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shlomif

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shlomif last won the day on April 6 2013

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About shlomif

  • Rank
    Novice

Previous Fields

  • Country
    Israel
  • State (US/Canadian)
    Not Specified
  • Relationship status
    Single
  • Real Name
    Shlomi Fish
  • Copyright
    Must Attribute
  • Biography/Intro
    I'm a software developer, humorist and essayist living in Tel Aviv, Israel, who is passionate about open source and open digital works intended for human compassion. You can learn more about me from my homepage - http://www.shlomifish.org/ .
  • Experience with Objectivism
    My first introduction to Objectivism was through a book about Neo-Tech, which is a Neo-Objectivist idea system. Since then I have read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged (both of which I enjoyed) and started reading The Virtue of Selfishness, which I found to be hard to digest due to its implicitly preachy nature.

    I have also read many of the writings by Eric Steven Raymond (ESR), Paul Graham, Richard Stallman, Joel on Software and other software development "gurus" and essayists, which also proved of inspiration.

    See also:

    http://www.shlomifish.org/philosophy/books-recommends/
  • School or University
    Freecell Solver Enterprises™
  • Occupation
    Writer and software developer
  1. This is my review of the film Silver Linings Playbook, which is a relatively low-budget romantic comedic-drama production by David O. Russell, and starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence (who won several awards for it including the Academy Award (= Oscar) for Best Actress). This film deals with the attempt of Pat Solitano (Cooper) who was hospitalised for several months in a psychiatric ward after diagnosed with Bipolar disorder and his attempts to deal with it, and his relationship with the recently-widowed sex addict Tiffany Maxwell (Lawrence). As someone who suffered in the past from clinical depressive periods, some manias and still suffers from hypomanias, and was hospitalised in a while in a non-closed psychiatric ward (in order to get some diagnosis as a person with disability), I was able to relate to this film and feel compassion towards the character of Pat, who exhibited typical behaviour that was associated with people with Bipolar disorder: fluctuation beteen depressed and elevated moods, challenging social norms, hypersexuality, extreme anger and lack of self-control, awkwardness in handling situations, etc. My main problem with the film was that it was slow starting, as I kept expected JLawrence's character to show up. After that the film gained much more momentum, so it is worth the wait and the film is afterwards enjoyable. The movie is also a bit irresponsible in dealing with the solution to that of people who exhibit the symptoms of Bipolar disorder (e.g: by possibly claiming that it is important to take medication). Anyway, the acting in the film is great, and there is a lot of jokes, awkward situations, and memorable moments, which made it memorable for me. I left the cinema feeling inspired and exalted, but a female American friend of mine who has been through a lot of similar hardship, told me that she cried for several hours after watching Silver Linings Playbook, so you have been warned. ( I have a relatively mild case of Bipolar disorder, so I can be thankful for that. ) So my conclusion of the film is that it is imperfect, but still very enjoyable and exciting. I think that its main theme was that you are probably not what Americans perceive as a “Loser” just because you’re not the richest or most famous or most successful or the top of your class or whatever or one first place at some silly competition. That put aside, I believe that, as I learned from Atlas Shrugged, you should aspire to be a super-heroic person even if what you appear to do seems insignificant. As I noted in my essay, “The Eternal Jew”, I am the most powerful man on earth, and “I am the Messiah” (the latter reflects upon my upbringing as a secular Jewish Israeli, but is still something every person should believe in, and it will make the world a better place if they do). But I think the film indicates that even apparently ordinary people can be superheroic even if they are not the best at life. Finally, I should note that following seeing the film and Ms. Lawrence's winning of the Academy Awards for it (in that order), I have been quite infatuated with her, and now thinks she has become the “Alpha Female”, whom many men covet. Especially of note is the fact that she won the Academy Awards while being only 22 years old, which I believe (and hope) that we are headed into an age where technology has empowered youth enough to compete with older people who have more experience and we will soon see even younger people taken the Academy Awards and other prizes like that - possibly at the age of 10 or even younger. In the middle ages, the apprentices of craftsmen, completed their so-called Masterpiece (= piece of becoming a master- not one's magnus opus), at a much younger age than most people graduate from high school today, and Gauss has already made important contributions to Mathematics as a very young boy. Anyway, you may still be able to see the film at the cinema, and it should be available on DVDs/Blu-Rays/Netflix/etc., and I also found plenty of torrents of it if that's more your alley (see my essay The Case for File Swapping, and the many links on its cover page, for why I have no problem with recommending it). Cheers, -- Shlomi Fish.
  2. Objectivism and homosexuality?

    Wikipedia for the rescue - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Objectivism_and_homosexuality - namely, as I recalled, Ayn Rand personally considered homosexuality as "disgusting", but did not condone taking government action against homesexual intercourse between two consenting adults. Regarding gay marriage - I think the main issue here is the fact that the law treats married couples differently than non-married ones (as someone told me in a chat I had on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freenode ), and that in countries such as Denmark the number of children born among non-married couples has exceeded the number of children born under an oath of marriage (and life there happily goes on). The law should not care whether two adults are married or not, or just living together and having a relationship, and marriage can be just a standard civil and/or religious ceremony which only symbolises a couple's long-term commitment for one another.
  3. Hi all, You can read a post on one of my blogs titled “‘Publish or Perish’ → ‘Life or Death’” where I argue that keeping your own non-personal and non-private knowledge for yourself and thinking it is a good idea to try try to use it as a strategic advantage, is a recipe for stagnation and depression. Someone I talked to, thought that I was advocating publishing everything under an open source/open content etc. licence, but I don't go that far, and just encourage prompt publishing under a usable licence (but possibly a proprietary one). And I also don't encourage publishing too much of too little quality, that appears to have become the norm recently in the academic world, but you should definitely publish. In the post, I mention the United State Government’s so-called National Security Agency (= the NSA) as an organisation that offesnively violates this principle, and later on continued my mission of fighting it in the screenplay Summerschool at the NSA where the “Publish or Perish” meme is a recurent theme there, and you may enjoy it as well (I also reference Atlas Shrugged there and lots of other pieces of old and new culture). As I note in a different post, this is one thing I now dislike about Atlas Shrugged where trade secrets and possibly a fantasy of artists/creators keeping things to themselves - both appear to have received Rand’s approval, and which I now consider as extremely harmful notions. Anyway, comments are welcome, and I'm quoting the abstract to the screenplay here below for your perusal. Best regards, — Shlomi Fish. Summerschool at the NSA Abstract The Hollywood actresses Sarah Michelle Gellar (of Buffy fame) and Summer Glau (of xkcd notability) conspire to kick the ass of the NSA (= the United States government’s National Security Agency), while using special warfare that is completely non-violent. Two attractive, intelligent, and resourceful women against a large, inefficient, federal government organisation whose estimated annual budget is several times their combined worth. Does the NSA actually stands a chance?
  4. <p>Hi all,</p><p><a href="http://www.shlomifish.org/humour/TOWTF/">“The One with the Fountainhead”</a> is a parody of Ayn Rand’s novel <i>The Fountainhead</i>, modelled on a two part episode of the hit television sitcom <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friends"><i>Friends</i></a>. I heard from at least one person who has not watched the show, and still found my parody to be funny (and also a friend who watched the show, but not the book, and enjoyed it, but I guess you probably have read the book).</p> <p>I originally wrote it in 1997 - around the 3rd season of <i>Friends</i> (which was also when I read <i>The Fountainhead</i>), but I've enhanced it much more recently with some newer material. Originally, I believed I held the original book with a lot of respect, but now I feel that I had quite a bit of philosophical issues with its plot and you can say it is a bit like a funky modernisation.</p><p>Hope you enjoy it, and comments and corrections would be welcome. Since this is fan-fiction and a crossover, the licence based on contemporary copyright law is "owned by the copyright owners of the franchises - please don't sue me" but as far as I'm concerned, the mostly original text can be used under <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/">Creative Commons CC-by-sa</a>.</p><p>If you enjoyed it, you may enjoy the other stuff in the <a href="http://www.shlomifish.org/humour/">Humour/fiction/writing section of my personal web site</a> including a lot of shorter "TL;DR"-friendly aphorisms, quotes, and factoids.</p>
  5. Hi Nicky, thanks for your comment. Let me reply to some of the points. You are right that it's a fault of Walt Disney - sorry for mispeaking. However, it doesn't make him any less great. Sir Isaac Newton had far more redeeming faults of his own in modern eyes, and yet he was also a superb heroic man, who lived and died as a non-tragic hero. Even today, many heroes, even those who are not and never were or never will be tragic heroes, still have many faults, and we need to accept them as such. Many people I admire or look up to are Republicans, or Democrats, or are self-proclaimed Christians, or are militant vegans, or support the prohibition on drugs, or are homophobic, or whatever, and they are still great people, which provide inspiration and that I love. Well, he should have networked much more instead of being anti-social and keep to himself, etc. (which, BTW, was a huge mistake that I have done as well). Ayn Rand ended up growing out of that, as is evident in Atlas Shrugged and in her later deeds, so it's OK - no one is perfect. You may be right. Perhaps I should say "classical Objectivism" or whatever. Sorry if I mispoke. <p> Yes, you may be right - sorry for mispeaking . Like I said it was an "Argumentum-ad-Tooheyum" and despite Rand's burning desire to describe Ellsworth Toohey as the ultimate evil, there are many good things that we can learn from him, from the eyes of people living in 2013. This is like the fact that Milady de Winter in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Three_Musketeers is actually insurgent, sexy, formidable, resourceful, and awe-inspiring, and a model of emulation (while the real villain in the story is the Queen - Anne of Austria.). </p> <p> Regarding humour I should note that http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Peter_Ustinov is quoted as saying that "Comedy is just a funny way of being serious." (which is just one of his great quotes) and I give more insights to contemporary stuff like that here: </p> http://www.shlomifish.org/philosophy/philosophy/putting-all-cards-on-the-table-2013/ <p> The rest of your points may be considered as accepted by me in a silent agreement. </p> <p> Regards, </p> <p> — Shlomi Fish </p>
  6. By the way, there should really be more space between consecutive paragraphs in the CSS of this site. Right now they are far too close.
  7. I had read Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead, which I really enjoyed and which became my favourite Adult-oriented book (J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit was my favourite children-oriented book) and some time later read Atlas Shrugged, which I also really enjoyed. Here are my thoughts about them from the perspective of a 1977-born (but still quite trendy) enthusiast of free/open culture (open source, Creative Commons, web culture that's not technically Creative Commons, but is in effect), who has recently decided to make a transition from being a professional software developer, to being a writer, Internet entertainer, and amateur philosopher, with the aspirations of becoming Independent and self-sustaining, if not famous and successful. (I still see software development, maths and having a firm grasp of many different fields of science, as necessary means for that, and won't mind being employed or consulting for software development as a way to pay the bills, but still that's not how I see myself). First of all, let me say that Rand was a gifted writer. While I found the writing style of Dostoyevsky in Crime and Punishment to be boring, and excessive, Ayn Rand kept me captivated and was not too wordy and to the point. I often wish I could write as well as her. I also found her books or quotes from them to be of great inspiration. That put aside, I feel that Rand’s books are definitely showing their age, and I'd like to explain why. The reason is that while Objectivism in its purest and most natural form is sound and clear, Ayn Rand fell victim to various moral/ethical fashions of her time, that other people and I now find ridiculous, and often a cause of a big generations' gap and lots of problems. Here are some examples: In The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand still implied that Mickey Mouse was low culture. Perhaps Rand as a worked in the more traditional live actor film industry found the cartoons that were easier to create, usually shorter and more succinct, and produced less impressive and not as professional results, as low culture. But nowadays, Walt Disney is considered a genius (with some naturaly recent backlash about various supposed faults of his, such as his racism), and Rand seemed to have realised it by Atlas Shrugged. Thing is what made cartoons great was the fact that they were easy to create, and more intense and to the point than traditional film-making. An even worse offense is the fact that in The Fountainhead, Roark sorts of expects success to magically come to him without doing anything to promote himself, in direct violation of the Gods help them that help themselves principle. In a sense it reflects Ayn Rand’s older self that wrote and published books and did not network in the primitive means of the day to build a reputation. On the other hand, by the time Miss Rand published Atlas Shrugged, she realised the error of her ways, and worked hard on promoting herself and her books by word of mouth, and it is evident in Atlas Shrugged, where almost all the major benevolent characters are travelling far and wide across the united states and constantly network. Like it should be. Yet another bad aspect of Ayn Rand's work is her advocacy of multiple sexual/romantic-love partners. No, it's not unethical when done openly, just that having one relationship requires enough hard work and dedication that being involved in more than one relationship would be unfair to both (or more) partners. In all of my stories and screenplays including my parody of The Fountainhead, all the characters are 100% monogomous, throught the story. Another thing I now dislike about classical Randianism is its disapproval of most cultural aspect except the narrow one of that leading to Americanism (i.e: Ancient Greek culture → Renaissance → English culture → American culture) instead of accepting and embracing the pluralism of ancient and modern idea systems. In a late edition of Atlas Shrugged, Peikoff quotes Ayn Rand's diary on implying that a good work of art reflects a good philosophy, and that philosophy is the absolutely necessary means for a good work of art. Larry Wall (who is reknown and reverred in the open source world as the father of the Perl programming language and previously as the author of the original patch program which despite being of more limited scope and ability, was arguably more important in the historical context of the open source world, and is a very witty and funny guy and a gifted public speaker), once said this: I have a book on my bookshelf that I’ve never read, but that has a great title. It says, “All Truth is God’s Truth.” And I believe that. The most viable belief systems are those that can reach out and incorporate new ideas, new memes, new metaphors, new interfaces, new extensions, new ways of doing things. My goal this year is to try to get Perl to reach out and cooperate with Java. I know it may be difficult for some of you to swallow, but Java is not the enemy. Nor is Lisp, or Python, or Tcl. That is not to say that these languages don't have good and bad points. I am not a cultural relativist. Nor am I a linguistic relativist. In case you hadn't noticed. :-) I think keeping modern 2013 Objectivism in its Randian roots would be stagnating it. By all means we should reach out and integrate memes and concepts from other idea systems - serious and funny (because like Peter Ustinov said “Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious.”), old and new, non-fictional and fictional. Among the modern day essayists that I'm familiar and like the most I can point out that Joel "Joel on Software" Spolsky has been integrating insights from software and business management, from Judaism and Israelism, from 60s-70s American culture, from New York City life, from popular films and T.V. shows, and even a bit from gay culture (Joel is gay), into something truly funny and insightful, that I learned a lot from. In the meanwhile, Paul Graham has been using metaphors from open culture life, from medieval and renaissance Europe, and from his experiences in working on startups, and many other things. Similarly, I've now decided that I'll be happy to mix and match concepts, memes and characters from such modern and ancient idea systems - including Objectivism, Neo-Objectivism, post-Objectivism, Judaism (Bible and Midrash), Aesop's fables, Stoicism and other Greek and Roman philosophy, Star Trek, the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, role playing games and some computer games, many influences from geek culture and “hackerdom” (not “crackerdom” mind), Cognitive Therapy, ancient and medieval history of the Near East and Europe, etc. into my works of fiction and non-fiction in a kind of big mish-mash which will hopefully either be very coherent or so incoherent it will be amusing. For instance, see the Selinaverse. At one time, I remember posting to an early forum of Israeli Objectivists (in Hebrew and which used a very badly designed interface), before 11-Sep-2001, when I said how much I liked humour and being amused, and then someone (who was quite a fanatic of Ayn Rand's literal writing) said that humour was a weapon of destruction, and that the only character in The Fountainhead that says we have to laugh at everything we do there is Toohey. Aside from the fact that this may be a variation of a fallacy called argumentum ad Hitlerum, where we say something is wrong just because Toohey said it, I think it is false. In this day and age most people I care about will be convinced more by integrating humour into what I try to say, than by being “serious”. A brief look through my Humorous works will reveal that I kept no stone unturned: my friends and I have parodied Aristotle's Logic, the Holocaust and World War II, ethics and morality, murder, death, mass destruction, drug abuse, religion, made cheap sexual, sexist, and cultural jokes, etc. etc. Naturally, a lot depends on the context of the joke, its delivery, and target audience, but I don't see a topic that's too holy not to laugh at. However, the worst thing that offends me in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged is her endoresement of trade secrets and "keeping your knowledge to yourself" instead of “Publish or Perish” (follow the link to see why it means “Life or Death”). As most creators of creative works will tell you, it is impossible to stop them from creating their works and wanting practically everyone to know about then, experience them, comment about them, and in this day and age - even build upon them (see Lawrence Lessig’s excellent book “Remix”). Ayn Rand was not different that that in her deeds. However, in Atlas Shrugged, John Galt has an unrealistic (and evil) power of convincing creators and innovators to keep their ideas within their own extremely closed and limited circles as a technical advantage (and I've always thought that John Galt was a real jerk), and moreover Henry Rearden keeps the formula of Rearden to himself, instead of opening it and allowing people to improve it and build upon it (possibly by giving him some royalties). I don't like that and I think this and I think this aspect of Atlas Shrugged sucks, and that trade secrets should no longer be enforceable. If a company wishes to maintain a secret to itself, they can, but they shouldn't complain if it leaks. Patents and copyrights can help "protect" a technical advantage, as long as they are within reason and not the atrocious "intellectual property" regime that is in vogue today (as brought to a pinacle in the recent Smartphone patent wars). I have given several aspects that I find of fault in Ayn Rand's books and Randianism, and given some links for various resources for future enlightenment that aim to remedy it. Note that like I said, I enjoyed Rand's books and found them of great value, and derived many past, present and hopefully future insights from them. But saying “Ayn rulez because of X, Y, Z” would be too much preaching to the choir here. ------------------------------------------------------ Now for how I improved upon the situation in my works, all of which were inspired by Objectivism in the more general sense: “The One with the Fountainhead” is an unofficial episode of the television series Friends (which I can recommend every Objectivist and non-Objectivist to watch) that parodies The Fountainhead. I used to think that I held the book in much respect and was just having fun with my crazy imagination, but now I think I was lying to myself and found some aspects of it contemptible, and was trying to see how if Ayn Rand had lived today and was a writer (rather than say an independent YouTube artist making cool and zany videos) would have written it instead. So it's also a modernisation. Note that you don't have to be familiar with the Friends to enjoy the parody (but it helps). Furthermore, some people who hated the book, told me they loved my parody of it. Selina Mandrake - The Slayer is marketed as a Buffy reflection, modernisation and parody, and had a complex history in my mind. I originally imagined that the original “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” story was written by a certain Bajoran author around the time when The Fountainhead became famous, and ended up making echoes in Bajor. Then, after Ayn Rand read its translation to English, she exclaimed that it was “the real Fountainhead”, to which the Bajoran mission replied “This may be The Real Fountainhead, but your book is The Fountainhead”. And Miss Rand in turn replied that “Bleh! You will never learn!”. Selina Mandrake is subtitled “Caught between post-Modernism and the New Age” but perhaps another good subtitle would be “Will the real The Fountainhead please stand up?”. I have an idea for a story that I did not begin to write, which I perceive as a modernisation of Atlas Shrugged and as Romanticist Realism in a funky, funny, and zany, 2013 way. I call it The Earth Angel and it tells how a former Black U.S. soldier who is now working as a junior software developer in a small consulting firm in Los Angeles, and who has co-authored a funny and far-fetched screenplay based on his workplace’s culture and metaphors, which ended up becoming a somewhat popular junior high production, decides to teach a local Los Angeles copyright lawyer, a thing or two about life, love, money, and the legal system. I have yet to write it, but I started writing an informal screenplay that is very similar in concept titled “Summerschool at the NSA” where “the Hollywood actresses Sarah Michelle Gellar (of Buffy fame) and Summer Glau (of xkcd notability) conspire to kick the ass of the NSA (= the United States government’s National Security Agency), while using special warfare that is completely non-violent.”. It is now finished yet, but you can start reading it, and I hope to write a short plan/spec for the story soon. I am grateful for Ayn Rand and for Neo-Tech, which is an idea system mostly based on Ayn Rand’s philosophy, for being the final major catalysts in my ability to become a writer of quality works of fiction and non-fiction, but my life did not end there. Like Madonna told once in an interview with her in an Israeli magazine, about whether her study of the Jewish Qabbalah has influenced her, everything that I have experienced have provided an influence on me, and I wish to experience more in the future, and become even more influenced and inspired. So I hope you'll know better than to think that Ayn Rand’s philosophy is the “Omega”, or the "Be-all-and-end-all" of human philosophy. Best regards, Shlomi Fish
  8. Replying to myself, I should note that I discussed it with my psychotherapist (who met me in person many times) and he said that he believes I do not have Asperger's Syndrome, which he commented that indeed was part of the Autism spectrum. That put aside, I still can be self-centred (but certainly not selfish as in "having a complete disregard for others"), and self-promoting and at time a bit narcisstic, but these are parts of my character.
  9. Hello from Canada

    Hi, welcome aboard. I didn't run into significant trolls or flamers here, but there may be a few. In any case, my introduction to Objectivism was through a book my father bought called “The Neo-Tech Cosmic Power” which took me some time to digest, but since then I had many other major and minor influences, because I believe that All's Truth is God's Truth and it's important to integrate new ideas, new memes, and new things and advance the philosophical state-of-the-art. Right now I still consider myself an Objectivist (in believing that reality, ethics and logic are all absolute), but I'm no longer Randian, because Randianism, like Biblical Judaism, or classical Stoicism, or even classical Aristotleanism, or whatever now feels passé to me. For more information about me and my philosophy, you can read my works of philosophy and/or fiction on my homepage.
  10. Hi Eiuol, thanks for your message. Well, hopefully I do, but not without a cost - I still have hypomanias, and other people and my family notice that. My hand writing is usually very bad, but a few days ago, I wrote a note to myself with pretty good handwriting and was not trying too hard to write it properly. I also feel that writing my stories are a kind-of therapy for me, because they make me realise things about what I want to be or present the falsehoods I still believed in. Anyway, I guess that for some people, you can only achieve progress with some hardship and pain along the way, and I'm not different. Thanks for that! I can be quite narcissitic when I'm hypomanic, but a lot of people liked my stories and thought they were great (or, alternatively, commented negatively on them, which either made me understand how to improve them, or which I sometimes took to my advantage). And I realise now (and always did) that perfection is in imperfection, and that I can easily let sub-optimal things remain in the stories I wrote. Regards, -- Shlomi Fish
  11. Hi ruveyn1, thanks for your message. I see about that thing for Asperger's but I'll comment about my name. OK, here goes. First of all I should note that we prefer spelling it as "Shlomi" (using the English spelling) than as "Schlomi" (using the German spelling). My late grandfather's family name was "Fish" instead of "Fisch" as well, so that what we use. Anyway, I was named after my other grandfather on my mother's side who died and whose name was “Shlomo” in Hebrew (and Suliman in Arabic - he immigrated to Israel from Iraq, along with his three children at the time, including my mother). However, my mother decided to pick a name with a more modern ring to it, so she used "Shlomi" (which means "Shalom-ful", "my shalom" or "The Shalom of Jehuvah" - they are all valid interpretations and the word Shalom means many things including "well-being", "peace", "Harmony", "welfare", etc.). In addition to it, I have a younger cousin also called Shlomi (but with a different last name) and now one of my cousins' sons is called "Sol" which is also an echo to "Solomon" (but have other meanings). As with names in other countries, there are many fashions to Israeli names, and they become trendier or less trendier. When Orthodox Jews lived in the diaspora they had a certain limited arsenal of acceptable names based on the kosher characters of the Bible, but after Israel/Palestine was colonolised by Jews, all hell broke loose and they started using many Hebrew names. Anyway, some people who know me from the Internet Relay Chat call me "rindolf" (or "rin" for short) which some speakers of European and other languages find easier to digest than "Shlomi" or "shlomif" and I decided that I don't mind being called that. For the etymlogy of Rindolf, see: http://www.shlomifish.org/meta/FAQ/#origin_of_rindolf Regards, -- Shlomi Fish Well, "Lech beshalom" kinda means "Go/walk in well-being/peace" and: 1) I'm not leaving 2) It's a more archaic form. You can simply say “Shalom” or “Lehith'raoth” (which hasn't entered the English lexicon yet), or maybe just something in English like "Take care" or "See you" or whatever. No need to be a Hebrewish elitist. Bye, and take care. Regards, -- Shlomi Fish
  12. Hi all, from speaking with many of what we traditionally call Objectivists who have read the books by Ayn Rand or perhaps more Neo-Objectivist compilations, I understood that they dismiss http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friends as a funny but pointless popular and cheesy American sitcom that was not worth watching. Having seen a few episodes of Friends and becoming hooked (watched the first three seasons, and some of the last seasons after the show became better again), and becoming hooked, and being a big fan of the Objectivist philosophy, which I learned about from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_R._Wallace (which was something truly eye-opening, but now I find many faults with it), I still considered Friends as very funny and "light-thinking" entertainment that I looked forward to watching week after week. So consider my surprise when one of my Internet correspondents (a very nice guy, who contributed to some Perl projects, but who was immersed in minutae of global politics, graduated with a degree in history, and expressed many Kantian sentiments) told me that it was one of the most immoral shows on T.V. A silly comedy! And as far as the Kantian “ethics” are concerned he was right - it was immoral and unethical and Evil and everything else. Fact of the matter is that despite obvious apperances to the contrary, I believe that Friends was a superb show, whose ethical mission was to ultimately and permanently kill the Judeo-Christian ethics, and replace them with a “new and better world order”. As much as freedom of expression and the arts is to be encouraged, Ayn Rand wrote in her diary (quoted in a new edition Atlas Shrugged) that truly great art requires a good philosophical foundation, and to quote the late http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Peter_Ustinov - Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious. (sorr y for the bold - paste fail). Without further ado, here are some of my favourite Friends sub-plots: * - the classical "Only one woman" skits from the pilot (YouTube gives me it with Hebrew subtitles - sorry about that). * - Phoebe and Joey about “unselfish good deeds” (low quality) * - Phoebe and Ross argue about evolution (the comments there are surprisingly intelligent) * - Rachel and Phoebe get tattoos. ----------------- Now for some shameless self-promotion: I've written a screenplay for a parody of The Fountainhead modelled around a two-part episode of Friends - http://www.shlomifish.org/humour/TOWTF/ , where the six friends role-play their own version of The Fountainhead, hoping to improve it. Both people who either have not read the book, or only watched the show have enjoyed it,and I consider it my funniest and most politically-incorrect piece yet. -------------- In any case, Friends is an incredible Television show, and it's amazing how much of its subtlety I missed when I was younger and less conscious of the philosophy I have now. I have a notion that it was the last truly subversive and cutting edge sitcom on Television television, and after which the really funny stuff has increasingly been found in a lot of random and “amateurish” videos on YouTube and other video-sharing sites. Regards, -- Shlomi Fish
  13. Hi whyNOT - I see - that's sad. As an Objectivist, I think unilateral or bilateral disarming is stupid and irrational and does not work this way (and it is possible Israelis will be better off if everyone - Jews, Arabs, Palestinians, - I don't have double standards - etc. could easily get a licence for an unconcealed gun), but the RSA violence is silly. I heard many Bohrs are now Christian-oriented Neo-Nazis even though the original Hitlerian Nazis supposedly opposed all forms of institutionalised religions, and I'm not sure there's an easy solution for all this, except possibly for enlightening them about how stupid this whole ordeal is. The majority of RSA's inhabitants are probably peaceful and rational, but the minority is the problem (as is always). Anyway, I think I'll just stay here in Tel Aviv and just socialise more and also get more sports done along with other people (basketball/soccer/etc.), and also work on better publicity and advertising of my stories and essays (because I think and was told that they are great but deserve much more recognition). So far I mostly resisted buying web ads, but now I think there's nothing wrong with them, and I have some cash to spare for that. The difference between a good artist who did not receive enough recognition and a great artist who has become a highly reverred phenomenon, is usually because the latter one has better worked on marketing, which is incredibly hard, but also incredibly fun and very rewarding, and it's often and usually a honest, and what I call “humble” marketing. I'm tired of playing the role of the Invisible (see http://buffyfanfiction.wikia.com/wiki/Selina_Mandrake_-_The_Slayer#The_Selinaverse for what I mean by that - sort of like John Galt in Atlas Shrugged, only less of a real jerk/asshole. ), and want to step into the limelight. Regards, -- Shlomi Fish
  14. Hi, first of all, my name is "Shlomi" and not "Shlomo" (long story here - see http://www.shlomifish.org/meta/FAQ/ ), and a lot of speakers of languages written using the Latin alphabet get it wrong ("Schlomi" is also common). If you want you can call me "Rindolf" or "Rin" instead. Some people told me they suspect I have Asperger, but: 1. I was told that Normal -> Asperger -> Autism is a continuum and there are many levels of it. 2. Many men with Asperger lead perfectly normal life. I met some people on IRC (= Internet chat) who told me they were diagnosed with Asperger's or suspected it to be the case, and they seemed perfectly normal, emoting, etc. I too (despite all my fauults) feel a wealth of good and bad emotions, and am able to eventually cope with most everyday situations. 3. I was told that Asperger was recently removed from the list of known and detected psychomedical defects. 4. Many geeks diagnosed themselves with Asperger (or previously ADHD or whatever) or got these diagnosed, but it's easy to be diagnosed as such because the tests are not accurate. 5. What I do know is that in the past I had clinical depressions, hypomanias and even some manias, which might give me the psychiatric label “Manic-depressive” or “Bipolar”, but otherwise as my psychotherapist says won't help with curing the psychological core of the problem (and despite popular belief, medication is usually ineffective for treating people even with clinical depressions, which are the common cold of psychomedical problems, though medication do help some people). During hypomanias (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypomania ) I exhibit symptoms of self-grandiosity, ego-Mania, self-publicity, hypersexuality, euphoria, a large amount of very good (although often irrational or farfetched) ideas for stories, essays, etc. and also a desire to write them a lot. Hypomanias are extremely common among creative people and my father told me that a study found that 50% of the authors of English literature were diagnosed as Bipolar. Anyway, I found several ways to better deal with hypomanias, including Cognitive Therapy, reading the book Feeling Good, and my interest in various pieces of old and especially new philosophy and artworks (which to be good must reflect an inner philosophy), which made me reach various conclusions and insights. In a way, I feel that my writing is a kind of therapy for me, because it makes me reach newer conclusions that allow me to become a better and a stronger person (because passive learning is not enough and you learn more first by implementing something and even more by teaching it). I also now realise that despite being a computer geek, and mostly a person without social life up to this point, I should socialise more (in the so called "real life" - not on the Internet) by joining various clubs of my various interests, maybe joining some support groups of people with Bippolar disorder, play basketball (which I was never really very good at, but was my favourite sport), and even go on some dates. Tel Aviv is a great city for doing all that, and I should exploit that more. I hope I made myself clear. Regards, -- Shlomi Fish
  15. Hi, Tony. Thanks! I am glad you like Tel Aviv so much. I like living here, too, as most of the commerce, the good restaurants, and the interesting people are here (I'm not too big into the nighttime party life (I cannot stand pubs, and prefer restaurants or coffee shops), but that's part of its charm. Nevertheless, I feel like I've been a bit burned out here and need a physical change of scenery. I'm looking for a good place to move to which is: 1) Warm enough 2) No long nights during the winter 3) Where most significant people have a good grasp of English (though I will probably still want to learn the foreign language). 4) Where it's intellectually stimulating (lots of diversity of various cultures, a good Internet connection, attractive females, intelligent people, etc.). Anyway, how is life in South Africa? -- Shlomi Fish
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