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Capitalist Chris

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Everything posted by Capitalist Chris

  1. Thanks for sharing some of those quotes. I'll continue to pick away at it - not as the main book I'm reading, but something to pick up when I need a change of subject. I figure, at least, I can learn more about the transcendentalist thought, arguments and just general banter people may use in casual conversation.
  2. I think this is the category I probably would fall into. About 8-10 years ago, I had a bad habit of picking up books for my Kindle and never actually read them. This year I've been able to get into a good little routine of reading and I've been picking away at some of these books I've picked up - at what was a different time in my life. There was another book I read that I finished, which had a tone (or idea) running through it that ruined it for me. At least with Walden, I did do some Googling after reading the first bit and was able to look into transcendentalism. I assume it's that idea that permeates through the book that isn't rubbing me too well. In the past I wouldn't have an issue with the tone of the book, but I'm different from that time. My inclination is to just dump the book completely and move onto something more interesting - though maybe I should give another chapter a go - just to be sure. But that quote you posted is what I expect to find throughout the book. I do recall reading these lines, so that's early on in the book.
  3. I've started into this book and not very far into it. From what little I have read, there's definitely a tone to it that I don't enjoy. I suppose it's probably the idea behind the book itself. Consumption bad, less is more, traditional lifestyle better than more modern. I just wanted to get an idea of what I'm getting into. I realize if it's not really working for me, I should just find another book. Sometimes it just takes me time to get into a book and if I ditched every book after a chapter or two, I'd probably finish very few books. Is there some good found in this book or will it be this drudge of what I've read so far?
  4. Thanks for the recommendations StrictlyLogical and Repairman. It has been recommended to me a few times now to go through Peikoff's History of Philosophy. I've heard nothing, but good things. Repairman, that books sounds like a really good one for me. A good overview of all that is out there. I don't need (or expect) to be an expert in everything, but I think it's valuable for me to have a decent understanding of what is out there. I also hear you with regards to physical books, especially when I was moving (they're heavy), it's one of the reasons I purchased a Kindle. I'll add the book to my on going list. 'For the New Intellectual' and 'The Voice of Reason' are both on the list still. Plus I want to go through Peikoff's OPAR. This is the problem with only 24 hours in a day, I can't consume them all. Thanks again.
  5. I've read a lot of Rand's work, that I've enjoyed, though I have some more books of hers to get through. The more I read, the more interested I've become in philosophy and have started to consume it independently on my own. I checked out some syllabuses at some University to see what the intro epistemology courses use as a text and I picked up a copy. I'm currently working my way through "Epistemology: A Contemporary Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge" by Audi. This book in general doesn't really talk about the philosophers behind the ideas. Instead of saying Hume said this... or Kant said this... I'm left with the labels of the views like 'naive realism', 'sense datum theory', etc. It's all very interesting. The author has name dropped a little bit, especially when I made it the chapter on Reason. Kant in particular, who I know Rand viewed as somewhat as her anti. I don't know much about Kant, other than his duty based ethics. When most philosophy degrees are pumping out pretty much the same types of people, I'm concerned with falling into pitfalls and issues. I want to learn. I do think I'm doing myself a disservice if I don't get a perspective of ideas. Thoughts?
  6. I was recently listening to a Freakonomics podcast called The Upside of Quitting. It's about an hour long, but if you're interested in listening you can garner the point in the first 10-20 minutes. Summing up the point, they look at quitting from the economic concept of "sunk cost". Essentially people invest money, time or whatever into something (a goal, a job, a project, etc), that can't be recovered and find themselves unable to quit something because of this - even when they probably should. I totally get it and it makes sense to me. I can think of several examples off the top of my head. For example, investing in a stock that goes down. Even when there is very little upside on that stock it can be hard to sell it because selling it solidifies the loss and you think you'll stick it out and eventually get your money back. Or another example would be going to university, putting a few years into a degree and then realizing this isn't what you wanted or it's not fulfilling you. It can be tough to just quit. While listening to this and agreeing with what is being said, I found this nagging voice in my head with regards to my own experience. Everything great I've achieved in my life came at the cost of a struggle and perseverance. I had to work hard and it wasn't easy. I never felt purely committed to these goals all the time. I've had times where I wasn't happy and I thought of quitting. For example, I'm an electrical engineer, but there was a time when I was in school that I thought of ditching it. I didn't like it, but I did stick with it and eventually I did like it. Speaking today, I'm glad I didn't quit. I'm just curious what people think of what this podcast is advocating. They didn't have much information to say on how to know when to quit or when to keep going. Quit unachievable goals makes sense, but determining unachievable is tough.
  7. Sorry for the late reply. I totally spaced on it. Thanks for the link Reidy. I hear what you're saying happiness. It's a fear of mine that there's dominant narrative that is off base in philosophy departments. At least in Canada, I've yet to meet anyone who majored in philosophy that isn't far left politically. But I've also noticed this from people who went to university and didn't take hard science (aside from economics) - they all come out very left wing. I realize this is just an observation and I could be really off base. At least with regards to philosophy, I don't know if my observation is based off of what they're taught versus the culture of society. When it comes to my own personal (limited) study of philosophy, I've been finding it very interesting and valuable to me. I know I'm thinking clearer about things in my life. I'm unsure whether a formal approach (school classes) will help with that or my own independent study (reading books, doing MIT Opencourseware courses as best I can, etc).
  8. Well, I live in Calgary, Alberta. The continued education courses that run in the evenings are more geared toward career development; such as MBA, programming, etc. Philosophy isn't popular enough to deviate from the middle of a work day class.
  9. Hi everyone, I'm writing to get some advice or perspective on going back to school to learn philosophy, part time. In the past, I focused learning and reading with topics that were mainly political. It was a long journey and I eventually found Objectivism. I'm no expert, but it helped turn me onto philosophy and I've really enjoyed the process - especially over the last year and a half - as I've really spent more time reading. I've had the time to digest some of Rand's non-fiction, but I've also was able to read other aspects of philosophy (like checking out the reading at MIT open courseware for various courses). It's interesting. I find that my thinking is becoming much sharper. I feel like when I do have a position, that I have a far better argument for it with much better reasoning. Anyway, I'm an electrical engineer and already work in an industry I enjoy. Now philosophy isn't exactly an after-work type of 'career development' course you find at schools. I do happen to have the flexibility to attend a class or two a semester, without issue with work. The cost for a class or two isn't a big deal either. I've asked various groups on the subject whether they think this would be a good move. I've asked a forum on philosophy and well, they were very pro the idea (surprise surprise). I also asked a personal finance forum I talk on, and well, it's the worst idea ever - philosophy is useless and paying for such things is ridiculous. Plus I asked people in my life, which (I assume with reluctant support) suggested that maybe I should just read some books. My reasons for going to school is a class provides deadlines, discussions, perspectives and, in a way, forces me to read/work/write/explain/debate when I probably never would. I know there are certain works I probably wouldn't invest the time in, and even if I did, it could never be in depth like a course would push me into. The reason I wanted to ask OOF is that most people here aren't necessarily philosophical scholars, but there is a respect for philosophy that most people in society don't seem to have. I realize that no one can answer this question for me, but I'm more looking for thoughts on the idea. Thanks in advance.
  10. I guess what I'm getting at with balancing act is the way people compare two cultures (also applies to countries). Take Israel and Palestine. Israel is a western democracy, a mixed economy, rule of law, rights, etc. Palestine is not any of these things. It's run by terrorists in the Strip. It executes people for being homosexuals. It's uncivilized. The balancing act is the put down of Israel and the elevation of Palestine. Often you'll hear Israel described as Nazis. That Israel is practicing ethnic cleansing. That Israel has an apartheid state. And at the same time Palestinians are viewed as defending their land from invaders. Trying to get free from the clutches of Israeli occupation. What is happening is that Israel is being put down, it's being said that Israel isn't so great. And Palestine isn't so bad. They're essentially balanced the two out. The ironic part is that Israel is labeled with what Palestinians are actually doing. And you can see this balancing act happen in a variety of situations. US vs Iran, Rich Person vs Poor Person, Christian vs Muslim. Here's a video with Evan Sayet. I don't agree with everything he says, but he brings up the point early on in the video (so you don't have to watch most of it). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaE98w1KZ-c
  11. Thanks for the comments everyone. Finding that magic word that encompasses all of what I'm looking for appears to be non-existent. Though I do agree multiculturalism is very close, but the problem with it is that most people already have a view of it. Normative moral relativism doesn't seem to catch the balancing act. I agree with what you're saying DiscoveryJoy. You've hit exactly on what I'm trying to identify. I heard Evan Sayet talk about it in a speech titled "How Modern Liberals Think" or something along those lines. I don't agree with everything the guy says, but he's the first person I've really heard talk about it. It's just hard to have discussions when you see it happen because a whole new discussion needs to be had. I was hoping there was a word to explain it. Cultural relativism is an easy way of describing it, but this doesn't explain the balancing act.
  12. I've always associated this type of thinking as moral relativism or cultural relativism, but at least looking at these terms they don't seem to quite fit (though related). So you have someone that is a cultural relativist. They don't view any culture as particularly right or wrong, better or worse, than any other. But when they look at different cultures, they see obvious differences. Some cultures do better than others. Some result in higher standards of living and others are poorer. This also applies to countries. Some countries are wealthier and some are poorer. And this is where the fun happens. There is a balancing act. Since no culture is better than any other, I assume they expect similar outcomes. Since there are obvious differences between cultures, there is some sort of injustice. The culture doing good is brought down and the culture doing bad is often given the benefit of the doubt on its transgressions. An example of this: In the Israel - Palestinian conflict, Israel is often described as committing genocide and the Palestinians are provoked into aggression. Israel is guilty of every evil and the Palestinians are misunderstood, victims that really aren't doing anything harmful. Is there a term that describes this?
  13. Absolutely, but I think we should look into it further. Fraud is being dishonest. What about it is being concealed? Well, it's a copy. No one wants a copy, but why don't we want a copy of money? The answer doesn't lie in the material or scarcity. For the sake of argument, let's assume that it's a perfect copy. The same paper, inks being used. The same processing and plates. It's a perfect copy and the same as the real thing, therefore it is the real thing. Yet, everyone recognizes that this is a tangible loss for cash. If we looked at insulin, we know that the body produces it and they can also make a synthetic version in a lab. As far as I'm aware, synthetic insulin is identical right down to the last molecule. Synthetic insulin is a perfect copy of (real) body produced insulin. Therefore synthetic insulin is real insulin. A diabetic doesn't care whether they get synthetic insulin or get it pumped out of someone else's body. It's real insulin, so who cares? Why does it matter for money? Why don't people say "who cares" when it comes to a perfect copied piece of money? There's something intangible about it. In particular, somewhat of a pegged value to it. Obviously paper money isn't intellectual property, but I think it shares a lot more characteristics with IP compared to tangible property like a spear.
  14. I wanted to throw something into the discussion and maybe more articulated people can explain if I'm off in my thinking. The discussion seems to be growing into two sides: scarcity vs thoughts + action make property. I see the same point brought up from the scarcity side about copying not depriving someone of what they have. Ie: If I make a spear and you make a copy, well I still have a spear. But what about the concept of money? A 20 dollar bill is sort of like intellectual property. It's just a piece of paper, but it's what it represents and brings to the table. I realize that money today is really just backed by the good graces of government, but humor me for a minute. A 20 dollar bill is a piece of paper with ink of it. It's probably worth a fraction of a cent in tangible (scarce) material. Just as a music artist puts their music on a tangible (scarce) CD worth probably a fraction of a cent. It's the scarce material that is really just the medium in which to transfer or trade intellectual property. This is why people end up buying a musicians album CD rather than a blank CD. The value is not the CD. I can make copies of 20 dollar bills. The making of these copies doesn't deprive you of the 20 dollar bills in your wallet, or bank account or your employers bank account. But I think we can all agree that this action does take something from people that hold cash.
  15. Thanks for the replies. I guess the keyword was thinking about what you're doing versus just doing what you feel. I haven't come across predatory egoist in my readings of Rand, I'll just keep on reading. Hopefully I run into her discussion on it.
  16. I'm looking for thoughts on this. I know that Objectivists don't condone this type of behavior. Through some other topics I posted, I stopped focusing on politics and I've been really paying attention to more of the cultural and philosophical workings of people. And there's one thing that I keep seeing; this evasion of responsibility for their own benefit. For example, when you purchase something rarely do you just get the product you want. There's usually some sort of waste that comes along with it. If you pick up some fast food you end up with a paper bag, food wrappers, a cup, etc. At least once a week, on the lawn you find some sort of fast food bag, empty bag of chips or whatever material (it just blows around). Some people just throw it out. Why? Because it's easy and relieves them of responsibility. The way I always looked at it is that it is your waste, your responsibly for disposing of it in a trash or chuck it in your backyard (I don't care). I wish it was as simple as just fast food bags because you could attribute this to a few morons and teenagers, but it goes well beyond that. Sticking with the trash topic, home owners don't care either. The act of taking out trash to the street corner is enough to remove responsibility. If an animal rips open the bag at night and trash is scattered over the street, there is no sense of responsibility for it. The very next week, the same thing. And I see this trend over and over again. Stopping in the left lane of traffic, blocking traffic, waiting for an opening to take a right. Walking on a side walk and people walking through you. Parking in grocery store fire lanes (no parking). I always come to the same view on these people "Whatever, as long as it benefits me, it's good." I'm looking for a little help on distinguishing rational self interest with the above.
  17. Thanks for the replies. Repairman, I hear you with taking on projects at home. I'm often surprised with what I can accomplish, if I just set out to do it. I thought a part time job would be helpful for a number of reasons. Some weekends I get a restless feeling. I assume it's that my work is very intense, poof, it's the weekend and I'm at 0 intensity. A part time job would allow me to use some of that time to flex a different muscle. It doesn't necessarily have to be salesmanship, but something engaging and social. Plus at the end of the month I can have a few extra bucks to invest, have a nice dinner or whatever. JASKN, I understand what you're saying. I also don't expect to get a mentor or a teacher of salesmanship. Nor would a job be my only means to work on these goals. But I know job puts me in positions I wouldn't normally end up in, which can allow me to work on how I react to situations, how I work, how I work with a team, etc. I'm not saying a part time job is going to necessarily help (I don't know), but I think being in more social situations creates that. If it inevitably turns into me trading my time down, I can just quit.
  18. I'm interested in hearing other's replies. At least the way I look at it, there doesn't have to be a solid foundation (philosophically) to reject the notion of God. Nor does the non-belief in something set you up for smart beliefs. I rejected the notion of God, long before I had any sort of good philosophical base.
  19. I'm curious whether there are people out there that have picked up part time work (in addition to a full time job) in order to gain/improve on a skill. Lately, I've been thinking about picking up some part time work on the evenings or weekends to help work on my social/selling skills. I work full time as an engineer. Just curious whether others have done it, purely for improving/gaining skillsets, and what they thought of the experience.
  20. I want to thank everyone again for the advice and JASKN for summing it up so well. It's been a month since I've had a little fast from politics and I can say it has been great. I focused on things that were more important to me. It made me think more about my life and how it hasn't really gained from my actions. It really hasn't been helping my life, mostly distracting from meaningful productiveness. When I really look at the way I am, I think I was really seeking too much validation from others. Looking for their approval, looking to win them over and hoping to garner some value from that. It seems so much more shallow now. I also think reading "Virtue of Selfishness" helped too in particular to trading and whether I was trading down my time. As much as politics seems to be going in the wrong direction and that annoys me, life needs to be lived. Does Ayn Rand have another book on living ones life that isn't political? I was thinking of giving The Fountainhead another read.
  21. I have searched on Meetup things. I haven't seen anything of any political interests, but definitely other things that look more fun.
  22. I think you're bring up a really good point and that may explain where my discontent is coming from. Maybe it's not 'libertarians' or society, but this unfulfilling duty to do 'something' about it. The only 'good' that I feel I get from it are those rare victories, but I often feel more frustration and in a lot of cases my mind gets occupied by it. I may have just developed this routine of being political, that's more of a duty, than really what I want for myself and my life. Aside from acting for my health, I've found that other areas of my life have become neglected and mundane. Where I'm not acting with the ambition I had at other times in my life. Your post has brought up some deep thoughts for how I should act. I'm going to go on a fast from politics for a little while and turn the focus on me. See how this goes, see how I feel and go from there. Thank you
  23. I agree with you, especially about how there needs to be through culture. Blaming political parties or the policies that seem to get reflected would be failure of looking at the root cause. I guess I'm suffering from, what I'm sure other people have asked, is that I see this incremental crawl in the wrong direction and want to do something about it. It's figuring out what to do that is tough. You mentioned self improvement. Is that the answer? Should I be the best damn me (I know I should be this no matter what), morally certain, working on improving me? Public speaking is probably not very good, though Toastmasters is on the agenda. I'm in that position of, what should one do? I realize that's a personal question, but it's still the one I'm trying to figure out.
  24. Repairman, I guess it's me trying to figure out whether this is some short term 'fix' that doesn't serve any of my long term goals. I have an interest in libertarians, not any admiration, just this weird view of the world and what leads them to look at it that way. I do enjoy talking politics and things along that line, but I'm thinking that my time spent on this one tiny demographic is just more frustration than worth. I'm hoping focusing locally will actually give me a little niche of my own to talk. I think I've been too focused on country politics or even world politics. But right in my city there's a local government that needs improvement. Edit: I'm probably also way to invested in the outcome of these discussions.
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