is the only situation where I can think of the concept being useless and meaning nothing, i.e., when one organization doesn't have the overwhelming physical power. Also I think earlier I thought the definition had to be proper, i.e., moral or right, but I realize just now that's incorrect too since a concept like "morality" is useful to referring to many kinds of codes, e.g., Islamic one. And the same is the case with government where it's useful in being able to refer to the controlling gang in a given area, e.g., Iran or Nazi Germany.
  4. I've just spent some time trying to define the concept government. I got to a messy definition of "government is an organization forcing certain terms between men in a given area." I tried some more but then gave up and checked the AR Lexicon: "A government is an institution that holds the exclusive power to enforce certain rules of social conduct in a given geographical area." (See http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/government.html). The problem with my definition and my understanding of the AR Lexicon definition is that it seems too broad, still. It would still include something like an organization of bank robbers: they control the geographical area of the bank and enforce the social conduct of giving your money to someone with a gun. Or what about a cult which forces you to commit suicide, or an organization of murderers who govern a given house of victims at a given time. When I think of current governments and previous governments that I have some knowledge on, they all fit this loose definition, and yet there are still big differences between the US govt and an organization of murderers. But I'm a little stuck in compressing these into a neat definition.
  5. I briefly read Greenspan's essay on Antitrust, but I don' think that was what you were referring to, right? Thinking of my own experience working under unspecified orders and undefined orders (in banking) I simply worked as best as I could and did what was logical in any given situation. I did what I could as far as abiding by clear rules but every situation was different and if I wanted to be rule-following the only way would be to spend 20min or more per task researching rules & regulations and trying to contact compliance. (and even then many rules are not clear.) I once tried this with one particular method of work that I developed. Everyone told me not to do it but I saw no problem in doing it. I emailed the head of compliance since by my understanding of the policy it was a proper method of work. I received a reply a month later of over two pages on bank policy in relation to some unrelated method of work which completely evaded my question. What did I do? I implemented my method of work and waited for a compliance review that would force them to make a decision. They did and it was considered a legitimate method and then other people started using it. Thus, I put no thoughts towards achievement in performance or compliance reviews--they simply became meetings where I was told I was doing something wrong and I corrected it. Without having studied it, I assume this works the exact same way in antitrust. When the rules are arbitrary and undefined my guess is they are ignored as it's impossible to work otherwise, and then you just hope for the best and do whatever you're told when you're called out on doing something against the rules.
  6. I like that you drew a connection from something apparently so personal as assertiveness in relating to people to these two articles. I'll read them with this connection in mind. Thanks
  7. If I’m to live well, and thrive, I must recognize & acknowledge my errors and wrongs. When those errors and wrongs impact people, i.e., they are part of a social context, then that process of recognition & acknowledgement may become part of an apology. For example, if I say something hurtful to a friend and value the friendship then I’ll need to recognize and acknowledge what I’ve said and attempt to right the wrong by not saying or doing it again. But what about cases where I can’t right the wrong? Or cases where I don’t want to see that person again? I see value in the just the recognition and acknowledgement of my error or wrong, because I’ll carry that knowledge into all my other relationships, but is there value in an apology, i.e., in the reaching out to the person and telling them that I was wrong and why I was wrong? For example, a friend committed a wrong against me that led to me ending the relationship but also saying something hurtful in return. I don't plan on attempting to rebuild a friendship with this person again but I'm wondering if there's value in apologizing for the wrong that I committed? Also I still have some of the friend's property--but how about posting it to them despite never being asked for it back? I'm split in that I feel that I've acknowledged what I need to for myself and I've learned from it and anything else would be altruism, but also I feel there may be more to an apology then it just being for the sake of rebuilding a friendship, so I'm keen to think this over more and hear other's thoughts. Another example would be a friend I didn't stand up for (he was bullied) when I feel that I should've. With that friend I wish I could've acknowledged this much earlier as he's completely changed from someone who studied physics and programming to become an extremely religious person living in an isolated biblical community. I've acknowledged my errors personally, but I don't think there's a friendship to rebuild with him. Is there any gain to be had from an apology?
  8. I was talking to my closest friend about our differences: that I have few, but very few friends (one!), and he has many friends of all kinds. The context was me describing someone new I met to him and how I liked her but wouldn't want to spend that much time with her. He said that one doesn't need all friendships to be all-or-nothing and he gave me many examples of people who he felt the same way about but would still spend time with. He explained "you don't need to spend eight hours with them. You could just catch up for a quick walk in the park and connect over the few things you do share." At various points in life what and who to call a friend will change, e.g, if you're fortunate enough to be in a loving relationship you would have less time and so need to increase your standard slightly; or maybe you're lucky enough to have three incredibly close friendships so you don't have room for or need anyone else at the time. But the point of his talk I think was that there's much value to be gained from friendship or connection with others, even if it's only brief as a 30min walk in the park. And the added benefit is you might meet others through these friends who you will connect with on a much deeper level. He's convinced me that my strict view of friendships may be wrong, especially while I'm single, and that I need to give this more thought. My thinking till now has been I should just hold out for those I feel strongly about and that way I'll have much more time for being productive at work and other interests. But he's also a good example of how effective the approach of cultivating many friendships can work: he manages to run a successful business four days a week, pursue many eclectic interests and always has many options for social events and consequently frequently meets many interesting people. And maybe it's the general happiness and value that he derives from these friendships and interests that then allows him to pour a concentrated mental effort into his business. In a way my interest and thought over this shows me that part of me does want more friendship in my life, even if it's not some extremely intense and close friendship (as it is with him). And maybe it's just a matter of changing my attitude and what to expect. Keen to hear other's thoughts on this.
  9. As someone who's never been in what I'd consider a strong relationship, it's something I've recently thought a lot about. I first look outward and notice that many people are in relationships (and many not) and then I look inward and see that I've never been that way: the longest relationship I've had was six months and I entered it because I thought maybe this is just something I need to cultivate and build and only then will I be in a loving relationship. I was more indifferent to my partner after six months then I was after one. And from this experience, many years ago, I concluded that the whole concept of love was bullocks, rubbish perpetuated in movies & books that convinces people to give up on their values for other stupid people--but this changed. After many more years of not being in one relationship I fell intensely in love with someone who I was briefly with and then lost. This was the kind of love that had moments I'd intensely, passionately & feverishly live out a long dull life of labor for to just to experience once more. It caused a complete change in my attitude and life's direction, but I don't need to go into that in this post. So now I sit here believing that the kind of love sometimes depicted in movies or books is real & that it offers, not the only kind, but the highest kind of happiness open to man. But my experience also tells me that it's incredibly rare: often when I've spoken to people I've felt that they haven't experienced it even though they've been in many relationships (?). I would dismiss this as not worth the thought were it not for also talking with people where I feel the exact opposite--that they "get it". E.g. I recently spoke to my friend about an ex-partner and everything about his description makes me thinks he felt something similar to me. He described much of his happiness just being the knowledge that she existed, i.e., the knowledge that someone who was that way could exist and that he could meet them and be with them. And then I compare that to others who talk about a partner and don't ever speak of love or who's eyes don't light up at the topic at all. And I think about how I once asked my love how many people I meet are always in relationships and why I feel incapable of it--and she answered "you don't settle." And that's it. I think that's it. But I've also been thinking maybe settling could be a good thing? Maybe if you meet someone you share some values with you can actually build something that involves feelings as passionate as the highest kind of love? I'd be really interested in hearing from someone who experienced both immediate and intense passion, but that also built the same feeling up over many years through cultivating a relationship. So far in my life I've met many people who've been in numerous long term relationships and said they loved all their partners; but till now, based on my own experience, I find that impossible to believe, at least in the sense that I understand love (as distinct from like or like a lot or even many kinds of other love). But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe that approach to life is better--to cultivate as many relationships as you can, as long as they provide some value. Or also maybe they are just excellent at meeting many people? I think if I could line up a particular demographic of the whole country every morning and spend 5 minutes chatting to 12 people I'd very likely meet the love of my life within a few months or less. (please do not talk about online dating.) This'll eventually bring me to my next post (more like open-ended question) on friendships.
  10. I tried to search the author and found this: http://metaphorestmusic.com/
  11. Wow, I love this! Thank you for sharing.
  12. "The "Hinduism" that now replaced Buddhism was not one religion, nor was in only religion; it was a medley of faiths and ceremonies whose practitioners had only four qualities in common: they recognized the caste system an the leadership of the Brahmans, they reverenced the cow as especially representative of divinities, they accepted the law of Karma and the transmigration of souls, they replaced with new gods the deities of the Vedas." (Our Oriental Heritage: The Story of Civilzation, Volume 1). So then (I think) Hinduism is, rather than a religion, a grouping of related religions. Right, and the Greek & Roman Gods are no longer worshipped, but the Hindu’s are—and in much the same way as they have been for over a thousand years. I think the same can be said about monotheistic religions, although maybe with less room to do so? What's this about educated Romans? So they did not believe in the specific Gods, but viewed them purely as tools to control the masses? This is possible. In your opinion though is it common for most who associate themselves with Hinduism to believe in one god (?), no god (?). These groups may be minorities. Anyway just something I find interesting, but not enough to want to start reading heaps more about it. (I still have around 19,000 pages left of Will Durant's work--enough for me.)
  13. Reading through Will Durant's Story Of Civilization, I've noticed that there's frequently a strong attraction to belief in one god. At first the idea is too abstract but eventually it wins over, e.g., Christianity, Islam. But in India, even after invasion after invasion (the Moguls, Portuguese, French, British) and even after competing religions enter the scene (Buddhism), Hinduism and it's stadium of gods survives and strengthens. For every new god Hinduism would just swallow it up and explain it as a reincarnation of some other God and win over. How is this? Does anyone think it may have something to do with the epics, i.e., the Ramayana & Mahabharata?
  14. Yes, I agree with this. I think it's because your imbuing the knowledge with a sense of wonder and fascination you can only get through feeling. And the best way to get feeling is to make it personal—the job of literature.
  15. Why university? I have access to the same, if not much better, materials online and at libraries. There are two aspects of university however I'd love to be exposed to—people & staff with similar interests whom I can discuss and dream with—but cannot justify the insane price. I could hire a poor post graduate student for the same price and get so much more value. No university means I'll need to get creative to expose myself to those just mentioned aspects.