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Everything posted by secondhander

  1. No. I have no "feeling" or preference for gold as a standard as a means for exchange over anything else. You're making a false assumption about what my "hope" and feelings are. And since you made a false assumption about me (not based on a rational assessment of what I said, by the way), then your ending remark about "science trumps feelings and rationalism" is an empty attack against me. (And explain how "science trumps rationalism." Your statement seems nonsensical.) The reason why I think the value of gold will increase has nothing to do with "feelings" and "hopes." I think it will go up because I think we are in a credit bubble that will eventually burst, and that recent rising home values are simply a re-inflation of the housing bubble because of the $85 billion in bonds the Fed is buying per month, which includes mortgage-backed securities. When those bubbles burst, and when the bond-buying program ends or is forced to end, and when inflation rises more, I think that investors will flock to gold and silver (among other things such as stable foreign currencies). And to your list of stocks, you again are not reading my post in a rational way. I didn't make this argument: "No other commodity or stock has done better than gold over the last 10 years." If I had made that statement, then your list of stock examples would have made sense. But since I didn't say anything like that at all, you providing that list doesn't make sense one bit. Again, you're going on assumptions to erect strawmen to attack. What I said was, "Gold had a return of 230 percent over 10 years, and that's not bad." Do you want to find fault with what I actually said instead of what you assumed I said?
  2. If you had invested in gold 10 years ago, you'd have a return of 230 percent today. Not bad, I'd say. And I'm in the camp that believes it's going to keep going way up.
  3. Let's say there is a non-related couple who love each other and plan to get married. They take a genetics test and find out that there is a good chance (let's say 20 percent) that any child they have together will have some sort of serious genetic defect. Is your position that it's immoral for them to get married and have sex? Would it be immoral for them to try to have a child? What if they decided not to have children, and used some type of birth control?
  4. First let me clarify that I'm describing romantic love. In English, the term "love" is broadly applied to anything from loving my girlfriend, to loving my sister, to loving this slice of pizza I'm eating. In other languages, they may use wholly different words to describe those very different concepts. Now, you can feel emotion for someone who doesn't reciprocate it, but I don't believe it is properly "love" (in the romantic sense), just in the same way that you can't have friendship with someone who doesn't reciprocate friendship. So it's not "love" that you're feeling. It's probably better described as infatuation. Now, we can argue a bit about words and terminology, but I'm arguing for how the concept itself of love ought to be viewed in my estimation. So, you can continue calling it "love," even if the other person doesn't reciprocate. Call it any term you want. But the point I'm making is to draw a conceptual distinction between reciprocated emotion vs. non-reciprocated emotion. I think "love" ought to only be applied to the first category (again in the romantic sense. I'm sure my dad kept loving me even when I was an inconsiderate, immature, jerk of a teenager. That "love" is a different concept). But the main point is to give some thought to is the possible unhealthiness of having non-reciprocated romantic emotion toward someone, and how it might be more of a out-of-balance emotional circuitry rather than something we could consider rational, appropriate love. (And just because rationality is at play, it is still very much an emotion. We are not robots.)
  5. Let's look at the fundamental issue, so you won't make similar mistakes in the future. (I've made these same mistakes some years ago, so don't read this as though I think I'm Mr. Perfect. Just that I've crossed this bridge before you have.) You have accepted a faulty premise that you can "fall" in love with people. You can't. You've accepted a hyping up of emotion as being love. Anyone can hype up their emotion and convince themselves they are in love with someone. But are they in love with someone, or in love with an ideal in their head? Authentic love happens over time when you actually know someone and spend significant time with that person. Not before. And it takes significant time. You can't put an actual time limit on things like this, but you can't have real love for some person on the first day you spend with her, or the time, or the third time. You can't actually begin to love someone after knowing them for only one week, or two weeks, or even for a month, or two months maybe. Because even after knowing someone for a month or even two months, how many hours of time have you actually spent with them? You're still only just beginning to see their real character and their real values. Only then just beginning to see what they are like on their bad days; seeing what they are like when they handle conflict. So again, there is no hard rule on time-frame, but keep that general idea in mind. Letter writing is one thing. Live text chatting is a little better. Seeing photos in addition is a little better. Video chatting is a little better. But all of that is still insufficient for actual love to take place. You have to see and be with the person, simply as a person who is your friend, first. And it takes some time to really get to know what they are like and what their values are. Only then, can you be capable of real, actual love.You don't fall in love, you grow into love. As a primary rule of this kind of thinking, you must refuse to let yourself believe that you have deep feelings for someone you've just met or barely know. Because you are always, always just fooling yourself and hyping up your emotional circuitry. You couldn't possibly have deep feelings for someone you barely know -- because you barely know them. This may take some time for it to sink in and become natural for you to relate to people like this. But I can't tell you how many times I've met some girl who seems great, and sexy, and awesome, and yet I know that I don't actually know her, so I am simply friends and try to get to know her with no other deeper motives. I get to know her better, and I start to see problems with her values and character that I could not possibly have seen early on. She may still turn out to be a great person and have high enough values to be a good friend and possibly even a playmate (I am non-monogamous). But her values may not be high enough for me to create a deeper, romantic love with her. And on some occasions my initial estimate was way off and she turns out not to have the kinds of values I'd even want in a friend. And when you meet someone who does have high values in such a way that you grow to love her, it will be be mutual. And, as one last little tip, love shouldn't be treated as a one-way road. Love ought to be like a best friendship. Imagine that you came up and told me that Pete is your best-friend. Then I asked Pete, and he said he barely knows you, and only said "hey, how's it going" to you one time. Obviously Pete and I would both think you're a bit off, and a little scary. Pete would probably keep his distance. If you say that someone is your best friend, then it ought to be (and is assumed to be) reciprocated. Just as you can't have a friendship unless both people feel the same kind of friendship toward each other, you should also think of love this way. You can't have love unless both people feel the same way toward each other. It's only an unhealthy infatuation if it's one way.
  6. "Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand is the story of a group of anarcho-capitalists ..." Uh, no.
  7. And yet you haven't told me how, nor did you answer any of my questions or address my points. Which, also, isn't surprising, since you never seem to. Of course. I didn't advocate for boredom or routine, did I? And yet you want guys to use rote material that they have memorized. It's like you're not even comprehending my points, and not seeing that your advice ends up advancing "routines" instead of natural spontaneity. It also doesn't matter if a certain line "works" or not. I could tell you a on of lines and routines and tactics, ones you could learn from the pick-up community, and they "work" oftentimes. But at what cost? At the cost of creating a false persona in order to fool someone. And when that woman realizes eventually that much of what you said was canned, taken from other guys, or taken from movies, she's going to see the real you -- that you are not original and not natural, and weren't self-confident enough to just be yourself in front of her.
  8. So, you're going to present, as you say, "Specific words, sentences and phrases I've collected over the years — my own personal "swipe file" of sexy statements which you can start putting to use immediately." And these specific words and statements from your personal swipe file "pertains to a man talking to a woman during sex." (Emphases mine.) Does that mean you want other guys to say the phrases that you've personally used, and said to a woman during sex? Leaving the ewe factor aside, it would be one thing teach a general principle and say, "Hey guys. You don't have to be completely quiet during sex. You can talk and discuss things with your partner." That's all fine and great, and I'd agree with that idea. But when you go an extra step and try to offer guys unoriginal (to them) phrases for them to memorize and say during sex, you are not teaching them to be authentic and natural. You are teaching them to sputter out phrases that are not their own. Above you said you would teach "categories" of statements to say. And if this means principles, and not specific phrases and words, then I wouldn't necessarily have fault with it. But it appears by what you've written that it's not just that, that it's "specific words, sentences and phrases I've collected over the years — my own personal "swipe file" of sexy statements." Additionally, and I know this from reading your previous posts, you advocate a traditionally conservative relationship dynamic that I believe to be flawed, harmful, and sexist. Let me know if I am wrong in this assessment: I am guessing that you believe that if two people have sex and issue grunts and groans and "oh gods" and [other things that I will not type here], with no full sentences, that you would take issue with it and feel that it was too animalistic and not how romantically inclined people express themselves during sex. Is that your position, or am I off? What I'd do If it were me, the principle I'd tell guys is that every sexual relationship, and even individual sexual sessions (for lack of a better term), may have slightly different communication dynamics. And every partner will be a bit different as well. Sometimes full sentences and clear, open communication are needed and desired. (Clear communication is definitely needed before sex, so that everyone can be clear on consent.) But during sex, sometimes passionate grunts and groans are fantastic. And if you have a night of mind-blowing sex, maybe grunts and groans are all that's needed. And trust me, the woman you have that mind-blowing sex with won't be bothered in the least by the lack of full sentences. Don't be fooled into letting someone convince you otherwise: Women like a good romp as much as men do. But what I wouldn't say to guys, if they sought some kind of advice from me, is to "say this phrase at this time during sex." First of all, any phrase I might say during sex would not be from some rote "file" in my mind. It would fit into the context of whom I was with, what we were doing, how we were feeling, and what was going on in that moment. Every other guy is going to have their own specific experiences with specific and different people. Further, you ought to be wanting to teach men to truly be authentic. If you are teaching them specific phrases to utter during sex, or during a date, or anytime, then you are not really teaching guys how to be fully authentic. How it ought to work This is how the process ought to work: The right ethic ---> The right fundamental beliefs ---> The right character ---> the right interpersonal relationship skills ---> the right kinds of words. And those words will not be canned material that someone else told them to say, because it was a good thing for them to say this one time with this one girl in a particular situation. It appears to me that, in your instruction of guys, you want to jump right to the "interpersonal skills" and "words" part (which is where the canned material comes in). Where I've seen you advocate for your traditional dating paradigm and relationship belief system, I've found tremendous faults. I won't linger on it too much now, but we can get into that later if you want. The main point here is that if you teach somebody the right ethic and the right fundamental beliefs, in terms of relationships and relating to people, then they will begin to use interpersonal relationship skills and words that fit into that fundamental structure and it will begin to come naturally to them. They won't have a need for any rote material. If a guy fails to address "the right ethic" and "the right beliefs" and starts with trying to use specific gimmicks and words that someone else told him to use, he will be nothing more than a facade of a person; a character portrayed with the goal of trying to fool some woman into thinking he is sexy. And he will be a relationship con-artist, because even if the woman is fooled temporarily, she will eventually see through the millimeter-deep covering to find out that what the guy was offering is not what he is actually able to provide, or ever was. Hear, hear. So then, why are you trying to teach people to use rote words and phrases at specific times. Yes, uncommunicative in the complete sense of the term. But you can be communicative and natural during sex without saying much in the way of complete sentences. And sometimes you can say complete sentences. It just depends. Women are often talking about a guy who is so nervous and unnatural that he clams up and is rigid as well as being stone quiet. But there's another sense in which women (and everyone, really) appreciate communication, and this does speak to the use of words and full sentences. It's when you ask, "Does this hurt/feel good? Do you like it when I do this? Do you want to do this?" That's totally cool too. Although you can work some of that out beforehand, or after so you'll know them the next time. These are principles, though. You won't catch me telling a guy who is seeking my advice to say exactly such-and-such phrase at such-and-such time. If I did that, and if he accepted that advice, then I'd be furthering him down the road of his fundamental problem. Instead of teaching him how to be completely self-approved -- living by the right fundamental values, making his own words to speak -- I'd be telling him to adopt my personality and my phrases. That would hurt him in the way of personal growth, not help him. Questions for you: 1. Do you you believe that if two people have sex, and make grunts and groans and "oh gods," etc., with no full sentences, that you would feel that it was not how romantically inclined people express themselves during sex? 2. These phrases from your swap file. Are they specific phrases you've used during sex? Are you going to be discussing phrases that are used outside of sex? 3. Weird question I know, but I am asking it seriously because I'm curious about something. Do you think there are some sex positions that are immoral for a "leading man" to do? Like (ahem) cowgirl. Does that give up too much power to the woman in the act of sex in your view of things? Or does it not matter one bit? You don't have to elaborate, I'm not trying to embarrass anyone. Just a succinct yes or now type answer works here.
  9. Great point. Shouldn't we want a partner who has the values that we also seek to have in ourselves? I want a partner who is authentic, who knows what she believes, who speaks her mind, who doesn't try to manipulate, who doesn't try to impress, who doesn't rely on a bag of rote statements to try to convince anyone that she's sexy (because the very act of trying to convince someone of your sexiness is so un-sexy and indicative of low self-esteem).
  10. If what a man is saying is not matching what he is implying, then there's a more fundamental problem. Also, if a guy is focusing on trying to insert poetry and metaphor in his conversation and is relying on a "swap file" of rote statements, instead of learning how to be real and authentic, then there is another fundamental problem. Once again Kevin, you're giving bad advice to people. I hope no one listens. If someone does, I hope they quickly realize what sort of thin facade they were building, drop it, and start building true character fitted on a foundation of solid ethical beliefs.
  11. As softwarenerd said, these things often take a while to change. They don't change overnight. But, if you begin to understand the underlying premises that cause you to feel the way you do, you can begin to replace those underlying with more correct premises. And over time you should see your emotional reactions change, until one day when you realize that you don' feel any pressure at all to react the way you are reacting now. So what are those underlying causes? I'm going to tell you what I think they are, broadly speaking because I don't know the particulars of how you're feeling and what you're thinking, of course. I know you asked not to be told that you shouldn't be afraid of people, and I'm not going to tell you that. That's only a surface issue, anyway. What I'd think is better is to ask what is the underlying cause of the emotion. And the answer is (for most people most of the time) a deep-seated need for approval from other people. We all have this. It's been designed into us by evolution. Here's the short explanation: Because we are a social animal, we have learned to survive by living in groups. A tribe of humans could survive better by working together to gather food and supplies, to build shelters, provide protection from predators. (As an aside, I'll just mention here that this is nor a moral case for collectivism. Society of any type is only moral if people are free to work together willingly, without coercion.) So because survival is at stake, we have developed a strong psychological drive to gain approval from others in the tribe. Some bit of irony is that those people who obviously are trying hard to gain approval from others, often come across as weak, needy, and annoying, and usually don't gain much approval. And those people who don't seem to be concerned with approval at all, but are otherwise socially intelligent, will gain tremendous amounts of approval. They may even make him the new tribal chief! So here's the real key. Practice learning to stop seeking approval from others. Period. Approval can and should only be granted by one person -- yourself. And approval should be granted based on the ethic that you live. If you know what you believe and whom you are, then believe what you believe and be whom you are. And if you are living according to your ethic, then you ought to grant approval to yourself. This is easy to say, hard to do for a while. But over time, the more you mentally go over it and work at it, the more you will find yourself not needing or seeking or caring about other people's approval. You still ought to learn social intelligence. That's a different matter. But you're not trying to be socially intelligent to win approval. You're being socially intelligent because it's a skill to relate to people and is a tool to improve your own ability to survive and thrive.
  12. Here are some elements of my response: I'd say to him, "What kind of toddlers have you been around?" And "there is a difference between 'fair play' and 'sharing as a sacrifice to oneself.'" Ayn Rand's philosophy is absolutely about fair play. The ethic that says you should share with others at a sacrifice to yourself is NOT about fair play at all. Now, I may have an slightly undeveloped understanding of Rand's epistemology, but even if she implies that we are (and as I understand, she and Peikoff do) I don't think we are entirely a blank slate in terms of impulses to do things. Having said that, we still are a blank slate when it comes to actual knowledge. But I do think that there are some built-in, evolutionary-designed impulses that humans have. Just like my dog never had to be taught to dig in the dirt, or taught to kick his legs back when he poos, etc. And every animal we know of in the world seems to have the pre-built, hard-wired impulses. I'm sure they live somewhere in the subconscious, in the same way we don't consciously thing of making our heart beat, or consciously breathe, there are some subconscious impulses that are built in. I think racism is like this, in mild forms. It might be a self-protection issue. We see someone who looks different, who looks like he is not from our tribe, who acts differently or behaves differently, and we view them as a threat. It's the same principle that makes people really support their home sports team, and despise their rivals. This is all within the realm of evolutionary psychology. However, your friend seems to be arguing that if some kind of trait or impulse is built in our psyche, then it must be morally good. This is simply the naturalistic fallacy. It is the is-ought problem. Ayn Rand answered the is-ought problem by showing a relation of values to answering the question "to whom and for what?" where the "whom" and the "what" exist in the real world and operate by the laws of the real world and the laws of logic. But that does not mean that just anything you find in nature, or any human impulse that you can show a human may have, is itself a moral good, devoid of context and the question "to whom and for what." So ultimately, I think your friend is a little confused on the is-ought problem, and may not even be aware he is running up against it, and it also seems like (unsurprisingly) he really doesn't understand Rand's philosophy and how she addressed these questions.
  13. No. Rights only exist in a social context. They are a way of saying, "this is the right way we should act toward one another, based on the truth of objectivist ethics that apply for each of us individually." If there are no "others," then rights are a non-issue. Yes, essentially. Although I wouldn't say that "society" is destructive toward "human life." I'd say something more like, the person stealing is destructive to the life of the person being stolen from. The way you can look at it is like this: Let's say Bob thinks he's the only person on the planet, but one day he comes across Frank. And Bob says to Frank, "Hey, it's destructive to my life and my ability to live and survive and thrive if you use force against me, by trying to enslave me, or steal from me, or kill me, or whatever." And Frank replies, "You're right. And likewise, it's destructive to my life if you do those same things to me." So in their society, they form rights which are based on the objectivist ethics that they each hold for their individual lives and ability to survive and thrive.
  14. My assessment: I believe Leonid is correct in his answer to this question, and Grames (and others?) have slightly misunderstood what he is saying. And Leonid is not contradicting what Rand wrote about "the choice to live." I believe (and correct me if I'm wrong), that what Leonid is getting at is that while man can choose to go from a state of life to a state of death, man cannot choose to go from a state of death (or non-existence) to a state of life. Sure, you could say that if man chooses not to die, then he necessarily has chosen to live and it's just a matter of how you phrase the issue. After all, it's an issue of choosing one out of two mutually exclusive options. Similar to if someone asks you, do you want me to place this coin on the table head's up or tail's up? If you choose head's up, then haven't you also chosen "tail's down"? You have. But the idea of a choice between two mutually exclusive options is not really what we have with the issue of choosing a state of life or a state of death. Yes, if you choose not to enter into a state of death, you have consequentially chosen to continue to live (to do the things that maintain life). So you have chosen life in that sense, and in the sense Rand meant it. But you have not chosen a state of life, because you already had it. A state of life is the default state, and it is the required state necessary to make any kind of decision in the first place. So, when choosing a state of life or a state of death, you can only choose to enter into a state of death from a state of life. You cannot, however, choose to enter into a state of life from a state of death. Life, then, is necessary for any decision. Now with that in mind, here's the reason (in my view) why the choice to die is not morally neutral. It's a choice. You cannot make a choice without using your mind. You cannot morally use your mind without the use of reason to guide your choices. So the options left to the person who thinks he wants to kill himself are, arrive at that decision purely arbitrarily and subjectively, or arrive at that decision using reason. So then, I would ask him, "what is your reason for wanting to die?" And this would reveal the logical bind he's put himself in. He could either accept that he needs to make decisions using reason; thus the choice to die is a choice that must be arrived at using reason, and it would fall within the moral realm. Or, he could say "I make my choice to die arbitrarily and subjectively," but that would mean that he must make every choice arbitrarily and subjectively, and thus he isn't really making any choices at all. Because the choice to die is a choice, it requires the mind and reason. Because it requires the mind and reason, it falls within the objective moral realm. There is no escaping it, because life is always the necessary state for any choice; for any action. You can only choose to be in a state of death, and choices are either rational (moral), or they are not rational (immoral).
  15. This. The idea that the culture is "oversexualized" is a bit off, in my view. Our society (along with all societies that I know if in history) has viewed sex in an unhealthy, guilt-laden way because of mystical moral views. Many in that kind of society are so hypocritically self-righteous about sex and sexuality that they end up attacking people who don't share their Elizabethan qualms. The real victims are the people who don't have a healthy moral view about sex -- they end up doing heaps of damage to their psyche.
  16. I think you might be stuck on thinking of morality from a mystical standpoint. That's not how O'ism views "morality." There is no mystical component to "morality." What O'ism says is that if you want to achieve X, you must do what is necessary for X. If Y is necessary for X, then you must do Y in order to achieve X. For an examlpe: Let's say X is, "eating an apple from that apple tree over there." Let's say that Y is, "what is necessary to accomplish X." If X is your value (something you want to achieve), then you must do Y. In a sense, then, if X is your value, the Y is your "morality." Nothing mystical is implied. If X is your value, then a "morality" is that which is "good" in relation to that value. Now, you might say "well, all that is subjective, because maybe not everyone wants to eat that apple from that apple tree." You're right, in that limited example of the apple tree. But you're wrong about subjectivity with regard to what we could call the ultimate value of life. Don't forget that Rand said: It's important to see the difference, then, between mystical morality (where moral values are set by some mystical force or god, by the whim of that god or mystical force), and objectivist morality, where morality is rooted in the reality of the world -- if you want the effect, you must do the things that bring about (or sustain) the effect. Ok, so let's look at that question from before. Doesn't this mean everything is subjective, because everyone might want different effects -- different values? No. Because there's one fundamental thing that is an end in itself (metaphysically speaking) -- Life. If there is an ultimate goal, an ultimate value that a human works to gain or keep, not because of subjective whim but because of objective fact, then every other value that is necessary for that ultimate value is objectively required as well. Life is that ultimate value that every human works to gain or keep. If you didn't have the value of "life," then you wouldn't be human (you'd die or be dead already). So long as you choose to be a living (present continuous) human, you don't have a choice in the matter. It is not up to your subjective desire. Your value is life. If it isn't, you die, and you are not a human, so the question of values for the dead is a non-issue (as is every other question or concept). So, while you are a present continuous living human, while you are seeking life, the values that sustain life and help life to thrive for you are objective values, not subjective. So now, to your question: "How do we get from those facts to objective morality?" It might be clear already. We live in a real world, where A=A. Facts of reality don't change based on subjective whim. They are what they are, separate from anyone's mind or wishes. So, in order to sustain the ultimate value of life, you must recognize facts of reality and bring your life into accordance with reality in order to achieve the ultimate value of life.
  17. Not to speak for him, but I think he means the difference between biological life and living in its fullest sense, where biological life is the beginning point and a necessary attribute, but not the whole idea.
  18. Because there are only two choices. And if one choice is objectively worse than the other, then the other is objectively better. We already know (I think you would agree) that for a person who chooses to continue to live, that life is objectively better than non-life. But your question is, "What about the person who chooses to die?" Let me get at it philosophically this way. What if someone said to you, "Words are meaningless." You could say to them, "But you just use words to say that words are meaningless. You borrowed the presupposition that words do have meaning, in order to contradict that very presupposition. Your position, therefore, is self-referentially incoherent." This is a type of transcendental argumentation. You point out that a person must accept as a presupposition the very concept they are trying to deny. They cannot deny it, without affirming it. Therefore, they can't deny it. Now, having that as a background, let's examine a living, breathing person who thinks to himself, "Death is better than life." But, in order to reason that, to draw that conclusion, he had to affirm life. He had to use life. He couldn't have even chosen death, without using life. He used reason -- badly. But reason is an aspect of human life. He used life, to destroy itself. He used irrationality. I partly agree with you that the choice to live is volitional. It is both instinctive and volitional. The desire for life is instinctive for all animals. It is instinctive for humans. I explained above how we have evolved sense perceptions and a brain that categorizes stimuli as pleasurable or not-pleasurable. But the process of living for humans, the way we continue to live, is volitional, because our means of survival is the use of our reason. But while we can use our conceptual mind to find ways to live, and find better ways to live, so too can we use our conceptual mind (or twist our mind) to find better ways for us to die. But should we? And if we shouldn't, and our current state is life, then it follows that we should not kill ourselves and should continue to live, by the desire of instinct and by the process of volition and rationality. So if you agree with me that one (who is alive) ought not to die, then there is only one other choice, right? It does, if there are only two choices and they are mutually exclusive. Particularly when you consider what I've already said: You are in a state of life now. For all your life, your desire for life has been instinctive. You always chose life instinctively, until the point where you were old enough to conceptualize and think about life and realize that you could, if you chose, end it. Now, let's say you're a teenager, and you realize that you could end it if you chose. Since you are alive in order to be pondering this question, and we know that you, as a living being, should use rationality in your thoughts and actions. What, then, is the rationality of choosing (using life to think about it and choose and act) to end life (end the ability to think, to choose, to act)? One other point here. Rand argued the point rightly that values only have meaning because they can be lost. The value of life has meaning because it can be lost. She wrote: She asks the reader to imagine an indestructible robot, incapable of ceasing to exist. How could it have any values if it has nothing to lose? So, in this way, life as a positive value can only be known and understood in relationship to death. Life is a value for a living organism, because death is possible. So to choose death, is to choose the anti-value. She said that it is only the concept of life that makes the concept of value possible. We both agree that a person who is dead has the same values as a person who was never born -- the same values as nothingness -- the dead have no values. It is for these very reasons that while alive, life is a value, and death is the antithesis of that value. I don't think so. What I said is in line with Rand's own arguments. I think you might be confusing the differences between objectivism and hedonism.
  19. You tell me. What grounds the value of hard work and productivity? Is hard work an end in itself, or a means to an end? What about leisure activities? Do you think that all activities are just as good as any other? Do you think that leisure activities that push the line of life and death are just as good as any other?
  20. Why should proving to the world that you are capable of something that few are doing be the goal as an end in itself? It seems to me, as I've said, that hard work is not the moral end goal, in a vacuum. Hard work is for a purpose, and is virtuous to the degree to which you are working hard to produce for your survival and thriving -- for your life, coherent with objective values. Sports are played for fun or for profit. There is value in both of those, because the one sustains life, the other is an act of enjoyment and celebration of it. You may say Nyad will make a profit, but (1.) is that a rational way to gain name recognition for a profit; (2.) Her stated purpose was not "making a profit." You may say she did it for fun, but when your leisure activity puts you at a greater risk of death and does great damage to your body through wear and tear and sun damage and the like, thus perhaps hastening an early death, then is it a moral thing to do? The point is, as I've argued, hard work is for the purpose of life, including surviving and thriving. But take all purpose away, and put "hard work" in a vacuum, and I don't think it is noble by itself. If someone were to take a sledge hammer and spend 10 years knocking down a decrepit building, giving himself sores and joint aches and problems in the process, just to say he did it, for no other purpose, is that noble? I'd argue it wasn't. Nyad's swim is like the Rube Goldberg of productive work.
  21. Yes, but I was making the point that for someone to ask me that question, or to say anything at all to me, they have already accepted life as a presupposition. In other words, if they had chosen to end their life (or to stop living), they wouldn't be around to ask me anything. But I know that isn't directly answering what you are asking. Which is why I tried to answer it in the other comments I made after that. No it's not. It's a fact based in reality. Living organisms don't like to die. (If they didn't care one way or another, they would have died out by now and wouldn't have reproduced. Again, fact based in reality). So organisms have evolved processes of data input and analysis. If their senses detect stimuli that promote life, then their brain sends signals of pleasure. If they sense stimuli that promote death, their brain sends signals of pain. This is how your body, as a human, functions in the real world. Why, then, would you choose the pain of death? As an infant, before you develop the ability to conceptualize and integrate concepts using rationality, you choose pleasure and life over pain and death in the same way animals do -- instinctively. So why then, when you are able to conceptualize and integrate concepts using rationality, would you then choose pain and death? It could only be due to irrationality and mental disorder (unless you are choosing euthanasia for rational reasons). This is not hedonism. Hedonism is purely subjective. Both hedonism and objectivism are after the goal of pleasure and self-interest, but objectivism uses rationality in a fact-based world to find rational self-interest, based on objective values. Hedonism is purely subjective. It does not utilize rationality and doesn't use objective values. Hedonism is, "if it feels good, do it." Objectivism is, "if it brings me life (not ONLY pleasurable sensory feelings), and is rational and not self-destructive, do it."
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