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    Umass Amherst

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  1. Actions arent inherently bad, only the reasons. Drinking alcohol is bad if your reason is to dull your senses. Drinking alcohol is good if it accentuates a good mood and is in the spirit of celebration.
  2. Its not a matter of whether it is irrational to believe in a god, but why she cant find strength, security, comfort or what as a result of her own ability to live. Confidence is derived from ones efficacy in dealing with reality. They are trying to derive it from nothing at all.
  3. Part of the problem is that kids learn from an early age that reason and logic are not effective means to deal with most people. This is especially true of parents who selectively listen to reason. The extent of the parents' philosophical bankrupcy is the exent to which the children can be crippled. When children are forced to opperate irrationally, their mind becomes polluted, incapable of doing or even desiring productive work. Or even productive play. As a youngster, my parents were fairly reasonable, so I turned out all right. I spent the vast majority of my childhood doing creative things. Mainly playing with legos/knex, painting, drawing, playing piano. I was taught that using your mind is good and effective and right, not even directly, but by watching reason in action.
  4. Your own lack of percetion is not proof of something's non-existence The universe acts in a certain, concrete way. Everything is "relative" but the nature of its relativity is concrete and consistent. Hell, his first postulate of special relativity is that physics is the same in all frames of reference. They should be the ones reading up on Einstein.
  5. I think the ammount reason played in the culture's survival is directly related to how prevalent reason was in their culture. If a society had to develope conplex social structures and products for mere survival in the winter, there was more motivation for a society to center around reason. If you raise a child in an environment with barely anything for his conscious to latch onto spare very simple surroundings, he wont rationally develope as much as a child raised around lots of appropriate books, legos, or even the possibility of physical activity in the form of sports and games. The motivation must present itself in order for a being to grow. Organisms dont evolve on a whim, they evolve because they must.
  6. I know the struggle that people experience when dealing with someone who isnt open to reason. It seems wrong to just accept that they are unreasonable. I want to understand exactly what they are doing, and act accordingly, even if it is ignoring them. To help this along, use the best of your knowledge to look at the full meaning of what they are saying. It is easy to help them disguise the nature of what they say. Question everything, and very importantly: ask them to define their terms. Not just a simple dictionary definition, but a few examples illustrating the term. The reason for this is terms like purpose, reason, rights and others are very complicated and layered concepts (though untimately definable down to a T) that should be very well understood before any sort of debate ensues.
  7. If a bully walked up to you and accused you of not having any legs, then started to laugh histerically, you would probably shrug it off as nonsense. The ammount of truth in an insult, and your attitude toward that truth affects your reaction. If you are "insulted" for a quality that you are proud of (selfishness, for example) again, you shrug it off contemptuously. When you have a character empty of elements you feel less than proud of, you are immune to any insult.
  8. An Atlas Shrugged DVD series? Can you say NetFlicks? But, I can totally see Brad Pitt as Galt, or Ragnar. They need a resonatingly confident and masculine appearance, which Pitt could handle. Bale would pull this of too.
  9. Id check out how those fossils hold up to carbon dating. And as for the evolution of the mind, a thing can only evolve if the fittest survive. We live in a society where its quite the opposite, most everyone survives and can proliferate.
  10. This is why I feel guilty getting any kind of job. Id want nothing more to produce and create. And would be damn good at it, too. In Atlas Shrugged, they disapeared to the valley and abandoned the other world, and let it burn itself out, solving the problem. Rand's solution would have worked around the time she wrote the book. It couldnt now. Essentially we are trapped. Black markets or underground societies couldnt last long, with the methods of survelance and information transfer in use today. There are also too many half-ways, people who produce a lot but couldnt leave the world behind, or (allow themselves to) understand why they should.
  11. I cant stand it. I havent, and I wont. I want my city back! (bosstones song) Youll find that the better you become, the more they will hate you. They see you, and it shows them what they gave up on, what they decided not to become. Not in the sense of careers or specific goals, but in terms of standards. They dont want to win, they want you to lose.
  12. The problem youre having is "why dont they get it too?" or "It makes sense, why cant I make them understand?" Most people throw themselves at anyone who tells them that they are ok, that the things they know to be wrong about themselves are all right. The loneliness is because most people have given up, and theyll die before they submit to reason. This means that they will resort to any form of nihilistic response in order to get you to lose. They dont want to win; they want you to lose. As Ayn Rand puts it: "those who deny reason cannot be conquered by it." When someone acts like this, their goal isnt to prove a fact, but to evade one. You can see this occuring when you convict a child of doing soemthing they are guilty of; they arent very good at hiding it. Not yet. Its easy to see intuitively what they are hiding. The reason for this is that you are not guilty of it, or approving of the action within yourself. You will find that the more you improve your thinking and character, the more flaws you see clearly in others. As to your friends, and what you should do: dont give in. If you want to know what happens when you do, look at what they are. When someone doesnt accept something that you know makes perfect sense, no matter how clearly you articulate your point, they dont want to get better. "Well thats just the way I am" or "Thats just my opinion" are common subjectivist rationales youll hear. Watch what happens when you stop arguing, and ignore them. It will start to sound like begging. As long as you set truth and reason as your standard, and stop at nothing to be right, you arent one of them.
  13. This sounds remarkably like the first 18 years of my life, right down to taking a year off after a crappy first semester. I was confused and depressed all of the time, and other people were the object of my motivation. Obviously I was miserable as well. Without a suitable understanding of the nature of reality and of the mind, you are basically doomed to being on autopilot. For some people who were raised well or who effectively raised themselves, this doesnt matter. Thinking is a skill, which is to say that it must be learned. Its also nessesary for living, and living happily. Trying to teach yourself to think is like a bird teaching itself to fly, when it needs flight to stay alive long enough to learn. When you give up on learning, when you forgo thinking, when you accept defeat when it is you whove won by right, then youve put a knot in your brain. For most people, this happens a whole lot when they are younger. Some people break under a small ammount of pressure, others take more. These desisions and doubts dont fix themselves, they become very real and very stubborn elements of your character. The people around you? They have them too. There is a difference between you and them, though. You want a way out, they dont. As for seeing yourself in the evil characters, question what makes them evil. What exactly are they doing? Are they naming facts, or avoiding them? Are they trying to break someone? Life doesnt have to be like Peter Keatings, or any of the other characters. The reality is that it takes a lot of work to get yourself whole again. Your mind is a road map right now, but several of the cities are swaped, some dont exist. Locally the roads are fine, but any long distance travel between concepts gets you terribly lost. Zoom out, check out the big picture. Dont try to fix everything at once, you need to set up a system of rules with yourself and comb through your mind. When trying to change yourself, youll often find that a whole bunch of other things need to change as well, as in a ripple effect. There are going to be a lot of things that youll have to give up, things that you never really had to start with. If you want to get physically fit, you will need to make a ton of changes to your life style, eating habits, sleep schedual, among other things. If you want to feel serene in a croud of 10000 you need to be ruthlessly rational with the people in your life, including yourself. You cant have your cake and eat it too; you cant be awesome at life without doing the very things that make your character so strong. A is A. Think about the things that you love to see or do. Anything that arouses any kind of enjoyment, think about memories that make you happy, and analyze their cause. Make it your goal, if you dont do it automatically. Become what you love. Dont make it a duty to change, do it because it makes sense to do. Odds are your approach to the problem is wrong, which is why it is frustrating and seemingly impossible. Check your premises. Take solice in the fact that contradictions dont exist, and they dont have to in your mind.
  14. That will only work when he understands why he should feel indifferent, if he should.
  15. Except the human race, which has exceded at this in the past, it seems. Im sure several of the first bacteria werent much better at this, but at least our existence is volitional.
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