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Everything posted by NewEdit617

  1. Super explanation. Thank you.
  2. I was in a discussion recently about what I called "lies of omission." My assertion was that if a husband tells a wife he is "going out with friends" (but fails to mention they'll be going to a strip club), or if a teenager tells his parents he is "going camping with friends" (but fails to mention they'll be drinking), then they are engaging in lies of omission. They are withholding information that would be relevant and of concern to the other party. My friend tried to defend the lies of omission. She said the other party (the wife or the parents) "didn't ask," and therefore the husband or son was not lying. She further suggested that my examples were no different than if someone asked me if I have a cat, and me just saying "yes" rather than further specifying its breed, color, gender, etc. To her, a teenager failing to tell his parents he was going to get drunk while camping is no different than me giving only a simple response to a question about my cat. I know something is wrong here but can't figure out the exact nature of her error. Any insights?
  3. Jonathan, yes, and that is what I was trying to convey in my comment-- with the distinction that I believe we can create, in reality, the kind of fictional world we imagine. ?
  4. This isn't exactly what you asked, but I think the most important thing is to instill a good sense of life. Choose a setting and context that shows life as an exciting adventure, not as a dreary jail sentence. Write about building and creating new things, not about grandma dying in the nursing home. (Seriously, there are a ton of modern children's books about divorce, mom dying of cancer, friend getting stung by bee and dying, etc.) If the story will involve a battle between good and evil, make the good and evil characters clearcut. Do not give the evil character redeeming qualities that would evoke sympathy for him. Also show the ineptitude of evil by having the evil character's actions result in his own demise. Make the hero a real hero with no flaws. Make him/her win in the end, demonstrating that virtue is rewarded. One way of doing this is by using examples that show philosophical principles, rather than naming the principles directly. Present a dramatized version of some conflict that a child in real life might encounter, and show the hero doing the right thing in that stylized situation. Another suggestion I have is to show the role of emotion in life-- the joy of living. I love Galt and Roark, but many young Objectivists become robotic because they mis-apply the more serious personality to their own lives. I myself made this error, and alienated myself from any potential friends (who I automatically assumed were "inferior"). The reason I mention this is your comment: "One of the first scenes in the book involves her watching the stars come out and the narration mentions how she has no desire to wish upon them like the other children." That scene could turn out well, but I urge you not to make too large an issue of a superior hero self-isolating from all of the irrational hooligans. Kira, Roark, etc. give off that vibe and they are happy-- but too many real-life new Objectivists try to apply that same self-isolation and end up unhappy as a result of their distance. This is a wonderful project and I'd love to read your drafts and/or final story.
  5. DonAthos, beautifully written. I'd also like to add, to the original poster: Having access to a school and books, having a language already established in our lifetimes, etc., are facts of reality that we can choose to use-- or not. Consider your question differently. Your question is really asking the same thing as: How much of your success came from you, given that the world contains the necessary water and oxygen? How much of your success came from you, given that your physical body is composed of bone and muscle that can move? How much of your success came from you, given that a tree existed, thereby providing a source of wood from which to build your house? Even though many of us have received value from other people, that does not diminish our accomplishments. Recognizing that metaphysical and human factors have contributed to our success is just acknowledging reality.
  6. Haha. Nevertheless, I like what both of you wrote. Nicky, it's interesting about the physical activity... I actually over-exercise, too. :-( Running for fun turned into racing 5Ks, which turned into racing half-marathons, etc. But it is so nice to read insights that are consistent with Objectivism. Too many (all?) self-help books and therapists I've encountered suggest unconditional self-love, being content with yourself despite doing nothing of which to be proud, and demanding relationships from others because simply existing supposedly makes you worthy of love. Unfortunately, the opposite approach of building self-esteem through accomplishments isn't working either, because the accomplishments never feel "good enough." Anyway, thanks for writing. :-)
  7. Thanks, I like this. No, it's not about proving something to my friends or doing activities for the sake of impressing them. It's more along the lines of Dagny's thought, "my wish to be worthy of you..." My friends should like me for a reason. I would not want to be liked unconditionally. But despite activities and accomplishments beyond what others would expect of me, *I* still feel unworthy of enjoying a break from productivity.
  8. Could anyone offer advice or insights about how to justify and allow oneself time for leisure? I am overtaxing myself, not only with my career but also with several outside interests that I've turned into small businesses. Many times I feel compelled to stay up until 2:00 AM being productive-- updating my business website, making new crafts, seeking out new places to advertise, etc. When I'm eating dinner, I'm simultaneously reading or cutting out labels for the craft business, etc. I don't allow myself down time. The problem is I no longer feel able to relax, and feel GUILTY about doing anything just "for fun." Hobbies that I used to simply enjoy, I now only see as potential business opportunities, and feel like I should pursue them to make money. So begins another business venture, on top of the ones that I'm already sacrificing health for in order to pursue. Obviously this pattern is harmful because of the toll that overwork takes on our health. But what is the error? If "productive achievement is [man's] noblest activity," how can we excuse a moment of relaxation? How does one feel worthy of the day without being constantly maximally productive? Appeals to "moderation" don't seem right; if productiveness is a virtue, shouldn't it be pursued all the time? How can we feel pride and self-esteem if we spend so much as 30 minutes a day watching a TV show we like, or looking at a YouTube music video, or even talking with friends? Shouldn't our friends admire us for our accomplishments, and hence we need more and more achievements to prove our worthiness? Something is wrong here but I can't figure out what! Any insights from Rand or self-help psychology would be appreciated. :-)
  9. Yes, I think your analysis is sound. Many people have a religious view of humanity-- we are important to God; we matter because God has a purpose for us. When people realize that God is a myth, they risk believing that humans are insignificant and that our existence is nothing special. Notice that in your example of the utilitarian, he/she is still attempting to have meaning and purpose (in that case, helping other people, forming a certain type of society, etc.). Living organisms cannot escape the fact of requiring values in order to survive. A follow-up question would be how to respond to a depressed existential nihilist. Is their problem more a sense of life issue, or is there some direct argument that can be used to show that lack of a theistic "purpose" does not imply that existence is a sick joke?
  10. Hm... I'm thinking it is a moral issue due to the following: "What's the most depraved type of human being?" "The man without a purpose." Or: "Productive work is the central purpose of a rational man’s life, the central value that integrates and determines the hierarchy of all his other values. Reason is the source, the precondition of his productive work—pride is the result." Or: Other examples from the lexicon: http://aynrandlexico...on/purpose.html And for the moment I guess I'm referring to close friends rather than shopping or sports buddies, because it is close friends by whom I wish to be fully understood and that I wish to fully understand. But from a larger perspective I'm also referring to acquaintances and strangers-- in other words, broadening the potential pool of people with whom I could form deep friendships due to a shared passion for our lives.
  11. From an early age I knew exactly what I wanted my life's purpose to be, in terms of career and creative personal projects. As an adult I know very few people with this same level of dedication and passion for their lives. I've had friends who are above-average in their academics or in their job, or who explore various hobbies, but they do not pursue those interests with much pride or intensity. They say they "do not know what they want out of life" and are "trying to find their calling." This is incomprehensible to me, as I've never felt it (and never want to)! I have several questions relating to this: 1. What is at the root of a person not knowing what he/she wants out of life? Is it a moral breach? 2. How can we foster and encourage purpose in a friend's life? 3. Is it possible to truly be friends with people who don't share a Roark-like pursuit of their purpose? I can enjoy basic activities and conversations with those friends, such as going shopping or engaging in recreational sports, but ultimately I feel invisible and not understood at my core. My productiveness and purpose is the very essence of my being-- my main identity-- and that is what I most want my friends to see in me (and I in them). But as of now this makes for very few friends.
  12. Thanks for all the input. Your comments have given me some more direction. I haven't read "The Logical Leap" yet, but went back to OPAR 5.4 as recommended and have found some additional insights. I think the biggest thing I failed to recognize in the discussion was context. Inability to be omniscient does not mean inability to know what we do know.
  13. In a recent discussion, a friend of mine asserted that it is impossible to be 100% certain that the sun will rise tomorrow. We believe it will, but there is a "0.00000001% chance" (or whatever) that the sun might not rise. I asserted that in order to function in the world we needed to have certainty and absolutes. He acknowledged this but said we still could not "prove" that the sun will rise in the same way we could form a deductive proof. We think the sun will rise because it always has, but there's a chance it might not. I didn't have a good answer for this. The only idea I came up with on the spot is that even if the sun rising has some element of metaphysical uncertainty, we have to treat the phenomenon as a psychological certainty. But this borders too close to pragmatism for my tastes. Any better responses?
  14. I love it! This was a marvelously refreshing thing to read today.
  15. I think graduate school does generally lead to an unhealthy psychological state. This is due to the current manifestation of how grad schools operate, though, rather than to anything inherently damaging about learning in a structured environment. (I'm saying this as a former graduate student and current college instructor who became psychologically unhealthy during grad school.) Reasons: 1. Research can be an unhealthy lifestyle Due to the nature of research, particularly in scientific experiments that last all day and night, your eating and sleeping schedules are disrupted. Grad students may work 60+ hour weeks, stay up until 2:00 AM, and attempt to subsist on coffee and energy drinks. All of this is tremendous stress for the body, which makes coping with normal stressors much more difficult. 2. Most graduate mentors discourage external interests Even though I am a very efficient and resourceful person, my first graduate mentor would not permit me to pursue external passions such as orchestra. (I was studying cell biology.) If I wanted the funding she had access to, I would have had to "sell my soul." Many grad students give up their other passions. After 2 years for Masters, 4 years for PhD, and 6-10 including post-doc, their sense of life dies. 3. Much of the research focuses on rehashing minutiae There is little innovation (at least in science research). Research projects focus on one function of one protein product of one gene in one species of Siberian tree frog... or something. An integrative, systems approach is scoffed at by tenured professors, who are generally dinosaurs resentful of energy and innovative ideas. Furthermore, most projects just involve confirming the work of others who knowingly engaged in poorly designed experiments. Experiments are intentionally designed to have to be repeated with better controls or larger sample sizes-- this maintains the status quo and ensures continued funding via research grants. You become depressed because you know your work is meaningless or insignificant. 4. You or your mentor "begs" for funding via governmental grants Research that does not meet government dogma, particularly in health or environmental fields, does not get funded. You may be knowingly working against what you know to be true. This is psychologically damaging. 5. The peer review process discourages innovation See also #3. In order to get published your "peers" in the field must approve your work. If your work is worse than theirs, they don't want to publish it because they look down on you. If your work is better than theirs, they don't want to publish it because they resent you. It is not unusual for members of peer review committees to decline a paper, only to perform a mysteriously similar experiment themselves and get it published under their name. This system encourages suspicion, fear, resentment, etc.-- all psychologically unhealthy patterns. 6. There can be destructive competition Among graduate students at the same school, there is often "competition" (in the bad sense of the word, not in the Hank and Dagny sense). Grad students sabotage other students' projects-- literally contaminating experiments that have taken months to perform. Under this system you become unable to trust people who are supposedly collaborating and loving the learning process. This is just a quick list of my ideas. I firmly believe grad school is damaging. The best people either drop out or develop psychological dysfunctions that they will have to deal with years later. The worst people let themselves be "broken" by the system and become the kind of professors who perpetuate the aforementioned problems for future generations of students.
  16. Thanks for all of the input. It gives me more to think about. It's interesting to hear from those who like or need to directly be told things that they truly did not interpret. Perhaps because my personality is so conscientious, I'm constantly anticipating or thinking about what other people might like. Not everyone is this way and that doesn't necessarily mean they are evil and/or willfully hurting me. On the other hand, I think the context of my situation is more along the lines of what Bluecherry indicated, as well as the overall trends others mentioned. I posed the same question on a different message board and someone wrote, "If he saw you struggling to lift a heavy object, would he come over to help, or would he just stand there and watch you struggle, waiting for you to ask for help?" I had to laugh out loud because that exact situation has happened time and again. Over the course of our relationship I moved several times (all within the same general area) and my BF never offered to help. I recall loading my car for about an hour while he sat reading blogs at the computer. And no-- blogging is not a major value to him; he often says it is a waste of time. My struggle is that, because I am so independent and value that same selfish independence in others, I logically understand that I shouldn't expect anyone to invest time or energy for me. I hesitate to ask for help or support because I don't want to sound like a needy nag. But what, then, makes a friend? If someone allegedly is a friend and likes to be with me, why wouldn't that person want to help me move or come support me at a race? Why do we prefer some people over others if no-one understands us any better or worse than anyone else does? But since justice and fairness are very important to me I have to figure out whether BF fails to meet my reasonable expectations, or whether my expectations are too high and therefore it's my own fault when I'm disappointed by his actions (or lack thereof). On a related note-- is it possible for someone to not notice the things that are important to me, because he is not an impassioned valuer in his own life? If there is nothing in his life that he values as much as I value my values, then it would make sense that he couldn't comprehend how important my values are to me. Based on my 3+ years of observations this seems to be a likely explanation.
  17. I'm not entirely sure what you're asking, but yes, we talk about this frequently. He says this is just a difference between men and women (that women usually expect their needs to be known without directly stating them).
  18. In a romantic relationship, how much should Partner A be able to interpret and support Partner B's values and interests, and how much should Partner B need to be direct and clear about her expectations of Partner A? For example: Last fall I ran a half-marathon. I had trained for it all summer and talked about it nearly every day. Before the event I asked my boyfriend if he would be coming to watch me. He was non-committal. He did not come. After the fact, I told him I'd wished he'd been there. He said, "You should have told me to. If I had known how much it meant to you I would have gone." For another example: For the past year I have been working on starting a home craft business. I got accepted to be a vendor in a farmers market, and had the opening day last week. I have talked about it incessantly for months. Before the event I told him when and where it was, but I did not specifically say "YOU MUST COME." He did not come. Remarkably, colleagues and other newer friends I hardly know DID come to support me. After the fact, I told him I was disappointed that he had not come. Again he said, "You should have directly told me to." And isn't he right? Logically I can't expect him to be omniscient. On the other hand, if he can't pick up on how important these things are to me, then it seems like he doesn't understand me at all and I feel completely invisible. Further, I don't want to tell him specifically to watch me in a running race or go to a craft show if he'd only be going out of duty, obligation, or guilt. Any insights you might be able to offer would be most appreciated. Thank you. :-)
  19. I am seeking clarification on whether humans have a "right" to life, or whether life is the presupposition and necessary condition from which rights arise. I've included this in the Political forum because the question came up as I was debating property rights with a group of anarchists. Before we could discuss property rights we had to understand more basic ideas about the nature of rights. In OPAR - Individual Rights as Absolutes, Peikoff says: "The fundamental right is the right to life. Its major derivatives are the right to liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness." I didn't used to question this, but unfortunately I don't understand it well enough to explain to others. How is the right to life conferred? What gives us the right to life? Is it because man is rational that he has a right to life, whereas a plant does not have a right to life because it is not rational? A second problem which I am embarrassed to say I couldn't refute in the course of the discussion, was someone's assertion that a slave owner is NOT infringing upon the slave's "fundamental right" of the "right to life." I indicated that the slave owner was infringing upon the right to a life proper to man. Do you have any clarification on this?
  20. Thanks, everyone, for your insights. I realized I had to respond sooner than later so that no-one thinks I have died in the forest. :-) aequalsa said: Well, some of the unenjoyable aspects have been related to things along those lines-- personality and lifestyle differences that I suspect any couple would have to compromise about (putting away dishes vs. leaving them dirty in the sink, different wake/sleep cycles). It's true that I strongly want to favor my routine and my way of doing things, so dealing with my BF's way of doing things has been quite trying at times. But the main issue is the second part you mention; it makes me shudder to realize how much a relationship feels like a sacrifice of my interests rather than an added value in my life. :-( Eiuol said: I favor long-term goals over short-term pleasure (this is one of my faults; it is hard for me to enjoy myself in the moment); so I don't see "the point" of a relationship if it doesn't progress to a life-long commitment. It would feel to me like a waste of time to invest so much effort, energy, and emotion into something without the possibility that it would progress to something permanently worthwhile. The conflict primarily involves time. If I want to be in a woodwind quintet I need to practice, attend rehearsals, and give performances. If I want to write music I need to have quiet time alone to reflect. If I want to run a business I need to make my products, process orders, and ship things to the post office, etc. All of this is time that takes away from spending time with my BF. When I do see my BF I am often tired from my day job or from another interest (running). But it is not his fault that I want to rest, so he should not be punished for my choices-- so I push myself to try to be energetic and interested in him. This makes me feel more tired, and then I am unable to successfully pursue my interests when I go home. Even aside from getting worn out, just the time itself spent with my BF detracts from time spent on artistic/productive goals. I see the two as mutually exclusive-- or else as a compromise that leaves me mediocre in both areas. To some of the others who commented on safety concerns about hiking in a secluded forest-- it was kind of a joke example, and in reality I WOULD notify my BF, my parents, etc. I just resent feeling obligated to do so, and, based on my understanding of a committed relationship, I would be obligated so that others wouldn't be worried about me. Amaroq, I really appreciate what you wrote. This is EXACTLY what it is. He and I have talked about it ad nauseum, and he says it is OK for me to take personal time even though he'd rather I be spending it with him. But somehow I've got the thought that, in order to meet the criteria of a good GF, I must be ready and waiting at my BF's command. I feel guilty for taking time to do my own things. Shouldn't I want to help him in his pursuits? Shouldn't I want to spend time with him? And if I'd rather be working on my own pursuits than spending time with him, doesn't it mean I value my own pursuits more than the relationship, in which case I shouldn't be in a relationship?! To everyone: Many people on this forum, people on Objectivist dating sites like the Atlasphere, and Objectivist therapists, believe there can be great value in good relationships. Could you please describe what values you have enjoyed from being in a committed romantic relationship? When I think deeply about this I discover I can't come up with anything, and can only see drawbacks, like reduced time spent on my projects, and having to accommodate someone else's schedule and routine.
  21. Hello everyone, This is a multi-faceted question. Does anyone else here prefer to be single? Is it OK (morally) to choose to not be in a relationship? Short background: I’m a female in my late 20s. I have always found great joy and value in my projects. I love my career, I am involved in clubs and groups that interest me, but most of my productive values are things that I do alone, such as composing music, running an online craft business, and exercising alone at my own pace. Whenever I have taken those “values hierarchy” rating quizzes, relationships and family have scored near the bottom, whereas independence and productivity have scored at the top. Growing up I never envisioned myself getting married or having children, because there are so many other things I value more, and being in a relationship would prevent me from achieving those other goals. I am proud to say I am a professor or a musician or a business owner; I don’t gain any sense of self-respect from labeling myself as a “girlfriend.” I have been in a committed relationship for over two years. I was not seeking it but discovered that I admired many of the traits my boyfriend possesses, and we started dating. However, my constant struggle has been attempting to balance my interests and goals with relationship stuff, and I’m at the breaking point. I really care about my boyfriend, I would hate to hurt his feelings, and I know I would miss him. But I recognize that being with him— or anyone else— prevents me from achieving what I want to do. (I discuss this with him in-depth on a regular basis, and he seems to understand, but I’m not convinced he understands how much anguish this problem causes me.) I suppose a quick way of stating the problem is that I “like” being with him, but I do not “value” it as much as I value my personal and career goals. So I’m constantly upset with myself for putting temporary enjoyment (making out, watching a movie with him) above things I truly do value (composing, working on my home business, etc.) My reasons for not ending the relationship are: - I do “like” and care about him. - Societal influences are starting to sway me into thinking I “should” be in a relationship, even though growing up I was more confident about resisting that pressure. Relatives you see once a year never ask what great things you've achieved that year; they ask whether you have a boyfriend. Classmates at a high school reunion don’t ask whether you’re a millionaire; they ask whether you’re married with kids. I used to dismiss these pressures but once I started dating I started falling into the mentality that I "should" desire a relationship. - I have issues with anxiety and OCD, for which I have talked to multiple therapists— mainstream as well as a prominent and well-respected Objectivist. They all suggest that it’s impossible to truly prefer being alone, and that by staying alone in my rigid routine in my neat and orderly house, I’m preventing myself from personal growth and “blocking” something in my psyche so that I don’t have to form close bonds with anyone. I want the freedom to be able to hike in a secluded forest for a week without anyone knowing where I am; they say this is childish and I need to learn to be accountable to others. Growing up I would have said this was nonsense, because I truly do enjoy AND VALUE doing all of the things I do when I am alone. Unfortunately, after seeing therapists for anxiety is when I began to have self-doubt about other aspects of my life, and now they've got me questioning whether my order of values is valid, and thinking that I "should" value relationships more than I do! So, is it morally OK to not really value relationships, as long as I dedicate myself to pursuits that I truly enjoy and value? Am I missing something by not forcing myself to “grow” by being in relationships that prevent me from reaching my potentials in other areas of life?
  22. Imogen, Thank you so much for your input! From 2001-2005 I went to university in Ontario and didn't notice that prices were particularly any higher than they are here in Michigan. Maybe things have changed? Commercial beeswax candles are usually priced more than what I sell mine for, but compared to other homemade candles on eBay and Etsy, mine are average to slightly above-average priced. It's nice to hear that you think I could ask more for them. I do ship to Canada and will start some marketing efforts there-- thanks for the suggestion.
  23. Yes, it's time for some shameless self-promotion. ;-) For years I've been interested in natural health, making nearly all of my own food, avoiding plastic containers, etc. I started making organic lip balms, soaps, fluoride-free toothpaste, and lead-free-wick candles for myself because it was impossible to find these things commercially. This expanded to selling the items on eBay, and now I've launched a website to have more direct control of the operations. I'm happy to sell to other Objectivists, and accept common forms of payment as well as silver. http://www.aurum-naturals.com
  24. SapereAude, #2 and #3 exactly describe the nature of the distress. John, Yes, I very much enjoy running and am quite good at it. I am not a professional athlete but I do run regularly and participate in distance races. I bike, rollerblade, and jumprope for fun. Aside from that I also like a lot of down-time, during which I play a musical instrument, compose music, read, write, and do crafty things like making candles and soap. The common theme is that these are solo activities and I like to be alone.
  25. Eiuol, That's what I was going to say! You got to it first (and more succinctly, I might add). Studies estimate asexuality as 1% of the population, which actually seems pretty high. Most "mental illnesses" are much lower in frequency. Also, people who have lower sex drives but still engage in intercourse (out of care for the partner or some other reason), might properly fall into the asexual category.
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