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whYNOT

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whYNOT last won the day on July 24 2015

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  1. whYNOT

    Why follow reason?

    To "have no sense of reality" ... not within them, but somewhere in that space which divides one human body from another" - might be taken metaphorically, until one finds that such people actually exist. I've had the feeling of someone who is 'there', but not "there", who functions superficially as, and says and does all the normal, human things, but displays a hollowness, I take as a lack of self. This is the person I think who is often a-conceptual ("anti-conceptual"). What Rand doesn't indicate here about second-handers, is their absence of "self-value", which he has dissipated into others, along with reality. The (volitional conceptual/reasoning consciousness, then, evidently from Rand, is the absolute prerequisite for rational selfishness. One is "centred" by one's conceptual formation, while equally being "grounded" in reality (when one's concepts are). In short, the second-hander hasn't a "sense of reality", by his failure to conceptualize reality, and he hasn't a valued 'centre', as result. There is also the second-hander's link to altruism. "Somewhere in that space between..." could be prescient about cyberspace, concerning internet communication and information - 'reality', being 'out there', in amongst 'the mass consciousness', or "collective mind". An absorbing question for me, is if the power of Internet, requiring people's integration, evaluation and conceptualism more than ever before - is also furthering second-handers/altruists/collectivists at a higher rate?
  2. whYNOT

    Why follow reason?

    Definitely. The means exist - the O'ist epistemology - the (rewarding)work needs to follow. When one succeeds in creating concepts "from scratch" from one's senses, after to become comfortable applying/implementing the resulting principles back to real things, then one fully owns them and has earned them. This is not a philosophy to learn by rote, nor exclusively by theory, I think.
  3. whYNOT

    Here I Stand

    What an outstanding, deep article by Ghate, Stephen. Yes, individual existence: the ultimate value. Each, the capability to find value and to create value (and to be valued) - by reasoned choice, not command. Each a single state to and from whom all blessings arrive and flow. For all their mysticism, God worship, obedience, dualist-conflict - and periods of brutality or interference, I am unsure if secularists (often, 'neo-mystics')will hold civilisation together as long as did the religious who at least placed absolute worth in the Immortal Soul of an individual. When the bother of the Soul was dispensed with by reductive materialists - severing it along with the conscious mind, the "self" - I ask, wasn't it one step forward and half a step backwards for man?
  4. Right. I getcha. You mean the common or garden 'selfish' cynic, who in our terms is subjectivist, egotistical, predatory. And sure, valueless. One way I have of seeing "the Donald" is of the poacher turned gamekeeper. On balance, I'd say, good -- while a-principled. Again, he openly admitted to "being part of the problem", so I view that as honesty. I didn't believe he originated the phrase, btw. Add: I looked it up in my ancient Concise Oxford: 1. Of, characteristic of, the Cynic philosophers; 2. philosopher of sect founded by Antisthenes, marked by ostentatious contempt for pleasure; 3. Sneering fault finder. Interesting how the word has completely been adapted into a modern connotation. I'll still go with the insight of Oscar Wilde...
  5. Hi DA, That's not a definition of cynicism I know of (or understand), much better is the account of a cynic in Wilde's words: a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. Rational "self-interest" or rational selfishness, has everything to do with (objective) value, of course, so I don't get the connection. I'm more in favour of the "draining the swamp" metaphor for your president's actions.
  6. Keith, I am a little confused about which paragraph of mine you meant to highlight and discuss...? Individual rights not requiring an Objectivist society - or the qualities needed, or not, from a leader? The position I maintain, simply, is that a leader is the result of millions of value-choices by individual people, their implicit or explicit identifications, self-identities and evaluations - which means a huge aggregate of mixed people's beliefs, morals, aspirations and purposes, (etc.) right down to their personal fears and hopes. A good leader today may identify and purportedly try to answer to some of that, but he is ultimately the elected official. AR: "To be free, a man must be free from his brother" (all they who 'democratically' elect a particular Party and a leader, so dictating everyone's futures). Democracy per se, "rule by the majority", is inherently flawed because a majority are often wrong; it generalizes ('averages out') into a mass that which is individual, and will favor some groups over others. The best that I think can be said for democracy is - Presidents come and Presidents and parties go. Of course, Rand's individual rights and the view of mankind by the Framers of the US Constitution transcends the flaws. Who the President would be under a future dispensation, declines altogether in significance; then, the individual thinks for himself and looks for his own just desserts according to his rationality and efforts. Saying that, and what you already you know about the faults of democracy, how possibly could the "Constitutional Republic" have devolved to "a Democracy" for many Americans, and further descend to a "Social Democracy", the goal for some of them? Reminded here by what I read of Barack Obama's speech he made yesterday at some function. Very correctly he bemoaned "values ... not being upheld". Rightfully he pointed to "facts" avoided. Sounds good. But which "values" can he mean - and what "facts" ... when he referred a couple of times to the USA as "our democracy"? That's "a fact" I object to, especially by an ex-president. I've often taken exception to anyone forgetting or degrading the USA's identity of Constitutional Republic, equating it with every pretender to "Democracy" in the world. Finding common ground, one remark of yours took me aback. President Trump , "a national-socialist"?! A Nazi, you say?! Surely not...
  7. Indeed, "President Galt", at a time the American people are ready for - and deserving - of him, will exist and he'll step forward for the job. Cause and effect must be observed. The dog wags his tail, horse draws the cart, etc., and Americans who by vast majority demand their individual self-responsibility, neither desiring to 'own' other people's bodies -nor their minds, and blocking government interference in their lives, can bring about reduced government, individual rights, and so on. I keep emphasizing self-responsibility, since this quality alone is well-known to Americans and already acceptable and necessary to many, as the pathway to that end and I theorize, its fastest means of implementation. A simple but critical point to clear up for newer O'ists - I think - an Objectivist society, as such, will not have to be the prerequisite for that outcome. While of course it will be Influenced strongly by Objectivist ideas. Clearly all through Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal, a general society, not exclusively Objectivist, was envisaged by Rand I concede that an exceptional leader has some power to change opinion within a populace, but I think the most objectively principled president, who ~somehow~manages to come to power in today's climate, still can't lead where his supporters and opponents won't follow. Your thoughts of world "emulation" are true, but it carries both the bad - and the good. One needs to see and know 'concrete' moral exemplars of e.g. freedom, individualism, reason - if one is rational. But too, I am seeing here, in RSA, the vaguely-held, notional ideologies of Socialism and neo-Marxism on the rise, fed by power hungry politicians, miscomprehending average people - and the immoral intellectuals (who do understand the ideas). Those essential altruists, who blindly and dependently copycat social -economic, and political trends in Europe, Africa or Latin America, have to be shown (yet again) how they don't work, but spell disaster for people and nations. Beating back the bad ideas in western nations might change the perceptions in other countries. In this important respect you there are an example to us. If the section - mainly represented by 18 - 30 year olds, I read somewhere - which is the extreme Socialist Left in the US gradually gains ground, that will sanction Leftism in many other places. Sort of, "America(!) condones this, why can't we?"
  8. whYNOT

    Jumping into the fray

    Tenderlysharp, Quite a journey. I concur with Ninth, you have a special writing/thinking expressiveness which (I think) you should keep building upon. I experience too that mind-shift from verbalizing to visualizing when I take up the camera after a while, it feels like almost a physical effort at first, before engaging that important visual clarity and fluidity again. (As aside, you must know of the neuroscience findings of "neuroplasticity", a brain self-consciously directing, establishing, re-establishing - and creating - new neural pathways, which bears out our minds' volition, the "self-made soul" . The scientists have lately begun to catch up with the philosopher and the artist-creator who has always known or sensed this phenomenon...!) May I add: I realize you must satisfy your own standards, but you don't need to be too unforgiving on yourself. It may not be so clear at the time, but one develops even in 'failure', as one pushes at the boundaries of existence and one's mind to bring them together.
  9. Yes, but my problem is that Obama did recognize a principle, the principle of American exceptionalism - it is just that in the same breath he praised other countries' 'exceptionalism', too! In other words, he negated the concept. Not everyone can be equally exceptionalist, by definition. In that, he exposed his basic relativist, egalitarian principles, I think. Whereas, Trump (by intuition, some might say) does have a clear idea of what exceptionalism looks like, or has looked like. Not trying to be too down on Obama - except for his terrible foreign policies - in retrospect it is too easy to criticize a presidency and I was fairly favorable to him in the beginning. But I was puzzled back then by the "Yes, we can!" slogan. We can --what? I believe it has emerged that means "we can ... be just like everyone else". (i.e. Europeans, and so on). This narrative is what the Obama supporters responded to. We Americans aren't so special, after all. To some, anything but.
  10. Eioul, In reply to your last, I won't attempt an answer. On US history where my knowledge is sketchy, I'll be better informed by well-versed opinions from you and others. (I should explain, my partial understanding of 'things American' has been from about 50 years of "cultural" intake - in all fields: its popular culture, scientific, business, politics, arts, etc. etc. and knowing some Americans, - and by reading at least a thousand American novels, in every variety - any good or great fiction is a useful inductive source of material I feel, about the places, activities, prominent ideas, events, conflicts, types of people and created individuals. Capped of course, from Rand where I learned comprehensively to appreciate the abstract guiding principles of the US). Clearly, in this discussion it emerges that I have a lower expectation from leaders than do others here. I am opposed to and wary of "leaders" anyway, intellectual or not, and think their Executive powers, everywhere in the world are excessive. (Even in the USA and its superior system of government). My low expectation is best summed up by that adage that the right man/woman for the job of President wouldn't want or take it. (Being a little facetious, can you imagine a President Galt...?) While I'm exploring pure theory for a moment, I'll take the opportunity to insert a reminder of Rand's words which struck me very early on: "Under a proper social system, a private individual is legally free to take any action he pleases (so long as does not violate the rights of others), while a government official is bound by law in his every official act. A private individual may do anything except that which is legally *forbidden*; a government official may do nothing except that which is legally *permitted*." (CUI: Appendix) Back in reality, you are nowhere near there yet, and I'm never going to see it here. However, that statement is the standard to hold in mind, I think, of what a severely delimited government actually is. In it the president is not required to be "intellectual", as such, in fact that could be a detraction from his job. His task as chief Civil Servant is simply protectionist of the rights of all the citizens of a country.
  11. "Principles". Well, call me crazy, but I prefer a president who implicitly recognizes: "You did build that!" That is principled. I was early in naming Trump a pragmatist, but have been rethinking this - he shows an inconsistency about ideas, admittedly. I am well aware of the nature of cynics, as leaders or otherwise, and I have yet to notice a Putinish level of cynicism in Trump, regarding the USA, anyway. He displays a grasp of values ("American exceptionalism", barely understood by Barack Obama, going on his remarks). Perhaps call him a "seat-of-his-pants", and even a "sense of life" president - just save me from leader-"intellectuals" of a certain sort. "Principles" are properly the preserve of free citizens, less of their leaders. I really don't believe you have seen how the USA has lately slipped in many outsiders' perceptions. (Not the Left, obviously). It makes sense to me, if you view that building it back to its former status, peacefully making its moral presence known to the world again, is "raising your country over others". Besides, I take it you are for rational selfishness.
  12. Reasoner, Well said, especially on Mystics/neo mystics. From my following and understanding of the USA (and Europe) I believe you are largely right. While I think Peikoff's book is otherwise very good, he (and Yaron's comment, lately, which I hadn't heard) has got Christianity/the religious right all wrong - it is mostly in disarray, while the extreme right is relatively minor, "impotent", as you say, but always gaining excessive media attention (of course). What I've noticed growing over decades, and to me the imminent danger to America, is the Left, known variously as postmodernism, cultural Marxism, Progressivism. This movement is a complex ball of wax to unwind, and none better in my reading than the Objectivist philosopher, Prof. Stephen Hicks, to place it in philosophical, moral, historical and political context with his in-depth and sweeping book 'Understanding Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault'. The usual suspects, Kant, Marx etc., with special attention to the mid-20c French philosophers who were greatly influential in the US, are all in there. He uncovers and forsees the ultimate nihilism of this "pomo" movement. I recommend his website highly: stephenhicks.org What was it Rand wrote about (roughly) the religious wanting your bodies but the Left wanting your minds? I've observed this principle broadly apply multiple times and places. I always say, with the separation of Church/State generally established I don't fear inroads from Christianity; however, there was no such careful separation made for the secular Left -- as we know, the State IS their Church...
  13. Economic policies and individual rights -- yes, but are they in any worse shape than with previous incumbents? Not so I've noticed, Nicky. How about returning to the fundamental approach? Proper rights, capitalism, politics can only be consequences of a sea-change in a culture's ethics. Never possibly by unilateral implementation by any president. Trump apparently refers more to and holds in esteem the model of your Constitution - and further - is effectively, in deed and word, announcing that it is right and good for America and Americans to place her and their own self-interests above whoever makes claim upon them. He doesn't have to be an intellectual to see what has worked best, i.e. individual self-responsibility. If he did no more than bring his influence to bear on this, it would be plenty, and a move to individual rights, etc.. Trump's resistance against the seeping Progressivism presuming upon the US's sacrifice and duty, which other countries (and some American citizens) have long taken for granted, comes in the nick of time. A tipping point is arriving, I think. I hope I'm not being overdramatic in my opinion that the semi-free world depends on what happens there within a short time span. Although not enjoying the lack of independent standards by other countries, too reliant on the USA, as you may be too. (You could be wishing like me that everyone minded their own business, but that ship has sailed). But every supporter or opponent of freedom knows, at least tacitly, that the USA and its vast successes are uniquely the product of moral ideas. Many governments and intellectuals will be given a boost to see those ideas appear to fail, and are gloating at your divisions.
  14. A most cynical summation. For all his faults of method, is this how Trump's purpose and goals are seen? It has been clearly the sidelined ordinary American whom your President has recognised and upheld over the Leftist intellectual elitists, or 'the powerful". Are Objectivists moving to the skeptical Left?
  15. When it's only "non-initiation of force" that prevents one from stopping, say, a pedestrian walking in front of a car - or someone leaping off a bridge - then I have a strong objection to this injunction. This is where applying IOF becomes out-of-context, and as I said, "a stretch". I have heard the arguments from a libertarian, and he finally came around to agreeing that the fundamental behind NIOF is: the principle of freedom of action. For the pedestrian, the simpler scenario is that he's unaware of danger--so you aren't diverting him from his chosen actions. But it's crazy to envisage oneself as going through a mental conflict first about having to use "force" to stop a man, woman or child from unintended harm - just because it would require your force/restraint. That's when some libertarians look quite irrationally dogmatic, by taking a derivative principle concerning force-to-others as their rigid guide to action, i.e., as a morality. What not to do, rather than "what to do" will tend to stifling and limiting one's free action which will be against moral self-interest . I'd not ever wish to have to make the decision to not interfere with an adult (as distinct from a minor, who should be prevented) and his choice to take his life. Who can tell, it may yet happen, with anyone , a stranger or a very sick friend. However, I think the abiding principle is - only - that person's freedom of action, free mind and choice, and you, the onlooker's recognition/respect for his freedom. That would decide me to hold off. Not the fear of initiating force.
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