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EC    16

I was involved about ten years ago. Yeah, Detroit isn't the safest city in the world. :lol: But for the most part my group wasn't really involved in too much violence (except amonst ourselves at times :P ). But nowadays it seems like there's is just a bunch of preppy kids who seem like they want to be hippies or Abercrombie models or something around here.

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Hi, Rational_One. I didn't know you are from the Detroit area. I live right around the Detroit area and was wondering where you lived exactly. Myself, I'm on 13 mile in Fraser, 5 miles away from the Gangs and all the warfare. lol.

Btw, what is that gang that has been painting those turtles everywhere??

Edited by Brian

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EC    16

I stay in Westland. It's not a gang that's painting the turtles but a tag "artist" named "Turdl". I saw a write up on it in the Detroit News a few years ago. You can even buy shirts with the infamous turtle on it somewhere.

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Wearing a tattoo is really a neutral cultural decoration, like ties, nose piercing, thong underwear.

What bugs me is the pierced/tattoo crowd walking around with an attitude that they are rebels/individualistic. I think that is a far from the truth. I wear ties because it is an unfortunate cultural requirement for working in business. I don't pretend I am doing anything more than copying this standard in order to earn a living.

Would Howard Roark get a tattoo? I think he might, if he lived in some wierd culture that thought tatoos were like ties in our culture. He would get a tatoo on the grounds that it will enable him to achive his goals. Even in this example, he might struggle to find other ways to achieve his goals without a tatoo.

Cultural norms change, tattoos don't. A rational person knows this and acts accordingly.

If you think tattoos look good, then you can claim to be a first hander. I think the human body is too beautiful naked. I don't think it can be improved upon with gangreen-ish coloration. And when I see a tattoo I immediately wonder what mental problem the person suffers from to make them mutilate their body in order to conform (a generalization that I am willing to ammend with further information).

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Moose had typed:

"I was thinking of having it in a sort of Objectivist-style theme, like a stylized "A is A" or something like that."

Well, a few weeks ago, I had "A is A" tattooed across the fingers on my right hand. I am also going to get "Rand" tattooed across the fingers of my left hand, and "Ayn" would be tattooed just above it, between the knuckles.

So, if I were to make fists, for example, it would look something like this:

..................................................a y n..............................................

across the right....A i s A..and..R A N D across the left

It cost $70.00 to have "A is A" done. The "A"'s are around 3/4 of an inch and the "i" and the "s" are around half an inch in length. They are all done in black ink and a bit stylized(Black Castle lettering with some changes). I am very surprised that most of the ink held as well as it did. I will definately need to have it touched up soon, but it just healed a week ago, and I am not sure how early you can have it done again. Maybe I'll get it touched up when I get my other fingers on my other hand done.

Edited by intellectualammo

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I just got my left hand done, a few hours ago, the way it looks like in the above reply. I also had my other hand done all over again, with some improvements to the “A’s”. They were all done in black ink. I love the way they look. The permanence, commitment, seriousness, somewhat acting as conversational pieces, and most importantly a form of reverence are what tattoos are to me. I live on the South Side of Pittsburgh, and I notice quite a few pragmatists who are waist deep in nihilism here, expressing their implicit/explicit philosophy with clothing, tattoos and so forth. I always expressed my chosen philosophy, with shirts and such, thought about getting more tattoos previously, but now I have become a bit radical living here and combined with what I dealt with in college and in recent relationships. Yes, radical, but not irrational. It all depends on “why” you are getting a tattoo and “what” you are getting done.

Definition of “radical” from Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary:

“3 a : marked by a considerable departure from the usual or traditional : EXTREME b : tending or disposed to make extreme changes in existing views, habits, conditions, or institutions c : of, relating to, or constituting a political group associated with views, practices, and policies of extreme change d : advocating extreme measures to retain or restore a political state of affairs <the radical right>“

Ayn Rand said in the Introduction to CUI “We are radicals for capitalism”.

Peikoff writes this in OPAR:

“Objectivists are not "conservatives." We do not seek to preserve the present system, but to change it at the root. In the literal sense of the word, we are radicals—radicals for freedom, radicals for man's rights, radicals for capitalism. We have no choice in the matter.

We have no choice because, in philosophy, we are radicals for reason.”

In AS, John Galt said to Dagny:

"Do you know that the United States is the only country in history that has ever used its own monogram as a symbol of depravity? Ask yourself why. Ask yourself how long a country that did that could hope to exist, and whose moral standards have destroyed it. It was the only country in history where wealth was not acquired by looting, but by production, not by force, but by trade, the only country whose money was the symbol of man's right to his own mind, to his work, to his life, to his happiness, to himself. If this is evil, by the present standards of the world, if this is the reason for damning us, then we—we, the dollar chasers and makers—accept it and choose to be damned by that world. We choose to wear the sign of the dollar on our foreheads, proudly, as our badge of nobility—the badge we are willing to live for and, if need be, to die."

A symbol on our foreheads...figuratively though. That partially gave me the idea/attitude for what I did, to grow from. I thought why not be a radical for logic and write an equation across my hand? A radical for reason(like Peikoff stated above) and display the name of one of it’s best defenders and fighter, Ayn Rand, and write in across my other hand? Have it written using rapidly moving needles dipped in ink, written with a vibration and a little sting?

-----------------------------------------------------

“The author has a proudly selfish stake in promoting capitalism. As an American -though a teacher- he is rich, as are all Americans by both historic and current non-capitalist standards of wealth and poverty. Since capitalism is the only system capable of creating universal prosperity, he recognizes that his ongoing wealth depends on its continued existence. All readers who seek to preserve their own wealth- or more urgently, to earn wealth and economically rise- should recognize a similar selfish stake in understanding and promoting the content of this book.”

The Capitalist Manifesto, Andrew Bernstein, p.24-5.

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I'm glad I came upon this thread, because I've been thinking about tattoos a lot lately. I absolutely hate them; I don't understand why anyone would do something like that to their bodies. Tattooing, like piercing, is a tribal custom for the love of God! I think it's stupid to even think about it.

Recently I asked a friend if she would ever consider getting a tattoo, after three seconds I said: "No way!" I couldn't believe she actually had to think about it. I could never get a tattoo, and I don't think it's a matter of preference or taste, tattoos are always a step backward, never forward.

Earlier kenstauffer said that the human body is beautiful naked. That's an understatement. The Human body is the most beautiful thing that exists. Howard Roark would never get a tattoo, why would he possibly want to? Are you kidding? This is hilarious. Would Howard Roark pierce his ears? Or his nipples maybe? Maybe after completing the Wynand building, he would have liked to urinate on it...?

How can none of you see this? Tattoing is anti-reason. Tattoos corrupt the beautiful purity of a human body, and hinder development personal development. I don't see why anyone truly commited to anything should need to brand themselves in such a manner. Like I said, it is anti-reason, even if it intends to celebrate it's full use.

Can you imagine Michelangelo's David with tattoos?

Also consider what it is that the pain experienced during tattooing implies: "Pleasure (in the widest sense of the term) is a metaphysical concomitant of life, the reward and consequence of successful action—just as pain is the insignia of failure, destruction, death."*

Sebastián

*TVS, pg. 71

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Tattoing is anti-reason.

"[A]nti-reason"?

You want an example of "anti-reason"?

How about asserting that tattooing/tattoos are "anti-reason" like some sort of an absolute, where you totally evade the context it is done in/for, the individuals reasoning behind getting a tattoo in general, and the reasoning behind getting a specific tattoo done.

So the why and the what of tattooing are totally irrelevant? Is that what you're saying? That in any and all contexts(absolute) tattoing/tattoos are "anti-reason"? That tattooing/tattoos="anti-reason"?

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I admit, I can't completely back up that statement. To me it is just obvious. The implications of that last sentence notwithstanding. I should have stated it as my opinion, but then that's also obvious.

I am fairly new to Objectivism. I have read both TF and AS and some of Ayn Rand's non-fiction. I suppose the attitude of my first post invited a post such as yours.

To me the why and what of tattooing are completely irrelevant. I believe that tattoing is a tribal practice that should have no place in a civilized society. I belive that tattoing is... :sigh: completely irrational.

I wonder why it is that tattoos are mostly popular with gang members and drug addicts. I wish that someone would come and help me back up these statements. I'm sure that many objectivists object to tattooing on the same grounds as I.

But, the main reason that they disgust me so much, is that they are a violation, in my opinion, of the human body. The human body is beautiful all by itself, it doesn't need to be defaced in such a way, to do that to a human body is in my opinion, and I'm sure in the opinion of many others, immoral. It disturbs me in the same way as graffiti, in the same way as trash. I suppose in the same way that Howard Roark was offended when classical accents were added to a model of one of his creations.

If there were a God, I believe he'd be offended by tattoos. I am serious here, and I am seriously debating this point. If I have made any errors, please point them out to me. What could possibly justify such a masochistic marring of the human body?

I wouldn't expect those of you who have tattoos to agree with me, even if you thought I had a point, or was right. And I'm sorry if I've offended anyone, but this is where I stand.

Sincerely,

Sebastián P.

edit: I may have gone too far in considering tattooing to be immoral, I can see how it could be considered more an error of knowledge, especially when done by the young. Nonetheless, I am wholeheartedly opposed to it.

S.

Edited by Sebastián

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The morality of tattooing is dependent on each individual's aesthetic value judgments. If they value using their skin as a medium for a permanent piece of artwork, tattooing is moral. If they don't, it is immoral.

Edited by FeatherFall

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I admit, I can't completely back up that statement. To me it is just obvious.

Based more upon feeling, than grounded in facts, then?

To me the why and what of tattooing are completely irrelevant.

Yep, you're still explicitly using it as an absolute.

I wish that someone would come and help me back up these statements.

:o

But, the main reason that they disgust me so much, is that they are a violation, in my opinion, of the human body.

Violation?? What do you mean by that, exactly?

I wouldn't expect those of you who have tattoos to agree with me, even if you thought I had a point, or was right.

"[E]ven if you thought I....was right"!!?? If I did think that you were right somehow, I would NOT evade that fact, once I thought it, regardless of whether or not I have had any tattooing done. ???

Edited by intellectualammo

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I wouldn't say they are unconditionally immoral but I share Sebastian's antipathy towards tattoos, especially if you concretize the issue by looking at their use in current culture. Tattoos are designed to be permanent fixtures on your skin. That means, barring painful, expensive, and not really satisfactory (scarring is left, apparently) laser removal, that somebody is deciding on that for the rest of entire lives - no matter what their future thoughts or feelings may be about it. There is only a finite amount of skin as well.

It does not take a rocket scientist to realize that most of these tattoos are done without any such regard for the future or their actual aesthetic appeal. Most of them are done because it's *fashionable* among a certain young crowd today. But clothing, if one is into that kind of fashion, can be easily changed and discarded. Who would decide that a particular piece of jewelry or clothing is going to suit them for the next 50 years? If you put it that way, almost nobody. But then they think nothing of a permanent fixture on their body that represents a similar fashion - a particular design in a particular place on their body at a particular point in time, but with permanent consequences.

Personally I think *for the most part* that tattoos are indicative of a shallow, range of the moment disregard for the future.

On the other hand, if one is really fully aware of the future consequences, there might be a rational justification for one. It might make sense for somebody to have one to signify, say, their military service, after being in a life threatening battle that they wish to remember and commemorate for the rest of their lives. That at least would be a seriously considered reason with a rationale for lifelong permanence - a statement to the effect: This event has touched me permanently inside, and I want to express that visually in an externally perceivable way.

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Sebastian: I will have to agree with you on a personal preference note, but you did overreach yourself a bit by declaring that it is inherently irrational.

From my perspective I can not see a rational reason fro someone to want a tattoo but I do not assume to know what other people are thinking. Some have said that they want one as a reminder about their values which is fine, I guess, if you need something written on your skin in order to keep your highest value in your mind (nice value to have if it's easy to forget)

My opinion is that people get tattooes in order to improve what seems to them to be a boring outer shell. For most people it's a way to make what they feel is ugly, beautiful. In MY OPINION it is about trying to pretend your are something you are not, e.g. a mohawk making you more tribal, piercings making you a rebel, etc.

There may be rational reasons for getting tattoes. I just can't come up with any myself that don't seem to reduce to one of the above reasons.

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I actually blogged about this topic not too long ago, so rather than reiterating myself I'll just link to it: http://literatrix.blogspot.com/2006/01/body-art.html

I'm not opposed to tattoos or piercings, but I don't like them when they are not attractive. (It's spelled with 2 t's, btw.)

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Based more upon feeling, than grounded in facts, then?

I said, "The implications of that last sentence notwithstanding." In other words, I recognize that it is based more on feeling that actual facts, either way, there are too many other things I said that you chose not to comment on.

"[E]ven if you thought I....was right"!!?? If I did think that you were right somehow, I would NOT evade that fact, once I thought it, regardless of whether or not I have had any tattooing done. ???
I apologize. I really meant to say most, because tattoos are permanent, and so to agree with me and not remove your tattoo would be an evasion, right?

Listen, I realized I went a bit too far, and I apologize, but it seems to me that you've only chosen specific things I've said and attacked me based on that, rather than consider the whole of my argument, and apparently those of the others. Now, do you accept any of my points?

I am a newcomer here, and not used to this sort of debate. So take it a bit easy on me.

S.

BTW, thanks to the kind members who politely considered what I said, although yes—I could've been a bit less severe and assertive. Sorry about that.

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To me the why and what of tattooing are completely irrelevant. I believe that tattoing is a tribal practice that should have no place in a civilized society. I belive that tattoing is... :sigh: completely irrational.

You need to state better grounds to arguing tattoos being "irrational" and "immoral". It's your opinion, and you believe it, now state the facts and reason behind it; saying it is defacing the bodies natural beauty is merely your opinion (as you kept stating). Cutting down a few trees to build a productive factory is also defacing natural beauty in many peoples opinion. If you can't logically prove your opinion, then you are wasting your time attempting to change an Objectivists mind on the subject.

One could say, "tattoos deface the beauty of the human body". Or, one could say, "tattoos compliment and add to the beauty of the human body, much like a piece of jewelry". The side one picks would be depending on their values and tastes as an individual. Neither opinion could be said to be irrational or immoral; you may find them ugly, another may find them beautiful; you may prefer chocolate, another may prefer vanilla.

It disturbs me in the same way as graffiti, in the same way as trash.

Graffiti is a form of defacing another mans property; this would, of course, be completely wrong and destructive. While tattoos are a form of artwork on ones own body: It's his property; he can choose to decorate, add on, or keep as is.

As the old saying goes "One mans trash, another mans treasure’.

My opinion:

I don't have a tattoo. Unfortunately, It would have to be constantly covered up with makeup because of my profession; and that would become tiresome for both me and the makeup artist. If that weren’t the case, I would value having one, or more, because I would gain from it: Being reminded of the things I hold high in life can act as a little extra fuel to help drive me towards my goals, and it even helps me straighten myself out when I start to veer off that straight track; It is a way for me to show my pride and lifelong commitment to that which the tattoo stands for; and It can be a tasteful addition to ones appearance.

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Welcome to the forum Sebastian. I'm no fan of tattoos either, but I can understand someone going through a logical thought process and deciding to get one. Nevertheless, my hunch is that most people get them because they have no ability to think independently and are prone to any fad that comes along.

I have even less of an understanding of piercings - particularly the ones where the holes in the earlobes are stretched to an absurd size. I don’t see the logic or the beauty behind piercing your eyebrow (seems like it could easily become infected) or having a bunch of metal hanging off of your face.

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You need to state better grounds to arguing tattoos being "irrational" and "immoral". It's your opinion, and you believe it, now state the facts and reason behind it; saying it is defacing the bodies natural beauty is merely your opinion (as you kept stating). Cutting down a few trees to build a productive factory is also defacing natural beauty in many peoples opinion. If you can't logically prove your opinion, then you are wasting your time attempting to change an Objectivists mind on the subject.

Thanks Brandon, yours was a very thoughtful and thorough response. Though I can't quite agree just yet that tattooing isn't "irrational," I'll step back because I realize I did not back that up, as you said, with facts and reason. I won't challenge any Objectivist's opinions and/or assertions on this forum before I can come up with a logical reasoning for my own opinions/assertions. :o

What I really want apologize for is my statement that tattoos are immoral, that was incredibly stupid of me, I'm truly sorry about that. I had a history teacher who had a Marines tattoo on his arm, and the fact that he had a tattoo didn't change what I thought of him when I found out. I respected him and really thought he was a very nice guy. Sorry to anyone w/ tattoos who may have been offended. :(

Jeez, I was about ready to leave this forum. :worry:

Apologetically,

Sebastián

Edited by Sebastián

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Thanks Brandon, yours was a very thoughtful and thorough response.

You're welcome, Sebastián.

To clarify: My name is Brando, not Brandon. It's a very common mistake, though, because of my uncommon name.

You are lucky to have found this site: Reading many of the threads on this forum, along with reading all of Rand's books, will teach you a great deal. There is no reason to feel discouraged; you should just feel a greater need to learn more about Objectivism. You're off to a good start by having read some of Ayn Rand's books, and participating on this forum; but that's just the start.

Welcome to the forum, and good luck with your journey.

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If it gives you pleasure (gain) and are willing to accept the consequences that might exclude you from certain things, then how is it immoral?

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If it gives you pleasure (gain) and are willing to accept the consequences that might exclude you from certain things, then how is it immoral?

Because pleasure is not a certain and absolute sign that you have, overall, enjoyed a gain. If you later contract skin cancer because of the damage caused by the tattoo (a risk), or have a severe infection, or get HIV from a dirty needle, or any one of a hundred things that could cause you a LOT of problems, you have not, objectively, realized any gain from this activity.

It's not enough that you accept the consequences, you have to evaluate them and determine that they are outweighed by the gain you rationally expect to realize. That's the difference between rational goals and whims.

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You see, the gains give me, and are a, pleasure, all what you said I took as not needed to be spoken. I apologize for my macabre misnomer.

aight? :)

(a good objectivist goes to a clean and reputible tattoo parlor)

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EC    16
You see, the gains give me, and are a, pleasure, all what you said I took as not needed to be spoken. I apologize for my macabre misnomer.

aight? :D

(a good objectivist goes to a clean and reputible tattoo parlor)

Do you speak the same language as Yoda? Or is this like a Zen Koan?

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Wow...quite an interesting discussion. I have always been somewhat repulsed by tattoos -- they baffle me...it is so hard to understand why someone would choose to permanently "brand" himself. But the last couple of years, I have tried to understand WHY I feel this way, and have come up with a few thoughts: first, the design of the vast majority of tattoos are just hideous. Can we just all agree that the 'mystical' Chinese (or Japanese, or whatever) symbols are pretty damn stupid and mean absolutely nothing to anyone, and are, quite frankly, ugly? And the standard-issue rose on the ankle, or butterfly on the back, etc, are so completely overdone as to be laughable.

But. A friend that I greatly respect revealed several months into our friendship that she had a tattoo. I was shocked; she seemed so conservative, so "normal," that it never occurred to me. Then she explained: she had a small tattooed heart right in the center of her chest, to symbolize her love for her brother who had passed away at a very early age. Now THAT struck me as a very reasonable explanation for having a tattoo.

And so lately I have even considered getting one: perhaps the outline of the state of Montana, the state that I love so dearly. And reading this thread about Objectivist views of tattoos has certainly given me much more to consider.

Thanks.

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