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  1. Today
  2. Check your premise. Rage, dependency, mooching, these aren't necessarily irrational--if your survival objectively requires rage, dependency or mooching. Mysticism and emotionalism, however, are most likely irrational because they are theories of knowledge that contradict the principle of reason. They seek knowledge from supernatural beings or personal feelings. A person who lives mainly according to unreason can't live for long. Even an idiot mainly uses reason, otherwise he'd succumb to the elements within a few weeks, being too stupid to eat, drink and find shelter. He might be the most irrational fool when it comes to knowledge of little significance, but when it comes to the important things in life he needs to be rational most of the time.
  3. Here is how I "summarize Objectivism in a short, memorizable statement" in a few, interconnected, integrated words: ----- Rand's 4Rs: Reality - Reason - Rights - Romance Or: Romance for Reason and Rights in Reality Objectivism in Four Words, in One Sentence, in Four 2-word Sentences, or Four longer Sentences. Four tenets of Objectivism Reality. Reason. Rights. Romance. Reality exists. Reason knows. Rights protect. Romance loves. Reality exists objectively and absolutely. Reason knows reality through sense and logic. Rights protect reason against force and fraud. Romance loves rights for life's truth, goodness, and beauty ----- These four tenets are the "creed" of the Astraean Individualist Society https://www.facebook.com/groups/489922809377197 An expanded statement (a philosophic poetic precis) of Rand's 4Rs is attached. Romance for Reason and Rights.pdf
  4. How do we know it's real if you don't have a scientific explanation? Introspection. If you're like me then you are aware of your own consciousness. You know that you're aware of this sentence. You don't need people in lab coats to perform an experiment on you and publish a paper on it. Science is for stuff that cannot be known introspectively, like the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.
  5. Yesterday
  6. That too, would require consciousness to perform. As a starting point, try the 1913 Webster's definition of consciousness.
  7. This also applies to verbal definition. Axiomatic concepts like consciousness must be defined ostensively. For a fuller explanation, I recommend Ayn Rand's Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, especially the section on axiomatic concepts.
  8. You state in your "About Me", the following:

    I am interested in investigating all these claims fairly and thoroughly.


    Directly in view of that statement I was wondering:

    How many and which of Ayn Rand's works have you read? 

    What about works about Objectivism, e.g. by Leonard Piekoff or Tara Smith etc.?  What level of independent research re. Objectivism have you engaged in, either prior to or concurrently with, your discussions here?

    Just curious.

  9. People have free will. Each individual has the power to choose good or evil. Unfortunately, some choose evil, at least some of the time. The things you mention in point 1 of your O.P. can influence this choice, but do not determine it. It ultimately comes down to the individual's choice. Thanks to Christianity, and more recently to Kant, bad ideas have dominated Western civilization. This makes it harder for people to make good choices and easier for them to make bad ones, both directly and because of the resulting conditions.
  10. I'd like to welcome to Objectivism Online the poster Laws of Biology, who writes in his/her About Me the following:
  11. Oh no the Wisconsin legislature is now infiltrated with conspiracy theorists https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2022/01/huge-breaking-news-wisconsin-assembly-votes-withdraw-10-electors-joe-biden-2020-election-video/?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=PostTopSharingButtons&utm_campaign=websitesharingbuttons
  12. Over at Manhattan Contrarian is a blog post whose title would seem to be the kind of question that answers itself: How About a Pilot Project to Demonstrate the Feasibility of Fully Wind/Solar/Battery Electricity Generation? My first thought, on seeing this title was: Rant Alert: There isn't one of these because the technology isn't there or close, and too many people are too irrationally invested in believing it's possible to want to ... put their faith to the test ... as it were. Cue the game-show wrong-answer buzzer. Francis Menton has found and looked into just such a project, in the Canary Islands, and details his findings, which include the following:Image by Erik Streb, via Wikimedia Commons, license.The El Hierro wind/[pumped water] storage system began operations in 2015. How has it done? I would say that it is at best a huge disappointment, really bordering on disaster. It has never come close to realizing the dream of 100% wind/storage electricity for El Hierro, instead averaging 50% or less when averaged over a full year (although it has had some substantial periods over 50%). Moreover, since only about one-quarter of El Hierro's final energy consumption is electricity, the project has replaced barely 10% of El Hierro's fossil fuel consumption.And, a little later, Menton passes on the following from an analysis by Roger Andrews at Energy Matters regarding the question, What if the island built its hydro reservoir a bit bigger?:El Hierro would need a pumped-storage reservoir some 40 times the size of the one it had built in order to get rid of the diesel backup. Andrews provides plenty of information as to the basis of his calculations and his assumptions, so feel free to take another crack at his calculations with better assumptions. But unfortunately, his main assumption is that the pattern of wind intermittency for any given year will be just as sporadic as it was for 2017. Then take a look at the picture and see if you can figure out where or how El Hierro is going to build that 40 times bigger reservoir. Time to look into a few billions of dollars worth of lithium ion batteries -- for 11,000 people. [emphasis in original]Read the whole thing and know this: Global warming catastrophists aren't simply hanging their hopes on unproven technology. They're arguably covering up evidence that the technology they are trying to force on everyone does not work for its stated purpose of actually replacing power from fossil fuels with reliable power that does not increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. -- CAVLink to Original
  13. LB, can you think of a single fine novel, whether or not it has heroes, whether or not it is romantic, whether or not it is philosophical at all, which is predominately comical? The absence or paucity of such a work shows that there is nothing distinctly Objectivist about a fine novel with Objectivist heroes not being predominantly comical.
  14. Well, there is nothing un-Objectivist about humor, per se. To quote Rand, humor is "the denial of metaphysical importance to that which you laugh at". It means that you laugh at the unreality of something, how bizarre a given thing is, etc. What matters is the object you direct your ridicule towards.
  15. Part of me says that an Objectivist novel must be fully heroic in nature, and that full-on comedy and full-on heroism cannot co-exist in the moral universe. It seems that a story that is predominantly comic cannot be fundamentally heroic, but rather must be fundamentally anti-heroic. Don Quixote is comic, not heroic. It seems that the message, explicit or implicit, in all comedy, is that heroism is a joke and a fraud. "Forrest Gump" has some comic moments, but it is fundamentally a story of the journey of a hero.
  16. In seeking an answer to the question of this thread, I consulted these entries within The Ayn Rand Lexicon: Causality Evasion Evil Free Will Volitional In those entries, I did find much that was pertinent, good, and beautiful. But I did not find the answer to the specific question I had (as seen in the title of this thread).
  17. Book II 3 – Virtue is an attitude to that produces the best actions, concerning pleasure and pain. The beautiful, the advantageous, and the pleasant lead to choice. The ugly, the harmful, and the painful lead to avoidance. 4 – Virtue is not just acting in a way that a virtuous person acts, but doing it in the right way (knowingly for their own sake being in a stable condition). 6 – Virtues are active conditions that make a human being good, from which they are at work well. When a person is at-work well according to being human, then they are made good by their active condition. In terms for what is best and what is done well, virtue is an extreme. Virtue does not always involve a need beyond itself. Book III 1 – To endure terrifying things without pain is courage, but with pain is cowardice. Acting on ignorance is unwilling when the person is regretful; acting on ignorance is willing otherwise. Ignorance of advantage is not unwilling, it is actually primarily depravity. I'm not sure what this means, but it seems to me depravity in the sense of having no use of reason with regard to the advantage. 2 – Choice is a type of willing. Choice is for the means to an end, wishing is for the end. 6 - Courageous people give up hope of safety, but not like those who are hopeful, because of experience. 7 - Courageous people endure things because it is beautiful to do so, or because not doing so is shameful 8 - Being driven out to danger because of pain is not courage. This is about passion, not beauty. It would be much like a bull angered by a red cape, or a boar chasing a hunter after being stabbed. Book IV 1 – Those who exceed in receiving take money from everywhere without regard for where it comes from. This would apparently be people who don't have regard for the source of things, like people who were born into wealth but never bothered to learn about attaining that wealth. 2 – The vulgar spend a lot on small occasions. This would be portrayals of rich people in circumstances like a giant feast for breakfast on just a normal day. 3 – If being great-souled is being worthy of what is greatest, then what is greatest in each virtue would belong to them. Great-souled people are inclined to do favors of greater worth in return. They don't simply want to return a favor of equal worth, but beyond that. 5 – Bitter people carry a burden because they are not open about it, and no one can persuade them as a result. Of course you can't persuade someone about a burden when they can't even share that there is one. 9 - A decent person does not willingly do bad things, so they don’t feel ashamed. A sense of shame for decent people is therefore hypothetical. After all, in this way, if a decent person knows which actions would cause a sense of shame, they would not willingly perform these actions in the first place. People who are not decent I don't think would consider what their actions would cause, so they could actually feel shame. Book V 1 – Aristotle treats justice as complete virtue because it can be used in relation to someone else. This seems to be justice as in the law and community. He does not seem to be talking about justice in terms of how to treat friends according to what they deserve. 2 – Bad consequences to another person as a result of vice is an incomplete example of justice. 5 – A city that does not pay back evil seems to be slavery, while not paying back good prevents exchange. I'm thinking that if bad things are not dealt with, then the people of the city are at the mercy of that evil. Not paying back good things would make outside people less willing to trade since full benefit cannot be gained from that trade. Communities arise from trade that is equalized. This creates the need for currency. 9 – Injustice is never willing because no one wishes for injustice, and no one acts contrary to their wishes. You can’t do injustice to yourself because if you want to be unjust towards yourself, it wouldn’t really be injustice, but harm. 11 – Aristotle thinks that suicide is injustice to the city. According to him, you actually can commit injustice towards yourself by means of the irrational part of the soul in relation to the rational part. Book VI 2 – Choice is desire plus rational understanding for the sake of something. 3 – Examples are a source of universals. In a way, universals are made up of examples, and the examples are the things being universalized. Universals are not completely separate from examples in the real world. 5 – Practical judgment is deliberating well about good and advantageous things. People don’t deliberate about what can be otherwise, so it is not knowledge, at least by Aristotle's definition of knowledge. It is not art because it is not about making. It reveals truth actively with reason, and concerns action. 7 – Knowledge and intellect are directed at the most honorable things. Practical judgment is about human good, not necessarily what is most honorable in existence. Practical judgment isn't about what a super human would do, or anything else that is not human. 9 – People don’t deliberate about what they know. 12 – Health produces health in the sense that health is active and at work. Practical judgment is the same way.
  18. The suffering King Lear, near the end of Shakespeare's play, asks this regarding his evil daughters Regan and Goneril: "Is there any cause in nature that make these hard hearts?" Hamlet's "To be or not to be," and other philosophical soliloquies might partly be his search for the cause of good and evil. This might account for Hamlet's delay in taking action in the play. Finally, near the of the play, Hamlet seems to give up and surrender to fatalism, as seen in this passage: There is a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, ’tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come. The readiness is all. Since no man of aught he leaves knows, what is ’t to leave betimes? Let be.
  19. Galt's Speech contains this: It is not any crime you have ever committed that infects your soul with permanent guilt, it is none of your failures, errors or flaws, but the blank-out by which you attempt to evade them—it is not any sort of Original Sin or unknown prenatal deficiency, but the knowledge and fact of your basic default, of suspending your mind, of refusing to think. Fear and guilt are your chronic emotions, they are real and you do deserve them, but they don’t come from the superficial reasons you invent to disguise their cause, not from your “selfishness,” weakness or ignorance, but from a real and basic threat to your existence: fear, because you have abandoned your weapon of survival, guilt, because you know you have done it volitionally. But that leads me to wonder: Why have some people done this "basic default" and "abandoned your weapon of survival"? (quotations from the passage above) And why is that other people do not do this basic default and do not abandon their weapon of survival? It seems like in a rational universe their ought to be some rational explanation for these two phenomena. It seems wrong or a failure to just say, "It's a mystery," or "It cannot be explained." Yet, those are the conclusions I am thinking I must reach and settle for. In some biological thinking, everything is determined by Natural Selection acting on Random Genetic Mutations. Oh, my brain or mind is getting tired.
  20. Boydstun


    Restored link - begin at 40s
  21. Galt's Speech contains this: Thinking is man’s only basic virtue, from which all the others proceed. And his basic vice, the source of all his evils, is that nameless act which all of you practice, but struggle never to admit: the act of blanking out, the willful suspension of one’s consciousness, the refusal to think—not blindness, but the refusal to see; not ignorance, but the refusal to know. It is the act of unfocusing your mind and inducing an inner fog to escape the responsibility of judgment—on the unstated premise that a thing will not exist if only you refuse to identify it, that A will not be A so long as you do not pronounce the verdict “It is.” But that leads me to wonder: Why do some people live according to this "basic vice, the source of all his evils"? (quotation from above) Why do other people live according to "man's only basic virtue"? (quotation from above)
  22. Consider the first six paragraphs of Chapter 3 of Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology: Abstraction from Abstractions. Therein lies an example of an objective method of reasoning. (Keep in context all of the chapters of the book leading up to it.) The crux, in my humble opinion is in the third sentence of that sixth paragraph wherein she wrote: Some (a very small minority) proceed straight on, by the same method as before, i.e., by treating words as concepts, by requiring a clear, first-hand understanding (within the context of their knowledge) of the exact meaning of every word they learn, never allowing a break in the chain linking their concepts to the facts of reality. (This was written with regard to the O.P.)
  23. In the Catholic religion they have the phrase "the mystery of iniquity," which I think indicates that, to some extent, Catholic theologians think that the ultimate cause of evil conduct and motives remains a mystery to mere mortals in this world. Speaking of the villain Iago, in the Shakespeare tragic play "Othello," one critic coined the phrase "motiveless malignity" to describe the inexplicable malice of Iago toward Othello. I believe Aristotle wrote that most or all bad conduct was a result of poor or insufficient education or formation in virtue and in philosophy. In one of Plato's dialogues, Socrates is presented as teaching that all bad conduct is the result of ignorance. In Scientology, they teach that all or most bad conduct is the result of "engrams" that were formed or planted into the "reactive mind" of human beings. In Marxism, all bad conduct of workers is ultimately the fault of oppression of workers by the Capitalist class. (I'm not sure how Marxism explains the bad conduct of Capitalists.) I present all those to convey the idea of what I am looking for in the philosophy of Objectivism. I am looking for a theory of the cause of bad conduct, of living by unreason instead of by reason. I know that Objectivism calls people to live according to reason, ethics, personal productivity, self-interest, objective reality, high ideals, and so on. I know that Objectivism condemns as evil the living of life as a mystic, moocher, thief, manipulator, misanthrope, cynic, pessimist, nihilist, relativist, and so on. But so far, in my very brief studies into the writings of Ayn Rand (mostly as found in wonderful book titled The Ayn Rand Lexicon), I have been unable to find a statement of the explanation for the phenomenon of people living according to unreason.
  24. There's such a thing as these new 'Democrats' pushing the US as far Left as they can go as fast as they can, and Trump and his normal antics are the problem? Sorry, I found myself nodding along in agreement with this article, then the present reality hit. Trump's election obviously was the temporary block on the Left's ambitions, which they've taken up with an extra vengeance since. They have now blatantly outed themselves and shown their true colors. Otherwise, maybe some other GOP candidate of the decent, gentlemanly, good-loser sort - who could not have stood a chance against Hillary - and in her two terms she'd have eased the country on the same route, anyhow. It was always my stance and my cause for support then, that a 'self-interested' and independent America was what Trump and his supporters were essentially after. Only, no one, or few intellectuals articulated it as such, on moral grounds. Then, predictably, the opposition including Objectivists cried "nationalism!" Never mind about their 'brothers' keepers', even the religious conservatives know when their nation was and is being sacrificed at home and abroad. Charity begins at home, they will say. It is not my first concern that Trump himself is re-elected, only that the Biden bunch isn't. (The media have made certain "Trump-fatigue" would set in).
  25. Last week
  26. Is there some rational explanation for why some people live according to reason, and others don't? Is it because those who live according to reason (and thus live according to objective reality and self-interest) are more intelligent, or have had a better education, or had early childhood attachment with caring adults, or something like that? If not something like that, what then is the rational explanation for the fact that some people live mainly according to reason while others live mainly according to unreason (mysticism, emotionalism, rage, dependency, mooching, etc.). Just as a matter of comparison, in some varieties of Christianity, they have a theory of why people do bad things by offering the explanation that all sin is derived from the rebellion of Satan the Devil, a fallen angel who rebelled against God's divine right to rule over everyone and everything. This theory also connects all sin to the Fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. That fall created "Original Sin," that leads all people to be tempted to sin (to do unjust harm to other people or to themselves). I mention this Chrisitan theory of sin only to give an idea of what I mean by an explanation for the bad behavior that human beings do. Sigmund Freud had yet another theory as to why people do bad things to other people and to themselves. As I understand Freud, he saw human beings as being only half-civilized animals, and so humans being, when put under external or internal pressures, often resort to animal-like aggression. Again, I mention this Freudian theory of misconduct only to give an idea of what I mean by a rational explanation for the bad behavior that human beings do. So, what is the rational explanation given by Objectivism for why some people live largely according to reason (and according to objective reality and self-interest) while other people mainly live according to unreason.
  27. Philip Bump of the Washington Post half-gloatingly and half-hopefully jumps aboard a recent meme to the effect that Donald Trump, having perhaps had a Jeb Bush-like Please clap moment, is beginning a fade into personal irrelevancy. Having said that, Bump is quick to note that the GOP is "saturated with Trumpism -- his preferences, his tactics, his style." Trump asking for applause from the Mar-a-Lago brunch crowd. Sad. pic.twitter.com/VuL33c0eGp — PatriotTakes 🇺🇸 (@patriottakes) January 23, 2022 Those are both intriguing statements, but today's news consumer has to evaluate each with the biases of the source in mind. As a pro-capitalist, I can sympathize with a lefty media type's desire to see Trump disappear from the political scene, but for very different reasons. Is he really, finally, going to go away? And I can also see good reason to wonder if it will matter much. How badly off-track has Trump really taken the GOP? That's a hard question for a different reason: Lefties oppose anything that deprives the Democrats of power, especially capitalism. I'm concerned that the GOP is no longer a friend to capitalism; Bump doesn't care about that so much as whether it can cause Democrats to lose elections. Depriving the Democrats of power and making America freer are not necessarily corollaries, unfortunately, and the Democrats are cruisin' for a bruisin'. Put another way: Can a lefty actually see the difference between capitalism (which the GOP would ideally support) and Trump's positions (which are much more like those of a Democrat from a little after FDR)? And even if so, would a leftist be above smearing the one by means of the other, or at least by association with Trump's abrasive, anti-intellectual persona? For a leftist to claim, as Bump does, that "Trumpism" is alive and well in the GOP could mean almost anything including that the GOP is more capitalist -- which Bump doesn't seem to believe and which isn't true at all. Trump's appeal to a certain kind of voter reminds me a lot of my younger days, when I had trouble getting a date, and wondered why plenty of grade-A jerks had zero problems in that department. A friend helped me understand by explaining that lots of women want a secure, independent man, and confuse certain aspects of jerky behavior with those good qualities. Some women outgrow that problem, and some don't. The GOP has been spineless since before the time of Ayn Rand, who tried mightily to help it realize that morality -- actual, reason-based morality -- was on the side of capitalism, and that the moral high ground was there for the taking. The downside of this -- at least to someone not accustomed to going against the grain -- is that to claim said moral high ground requires standing up for reason, self-interest, and freedom. Specifically, it means contesting the unfounded claims of religionists to be America's moral voice, and to challenge the notion that we are our brothers' keepers, that we are obligated to serve others. This is emphatically not the same thing as being a mindless jerk. America is at a crossroads, and most Americans know on some level that our freedom and continued prosperity are in serious trouble. There is a desire for change that sometimes borders on blind rebellion, and there is a desire for someone to champion the cause of freedom. I think that many (but certainly not all) Trump voters were looking for such a champion. To the degree that Trump is done in the eyes of these voters, it will be from time helping them see that Trump is not and never was such a champion. At best, Trump's "style" permeating the GOP might mean that more of its politicians, including its better ones, have learned that standing up to the left is hardly political suicide. At worst, it can mean that too many GOP voters are, like inexperienced teen-aged girls, unable to tell the difference between a jerk and someone with a spine. As for some of Trump's preferences -- e.g., xenophobia, protectionism, and nationalism -- those will be a litmus test: if Trump's successor is the jerk we don't need, he will pander to those. If not, he will at least attempt to begin pushing back -- or better, promoting liberty as the moral and practical alternative. -- CAVLink to Original
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