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Ifat Glassman

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Everything posted by Ifat Glassman

  1. My main point was that to "deserve" only has meaning from someone. One cannot deserve something from... just deserve it! Such a thing has no meaning. One can only deserve something from another human being (or, if some want to argue, from oneself), but not from "nature". So it's not that people don't deserve equal wealth from nature, is that they don't deserve unequal wealth from nature; it's that "deserving from nature" is an empty phrase. It seems that you have the same assumption here again - that "deserve" could exist without a second person, or a relationship. It doesn't matter if I esteem the value of my work highly - I can only deserve or not deserve payment for it in the context of a relationship with a specific, concrete human being. I am unsure, but I think Thomas agreed with me on that point. That is such a weird question: "who deserves the nail?" - where did the nail come from? Who is the owner? What is the relationship of the owner to either one of us? It is those down to earth details that determine if any one of us deserves a "hammer" from someone else. Neither me nor Thomas think that what one "deserves" is a subjective matter. Did this help clarify anything for you? If not, you can try to restate the problem, and I'll try to answer that.
  2. I agree (minus some small ways of phrasing things here and there).
  3. Let's just leave it at: "I don't agree with you". I already explained why.
  4. You should read "Isn't everyone selfish?" In "The virtue of selfishness" by Ayn Rand. "He chose to die as one might choose to die for their child.. deciding there is a higher value than your own life and choosing it." If one chooses altruism as one's morality and then choose to die for the values of altruism it is certainly a sacrifice. Do you agree? If so, maybe I am missing your point.
  5. This is an incorrect concept of "value" according to Objectivism. (Although, IMO this is a very confusing subject which is only presented clearly in Leonard Peikoff's "Objectivism through induction" where he goes through concept formation of "value"). A value has three components, according to Objectivism: 1. It is demonstrably good for you (like health, good nutrition, self-esteem) 2. It is something you want 3. It is something you act to gain or keep. If one has a masochistic desire it does not make physical violence a value. It has component #2 but not component #1. An objective value has all three. For example, my career (I'm a painter) is demonstrably good for me (for my specific personality and abilities and my need of productivity as a general virtue), it is something I want and I act to gain and keep it. Values can be conscious or subconscious, ideally a value should be both. But it is not so all the time. I may value something subconsciously and not identify it. Some people value strong, uncompromising characters from movies as teenagers and act to a limited degree to pursue that value (being such a person themselves) to a limited degree, but they do not understand the roots of the value and so when they grow older they loose that value and become cynical about human nature. Objectivism only gives general values which apply to human beings in general (like self esteem, knowledge etc') but it is your job within the context of those values to see how to achieve them in a way that fits your unique personality. "Productivity" won't tell you to be a fireman or a poet. This is up to you to get to know yourself and figure out the right thing for you.
  6. This has nothing to do with deserving anything. Even if I set the price rationally and according to my hierarchy of values, it still doesn't mean that this is the price I deserve to get for the painting. Suppose I priced a painting high because it has great sentimental value to me... It has nothing to do with what I deserve. This is a bad example. This is about maximizing your profit, going after the best salary you can get. This is not about deserving or not deserving anything. In what way did I suggest any course of action which is not selfish? Anyway, I'll try to explain again what I meant. When you say "I deserve X" there is always someone from which you deserve it. If not, it is not a valid statement. Whether or not I deserve "X" depends on the person and his/her relationship with me in regard to X. I may deserve respect from Joe, but not from Danna. I am the same person but Joe and Danna got different treatments from me. So you cannot look at it from your angle "I know I am good, therefore I deserve respect" you have to look at it from the angle of whoever you're judging. This doesn't mean you accept their judgement, it means judge for yourself what a rational man should do given the context of Joe or Danna.
  7. And oh yeah... There is something new on my website: I added an option of subscribing to receive an email newsletter when I put new content on the website. It doesn't happen very often (though sometimes I am more active), so this is a good way to get updates. So if anyone is interested go to http://www.ifatart.com/ to subscribe.
  8. It's "Woman at waterfall". I have a better picture of it. The above distorts the colors.
  9. I didn't get the point of your long personal story. By the way, I never said that "only the boss decides what you are worth, you, as the worker, can also decide, based upon market conditions at the time". You missed the whole point, which was: to decide what one "deserves" in a certain context the only rational standard to use is the value provided to the other side in the trade. In other words: Look at it from their angle.
  10. Thomas: I actually had a long reply to your post, but then I run into a question I need to think more about. So I may reply sometime in the future when I get this cleared up for myself. I don't want to confuse anyone with my own undigested thoughts on this, so I'll just post it later when I am clear on the issue.
  11. Ifat Glassman

    Integrity

    I would say, will your membership (or the process of getting in there) require you to pretend to approve of altruism? If so, you would have to surrender your integrity and pretend to be someone you are not. If however you can be an active member and still not have to pretend to support altruism for that, then I think it's fine, since just by joining you are not sanctioning every single value the fraternity holds. If by joining the fraternity you could fight for your ideas better (by spreading them), then you should do it, but I doubt any benefit you can get out of your membership could outweigh the self-defeat of having to pretend to support ideas opposite of your own, all this, keep in mind, if you actually ARE required to actively pretend. In one of his podcasts Peikoff said that if it were something like an interview to a profession in which the government is highly involved, like becoming a doctor, then Lying is OK for the same reason it is OK to lie to a robber - they initiate the use of force against you - in this case - imposing their beliefs on you to allow you to be a doctor. But in your case I don't see any initiation of force. If it were a government scholarship it would be, and lying would be justified, but a fraternity has nothing to do with the government. IMO, if you live in a society where it is hopeless to try to spread the right ideas, or if spreading them poses a threat to your life (like in Communist Russia) then be quiet and pretend - that's your best option. But so long as one sees the option of spreading one's ideas successfully one should not take actions that go against the achievement of one's values. For instance, if I had to go to demonstrations about socialism or other anti-freedom cause, and to write articles about the justice of socialism, in order to get, say, a scholarship, putting aside the psychological damage - I would be acting toward my own destruction. And the more I use my mind (like write articles vs. just holding up a sign) the worse it will be. What will my scholarship be worth after my freedom is taken away? So practically, one should stay loyal to one's values by finding the most efficient way to achieve them.
  12. An angry letter I wrote Glenn Beck regarding his view of Atheism and violence: http://ifats-thoughts.blogspot.com/2009/10...glenn-beck.html
  13. By the way, you should not use the term "extremists" for that. A radical or extremist is someone who is consistently loyal to his principles. It could be an Objectivist who does not compromise or a religious extremist. I recently read an article by Ayn Rand: "extremism, or the art of smearing" in Capitalism the unknown ideal, you might want to check it out.
  14. I think the key problem here in the disagreement between me and Jennifer is an important distinction we need to make between "deserve" in the legal sense and "deserve" in the other sense (not sure how to call it). And we also need to make sure we are using the same standard to judge what someone deserves. See, someone may deserve my respect, but still this is not a legal issue. So you can be the most talented man on the company in a key position and still not be legally entitled to what you deserve in the other sense. As for those people who say "I work my ass off in this job, I deserve more money" - they are not using a correct standard. They attempt to judge what they deserve based on their effort, not based on the goal of the one who is to give them what they do or do not "deserve" - their employer. When they say "I deserve more money" they skip the fact that the judgement should be made from the point of view of the employer. You cannot "deserve" things from mother nature, and that is implied in thinking that an effort should be a standard for what one should receive in return. So I agree with her that people who make that claim are wrong, but I think they are wrong b/c they are using a standard not based on reality, not because "deserve" is intrinsic as such.
  15. http://ifats-thoughts.blogspot.com/2009/09...-religious.html Why justifying Capitalism on religious grounds fails (and how to actually justify it) Capitalism is based on the recognition of man's right to live for his own sake - to be the beneficiary of his own actions. Jesus was the most extreme example of altruism you would ever see, the exact opposite of self-interest: He sacrificed his life so that sinners may live. The message it sends is "The moral is to live for others". Every political system is based on ethics. Capitalism is based on rational-self interest. Socialism, communism and fascism are based on altruism, which is the message of Christianity. Socialism is justified on the grounds of the moral duty of one man to care for another. Capitalism is based on the idea that a man lives primarily for himself, and that he is moral in pursuing HIS life and HIS happiness. Let us not forget what was going on during the dark ages and what kind of actions were justified by the church. This is because the message of the bible is inconclusive. One can mold it to whatever fits one's goals. It is not a coincidence that 5 Rabies reading the bible cannot agree on the interpretation of a single paragraph. It's not that some of them are wrong and one is right - it is that the bible is inherently unclear in meaning and can be interpreted one way or another. The real defense of Capitalism is reality-based. Facts-based. We start by looking at the requirements of life for an individual man, the principles and values required for him to live and be happy (which is a successful state of living). We recognize that man must act to bring and create the things he requires to survive and enjoy his life. Capitalism is the system that allows a man, every individual, to be free to pursue his life and happiness as would be on a desert island: productivity uninterrupted by other men. It is only by allowing every individual man this basic requirement for life that a political system actually serves man's life. One cannot start by asking what is good for a group of people. Such question only makes sense if the intent is to talk about what is good for <span style="font-style:italic;">every individual man</span> in the group. But then that reduces the question back to what is good for a single man. One cannot claim, that by stealing from one man and giving it to another in the group that one is serving the "good of the group". Why is the good of the group the good of one man, but not of the other? Yet the good of the "group" is the standard most use to judge political systems. The only defense of Capitalism that "works" - because it is the real basis for Capitalism, is reality; rational ethics recognizing the requirements of life of a single human being. Look at reality, not at the "word of god".
  16. By the way, I don't see anything you need to apologize for. I was simply being honest about what I thought of your post, since I think only the truth can gain people. I did not reproach you, if that's how you interpreted it.
  17. A disaster on that scale, people trapped under the ruins, and you worry about who does the clean up? I don't know, sounds cold to me. Also, the people who helped did it on their own will out of their own values - nobody "volunteered" them into it. I think you are looking at the whole thing from a way wrong angle.
  18. ... And if he sees that others who perform worse than he does (or not as good) and yet get paid more, recognized more, etc', he can conclude that the company is acting unjustly toward him and not giving him what he deserves.
  19. I don't agree with you here. If an employee is doing a great , valuable job, yet he is not rewarded or recognized in his workplace he most definitely not getting what he deserves from his boss/ company. He will likely become indignant and leave for another job. The salary, treatment and recognition an employee gets at a workplace reflect the evaluation of the company of his contribution in the context of their budget and goals. They choose to reward their employees by how much they think the employees contribute to the success of the company, taking their budget and conditions of the market under account. But the bottom line is - it is an evaluation of how important the employee is to the company. Now you could say: if the contract says that you get X money, then that is what you deserve. Well, maybe in legal terms, but if a company fails to give employees what they actually deserve by their performance and contribution, they will fail and lose their best employees. As for Marxists saying "the worker deserves more for his physical labor" - they are not using the standard of the success of the company (as the one paying the salaries should). Instead they try to evaluate it by the effort. And if they think that their job installing screws in a machine is a major factor in the success of the company and thus they deserve more reward they are simply wrong. I can say they are wrong (and not merely that they are using an invalid standard) because I am using the right standard. It is possible to leave a job because you can get paid better doing the same thing for another company, and not necessarily being treated unjustly by your company. It is harder for an employee to judge if he is getting what he deserves because he does not have the information of his managers accessible to him. Instead, he can judge his performance compared to others in the company and their reward or by other means.
  20. I see what you are saying, but I think you are using "deserve" here symbolically - it is not the actual concept of "deserving". For instance: I can get mad at somebody for not giving me a steak I deserve (we made a deal or whatever). I might feel grateful for them for giving me the steak that I deserve. I cannot be angry at myself for not giving myself the steak nor feel grateful to myself for giving me a steak - it is simply a matter of managing your life and what you choose to do. See, you're presenting some kind of form of a "contract" with oneself: "If I complete this and that by 7pm, I'm going to get ice cream". But can you say at 7pm that you now "deserve" the ice cream? not really, all it is is acting by what you have planned for yourself. You can't tell yourself "how dare you not buy me ice cream? You agreed that I deserve it!" See? It's something different than the actual concept. "Deserve" is about giving something in return for something. Do you "give" yourself respect by feeling respect for yourself? You can act with respect to other people, but you cannot be rude to yourself etc', but merely mistaken in your judgment (like having unearned guilt).
  21. I don't think "travilization" is the right word. In fact he considers it of high honor to say that they were altruists serving the community. What he is doing is not to try to diminish the meaning of what they did - but to strengthen it, glorify it - as something it is not.
  22. http://ifats-thoughts.blogspot.com/2009/09...hat-salary.html "Does he really deserve that salary?" - Faulty concept of "deserving" "Do you really deserve to live?" -- How is it my business to decide, right? Anyone who would ponder about this question seriously, as if what they had to say on the subject was to justly be executed in reality would be considered a despicable freak in our society. Yet we don't seem to have the same approach to money. "Do you really deserve the money that you have?" "Do you really deserve such a nice apartment?" Now if I were Santa Claus considering how many gifts to bring you this year, this question might have made sense. But as a human being that has no involvement in your life - it does not. So what is the error in these sort of questions? why do they seem plausible on one hand, yet non-sensible on the other? The answer is a mis-generalization of the concept of "deserving". Let's get down to the root of what it means to "deserve". Let us observe the following: to "deserve" means an interaction between at least 2 people. If one man deserves something, he always deserves it from someone else. Mother nature cannot consider if someone "deserves" something, it does not decide to give you things. You cannot "deserve" an apple from an apple tree. So "deserve" only makes sense as an interaction between two or more people. One cannot "deserve" something from no other man, but simply to "deserve" it. I cannot "deserve" a new computer, healthcare or a car from no entity, but just to "deserve" it. What would such thing even mean? When you tell your boss you deserve a raise, it has the practical use of having more money in your bank account. When you say that you "deserve" a car to thin air, it has no practical meaning or consequence. One might say, as a joke, "Damn it, I deserve to have this machine working" after hours of time and effort trying to fix it - but all it is, is a joke. The machine, the air, cannot grant you anything. An apple tree is not just or generous by growing apples for you to eat - it is simply an apple tree doing what apple trees do. Next observe that the two (or more) people must indeed interact for 'deserving' to make sense. I cannot possibly deserve the meal an Eskimo from Antarctica is cooking at the moment, half way across the world. I might deserve it if I were the one catching the fish he is cooking. Sometimes a man deserves to serve time in prison - it appears to be a one man situation, but in fact it is not. What is hidden behind the scenes is the society in which this man lives. This man deserves the retribution he is given from other people in his society for whatever it is he has done. They may not be the ones to physically give it to him, but the ones they have delegated to do it do so in their name. To summarize: "deserve" implies deserving from someone, and someone with which you interact over the product in question. "Deserve" also implies that you did something to earn whatever you "deserve", and that whatever you did benefited someone else from whom you deserve something. (Unless you deserve to be punished by them, in which case you still acted to earn a negative payback). But in any case You either "do the crime and pay the time", or "pay the bill and get to chill". When you hear someone saying that they deserve healthcare, or deserve a house, simply by being born, they are using a wrong concept of what it means to "deserve". they want to deserve from no one in particular, deserve without being involved with anyone else, and deserve without "paying the bill". What makes the difference between deserving healthcare from your insurance company, vs. "deserving" it from society (AKA "the government"): In the insurance company, you do something to earn it from them, benefiting them by paying for your policy. You deserve medical treatment to the extent that you paid for what was agreed in your contract. "Deserving" is a trade. "Deserving" medical treatment "from society", however, involves no trade. One is paying no price, there is no need to earn and no benefit in exchange for the service. It involves no agreement. In fact it involves only a single person, which was born into reality butt naked, "deserving" something from "the world" ("a god given right"). Notice in how many ways this concept of "deserve" is breaking the actual meaning of what it is to "deserve". What about people who question whether some people deserve their high salaries? Those people mis-use the concept "deserve" as well. How do they go about judging what salary those people deserve? To the company owner, the standard is clear: The contribution the worker has for the success of the company (leaving aside other factors like the budget). But how can someone outside the company decide if an employee deserves his money? One might, as a hypothetical, put oneself in the shoes of the company owner and consider the contribution of the worker vs. his salary - but realizing that this is only possible as an opinion on what should the worker deserve from the company owner (not from them, because it's not their money to give). What they actually try to judge, however, is what the worker deserves from them, or from society, or from reality. "How much does a human being deserve to have?". As you can see, they are using an empty concept. Its only appearance of a meaning is stolen from the legitimate concept of "deserving". But they try to judge what a man deserves without specifying anyone in particular, without taking under account any interaction between that man and anyone else, without asking who is earning from his work. They take the company owner out of the equation and then try to decide how his money should be spent. THAT, is the fallacy in their thinking. That they think of "deserve" in fuzzy terms. It is a relationship between god and the worker when it comes to taking his salary away, but becomes a relationship between that man and society when they decide society deserves it better. So next time you hear someone using a fuzzy concept of "deserve", make sure they stand corrected. The future of our society leans on whether or not people are left free to live their life, and is destroyed by people who try to decide with their fuzzy concept who "deserves" to make money, own property, or live.
  23. [Also available here on my blog] "Community service" and help in good will Yesterday, September 11th, Obama made a speech to the nation claiming the significance and meaning of the day is "community service". Take a moment to ponder: what exactly is the meaning of "community service", and is it really the reason so many American citizens helped others during the event 8 years ago? To "serve" means "work for or be a servant to", "do duty", "devote (part of) one's life or efforts to" another person. Is this what was the help about? Were those who helped saw themselves as servants of the ones under the ruins? Did they see it as their duty to selflessly serve the men in need? I don't think so. Those people were proud, not humble. They saw themselves as soldiers, not as servants. "Community service" and what was going on there that day and in the days that followed were complete opposites. Those people who helped others did not do so because they thought their duty is to sacrifice their lives so that others may live. I believe they did not do it out of moral duty, but out of a spiritual, selfish reason - they valued the lives of the kind of people under the ruins, who shared their values and the American love of freedom. They were angry at the terrorist attack which stood directly against what America is stands for, and by helping others they were fighting for and reafirming their own spiritual values. This was not service to the state or the "community". It was devotion to their own ideals and values. This is a very important distinction to understand: If someone is doing something for someone else, it could have two opposite meanings. The "Stalin" meaning of "you are not important, live for the greater good", and the American generosity. If both are "doing something for someone else", what is the distinction between the two? It is this distinction that Obama wants people to lose. He wants to take the second meaning of genuine generosity and replace it with the "Stalin" meaning of "live for others". He wants to scare people that if they don't agree to his idea of "community service" that they are not generous, when in fact generosity and "community service" are complete opposite. Generosity is an extention of one's spiritual values toward another human being who shares them. It is those spiritual values that allow a man to truly value human life, and thus see them as worthy to perserve. The man whose sole value is to sacrifice his life for the "community" is incapable of valuing human life. When I help someone, I do so because their own well being is a selfish value to me. I do so because I see in them the spiritual values I respect and have in me: integrity, courage, determination, honesty. Does Stalin ever helped anyone? He talked a lot about "service of the greater good", "service to other men", "service to the state" - Did he ever help another soul? His kind is a void. He has no spiritual values. Human life means nothing to him. This, is the meaning of true selflessness, of "community service", of living for someone else. Yes, the help is extended to someone else, but the reason is not selfless service, but pride, justice and profoud individuality. Keep in mind this important distinction: Selfless service or selfish generosity? The two could not be further apart. _______________________________________ An after-word: If you think that understanding this distinction is important, as I do, spread it around to other people. Especially non-Objectivists. Yes, it's my blog and it's a nice bonus to get more visitors, but hey I'm not making money anyway from it, so you can sleep with a clear conscience.
  24. The discredit Ayn Rand because her ideas are clear. Ideas presented clearly belong in childish dreams, not in serious academia. They have an anti-mind philosophy.
  25. The difference is, Christianity gives an epistemological basis to integrate with its ethics (ethics come from the bible which comes from the lord, and god created the universe - explains metaphysics). Its ethics can actually be used as a practical guide in everyday life. Barak Obama's altruism is a nice ideal to hang above one's fireplace, but is not an integrated system of thought. I think this is why religion can stand, but socialism (/altruism) as an isolated idea will not.
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