Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Jonathan13

Regulars
  • Content Count

    1142
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    10

Jonathan13 last won the day on April 13 2016

Jonathan13 had the most liked content!

2 Followers

About Jonathan13

  • Rank
    Senior Member

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male

Previous Fields

  • Country
    Not Specified
  • State (US/Canadian)
    Not Specified
  • Relationship status
    No Answer
  • Sexual orientation
    No Answer
  • Copyright
    Copyrighted

Recent Profile Visitors

3814 profile views
  1. Jonathan13

    Conspiracy Theories

    And if you've had any previous experience with conspiracy theorists and their supporters, you've probably developed something of a subconscious smell-test, in which you pick up on the kooky vibe that the theorists are giving off. And beyond that, if you've had first-hand experience in your personal area of expertise in which you've reviewed and very effectively criticized the kooks' "evidence," and then watched them squirm, dodge and evade the criticism, and cling to false positions in spite of the evidence, you've probably acquired an even more sensitive nose for sniffing out kookiness. I really do think that there are traits/characteristics that we pick up on when confronted with nuts and charlatans. The con is always the same, and the "logic" always has a similar flavor of taint to it. You might not always be able to put your finger on it explicitly, but I think that with enough life experience, sensing that something is off is a pretty reliable method of avoiding wasting your time. J
  2. Sure, some music can communicate some emotions to some people (and by "communicate," I mean convey the composer's intended meaning), especially when accompanied by "outside considerations," such as the images and storyline of a film which it is a part of. Most music, without accompanying "outside considerations" does not. It's very common fo I ndividuals to experience differing emotions and meanings in the same piece of music. The same is true of colors and non-representational shapes. Whether they're the components of architecture or absract paitings, some works can communicate to some people. An "outside consideration" which I don't think most people consider is conditioned response. After decades, or even centuries, certain arrangements of musical components become known as representing certain meanings due to their having been tied to those meanings via outside considerations for very long periods of time. Then an original creator comes along, refuses to employ those old cliches, and produces new sounds and expressions that most people call "noise," and only a small percentage of people recognize as exciting and amazingly expressive. Eventually the new style becomes a part of the established "vocabulary," and the traditionalists move on to opposing the next new contribution. So, yes, musicians study, but they also innovate. They generally explore how new and different arrangements affect them as individuals, rather than how effectively they can precisely communicate meaning as if they were writing a novel or essay using an established vocabulary. In my experience as a musician who has created with countless other musicians, a part of the need to reject the old, established cliches is that they often don't evoke what they're said to evoke. Basically, something like this: "Traditionalist musical society says that musical phrase X evokes 'yearning,' but I've never felt it as evoking yearning when it's not accompanied by images and/or lyrics about yearning, so what musical arrangement that I can come up with expresses, on its own, 'yearning' to me?" i don't remember ever having jammed with someone who wanted to follow an established vocabulary rather than his or her own ear and heart. Certainly. A rapid tempo generally coveys energy. But what does that mean? What does it make people feel? It could be interpreted in many different possible ways: fun, exciting, adventurous, frantic, intimidating, out-of-control, or violent, etc. Again, the exact same is true of the absract colors and forms of architecture and abstract paintings: bright, saturated colors convey energy where muted neutrals convey the opposite, and the bright colors' energy can be interpreted in as many different ways as a strong tempo can, and the same us true of slow tempos and desaturated colors: they could be taken to be calm, restful, pleasant, comforting, listless, dull, boring, passionless or dying, etc. Indeed! But there are also other possible interpretations to atonal music other that horror. Many fans of atonal music say that the expression that they are most fond of hearing in it is freshness. They describe it as a spring breeze blowing through an open window. Yes, music can be very meaningful, but it doesn't have to be objective in order to pull that off. Sometimes many people might have similar experiences and find similar meanings. In other cases, most people won't. Music is an abstract art form: it contains elements which are non-representational, but which we nevertheless subjectively find to be similar to things in reality in certain ways, and which we therefore experience as having meaning. Tempo is like a heart beat or a motor or a foot race or a fight. Orange and yellow are like the sun or fire or fruit or urine. Each person experiences what each abstract element means to him or her via what in reality they subjectively interpret it to be most similar to. So, of course the odds are that several people will experience the same or similar sums. J
  3. Well, certain members here have been saying that there is an Objectivist sense of life, and only one, and they've also tied that position to at least implicit statements about others not "integrating" the philosophy well enough, and have also sort of mimicked Rand and her old inner circle in advising others to "check their premises." In other words, the behavior appears to be following the very typical tack of parroting Rand while posing as being highly moral, intellectually superior, and properly "integrated." But, at the same time, the proof is missing. So, it looks like bluff and bluster, and the type that I've seen Objectivists attempt for decades. Perhaps it's not. We'll see. J
  4. False.You were asked to prove something; to back up statements and positions with research and testing. In response, rather than offering any proof, you asserted that one does not prove philosophical tenets the same way one does special science theory via research or testing.Well, there is no other means of proving anything. What do you imagine that the concept “proof” means? You seem to be saying that there is some method other than scientific research and testing which can quality as proof. If that’s what you’re saying, then please identify what that method consists of. Please identify the non-scientific method of proof that you think philosophy employs in establishing its tenets.There is no such method. Proof is proof. Therefore, when you stated that philosophy isn’t like science and doesn’t prove philosophical tenets in “the same way,” what that means, logically, is that one doesn’t have to prove anything in philosophy! See? Understand?Meanwhile, you’ve written a lot on this irrelevant side-issue, but still haven’t provided any proof of the initial position that a sense of life, or any other emotional state, can be reliably integrated with a fully conscious and explicit philosophy. Um, I think what you need to do is to review your own posts. Ever heard the old Swedish proverb, "Sweep first before your own door, before you sweep the doorsteps of your neighbors”? It means that you should apply your standards to yourself prior to applying them to others.Let’s inspect a couple of example items from your doorstep:"You appear to have been infected with the upside down view of philosophy.”Oooh! INFECTED!!!"Listen, if you want to debate the Oist conception of objectivity, start a thread on it. As it stands you don't appear familiar with it.”That’s kind of bossy and snarly. Ordering me what to do! And there’s that unsupported claim that I don’t understand the Objectivist concept of “objectivtiy.” Notice that, after that false assertion of yours, I provided evidence to back up my position, and challenged you to refute it. You haven’t done so. Why not? You seem to have plenty of time to post here about side issues and other distractions. Maybe you should prioritize. Maybe try harder to focus on and address the main substance being discussed. Please, give it a try! Please get back to the substance instead of skirting it or postponing it. Back up your assertion that I’m not familiar with the Objectivist concept of “objectivity.” If you don’t, then your statement complies with the definitions of “bluff" and "bluster." You don’t seem to know what a strawman is. You attempt to force inquiries into the category of strawmen. You infer negative judgments and disingenuousness where none exist. Answering the questions would be much simpler and more effective than all of this side-issue sensitivity and distractions stuff. The above is another example of your not sweeping your own doorstep first. It’s snarly, and has the vibe of your unwillingness to even consider the possibility that you might be contributing to others’ misunderstandings. The failure must be the fault of others! As I said, it’s a two-weay street. But you seem to like — perhaps even need — to believe otherwise. Anyway, please do come back and address the actual substance and challenges that I’ve laid down for you. J
  5. I really don't know what the proposed and hoped-for "objective conceptual vocabulary" of music could possibly entail, but it seems that it's supposed to be something like a language or mathematical equation: Certain arrangements/conbinations of musical elements -- notes, chords, rests, tempo, etc. -- are to add up to and communicate one specific meaning, allowing for no rational disagreement or differences in interpretation. In other words, the chord structure of G then D then C then back to G would equal the concept of, say, "contentment," just as the letters in the word "contentment" add up to and signify the concept "contentment," or just as the numerical elements of "3 plus 4 equals 7." No, they're not bound to have the same sense of life. And the argument that others are not as well "integrated" philosophically is a illogical circular argument. How do we determine that someone is properly integrated? By looking at what we take to be their sense of life, and it's not matching out own? And, since we each self-judge ourselves as being properly integrated and having the proper sense of life, then everyone else who doesn't share ours is not properly integrated and has an inferior sense of life? Heh. That's not exactly objectivity in action. It skips right over the notion of proof and falsifiability, ignores the requirements of identifying, objectively measuring and applying clearly defined, rational standards, and actually proving one's position. In short, it sounds more like a defensive psychological maneuver attempting to disguise insecurity than anything else. And a transparent attempt at that! It's an old ploy, and suggests that its user is so inexperienced as to not recognize the inadvertent admission of naiveté that he's making in using it. J
  6. Another possible explanation is that musical interpretations and tastes are subjective, and two different people who have very similar outlooks on life, similar "senses of life," and identical philosophical beliefs can interpret musical styles very differently due to each person necessarily having very different -- individual -- life experiences: they each relate any piece of music to their own personal experiences, as opposed to the idea that the same experiences should be communicated via an objective "conceptual vocabulary." The same is true of the other abstract art forms, such as architecture, dance, abstract painting, etc. J
  7. Based on what? How would you propose to objectively prove that you've identified others' senses of life? J
  8. Additional options are that she exempted herself from her own statement about not being able to identify others' senses of life (SHE could identify others' senses of life, but no one else could rise to that ability); or she used the term with different meanings (when she spoke of the American sense of life, she was talking about an overall impression or vibe that she felt rather than something that she could state with objective certainty -- she was generalizing, of perhaps even expressing her hope or expectation of what Americans might or ought to be). J
  9. Of course it fails to project those virtues by the standard that you mention. So, what can we logically conclude? We have two options: 1) Rand's novel, We The Living, according to her own stated theory, reveals that she held a "malevolent universe premise," or 2) the aesthetic theory which misdiagnoses artists such as her as having a "malevolent universe premise" must be flawed and is need of revision. So, how do we decide. Rand wrote quite a lot on her views of man and existence, including the fact that she held the same basic views and sense of life since as far back as should could remember. From all of her many writings, it's clear that she did not have a "malevolent universe premise." She explicitly told us so herself. Many times! So, should we believe her, or should we believe that we can know her own mind better than she knew it herself based on our aesthetically Rorschaching one of her novels? Which is more likely true? Was her theory about novels and happy endings true without exception, or was everything she said about her own metaphysical view of existence true? Occam's Razor again: the idea that her theory needs some corrections requires the fewest assumptions. J
  10. As Rand said, you can't know the sense of life of other people, including your best friend. So all of this is subjective speculation about something that you can't objectively measure or know. J
  11. Indeed! Objectivism stands for individuality, so it's often disturbing to me to see Objectivists looking to conform to an alleged "Objectivist Sense of Life," and to imply or outright state that other individuals aren't quite up to par and Objectivist enough, or fully "integrated," if they have differing tastes, interpretations and preferences in music. An additional factor that Objectivists rarely address is knowledge and experience with the various arts. I've worked professionally as a visual artist for over four decades. Might it be possible that I have some knowledge and experience in regard to visual art that others lack? Might it be reasonable to expect that I can observe more in a painting than people who have practically no knowledge or and experience with the art of painting? I have very little exposure to the medium of dance. I have friends who are very into dance, and very knowledgeable and experienced. I don't take it as an insult that they observe and understand much more than I do in a dance performance. So, again, when discussing judging art, we have to take into account the viewer's or listener's level of competence at judging art. Art is like a transmission. The artist is is a transmitter who is sending a message via his art, and consumers are the receivers. Rand only addressed the notion of judging the transmitter and his message, but neglected to recognize the need to also judge the receivers. The fact that a message is misunderstood by a receiver doesn't necessarily mean that the transmitter or transmission is at fault. There is also the possibility that the receiver failed. It is not logical to assume that all receivers are of equal ability to receive transmissions clearly. Yes, the concept of sense of life is under explored, not to mention under developed. Philosophically, it the equivalent of a strong hunch. It needs more work. It needs some science and proof to back it up, rather than mere introspection. And don't get me wrong. I like the concept, or at least most of it. J
  12. And upon what did she base that opinion? Anyone could assert that anything will one day be found to be objective once scientific knowledge expands! Why socialists and communists could say that socialism and communism will one day have objective proof which will prove that those systems are right. But that's not the way that philosophy works. Objectivist philosophy in particular deals with reality, and with actuals and not potentials. It is supposed to be based only on what exists, not what is hoped to one day exist. J
  13. That's only your subjective interpretation of the piece of music, and it's by no means the only possible interpretation. Breathy, elongated tones could also be taken to be expressions of yearning and desire, among many other possibilities. Besides, even if such a musical style were intended to be an expression of sighs or frustration, it doesn't logically follow that the artist who created the piece views all of existence as helplessness and futility. Art is not anywhere near to being that simplistic. A sigh might express disappointment at something stupid or painful that happened, but it does not logically follow that because an artist addressed such content in his work then he therefore has that view as the essence of existence, and he has a horrible "sense of life." I think you're demonstrating the reality of what Rand said about our inability to know others' senses of life based on such limited information. To repeat, she quite rationally stated that you can't know the senses of life of fictional characters, and most likely not even of your best friend; you might know the sense of life of a long-term romantic partner, but no one beyond that. She also said that sense of life is not a valid criterion of objective aesthetic judgment. You don't know musicians' senses of life based on your subjective interpretations of their art, and your sense of life responses are indeed still not a valid criterion of objective aesthetic judgment. J
  14. Sorry that you misunderstood, but in the full context of the discussion, I thought it was clear that I don't think that there will be a "conceptual vocabulary" for music. It's not possible. That's not how it works. Such vocabularies aren't discovered to already exist. Rather, they are created, and the used, not the other way around. Music affects us without having an objective vocabulary. J
  15. No, that's mistaken. Rand was not identifying a means by which to judge someone else's sense of life. Rather, she was saying DO NOT JUDGE IT, and INSTEAD judge their phiosophical convictions. There is no philosophical premise of the music until there is first an objective "conceptual vocabulary." Your interpretations of music via believing that you're objectively identifying it's sense of life contradicts Objectivism on at least a couple levels. First, Rand explicitly stated that our musical tastes are a subjective matter. That includes you. You don't get to exempt yourself. Second, regardless of whatever "sense of life" you may believe that you're detecting in a work of music, Rand explicitly stated that sense of life is not a valid criterion of objective aesthetic judgment! Thirdly, your, or anyone else's interpretation of a work of art are not the final say. There is the possibility that you or any other listener or viewer may be mistaken in his interpretation. Anyone might be aesthetically inept in regard to certain works or genres of art. True objectivity would require us to not only judge that artist's abilities, but to first find a means of judging the judges' fitness to judge. We're not all aesthetically equal and competent. We're not all equally observant, experienced and technically knowledgeable of all of the arts. Art is not a simplistic math formula. It didn't automatically earn a "malevolent" rating simply because it might include what you personally interpret to be horror or pain. People can scream for many reasons other than horror or pain, including heroic reasons. So, again, in order to be truly objective, we'd have to rely on something other than your subjective interpretation when attempting to judge how well the artist performed his task of expressing his views: we would need the elusive "conceptual vocabulary," but we'd also need an objective standard of judging hoe well he artistically used that vocabulary, which woul mean that we'd need to have acces to knowing his intentions in creating the art by some means outside of the art. No, you're not. Rather, what you're trying to do is to find a work-around which skips the "conceptual vocabulary." You're trying to smuggle in your personal subjective interpretations of music as objective interpretations. You're just arbitrarily ignoring Rand's explicit statement that your musical tastes and responses must be treated as a subjective matter. That doesn't work. Anyone with differing tastes could do the same. Then it just becomes a meaningless shouting match, with each person asserting that his own musical responses are truly proper objective ones, when none of the are. No ones musical tastes and interpretations become objective simply because they assert that they are. Actual proof would be required. That would mean the identification of a "conceptual vocabulary," which would include its being demonstrated in action: one would have to show people reliably "reading" the conceptual content of music using the explicitly identified method of vocabulary. There are no work-a rounds. J
×