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Ilya Startsev

Integrating Objectivism and Marxism

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Dear Objectivists, I challenge you to find a way to integrate your ideology with that of Marxism. Otherwise, please provide your reasons for avoiding any sort of integration/synthesis.

What do you mean by "integrate". Form instance, if Marxism is 100% or (say) 30% false, how would one integrate with that? 

 

Let me put it another way. Suppose someone else were to say this:

"Dear Marxists, I challenge you to find a way to integrate your ideology with that of Buddhism. Otherwise, please provide your reasons for avoiding any sort of integration/synthesis"

 

At any rate, the question is so broad that it's unlikely you'll get anything from a forum. 

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Why would you even attempt to integrate something that is an integration of facts designed to support human life, demonstrated in Western Countries where liberty persists to some degree,  with something that is a deducted a priori and opposed it the requirements to live, demonstrated with 140+ million murdered through peace time policies? 

 

And that is putting nicely. 

 

The separation starts in epistemology so anything after that in the nature of man, ethics, and politics is not coming together. 

 

Why you would even want to attempt such a thing? 

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Of course, what I mean by integration in this instance is a type of a win/win compromise. That is, as you mentioned, integrate with the 70% of Marxism that is right and good, or even 1%, it doesn't matter. The concept here is to take what is good and combine it for the betterment of all. An example of an integration of Marxism with Buddhism is a utilitarian one - to decrease suffering of people.

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Let me put it this way: love and hate, self and others are inseparable duos. Let me also mention that I never completely read any of Marxist works. Now that we are clear with that, let's see clearer where I stand. First let's put democracy into Marxism, and then we already have the modern view of Marxists around the world, in the U.S. and Russia at least. Marxism talks about an idea that is transcendant and achievable - that of Global Communism. Objectivists would like to support human life on an individual basis, so that's good. How do we combine the two, so that there is a virtuous individualistic impulse and a shared common goal?

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From the little I know about Marxism, the thing is gets right is a naturalistic (as opposed to theist) metaphysics.

 

The moment one goes into Epistemology, things diverge. Marxist seem to downplay free-will, seeing Epistemology as a more mechanistic process, with economic position and economic environment playing a large role. I suppose one could say that Objectivism rejects this, but this would not be quite true, because Objectivism is not really an analysis of existing pathology as much as it is a recommendation of correct technique. So, Objectivism postulates the notion of objective truth, which is not biased by the thinker. 

 

In Ethics, Objectivism postulates each man is an end in himself. I'm not sure how that integrates with Marxism.

 

In Politics, Objectivism holds that the state must exist to protect individual rights. It holds that a state must not do anything to take a single dime from a multi-millionaire to give it to a pauper. It holds that a multi-millionaire is free to burn all his assets to ashes, or to give it to a worthless heir if he so desires.  I'm not sure how that integrates with Marxism.

 

Objectivism would agree with Marxism that Feudalism is wrong, but Objectivism rejects the conflation of economic "power" and physical power (force).

 

Maybe the better way to explore the topic would be for you to take this brief intro to Objectivism  and -- for each of the four areas -- state briefly where you agree or disagree. 

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Ok, put that in and missed the response.

 

You do what is right based on the facts of reality.  You don’t cherry pick the things you like and smash them together in an amalgam of ideas.  Imagine if we did that in science? Further, if you are not going off of principles derived from realty, but choosing based on utilitarian ends, how do you know without principles to reference?  Because it feels good?  Because the person voted in said so?  Do we fight political wars every 4 years to change what is utilitarian excepted?  Without principles derived from facts then you have no way to judge what is right or wrong.  I give you today’s politics as exhibit A on that. 

 

You start out with asking what the nature of man is and the ethical system derived from the questions answered.  After that comes politics with social application.  To keep a long subject short, Government serves man’s rational interest by protecting his rights so he can act to live and thrive, or Liberty.  Liberty protects man’s ability to produce and act on to not only survive, but thrive.  Without rights his ability to act is threatened and he must become his own defender.  Under statism, of which Marxism in on the lowest rung of hell yet conceived, he is 100% throttled and unable to act without permission and even then only do what he is told.  That is not life in any human sense of the word.

 

But to play hypothetical, if there was something good in Marxism then you would isolate it and logically compare it to what you know from your knowledge of Liberty.  If it can be integrated without contradiction then you can attempt to do so with a proof exercise and go from there. 

 

What you don’t do is go “That looks like it works” then start ratcheting the idea onto the  side as an add-on because it looks like it might produce some utilitarian ends; neither in politics or with any other point of knowledge.  According to whom?  By what standard?  Who gets to force people to obey that?  The 20th Century has been an exercise of what happens when society accepts the contradiction and every time confronted with the resultant problems repeats the compromise. 

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In epistemology, Marxism rests in dialectics and materialism.  We are deterministically products of machine conditioning, basically.   The closer we are to out means of production, the happier we are.  The unrest of the 1800’s was due to a complete separation from man and the items he used to produce his survival, as compared to ancient man who owned his bow and arrow and thus was much happier.  This deterministic expression of modern man unhappy from separation from production goes though the other sciences, which is here class ideology comes from.

 

This separation is necessary since those who hold capital, the means of production, will continue to maximize it and grow it.  Eventually the dissatisfaction will grow and go critical when capital is maximized and the revolution will come.  Then everyone will be equal in a society where the pre-created maximum wealth in enjoyed equally and the base line maintained by each doing according to his ability while receiving only what he needs.  Thus, you own nothing but everything at the same time. 

 

It’s been a very long time so if I missed or missed something, sorry.  I was patient and still grasping ideas as a kid so I could read it, now I don’t have the stomach.

 

Needless to say Marx starts out very early in Philosophy going the wrong way which leads to all kinds of rationalizations later.  His system is so detached from reality that Lennin had to modify it and jump start the revolution since Marx’s way was never going to happen. 

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Here are some ideas to be further developed, perhaps:

In epistemology, both idealize materialism, both are a kind of sciences. In terms of Marxism, I am talking about (pre)historical events that we all agree on.

In ethics, let's look at "the end in itself" from a phenomenological perspective. Isn't what is easier to destroy less an end in itself than what is harder to destroy? That is society > a body.

In politics, the shadow government that is composed of the wealthiest and most powerful individuals from developed capitalistic countries pretty much rules the world. Of course, they do so with a mind for capitalism, so it works out for Objectivists, probably. The issue here is to see the patterns. We know that there will always be some form of a state, and we agree on that (correct me if I am wrong on any of this). Therefore, we need to have a state with minimum power to control individuals, so individuals are left independent and to their own sovereign needs.


Spiral Architect, we do that in science, except the ideas that are put together are proven, which is the standard for good ideas. I agree that we should not force anything, anyone to be anything or anyone or do anything. But there is no way of ignoring the fact of our evolution. Unless you want to argue with me on that. Is evolution deterministic in terms of determinism of every individual, or do Objectivists agree with a traditional scientific view of evolution that is completely indeterministic?

Edited by Ilya Startsev

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One similarity, perhaps the only one, is that 'they' both agree that capitalism produces wealth. Marx wanted capitalists for society(as an organic entity, that capitlaism would produce the wealth 'it needed), Rand thought that society should be a bunch of free capitalists.

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 Isn't what is easier to destroy less an end in itself than what is harder to destroy? That is society > a body.

 

 

Take that thought to its reductio ad absurdum, consider that which is invincible and invulnerable and impervious to any form of change.  Such a thing is completely irrelevant to any and all human action because nothing anyone does could ever possibly affect it in any way, so it could not be a human end.

 

At any rate, the error here is reification of society as if it were an entity independent of its parts, and more important. The premise smuggled in here is called metaphysical hierarchy. Objectivist metaphysics is existentialist in that what exists fully exists and is neither more nor less existing than anything else that exists.  Imputations of value or importance all derive from the perspective of an actor, a knowing and valuing subject.

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Grames, yes, by reductio ad absurdum, absolute nothing is going to be the greatest end in itself, and, in fact, I agree to that. The issue is that most of us cannot understand or even attain any kind of understanding of that yet. Or maybe we unconsciously can. So it is a form of faith for me. However, when we look at things that do exist, i.e., particles, atoms, molecules, cells, tissues, organs, bodies, societies, races, worlds, stars, holes, a universe, we can say what is easier or harder to destroy, and hence, by my faith-logic, we can justly say what is a greater or lower end in itself. Do you see anything wrong with this metaphysical hierarchy? I do. It is out of context. Hence, society can be independent neither from its parts, i.e., individuals, nor from its context, i.e., nature. Individuals, similarly, cannot be independent from their organs or their environments. So, by looking at these entities within their contexts, we see them as complete realities, all interdependent, but each existing fully only on its own level. The problem with Objectivists that I see is that Objectivists do not see themselves as fully existing on the level of society yet. However, Grames, as you correctly noticed, it all depends on a perspective and the kind of value that we, as humans, derive from it. So we have to decide on that for ourselves, of course.

 

I see no arguments coming against my ideas for integration of Marxism and Objectivism on the political level. However, I think that it is the most important issue that Objectivists need to realize: that individuals are ruling the world. These individuals, namely, the Rockfellers, Rothschilds, etc., formed groups, such as The Bilderberg Group, National Council, Trilateral Commission. The only question that remains is whether those individuals are Objectivists. I believe that they are not. In this arguable case, their money strengthens their power and potentially makes them corrupt. In order to bring these individuals to light, we have to use measures. Or do we? Force is something that Objectivists oppose. However, I do not see another way but to oppose those individuals until they tell us of their machinations. Can we scare them by nationalization? Sure, but again, will we do it? Or is everyone happy by just living for the sake of economy? Most people do exactly that, not realizing that their purpose in life is to attain the greatest level of competence that they can, not the money that they can earn with it.

Edited by Ilya Startsev

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Let me clear up some terminology. Society (without an article) is Global Communism, for me. Communism is a term interchangeable with Communalism, as well. This is society with an overt government that allows people their rights within its context. A society, for example, is Objectivism. SoftwareNerd, in this respect, being the organizer (and more) is similar to a speaker of a state collective of Global Communism. Sure, he can ban or correct, but he is being fair. He is allowing us our freedoms to exist within the context of this community.

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Grames, yes, by reductio ad absurdum, absolute nothing is going to be the greatest end in itself, and, in fact, I agree to that.

Actually I do not want you to agree with that. The premise that a things worthiness or importance derives from its durability is wrong. That criteria should be abandoned.

I see no arguments coming against my ideas for integration of Marxism and Objectivism on the political level.

Well then let me present one clearly. Knowledge is hierarchical, and where basic premises are in conflict then nothing that follows from them can be compatible.  Marxism and Objectivism conflict on metaphyscial hierarchy and principles of epistemology such as objectivity, therefore they are hopelessly irreconcilable at a logically later subject such as is politics. Edited by Grames

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Startsev said:

Dear Objectivists, I challenge you to find a way to integrate your ideology with that of Marxism. Otherwise, please provide your reasons for avoiding any sort of integration/synthesis.

.......Let me put it this way: love and hate, self and others are inseparable duos. Let me also mention that I never completely read any of Marxist works. Now that we are clear with that, let's see clearer where I stand. First let's put democracy into Marxism, and then we already have the modern view of Marxists around the world, in the U.S. and Russia at least. Marxism talks about an idea that is transcendant and achievable - that of Global Communism. Objectivists would like to support human life on an individual basis, so that's good. How do we combine the two, so that there is a virtuous individualistic impulse and a shared common goal?

First, the challenge is predicated on an invalid use of the concept "integration". Identity constrains integration. A concretization of this is a puzzle piece interlocking with its surrounding pieces. The possible candidiates for any position in the puzzle is constrained by the actual peices already there. One does not start with a slap-dash, whimsicle, midstream concept and say, "I think I'll put this together with this, cause it looks good". Objectivism starts by asking "what depends on what"?

The first question then is, why would Objectivism ( a closed system anyway), or better yet, an Objectivist, want or need anything from Marxism? Why do you think that Oism-or Oist either "needs" a "common goal", or even lacks one?

Oh, and I doubt any bilderberg talk will get you anywhere here.

Edited by Plasmatic

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SoftwareNerd, in this respect, being the organizer (and more) is similar to a speaker of a state collective of Global Communism. Sure, he can ban or correct, but he is being fair. He is allowing us our freedoms to exist within the context of this community.

However, an Objectivist government cannot legitimately ban someone or act against him -- e.g. imprison him - unless he physically attacks someone, destroys someone else's property etc. Even if every other member of society votes for it, it still would not make it legitimate. Objectivism does not propose a "social contract" style arrangement, where the legitimacy of a law comes from the implicit agreement of an overwhelming majority.

Objectivism has a very specific notion of what is legitimate ("fair") for a government. Only protection of specific types of rights are legitimate under Objectivism. So, even if 99% of the population think the 1% should give up some of their wealth, and elect wise leaders who say so, it does not make it legitimate.

Of course, going back to your previous post, one can make the case that wealth is often the result of the use of power. This is obvious under a feudal system, but not so much under capitalism. Some libertarians -- even Rand fans -- complain that we have "crony capitalism" today, where the state is captured by wealthy folk. Seeing wealthy folk as primary drivers that got the system to this state is wrong. But, let's not go there for now. Take a simpler case: suppose someone works really hard, takes risks, get extremely lucky, invents a product called "Coca-cola" and makes many millions.

In Objectivism, he can do what he wishes with that money: it is his and the only fair thing is to let him decide what he wants to do with it.

Edited by softwareNerd

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Grames, it does not have to be a mere durability, it can be a consciousness also. You see, all discreet entities, starting from a particle and ending with a universe, have consciousness, in my opinion. You are thinking in terms of bodily consciousness but not collective consciousness. If we imagine that consciousness can be destroyed, bodily consciousness would be easier to destroy than a collective one, wouldn't you agree?

Grames, your reply concerning integration of Marxism and Objectivism on the political level basically states that it's impossible. So, you believe that opposites cannot integrate? How about Thesis and Antithesis that leads to Synthesis? But you do not believe in that, of course. It is unfortunate that you voluntarily want to limit yourself. I could also say that I do not want you to do that, and that I do not want you to believe that there is something that can be outside of your reach. I realize that politics can be considered a form of mere rhetoric; however, it should be evident from my posts that I consider social organization more important than that and call it politics.

Plasmatic, the example that I showed earlier of Marxism/Buddhism hybrid was just that - an example, and a poor one at that, thanks for pointing out. I would have not mentioned it of my own accord if it wasn't asked for earlier. In order to seriously integrate, I also ask the question of what depends on what and try to find all possible entities that fit into the context. Integration then happens of the entire continuum, whose ends are complete opposites. I call this a dialectic continuum. It can be either between entities on the same level, thesis and antithesis, which I call horizontal, or on different levels, one thesis and another thesis that are related as a part or a whole - this is vertical.

Plasmatic, I also realize that the two systems, Objectiv ism  and Marxism, are extremely different and, in fact, opposite in exactly  that unfortunate criteria of being closed (unwilling to integrate) and open. You see, we know that to live is to change. We see this all around us. We see it especially in science, where new models integrate the old ones, so all proven results can be derived in a unified system. Scientists are trying to do this with a Unified field theory. Why is human life different from the tenents by which science continues its existence? I just hope that invincible ignorance is not a tenet that Objectivists follow...

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You see, all discreet entities, starting from a particle and ending with a universe, have consciousness, in my opinion.

So much for hard-headed scientific materialistic Marxism. At least it would be possible to have a dialog with a materialist, believers in woo are beyond the reach of reason.

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softwareNerd, then why not have a "social contract" model exactly follow the protection of individual rights (the anti-force rules), whereas individuals (or mobs) deal with the problems among themselves? But no! we want society to help these individuals (or mobs) to resolve their problems that involve violence. We are looking at the same issue from two different perspectives: individual and society. In the perfect case scenario, which I am trying to attain here, each is solely against violence and each selects a form of a "social contract" to live in harmony with its environment.

The issue with those excellent men who create some products is that they may also decide to grasp power, since they may get bored with only working on a product and just earning money without influencing others to their tastes. You see, boundaries between individuals become fuzzy in these cases because individuals relate not only to individuals, but also to collectives. This is the same issues as with Anarchism. Anarchism is a transitionary state because someone will always grasp power and create a state. In Objectivism, someone will always want more after having enough money; they (some, not all) will want power to rule others.

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So much for hard-headed scientific materialistic Marxism. At least it would be possible to have a dialog with a materialist, believers in woo are beyond the reach of reason.

I would like you to notice that you have consciousness and you are among those entities that I mentioned. Do you want to stick with a materialistic durability or do you want to argue on metaphysics? Metaphysically speaking, humans are not the only ones with consciousness. Why deny others consciousness? It's like denying others' rights, freedoms, etc. All things move, and consciousness, in my definition, is the metaphysical engine, it is that which moves. Particles, atoms, molecules, etc. vibrate and move from their own accord. Who makes them move, then, answer me?

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Here are some ideas to be further developed, perhaps:

In epistemology, both idealize materialism, both are a kind of sciences. In terms of Marxism, I am talking about (pre)historical events that we all agree on.

In ethics, let's look at "the end in itself" from a phenomenological perspective. Isn't what is easier to destroy less an end in itself than what is harder to destroy? That is society > a body.

In politics, the shadow government that is composed of the wealthiest and most powerful individuals from developed capitalistic countries pretty much rules the world. Of course, they do so with a mind for capitalism, so it works out for Objectivists, probably. The issue here is to see the patterns. We know that there will always be some form of a state, and we agree on that (correct me if I am wrong on any of this). Therefore, we need to have a state with minimum power to control individuals, so individuals are left independent and to their own sovereign needs.

Spiral Architect, we do that in science, except the ideas that are put together are proven, which is the standard for good ideas. I agree that we should not force anything, anyone to be anything or anyone or do anything. But there is no way of ignoring the fact of our evolution. Unless you want to argue with me on that. Is evolution deterministic in terms of determinism of every individual, or do Objectivists agree with a traditional scientific view of evolution that is completely indeterministic?

 

  1. Neither idealizes Materialism, although Marxists might depending on how you are using that term.  Objectivists consider material good a practical necessity for survival that one must produce or trade for in order to live.  Marxism considers it a prime mover of human psychology.  You can consider the Marixist interpretation idealistic in that it is an a priori outside of natural proof, thus not reality (but not mystic).  Objectivist inducted it from facts, thus an integration of daily life.  It’s a principle that comes from many observable facts, not a first cause which can be deduced to many observable facts.
  2. Because one man is easier to smash than a group doesn’t mean the later has a moral right to smash the former (or visa versa).  The only proper use of force is defense and never reduced to arithmetic. 
  3. In fact, there is no such thing as a “group” outside of an observable quantity or a sum.  It’s a mathematical tool.  A group is simply a number of individuals and the only relevant part of the discussion is the individual.  The fact there is more than one is meaningless ethically.
  4. The minute you propose a government comprised of wealthy “capitalists” ruling anything, you disqualified the argument.  Capitalism is a liberty based society that protects rights (i.e. Capitalism is Liberty before Marx gave it a name change since blaming Liberty and freedom would have been a bad PR move).   If someone rules the world, then they are a dictator of some variant kind (communism, fascism, despot, whatever).  That is not Capitalism.  Equating Capitalism (governments that protect rights) with a dictatorship (governments that violate rights) is a contradiction.
  5. Of course there will be a state.  Objectivists are not anarchists.  You seem to be implying that it’s either a control state or no state. 
  6. Controlling individuals?  Really?  Controlled =/= Independent.  Controlled = Dependent and that is how my cat lives, not a human. 
  7. In science, ideas are proven to fit together since they logically connect.  We knew that water boiled at 212 degrees.  Later, when we learned that altitude affected this it did not contradict the knowledge, but added more to it by identifying more facts involved in the total context.  We didn’t just toss random results together and called it thermodynamics.  Big difference. 
  8. I’m not even sure where you are going with evolution, outside you might think physical adaption to our environment may have something to do with our power to focus our minds and choose actions.  They are two different subjects. 

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Grames, it does not have to be a mere durability, it can be a consciousness also. You see, all discreet entities, starting from a particle and ending with a universe, have consciousness, in my opinion. You are thinking in terms of bodily consciousness but not collective consciousness. If we imagine that consciousness can be destroyed, bodily consciousness would be easier to destroy than a collective one, wouldn't you agree?

 

 

 

Never mind.  Not to be rude, but if you think there is a collective conciousness then there is no discussion. 

 

There is no common ground with magic.  You can do anything you want at that point, philosophically and politically. 

Edited by Spiral Architect

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Not who, but what. Atoms being conscious is just... bizarre. If you mean to imply consciousness to exist in humans entails consciousness to exist in all entities to some degree, that makes more sense. The problem with that is it's the opposite of the fallacy of composition, where the components of an entity must have properties of that entity. Animals are conscious, but you were talking about everything that exists.

Anyway, what about Marxism do you think is right that should be integrated? In any case, if you discover something true that is denied or thought to be false in one system, any integration would be a new system. There's a difference between integrating to your knowledge and integrating to a different system.

Edited by Eiuol

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What's going on in here? Oo

 

"I challenge you to find a way to integrate your ideology with that of Marxism."

What for?

 

"Particles, atoms, molecules, etc. vibrate and move from their own accord. Who makes them move, then, answer me?"

Didn't you just say "from their own accord"? It's a "what" not a "who." That "what" which makes them move is own natures interacting with each other. No other outside force is necessary. If it was necessary, you'd just get into an infinite string of "well then, who moves the mover? And who moves that mover's mover?" anyway.

 

"How do we combine the two, so that there is a virtuous individualistic impulse and a shared common goal?"

We do not contend that it is a matter of impulse though. And again, what for about the shared common goal?

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Why deny others consciousness?

I would not deny that animals are conscious. Positively stated, most animals are conscious. Consciousness is the faculty of awareness by means of perceiving reality. Unicellular animals such as Paramecium and Amoeba have a dim awareness of what is around them, but they cannot perceive merely sense. To perceive is to automatically retain and integrate together a series of sensations to produce an awareness of things, of distinct separate entities.

It makes sense to deny there is something when there is a total absence of evidence for the proposition. It is more correct to merely restate that burden of proof lies upon whomever would make a positive claim.

It's like denying others' rights, freedoms, etc. All things move, and consciousness, in my definition, is the metaphysical engine, it is that which moves. Particles, atoms, molecules, etc. vibrate and move from their own accord. Who makes them move, then, answer me?

A definition should identify a genus and differentia to even be in proper form, much less claim to be valid.

Anyway, it is an ancient Greek philosophical position that objects in motion require some force to keep them in motion. Thanks to Galileo and Isaac Newton, we now know that an object in motion stays in motion and an object at rest stays at rest unless an external force acts upon the object. This is the First Law of Motion.

I encourage you to keep expanding your learning, but the evidence of your writing here supports a conclusion that you up until now have only a limited familiarity with the methods of logic and no knowledge of basic principles of physics. It is no wonder then that you have fallen prey to philosophical flim-flammery, you are as a lamb among wolves.

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