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Ali Shannon

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    Charlottesville, VA

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  • Country
    United States
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  • Chat Nick
    Prince Ali
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  • Experience with Objectivism
    Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, currently reading Philosophy: Who Needs It and will read Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal next! I have watched some interviews and public lectures by ARI. I have listened to a few of Nathaniel Branden's episodes on the basic principles of objectivism which I enjoy the most.
  • School or University
    University of Virginia
  • Occupation
    Data Scientist

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  1. I agree with the article but I would put it a little differently or maybe add to the last section. Free will pertains to directing your consciousness. We are beings who are able to focus and regulate our consciousness towards topics that we are interested in. To learn any subject, ideas are entered into our minds but they do not have to be true so we have to check their efficacy. To validate any idea, we can test it against the facts of reality and use the feedback from our sensations (perceptual faculty) or logic (rational faculty) to confirm our thoughts or adjust if necessary. Choosing to think or not to think, as Galt says it, defines whether or not we are to modify or confirm our thoughts based on the facts of reality or to evade it and default to willful blindness. Both of which can only be explained by the volitional ability to direct and regulate consciousnesses. I hope this helps.
  2. This is the answer I was looking for. I was making the assumption based on the final part of Atlas Shrugged that says "congress shall make no law abridging freedom of trade and production."
  3. I will have to start with an assumption before I ask the question, so if I got the assumption or the conclusion wrong, please point it out. If we assume that a free country will adopt the freedom of trade and production and the weapon manufacturers decide to sell their products of mass destruction to anyone who can afford such weapons. Now assume that a terrorist organization takes hold of such a weapon and purchases a property in the heart of NYC. How would the government stop them from unleashing havoc? And why would the government stop them if they have not initiated the use of force and violated anyone's rights yet? Even if the government bans its use, wouldn't they have to ban its trade and production?
  4. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pride I see the expression of “taking pride of something” deeply tied to selfishness and only applies if I have done something to achieve or maintain that goal. I wouldn’t be proud of the achievements Newton made to science, but I would be proud of my contribution to journal papers which made them possible. Similarly, I wouldn’t be proud of the achievements of the American founding fathers but I like their ideas and I agree with their statements on the rights of man and role of government. However, you may take pride of the achievements of someone else if you have helped them achieve that goal, but I am not sure about defining that outside of the context of some scenario. A professor may be proud of the discovery made by his graduate student but obviously does not take full credit since they only helped making it possible.
  5. I don't think that there is something wrong with liking or disliking anything. That is up to you to value what your independent mind deems valuable. I would only object to taking pride of what your country or your culture has achieved. The only thing I would be proud of is my own achievements in my life, not the achievement of others.
  6. I would recommend Intro to Objectivist Epistemology for a detailed explanation. Another beautiful resource is Nathaniel Branden's lecture on reason here For a short, clear definition, I will quote from Ayn Rand's lecture called Faith and Force: The Destroyers of the Modern World where she says the following:
  7. In my opinion, the best lecture series is provided by Nathaniel Branden called The Basic Principles of Objectivism. I normally listen to this when I'm driving but I find myself compelled to replay certain episodes and take notes since its value is nearly immesurable to me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Mfw7kqVU-U&list=PLnHOyZsmJrozd5HP9Pw9clexiXAqmZk1L
  8. Greetings rational egoists! My name is Ali and I was born in Baghdad, Iraq in the midst of the gulf war where the totalitarian leader of my birth country decided to invade another nation. I was born into a Muslim family who told what to think, gave me answers I cannot and dare not question, and told me to live my life with the goal to please Allah and his dangerous prophet. During the U.S. - Iraq war, several members of my family worked for the U.S. army and it was dangerous for us as children to be in a country that was being torn apart by its tribalism and factions who were seeking power over other men. In my teenage years, while I was temporarily a refugee in Egypt waiting for the U.S. refugee vetting process to go through, I started questioning the faith I was born into. The exposure to different religions and denotations of Islam lead to me asking questions I could not answer for a very long time, questions about the nature of my reality, questions about the nature of the idea of an omnipotent being who had questionable motives and ideals that had no meaning. I became this person who was sure that the world of ethics and morality had some foundations that I could not name, that word was reason. As soon as I set foot in the United States, I was driven by one goal: to seek independence. I wanted to rely on myself and saw that only by doing so I could live the life I wanted and learn from own mistakes rather than follow the teachings of my family or society. Throughout my college days, I was mostly a person who wanted to understand as much as possible about the world, I enrolled in the aerospace engineering department at UVA (jokes about a brown guy in aerospace are always welcome). During my third year, I met this navy veteran who was this fierce individualist, an ex-Christian who did not give a crap about pleasing others. He was criticizing Islam, Christianity, and college leftist ideologies. But most importantly, he showed a consistent view of the world that I had ever seen before. I admired the way he was able to integrate the abstract principles of philosophy into the natural world and arrive at a consistent viewpoint for every single idea he presented. That man was and still is an admirer of Ayn Rand. My first exposure to Ayn Rand's ideas started with Atlas Shrugged. After reading that book, my view of the world was no longer the same. I have since read The Fountainhead, Anthem, Intro to Objectivist Epistemology, and I’m currently reading more of her non-fiction along with the audio lectures by Nathaniel Branden. I was finally enjoying this world of objectivist philosophy and was exposed to a world where people are philosophically consistent, and understand how the world works. I have graduated less than a year ago and have since been working as a Data Scientist and seeking a career where I can develop my own algorithms to solve problems because I enjoy it. Sadly, however, my current town does not have many people like my navy veteran friend, most of them pursue leftist agendas and some atheists even go as far as defending Islam when I criticize it. I still have the desire of meeting rational people which is why I joined this forum and hopefully will one day find people I enjoy having enlightening conversations with.
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