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    I enjoy reading, thinking, writing, debates, long walks, and long conversations with intelligent people.

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    I'm a twin, and I'm extremely shy. Avoidant Personality Disorder sounds exactly like me, if you want to know what I mean by that. I'm a jeans-and-black-t-shirt kind of gal. I don't wear make-up. My twin sister is my best friend. I stay up too late most of the time. Coffee/tea is a must. I'm a good listener. I have a social quota, that once filled, causes me to flee into isolation. I'm clumsy. I'm short. I always wear my hair down. And... I love life.

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  1. Here in Canada we have Paul McKeever, an Objectivist, and the leader of the Freedom Party.
  2. I reply, finally: Hmm, but we are all technically "experiencing the world first hand" - are we not? Even when you're still in highschool, you're just experiencing that particular experience within this world. It's not as if highschool is one world, and college is another. I'm sure it changes your life and your daily routine if you go from highschool, straight into working full-time. But that just adds the "working full-time" experience to the list. It's possible that one person could be rich enough to not have to work, and they decide to basically live infront of the television for 2 or 3 years... Another person could start working, carelessly, without a new thought in their head... perhaps they also save some money and travel, aswell - yet they spend the time lazing around on beaches, or looking at artwork which they don't try to understand or have an opinion about, just mimicking previous reactions. Now let's say the first person watches "educational television": biographies, history, science, math, and some carpentry/cooking/philosophy videos... it's possible that the television-watching person could learn more, and be more prepared - or have more "wisdom" - then the other person. It depends on how you take things. You can take them in, you can think about them - or you can not take them in any way at all save noticing and then forgetting at the first convenience... That's good, actually. I don't expect to suddenly be treated as "an adult" instead of "a teenager" the moment I turn 18 (in 4 days now )... rather, I can point out that I'm legally recognized as "an adult". And I'm hoping that means something! But, *sigh*... it probably doesn't... even if it should considering their reasoning. Oh well. I think if they've made up their mind that I'm too young, meaning I can't possibly be right (unless I agree with them, of course. Heh. ), then I have pretty much no chance in convincing them otherwise. Now I wonder why I'd bother wasting my time trying to have a discussion with them, if they don't even take me seriously... But I'm glad that is not how it works, literally. If I was to be ignored the day before I turn 18, and then listened to the next day... that would be so wrong. Perhaps my strong feeling of injustice comes from my seeing many adults well over 40 just living out the rest of their days, as they had lived the previous 40 years - aimlessly, without purpose, without care. And then I'm to be told by them that they understand more than I about life, who am I to judge them?, because I don't know how hard life can be and they do. I take myself very seriously - so when I'm not taken seriously, it gets to me. Then I am to see the aforementioned type of people being treated with respect, with a seriousness that I could never command, because they have over fourty years of life experience. I've tried to convince myself that they're being treated that way for another reason - not just age - but if they are, I certainly can't see it. Yes, my grandparents are very old-fashioned. They feel they know best - no ifs, ands, or buts. My parents are... uhh, crazy? To put it nicely. I can see how both are very very stuck in their ways. I think if it was anyone else, I would give up this quite futile effort - but I do care about them (well, almost all of my family), and I think if I steadily hold my position, they've got to accept it eventually! Maybe before I'm 28... but I don't think I can stop trying with them . I'm just too stubborn for that... You're right, thank you. I've recently had a debate with my friend's sister, who is a vegan/environmentalist/PETA member. It felt like banging my head against a wall, really. She told me that "believing" that humans were superior to "non-human animals" was just my "religion" . My friend is a few years younger then her, and fortunately more reachable. I think it makes a lot of sense that it would be harder to let go of your ideas - even if they're wrong - the longer you've held them as your own. They would become part of you, I think, in some way. Even though I would toss out any conclusions the moment I found them to be false, it seems most people hold onto them long after that. I'm not naive enough to think that I could change my grandparent's (or even my parent's) views. But I simply think that with a lot of effort, I can make them accept that mine aren't changing. This isn't that important, of course, as long as I know that. But I don't like to be the target of anyone's crusade. I'll do my best ! Hmm, I've been exposed to the first one somewhat. But it's slowly getting easier to deal with. As for the second one - that sounds truly awful, if life would pass you by like that... in that haze of obligations. No doubt that would sap the life right out of you. All of those things are the unimportant things, though. They surely shouldn't be "marking the march of time" in any significant way, or be considered as an important event in your life. Maybe I'm just a young, naive, teenage optimistic , but I think it would go more like this: It's payday - the earnings of my productive effort for the week, at the job I've chosen willingly, to be spent in whichever way I see as enhancing my life the most, rent's due - it feels good to have a place to call "mine" in this world, and it's good to know I have it for another month... bills are due (not very important), kids are out of school - they're growing up so fast... the world is theirs for the taking, every day I have complete control of what I do or don't do, I can finally afford what I've been saving for - what I've earned, spending the weekend with my loved ones, having debates/discussions, hanging out with friends (even if we don't have a lot of time for that) - friends whom I can admire and be myself with, reading/posting on OO.net, reading AS for the 56th time , waking up to a new day, going to sleep at the end of one. The things you listed should be no more important in one's life than that of glancing at the clock to note the time. It is not those things that you will remember if you reflect on the past day, or the past week, or the past year. I suspect you would think instead, of: a good conversation, a significant moment, a goal reached, goals yet to be reached, a tiny detail which broke the "daily routine", and what you love most in your life. If I'm wrong though, and you feel the need to do your job and kill off my enthusiasm... well, first of all, good luck. Secondly, I don't think it could be true, not if you love your life. Thirdly, the "real world" works exactly the same as it always has - regardless of age. It exists, and will continue to do so, but it can't be experienced in the exact same way. Usually people of the same age would be experiencing it in the same way, generally. Atleast they are likely to have more in common, but there are exceptions. If being in the world for a longer time means I will get used to it and therefore appreciate it less somehow, I think you're wrong, though.
  3. hehe I've tried pointing out that what they're doing is ad hominem... but it suddenly feels like I would be "out of place" to try and continue the discussion. Mostly, I'm at a loss, so I just end up looking around confused at how anyone could consider the discussion to be "over". It was odd - this happened with my grandparents last week, and they said: "Don't worry, we still love you no matter what you think." Needless to say, I was quite speechless... Let's call that "Plan B"
  4. I'm 17 years old . I'll be 18 in... 24 more days, 1 hour, 6 minutes, and 8 seconds... hehehe (and so will my twin sister). I'm looking forward to that, if you couldn't already tell . I'm hoping that once I turn 18, people will stop discounting my views using ad hominem - just because I'm 17, doesn't mean I can't be rational, hmph! In my opinion, I consider myself to be more mature and to have a much firmer grasp of my own views/conclusions then most of those that I've met that exceed me by many years. In my experience, no matter how strongly you defend your convictions when you're young, they are considered to be unequal to those made by someone who is more advanced in years. I've even had older family members laugh in my face when trying to have a rational discussion, and even then they didn't feel the need to tell me directly, just: "Isn't that funny? She thinks she can know about that at such a young age! hahaha!" I guess this is due to the fact that most teenagers don't have a true sense of self yet, or because they see teenagers as being influenced by the smallest thing... changing their mind with each passing "phase" or something. I guess I just don't understand how this can still happen if the young person in question provides sufficient evidence and reasons for everything they say, and conveys an understanding of the subject that surpasses most of those who are of similar age. It makes me so mad - after 5 minutes of defending myself, and pointing out the errors within the other person's statements, with reasons - to recieve a smile, and to be told: "Well, you're still young. Your ideas will change when you get older, I'm sure." It seems this is considered a valid argument that simply stops the discussion then and there, and no protests of "... but my age has nothing to do with what I've said. Everything still stands, regardless of how old I am," will change that. I was just curious if anyone has any suggestions on how to deal with this? (other then slamming my door and playing loud, screamy music, and dying my hair purple as a rebellious statement )I'm sure you can see how I wouldn't appreciate being told that I'll outgrow Objectivism, and that it's a phase of some sort. Just to clarify - I do realize that you're more likely to have a greater understanding of everything the older you are, simply because you have had more time to study, learn (from mistakes and otherwise), and experience things first hand. But obviously it's quite possible for those of a younger age to be more knowledgeable (or as knowledgeable), as a person who is older in one or more (or all) areas. I hope I'm still sticking to the topic here , after all - I'm curious as to how someone could think a person could "outgrow" Objectivism... I strongly doubt that could happen to me, even if I am at the "questionable" age of 17 . Also, do you think age has a lot of impact on anything of importance, really? (Aside from children/youth who are unable to make rational decisions, contracts, ect..) For instance: do you think in general, that teenagers can determine what is "best" for themselves? Or that a 14 year old couldn't be a responsible driver, or live on their own? What if the teenager in question was an Objectivist - would that change anything, because they are using a process of reason the same as an Objectivist of any age? I find this quite interesting. Especially all those scientific studies about how you reach certain mental capabilities around certain stages of growth... but anyways, I've written more than enough already... I've got to learn how to write a short post one day...
  5. Heh, I didn't realize my topic was merged with this one. Took me until now to get to the 6th page with all the other threads out there to read. Well anyways, I've been thinking about this subject more and more lately. Now that I've finished reading this entire thread I've seen it mentioned that Ayn Rand possibly did know of the health risks, contrary to what several people told me. That'll teach me for not varifying this fact for myself. I do realize that it's also possible she managed to somehow miss all the new evidence of health risks, or that she did not take that "evidence" seriously. But nowadays no one can claim to be "unsure" that there are indeed health risks - the evidence is all there if you choose to look. My growing interest in this subject came with a presentation I had to do about the effects of smoking - up until then, despite all of the media attention, I didn't think smoking was that bad for you, and those around you. Then I researched about smoking while exposed to asbestos, because my dad works around it all the time as an insulator. I found out that it increases chances to get lung cancer 50 to 90 times more then a non-asbestos worker, non-smoker. As for someone who just works around asbestos and doesn't smoke - their increased chances of getting lung cancer is only 5 times greater then a non-asbestos worker, non-smoker. What does that tell you about the connection to smoking and the risks of getting seriously life-threatening or life-detrimental diseases? But by all means don't take my word for it, the facts are there. Anyways, my increased awareness about the health risks due to smoking caused me to ask myself "Why would a person with full knowledge of the health risks continue smoking?". I got the answer, as did many others on this thread that the benefits can outweigh negative effects of smoking. I thought this was a valid argument - until I thought about it some more. I thought that if a person could value the pleasure they get from smoking more than the negative effects, then by all means that was moral. But then I thought about these so-called "good points" of smoking vs. the "bad points". I'm not saying you should never do anything bad for you or potentially risky - as long as the good points can outweigh the bad, with life as your standard, and logic as your means to come to your conclusion. For those on this thread who have come to the conclusion that the Pros can outweigh the Cons, I'd like to show you this Pro/Con list that so far I have come up with, so you can make no mistake about it. Pros: 1.Could possibly enhance clarity of thinking. (I strongly doubt this, in fact I searched for any article related to this claim and could find none. I admit I didn't search that hard, but even if one did prove this point, there are other ways to enhance clarity of thinking: energy drinks, Ginkgo, eating healthy, ect.) 2. Calms nerves or relaxes. However, nerves and increased stress is added for a smoker (note this also as a Con point): the need to get that nicotine fix, and the effects a smoker endures from going without it. Also, there are other more effective, and non-harmful and non-life-threatening ways to achieve calming nerves and relaxing such as: yoga, meditation, exercise, reading, games, talking to someone, sleeping... ect. 3. The whole "thinking and having a cigarette as a burning point the only of expression" thing - or stated in different terms, that it's "proper" to hold it in one's hand while in deep thought because it's reflecting what's going on inside one's mind. Please, if THIS is considered a valid reason then I can't believe how you could fool yourself with this nonsense, or that anyone can believe it. 4. Pleasure. I've never tried smoking so I can't varify if it's true or not - that you get pleasure from it. Some smokers say yes, some say no. Regardless if it IS true - just like I pointed out in point 2 - there are other ways to get pleasure. One's that aren't harmful, with almost no risk, and a give you a more intense feeling of pleasure. Exercise, working on a job you love to do, spending time with a loved one, chocolate (in moderation), sex, reaching a goal, self-improvement, awards, solving a problem, and even life itself should give you pleasure. Repeat this thought in your mind: "I am alive, I have free will, I may choose how to live my life, I can think, I can experience intense forms of emotion, and I am a human being." If you don't recieve any pleasure from this then don't bother claiming to be an Objectivist or a tolerable human being. If you don't recieve enough pleasure from the list I just gave then don't bother claiming you do when smoking. The pleasure you may get from smoking does not outweigh the chances of a decreased length or enjoyment of life. 5. *Note: The following sentence, if read outloud, would contain extreme amounts of sarcasm.* It makes you look cool, all your friends are doing it, it could help with weight-loss (food cravings are replaced with nicotine cravings! Ingenious!), so many people do it so it can't be bad for you, there's a chance if you smoke your entire life that you will be unharmed and live just as long as if you didn't smoke, Ayn Rand smoked and she is smart, and there are worse things you could do. I say: ridiculous. Don't pretend you are rationally weighing cost vs. benefit for any of those reasons, which are as valid as points 1 through 4! If you would trade one second of your life or one health problem caused by this disgusting, needless, irrational habit, just so that you may smoke, then I do not and will never see how you hold life as your highest value. Cons: 1. Health problems caused by smoking, or cause an increased chance of getting are: abdominal aortic aneurysm, acute myeloid leukemia, cataracts, pneumonia, asthma, atherosclerosis, acute bronchitis, allergies, hypertension, chronic bronchitis, rhinitis, heart disease, emphysema, sinusitis, coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease, mouth cancer, myocardial infarction, tongue cancer, peptic ulcers, stroke, laryngeal cancer, varicose veins, polycythemia, esophageal cancer, hiatal hernia, bladder cancer, osteoporosis, increased infant mortality, kidney cancer, periodontal disease, alzheimer’s disease, senility, impotence, heartburn, cold hands and feet, heart disease, stroke, aneurysms, high blood pressure, cardiovascular illnesses, adult acute leukemia, adult chronic leukemia, cervical cancer, esophagus cancer, laryngeal cancer, lung cancer, kidney cancer, oropharyngeal cancer, pancreas cancer, stomach cancer. And these are not all of the health problems by far, just a few so you who say "I value smoking more then the chance of getting one of the diseases caused by smoking," can pick any one on this list such as "a stroke", "cancer", "heart disease", and then alter that statement you are making by including that. See your statement for what it really is: "I value smoking more then the chance of getting a stroke/cancer/heart disease." I'm sure that if you got one of those diseases you would gladly take back your smoking for your health. Unfortunately, by then, it's too late. You say that you cannot be certain you will get such diseases. If that is a valid point for you, then the following point is also valid: you cannot be certain you won't get such diseases. 2. Decreased amount of places you can go: you won't be able to go to those non-smoking restaurants (if you can't not smoke a whole hour and a half), and you'll have to leave your house if you don't want to smoke around others (unless you live alone). I'm sure those who smoke/have smoked can think of many other situations where smoking is not welcome or tolerated. 3. Second-hand smoke. Face the fact that your second-hand smoke could be killing other people. Then tell me how moral you are. Face the fact that your second-hand smoke could be the cause of serious health problems for those you supposedly love and care about, and those who chose not to smoke. Then tell me how moral you are. I'll also throw in the point that second-hand smoke is not good for the environment. You can say that we already have pollution, but that is not justification by any means to add to it. You do not say "I have already failed one test, I may aswell skip studying for the next one." (Atleast I hope you don't ). 4. "Part-time smokers", this point is for you. If you claim to smoke only rarely, or a "few" - don't think for a minute that because you smoke less than a "full-time smoker" that you can will get away without any negative effects for sure. You, who have tried smoking, have the potential to become addicted to it. Those who choose never to try it, are never going to become addicted to it. And don't forget how much easier it is for a part-time smoker to become a full-time smoker: you've already justified it to yourself. Do you think that by not "going to extremes" that you are still moral? There are two sides to this fence: smoking or non-smoking. You still can get health issues the same as any full-time smoker (although you have a smaller chance), and if you do, don't bother resenting that very very lucky full-time smoker who is better off health-wise, even though their "risk" was greater : you deserve exactly what you got by valuing your cigarettes more then your health and your quality/length of life. 5. The glaringly obvious effects of smoking: bad breath, stained teeth, wrinkled skin, yellowed fingernails, smoke smell. Two words (and rightfully so): disgusting habit. 6. Finding that "special someone" is going to be way more difficult. Who considers smoking a value? Anyone? I am positive that someone who dislikes smoking would rather be with a non-smoker. Why give a someone cause to add a negative point on your Pro/Con list? You could be giving up the chance to be with someone who you could love like no other, and them you, all because they could be with a non-smoker, which is more pleasant for them. 7. It is your right to live your life as you please (by all means, I agree). But don't start thinking that I put this point on the wrong side - I didn't. It is your right to subject yourself to slow suicide, aswell as others around you when they can't do anything about it (children, pets, family), but if you REALIZE this: that what you are doing IS slow suicide, and you say "it's my right" then you're admitting what you are doing to yourself. And anyone who holds life as their highest value would and SHOULD consider smoking IMMORAL. I agree that you have the right to kill yourself: go ahead, if you so choose - I can't stop you - and I don't have the right to. But please note that you are, in fact, choosing *possible* death/*possible* harm to yourself. For no good reason. 8. Money... the root of all good. (If you get it by moral, rational means and by your own effort.) And this is what you spend it on? All that money that could have gone towards something that would make you happier. And don't forget insurance rates go higher if you're a smoker. *sigh* Also, don't forget the money you may have to spend on doctors and medication if you do get a health problem. Okay, there you are. That's all the Pros and Cons I could think of, but there could be some more that I missed. I would just like to state for the record: that I am no doctor, I'm not a smoker, I'm not your mother , I'm not your mind, I'm not telling you what you should think (I'm telling you what I think), I'm not an extensively knowledgable Objectivist, and I can't even claim to have "life experience" - I'm seventeen years old. By all means discount my conclusions or viewpoints if you don't think them valid. And please feel free to agree with me: for the aim of my posting this very, very long post is in hopes that I may point out some new things or provide some deeper insight to an already mentioned point, so that I may convince an undecided person or a decidedly "for smoking" person that it is, in fact, immoral. It is conceivable that I have misunderstood some objectivist points, for I thought Objectivists could rarely (if ever) disagree on such issues as this. I admit I'm very concerned with this issue for the reasons I've already stated, and I honestly hope that a definitive side is chosen for the Right and the Moral. If someone could discredit all the points I've made and it could be decided that smoking is moral, then atleast it could be said that we're capable of making a decision. If those who supposedly hold the same values cannot agree on right and wrong, then how do you expect those with different values to agree? As my final statement I would just like to say: In regards to smoking, the "good points" can never outweigh the "bad points". Ending post now.
  6. wow - such a nice compliment ! Maybe I should become a photographer . A compliment and my life's direction given to me in a single sentence! Consider me amazed !
  7. I'm sorry, I can't help it... ... ... ... ... ! BTW I forgot about this picture! Sure, Amanda has her braclet stuck in my hair , and we really look different in this one - but it's well-lit. (If you can't tell I'm on the left, Amanda's on the right)
  8. Yeah, I'd have to say it's the lighting factor. It's a shame I don't have a better, more well-lit picture of her. In pictures 1 & 2 of me the room was soo bright from the sun coming through the window, so that's probably why my hair looks lighter blonde there, and everything is just brighter. I think your right, there is a slight difference in our faces... yet somehow my dad manages to mix us up all the time. Eyes are weird like that , right now my eyes are green(inside)/light blue(middle)/dark blue(outside) can't they just decide on a colour, and stick to it? Well, nothing switching to coloured contacts wouldn't fix . Sorry, no, "Flipje" is Maarten.
  9. Sorry, nice try though . We both have blue eyes, they just look brown-ish because of the lack of light in our computer room . Also, that picture of my twin sis was taken with our very cheap webcam which may have had something to do with it! Our eyes are interesting... they seem to change to more green or more blue depending on the light.
  10. Hey Flipje and everyone . Pictures 1 & 2- Well, this is me in my room attempting to take a picture where I'm not looking "sad", or "tired", or "bored", or "annoyed", or "like a statue". I'm not sure if it worked, but hey - I'm actually smiling in one of them! Pictures 3 & 4- The picture of me that someone described as "tired/bored", and another where it looks like I'm sleeping... (I'm just looking down). Anyways, 3 & 4 are what people tell me is the usual way I look which makes me "unapproachable" . I'm a shy person who doesn't really like showing emotions. Picture 5- That's my twin sister ! Can you tell us apart ?
  11. Thankyou, Hal. I didn't consider their having a lack of knowledge about the effects of smoking back then. I forgot it was writen so long ago! If they didn't know it could be potentially dangerous to their health and their lives then they obviously couldn't conclude that they shouldn't smoke if they gain pleasure from it. I guess nothing else can be said on the subject then, you explained it very well. Now I'm off to read as many of the threads as I can until I fall asleep at the keyboard!
  12. (Moderator's note: Merged into previosu thread on related topic - softwareNerd) In Atlas Shrugged, cigarettes and smoking are mentioned quite a few times. I don't understand how this is accepted as rational. Rand is trying to portray the "ideal man" in Galt, yet he smokes. This I cannot concieve as rational... because life is one's highest value, and smoking could take off years of life, and cause all sorts of medical problems - wouldn't smoking then be a contradiction to that value? There is some sort of an attempt at justification but it seems to just be some sort of excuse... trying to justify it without good reason: -Atlas Shrugged (pg 64) But a man can think without a cigarette. According to this, would it not then be "proper" to have explosions, or for a man to set fire to something so that it could be his "burning point of expression"? - that's about as rational as ingesting chemicals and smoke that is harmful to you. I just can't get over this, because it's mentioned so many times in this novel so Ayn Rand must have put some thought into including it and why. She must have rationalized it to herself somehow (the alternative being she didn't - and then that would mean she was contradicting her own philosphy)- but I don't see how. If anyone could shed some light on this I'd appreciate it. I'm rationalizing it like this: - Man value's his life - it's his most important value. - Smoking can kill you and cause medical problems that can hurt your quality of life (cancer, strain on your heart, heart attacks, stroke, emphysema, bronchitis, asthma... ect.) - Therefore, it isn't rational to smoke. I'd like to know if this is right: smoking is irrational and therefore immoral (and then shouldn't be regarded as "proper" for the ideal man). Well, theres my first post ever. (Also, hi everyone!)
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