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  1. Yes, that is the abstract part that makes sense to me. And frankly, I cant think of anyone who would dispute that wisdom. But everyday life is a bit more complicated than that. There are circumstances where we have to make very difficult and tortured decisions. This is often where human emotion plays an important role. Therefore, I am curious to what extent a truly, rationally calibrated approach to the world is actually practicable (for every single person).
  2. Yes, I figured. And since I am more likely to encounter skeptical responses toward Objectivism elsewhere, I decided to come here and address my questions. In particular, the details and nuances I have not fully grasped in my reading.
  3. But we do make cost/benefit calculations, do we not? Not necessarily in crude numerical terms, but we often balance the pros against the cons.
  4. I think I generally get this point. I am however struggling with actually trying to apply it in so many different aspects of life. Its not quite clear to me how that decision tree works out. If values are a descriptive answer to questions about human nature and we need these values to survive, therefore it follows that altruism (sacrifice) is immoral. But if sacrifice is immoral, is it because of a utilitarian type argument "if everyone did it then everyone loses"? I know Ayn Rand says in the famous Galt speech that under the morality of sacrifice, the first thing you sacrifice is moral
  5. Lets say my valuation is based on the fact that I aspire to have a successful career in something that I am naturally good at (say starting a business of some sort). Therefore, I want to realize my full potential as an individual by succeeding in that endeavor. It is all for my self-esteem. But, in the meantime, I am being dragged down by some personal commitment in my life (e.g. family member, romantic partner, etc.) and after thinking about it long and hard, it is almost a certifiable probability that eliminating that individual from my personal equation will benefit me (as I have defined i
  6. Firstly, I never said that humans are singularly irrational. What I stated was that humans are a complex mixture of both the rational and irrational. However, and I hope for reasons that are obvious, it is the irrational component that keeps me up at night. To the extent that our irrational impulses can be modulated by our rational capacities, then I am hopeful. Secondly, and I want to stress this, you do not need to convince me that the world is getting better. I am reading Steven Pinker's book "Enlightenment Now" and I know all those arguments and regularly offer them myself. As I
  7. Yes, I see entirely what you mean. Yet I cant help but notice that as we live in an era of prosperity driven by the machine of techno-capitalism, its very functionality depends on the temperament of a bunch of unenlightened ingrates surely committed to its destruction. And yes, I know the operative term there is "enlightenment". But my point is, if people are not yet able to connect the philosophical dots, then when? We live in an age of free information. Today, the global middle-class is a majority for the first time in history. We have made improvements in standard of living by orders o
  8. Hey guys, I've only posted once before. I'm someone who is interested in Objectivism and I've only read Atlas Shrugged so far (and some essays here and there), but I already have a few philosophical questions that I suspect are not totally unfamiliar to members of this forum. These questions are prompted by discussions I've had with non-Objectivists, resulting in some unresolved issues that have come up. I'm not sure how much I'm confusing concepts, thus my delegation to the experts here. 1). Regarding the cardinal values of Objectivist ethics: reason, purpose and self-esteem. From th
  9. Thanks to the both of you for this very insightful and informative overview. I also watch youtube lectures, videos and podcasts. In fact, it was the Yaron Brook show that got me interested in and to think more about Objectivism. However, I feel there is always some obvious, self-evident, underlying premise I'm missing when I listen to the experts speak on the subject. Hence, the need to start as a beginner.
  10. Basically, it is ethics that got me interested in Objectivism. As a classical liberal and secularist, the moral heroes of "Atlas Shrugged" fit very neatly with my individualistic views. And considering the cultural volatility of our times, I have come to appreciate the power and necessity of objective ethics. Thus, and not to sound too layman, Objectivism is the closest approximation I can think of that philosophically appeals to me. However, I recognize that Ayn Rand's ethics cannot be divorced from her epistemology and metaphysics (if I'm not mistaken). For me personally, there are
  11. Hello Everyone, I'm a new member to the forum. As an interested student of Objectivism, I'm wondering if anyone can advise me on a kind of "curricula" reading list of Ayn Rand's books for beginners. I am almost finished with "Atlas Shrugged" and was hoping for some direction on the next book to help me in my self-education. Should I immediately delve into her non-fiction works on epistemology and ethics? If I'm not mistaken, ARI also has online lectures/courses. Just to be clear, I am not a philosopher. Any input from the experts, here, would be most appreciated. Cheers
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