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

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2 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

Questioning the morality of masturbation doesn't.

Leonard Peikoff and Yaron Brook questioned the morality of masturbation? When?

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3 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

Actually it's Ayn Rand's philosophy, the philosophy of anyone who chooses to adopt and practice it (so in that sense it's also William Harrison Jodeit's philosophy and -presumably- Nicky's philosophy)

I am always careful not to conflate Ayn Rand's ideas with my own. So no, it's not my philosophy.

Objectivism is the worst example to use (because there's an inherent contradiction between Objectivism and the act of adopting and practicing someone else's belief system whole sale, and Rand never intended for anyone to do that), so let's switch to the belief system of L. Ron Hubbard, to illustrate my point:

Just because you follow L. Ron Hubbard's ideas faithfully, doesn't mean they're now your beliefs. They're still his beliefs. The only belief that is your own could be described as "I will do as L. Ron Hubbard says".

That's not what Ayn Rand did, and it's not what she intended for people reading her work to do. She learned from thinkers who came before her, by integrating their ideas, one at a time, into a coherent system all of her own. And then she added original ideas, as well.

And she presented all those ideas to the world, for others to use them the same exact way she used other philosophies. I don't know this for sure, but I think she might be horrified by the idea of someone "adopting and practicing" the entire thing. As far as I know, the "cult leader" smear she was given by some is undeserved: she was only intolerant of evasion and stupidity, not disagreement.

 

Edited by Nicky

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You're both right, and I would agree with both statements I quote below.

3 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

Actually it's Ayn Rand's philosophy, the philosophy of anyone who chooses to adopt and practice it (so in that sense it's also William Harrison Jodeit's philosophy and -presumably- Nicky's philosophy) and the cultural movement of said practitioners, which is currently microscopic.

 

41 minutes ago, Nicky said:

there's an inherent contradiction between Objectivism and the act of adopting and practicing someone else's belief system whole sale, and Rand never intended for anyone to do that

We all adapt Objectivism to suit ourselves in our own lives. That is the purpose of philosophy, to serve man's life. Do we all follow Ayn Rand's ideas to the letter? Of course not. Nicky's philosophy is different from Ayn Rand's philosophy. Harrison's is different from both. All are versions of Objectivism.

 

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2 hours ago, CartsBeforeHorses said:

Yes, but why are Objectivists asking for validation of their enjoyment of life in the first place?

You do not know the context of the questioner, so you're simply making an assumption that they're seeking validation. Obviously you're making an assumption about this person. It's quite likely to be an unjustified assumption. If you put on your benevolent glasses for a bit, you'll see a few pretty happy alternatives, just as likely -- and,  taken together, more likely -- than your assumption of some being lesser than yourself.

2 hours ago, CartsBeforeHorses said:

Then I share it here and get strawman arguments like "Fantasy is not a prime virtue" (never said it was) or "Well you can't do that all the time or you'll die" (never said you could).

Were the comments here only negative? Genuine question: I really don't know. In my ignorance, I'd guess that you simply got a total of fewer responses here, given the small number of members. I assume you got a mix of positive and negative. I searched for the phrase "Fantasy is not a prime virtue" and couldn't find the response you're talking about.

I see a larger problem here: you're trying to get a picture of Objectivists from the specific interactions they have on philosophy-leaning forums. That seems to be a poor sample.

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1 hour ago, CartsBeforeHorses said:

We all adapt Objectivism to suit ourselves in our own lives. That is the purpose of philosophy, to serve man's life. Do we all follow Ayn Rand's ideas to the letter? Of course not. Nicky's philosophy is different from Ayn Rand's philosophy. Harrison's is different from both. All are versions of Objectivism.

No, all are not versions of Objectivism.  That's like saying Ayn Rand's philosophy is a version of Aristotelianism with the alleged errors corrected.  

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2 minutes ago, Craig24 said:

No, all are not versions of Objectivism.  That's like saying Ayn Rand's philosophy is a version of Aristotelianism with the alleged errors corrected.  

No two men are exactly the same. Does that mean that the concept of "men" is invalid? No. The philosophy of concept formation says that we should group similar things together, and only create new categories when the extant ones are inadequate to describe reality.

I don't agree with 100% of what Ayn Rand said or did. I think that nobody fully does. We could all label ourselves as something other than Objectivists, but that would be counter-productive. The Objectivist philosophy of concept formation forbids such hair-splitting.

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2 minutes ago, CartsBeforeHorses said:

No two men are exactly the same. Does that mean that the concept of "men" is invalid? No. The philosophy of concept formation says that we should group similar things together, and only create new categories when the extant ones are inadequate to describe reality.

I don't agree with 100% of what Ayn Rand said or did. I think that nobody fully does. We could all label ourselves as something other than Objectivists, but that would be counter-productive. The Objectivist philosophy of concept formation forbids such hair-splitting.

Let me quote you again:  

 

1 hour ago, CartsBeforeHorses said:

Nicky's philosophy is different from Ayn Rand's philosophy. Harrison's is different from both. All are versions of Objectivism.

You are not saying that Nicky disagrees with some view of Ayn Rand's.  You are saying his philosophy is DIFFERENT than Ayn Rand's.  If it's a different philosophy, it's not Objectivism.   That's like saying Ayn Rand's philosophy which is different than Aristotle's is a version of Aristotelianism.  

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8 minutes ago, Craig24 said:

Let me quote you again:  

 

You are not saying that Nicky disagrees with some view of Ayn Rand's.  You are saying his philosophy is DIFFERENT than Ayn Rand's.  If it's a different philosophy, it's not Objectivism.   That's like saying Ayn Rand's philosophy which is different than Aristotle's is a version of Aristotelianism.  

It's different because Nicky (presumably) does not agree with 100% of what Ayn Rand said. Some of Rand's more ridiculous statements are catalogued elsewhere, so I won't repeat them. The same with some of Nicky's more ridiculous statements.

But if somebody agrees with 99% of what somebody else said, and all of the main points, it's acceptable to say that they share a philosophy called Objectivism. Just like we share only 99% of our DNA, but it's acceptable to call us both men.

We are individuals, we are necessarily different.
Objectivists are individuals, they are necessarily different.

But the differences do not outweigh the similarities to an extent where it's appropriate to lump them into different categories.

I would recommend that if you haven't seen it, you watch this video of Leonard Peikoff speaking on concept formation. I think it's relevant here.

 

Edited by CartsBeforeHorses

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45 minutes ago, CartsBeforeHorses said:

It's different because Nicky (presumably) does not agree with 100% of what Ayn Rand said.

No, that's not what makes his philosophy different.  Nicky might disagree with a view that isn't a part of Objectivism (a view such as "I disagree with a woman President" or "homosexuality is wrong" isn't a part of Objectivism.)   Nicky either adopts completely, the basic fundamentals of the Objectivist metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and politics or he doesn't.  If he doesn't, then he has his own philosophy that is not Objectivism.  If he does then he adopts Objectivism but still recognizes that it's Ayn Rand's and not his.  He did suggest that Ayn Rand did not mean for people to do that without serious independent critical evaluation.  

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On 10/26/2017 at 8:44 PM, CartsBeforeHorses said:

When you are discussing Objectivism with others, how do you present it? Hopefully with a smile on your face, hopefully by sharing how it's made your life better. Hopefully not by labeling your opponents (or anybody else) as a "parasite" or calling them other names. Nobody likes to be called names.

I don't directly - but I regularly speak of doing one's best, doing good for your own sake, and all that good stuff. I don't use insults when talking to people directly. I don't see the un-fun-ness, perhaps it's the environment you pick. You're probably right that Peikoff has a grouchiness to him, and Rand too, but these are public personas. Some people are better at that than others.

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Personally, when it comes to philosophy, I prefer a clear, concise presentation of the argument over a "fun" presentation with cartoon characters or video game references. There may be other people like me.

I still think this "fun" approach is worth trying, because it's likely that different approaches will work better or worse with different people, depending on their interests and personality traits.

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On 10/28/2017 at 3:33 PM, Nicky said:

Leonard Peikoff and Yaron Brook questioned the morality of masturbation? When?

Not Yaron Brook (who, as I pointed out earlier, seems pretty damn fun already) but Peikoff; it was one of the links in the OP. I just listened to it last night, though, and apparently it was specifically about pornography; I'm not sure which of the things I said are even applicable (if any). 

I'm sorry for not double-checking that shit before opening my big mouth. If you're ever in the Twin Cities I'll buy you a beer or something.

 

On 10/28/2017 at 3:44 PM, Nicky said:

... there's an inherent contradiction between Objectivism and the act of adopting and practicing someone else's belief system whole sale, and Rand never intended for anyone to do that...

Absolutely!

On 10/28/2017 at 3:44 PM, Nicky said:

I don't know this for sure, but I think she might be horrified by the idea of someone "adopting and practicing" the entire thing.

I'm pretty certain she would be. As livid as she was with her contemporary Libertarians for (as she claimed - I have not checked into its accuracy) scavenging random, out-of-context ideas from her without giving her any credit, I shudder to imagine how she would've felt about a Randroid. If I actually seemed to be declaring my blind obedience to her ... well, I'd like to think my statements on intellectual property rights or the 'closure of Objectivism' still speak for themselves.

On 10/28/2017 at 3:44 PM, Nicky said:

Just because you follow L. Ron Hubbard's ideas faithfully, doesn't mean they're now your beliefs. They're still his beliefs. The only belief that is your own could be described as "I will do as L. Ron Hubbard says".

I don't agree.

 

For as far back as I can remember I have always been passionately in love with Romantic art and freedom; I've never accepted the very possibility of a thing I couldn't understand, if I really tried to learn about it, and I've always known that learning is morally right (even when I learned the story of Lot's wife, who God turned into a pile of salt for the sin of curiosity, I didn't reject my mind - I rejected God). My immediate gut reaction to Galt's Gulch, the first time I read AS, didn't feel like discovering some foreign country; it felt like I'd finally found the way home. And I've learned one Hell of a lot from Rand since then (which is both why I'm here and why I don't just declare my ideas "Harrisonism"); as much of a paradigm shift as AS was for me, it doesn't even compare to what I learned from The Fountainhead or the ITOE.

But I was the one who learned it. I was the one who took the time to read it, to integrate it, to correct myself with it when I found the errors in any of my previous beliefs and to correct it when the errors I found were not my own. Leaving aside the content of the ITOE (which seems to support this), think about the sheer amount of effort it takes to get a properly integrated understanding of that little book. It doesn't automatically come from staring at the letters on it's pages (and one or two of our members might be living proof of this); it takes real mental work.

So while I may have originally formed some of my ideas with other people's prompting, guidance or assistance, there is no thing in my head that I didn't think of (regardless of whoever else helped or hindered me in doing that, to whatever degree at all). That's just how human minds work (even L. Ron Hubbard's, assuming he is a human).

And I built my current conceptions of "reason", "virtue" and "justice" (etc) on a foundation of the Objectivist-flavored convictions that I have held throughout my entire life. I suspect the same is probably true of most Objectivists.

So I think that in a very meaningful sense the Objectivists ideas in my head are my own. I made them; they're just as much "mine" as the money I'll earn at work tomorrow, or this post, or every batshit stupid thing I've ever posted before; just as I'd say that your ideas to the contrary are purely your own. 

When I call myself an "Objectivist" I don't mean that I'm a mental carbon copy of Ayn Rand (which would be a lie and a horrible thing for anyone to truly pursue), any more than calling two individual entities "men" means that they're identical clones. I mean that -regardless of my disagreements with her- I am generally the same kind of animal that miss Rand was (and Isaac Newton and Benjamin Franklin and Elon Musk, whether any of them knew it or not); that we share something important and essential in common, and that it's something we deserve to wear like a badge of honor. Nobody in Galt's Gulch was anyone else's doppleganger, either, but they weren't afraid to refer to themselves as a group (nor even to act as one) when rationally appropriate.

 

 

 

Anyway. I'm sorry, again, for spewing irrelevant nonsense on masturbation when Peikoff was addressing pornography. But I also conjured up that masturbatory nonsense all by myself! :P

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold

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On 10/28/2017 at 4:30 PM, CartsBeforeHorses said:

We all adapt Objectivism to suit ourselves in our own lives. That is the purpose of philosophy, to serve man's life. Do we all follow Ayn Rand's ideas to the letter? Of course not. Nicky's philosophy is different from Ayn Rand's philosophy. Harrison's is different from both. All are versions of Objectivism.

Partially.

 

There is only one correct answer to any philosophical question. Whether coercive taxation, the epistemology of Karl Popper, taking "survival" as one's moral standard or attempting to spread Objectivism (etc) are moral or not can only ultimately be one way or the other; either they actually, in reality, make our lives better or they make them worse. So at the end of the day there is only one correct philosophy.

However, just because only one philosophy is correct doesn't necessarily mean that anyone in particular knows what that one is. Even if someone discovered what the one absolutely correct philosophy was, the world wouldn't just fix itself overnight; even if he went on TV the next day to explain it to all mankind it'd still be up to each other individual on Earth (all seven billion) to do the mental work it'd take to grasp what he was explaining or stare vacantly at the screen or change the channel. And even if we lived in a world where every single adult had some minimal understanding of the proper philosophy, it'd still be up to every single child to learn about it (or not) as they grew up.

But if we lived in a world where everyone knew and practiced this perfect philosophy, I don't think it'd make us all interchangeable, soulless automatons without individuality (like the Borg) - there are some philosophies which do that to people, and they're all extremely wrong. If we all held the correct philosophy then we'd all know that sometimes the one and only correct answer to an ethical question depends on the individual asking it; some people like architecture, some people like painting and some people like sculpting, and the right answer for any of them is simply to do what they truly like the best, deep down.

You're right, though, Ayn Rand and I hold slightly different versions of Objectivism as our philosophy. And that means that one of us must be wrong (and quite possibly both) on at least one point. This doesn't mean that either of us is being anything less than a paragon of rationality, though, because we are obviously nowhere even close to the kind of philosophical advancement I alluded to above; not even the same league. I'd compare our 2017 grasp of philosophy to the ancient Greeks' grasp of physics (and thank God miss Rand accelerated us this far!). This doesn't mean that just anything can be a form of Objectivism, though; the fact that there currently are grey areas does not make everything grey to the core.

 

However, when it comes to those who truly think in our same terms and aspire to our same values, I couldn't agree more with your earlier post: 

"We're all supposed to be friends here, not bitter enemies. I don't care what minor point we disagree on."

 

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Sometimes in conversations such as these, the question comes up, "who is an Objectivist?"

Here's Rand:

Quote

At a sales conference at Random House, preceding the publication of Atlas Shrugged, one of the book salesmen asked me whether I could present the essence of my philosophy while standing on one foot. I did as follows:

  1. Metaphysics: Objective Reality
  2. Epistemology: Reason
  3. Ethics: Self-interest
  4. Politics: Capitalism

If you want this translated into simple language, it would read: 1. “Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed” or “Wishing won’t make it so.” 2. “You can’t eat your cake and have it, too.” 3. “Man is an end in himself.” 4. “Give me liberty or give me death.”

If you held these concepts with total consistency, as the base of your convictions, you would have a full philosophical system to guide the course of your life.

I regard the "full philosophical system" she describes as being Objectivism. I believe that any person who agrees with the essence of her philosophy as described may justly consider himself an Objectivist. The endeavor to "hold these concepts with total consistency," that it may act as a lifetime guide, is itself the work of a life. There will be disagreements between Objectivists along the way.

The philosophy does not somehow belong to Ayn Rand or to her bones; insofar as a philosophy may be said to belong to anyone, it belongs equally to every individual who holds it.

Edited by DonAthos

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