Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Nerian

Regulars
  • Content count

    43
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    2

Everything posted by Nerian

  1. Nerian

    A Complex Standard of Value

    I think everyone knows what is enough. It's really a problem of not caring.
  2. Nerian

    A Complex Standard of Value

    It's not a matter of liking health, it's a matter of it being an objective factor to your enjoyment of life. I cannot fathom how you can enjoy your life while eating yourself into obesity and thereby disease, ugliness and early death. It's not a matter of liking fashion, it's a matter of recognizing the objective reality that how you choose to present yourself in society has important and inescapable effects on your quality of life.
  3. Nerian

    Just working a job to make money

    Is there really anything wrong with just working an easy job to make money while you pursue your interests? For instance, Jujimufu, a trickster and bodybuilder, deliberately got an easy job so that he could have plenty of time and less stress for his leisure pursuits: tricking and bodybuilding. This is the kind of life that makes him happy. He made enough money to support himself, but his work was not his life. He took steps to make his work even easier so that he had plenty of time to go to the gym in the middle of the day. He got all his work done, and he never asked for a raise, so his boss loved him. His leisure pursuits take real commitment and he gets actual joy from them, but they aren't productive. They don't produce anything of value except to him. He enjoys doing flips and showing off. He enjoys having a big muscular body and lifting weights. He's living a life that he enjoys. How could anyone say that he is not being productive, or that he's being self destructive?
  4. Nerian

    A Complex Standard of Value

    I've always found this to be a huge gaping hole in Objectivism. What exactly IS my interest. What exactly IS the standard. How exactly do I deal with the particulars of being a man? Maybe it was obvious to Rand but it's not to me. I always identified those three aspects of man you mentioned a bit different. I identified them as spiritual, mental and physical. Spiritual (pleasure/happiness/joy), mental (mental health, character, mindsets, knowledge, skills), physical (corporeal health, fitness) I like where you are going with this line of thought and it reminds me of some thoughts I've had myself. I postulated complex happiness and complex well-being, even using the term complex, in the naming spirit of complex numbers. I've felt at odds with Objectivists who only focus on one thing about man. Many types of Objectivists make no sense to me. Objectivists who don't care for their health and fitness. Objectivists who pay no attention to their appearance or dress. Objectivists who don't care about actually enjoying themselves. Objectivists who think they have to be serious intellectual types. I've been trying to come up with a practical guide to living beyond ethics. What are the actual things we want? What does living well mean concretely? What are the concrete values of life? I'm trying to integrate scientific knowledge about man's nature and his needs into a more robust and practical conception of self interest. Your self interest could be stated as your flourishing comprising of well-being and life satisfaction. (Scientific Knowledge such as Positive Psychology, Maslow's Hierachy of Needs, Nutrition, Evolutionary Psychology, 16 Basic Desires Theory) My working thesis is as follows: Flourishing → Well-Being (Subjective and Objective) and Life Satisfaction → Joy1(Mental and Spiritual values), Health (Psycho-physical functioning), Wealth (Material values) 1 - the psychological state, not in the sense flourishing. Not just the specific emotion of joy, but joy in living, all types of enjoyment. I use the term joy to avoid confusion with the word happiness. There's a lot packed in there because I know what I mean by the terms. The words are distillations but the parenthesis give some idea of what I mean. Joy, or happiness or better called joy in living: Mental values means virtuous character, mental strength, self-esteem, mental powers. Spiritual values means all sources of enjoyment of life in all its forms physical and mental, active and passive, leisure and work. The day to day, month to month, year to year life as experienced, concrete meat and potatoes. In my conception, health and wealth are only instruments to joy in living, but joy in living is the point (although their attainment can contain enjoyment, the endorphin after a run or the rush of making a million dollars.). However, flourishing cannot be simply joy in living, since a person can experience short term joy in living, while their actual state with respect to reality is declining, such as their finances draining and their health deteriorating. This will also cause a long term drop in joy in living. Health is mental and physical and has to do with the functioning of the mind and body. Psycho-physical functioning means psychological functioning and physical functioning. You want your body to function right. You want your mind to function right. Mental and physical health essentially. In order to have physical health you must meet certain needs of your body. In order to be psychologically healthy, you need to meet certain psychological needs. Some examples of psychological needs are a feeling of autonomy, relatedness and competence. Wealth is your access to material values in the world, including but not limited to goods and services. In the modern world, your access to goods and services is mainly determined by how much money you have, but it's the things in themselves that you want that constitutes the wealth. Some wealth is free such as books from a library, playgrounds, parks, wifi, etc. Furthermore, some people need to work for money. Some people don't. What you really want is access to goods and services, and our base physiological needs are all physical, such as food and water, shelter. The Bottom of Maslow's Hierachy. You can flesh out some of the concretes but the list is often personal. What one person likes, another might not. Here are a few I thought of. The list is non-exhaustive. Examples of Actual Joy in Living→ "Positive Experiences", Self Esteem, Competence, Growth, Accomplishment, Relationships, Engagement, Meaning, Contented, Connection (Friendship), Romance (Love, Sex), Positive Experiences → Basic Desire Satisfaction, Pride, Fun, Engagement/Flow, Curiosity, Laughter, Corporeal Pleasures, Joy, Love, Beauty, Lifestyle, Self Actualization, Personal Power, Sense of Adventure, You can integrate PERMA (Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, Accomplishment) into this but I wanted to be more concrete. I think that a part of happiness is experimenting with yourself. Figuring out what kind of life makes you happy, and what kind of things you like to do and experience. Listening to your heart. Perhaps this is what Branden meant by following your bliss. You can't just sit there and figure out what constitutes joy in living for you. Everyone's wired up in their own way. You discover it through doing. Other values such as a job or career are subservient to happiness, health, wealth, as far as I can tell. A job that makes money is just to attain wealth. A career is really something else. It really aims to serve joy, health and wealth. Happiness, health and wealth can all feed back on each other. A gain in peace of mind (spiritual value) mind through meditation might improve your ability to handle stress and thereby increase your work capacity improving your work and further improving your self esteem (spiritual value) and your income (material value). It can be an upward spiral. Love, in my conception, is a value because of how it makes you feel, and so it's part of 'joy in living' (spiritual value) These are just working ideas. I don't suggest that this is how it really works. And it's just outline. Ultimately it'd be really cool to create a Dao of Flourishing. Something you can read through everyday to keep your mind on what matters. A compilation of wisdom and practical tools for living. 10 Commandments. Various maxims, pithy one liners included. How do you set up a new habit? What habits should you set up? How do you follow a routine? Stoicism offers a lot of great mindsets too. THROW IT ALL IN
  5. Nerian

    My "Ethics Cheat Sheet"

    Your career doesn't have to make money. It just has to be productive. Productive means it creates values. Material wealth is one value. There's a difference. You could make money at your job, and make no money at your career. I like the virtue cheat sheet idea!
  6. Nerian

    How Do You Achieve Bliss?

    From my research, raw cacao contains anandamide, also known as the 'bliss molecule'. I suspect that I got a mild anandamide high.
  7. Nerian

    How Do You Achieve Bliss?

    Trust me. It was the smoothie. I know you're looking for a psychological method... but chemistry is the only way I've ever experienced bliss.
  8. Nerian

    How Do You Achieve Bliss?

    One time I had a bag of raw cacao nibs. I bought them thinking they would be a nice healthy snack, but they were way too bitter and didn't taste good at all. One day I was making a smoothie and I thought why not just dump them in this smoothie? I knew if I didn't use these nibs they would eventually go off, so I thought I may as well experiment. I dumped most of them in the smoothie and blended them in. The smoothie was very grainy with all these nib pieces and wasn't very nice at all so I just chugged the whole thing. What followed was the closest thing to bliss I have ever experienced in my life. I experienced a sense of profound well being like I cannot describe. I was also very motivated to fix anything wrong in my life, and I was happy to accept the challenge. Nothing could bring me down in that state. The world seemed bright. Everything seemed right. I tried to recreate this feeling with another smoothie but I felt nothing the second time... much to my chagrin
  9. Nerian

    Pleasure and Value

    How is it worth going through all that mental suffering for a rare ephemeral scrap of mental enjoyment?
  10. Nerian

    Pleasure and Value

    Thank you, kind stranger
  11. Nerian

    Pleasure and Value

    Are they innate? I don't know. I don't know anything anymore. I don't know what there is even to do in life. What's the point of any of it. What's innate, what's learned? I don't know. But there seems to be nothing worth the struggle. Happiness? A brief spurt of emotional pleasure in a long drag of suffering and effort. How is that worth it? I don't know. It seems like nothing much is worth it.
  12. All non-zero temperature bodies produce electromagnetic radiation so generating heat in some sense always generates light Just playing.
  13. Sorry you feel that way. Who in their right mind would say I haven't at least done due diligence after all that? I just think a better philosophy can be constructed around the ideas that stand up. A return to egoism and a focus on individual happiness is so sorely needed for one thing. I value Rand's work immensely.
  14. Then can we throw out life as the standard of value? Unless you want life with its particular concrete values to be the standard of value, in which case, we are using values to determine a standard of value... which to my mind is about as circular as a circle.
  15. I guess a couple hundred hours of study wasn't enough for me then. My bad. .... or maybe the ideas don't make sense. I guess I can only go with my own judgement. That's all I have. I think I'm aware of the nuances that supposedly solve the problems, I just disagree with them. They are like backward rationalizations and switching meanings mid-argument in most cases. I don't think anyone would say I didn't put in enough study, if they knew how much time I've spent reading and listening to lectures about it. And anyone who thinks I never really understood the ideas, I dunno what to say. No true scotsman I suppose.
  16. What facts of reality make valuing that process of self sustaining action objective, when in the foundation of a system of objective values we have not yet established any objective values? (Since objective values stem from the choice to live in Objectivist theory, surely you cannot use these values to establish the very same values.) And in Objectivist theory, the values you enjoy are supposed to be rationally, objectively determined by the standard of life. Life is the standard of value, and enjoying life is part of life, and how does ne enjoy life? By pursuing and achieving ones values. What values? Those rational objective values, those that support your life! Can you see the problem here? How is this not sophistry? Does Objectivism really sanction enjoying yourself for its own sake? This is condemned as whim worship. Doing something 'because you feel like it' is an Objectivist sin. You're supposed to enjoy life the Objectivist way, the rational way! Otherwise you're not really happy, not really enjoying life. You're on a road to self destruction and your subconscious knows it! Isn't this just a convenient redefinition of terms? First we define it as a process of self sustaining action. Argue from this basis, and then we throw pleasure in because it's convenient. but those are some of the most enjoyable activities. And whence comes the judgement of rational? What I'm trying to point out is that the ethics cannot support the meta-ethical foundations of that very ethics. It's rational if it serves your life... which you value because you choose to live... which you choose on what rational basis? Remember what is rational to you is defined by your ethics and that is the very thing you are trying to establish.
  17. Happiness surely includes the positive emotions sometimes labelled joy. Feeling joy is doing life? How is this empirically true when there are millions of people living counterexamples right now? People doing life, living, surviving, in some cases doing very well, but suffering, unhappy, miserable and in some cases actually depressed. There are high functioning depressives out there. If happiness does not include that, then I have no idea what we are talking about by happiness, and I have little interest in it. What a chore if there's no reward. If you just redefine that as not really living, then that convinces me of nothing about reality. Let's just use terms in their plain meanings. Playing with definitions is meaningless. I really don't see the point in it. I want to get to truth about reality, not play with definitions until my model of reality fits conveniently. For many Objectivists, they never even read the original works! And they feel justified in this. True. But I just gave some opinions and people asked me questions and I responded. It has diverged away from the point, but isn't that the fun of a discussion forum? A spark leads to a fire. It'd be nice if there were a way to split a thread organically, rather than start a new one.
  18. 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.
  19. Isn't that just an apology for a circular argument? People survive all the time and aren't happy. The idea that you need to survive to be alive, and you need to be alive to bhappy, I have no problem with. Obviously, life is a prerequisite for, but doesn't lead to. And the fact that life is a prerequisite says nothing about what in life will make you happy. Achieving life might be in itself pretty boring and unfulfilling. Meaningless even. Life to life, what a drag. All behaviour is based on a drive. What other type of behaviour could there be? Non-driven behaviour? If you choose not to act on drive A that's just because drive B - not to act on it for some other drive - was stronger. I want the cake, but I don't want to be fat, so I don't eat it. A behaviour without a pre-rational drive is in essence a causeless behaviour. I find that logically incomprehensible. Perhaps you have a solution? Well, her whole idea that value's can be based on reason is a pretty big part of Rand. One can only reason from one's pre-rational values, to determine higher order abstract values. because abstract, rational values only have value if they fulfil some pre-rational value. I have no problem with principles that help guide one's actions like independence in matter and spirit, integrity, etc. But living by those principles isn't the path to happiness, nor are they totally required for happiness. They are just functionally useful for getting through life with less problems.
  20. What makes life worth living is not living life. Life for its own sake is tedious, boring, dutiful, meaningless. What makes life living is the concrete experiences one enjoys within it. The pleasures one derives from things. Satisfying one's desires. Pre-rational, visceral, gut-level enjoyment. Withouth rhyme or reason, you just like it. And then life has value as a means to those experiences. Life is not the end, it's a means to an end. Strikingly opposite to Objectivist thought. In my direct experience that is the case. All the Objectivist virtue and ethics couldn't make me happy or make me want to live. It's when I started listening to my own desires and pleasures, and enjoying things for their own intrinsic pleasure that life started to have value and happiness seemed possible. When you're depressed, the only thing that matters is how you feel. That life is a value has no power to shake them from their depression, because it's not true for them. Life is only a value if your specific life is a value to you for other things. Many Objectivists will shift gears and agree that's what they meant all along but they are doing a bait and switch with the meaning of the term life, and it contradicts the fine print of the ethics.
  21. If you are founding an objective morality, and you start that morality with a subjective whim, how can you call that an objective morality? When I say reason or an idea is sterile, I mean it to mean without any motive power. In OPAR, Peikoff condemns one who chooses not to live to lowest rung of hell.
  22. It escapes me too. It's not trying to prove a negative at all.
  23. Modern cognitive science, neuroscience, behavioural genetics and evolutionary psychology Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature Persistence of concepts is no sign of their validity. (if that's what you are insinuating) You can water down tabula rasa and it has some validity. It's true that we aren't born with proper knowledge or innate ideas of objects. But Rand herself said, you don't even have any innate tendancies and that man has no instincts, etc. She meant it in the strong sense, not the watered down sense.
  24. Well, the whole thesis of life as the standard of value, yet morality starts with a choice to live. Why choose to live? That the value in life is to be happy, but life is the standard of value, which makes all other values have value, and you be happy by achieving life, why achieve life, well to be happy, why be happy, to survive, why survive, cause happy. It's circular and sterile. And it contradicts what is understood about evolution and human psychology. And it even contradicts direct personal experience. And it even contradicts Objectivism's view that life's value is the things we enjoy in it. Which is it? And the answer in OPAR is just moralizing assuming the premise. Problems with the view of happiness and survival. Happiness is good because it helps survival, but the point of living is to be happy, but to be happy you must be successful at living, but being successful at living is the point of being happy. We really just want to be happy for its own sake. The way you want an orgasm 'cause it feels good. Pleasure is really the intrinsic value in life. And what we find pleasure in, and what makes us happy, is at root unchosen. Once you go looking into psychology, you find a world of interesting ideas about what we want for its own sake. What our innate drives are. That takes us onto tabula rasa in the face of all the logic and evidence counter to it. Innate drives and inclinations are almost self evident at this point. Especially if you recognize humans are animals like any other. It seems to me also that Objectivism makes no attempt to integrate itself with facts of human nature, what is understood about psychology and cognitive science, how desires and motivations actually work, where they come from and how they interact with our beliefs. Because of this, you find claims that are in gross contradiction with reality, such as reason can determine what is worth doing, that reason can motivate. And I believe it can cause suffering and emotional distress amongst believers. Rand's issues in her life initially surprised me, back when I read her biographies, but not anymore. They follow logically. Living in contradiction with reality is often painful.
  25. I do have an affinity for compatibilist arguments, but it seems to me that there is a point to the retort that it's merely shifting the definition and moving the goal post, not resolving the actual issue.
×