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Everything posted by secondhander

  1. Let me address a couple of points of your post about where I think you've gone wrong. I still don't know the full context, so my comments/advice might change if I knew more. To go out? I know you are referring to the traditional Western model of courtship. But I reject that model, for various reasons. When I ask people to "go out" (whether it's a girl I'm sexually attracted to, or girls or guys I'm not attracted to sexually), it's the same -- I ask them to go do fun things with me. Social things. If it's just me and a girl I find attractive, it might look like a date on the exterior, but in reality I'm not following the traditional "date" model. I am just out doing something fun, and she is tagging along. This is a minor point regarding your post, but important to say on the outset. Why didn't you talk to her for two weeks? Aren't you friends with her? Just because she didn't want to "go out" with you, then you aren't going to talk to her or be friends with her? These questions relate to the point I was implying above: You ought to focus on actually being friends with people. Whether they are romantically or sexually attracted to you or not shouldn't change your friendship, if they are an awesome friend. Sounds like you were trying to have a "date" with someone who isn't actually your friend, and is a bit of a stranger to you. And if you didn't get what you wanted, you weren't interested in pretending to be friends with her. Given what you've said so far, my instinct tells me that she had some issue with her boyfriend, or some other reason (maybe she was just extra horny?) that made her think, "Hey, I know I've got one guy who is down. Since (X) happened (where X could be, my boyfriend cheated on me, or my boyfriend was being a jerk, or whatever), I'm going to go out and show him and sleep with Kart." I don't know, but that's my instinct. If she called you out of the blue. Sounds like fun. Although like I said, I generally like to know something about the people I have sex with, and they have to have certain values before I have sex with them (which required that I know something about them and about their lives).
  2. And? Do you know if she and he have a monogamous relationship or not? Why do you know so little about this girl before you slept with her? Do you have a policy that you only have sex with people who don't have any other kind of sexual/romantic relationship? Did you bother to inform her of this before having sex? I'm not trying to criticize you (yet ). Take my questions as they are; I'm trying to figure out the larger context of this.
  3. Because hard work is not an end, it is a means to an end. Hard work is praiseworthy when it's for something praiseworthy -- hard work to produce something, to survive and thrive. But it seems to me that people in our subjective culture now think that hard work is praiseworthy in a vacuum. It's not. Hard work is not praiseworthy if it's not accomplishing anything objectively valuable. In Nyad's case, she is swimming a long distance, but why? In the process, she has contributed significant wear and tear to her body, and even may have put her life at greater risk. All that is fine, if it's for a greater value. But what was her value? It so happened that she accomplished the swim and has made a name for herself, which she can now turn into publicity and use her name recognition to advertise for products and make a living. But is that really the best way to go about trying create name recognition to produce the value of advertising capital? And it's clear that that wasn't her chief aim anyway, so her reason for doing the swim is even less admirable. It seems that she was just pushing her body, just to push it, for no actual benefit for herself -- with no production of value in mind. Her swim is an achievement -- but why? She achieved swimming from Cuba to the Keys. But for what purpose? In our culture, I bet they would praise someone trying to swim from California to China, and when he dies trying, they will praise him even more for the sacrifice and the hard work. Lunacy.
  4. Because you are alive now. That was my point. And life is better than non-life for a living entity. And, anyone who asks me "why continue to live?" has already chosen to continue to live. If they haven't, then they wouldn't be asking me that question. Ultimately, if someone "chooses" to die, then this isn't even a question to consider. The objective values we speak of are "to" something and "for" something. They are "to" a human, "for" the purpose of being a living human. They are fact-based, reality-based values. If you kill yourself, then the question of values becomes null and void. But why should you not kill yourself? Because it's not rational to kill yourself, when you are currently alive. Why should you keep yourself alive? Because it's painful to die, and there is no benefit in death (in most cases).
  5. Mountain out of a molehill. The points that "subjectivism, amoralism and anarchism are not merely present in certain 'wings' of the Libertarian movement; they are integral to it," have been made, and they stand. This is why libertarianism is not the same as objectivism, and this is why libertarianism is "evil" in t he sense of being irrational and destructive (even though it shares political concepts with objectivism). However, objectivists live in the world, and to get our ideas out to people, to help them to see the light, as it were, we sometimes have to speak at events hosted by people who disagree with us, or whom we disagree with. I don't see this as a big deal.
  6. I've often thought that a philosophy of humor is tied to the contradiction of reason. I've been meaning to get around to more thought about that, so this conversation is interesting to me. I wonder: Is all humor tied to a negation of reality in some way, or a contradiction of propositions, as you say? Anyway: What time do you go to the dentist? Tooth-hurty. (not original)
  7. As Leonid said, you didn't choose to live. You are alive. You can choose to kill yourself, but is that rational? Dying is painful, and there is no gain to it, (unless you are already in extreme pain and there is no cure, or you are already on the verge of death, or some such reason as that). For someone to choose to kill himself is the height of contradiction. You couldn't choose to die, unless you were alive. Ultimately, it is a sign of a mental disorder, and therefore irrational and is the wrong choice to make. Once one kills himself, then of course there are no values or morals to conside. But the choice was wrong, objectively.
  8. Praiseworthy? Or self-destructive?
  9. Probably about as much as I'm addicted to ritalin. I'm not. But since I do have ADD, it's a medicine that helps me to focus and helps me to get my work done. As far as I'm concerned, even for a person without ADD, if they find that a drug such as ritalin or adderall, or something in the future, gives them a mental boost, and if there is little to no negative side effects, I don't see what would be wrong with using it. There is no evidence or reason to believe she was addicted to them, or that she abused them, so chalk this one up to another personal pot-shot taken by haters of Ayn Rand.
  10. I'll try to comment longer later on, Euiol, and I hope you forgive the short statement here. But I think you're off, and you have essentially attributed to Rand and Objectivism a sort of pragmatic ethics, which she absolutely rejected. Second, I think your argument has, in parts, taken the focus off of the individual (a real thing) and put it on the collective society (an abstraction). That leaves you to accept the false view that you can achieve the highest value for all particular individuals ... by denying the highest value for some individuals -- but somehow that is better for the abstraction of "all" people generally. And ultimately you are applying a stolen concept -- trying to grasp the notion of what is the highest value for "all" people, but by veering away from what grounds values in terms of being "good" or "bad." And in the final analysis, you are being "bad" to some people, in order to be "good" for most other people. But I put that "good" in quotes, because in reality, it's not good when produced goods are stolen from some to be given to others. So the claim is that survival is provided to more individuals, but don't steal the concept of moral value -- "survival" isn't a positive value in a vacuum, without context. Prisoners "survive," behind bars. If you (hypothetically) give remedial education to 1 percent of the population, it is not only they who are being denied the ability to freely use their mind (or freely not use it). It is also the 99 percent who are forced to pay for that remedial education who are in prison, too, and lose their right to use their minds (and the freedom to fully possess the what they have produced). We haven't even mentioned the fact that this causes a situation where a person who didn't get a hand up, but who worked to gain a job or produce a good to trade, is now having to compete with someone who was lazy, but received free training (and room and board for a while) and now may have an immoral advantage against the rest of everyone. Essentially, failures and lazy people fit into capitalism just fine. No one needs to be a failure or to be lazy. Everyone could produce and do well and survive and thrive if they wanted. But the fact that some don't, in no way harms those who do. What DOES harm those who do produce, is stealing what they have produced. And that is what is being advocated in this thought experiment, supposedly for the benefit of an abstracted sum of all. And even if some sort of remedial education could be shown to help someone survive from starvation and contribute more to society in terms of production, I argued earlier and still hold that this "remedial education" would still be far, far worse, practically speaking, than letting reality be the educator for them. Let them starve, lest they produce. Not only will they be given the best education, it's also free, and no producer's wealth need be stolen in order to provide it.
  11. I'll start with a recent one of mine (though perhaps this thread won't be the hit that I'd hoped it would be ) I have begun keeping a daily ledger of my personal spending. I have columns for the date, description of spending, amount, category of spending (to help me tally it up for my monthly budget), and moral value of the spending. In the value column, I started to label each item with either an "S" (for "survival spending"), a "T" (for "thriving spending"), a "T[up carrot]" (for thriving spending that I value to be a positive thing for my life), or a "T[down carrot]" (for surviving spending that I judged to be a negative thing for my life, like eating out when there isn't a good occasion for it). Then I realized that it was a contradiction to refer to morally negative spending as "thriving" spending. So now I mark that kind of spending with a "D," for "destructive spending." This little habit is beginning to help me see areas of spending that are negative and that don't utilize my rational mind well, and I get nearly immediate feedback (because I try to enter the spending into my ledger as soon as I can). The practice has helped me to reduce (and, I hope, to eventually eliminate) "D" spending, and to focus more on "S" and "T" spending. So, any other bits of practical wisdom for living that you all can share? My other hope for this thread is to glean some new ideas.
  12. I realized you were not advocating the scenario you presented. I've read enough of your posts to know that you were merely putting it forward as a thought experiment. (At least, I realized it eventually. If I have some language still stuck in my reply that seems as though I didn't, I apologize. By the time I finished my post, and re-read yours, I knew what you were trying to get at.) But I am trying to make the point that you are using the concept "prosperity" (hypothetically, even) as though prosperity is a good thing. But I am asking the question, "good by what standard?" I am trying to show that people who would advocate prosperity in this way are using a stolen concept. That it would not be a better economy, or a better society, because they first have to demonstrate how they can uphold the concept of "good" to begin with, as an objective value. I also think that there is maybe even a better argument to be made that it would be impossible for a society that uses any level of force to be economically more prosperous (even with a stolen concept of the positive value of the term) than a society that is completely a free market. I think my point that the best rehabilitation will come when non-producers are faced with starvation and death if they don't produce something. In your hypothetical rehabilitation schools, are you going to feed and clothe them? If so, you might actually spur less productivity, because more people would be see the rehabilitation school as a free lunch. Ultimately, however, we agree. If there is an argument that more prosperity (again, using a stolen concept) can be had by something less than a free market, it is still the moral argument, not a pragmatic argument, that is and needs to be at the forefront.
  13. And if they still don't produce, what will you do then? Imprison them, thus giving them shelter and food? If so, paid for by whom and how? Kill them? The best rehabilitation for them is reality -- the reality that they aren't getting any handouts forced from the hands of other people; the reality that they will starve and die if they don't produce something. If they still don't produce anything of value, then it doesn't negatively affect the producers and traders in any way economically. Traders will still have the largest possible number of other traders with which to do business with. I posit that using force to compel some segment of the population to work will only do harm to the economy and to the society at large. Don't neglect one of the main points of the first part of my post, which is that you are using terms like "prosperity" that presuppose an objective moral value. How can you utilize an immoral method to produce a moral result in an individual's life? How can you treat some portion of the population immorally and another portion morally, and then think that when you consider all of the individuals together in an abstract concept called "society" that you have produced the most morality for the whole society? Objectivism, and the free market, treats all individuals with morality in view. So it should be obvious that a system that treats all individuals morally produces a more moral society than a system that treats only a portion of individuals morally. And here, again, is where I think your thinking has gone wrong. You seem to think that "prosperity" is morally good in a vacuum (with no objective ethic in reference). Prosperity for an individual is not the obligation of another individual -- whether you are forcing Person A to spend money to provide for the survivability of Person B, or whether you are forcing Person B to work and produce against his will for the greater survivability of Person A. You cannot get a moral good from a moral evil, not in the real world. Let reality be the corrective measure for non-producers. Trust me, if a non-producer is faced with the choice of "either produce or starve and die," they will produce something. Maybe just the bare minimum to survive, but it will be something. What more than the threat of death do you think you could do to "coerce" a person to finally produce? The threat of death is the most coercive measure to get someone to produce, and you don't even have to use that measure yourself. Reality will do it for you.
  14. You are asking about "better" results for the aggregate. But note two points. 1. The terms "better or worse" or "universal positive or negative" or "greater or inferior" presuppose a value system. But it is objectivism that demonstrates philosophically how values are grounded. 2. As it has been pointed out, there is no such thing in reality as a "society." It is an abstraction that helps us conceptualize individual people working and living together. An individual exists in reality, not a society as such. These points taken together show that if you allow for an economic system that provides the objectively best values to individuals, then the debate is over -- you have, by default, provided the best system for the abstracted "society" by providing that for the real, existing individuals. What you seem to be asking (or hung up on) is the idea that if Person A has a lot of money and wealth and a great means of providing for his needs, then that by itself is "good." But what if Person A got that money by stealing and killing from others? Could you say in that case that it is good for Person A to have money to provide for his needs? Not based on objective moral value. It's bad. So if you could show that the "aggregate" of people could provide for their needs, but they had to do objectively immoral things to do so, then no, it is not a "good" thing. Another way to put this issue is this way: 1. The best way for me to survive is to give me the freedom to do the things I need to do to survive, including gathering materials for food, shelter, warmth, protection, comfort, etc. 2. A natural corollary to Point 1 is that I must be given the freedom to trade with others so that I can gain the things I need and want for survival and thriving. 3. Any system that restricts my ability to gather and/or trade for materials for my own survival and thriving is objectively bad for me. 4. Any system that restricts others from their ability to gather and/or trade for materials is also objectively bad for me, because it limits the people I can trade with and the resources I can trade for. 5. Therefore, the free market economic system is by default the best economic system for the "aggregate" participating in it. Any other system, by definition, limits trading ability, and therefore limits individuals' ability to survive and thrive.
  15. What are some practical ways that you put objectivist philosophy to use for living on earth? New ways to look at things compared to how you viewed life before? Tips or concepts or nuggets of wisdom that you mentally refer back to to help you in everyday living or goal planning?
  16. I went ahead and read the rest of it. I'm not sure what you mean by ASP's and Hi-Fi's. But that aside, it seems as though you think that because the majority of people in a society aren't ready to accept what is true and moral, that truth and morality should be abandoned. No thanks. Also, you say: Where did you read that? I don't think O'ists assume anything like that. No one is able to predict the future.
  17. A central problem with our society is that people rely on mystical ideas and mystical moral values. However, in a moral society religious people would be free to practice any religion they would like, or do any other self-destructive thing they would like to do, as long as they did not use force on other people. Since your central premise is flawed, it saved me from having to read your entire article.
  18. I thought it would be nice to get some input on potential writing projects and see what some of you would be most likely to read if you were to encounter the below ideas. Or, feel free to suggest a different idea for me to consider. Project ideas: A nonfiction book on religion and mysticism, and why the Objectivist view of atheism is correct. In a former life, I was a Christian and a graduate from a Baptist seminary. I have a master's degree in divinity, with a specialization in Christian thought and emphasis on Christian apologetics. Nowadays, I have little interest in thinking about religious or mystical notions. But with my background I'm thinking it might be a good idea to do this project. A novel. Not much to say here except that I have a thousand-and-one story ideas I could choose from and get to work on. If I don't write a novel now, I'll write one (or a few) later in life. It might be a fun challenge one day to take an idea from someone in this forum and build the story around it. A nonfiction book on grammar and the craft of writing. I'm a journalist and have worked as a copy editor for various newspapers for several years. This project would focus on clean, precise prose from a copy-editor's perspective and give clear explanations for using proper grammar. A guidebook on how to have the sex life you desire, with fulfilling friendships and romantic relationships. I don't know if I'd name it exactly that way. It would probably be self-published as an ebook; I think that's the best way to market it and to reach the intended audience. My view on sexual relationships is one of the rare areas where I may differ with Rand to some degree (though I find no difference of opinion in The Virtue of Selfishness). A core aspect of the book would incorporate her admonition to pursue people with high values, whether in sex, friendships or romance. An ebook on a defense of Ayn Rand and Objectivism against the most common attacks from naysayers. I'd aim for brevity and clarity so that the book could be educational to people new to Objectivism and serve as a refresher or pocket guide to Objectivists who might ask, "What, again, is the best, concise response to this attack?"
  19. I'm just far more interested in the content of the message than the decoration of the book that the message is contained in. And if you use ornate designs and materials on the physical book and make it look like a bible, then I think the focus is off and veers (in maybe a slight way) toward a sort of mystical reverence of the medium rather than a rational appreciation of the message. Also, not that I really care that much, but it will give the Ayn Rand haters ammo for their personal attack about objectivism being a "secular religious" cult.
  20. It'd be sort of impossible to murder someone if there were no social context. lol. Murder requires a social context to be in existence.
  21. I'd think yes, largely for the reason in your last sentence. Why don't you just post your real resume, and not take a job if it doesn't suit your needs. As long as there is a possibility that, should the right offer come, along you'd consider taking a job, then I don't see anything wrong with sending a resume knowing that you'd say no to a lot of offers.
  22. She did use use the phrase "rational self-interest." Note, it's in the introduction. She was very clear on what she meant by her terminology, on the first pages of TVoS. I don't think anyone could rightfully argue that she wasn't crystal clear. She also used the term "altruism" in the way that the philosopher Comte used the term. Comte is the person who coined the term. So, she is using the term exactly as it was meant. It's not really her fault that other people since have used the term in a much more loose way.
  23. That's not a sacrifice if you value good health more than eating lots of salt. Think of it like this in an extreme case to illustrate the point: Let's say that your doctor says that eating any food that is red will kill you, starting tomorrow. And let's say that somehow this is true. But you have always loved lots of red food. You'd like to be able to keep eating red foods, but now you know that they will kill you if you do. So you have a choice: Eat red food, in all its tastiness, and die. Or "sacrifice" by giving up red foods, and live. Is that really a sacrifice? Not really. You are trading red food, but gaining life. Red food might have had some value to you for its tastiness in the past, but now its value must be weighed together with all that it brings you, and now it also brings you death. So you are not sacrificing in actuality. You are trading a lesser value for a higher value. Note, they might both have value, but one has lesser value, and the other has higher value, and you can't have both at the same time. That's key.
  24. Whichever way is the correct way to parse it, I think the takeaway is that inaction is not neutral for a human (it is for a plant). The way I apply it to my life is to remind myself that there is no such thing as a morally neutral moment of time spent or decision made.
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