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Everything posted by Avila

  1. "There is no other way to read what you wrote here." Yes, there is, for the mind that has not been closed by dogma. Here's just a few possibilties that come to mind: 1. - Nature doesn't "forbid" irrationality; 2.- Religious belief is not irrational (perhaps non-rational as opposed to irrational?); 3. - Religious belief is beneficial (this is what you ascribe to me); 4. - Religious belief within cultures is too varied to be generalized, and so every belief system within a given culture needs to be judged on its own; 5. - Religious belief is a neutral factor, having neither positive or negative effects; or 6. - Religious belief has both positive and negative features, which cancel each other out, rendering its effect nuetral. Wow -- there's six possibilities that spring instantly to my mind, though you can only see one. What an intellectually engaging person you are, to be sure! "Again, this is not what is typically meant by "peaceful death". Really? According to whom? Common usage sez otherwise: a peaceful death is one that is not occasioned by violence, traumatic accident, suicide, ora death marked by great physical pain (pain being medically managed in the case of illness). Now your dear Kim Jong il died quite peacefully, with his creepy son by his side....very peaceful. "Why would it matter whether a despot died a violent or non-violent death, as long as he died? The way it does work is that brutes and despots do NOT have peaceful minds and do NOT die peaceful deaths." If one maintains that all despots and other brutes do not die "peaceful" deaths, then of course it matters how any despot dies -- if, as in the case of Kim Jong il, a despot dies peacefully, then you don't really have a leg to stand on regarding your theories about what "nature forbids", do you? Your theory falls apart. As for any despot's "peace of mind" -- aww, really -- are you going to seriously try to tell me that you know for a fact that despots like Kim Jong il didn't have "peace of mind" when they died?? Are you a mind-reader? You don't know ANYTHING about Kim Jong il's mind, as I suspect you can't even figure out your own. Human beings are more complex than you make them out to be. "You changed the words of the OP and then attacked the change." I wasn't responding, I don't recall, to the OP at all but to a subsequent poster. So no, I didn't change the words of the OP. At any rate, I seriously doubt that I changed any meaning in any significant way, or attacked a straw man of my own making. You're just grasping at straws...that's OK, I understand that you have nothing of substance in response, and so it's just easier to make up stuff. You go, girl.
  2. "A sacrifice is: giving up something of greater value for something of lesser or no value. So, properly understood, most parents do NOT sacrifice for their children, they value them." Are you a parent, Marc? I'm guessing not.....because though what you say is broadly true, I can't think of any parents who don't self-sacrifice to some degree. In healthy families, these constitute fairly minor matters. In unhealthy families, these sacrifices might be quite large and are based on the hope of better outcomes, as remote and as unlikely as that hope might be. Parental love is an incredibly strong force that defies strict rationality. A more profitable line of inquiry might be, what are the boundaries between unhealthy sacrificial love and that which is grounded in hope? " I live in a society (Britain) where it is a bad economic choice to leave home, the environment is very emotionally charged." Why is it a "bad economic choice" for you to leave home? What is your education, background, skill level? You are 21 -- what, exactly, is keeping you from being productive and self-reliant? If your educational background does not afford you with the means to provide for yourself, what is keeping you from doing something different, something that might be of more economic use?
  3. "gets angry and shouts at people when they do not reward his altruism with respect and an exchange of labour or love". If true altruism is doing some act with no expectation of recompense, then he's not acting altruistically at all, as he clearly wants his actions to be rewarded and is angry or disappointed when it isn't forthcoming. I would call that being manipulative, not altruistic. "He is incredibly self sacrificial" That comes with the turf of being a parent -- don't be too hard on him for that, as I don't know any parent who isn't self-sacrificial to some extent. "I cannot quite say if this emotion I feel is born of duty, fear of loss or pity and for all the introspection I have done I cannot rationalise it." That's love for you.....it can't always be rationalized. To love one's father seems perfectly normal and honorable, unless the father is downright abusive. Nor is it unearned -- he loved you for years when you were annoying, immature, needy, demanding, ungrateful -- I could go on. Nor am I being personal -- all children are like that at least some of the time, and sometimes most of the time.
  4. "To give the question context I will say that as a 21 year old I am lucky enough to not yet have any children of my own." Gee, I didn't realize having or not having kids was a matter of "luck" and not sexual intercourse.... "For example if your child represented everything you held to be immoral (lazy, entitled, etc,) then surely if follows that such a relationship would be unhealthy and should be ended but what if the pull of parental love and the feeling of guilt was too much to end the relationship." I would wonder why, if one valued work, industriousness, etc., those values weren't instilled into the children. Still, I recognize that the culture has its own poisonous effect in that regard and it's possible that one could have good values but yet fail to raise children who hold similar good values. But you can't legally "end the relationship" if the child is a minor -- it's a moot point. After the child is of legal age, then yes -- one can always kick him or her out and limit or end the relationship. It might just be what the child needs to grow up. "On a side to this question I wonder if the love I have with my younger brother is healthy according to Rand." I'm afraid that it's this sort of question that earns Objectivists the smear, "Randroids". You're 21 years old -- you ought to be able to figure out if your perfectly normal familial love for your brother is "healthy" for yourself. If you were having sexual fantasies about him, or obsessively thought about him non-stop for all your waking hours, then I would say it was not healthy. And if your basis for worrying about this is that he is too young to "have a full set of morals and virtues", then on what basis are you going to love your infant children when you are lucky or unlucky enough to have them?
  5. "2. Age difference only matters to the extent you can find commonality. Someone 30 years older than me probably doesn't like similar music, and has considerably different life experiences. But that isn't to say the relationship is inappropriate. Can you give some reasons why it might be inappropriate?" I agree with Euiol here.....commonality is key, and some of this is not age-related. For example, I like the same music as my spouse, despite our age difference, because our tastes in music (classical, Gaelic, bluegrass) is not so tied to a particular age group. Other commonalities such as our views on art, politics, and other matters are also not age-related -- these are formed by a shared value system. It is not so much a matter of years as it is maturity. There is, for example, considerable difference in the maturity levels of a 15-year-old and a 25-year-old -- profound differences! There is not much of a difference between a 35-year-old and a 45-year-old, despite them both being a ten-year gap. (Obviously I'm speaking in generalities here -- no doubt one can find exceptions.)
  6. "The implication being that religion has some survival value. Of course the correlation you use to make this conclusion is as good as saying that the rooster crowing causes the sun to rise." Being an ex-atheist, of course I'll defend some religions if they are being mis-characterized or historical errors are being promoted. That is not, however, the point of my posts here, which was in reaction to someone stating that "nature forbids him (man) the irrational". It's been a while since I've read "Atlas Shrugged" and so I did not know that that was from Rand via Galt. I accept the explanation that this is artistic hyperbole, but have still responded to posters who apparently do not take it as hyperbole. Pointing out that virtually all cultures have been religious to some extent (Greeks, Romans, etc.) is NOT the same thing as saying, as you claim that I am, that religion has some survival value. That is YOUR extrapolation, not mine. Religion could be entirely neutral, making no real impact on a person or culture's survivability. "likewise with theft and other criminal behaviors: this might be a rational method of survival for some individuals" "which of course is self-contradictory." Here we disagree. If a young boy growing up in the slums of Calcutta is faced with the prospect of starving or stealing food when he can (when no other avenue is open to him) to keep himself alive, then stealing is rational though undesirable. "A brute is peaceful? Is english your first language?" "Peaceful" in this case refers to his death, not his person (if you knew English well, you would recognise sentence structure and know which adjectives refer to what). Peaceful as in non-violent -- he died of natural causes. It would strengthen the idea of "nature forbidding irrationality" if all despots died violent deaths at the hands of others, thus showing the result of irrationally brutalizing others to get and maintain power, but unfortunately it doesn't always work that way. "you changed Ayn Rand's words and then attacked the change." I didn't know they were Rand's words in the first place -- I thought they were the words of a poster (which has since been removed, by the way). The poster did not ascribe them to Rand. So no, I could hardly have been guilty of changing Rand's words when I didn't know they were hers. I find the subject interesting -- what does nature forbid the individual? What does nature forbid the population as a whole, but allow the individual? (Like Eiuol, I don't like the use of the word "forbid" here because it implies a consciousness, but for the sake of brevity, I'll continue to use it as the original poster did). I'm interested in the reality of how that plays out. Perhaps the problem here is that you are subscribing to a simplistic theory and not noting the complexity of reality.
  7. "Unfortunately we are used to you defending religion but it is a nice change to hear you compare it to theft and tyranny no matter how wrong you are about irrationality being a rational method of survival." I have neither defended religion in this thread or stated that irrationality is a rational method of survival (though I did state that it is not always and everywhere disastrous, as there are certainly individuals who have survived and thrived despite acting in a way that you and I would agree is not desirable -- Kim Jong il comes to mind: a brutal despot who died quietly and peacefully). But if you want to go and attack straw men of your own making (an irrational act), you go girl.
  8. "Nature forbids man to be irrational with impunity-and this is a real meaning of the quote." Collectively, yes -- but nature does not forbid all individuals from successfully acting in a way that Objectivists would consider irrational. I had tried to explain this in an earlier post, but that was apparently forbidden....
  9. "Okay, but you shouldn't have implied that the consequence is always death." How else does nature prohibit anything? By eliminating individuals who exhibit self-destructive characteristics and behaviours from the gene pool, evolution proceeds.
  10. "To say that something is forbidden is not to say it is impossible. It is to say that it will have consequences if ignored." Dictionary definition of forbidden: "not allowed; prohibited" . I wouldn't have a problem if the original quote in question stated that "nature discourages irrationality", or some such phrasing, which would then allow for the interpretation that you want, which is that an irrational act has undesirable consequences. I would qualify that further and say that it often, or usually, has undesirable consequences. My point is that it does not absolutely, always, and everywhere have an undesirable consequence for individuals, which is what saying that "nature forbids irrationality" implies. I'm not bending or stretching the meaning of words here -- this is a reasonable interpretation.
  11. "If you choose to live in an area where there are taxes, you chose to be taxed. Now replace area where there are taxes with area where there are rapes.Your claim that a choice of a geographic area implies a choice of things that are forced on people, in that area, still would mean that rape's a choice. No, my friend, that makes no sense. A choice is something that presupposes freedom from force." If one has the freedom to move in or out of geographical areas where one knows that force (however manifested) is going to be applied, then yes, you have chosen to be forced. Freedom doesn't mean freedom from personal responsibility or common sense. Using your example, a woman freely choosing to move into an area where rapes are the accepted and expected norm is either stupid (and why do we need to protect others from their own stupidity?) or simply not averse to being raped. "If the "citizenship" agrees, then the "citizenship" is responsible. I never agreed to any infrastructure, and I definitely never agreed to being part of a group called "citizenship" which operates on majority opinion, so I'm blissfully exempt from any responsibility over any action of said citizenship, except the ones I agree and vote for." But you have made the choice to live here (even if you were born here, you've had the choice to leave but have chosen not to do so), and thus yes, you are part of a group called the "citizens" of the United States whether you like it or not. You have complete freedom to be otherwise by renouncing your citizenship, and even the freedom to move somewhere else if you don't wish to be subject to this country's laws. If you view taxation for infrastructure akin to being raped, then why in hell are you sticking around? You are like the woman who freely chooses to live in your hypothetical area where rape is accepted, expected, and just plain part of everyday life. You don't dislike being raped enough to give up the benefits that living here presumably gives you (else why stay?).
  12. "It is possible to survive by theft because their are productive men who make things that can be stolen. Let him survive by theft when he's alone on a desert island. He'll die pretty quickly." You and I don't disagree. However, I'm interested in reality, not in fictional desert-island scenarios. My point is that, whether we approve of it or not, individuals sometimes can and do survive despite acting irrationally. Nature does not forbid them by striking them down when they act so.
  13. "The point of the quote is that irrationality does not work." Which is not the same thing as saying that nature forbids irrationality. The implication of the latter is that a man does something irrational, and -- boom! -- he dies because nature will not let him survive the irrational act. But that's not reality -- reality demonstrates that individuals can act irrationally and survive. There are people who commit criminal, irrational acts -- and they get away with it. For some, theft is a means of survival. You and I would agree that acting rationally is in an individual's best interest. There's no need to pretend, though, that nature is going to "forbid" irrationality by its leading to automatic death (which is the only way nature could forbid irrationality).
  14. "So, how do you read that quote?" Just so we're on the same page -- which quote do you have in mind? I had quoted a previous poster, who wrote: "If life on earth is his purpose, he has a right to live as a rational being: nature forbids him the irrational." However, when I went to look for the poster's name, I see that the post is no longer there or at least that part has been edited out of it, so I can no longer tell you who provided that statement.
  15. "So, you are arguing that irrationality can be efficacious in some small degree?" No. I am disputing the claim made here that nature forbids man the irrational.
  16. "You would not be able to afford college because it would be too expensive without -federal- financial aid." Not at all. I know many people who worked to pay their way through college, or had private financial loans -- all without the federal government's help. " You would not be able to afford gasoline because you would have to pay the real price without government subsidies on various other things that make our price what it is." Are you sure about that? Much of the price on a gallon of gas is TAX. "You would not be able to drive on roads because those are funded by wrongfully collected taxes." If the citizenship agrees that infrastructure is a legitimate expense for which they are willing to pay taxes, then it isn't wrongfully collected. Only a tiny minority in this country would say that tax-funded roads are wrong.
  17. "Man is not prevented from being irrational but he does pay a price in doing so." Which is a long way away from the quote I was disputing: "nature forbids him the irrational". I think you and I would agree, then, that nature does no such thing. Nor do I think it is absolutely true that man will always and everywhere pay a price: as I mentioned, history has examples of people who lied, cheated, and stole their way to success, or who brutalized others to gain power, who died quiet, peaceful deaths in their old age. Of course many others ended up deposed, imprisoned, or dead, but my point is that "paying a price" is not an absolute. Individuals can act irrationally and some will get away with it. It is somwhat harder on a large scale -- look at Japan in the second World War: It was not rational to think that they could prevail over the United States (a larger nation with vast resources), though they had succeeded (using extraordinary brutality and cruelty) in the region. They did indeed pay a price... "On the other hand, the Dark Ages demonstrated the tax on humanity that resulted from institutionalized mysticism and state control." I'm always skeptical of the use of the term "Dark Ages", as it is usually used incorrectly (usually as a pejorative as opposed to an actual historical period). So you might want to brush up on it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Ages_(historiography) Wikipedia's entry is the simple, easy way, but there are quite a number of scholarly works on the subject. Here's one: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7606757-the-modern-scholar I point this out because your use of the term suggests that you are using the term "Dark Ages" inaccurately.
  18. "If life on earth is his purpose, he has a right to live as a rational being: nature forbids him the irrational." The problem is that I don't see nature forbidding any such thing. For example, the vast majority of people who ever lived on this planet have beeen theists of one kind or another (and the vast majority still are today). This, according to Objectivism, is highly irrational, yet man has survived. If nature really did forbid the irrational, then the human race would have died out long ago. It might be considered irrational to hold that "might makes right", but history shows that quite a few brutal despots have died peaceful deaths. Now, it would be "collectively" irrational if everyone subscribed to the idea that "might makes right", as it would be hard for anyone to survive in such an environment, but clearly it works for some individuals. Likewise with theft and other criminal behaviors: this might be a rational method of survival for some individuals, though destructive if practiced collectively. So no -- nature doesn't "forbid" irrationality at all.
  19. "I might not be a doctor nor play one on TV, but I do know a women when I see it." Actually, you are only responding, on a very basic, instinctual level, to some common and superficial characteristics of the female human: slim waist and limbs, large mammary glands, etc. (tastes in these particular characteristics being largely determined by the prevailing cultural preferences). On the evolutionary progression, your attraction to this man would be sterile (and thus useless) as no amount of body alteration makes a man a woman or a woman a man, and natural selection is only interested in the survival of the species as a whole, which means offspring. So while you as a man might find this particular man very desirable, I would guess that most males, upon learning of the essential nature of the individual versus his projected nature, would be very turned off. This is nature asserting its primary goal -- survival of the species. This primary goal probably explains why the number of homosexuals is so small (under 5%).
  20. "Human nature is perfectable--in individual cases, by the person themselves. Not for the population at-large and not via some kind of outside imposition." Wow -- that is quite a statement. Maybe you are tuned into whole groups of people that I, for whatever reason, am not, but I have not seen ANY indication that human nature has perfected itself, either in an individual or in groups. I've been around for a long, long time, but have yet to meet any perfect individual or group. Nor do I see any indication that "enlightened" individuals such as yourself are in any better shape: You have struggled with your very significant weight over the years: have you been able to perfect yourself? Are you now a size ten? If not, why not? I'm sure it's not for want of desire........
  21. "Was I wrong in assuming that the drug war accounted for the source of a lot of prisoners? Was I also wrong that the drug war is also responsible for creating situations in which violent crimes are committed?" Of course the failed war on drugs has provided a source for many prisoners. That goes without saying. However, human nature isn't going to magically change if (just as magically) an Objectivist society were to prevail: Do you think rapists are suddenly going to have a "V-8 moment", strike their foreheads, and say, "AH! I don't have to force this woman to have sex with me after all!" Are alcoholics magically going to soberly decide that getting behind the wheel isn't in their best interest? Does the vandal magically decide that destroying property isn't fun to do after all? Does the school teacher automatically decide that sexually exploiting a student isn't in his best interest? (the rate of abuse by school teachers is far, far higher than that of Catholic priests, which have recieved so much attention). Does the pervert uncle or father magically decide that incest and sexual abuse of minors is wrong after all? (Family members are the most frequent abusers of children.) Do you really think that someone who currently robs and steals to support his drug habit is going to suddenly get a nice job -- 9 to 5 -- to support his now cheap habit? Is the cannibal going to develop a taste for tofu instead? Will the murderer decide to run a steel company instead of killing? I live in a small, Norman Rockwell-type small town -- this past year, a police officer was fatally shot in a "domestic situation" -- the rejected boyfriend of a high-school girl killed a police officer and then killed himself. How would a Objectivist society have changed these events? My point is simply that Objectivism does not change human nature. The idea that an Objectivist society (the chances of which are slim to none) wouldn't have many prisons is simply naive. I don't think it is a slam against Objectivism to state that -- rather, it is a slam against the Utopian instinct and liberal article of faith that human nature is perfectable.
  22. "An Objectivist society wouldn't have that many prisons anyways." That's a breathtakingly naive statement. While it's true that there are some acts and transactions that are now deigned illegal that would be de-criminalized, Objectivism is not going to change human nature. Rapists, murderers, thieves, muggers, burglers, traffickers in child porn and sex slavery, reckless and drunken drivers -- they're not going to magically go away.
  23. "Now, if Objectivism does establish Lily Potter's sacrifice as evil, at least we'll have more grounds for saying that the two philosophies [Rand's and Rowling's] are different." Of course they are different. Rowling is a Christian, and, though not explicit, Christian themes of self-sacrifice, immortality, souls, spirits, etc. run throughout. She's not as profoundly Christian as was Tolkien, so I don't think the series is as heavily Christian as was "The Lord of the Rings", but those themes are still there (Ari Armstrong's apologia for the Potter series isn't very convincing).
  24. "Well, it's commission-only sales..." If you have, as you said, personal problems that wreak havoc in your life and you are not in control of, then commission-only sales might not be a good choice for you at all. Maybe, at some level, you recognize this, hence your anxiety and indecision. If you have serious out-of-control personal problems, then a steady (albeit perhaps boring) job that does not involve such a high degree of pressure would be a much better choice.
  25. "It is certainly not impossible - people assert contradictory views all the time. However it is compartmentalization, and will have negative consequences on your life in some form." I disagree that some views are necessarily contradictory. Some clearly are, but not others. For example, I wholeheartedly agree with Rand's diagnosis of the evils of collectivism, in particular the government's compulsory taking from productive citizens and giving to people leeching off of government programs. That, for example, would not be in conflict with Ryan's Catholicism, as the bible does say that "those who will not work should not eat", referring to parasites, not the genuinely needy. So one can agree with that particular aspect of Rand's philosophy without that contradicting, say, one's belief that the privatization of roads is not likely workable. There is no contradiction within one's worldview if one holds those two views. Also, Rand herself admired Aquinas, as does Ryan -- she wasn't contradicting herself to think so.
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