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Posts posted by JASKN

  1. Hal: Ok.

    The problem with the typical addict example is that it always posed by people who do not do drugs and simply assume that the addict must be happy about what he is doing, just because he does so. The idea is: if someone does something, I assume that he is happy doing so. Unfortunately that's not true. People are always doing things that they immediately regret, or regret the next day, or the next year. Politically, I would not question the addict's decision -- he can shoot drugs as long as it does not threaten me. However, that does not mean it is practical for him to do so.

    The bottom line is that there could be rational reasons to take a drug and there could be irrational reasons.

    Have you met a real addict who's happy with his addiction? or is this just a theoretical idea?

    My argument already assumes that the person is happy. I am not arguing whether all drug addicts are always happy or not. I used a drug addict as an example specifically because he is not usually happy, indeed is usually only happy while using the drug.

    You are correct that if someone is happy, then there is no meaningful standpoint from which to condemn him.
    Then you would be going against Objectivism as well, since Ayn Rand declared that only rational happiness is not condemnable.

    A drug user who enjoys taking coke or mdma when he goes out clubbing may lead a happy life, but this is neither an example of addiction nor hedonism.
    Actually, that is exactly an example of hedonism.

    There is no valid inference from "x is enjoyable as part of an otherwise fufilling life" to "x will make someone happy if they pursue it as a primary goal".
    What would you describe a "fulfilling life" to consist of? Misery?
  2. Proverb(/Maarten): The explanations offered by the ARI's site are not "cursory" just because it took you a long time to integrate Ayn Rand's ideas into your life. Yes, you have offered over and over again the same Objectivist jargon in an effort to explain to me why my ideas go against Objectvism, which I have stated explicitly myself. What you have not offered is why my ideas are logically incorrect. Simply stating this or that as "false" or that I have "failed to understand" does not mean that I have. Since I have logically presented my ideas and you have not logically provided a counter-argument, maybe you can understand my frustration.

    Why do you think that the undeniable fact of death is not a justification for anything? I would say such a notion is insane, since I live for X and X values because I am going to die. And you did not answer my previous question, which is: why is it so favorable to live as long as possible?

    Maarten, I did not state that the ARI automatically validates its summaries of Ayn Rand's ideas for you, I said it offers adequate summaries. I think it does.

    I don't think these posts are getting anywhere. I think you all either do not grasp what it is you are saying or you do a very poor job of explaining it in a realistic context. I guess I will say that I doubt it is in your interest at this point to respond to me, and it is not in mine, so just do not respond.

    If anyone else has some different way of saying things, and if you think you can find a way not to get pissed at someone who honestly thinks there is something wrong with Objectivism, I would really like to hear what you have to say concerning my initial inquiries, and also my inquiry as to the reason for striving to live as long as possible.

  3. DavidOdden: I used extreme examples as a way to illustrate my points, and I resent your presumptuous assertion that I am looking to validate my self-destructive way of living. If you read my first two posts, I do not see how it is possible to conclude that I am a self-destructive drug abuser. Besides that, what were you hoping to accomplish with such a post? Assuming I do shoot heroin, does that somehow change the points I have made concerning happiness and Objectivism in these posts? Do you think you are going to change my destructive behavior? Am I supposed to answer to you? Please do not offer me any more advice.

    Spano: As I said, I have read most of what Ayn Rand published, and some of what she didn't, but it is not necessary to read her volumes to understand her basic principles. The ARI's site itself provides adequate summaries.

    Felix and Proverb: Ok, so pursuing certain happiness may also cause you to sell yourself short, meaning you will die sooner. What do you think about this: Since everyone will die, why strive to live as long as possible? Please feel free to develop your thoughts as extensively as you deem fit.

  4. Felix: Your post did not say anything new. In replying to the other posts, I also replied to yours.

    softwareNerd: Why are people rational? To achieve different kinds of values, or happiness, right? Usually those values are more difficult to attain, but that doesn't really matter, does it? Not if the point of living is just to be happy.

    Proverb: I separate Objectivism and logic for the reasons I have stated in this post. There is nothing logical about happiness. Since I do not wish to live unless I am happy, my code of ethics must be based off of what makes me happy. Since any one happy thing for me is not a happy thing for all, there is thus no ethical standard.

    As I said, I am well aware of the basic Ayn Rand position on metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, and esthetics, and many sub-topics in between. I am pointing out a blatant contradiction I recently discovered. That is: there is nothing objective about the feeling of happiness, and thus life. It is a question of psychology.

  5. DavidOdden: I am not interested in engaging in Objectivist polemics. You do not take me seriously becuase I do not argue solely within the dogmatic realm of Objectivism. I am well aware of the Objectivist position on everything that I have posted, and I implied, and believe, that Objectivism has not been able to answer my inquiries.

    I am interested in a logical explanation for everything, not an Objectivist explanation. I posted on this forum because Objectivists at least claim to be reasonable and logical. If you are incapable of doing that, I am not interested in what you have to say.

  6. Maartan: My point exactly is that there is no standard by which to judge a person's happiness. Merriam-Webster online defines "subjective" as follows: "relating to or being experience or knowledge as conditioned by personal mental characteristics or states[...] peculiar to a particular individual." Happiness is precisely subjective. For a person to be judged by his virtues, there must first be standard virtues by which to judge everyone. Because there is no collective mind regulating State Of Happiness, and because happiness is the standard of virtue, ie. this makes me happy and so it is good, no matter the duration of time, there is no standard of virtue. Virtue=happiness=subjective.

    Because rationality is only one of many means to gain happiness, that is, I can enjoy a roller coaster ride completely devoid of reason, I argue that reason is not an end-all virtuous standard.

    DavidOdden: Ok, so the Objectivist definition of "living" means "flourishing," or being happy while living. That says nothing of the duration of life, which means any kind of happiness is valid. I do not see why living a "long time," which is undefinable, is better than living a "short time," likewise. Also, your argument for an aesthetic standard is not valid because not everyone holds the same musical tastes as you describe. I enjoy dissonance, for example. Also, I am not arguing no standards, I am arguing no universal standards.

    When you speak of furthering your life, it sounds like nonsense to me. Everyone dies. My point is that what you call "cheap thrills" another calls "reason for living." What gives you the right to judge for another person the extent of his happiness? Are you the judge that proclaims, "Nope. Not long enough. You're happiness isn't derived from a goal long-term enough, thus it isn't valid."?

    And everyone is dying now, not just those who don't plan their lives for the duration of time you judge to be long enough.

    softwareNerd: Objectivism, or Ayn Rand, holds that certain "thrills", or, degrees of happiness, are not valid. Of course a person must produce to survive, or at least someone somewhere must produce to maintain that person's life. There are men, however, who work during the day and shoot heroin during the night. Why is shooting up immoral? I argue that it is not if the addict decides it is not.

    Proverb: You simply re-explained what I posted: there are things which make you happy, and thus they are valid. I think that because every man dies, there is no one value better than another if the goal is to maintain happiness. Living a long life is not the ultimate goal, because there is no universal duration of life.

    I do not feel that my inquiries have been resolved.

  7. I am not all that familiar with this forum and its procedures, so if anyone with the power deems it necessary to move my post to a more appropriate section, please do.

    A brief summary of my background: I grew up religious, spent my late teens debating fundamental problems with theology, and eventually landed on Objectivism. A brief summary of my current thinking: Certain aspects of Objectivism do not seem logical, and I am considering viewpoints outside of the system.

    Previously I was under the impression that Objectivism held the reason for living to be survival, without integrating the feeling of happiness. That became a problem for me, as I saw no reason to live miserably. However, perusing of this forum has led me to believe the contrary. I now understand Objectivism to hold happiness as the reason for living, and the ability to reason, along with every other aspect of the nature of man, should be used in order to achieve the greatest amount of happiness. If that is not Objectivism's stance, it is my own.

    I have almost an insatiable interest in aesthetics, and consequently art, music, technology, and all things and achievements good and great. They make me happy. However, with aesthetics in particular, I see no objective standard with which to judge these things which make me happy, and to take it further, with which to judge happiness altogether. An incalculable number of things and combinations of things bring happiness to people, and I do not see how any can be applied to all people.

    Thus, there is no moral ground on which to condemn any man as long as he is living in a way which makes him happy. Heroin addict, neurosurgeon, priest, jet engine engineer, they are all the same as long as they enjoy what they do. If the heroin addict believes himself to be happiest shooting up until his body is so decayed he slits his own throat, reflecting on how blissful the ten years of addiction were, how can I condemn him? If I spend eighty years perfecting my skills in the field of neurology, I will decay, reflect on my fortune of happiness, and die all the same.

    Objectivism promotes a productive lifestyle, but for what purpose? How is it provable that a productive lifestyle is happier than a non-productive lifestyle? Personally, I enjoy roller coasters, exhilarating cinematic CGI, driving fast, and having sex. Non of those activities are productive, but they still make me happy. Maybe an Objective definition of "productive" would help. To produce material wealth? To produce happy emotional responses? What?

    Furthermore, I am beginning to believe that every single desire I possess is alterable. I have been interested in things I no longer find interesting, I no longer enjoy previously favorite foods, I have gained a new interest in something I previously did not care about, etc. This unavoidably leads me to the conclusion: there is absolutely no standard by which to judge a human life.

    Any and all ideas felt to be of benefit to me, I am extremely eager to read. If Objectivism is not going to be The Answer, I will make it up on my own.

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