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    I am a student of Objectivism, a philosophy for which I have a great deal of respect. I am taking my time with this study.<br />Maybe someday I will call myself an Objectivist.<br /><br />In the mean time, I am also intereseted in studying Capitalism and making Existentialism and Objectivism fight each other in my brain. Objectivism usually wins.

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  1. Junius Junius:. could it have Jer Cluchey?. Hmmmmm...
  2. I have written that man's abilities are for "sculpting the non-rational beings toward living in this world." I wrote this from my own values and in a crude mimicry of a philosophy of which I am only a young student: Objectivism. I meant only sculpting iron from rock and crops from earth, not human beings. I must write this because I retaliated against some people on this site and in a paper who I percieved to be taking liberties with my reputation. I even tiptoed into Nietzschean racism. The problem is that they were doing it with good intentions and because I was acting like an obvious jerk, if they were even doing it at all. In one case, my existentialism professor was actually a help to me in a dark time. I have been acting as a questionable and preistly denier of values rather than a genuine question asker. I have been denying others their values and my own. Why was it socratism to suggest there is too much tragedy? It was socratism to be so sensitive to the charge of being a joker, or a lightweight, or simply out of it to the degree that it becomes so apparently true. It must have been socratism to know the best way to give the importance of life a literary meaning is to present one, and to be able to present one, and to choose instead to sit around and complain about what amounts to other people’s real values. To allow my commitment to values to become so unstable that even the deepest and most sturdy type of heroism could be mistaken for the subject of annihilating laughter is hideous. That the tragic was something to be ridiculed was most definitely comedic socratism. In this context I am ashamed of this thread and some of my posts. It is also shameful to take one of the most thought provoking classes you have ever experienced, and to remain silent about its merits. It is shameful to allow one’s anonymity to be an inadequate cloak for completely inappropriate comments about the values, hard work, enthusiasm, patience, and good spirits that keep lit the meaning of an entire university. This is especially true when the real purpose was simply to ask questions which would have been enthusiastically answered without provocative incitement. It is immoral to be so sloppy as to leave the impression that such a beneficial and cathartic discussion of values is something that it most certainly is not. It is neither rational nor selfish to be so lost in thought that you have to take months and months to piece together what is going on right in front of your face. That is true when it allows the appearance of the most brutal prejudicial tastelessness, even when unintentional. Certainly that is true when one endorses what amounts to the racism of an impersonal 19th Century intellectual. I would like to apologize to anyone who was hurt by this incoherence and blatant ignorance. Though it may not look that way, I did genuinely intend to compare and contrast two philosophies I am studying, and to share my ideas anonymously. This included the criticism of some social trends, not generally of individuals, to say nothing of the often dark upstanding figures who have held the lamp for me for years. Unfortunately, I jeopardized my anonymity. In addition to everything else, I brought along with it the making light of a situation that ended up being serious. In total, I completely missed the mark and allowed a situation to appear to be something that it definitely was not. The idea that some people might read or have read these things really bugs me. So on that note, I want to apologize to them. For instance, my professors have really helped me to understand certain aspects of the world and of philosophy. I want to apologize to my existentialism professor. I am sorry. I think I should also apologize to my 19th Century Philosophy professor. I am sorry. I am sorry to my fellow philosophy students. I am sorry also to Hal from Objectivism Online. I am apologizing to these people because they have contributed so much to my understanding and my posts often have the character of abuse. Again, I am sorry. I owe Objectivism Online an apology. I am sorry. I would like to apologize to this entire philosophic community for dragging everyone into a mess of my own ignorance and insecurities. Frankly, I owe an apology to every community I have ever dealt with in my life. I never ever wanted to do this, to take on the habits of some valueless over critical twit. Now that I see everything clearly, the light remains on someone who is really deserving of reverence. It’s pretty inspiring. I wish I could have written about this earlier, because it is great enough to cut right through how dumb I feel right now. It will continue to do so, which is testament to how bright a human example this is. In a similar vein, I must also apologize to David Veksler directly for leaving a scar on what is usually such a vibrant and serious marketplace for ideas: Objectivismonline.net.
  3. I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Edward Marshall and I am a student in Washington. I am 22.
  4. Of course, put better, it was a confession. It was only a confession of ignorance.
  5. That is very interesting. It's one of the reasons why I replied. Thankyou for bringing that information to the thread. It's amazing how ignorance can hurt a situation in any issue. The more information aired the better. I should reiterate that the post above, concerning the exploitation of the minds of individuals, is a statement of fact. As may be clearer with a rereading, it is not a confession. Again, thankyou for that info.
  6. I shudder to think that anyone would read this thread, view my avatar, and conclude that it is written by someone who wishes to elevate the USA above the essential principles that ground his love for it. Those are the principles which allow for the freedom of a diverse cornucopia of productive thinking individuals, of the good. I shudder to think that anyone might interpret this as some kind of American "hellenism," one of the worst aspects of what is called socratism. No way. To anyone who doesn't know me, this might look that way. Intellectuals like Marcuse, Derrida, and Foucault do make my blood boil. So do Dewey, Chomsky, and Krugman. I would like to see even the world of art cleared of any malaise I might associate with socialism. Nevertheless, I would never want to give the impression that my frustration is anything other than a kind of declaration of independence and a cautionary hope for economic and moral sunrise for people all over the world. Despite my initial brashness, I apologize if this comment looked like something lower than was intended. I can't imagine an Objectivist writing something like this. It is a blight on my posts and I apologize for not minding the general atmosphere of this forum. The point of this thread was that many people have not understood Nietzsche, that it is not socratism to suggest there is too much tragedy. In other words, I was saying "not even Nietzsche..." It is a really interesting subject, and students of Objectivism can definitely benefit from this information. I recently wrote, not a critical essay, but a serious (at least in intent) research paper which partly adressed this subject. It confirmed my suspicions but I was just proud I handed it in. Lately, I do wonder if the eventul death of the protagonist grounds the seriousness of a work of art, and if that is why the characteristic dominates the Sparknotes list of books. I still insist there is too much, but there is plenty of room for discussing this, of course. I should be clear, the comment about "posers" was directed mainly at modern artists who mistake what is only "design" for something that would be put on a pedestal, and, of course, at those who would make Piss Christs. It is not the case, in art, that "anything goes." In fact, there are clear moral boundries we can use to guide our evaluation of art. The more difficult and contraversial part comes as we discuss how works of art fit into the boundries, but I think we are up to it. This is the truth for intellectual reasons, as most people on this forum know.
  7. (khaight was replying to my comment: "revenge for Texas, how bizarre.") I was suggesting that liberals, gay and otherwise, reacted against the gay marriage law in Texas with a vote to ban guns in San Francisco. I was suggesting they were voting in an irrational knee-jerk reaction. But who can tell? One reason that was a stupid thing for me to write is that everyone certainly has reason to be disturbed by political movements against gays. Another reason is that it appeared to be a knock at one of the (the?) most unjustly hated minorities on earth. It was not. Also, many gays took up the banner they rightly deserve and protested the gun ban. What an exciting event for the future of individualism. Fundamentally, mine was the posting equivalent of "gleeking" spittle. It was an interesting thought, but an arbitrary and negative thing to write publicly. For moral reasons and out of selfishness, I aspire to the level of civility that is demonstrated on this site. I want my posts to be legit. For what it is worth, I just wanted to apologize for tainting the subject at hand. PS: Ironically, my frustration on this issue relates to one of the most important problems in politics and philosophy: faction. This is something that Objectivists praise James Madison for addressing. It is *precisely* what frustrates me so much about this issue and also why I am so horrified to review the unclarity of my post. Instead of each group seeing itself as an embattled minority we should all respect the smallest minority on earth, the individual. The glorious thing about the gays who were opposed to the gun ban is that they know that we must seek out a unity of the good in the free-will of thinking individuals. Banning guns and self-defense hurts the individual the most. All individuals benefit from being able to protect themselves, especially if you are among one of the most hated minorities on earth. We should be objective politically for moral reasons. Faction is the enemy of the thinking individual. Objective moral integrity in life can only be observed where faction and the exploitation of irrelavent or petty difference are minimized. That is really the crux of this issue: if only the majority of gays would take up the banner of moral objectivity they deserve as individuals with minds. If only they would see themselves as good, and mean it objectively. That is what Objectivists hope. That is why this issue is so frustrating and so inspirational. Incidentally, I think existentialists mean this when they say "existence precedes essence." I would not put it that way for the reasons discussed above. Nevertheless, I have no lack of respect for the thoughtfulness that founds that sentiment. Irrelavent differences are irrelavent and should never be exploited. Same goes for the petty. This is a political fact, but more importantly it is a moral/ethical fact. The most impressive thing about a person is their willingness to think; Ayn Rand wrote of that. That is what a philosopher is and the details of his philosophy decrease in importance the further they reach from this impressive trunk. Obviously, anyone who would intentionally exploit irrelavent details can be viewed with contempt by the good. He is a threat to individuals and he pelts society with discord apples. He is also irrationally depriving himself of value in life. There is nothing morally selfish about such prejudices. Despite the inane political correctness of recent times, a fear of being misinterpreted on this issue is healthy. That is why I am writing this, in addition to reiterating my own moral dislike for the exploitation of differences.
  8. Interesting story, junius. Thanks for sharing it. I like how you captured the emptiness of a quest for power. (I am assuming "power" means something exercised over others rather than a description of self-control, life, and the "sky blue lake of joy" in pursuing a life's work, as I interpret Nietzsche to have justified the term.) I have a couple questions: May I ask why you chose to write about such a scuzbag? One of the great things about Ayn Rand is that she posits an alternative and uses that ideal as the focus of her writing. You might find a positive ideal a richer source for your writing. This is just a comment, I am not saying all writing must ignore ugly people. Also, was the end supposed to signify a terrible fate for the anti-hero, to be subordinate to a woman? Is he a sexist? Lastly, how terrific that you are from Canada! It makes me think of snowy pine trees and lungfulls of fresh air during this season.
  9. 1.,2.,4. Yes, there were nights when I would lie awake in fear of death after I graduated from Highschool. Perhaps you are right about goals. In that case, there were so many possibilities and such a collapsing of forward vision. I had been aiming for the past 6 years for graduation, then I arrived to find a dizzying multiplication of questions about the future. "Now what?" Also, there were religious remnants in my thinking... 3. I asked a trusted deist about death when I had this fear at a younger age. I was worried about there not being an afterlife. He said that the one thing about death is "you won't care when you're dead." My way of viewing this advice is that death is nothing. It doesn't exist. So far as it refers to something, it is a word about the end of life. I fear that a lot of talk about death, especially in literature, is actually about trying to grasp a void which does not exist. Thinking in terms of existents, I think it makes sense to emphasize the finity of life. This finity is communicated most readily to us by our values. This would be an important distinction because 500 years of life sounds awesome to me. I want to live as much as possible and, so far as it seemed doable, I would welcome improvements in longevity, without exhaustion. Isn't a life without purpose sufficiently less pleasant than a life spent pursuing values? I think this is the case even before we have to employ doom as a motivator. The motivator is our future as it exists and the whole distillery of values as they glisten over it. No concession to feelings as a guide is ever rewarded. As in OPAR, the focus on a future that exists may be why there is not a lot of Objectivist literature on death. On the other hand, Jennifer, I have really come to admire this existentialist idea that death can be freeing and a great frame for valuing life. It's sort of like a baroque painting, with darkness making the spotlighted actor all the richer and brighter. Furthermore, how possible is it for the formerly religious to ever get rid of their sense of loss? I'm pretty sure death as the end of life has worked for me, but I do not wish to engage in a delusion with listlessness as the consequence. Charming guy that I am, I have referred to existentialism as "death worship" in another thread. Despite that lack of candor, I am pretty sure the idea of existence defines the difference between Oism and existentialism. Again, I worry that "death" is more about a focus on a nothing: the carcass of a christian afterlife, than on the finity of life. The question here is to what extent does the vision of something reason says it is arbitrary to think about cast an unneeded pall over life? Hell of a thread.
  10. "Unskinned with the Less Fattening Centres." "Keep That Unskinned Complexion." "Is it live, or is it Unskinned?" "I wish I were an Unskinned weiner..." You keep clicking and it just gets worse and worse.
  11. I just got back from the gym myself. I wonder that the brain, with all it's complicated capillaries, etc, needs to be flushed daily with exercise in order to work properly and get enough circulation. I have no idea if this is true and am not a doctor. From experience, I know that exercise matched to your interests and body type can be a great asset to the intellect and to a complete life. It makes sense if you consider how the mind developed in a much more active setting than we are used to today. Nietzsche praises Caesar for his constant exercise and understanding of its importance for thinking. Objectivist Andrew Bernstein, author of The Capitalist Manifesto, has also made this point, advocating hiking and running. I wish I could give you the site but there was a club in New York called the "Swoop Troop" which was formed to promote Objectivist exercise, or something like that. I noticed this last year, so it probably still exists.
  12. I haven't read much fantasy outside Eddings. I've tried to get into others, but Eddings focuses on things I think are cool. I love the way he writes from experiences in real life that I love, despite using a lot of magic. The thing that grabbed me was the very first chapter of the Elenium with Sparhawk returning to his home city in the rain, muscles aching and deserving a long night's rest. I loved the stoicism of a weary character returning from exile and the hidden spark of excitement. There is an adventure waiting for him on the other side of a good night's sleep. He rides with honor and armed with a lifetime of a highly refined skill, the most important one of all in dark times, professional killing. His warhorse trots brashly through the shadows of a city, glistening dark and wet, which has been awaiting his return for years. Also, the gods can walk among men and some even prefer the form. I honestly think I could read that book over and over again. The inlay of magic to this kind of background, as an accquired skill of incantation, was highly appealing. I have no idea what level it is exactly.
  13. Under capitalism, someone has a right to fish the stream. Presumably the fish will die before you do. THis will happen the first time someone dumps and it will be put in the papers: "Local stream has been poisoned, fisherman pissed." Or, were you implying a scenario in which 10 different companies all dump cyanide on the same day at the same time, let's call it the witching hour on Cyanide Dumping Day. If that is your argument, you have truly stumped me. Of course, you get your water from the water company, don't you? I don't think I need to explain that one. "If I developed lung cancer from carcenogenic chemicals in the air released from thirty factories in my city, can I sue all of them? I mean, whose carcenogens actually incited the mutation? How do I prove that it was actually the chemicals that caused the cancer and not just some coincidence? To paraphrase an argument Rand uses against socialism, how many corpses must pile up before we can conduct the proper correlational studies? The car industry conducts recalls in a manner similar to that which you are suggesting. If there's a defective part, they calculate how much it would cost to perform the recall, and then they calculate how much they would probably have to pay in settlements to people who sued. Only if it's less damaging to do the recall does the company actually do it. Now, no one's forcing you to buy cars, so you don't have to be impacted by this practice if you object. However, if someone's polluting the air, I still have to breathe. Because of biological ties that reality thrusts upon us, the rules should not be the same for something which I have no choice but to consume. I don't understand why everyone's acting like I'm saying Marx is right here, I'm just saying that you guys have interpreted certain things in a way that I don't agree with." It is inappropriate to compare products with pollutants for the reasons you have suggested. You can't recall air. I think that if science demonstrates objectively that certain air pollutants cause lung cancer then it shouldn't be difficult to establish a causal link between incidents of lung cancer and a factory that produces them. That is negligence or possibly manslaughter. I'm not sure. If this law is established and a company knows it might be doing something that would kill someone, then it won't do it. Or it will lose a lot of money or the people in charge might be arrested. But correlation is not sufficient. Example: "Power lines cause cancer! How many bodies have to pile up before we will acknowledge it." And of course the correlation in the stats are very convincing to a socialist. Then we read that powerlines are generally over poorer neighborhoods and occupants of poorer neighborhoods generally smoke more or eat burnt fatty barbeque foods more often, the two main causes of cancer.
  14. http://chemcases.com/nuclear/nc-13.htm http://www.ncpa.org/iss/bud/pd112801b.html Here are two sites that give an interesting idea. The unmanagability of radioactive waste comes from the fact that it should not be considered waste at all, but more fuel to be recycled. There are sites in England, France, and soon in Japan that are producing energy this way. The articles seem to suggest that the new wastes will be much less radioactive as they have been processed several times. One site even says that these materials will be so neutralized that they can be encased in class and stored the way more traditional hazmats are stored at sites such as Concord in Colorado. Furthermore, their volume will have been drastically reduced. This is experimental, but it is not pie in the sky. Asking why it is still experimental, we are told that Jimmy Carter mandated the end of this research while he was riding the peace train. Again, socialist intervention is the problem. Noticing a pattern yet? Another idea is that the issue of leakage from the "dry" slugs stored at places like Yucca can be stored in specially prepared facilities on frozen tundra in Greenland, where the water contamination issue is less important. All these little issues can best be solved by capitalism. No matter how complicated a piece of praxis you toss at capitalism as a supposed proof of it's naivete, the issue is ultimately best handled by capitalism. It isn't a battle by battle thing, these victories represent a deeper issue. Here is a moral right: in any society the mind must be left free. The individual uses his mind to deal with a complex world. Capitalism isn't about some ideal world, it's that this is the ideal world for Capitalism. And we're talking about El Dorado.
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