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Everything posted by exaltron

  1. I can only speak from a Northeast perspective, but in my experience landlords don't usually choose based on offers of upping the monthly rent. I've been a renter for 15 years and I can say having talked to some of my landlords personally, they are much more interested in securing someone who is going to pay the rent on time and not screw up the apartment. If you think about it, this makes sense- the potential of an extra $600/yr vs. the risk of a deadbeat tenant (in the US it can take months to evict a tenant, no matter how atrocious they are) who may be destroying your property while refusing to pay the rent. The other issue with upping the rent is that the price the landlord sets is probably based on much more info than you will have as a newcomer. You have no way of knowing what kind of issues the apartment will have (chronic plumbing problems, heating, AC, leaks through the ceiling etc- I've experienced all these). So you may end up paying much more than the apartment is actually worth in the long run and have no way of renegotiating. On the other hand, offering to pay several months' rent upfront can be very effective. In NYC most landlords and brokers will say you have to have a minimum verifiable income and/or a guarantor to even be in the running. However I've talked to several people who were able to get around this by just plunking down a wad of cash. Again the logic is pretty simple: if you have a wad of cash saved up, you most likely are not totally worthless, as opposed to someone who is chronically broke and is therefore probably less likely to find a job. Hope that helps, although I'm guessing you are probably past the point of needing such advice.. Best of luck to you!!
  2. That was what I thought you meant originally, but I could see why you were misunderstood. I think what you're asking is: Is is a necessary condition for a moral person to always be independent? If that is the question, the answer is no. I think the concept of the "unearned" is too derivative to form a moral principle (contrasted with something like "never ask another man to sacrifice", or "never initiate force against another individual"). Perhaps something like "never demand the unearned" could be applicable, but taking the unearned is something we all do. No one gets everything they need through trade, most notably children, the elderly, the infirm, etc. Morally, they may deserve the support they are provided, but strictly speaking I wouldn't say a child has "earned" the support of his parents. I believe Donahue- or perhaps another Objectivist- asked Ayn Rand about Frank O'Connor and the fact that he didn't work, that she supported him. Her response was that she derived a great value from his existence and his happiness- that was payment enough for her.
  3. I can definitely relate in many ways to what you describe, and I agree with what the posters above said regarding your self-image and pursuing your goals. I would add a few minor points based on what your post suggested to me: 1. You seem to indicate that you have social issues that keep you from pursuing your goals. I wonder if this has to do with [a] Not wanting to be around others because of social anxiety and/or disgust or just the inability to network and "schmooze". I think the first issue is something that you can get past with time. If you focus on what you want and your values more, you will eventually start to care less about what other people think and how they might judge you. As for , this is more challenging. As a musician I find it can be very difficult to operate in an environment where networking can be the difference between success and failure. You have to have the finesse to deal with people who are somewhat irrational (or in the music business, completely so), cultivating a relationship that is not-quite-friendship but also not completely businesslike. This is hard for most people, but I would say for Objectivists and those who have not been brainwashed into a mindset of social metaphysics it can be a major obstacle. 2. You mentioned the desire to create a "passive revenue stream" so that you can pursue your passions and your dreams. I think this might be a bit misguided. I would not spend a ton of time studying and pursuing a discipline you have no real interest in just to make money, but rather spend your time figuring out how to make what you love into a revenue stream. This can be very difficult for those of us who are passionate about something that doesn't have an obvious value to most people (ie, being a doctor, lawyer, investor, etc.), but the fact that you as a rational person value it passionately indicates in my opinion that there is a way to make it profitable. Perhaps you could combine your love of bodybuilding/wrestling and travel into some sort of business. Generally the road to success in this context requires some level of creativity. I know I am constantly looking for new ways to promote the music I do and different ways to make money from it. Also you mentioned that you don't enjoy clubbing or sleeping around, do you find this precludes you from having friends? If that is the case, perhaps you might consider moving to a more populous and/or cosmopolitan city. I can tell you from experience that in most places there are many more ways to interact socially than being hedonistic (though I know there are places where it seems this is all anyone ever does). In the meantime, I definitely recommend surrounding yourself with as much inspirational art and literature as you can find. I'm sure that most of us here have gone through spells where re-reading Atlas Shrugged for the 17th time was all that got us through some period of loneliness or depression. There are also plenty of movies, works of art, music, etc. that can remind you that you are not alone in the world even when everyone around you is worthless (and is trying to convince you that the opposite is true).
  4. It's a bit like with parents and children. If you don't teach your children how to value things rationally, they will still have various wishes and desires--irrational wishes and desires, i.e. whims. If you then go on to "give them everything they want," meaning: you satisfy all their irrational whims, that does not make you a good parent. To be a good parent means, first of all, to teach your children to think rationally, and then to support them in pursuing rational values. You mean like this? That would get my award for Parenting Most Likely to Lead to Childrens' Neurosis. Well said by the way, excellent analogy.
  5. Agreed, this post by Kimberly Wingfield sums up the philosophy of Palin and co. And for comic relief, see my link in the comments to Jon Stewart's brilliant send up of her schizophrenic "defense" of freedom.
  6. PS, Here is the podcast where Peikoff discusses the concept of greed, courtesy of Scott Holleran's blog. May be worth discussing in a separate thread..
  7. This is a trap that I've seen many Objectivists and students of Objectivism fall into: don't conflate the concept with the dictionary definition. The concept is a philosophical categorization based on a rigorous epistemological analysis, i.e., "why does this need a name? Is this set of things distinct enough from other things, yet possessing common traits among the set?", etc. The definition merely reflects common usage, so if everyone decides that "selfishness" doesn't just include interest primarily in one's own life, but "at the expense of others", even if this is conceptually invalid, so be it. I've seen many honest debaters get sucked into arguing on their opponents' terms, simply because they couldn't refute an invalid concept that popular usage had defined.
  8. Interesting, I would have said the same not a year ago. But I listened to a Leonard Peikoff podcast recently where he made a strong case in defense of greed as a valid concept and as a morally positive emotion. Thinking about it, it seems clear that, like "selfishness", greed has been packaged with lack of concern for others, or wanting more than one deserves, or wanting something irrationally. But there is no reason why it must be so. That said, I generally consider myself accomplished if I can convince people that selfishness is a virtue.. Greed may have to wait.
  9. Hmm, not sure old man (I'm assuming you're over the hill if you're calling me sonny ). Seriously, I'm flattered that you think I look younger (of course, you haven't seen my rapidly encroaching bald spot). Peikoff actually put the drop off age for premise-checking between 23 and 27 IIRC. I believe he intimated that people after that age generally lose interest in ideas or they hew to a certain dogma (same thing?). I know from experience on OO not to attribute anything to any well-known Objectivist uncited, so I'll see if I can find that podcast on my iPhone and post a link..
  10. I agree, if people are going to pirate something, let them pirate something that might have a chance of convincing them of how misguided their approach to happiness is. Better they read Atlas Shrugged and see themselves for the moochers they are, than pirate the Queen box set and congratulate themselves on their excellent taste and dedication to great music. I guess I have a slightly better attitude about this recently. A friend of mine who for years has been downloading music unethically/illegally on limewire has finally come around to the error of her ways. I have tried several times to make her understand how destructive her actions were, but apparently it took reading a book called The Cheating Culture (you can read the TOC and the first chapter on the site), to persuade her to stop. I think she is actually going to delete all the content she downloaded that she didn't pay for. Even better, we had a great conversation about morality, integrity, "living one's philosophy" and why people are more concerned with what they can get away with than with making the kind of ethical choices that will actually support a healthy sense of self-esteem (the relationship between altruism and second-handed ethics). Coincidentally I was listening to a Peikoff podcast this week where he indicates he doesn't believe people can change their viewpoints later in life- had to laugh at that..
  11. I've wondered about this too, one of the things that surprises me is that it is very difficult to find ARI-sponsored lectures in any format other than CD or Cassette. Most people these days have long since thrown away their cassette players, and CDs for me are just clutter. To have to pay (a lot) for a CD, wait for it to come in the mail, then rip it and put it on my iPod to listen to is just too much of a hassle for me. I guess I'm like those people that Rand criticized who would be put off going to a public library if there were too many stairs I'm sure ARI is worried about putting up mp3 or DRM-protected versions of their lectures on itunes, because of piracy, but I also think most people who would be that interested in Objectivism wouldn't be sharing their downloads. Maybe I'm just overly optimistic..
  12. Well I can't claim to be un-biased, but I have seen funnier send-ups of Rand. The only thing I chuckled at was the comment about things being so desperate that Americans are actually reading. But Jake_Ellison's observation about his bait-and-switch satire is an excellent one. I find more and more that leftists rely on this type of argument where they want to have their cake and eat it too, especially when it comes to altruism. They will argue that it is in your interest to help the poor, but at the same time suggest that you have no right to assert your interests when it comes to those in need. It seems like the more leftists ascend to power, the more shrill and desperate they are in trying to rationalize their politics. If they had any sense they would just keep quiet and let the guns do the talking, instead of pretending that they are justified in their philosophy.
  13. I was googling this and couldn't find anything, then it occurred to me that this might be a play on "The Grand Illusion" (name of a French film, a Styx album among other things). So if you're looking for the video, it's actually called the "Rand Illusion".
  14. I was thinking of a larger bathroom with several stalls and/or urinals that would be unisex- somewhat of a revolutionary idea in my opinion, as opposed to a one-at-a-time bathroom that could be used by either sex. The former is very common in NYC, for example, most starbucks have only one bathroom. I actually got a chuckle out of the bathroom scene with Diane Lane and the French guy in Unforgiven. She goes into the women's bathroom of a small cafe and he follows her in to umm.. make sure she has toilet paper. In any case, the women's bathroom of this tiny cafe where they do their dirty business is just palatial by NYC standards, several individual stalls and windows. You would never see something like this in a small establishment in New York, this is purely a Hollywood device to make their liaison seem riskier. The only difference I can see between having unisex and segregated bathrooms is perhaps men are more likely to lift the seat and aim properly. I'm amazed at men's room etiquette and how quickly some people's ethics can plummet when no one is watching. My solution: hook a camera up to the toilet seat that would snap a photo of you if miss your target. Justice!!
  15. I think all this really proves is that stability, i.e., knowing what to expect, is generally preferable to a sudden, massive sea change in the way that one goes about getting a vital service. Any sane person who advocates privatizing anything that has been provided by government for many years, would have to advocate the socialized system being phased out gradually. For example as much as I believe in privatizing education, I think that it would have to be phased out gradually to avoid the kind of chaos that one sees in the former Soviet Union. I think the study in the Lancet is probably timed to add critical mass to the socialized medicine movement. I predict it will contribute to sound bites, stripped of context of course.. Great article in Cap Mag by the way, that is a really innovative way of attempting to put a price tag on the "War on Poverty" and begin to estimate just how much wealth, indeed, how much life our government has flushed down the toilet. While money is still worth something, I made a contribution to CapMag so they can provide more essays like this.
  16. Very impressive! I have fantasized about one day buying a classic wooden powerboat like that, but it never occurred to me that it could be a DIY project!! I imagine it would require massive amounts of both patience and quality tools.
  17. You seem to be creating two different prescriptions for these concepts: in the case of "egoist" we should go with the subjective and invalid definition set forth in the original statement. Yet in discussing a principle we should nail down the correct definition of the concept in order to solidify our argument. Rand's admonition to always define our terms is germane in this case. Allowing an adversary to arbitrarily define words like "selfishness" and "power" any way they wish is not the way to create a coherent argument.
  18. I believe technically anything that was recorded from network TV remains the property of the network. There does seem to be a lot of material on YouTube- the Donahue interviews, for example- that would seem to violate the networks' copyrights. Per YouTube's policy, to my understanding, it is up to the copyright owners, especially in the case of older material like this, to request that it be taken down. Most likely they cannot be bothered and/or do not see this as a potential revenue source. Although in the case of the Donahue interviews, they were at one point available on VHS, so having them on YouTube in that case would seriously undermine any potential profit that the owners of this material were/are reaping from it. The solution seems to be: figure out who owns the rights to the footage, who owns the actual footage, how to get them together so that the footage can be sold or released. Not a simple task I know.
  19. Yeah, I have to say I stand corrected in terms of copyright, and as David said, it is not an agreement when you buy a CD or a book. I'm not sure if Fair Use has mucked things up, but it seems when you look at a contemporary book or CD, the label will often have admonitions to deter the user from scanning, distributing, reselling, piracy, etc. I had always assumed that buying a CD or book was similar to an End User Agreement (EUA) that comes with software. It is not, but I think that would make more sense than the current watering down of copyright that is happening with Fair Use. Agreed, but I don't think this is any different from backing up software, in both cases you are making a copy that provides value to you, so in essence you are using up a value surplus that the copyright holder could have profited from. I think trying to make an extra $3 for the right to make personal use copies would be suicide from a business standpoint, even given a market that recognized the moral right of the copyright holder to do so. Anyone who has experienced the frustration of having to constantly reauthorize DRM protected files from itunes understands how off-putting such limitations can be. I've personally gone over to Emusic.com where I download 30 songs a month for $12 and am explicitly allowed to burn CDs, make copies, etc. as long as I am not sharing or distributing the music.
  20. I think we might be taking the term "copyright" too literally. At least when it comes to digital media, copyright refers to the right to make and distribute or sell copies of the work, as far as I understand (I'm not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV). There is no reason for music owners to enjoin anyone from making copies of a CD for personal use, which is why itunes, WM, etc. allow users to both rip and burn copyrighted materials. Where they take issue is when the user makes copies of a work and distributes or sells that work, whether virtually "sharing" or physically handing out copies. Just as David pointed out that he has a right to back up software, so do I have a right to back up my itunes library (in fact they recommend it expressly). I also have the right to burn a mix CD for my own personal use (in itunes, each playlist can be burned up to three times, IIRC). Morally, you are simply bound to adhere to the agreement you sign up for explicitly when you purchase a copyrighted work. If the copyright page in a book says "Don't make any xerox copies, but feel free to hand out handwritten copies of this book", then that is what you are morally obligated to do, because you purchased a work with explicit limitations built into it. Similarly if I want to sell a CD for $1000 dollars and demand that the listener destroy the CD after listening to it five times, that would be a valid contract. Of course it would be idiotically impractical in terms of business savvy and enforcement, but for the sake of argument, the contract you sign up for is the contract you are morally bound to adhere to.
  21. Agreed, although in my experience, being internationally known as a guy who keeps lifelike female dolls around to keep him company doesn't exactly make one a chick magnet. I mean, I'm assuming.. wouldn't know from personal experience or anything.. *whistling and walking away nonchalantly*
  22. Definitely second the naps recommendation: Also, in this thread we discussed meditation, and I mentioned that my busiest semester happened to be my most successful grade-wise, and also around the time I began meditating. I had 18 credits' worth of courses including Calculus, Organic Chem, Advanced Spanish and Music Theory (probably the hardest of all for me), and I got As and Bs in all of them. Of course I don't meditate as regularly nowadays, which is probably why I'm here BSing instead of being productive
  23. Cool, I'll probably make another plug soon, so don't worry if it slips your mind BTW where are you in Maine? I was in the Damariscotta area over the summer. Nice place.
  24. Agree with basically everything musenji said above. The only thing I would add has to do with my personal experience with meditation. I was persuaded by a friend to do a Transcendental Meditation course with a friend, luckily back when it was still pretty reasonable and there was a student discount. The course was full of all kinds of mystical garbage which even before discovering Rand and Objectivism, smelled pretty funky to me. But I think the basic concept of Transcendental Meditation is pretty sound. By focusing on a mantra (basically a single word repeated silently in the mind), you achieve a state of rest that cannot be achieved through other means. In simple terms, when we are awake, we are both conscious of our surroundings and thinking. While asleep we are unconscious of our surroundings, but still thinking. Meditation basically affords consciousness without thought. Actually, one thinks of the mantra, but the idea is that the thought of the mantra holds no possibility of stress or real activity the way waking or dreaming thoughts do. Now, I wouldn't say this logic is bulletproof. One easy challenge to this would be to point out that not all sleep involves dreaming, therefore how can one say that one is "always thinking" as TM seems to assert? Well, I don't have all the answers, but I do find that when I meditated regularly I felt more slightly more focused and more productive. Whether this was in fact the case or whether it was a placebo effect I can't say. Summarizing, I wouldn't recommend taking a TM course, even if it's free. Unless of course it is given by an Objectivist, in which case it might be worth looking into. I think anyone could potentially benefit from the basic concepts of focusing on something that doesn't have any real mental weight, but it doesn't have to be a divinely prescribed mantra (this is one of the big mystical claims of TM, that they "prescribe" a mantra that's specially determined for your personality). You could just as easily make up your own, or focus on breathing as musenji suggested. I tried envisioning waves on a shore and felt the result was basically the same.
  25. Thanks, that means a lot, sincerely. That is actually a song from a CD I completed in '05, a hip-hop album. Since then I've moved my aesthetic focus towards more melodic stuff and I'm working on my singing technique. I think the current stuff is a better projection of my sense of life, but lyrically I think this one makes a better theme song I've been meaning to put something up about the CD, seems to do pretty well as a christmas gift. You can get the CD here or download it on itunes
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