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Everything posted by ggdwill

  1. I would find this inspiring and consider it heroic except it's missing the part where the soldier swings around his AR-15 and begins firing, is then backed up by his buddies doing the same, and then are all conveniently out-classed by the AC-130 gun ship who is giving the terrorists a real "fuck you". But I guess we have become too terrified of terrorism to do anything more than hand gestures that they probably don't understand anyways.
  2. I just have to comment on the "spoiler warning" you included in your choice of title for this thread. If anyone's experience could possibly be spoiled by knowing the conclusion of this documentary, I seriously doubt what value this film would be to them in the first place.
  3. King Kong's journey from Skull Island to New York City taught a lesson. Specifically, it taught a lesson to other characters in the movie, and in doing so hopefully taught the same lesson to the audience. King Kong represents a remnant in man. Man has always had the ability to value beauty and happiness and to want to protect it, he just hasn't always known how to do it. It's unfortunate that I feel I have to say this in this forum, but I do not mean to imply that humans possess instincts of any kind - only that when acting on blind ignorance they can behave like animals. The final line in the movie "beauty killed the beast" represents a very fundamental choice made by every civilized man in the movie, major and minor, to recognize his higher nature and pledge allegience to it, implicitly renouncing any impulses to the contrary. This is what was being conveyed at the beginning of the movie when even Miss Darrow steals an apple to feed a desperate hunger, despite her knowledge of right and wrong. When Jack Black's character saves her from the angry justice of the shopkeeper by flashing a nickle, he is demonstrating civilization's power to overcome more primitive reactions and to remain civil even in the midst of a Great Depression. Miss Darrow learns this lesson and tacitly admits to it by commenting on the incident. Soon after Ann Darrow is offered to him, King Kong takes her to a secluded place in the jungle and finally releases her from his grasp. Since she has passed out, he attempts to wake her up so that he may enjoy her. Only once he realizes that this is futile does she recover naturally and proceed to entertain him. This is a dramatization of all that evolution entails; the discovery of the difference between a perceptual and a conceptual conciousness; between forcing beauty and greatness or allowing it to occur naturally. Twice during the movie, once all of the excitement has died down, Miss Darrow shares this point by admiring the sunset with him. Unwittingly, primitive beings destroy the beauty and joy in life in a frantic attempt to protect it. There are many signs of this throughout the movie up until the point that Kong finally learns this lesson and allows himself to be shot down from the Empire State Building. Many mental health professionals who deal with addiction and dependency recognize a stage in recovery where a profound sense of loss and grief for the old ways will occur within the addict. It is not that the person still believes those ways to be better, but it is a bittersweet recognition of how much was squandered and how frightening the unknown future, devoid of the easy way out, can be. Kong was a living breathing representation of this bad old way, and when he finally realized it and understood it's permanence within his very identity as a wild animal, he resigned himself to death for the sake of what he loved. It is very telling that immediately after this the heroic Jack Driscoll assends to the top of the building to claim his rightful place. The only character that doesn't actually learn anything throughout the movie, but by example does a great amount of teaching, is Adrien Brody's character - the playwright Jack Driscoll. When on the boat he respectfully understands Mr. Hayes' explanation of the young shipmate's theft of his pen, this lesson is being taught. In the dialouge with Miss Darrow where he tells her that she needn't be nervous around him even though she respects his writing immensly, the lesson of Kong is being understood (himself a representation of civilization in this instance). Presumably, this knowledge is what allowed her to face Kong with the bravery she showed later on. Perhaps the most obvious example of this perspective is late in the film when Mr. Driscoll explains to an assistant in the theatre that by bringing Kong back to New York Jack Black "is destroying everything he loves and doesn't even realize it." What many will think this means is that he is destroying Kong and the mystery and appetite for adventure that Black loves so much, but what is really meant is that bringing Kong back will destroy New York. The rest of the movie is devoted to showing it. Admittedly, when I watched them first trap Kong and saw Miss Darrow's opposition to it, I jeered her as being a bleeding-hearted liberal willing to sell her fellow men down the river for the sake of an animal (pardon the Heart Of Darkness/Apocalypse Now reference but I couldn't help it. Perhaps I should have said "cast her fellow men out to sea emptyhanded" since that's what they were actually facing). But upon thinking about it, what I realized is that she wasn't opposing Kong's capture for his sake, but for the sake of his captors, as well as her own. At this point the movie tells us that King Kong and New York can not coexist; that the "laws" of the jungle and the laws of man are incompatable. A bit earlier, Miss Darrow willingly left the arms of the beast even though she respected it's power and experienced it's tenderness. For the sake of her happiness as a human, and not as a savage, she refused to give the beast what it wanted: her. Unlike the savages, who had feared and appeased the beast for god knows how long (their appearance being a visualization of just how ugly fear and ignorance can be), she faced it and tamed it, but plead to keep it in it's place. There are many more examples of this lesson throughout this very well-integrated movie (the old male friend of Miss Darrow from Vaudeville is a philosophical gold mine), but I will bite my tounge so that I will be able to show off in later posts - should there be any replies I must say that I approached this movie with alot of skepticism and had the same basic attitude that was expressed in the quote of this thread's original post, but upon seeing it, I will be eagerly adding it to my "Movies worth Owning" list.
  4. I signed up for 1and1 about 3 years ago when they were offering a 1 year free deal. I don't have any serious website, but I use them for my primary email. Their email service works just fine when it's routed through something like Outlook, but for some reason their webmail site is horrible. They have the most unreliable server I have ever experienced. Half of the time, even just deleting a message will cause it to time out.
  5. Wait a minute, he can't use a fake name since that name may end up belonging to a real person. And as we have been so eloquently reminded lately, that would be an act of theft. Why risk committing yet another immoral act in the process of confession past ones?
  6. The real problem in this issue is the fact that the government, at any level, recognizes marriage at all in any form. Why does it need to? The common answers are for tax purposes. Well, why is the government using economic incentives and disincentives to engineer the make up of society? I've also heard that by legally recognizing gay marriage, it would distort the actuarial tables of insurance companies since homosexuals are statistically more likely to be more permiscuous and thus less healthy. As if it was anyone else's business with whom insurance companies choose to do business with. Other than that, I can't think of any reason why the government should be involved. There's the issue of shared property, but that could all be sorted out through things like contracts and financial records. It's really dumb that once you're married in the eyes of the state, you become this partial individual - with some rights as an individual and other rights as a cog in some kind of social entity. This whole issue is so boring. Edit: Oh, and I should mention children. Even though it's early, I can't believe I forget them. It's my opinion that a child is the sole "property" of the mother and any involvement by the father should be at her discretion. Unless, of course, other arrangements were contractually agreed upon before the child's birth.
  7. Hi fellow Newbie, I think what you're talking about is very important. I wasn't going to to share anything, but I felt I had to. In fact, I wasn't doing much more than skimming over this discussion until the last thing you said caught my eye. I can't really offer any advice and I haven't really given this issue any clear thought. I think what was pointed out earlier that all that matters is what you think of yourself is very important. All I can do is share a little bit of myself and hope that it helps. It helps me just to write these thoughts down. I have been studying Objectivism for about 5 years now, and it has become such a part of me that I don't even realize it. Despite alot of effort, I have never been able to remember what I felt like and how I approached simple tasks of thinking before I discovered it. I like to think that I've always been this way, and that Objectivism just gave me the words to understand it, but I don't know. I certainly entertained and even advocated alot of bad ideas in my past. Everyday I have to remind myself just how different I am from most of the people I come in contact with - usually not in the content of my thinking, but in my passion for it. It is a very difficult and painful task, but it sure is better than losing my cool or becoming zealously arrogant. I used to do that alot and I think it has cost me in ways I will never know. I struggle daily with the job of weighing the pain of being different with the pride of knowing that I'm right. Alot of things factor in to how I will feel about a given situation, but it always boils down to one of those two outcomes. As an added tangle, when I reflect, and realize that those two outcomes are at odds and that I have not been consistent, I can feel even more shameful and disappointed in myself. This is where practicing forgiveness and compassion are very important to me. We need to accept ourselves for who we are as individuals, and it's alot easier said than done. Personally, I practice meditation whenever I can, and I cultivate the habit of mindfulness continuously. Those two definitely reinforce one another and help overall. But anyways, when it comes to actions, I have alot of regrets. It's even more painful since some of them involve actions that I'm not sure are wrong - even in the context of my life. They are kind of like open wounds that I am still trying to heal through my thinking and learning. As for doing things that I know to be immoral, I have done them, but I honestly do not feel guilt about them any more. I have become such a different person in the last 5 years, partly because of the natural process of maturing but mostly because of Objectivism, that I don't even remember the feelings I had while I was doing those things. Another painful type of regret that I have involves things that I have done that I know to be moral, yet for whatever reason are socially or legally unacceptable. As you might expect, this can bring out alot of anger. It does, but for me it comes out discreetly in little bursts during private moments or in cold silence. More often, I fall into a kind of passive resignation. I don't know what either one is doing to me psychologically in the long run, but I do know that neither is going to solve the problem itself. For instance, right now I'm facing serious legal trouble and I just don't know how to feel about it. In many ways my future hangs in the balance, but I just can't appreciate the reality of the situation. Sometimes I can and it hits me like a ton of bricks, but most of the time the certainty I have surrounding the issue dulls any intense emotional experience I might have because of it. Recently, I was rereading a portion towards the end of Atlas Shrugged. It is a description of Henry Rearden's thoughts and feelings as he watches the proceedings of his divorce from Lillian. His detachment and his calm were so clear to me. It's as if the pages were speaking to me. I thought that if he were me, he would do the same thing. I am still weighing what I will do to resolve my problem, but honestly the biggest challenge I have faced since this started is warding off the guilt. Ayn Rand was very right in her discussions of undeserved guilt. It is a filthy emotion. The more I become aware of it within me, the more I am becoming convinced that it is perhaps the most destructive emotion on Earth. Another part of Atlas Shrugged that I revisited that literally brought tears to my eyes when I read it involves Galt telling Dagny about the Gulch. He says: You have seen the Atlantis they were seeking, it is here, it exists - but one must enter is naked and alone, with no rags from the falsehoods of centuries, whith the purest clarity of mind - not an innocent heart, but that which is much rarer: an intransigent mind - as one's only possession and key." If you're feeling it, I implore you not to let it envelope you. Anyways, I know what you have just read may seem useless and it is just my rambling, but I think sharing emotions - or at least recognizing them, both good and bad - is an invaluable exercise. So if you did take anything away from reading this, I'm glad. I know I did by writing it.
  8. Right, but not in any meaningful sense. That's like saying an 8 man baseball team is a baseball team, or a 1 man baseball team is a baseball team. A baseball team is, by definition, 9 (or more) men - one for each of the 9 defensive positions. An atom cannot exist with out BOTH it's left side and right side intact. Yes, you can measure 1/2 of the distance of an atom, but you will never find 1/2 of an atom floating around in reality. There is not "space [equal to] 1/2 of the lenght of an atom" in which nothing exists. That space is occupied by something, which is composed of it's own atoms which play by the same rules. Space, in it's common usage, does not exist. It is merely a means of describing the lack of some specific element or object, while implicitly relying on the premise that that "space" is composed of something else. Even if space literally did exist, it would be something. If I moved an object from one place to another empty space, it's original location would immediately be filled with space. Furthermore, even if I were wrong about this and space actually was some sort of gap in reality, what makes it forever beyond my ability to traverse? Certainly you're not going to propose that there is something that exists that is 1/2 the length of nothing.
  9. Two things you said are important: Sure, you can conceive of it all you want. That doesn't mean that it exists. There is no such thing as 1/2 of an atom. An atom is the smallest unit of existence. Nothing can be broken down any smaller. Like I said, when it is tried, all that results is a violent reorganization of atoms. To talk about something being "1/2 an atom's length" away from Point B is absurd. What's in between? Something is in between, and to be something, means to possess at least one atom. When that something and the original object switch spots, the object has literally reached Point B. And as for this: See what I just said above.
  10. What context? Uh, the context of my plan - in which one person is living off of the efforts of a convicted criminal (not to mention that the criminal is simultaeously living off of the efforts of that person/company). Whereas, in the context of right now - reality, the criminal is living off of the efforts of innocent people.
  11. This is exactly why I hold the view that I do. The judicial absolute would be "If someone is found guilty of theft, he will be available for purchase (for mutually profitable "rehabilitation") for a period of time. If no one purchases him, just as he himself has no right to steal for the sake of his survival, the government has no right to steal for the sake of his survival either."
  12. Quite the contrary, every time I enter in to a discussion on this board, I expect to have to think infinitely. By "yadayada" I was thinking about things like atoms. I didn't use that term because I'm not sure exactly how people measure things at that level, or if atoms really are the smallest units known. I realize that subatomic particles do exist and can be measured, but they cannot exist independently of the arrangement know as the atom. I hoped to bypass such objections by using a variable. Also, you cannot quantify infinity because it does not have a quantity. It is a purely conceptual phenomenon representing NO THING in reality. If you decided to call some point that infinity passed though X, and determined it's value, infinity would still have to keep going in order to be infinity. Infinity is by defnition indeterminite and non-existent. Does that mean that there is an infinite number of things in existence. I don't know. It's an interesting topic for another thread. The only other thing I can say to your comment is yes, just because some smaller unit of measurment hasn't been thought of doesn't mean it doesn't exist and can't be used. However, conversely just because it can be thought of doesn't mean that it actually does exist. The units of measurement at the atomic level - what I ignorantly call yadayadas - were identified and used for good reason. They weren't just arbitrarily ordained as "the smallest units of measurment possible". Scientists, and the Japanese, have direct experience with what happens when they attempt to create something that is smaller. So, as I said, in order to be something, it has to be as big as, and be composed of, at least one yadayadya. If you attempt to cut it in half, or in to quarters, all you get is a violent rearrangment of yadayadas - not metriyadas.
  13. I just skimmed this thread, so pardon me if someone has already made this point. As we all know, to 'be' is to be something. The law of identity. No matter now minutely you break up your measurements of reality, for something to exist it has to be as large as at least one of the increments you're using. Say that the distance between Point A and Point B is 10 "yadayada"s (the smallest unit of measurment in use), the object traveling between A and B has to be at least 1 yadayada in size. Once the object gets fully past yadayada number 9, no matter how Zeno wishes to record that motion, it necessarily is touching Point B - the 10 yadayada mark. It has arrived.
  14. Hal, I'm going to address your last point first. When I said that there was no objective way for the government to determine prison sentences, I meant it in the same way that there is no objective way for the government to determine the price of FedEx's stock. Just like in the economy, the "objective" sentence, according to my theory, would be a meeting of minds. It would be what the buyer and seller think are reasonable terms. There are alot of factors to consider in a deal of this gravity so yes, mistakes can happen. So what? The market isn't always objective either, especially when government rules and regulations distort it. But a free market and a private prison system are certainly better than the systems we have now where regardless if mistakes happen, innocent people still have their rights (usually their money) taken from them and the guilty are guaranteed to go on leeching. That should shed alot of light on what I think of your other points, but I will address them specifically anyways. Since I'm not qualified, I will refrain from offering you psychological advice even though I see your view of the inevitability of rape as quite disturbing and depressing. But even if it were correct, because of what I said above, it would be unreasonable to assume that a 16 year old shoplifter would spend more than a few day in custody. As for vigalantes buying prisoners just to take revenge. Vigalantes are vigalantes. They're going to try to do what they do because that's what vigalantes do. I understand that I'm giving them more of a chance, but I still think it's a remote one. It's true that most convicts are low skilled. It's also true that today most low skilled labor is done in large facilities by large companies. So it's reasonable to assume they those companies would dominate the market for buying prisoners. Torturing people, for either sadistic reasons or for vigalante justice, just isn't good business. Your point that in my theory you wouldn't be able to bring charges against the tortures even if you caught them and the point about the sole bidder getting the prisoner are both good. Except, the government could always stipulate "no torture" in the terms of the sale and they could just refuse to recognize that lone bidder's bid. I don't think it's productive to get into all the details of how the government would structure the sale. I originally used "auction" and not "sale" because I didn't give it any thought. It isn't essential the point I am trying to make: No one has a right to live on the effort of others, especially not criminals.
  15. I realize what this is about now. It's not about whether or not Objectivism is "open" or "closed", it's about the disagreements between and amongst the different groups and individuals calling themselves Objectivists. All of this "open" and "closed" dialouge is just a way of "winning" a disagreement without having to discuss the merits of the particular arguments involved. One side holds that Rand's words, or a reasonable implication of them, go - as if because she said they constituted Objectivism them they are intrinsically objective. The other side argues that Rand's words, or a reasonable implication of them, necessarily have to be openly discussed or directly experienced to be considered objective. Neither sounds very objective if you ask me.
  16. I tend to think that perverts and sadists would be the one's being bid upon, not the other way around. Since I don't share your dim view of humanity, I would be willing to accept the remote possibility of what you described happening. Is there a remote possibility that someone will have a child just so they could sexually or physcially abuse it? Of course. Does that mean we should pay to have the government certify people as parents? Of course not. Furthermore, what makes you think that the government wouldn't use discretion when selling a prisoner? Why would they turn over a prisoner to people like you described? All they would be doing, by providing the fodder for that kind of behavior, is encouraging more crime - making their job more difficult.
  17. This is getting to the point that I have been trying to make since I created this thread. However, unlike what is quoted above, I believe that not only Binswanger's, Bernstein's, and Smith's writings need to be verified with reality, but also Rand's. Sure, Rand did a near perfect job of that, but like I've said a few times, I'm not ready to say that she did the job flawlessly. Also, Objectivism itself (however we want to define it), in order to be Objectivism within the terms set by Objectivism, needs to be verified with the facts of reality. Ayn Rand did not technically create Objectivism, she discovered it. Discovering the correct philosophical system (ie: the truth) is not an act of invention. It is like discovering Newtonian physics, rather than inventing mystical explanations. This is why Objectivism is not a closed system. It is open to interpretation and application as long as Objectivism's basic principles are employed, whether or not Ayn Rand, had she lived longer, or any of her appointed successors remained as rational and consistent as she was.
  18. If you'd like, I could start a thread discussing the specific disagreements with Rand that I have. I can't put them aside since I know them to exist. The only reason why I cannot, for the purposes of this discussion, is because of your definition of "Objectivism" - the entirety of Rand's work. Using my definition - Objectivism is only it's essentials and Rand's application of them are not completely correct - I would be able to. Then I would happily agree with you that they could, and should, be put aside. I'm glad you pointed out the Kelley-Peikoff issue, so that I didn't have to. Frankly, I was afraid to on this board. I was kicked off of this board about 3 years ago for having a disagreement that ran along those same lines. Unfortunately I have forgotten the specific issue we were debating. And as for what you said here: I think you just misunderstood my question that read "Could this be properly thought of as an Objectivist critique?" I should have phrased it better. What I meant to ask was "Could this (A critique of Issue X) be properly thought of as a critique by an objectivist?" Would your critique of the theft of your car, since created via the use of Objectivist principles, qualify you as an Objectivist? Does this forum and it's participants, since much of it promotes and defends Objectivism, qualify as Objectivism by Objectivists? Is it something else because it is not specifically the work of Rand herself? Or is it something else because some of it's posts contradict Rand's work? I don't expect answers to those questions. I only ask them to point out a suspicion I have that because philosophy is always relevant, it's properties of definition and ownership may be different. If they are, don't ask me to tell them to you, because I certainly don't know.
  19. If Objectivism is a closed system, then not even Ayn Rand can change it. Which means that, like I said earlier (I don't know if you saw it), the few minor errors, since they represent the inconsistent application of objectivity within her work, objectivism is a broken system. I don't agree with this. I think that essential Objectivism (by that I mean basically what Dr. Peikoff outlined in OPAR) is correct. Thus, I think that we are faced with two options that are less than desirable to many Objectivists, but nonetheless exist. Either Objectivism can be thought of as closed within the limits of Rand's work, or Objectivism is open and the only concepts that should come to mind when one hears the word are the essential principles. This would leave the questions aroused about it's application to anyone who is familiar with the situation's particulars and is employing those essential principles. Here's an example. Ayn Rand never addressed Issue X. Many years later, Issue X arises and someone, employing an objective metaphysics, a rational epistemology, an individualist ethic, a capitalist politic, and a romantic-realist aesthetic addresses it. Could this be properly thought of as an Objectivist critique?
  20. You didn't just ask: "Hey ggdwill, what do you mean by 'objective'?". You also quoted me by including comments about criminal justice. I used the word "cryptic" because I get the feeling that you're trying to draw out some fatal flaw in my thinking - not just in this issue but in my entire view of reality. It's kind of creepy. Since I think you've infered something already, why don't you just say it? You can just ask me if I agree with this and this and this or that and that and that, instead of waiting in the wings with your black cloak and sickle until I slip up. But anyways, I'll indulge you. The word "objective" refers to the proper identification of a fact by an individual conciousness. There is no way to properly indentify to what degree a criminal should be punished based upon his crime because, as I said, there is no way to properly rectify the wrong committed. There is nothing to identify. All that proper criminal justice can be oriented towards is the security of a crime-free future.
  21. I like this. I think you have found the heart of the issue. So what I must ask is, are the works and statements of Ayn Rand Objectivism? Simply because Rand wrote it or uttered it does that confer upon any given work or statement objectivity? I do think that a small number of Rand's writing and statements are not objective/correct. I realize that they deserve threads of their own, but assuming that they were errant, would just one error in objectivity render her entire philosophy undeserving of the title "Objectivism"? I don't think it would, but I do think it would undermine claims that have been made such as "Objectivism is a closed system" and would necessarily allow those who essentially agree, but try to correct or refine her work to properly claim to be Objectivists - despite what anyone says. Rand obviously did not restrict herself to just theoretical Objectivism. She wrote about many everyday applications of the philosophy. These are where my disagreements with her lie, and therefore, using aggrement with (or in her unique case, harmony in) her work as my standard, I think I would be correct in saying that Rand herself was not an Objectivist. She was not correctly applying objectivity. However, if I used objectivity as my standard, by judging only her theoretical work, she was essentially an Objectivist - despite what anyone says.
  22. No need to get touchy. I still hope this can be a friendly discussion. In effect, all I said was "that's irrelevant". The onus is upon you to show how it is relevant. Besides, I indulged your comments as best I could, despite their irrelevancy.
  23. I know about Peikoff owning the copyrights to the works of Rand, and I'm OK with that part. I don't know about copyright law enough to answer whether or not they should have been transfered to him after Rand's death, or if they should have become public domain. What I'm confused about is whether or not Objectivism per se belonged to Ayn Rand, and now Leonard Peikoff. Is Objectivism simply the sum of the works of Rand? If so, then isn't anything Peikoff writes not Objectivism - even if it is in logical agreement? But Rand granted him the privledge to expound. He is the official spokesperson of Objectivism. Since she allowed him to, and since he chose to (eg: OPAR), then it isn't something more than just her works? But if that's the case, is Peikoff free to say anything and advocate anything on Rand's behalf? It seems that he is free to do that. And if he is, then legally he would be preaching Objectivism, but literally he may be preaching something other than objectivism. If that happened, what we would be hearing is not literally Objectivism, but Peikoffism.
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