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Everything posted by Gabriel

  1. So, you mean to say that boredom is volitional? That was uncalled for. My main point was that it isn't helpful, nor is it true. Some things can be true without being of any help. If you have a philosophy which is based on man's nature, then you'd better have a pretty darn good understanding of it. I think that psychology is part of metaphysics... it discusses what exists. It is dependant on logic and non-contradiction, but I think than man's nature is extremly important, and a philosophical issue. Emotions can be influenced by consciously focusing on the issue at hand, but not completly. Reason is not powerless, but not omnipotent when it comes to man's mind. You cannot simply reason-away fear, or shame or whatever unpleasant emotion you might have, or make something feel pleasurable when it makes you want to puke. The other factors influencing emotions are of biological nature, and contextual (previous experiences). Yes, there is a certain degree of determinism in emotions. In my view, man walks a fine line between determinism and free will. His mind is free, but not free from the limitations of the body. (the mind is "implemented" in the brain, which has certain limitations, mentally speaking). If you feel nothing else but happiness, your mind gets accustomed with it, and then you tolerate it. It's the same with keeping your air conditioning very high, but after a while you get used to it. Happiness/Unhappiness is an axis containing all states between absolute bliss and the darkest depression. Staying still in one place tends to make that place have the value "0"... it becomes the standard, the normal. Come one! This is basic stimuli theory! The only people that are completly happy, all the time, are those dosed up to their eye balls in medication. They're like zombies. They have no modulation and no texture to their life. This is true if we're talking about the emotional state of happiness. If we're talking about a feeling of fullfilment, professionally and romantically, then that's more sustainable, but I wouldn't call that happiness... it's more like "contentment", or "actualization". I am better because I am not by default happy. I can experience something else, and when I DO feel happy, it's not "business as usual", but it is a true achievement. Galt, seems to me, to be a zombie-like individual, with a pattetic and sad life, following a few principles blindly. His stance on politics and ethics is great, but since he is unable to feel anything but happines and achievement (a contradiction it itself), then he risks nothing. I meant to say that "moral perfection" is different from "optimal emotions" (emotions matching reality). By "perfection" I understand "optimal". When I said that I am "morally perfect" I meant to say that if dr. Peikoff, for example, was to watch my life, without ever talking to me, he'd say I'm a great example of Objectivist life. (except perhaps sex for sex's sake, but that's like once very 2-3 years Even though I am a exemplary capitalism an a dedicated professional, with much respect for life and self-interest, my emotions do not always match my intellect, therefore they are un-optimal, thus, imperfect. Again, people don't get to choose what they feel. They feel something, and it's up to them to responde, and try to analyse it, and try to fix it. Do they always succede? No. Is it enough just to focus? Depends. Childhood experiences can be especially traumatic, and the use of drugs such as Praxil, Seroxat or Prozac can help the individual reach a state in which he's more capable of intellectually controlling himself. The "need for romance" is actually the need to responde to your lover's value. Therefore, you need to act out your love and evaluation. The "stimulus" for this need is exterior... the loved one. The "need for sex" is the need to satisfy the impulses of the animal. That is, when you perceive an object of desire, let's say a sensual woman, your brain's reptilian areas are activated and arousal is triggered. You don't even know this person, but her attractive body puts your engine into motion. But, since man is integrated, you also tend to rationalize and project an image on her, just to deny the reality... which is that you've been aroused by her forms, not by her, as an entity. I'll need to go into my view of the brain. It's evolutionary: Layer 1 is the reptilian brain. I do not know how to call it in English. It's that small "root" of the brain. Its functions are the same as those in reptiles: control of organs functioning (heart beat, stomach, etc), and the feedback from those in the form of urges (hunger, thirst, horny-ness). At this level, there are no concepts, or entities. It's all about stimuli and feedback. At this level, there are boobs, and asses and whatnot, but not the entire person. Layer 2 is the mamal brain. Animals with this formation have the reptilian base (urges) plus emotions. Dogs, monkeys, etc. have the capacity for emotions because they have a better grasp of reality. They have a very primitive form of perceiving entities. For example, a dog will enjoy more playing with his master than with another man, because he somehow knows, and loves, his master. (love is a strong word, but it's something simillar... affection, attachment) Layer 3 is the cortex, and only humans have it. It is the the engine of our abstract thinking: reason, focus, logic, etc. Of course, things are complicated by the fact that the brain evolved harmoniously, it didn't just poped up into existence, for did it add a layer in a generation. A sexual urge created in the reptilian trunk of the brain will make us feel in a certain way (it will have a projection in the mamal layer), and it will also make us recall our ideology related to sexual urges (abstract concepts related to sexuality receive focus). Another case is that in which you might fall in love with a woman, emotionally, without ever knowing her. You just see her, and she triggers a strong emotions. I need to discuss the nature of emotions. I do not agree with the Objectivist view that they are value judgement. They are that too, but not mainly that. They are simple associations between previous experience and a stimuli. They are not result of abstract thinking, but of experience. If a child grows up in a disfunctional familly, his emotions will also be disfunctional, no matter if he's a grade A student in school, and a good intellectual. He might not agree, rationally with his emotions, but his emotions are the result of his experience. His reason can only influence emotions so far. After that, he must have correcting experiences to "retrain" his emotions to the right path. To conclude, my view is this: Emotions are the result of experiences, associations made between an entity and the effects it caused previously (was it good or was it bad). By reasoning we can decrease the intensity of the emotions, or put that entity in another perspective. To fully correct an psychotic emotion (not corresponding to reality), you need proper experiences to overweight the previous ones. Experiences from childhood tend to be much more powerful than adult experiences, thus the difficulties of some adults of letting go of traumatic childhood, even if their adult life is sane.
  2. I regard emotions as being under partial conscious control, meaning that there's a limit to what we can do. Much of the mind's functionality is automated, just like a stomach, therefore simply focusing on it won't make us change. Focus alone is not the answer to all mental problems. Regarding psychologists, YES, I do think that the Freudian, neo-Freudian, Existentialist and Behaviourist schools of thought all made valuable additions to our understand of man's mind, which is clearly proven by the factual record of cured patients. On the other hand, I'm very skeptical about the idea that Ayn Rand's view of the mind can truly be helpful, or true for that matter. I personally would like to see a complete reexamination of the Objectivism view of psychology (if there is one, anyway). Regarding Freud, I think that although he sometimes expresses himself in a manner somewhat alien to Objectivist thinkers, he does share many ideas with Ayn Rand, and that his work is a real breakthrough. (for instance, he agrees on Metaphysics and Epistemology, namely that the universe is absolute and that reason is the key to understanding it... this is at *least* implied in his writtings). Perhaps you are not comfortable with the Oedipian Complex, but as someone who saw it gone wrong (observing group therapy), I can testity it is real, and that this life-view can do great damage to the adult. It is an emotional issue. It is part of the infant psychology. The same goes for the death instinct. It might not fit your view of "value pursuitment" vs. "disvalue avoidance", but, again, it works. It makes people better. It cured patients. Using reason, focusing, implies a cost. I do not think that we posses the energy needed to focus on everything. Therefore, I claim that we must decide to focus/reason on important issues, related to survival and prosperity, and accept the innevitability of automated functiong in other areas ("automated" doesn't mandatorly mean irrational). Regarding John Galt: 1. Yes, Ayn Rand considered herself to be a realist. In this case, I don't think she was. 2. Moral perfection is not the same with emotional perfection. Galt lacked any emotions except those 2 or 3 sanctioned by Objectivism. 3. Happiness is meaningless without the experience of unhappiness. You need a way to compare it. A being without fear, guilt or regret, is not happy. It has one state. You can call that, arbitrarly, happiness. Galt seems as happy as a computer does. 4. I didn't say ANYTHING about "original sin". Don't try to put things in my mouth. The same with mind-body dichotomy. 5. I am IMPERFECT emotionally. I am PERFECT morally. Overall, I am better than Galt, since my existence has "texture". 6. I think that men CAN be happy, as long as they DON'T try to emulate Galt. 7. I think that Hank Rearden is a MUCH better charater. His growth is real, his existence has texture, his strugle is heroic and his eventual happiness is a much better example. Also, your post shows another common Objectivist faliure: You want to/tend to identify old arguments in things people say, and then dismiss them using old arguments made by Ayn Rand or dr. Peikoff. I am NOT, and NEVER was a Christian, not even in my childhood, yet you say that my thinking is "contaminated" by original sin, when my point was about emotional perfection, not moral one. You completly avoid the issue. When I say that I don't see any mandatory link between sexual behaviour and romance, you start again rehashing the mind-body split without going further than making the reference, despite me saying clearly that my view is different. Man IS integrated, but sex and romance are 2 different issues. How is that a split? Sex is BOTH mental and physical, Romance is BOTH mental and physical.
  3. I replied in another thread, so it's more visible: http://ObjectivismOnline.com/forum/ind...act=ST&f=2&t=97 Enjoy :-)
  4. I'm starting a new thread, so it's easier to follow. I, accidentaly, made several points in one post: 1. Pleasure is subjective, meaning that the interpretation of something as being pleasurable depends on one's individuality. I also do not think there is such a thing as "objective pleasure". Any "objective sensation" as such. Sensations in themselves do not have to conform to reality. They ARE reality. Sensations are NOT man-made, because they are automatic responses, just like emotions. They are part of man, but they not the result of his conscious focusing. What exists is OPTIMAL sensation, or an OPTIMAL emotions, but getting there is a different story. Ayn Rand makes a good job of identifying what this optimal is, in some circumstances, but getting there is spotty, at least. I am also told that one can change his emotional evaluations by focusing his mind. I wish things were so easy! I think that this is the most eloquent proof of Ayn Rand's severly poor grasp of psychology and her unwillingless to integrate this centry's breakthroughs in this field. It is true that conscious examination of emotions are reality can have SOME effects on your emotional functioning, but saying that emotions can be changed by simply re-examining your stance is like claiming that you can order your intestine to stop working if you think about it. Emotional change is achievable, mainly thru different forms of therapy. Most therapies ARE reason-based, and the therapist's role is to challenge the patient's irrationalities. Another point I'd like to make is that focusing one's mind is completly USELESS in some cases, since focusing requires a target, and if your mind employes defense mechanisms such as denial or repression, the object of your irrationality or problems is hidden from consciousness. You simply don't consider it. It takes an independent mind, that of the threrapist, to go where your mind won't lead you to. "Check your premisses"... fine and dandy, but WHICH premisses? Do I have the certainty that they are accesible to my consciousness? No. In the case of repression, you can go on for YEARs and completly miss the point. 2. Sexuality is yet another example of Objectivism's poor grasp of human nature (both the common and the individual). My initial point, which was not contested, is that ROMANCE and SEX are two different needs. Things are complicated by the fact that romance implies sex, while sex does not imply romance. Actually, I have not seen ANY rational argument to support the idea that sexual behaviour is restricted to romantic contexts. What I have seen, and agreed with, is that sexuality is not bound by Ayn Rand's narrow view of romance, and that even if there's some overlapping between sex and romance, they are 2 completly separate issues. Sex is NOT the body, and Romance is NOT the mind. Both are needs of the ENTIRE MAN. The sexual need has a mental component, and romance has a psysical component, but they are different needs. If you see a gorgeous woman on the street, you are not aroused by her towering intellect and her commitment to reason. You just want to have her, sexually. You desire her in a sexual manner. There are mental implications, but they are not romance. I do not wish to have a romantic relationship with her. I wish for us to enjoy sex together. Corespondingly, if I meet an intelligent and rational woman, and I fall in love with her, then I'll desire a romantic relationship with her. This relationship will imply sex, but that doesn't mean that I won't feel attracted to other women, or that I expect her to fullfill all of my sexual desires. Again, focusing my mind will not prevent me from feeling attracted to that big-boobed collectivist, or fall in love with her. Does that mean that I should pursue these distructive impulses? NO. Does that mean I should fake it, and lie to myself, claiming that my mind can change feelings? NO. To sum it up, I claim that your mind has total control on your actions, NOT on your automated fuctions (digestion, heartbeat, emotions). Also, sometimes acting out emotions that do not match your conscious conclusion can be beneficial to relieve the tension of unsatisfied emotions. (consistetly deying yourself and your current status can only get you into a mental hospital, not closer to your ideal). People are different, including you, and you should work with that. This is NOT subjectivism. Reality is ONE, but there are many ways in which you can reach a harmonious agreement between reality and your own goals. Ayn Rand's sollution, namely total denial and repression (as seen in Roarke, Dagny, and every other major character), might not work for your. Her sollution worked for her, and gave her certain results. She had a view of man's mind, and she meant it. Were her results best? I'd say that she could have done a much better job. 3. Regarding gender roles... man and women differ in 2 areas: the structure of their genitalia, and some hormonal levels. Now, if you can explaim to me why hormones or penises should stand in the way of a woman who wants to become president, you're welcomed to try. Also, I can't see why it's ok for women "just to feel" (which also implies that feeling is somewhat dirty) while for men it's not. Man's larger body might be an argument in 200BC, but today it stands little chance, ESPECIALLY in a civilization of individual rights. 4. Regarding mind-focusing, I think we'll all agree that it's not omnipotent. There are boundaties to what you can, and cannot do, with your mind to yourself. Also, focusing implies effort, and consumption of resources. Noone can think/focus at all time. Noone ever did. Therefore, the quest is to find the equlibirium between focusing and unfocusing, and critically selecting which issues require attention. (Focusing on your job might be more beneficial that trying to repress-away your attraction to that hot nihilist goth girl). I think it all boils down to what man is, and how he can change himself. Unfortunatelly, I'm sad to say that I'd take Freud's, or Adler's, or Ellis' theory over Ayn Rand's any day. Her view is severly incomplete and does not match the reality of man. Man is a being of "volitional consciousness", therefore he is an animal CAPABLE of reason. He is also an animal capable of a bunch of other things, which all take part in his mental and psysical life. Man, using his mental tools, is in a continous feedback with reality. He is a blend of reason and irational, a blend of focus and unfocus, an equilibirium between what reality and society imposses, and his own personal wished as experiences. Is man man-made, meaning that is man only the result of his creative reasoning? No. Does reason take a part in shaping one's self? Yes, a big one. Is there such a thing as an optimal approach to life? Yes. Is it individual, depending on where each of us starts? Yes. Did Ayn Rand offer us a valid, universal sollution to life? Partially. Is the use of emotional models, such as John Galt, useful? No. Why? Because I think that this particular model lies outside of the posibilities of men. Generally, I largely agree with Objectivism. What I disagree with is its view on art and its view of man (but not in a way to change my views on Epistemology, or Ethics).
  5. Let me clarify some of my remarks made in the Homosexuality thread... (this is not the essay I'm working on) Objectivism teaches us to live life qua man, which implies surviving (staying alive) and living out one's nature. It is my oppinion that "one's nature" has 2 components: the common nature of all humans, and the particular nature which arises from one's own context (I am male, I have ~this~ life experience, I have ~this~ education, etc) As far as the common nature goes, I'd say it is pretty limited, and can be formulated as: "animal with the capability for reason". (it is in our nature to be capable of reason, but not to choose it/use it automatically). Concerning these common traits, I'd like to first examine sexuality. Objectivism holds that proper sexuality is the result of self-esteem, a celebration of the value of the 2 partners. It also states that there's no separation between a proper sexual relationship and a proper romantic one. We are also told that whatever your state is, you can change your mind to fit this pattern. What we're not told is that effort is required, and that this effort depends on one's particular nature. I think we should also consider the posiblity that the effort required by this change might be grater than the gains. I think that it is common human nature to have sexual apetite much in the same way one has digestive appetite. It is a matter of neurotransmitters and hormones levels. The quite common morning erection in men is proof enough of that. Human have sexual apetite even in the absence of a proper mate, or even any mate at all. But, man is integrated: This bodly urge is matched by the psychological desire for sex. (an erection might be automatic, but the desire to "do something about it" is felt consciously). Masturbation can only satisty the bodly need, but not the matching mental one. The proper value for the satisfaction of sexual desires is sex with another person. At this point I'd like to state that my view is that there can be a sexual relationship without any romantic involvment, and that it is proper for a man to engage in such a relationship, depending on the level of his invididual sexual desires. This does NOT mean that I support some kind of mind-body split. It means that I think that romantic relationships imply sex, but sex does not imply romance. The need for sexual pleasure and behaviour and the need for romance and visibility are 2 different needs, with 2 very different values and coresponding virtues. Saying that one should only have sex with his romantic partner is saying that one should only eat the best restaurant food available. (the value obtained from sustainance is different from the value obtained from a sophisticated dish that might have no nutricious value). It is great when all of one's sexual needs are satisfied in a romantic relationship, but I'm not sure that that's possible for all humans (variety is pleasurable in itself, for some). Also, non-romantic sex si a self-esteem minus ONLY is one holds ethical views which condemn it. Ancient greece is a proper example of non-romantic sex which even gave a self-esteem plus. If my philosophy tells me that satisfying my natural needs for sexual behaviour is virtuous, then I will grain esteem by acting our my values. Another issue, marginally related to sexuality, which i'd like to discuss is "gender roles". Ayn Rand, particularly, was a big supporter of traditional gender roles. This is not so much as a result of cultural indoctrination but perhaps more of her individual preference for BDSM and "power exchange" practices. We are all familliar with her (in)famous rape scenes and the way she describes sex between her characters. Unfortunatelly, she doesn't provide, and CAN'T provide, a reasonable justification for idealizing man total physical domination and brutal sex acts. The woman is supposed to be a rational producer in her professional life, a proper moralist and judge of character, a good capitalist and romantic artist, but when it comes to her romatic relationship, she is supposed to "worship" her man, and expect to be "valued". She is allowed to "just feel", the poor thing, while a "real man" has to take charge and dominate the couple. A big blunder is also Ayn Rand's essay in which she states that no real woman would ever want to be president. That's so ludicrous that I'm not even going to go into it. She also describes relationships are requiring unauthenticity and denial. (the scene in which Rearden is depressed, but he forced himself into hiding it from Dagny). There is no clear distinction made between wanting to reach a mental place, and acknoleding that you're not there yet, and not faking it, especially in front of your most intimate relationship. I'd like to stress, again, that this is achievable, but that each person's effort to achieve it is dependent on his/her own context, and that this might not be desirable for a vast majority of the population. (namely, those who aren't into domination, DBSM or power exchange). Let us focus next on Contextuality, Effort and Specialization. The point that I'm trying to make is that what Ayn Rand identified as being "ideal" might not be "ideal for you", since your nature has an individual component. Let us stick to the area of sexuality. If for example, due to some early childhood experince, Joe has a strong sexual prefference for dominiring women. According to Ayn Rand, it is immoral for Joe to desire to be dominated by women, therefore he ought to abstain from sex, and attend therapy to address this issue. In this context, I'd like to say that, the objectivist romantic ideal is not Joe's ideal. Why should he deny himself sexually, and spend much money in therapy trying to fix something that might not even be fixable, instead of finding a proper woman for his needs? Therefore, Joe should live life "qua Joe", because living "qua man" tell us only so much before we have to face individual "quirks". The same reasoning can be applied to homosexuality, or any other activity between consenting adults. Even IF it is "fixable", why fix it? In some cases, the advantages would overweight the costs, but it some it wouldn't. As far as identifying and exploring one's individual nature, one's personality, Objectivism does a poor job. We're not taught to explore and accept outselves as a "work in progress". Instead, we are taught to abstain from "evil" at all costs. (yes, I do consider that some evil is universal, like socialism, and some evil is personal, like denying one's identity in the name of another person's ideal). We are not all John Galts. He has his own personality, and a very unrealistic one. Ayn Rand reduced John Galt to the common nature of all men, adding sparcely some individuality according to her own preferences. While some of his characteristics are admirable, that doesn't mean that they will also work for all of us. Perhaps living so many years as a unskilled worked during the day, and as a scientist in your own lab at night, while keeping an eye on Dagny for years, might work for him, it sound pretty shallow to me, and certainly not living "qua man". Don't take me wrong... survival (as staying alive) and economic prosperity have priority, because they form the base of life, but as far as one's psyche is concerned, we should introspect more, and think of sollution and ideals that work for us, and that are reasonable. And I don't mean introspection like thinking about how to imitate John Galt, but on sincerly examining one's self, for the sake of knowledge, not in the name of the obsession for change. Our primary obligation is to reality, not to Ayn Rand, as right as she is on some topics. Returning to pleasure, the initial target of this post, I think that all pleasure is part of the individual context. Each person has its own individual view of what's pleasurable and what's painful, physically and mentally. Of course there's a lot in common for most people, but that doesn't mean we must generalize. Objectivism holds that one ought to enjoy one's own rational decisions, and one's pride and virtues and so forth. That is all good and fine, but does it cover all of man's sensorial and sensual experiences? I think not. A platinum dress will provide pleasure and excitement for Ayn Rand's characters in "Penthouse Legend", but will certainly scare most people. Are most people sick and in need of therapy because they don't enjoy a particular "sense-of-life" (sense-of-sexuality, in this case)? Some pleasure can be orthogonal in relation to survival and some pleasure can be anti-survival. Deciding if to abstain from it it's a matter of context. A gains-loses analysis. Not to annoy you, I'll keep my comments on the nature of evil, for another post/essay. I am sincerly and openly waiting your replies.
  6. I agree it's not a philosophical issue. My latest inquiries on the subject led me to believe that sexuality has purely biological roots. As such, it is not a matter of choice. What IS a matter of choice is if you pursue that impulse, if you do work to satisfy that craving. I think it is immoral to NOT being gay, if that's your sexual orientation. There is great value to be obtained thru the sincere, authentic, expression of one's highest sexual ideal. My view has always been that man's proper life has two components: 1. Work, as the productive expression of the self, including here education and self-improvement. and 2. Leisure, as the natural value of every living being, including rest, relaxation, entertainment, sexual behaviour and romantic relationships. Work is the value matching survival, and leisure is the value satisfying the need for pleasure. I do not agree with Objectivism on the point that survival should be the ultimate and single value, as survival and pleasure can be at odds. Objectivism also holds that one has no duty to live a life of pain, so I concluded that embedded in this statement is the proper recognition of pleasure as a proper value. I understand, and agree with, the Objectivist idea that leasure has survival value, in that it is some sort of "medicine for the consciousness", but I think it's much more than that. I do not pleasure myself to keep me mentally healty. My pleasure is a goal in itself. My view: Survival, as the foundation of all life and all possibilities, and Leisure, as the expression of a prosperous and pleasurable existence. Ayn Rand makes a great point in favor of survival, but it seem to me that she never really enjoyed life properly. I'm preparing an essay on the points on which I do not agree with Objectivism. I hope it will provide for a nice debate here, when it's done.
  7. Huh. That's a tough one! Why would you accept in the US someone who doesn't agree/respect the principles of the US? I mean, people should agree to respect the law (in spirit and letter), but that only happens with citizenship. I know a lot of Romanians, a bunch of collectivist mama's boys :-), which emigrated to the US hoping to get a free lunch, and they got it. Most people will want to emigrate to the US for the standard of living, even if they are 100% against the principles that generated that wealth. I suggest that a simple 3-part admission test is implemented: profession, ideology and health history. The point beeing to weed out welfare hunters, religious fundamentalists and contagious people (TB is raging in some parts of Russia) Unfortunatelly, the US is yet to clearly state its ideology, the Jeffersonian ideology, in my view. To give you an extreme example, if someone comes to the US saying they intent to fight for the instauration of an Islamic state, and they have no respect for individual rights, why would you receive him? (He's innocent, but his intections are clear). I intent to emigrate to the US as soon as I can. As a Java/J2EE programmer, I need to wait for the job market to improve, and maybe extend my Resume here, and finish my studies at the University, but as soon as it's viable, I'm there. Unfortunatelly, because of such hilarious endeavours like the Visa Lottery (!!!!) and other idiots trying to get a free lunch, the rules for emigration are very high. I just hope that my professional status will help.
  8. No. Unfortunatelly, OPAR is our of reach for me. I can only nuy books thru a friend in the US, whose pacience and good will I can't abuse. OPAR will surely be the next thing I'll purchase, as soon as I feel comfortable asking again. OPAR and ITOE.
  9. As I've imagined, it's a language barrier: When I say "reason", in a Romanian context, I mean "logic". So, for Romanian thinkers, "reason=logic". (you can see how corrupted a people can get, at a linguistic level). When you say reason you mean something totally different, as described above. In this context, I can see how communists use logic on floating abominable principles, and then espect to be called rational. I'm a bit confused though, because I'm not very clear on how principles are formed. And especially how they are validated, since the most basic principles are axiomatic.
  10. That strikes me as a rather childish and pointless principle/mentality. I sincerly can't imagine people that dumb! Of course, we might disagree on the nature of "A", but noone will have the audacity to formulate and uphold this "principle" rationally. I always thought that the characters in Atlas Shrugged are exgerated for artistic purposes. I didn't thought that their evil has any corespondence, at that scale, to reality. I'll try to dig into some documents I have about different schools of thought related to personality (Freud, Adler, Allport, etc) to see is this conceps comes up, and if it's an indetified defense mechanism... I'll do a post here, if I find anything relevant.
  11. Great philosophers, like Ayn Rand or Aristotle, have identified principles of such generality, that only a dispassionate analysis of reality could enable. The identification of the Axioms of Existence requires, as I see it, a complet detachment of the context of one's life and individual preferences/experiences/particularities. To think on such an abstract level requires a very "naked" perspective on reality. How does one think so clearly, and how does one detaches one's self from the individual context, to grasp such basic principles? How can we apply measurement-omission to concepts/abstractions so far from the perceptual level? I feel dwarfed by the precision of thought required to build/identify such a clear and concise hierarchy of knowledge. How did they do it? What makes one think "clearly"?
  12. Reading Ayn Rand, I found many psychological notions, such as self-esteem, that I think are not treated widely enough in those books. Let's take for example the issue of the existence of evil. Simplistically put, all evil can be back-traced to the decision to escape reality, turn away, and ignore the feedback. My question is, why would someone do that? I agree that it's 100% volitional choice, but all choices have causes. I do not think that there are any random choices. All of our choices are motivated by either bad or good premises/principles. To give a personal example, bad experiences in my childhood led me to conclude that all women are evil bitches that I should avoid. Luckly, I saw the error in that, and addresses it, but at the time, with my knowledge of the world, it seemed right. It was my contact with the philosophy of Ayn Rand that determined me to reevalute my stance on the issue (I came to a contradiction). What are the principles that teach one to avoid/evade reality? How should we tackle these evil principles? Is there a book out there that explores, in-depth, the Objectivist psychology? How about a book discussing the classics (Freud, Adler, Jung, Skinner) from a Objectivist perspective. I'm not so much interested on the fact that these people are wong, but WHY and WHERE they are wrong. (for a related discussion, see my topic on irrationality vs wrong premisses/principles) Can bad people be helped/saved by pointing out particular contradictions they hold? What is the natre of evil, and how do bad people reform themselves. (as I understand, many Objectivists held different view before meeting Objectivism. Why did they change?)
  13. I'm a bit puzzled. I'm not sure if it's something about the way Objectivist express themselves, or if it's something related to the English language. Let's take Marx/communism. I'd say he applied reason (induction&deduction) consistently on the WRONG premises. (using emotions or traditions as valid epistemological tools) Many ideologies are appealing to reasoning people/youth exactly because they embrace "reason as tool", but apply it to wrong ideas. Even before meeting Objectivism, I was a passionate defender of reason. Unfortunatelly, I was applying it to wrong principles (e.g. there is class strugle, therefore I must hate capitalism... the existence of "class strugle" being the error) Now, on the other hand, Objectivists mean by "reason" not only the "tools" (induction and deduction), but also their use on PROPER premises, such as the Axioms of Existence. The question is even more complex, since premises are (in)validated by the existence of contraditions. So, since communism involves contraditions, is the failure of communists to reform their premisses irational? I would argue that it is. (but this is more like meta-reason, meta-principles) On the other hand, we have people who are against "reason as tools" too. Mainly mystics. So, I think that there are 3 level of i/rationality: 1) irationality: mysticism, whim-worshipping, etc - people actively against induction/deduction 2) reason with wrong premisses: communists, existentialists (some?) and other academia (there is SOME reason in academia, but horrible premises/principles) 3) reason with proper principles: Objectivism Now, (2) is possible only if premisses are outside the scope of reason itself. (the axioms of existence are axioms after all) Seeing my own questions on the matter, I usually tend to call communists and existentialists simply "wrong", instead of going for "irrational". I can name their errors, and usually, these errors are wrong principles, not wrong methods/tools. As dr. Peikoff notes in his introductory course (the realplayer streams on ARI), failure doesn't make people re-evaluate their principles, but rather makes them want to try harder, so I'm not sure that communists mean to escape reality as such. There is a big degree of evasion, but is that irrationality? What are your oppinions on the links between reason's tools, premises, principles and reality (the ultimate judge)? DISCLAIMER: I don't mean in any way to simpathise with, or condone, communism, or Sartre-wannabes (although I once was one). I am 100% sure that they are wrong. I only want o explore HOW and WHY they are wrong, and is reason includes correct premises.
  14. I think we barely have enough post for 1 forum. Who will fill 5 forums?
  15. Why so quiet? Are we out of ideas already? :-) Maybe we should try to get more people to visit this site. I'm forwarding the link to a bunch of people right now. Maybe you should do too.
  16. Most people have more than 1-2 addresses. Perhaps you should try joining after the name columns?
  17. You can configure Apache Tomcat (http://jakarta.apache.org/tomcat/) to work as an IIS module. Tomcat can run stand-alone too. Tomcat is not one of the best servlet engines, but it's free and the "reference implementation", cared for by Sun. If you want to play with other stuff, like PHP or ASP, then integrating it all in IIS makes sense.
  18. Don't worry. Sun won't "go under". The worst case scenarios is them getting bought by IBM, which is a big Java supporter, anyway. I don't agree that JSPs are complex. The ability to define taglibs, and the upcoming JSF (Java Server Faces - the WebForms kind of thing), and other features make it worth its effort. Maybe it was Vignette who was complex. Let's not turn this into a flame war, but PHP is severly underpowered, since it must parse, compile and execute the .php file on every request. It's not even a full language. The jboss.org group had to port php-nuke to JSP/Java, since the PHP implementation couldn't handle all their traffic. Also, J2EE/JSP web applications can be run in many many application servers. Oracle, IBM, Sybase, basically everyone except Microsoft, are primarly Java shops. Anyway, wait another 3-4 months. Sun is working with Zend to create Perl and PHP compilers for the JVM. (writting JSPs in perl or php) Java/JSP is complex, the same way Objectivism is complex. That's reality. Don't over simplify it :-)
  19. IANAL, but I don't think such a trial will benefit anyone. I don't think that ARI wants, and need, that kind of bad publicity. As far as I know, "Ayn Rand" and "Objectivism" aren't trademarks, nor could they be. That can be trademarked/copyrighted, is, namely the books, speeches, audio tapes, and so forth. The situation isn't helped by dr. Branden's involvement with TOC. Since "The Nathaniel Branden Institute" was a precursor of ARI, things could get messy. I respect dr. Branden as a self-esteem psichologist, although he did some willful errors, which I won't discuss here. I think we need to separate Ayn Rand's split with the Brandens, from Kelley's split. Trying to roll them both into a single issue isn't helping. I'm not ready to publish a coherent point/article about the Rand/Branden split, but as far as I can tell, from researching it, it's less about philosophy and more about the social/historic context. Nevertheless, I think ARI should have a separate page/mini-site dedicated to this issue, to enlighted beginners, before they get to google over TOC.
  20. If you think you have it bad, imagine how difficult it is in eastern-Europe (more pricise, Romania). We don't even have a "right" on our political spectrum: only a center and a left :-( Perhaps, if you really want to get involved into something different, perhaps you could work on spreading true ideas in other countries, besides the US.
  21. Shouldn't we disallow anonymous/guest posting, to avoid getting flamed or annoyed by all kind of idiots? I'd suggest this policy for ALL sites on the internet (vs. intranet sites, that is). Registration is fast and painless. If someone wants to ask us about the difference between nihilism and Objectivism, let him work for it a bit :-) ...just a suggestion.
  22. I've used relational DBs for a while now, and got a bit sick of it. I now use an object-relational mapping framework (Hibernate, for Java) to just code objects and have it persist/locate/delete them for me. No more SQL for me! Just object models! If you're so excited about RDBMS, I think you'll like O/R mapping, or even full OODBs. public class AynRand extends Aristotle implements IIntellectualHonesty, IRomantism, ICapitalism { ... }
  23. Automatic redirect using HTTP header?
  24. Thanks! That's what I thought happened. I think we definitively need more of this kind of coverage on mainstream media, and especially in foreign media. America's image from abroad is much to "liberal".
  25. Thanks for those links. As far as the truth of it is concerned, it's all clear to me. The "tolerationists" are NOT objectivists, since Ayn Rand's view on this is clearly expressed in VoS (the article about acting rational in irational societies - one ought to pass moral judgement). At this point, the problem is are they right, and was Ayn Rand wrong? This entire debate seems a big floating abstraction to me, since the issue of tolerating libertarians is only part of this. In context, Dr. Peikoff's view is correct. We oughtn't associate with them. Regaring other contexts, I can't tell at this point.
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