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Everything posted by Tsuru

  1. At the core, it's a life pattern of giving weight to - and buckling under the pressures of - the frivolous expectations and demands of petty authority figures, family, culture, peers, ect - at the expense of their happiness and dignity. A lack of a fundamental sense that one has the right to exist for their own sake. Most people will usually stand their moral ground in extreme situations, but most people are readily willing to lose their morals and sell their souls in tiny bits and pieces at a time. It's going to church out of habbit, familial/cultural pressures, and vague existential fear/guilt - even though they hate it, find it boring, lose money on it, and gain nothing from it. It's abandoning their passions and going into a career that they hate and are miserable doing - merely because it's what was expected of them and the money was a little better. It's doing things for other people that they have no desire to do, out of guilt and obligation, with hidden resentment. It's not being able to say "no" to others.
  2. Interesting. Wolf-For-Icon-Person: "Amoral" is a better term for the concept than "lacking in moral worth." Thanks. It's a valid point in the difference between libertarian and Objectivist philosophies - but I don't think it necessarily invalidates the notion of a large number of actions simply being "amoral" under an objective moral code. I suppose this is where I differ from Objectivism. I think that beyond basic rules of conduct (ie, non initiation of force, ect), an individual's pursuit of happiness and morality borderline on subjective. If someone wants to play with toy trains in their basement all day until they die of old age, or wants to smoke 12 doobies a day and eat nothing but pie and french fries for every meal whilst watching "Earnest Saves Christmas," that's entirely fine so long as they achieve their personal ends through entirely honest means. Because we live in human bodies - and live in an objective reality - there obviously is an objective personal moral code to some degree: but if happiness is the end result to be achieved... well - show me what "happiness" is objectively. I've noticed that a lot of Objectivist discussions take on a subtle form of altruism at this point - in which they use "productive capacity"/"productive work"/"productivity"/ect as the standard of happiness and the standard of moral evaluation on a personal level. But productive to whom? I've just always found it weird that proponents of the philosophy of rational self interest seem quite keen on fixating and ruminating over the behavior of others, in rather narrow areas such as petty aesthetic choices and such. *shrug*
  3. The gore-movie thread made me realize an issue I've had with the Objectivist way of evaluating things from a moral/ethical perspective. I think it's extremely important for Objectivists to make a clear distinction between questions of whether something is moral or not, and questions of whether something has positive moral worth or not. So many discussions of sex, work, interests, hobbies, aesthetic tastes, ect (ie, personal issues) seem to revolve around questions of whether taking pleasure in certain aspects of these is moral or not - while the proper question should really be whether they have positive moral worth or not. Ie, it makes more sense to say that (mutually honest) casual sex, being a professional gambler, enjoying trashy romance novels, playing too many video games, and enjoying movies with mixed themes/messages don't necessarily have positive moral worth (ie, they don't particularly hold much weight relative to the more important things in life, and they don't particularly further your life in the fundamental way) - but you're certainly still a moral person if you choose to engage in these things - if you maintain the right philosophical premises in the fundamental sense and direct/live your life as such. When you say someone doing a particular action is not being moral - it's a direct condemnation of that person. If you say that someone doing a particular action has no positive moral worth, it simply means the action is neutral and not particularly worth comment. It's a major difference. In my opinion, it detracts from the importance and seriousness of the philosophy (that has a lot to offer) to be ridiculing the morality of someone for listening to heavy metal and other such things. It's hard to take advocates of a philosophy seriously when they do that - particularly if it's a philosophy of self-interest. Thoughts?
  4. I know what you're getting at, but I'm not confusing the two. I'm saying that it's ridiculous for all these Objectivists to be asking whether peoples' personal choices in taste/art/media are moral or not. Can we be critical, evaluate, and judge certain media in its quality and worth, or judge it as ugly (be it visual/metaphysical/emotional ect)? Sure. Can we say that people ideally shouldn't willingly subject themselves to being bombarded with negative imagery? Sure. Can we even make (probable) psychological conclusions as to what makes people attract to certain forms of media? Yes. Can we call people immoral for it? No. Morality is serious business. A sensible, rational person has no justification in actively expecting anything from (or condemning) other people besides following the basic rules of morality (ie, respecting rights). Objectivism is the philosophy of self interest. Not interest and concern in what the Jones's next door spend their free time on. Perhaps as an action it technically is - but I think the only proper conclusion to make would be that it has no moral worth in the positive per-say. That doesn't mean that it isn't moral to go watch "Saw 3" if you feel like it. By doing so you are not doing anything wrong - which is what is implied when it is asked if watching slasher movies is moral or not. Although the whole concept of morally scrutinizing yourself for doing things like reading a book is just dumb. I think the whole issue of questioning interest in this type of media isn't a bad direction to take. I'm sure there are conclusions that can be drawn from it on sociological/cultural/psychological standpoints. The issue is people recklessly slinging about the label of "moral" on things like this. It's one of the major pitfalls of current objectivist culture - I'm willing to bet a very large number of Objectivists have irrational feelings of inner guilt because their "sense of life" is obviously skewed and fundamentally wrong with them due to their aesthetic tastes. Your moral worth doesn't detract because you like compositions by Strauss or "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" cartoons. It would be laughable if people weren't taking it so seriously.
  5. TANGENT! : I personally very much dislike gorey movies. It feels unpleasant to bombard myself with negative images. But is it moral to watch meaningless Slasher films? Hell yes it is. This is one of my major beefs with the Objectivist movement as of late. Many Objectivists seem to casually toss around the terms "immoral" or even "evil" in regards to other peoples' thoughts and emotions - not their behavior. This sort of habbit is best left to Christians and other guilt-glutton idealogues - not Objectivists. No thought is immoral - no emotion is immoral. It's actions, and actions alone, that are of moral consequence. As long as you aren't violating the rights of other people by initiating force/fraud/ect - you're a moral person on a basic level. A person's private emotions can be beneficial or harmful to himself - or they can be neutral/neither, simply a matter of taste, or something related to subjective past experiences. But emotions are just that - private: meaning, of their concern only. Not their neighbor's. Does enjoyment of gore-films indicate some sort of negative metaphysical assessment in a person's psyche? Maybe. Maybe not. Psychology and motivation are extremely complex, varied things. People could indeed be watching them as an affirmation of their own malevolent sense of life. Or maybe some people enjoy the adrenaline rush that fear/stress-inducing stimuli tends to evoke (similar to that given from roller-coasters, sky diving, ect). Or maybe some people enjoy them as a "balancing factor" - since fear and suspense are part of the spectrum of human experience. Whatever the motivation is - even if it is due to a malevolent sense of life - to ascribe someone as "immoral" because of such is ridiculous. Rand in many ways implicitly implied this attitude herself in her later (rather bitter) writings, but she was wrong to do so.
  6. Very consistently test as INTJ also, for what it's worth.
  7. The FDA is pretty crappy currently, and I think it should be minimized in a lot of ways (particularly the legal penalty side: the war on drugs is an insanely terrible policy)- but it still should exist. A centralized advisory body on the (relative) safety of food/drugs is a basic element of social stability in everyone's interest, akin to firefighters and natural disaster prevention/recovery. The subject is too massive and complex even for people of above average intelligence to be adept at accurately researching in many cases, let alone the average and below average. Especially considering that drugs are a frequent issue of legal damage cases, it does make sense that there should be a centralized governmental body to determine the legal classifications of various drugs. Otherwise, to put Prozac, Tylenol, Crack Cocain, and Multivitamin tablets into the same lump of legal classification would lead to all sorts of troubles when the issue of lawsuits comes up. I have no problems with sanitation inspections for restaraunts and food production facilities. Lack of sanitation is a serious health risk - and damage to health is something that can't be replaced or repayed in the same way that property/financial damages can be. The FDA is fine in this aspect, in my opinion. As for drugs, I think people should be able to buy any drug they wish. If they choose to buy something that is not FDA approved - or buy something without a prescription - however, they should be required to sign forms stating they will not sue or press any charges against the manufacturers in any way: they must do so at their own risk. If people want to mix and match a bunch of random pills, get hopped up on painkillers and MDMA all day, or if a terminally ill person wants to buy a new drug with unknown side effects, it's their business and right to do so - but drug companies/pharmacies shouldn't be responsible for such.
  8. I think Eddie was sort of an extension of what Ayn would have called "Dagny's error" - that is, she kept fighting, struggling, bearing the burden of all the looter's regulations, believing she was strong enough to work in spite of it all. She did not realize that by doing this she was feeding the looters and their parasitic view of reality. She finally stopped. Eddie never stopped - and was in essence destroyed by the looters because of it. He embodies what happens to rational people who give the looters sanction by continuing to allow them to destroy him --- they do. The last scene also represents what happens to honest men (but non-movers) in the world when the movers cease to work: just as the train's engine stopped, so did the engine of the world. He utterly valued, loved, and respected what the train symbolically stood for - but he did not know how to make it work himself: in essence, without the producers, he was lost and abandoned in a baron wasteland.
  9. I actually think a relatively small percent of the population can grasp philosophy (of any sort) in a conscious, fundamental, lucid way: at least to the point that they can understand the underlying structures/premises and form conclusions/connections based on these structures/premises. I'd estimate that about 15% of the population are primarily conceptual thinkers, while the other 85% are primarily concrete thinkers to more or less of a degree. As best as I can describe it: conceptual thinkers are nonlinear in mental processing: meaning, if you say "Ayn Rand" - they have an almost immediate "concept" of what this phrase implies as a systematic whole. Concrete thinkers, on the other hand, are more linear in processing: meaning, they must "connect the dots" every time when making theoretical conclusions. This makes fast paced theoretical discussion more difficult for them. While some concrete thinkers can understand philosophical abstractions fundamentally, it takes much more effort - it isn't their natural way of thinking. I'm sure many of us have been somewhat puzzled by people we have met who seem genuinely strained and exhausted from excessive abstract discussion. For these sorts, having experiences, or at least clear concrete examples, that represent and symbolize these abstractions helps a great deal in grasping the underlying premises. Some may also seemingly grasp what is being said, but don't actually make any connection with it to their subconsciouis philosophical framework of reality, and entirely forget about it at the end of the conversation. For those that just don't do well with conceptual thinking: I say just hammer into their skulls: "Don't initiate force or fraud against anyone, and don't advocate the government doing the same. Work for your own happiness as your goal in life - because it's yours and no one elses'. In other words: hands off." This is pretty easy to grasp and can be carried away by most people.
  10. Tsuru

    Animal rights

    So under that same logic, if I avoid running over an animal in my car because I don't want to hurt/kill it for no real reason, I'm being irrational? (assuming there aren't people getting endangered if I swerve). That's pretty dumb.
  11. Tsuru

    Animal rights

    I don't recall ever saying that one shouldn't eat meat. Animals are nonrational beings, so it isn't a moral issue. If you choose to eat meat (as I do), it's fine. What my point is, is that if someone chooses not to eat meat because they can't stomache the thought of its production, or because they don't want to create excess pain in other living beings (for something they don't feel is nutritionally essential), we have no right to mock or criticise them for this choice. It only becomes an issue if such people assert that it is morally wrong to eat meat because of this.
  12. It's not worth wasting hatred on those you can't respect.
  13. Tsuru

    Animal rights

    The more complex mammals are emotional beings that likely experience physical pain very strongly - perhaps even more strongly than most humans due to their perceptive process being entirely concrete/sensory based. Hence, acts of violence/cruelty towards animals are very much experienced by another actual awareness, so to speak. However, the treatment of animals is not a moral issue in strict terms, since they are not rational beings. If the capacity for emotion were the basis of morality, then lions and hawks would be some of the most profoundly evil beings on the planet, due to their eating alive other beings with the capacity for emotion almost every day. Obviously the ramifications of that premise are absurd. But, there is nothing wrong with choosing not to create excess emotional suffering, even in non-rational beings. If you can't stomache the thought of such beings being systematically raised only to be slaughtered (sometimes in rather cruel conditions and painful killings), and choose not to eat meat for this reason - it's respectable. If you choose to try and convince others not to do so as well based purely on emotional appeal - it's somewhat respectable, albeit potentially annoying. If you make claims that it is a moral imperative, and that eating meat causes one to be an immoral person - this is when it becomes problematic, and a very irrational stance.
  14. Tsuru

    Videogame Music

    I absolutely love video game music. It's really the only contemporary school of music I know of that almost always consistently has strong, recognizable, memorable, evocative melodies as the norm. But alas, it is so under-appreciated. Definitely reccomend checking out: Yasunori Mitsuda: Chrono Trigger Soundtrack / Xenosaga Soundtrack (has some amazing stuff on it, done by full orchestra.) Yoko Shimamura: kind of hit or miss. Seems like she oscillates between doing really good soundtracks and doing pretty boring ones. The Super Mario RPG soundtrack is totally rad - everything is so happy and bouncy and cartoony. The Final Fantasy Tactics soundtrack (done by two people - I forget their names) is consistently very good. It has great Medieval sounding battle music. The Star Ocean soundtrack (Motoi Sakuraba) has some really cool stuff too. Anime soundtracks have some great stuff as well. The Inuyasha soundtrack (Kaoru Wada) has some really great character themes, done by a small orchestra. Yami No Matsui soundtrack is somewhat hit or miss, but they have some really quirky orchestrated pieces, and one fantastic choral piece. And it has a really great sounding version of Tartini's "Devil's Trill" - they added Organ to it. The Escaflowne soundtrack by Hajime Mizoguchi is AMAZING. In my opinion, it quite possibly has some of the best orchestra music written within the last 40 years. It's that good. Several of the pieces are immaculate in their perfection.
  15. Sex = Genital penitration. Sexual Activity = Erogenous zone stimulation by another. About the most clear cut definition I can think of - although the former sort of leaves out the poor lesbians.
  16. Tsuru

    Poker as Profession

    A professional poker play lives by their own skill and effort. Everything they do is voluntary free exchange, and they aren't hurting anyone. They aren't producing anything per say, but if we use that as the judging factor of "not evil" - that pretty much lumps 50% or more of existing jobs (ie, entertainment, luxury food services like restaraunts, ect) into the same dubious category of holding no objective survival value (and therefore not being moral), which would be a bit ridiculous considering the persons involved aren't being looters or parasites or any of some such stuff. Is it "moral" in an active sense (ie: are the being "creators")? - Not really. Is it "moral" in a passive sense (Ie: being "fine")? - Definitely. It's pretty much in the same category as day trading, professional race car driving, professional boxing, or any other profession based on the mastery of games or sport or the manipulation of money. If people want to do it, and can do it successfuly, I nor anyone else has any right to criticise or condemn them for it as long as they aren't infringing anyone's rights. Good for them if it makes them happy.
  17. Yes - I agree completely. I'm interested in how someone can philosophically understand and explain experiencing hallucinations given these premises. Moderately intelligent people who are only hallucinatory (meaning, not also delusional) usually "know" that the experiences are not real, but would be hard pressed to go about giving specific philosophical proof for this assertion. I've never had much respect for this question's cousins (ie: what if everything we experience is a delusion created by god, or what if we are a brain in a scientists lab being given experiences, ect): as they appeal to [more or less] mystic metaphysics while relying on conclusions based on sensory experience - but the thing that makes this particular question interesting and meaningful is that it is based entirely in a material framework: ie, hallucinations can and do happen, and people have them. So to simply say that this question is negated due to it being based in material terms is evading the question: IF one has sensory experiences that are not real (ie, not repeatable, not synchronized with other senses, not aligned with conceptual rules ascertained by previous sensory observation, ect), how does one reconcile this with the rest of your knowledge? In essence the experience is an attack on the basis of knowledge. It creates a troublesome "logical loop" so to speak. Edit: as far as the 2 or 3 out of 100 figure, that was only in reference to the likely percent of people who have or will experience a hallucination(s) in their lifetime: meaning that the numbers are large enough that the issue and implications on knowledge hallucinations have cannot entirely be dismissed as merely negligable "rarity," so to speak. You're definitely right that those numbers don't reflect severely ill persons.
  18. Hiya. I'm not exactly an Objectivist - though I admire Rand's writings quite a bit (Absolutely love The Fountainhead - I've read it 5 times through, and have read about 95% of her other fiction and nonfiction). I'm pretty much in agreement with her on politics/economics/basic ethics (ie: non initiation of force) --- with a few minor exceptions, and metaphysics/epistemology to a slightly lesser degree. I find some of her ideas about art, sex, gender, and the emotional sphere of life to be dubious or downright absurd though, and the general bitter/accusatory/condemning tone of her later works is rather obnoxious. Anyways, I'm looking forward to some good discussions. - So here is my question!: How does one address the subject of hallucinations in relation to objectivist metaphysics (ie: objective reality)? Being that the brain can produce sensory perceptions that are strikingly false (ie: due to mental illness, certain drugs, excessive physical/psychological stress, chemical imbalance or certain poisonings, ect), how does one reconcile this with the position that the senses can firmly be used as the basic foundation of knowledge? I dimly recall reading some article by Peikoff about the question of determing dreams from reality - in which his answer was "We have a word for dream, so obviously there is a clear distinction and we know it." This answer could just as easily be given on the question of how one would determine hallucinations from real sensory input - however it's pretty much a cop-out, as it doesn't actually answer the question of how one knows, and how one can say with philosophical confidence that their sensory perceptions are accurate enough to make knowledge claims with in spite of this. The position that others' perceptions can determine the truth/falseness of your own perceptions (ie: they do not see or hear what you doe) is the common solution, however this obviously does not satisfy Objectivist epistemology - since the source of knowledge is your perceptions, and yours alone. The more logical solution is that one can test questionable sensory experience in relation to all of your past sensory experience (and the concepts/rules abstracted from them) - and that if they contradict, the questionable perception is false. But this leads to problems regarding the nature of knowledge as well: if you are using past perceptions as the measuring stick to determine false, artificial perceptions, how do you test the certainty of those? Another common Objectivist answer to this problem would be the "lifeboat" answer - that just as men do not live on lifeboats or deserted islands and one can't base ethics on this, so most do men not live with mental illness. Unfortunately, 1 out of 100 people are schizophrenic, and around another 1 or 2 in 100 have another form of psychotic ideation or some form of mental illness that features hallucinations as an occasional symptom. This is not including people with striking physiological brain problems or stresses, or those who have metal poisoning, ect - in total these numbers probably are greater in sum than the number of Objectivists in the populace, so the issue is definitely far more prevalent than "lifeboat" scenarios and is worth addressing. Quite the tricksy issue!
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