Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Posts posted by JASKN

  1. On 1/30/2021 at 4:53 PM, Doug Morris said:

    Once the content has entered your consciousness, any dredging up or other further processing is part of your own functioning and is your own responsibility.  Your responsibility here may involve actions you have taken or failed to take in the past, in addition to what you are doing or failing to do now.

    A brain operates automatically in many or even most ways, and in fact the common understanding of idea "dredging" is that it's involuntary, which is why I used it as an example. Furthermore, some communicated ideas are intended to harm the recipient - not just lies, but perhaps bringing up past trauma, or shifting a person's focus with the intent to change his decisions. Why would these things not constitute an initiation of force?

    On 1/30/2021 at 4:53 PM, Doug Morris said:

    I have already explained how to distinguish damage from the more general concept of change.

    Do you mean these?:

    On 1/29/2021 at 5:18 PM, Doug Morris said:

    Physical damage to a person's body or property is a physical change that interferes with its functioning or adversely affects its appearance, with the person, whose body or property it is, being entitled to define "adversely".

    On 1/30/2021 at 4:36 PM, Doug Morris said:

    "Normal functioning" refers to actions which are part of and contribute to the integrative process of self-generated, self-sustaining action which is the person's life.  "Damage" is a change that interferes with the person's life.

    If so, a communicated idea can easily cause a physical brain change which interferes with its functioning, or which interferes with a person's integrative process of self-generated, self-sustaining action. So, why would ideas be excluded as an initiation of force?

  2. 16 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

    To impose germs, poison, or fire on a person, one must apply them directly to the person's body or property.  Simply having them in the same vicinity is not imposing them.

    You've qualified "impose" with "direct," yet still no explanation or standard has been established. At what point has someone been directly imposed?

    16 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

    Physical damage to a person's body or property is a physical change that interferes with its functioning or adversely affects its appearance, with the person, whose body or property it is, being entitled to define "adversely".

    Since a person with any body or property may supply the definition, "adverse" "physical damage" broadens to any/all happenings in the universe, no?

    16 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

    Processing sensory input, and carrying out further processing of the contents of one's consciousness, is part of the normal functioning of the sense organs and brain, and the resulting changes do not constitute damage or force.

    What is "normal functioning"? By what standard do I differentiate "normal" from "damaged" (assuming the above "adverse physical damage" definition is out)?

    16 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

    Once you have a content of consciousness, any further processing on your part is your responsibility and does not constitute force or physical damage.  In particular, once a good, bad, or neutral smell, sight, sound, taste, or touch becomes a content of your consciousness, any further processing is your responsibility.

    This is simply begging the question. Another person physically changed my brain by communicating an idea to me, and the resulting "content of consciousness" was automatic and not by my choice. So, why was the spreading of the idea not an initiation of force?

  3. 17 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

    The mere existence of germs, poison, fire, etc. does not constitute physical force on anyone's part.  Imposing them on another is physical force.

    Spreading germs can easily do physical damage to a person's body.  Spreading ideas does not do physical damage.  If the ideas play a role in a person's choice to do physical damage, that is the responsibility of the person taking the physical action.


    A necessary condition for something to be physical force is that it do physical harm of some kind.

    What is "imposing"? Existing on the same planet, all happenings could be argued to be "imposing" on all beings. What is "physical damage"/"physical force"? Ideas physically alter a brain - why is that not "damage" or "force"? I may not have asked for an idea, yet my brain processed it and changed nonetheless.

    17 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

    If I put on too much cologne without realizing it, and I have legitimate reason to come into your residence or office, but in doing so I unwittingly subject you and/or others to an unreasonable stench of cologne, I have committed an unwitting act of physical force.  If it does not cause an allergic reaction, it is less serious than subjecting you and/or others to germs.

    If I unwittingly spread peanut molecules, this only becomes physical force if it does some kind of physical harm. 


    On 1/27/2021 at 3:33 PM, Doug Morris said:

    To count as physical force, it must to some extent do physical harm, such as physically damaging their body or property, or physically usurping control over their body or property.

    How "serious" does the physical force need to be before it becomes "harm"/"damage"? A bad smell may give me a headache, or it may ruin my day by drudging up some childhood trauma. Who should be held liable for the time I waste realigning my attitude so that I can function properly again?


    17 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

    Or physically violating their privacy.

    Why? What is "privacy", what violates privacy, and why is that an initiation of physical force?

  4. 15 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

    The question still is when does an idea become a threat? An intentional fraudulent "idea" from a trusted source forces a man to act against his own judgement. It's force but not physical.


    So, the willful spread of fraudulent ideas is an initiation of force? Does that mean that the accidental spread of germs is not an initiation of force?

  5. 17 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

    Spreading germs is physical aggression, whereas spreading ideas is not.

    I am using the phrase "physical aggression" as a shorthand for the initiation of physical force.

    Having a physical effect on someone is not enough for an action to count as physical force against them.  To count as physical force, it must to some extent do physical harm, such as physically damaging their body or property, or physically usurping control over their body or property.


    15 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

    I should make clear that creating s danger of physical harm, or threatening or inciting it, can rise to the level of physical force.

    You emphasized "spreading," why? What is it about spreading germs that is aggressive, vs. spreading ideas that is not? Why substitute "aggression" for "force"? How is spreading germs aggression/force but spreading ideas is not? What is the standard of the "effect" of not-physical harm vs. the "force" of physical harm? Couldn't the spread of bad ideas be argued to be "physically damaging" to a person's body, even manipulating enough to be argued as control over their body? Couldn't the spread of bad ideas easily be argued to be a threat or incitement, especially those ideas shared with the intent to convince others to act in a way that they had never intended to act themselves?

  6. 5 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

    For the purpose of the issue we're discussing here, the key difference is that spreading germs is physical aggression and spreading ideas is definitely not.  It is also true that spreading ideas is badly needed and spreading germs is better avoided.

    Does a communicated idea not physically alter the brain of the recipient? 

  7. 8 hours ago, merjet said:

    Oh, my. So profound! Do you believe I would wear a catcher's mask to avoid infection by a virus? 

    That isn't the only interpretation of this meme.

    Judging by your derision, you were expecting more than memes from those arguing against masks. But why? Maskers are viewed as part of an international, irrational medical theater movement, abetting the tidal wave of 2020-style stripping of basic human rights. And then you offer derision in response - so why should you receive more than memes?

  8. 2 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

    Oh, horrid. Much worse than the riots (sorry - "peaceful protests") across the land for months in support of BLM and stoked by Antifa!

    Yes, I've already found via a single Google search an example of a Democrat politician making completely opposite statements in May about BLM, vs. today about these hillbillies. I'd bet you could find an example of the same from every single public figure.

  9. Harry Binswanger says homosexuality is a psychological issue, then when pushed says he doesn't know enough about psychology and can't give a definitive reason why. It's clear to me that anyone who finds homosexuality disgusting (especially more disgusting for one sex than another) is the person with the psychological issue, clearly traced to certain cultural upbringings. The masculinity/femininity/psychology/heroicism "debate" is rationalized from behavioral stereotypes. In reality, sexual arousal is involuntary at all stages of human life, practically speaking and until future discoveries about the human brain. Behavioral traits do seem to be inherently linked to sexuality, though not universally, and more diversely than assumed prior to the last 10-20 years.

  10. 1 hour ago, Doug Morris said:

    Yesterday I was in a store and had to briefly raise my mask, without completely removing it, in order to blow my nose.  Nobody gave me a hard time about this, nor should they have.  Maybe this observation will help with a point that came up earlier in this thread.

    Sounds to me like you weren't doing your part for that brief moment, and I'm personally worried about all of the grandmothers of all of the poor souls who were within your visual vicinity. ;)

  11. 5 hours ago, merjet said:

    Taiwan has the best success story. The Taiwanese people are more aware of China, its government, its people, and earlier pandemics than any other country's people are. In my opinion, the Taiwanese people acted in concert akin to a well-informed group of people aware of themselves and others. They knew what they needed to do and acted accordingly.

    What did Taiwan know to do, and how have they acted differently? 

    Corona viruses do not spread as easily in warmer temperatures. Taiwan's "winter" occurs December-February and doesn't get much cooler than 45º F, meaning they have yet to experience their bad season with COVID19.

    Cases are still only those confirmed, not actual, and reported deaths are dubious at best. A more accurate COVID19 death rate guess would compare all reported deaths for all causes over years and see if there's anything noticeable. There was no spike in overall deaths for all causes with any country comparison I've seen so far, and many countries experienced fewer overall deaths this year.


  12. This mask (etc...) debacle has ironically made me friendlier to the general populace. I wear a mask begrudgingly only as required by businesses, but I find myself being nicer and smiling genuinely more to people, whether they're wearing the muzzles themselves or not. I think friendliness is very important right now. However, I have no tolerance or sympathy for tattlers or do-gooders, and if they stop me they get a sharp dismissive reply.

  13. On 10/17/2020 at 11:06 AM, Easy Truth said:

    As far as ignoring goes, I can't simply ignore something Peikoff or Brooks said. I have to examine what I thought I didn't have to examine.

    That's what is distressing to me.

    Why can't you ignore it? What would happen if you'd never heard of either men?

  14. On 10/17/2020 at 12:12 PM, DavidOdden said:

    Objectivists have a special position in my hierarchy of values, because of our shared values. The problem is that the facts and logic lead to just one conclusion, and clearly you must agree with me, so how can we tolerate someone in our own ranks who does not agree with us? Reason is a precise tool – it’s is man’s proper tool for survival – so reason can’t be at fault. Isn’t it therefore reasonable to think that the problem is that the other guy has abandoned reason? An Objectivist abandoning reason is a serious betrayal. Of course one has a strong negative emotional response to betrayal of fundamental principles.


    The main effect of rifts is that it increases the noise to signal ratio, so that all you can hear is denunciations based on foundations, rather than reasons.

    I would add that it's a giant waste of everyone's time. It's also embarrassing, ironic, and sad for a group of people supposedly dedicated to reason to instead engage in emotionalist nitpicking, worse still to justify their behavior in the name of others' supposed reason violations. I wonder how many Objectivists have actually "betrayed" reason, and what that even looked like. That's some serious Toohey-level shit I doubt most people are even capable of doing, and shouldn't the response then be a fierce focus on the faulty reasoning, not the person spouting the nonsense?

    More likely, people are just in error, or not in error and simply arrive at different conclusions. Big surprise, Objectivists are people too, fallible. Objectivists are not equal - knowledge level and integrations are all over the place from person to person. One could almost argue that it takes decades of adult living for most people to gain the necessary experience to truly understand Objectivist principles, and even then, each person has only a singular life perspective and can still make errors even with the most sincere dedication to reason.

    As far as I can tell, there are two types of people who associate with Objectivism:

    1. Those primarily focused on emotionalism, who use Rand's philosophy as a righteous, pure justification

    2. Those primarily interested in truth and reason

    Oddly, I don't notice a lot of Objectivists primarily interested in independence.



  15. 16 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

    I just wonder if the purges are going to start again at the Ayn Rand institute.

    I guess time will tell.

    Although the Branden thing was a major hit. Objectivists had to take sides etc..

    Hopefully you are right about this. It certainly is the philosophy that has effected me the most and I support, but times like these requires some adaptation that I wish was not required.

    Not to derail this topic, but what actual affect does any Objectivist rift have on your life? Or on the effectiveness of Objectivism as a philosophy? How would any negative outcome from the petty bickering between Objectivists compare to China's censoring of the internet, or Russia's disappearing of political independents, or the American welfare state?

    As far as I have seen, bickering between Objectivists is no different from regular old bickering - it only hurts those involved, it helps no one, and it's best to just ignore it completely. There's nothing special about "philosophic" bickering that doesn't make asses out of its participants.

  16. It sounds like you're really asking about how to keep a good headspace day to day. Good luck! I've had little success myself, but maybe this exercise of articulating my own perspectives will help...

    Short term, I expect economic contraction, though not severe nor acute. Any major threat to our current economic structure – by, say, a large business failure or a mass change in economic activity by many individuals – will be countered by government economic fuckery. Thus, no one will wind up feeling any major hurt one way or another, and so everyone will more or less continue as-is, with the current jobs setup, longish-term business plans, personal activities, and life planning (albeit vague and short term). Also, the entire world participated in this lunacy, so no single country will likely have any kind of new advantage over any other country, and all will continue more or less as had been.

    Long term, I will be changing my plans, though it's not yet clear in what ways. In 5 years, where will the world economies have settled, and will my professional expectations/plans/goals need to be adjusted? How will people generally reflect back on this series of events, and will that reflection make clear to me what kinds of opportunities I should expect from humanity during my ~40 remaining years of life? In that vein, instead of greater prevalence of government mandates and a populace willing to comply at every turn, will other trends actually prove to garner more attention from people, such as the mass unwillingness to think to the point of desiring to "cancel" those who do? The former would say worse about humanity than I'd thought before 2020, and the latter would say better. If the latter, will the response happen in time for the remaining culture of older, more civilized people to care to do anything about it? Will the tiny portion of the younger populace who care about ideas gain a foothold in civilization? Based on most of the younger generations' response to 2020, it seems humanity will inevitably continue to degenerate... Or, is it actually that youth, and humanity broadly, are short-term thinkers, always led only by those extremely rare and courageous individuals, and right now the short-term thinking is just amplified by a 24/7 internet world stage? Does culture matter that much in the end, or just very specific ideas, only needing to be held loosely by most people?

  17. Anecdotally, over time I find myself more flabbergasted than mad at majorly flawed beliefs, and just annoyed at the prospect of explaining my basic held premises again.

    People do change their minds, and people mess up. I don't have patience for longtime True Believers, but in general I wouldn't think twice about being friends with someone who has ideas counter to my own, as long as we held some shared values.

  • Create New...