Peikoff's Mullet reacted to Eiuol in Are There Styles of Music Not Compatible With Objectivism?
I reread the essay Art and Cognition by Rand. There is one interesting quote I found:
"...the secret of music is physiological, the answer would require the joint efforts of a physiologist, psychologist, and a philosopher."
More or less, she does leave objective answers about reactions to music to special sciences. That is, we require special science knowledge in order to develop an evaluation of music in terms of what it says about your sense of life. So, when Jonathan asks for research or testing, he is at least in this case requesting the same type of evidence that Rand asked for.
The quote is in RM, page 46.
Peikoff's Mullet reacted to epistemologue in Assertiveness
Nice, I hadn't seen this before.
This interview aside, I agree completely that Objectivists do seem to have a problem with assertiveness.
It almost seems like people have taken philosophical/political concepts of non-aggression and non-interference - i.e. avoiding the use of non-initiatory, rights-violating, unjustified violence against innocent people, by individuals and especially governments - and applied these more broadly, taking as general principles of behavior in their lives the idea that they ought not have any kind of assertiveness or aggressiveness in their personality at all.
These are critical personality traits for working with reality and with other people - especially for men. Seizing opportunity and pushing on people for answers to one's questions, for things you expect from them, to morally or aesthetically criticize (or endorse) their behavior or their work, or in general holding people to standards of reason and value.
Just because someone has a legal right to be free from violent interference by you to do something immoral, wrong, sub-optimal, irrational - doesn't mean there is any legal or moral right whatsoever for them to be free from your assertiveness, insistence, advice, criticism, argument. In fact the moral onus is exactly the reverse - if you see something unreasonable or sub-optimal, in the world or in others around you, you owe it to yourself to *say something*, to push on it, to change it - and to insist as vigorously as you reasonably (and legally) can on what only makes sense, what would only make something better. The non-aggression principle is only the furthest edge at which you must *stop* - NOT a general prescription to avoid any kind of interference in general.
Can you imagine a chief of operations in a company, say a railroad, whose principle of behavior was to allow anyone he employs to do things however they like, according to whatever standards they happen to hold, moral or immoral, rational or irrational - with *no* interference, assertiveness, or otherwise non-rights violating aggressiveness from him whatsoever - with his justification being that it's their legal right to be free from aggression? The company would dissolve into complete dysfunction and failure in no time at all.
Or what about a teacher or a coach who did nothing to guide, correct, or push their students or players to do better, to correct their problems, or to follow a proper method? It should be no surprise when they fail tests and lose games.
Now imagine this on a societal scale, where there are no philosophical or moral leaders with any assertiveness. People are left directionless and swayed by whim when no one of any philosophical expertise or conviction is there to teach them, to guide them, to push them on what's morally right, what's rational, what's ideal - to push them to do better, to be better, to produce better work - because that's what makes sense, that's what's rational, that's what will bring themselves and those around them the most value, and advance their lives, happiness, and flourishing the most.
Every Objectivist needs to read this essay by Ayn Rand from her book The Virtue of Selfishness:
HOW DOES ONE LEAD A RATIONAL LIFE IN AN IRRATIONAL SOCIETY?
And by the way - this applies *especially* to men.
The world needs a lot more assertive, aggressive, pushy, masculine Objectivist men.
Some of you were asking me in the gender thread for me to be specific about what are the normative moral principles of masculinity. Well here's a perfect example.
The liberal, androgynous postmodernism of our time is an epidemic which is now doing great harm, especially among young people. It needs to be aggressively challenged by driven, principled, Objectivist leaders.
Peikoff's Mullet reacted to StrictlyLogical in What Gives??
It can be, but sometimes not.
Imagine a master and a slave off fighting off an invading horde. The slave (if he is broken) fights from two motivations, 1) to preserve himself, and 2) to protect his master to whom he is loyal, devoted, obedient and dutiful.
Imagine a man and his wife fighting off an invading horde. The man fights off the horde to protect his life and to protect his most important value, to his life, his wife.
A man fighting off an enemy for himself and his "fellows" could be in either of the above frames of mind... and possibly a mixture... possibly including many other kinds of frames of mind, e.g. does the man fight partly out of a sense of "duty" as such... without any real sense his fellows are really a value to him?
Not clear cut, depends on the person.
Peikoff's Mullet reacted to dream_weaver in Franklin Planner Software
Byrd's of a feather, flock together.
By age seven, my family had a house built, and we moved out into rural America. The American dream. 30 year mortgage, two car garage, a tree fort for the kids, local community church.
One of the new additions to the house, over and above what we had moved from the previous resident, was a new piano. A timely acquisition. As a kid, I was naturally curious and one thing led to another. An elderly widow from the church taught piano lessons in her home in addition to some gardening, and soon my mother had made arrangements to let her eager son get some unexpected lessons in life.
Mrs Byrd was an old-school piano teacher. One of the cliches/bromides that circulated in language at the time was how "Practice makes perfect." She wielded that phrase along with other lessons with the precision of a surgeons laser.
"Yes," she cackled, "practice does make perfect. If you practice a mistake long enough, you'll get really good at it." Then she would add, "Perfect practice makes perfect."
Her old-school lessons did not stop there. She insisted on things like memorizing the lessons, proper fingerings on the scales, scales—both major and minor, not looking at the keys, or the hands while they where on the keys, sight-reading.
Looking back, in conjunction with Rand's teaching that sight and touch can be integrated to grasp a solid object, Mrs. Byrd taught that they could be connected in a different manner as well. It was not a skill I mastered for reasons I'll have yet to go into, but by learning the feel of the keys under ones hands and fingertips without looking, the ability to play chords and scales by touch without looking, adding in learning sheet music and memorization (a task that took repetition of looking at the sheet music, while trying to guide the fingers without looking—hearing my mother sing the right note in the background when I struck the wrong one) the goal, as I gather it, would be to connect the sight to the touch in another way, the ability to see the notes on the page and have the fingers touch the keys accordingly. Powerful stuff, if you ask me.
Mrs. Byrd suffered a stroke several years into my lessons. She was moved to a home, unable to care for herself any more. My mother took me to visit her once. We had walked into the room after the nurse attending had announced us. She welcomed us in. She looked like Mrs. Byrd. She sounded like Mrs. Byrd. But soon I found out just how badly her feathers had been ruffled. She and my mother talked, while I did most of the listening. At some point in the conversation, Mrs. Byrd began to fondly recall planting F Sharps and B Flats in her garden. I recall this being funny and horrifying at the same time, but it sure connected to another phrase I grew up around "Say what you mean, and mean what you say."
I still play piano to this day. No, not every day, and not with the earlier rigor. At times, I think on the lessons, both the intentional, and the accidental, the explicit and the implicit, the seen and the unseen aspects all wrapped up in the time.
In closing, I recall the two metronomes she had. A windup version, made of square based pyramid of wood with the metal arm that would swing back and forth at a speed determined by a counterweight located on the metered arm, and the dark brown box, about six inches cubed, with a small half inch domed light that would flash while a click emitted electronically from a small hidden speaker, using a dial with a set of calibrated marks used to aid in turning the dial to the desired tempo.
Thanks for reading.
Peikoff's Mullet reacted to StrictlyLogical in Is this the Biggest Practical Problem with Objectivism?
Culturally, philosophically, ethically society at large is still currently in the dark ages. This has momentum which leads can lead to socialism, communism, dictatorship which you no doubt speak of.
If an Objectivist society were ever formed, it would have been possible only because of an objectivist culture, based on an objectivist philosophy and ethics. Because such is based on rationality and the choice to live, such is self-reinforcing.
ONCE a person knows being a parasite is wrong, altruism is evil, life is the standard and men have individual rights, only a small number of insane criminals would reject it.
By the time an Objectivist society is formed Man WILL know better, and will never look back.
Peikoff's Mullet reacted to Plasmatic in Everything is made of Nothing
Ground rules for meaningful communication:
Premise 1. Know what a concept is and how its formed and validated.
Premise 2. Know what a definition is and how to apply it to any concept you deploy.
Premise 3. Require your dialogical counterparts to present the same when they engage you in philosophical communication. (especially when they want to derive a metaphysical principle out of moving symbols around)
There is no such thing as nothing. You think so? Tell me how to form the concept you want to communicate and define it so that I can know what you are referring to. Otherwise there is no reason to make such an ado about nothing....
Fundamental concepts such as entity are defined ostensively. Can you point out a "nothing" for me?
Peikoff's Mullet reacted to DonAthos in Are There Styles of Music Not Compatible With Objectivism?
I thought StrictlyLogical wrote something interesting earlier in the thread with regard to "noise."
We can agree that not every sound is "music," and thus there are bound to be certain sounds or noises which people will call music... but strictly are not (whether they are aesthetically pleasing or not, beneficial or otherwise). A separate question is: of those things which are music, can we judge any styles or works as being "incompatible" with Objectivism?
The subject of "compatibility" has been mostly talked around, I think, but it has seemingly resolved into a few distinct questions over the course of the thread.
Can a piece of music be said to express some anti-life premise and thus be incompatible with Objectivism? Certainly lyrically, it can. But tonally? Rand's answer, at least, appeared to be "not yet": we don't yet have the philosophy and/or science worked out such that we can assess this (though epistemologue has claimed to be able to do it; whether this has been done accurately, or whether this should count as "Objectivism," are questions for other minds).
In that music expresses some sense of life, can it be that a piece of music's sense of life contradicts the "Objectivist sense of life" and thus be incompatible with Objectivism? I say no. I say that there is no singular "Objectivist sense of life." Now... every Objectivist (as every individual) will have a sense of life (thus there is no "Objectivist sense of life," but there are Objectivist's senses of life), and a music's sense of life may be incompatible with one's own. It is not surprising when an Objectivist finds great accord with other Objectivists, but neither should it surprise when there is some measure of divergence. Whatever the effect of one's explicitly held beliefs on one's subconscious, over time, I believe that sense of life is yet individual, based if nothing else upon my experiences among Objectivists, and the fact that we do all have varying interests in art.
I do not account this to moral failings or "failure to integrate" (unless we all reject rock music and embrace "tiddlywink music"... or unless there exist no Objectivists), but I suspect that the concept of "sense of life" may be under-explored in general.
Given some work which is said to be anti-life (let us say a song with negative lyrics; or, if epistemologue's approach to music holds, let us say that we know a song to have a "malevolent melody"), is it immoral for a person to enjoy it, or listen to it, and thus incompatible with Objectivism? I say no. Enjoyment, in itself, is strictly beyond one's control, and accounts to one's sense of life. And unless there are demonstrable negative effects in listening to a song with negative lyrics, say, then I see no call to avoid listening to the music that one enjoys.
Beyond this, it has been observed that one's evaluation of the morality of a given work of art is a separate question from one's evaluation of that work's aesthetic value. If there is value to be gained in reading War and Peace and Crime and Punishment, then perhaps there is value to be gained in listening to good music (i.e. well-executed) which is yet deemed malevolent in lyric or tone. And one's enjoyment of a song may account to its aesthetics more than its morality (or there may yet be other options here, I believe).
My apologies. The smiley face was meant to indicate my "joking" intent. We haven't been formally introduced yet, but as you are Not Lawliet I suppose I should state -- for the record -- that I am absolutely Not Kira. You're welcome here.
Peikoff's Mullet reacted to Nicky in Are There Styles of Music Not Compatible With Objectivism?
Wait what? Surely, you see the difference between the meaning of your fist sentence, and the meaning of your second sentence.
Peikoff's Mullet reacted to Jonathan13 in Are There Styles of Music Not Compatible With Objectivism?
And how do we know that the new guy is in error, versus that his critics are? By whose interpretation and aesthetic response do we judge? We can all declare that we're guided by Objectivism, and therefore that each of our differing tastes and interpretations are the properly integrate ones, and anyone who disagrees is wrong. Then, unless someone can actually provide some proof (which Rand admits is not possible without the missing "conceptual vocabulary") it's basically just an irrational shouting match in which one side is just posing as being better and more integrated Objectivists.
As Tyler is suggesting, I think people should like what they like. Instead of asking if it meets Objectivism's criteria or approval, why not start with the assumption that, being an admirer of Objectivism, you probably like it for some reason that is consistent with Objectivism, perhaps even without fully recognizing it yet. So instead of heading down the path to a guilt trip and self-repression, why not ask a different set of questions, such as, why does this resonate with me? Others tend to see it as bad and icky and depressing, but is that the way that I see it? Does it make me feel powerful? Inspired? Rebelious? What virtuous thing about it am I responding to?
Peikoff's Mullet reacted to Jonathan13 in Are There Styles of Music Not Compatible With Objectivism?
No, there are not.
That is, at least until the day that music is shown to comply with Objectivism's criteria for music via Rand's proposal and prediction that someday, someone will discover and define an objective "conceptual vocabulary" of music, which she stressed is currently missing. Until that time, music preferences and choices are, in her own words, to be treated as a "subjective matter" because "no objectively valid criterion of esthetic judgment is possible in the field of music" until such a vocabulary is identified. She added: "No one, therefore, can claim the objective superiority of his choices over the choices of others. Where no objective proof is available, it's every man for himself -- and only himself."
Of course, if someone ever does discover that elusive objective "conceptual vocabulary," then there would be forms or styles of music which be either compatible or incompatible with Objectivism.
Peikoff's Mullet reacted to Nicky in Are There Styles of Music Not Compatible With Objectivism?
Yes. I'm not going to go into "which styles" (because arguments over music annoy me beyond belief, especially when they get pretentious), but to suggest that "one aesthetic cannot be incompatible with ANY OTHER aesthetic" is to suggest that aesthetics is meaningless.
So yes, as long as we agree that music has some kind of meaning, on any level whatsoever, different types of music will by necessity have contradictory meanings. Ayn Rand said that music can express a sense of life (paraphrasing). So, yeah, if you believe that, then music that expresses a sense of life that contradicts the Oist sense of life...contradicts Objectivism.
And, by the way, listening to such music doesn't make you a heretic. Oism is not a religion. It allows (and in fact encourages) people to listen to diverse points of view, pay attention to diverse types of art, etc. But let's not act like all art has the same aesthetic value, and every artist is equally right about whatever they wish to say through their art. You can in fact be "wrong", as an artist. Just as there's such a thing as an "a-moral" point of view in Ethics, the suggestion that there's no right and wrong art is the "a-aesthetic" point of view.
P.S. I deliberately avoided using "incompatible with", because, like Reidy, I'm unclear about what that means too. Just read what I wrote, and decide whether it fits your idea of "incompatible" or not. It could go either way. Listening to all kinds of music doesn't make you un-Objectivist, but suggesting that no style of music could possibly contradict the Oist sense of life would count as a pretty fundamental disagreement with Objectivism.
Peikoff's Mullet reacted to Harrison Danneskjold in Randroid!
When people accuse us of being "unfeeling" they refer to the fact that, as Objectivists, we strive not to use emotions as tools of cognition. When people accuse us of being "sociopathic" or "indifferent towards anyone else's feelings" they refer to the fact that we strive to value nothing higher than Truth.
We may not always succeed (as anyone who has tried to live Objectivism knows) but, when such slurs are being thrown in our faces, it is precisely because we are successfully practicing what we preach.
They aren't meant as compliments; they're meant as the very worst things conceivable to such minds, but what does that matter? As a matter of factual content, they are pointing out our highest virtues.
Nobody literally means that all Objectivists are sociopaths - although, if they did, I'd consider sociopathy preferable to what passes as "normal" these days, anyway.
Peikoff's Mullet reacted to JASKN in Dr. Peikoff's Podcast
I have corresponded with Leonard Piekoff on several occasions regarding his podcast specifically, as for a time we were keeping an updated transcript of his questions in one of the forum's threads. Usually, it would take a month or two to receive a reply. I believe he has an assistant who helps manage his emails.
Prior to that, like you I had emailed a question to which I did not receive a reply, and which was not answered on his podcast. Recently, he has announced that he will be making even fewer podcasts than his current every other week. So, your chances of receiving an answer may now be slim, unless perhaps it is a topic of special interest to him.
Of course, one of our longtime forum members takes questions, too!
Peikoff's Mullet reacted to William O in Recommended Economists?
Ayn Rand included a long list of recommended further reading at the end of Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. It would probably be a good move to buy that book if you haven't already, then use the recommended sources to go further into the specific issues that interest you. Notable economists included in her list include Henry Hazlitt and Ludwig von Mises.