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Everything posted by Socionomer

  1. Is the idea of "mirror matter" considered a part of the dark matter theory? A book by that title by Dr Robert Foot that I read over a year ago suggests the possible existence of matter that does not interract with ordinary matter except by the gravitational force and something called the photon-mirror photon effect (which I don't understand very well). He believes that the Tunguska blast in Russia in the early 20th century may have been caused by a mirror matter object (hence the absence of residual debris from the object). Some other unexplained he also says is possibly attributed to mirror matter. Experiments to validate the idea were as yet to be conducted due to lack of funding, so I don't know the current status of the project. Another speculation is that mirror matter could explain the phenomena of the loss in weight of the platinum-iridium standard kilogram cylinder.speculations Is anyone else familiar with this topic or know if there are any other interesting developments in this area?
  2. I understend the importance of first understanding the entire philosophy of Objectivism before taking a stance on it. Right now though I am just trying to follow the reasoning behind some of the points the various people are making and what the implications may be. Thus far I have read Kelley's "A Question of Sanction", Peikoff's "Fact and Value", and Schwartz's "On Moral Sanctions". Just an example of one argument I am trying to grasp is the one Schwarz makes in regard to the justification for one's belief in "liberty". He states: "In the absence of any intelectual framework, the zealous advocacy of "liberty" can represent only the mindless quest to eliminate all restraints on human behavior - political, moral, metaphysical." Just prior to that, in refering to libertarianism, he states: "It repudiates the need for any intellectual foundation to explain why "liberty" is desireable and what "liberty" means." Now, as far as I'm concerned that argument is fine, so long as he accepts everything that it implies. Over 200 years ago someone wrote in a document that "We hold these truths to be SELF EVIDENT...all men...are endowed...with certain inalienable rights, the right to life, LIBERTY and the pursuit of happiness..." The implication to me is that these men of old were just as EVIL as he claims the current crop of libertarians to be, because they give no justification for their assertions. In other words the nation in which many of us reside is a LIE, founded on false premises, and "widespread death would be the consequence" (Schwarz's words). I haven't read anything else that Schwarz has written, so I don't know what he thinks of this country, but if he supports this country (sanctions it in any way, shape or form) then I would say there is a contradiction somewhere here. I would then be tempted to dismiss him as just another hypocrite. But I am not confident enough in my intellectual abilities to do that just yet. I read the posts of people in this forum and realize I am in the company of people much more intelligent than I am, which is sometimes intimidating and causes me to refrain from commenting on things I don't agree with. I don't mind being wrong, so perhaps someone could explain where I have erred in my analysis of what Schwarz said.
  3. Good question. Social behavior comes in two types: aggregate action (the sum of individual actions) and collective action (group based action based on purposeful cooperation toward an end desired by the majority). The theory of patterned social behavior does not challenge the existence of free will, but it does challenge each individual's ability to exercise it rationally. We can use our neo cortex to generate rational, conscious actions when we choose to do so, but there are times when we operate unconsciously, under the influence of the limbic system and the hard wired emotional responses which it generates. The emotional responses are the ones that contribute to the herding impulses that generate the actions which make up the patterned social behavior. Even while exercising our higher rational faculties though, we are often influenced to varying degrees by our emotions. This can result in actions which we believe to be rationally based, but actually reflect the influence of the herding impulse on our decisionmaking process (a rationalization if you like). To the extent that an individual operates on the conscious, rational level, and is aware of the operation and influence of the irrational herding impulses AND chooses to resist those impulses, the actions of that individual will not register or contribute to the overall pattern/trend of social mood. I view the pattern of social mood to be an aspect of reality. Because of the nonrational basis of its existence and operation, according to Objectivism, one should view it as bad, (since the logical consequences of irrational behavior for society will be harmful for the individual and society). I mention the theory in this forum because to Objectivists, reality is supposedly a friend. There is no better place I can think of where it would be more welcome, appreciated, understood and expanded upon than among a group of people who seek to live according to a philosophy based on reason. But don't take my word for it. A better synopsis of the wave principle than my inadequate description can be found here:manifesto The more people who become aware of the existence, nature and operation of this phenomena, the better it is for society as a whole (not to mention the psychological benefits the individual can derive from the knowledge that will benefit his own survival and prosperity). (I suggest this topic be moved to a thread of its own if it generates too much dicussion unrelated to the present topic).
  4. Vicki, I'm in the same boat as you. Read the recommended essays suggested by different people in the previous posts on this topic. I'm having a difficult time following their arguments and am getting frustrated. I will probably make a lengthy post regarding my concerns with the different arguments made by both sides, but I'm also tempted to just say "to hell with all of them". Perhaps there are others out there who feel a third camp is in order. They can be called "neo objectivists" or something like that. I get the impression that both sides appear firmly entrenched. I'm wondering if any individual allied on either side has managed to find ANY fault whatsoever, in either the line of reasoning, or in what their own "leaders'" arguments actually imply?
  5. No need to throw out philosophy, and yes, all of the above are the result of ideas. (Not all ideas are rational though). The Wave Principle applies only to collective social behavior and does not challenge individual volition or free will.
  6. The scandals that we have seen occuring in the financial industry did not materialize overnight. Many have been brewing for years but people simply ignored the signs. The conflicts of interested between companies and accounting firms, companies and analysts, ratings firms, etc.... have existed for quite some time. The reason the scandals came to light was a result of the change in trend of social mood which drives collective human social behavior. When social mood waxes positive or is peaking, so is the stock market (which is a quantitative barometer with which to measure mood) and people are less interested in looking for deficiencies in the system that could pose a risk to one's finances. Many people blame the ENRON scandal for their financial losses. What the company did with regards to their accounting was indeed wrong, but what people fail to realize is that the share price of the company had already plummeted prior to the scandal coming to light. (The entire market was in a downtrend at the time). The breaking of the news actually coincided with a temporary market low that reflected the extreme negative sentiment. What is interesting about social mood is that it is patterned based on something called the Wave Principle which is in turn based on natural laws of growth based on the Golden Ratio (1.618) and Fibonacci number sequences. This patterning lends to the possibility of successful prediction of the direction of social mood and its various manifestations in all aspects of collective behavior such as economics, politics, fashion, music, art, sports, sex, and conflict (war). The most important thing I learned from this was the fact that the stock market is the best predictor of the future of the economy. Economists have always been unsuccessful in forecasting significant changes in trend because they have the entire relationship between finance and economics backwards. One proof of this is the fact that EVERY single recession/depression was PRECEDED by or coincided with a stock market peak then decline. Collective social behavior is driven by a herding impulse that operates within all social animals (in the pre-rational portion of the brain - limbic system). This part of the brain controls our emotions. Unfortunately, our emotions often override the rational functioning of the neo-cortex without our being aware and cause us to act or behave in accordance with the rest of the herd. This is a survival mechanism that is useful in many aspects of life, but in the area of finance it actually very harmful to our well-being. When one becomes aware of how this herding impulse operates one can actually consciously repress it and act/behave/live outside of its influence (but only so long as one exercises one's rational faculties and conscious awareness). For anyone interested in learning more, visit www.socionomics.org or read Robert Prechter's book "The Wave Principle of Human Social Behavior..." His website is www.elliottwave.com
  7. I definitely have a lot of reading to do. But, one thing I am curious about regarding Tracinski's analysis is his criticism of Kelley's association with the Libertarians. He also refers to libertarianism as the same in concept to the soviet system, and advocating anarchy. This doesn't make much sense to me (based on what I've read about libertarianism). Can anyone tell me where I can read about this aspect of the libertarians? Also, Since objectivists are concerned with affecting positive change and the TOC has apparentlyallied itself with the libertarians, why is there not a "Capitalist Party" being formed by or supported by ARI? It seems as though the rift between ARI and TOC is much less than the rift between ARI and people who consider themselves Democrats and Republicans. If toleration for TOC is not warranted, I can't see how it is warranted for the traditional parties either (much less sanctioning them with votes). (Has anyone ever dicussed, suggested or attempted a "Capitalst Party" in the past?)
  8. Being somewhat new to Ayn Rand and Objectivism I am also rather ignorant concerning the nature of the schism between TOC and ARI but am interested in understanding it better. I have'nt read anything written by David Kelley or Leanard Peikoff yet, but I did just read the Robert Tracinski critique of Kelley's "A Question of Sanction" (actually about 3/4 of it; I became impatient after awhile and skipped to the end to read the final conclusion). Contrary to what he may have intended, Tracinski actually succeeded in directing my sympathies more in the direction of Kelley. I don't agree at all with the way he derived his conclusions. He accuses Kelley's logic of leading to non sequiturs in some cases, but he fails to see where his does the same. I will now read both Kelley's article and Peikoff's "Fact and Value" to see how different my conclusions may be from those of others, buti have a sense that the major factor for the disparity in views regarding this subject has to do with individuals' psychological make-ups, not their intellects.
  9. Perhaps another reason that the groom and bride did not exhibit much enthusiasm in the arranged marriage ceremonies I saw was due to the fact that the grooms had to fast for several days prior. Those guys looked exhausted!
  10. argive99, People who consciously hold life as their highest value are not careless with it. I only suggested that what happened was a logical consequence, not that it was deserved. My comments make me appear cold, but I assure you that after watching that video of his death my blood boiled with rage against the "animals" that perpetrated it. I question the values of anyone going to Iraq without any means of self-protection just as I would question it if someone climbed into the polar bear exhibit at the zoo. The only difference is that the "animals" in Iraq are more dangerous, and predictable. The video serves as a brutal reminder of what human beings are capable of doing to each other and that it can happen here just as well as Iraq. It should also reinforce one's resolve to remain vigilant and both physically and psychologically prepared to defend one's highest value and the right to exist against ANY person or entity that threatens it. That means TO KILL for it. I am sorry for Mr. Berg and his family. I wish I could have had the opportunity to advise him on a different course of action, or to have been there to defend him when he was abducted. Unlike our soldiers who are in Iraq in defense of our supreme right to life, whose lives are stolen from them (not sacrificed) despite they're being well armed, Nick Berg made himself a sacrificial lamb. THAT makes me angry, because I appreciate the value of his life and I'm enraged that the terrorists took it without having to pay a price for it with their own blood. Their success has emboldened them and they will seek out more lambs. As for President Bush; he can call for more americans to help rebuild his monument to altruism, but they should tell him to SHOVE IT unless they are permitted to defend themselves in any manner they find necessary.
  11. Religious fundamentalist terrorists value neither their own lives, nor the lives of ANY other human being. Regretably, Nick Berg's "humanitarian spirit" and the attendant values that normally accompany such spirits contributed to the "bargain" he arranged with the people who killed him. Everything in his actions support the notion that he did not hold his own life as his highest value. He could not have accepted the idea of his fundamental right to exist because he did nothing to support or defend it. His subconscious estimate of his own life's value agreed with the terrorists' estimate. The actions of both sides permitted the ideal circumstances under which their meeting could take place, their bargain made. and a deal concluded. Mr. Berg's death was a logical consequence of the life premises unconsciously held by each side. Could a Howard Roark ever find himself in such a predicament?
  12. Speaking of India.... I saw a program the other night on LinkTV about the Indian tradition of arranged marriages. I had no idea how prevalent and ingrained the custom was, despite modernization and the increasing western cultural influences. The moods during the marriage ceremonies I saw were more akin to funeral services and the couples were clearly uncomfortable with their new life ventures. But what was amazing was the apparent "success" of many or most of such marriages. Some couples are able to develop passionate relationships, while others seem to accept with resignation their new spouse and try to make the best of it. One thing that stood out in my mind, which may have been a key factor in the ability for such arrangements to work, was the degree of dignity and respect with which the couples treated one another as human beings, without even knowing the other person well. This, and the respect for their families and tradition seemed to provide a basis upon which to build a lasting relationship. It was definitely interesting, though completely alien and unacceptable to me.
  13. I believe that neither the Democratic nor Republican parties are compatible with Objectivism and its political philosophy, Capitalism. Neither one possesses the required philosophical premises to implement any coherent set of principles by which do derive consistent public and foreign policies without contradictions. The terms Democrat and Republican are meaningless other than to identify which "team" a member is on or who one should root for. They are best viewed as opposition parties. I say this because the policies advocated by each are often merely a consequence of whether or not their party happens to hold onto the reigns of government at that particular moment. (We often see positions conveniently change when the "other guy" moves into office). I don't believe Kerry is less hawkish when it comes to war than Bush is. I believe if he were the President when 9/11 occured, he would have taken military action as Bush did. To do anything less would have been political suicide because americans were demanding action, vengeance, etc... I'm not so sure he would even have waited as long as Bush did for U.N. support. Personally, I am neither for nor against the war in Iraq. An analogy would be an opinion regarding the actions of the captain of the Titanic. Hypothetically, if my opinion was requested beforehand about the course and speed of the ship I would have advised actions that logically would have lessened the risk of hitting an iceberg (slower speed/more lookouts). Asking what should be done after hitting the iceberg, I would have answered "it's your call skipper, the ship appears to be going down, all of the alternatives have negative consequences and I have no idea which would turn out best. Try to minimize the loss of life if you can". I have no desire to second-guess the present commander-in-chief. The consequences of an irrational foreign policy spanning decades (or longer) and multiple administrations of both parties are upon us. How an administration chooses to fight a "war on terror" (whatever that means) is almost irrelevant, so long as they avoid answering the question "how did we hit that iceberg?" Granted, much of what I've said is mere conjecture and speculation and I don't know enough yet to consider myself a real Objectivist (I have many contradictions that require resolution), BUT, if I were an Objectivist, I'm not sure I could defend voting for either a democrat or a republican using the rationalization that one is the lesser of two evils. I don't believe a politician who receives a vote thinks about the agonizing decisionmaking process that may have gone on prior to it being cast. He/she considers that person to be in full support of the platform upon which the campaign was waged and thereby the liscence to implement those ideas if elected to office. If those ideas are contrary to Objectivist principles (though less "evil" than the alternative), then contributing to the election of such a person is a "compromise" of those principles (in my humble opinion). Ayn Rand believed that a conscious decision to NOT cast a vote in an election is in fact another legitimate form of voting. I agree. One does not have to compromise one's principles. Politicians would likely lump such people into the category of the "indifferent", or "apathetic", but I would prefer to have my "vote" misconstrued in this manner versus a tacit endorsement of the whims that drive politicians who for the most part respond to the irrational desires of the majority of voters.
  14. I'm surprised that no one has yet made the argument that the United States also supports terrorism and should be "taken out". I say this because I just heard on the news that the U.S. will be increasing foriegn aid to Saudi Arabia by some 300 million dollars this year (or next fiscal year). What controls are there to prevent members of the Saudi family/gov't from disbursing some of OUR tax dollars to those that will be killing more of us in the future? This is INSANE. Our foreign policy is completely incoherent. I'm surprised the terrorists actually tried to hit Washington D.C. Our own government is their best friend!
  15. Betsy, You are so right about "The Letters of Ayn Rand". I'm about two thirds of the way through it and my admiration for her grows with each page. Her generous nature is reflected in her responses to some unknown fans with lenghty letters explaining her novels or philosophy in more depth if she thought they were sincere in their inquiries. One also shares in her emotional joy and disappointment upon discovering a new intellectual allly only to discover years later that they had betrayed her through a lack of integrity, courage, or adherence to inexcusable contradictions. I highly recommend it as well.
  16. I would distinguish between moral courage and physical courage. Physical courage may or may not be a virtue, depending on the the reason for its demonstration.
  17. Socionomer


    Does anyone dispute that Osama bin Laden "hates" America and western civilization? While watching a video of Osama bin Laden engaging in his usual anti-western diatribes though, it is difficult if not impossible to detect hatred mainifesting itself outwardly as an emotion. His facial features reveal more of a smug contemptuousness. His actions though (through terrorist acts), are how he chooses to demonstrate his hatred. I suspect this man sleeps very well at night. He lives according to the values he has selected.
  18. "The Wind and the Lion" with Sean Connery (a Berber chief) and Brian Keith (Teddy Roosevelt). Based on a true incident around 1902 where the Berbers kidnap an american businessman (a woman and her kids in the movie). My favorite scene in the movie is the part where a detachment of Marines and Sailors from a U.S. battleship in port (Tangiers?) march through the city and storm the palace of the prince in order to put political pressure on the local government to reign in the wayward sheik and get the american hostages. The movie holds an eerie resemblance to events unfolding in the region today (the germans and french don't lift a finger to help). I give it 4 stars! Anybody else remember it and care to comment?
  19. Young, You answered your own request the moment you made it by asking for an Objectivist argument against determinism. Consciousness is axiomatic. You acknowledge that just by recognizing determinism as a distinct theory.
  20. I don't believe Howard Roark could be described as being lazy during the time he worked in the rock quarry for subsistence level wages. Intelligent people often accept manual labor employment rather than employ their minds in purposeless or immoral pursuits even if the pay is better. When not working, (or sometimes while working) they can engage their minds through study or thought in preparation for some future purpose which they find of value.
  21. Ayn Rand was somehow able to become educated and resist becoming "indoctrinated" while living under the Soviet system. She recognized the reality and possible consequences of continuing to live in such a place. If she stayed she could have died during WWII (that would have been a tragedy). Were she not permitted to emigrate it's not unreasonable to suspect she would have fled in the same manner that Kira tried to in "We the Living". By choosing her values and acting on them, her story is what we know today and not merely just another anonymous tragedy. People in Iraq, like the rest of us, can choose their values, or not, and can live by those values, or not. But none of us can escape the consequences. That may be "tragic", but it is reality.
  22. The physics community was able to find several problems with the theory which have yet to be resolved. Articles on these can be found at www.objectivescience.com What I admire though about Little's theory is that it challenged the conventional view of quantum mechanics and demonstrated that it could be understood objectively, without refuting reality, by showing that the cause and effect at the subatomic level operates on the same grounds as the rest of physics. The false assumption has always been that waves and particles travel in the same direction. While logical, it lead to results that were nonsensical. His theory that waves actually travel in the opposite direction (from detector to the source) is completely counterintuitive but better as a basis for explaining the actual experimental results. I first learned of the Theory of Elementary Waves from Socionomist Robert Prechter who used Little's paper to draw parallels between the physical sciences and his own discoveries in human social behavior which are similarly revolutionary, counterintuitive, and "heretical", yet better reflective of reality. It is known as Elliottwave Theory (EWT). I'm not surprised you appreciate Little's paper so far since its only natural for Objectivists to rejoice when long standing "error pyramids" are demolished by objective reason.
  23. I ran across the word "possibilism" in some obscure reading several weeks ago but wasn't quite sure what it meant. I think now that someone who makes assertions without evidence would qualify as a "possibilist".
  24. From a clinical psychological point of view I would say Keating's mom is most fascinating. My favorite scene in The Fountainhead is Roark's encounter with her on the porch of the Keating home at the beginning of the novel. The contrast between the significance that the encounter likely represented for each of them is striking. Whereas Roark may have considered the episode the equivalent of negotiating around a fallen branch obstructing his path on the pavement, Mrs. Keating saw it as an opportunity to address her many neuroses stemming from having existed at the percetual level of awareness for so many years. If any thought did go through Howard's mind at the time, it might have been one of fascination mixed with pity for the extent to which the human spirit can debase itself.
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