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  1. No, I don't. No, I don't. The descriptive phrase I provided was based on a view of "God" that is derived from an Objectivist perspective. In reality, the conclusion that "God" ultimately is nothing but a consciousness is a viewpoint that religious people don't necessarily hold. When a person says he believes in "God", therefore, it is a huge mistake to equate his professed belief with a primacy of consciousness metaphysics. I have found that in most cases, especially in young people, the concept of "God" refers to some portion of what others want it to stand for (often some kind of authority figure that can be used to rationalize for despotism here on earth). But it also stands for a misintegrated set of esthetic abstractions (and values) pertaining to what they value most in life: exploring this earth, integrating knowledge and seeking happiness and love. Of course, this belief system is communicated through poetry and metaphors rather than scientific facts. However, in terms of a deeper psycho-epistemology it could be translated to imply optimism, confidence and trust. If this is not what other people on this board have experienced, then all I can say is: too bad for them.
  2. I don't know if the quoted text above was adressed to me. But, assuming that it was: No, I don't know what the word "God" means. I still don't know what that little name refers too. And you don't, either. Since it is an invalid concept, it has no cognitive meaning whatsoever (nor any value whatsoever). You are wrong in your conclusion that I "bend the truth a little" -- that's not what I am doing, nor have done. It would be true if I did it in my own head -- yes. But one doesn't have a moral obligation to tell people the "truth" if that telling is contraproductive to your own long-term rational interests. Check your own premises! Granted, if my wife had specifically asked: "Do you blindly believe in a supreme consciousness, that have created existence out of thought, and who can change natural facts on whim?" -- I wouldn't have answered "yes". But she didn't ask this. She asked whether I believed in God, which is exactly the same as asking "Do you believe in &#¤!#¤?"
  3. I just have to comment on this, because the issues involved are really important. What matters is not a person's set of beliefs, but rather how he or she arrived at them. To find that out, you have to spend some time with that person. You may find that a so-called "God-believer" isn't really religious in terms of having an irrational psycho-epistemology. In my own experience, a lot of self-proclaimed "religious" individuals, especially if they are young, are actually very value-seeking subconsciously. They merely have a wrong conscious framework (religion) for the right (rational) subconscious values. But what if you are single and meet a lovely person, whom you are attracted to, and that person really thinks it is important whether you believe in God or not -- what do you do? You lie. You lie and say that you believe in God and then, when you are a couple, you constantly inject rational values into the relationsship. Give it a few years and you'll win, if you believe in free will. I have tried this myself. When I first met my wife, she was very religious. It was important for her that I believed in God. Since "God" is really a name or concept that doesn't mean anything to me, I said to her that I believed in "God" -- treating it as meaning "Existence" or "Love". And that was no lie -- I actually explained it to her that this was what God meant to me. And she was happy with that. However -- and this is important -- ever since I met her, I have managed to stimulate her mind in such ways that today she is actually a serious student of Objectivism. So what's the best situation out of these two alternatives: 1) Today I am a single man who is unhappy because a very important value is absent in my life (romantic love). I blew it when I had the chance, just because I acted on a very short-range view of what constituted "integrity". Rather than showing confidence in my own mind, I just had to slam my atheism in the open -- an issue that wasn't even important to me. The lovely girl I was once dating, who could have been mine, is now married to another man who insists that she attends church every Sunday together with his family, who practice BDSM with her, who breaks down her rational judgement and makes a doormat of her. She is living in a 24/7 relationsship. Her husband is now her master. Sometimes I wake up in the night. The nightmares are becoming more frequent these days. The thought of another man ramming his dick down her throat every day (which she accepts out of a sense of duty or "love"), drives me insane. 2) Today I am in a really great romantic relationsship with the woman of my dreams. I was strong enough to embrace her, to wash out the destruction that got to her first. She was mentally raped by evil through her childhood. Consequently, she was calling herself "religious" when I first met her. But I saw through that. I won, because I believed in her rational judgement over time. I believed in free will, I believed she would change her mind. She did. She is now my lover, best friend and fellow student of Objectivism. Of course, I chose the second alternative.
  4. I would like to see a corner on this website where users could go for reviews, questions and comments in regard to recorded Objectivist lectures (and other products that might be of interest to students of Objectivism). The Ayn Rand Bookstore carries alot of such material, but they don't seem to have any user review and/or rating system (such as Amazon.com). I think that such a feature on the site would add more traffic and also attract more attention from serious students of Objectivism. What do you think?
  5. Aha! Now I see why my reasoning is flawed. Here is what I say in my first post in this thread: Implicit in my reasoning above is the Primacy of Consciousness premise posing as the Primacy of Existence metaphysics. But it was obviously just a pose, and I failed to identify it as such. Observe the fundamental starting point here, i.e. the focus of my primary attention for subsequent philosophical reasoning: consciousness and its contents (not "something" -- existence -- which consciousness first has to be aware of in order to identify itself as consciousness). I was wrong in concluding that if I only omitted all that -- otherwise integrated --content (which I referred to as "measurements"), "Existence" would be extrapolated and show up as the irreducible starting point ("The Primacy of Existence"). Thanks, Stephen Speicher and Douglas Clayton, for your comments. I will now declare myself checkmate and continue my studies of OPAR by reading chapter 4 for the first time (lucky me!).
  6. Ok, let's call it that: the totality of perceptually based knowledge. In a more general sense, I mean all the content of a person's mind, i.e. the contents of consciousness. Maybe "induced" is a better word than "inferred" here. (I have some minor difficulties expressing myself in English. For instance, I just noticed that I have repeatedly misspelled "measurements" as "measurments" in my previous posts.) To clarify myself: Yes, I think that entities and characteristics of entities are directly perceived by the perceiver. And yes, I also agree that these entities (and their characteristics) exist independent of any perceiver. But then I am also saying that these entities (and their characteristics) only make sense to speak of in an epistemological rather than in a metaphysical context. "Existence exists" does not imply that a physical reality exists. The same applies to aspects of that physical reality, such as "matter", "space", "time" etc -- they are not metaphysical in the deepest sense of the word. They could be said to be metaphysical, if metaphysics were based on epistemology rather than the other way around. Thus: I am claiming that Existence, in the deepest sense of the word, is out of space, time, size, mass etc (or more specifically: these categories (or whatever they are called) are not to be ascribed to existence as a total, but only to the aspects of existence that are perceiveable by human perception -- i.e. physical reality). Physical reality is NOT out of space, time, size, mass etc. But then physical reality is NOT the same as the total of existence!
  7. Would your response be any different if I rephrased myself to this instead: What I don't understand is how the totality of perceptually based data -- or any entities, aspects, characteristics or measurments inferred from that data -- could be said to be equivalent of the totality of existence.
  8. Let me first say that in a sense, I think "objective truth" is a redundancy, just like "free will" (there is only truth and will). Truth is the recognition of existence by will. There is no will apart from consciousness. There is no consciousness apart from existence. Yes, I can see that the existence of "objective reality" is consistent with the primacy of existence metaphysics. But I cannot see that "objective reality", when used in the sense of being equivalent to "physical reality" (which includes matter, space, time, mass, size et cetera), IS the total of existence! Can you bake an apple-pie without using any apples as ingredients? No? Then how can you ascribe facts ("time") to existence qua existence when those facts themselves are derived from the specific relationsship between your consciousness' mode of perception/cogniton and the data you perceive and integrate? Do I misunderstand your point? Existence exists independent of consciousness -- and thus also independent of any relationsship between consciousness and existence. I am not claiming that the objective facts of reality are manufactured by consciousness -- on the contrary. Entitites are "out there" independent of consciousness. Consciousness is identification of entities and their relationsships, attributes, quantities, qualities et cetera. Now, the way I see it, there is an important distinction to make between the aspect of existence -- i.e. physical reality -- as it is perceived by a consciousness, and existence as a primary axiom. I am not saying that there is a Kantian "reality as it really is". Again, on the contrary, paraphrasing Ayn Rand -- perception must exist in some form, but may exist in any form. I am saying, however, that (objective) physical reality is not the equivalent of the total of existence. Yes, physical reality is an aspect (or subset) of existence, as it is perceived and grasped by human consciousness. But, no, the physical reality of existing entities do not constitute existence as a total. Thus: One cannot blank out the apples and keep the apple-pie. And one cannot blank out consciousness and keep the perceptual data of consciousness by calling it "objective reality". (That sounds like Materialism or Naive Realism to me.) Yes, the source of that perception is independent of your consciousness. No, the data itself is not independent of the relationsship between your consciousness and existence. All measurements and abstractions are made within the contexts of that relationsship -- that's why I cannot ascribe "space" or "time" or "size" or "mass" to Existence, but have no problem in ascribing them to physical reality. They are objective facts to be discovered within the sphere of human cognition.
  9. Thanks for your comments! The ball-on-the-table relationsship wouldn't exist unless there first existed a relationsship between the fact of perception and the fact of perceptual data. Yes, it is true that entities exist independent of our awareness or knowledge of them. No, it is not true that perceptual data exist independent of any perception. What I don't understand is how the totality of perceptual data -- or any aspects, characteristics or measurments inferred from that data -- could be said to be equivalent of the totality of existence. The theme for my focus here is: The invalidity of treating the non-omission of epistemological measurements as the objective metaphysical starting point.
  10. I agree with this -- if, and only if, you refer to epistemological identifications of entities and relationsships that exist as objective facts within the reality of the relationsship between consciousness and existence. But, on the other hand, if you were to speak of existence apart from consciousness as such -- and then equated metaphysical existence with the epistemologically known physical reality of entities and relationsships (i.e. the physical reality that you have epistemologically measured by using your consciousness), I would not be able to understand the objective truth of it at all. And more than that: I wouldn't be able to see that it was consistent with the primacy-of-existence metaphysics.
  11. If entities -- and relationsships among entities -- are said to exist independent of consciousness, then doesn't this establish a "stolen reality" in the sense that the measurements of consciousness are projected to exist independent of consciousness itself? I can clearly see why those measurements exist objectively within the context of the specific relationsship between an individual's consciousness and existence -- but I cannot see why those measurements (i.e. relationsships, forms, attributes, characteristics etcetera) exist objectively outside the context of the specific relationsship between consciousness -- any consciousness -- and existence. Isn't that Platonism? (Of course I am not accusing you of being a Platonist -- I am simply unable to understand, at this point, what exactly differentiates "platonic realism" from my (mis?)understanding of your approach in this case.) Suppose you were the only individual on the planet who could grasp the Objectivist axioms explicitly. I.e. you grasped that a specific, objective relationsship existed between your consciousness and the rest of existence -- and that it existed whether or not you grasped it explicitly. In that case, I can clearly see that such relationsship exists -- but not that it exists independent of your consciousness. Yes, it exists independent of your consciousness's grasp of the fact, but it certainly doesn't exist independent of your consciousness as such. The same applies to your consciousness's grasp of "other relationsships" within the primary relationsship between your consciousness and existence -- e.g. measurements such as "time" and "space". Thus: Time and space do not metaphysically exist apart from your consciousness (since that consciousness is part of the primary relationsship between consciousness and existence). But space and time do exist as potential epistemological identifications (or comprehensions or measurements) -- as objective facts -- within the existing relationsship between your consciousness and existence.
  12. Because you implicitly seem to assume that the "something" -- in this case the universe as a whole -- is actually a thing (or a sum of things). It isn't. When we speak of bricks, cars, houses etc -- we could ask questions such as "what is outside of this house?" or "what is the mass of this house?". But when you switch from an epistemological point of view to a metaphysical one, it is invalid to ask questions such as "what is outside the universe" or "what is the mass of the universe?". In such a context there is no "outside" or "mass"!
  13. Now I'm lost. The relationsship between consciousness and existence cannot exist unless there first is an existing consciousness and an existence. If consciousness is discarded, the entire relationsship cease to exist as well. In that sense, the relationsship between consciousness and existence doesn't exist independent of consciousness.
  14. Thanks for your comment. However, I fail to see the validity of your conclusion that time does not depend on the existence of consciousness. Observe that I am not suggesting that consciousness creates time, or that time is an inherent aspect of the nature of consciousness (such as volition). Rather, I claim that existence is out of time and out of space. There is no "time" or "space" inherent in existence as such, apart from the specific relationsships which involve our consciousness. I.e., these relationsships exist when consciousness is part of that relationsship. If there is no consciousness, there is no relationsship to exist. If there is no existence, there is no relationsship to exist. Within the context of that existing relationsship, time and space exist. Outside of that relationsship, time and space do not exist. Is my reasoning flawed here?
  15. Suppose that somebody suggested the following: "The universe includes consciousness. Thus, the universe has consciousness (or is conscious)." Now tell me what's wrong with that conclusion, and perhaps you'll also see why your conclusion that the universe has mass is invalid as well.
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