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Everything posted by Charles

  1. I can see where your coming from; the illegitimacy of tax etc, but as far as government misspending goes, and how distant the prospect of changing it is, im not to bothered in this instance.
  2. I am not saying everyone should help the victims of a particular natural disaster. I am defended the US's decision to give aid to them. I understand that this is tax payers money and that complicates matters, which is why I mentioned how big the corporate response has been. Besides which - I dont think its unreasonable to expect other people to preface their vulgar whinging about aid (Zoso's 1st post) on the day of such a disaster with a little temperance. People have been dressed down on this forum for a lot less crude comments concerning 911 where around 3000 died.
  3. Thankyou Stephen - will do. Btw, what is your profession? For some reason I recall physicist but that might just be because of your picture and knowledge of the subject in previous topics.
  4. Ok, but I believe this stands; ---- Your running out of a burning building - you see a young child in a cot - it has no demand over your will, no absolute right to survival - but you still pick it up and carry it out of the flames. You don't help millions of people, whole countries, that have been devastated by a natural disaster because you have to, or because they 'need' you. You help millions of individuals, whole countries, that have been devastated by a natural disaster because you a basic empathy with human life and human potential. ------ As for my tenuous analogy I understand the kid-father thing is dubious - i got a little carried away. My disgust, and yes of course it is my disgust, is that Zoso so eagerly (the very day it happened) denounces aid without any consideration or respect for the 150,000 dead, and the millions of others affected. As to the form of aid, the degree of aid and the question of whether we should help a dire and threatening enemy in such circumstances im open to ideas. Indonesia is not a dire and threatening enemy - anti-americanism is one thing but thats quite another. I should be interested to hear what the aforementioned and others think of the massive corporate response to the Tsunami disasters.
  5. Your running out of a burning building - you see a young child in a cot - it has no demand over your will, no absolute right to survival - but you still pick it up and carry it out of the flames. You don't help millions of people, whole countries, that have been devastated by a natural disaster because you have to, or because they 'need' you. You help millions of individuals, whole countries, that have been devastated by a natural disaster because you a basic empathy with human life and human potential. A father gets shouted out and abused by his 13 yr old teenage son - the son might even hit him - the father doesnt throw him out on the streets for life, he doesnt remove all the boys means of survival - he sticks to it, he might remove privilages, he might even use force against him for his own good if the boy's behaviour warranted it. The father wasnt the best father in the world, but he learnt enough from his own family history and himself to know whats best. Right now America is that father - its upbringing wasnt great - it fell out with its father (Great Britain) - it even ran away from home. But he had good reason, he had some ideas. But he is only man, and its takes time to escape your origins - religion and racism had a place at the start of American history, a place that has largely diminished or moderated but not completely. Well, the adolescents of this world are your developing countries - in a very real way the developed world gave birth to a lot of them when we left our colonies to independance. Well the big daddy is sure trying to discipline some of those kids - and we shall how long it takes for them to learn their lessons and swallow their pride. But short of the kid holding a gun to your head, and indonesia certainly isnt, you dont leave the kid to die when it gets hit down in the street by a car. I know thats tenous, but frankly some of the response here disgust me - some people here are all to ready to put forth selfishness without really considering what makes them who they are.
  6. Its an interesting point actually - I recall reading a New Scientist article concerning research on different peoples brains base frequencies whilst conscious - most were above 15Mhz, but of all groups tested - and it was an extensive survey - the two groups that stood out from the rest were buddhist monks and secret service field agents - at around 8-11hz. I think that implies a high level of use of intuition - acquired skills being put into action as a result of training rather than conscious contemplation. That is presumably contingent upon accepted rules or understandings.
  7. This is a subject that fascinates me, Im currently preparing a lecture on it as a part of my course (neuroscience) and will post a detailed summary of different areas involved sometime. But I will make a few comments in response to some observations: - babies average sleep around 16hrs a day, adults 7-8 and older people 4-6. - The Pineal Gland (infamous for Descartes incorrect assertion that it was the seat of the soul) calcifies as you age. It produces melatonin in measure to response to your circadian rhythms. Circa(about) dies (a day) - circadian rhythm is 'photoentrained' - i.e. a 24 hrs cycle biologically programmed by detection of light by retinal cells. (never remove a blind mans eyes - the cells are different from those used in vision and usually still active in the blind) -as many of you will no doubt have experienced burning the midnight oil your bodies core temperature drops at night - I wonder if this can be linked to older people 'feeling the cold' more - their clock gradually screws up, they require less sleep and it is unlikely that the increased waking time will be complemented with the physiological benefits of the youthful waking hours (i.e. increased temperature/metabolism) -- in fact Id ask any of the more senior members to comment - do you feel colder as you get older? does it feel similar to that cold sensation felt staying up into hours your usually asleep at? - Though excercise no doubt increases metabolism and bloodflow to brain making for a more alert waking period I would note that some suggest the purpose of sleep, at least REM sleep, might be to process/reprogram newly acquired information and experience....furthermore... - adolescents/young adults require significantly more sleep than children or adults...taking this and the above into account It would suggest that university education would be well complemented by regular and substanstial sleeping periods.. though quality of sleep is just as important as quantity and perhaps short, deep sleep accompanied by good chemical balance and darkness, the same time each night is more suitable, perhaps even more effective, for the student lifestyle, than long interrupted periods of sleep. Valerian Root can be taken to induce sleep, deepen it and reduce grogginess in the mornings - and in my, and others experience increase dreaming, or at least memory of dreaming. Its available commonly in a capsule, or there is tea (not nice) and less common is the ground root itself. For the last two weeks I have been doing Bikram Yoga at 6.45 each morning whcih requires getting up at 5.45, although I have been going to bed earlier at 23.00 I have found it increase alertness throughout the day, decreased my appetite aswell as obvious benefits to flexibility and strength. This form of yoga is patented by Bikram Choudury, and is a series of 26 postures done over 1.30hrs in a 40C dry heated room. Its become quite popular in the City and I gather Richard Nixon actually practiced with Bikram. check out http://www.bikramyoganyc.com/ Americans and www.bikramyoga.co.uk/ English - they seem to be springing up in a lot of international cities.
  8. I think Julie Delpie (Three Colours White) would have to be the perfect Dominique.
  9. That is correct: I point out that the point was brought up in your last post - not that you brought it up. It would help if you sourced your quotes. I have ammended it however.
  10. I would first of all like to apologise for my use of the phrase 'Killing Machines', regardless of inappropriate training for given forms of conflict, US soldiers are still the first line of defence in any attack on the United States - and I owe them a great deal of respect for carrying that burden. I sincerly regret any offence I may have caused in implicating American Soldiers in this manner - my post was written in immediate response to hearing this news this morning and I was angered by it. In response to Oldsalt; That is inaccurate. I have passed my interview for the OTC branch of the Royal Air Force and head to Cranwell this weekend. I acknowledge the Sunni Triangle is significantly more dangerous than Basra though I maintain there is deficit is American Peacekeeping abilities - they are inadequately trained for this situation. For that matter they are inadequately equipped. Neither are the fault of the soldiers.
  11. (Ironically I am detracting from my studies of physiology in order to write this...) To understand my full views consult my post on pg 28; I want to analyze the point raised by freecapitalist - that of Gender. Does a homosexual man taking the 'dominated' role suffer a psychological 'debilitation'? I must disagree; Premise 1: In relationships it is common for one partner to be in dominance, if not in the domestic situation, perhaps in bed. I appreciate a number of couples would pertain to have a relationship of mutual respect and admiration; but I am sure most would agree there is commonly (though not exclusively) a submissive partner. Premise 2: The characteristic 'Dominance' has just as much a base in psychological circumstance as being 'Submissive' does. Conclusion 1: Being dominant is no more down to psychological 'debilitation' (as immorally tainted as that word is) than does being submissive. They are both common and both have relatively normal/healthy psychological origins. (NB: The extent of each may differ - and only then can you bring into the question of abnormality and hence 'serious debilitation') Premise 3: The submissive partner can be male or female: Different societies have vastly different conceptions of gender (and there is an accepted distinction between sex and gender). If you do not accept this I am happy to give example of cultures where gender associated roles are vastly different to our own. Whereas the role of the lady was clearly submissive in, say, Victorian England, we have abandoned any prescription of such a role in our modern day society - women can for all intensive purposes express themselves as and how they like. Consequently - a number of male/female relationships are dominated by strong female characters (indeed if asked to describe each member of some couples independantly you might use the words masculine to describe the woman, and effeminate to describe the man). Premise 4: This traditional role reversal is acceptable. Final Conclusion: If being a dominant or submissive partner in a heterosexual relationship is neither immoral nor of 'debilitating' psychological origins it is not necessarily of either immoral or 'debilitating' psychological origins in a same-sex relationship. --------- For the record I happen to think that as little dominance/submission as possible is preferable - The best relationships work on mutual respect. I am simply pointing out a reality.
  12. It has now been confirmed that British Black Watch units have been instructed to move up to Baghdad. They have had significantly more success in Basra/South Iraq which is consequently much safer. It can only be expected that Baghdad be a center of hostilities, but the considerable success of the British in South Iraq and increasingly failing efforts of Americans in the North is being attributed to fundamental differences in both armies. The British know how to Peacekeep - they have a long history of dealing with terrorism, and it is a skill British soldiers take in their stride early in training. The soldiers no the boundaries, they have decent are to taught to effectively discrimnate and are professionals. On the other hand the Americans, despite having the most technologically advanced military on Earth, have summarily failied in the most basic of peacekeeping abilities - their soldiers cogs of a military machine that cannot adapt to the social nature of the fermenting crisis in Iraq. The British went into this war as allies; but it would now seem to be becoming our war - this doesn't bode well for terrorism as regards British interests. My greatest frustration, and resultant opinion is that the Americans should re-direct some of their substantial defence spending (off, say, Nuclear Weapons programs and) onto actually training their soldiers to be more than blind killing machines. (anybody see the figures for Brits/Americans killed or wounded by Americans? have you comapared to the number shot by Brits?)
  13. Good point. Objectivist pertain to realize the reality of a situation in the best way possible when forming a view or making choice. The reality is we are not detached from causality and factors beyond volition do affect our choices. The power to make better informed choices and to establish a higher level of consciousness and and self-respect is to always ask 'why?'. If you fail to make the attempt to ask what is affecting your judgement; how valuable can your judgement be?
  14. Well this has to be the longest thread Ive ever encountered. I have scanned through all 28 pages and I believe I do have a contribution to the discussion. The Nature/Nuture dichotomy is fallacious. There are a number of examples where characteristics are coded for by a few genes, or even one gene - but it has been observered ever since the founding of genetics through Mendel and his pea experiments that the larger the number of genes involved in a trait the greater the enviroment influence is. The phenomenon is know as epistasis - if you affect the production/replication of one gene, even one base pair on a strand of DNA you can have a massive effect on the collective expression of a trait. On to my point; there is more than likely some degree of genetic susceptibility for homosexuality - it is more than likely tied in with hormone production and development of body and brain; However just because X has a larger SUSCEPTIBILITY; does not mean he necessarily ends up expressing it. Environmental factors, and in this case I believe quite obviously - psychological ones, could lead an individual Y to experience homosexuality, even though he has less susceptibility than X. X may have grown up in such a way that the idea never entered his mind; just as Y might have had very little experience of the female anatomy or ideas relating to it in his development. Now we do not know the degree to which genetic susceptibilities, developmental conditions and social factors affect this; and is unlikely to be particularly uniform in any event. It shows a poor understanding of the factors involved to asert any one uniform cause or balance of factors for homosexuality. There is an interesting conclusion that can be drawn from this; we all have the potential to be gay; if you havn't experienced homosexual desires by the time your 30 and you have a low genetic susceptibility its highly unlikely you would begin to do so; the chance is neglible; and it gets lower as you age. But those closer to the middle ground could concievably change tastes - bisexuality is becoming an increasingly common phenomenon. However; I would observe that you can draw patterns as to its psychological origins where they exist - and predictably a societies conception of gender determines whether a homosexual is likely to be a moral person. In ancient Greece it would not be uncommon to find a perfectly decent free thinking man who happily experienced both male and female bodies in a sexual manner; it might be less likely in society where sexual ambiguity was complete taboo.
  15. Theoretically we all agree a market based economy is the only system that can prosper in the long run. However... Whereas America's economy is based on somewhat abstract figures in wall-street, which are as fragile as the collective mind. China's is based on large scale forced labor; it is growing; it will continue to grow. It now appears to have learnt how to utliize the globalized economy whilst maintaining control over its people. In the short term then, its system is allowing it to outgrow the US. How could this happen? How can the two following facts be true; that as Objectivists we maintain that a Capitalist nation is more productive than a Collectivist - yet we observe that China is going to outgrow the US. --- I am a student; I live with three Chinese people (m28, m34 & f34) - they have saved money in China, having been born into what are seen as relatively prosperous families, and they have got out. They return periodically - because they are trying to make a business work, but they want to stay outside. They are incredibly motivated and each has worked the lowest paid jobs available here in the UK. They describe China as being a nation (1 billion people) where less than 10% are interested in politics/the state - and most of those join China's huge army - the rest simply do not talk about it - you cannot freely express opinions and ideas there. This is now accepted as taboo; however - most people still have opinions and ambitions and the only way they can express freedom is by achieving these - putting them in action - they are hence an incredibly motivated people. Compare this to western civilization, notice my quote below - do we not have more freedom and opportunity than anyone has ever had before - do we use it? My nation is apathetic - its not using its freedom - its sitting at home watching the tele. When it thinks it has an idea it gets together into as mass to have a big shout - usually thru the media, but does nothing substantial. The Chinese people live under force; though this gives them the contrast and knowledge of what they must to do live for themselves. The presence of a force gives them a reality from which they must view life; here in the west there is no force, thankfully, but there is no common ground either, no common value system - people born into our socities have no idea where they stand. Here, thanks to our friendly welfare state - people can be born, live and die without ever experiencing the reality of the human condition. How could things improve? I think it might have something to do with communcation. When I walk past a woman who is covered is black cloth - her eyes peering through a letterbox, the product of islam; I am compelled to ask 'why?' why is she doing that? The problem is I dont ask why, I just think it - my society doesnt permit me to - it is not PC (politically correct). I dont want to tell her how to live, I just want to know the REASON why she lives like that; I want her to try and explain it - I know we here in the objectivist forum would assume she is completely irrational - but how is one suppost to spread rational thinking if one does not demand rational explanations??? This PC culture - where explanations only come through the media and not each other is allowing us to all live in completely different worlds...which cannot all depict the way things actually are - someones delusional - is it the Islamic woman? the bulider who regularly lights up as he walks past the 'smoking kills' sign, the children who believe its acceptable to scream abuse at each other on the buses, the jehovahs witnesses who knock on my door?!? If we just asked each 'why?', wouldn't we all start using whats going on around us as bearings? This has been a rant; I hope some observations/thoughts are of interest - I would interested in any feedback.
  16. Charles


    How interesting. Ive often pondered why the Jews have so succesfully prospered in business and science (possibly the most succesful race on earth - they've come through hell several times, they produce a large quantity of good academics and businessmen etc etc) Yet they still have one of the most mystical and bizarre religious doctrines at the heart of their culture. Perhaps it is this enduring greek element that has persevered.
  17. I put forward this for consideration: If Kerry wins will the driving force of anti-american movements be stalled? For the purposes of this discussion I will break down Anti-American movements into: 1) Iraqi insurgents - the wealth of islam orientated terror/criminal groups now operating and forming militias across Iraq 2) Al Qaeda - specifically al-qaeda terrorists - not iraqi insurgents 3) the Anti-War movement - StopTheWar coalitions and such 4) the frosty international reception America is enduring. I think I can say with certainity that if Bush is re-elected 1),2) and 3) and probably 4) will be enforced in their stances. Question is: is this a bad thing? Again we should consider in each of the cases. My personal views are this 1) If Kerry won this would be percieved as a victory; pressure in iraq would not dissapate - but I do not think it would continue to grow as extensively as it is today. Ive been reading report that hold the number of insurgents to be around the 20,000 mark, and organization is increasing. 2) Al-Qaeda appear to have had there time; they have fulfilled their purpose and could not have done so in a better way; Bin Laden, if alive, will be reeling in awe as what he has done far outdoes what he ever imagined he was possible of doing. He struck America at the heart - and got exactly the response he wanted. His holy war is now fermenting nicely. Bush's Iraqi campaign has set that ball rolling and I dont think it can be stopped - at least not by Kerry's election, and given that it may be best that the US stick with its decision regardless of how wise it originally was, and re-elect Bush to deal with the threat in a heavy handed way. 3) They will feel a sense of victory but will quickly dissipate into a causeless rabble. Many Members will align themselves with the free-palestine cause and some even with Islam. 4) Kerry would be generally welcomed; the war was deeply unpopular and the world basically lies to the left of USA and will always welcome a move closer. Bush would not be welcomed, obviously, but many nations would put aside differences in order to 'get on with it' although such stretched relationships make the world a highly unpredictable place to be. I cannot stand the religiosity of Bush and the socialism of Kerry; and although I would tend to vote Republican will only vote Bush reluctantly if at all.
  18. Charles


    Why is that? I am unfamiliar with the story of Hannukah - could you fill me in on the two sides in this rebellion?
  19. Charles


    As a religious studies student at school I always maintained the serpent was the 'good' guy. It showed Eve that she had the power to take her life into her own hands and be responsible for her own decisions. The serpent points out that the reason God doesn't want you to eat from the tree of knowledge is because he knows what it can do: with autonomy you can destroy yourself or you can surpass him. Effectively, it allows you the potential to become more powerful than God in creative ability and with that comes the possibility you could become an Enemy of God, at the very least a rival. I think there are some striking parallels with 'The Matrix'... Eden is a perfect world and with its multitude of fruits you are given the illusion of limitless choice but the reality is man is being contained by a powerful God. The inherent caveat is that you can always choose to ask 'why?' and pursue knowledge - the one forbidden fruit/choice - and in doing so you break loose from the garden/matrix. You are now becoming a God. What are you gonna do with it? Keep the system running? I chose the red apple.
  20. 'worthyloverofexistence' describes how he thinks his ability to emotionally appreciate arts is dulled, and poses that it is because of yrs of religious indoctrination during the first twelve years of his life. An interesting idea; one I would say is certainly typical if you extend it to a lot of popular culture. I think a lot of people's taste is dulled my the mindless drip of popularized entertainment that is pumped into our minds every day since youth. The feeling many people get when they hear a piece of music in the workplace is mistaken for joy, but is more likely one of recognition. Whatever is selected for its commercial viability becomes what the masses like; if people were being truly objective in taste would they not determine what was listened too? Masterpieces can be destroyed when they are assigned to a box of cereal in the face of millions... where the imagination should spiral off into emotional depths, it is saturated by coy images of unnecessary trivialities. A tirade against the advertising industry? Maybe; but after so many years this is a cycle - the masses acceptance of crap breeds more crap, as the cash is raked in by men who's own taste is more than likely effected by the society he lives in.
  21. The following were taken from a speech by Conservative leader Michael Howard: Schools in UK were forced to take Hot Cross Buns off the school menu in Liverpool as they were deemed to have the 'potential to offend' Not to mention: Business woman Beryl King was told in August this year to remove the phrase 'Hard working' from a job advert by the job center because it discriminated against people who were not industrious. Of course this is to be expected in a country where: ...the government advised schools to replace traditional sports days with "group problem solving excercises". And on top of previous links to government spending on public art Ive given: I now read £80,000 is now being spent on erectec three large steel 'half arches' pointing to a center point (thus giving the illusion of them being linked from a certain angle!(???)). Councils here have far to much time on there hands, a seeminly unlimited supply of (our) resources and the vote has '0' effect on the majority of their decisions/powers, as the councils are beyond the MPs (who are, comparitvely, powerless)
  22. "Rational Religionists" The word religion comes from the latin Re - Ligare which literally means 're-link' or 'to link again'. The understanding that seems to permeate all religions is that it in essence means 'to return to god', to link back to your creator/nature. A wider understanding might be to link back to reality. A religion thus pertains to offer an answer, or way to re-link to whatever its understanding is of creation. To offer the term Objectivist religon would indicate a set of paths/texts leading to a greater understanding of your relation to reality. It could therefore be rational. However: the understanding of the word religion that such an Objectivist religion would necessitate is far from the common conception of that word. In weighing up what the word religion commonly connotates with the value of applying it to objectivism I would conclude that it is a term objectivists would do well to steer clear of.
  23. Perhaps the reasons you find it more fulfilling are grounded in false premises of the type Ive described. In fact you tell us you believe your child stands more chance of being an objectivist due to your genetic lineage: I disagree - there are susceptibilities for sure - but in such an abstract instance, needless to say one contingent on the choices you make, enviroment is considerably more important. The implications of determinism in your statement are unsettling. Would some races have the genetic capacity to be more objective than others? (Rhetorical question I hope)
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