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We Should Be Fun People. We Aren't. Let's Change!

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Fun is a virtue. Fun is how people connect, how they gain happiness from one another's values through shared experiences. Yes, fun can be misused by maniacal leaders people like Kim-Jong Un. I'm sure that he has lots of "fun" at his job. But it's not good, moral fun; it's parasite "fun." We get to have real fun though, fun as the result of being right and being competent to spread our ideas. Yet we never do have fun. Or if we do, we never show it, with the exception of a few bright sparks on this board like Harrison Danneskjold... who I praise not to exclude anyone else, but just as an exemplary individual who personifies what a fun philosophy should be lived out.

Ayn Rand was many things. Brilliant. Visionary. An excellent orator and writer. Right on just about everything. But what she was not? Our prophet, because we're not a religion. It should be okay to criticize her if she deserves it. On the fun aspect, she totally missed the boat.

She was often very acerbic and rude in public interviews. "Let her make her point!" the host shouts at the interrupting Rand. Maybe she should've taken Paul McCartney's advice and just listen to what the (wo)man said. She appeared very cheerless for the spokeswoman of a philosophy that promotes happiness in man's life, with life as the standard. She hardly smiled. Those close to her said that she was often miserable at the dark place America was (and still is) heading. Take this with an ocean of salt as I have no idea if it's true or not and the source is highly suspect, but apparently she forbade her early associates from questioning her or listening to the wrong type of music. It's probably not true, but it just shows what a reputation for being a stickler that she got, that she didn't deserve and partially brought on herself. Our beloved babushka was brilliant, but she wasn't always socially aware nor the best spokeswoman for her own philosophy. She imported the cheerless Russian demeanor with her and never quite let it go.

Rand was not fun, and Neither was (is) Peikoff or Yawon Bwook, instead preferring to function as ayatollahs who tell people whether it's okay for them to enjoy roller coaster rides or masturbation. The fact that these podcasts even exist is a stain on Objectivism. If you're an Objectivist and you're asking for permission to be happy instead of think for yourself, you're doing it wrong. I fantasize (non-sexually, about fun stuff like flying or "correcting" past mistakes) all the time. I don't care what Peikoff thinks about it. I don't care what other objectivists have to say when they tell me that it isn't real, or that it's pointless. Yeah, I know thanks, but it's fun, my mind is mine, it can be my playground when I want it to be and I'll do with it what I please. You're missing out if you don't fantasize but I won't judge you for not doing so, you have your reasons. So you'd sure better not judge me for doing so or being proud and open about it like I am. The lukewarm responses that I got here and on Reddit after sharing my fantasizing technique are indicative of what a joyless bunch a lot of so-called egoists are. We are not Christians. We are not Mormons. We do not pass judgment on a man for pursuing his own happiness in whatever way he sees or does not see fit, so long as he's not harming others or himself. In fact we should outright seek out new ways to be happy to add variety to life.

We need better marketing as a philosophy, and fun is a YUGE virtue in attaining that value. We need to be the fun, energetic philosophy! If you hate Trump, fine, but learn from him. That man has HIGH ENERGY! He looks like he's having fun at the job... and being a leader of a nation like America should be a fun job because we're such an awesome country! He's not faux stoic like Obama was, he's not a joyless sock puppet like Hillary, he's himself and he loves it. We could learn a lot from the man that we are fortunate enough to have as president at the moment, the valuable ally of the constitution's first and second amendment who will preserve our freedom of speech to spread our ideas, and defend ourselves from violent, savage aggressors like Antifa when (if) we decide to take to the streets in peaceful protest. He will not let us turn into Britain which extrajudicially executed a man for putting bacon on a mosque door handle. Yeah. America is truly the last best hope for this world if our truest ally and the author of the Magna Carta has abandoned her reason in favor of blasphemy laws that protect Islam, the Religion of Death.

Many of you hate HandyHandle, you see him as a troll. You know what he is that you're not? Fun. His articles, even if you don't agree with them, are informative, engaging, interesting, humorous, and fun to read all at the same time. I don't agree with everything Mr. Hunter says. I think he lessened his support Trump far too soon. I think he's a racist, and given how much I loathe that word and how the left twists it, hopefully you all acknowledge that I'm not him since I'm willing to call out his BS with a term that I RARELY use. But Hunter's blog is fun because he calls out the orwellian-named Ayn Rand Institute for exactly what it's become... a religious organization with Rand as the prophet, Peikoff and Brook as the ayatollahs, and Carl Barney as the swindling crook from Scientology who never f**king changed or had to account for his moral change if he did. Many of you squirmed around this uncomfortable truth when Hunter presented it here. You need to check your biases. First, read this (fun) comic about the backfire effect and then seriously look at the evidence that Mr. Hunter presents, not at him as a person who counts racism among his flaws. Emotions are not tools of cognition. Ad hominem is not a legitimate response to an argument. I don't care if HandyHandle is Hitler reincarnated... wait a minute. HandyHandle. HH. Heil Hitler. Now it all makes sense!

That was a joke, and we don't make enough of them. We should. We need to be more fun. We can start by acknowledging our mistakes as a philosophy. Number one, that we've turned ourselves into a religion. Number two, that even in Rand's day before we became a religion, we didn't have fun. We need better marketing as a philosophy. You attract more flies with honey than with vinegar. Ayn Rand had much to offer in the way of vinegar, not so much honey.

You know why I like Sonic the Hedgehog? Because he's awesomely good and he knows it! Because evil is impotent and he knows it! This makes fighting evil is fun for him, fun for you when you play the video games he stars in. We don't have super speed like Sonic, but we have the lightning fast world of the Internet at our fingertips. Listen to this song in that context. I don't care if Ayn Rand didn't like rock music. This song is my anthem. Because I know we're right and I know that evil is wrong and impotent. Fighting the subjectivist bastards who've hijacked our world should be as fun for us as playing a video game, or reading Atlas Shrugged, or jerking it, or riding a roller coaster, or fantasizing, or whatever floats your boat. I don't care because I'm not an ayatollah. I'm fun.

Will you join me?

Edited by CartsBeforeHorses

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"We Should Be Fun People. We Aren't. Let's Change!"

 

Uh...speak for yourself, brother.  I rather doubt that we know one another well enough to know whether "we" are fun people.

 

As for me, I came to this forum for unfunny reasons, so I'm mostly very serious.  That says nothing about whether I am, or have, fun in other parts of my life.

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45 minutes ago, Invictus2017 said:

"We Should Be Fun People. We Aren't. Let's Change!"

 

Uh...speak for yourself, brother.  I rather doubt that we know one another well enough to know whether "we" are fun people.

If I'm running a business meeting and I say, "We need to get more widgets made this quarter," that doesn't mean that every person in that meeting is an unproductive slouch. It means that as an organization, we need to improve. We, as a philosophy, need to be fun. I even praised one particularly fun individual by name. When I say we, clearly I don't mean "each and every individual."

Quote

As for me, I came to this forum for unfunny reasons, so I'm mostly very serious.  That says nothing about whether I am, or have, fun in other parts of my life.

Yeah, I read your life story about your running from the law and what that says about our country. It was long. So was my post, but I said some important stuff. You mind actually reading and responding to anything that I said, please?

th?id=OIP.HDVORHOoqLihYCJwh618pQD6D6&pid

 

Edited by CartsBeforeHorses

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2 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Not through it yet, but this is effing brilliant.

I'd love to see things like this -- or perhaps this guy specifically (if he's still active; I guess it's been a while since this was filmed) -- get some love in the culture, or financial backing, or ideally both.

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36 minutes ago, CartsBeforeHorses said:

Yeah, I read your life story about your running from the law and what that says about our country. It was long. So was my post, but I said some important stuff. You mind actually reading and responding to anything that I said, please?

Actually, it was a quarter of my life, not the whole thing. Do you suggest that my post didn't say anything important?  Do you suggest that I didn't read your post?  That I didn't respond to it?  Think again.  I didn't respond point by point, true.  But I thought it pointless to do so, since I believe that your basic premise is wrong.

All of the Objectivists of my acquaintance are fun, in appropriate circumstances.

 Shall I tell you of the time I sang a duet with a well known (in my little part of the world) singer -- with me in drag, singing the woman's part (I'm a countertenor) and she in men's clothes singing the man's part (she did a passable tenor)?  Would you care to hear a sample of  my awful puns?  Ever watched me laughing with a bunch of early grade-schoolers?  Back when I had money, one of my favorite activities was dancing, ballroom and on roller skates, and I had a blast with the older women.  Would you like a dead parrot?  It's turtles all the way down.  The answer is 42.

 

And that's my answer to you.


 

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24 minutes ago, Invictus2017 said:

Actually, it was a quarter of my life, not the whole thing. Do you suggest that my post didn't say anything important?  Do you suggest that I didn't read your post?  That I didn't respond to it?  Think again.  I didn't respond point by point, true.  But I thought it pointless to do so, since I believe that your basic premise is wrong.

Your post did say much of importance, and I apologize for appearing to suggest otherwise. It's made me think a lot about our criminal justice system.

My post, however, you appear to have misunderstood. "Objectivists aren't fun people in general, and we need to be to market ourselves" is my conclusion, not my premise. It is reached from the following premises, some or all of which you would have to refute to refute the conclusion. I'll put it in bullet points, this is a business meeting after all.

  • Ayn Rand, the prime objectivist, was simply not a fun person to talk to, nor be around. She rarely smiled, she interrupted frequently during interviews. She hated one of the best genres of music, rock music... which is fine for her personal taste, but she tried to make a philosophical thing out of it.
  • Leonard Peikoff and Yaron Brook are not fun, because they are actually the fun police. Other objectivists ask, and they either give or deny, moral sanction for fun activities which are not prohibited by Objectivist morality to begin with. Ayatollahs are not fun.
  • Peikoff himself did not enjoy the practice of philosophy. He saw it as a continual misery.
  • Carl Barney, one of the chief donors to the ARI, was a former Church of Scientology cult leader of four churches, who runs an educational racket to this very day with his colleges. He never once had to atone for it. Fraudsters and theft is not fun, nor is taking their blood money.
  • I posted a how-to guide on fantasizing and a number of objectivists told me that it was "pointless" to do so. Um, how about because I enjoy doing it, and maybe I thought that others would if they tried it? Others bizarrely pointed out that it wasn't real... even though I never said it was. It's almost like they're opposed to the idea of anything fun happening inside their heads. Strangely they exempt literature from this prohibition on "not enjoying unreal things", even though fantasy is simply a story you tell yourself about yourself contemporaneously.
  • People (one particular person but I won't give names) hurl insults like "racist" at each other on this board constantly with no proof and are never sanctioned for this act of evasion. Unsubstantiated, garbage accusations are not fun... especially when they're directed at people who are supposedly your ideological compatriots. It's just plain rude.

 

24 minutes ago, Invictus2017 said:

All of the Objectivists of my acquaintance are fun, in appropriate circumstances.

 Shall I tell you of the time I sang a duet with a well known (in my little part of the world) singer -- with me in drag, singing the woman's part (I'm a countertenor) and she in men's clothes singing the man's part (she did a passable tenor)?  Would you care to hear a sample of  my awful puns?  Ever watched me laughing with a bunch of early grade-schoolers?  Back when I had money, one of my favorite activities was dancing, ballroom and on roller skates, and I had a blast with the older women.  Would you like a dead parrot?  It's turtles all the way down.  The answer is 42.

And that's my answer to you.

Then you're a fun person. My post wasn't directed at you in particular. A lot of objectivists, even if it's only a minority of them, are simply no fun in any way whatsoever. This post was directed at them, and I'm sorry for using "we."

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5 hours ago, CartsBeforeHorses said:

We could learn a lot from the man that we are fortunate enough to have as president at the moment...

I'd just like to mention that I really don't think he's going to improve things. Although he'll certainly be better than Hillary would've, he explicitly conflates economic power with political power (he essentially ran on that) and that ought to be one of the requirements of holding the office.

That being said, I can't help but like the bastard.

 

14 minutes ago, CartsBeforeHorses said:
  • Leonard Peikoff and Yaron Brook are not fun, because they are actually the fun police.

Yawon Bwook actually seems like a pretty fun guy to me. ;) I've seen a number of YouTube videos where he really radiates that (I've even seen him crack a joke or two), but it'll take just a bit for me to track them down.

 

22 minutes ago, CartsBeforeHorses said:
  • Carl Barney, one of the chief donors to the ARI, was a former Church of Scientology cult leader of four churches, who runs an educational racket to this very day with his colleges. He never once had to atone for it. Fraudsters and theft is not fun, nor is taking their blood money.

Is that really relevant, though?

 

1 hour ago, Invictus2017 said:

Would you like a dead parrot?  It's turtles all the way down.  The answer is 42.

I'm sure you are a fun guy (and it's not dead; it's just worn out from a long night of shagging) but that's not the way you prove that point, man...

download.jpg.cfe089366eed2f577a92315bffb70c9d.jpg

:P

 

Anyway. I'm sorry I haven't addressed anything substantive, yet; I'm very sleep deprived and I just wanted to clear up those details before I pass out.

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14 hours ago, CartsBeforeHorses said:

My post, however, you appear to have misunderstood. "Objectivists aren't fun people in general, and we need to be to market ourselves" is my conclusion, not my premise. It is reached from the following premises, some or all of which you would have to refute to refute the conclusion. I'll put it in bullet points, this is a business meeting after all.

*snicker*

Actually, I did understand.  I merely addressed the first point I disagreed with, your contention that Objectivists as a group are sorely lacking in fun. I just don't think it's generally true. That said, I don't personally know the people you discussed and I've largely stayed out of that fight, so I'll take your characterization of those public Objectivists as accurate for the sake of argument....but I must still disagree with you, as I think your other premise is wrong.

Fun is a virtue,as you noted.  As applied to the people you discussed, I would have to agree -- they need more fun for their own sakes.  But you seem to be saying that Objectivists need to be more fun in order more effectively spread Objectivism, presumably to enact the social change that is so sorely needed.

In my view, there's not a damned thing that Objectivists can do about the world's merry handbasket ride.  Westerners are, as a society and mostly as individuals, committed to evasion and not all the reason -- or fun -- in the world, will change that.  Only bitter experience might do so, experience the West will get in a couple of decades or so.  (I wrote a much longer screed on that point over in DW's topic.)

As to what Objectivists should do instead of attempting the impossible, that's probably off-topic here.  But I do intend to write about it sooner or later.


 

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23 minutes ago, Invictus2017 said:

In my view, there's not a damned thing that Objectivists can do about the world's merry handbasket ride.

I don't think this is true.

23 minutes ago, Invictus2017 said:

Westerners are, as a society and mostly as individuals, committed to evasion and not all the reason -- or fun -- in the world, will change that.

I think it's an interesting notion, being "committed to evasion."

Someday -- and it's sooner now than ever -- I plan on opening up a topic to really try to explore evasion... but in the meantime, do we think it's true that people are committed to evasion? Were it so, how could any of us survive? We depend upon reason for survival itself (whether or not we account "survival," in any sense, the standard of value ;)). And so I think that we in the West, as elsewhere, must be open to reason to some certain extent. And if we manage marvels, like constructing skyscrapers, conquering disease, etc. -- and we do -- then that is all the more evidence that reason carries great sway among men.

And Objectivism, as truth, has literally everything worth valuing to offer. If we can get it right -- as we must attempt to do for ourselves, our own sakes, let alone proselytization -- then we have the formula for earthly happiness, inclusive of all values and virtues, including "fun."

I'm taking a bit of a flyer, and I'd rather discuss this in full when I do commit to a topic on evasion, but I suspect that it does not come out of nowhere, unmotivated. I suspect that it's something like a psychological defense mechanism... and as such, I think that there are means by which we may come to understand evasion, such that we could be more or less effective in communicating our message.

I don't think it's hopeless or fruitless. I think we can do better.

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Let's Change!

Exactly what does this declaration mean? If I am to follow my personal interests, the only changes I will focus on are those that advance myself toward my goals. I am one who knows myself, and I suppose a great many people can make the same claim. I know that I am a kill-joy, less interested with style than I am interested in substance. If my purpose were to entertain others, I would be very concerned with broadening my sense of humor. In fact, I would broaden it beyond pointlessness, because that's what comedians do. They want to reach the broadest audience possible. I don't care about the broader audience. But if I were an aspiring entertainer, I would most certainly need to change that attitude. I choose not to change, at least not for the purpose of impressing people whose views will never align with mine. I wish to have meaningful engagements with  intelligent people, not twist balloons into representational sculptures of dachshunds. The vast majority of the people I know would be more entertained by the balloon clown than having a discussion about history, global affairs, and/or least of all, philosophy. Regardless as to how you market ideas, it is only through cultural products,i.e. music, movies, literature, or live stage theater that one conveys a theme to a large audience. This is not say that I have never slipped in a bit of humor into my posting on this forum, or in casual personal conversation. To the contrary, people appreciate my humor, as deadpan as it is, when dignified professionalism is all that they've come to expect. Wit must not be conflated with "being fun." If you are a "fun person," wonderful; perhaps you don't need to change anything. If you intend to convey a serious idea with humor, you may find that you need to refine and practice your routine, and prepare for the serious rebuttal. Personally, I find self-styled clowns rather boring. Perhaps no one will ever accuse me of being a fun guy, but the world has enough human whoopy-cushions to keep us all in blissful hysterics.

I disagree with the assertion that Ayn Rand lacked humor. Having read her novels, I found the sort of humor I can appreciate in the caricatures of her antagonists. And if I had to defend an unpopular idea in public, I might be just as precise and combative as was she. 

I want to give a special thanks to StrictlyLogical for the vintage video of Robin Fields. I watched it all the way through. I will pass it along. It is an exceptional piece of entertainment, and never strays from his intended point.

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10 minutes ago, DonAthos said:
46 minutes ago, Invictus2017 said:

In my view, there's not a damned thing that Objectivists can do about the world's merry handbasket ride.

I don't think this is true.

Then you're rejecting the evidence of decades of many attempts by people far more committed and possibly far more capable than you and me.  Do we wait until the Gestapo comes knocking at the door before admitting that reasoned persuasion has failed?  Or do we acknowledge that doing the same thing that has been done before while expecting a different outcome is not rational?

17 minutes ago, DonAthos said:

I think it's an interesting notion, being "committed to evasion."

Someday -- and it's sooner now than ever -- I plan on opening up a topic to really try to explore evasion... but in the meantime, do we think it's true that people are committed to evasion? Were it so, how could any of us survive?

In a word, "compartmentalization".  Or, if one prefers, dis-integration.  Damaged people can do great things with their rational faculty in one area of their lives while refusing to employ it in others.

The commitment to evasion is not found in how people deal with practical matters, it is in how they deal with things that run contrary to their deepest feelings.  The person who feels that someone must help them will be totally unswayed by the argument that reducing taxes while keeping the social programs intact -- or growing -- cannot work. And it is that person who literally cannot grasp an argument for freedom, because freedom means that there will not be anyone who must help them.

27 minutes ago, DonAthos said:

If we can get it right -- as we must attempt to do for ourselves, our own sakes, let alone proselytization -- then we have the formula for earthly happiness, inclusive of all values and virtues, including "fun."

For ourselves, those close to us, and those few who bring their reason to the table.  But proselytizing is an utter waste of time that can only produce unhappiness.  It for sure won't bring on social change.

29 minutes ago, DonAthos said:

I suspect that it's something like a psychological defense mechanism... and as such, I think that there are means by which we may come to understand evasion, such that we could be more or less effective in communicating our message.

That way lies codependency.  "He'll change, I know he will, if only I just say the right words.  He will!"  I couldn't tell you how many (mostly women) have tried to change a man -- a man who had every reason to listen to that woman -- and failed.  Changing peoples' minds in the face of their deepest held beliefs is a job for a skilled professional in a one-to-one interaction over a long period of tiime.  It cannot be done wholesale. And even retail, there is no guarantee of success.

You can lead a whore to culture but you cannot make her think, to mangle a phrase....

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43 minutes ago, DonAthos said:

do we think it's true that people are committed to evasion?

It's literally impossible for a man who has already abdicated (consciously or unconsciously) his responsibility to judge things for himself, deferring wholly to and depending wholly upon others, to consciously and with intention in a committed fashion, repeatedly decide not to engage in independent thought, not unless he second guesses his abdication and wrests back his responsibility each time. 

No, a person is not voluntarily committed fully and intentionally and continually, they simply, at some point in their distant past, have put aside what they would need to avoid evasion, the responsibility of thinking.

From there it is a simple matter: thinking has been evaded, the only thing left to do is to latch onto and accept any one of the contradictory answers, ideas, thoughts, sentiments, on the basis of how one feels in the moment, or how easy it is to accept for the nonce.  These of course build up into the baseless irrational edifices we all encounter so often in the psychology of others.

43 minutes ago, DonAthos said:

I'm taking a bit of a flyer, and I'd rather discuss this in full when I do commit to a topic on evasion, but I suspect that it does not come out of nowhere, unmotivated. I suspect that it's something like a psychological defense mechanism... and as such, I think that there are means by which we may come to understand evasion, such that we could be more or less effective in communicating our message.

What little left of a man's mind after he has decided not to think for himself, are the ideas and doctrines and sentiments of his immediate surroundings which he latches onto.  They may be there due to habit, the past ease with which they could be latched onto, the feelings they produced, or they could be due to indoctrination, religion, messages of the media, teachers, parents, or priests: baseless guilt and unfounded admonishment.  These form false structures in a psyche,  posing as morality, virtues, principles... a slowly hardened, monumental edifice of falsehood...  and YES this IS defended from thought .... and EVASION IS the psychological defense mechanism at play.., how else to defend the false, the incorrect, the irrational, against the process of fully integrative and flawlessly logical thought...? It must be the suspension of the act of thought ITSELF, and evasion of any momentary thought before they can be fully embraced, understood, integrated, and remembered... else they would bring the whole house of cards falling down.

You will note, that the above implies falsehoods in a sense should be powerless against, to put it simply, thinking, ... as if thiking were a time bomb ready to set off a chain reaction... so why is the world filled with so much falsity and insanity?  Precisely because Evasion IS effective, its mechanism enables the negation of thought as a process at its root... and whenever it springs up... like a depraved self abusive game of whack-a-mole... threatening thoughts are smashed over and over wherever and whenever they appear... shielding the false edifice in all its distorted glory.   

Falsehoods cannot win the face of thinking ... they only win in the emptiness of a desolate mind whose only lonely sounds are the guarding winds of evasion where the buzz and life of a thought should have been.

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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24 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Evasion IS effective, its mechanism enables the negation of thought as a process at its root...

There seem to be two kinds of evasion:

1.Not thinking

2.Thinking or thoughts that override the truth

For (1) How is anyone to know when they are not thinking? For (2) anxiety is one's friend because there is an implication that the truth is known but suppressed.

 

Edited by Easy Truth

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55 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

There seem to be two kinds of evasion:

1.Not thinking

2.Thinking or thoughts that override the truth

For (1) How is anyone to know when they are not thinking? For (2) anxiety is one's friend because there is an implication that the truth is known but suppressed.

 

Isn't (2) really just 1 + something masquerading as thinking?  something a person would "call" thinking but which is not... being its opposite at worst and a simpleton's straw man at best.

After all, thinking IS thinking, no?

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1 hour ago, Easy Truth said:

There seem to be two kinds of evasion:

1.Not thinking

2.Thinking or thoughts that override the truth

"Not thinking" -- failing to think -- is not evasion.

Evasion is an active process whereby unwanted thoughts are suppressed. The essence is that there must be something that makes one aware of an upcoming thought and then some action, intentional or an automatized intention, to keep the thought itself out of one's awareness.
 

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1 hour ago, Invictus2017 said:

"Not thinking" -- failing to think -- is not evasion.

Evasion is an active process whereby unwanted thoughts are suppressed. The essence is that there must be something that makes one aware of an upcoming thought and then some action, intentional or an automatized intention, to keep the thought itself out of one's awareness.
 

There is the anticipation (intentional or automatized) and then the "making" of the non-thought... or the very act of "thought squishing"... -blank out- 

The evasion is not the -blank out- itself but the process ensuring it happens.  There still might two types as ET put it (1 and 2) which could be respun as:

1. Evasion resulting in pure -blank out-

2. Evasion creating -blank out- and quickly slipping a substitute something that looks like thinking or a thought, in its place, like a brood parasite (e.g. the cuckoo bird who smuggles her eggs into a host bird's nest, after which the unsuspecting host bird rears the cuckoo chick as if it were her own), eventually the substitutes, all of them invariably from the surroundings, unchecked, and becoming the part of the man, where his ideas, morality, virtues, principles, his very self ... should have been.

But then again... as nature abhors a vacuum a mind also tends to fill gaps ... validly or not, and the gap or hole of 1) will eventually be plugged with something anyway... which amounts to no more than a longer version of 2.

 

How are we doing DA? 

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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1 hour ago, StrictlyLogical said:

But then again... as nature abhors a vacuum a mind also tends to fill gaps ... validly or not, and the gap or hole of 1) will eventually be plugged with something anyway... which amounts to no more than a longer version of 2.

Pretty much.  Also, few people are really capable of blanking their minds and, instead, perforce must replace an unwelcome thought with something else.
 

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4 hours ago, Invictus2017 said:

Then you're rejecting the evidence of decades of many attempts by people far more committed and possibly far more capable than you and me.  Do we wait until the Gestapo comes knocking at the door before admitting that reasoned persuasion has failed?  Or do we acknowledge that doing the same thing that has been done before while expecting a different outcome is not rational?

I do agree that doing the same thing that's been done while expecting a different outcome isn't rational, very generally speaking, but not that there's nothing that Objectivists can do about the state of the world, or the direction it's currently heading in. (Medieval Europe, perhaps, didn't look so rosy until Aristotle's rediscovery; why oughtn't the world enjoy a Randian Renaissance?)

I think, rather, that Objectivists should take stock of the methods we've used, our approach in engaging the wider world, the way we communicate ourselves and our ideas, and make some changes.

One of my takeaways from reading Rand is that philosophy has the power to move the world; I still believe that's true.

4 hours ago, Invictus2017 said:

But proselytizing is an utter waste of time that can only produce unhappiness.  It for sure won't bring on social change.

Are we including Rand's own efforts in writing essays to describe her philosophy, and etc.? Because as far as I can tell, she designed arguments in order to convince others of what she believed to be true, which is part and parcel to what I consider "proselytization." For what it's worth, that worked for me.

4 hours ago, Invictus2017 said:

Changing peoples' minds in the face of their deepest held beliefs is a job for a skilled professional in a one-to-one interaction over a long period of tiime.  It cannot be done wholesale. And even retail, there is no guarantee of success.

I believe that changing peoples' minds is a difficult task, but if we instead frame this in terms of learning how to make arguments (and other sorts of presentations; "argument," as I conceive of it, need not be so formal as an essay or a debate), how to approach people and groups diplomatically or tactfully, how to make better use of academic infrastructure or the media, how to make inroads into the culture, and such -- if that's how we think of our efforts, then I think we stand a better shot of success, on our own terms.

It's kind of like, if I ask how I can force students to learn some given material... well, that's a difficult notion. Just like you can lead a whore to culture (which conjures Allen's Whore of Mensa to my mind) but you cannot make her think, so too you cannot make a student learn. Yet teachers can (and ideally do) strive to sharpen their pedagogical skills, so that they can make the best use of whatever skills the students provide, leverage whatever efforts the student is willing to perform, and hopefully incite further effort.

There are reasonable people in the world, some to a lesser extent, some to a high degree -- and not all of them are Objectivists (to put it lightly). I'm not satisfied that, because we have not yet figured out the best means of outreach, that means that we will not be able to do so going forward.

1 hour ago, StrictlyLogical said:

How are we doing DA? 

You're doing fine. I'm weighing my options about starting the thread I've long had in mind... but I enjoy and appreciate the conversation in the meantime.

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36 minutes ago, DonAthos said:

I do agree that doing the same thing that's been done while expecting a different outcome isn't rational, very generally speaking, but not that there's nothing that Objectivists can do about the state of the world, or the direction it's currently heading in. (Medieval Europe, perhaps, didn't look so rosy until Aristotle's rediscovery; why oughtn't the world enjoy a Randian Renaissance?)

You'll have to provide evidence that there is something that Objectivists can do about the state of the world; at the moment, all of the evidence is to the contrary.

 In my view, it's a waste of time trying because, even if some genius were to discover  a means of squaring this circle, it takes generations for ideas to work significant change.  The old guard must die out, and the new replace them in positions of social power. This takes time.  The West simply does not have that time.  Long before a new renaissance, there will come the chaos from barbarians within and economic collapse.

44 minutes ago, DonAthos said:

I think, rather, that Objectivists should take stock of the methods we've used, our approach in engaging the wider world, the way we communicate ourselves and our ideas, and make some changes.

While Objectivists certainly have their flaws when it comes to presenting their ideas, it is mere codependent thinking to imagine that if only we were somehow better, other people will understand.  The libertarians have tried this and, indeed, more people pay attention to them than used to, but they're still not making any real headway with their ideas.

The reality is that the responsibility for thought belongs to the thinker, and blaming oneself for another's irresponsibility is self-destructive.

56 minutes ago, DonAthos said:
Quote

But proselytizing is an utter waste of time that can only produce unhappiness.  It for sure won't bring on social change.

Are we including Rand's own efforts in writing essays to describe her philosophy, and etc.? Because as far as I can tell, she designed arguments in order to convince others of what she believed to be true, which is part and parcel to what I consider "proselytization." For what it's worth, that worked for me.

From what I see, Rand wasn't exactly a happy person, and her efforts have not significantly affected the direction of history nor the speed of our downhill slide.  But never mind.  I withdraw what I said in favor of: Proselytizing in the hope of social change is an utter waste of time.  Proselytizing for other purposes may be valuable, in that it may sweep up the occasional soul who has not been totally twisted by prevailing ideas.

1 hour ago, DonAthos said:

I believe that changing peoples' minds is a difficult task, but if we instead frame this in terms of learning how to make arguments (and other sorts of presentations; "argument," as I conceive of it, need not be so formal as an essay or a debate), how to approach people and groups diplomatically or tactfully, how to make better use of academic infrastructure or the media, how to make inroads into the culture, and such -- if that's how we think of our efforts, then I think we stand a better shot of success, on our own terms.

This is precisely what has been tried and found wanting.  The problem is not our presentation, even though our presentation could be better; the problem is in the minds of the overwhelming majority of the people we would hope to reach.  No improvement in presentation will reach a person who will not listen with his reasoning mind.
 

1 hour ago, DonAthos said:

Just like you can lead a whore to culture (which conjures Allen's Whore of Mensa to my mind) but you cannot make her think, so too you cannot make a student learn.

Just as an aside, I've been using that line for decades without attributing it to Dorothy Parker.  I never checked until today. :) (She apparently was asked to use the word "horticulture" in a sentence. Heh.)

1 hour ago, DonAthos said:

There are reasonable people in the world, some to a lesser extent, some to a high degree -- and not all of them are Objectivists (to put it lightly). I'm not satisfied that, because we have not yet figured out the best means of outreach, that means that we will not be able to do so going forward.

If one's goal is simply to reach those relatively few people, that can be a worthwhile goal (though not for me).  But if one's goal is to reach those people in order to effect meaningful social change, one will simply waste one's time, just as your predecessors (including me) did.

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On 10/19/2017 at 2:46 PM, CartsBeforeHorses said:

Ayn Rand was many things. Brilliant. Visionary. An excellent orator and writer. Right on just about everything. But what she was not? Our prophet, because we're not a religion. It should be okay to criticize her if she deserves it. On the fun aspect, she totally missed the boat.

While I generally agree with this, I think it's important to remember the circumstances she lived through. I'm sure it wasn't much fun to live in Soviet Russia, nor to have her ideas almost universally spat upon when she presented them to the West. It might make me a bit cranky, too.

 

On 10/19/2017 at 2:46 PM, CartsBeforeHorses said:

That was a joke, and we don't make enough of them. We should. We need to be more fun. We can start by acknowledging our mistakes as a philosophy. Number one, that we've turned ourselves into a religion. Number two, that even in Rand's day before we became a religion, we didn't have fun.

Firstly, I emphatically agree with you about acknowledging our own mistakes. Whether Objectivism ultimately stands, falls or corrects itself, as human beings our highest priority must be truth. Further, although some Objectivists certainly are comparable to religious worshippers (*cough* Peikoff *cough*), I don't think we all share such weaknesses. Peikoff just happened to have the biggest microphone for a while.

 

Secondly, as Nathaniel Branden explained in The Psychology of Pleasure, there are many different varieties of "fun" we can experience...

Quote

The quality of any [emotion] depends on the mental processes that give rise to and attend it, and on the nature of the values involved.

... and not many could even recognize the kinds of fun which Objectivism emphasizes most. Hard work, self-improvement, rising to meet some challenge head-on; what Galt or Roark (who I consider truer Objectivist archetypes than Rand herself) call "fun" is what most people call "hard" and "stressful". Both perspectives are correct (Roark's kind of pleasure is both hard and fun) but choosing anything other than the path of least resistance is pretty radical today.

Thirdly, while we should make more jokes, we should also be selective about their subjects. To laugh at something is to belittle it and make it seem small and impotent, which I think is why Rand said "one must never laugh at oneself". I don't agree with that principle, entirely; I think there are times when it's perfectly good and healthy to laugh at yourself - when you're laughing at your own flaws or weaknesses (or those of others). You must never laugh at the things dearest and most sacred to yourself (or what ought to be sacred to others).

 

So I absolutely agree that some of us should lighten up a bit, but since we have such a nonstandard idea of what "fun" is this may not translate into the sort of behavior you might think (and certainly won't score us many brownie points with the general public, anyway).

On 10/19/2017 at 2:46 PM, CartsBeforeHorses said:

 

 

On 10/19/2017 at 2:46 PM, CartsBeforeHorses said:

You know why I like Sonic the Hedgehog? Because he's awesomely good and he knows it! Because evil is impotent and he knows it! This makes fighting evil is fun for him, fun for you when you play the video games he stars in. 

Hell, yes! :thumbsup: That point, which at times seems lost on some of us, entails much of the "lightening up" I'd like to encourage. Amen!

 

On 10/19/2017 at 2:46 PM, CartsBeforeHorses said:

Or if we do, we never show it, with the exception of a few bright sparks on this board like Harrison Danneskjold... who I praise not to exclude anyone else, but just as an exemplary individual who personifies what a fun philosophy should be lived out.

Thank you, but it hasn't come naturally. You should see some of my posts from a few years ago, if you're ever in a particularly masochistic mood.

 

If you're interested in marketing Objectivism, there's a speech by Yaron Brook you should see.

 

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
Organizational Details

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12 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

There seem to be two kinds of evasion:

1.Not thinking

2.Thinking or thoughts that override the truth

For (1) How is anyone to know when they are not thinking? For (2) anxiety is one's friend because there is an implication that the truth is known but suppressed.

 

 

11 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Isn't (2) really just 1 + something masquerading as thinking?  something a person would "call" thinking but which is not... being its opposite at worst and a simpleton's straw man at best.

After all, thinking IS thinking, no?

 

11 hours ago, Invictus2017 said:

"Not thinking" -- failing to think -- is not evasion.

Evasion is an active process whereby unwanted thoughts are suppressed. The essence is that there must be something that makes one aware of an upcoming thought and then some action, intentional or an automatized intention, to keep the thought itself out of one's awareness.
 

Onkar Ghate defines three cognitive modes:

  1. Purposeful focus
  2. Aimless drifting
  3. Purposeful evasion

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17 minutes ago, Invictus2017 said:

You'll have to provide evidence that there is something that Objectivists can do about the state of the world; at the moment, all of the evidence is to the contrary.

I don't know what would qualify as "evidence" for this sort of large-scale speculation (imho, it's a bit like asking for evidence for one's vision of a counterfactual history; like, man, can you prove that this is what the world would've been like, if the Confederacy had won the Civil War...? Er, probably not). Whatever "evidence" I have is really probably just a principled approach -- a principled rejection of fatalism and predestination, and a belief that people can change their beliefs and change their ways, because people have volition. Perhaps this is even more "sense of life" than belief, strictly speaking; I'm unsure, but it is my honest perspective...

Anyways, I think we would agree that the world is in a lot of trouble at the moment and that things are getting worse. Culturally, for all I can tell, the US is in the worst shape it's been in my lifetime, though perhaps not the worst shape in its history (the aforementioned Confederacy coming during a time when people were literally owned, as chattel, and a nation was created -- for the purpose of defending actual, literal human slavery... which triggered the bloodiest war in our history; that was bad, too).

But the reason why I believe that Objectivists can do something about the state of the world, specifically, is because I believe that Objectivists have truth on their side; I believe in the unrivaled power of this ally, and that -- as I've said -- philosophy has the power to move the world. Whatever problems we have now can largely be accounted to bad philosophy; the cure, then, is good philosophy -- and that puts Objectivists in a unique position, because I regard Objectivism as not only the best philosophy, but the only true philosophy.

Now... that doesn't mean we have a magic wand we can wave and right wrongs. You're right that the idea of turning the world around is a difficult proposal and one that will take time. In fact, before Objectivists can do something about the world, we first probably have to do something about making the Objectivist community itself better and stronger (though at heart this may be the very same project)...

But if the rebirth of the world is going to happen, it has to start somewhere, somehow. I'm not giving up on that. After all, this is my world.

17 minutes ago, Invictus2017 said:

In my view, it's a waste of time trying because, even if some genius were to discover  a means of squaring this circle, it takes generations for ideas to work significant change.  The old guard must die out, and the new replace them in positions of social power. This takes time.  The West simply does not have that time.  Long before a new renaissance, there will come the chaos from barbarians within and economic collapse.

You're right that the spread of ideas takes time, although I would guess that it's never been easier than right now, or potentially faster, due to the great leverage of technology. Regardless, that's the direction we need to travel. If it takes longer than my lifetime to achieve our end goal (as it certainly would, even if we Objectivists were all on the same page, and armed with great ideas and resources), then we can still make things better, or as best as we can, for ourselves and our children.

I'm reminded of Rand's famous quote, "Anyone who fights for the future, lives in it today." I think there's great poetic truth to that sentiment, but the key is: we must fight for the future.

17 minutes ago, Invictus2017 said:

While Objectivists certainly have their flaws when it comes to presenting their ideas, it is mere codependent thinking to imagine that if only we were somehow better, other people will understand.  The libertarians have tried this and, indeed, more people pay attention to them than used to, but they're still not making any real headway with their ideas.

The reality is that the responsibility for thought belongs to the thinker, and blaming oneself for another's irresponsibility is self-destructive.

Again, I think it's the wrong frame of reference to approach this as "taking responsibility for others' thoughts"; yes, thought belongs to the thinker. But we absolutely can (and must) take responsibility for our own efforts, in communicating our ideas.

I attempted to draw an analogy between this and teaching. I think it is apt, and I would invite you to consider it. We would not discourage a teacher looking to sharpen his approach, even if the student must take responsibility for his own efforts in learning. And that's as much as I am proposing.

If the point is, well, some people will never be reached... then maybe I agree with that. But I don't think it follows that better efforts will not produce better results. I think better efforts would. I think better efforts means more Objectivists, a better penetration of Objectivism into the culture, into the classroom, and eventually a better world.

17 minutes ago, Invictus2017 said:

From what I see, Rand wasn't exactly a happy person, and her efforts have not significantly affected the direction of history nor the speed of our downhill slide. But never mind.  I withdraw what I said in favor of: Proselytizing in the hope of social change is an utter waste of time.  Proselytizing for other purposes may be valuable, in that it may sweep up the occasional soul who has not been totally twisted by prevailing ideas.

But the "direction of history" is made of individual souls. And even if all we are discussing is sweeping up the occasional soul, who knows what one such soul might contribute to that direction of history? Ayn Rand was, herself, one such soul. We probably would not have predicted her, had we lived before she did. (And as to whether her efforts have significantly affected the direction of history, I have no idea; I have no idea what the US, for instance, would have been like without her efforts... without her influence on libertarianism, and conservatism, and perhaps even liberalism. It doesn't have to be recognized or acknowledged to be real.)

This may seem a left-field example, but Christianity really only needed one convert, Constantine, to utterly remake the world. Our context is (to put it rather lightly) different. But still, I would not underestimate the power of a single voice in the darkness. A fountainhead, if you will.

17 minutes ago, Invictus2017 said:

Just as an aside, I've been using that line for decades without attributing it to Dorothy Parker.  I never checked until today. :) (She apparently was asked to use the word "horticulture" in a sentence. Heh.)

I'm not familiar with Parker otherwise, but what a great line. :)

17 minutes ago, Invictus2017 said:

If one's goal is simply to reach those relatively few people, that can be a worthwhile goal (though not for me).  But if one's goal is to reach those people in order to effect meaningful social change, one will simply waste one's time, just as your predecessors (including me) did.

I don't see any great disparity between reaching those few people (hopefully more than otherwise, through improved methods) and effecting meaningful social change. The change could be incremental or it could be exponential -- as we acquire greater footholds in culture, media, academia, etc., then it is possible that even the unconvinced will be more open to reason, as such, closer to our way of thinking (even while holding explicit disagreement). And thus we might find that our efforts are met with greater and greater success as we go forward, just as a stone may start small at the top of the hill, yet snowball as it descends.

But you're right that our current methods -- the approach of our predecessors -- probably is insufficient to get that ball to speed. As much as I love the ARI-sponsored essay contests, for instance, that doesn't seem to be making sufficient headway against the cultural tide. So that's the project: to find new (ideally better) ways of promoting Objectivism. I think that's surer to work than not promoting it at all.

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9 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

If you're interested in marketing Objectivism, there's a speech by Yaron Brook you should see.

 

Holy cow, I just made the time to watch this. He refers to the word "mensch," and man, imo that's what Yaron is: a mensch. What a wonderful presentation.

I don't agree with him on every point, here or elsewhere (but then, there is no human I've ever encountered with whom I could claim total agreement), but he is my kind of Objectivist.

Edited by DonAthos

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