Thank you. You've all helped me a great deal. Sometimes I wonder whether rational men and women really do exist. The people around you can get too much to handle sometimes. Yes, I agree: 1. There's no such thing as a "rational rationality". What I really did mean were people who do not just *act* morally but whose rationality is the cause of their actions. 2. I'm conflicted about most people around me. Thoughts in contradiction are something I have never accepted and I find it most frustrating that not only do other people do accept them but that they do not think of what pain they *unintentionally* (hah! ) inflict. The reality they *choose* to evade can (and generally does) come back for them and I get pulled up along with them. 3. Emotions are the consequence of our philosophy and NOT its cause. What I think: 1. Man's fundamental choice is not whether he has a philosophy or not but whether he chooses to base it on rational premises or irrational ones. Hence, all man's actions proceed from his philosophy and that is your only argument against him, something Ayn Rand was a master at using. What I meant when I (unnecessarily harshly) called her writings ad hominem was that she did not prove anything to any man except by using his nature as an argument, which, incidentally, was also used to obtain what she called the "sanction of the victim". It CANNOT be otherwise. 2. You cannot argue with a man but on his terms and it is precisely the act of not doing so that closes his mind to any reasons you might put forth; the very idea of compulsion as an argument negates the value of any arguments you do make. 3. True concepts and valid propositions CANNOT be arrived at by chance. Philosophy is a system and no window could give the complete picture. That a concept is true or a proposition valid implies that it fits completely into a rational system of thought, which, by definition, is not the result of chance. 4. The only sign of a rational man is his love of that which is the product of sincere effort and of the effort above the product. The effort arising from a conscious *programming* of my mind to the above clears my mind of doubts and contradictions. It is the *lived* rationality of which I have spoken. Without it there is no life and hence no rationality. What I'm still worried about though: 1. I come from a deeply theistic background and find atheism very, very hard to accept. I am convinced that no God would want to be had faith in but rather to be rationally accepted. For starters, could you prove to me why "existence is identity" and why the statement "existence has identity" is *incorrect*. Why I ask this question is because I have found my religious philosophy to be of the most advanced form and hence most difficult to fault and that it starts proving the existence of God *assuming* the latter. This makes it of the utmost importance to me whether I hold the first or the second as a foundation to build upon. To heusdens: That people agree on something or not is different from whether they're being rational or irrational. Rationality does not imply agreement. To disagree with a vendor as to the price of his goods is not being irrational. To the contrary, it is most rational, for it means that a trade shall be made only by mutual consent to mutual profit. You ought to read John Galt's speech and find out more about the contributions and rewards of industrialists and labourers. Regarding whether anything can ever be said to be rational or reasonable or whether they may differ for different people I shall say only that no two people in contradiction can both be right: for A is A. Thank you again all of you.
What do you say to a person who considers the difference between right and wrong as a mere difference of opinion? What do you do about a person who places the proverbial "gun" on your temple and says that he doesn't need to be right or just? Ayn Rand, in Atlas Shrugged has appealed to rational people. But, as Gibbon put it, I have, from as far back as I can remember, had , in essence, the same principles that I now hold. So doesn't that make her philosophy "almost superfluous", as far as I'm concerned? What Miss Rand has done for me I can never forget: she has given me words to understand myself. But only I can understand that, can't I? In other words, I want to understand myself, so I can. That's just it. I want to. So now I don't need her help, though I could use it. (As a side thought, I believe that's exactly what she wanted to say: I deserve it only if I don't need it.) Where does that put all those people who don't want to be rational or just or right? Doesn't that preclude the possibility of rational debate? She means nothing to them and yet it is they who perpetrate all the injustice in the world, not I - except inadvertently, of course. (That's something I've stopped being ashamed of, incidentally, because the difference between a flaw of knowledge and a breach of rationality is not whether my decision was rational or not, but whether I was rationally rational, ie. whether I wanted to know whether my rationality had been breached or not.) I wouldn't care a hoot for the beggars who claim hard earned money as their right, but to ignore the real life Mouches isn't so easy. Like the guy said in the film Daredevil, Are you going to reply (like the other guy did), ? Well it doesn't work that way for rationality, which is, by definition, uncoerced. To state it very bluntly: you'll listen to what I have to say only if you know what I'm saying making the effort of typing all this out unecessary. Again, the world is not full of people like James and Orren, but rather of people like Tony and Cherryl, who are rational, but who don't know it, ie. they're not rationally rational. Don't they come into the same category as the people I've described above? They're harder nuts to crack: they have the sanction of their conscience. Correct me if I'm wrong in thinking that rational people desire for themselves and for others a sound philosophy (Objectivism in your case, I presume). But isn't that emphasis misplaced? Rationality cannot be rational unless it is lived. I am not pointing fingers at anybody, mind you, just saying that to live rationality rationally is both necessary and sufficient to result in (note the causal relationship I have suggested here) a sound philosophy, which makes mine a very skeptical view of the teaching of philosophy. Much of what Ayn Rand has said about the people I've described has been ad hominem, in the sense that calling a brainless brute a "brainless brute" sure as hell doesn't make that fella any more sympathetic towards your cause(not that doing otherwise would help, either! ). What it all boils down to in the end is that I'm telling you all this because the guy with the gun's not listening (and he doesn't want to) and I'm getting pretty sore about that. I really don't fancy my rationally rational brain out on the existent floor of my room.