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Everything posted by KyaryPamyu

  1. The Objectivist view is that sex is an expression of your self-esteem, not a means to gain self-esteem. It also holds that truly worthwile sexual experiences are based on genuine admiration for your partner's basic values, the same values that you hold. With that in mind, the best strategy is to find a long-term source of romantic and sexual fulfillment. Figure out what you want in a woman, then actively look for candidates that embody those values. Preferably outside of situations where you have to play dominance games with five other guys. Well, would Howard Roark be interested in one-upping Peter Keating?
  2. No. The value you are supposed to enjoy is life itself, by means of the pleasure you derive from life-sustaining values. The Objectivist code of values tells you to pursue concrete values - work, sex, art, friendship, recreation - within an integrated, long-range framework (the value of purpose), that you need knowledge to do it (the value of reason), that feeling capable of gaining your values directly affects your motivation to pursue them (the value of self-esteem). The virtues are the means to those already abstract values. The Objectivist code is a strategy, not the end-goal. The end goal is pleasure/life, which Objectivism considers to be a unit. You're wrong. Enjoying yourself for its own sake is what 'life is an end in itself' means. Thought and feeling are an indivisible unit. Pleasure is the biological reward for pursuing life-sustaining action. They are a unit. Enjoyment is the purpose of ethics, but not the standard. Read (or re-read) the Objectivist Ethics. Don't equate the rational with the reasonable. Rational means 'in accordance with reality'. Choosing to live, from the position of already being a living organism, is merely the acceptance of reality. If your chosen goal is to live, the validity of a chosen value is tested by reference to reality. Hence, eating a steak might be rational; eating rat poison would not be rational. A human being is a process of self-sustaining action, equipped with a pleasure-pain mechanism for monitoring the organism's state. There is no further philosophical or moral justification for the existence of such processes, any more than there is philosophical justification for the existence of the Milky Way. Philosophers can only start with the facts and go from there.
  3. A human being is a process of self-sustaining action. Every part of his body is directed towards that goal. How is choosing to pursue life a 'subjective whim'? Reality is not a conscious being that imposes choices on you, but if you want to live, your choice is entirely rooted in the facts of reality, i.e. your nature. By 'living life', you probably mean 'keeping your vital processes going'. But in Rand's terminology, survival/living means to function properly as a living being. Survival is not a passive state, but a continuous process of pursuing and enjoying your values. For human beings, living requires achievement, romantic love, good art, knowledge, self-esteem, friendship, food, rest and so on. The difference can be expressed using those two pictures: mere survival | Objectivist understanding of survival. No. The pursuit of pleasure and the pursuit of life are the same thing. (However, not everything that gives you pleasure is desirable). The purpose of ethics is to teach you how to gain and make the most out of the things that give you intrinsic pleasure (by intrinsic, I take you to mean pleasure for its own sake). It also teaches you how to avoid the things that damage your ability to feel pleasure in the long run, i.e. self-destructive activities. Biological needs are a type of fact. You can't pass judgements of 'pre-rational' or 'irrational' on the metaphysically given. The facts of reality are the standard by which you judge a statement as true or false, or a choice of value as rational or irrational. The drive to eat food is not pre-rational, it just is, it's a fact of nature. Only your choice to follow the drive is rational or irrational, according to your context.
  4. Can you give some citations? She did write about lone geniuses, witch-doctors etc., but I've never encountered claims about mankind eventually reaching a state of pure individualism. Or perhaps you're equating progress itself with a historical dialectic?
  5. According to the Q&A in this transcript, she didn't particulalry enjoy reading Dostoyevsky. She said that she mostly read him 'for information or knowledge'.
  6. Les Miserables No. Of nothing less and nothing more than what is in the artwork. Yes. And? No. Doctrine of the affections How did Baroque composers relate to human emotions? Listen to the monumental Chaccone for solo violin, and tell me that what makes it great is the addherence to the Chaccone form, its counterpoint, its variational ideas. Those mean absolutely nothing if they do not serve the primary: human experience. I get it. Bach wrote exercises, preludes, fugues, minuets, riceracs, passacaglias. The particular mood he choose for each of them was not his primary, or only consideration. He was a masterful technician. I know many advocates of absolute music, of music being about "its abstract form" and so on. It is a big fraud. It attempts to divorce human beings from music, a form of the art for art's sake doctrine. Mind versus body. Art is for man's sake, and music that does not convey human experience is not music, period.
  7. NB, while the baroque esthetic makes it tricky to say anything about a composer based on his music, it's equally tricky to do so for Romantic composers. For instance, Schumann could write collections of pieces like Kinderszenen, where he masterfully portrayed a vast range of human experience: outbursts of joy, melancholic longing, hopefulness, daydreaming, serenity, silent suffering. The unifying theme of the collection is very broad: "Scenes from childhood" - and the titles of the pieces are merely light performance indications. Quite strikingly, Richard Wagner followed Tristan and Isolde with a comedy, which is pretty much the last thing you'd ever expect from him chronology-wise. You've echoed what I said in my previous post, that individual artworks cannot be used to pinpoint an artist's sense of life - unless, as you stated, an artist's entire corpus consists of tragic or exalted works. This is why an objective evaluation does not take into account the rest of the artist's works - or his alleged happiness or unhappiness. An artwork's objective meaning is derived exclusively from its contents. As for Bach, well, it could be argued whether he was truly a happy man or not. But even that C major prelude, regardless of its surrounding context (of it being an exercise etc.) can be treated as a universe in microcosm. So can a statue or a painting. Of course, if we're talking about a large scale work like a Symphony or Concerto, you must judge it as a whole - but the point is that this is equaly true for smaller scale works.
  8. It depends on your personal interpretation. I can definitely imagine somebody looking at a sculpture and seeing the entire essence of life in it. By itself, an artwork cannot communicate anything beyond what it actually portrays. For example, Bach wasn't a particularly happy man, but he composed things like the very serene C-major prelude. But the fact that he chose to portray a very selective part of life, serenity, in spite of his overall view of life, does not affect the artwork with anything. The C major prelude cannot also convey: 'by the way, serenity is just a small part of life' - because it can't be derived directly from the musical elements. However, as a listener or viewer, you CAN interpret the C major prelude as 'just one part of life', or the Angel of Grief statue as 'not life as it is, just one part of it'.
  9. I don't mind explicit disagreement as long as it does not affect the spirit of the artwork. This reminds me of the fact that Ayn Rand's favorite writer was an avowed socialist - and he didn't hesistate to put that into his novels. But it can be annoying at times - it depends on how much the ideas are mentioned. I don't think it's far-fetched to suspect this. I'm actualy the opposite - my sense of life went through numerous changes. I can actually name three big trends that shaped it across time: mysticism (even though I became an atheist very early in life), bitterness and cynicism. By mysticism, I mean an avid study of things like Judaism, eastern religions, psychedelia, Eckhart Tolle, the primacy of consciousness, the world as a collective role-play/dream where nothing truly matters. By cynicism I mean flirting with determinism, evolutionary psychology (which I recently dropped entirely thanks to Objectivism - this alone has the power to wreck you inside like no other thing), the Red Pill community, moral relativism, Machiavellianism, even the Kantian idea of phenomenon. My current sense of life is pretty much a mixture of those two trends. The bitter period was during my teens. Some artworks stood the test of time, others - not at all. Out of the things I used to enjoy but not anymore, I can name (off the top of my head, not an exhaustive list): Some 20th century classical music. The kind that sounds like Jackson Pollock put into sound. I'm a classical musician, so we're exposed to that kind of stuff The Harry Potter series Japanese Heavy Metal Horror movies Certain romance stories - my annoyance stems most strongly from how innacurately they're portrayed from a real-life, psychological standpoint. The reasons I don't like them anymore pertain to changes of conscious convictions, of values, of knowledge, of technical standards. I'm in a period in life where various Objectivist ideas start to truly click in my head - and I find myself incessantly rethinking my approach to everything. It remains to be seen if this will have any effect on my sense of life. One thing that I always had in me was individualism - which is what drew me to Objectivism in the first place.
  10. There are certain artworks that I used to enjoy, but are no longer appealing to me - because they clash strongly with my present convictions. So I speak mostly from experience. Yes.
  11. The consensus of whom? An objective evaluation would require that you discover the aesthetic principles that apply to all art, then figuring out how they can be applied to each specific medium.
  12. Or rather, the interpretation of any 'malevolent' artwork will be different for everybody, according to their own sense of life. For example, I get a mournful vibe from the Wolf's Rain song, but you stated that you don't sense anything negative about it. Similarly, One Hundred Years makes you see internal conflict requiring resolution, while to my ears it's just unlistenable noise. I see Schopenhauer's universe in the Angel of Grief statue, but SL sees a reminder of how important love is, and that it doesn't last forever. Is it possible to objectively evaluate an artwork? I think the answer is unequivocally yes. But even if you objectively concluded from studying the musical vocabulary and the lyrics of a song that its theme is the malevolent sense of life, it might still have a personal meaning to you that completely disregards or even contradicts the actual intention of the composer - or the interpretations of any other listener. And I see nothing wrong with that; artworks are a personal value. This is an article Ayn Rand refers to in Art and Cognition: Metaphysics in Marble.
  13. This is the painting I had in mind while writing about the sunny landscape. It isn't a landscape per se - its focus is the woman, but you can perhaps see what I mean by saying that VG's sunny landscape is not a sunny landscape due to a very striking aspect: his style of portrayal. It's mildly malevolent, so it definitely both. I can revel in gloomy, sad artworks. I enjoy a dark foil in positive artworks and a positive foil in dark artworks. But I don't enjoy positive artworks without some ironic or gloomy foil. I'm certainly not malevolent all the way. Out of the two paintings mentioned above, I prefer the Van Gogh, though his style is not my cup of coffee. I agree with your analysis of Starboy. Either way, to illustrate what I mean by gloomy and happy-sad, here is a song that is malevolent througout (minus the instrumental breaks) and one that is ridiculously upbeat - but with a strong foil (I skipped the long intro). What the latter one betrays is not sadness, but a strong feeling of apprehension.
  14. I've never seen a real-life example of this, but perhaps you can provide some? Also, it's tricky to imagine a succesful, happy person reveling in a four hour opera about a man being endlessly tortured by unachievable desires. I mentioned this in my initial post: ___________ I'm an avid collector of everything I like. From my extensive experience with art that I feel at home in, I can definitely say there's malevolent streak there. I've picked up and habituated a lot of damaging ideas across the years, and I'm gradually working to correct them.
  15. An artwork is concerned with convincingly illustrating two fundamental facts: what the world is like, and what man is like. The specific themes, subjects, events and characters are merely the vehicles by which the artist 'proves', or concretizes, his view about those two interconnected aspects. He does not need to show all aspects of a man's relationship to reality - only enough points to convincingly show the gist of his view. Every metaphysics has enormous implications for ethics. For example, if the world is auspicious to human goals (knowable to man, and reshapable by him), and if man is efficaceous and free, those basic facts lead to enough metaphysical value-judgements to fill up all of the world's libraries. 'It's important to fight for what I want', 'My life is important' etc. Those metaphysical value judgements are the direct results of your worldview. So when you experience the artwork, you reduce the conveyed metaphysical value judgements back to their roots: the total metaphysics. To show a man's entire metaphysics, there is very little you need to show in terms of concretes. What man needs is to maintain, in his mind, the reasons why he chose his present course of action. 'My course in life is right, right to the core, because the world is so and so, and man is so and so'. Artworks help him hold that enormous context in mind. To summarize, an artwork is about two things: the specific themes and events conveyed, and the entire metaphysics implied by those facts.
  16. Certainly. But those outside considerations are not a substitute for judging the artwork qua art. Even if a statue or musical composition is created for the purpose of commemoration, it must still be a good piece of art in and of itself. Not even the noblest backstory will save a poorly done artwork. A good commemorative artwork must show the abstract, universal meaning of what it commemorates. If it meets this requirement, it can be applied to your own life, even if you know absolutely nothing about its backstory.
  17. By virtue of being a single, internally consistent artwork, it does convey the summation. More specificaly, that summation is what Ayn Rand called 'the objectified reality of one’s own sense of life'. To recap, a sense of life is an emotional appraisal of the whole of existence. The artwork is the ability to see that feeling outside of you, in reality. It's common to see a lot of things in life that seemingly contradict your own sense of life, which inevitably leads to self-doubt and loss of perspective and conviction. When you concretize this all-encompassing feeling about the universe, you must do it via specific means: specific themes, events, people, styles. A theme can be philosophical and universal (e.g. the importance of love/honor/truth) or more narrow (e.g. the injustice of society toward its lower classes, the impact of the Civil War on Southern society). All of the elements present in the artwork add up to a totality which illustrates the artist's sense of life - in a single concrete, which might be a painting or a very long novel. The way you interpret an artwork depends on your own sense of life and deeply held values. The above is a way of interpreting it. Similarly, a depressed person can feel affirmed by the Angel of Grief sculpture for a completely different reason: because he applies the sculpture to the whole of existence. The real issue is: would you want to have that artwork in your house, as a way to preserve the irresistible reality of your own sense of life? Yes. The key idea is: do you present pain and suffering as the norm, or merely as a foil to the good parts of life? This adds to the previous point. For example, Roark in the Fountainhead is attacked on all sides; yet the evil is merely a vehicle to show Roark's greatness and the fact that life's challenges are not the focus in life, but merely foils or preludes to the good. Yes - if you're referring to a benevolent sense of life. Somebody who concludes that he's at the mercy of the entire universe will develop a tragic sense of life as a result. A positive sense of life depends on feeling in control of your existence.
  18. The aesthetic value of an artwork is not judged by the worldview it conveys, only by how masterful it concretizes it. So it's not a contradiction to say 'this is a great work of art, but I don't like it'. But disagreement with the worldview conveyed can certainly curve your enjoyment of it. The sculpture was created by a grieving artist to commemorate the death of his beloved wife. It was his last sculpture and the only thing he could get himself to sculpt before his own death the following year. It's used as the grave stone for the artist and his wife, though it's wildly reproduced. While I didn't provide my personal evaluation of the weeping angel sculpture, I agree that it refects a tragic sense of life - but the context in which it was created is irrelevant. Quoting from The Romantic Manifesto, ch. 3, p. 42: "...an objective evaluation requires that one identify the artist’s theme, the abstract meaning of his work (exclusively by identifying the evidence contained in the work and allowing no other, outside considerations), then evaluate the means by which he conveys it". [bolded words mine] This is why it is possible to appreciate a religious artwork even if you're an atheist. When picking your favorites, the element of personal meaning is also very important, even if that meaning was not necessarily intended by the artist. Ayn Rand herself is said to have contemplated Dali's Corpus Hyercubus for hours at end. Apparently, it strongly reminded her of the John Galt torture scene in Atlas Shrugged. Certainly not. But the importance attached to sadness and loss can greately differ from person to person. Is it the metaphysical norm for man, or not? An artwork deals with what is important in life. And it might be important that certain courses of action might lead to suffering. For example, see the novel We The Living. Judging by the artworks I feel at home in, I would say I have a mildly melovolent SoL. I also noticed that changes in mood can influence which types of music I want to indulge in at a given time. But even when I'm in a particularly good mood, I usually pick what I call happy-sad music: upbeat songs or pieces that nevertheless convey a strong air of seriousness or tortured complexity beneath the façade.
  19. Sculptures, symphonies, novels and paintings are time consuming to make, just like any other human value. What exactly does an artist choose to sculpt, compose, write or paint? Obviously, there's only one thing you can represent in art: things from reality. But what exactly? Just beautifuly rendered objects, people and events for no reason whatsoever? What separates sculpture, painting and theater from toys, photographs and soap operas? The meaning of fine art is not the objects portrayed in it. It's also not about politics or morals or the weather or the stock market, but something much, much, much more important. In fact it's so important that it needs to be present in your awareness at all times. I'm referring to the reasons and causes of your actions. For example, if you're generaly scared of the world and you don't like to take much space etc. this isn't a causeless fact. It's because you sincerely believe deep down that the universe is a dangerous place to live in, that man is always in grave danger. This is life-and-death information that is essential to remember in the backdrop of all of the irrelevancies of life - as the facts that cause, explain, give meaning to, and tie your disparate, confusing daily experinces into a coherent mechanism (the overall nature of the universe). Is the universe antagonistic or auspicious? Am I good or bad by nature? Am I in control of my inner and outer life? Is this a knowable world, subject to identity and certainty? The answers to this category of questions are called metaphysical value judgements, and for a great deal of people they're arbitrary and implicit, not objective and consciously held. Without seeing perceptual instances of the most important facts of life - of the foundation of everything else - your view of life quickly loses its reality and power of conviction. After all, if you believe that the essential nature of man is a heroic being, but life is filled with cowards and corrupt politicians and irrational people, your worldview can quicky collapse, you can forget what you believe in the first place, and you can become confused. More than that, this crucial, underlying perspective of the whole of reality (not merely contextless bits and pieces) cannot guide people because it can't be held in the mind (crow epistemology). A worldview is made up of endless, scrambled and seemingly disparate metaphysical value judgements - 'it's important to fight for what you want', 'it's important not to stick your neck out' etc. Only condensation into perceptualy available concretes can do the job and show you the conclusion, the payoff, the cashing-in of all of your value judgements, i.e. your worldview at a glance. To see what I'm talking about, compare those two sculptures: one and two. This type of conretization is like language, except instead of condesing concepts into visual-auditory tags (words), you condense a worldview into a concrete in order for it to be operative as a guide. Like metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and government, art is the only other need of man within the province of pure philosophy. Another crucial effect of art is the emotional fuel it provides. The work that goes into achieving your material and spiritual values can sometimes get tough. Seeing the full, immediate reality of your distant goals, experiencing the sense of your completed task, of living in your ideal world (a universe where your values have been successfully achieved) can replentish you spiritualy. The fuel comes not from what you might learn from the artwork, but from experiencing a moment of love for existence. This is why art is ruthlessly selective - not journalistic; integrated - not full of irrelevant elements that compromise the theme; clear - as opposed to the opaque or non-objective. It must have an abstract meaning, pertaining to the nature of the world in relation to man (or the reverse, which is the same thing). An artist selects what he considers to be important in life and integrates it into a mini-universe, a man-made universe. ___________ Sense of Life As soon as you become able to make generalizations about the world, you make them. You have no choice, because they're absolutely crucial for knowing how to act, i.e. for your survival. Based on conscious or randomly formed conclusions about the world and man, your guiding philosophy is formed, and it's usualy implicit until you identify it in conscious, philosophical terms, and correct it if necessary. Emotions are not causeless - they spring from conscious (or automatized, subconscious) evaluations of things. A man with a ghastly worldview might, as a consequence of his basic premises, negatively evaluate a lot of the things that confront him on the street, on the television, at his workplace and so on. A person with a benevolent view might generaly evaluate the exact same things in a completely different manner, a more positive one, and the negatives might not strike him as worth focusing on. The pessimist might get most of his pleasure from safety; the optimist, from seizing life by the horns. Based on everyting the world makes him feel on a daily basis, man forms an all-encompassing emotional generalization about the world. This emotion, called a 'sense of life' by Ayn Rand, is felt as a sort of vibe emanating from the world, one that is involved in everything you do, think and feel. For example, a pessimist walking on the street might pick up tense vibrations from the air; the people walking past him seem to be out to get him, and even the lampposts seem to be looking maliciously at him. He feels as if the world is one giant concentration camp. But the man with a more positive philosophy might get an entirely different vibe from that same exact street and moment. He might feel inspired by the sights of skyscrapers and blooming businesses. Deep down, he feels that life is auspicious to his goals and full of potential joys. Of particular importance is the fact that your sense-of-life can strenghten or blunt your joys and sorrows. A pessimistic man might see ice-cream and sex as pointless distractions in a sea of tears. It's tricky to enjoy anything if you fear for your life, either because the world is hell (malevolent universe premise) or because you think that you're unfit to deal with it (low self-esteem). After all, it probably won't last; so why enjoy it? But an optimistic man might see life's inconveniences as irrelevant in comparision to life's joys; since the world strikes him as an amazing place to be in, he feels a pure, unrestrained pleasure when he enjoys his values, a type of pleasure that the pessimistic man cannot even fathom. In art, your sense-of-life directs not only artistic creation, but also artistic response. Depressed artists don't paint sunny landscapes and happy artists don't particularly enjoy Wagner's Tristan and Isolde. Of course, for most people a sense of life isn't as black-and-white as I described, but you should get the idea. This fundamental emotion conditions a lot of things in a man, including his body language and how passionately driven or apathetic he is. When he falls in love or forms deep friendships, it's on the basis of equivalence in the sense-of-life realm, which is usually first conveyed indirectly through somebody's personality and mannerisms, and later through their actions and professed convictions. Since your evaluations of people can be wrong, true love can only exist if the loved one's conscious convictions match the sense of life he or she appears to have.
  20. The following is a list of poems featured/mentioned in Poems I Like - and Why (lecture by Leonard Peikoff) ___________________________ LP's definition of poetry: "Poetry is the form of literature whose medium is the sound of concepts" Poems need not have events and characters Most suited to the eloquent, powerful statement of a relatively simple thought, sentiment or inspirational idea, an expression of love, a short story, a joke. Best suited to shorter works A cross between literature and music Like music scores, poems MUST be read out loud A poem must not sound like a poem - and yet it rhymes (must sound natural) Poems combine the sensory (auditory) field with the intellectual one; brain + ears, mind + body Two essential elements rhytm rhyme - "a repeated pattern of recognizable sounds at the end of the lines". Rhyming creates auditory expectations. The meaning can be a total twist - you hit the expected sound but it has a completely different meaning than what you anticipated ___________________________ METAPHYSICAL POEMS Richard Cory (Edward Robinson) - a malevolent universe poem with a punch Invictus (William Henley) - Byronic view of existence Say not the Struggle nought Availeth (Arthur Hugh Clough) - it looks bad, but stand back, we're winning The Gods of the Copybook Headings (Kipling) - the issue underneath the benevolent/malevolent universe premise: I wish vs it is. LP's top favorite. POEMS ON EPISTEMOLOGY Flower in the Crannied Wall (Lord Tennyson) - integration; the true is the Whole (Tennyson is LP's favorite poet) The Daffodils; The Tables Turned (William Wordsworth) - an opponent of reason and integration The Thinker (Berton Braley) - the theme of Atlas Shrugged POEMS ON MORALITY Two favorites of Ayn Rand, found in her papers: 1. Mourn Not The Dead (Ralph Chaplin) - on moral judgement 2. Short poem by 'A Nony Mous' (1960 July-August issue of Success Magazine) Why should you begrudge another The fortunes he does reap? Bless him, he's one brother That you don't have to keep! The Westerner (C. B. Clarke) - egoism and individualism. Ayn Rand had the last two lines of this poem in a placard frame. INSPIRATIONAL POEMS Poems that stress some virtue, such as strenght, heroism, persistence, courage. Columbus (Joachim Miller) - the virtue of persistence, Man the Hero If (Kipling) - a description of the Ideal Man (Ayn Rand's top favorite) LOVE POEMS To His Coy Mistress (Andrew Marvell) - what to say to a woman that won't put out... Sonnets from the Portuguese 43: How do I love thee? Let me count the ways (Elizabeth Browning) Love and Sleep (Algernon Charles Swinburne) POLITICAL POEMS Retaliation (Olver Goldsmith) - a thinker wants to go into politics A song: “Men of England” (Percy Bysshe Shelley) What is a communist? (Ebenezer Elliott) FUNNY POEMS Ogden Nash poems; The Pig; The Germ; The Duck; The Panther; The Ostrich; The Pizza; Which the chicken which the egg; Kind of an ode to duty (moral-practical dichotomy); Lines Fraught With Naught But Thought MISC POEMS The Lotos-eaters (Tennyson) - must be read in an increasingly sleepy way The Confessional (Robert Browning) - a tragic, compelling story Ulysses (Tennyson) - Man the Hero (white rhyme) Sometimes (Thomas S. Jones, Jr) - a man who betrayed his potential Dying Speech of an Old Philosopher (Walter Savage Landor) Do not go gentle into that good night (Dylan Thomas) Beethoven And Angelo (John Bannister Tabb) An Essay on Man: Epistle I | Epitaph on Sir Isaac Newton (Alexander Pope) The Arrow and the Song (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) The Song of Roland (translated by Dorothy L. Sayers) It's all a state of mind (Success Magazine, March 1963 issue) The Highwayman (Alfred Noyes) America for Me (Van Dyke) - an ode to America Drinking (Abraham Cowley) - or, as LP calls it, "The Metaphysics of Vodka" On a Girdle (Edmund Waller) Be Strong (Maltbie Davenport Babcock) Opportunity (John James Ingalls) Gunga Din (Kipling) - recommended by somebody in the audience Tennyson poems: Break, break, break; Crossing the bar; Rizpah (LP refused to read this one because it makes him cry) An ode to my mistress' breasts (mentioned during a Q&A session, LP might have referred to the girdle one by Waller)
  21. If 'existence' is used as a collective noun to denote the sum of everything that exists, then it does refer to something: to the sum of all existents. 'Existence' can also be used to point out that something exists in actuality, as against existing only in someone's mind. But you seem to echo, in some way, this quote by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of the Transcendental Meditation movement: "Underneath the subtlest layer of all that exists in the relative field [of specific existents] is the abstract, absolute field of pure Being, which is unmanifested and transcendental. It is neither matter nor energy. It is pure Being, the state of pure existence. This state of pure existence underlies all that exists. Everything is the expression of this pure existence or absolute Being, which is the essential constituent of all relative life. The one eternal, unmanifested, absolute Being manifests itself in many forms of life and existences in creation."
  22. Existence does not logically depend on anything to be true. Before the academic philosopher tries to prove existence, he must first exist. Logic is not the blueprint or cosmic equation from which the universe springs from and conforms to; it's your method of grasping what the senses tell you about the world. Neither existence nor identity can be arrived at by inference of any kind. The validation of existence and identity is sense perception. You're trying to validate identity by means of a method (logic) that already makes use of the law of identity. Or perhaps you using Hegelian logic or some other type of logic?
  23. A guy named Bob wakes up in the morning. Throughout the day, he makes various choices, including making a to-do list, working on his music album, ordering Chinese food, unwinding with his girlfriend, reading a novel for relaxation. What precedes and motivates those choices? A desire for them, either as ends in themselves (the pleasure they give him) or as a means to another value, or anything in between. Now, why does he desire them? If you answered, "because Man's life is the standard of moral value, and his own life is his moral purpose" you are ipso facto advocating intrinsicism. To paraphrase something I wrote in another thread, you're turning the metaphysicaly given into a god, the way Spinoza did, then giving moral significance to your obedience to the metaphysicaly given. "You exist, therefore: if you want to live, you're moral. If you don't, you're rotten." You can't say "I choose to live because it's moral". You're moral because you choose to live. On the same note, it's wrong to say "I choose to live because of so-and-so metaphysical fact", but you can say "I want to live, and although there's no categorical imperative telling me to live - after all, morality is my servant, not the other way around - my choice is not a whim or arbitrary, but rooted in the fact that I am a living being, i.e. justified by my identity or nature, not by a moral code." This is why Peikoff stresses in his OPAR seminar that this choice is both pre-moral and justified.
  24. In the Playboy interview. The question quoted below sparks a lenghty discussion about purpose: I agree with the rest of your post. ------------------ Absolutely. This is one of the biggest selling points of religion. Many religions give people a much-needed purpose, as well as coherence to their activities by tying them to that central purpose. In an article from VoS, the following areas of human values are named: work, sex, art, human relationships and recreation. What's unique about Objectivism is the way it stresses that only productive work can serve as a long-range purpose. A demanding career helps you keep your mind in top shape, it develops your character, it's extremely fulfilling and it acts as an important enabler of your other values. A major theme in Rand's novels is how love, art and recreation are not only stand-alone values, but also intricately connected to your purpose - art serving as emotional fuel, recreation as a celebration of your work, sex as an expression of the pride you take in the character - which you mostly formed through a demanding purpose. A being with limited time, energy and resources can't be purposeful unless he follows a specific method, and Ayn Rand stressed the need of hierarchy and integration. Hierarchy means arranging your values in the order of their importance, in order to help you apportion your time wisely (the #1 spot is always allocated to your productive purpose). Integration means that your values cannot clash. For example, if you really want to be a painter, but your girlfriend is pressing you to go into med school; that's disintegration. A productive purpose is not the only value, but every value in your hierarchy must cooperate like the organs in your body, forming the seamless whole which is your life. Galt in his speech paints the following picture: your body is a machine, your mind is the driver. The destination is your productive purpose. Your other values are travellers you choose to share your journey with, and you can only share it with travelers that go in the same direction by their own power (integration). In closing, here's a great quote from ITOE that sheds more light on Rand's idea of purposefulness.
  25. Your post was an enjoyable read, nicely argued. A small clarification on my part: I do believe that a man should enjoy himself in his last moments on earth. What I'm arguing for is that the Objectivist ethics is useless for that particular context. The desire for wellness does not start and end with ethics. It's the reason why people are interested in learning and applying ethics. A man whose days are numbered can benefit from the metaethical philosophy - which gives happiness a noble status, rather than demonizing it like other systems do - but he won't get much from the actual code of values and virtues. Some of it could be useful, but most of it is not suited for that context. Well-being is a fact of reality, a state of consciousness, a biological process. In itself, it's neither good, nor bad. It is. It exists. What makes it good, rather than just a collection of chemicals to be studied under the microsocope, is our experience of it as good and desirable, which is also inseparable from reality, biology. It may well be true that there's nobody who doesn't want to live. I also think it's true. But it's important to show why the good is conditional and dependent on various factors, in contrast to the intrinsic theory of values. For as long as you want to live, life is good. Metaethical philosophy can merely point out the obvious. A code of values is a 'scientific' guide for implementing your desire, but it may or not be suited for more than one context. If by 'ethical' we mean any action that results in wellbeing, then dying people can be said to be ethical even if they do certain things that can be justified only in their context. But I know that you said that if a code of ethics is not always true, it needs to be changed to reflect reality more closely. The practical part of the Objectivist ethics is not at all universal, and most people don't even need the metaethical theory to know that life is good.
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