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Adleza

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  1. So I have been away for a while, missed these forums. I'm typing from a hospital computer. I think this God thing is addictive. The prayer habit is strong . Even so, I'm feeling more stable and more whole, and am begining to see that praying- asking for something, whether it is help, general guidance, an object, whatever- is potentially dangerous. Asking a god for something removes the responsibility, even the possibility of achieving it yourself. If you fail, a god can be a scapegoat, in the same manner. This distorts reality in a serious way, renders the individual helpless in their own minds. That's so screwed up it gives me the creeps. About a week ago, my boyfriend of 5 years started having abdominal pains, suffered for a couple days, and I finally dragged him to the hospital. (He will be fine, but it was terrifying for a few days even after we got here.) When I decided he was going to the hospital, manly pride or no, was when the destructive power of prayer really hit me. The habit thing to do would be to pray that he feel better. Since we aren't completely gone, he would have eventually got to the hospital, but allowing ourselves to remain helpless (through handing control to an imaginary being) would have prolonged the time that we stayed at home (I don't know by how much). To be honest, I felt VERY helpless. My 'other half' was suffering, I could do absolutely nothing to help him (I thought). Again, my first reaction when I feel helpless is to pray for strength, guidence, etc., but without prayer I had two choices. Sit and do nothing while he lay on the floor in pain, or figure out something to do. Obviously the first choice is not really even one to consider. So I figured out something I could do (take him to the hospital whether that made him feel wimpy or not). Once I made the decision to kick myself and use my rational brain, it was a rapid, obvious choice, and only possible in a timely manner because I HAD TO take responsibility for my own actions. Brilliant. I love you guys. Another day and he would have been in intensive care, not bored and getting better in the normal hospital wing.
  2. Thanks for all your input- been away for a while. I think for now I will just stick to talking with him without any mention of a particular philosophy. Try to appeal to his intellgence- I think it will be easier without presenting discussion as a particular thing. Also that way if he talks to my dad about any of it, my dad will be very hesitant to say to my brother that I am stupid (he'd be quick to label Ayn Rand or Objectivism as evil). As far as Heinlein, strangely enough my dad has been pushing Heinlein on my brother (and did to me at his age), and my mom hasn't said anything so... who knows?
  3. Ah! Of course! You know, oddly enough, I hadn't thought of the first point you made. What Evangelical said: "An interesting topic might be to discover the extent to which these two, religiosity and altuism, have been mistakenly used as surrogates for strength of values." This would be closest to what I was looking to investigate, and would make a fantastic research question. Thank you My mom gets Time, I'll see if she can dig that one up for me. (On an unrelated note, is there a way to quote and respond to multiple people within one post, so I don't have to make multiple posts?)
  4. Right, to clarify, my intention would be basically that last sentence there. Most psychology tends to lump everyone in together, in the search for an average to write about. Another thing on my mind while writing this is my experience with some counselors, and the experience of another poster with a counselor- basically if you don't fit the norm, many counselors will encourage you to forget about your set of values, because they are obviously wrong and / or hurtful.
  5. Ah... sorry. While I was writing that I was thinking of another post that included a link to a Department of Altruism at a university. Bad stuff. I mean altruism as sacrifice in order to help another. But I just now went and looked in a dictionary, and that seems to be the actual definition. So nevermind. I'll rephrase that: Objectivists are not altruistic.
  6. I'm a grad student in psychology, and my faculty advisor is old, tenured and doesn't have many friends in the department, which means he is open to me doing non-traditional research. First a little background. In psychology, both research and counseling, a few ideas are held to be self-evident, or at least "just how it is." Among these are: 1. Altruism leads to happiness. The more you help people, the happier you are. 2. Faith in any god or gods leads to happiness, for one or more of the following reasons: Faith gives a person guidence in his or her life- being given rules to live by by God or religious leaders keeps people from being anxious about the decisions they make. Being part of a religious group gives a person an instant social group of like-minded people, and having lots of social support makes people happier. Additionally, being part of a faith group and being altruistic generally go hand-in-hand. (I don't mean that religious people are more altruistic. I mean that religious organizations often do community-oriented things, such as soup kitchens, building houses, mission trips etc.) 3. Another assumption that is made (though the research is not as supportive of this point) is that people in collectivist cultures (think Japan, for example) are generally happier than people from indiviualistic cultures (think America). Also, within the same culture, people who score higher on collectivism scales (people who place more importance on their social group or family) tend to be happier. (The validity of dividing cultures into a Indiviualism / Collectivism dicotomy is begining to be questioned, but the terms are still used quite frequently.) Now, as it turns out, for many, many people, these assumptions hold true (though the findings on the third one are shakier and more complicated). People who are involved in community service often score higher on happiness or satisfaction scales. People who go to church, or at least believe in some god, also tend to report higher happiness / contentment with their lives. Rogers, the first Humanism counselor (1950's or so) often told people who were depressed to go help other people, perform some kind of community service, and many of his clients experienced a lifting of their depression. My question to you is this- Would it be worth studying happiness in Objectivists? After poking around on these forums, it struck me that people who have been living by Objectivism for a long time (I mean, not someone who is going through the growing pains of realizing they haven't thought at all during thier life) seem to be very happy people. Content. Confident in their abilities to interact with the world, and secure in the knowledge that they are great humans. ALSO: Not altruistic in the way the word is used in psychology. ALSO: Aethists. ALSO: The strongest individualists in existence. Unless I am off the mark in some major way, this would make for a very interesting paper. (That probably wouldn't be published, but who knows...) What are your thoughts on this? Do you think that Objectivists are the happiest people around? (I want to make it clear that I view you all as human beings, not just potential data points. It would be easy to take this all in the wrong way, so please please don't think that I want to poke you all with a stick to see what you do.)
  7. All right, so it has been a few days, and I am not completely content yet, but I have got my blanking-out under control and am actually ABLE to stand back a little and think. I have lost my unshakable belief in God. What I haven't lost is the habit of having a belief. What is left is that fear everyone talks about. Fear of losing something, fear of the unknown, superstitious fear of God's retribution, etc. The same way that I'm afraid of the dark shortly after watching a horror movie. That being said, the feeling of forcing a blank-out out of existence makes me want to hunt down all my other 'blanks' and toss them out on their ears, too. For example: Yesterday I had to meet with the president of a student club I am running (or trying to run). She is a particularly difficult person because as President, she is doing absolutely nothing, and additionally is on a power trip and is interfering with other people doing anything useful. I was going to meet with her so that she could tell me to stop doing her job. Now, the club members are preparing to vote in a new President, which she is unaware of, so I needed to keep myself under control and my mouth shut. So, on the way to talk with her, my habit of asking God's help/guidence/whatever through a difficult situation kicked in, but! I was able to stop myself, and realize that it was very much up to me to determine how I handled the situation. It was fantastic! What is likely obvious to most of the posters on this forum, and something I know in my head, is that when a person is given control (even the illusion of control) of any situation, they are more likely to succeed. That is what this was. I'm in control of myself, something I have always known, but this darn blank in my head was keeping me from using that knowledge. So anyway, once again I appreciate the little push you all gave me to start thinking.
  8. Ahaha! I would, but I think my reaction might be somewhat unique. Since Marx didn't singlehandedly destroy his whole movement when he had the manifest printed...
  9. Thanks both of you. I'll try to keep in mind that he IS a youngish teen. I'll see about getting him that essay- As a side note I don't think he has actually read any communist materials. I had my own wanna-be commie phase that lasted about 6 months and was stopped abruptly when I read Marx's Communist Manifesto, ironically enough. Everyone always says "It looks so good on paper," but it doesn't- it looks incredibly stupid on paper. But at any rate, thanks for your comments.
  10. My brother Asa is almost 14, and very bright. Unfortunately, for a father he has a man who could play James Taggart in a movie without having to act. My mom and step-dad are fairly reasonable people, but their influence on my brother is paltry compared to my dad's influence (for many reasons). My dad was physically abusive in the past (until I started telling community members and nearly ruined his reputation), but for some reason still has 1/3 custody of my brother, so has plenty of time to indoctrinate him with backwards thinking. When I visited home last, Asa and I had an argument regarding communism- both the general philosophy of it and the actual political implentation of it. Like most young Communisists, he hadn't thought very carefully about it, but wouldn't budge very far on his positions- he figured I was just being mean, or I didn't know what I was talking about, or I just wouldn't listen to what he was saying... This is just one conversation among various other behavioral things- he is losing the sense that he should think for himself, or that he has to take responsibility for some things, etc. Asa would not be inclined to read any of Rand's non-fiction, and I can't give him Atlas Shrugged or the Fountainhead because of the sex involved (I know what he talks about to his friends, but my mom would FREAK out). My mom and step-dad are also a bit suspicious of this whole Objectivism thing anyhow, and will object if I start sending him things by Ayn Rand. (My mom thought Rand had some sort of connections with the KKK.) Knowing that I am no expert on Objectivism, how do I avert this potential disaster? I would point him to these forums, but he can only use the internet when my mom is in the same room with him. Thanks for any input- he has gone from a pretty fun kid to insufferable over about a year.
  11. First I want to thank everyone- I am touched that you would be as supportive and thoughtful of a complete stranger. I'd also like to add that the people who make the religious cartoon pamphlets would have a field day with you guys. (I mean that in a complimentary way, those pamphlets always seemed screwy to me.) At any rate, I thought a lot about what you all said, about the blanking-out and what not, and didn't sleep much last night. When I woke up I had the very odd sensation of being absolutely alone, yet absolutely whole. If that makes any sense. I felt like I had been cut off from something, but rather than losing something, I felt like I had regained somthing. (I wish I was better at explaining.) As I woke up more, and during the day so far, that feeling has dissolved into something that feels uncomfortably like panic. I do have a fear of being alone- I do actually have some deep-seated beliefs regarding the absence of God (and I use beliefs intentionally and with its proper meaning). But I felt it this morning, and I very much want to stop this blanking stuff. So I appreciate everyone's input... I'll pick away at this blank until it is gone. [edit added a word]
  12. Yes exactly! The first time through (I haven't reread the speech yet, just thinking about it) I thought the blanking he spoke of was intentional ignoring of something, not an involuntary response... You know what- It is very like the SEP (sombody elses problem) invisibility shield from Hitch Hiker's Guide- no matter how hard I try, I can't look at it. Ahhh... not to compare literary and philisophical genius with silly entertainment... I'll re-read that speech tomorrow. (edited for clarity)
  13. I appreciate your replies. The belief = habit idea had crossed my mind, as well as God = my imagination/someTHING else. The bit about allowing even one contradiction as being a blanking-out, too. For whatever reason it is very helpful to hear other people say it though. As I think about it, I can't even think in my head what I am typing on the screen... which doesn't make much sense actually. What I mean, is I can say/type the words: "My belief is a habit, which I have enoyed very much, that I can see is empty of reason, a habit that gives me a feeling identical to the alternative of dropping the habit and embracing reason... I am pretty sure that when I ask for guidence I am seeking guidence from myself, that when I pray thankfulness that I am thanking myself, that when I ask for something from God it is with the certainty that I myself am going to have to achieve it, that when I pray for forgiveness it is a waste of my time because I often already know what to do to fix whatever I have screwed up. There is NO reason for me to believe in God past a habit I have for a long time." I can say all that, but when I try to actually think it, it is as if my brains are sliding around a locked box. (I don't mean literally... ) Honestly I am having a hard time even concentrating on words I just typed. This is an awful feeling. But I do appreciate your replies. I think they help because it doesn't require so much effort to read them as it does to actually generate the thoughts.
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