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Rubal Sher

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  1. According to you, what does Ayn Rand mean by selfishness and how does she know she has made all the right rational decisions? If selfishness is tied to rationality, then no human being has ever been truly selfish because being rational is an endless journey of learning. Every single human being who has walked the earth has been irrational at some point, knowingly or not, and continue to do so. You are making the argument that the mullahs make, women all across the world should be covered in burqas. Why in an Objectivist world will I worry about retaliation or how others view my choices. I am guaranteed that I will have all choices available for all time to come, and as long as that is the case, I can pretty much decide for myself what is rational or not. You may be better at rationality than I am, but there is nothing in an Objectivist world that gives you the right to choose for me. I can live with that.
  2. I saw this after I replied to your other post and I pretty much agree with everything you have said here. Looks like, we may be saying the same thing. You are obviously much more educated on the subject matter and I am just a novice and it is possible that I am not yet able to grasp fully some of the things that are being discussed. In any case, thank you for your time and patience in replying to me.
  3. I agree with you when you say that selfishness is rational self interest. I dont disagree with the definition, all I am saying is that not everyone is aware of what is in their rational self interest. So a person is very likely to choose a path which is not in his rational self interest but he believes it to be so, thereby making it a selfish choice. Ergo, selfishness will always be present but rationality may be not and any Objectivist should be fine with this disparity. You say in the end that all Objectivists would support a person's right to choose to jump off a cliff, which is exactly what I am saying. Having agreed to this, and having understood what you mean by rationality, my question is what exactly do you propose should be done by an Objectivist if he sees a person who is about to jump off a cliff? As long as the rationality argument is not used to encroach on my freedom to jump off a cliff, then I take no issue with it. Trouble is, I am sensing that the rationality argument is in the works to somehow stop people from jumping off cliffs or to make them eat kebabs or to prevent them from being naked. I sense that your version of Objectivism has already decided that being naked is the wrong thing to do and I cannot understand how you even got there. How is being naked getting defined as an irrational choice, something that risks a man's survival according to the definition you provided. The only reason I take issue is because I have lived in a society where eating meat is frowned upon (as an example). Now, this may look downright silly to you, but the number of people who dont eat meat in India is bigger than the entire population of the US. They can use all the fancy words & definitions that you have used above and believe me, they will cite medical research that shows the harm in eating meat. So, according to them, if rationality (using your definitions) is to be given a legitimate place in the legal discourse, all meat eating will be banned. This may be a bummer to you, but having lived in a society which is far regressive than the US, I am highly wary of anyone else telling me the choices I need to make, rational or not. And this is why, I believe the freedom of choice (what I call selfishness, rational or not) should never be stopped by any argument that cites rationality (because rationality comes in many hues and colors and will always have opposing views).
  4. @DavidOdden I am not debating what is rational or not? All I am asking is that does Objectivism care whether or not an individual makes rational choices or not? My interpretation of Objectivism is that selfishness matters more than rationality. So, if an individual wants to jump off a cliff, whether he knows the consequences or not, all Objectivists would support that action. When you say eating a lamb kebab is generally good, how exactly do you mean. In India, where hundreds of millions of people do not eat meat, eating a lamb kebab is outright yucky to the senses. I have seen friends who have vomited after attempting to eat their first ever piece of lamb kebab. Point is, that outside of the open and shut cases of jumping off cliffs, eating kebabs, being naked, wearing a burqa, sex outside marriage, etc are not universally classified as rational beliefs. Surely, each society today has its own defined version of rationality (usually codified as laws) but it is not universal and definitely not objective. I fail to understand how Objectivism claims to be any different than what currently goes on if we have already reached a conclusion that eating kebabs is good. My interpretation of Objectivism is that it does not care whether you eat kebabs or not, as long as there is no unsolicited initiation of force. So, I am not sure why rationality is being thrust into the discussion. Let people jump off cliffs or eat kebabs. I am with you on your comment about belief in Gods. I also agree that my actions can have consequences, even though they may be legal. I understand that I can be evicted by my landlord or employer if they doesn't approve of my nudity or eating kebabs (there are institutions and landlords in India who will evict you for eating meat). So, I understand that I need to weigh my choices before acting, all I ask is that I be given the choice. In the current non-Objectivist world, I dont even have these choices by law. I understand your comment on trade, which in an Objectivist world will bring people together. Having said that, if I was paying twice the amount for an item compared to someone else who was clothed and I was naked, do you think the seller would care who is clothed or not. I believe a lot of noise is generated by a very small set of people in driving the social discourse today, precisely because we dont have free markets. In an Objectivist world driven by free markets and free trade, my opinion is that merit and trade will trump most social issues without batting an eyelid. The only currency in a free market is money and not your clothing or eating habits. And this is why your conclusion about mountaintops and social contexts is premature.
  5. @DavidOdden Couple of things. 1. The definition of irrationality. How does one decide what is rational or not. Over time and societies, what is considered rational today, may not be tomorrow and vice versa. I cannot understand why Objectivism would care about rationality. Let everyone do as they choose, rational or not. What may be rational to you may not be to someone else, so why even bother. 2. My goal at being naked is not to offend, my goal is to just do things I like. So if I like being naked where I am allowed to be, I would. It should not matter to me if everyone around me is uncomfortable, it is their headache, not mine. Trouble is, once I cede territory on me liking to be naked because of a pre-conceived notion at large that nudity is offensive in some form, then there is no end on what may be demanded of me. I used the word tolerance in this context, people need to start respecting my boundaries, whether I like to be naked or spew Nazi propaganda or be religious or be a Democrat. I dont want to be educated on my beliefs and their rationality unless I explicitly solicit help. 3. I agree that let he who is offended fix his circumstances to conform to his values.
  6. Ok, I am lost somewhat now. Letz say two neighbors have a smell free barbecue, one cooks beef, the other cooks pork. But they see each other and know what is being cooked by both. One may have a belief that nobody should eat pork, the other may believe that nobody should eat beef (and for the moment, let us just say none of them is religious at all and the reasoning is solely based on their love for the animal). My definition of tolerance is that neither neighbor has the right to force the other to stop cooking. I eat what I like and let my neighbor eat what he likes. You seem to be advocating that we all know beef is the right meat to cook for a barbecue and I get a sense you are suggesting that Objectivists would argue for the guy cooking pork to stop in some manner. Now apply the same to nudity or not, for me, both instances are exactly the same. It is personal preference and if anybody comes along with a pre-conceived notion that one is already better than the other, then I just dont see the need for Objectivism or how it differs at all from the current state of the society.
  7. The issue I have with this statement is that it defines wearing clothes as non-offensive and being naked as offensive. How did we come to this conclusion? Naked or being clothed is just one example. If we start extrapolating this, I might end up on the offensive side on many matters and that is why maybe it is important to be naked in public, to help people be more tolerant of each other, whether you are wearing clothes or not, etc. P.S. Sorry for the delay, I was pre-occupied elsewhere and lost track of this forum.
  8. Very well said and all I would point out is that I understand we don't have Objectivist societies yet. I was just trying to visualize how one would look like and the framework it would employ. I am all for a privatized world minus any public money or even governments (maybe minimal) run on the principles of free markets. I am all for people being allowed to choose for themselves (good or bad) and yet I can see how human beings will constantly generate friction among each other and the resolutions may still be muddy. Having said that, I am pretty sure these ideas are the best we got and it is a shame that we don't have people in vast numbers backing this up. Thanks for you time, cheers!
  9. You really got me thinking and I realized even I am not sure on what constitutes physical force. How about a nerve gas like sarin? According to me, my neighbor is free to produce any amount, wear a mask and kill me. Doesn't sound right, isn't right but still got me thinking. In the alternate version, he can still do all of this until he gets caught beyond a reasonable doubt. Honestly, I have no idea how to objectively define force and the harm it causes. All I can say is that I see more and more people claiming psychological trauma and some of them are perhaps even right. I personally know of people that are highly disturbed at the sight of animal cruelty or even trees being cut down. Sooner or later, all of this will count too and maybe rightly so. We have come a long distance from the days of gladiators & public beheading etc that people enjoyed to becoming overtly sensitive about almost everything. I think I am no closer today than when I started. but I do appreciate the time and patience you have shown and the guidance that you provided. Cheers!
  10. Thank You for humoring me so far and I can see your points of view. I do understand your line of reasoning and my natural thought process is inclined in the same direction. I was just trying to brainstorm to see if there is a better solution and maybe there is and maybe there isn't but I can see these issues run much deeper than I had previously thought. Appreciate your inputs and your time. Thanks a lot.
  11. You are correct in understanding what I meant. Words get hijacked and I did not claim that Antifa believes in Objectivism but your paragraph could have been written by Antifa with obviously a very different meaning attributed to those words. Why I am trying to point this out is because even Objectivists do not seem to agree from within on their exact definition, so who gets to decide who has cognitive dissonance? Think of it as a scale, with Antifa on one end and the Objectivists on the other end for let us say defining the word "harm". The Objectivists are clubbed together but still not at a single point on that scale. Over time, this scattering could widen and leaving the door open to interpretation is what worries me. This is how religion and Antifa and the autocrats have played the game so far, constantly shifting goalposts and who is to say that Objectivists wont do it either when the very definition of the word "harm" is up for debate from within, among many others.
  12. You at least have strip clubs, prostitution, nude beaches, casinos for gambling, liquor flows freely etc. Back in India, most of this is non existent or tightly regulated to the point of choking. My point is that all these liberties could disappear too in the US when someone comes along that demonstrates all of this causes harm & rape towards women or something on those lines. There is no dearth of people who can tell you about the harm caused by these activities in the rest of the world. Plus the demographic is changing everywhere and the immigrants in Sweden, Germany and UK have shown that they can make local norms bend to their whims and fancies. Keeping open ended values, in my opinion, is just asking for trouble.
  13. I hear you loud and clear and this would have been my argument some time back too, but you are fortunate to live in the West where current freedom and values are way more liberal than the rest of the world. You have to put yourself in my shoes and understand that your exact argument is used to justify the ban on sale & consumption of beef, among many other outrageous things. And in a few decades, this exact same argument can be used to shut down free speech and the process is already underway. Religion started with this very argument thousands of years back, peppered with a liberal smattering of the divine to make the masses fall in line and the results are for everyone to see. It seemed like a good idea at the time and it was. All I am saying is that if you keep the definitions subjective based on trends, norms & precedents, Objectivism even if it came into effect would be hijacked faster than you could say bazinga and we will be left with the hangover that religion has given us today.
  14. You made me laugh with the footwear comment and I seem very aligned to the entirety of your post. But here is what I have summarized so far from the various discussions in this thread. Objectivism codifies a set of values that are just and prevent harm to individuals and initiation of force is limited to trespass of these values. Everyone seems to be saying this but dig a little deeper, the chaos starts right away. Everyone has a slightly different understanding of the terms I have underlined and I have not seen unity being reached from simple issues like nudity to complex ones like climate change. My interpretation is that the entire dialogue seems subjective because if you keep stripping harm down to molecules, it can easily be shown that literally anything can cause harm, albeit in infinitesimally small levels. So it is only a matter of drawing the lines in sand and I am highly wary of any philosophy that claims it alone knows exactly where the lines should be drawn.
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