Welcome to Objectivism Online Forum

Welcome to Objectivism Online, a forum for discussing the philosophy of Ayn Rand. For full access, register via Facebook or email.

Harrison Danneskjold

  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Harrison Danneskjold

  1. What kind of young, single person, and what are they trying to save money for? If they're an aspiring musician, whose band will need to be practicing regularly (and probably loudly) then roommates would be an objective downgrade. For the past few months my roommates have been united in one long, sustained effort to make me doubt the validity of my own mind (for purposes I can't fathom) and SL's idea sounds incredibly good to me, right now. You're not me, though; you may never have been in such a situation and your roommates might be of a very different caliber than mine. I'm not denying the existence of objective, universal principles, but "young and single" just doesn't cut it.
  2. We were born into a crippled economy (which we're forbidden even to try to fix without the permission of our local slave-drivers), equipped with nothing except whatever we may or may not have gleaned from John Dewey's educational system, commanded to go out and start producing more than $9.50 an hour "somehow" (and to pay for any of our elders' false teeth or Viagra or organ transplants, while we're at it) and if we complain about any of it we're told to shut up, take it and like it. Yes, gentlemen, our elders have screwed us over quite thoroughly. They've made it much harder for us to "launch" than it ever was for them. That's not a comfortable subject for many of them, though, so they don't want to know that anything has changed at all. It's much easier to say that we're all just helpless, snivelling infants, who can't live up to their standards. That's not to deny the existence (nor even the prevalence) of millenials who are, in fact, helpless and spineless weaklings. I'm not saying there isn't a grain of truth in that depiction, but it's only a half-truth; the other half is that, with each passing year, our society makes it even harder to "launch". And if we can't stop it then our kids will take an even harder beating than we have. Firstly, there's nothing wrong with it being a personal issue (as it is for me and should be for any person it affects) as long as we can still reason about it clearly and coherently. Secondly, I'm sorry you had to do business with a landlord who was such a scumbag; I know what that must've felt like. But one lying bastard does not mean that all landlords are liars, any more than one welfare-mooching millennial proves us all to be moochers. Direct your wrath towards the individual who's actually earned it. Not necessarily. If you have a steady and reliable source of income then spending some monthly portion of it on a temporary shelter shouldn't be the end of the world. It sounds like you might want to rethink your personal living arrangements (maybe) but rent, as such, is not destroying our civilization. Only a Hippy or a Commie would turn his nose up at ad hominem arguments! P.S: To be clear, it's not impossible to "launch" today; the obstacles in our way are not a blank check to blame all of one's problems on society and give up on solving them. I am not trying to advocate any form or variety whatsoever of fatalism. What I'm sanctioning is the outrage which, as grievously misdirected as it is, seems to be a response to actual wrongs.
  3. You don't have to thank me for telling the truth. What I mean about a 'philosophy of information', though, is this. An old-fashioned, physical book contains "information" in a very real and valid sense. We can learn new skills and knowledge from them or use them to safeguard what we already have against the frailties of our own memories. However, all of these benefits depend on actions that we must initiate, ourselves. A book without a reader is only so much paper, without any purpose or meaning, and can't be said to have any "information" at all. Think of all the inscriptions we've found, written in dead languages; as long as we can't read them, they inform us of nothing. "Information" is an attribute of consciousness. Language, writing and computer programs are conceptual tools which can augment our own mental abilities (and possess "information" only in this derivative sense) but without a mind to use them they mean nothing whatsoever. Now, I think we might be able to create an artificial mind someday, but not if we keep attributing some undefined form of knowledge to our mental tools (or, worse still, to any rock or star that strikes our fancy). I don't know what more than that really needs to be said.
  4. I really should've elaborated a bit more. Sorry about that. There is one and only one "rational" method of thinking. Whatever conclusions you reach by that method, regardless of whatever evidence is at your personal disposal, are rational; whatever you conclude for any other reason is irrational. I use "conclusion" here with a special emphasis on commitment. There's nothing irrational about the guess-and-check method unless it becomes guess-and-cling-to-forevermore. The number of alternative ways someone could arrive at their beliefs (I.e. the number of possible forms of irrationality) is unlimited. They could go by the Bible. They could go by their elders' beliefs or The Party's beliefs or they could go by their negations. They could go by whatever undigested impressions they take from whatever random experiences. They could go by the stars or the weather or the behavior of birds or something they once saw in a bad acid trip. There is an infinity of wrong options. If your only complaint is the way we1 (O'ists) lump all "irrational philosophies" into a single bucket - we1 do that because Objectivism is the only philosophical system that fits with "reason" from top to bottom (in essence and in sum if not in every microscopic detail). We1 can rationally demonstrate that this is true and that it is (again, demonstrably) the single most important factor in the quality of every single one of our1 lives. It's a very real difference which we1 ought to take very seriously. If you have some particular philosophy in mind - name it! I'm far too familiar with the various tribes of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Gnosticism, Wicca, Satanism (Theistic and LaVeyan), a handful of pagan pantheons, the ritualistic methods of Aleister Crowley and the Indian death cult of which Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was such a good caricature. I did some ideological scavenging before I found Objectivism and most of it is still there, today, wasting some irretrievable portion of my brain. I'd love to put it to some use by explaining to you what's wrong with any particular one but you have to pick one. I will not run through them all, individually, just for your amusement. If you'd be a bit more specific I'd be happy to discuss it (whatever it is). If not then have some music, anyway. It's good for the soul. Footnote 1: I'd like to apologize for my somewhat cavalier use of "we", in that sentence, but if you consider yourself an Objectivist and also believe that reason is either useless or meaningless then I simply don't take any account of you. Life is too short, you know?
  5. Hang on, tovarisch. You just placed Ayn Rand on equal epistemological footing with Joseph Stalin on Objectivism Online. What sort of response are you looking for here? Are you asking us to disprove your ridiculous assertion by demonstrating some sort of familiarity with whatever supernatural theories you won't even specify, so that we don't lose you to "the other side"? You sound like you're already there, tovarisch. Try me.
  6. It would appear so. It may help to research what the IRS considers "voluntary", though. I'd especially recommend the case files. They detail all sorts of ways that people have tried, over the years, to teach the IRS what "voluntary" means, and what was done to them for it. P.S: Before anyone accuses me of evading whatever absolutely perfect solution they believe they've suggested, let me mention that I have read every single post in this thread and responded to precisely what I considered relevant. The OP for context. DA for immediately nailing the heart of the issue. Nicky because he was funny and because I don't believe that actual grown-ups could have such a difficult time with the nature of consent, if they weren't trying to kid themselves. You've had the relevant facts of the matter. Feel free to take a look at the consequences of trying to kid ourselves about it. QED
  7. The fact that America was based on some good ideas has not prevented us from turning it into a slave pen, eventually.
  8. According to your link and a few commonsense assumptions: 1: The procedure for giving up one's citizenship can only be done in person at an American embassy 2: There are no American embassies inside of America C1: One can only give up one's citizenship from outside our borders 3: In giving up one's citizenship one gives up the "right to reside in America" C2: Giving up one's citizenship requires one's physical exile from this geographic area "If you're not rooting for the home team then get out!" And to tell the truth, personally, I would love to go anywhere that wasn't even worse off than America. By all means, show me the door! I can't seem to find one, myself. Too late!
  9. 'I like cigarettes, Miss Taggart. I like to think of fire, a dangerous force, tamed in a man's hand. When a man thinks, there's a point of fire alive in his mind, and it's proper that he should hold the fire of a cigarette in his hand.' -Cheeky paraphrasing which is almost certainly mangled. More seriously, though, it's a personal value judgement which you can't prescribe. "I don't like people who talk too much about [their own selflessness]. I don't think it's true and I don't think it'd be right if it ever were true." -Mr. Ward "When men are starving to death around you, your feelings won't be of any Earthly use to them." -Francisco d'Anconia "Yours is the Morality of Death." -John Galt You'd be amazed at the sort of reactions you get when you simply point out that altruism and collectivism demand your own suicide (tempered only by your own hypocrisy and consequent self-loathing), the very concept of a God is logically impossible and there simply is no afterlife. I'm not recommending that anyone tries this at home (or anywhere else, under any circumstances). I'm only saying that the results might surprise you. Tesla. YouTube. You're welcome.
  10. How many of the people we usually deal with, in reality and on a daily basis, are both interested in and receptive to these ideas? When you approach people about it the reactions usually range from blind hostility to apathy to mockery. So any device that allows us to identify each other, without having to even mention the subject, is of value to me. I'd give my left hand to have some drinking buddies that I could actually talk to about anything remotely interesting. I'd give both my hands to have one that was a woman. There's a perfectly valid principle there, about telling versus showing, but I don't think it's entirely applicable. Cheers!
  11. "Biped" has always served me well. You specify that they walk on two legs - and omit absolutely everything else, leaving it all up to your audience's imagination. The end result fully conveys your precise meaning to any layman whatsoever without any further explanation. Not "men" but "bipeds". What's the symbolism? I don't remember that as an element of any of her nonfiction that I've read but it sounds like it has some specific connection, for you. Would you please fill me in on it? Badass!!!!! I wouldn't recommend that. I've done the same thing a dozen or so times and they've all ended up moldering in someone's neglected storage space. Why not? I've been known to preach, from time to time (although I try very hard not to). In my experience preaching for Objectivism truly sucks. You'd probably get less hatred and vitriol dumped on you for declaring that Tuesday ought to be a national baby-eating day than for quietly mentioning that contradictions cannot exist. If it's a matter of personal honor I think you've probably earned the title, free and clear, just from what your post mentioned. If it's not that (and if you understand and agree with the basic tenets of the philosophy) then what else could it be? It just sounds like self-torture, to me, and if it were it'd be of a particularly tragic form. So I'd be interested in any elaboration you'd care to provide.
  12. Me: Why are you talking sloppy?
  13. He's thinking in terms of a nonessential (in this case "grandiosity") which chops the proper concept of "Capitalism" into 'Big Capitalism' and 'Little Capitalism' and treats those as opposite kinds of things. It is true that if Big and Little Capitalism were mutually exclusive then he'd be entirely correct about which one Rand would've advocated - only they aren't, in reality, and I am not aware of when in the Hell Rand ever said otherwise. Given her stressed repetitions that degrees don't matter and that one doesn't have to move mountains or travel the stars in order to be a good person (compare the 'smallness' of Eddie Willers to the grandiosity of Robert Stadler) the misrepresentation can only be intentional, provided he actually opened that book. His logic would follow from his false dichotomy (which he produced, in its entirety, from his own rectum) if it weren't for the obscene package-dealing of 'Big Communism' with 'Big Capitalism' in order to insinuate that Hank Rearden, Dagny Taggart and John Galt were all secretly Red on the inside. In Ancient Greece there were people who prided themselves on being able to "prove" that black is white, freedom is slavery and truth is falsehood. Today we have people who follow in their footsteps, not even for the sake of their intellectual vanity, but just to piss off whatever suckers might actually be paying attention to their noises. To infuriate anyone who actually takes Atlas Shrugged seriously and happens to expect to hear human words and ideas from the speaker, for example. Let's not make that mistake. You wouldn't get upset with a parrot that happened to insult your mother, would you?
  14. We absolutely need a "philosophy of information" today, although I don't know how complex it would need to be. Wouldn't a few solid (and philosophical) definitions suffice? I am sick of seeing this concept used, well beyond its rational context, to camouflage otherwise-blatant irrationality as being in any way "scientific". Great article on your part, though.
  15. While I appreciate the sentiment, I've been using "poetry" as a gentler euphemism for the sloppiness you observed, here: And I'm sorry about that. Agreed. I've been reflecting on this, recently, and ultimately realized that the only "reification" in this thread was of my own sense of life. A sense of life seems like part of existence ("out there" to be proven) but it isn't. It can't really be proven, in the same sense and for the same reasons that colors can't be explained to the blind. One man's core can't be taken out and shared with another, no matter how much he may wish to. So I'm sorry that all my sexy, sexy poetry interfered with that whole "truth" business. With regard to raw sensory values, such as the physical stimuli of pleasure or pain, yes. We're all born with the evaluations of such sensations hardwired into our nervous systems (at least at first). With regard to conceptual values, I don't think so. Values like truth, integrity, justice, productive work, pride, beauty and romance (which are so much more meaningful than any isolated sensation could ever be) aren't universal or automatic, at all; they depend on volitional mental processes. Even those of us who have experienced that Aristotelean sort of "happiness" which we (Objectivists) all seek so fervently, won't necessarily continue to want it in the way we should; it depends on our thoughts and choices. We can kill it without even knowing that we are (which is actually far easier than preserving it), which is precisely what I believe Rand was arming us against when she wrote: “In the name of the best within you, do not sacrifice this world to those who are its worst. In the name of the values that keep you alive, do not let your vision of man be distorted by the ugly, the cowardly, the mindless in those who have never achieved his title. Do not lose your knowledge that man’s proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach." You underestimate the flexibility of the human mind. I believe I've already mentioned it elsewhere but at one point, when I was a little Mormon, I realized that God was demanding (via the scriptures I read) my own self-induced blindness and the unconditional surrender of my critical faculty. I didn't have those words for it, of course; all I knew was that the universe would give me infinite joy for doing what was obviously wrong, and infinite pain if I tried to do what was right. So if you can't imagine anyone who, when offered eternal bliss by God Himself, would spit in his eye... c'est moi! And I think the range of goals and attitudes which men can hold is much broader than you might currently suspect. Interestingly, though: The preceding dilemma is older and more common than any bromide; that's the choice every single Christian faces whenever they're asked to probe the issue too deeply. You can see it in their faces, if you're paying attention. And that's a source of unlimited amusement - for me. Yes, and "there, but for the grace of God, go I". Except it isn't God who shapes our souls; it's every single one of us. And it's important to keep track of who is an architect and who is an arsonist for the same reason that ruthless self-evaluation is important: They tell you the trajectory of things.
  16. Yes and no. What we're really discussing is the possibility of happiness. Everyone knows that suicide is moral when that possibility is gone; what we disagree about is where to draw the line that marks it. This is a particularly tricky question because it involves causality, free will, human efficacy, evaluation and a few other things, all tangled up together. Chronic pain and illness happens to be a convenient example; any situation that diminished the possibility of happiness far enough would work. What's essentially been argued is: 1: anybody can be happy, in any situation 2: anybody can move from any situation to one that allows for happiness 3: some people are just f***ed
  17. I agree with almost everything above. Actually, it's the best summary of Egoism that I've seen, to date. That "good" and "evil" are ultimately rooted in pleasure and pain, and that the good is to maximize the former; that the choice to live is also a moral choice; that this standard is different from (and superior to) mere survival, is all true. The only point I'm not sure about is whether men intrinsically want to live. Surely, people intrinsically want to experience pleasure and not pain (that's a built-in part of what those words mean), but there are so many different ways in which to do that. A desire is not a binary thing; it has an intensity which can vary wildly. Furthermore, even if two men held all of the same values, they could still prioritize them differently (which would still lead them to opposite choices). And to want to experience pleasure and not pain isn't the same as wanting to flourish, which is a much more specific (and volitional) attitude. I don't believe men intrinsically want to live, but I do think they should strive to. So (if I understand correctly), if Sweeney Todd wants these things then he should want life, but if not then morality sort of ceases to apply and anything goes. We'd defend ourselves against him, of course, and might have to kill him, but we couldn't really call him a bad guy; his goals were just different from ours. No, there is no Hell to threaten him with, but isn't he one of the bad guys? You're right that it depends on the motives which prompted such behavior, and that's where I think he committed the basic sin which enabled the rest: he gave up. In the face of pain and adversity, he gave up on ever trying to reach for anything better and devoted the remainder of his existence to - to what? Anger and pain. Regardless of when or how one eventually dies, one must never give up on life in that way. Absolutely. And right up until her last moment (regardless of when that moment came) she'd have choices to make; there would be alternatives open to her, and it'd be her responsibility to make the most she could of them. Even if this meant nothing more than winning one more game of Chess or formulating a parting statement to someone she cherished, she would still be in charge of the quality of the rest of her own life. And I don't think her death would necessarily be a form of surrender or renunciation, depending on how she spent the last of her time. --- Sensory values (such as the physical sensations of pleasure or pain) are built-in and automatic; we all know which of them to pursue and which to avoid. Conceptual values are not; they depend on our conscious convictions, and they aren't always right. It is possible for people to hate what's good for them and revel in their own destruction. We should want to live as men if we want to live at all; the only alternative is oblivion. We should want to live because it's the only opportunity for joy, beauty or meaning that any of us will ever have; the dead can't have fun. The very possibility of goodness, as such, rests on life. We should want the good (whatever extent is possible to us, in whatever form) because it is good. There is no inherent meaning built into life; only what we give it, by the way we spend it. Each of us invents the meaning of his own life (usually not intentionally). To want the best in all things, day after day, is to value your own meaning and your self. To hold onto that desire against hardships and adversity only multiplies your glory when they end but you don't. To give it all up over pain or ugliness is to incorporate that ugliness into your own identity and make it your meaning - and nothing could be uglier than that. When someone says "there is no good" or "it's just not worth it" it speaks less to the nature of reality than to the nature of their soul. That's where the bottom of it seems to be. Not in "life, if you want it" nor in "values, if you hold them" but the very possibility of goodness, as such (if there is ever to be such a thing as "the good"). Sorry for all the poetry.
  18. Of course. I am, in all likelihood, about to do the very same things. There's a time to take great, cautious deliberations in these things and a time to "take chances, make mistakes and get messy", and I believe we've arrived at the latter. Besides, I'm no stranger to 'rough rhetoric.' No. What Sweeney Todd experienced was not 'joy' in the sense we mean it; it was not a healthy or life-affirming thing, nor is a life devoted to revenge a true and flourishing life. In a sense, although his heart beat until the very end of the movie, I believe he died in that scene - and this is the very sort of 'suicide' which I am condemning (the fundamental thing). Hold on.
  19. Hell, yes! I have a thought experiment for you, though. Suppose someone wanted to blow themselves up, along with a number of innocent civilians. Let's say they aren't Muslim (so there isn't necessarily anything crooked in the reasoning behind it); they aren't doing it for 42 virgins, but simply because they want to kill and die. There's no reason for them to think about their own self-interest (since they want to die) nor to respect the rights of anyone else (since they want to die). What, if anything, would be immoral about blowing themselves up? At the end of this song, Todd declares that he's alive and full of joy... But is that true?
  20. In one sense, yes. If I take Advil in order to cure my headache, simply because I have one, I am not necessarily dedicating my entire life to the avoidance of pain. I am not saying "I'll never strive for virtue or greatness again"; all I am saying is "this specific thing hurts, so I'll take this concrete action to fix it". Yes, that's an "ultimate end" in that it is an end in itself, and I see nothing wrong with that. It is not my "ultimate end" as the meaning of my entire life, which would be extremely wrong. Even Howard Roark would put his architecture aside, from time to time, to have sex with Dominique (although he refused to give it up permanently). This is why I keep coming back to the distinction between how we treat our highest, most important goals, and those we hold as part of everyday life. For pain to count in both of these areas would condemn us to a life like Keating's; for it not to count in either, the Black Knight's. Yet those cannot be our only options, and they aren't - so long as we mind that distinction. Absolutely. To endure some pain in order to reach some goal, however, does not mean that the pain doesn't count; if that were the case then there would be nothing to endure; it only means that one holds a pair of mutually exclusive values (or, in this case, a value and a disvalue) and must give the lesser one up for the greater one. Furthermore, if pulling your hand out of a box of pain simply because it hurts constitutes a moral failure, then it's a sin every single human being on Earth has probably committed. I know I have; I suspect you also have. There are people to whom pain truly doesn't count because their ability to sense it was stunted from birth. We don't praise them for it, nor hold them up as moral exemplars; we give them medical attention. It's not a pleasant or happy thing. Now, in one sense it is true that avoiding pain does further one's own happiness, to the extent that it usually prevents damage and injury to one's body (which happens to be my entire point about the Black Knight). However, this is an abstract and conceptual connection, and to assert that every child and anti-conceptual mentality is aware of it is wrong; just as wrong as calling them wrong for removing their hands from hot stoves. Your position, taken as an absolute (as you seem eager to make it), is not tenable. You must either isolate and identify its literal and absolute grain of truth or else continue preaching an overgeneralization which no organism should ever attempt to practice.
  21. No problem. And I realize that it's not a pissing contest. I was not trying to point out that I've endured more than MisterSwig (which, in light of the nerve pain he mentioned, would almost certainly be false) but that I've explained what I did endure, in order to better ground this discussion in reality. In light of his nerve pain, I'm sure his experiences would be infinitely more useful here than my own. I have read the article you linked to. I'm not sure what to say about it, yet; there are a few more things I'm still chewing on.
  22. Yes. There's a difference between errors of ignorance and moral failures, which we'd be very wrong to omit. Even if suicide could be shown to be universally immoral, no such posthumous judgements would follow; like any other moral principle, one would have to carefully apply it to the context of every individual's life. You'd also be absolutely correct if you'd said that my entire epistemic argument revolves around "possibilities and presumptions". It does. That's not a bug, but a feature. Morality is about making choices. When we speak of moral principles, we're speaking of standards by which to judge our own choices and methods for improving them (according to those standards). We don't automatically know the consequences of our choices, in advance; if we did then neither epistemology (with which we predict such consequences) nor morality (with which we weigh them) would have any meaning, whatsoever. All we know about the future are possibilities and presumptions, in varying degrees of clarity and accuracy, and the aim of all such sciences is to improve them (since their quality is literally a matter of life and death). Although I'm usually not comfortable with dividing human inquiry up into separate areas which obey different rules, it does stand to reason that the distinguishing characteristic of "philosophy" is in the identification of those possibilities and presumptions which are universal to every man, in any possible situation. That's our cognitive gold standard. Now, if you were to deny that I've established the universality of some of my claims, you'd be completely correct. That's what I have left to debug, however; not their speculative nature. Certainly. You posited that someone who was completely cut off from reality could still enjoy contemplating the contents of their own cognition, but that content could only be drawn from their experiences in reality. They may choose to rearrange, integrate and restructure it however they pleased, but all of the raw material would have to come from their senses. If all they had to build with was pain and fear then no amount of thinking would transform it into anything else; they would have nothing to contemplate except more pain and fear. Garbage in, garbage out. This is what it means for an experience to provide "spiritual fuel" and what it means for such fuel to run out. Now, the process of burying a mind under such muck is a long, slow, gradual one, which can be resisted for a while; in this sense you're completely correct. But morality (and Egoism in particular) is not about what happens on this or that day, but over the course of an entire lifetime; all of the things which render "lifeboat scenarios" irrelevant also apply to however long a person can choose to be happy in spite of any external torment. Furthermore, if taken as the rule and not as the exception, your scenario amounts to a denial of the relationship between sensation and cognition. Hence the soul-body dichotomy. And to your credit, that error lines up perfectly consistently with quite a number of your statements on this thread (which leads me to suspect that it's an honest mistake, but not an isolated slip of the tongue). I completely agree with the spirit of those statements; that each of us is fundamentally in control of our own destinies and happiness; the masters of our own fate. But that control is not total or unilateral (not even within our own minds) specifically because it's connected to so many external things in so many ways. We accomplish nothing by pretending that the issue is simpler than it really is.
  23. I suppose we ought to celebrate the fact that our current president can openly praise Rand's work, without being tarred and feathered. It's quite a leap from Obama's snide dismissals, a few years ago, and everyone's silence before that. Somehow, though, I don't feel like celebrating quite yet.
  24. Indeed. I do agree that pain is a negative, that any course of action in which one's anticipated values sum to less than zero is wrong and that suicide is moral in any situation in which there is no net-positive course of action. I don't think you should revile her for it or anything like that; the sort of "immorality" I mean just isn't comparable to that of, say, Hitler. Also, regardless of the morality of suicide, I'd like to point out that everyone has the right to die; it's not anyone else's decision to make. We probably also agree on how one ought to feel about self-destruction (of anyone but Hitler). I'm not as sure about Galt's hypothetical suicide, and still less sure about Cheryl Taggart's.
  25. Absolutely. And in that specific sense, I wholeheartedly agree (both in your conclusion and your estimate of its importance). Like "value", what's "important" or "meaningful" depends on your purpose. Information that's relevant to a surgeon may not be relevant to an astrophysicist because they'd use it for different reasons, in pursuit of different goals. And pain is not the meaning of life. It's not relevant to our highest values. It does not matter in the long run, except as a possible impediment to one's pursuit of one's own happiness (and a problem to be disposed of). The fundamental distinction between Roark's response to pain and the Black Knight's is in the range of the goals for which they'll bear it. This is an "important" distinction if our moral code is meant to help real people make real choices, here on planet Earth. Of all the pains I have ever experienced, the achievement of my fullest potential has never been my primary reason for alleviating them. It has been one reason, but never the main one. My primary reason for wanting to avoid pain is because IT HURTS!!!