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SelfishRandroid

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  1. Rand defines the self as follows: "A man’s self is his mind—the faculty that perceives reality, forms judgments, chooses values." In Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, she elaborates: "Consciousness is not a primary object, it is not an independent existent, it is an attribute of a certain kind of existents." And: "The notion of 'self' is an axiomatic concept; it's implicit in the concept of 'consciousness'; it can't be separated from it." I'm trying to clarify the relationship between "self" and "consciousness." If self is a "faculty" of awareness, how is that different from consciousness? For self to be held implicit in consciousness, that must mean the two are non-identical but indivisible. Could one say that the "self" is "the perceiver," while "consciousness" is the awareness that one is perceiving? Given that "a man’s self is his mind," how does one identify what constitutes his mind? A "faculty" is an abstraction, not a concrete. Does the "self" have any ontological status at all (if that makes sense)? Sorry if this is muddled. My thoughts on the subject are certainly jumbled right now, and I would greatly appreciate some clarification! Edit: I'm sure the primacy of existence (as opposed to than the primacy of consciousness) is important here somehow, but I'm not sure how to integrate it. Would love some thoughts on this.
  2. Something I've struggled with since becoming an Objectivist is that I am totally at odds with the culture at large, including many of my formerly close friends. I've found myself pulling away from years-long friendships because I find their political and philosophical views to be appalling. I live in an extremely liberal, "progressive" part of the United States, and the majority of people I know are pro-Socialism or even pro-Communism. I can, to some degree, tolerate mixed premises or unarticulated, uncritical acceptance of some of society's edicts, but I can't stand people who are active proponents of what I consider to be evil. My friends are educated exponents of these ideas, having graduated from prestigious universities, so it's difficult for me to enjoy their company when our values are so at odds. I'm finding myself growing increasingly friendless as I discard friendships with people with strongly leftist, collectivistic ideas. Unfortunately, those are the overwhelming majority of people I seem to be surrounded with. I'm curious as to how many of you have friends with very different political and philosophical views than your own, and how you make those relationships "work," so to speak? I don't want to compromise on my values, but is there some way I can be more accepting of my friends' virtues despite their unpalatable convictions? Or am I doing the right—albeit painful—thing by ending these relationships? Any advice or personal anecdotes on this topic would be welcome. Thanks!
  3. Thanks for sharing! To anyone interested, Objectivist Amy Peikoff recently interviewed the art gallery owners mentioned in this post:
  4. I think the answer depends on what you mean by "real Objectivists." Does living at home as an adult and being financially dependent on a parent automatically exempt someone from your definition? Speaking from my own experience, I'm a so-called Millennial who lives at home in a high cost-of-living area, and I consider myself an Objectivist.
  5. Thanks for responding. Even if compatibilism isn't a big issue within Objectivism, I have a special personal interest in learning more about refuting it. Worded hastily, I'm wondering how free will exists as an absolute in the context of mental illnesses that appear to be biologically caused, and so I'm trying to grapple with how biological determinism, which some use as an argument for compatibilism, fits in with free will in the Objectivist sense. I didn't necessarily want to drag all of that into my post though since I think the argument really distills down to the scope of determinism itself.
  6. I would love to read a scholarly essay or direct writings from Rand on the subject of Compatibilism. I've seen several posts on this forum that claim that Objectivism is "closer to" or "basically the same as" Compatibilism, but I don't think that's true in a strictly "orthodox" reading of Objectivism's position on free will. Based on my nascent understanding of free will, and someone please correct me if I'm wrong, Objectivism acknowledges the Law of Causation, but rejects the Compatibilist view that, although human beings can act freely, the basis of the will to act is determined by antecedent events. Objectivism instead holds that will is entirely volitional. Here's a related quote from Rand: "Man exists and his mind exists. Both are part of nature, both possess a specific identity. The attribute of volition does not contradict the fact of identity..." Anyway, I mostly shared my interpretation to make this post more substantive. What I'd really like is an in-depth informational resource or explanation on how Objectivism refutes Compatibilism. Thanks!
  7. Hi everyone, first post here and I imagine it won't be a hugely popular topic for various reasons: the genetic component of homosexuality is still debatable; there don't seem to be very many homosexual Objectivists; and conversion therapy is almost exclusively discussed elsewhere in a religious context. I'm mostly interested in hearing opinions on the topic, so my question then is this: How likely is it that a gay person might be able to change his/her sexual orientation? How would one go about this process? As a lesbian, I admittedly would prefer to be straight because I want to have a traditional family someday, and I sense that my homosexual inclinations are at least partially driven by my at-times difficult childhood. I believe my attraction to women is at least partially driven by automatized value judgements I made in my childhood as a means of compensating for adversarial circumstances at home (e.g. an emotionally unavailable mother), and I want to uproot these neurotic, reactionary thoughts. Also, dating other women is extremely difficult for me since the vast majority of gay women tend to be very left-leaning, plus I strongly dislike the identity politics and culture of polyamory that surround much of the "gay community," so it's hard to find a partner with similar values and a sense of life. Any thoughts?
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