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R Wray

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  1. A search of the 1500-page manifesto of the Norwegian terrorist finds a few mentions of Ayn Rand and one quote of hers. I'm waiting for the Leftists to attempt to make something of this.
  2. One of Dr. Peikoff's old radio shows (1/21/99) dealt extensively with circumcision. He used the phrase "vicious butchery" and that a case could be made that routine circumcision is a criminal offense.
  3. I too had a post deleted on this forum and was put in a special category of "moderator review". This forum has an anti-Peikoff tone. Why? I refused the request of a hostile critic (poster) to condense Peikoff's 22-1/2 hour DIM lecture for him when he admitted than he didn't want to spend hours of his life to listen to it. For this, the moderator essentially (although in a subtle way) accused me of being a religious-type cheerleader for Dr. Peikoff and implied that I was unable to understand the DIM lecture. Dr. Peikoff's often-quoted statement was made in the context of his DIM lectures. Most of the common objections to it are addressed in the lecture. Yet many are quick to condemn Dr. Peikoff without any attempt to consider this context.
  4. The first lecture of Leonard Peikoff’s taped course, “The Art of Thinking”, is a good reference for this discussion. (The 15-tape course is available from the ARI bookstore. But it is pricey, I believe over $200.) Lecture 1, Volition as a Means to Clarity, is described as, “The problem of clashing contexts; why some students are unable to fully accept what they know to be the truth. The perpetual ‘clarity-seeker.’ Why the only solution in such cases is will (not more arguments or questions).” Dr. Peikoff says that this is an extension of his book, OPAR. My interpretation is that in cases of clashing contexts, such as Objectivism vs. religion, and even if one is (intellectually) certain that Objectivism is right, there can still be a painful transition period where neither context is convincing. One has to get through this before Objectivism can be automatized as an actual guide for thought processes in daily life. The only way to get through this period is by will. The old context must be deliberately suppressed, and this can take more than a year. (Dr. Peikoff emphasized several times that one must be intellectually certain that the new context is correct before using this process.) Several examples were given: 10-fingered method of typing vs. the 2-fingered method. You know that the 10-fingered method is more efficient, but if you are used to the 2-fingered method, you will have a tough transition. The question, where did the universe come from? He said many students have trouble with this, and they must suppress their old way of thinking. Another is that the universe is finite, but what’s outside of it? He said that he discussed this several times with Ayn Rand, and it took him a long time to change his way of thinking about what would happen if you went along a straight line until you hit the edge. Another is that we know that the primary choice of free will is to focus or not. He says students continue to ask why one person chooses to focus and another doesn’t. (“Primary” means it can’t be broken down further.) I hope this gives you the idea of the lecture, but there’s no good substitute for hearing a Peikoff lecture.
  5. Since gold might be considered Objectivist money, some (especially older) Objectivists undoubtedly consider buying gold in an attempt to preserve the purchasing power of some of their paper money savings. I ran across a new method to buy gold. It’s a gold exchange traded fund listed on the New York Stock Exchange as “GLD”. Each share represents 1/10 oz. of gold stored in a London vault. The fund is about two-months old and hasn’t been advertised much because of SEC rules. This method of “investing” in gold provides convenient purchase and liquidity. Considering inflation, deficit spending, and the decline of the dollar, gold looks to be a good hedge. The price of gold, however, is determined to a large extent by short-term technical factors. In December gold reached a peak that was the same as it was 16 years ago. Unless one has had exquisite timing, gold has been a lousy investment over recent times. Nevertheless, gold seems to deserve consideration for a portion of one’s savings for the long term. (I am not an investment advisor and have no special knowledge in this area.) I haven’t bought any GLD shares yet because the short-term price seems headed downward, but I am going to be watching the price as national and world events unfold.
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