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Free Thinker

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  1. So if I gather your position correctly, you are saying that altough a words original definiton may have been one thing, its usage in a particular culture (in the end) determines its ultimate meaning (?). Why then is it okay for, for example, Thomas Bowden to call the Native Americans savages (in "The Enemies of Christopher COlumbus") , when the word today clearly was racist connotations?
  2. What is the relationship between a concept and its connotation? Are words evolutionary or static? For example, the racial slur "n*gger" used to simply mean "lazy or incompatent". Due to slavery (predominately) the word has acquired a ethnic connotation - the word almost exclusively pertains to blacks now. Another example is of the word "savage". Same process as above. Is it just political correctness, or is it wrong to call someone either of these things, with reference to their original meaning?
  3. I am very interested in creating a blog. Could you guys suggest a good place to start?
  4. Hi, I was wondering how many people on this forum (who are Objectivists) live/reside in Minnesota. I was interested in creating a "salon" of sorts in the Twin Cities Area for such people. The University of Minnesota Objectivist Club (the college I'm attending in the fall) seems defunct, and I already tried creating one at my High School (a dud).
  5. Okay, I understandwith your position - but I have a few questions. I understand two schools of thought pertaining to value -subjectivist and intrinsic. What is the proper name for the Objectivist valuing system ie value as it benefits and extends man's life? I understand the definition of hedonism and have already conceded that Objectivism is not a hedonistic philosophy. If you recall, my question was one of semantics. To restate: If life's purpose is to gain as much happiness as possible, and happiness is an emotion, is our whole life dedicated to the pursuit of an emotion (however different and substanitive an emotion happiness may be)?
  6. Oh. I had no idea. Well, then I suppose that I should readdress my question to everyone. I agree that the immediate loss of lives in Japan due to the atomic bombs iwas not America's fault-it is unfortunate that those who didn't support the Emperor (innocents) were killed, but it is the consequence of war. My concern with using nuclear weapons is with the long term effects of nuclear radiation, as I said "the effect to innocents long after the war is complete". Such effects include radiation which results in life long and irreperable damage, not to mention nuclear winter and mutations. Should nuclear weapon deterence be supported for this reason, or should the "clean up" and after war reconstruction be up to the country in question's government?
  7. How can money fix a third eye, or brain damage, or any other irreperable damage? I am not trying to be sarcastic, but I don't understand. Could you explain the idea of "the Emperor should be protecting its citizens"? I don't quite understand your position.
  8. I agree with you. I actually write in a journal (I find simply thinking about my emotions gets distracting during the day). It just is hard to find the exact source of an emotion at times. Its like trying to describe a color. I find that repeating certain maxims to myself helps (ie A is A self, don't forget it! or I am captain of my own destiny!)
  9. Yes, I agree with you in the case of American lives. But what I was refering to were the Japanese innocents preceding the war.
  10. Thanks! I was a bit suspicious of the symbol at first...where did you find that out?
  11. I am in support of ending a war by any means necessary, but my hesitation in supporting nuclear arms proliferations is that unlike "normal" bombs, nuclear bombs have incredible after effects. Examples include nuclear winter, radiation, mutations etc. which affect citizens long after the war is complete. People who had nothing directly to do with WWII were harmed by it. Those people are innocents, they weren't even born yet.
  12. Does anyone understand what Rush's symbol means? (The "Starman"?) Here's a pic: http://www.intac.com/~pagano/rush/images/starman4.jpg
  13. I am noy sure if I agree with you. I believe that the whole meaning of value, "intrinsic" or not, has to be related to man. Intrinsic means "in it of itself", which I do believe life is. What else could possibly meet that definition? If nothing, then what is life?
  14. In the spirit of honesty here, Objectivism qua Objectivism hasn't raised my happiness level either. I think that at times, when I accomplish something worth wihle I feel a bit of contentment, but no where near how AR describes it in her novels. Whenever I am at school, and I see others submitting to instant gratification, a twinge of jealosy appears. I know that that lifestyle doesn't last (I've tried), but the idea of the "noble savage" always has been in the back of my mind. My hopes are that in the future, when I have accomplished what I've set out to do, I will feel that level of happiness. But for now, all I can do is think and create.
  15. I really do not understand what you two are going off on. If you both understand that Churchill was someone not to be admired, then you can (at best) understand that the aforementioned quote is simply what it is. Even evil people can speak truth. The point is that they don't live by it.
  16. I have search high and low for that series, but have not been able to locate it. He doesn't even sell it through is website!I do have a comic called "Package" which includes various of his works from different series. It included an "Avenging World" strip which was excellent. Edit: Removed image from quote (unnecessary). --Felipe
  17. I would be interested in either/both the Objectivism Online's comprehensive list of quotes and/or you list of quotes as well.
  18. I agree. I think that that's here the conclusion of "dogmatism" comes in. I of course am not accusing her of that, but am simply saying that it is a possibility with her followers. I think that because most people do not have a solid understanding of ideas or of principles, hedonism is often the course most people take. I think that, like I stated before, hedonism has serious short-sighted and Nietzschean implications. I don't think that Objectivism is hedonism. Like others have commented on in this thread, Hedonism says that pleasure is good, Objectivism the good leads to pleasure, but not necessarily both ways. We have to understand that principles are not simply devoid of referent to reality, "the moral is the practical". (Which I believe is the consensus here). My conclusion? Happinesss is the ultimate good, but it is still an emotion. Nothing escapes reality.
  19. By the way .... The Objective Review Magazine Websire looks amazing! When will it be completed? Can we submit reviews to it?
  20. I just wanted to clear up my position one last time. I do not equate happiness with simply a momentary pleasure. My question is simply one of "semantics", or of the proper means of identifying happiness. I know that pleasure divorced from ideas is a null ethical system, it is that of an animal. What I am persisting with is simply that if happiness is an emotion, and the goal of our lives is that happiness, are we seeking an emotion?
  21. Good, anything else leads to repression. I have had the same problem. You seem to feel like however noble the principles you hold are, they never seem quite to stick while you are with other people. You find yourself saying things and acting in a way that is much different your your "principles". Am I correct? The problem here is that, however you might think you have accepted Objectivist ideas, you haven't.(At least on the subconcious level) And that is okay. It is good even that you have recognized a problem. The solution is exactly what you are doing now. The emotions and ideas that you are discussing ARE what you believe. Honestly evaluate them and see if they will bring you happiness. Maybe another way of looking at it is this - instead of trying to find "Objectivist" friends, just find people who you like to be around. That isn't hard, just act according to the ideas you already have. See why such people make you happy (or un happy). Find exactly you find appealing in other people. That is the only thing that Objectivist talks about. If a person makes you feel small, or insignificant, screw them and move on. Don't chose non-values - its not worth it. Emotions ARE powerful tools, and do tend to control peoples behavior. I believe that the problem you are facing lies in the fact that the ideas that you hold (the Objectivist ones) don't seem to have any validation. There is nothing that says that they are right. The ideas that you used to hold, the old ones, do. You feel emotions based on them, and those emotions bring you an emotional response, which seems to make it true. Correct? That "dynamite" can only come from introspection, whether you know it or not. I am familar with what you are speaking of. I thought that maybe on day I would wake up and such principles would simply be ingrained in me, and that any deviation form them would seem like a non-option. The only way for that to happen is the long process of introspection and honesty - what you are doing now. John Galts are not built in a day. Even AR had to start from intellectual infancy before she grew into a giant. Again, your emotions come from preexisting ideas. Selfishness has very negative connotations in our culture, and your emotions are the derivative of that. The good-will that you speak of can make you feel good in a rational mindset. The alleviating of suffering can bring a rational person positive emotions. What selflishness is is self-interest. Self-interst simply is doing things that make you happy. Pursuing values, pursuing the best of life - heaven here on Earth. That's it. It does not mean killing others, or being indifferent to pain - those are all simply slurs. Selflessness is the idea that embodies those traits. Ask yourself - why wouldn't I want to find the best in life? What's wrong with trying to find the woman of my dreams? Once you id that, I think you'll find your answer. RATIONAL Self interest. Not just on the basis of "it makes me feel good", but on the basis of it "brings me lasting and meaningful contenment". If something makes you feel good, and you can't rationally justify why it does and why it supports your life, it is not a substanitive value. (Edited to follow a more standard quotation-style.- SoftwareNerd)
  22. I watched the trailer and am looking forward to its release. I also have watched the "Firefly" series, and have a question about the film. Is "Serenitity" basically a repeat of the show, or is the plot significantly changed?
  23. I understand your argument a bit more clearly now. Still, I most presist with my conclusions with a few modifications/clarifications. I agree that hedonism with its claim to "intrinsic value of pleasure" makes it incredibly short sighted, thus immoral. I also agree with you that pleasure isn't necessarily value achievement. Let me explain with an example. One of the goals of my life is to find a woman who I love romantically - a woman who esteems my deepest principles and convictions. Let's say tommorow I met such a woman, and we fall in love and begin a wonderful journey. That acheivement would (eventually) create positive emotions - specifically the emotion of happiness. Would one pursue values without the end result of happiness? No - those "values" cease to become values. Would one pursue values without the end emotion? Probably not. Ergo, if one pursues any value, one is pursuing happiness, and by default an emotion. Please clear up my confusion.
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