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Truth as Disvalue

 

Truth as disvalue, evasion as value, a belief system which maximizes life’s value.

 

I have heard it said that nothing which is untrue can ultimately be of value to a rational person and that knowledge of the truth is always a value.  When dealing with statements of these kinds, of course one must keep in mind what one means by value, we know for example that truth does not have intrinsic value, as there is no such thing as intrinsic value.  So investigating the claim that truth is always a value necessitates an evaluation according to a particular chosen standard of value.  Is it true that truth is always a value?  Can it ever be a disvalue?

 

I will herein below show that according to certain classes of standards of value, truth can be a disvalue. Moreover, I will illustrate how, in that context, evasion can in fact be a value.  I then proceed to show how one can proceed successfully (according to that standard of value) to adopt a belief system which maximizes values according to that standard, and in fact that such a belief system is entailed and required by such a standard.

 

The One Truth

 

Knowledge of reality is incredibly powerful.  It is indispensable to action, allows prediction of nature, is the foundation of science, invention, agriculture, architecture, medicine, art, literally everything we know which sustains us and enables happiness is in some way tied with knowledge and rationality.  None of these truths which prove useful are to be abandoned or contradicted as they are invaluable.  They form a wholeness of knowledge which is at one with the blinding Truth of existence. 

 

In this the wholeness though lurks but one black hole… one truth in which sits the opposite of the whole of truth’s promise for life, the very fact of Death itself.

 

After decades of accepting as true, complete oblivion, as the state succeeding life on Earth, I have come to the realization that it is an ugly life draining truth which brings me nothing but horror, fear, and sadness.  Resignation to its truth has not assuaged the extreme aversion to physical risk, the morbid thoughts, the nagging sense of death being around every corner, on every highway, hidden in every airplane booking.  The reflection that all those living, family and friends will end in the same zero… and that all the daughters and sons of my sons and daughters will, finally, amount to more than the dead matter from which they sprung for their brief lives, ripples unceasingly in my mind.

 

When I was a Deist and believed in an afterlife, I of course did my best to avoid death, I did not entertain unduly risky behavior, because after all, I enjoyed and cherished my life, my family and friends and what I could achieve over my life span, but death itself was seen only as a bump in the road, another transformation, that once traversed, would seem almost inconsequential. Upon death, Life would become some nostalgic memory, no more disturbing than the memories of an adult fondly recalling some childhood haunt or cherished toy.  We throw off the trappings of our former selves to become that which we are meant to be, and death was only one step of growth in an existence beyond this one.

 

But the final and true death, of non-being, non-existence, of oblivion, is the black maw of the worst possible monster, literally, as nothing could be worse for me than the negation and destruction of absolutely everything of value to me.  It pesters my mind and my soul like some incessant midge from the underworld, and no matter how much I swat at it in a futile attempt to live my life in peace, it always harries me time and again.

 

According to a standard of value which belongs to a class in which the standard of value to the life of man qua man comprises a combination of survival, pleasure, and happiness, the one truth of death IS and always will be a disvalue to me.  This I know of myself with unshakable certainty.

 

When I compare my happiness, and daily pleasure at the wonders around me, as they are experienced now, with that ever present darkness in the sky, with my happiness and daily pleasure as one who believed in an afterlife, as I had in the past, I am certain, absolutely certain, that the truth negates a great deal of happiness, pleasure, and peace in my life.

 

As such, according to those certain classes of standards of value, the one truth of death, IS a disvalue to me.  Truth indeed can be a disvalue.

 

[For simplicity, “value” hereafter means “value” according to those classes of standard of value to the life of man qua man comprising a combination of survival, pleasure, and happiness]

 

The One Evasion

 

As a Deist, I believed that nature and the beyond (the supernatural) were distinct and sundered.   I faithfully held that there was absolutely no connection between them except the traversal (and one way only) upon death.  The dead cannot reach the living nor the living reach the dead, and no God nor Omnipotency could affect the natural world of reality.  There was only existence, and nothing supernatural there, until death, after which there was nothing but that realm beyond.

 

Maintaining such an evasion was not uncommon to me, nor even unique to my life as a Deist.  My former self as a traditional Christian, was very interested in science was very adept at the necessary evasions.  Compartmentalization is no mystery to me, and I am all too familiar with it and evasion. I am very cognizant that these are “skills” which I used often and relentlessly.  As a person very interested in science, and even after having gone through a few degrees in science, I was capable of all kinds of evasions, but then I did not have the motivation any more.

 

At one point I decided that the truth was more important that what I wanted to believe, more important that the comfort or pleasure I might obtain from a falsehood.  According to what standard?  Why?  At this point, not having been exposed to Objectivism, I really did not have any well-reasoned basis, I simply took for granted that what is true is the Truth and that the Truth was more “important” than any falsehood, that indeed Truth was a kind of “intrinsic” good.

 

So over time I was able to escape the trap of mysticism, because of my motivation for truth, and nothing more.  I escaped all forms of mysticism and embraced the absolute of reality and Objectivism.

 

As an Objectivist, I understood the vast majority of truths for what they are, a great value to life.  Woven into a web of integrated understanding of reality and man, they are the basis for living. Seeing this I dropped evasion as a disvalue.  And in all things other than the single dark truth, evasion indeed would be a disvalue.

 

Because all of reality is interconnected no evasion about any single existent which by necessity is related to any and thus every other thing in existence, could be held without some fact of reality being sullied, warped, held in error.  Therefor evasion in this regard is inevitably a disvalue and leads to the corruption of the whole.  

 

Only now, armed with a proper understanding of the standard of value is it possible to see that blind pursuit of truth is not necessarily a value.  Value is defined by and depends upon a standard.  A truth which is sad and painful and brings no happiness and which never could be but a stain upon existence and happiness, cannot be a value.  Such a truth is clearly a disvalue.

 

But what of the interconnectedness of truths, what of the disvalue of evasion? There is one evasion which does not encounter this problem if surrounded by judiciously held supporting evasions.

 

Clearly a religious person (as I was) is able to hold evasions able to withstand a great deal of reality thrown against it.  Using compartmentalization and ignorance and avoidance, I could simultaneously hold truths about reality while believing in the miraculous.   But miracles, and intervention by God poses a real problem, the evidence such would leave behind, the absence of which we clearly note.  Of course once I became a Deist no such lack of evidence was logically entailed.  The belief of that sort of Deism was in an afterlife wholly separate and sundered from reality and for which there would and could be no evidence until death.

 

The One evasion, that there is an afterlife, of a completely unconnected supernatural and everlasting afterlife, although arbitrary is not disproven by the evidence of the senses.  Such to be sure is an arbitrary assertion, a groundless maybe…. Not even worth the label “possible”.  The onus is on he who asserts the positive… but what reason, by what standard would I hold myself to that onus?

 

The subsidiary evasion then would be the permission of arbitrary assertions… no… the permission of ONE arbitrary assertion.  I know I am capable of evasion, I have done so throughout my life, why not employ these evasions, to permit a single arbitrary assertion, and to believe that arbitrary assertion in absence of any evidence?

 

Clearly, Truth in and of itself is not automatically a value.  This is clear from the above.  Second, the problem of accepting the arbitrary would only be a threat if it invaded into all aspects of knowledge of reality, I am considering to allow it for only one aspect of reality which is (arbitrarily) wholly disconnected from all of existence.

 

Moreover, if I am required to permit the arbitrary and the belief in one single truth through evasion in order to regain the value of life without the constant fear and darkness and morbidity, then by what standard am I to give up the evasions which permits it?

 

Evasion in these aspects only, to permit the arbitrary belief in an afterlife, are a value.

 

The Objectivist Deism Plan

 

In order to maximize my life according to the standard of value I need only engage in minimal evasion to permit a belief of a single falsehood and deny a single truth.  With practice and effort I will come to believe it with all my being, because I know it is a value to believe it.  I am motivated by my very life to do so.  I will not fail in my minimal evasions for the sake of my very life.

I will permit myself that one evasion, supported by the subsidiary evasion (from the fact that the arbitrary should be dismissed), in only this one single instance, the one evasion permitting the belief that there is an afterlife.  Such brings about a belief system I call Objectivist Deism. 

 

Reality is as it is, A is A, but there is another reality, a super-reality for which there is no evidence, and into which I will have an afterlife.  This sole major evasion, that I will not die the true and unending dark death, with its subsidiary evasion permitting the acceptance in only a single arbitrary assertion, is my choice, precisely BECAUSE it is of value and my life will be better for it.

I will still understand reality as it is with all the rigor of Objectivism and science, but I will live my life, essentially better than I would have, with the added pleasures, and happiness, and the flourishing which accompanies it, with the knowledge that I will not truly die.

 

I will not be JUST AS successful as I would have been but for the evasion, in fact, because of my added pleasure and happiness and zest for life, I will flourish more, I will have lived more, I will have lived a life of more value than I otherwise would have lived. 

 

As such, it is not merely an option open to me, it is necessary for me to follow this path.  According to the standard of value it IS the moral course of action, I must and will take it and I will benefit all the more throughout my entire life because of it.

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I find this is a very impressive post. Obviously, based on some deep soul searching.

There is data in Psychology circles that would support your position. What if that which you are proposing, in fact, is not an evasion? That it is living life proper to man. A school of psychology called "existential psychology", not existentialism goes deeply into the dragons you are fighting. You are not alone. On some level, all of humanity struggles with it.

Ironically, you are facing the truth, the truth of who you are and what you really need. Takes a lot of courage. As I said, very impressive.
 

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1 hour ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Only now, armed with a proper understanding of the standard of value is it possible to see that blind pursuit of truth is not necessarily a value.  Value is defined by and depends upon a standard.  A truth which is sad and painful and brings no happiness and which never could be but a stain upon existence and happiness, cannot be a value.  Such a truth is clearly a disvalue.

This is the crux. Not only do I find this the most decisive or important point, it raises a particular point of difficulty for me.

You recently brought into my center of focus for the last week or two The Objectivist Ethics. This particular quoted paragraph aligned my mental crosshairs on this paragraph from within that center of focus.

Without an ultimate goal or end, there can be no lesser goals or means: a series of means going off into an infinite progression toward a nonexistent end is a metaphysical and epistemological impossibility. It is only an ultimate goal, an end in itself, that makes the existence of values possible. Metaphysically, life is the only phenomenon that is an end in itself: a value gained and kept by a constant process of action. Epistemologically, the concept of “value” is genetically dependent upon and derived from the antecedent concept of “life.” To speak of “value” as apart from “life” is worse than a contradiction in terms. “It is only the concept of ‘Life’ that makes the concept of ‘Value’ possible.”

In a concomitant paragraph from the same article, she addresses a closely related issue:

Psychologically, the choice “to think or not” is the choice “to focus or not.” Existentially, the choice “to focus or not” is the choice “to be conscious or not.” Metaphysically, the choice “to be conscious or not” is the choice of life or death.

A blind pursuit of truth is not necessarily a value. It attempts to elevate truth to the position of an ultimate goal or end. In Galt's Speech:

"Truth is the recognition of reality; reason, man's only means of knowledge, is his only standard of truth."

And later:

"A rational process is a moral process. You may make an error at any step of it, with nothing to protect you but your own severity, or you may try to cheat, to fake the evidence and evade the effort of the quest—but if devotion to truth is the hallmark of morality, then there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking."

Truth does not differentiate between sad and glad, or despair and happiness. From an inductive standpoint, truth serves as a step or rung in a staircase or ladder to climb. Suffice it to say, truth cannot be a series of means going off into an infinite progression toward a nonexistent end.

One more edifice along this line of reasoning:

In answer to those philosophers who claim that no relation can be established between ultimate ends or values and the facts of reality, let me stress that the fact that living entities exist and function necessitates the existence of values and of an ultimate value which for any given living entity is its own life. Thus the validation of value judgments is to be achieved by reference to the facts of reality. The fact that a living entity is, determines what it ought to do. So much for the issue of the relation between “is” and “ought.”

This is where "such a truth is a clearly a disvalue" sticks in my "proverbial" craw.

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For me, Truth is a value higher than pleasure, love, happiness, and even life itself. So I am perfectly happy to accept the limits of my existence, such as the inevitability of death.

Edited by SpookyKitty

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7 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

Truth does not differentiate between sad and glad, or despair and happiness.

This is poorly worded.

Truth as such, is not sad and glad or despair and happiness, rather it is our evaluation of a particular truth that determines that status. Yet it can still serve as part of the integrating process. A particular truth may make me sad, but still serve its role in the process of non-contradictory identification.

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Peikoff's UO lecture address the question: is ignorance bliss.

There are many examples one can come up with where ignorance seems to be bliss.

The fact of death has never given me any sadness or fear. Even when I understood just a little of Rand, her comment about her not dying, but the world dying struck a note in me. Yes, I know the formulation is more poetic than exact; but it is how I've always felt from as long as I remember. 

Still, if it did, I cannot comprehend the idea of evading it. How does one do that? Introspecting, it seems to be an impossibility. Maybe one can engage in a conscious repression until it becomes an unconscious repression? I don't know if that's possible. If it is, I wonder what side-effects it would have.

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This is a breathtaking post.

I've been struggling with how to respond to it appropriately, because I think that there is something in its self-reflective honesty and genuineness that should be more applauded than questioned or argued with. I think the sum of it argues for the great value of truth, even while proclaiming that there are truths which are a disvalue (or a single one), and if this is where Objectivist dialogue were headed -- with greater introspection, discussion and reporting of inner struggle (even, or especially, when it fails to present us as faultless paragons of reason) -- I believe that the community would benefit, as a whole, and each of us individually.

As to the specific suggestion of Objectivist Deism, I don't know that I would be critical of the adoption of the single belief in an afterlife, as such -- if I thought it could be accomplished without doing greater overall damage to one's beliefs. Because it seems to me that the single belief will need something like a support structure, if it is truly to be integrated (such that one could say, in anything like an "honest" manner, "I believe this"). Though I believe myself capable of evasion (as humans are, of their nature), I don't believe myself capable of willing myself to a particular evasion; or if I'm capable of that, I don't know how to achieve it, and again, I don't know how I could achieve it in reality without doing greater damage overall to my capacity to think in an honest manner.

Otherwise, it occurs to me that the atheist's longing for an afterlife, or other form of immorality, is sometimes addressed by "scientific" fantasies (to some greater or lesser extent), such as To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, or a terrific episode of Black Mirror (which shall remain nameless out of fear of spoiling the reader; and go watch Black Mirror, if you haven't already done).

Personally, when I refer to myself as an atheist, I continue to mean what I did before reading Rand -- which is that I hold no proof for any sort of divinity or afterlife or etc., and consequently no belief in any such thing. I draw a distinction between this and holding proof positive that such things cannot exist; and while I have ruled out the "supernatural" as a category, there are any number of things which would be naturally plausible (if arbitrary for me to suppose, at present) which could serve nearly any function of what we typically expect out of such entities, including the creation of an "afterlife."

If I were to be one day "resurrected" into some highly advanced alien's world, I should count myself surprised... but not for too long. And yet, I must report that my current happiness does not seem to depend upon such admittedly remote possibilities. I was never taught to dread death by my parents, thankfully, and it isn't the dread of death which motivates me now. There are some things which I consider to be "worse than death," and this includes living a life rendered sub-par through the dread of death, and some of the subsidiary effects you've mentioned (aversion to risk, etc).

In some respects, the truth about death -- insofar as I can understand it -- has led me to want to embrace not just survival, not just life, but a "human life," with all that entails (including the fact of death; and in this context, it occurs to me to recommend Neil Gaiman's Sandman series). I have no plans to resent my condition when I'm 80 or 90 (and the nano-tech to keep me going indefinitely has not yet been approved by the FDA, lol). Rather, I expect to be buoyed by my memories of a life well lived, and the knowledge that I did the best that I could, given the circumstances I was in. When I die, I don't want to have "lost" in some struggle, in my final moments, but I hope to be able to view it (honestly) as a kind of summation. I wish to die well (and I do not hold this to be a contradiction).

Sometimes I think that the Objectivist Ethics can lead one to see everything in terms of a progression: we accomplish A so that we may accomplish B, and B so that we may accomplish C, and so forth. Given that this ends in death -- in "zero" -- there is the danger for this recognition to retroactively rob every previous step along the way of its meaning.

But the meaning is not to be found in the end. Insofar as "meaning" exists, it is in the moments along the way. And when I stress the role of "pleasure" in life, it is this: that a life is not merely a destination (always in the distance, always fleeting, and finally, suddenly over), but it is the sum total of the moments along the way. My living happily right now is value. That one day I will cease to be, and I will have no memory of this moment (that there will be no "I" at all to remember) does not change the meaning and the value of this singular moment. That it existed is enough, is everything.

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13 hours ago, SpookyKitty said:

For me, Truth is a value higher than pleasure, love, happiness, and even life itself. So I am perfectly happy to accept the limits of my existence, such as the inevitability of death.

Yes, but why? If x is a value higher than y, how do you make that measurement? Isn't truth (epistemologically speaking) a means to an end?

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37 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

Yes, but why? If x is a value higher than y, how do you make that measurement?

If x is a higher value than y, that just means I would give up y in exchange for more x.

Quote

Isn't truth (epistemologically speaking) a means to an end?

Not for me.

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6 minutes ago, SpookyKitty said:

If x is a higher value than y, that just means I would give up y in exchange for more x.

But where does this motivation come from? It's not pleasure or pain (it seems). So where does the "ideal" (truth is the highest value) coming from? Basically, how is this "height" measured?

Why would peace of mind be less of a value than truth?

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9 hours ago, DonAthos said:

This is a breathtaking post.

I've been struggling with how to respond to it appropriately, because I think that there is something in its self-reflective honesty and genuineness that should be more applauded than questioned or argued with. I think the sum of it argues for the great value of truth, even while proclaiming that there are truths which are a disvalue (or a single one), and if this is where Objectivist dialogue were headed -- with greater introspection, discussion and reporting of inner struggle (even, or especially, when it fails to present us as faultless paragons of reason) -- I believe that the community would benefit, as a whole, and each of us individually.

I was impressed with the post. I should have stated so before bringing up the minor point that I did.

 

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54 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

But where does this motivation come from? It's not pleasure or pain (it seems). So where does the "ideal" (truth is the highest value) coming from? Basically, how is this "height" measured?

I don't know. It's just who I am.

Quote

Why would peace of mind be less of a value than truth?

Peace of mind is boring.

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On 11/1/2017 at 10:47 PM, SpookyKitty said:

For me, Truth is a value higher than pleasure, love, happiness, and even life itself.

When you say, the truth is more important than life itself, what does "the truth" mean in that context? It can't be any pedantic truth, like how many red cars are in the parking lot right now, or did the neighbors down the street play chess last Saturday. I would assume there are certain truths you would give up your life for.
Some truths are intolerable. Soldiers that are wounded will go into shock if they are fully conscious of the pain. Pushing the experience away increases chances of staying alive. Of course, that is contextual and temporary.
People will die for what they believe is the truth, their god, their system of justice and tradition (the true and just way) etc. Those are specific beliefs.
I personally don't like the idea of looking back and realizing that I lived a lie all my life and had NO IDEA. I feel like I never lived my life like I was never there. But if not knowing something, as in "not having it in my face all the time" enhanced my life and I knowingly avoided it, I was taking good care of myself. I don't need to know that a bus can hit me at any moment.
 

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On 11/1/2017 at 6:50 PM, StrictlyLogical said:

In order to maximize my life according to the standard of value I need only engage in minimal evasion to permit a belief of a single falsehood and deny a single truth.

This reminds me of the scene in AS where Dagny, while begging D'anconia to invest in the John Galt line, describes her own request as 'crawling on her belly to ask for money - just like Jim'. If you try to do it in the same manner you wrote that post then in my opinion (much like Fransisco's response to Dagny) it won't actually be self degradation; you'll be doing it wrong.

 

On 11/1/2017 at 6:50 PM, StrictlyLogical said:

After decades of accepting as true, complete oblivion, as the state succeeding life on Earth, I have come to the realization that it is an ugly life draining truth which brings me nothing but horror, fear, and sadness.  

I felt the same way for a few months after I'd discovered O'ism. To this day I still feel it, whenever I stop to ponder it.

But why should we ponder it? The purpose of knowledge is action; until we can solve mortality, how is it relevant to any issue but one (the critical one)? Hank Rearden wasn't evading the Equalization of Opportunity bill, when he chose not to think about it, because there was absolutely nothing he could do about it.

Quote

Never think of pain or danger or enemies a moment longer than is necessary to fight them.

-Ayn Rand

 

To the best of my knowledge there is exactly one way in which it is vitally relevant.

The total amount of time you get to spend makes a difference in how you ought to spend any portion of it. If I believe that 'I have, say, sixty years to live' (to paraphrase Roark) and that my enjoyment of them is nobody's responsibility but mine then for me to spend one nanosecond on any unnecessary or purposeless drudgery would be outrageous; if my time is infinite then who cares?

It's been a long time since the after-death (the idea of that eternal oblivion which used to horrify me and which I'll never actually have to experience) has crossed my mind. The inevitability of death is something I've considered frequently, of late, in order to better budget my life's time (which is the only currency that matters). I value my knowledge of my own mortality because whenever I remember it I lose any desire to procrastinate; it makes me want to go climb a mountain, slay a dragon or conquer the world at the instant it enters my head (which is how I usually should feel).

P.S: You really should watch this one. Avicii said it better than I can.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold

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To those who have responded to the OP of this thread, your comments are all too kind.

Literally, too kind.

The same goes (if not more) for all of you who read the OP and who have remained silent.

 

I have waited a week for someone to properly and with logical ruthlessness (but with rational civility) point out the flaws and errors and the incorrect premises which allow me to reach a conclusions that

1. truth can be a disvalue,  that

2. evasion can be a value, and that

3. one who finds displeasure in reality as it is, morally must engage on a course to believe a falsehood. 

These are three irrational and reprehensible conclusions.

 

The OP's premise is believable, and it is achievable. A man can be such and could decide to proceed and possibly "succeed" (in his chosen aims) as planned.  After all BILLIONS currently already effectively do so. But know that as realistic as the OP is. the core of its argument is no different from the fanciful hypothetical raised by the Matrix, whether or not, if one had the ability and choice to do so, one should not descend into a virtual world to "live a life" (so called) of bliss, ignorant of the truth, to erase one's memory, and "exist" (so called) in a fabricated fiction (perhaps even as a different or fictional person) until death... all for the sake of maximizing peace, pleasure, and happiness.  The OP clearly raises the question (more believably than the fanciful Matrix): Why not?  (More fancifully what IS wrong with Cypher's plan in the Matrix?)

If truth CAN be less peaceful, less pleasurable, less happy than carefully chosen FALSEHOODS (and one can always choose from an infinite selection of falsehoods) what value could the truth, and a true life possibly have over such a "blissfully experienced" life?  According to what standard of value is this possible? 

 

By any measure, BLISS is as LIMITLESS as is IGNORANCE.

 

To all those who see the errors (or feel or intuit them) and have been TOO Kind PLEASE:

Identify, WHAT are the flaws in the argument of the OP?

Identify, what errors allow the incorrect conclusions?

Identify, what premises about man, his life, the standard of value, the standard of morality, the nature of truth allow one to come to such a set of disastrous and irrational conclusions? 

 

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6 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

I have waited a week for someone to properly and with logical ruthlessness (but with rational civility) point out the flaws and errors and the incorrect premises which allow me to reach a conclusions that

It was in allowing the emotion to set the course of the downstream activities. Rather than using a perfectly valid fact to aide in integrating one's knowledge, it was avoided due to the "unpleasant nature" of the fact.

I was hoping my restatement of a poorly worded passage might have clarified that.

Correct this flaw/error, and the 3 derivative conclusions should fall of their own accord.

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41 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

It was in allowing the emotion to set the course of the downstream activities. Rather than using a perfectly valid fact to aide in integrating one's knowledge, it was avoided due to the "unpleasant nature" of the fact.

I was hoping my restatement of a poorly worded passage might have clarified that.

Correct this flaw/error, and the 3 derivative conclusions should fall of their own accord.

I will play devil's advocate.  Imagine that unless you convince me with reasons that my argument above is erroneous... I will proceed with the reprehensible plan and be lost in insanity forever.

What exactly do you mean by

44 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

allowing the emotion to set the course of the downstream activities

??

You boldly state:

45 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

Rather than using a perfectly valid fact to aide in integrating one's knowledge, it was avoided due to the "unpleasant nature" of the fact

as if it were self evident that avoiding an unpleasant fact is "wrong". Why? According to what standard? You make a bald assertion rather than an argument.  Does not my argument in the OP show that I am perfectly moral to avoid the one unpleasant fact?

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32 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Does not my argument in the OP show that I am perfectly moral to avoid the one unpleasant fact?

Isolate the main point, and honest inquiry should help clear a path to the underlying issue.

If being perfectly moral is distinguishing between right and wrong - answer what the evaluation of a fact as being pleasant or unpleasant have to do with it being true or false? This, of course, will presume that truth and falsehood hold enough of a parallel between right and wrong to allow the inquirer to bridge the span.

Spoiler

FWIW, I agree with Harrison on the notion that death is not something which I will experience. My Christian upbringing hindered me from moving through agnosticism, and laid course for the appeal of Deism along its way. The hindrance played on a subconscious Pascal's Wager. I had to be certain before I made such a rash alteration to the core of my being. I thought I had convinced myself back in the 90's, but the certitude I experience now raises no questions within me. When I first found this forum and started coming here, it was because I doubted my earlier conclusion. I had reached the right conclusion for the wrong reasons. Thus reached as such, as Piekoff articulated it in one of his many lectures, doesn't and didn't make it the right conclusion.

Spoiler

Here's a potential backdoor to the issue, although I strongly suspect there has to be a logical explanation. From Atlas Shrugged:

She felt someone looking at her and turned. The young brakeman stood watching her tensely.

How does a consciousness' gaze create a feeling in another.

A little research brought up a couple of studies indicating that there is no known scientific corroboration for this.

 

Edited by dream_weaver

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I am not persuaded.  Right and wrong action are judged according to a standard.   If I wish to die, eating poison is right.  Eating poison is neither true nor false.  Your equating of logical status (of say a statement) directly with moral status (of for example an action) is erroneous and does not form a persuasive argument.

Your overall approach of "find the errors yourself" also falls short of my hopes for help to avoid insanity.

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I've adequately pointed out the error. In so doing, I've also put the ball in your court. To extend a tennis analogy, it is up to you to return the ball, such that it falls in bounds (lest I miss), if insanity is what you chose, rather than hope to avoid.

Right and wrong action are judged according to a standard. The truth or falsehood is judged according to a standard as well.

As to eating poison, you either ate the poison, or you did not eat the poison. If you ate the poison, that fact would be indisputably true. If you did not eat the poison, that fact would be just as indisputably true. One of these two propositions is moral by the same standard.

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2 hours ago, SpookyKitty said:

@StrictlyLogical

quick question: Why not kill yourself in order to get to this afterlife faster?

As is clear from the OP (feel free to read it again) I currently do not believe in any afterlife.  That is the whole point. If I already did believe, there would be no issue in the first place.

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2 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

I've adequately pointed out the error. In so doing, I've also put the ball in your court. To extend a tennis analogy, it is up to you to return the ball, such that it falls in bounds (lest I miss), if insanity is what you chose, rather than hope to avoid.

Right and wrong action are judged according to a standard. The truth or falsehood is judged according to a standard as well.

As to eating poison, you either ate the poison, or you did not eat the poison. If you ate the poison, that fact would be indisputably true. If you did not eat the poison, that fact would be just as indisputably true. One of these two propositions is moral by the same standard.

I am in no position to make any demands of you and how and if you respond is your choice.

Your vague implication is that what is true is correct and a correct statement is right as it is not false.  But knowledge like anything only has value according to a standard.  If the standard of value were death or fame, knowledge of things which have nothing to do with respectively death or fame would be worthless.  And knowledge of things related to death or fame would be values according to each standard.  The question is whether truth all truths actually have value... since there is no intrinsic value ... one must choose a standard of value in order to remotely address the question.

Are you trying (but failing ... purposefully or not) to say the standard of value in the OP is wrong?  If not what ARE you trying to say?

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