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Everything posted by dan_edge

  1. The Reverse-Outline: The Reverse-Outline is a method of reading analysis and editing, especially useful in self-editing, in which one thoroughly studies a draft and formulates a summary outline. Pre-draft outlines are critical in professional writing, but even after they are used, the draft result can contain errors in order and focus. The Reverse-Outline is a powerful tool for identifying and correcting these errors. < I learned this method at the OAC, but have seen it taught elsewhere, so I'm assuming there's no copyright issue.> A note on application: I've found that the Reverse-Outline is most useful for short, one-page documents with limited focus: op-eds, cover letters, internal business emails, public business memos, marketing scripts, stock letters...and more. A Reverse Outline for such short drafts can often be written in the mind, without having to commit the summary to paper. This makes it extremely efficient for effective editing on-the-fly. The method: Study a short, approx. one-page draft, and write/think an outline of its essential points. These points should be formulated into clear, grammatically correct sentences which accurately summarize the material. Points can cover one or more paragraphs, depending on the flow and focus of ideas. A one-page document will typically contain 3-5 main points. If you find more than 7, then either you're not thoroughly essentializing the material, or the draft itself is overly complex. For example, following is a Reverse Outline for the current top story on CNN.com, Deported bin Ladin Widows, Daughters Leaving for Saudi Arabia. It's about a 2/3 page document, so I anticipate 2-4 points. Writing Reverse Outlines of news articles is good practice because news stories are (usually) already essentialized, making the main points easier to tease out: After the end of their detention in Pakistan last week, members of Osama bin Laden's family are now being deported to the country of their choice: Saudi Arabia. One of the widows provided details about how their family moved into and around Pakistan with the help of friendly Pakistanis. I have been using the Reverse Outline method throughout the writing of this article. After I finish a new section, I look back over the previous sections, form a Reverse Outline in my mind, and confirm that the ideas flow in some kind of logical order. The method isn't full-proof, but it did allow me to complete this one-page article to my satisfaction. Try it out. --Dan Edge Cross-posted from Metablog
  2. How about, instead of nymphomania, just -- someone who enjoys having sex very, very frequently? Is it frequent sex to which you object, or my (playful) use of that term? --Dan Edge
  3. Be there, or be...a stupidhead.
  4. There are many non-physical attributes that attract a woman to me, several of which have already been mentioned. In no particular order: Sense of Humor - Love of Laughter Ability to Dance Confidence in her Sexuality Feminine in her Response to Aggressiveness (tied to the above) Good Natured / Kind Loves Children and Animals Aesthetic Sophistication (something I don't have) Thinly Veiled, Compulsive Nymphomania There are many more, but that's a good start. --Dan Edge
  5. Holding On To You by Terence Trent D'Arby Truly poetic lyrics... ------------------- I left the east side for a west coast beauty A girl who burned my thoughts like kisses She was down by street decree She swore she'd pull my best years out of me Fat painted lips on a live wire beauty A tangerine girl with tambourine eyes Her face was my favorite magazine Her body was my favorite book to read They say that poets must have as unrequited love As all lovers must have thought provoking fears But holding on to you means letting go of pain Means letting go of tears Means letting go of rain Means letting go of what's not real Holding on to you I left the rough side for a seaside baby A chamomile smile the pouts on cue For every moment I breathe her sigh Her bosom contains my sweet alibi In an emotional mist she brathes in fog And breathes it out as garden flowers Why me of all that tough talking boys I guess she heard my heartbeat through the noise They say that all poets must have an unrequited love As all lovers must have thought provoking fears But holding on to you Means letting go of pain Means letting go of tears Means letting go of rain Holding on to you Means letting sorrows heal Means letting go of what's not real Holding on to you They say that all poets must have an unrequited love As all lovers I'm sure must have thought provoking fears But holding on to you means letting sorrows heal Means letting go of what's not real Holding on to you I left the east coast for a west coast beauty a woman who wet my thoughts like kisses she was down down by street decree she swore she'd pull my best years out of me fat wet lips on a sea salt canvas Goodbye Picasso hello Dolly/Dali The soil is fertile where her footsteps trod She's my new religion she's all I got They say that all poets must have an unrequited love as all lovers I'm sure must have thought provoking fears But holding on to you means letting go of tears means letting go of rain means letting sorrows heal It means letting go of pain
  6. Anylesca, This may not sound comforting, but your experience is not unique or unusual. When you get old enough to question your parents' authority (as you clearly are), there is often friction as your family gets used to you becoming an adult. This is almost always a difficult process, especially if you begin to embrace a worldview that your parents do not share. This doesn't mean that you will lose your relationship with them, only that the adjustment will take time. That you were able to work things out with them and come to a compromise in a difficult situation shows promise. I wouldn't worry too much at this point whether your feelings and reactions are "objectivist" enough. Part of being an objectivist is going through life's challenges and dealing with them as rationally as you can. Everyone makes mistakes and experiences pain and joy and anger and frustration and all that. Focus on learning from your experiences as you continue to work to keep everything together (busy schedules make productive people!). Take solace and pride in your struggles and accomplishments. I am happy for you that you have found love so early in life. If things don't work out, keep in mind that you will fall in love again. Build yourself into the kind of person who is worthy of great love, and worthy men will be beating down your door (especially objectivist men!). Never deny your feelings, whether good or bad. Own your feelings -- but take care to analyze your own mind so that you understand where the feelings come from. Use your heart as a guide, but your mind as the final arbiter. Your sincerity as displayed in your initial post will be a great tool for acheiving this goal. I know this is all very general advice, but it's all I have. I wish you the best of luck. Stick around. You are surrounded by many good, kindred souls in this place. --Dan Edge
  7. For the benefit of the MLK detractors on this thread (with whose criticism I sympathize), I would like to point out some additional historical facts: - Read up on the Jim Crow Laws that were still in effect in the south as late as the 1960's. Schools, buses, and many other public/private services were segregated by law. In WW2, blacks were not allowed to be in the same military units as whites. (Could a black Patton have saved thousands of American lives? We'll never know.) Blacks were routinely beaten, arrested, jailed, or killed for no reason whatsoever -- oftentimes with no pursuit of justice in the aftermath. - RE: the above, blacks had every reason to be brutally pissed off. King touted only peaceful resistance via protest and political advocacy in a time when many blacks were actively involved in racial violence. - King's "I Have a Dream" speech and other speeches were exquisitely written, passionately delivered, and viewed by millions and millions of people. King's arguments left no doubt -- even in the minds of the most vicious racists -- that blacks are every bit as much human as whites, and ought to be afforded the same rights under the Constitution. Note in my post above his explicit (and accurate) references to America's Declaration and Constitution. - Contrast King's "color blind" message to the "black power" message of his contemporaries. He argued that blacks should be treated equal to whites, not that they should receive preferential treatment. Note that his arguments are often presented in opposition to Affirmative Action. - Finally, consider how effective was Mr. King in achieving his primary objective: the repeal the Jim Crow laws. This man changed the country, perhaps the entire world, for the better, and he did it without taking the "time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to tak[ing] the tranquilizing drug of gradualism." - (As an ancillary study note, look into WEB DuBois and other educated blacks, and consider their impact on the slavery issue in the 1800's. King took very much the same approach, to a powerfully similar effect.) --Dan Edge
  8. The earlier (negative) quotes from MLK are not the ones for which he is remembered and celebrated. From the "I Have a Dream" speech: "In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." "So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism." "We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone." And of course: "I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today." --Dan Edge
  9. I'm a big fan of hip hop and electronica music because I'm a big fan of dancing. I hated Black Eyed Peas until I danced to to remixes of their music in the club. Many songs of that kind could be defined as sound design rather than music, but for purposes of dancing it doesn't matter. It serves its purpose. I agree with many of the criticisms levied here, but I advise all to be careful what music you brand as "evil." --Dan Edge
  10. Andy's note in my copy of Capitalism Unbound: "Dan, Here's some edu-macation for a po' southern redneck. Andy Bernstein" What a maroon.

  11. My thoughts, from my blog -- http://danedgeofreas...houghts-on.html A Summary of My Thoughts on the Peikoff/McCaskey Affair Over the past few weeks I've been digesting the details of the Peikoff/McCaskey affair and the subsequent fallout in the online Objectivist community. A few days ago I wrote a short, 4-page essay about this issue and the possible implications for the future of the Objectivist movement. While I wrote this in large part to clarify my own thoughts, I originally intended to publish it in full. But I have a tendency to get wrapped up in controversies of this kind, and I've grown weary of the heated polemics on both sides. For this reason and others, I'm only going to post three general conclusions that came out of my reflection and research. I don't plan to spend too much time defending these conclusions; I'm ready to move on to other things. 1. Over the last decade, the ARI has experienced unprecedented growth in its income, project support, positive publicity, and large-scale dissemination of Objectivist ideas. I believe that this degree of success is due primarily to the expert leadership and organizational management of Yaron Brooke and his team. The new tendency to hire business and public relations professionals in leadership positions, rather than PhD intellectuals, is a very positive trend for the ARI which I hope will continue in the future. This is not to say that the ARI board of 1990 was of poor quality, but that the current group is better equipped to carry out ARI's mission. 2. Based on the unprecedented success of the current ARI leadership, I believe that they are more than competent to make board-level decisions without threats from Dr. Peikoff or anyone else. Such threats are unnecessary and display a disregard for the board's track record of success and professionalism. While I am sure that the board can benefit from Dr. Peikoff's experience and philosophical expertise, his forcing a decision on the McCaskey issue by threatening to leave the ARI called into question the board's integrity. His behavior has led many to question whether Dr. Peikoff has de facto control and veto power over board decisions. I believe that it is primarily this aspect of the affair, along with Dr. Peikoff's harsh tone in his written responses, that has caused such an uproar in the Objectivist community. 3. The explosion of publicity of Ayn Rand's ideas, along with rapid technological advances in communication (Facebook, blogs, Twitter, etc.) has significantly decentralized the dissemination of Objectivist ideology. While the ARI is still HQ for the Objectivist movement, it is no longer the sole voice of rationality in today's culture. This, too, is a positive trend. For a number of reasons, I would encourage those interested in intellectual activism to strongly consider forming their own non-profit organizations without a strongly dependent relationship with the ARI. There are certainly benefits to associating one's organization with the ARI, but this is not the ideal set-up for every activist venture under the sun. --Dan Edge
  12. Russ says: "Craig Biddle has no business adding more flames to this issue, nor does anyone else." Speak for yourself, brother. I've given money to the ARI, started a University club in their name and with their support, bought stuff from them, gone to their school, attended dozens of their functions, made friends of their employees, and other things besides. If I decide that I don't like the way they do business, then it impacts the decision whether or not to participate in all of the above. If you offer your unqualified support to ARI without ever questioning business practices you are concerned about, then you're not doing your job. And if this situation did not at all lead you to question their business practices, then see point A: Speak for yourself. --Dan Edge
  13. Brian, I'm glad you posted that comment from Mr.Sefcik. I hadn't thought about that. --Dan Edge
  14. Swig, If you write a thorough and respectful analysis, I doubt you would get banned for speaking your mind. I encourage you to do so because what you've presented here is not at all convincing. Too much reaching, too little engaging the facts of the case. --Dan Edge
  15. By [email protected] (Dan Edge) from The Edge of Reason,cross-posted by MetaBlog On my last trip to New York City, I had the pleasure of meeting fellow blogger Kendall J for lunch as I was passing through Philadelphia. Kendall and I used to kick around ideas quite a bit over at Objectivism Online Forum, and I’ve been a fan of his blog for several years. I was very much looking forward to meeting him, and he did not disappoint. The greater part of our enjoyable lunch was consumed by a discussion of an upcoming post he was planning on relationships. He wrote that very interesting post soon thereafter, and I’m finally getting around to responding to it, as promised. Kendall’s post, titled How I’ve Changed – Part 1, Personal Relationships, reads at first like a public journal entry. He takes a bird’s eye view of how his perspective on relationships has changed over the years, and attempts to analyze the data of his experiences. The best summary of Kendall’s conclusions can be found at the end of the post, in his effort to “operationalize the principles” he’s learned about relationships. Here are his shorthand “operationlized principles”: 1. Find people of the highest character you can. 2. Know why you like them. 3. Seek to understand them. 4. Act to express your admiration, respect, and love. This essentialized advice is accurate and powerful in more ways than Kendall covers in his post. I want to focus on one of Kendall’s points that particularly hits home with me: that a great relationship, whether a friendship or romance, is a value that one must act to gain and sustain. (I found it very cool that Kendall and I raised this same point in different contexts in two different articles that were posted around the same time.) Kendall’s operationalized principles are in fact principles of action. To put Kendall’s principles into my own words: 1) People of high character do not just appear in your life – you must seek them out. 2) For those individuals with whom you already have an emotional connection, work to understand the nature and cause of that emotional connection. 3) Continually evaluate your relationships to more fully understand the nature of the values you have gained. 4) Using this greater understanding of your relationships, creatively express the admiration and love that naturally grows from a properly valued friend/lover. Not only are these principles of action true, they are interrelated and reciprocal. In order to find people of high character, it is necessary actively to evaluate new people that you meet. When meeting new people, one evaluates both the potential value of the new person (are they of high moral character?), and he evaluates his own psychology (what aspects of this new person are my emotions responding to, and why?). If one actively and continually evaluates his relationships, then he will find many attributes of his friend/lover that are worthy of praise and admiration, which he then can express in a variety of ways. Expressing praise to a friend/lover concretizes that person’s value in your life, which can further cement your emotional connection to another. The relationship grows stronger, both emotionally and in terms of explicitly shared values. All this takes work! And that is exactly Kendall’s point. I very much agree. ------------------------- On an entirely different note, I’d like to issue a challenge to Kendall for any follow-up to his article: to concretize his operational principle regarding chemistry. (I preliminarily define good chemistry as “the existence of complimentary differences and complementary similarities in optional value judgments between two people, and the positive emotional response generated from these factors.”) In his article, Kendall argues that, “Where chemistry is concerned, it’s ok to seek more optional factors, but seek out those that ultimately stem from character…” I challenge Kendall to explain, by means of examples, what exactly it means for an optional factor to “ultimately stem from character?” It’s not that I disagree with Kendall on this point, in fact I generally agree with him. But this issue remains the biggest gap in his article. Kendall is writing here about optional value judgments -- individual choices regarding career, hobbies, humor, artistic tastes, etc. He uses the example of meeting a woman who loves the Philadelphia Phillies. Assuming that one is also a huge Phillies fan, how much weight ought that shared optional value have in evaluating the potential of a relationship? I’m assuming that Kendall uses the Phillies fan as an example of an optional attribute that does not “ultimately stem from character.” But why, Kendall? Why is being a Phillies fan not an expression of philosophical values? And what would qualify as an attribute stemming from character? Being an avid chess player? Loving Bach over Beethoven? Choosing a career as a chef over a career as a painter? In my view, any legitimate optional value judgment ultimately stems from character. By definition, an optional value judgment is an individual choice one makes which is fully moral within a range. For instance, when choosing a career, one may ethically choose to be a banker, a chemist, a teacher, etc., but not a bank-robber, terrorist bomb maker, or televangelist. This includes one’s choice of hobbies, favorite baseball team, taste in jokes, etc. Morally optional choices that individuate elements of one’s character have value by virtue of the fact that they make one unique. (I argue this point more extensively in Part II of my essay The Psycho-epistemology of Sexuality). For this reason, I would place a higher emphasis on the importance of chemistry. Kendall and I agree on the importance of finding individuals of high moral character, but I don’t think that this diminishes the importance of having good chemistry with people in one’s life, especially with lovers. ------------------------- Kendall and I hit it off from the beginning when we met in Philly. Honestly, I expected him to be a little dorkier based on his online writing. But in person, Kendall is actually a very cool dude. I mean: he’s not only cool, he’s a dude. He’s friendly, funny, and intelligent, but it wasn’t foregone conclusion that I could quickly wrestle him to the ground using only my left hand (a very positive characteristic in male friends and Spanish swordsmen). I look forward to Kendall’s next post in this series, and I hope to meet him again the next time I travel to Yankee-ville. --Dan Edge Cross-posted from Metablog
  16. By [email protected] (Dan Edge) from The Edge of Reason,cross-posted by MetaBlog or: Selfishness vs. Self-Centeredness in Maintaining Friendships Way back in October of 2008, I wrote an article titled Get Over Yourself!, or Selfishness vs. Self-Centeredness in Meeting New People. In that article, I contrasted the approaches of the rationally selfish man vs. the self-centered man in meeting new people. The selfish man, I explained, treats each new person as a potential value to be explored; while the self-centered man sees new people primarily as a potential receptacle for information about himself. The selfish man endeavors to make new people comfortable and asks them questions about their lives and interests; the self-centered man looks for opportunities to soliloquy about his own life and interests. The selfish man tends to make friends, influence people, nail the interview, and get the girl; the self-centered man comes across as arrogant and annoying. Since the conflation of selfishness and self-centeredness is relatively common among Objectivists, I had always intended to follow-up on my 2008 article to further explore this widely misunderstood issue. And over a year later, it’s high time to do so. This time, I will contrast the approaches of the selfish vs. the self-centered man in maintaining friendships. I will conclude the series (ideally before 2011!) with a discussion of these principles in relation to long term romantic love relationships. Long term friendships are among the most significant values one can attain in his lifetime. Their survival value is crucial in many ways, including: emotional support, psychological visibility, specializations in different hobbies and areas of knowledge (allowing one more effectively to expand his horizons), and as deep wells of spiritual fuel. So critical a value warrants special study, specifically how to gain and keep it. In the last article of this series, I discussed some methods of gaining and earning this value. This article will focus on how to keep it. So: how does the rationally self-interested man maintain friendships? First, the selfish man acknowledges that long term friendships are indeed values which require maintenance. A friendship is not a static entity automatically formed and sustained given the existence of shared values. It requires work to create, build, and sustain. The selfish man understands this and looks for ways to build and nurture his friendships. The self-centered man does not understand this. He believes, in effect, that friendships spring into existence, grow in depth, fade away, or collapse into enmity -- all without action on his part. He does not consider ways in which he can build a friendship or contribute to its growth. He is often not even aware of the state of his own relationships: Are they healthy and thriving or sick and dying? He does not know, nor does he think it in his self-interest to care. The selfish man places value on the individuating characteristics of his long term friends. By individuating characteristics, I mean those legitimate optional values (hobbies, interests, career, etc.) that make each man unique. Just as the selfish man initiates relationships by showing sincere interest and asking questions, so he continues to show interest and ask questions about his friends’ values throughout the life of a friendship. He does this even if he does not share those particular values. Such questions go a long way in adding depth to the relationship, even with regard to a friend’s minor hobbies. For instance, I have no particular interest in World of Warcraft (WoW), but I have a good friend, Nancy, who absolutely loves it. When I talk to her on the phone, or visit her apartment, I often ask how her Blood Elf is doing, what new weapons the Elf has acquired, if she’s created any new characters, if she’s gotten into any new similar games, etc. And believe me, she can spend many happy hours waxing philosophical about WoW! This is a good example, because knowledge of WoW does not otherwise improve my life -- I don’t learn any special life lessons from these conversations. But I do gain a value from taking the time to talk to her about WoW: I am learning more about what makes this woman unique. Nancy would not be Nancy if she wasn’t a fanatic RPG enthusiast. But her love of RPGs is only a small part of Nancy’s personality. With a friend’s more significant values, like career or children, it’s much more important to keep tabs on these things. For instance, I have no particular interest in the World of Wall St. (I don’t even read the Business section of the Newspaper), but my good friend Sherry has dedicated her life to it. She is a superstar in her field, and I am very proud to be her friend. But I would never have known how passionate she is, how competent a businesswoman, how brilliant her business acumen, had I not taken the time to talk to her about her work life. I take pleasure in hearing about the World of Wall St. from Sherry’s perspective. I share her elation when she closes an important business deal, and I share her pain when a client pulls out at the last minute. Gaining knowledge about the business world and her role in it serves to strengthen our relationship. In a good friendship, these kinds of efforts are reciprocal. My close friends also take stake in my interests, my career, my field of study, etc. Most of them don’t regularly attend Slam poetry performances, but they are always interested to hear any new poems I write. They will often read my essays and comment on them. They will spring to my defense if I am wrongfully arrested. These efforts do not go unnoticed. These are the kinds of friends who contribute the spiritual fuel to keep me going. They actively love, encourage, and inspire me. The self-centered man, by contrast, does not expend much effort to maintain his friendships. To him, “selfishness” means that any friendships ought to focus on his own interests, his own life, his own career. He is very happy to tell friends about his values, but he usually doesn’t take the time to ask about theirs. He will tolerate friends telling him about their lives, but learning about them is not a primary objective to him. He doesn’t seek out friends whose interests differ from his own; he has no desire to broaden his horizons. Instead, he thinks that friendships ought to focus on “shared interests,” i.e., on interests he already has. He may ask Nancy about her Blood Elf in World of Warcraft, but only if he is already an RPG fan. And even then, his inquiry is usually only an excuse to pontificate on the virtues of his own Orc Beserker. With regards to emotional support, again the rationally selfish man makes a point to contribute to the emotional health of his friends. He maintains an awareness of his friends’ emotional states, and can usually tell if they are proud or discouraged, joyous or depressed. Just as he relishes in sharing his friends’ triumphs, so he gladly shoulders their pain in difficult times. For instance, I often talk to my friends about their romantic lives. I can often tell when a friend is unhappy with his current romantic relationship, even before the friend recognizes it himself. This is not at all uncommon. The outside perspective of a good friend can be invaluable in helping one understand relationship issues. But this kind of understanding does not come automatically. It is only because I take interest in my friends’ love lives that I am able to provide appropriate emotional support and friendly advice. I can share their hopeful excitement when love begins to bloom, and offer sympathy when a promising relationship disintegrates. I look for opportunities to be there for my friends, to hear their stories, to take part in their emotional lives. But to the self-centered man, taking stake in his friends’ emotional lives seems sacrificial or altruistic. He acknowledges that sharing his own emotional pain with a friend can have a positive cathartic effect, and he may lean on them in difficult times. But when roles are reversed, he would rather not endure a friend’s tears over some heartache which he does not share. Why put a bummer on an otherwise pleasant day? The self-centered man may be happy to share in his friend’s triumphs at work, particularly if he shares an interest in his friend’s profession. But when sorrow strikes, he prefers to keep his distance. He is the classic fair-weather friend. I don’t need to tell you which kind of person, the selfish man or the self-centered man, makes a better friend. Everyone has at some point been exposed to both types, and anyone could tell you that the rationally self-interested man makes the better business partner, the better lover, and overall the better person to have in one’s life. We seek out those who not only share our moral values, but who also take sincere interest in our individuating characteristics. Most of us tend to avoid those who take the self-centered approach, those who take interest only in those aspects of one’s personality that he already shares. We seek out friends who relish sharing in both our joys and pains, and we eschew those for whom emotional support is a one-way street. The selfish man is the kind of life-long friend who can become like a family member. The self-centered man usually doesn’t rise above the status of “temporary activity partner.” Over time, long term friendships can grow into some of the highest values in one’s life. Whether one acknowledges it or not, we need deep friendships; they have a survival value which is difficult to quantify. In theory, it is easy to make the mistake that being independent means that one doesn’t need friends. In some respects, this is true. One ought not need anyone else to provide him with epistemological certainty, productive independence, or self-esteem. But friendships -- and to a greater degree romantic relationships -- so enrich our lives that they deserve a high degree of focus, consideration, and sustained effort. In part III of this series, which I hope to publish with a few weeks, I will apply these same principles to romantic love relationships. How does the rationally self-interested man treat his lover at home, in the bedroom, with family, and in public? How does the self-centered man act in these situations? Which type of man makes a better lover, and why? As always, thanks for reading, and I look forward to any comments! --Dan Edge Cross-posted from Metablog
  17. I agree with most of your point here, but if they do ever outlaw guns in this country, I will feel no obligation to comply with this law. In fact, there are many laws that I routinely ignore because they inconvenience me too greatly and/or are relatively unenforceable. --Dan Edge
  18. This happened to me recently, too, and they never refunded me, so I switched from BOA to BB&T. But frankly, I think all banks work this way. Larger checks post first because they don't want to put you in a situation where your $3 check for candy goes through, and then your mortgage payment check bounces. --Dan Edge
  19. Jake, It's not that the homosexual's choices with regard to sex are a-moral; it's that the fact of his homosexuality is a-moral. Considering the confusion surrounding this topic for millenia, I think it's important to be very specific about this. --Dan Edge
  20. JASKN, I haven't listened to that podcast, but I will soon. Does Peikoff take this statement to its logical ethical conclusion, i.e. that homosexuality must be a-moral since it is non-volitional? Maybe some day soon we'll get to the point where Objectivists everywhere promote same sex marriage on the basis of common law principle... --Dan Edge
  21. On Saturday, September 5th, I was unlawfully arrested in downtown Greenville for “contributing to the delinquency of a minor.” I had organized a protest against the emergency curfew ordinance, which in my view punishes the vast majority of responsible youth for the lawlessness of a deviant minority. This protest was planned with the knowledge and advisement of the Greenville County Police Department. Picketing ordinances were obeyed, and the protest was extraordinarily docile, especially for this day and age. But something went terribly wrong that night. As expected, the police showed up shortly after the protest began. Officers were doing their jobs, checking IDs, and asking any minors present to vacate downtown. The curfew ordinance states that any young-appearing individuals are subject to questioning by police, and that they may be detained at City Hall if they refuse to leave or return after being instructed to leave. Implicit in the ordinance is that any minors are to be given the opportunity to leave when ordered to do so. For the most part, that is how officers on the scene handled the situation, with the exception of one – a bicycle cop named Corporal Nelson. Nelson burst onto the scene with a fury and began questioning three young men sitting on the statue platform adjacent to the Poinsette Hotel with protest signs. After being instructed to leave, they began to comply immediately, but one of them committed an unforgivable sin in the eyes of Bicycle Bad Cop – he handed me back his protest sign, said “Thank You,” and turned to make good his escape. Nelson interpreted this as a refusal to leave and arrested him immediately. About 30 seconds later, one of the other young men came back to find out why his friend was not in tow. Nelson then arrested him, as well. These young men were not given the opportunity to leave. The arresting officer had not complied with the letter or spirit of the ordinance. Nelson’s actions were belligerent and unlawful; but the worst was yet to come. When Nelson first walked up, I had been speaking to a Greenville News reporter named Richard Walton. Walton was one of the only journalists who responded to my announcement that the protest would take place, and he was interviewing me about the purpose of the event. After the two minors were detained, I expressed to Walton my exasperation at what had just occurred. What Corporal Nelson did next may cost him his job, and may cost the city millions. A partial transcript from my chronicle of the events: ------------------------- Dan Edge: [To Mr. Walton] Can you believe this? That kid was just trying to leave! All he did was say “thanks” and give me the poster… Bicycle Bad Cop (BBC): [Now addressing me] YOU! Shut your mouth! NOW! Stand right there! Don’t move! I’ll deal with YOU in a minute! Dan Edge: By what right are you detaining me here? By what right do you order me not to speak? What am I being charged with? BBC: We’ll figure that out in a minute. I’m going to go deal with these minors, who are now under detention, then I’ll talk to my superior and we’ll figure out what you’re being charged with. But right now, if you know what’s good for you, you’ll sit right there and keep your mouth shut. Earlier, you said you respected my uniform and my need to do my job. I’m just doing my job. Just sit down right there! NOW! Dan Edge: Listen, this guy [referring to Mr. Walton] is a journalist. Are you saying I’m not allowed to speak to the press? BBC: You are now in my custody. You can either sit right there and keep your mouth shut, or I will put you in hand cuffs and throw you in a squad car right now. Is that what you want? Dan Edge: Hmmm… [Considering the inevitability of arrest] I’ll have to think about that… BBC: There’s nothing to think about! I’ve taken you into my custody! Now I’m going to deal with those detainees, and I’ll be back to deal with YOU in a minute. Sit right there! Mr. Walton: [stands idly by, complying with the order to step back a few feet, a seeming look of shocked disbelief on his face.] ------------------------- Walton was standing less than ten feet away during this exchange. He saw and heard everything. He may not have known chapter and verse of the egregious Civil Rights violations on the part of Corporal Nelson, but he must have known that something terrible had happened. I was arrested for two counts of “contributing to the delinquency of a minor,” and spent 17 hours in the Greenville County drunk tank before being released upon arraignment. After I got out of jail the next day, I was shocked by the media coverage of the event. No one mentioned what really happened, including Walton. The articles only quoted the police chief’s report (she wasn’t there): that two minors refused to leave and were detained, and that the protest organizer had been arrested. Walton emailed me after I published my chronicle of what happened; he said he wanted to keep the story alive, tell my side of it. I told him I was very upset that his paper had not reported the criminal actions of Bicycle Bad Cop. You were there, Walton, you saw everything, so why didn’t you tell the whole story? Walton replied that he had submitted a full report to his editorial staff, but that they then took complete control of the article and chose not to publish what really happened. Why would they do that, I asked? He paused. Then, in a moment of truth which he may come to regret, he said that there were political elements in play here. Many downtown patrons, including the businesses who advertise with The Greenville News and citizens who purchase it, strongly support the curfew ordinance. “That’s why journalistic ethics exists,” I told him. “When things like this happen, a man has to make a choice. And they made the wrong one.” So, too, did Walton, but not until later. As a result of the media’s refusal to publish facts crucially relevant to my arrest, for days I was lambasted in discussion forums on the local news websites. I defended myself, posted a detailed chronicle of what happened, and made myself available to the media to tell my side of the story. But no one cared. A very few journalists have contact me since, but no one has yet published the terrible truth: that me and the two minors were unlawfully arrested, and that Corporal Nelson was guilty of serious Civil Rights violations. In a few cases reporters have candidly communicated that their respective editorial staffs know what really happened, but refuse to publish the story for “political reasons.” This was certainly the case with Walton and The Greenville News. A few weeks after my arrest, I contacted Chris Weston, Managing Editor of The Greenville News. I told him what happened, where he could find more information (my blog), and that his staff was likely guilty of serious breaches in journalistic ethics. He was defensive of his paper, but promised to look into it and get back to me. Over a week and a half later I had still heard nothing from him. Yesterday, 9/30, I finally received a copy of the transcript from my interview with the Internal Affairs division of the Greenville City Police. During that interview, the officers asked me if I had had any contact with Richard Walton since my arrest. I said yes, and when they asked about the content of that discussion I told them about Walton’s claim that his story was doctored by the editorial staff. I had planned to distribute this transcript to the media, so I made it a priority to contact Weston and find out how he was going to respond to his staff’s breach of ethics. I wanted to give him a chance to make things right before I released information demonstrating the corruption of his newspaper. To my disgust, Weston hadn’t bothered to look into it. He never read my side of the story, seemed not to have discussed the issue with Walton, and had taken no steps to correct the immoral actions of his staff. But the most shocking news was yet to come. After speaking with me over the phone, Weston asked Walton about my claims, then called me back a short time later. Walton had denied that our conversation about the editorial manipulation of his article ever took place. I couldn’t believe it. As mentioned earlier, after my arrest a few journalists have kept in touch with me, looking for a way to bring the truth to light. I had hope that at least one of them would serve as my champion, or a champion for the cause of truth, which in this case is the same thing. Walton was one of those journalists. More than anyone else, he knew that my version of the story was fact. He seemed sincerely interested in exposing what really happened, sincerely interested in vindicating me. A few days after Walton first told me about his editorial staff’s creative political editing, I called him up to issue a benevolent warning. I will work with you, I said, but you may not want to work with me. I cannot promise to keep silent about the things you say to me, I said, especially considering my efforts to restore my reputation in Greenville, where I hope to live and work for many years to come. I did not consider our phone conversations privileged information. He is not my doctor, lawyer, counselor, or spouse. I assume that anything I told him was on the record and may be published. But this goes both ways. I said that I liked him, and for that reason I didn’t want to put him in a situation in which his job might be in jeopardy. He replied that he was unconcerned about this – that he intended to do his job and report the facts as he could ascertain them. Little did I know that his lack of concern was based on a willingness to lie to his boss. When Weston told me about Walton’s dishonesty, I almost shed tears of fury and disappointment. I had trusted Walton. As far as I knew him, I believed in his dedication to journalistic integrity. He seemed sincerely interested in keeping the story alive. It’s entirely possible, in fact probable that his intentions were honorable. But the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and Walton earned himself a one-way ticket. He hopped onto the caboose of the Hell Train just as it was leaving the station, with Weston at the helm. Given what has happened, it’s also possible that Walton’s original claim about creative political editing was a lie, that he never told his paper what really happened, and that he continued to correspond with me in order to find other ways to assault my character. But I think the former possibility is much more likely. Weston didn’t say so, but I think he could tell that my story was the truth, including what I had said about Walton. When I started to get upset, and told him that I planned to write and distribute this article, he began to take the situation much more seriously. Would I be interested in going on the record with his paper? Are you serious, Weston? Why the hell would I do that? Every one of your staff I’ve come into contact with has been dishonest and corrupt. Why would I give you another opportunity to throw me to the wolves? My side of the story is posted publicly, I said. If he wants to retract his original story and tell the truth, then he can do it without my help. The Greenville News will receive a copy of this article, but they will not receive a copy of the Internal Affairs interview transcript. Nor will I communicate with them again for any reason, not if I can help it. Besides, Weston’s manner was not that of a man dedicated to justice and journalistic integrity. He was in damage control mode. He didn’t care that his staff had lied to the public, or that they did it for political reasons, or that an innocent man was being persecuted; he cared only that I might expose the damning truth about his paper. Initially, I had considered waiting a few day to publish this article, to give Weston the opportunity to make things right. But after consideration, I rejected that plan. Weston and his staff have shown that reporting facts are not their highest priority, especially if those facts lead to unpopular conclusions. And most especially when those conclusions are unpopular with those who buy or advertise in The Greenville News. Had The Greenville News reported the story honestly from the beginning, I may have had only to endure 17 hours in a drunk tank and an interview with Internal Affairs. Had details about what really happened been publicized, the Greenville City Council and Solicitor’s Office may have taken notice. The Solicitor has the power to refuse to prosecute my case (though Bicycle Bad Cop could arrange for his own prosecutor, not likely). The Solicitor may have looked into my case, seen the egregious violations of Civil Rights, been made aware of the potential for a 1983 Civil Rights lawsuit, and refused to prosecute. The City Council may have discovered that the letter of their curfew ordinance is illegal in numerous ways, and either terminated the ordinance or restructured it to conform to legal requirements. But none of this happened. As a result of what did happen, I have been forced to spend hours and hours of my time defending my reputation. I’ve had to delve into the law in preparation for my preliminary hearing (Lord only knows when that will finally take place). I’ve had to begin researching the process of waging a 1983 lawsuit against the city. I’ve lost sleep and devoted so much time and emotional energy to this – when I should have been studying for the GRE, which I took this afternoon. I’ve had to do these things, because I want to live and work in this town. I’m pursuing a Masters Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, and this case had made me look like a danger to children. Not to mention that the maximum sentence for my charge is six years in prison. Nor was The Greenville News alone in ignoring the story. A few journalists have expressed some interest in my case, but no one has interviewed me, and no one has published my side of the story. Just as I organized and executed this protest by myself, for the most part I’ve been alone in defending myself. I certainly have no defenders in the local media. Last night, I happened to meet a gentleman who worked at a local news publication. He asserted that, when reporting on criminal cases, journalists generally restrict themselves to the data contained in official police reports. This is the case even if the journalists know for a fact that the police report contains false or misleading information. They do this, he said, to avoid libel lawsuits from the city. When he told me this, it didn’t make sense to me at all, and upon further reflection, I find his comments to be potentially frightening. For one thing, there are certainly many, many cases in which media reports extend beyond the official statement from police. Other can be interviewed, and journalists often report on events they are personally witness to. You see it on TV all the time. The media interview many people charged with crimes and allow them to tell their side of the story, often before a preliminary hearing. But what really frightens me is this: What kind of country do we live in where media outlets are afraid to publish facts for fear of legal action by Big Brother? Does the 1st Amendment not protect the right to a free press? If this policy is widespread, then how many illegal actions by police go unreported, even though the media knows what happened, because they fear a lawsuit? There are many different forms of physical force, including the threat to confiscate property. If city, state, and federal governments are cowing the media using threats of legal action, then we are all in deep trouble. Depending on the response of the City to my case (I plan to send my Internal Affairs transcript to every Council Member, City and County, the Mayor, and the Governor), then I may well soon write an article titled 1983. 1983 is the year prior to 1984, the year in which the fictional events of George Orwell’s famous novel take place. I fear our country is headed in that direction. 1983 is also the section of the law under which one can sue the government for Civil Rights violations. I do not want to go through that, but if that’s what I have to do to restore my reputation, I will. To employees of The Greenville News: I hope you are ashamed of what your paper has done here. Your editorial staff allowed a man they knew was innocent to burn at the stake in the court of public opinion. When your managing editor found out about it, he did nothing until prodded with promises that the ugly truth would be revealed. Only then did he act, not out of a sense of justice, but in a knee-jerk reaction to defend his unethical organization’s reputation. Then the only seemingly honest journalist of the bunch lied to his boss to cover his ass. The conduct of your paper has been shameful in every respect, and it deserves rousing condemnation from all quarters. Please keep in mind that I will not speak to anyone at The Greenville News about my case, and that if you do speak to me, anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of public opinion. Disgustedly Yours, --Dan Edge *Update: I was just informed that The Greenville News plans to publish another article about my case. Mr. Alongi, a reporter for The Greenville News, read to me the story he intended to publish and asked if I had any comment. I told him no, but that the story as written contained numerous factual errors. I'm pleased at least that the article refers readers to my version of events (i.e., the truth). Needless to say, this story would not exist had Weston not been prodded by concerns about his paper's reputation.
  22. dan_edge


    I usually ignore stuff like that. If you avoided every organization, company, school, country, etc., that had that kind o statement attached to it, you could never go anywhere, buy anything, or work anywhere. I know folks who've tried not to buy anything from China, for instance, but to no avail. It's simply too much of a hassle. Keep in mind that the Oist virtues are there to guide you in building a happy, productive life, not to frustrate your needs. Good luck in school! --Dan Edge
  23. Skip, Some of the answers you are looking for can be found in the Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology by Ayn Rand. In it, she discusses the method used to measure emotional responses, specifically ordinal measurement. An example of this kind of measurement, in an excerpt from the ITOE, can be found here. Ms. Rand poses the question: "Can you measure love?," and answers in the positive. The Online Lexicon, linked to above, is a great place to start in general. You might try the entry on measurement as well as a primer. Good Luck, --Dan Edge
  24. I just finished listening to Erosopiha’s Jason Stotts’s on “Objectivism and Sexuality,” which he delivered at the Ohio Objectivist Society on June 14, 2009. (A portion of this essay has been published on his blog). I am a bit of a hobbyist in this field myself (soon to have my License in Marriage and Family Therapy!), and presented my own preliminary theories in a six-part essay a few years ago. So I was very interested to hear Jason’s perspective. While I don’t agree with all of Jason’s views as presented in this lecture, I very much enjoyed listening to it. The psychology of sexuality from an Objectivist perspective is a wide-open field right now, with crickets chirping in it, and I’m very pleased to see another intellectual working to fill the gaps. First, here’s a summary of his lecture from my notes, with comments: In Part 1, Jason connects sexual attraction to objective values. This is the strongest part of his lecture, filled with concrete examples, and Jason seems very familiar with the material. He places a special stress on sexiness as healthiness, and I’m diggin’ it. I always feel squishy when Objectivists acknowledge the importance of mind and body on issues like this. Good work, Jason. Part 2 is titled “Philosophy and Sexual Attraction.” Jason starts off strong here, but gets weaker towards the end. He does make a critical point – that instantaneous attraction or “love at first sight” is an automatized response to visible sense of life characteristics -- but if one is not exceedingly familiar with the “sense of life” concept, then he gets lost here. Jason doesn’t define “sense of life” and provides very few examples in this section of the presentation. For instance, give me an example of a sense of life characteristic I would see in a woman, causing attraction? Where does this come from, and what precisely am I seeing? His theories here are essentially correct, but are not concretized fully enough, and without examples it’s unclear whether he has integrated them appropriately. Part 3 is where Jason gets where he really wants to go: the issue of homosexuality. First he presents Rand’s views, using Galt and Dagny as archetypes of sexuality from Rand’s perspective, along with quotes from her. He does a good job here. He goes on to discuss Rand’s views on homosexuality, and then transitions directly into his own views. From the way Jason handles this, it seems that the entire lecture is designed to deal with the homosexuality issue. His key objection to Rand’s view, from which all other criticisms arise, is that she believed homosexuality was immoral. In Part 3, Jason discusses why he disagrees with this, and presents a new theory which will avoid the question of gay morality. Jason proposes a revised definition of masculinity – “one’s embodied maleness, combined with a desire for penetration.” For women, it’s the same with “femaleness” substituted for “maleness” and “reception” substituted for “penetration.” This definition can apply to hetero and homo alike. Part 3 is where Jason’s approach and mine begin to diverge significantly. Jason’s contention that homosexuality is perfectly moral comes across as a flat assertion without sufficient foundation. The argument proceeds like this: 1) Homosexuality is moral. 2) Rand’s view implies that it is immoral, therefore her view is inadequate. 3) Here is a new view of the foundation of sexuality which will not imply that homosexuality is immoral. I agree wholeheartedly with premise #1, but I do not believe that Jason fully establishes its truth. As for the rest of the premises: I doubt that he intended his argument to flow as I summarized it above, but based on the content and execution, this is what it amounts to. While I appreciate his (appropriately) passionate defense of gays, I don’t see that the existence of homosexuality can serve as a foundation for a preliminary, fundamental inquiry on the topic of sexuality. One must account for it at some point, to be sure, but one can’t automatically presume that it is ethical, and one ought not define sexuality in such a way as to ensure that homosexuality is subsumed under the definition. At one point in the speech, Jason asks: when two men have sex, do both feel masculine or only one? But this doesn’t cover all possibilities. How about neither? If there were no such thing as males and females, if the human race were a-sexual, then there would be no such thing as masculinity or femininity. I’m not asserting that gays don’t experience a gender-specific form of sexuality – I honestly don’t know at this point – but the possibility must be taken into account in any exhaustive inquiry, especially if one makes homosexuality a central part of his thesis. Regarding the ethics of homosexuality: Arguing that gays don’t experience a gender-specific form of sexuality is not tantamount to claiming that homosexuality is immoral. Jason may accept this false dichotomy, considering how hard he works to take sides here. All in all, this was a great effort on Jason’s part. Some of the sections were very strong, and the essay as delivered was well-written. He has a good understanding of the connection between values and emotions, and he does not discount the importance of the physiological when it comes to sexuality and attraction. I have some issues with his argument, as indicated above, but within the framework it flows reasonably well. While he does a decent job with delivery, varying his tone and keeping the listener interested, for next time he may want to consider the differences between presenting an argument in print vs. in lecture format. His argument was constructed for the page, not for the lecture hall. Next time around, I would suggest restructuring the argument slightly and committing it to delimited points on note cards. This forces you to really know your presentation inside out, and allows you to make eye contact with the audience instead of keeping eyes locked on the page. There’s plenty of time for him to master these skills, though, and it was an honorable initial effort. Jason’s now working on Chapter 2 of his eventual book on the subject, and he indicated in email that I may get a sneak preview! [Wringing hands]. I look forward to it. --Dan Edge
  25. From my blog entry of May 8, 2007: ------------------------- I am proud to announce that I have just completed the last lecture of Dr. Peikoff's, behemoth, 2-part, 24 lecture, 72 hour course on the History of Philosophy. The first set of lectures is Founders of Western Philosophy: Thales to Hume, and the second set is Modern Philosophy: Kant to the Present. These are by far the best courses on Philosophy that I've ever taken (as a college graduate with a BA in Philosophy, that's saying a lot). Peikoff traces the roots of philosophy from Thales and the ancient Greeks all the way to the present. His primary focus is metaphysics and epistemology, and it's easy to see why he chose this method of exposition: a philosopher's stance on metaphysics and epistemology set the ground rules for the rest of his philosophy. Over the course of 24 lectures, Peikoff ties ancient philosophers to their modern-day intellectual heirs with seeming ease. Though he only had time to present each philosopher (or school of thought) in a very essentialized form, I found that I learned a lot about thinkers who I had studied in-depth in college. Can you tell I'm impressed? I would recommend this set of lectures to anyone, and I would regard it as a "must-listen" for any serious student of philosophy. The Objectivist Academic Center agrees with this evaluation; the courses are required for graduation. One thing became very evident to me as I listened to these lectures: The charge that Objectivists in general, and Ayn Rand in particular, are uneducated about the history of philosophy is completely bogus. Peikoff's exposition of each thinker was 100% on the mark (based on my readings of the same thinkers). He displays a high degree of technical understanding about even the most difficult philosophers, like Heidegger and Kant. During the question and answer periods, I was amazed at the detailed minutia he had memorized about each philosopher. He has done his homework, and it shows. One could not honestly charge that Peikoff is ignorant of history's most important thinkers. Also, after listening to these lectures it became more evident to me how intimately Ayn Rand must have understood these same thinkers. Her seeming snap-judgment evaluations of complex ideologies (like Kant's categories) are highly accurate and insightful, given a fuller understanding of the subject matter. Objectivism was not formed in the absence of knowledge about the history of philosophy; quite the contrary. Rand systematically roots out and obliterates all of the classical philosophical "problems." You can now get the complete set of these lecture courses at a reduced price from the Ayn Rand Bookstore. --Dan Edge
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