Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by softwareNerd

  1. Nope. Not by Rand's definition. The book can be about extremely evil people, and nothing else, and it would still be Romantic Realism.
  2. Yeah, that's why I mentioned Rearden, Mallory and Dominique. This might be Rand's major aesthetic shortcoming: to think that depicting the final outcome in a character is better than depicting the process. To depict the "perfect hero" as being in a state where he has already gone through the volitional internal mental processes and struggles, before the reader encounters him... I think that's an aesthetic error, and the main non-Romantic Realist aspect of her fiction. I don't see him as being more aesthetically perfect even compared to Francisco -- who is portrayed as pretty damned flawless.
  3. There's a sense in which they are. Rand wanted her heroes to be perfect. So, it would not be enough to give Howard Roark his single-minded passion and rationality; she also had to have him be right in his choices. Rationality can lead to the "right" conclusion in the sense that it is the conclusion that all the available evidence, known to the decider at that point in time. points to that conclusion. Unfortunately, this is not how reality works: rationality does not lead to coming to the "retrospectively-right" conclusion 100% of the time. Rational people have to re-evaluate, correct mistake, an change path all the time. This is something that Rand's writing misses. Further, humans are not rational in every moment. We are rational animals... not just rational "beings". Our rationality allows us to be alert about our "animal" impulses and our irrational biases, and allows us to correct conclusions and actions that arise from them. So, once again, the process is not smooth. If you look at some of Rand's positive characters: Rearden is often used as an example, but you have Dominque and Steve Mallory and so on... then Rand does give them some flaws and idiosyncrasies. But, she seems to have had this idea that the hero should be flawless. So, if you want to look for a Howard Roark in the real world, ask yourself if the real world has got people who have a single-minded vision, and pursued it against contemporary advice, and had to fight all sort of battles, but came out vindicated and successful in the end. Turn on the NPR "How I Built This" podcast, and you should find a few examples.
  4. 19th century: Alexander Dumas (e.g. Count of Monte Cristo) Mark Twain Harry Beecher Stowe (Uncle Tom's Cabin) Nathaniel Hawthorn
  5. Could you clarify...what would you call them? What choices are you thinking of here?
  6. If Ethics brought you to Objectivism, the "Virtue of Selfishness" (VoS) would seem like a good place to go next. However, I would echo Reidy and suggest you read fiction first, at least The Fountainhead. My sense is that reading Fountainhead before Virtue of Selfishness allows the book to function a bit more like fiction is supposed to, whereas reading VoS right before The Fountainhead can remove some of the mystery and discovery that a reader feels as the plot unfolds.
  7. I don't get that from reading his manifesto.
  8. Opening paragraph from the murderer's manifesto: "In general, I support the Christchurch shooter and his manifesto. This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas. They are the instigators, not me. I am simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion. Some people will think this statement is hypocritical because of the nearly complete ethnic and cultural destruction brought to the Native Americans by our European ancestors, but this just reinforces my point. The natives didn’t take the invasion of Europeans seriously, and now what’s left is just a shadow of what was. My motives for this attack are not at all personal. Actually the Hispanic community was not my target before I read The Great Replacement. This manifesto will cover the political and economic reasons behind the attack, my gear, my expectations of what response this will generate and my personal motivations and thoughts." PDF (will auto-delete in 2 weeks)
  9. There are some older topics on the forum:
  10. Here's a list of virtues, according to Rand. it starts with the shortest summary, from Rand's short essay on Objectivist Ethics, published in "The Virtue of Selfishness": "The three cardinal values of the Objectivist ethics ... are: Reason, Purpose, Self-esteem, with their three corresponding virtues: Rationality, Productiveness, Pride."
  11. Why are you linking to Islamic Dua page? Are you a sophisticated advertising bot?
  12. I've got my popcorn ready to see what crap you come up with.
  13. So, it sounds like your parents think you're gay, or think you may be gay. If you confirm that you are gay, what do you anticipate their reaction will be?
  14. Like he'd get away with that. It's like the folk who want to introduce a Federal Sales tax saying that it will replace the income tax.Not being rationalists, we know it's saddle us with both. Yang wants both... a sales tax (VAT) and universal basic income. It'll be a disaster.
  15. Even though the OP has gone silent, i wanted to add to my previous post. Not only can one not find a CPL by chasing it in the abstract, but doing so can be positively destructive. Instead of the classic case where your parents force you to become a doctor, lawyer, engineer from too young an age... it can easily become you, doing the similar thing to yourself. This is true even it you push yourself into a non-traditional, "live poor forever" artistic profession, in cases where you might really take years to realize (or never realize) that you only ought to have dabbled, as a hobby.
  16. Well, we still have the foundational questions: what are rights? why do we recognize them ... indeed, pretty much create them. And why we should allow equal rights to all ... which of course we do not do, because we do make exceptions and draw specific lines around specific humans... and those exceptions and delineations are objectively justifiable by the very nature of rights, and by their very purpose.
  17. Posing it that way makes it seem it is primarily about biology, whereas it is actually about the nature and origin of rights.
  18. I think the most likely outcome is the division we're seeing between states with strongly Christian voters, and states with a strong Democratic base. Given a likely Trump victory in 2020, I guess the SCOTUS will finally erode Roe v. Wade. However, the SCOTUS will decide that an individual state has the right to make a law moving the line from Roe to some shorter duration. It is unlikely to say that the line must be draw at least at some minimum number of weeks. So, the liberal states will be unaffected by the SCOTUS's decision. Bottom line, some southern states will end up with restrictive laws... too bad for the citizens there. And, it's likely to take at least another generation for rollback to start in the south, at a state level. Meanwhile, at least there will be some liberal states that draw the line pretty close to birth. The closer the better.
  19. Good to see some states are going in the opposite direction from the Christian radicals.
  20. No, not if fun and value are intertwined. Too many people look at Roark and misinterpret him as a stoic, driven to deliver value to the world at great personal sacrifice. Not at all surprising... this is what it looks like to people who do not understand the fun of working in a field that gets your heart pumping. I did not say that finding a central purpose is impossible. I said that you aren't going to find it if you go looking for it. It works the other way around: you try things that seem like fun (and give you objective value... not hedonistic things you regret). Of the things you try, some seem more fun that others. If you pursue those, and start to become more adept, you'll find that you get deeper into it, become more of an expert, and it is even more fun that before. That way, you might well discover a central purpose. But, even if you do not... it isn't something to sweat. All that matters is the purposeful pursuit of value: because that's what will bring you a deep sens of happiness. Not sure what absurdism is (I'm not a philosophy buff, and don't plan to look it up either). You correctly answer that we should seek out rational goals that make us happy. Yes, it is subject to our knowledge. You say that makes it non-objective. Objectivism actually uses the term "objective" differently. In Rand's terminology, she's say (instead), that values are not intrinsic. However, they aren't subjective either. There's a difference between choosing with a toss of a coin and choosing with all the adult knowledge we can bring to bear on a subject, coupled with asking other people for advice, reading books and so on. This latter approach is what Objectivism considers "objective". The whole reason we're even having this conversation is that you assume that you can think about things, get other opinions, and make decisions. There's really no such thing as intrinsic knowledge anyway. Bottom line: use the best of your knowledge, and seek out advice from people you consider more knowledgeable. Couple this with how you feel -- emotions are not tools of cognition, but are extremely important in giving us automated feedback about our likes and dislikes. Put all this together as best you can to figure out what value-pursuit seems to be most interesting to you. Then, go for it. You'll likely make a lot of mistakes, and take a lot of wrong paths. So, you watch, think, emote, and course-correct. I don't know the details here. But, yes there are times we want some goal that is not immediate, and we have to go work through negative experiences to get there. Being animals, we always have the here and now -- current happiness and comfort -- singing a siren song to us. As humans, we are able to imagine the better long-term future, and are able to be disciplined about keeping our focus there. It is not easy --- as many people who try to lose weight will testify. Still, it is possible -- even with some slips, falls and a few backward steps.
  21. Not really. Personally, I don't want a life that is an ongoing struggle that produces some happy outcome every now and then. That's drudgery. Consider successful financial analysts/investors. Would you say they dislike the day-to-day mechanics of the job, but continue to do it so that they can experience the happiness of being right? I cannot imagine any of them having that attitude and doing very well. Quite the opposite. They enjoy the intellectual challenge... the looking for opportunities... the analysis that yields some new insight... the integration of different data-points. That's what keeps them going. Yes, of course they would not do it if they thought there was no payoff coming. But they play because the game is fun to play... and yes, they want to win too. Enjoying art and philosophy is one thing, but making it a career is something quite different. You do not become an artists by aiming at that painting or sculpture that you want to produce. You need to love the doing: the process. If it does not feel like a fun game while you're doing it, what's the point doing it at all? Of course, every task has a lot of boring parts. It is the general love for the process that keeps people persevering. It is what drives a dilettante artist to spend years and money learning techniques even though it means not producing satisfying works of art. it is what drives an analyst to read a boring document, hunting for some clues about a business. As for a central purpose. Don't go looking for it: you aren't going to find it. None of us is born with one either. Instead of a big, ambitious central purpose, aim for a simpler goal: what type of things do you think you could enjoy doing? How did you end up in your current course of study? Did the field of investing interest you? If not, is there anything else? If not, you just have to try things... until you find something that seems interesting. Then, pursue that.
  22. You say you are at university and that you have postponed you plans for philosophy and art. As things stand today, what career are you headed toward? Doctor, lawyer, scientist, programmer, manager?
  23. The typical advice from financial advisers to clients is to put their money into an index fund, getting a combination of: low commissions and lowered temptation to try an beat the market. In general, this is still good advice. but... ... it is based on a key assumption that the future U.S. performance will be pretty much like the past. Stocks can be hurt by inflation, but their prices inflate too. And, couple that to an unwritten assumption that statist governments have an incentive to subsidize the most common vehicle of investment. A true hyper-inflation type scenario is different. But, since such situation has not really occurred in U.S. history, a financial adviser will never advise you to plan for it; not qua financial adviser. A few economists might be willing to predict hyper-inflation in the U.S., but they're basing their advice on a theory that has not been borne out for a century. One can compare the DOW vs. Gold, but looking at the DOW "priced in gold", how many ounces of gold would it take to buy the DOW. Source: https://www.macrotrends.net/1378/dow-to-gold-ratio-100-year-historical-chart A big problem with this raw chart is that the price of gold was fixed in the U.S. from the great depression all the way to Nixon. So, the relatively bad performance of the DOW during the 1970s was gold shooting up in price from many years of pent up legal binding. Given that legal context, one really ought to look at post-1980 data. Which gives us this portion: Since 1980, the only time when one could have bought gold and still be better off than the Dow today was the years between 2000 and 2008. Notice that this is pre-Great recession, pre-housing-crisis, not post. Why? because the factor at play was the DOW rather than gold. It was the DOW that was shooting up. Since 2009, the DOW has shot up again, far beyond its previous highs. Since about 2012, the price of gold has not followed. Consequently, the DOW has risen significantly in gold terms. if you think the DOW is in a new bubble, then that might be an even better (as in history-based) reason to buy gold than a hyper-inflation scenario. However, betting against the stock market averages is something that a typical financial adviser will not recommend because it is usually a way to under-perform. My personal view on gold is that if I own it, it will likely under-perform the stock-market over most multi-decade periods. Personally, I don't see a complete break down of the U.S. system during my lifetime. I'm also aware that in a complete breakdown, either the government or some thug is likely to take my gold from me, and to prevent that it may become necessary to hide it and not actually use it... making its value theoretical. But, as I said, I don't expect anything even close to this scenario in my lifetime. I think gold is a decent multi-generation asset, if you want to buy some to leave to your grand children. Even here, buying something like a rental property is likely to have better returns, because it is a true investment. Finally, if you do buy gold, beware of the scammers out there. Companies that hype the coming inflation etc. are dicey. Many of them try to convince their customers to buy coins that are not near 100% gold. So, if you do buy physical gold, stick with regular U.S. Gold eagles and the like.
  • Create New...