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Shol'Va

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  1. I say trying to be clear to the reader : I saw a documentary on the 60's counterculture some time ago. One of the speakers talked about the meaning of Joy saying that joy is not something you reach for, it is not an objective. Not a car, not a job, not a girlfriend. When we chase after something thinking that it is joy, or will bring joy w are merely following some kind of consumerist script, further the beleif that something can bring joy is the very definition of consumerism. Joy instead is an internal state, a fundemental optimism about one's ability to live a good life, a lack of existential anxiety. We see the script he describes laid out before us every day. Society likes to beleive (permit the generalisations, I think you'll get the point) that buying a new car gives us the joyfull experiance of autonomy, beer is love and through religion we can attain a place in heaven. It forces out to look outward, to bring things into our possesion in order to find our peace with the universe. Joy on the other hand is independant of our environment relying instead on our inner faith in ourselves and in our values we hold. One can chase all the ideas of consumerism and be absolutly joyless, one can have nothing and yet be joyful. In a sense this fundemental choice between joylessness and joy is first and second hand existences. one between free will and evasion, the cornerstone of Objectivist psychology. The choice between them is so fundemental, so overreaching the first and second hand men reside in totally different mental spaces, one leading into this fundemental joy, the other to dispair. The first hander posessing Joy does not need to look outward, instead he looks within - the anticonsumerist. The second hander is obsessed with image, with status, with the trappings and signs of wealth and is therefore a slave to outside consumerism posessing no inner joy. Thoughts?
  2. We aren't talking about what they think is in their best interest or about what they think "man qua man" means but about reality. Have you ever read The Virtue of Selfishness?
  3. The less well off are more morally violated losing their independance and dinity. It a moral strategy in terms of meeting physical needs and wants but becomes the highest moral ill in the "man qua man" sense.
  4. One could arugue both the wars of Napolean and Alexander were defensive in nature, the added glory for France and Greece was a factor yes but all wars have perks. Second, and this surprises me, you seem to draw a dichotomy between the interests of the conqueror and the conqueree which does not always exist historically. Rome fought brutal, brutal wars often wiping out civilian populations in a quest for absolute domination over everyone in range of its armies yet if it weren't for this blood thirst (emphasis added to prove a point) the countries of the Middle Sea (using the fancy name for want of the correct spelling of its real name) would have been fodder for asiatic and nothern powers totally beyond the unity to forge the golden age of that civilisation. Let's not forget that from time to time the conqueror can enhance and improve the lives of those conqueredbecause of possesing traits lacked by the conquered. Edit - added last sentence.
  5. He's definately talkng about behaviour by mentioning the brain's physiology -propenisity to crime, intelligence, athleticism - are all determined by these factors. By assuming genetics to be the dominant factor in shaping the brain's physiology and also assuming each "race" is relatively homogeneous in the distribution of traits one can say probablistically how a certain member of a race will behave in certain situations. But the key point here is why attempt to create these constructs in the first place. Unlike real science very little social science exists without some ideological baggage at its source (social science was founded with a vision of society first after all). Engaging in this kind of talk makes racist policies more acceptable, reduces individualliberty, and cuts down the ability to see those who are outside the theoretically created norm.
  6. I made a signifigant edit to post on Israel and Islam shortly before another user replied. What are the rules governing when it can be used and if conflicts between users occur due to its misuse.
  7. I think everyone gets what I'm saying here. Everyone here also seems on the ball logically, so I think I'll hang around here for a while.
  8. Judging by the post I think what is said here is that the overwhelming force would locate and eliminate all villages supporting the Party of Allah, thereby eliminating the threat from the north and lessening the power of such groups to harm Israel over the long term. My only question is how that would change greatly change the issue over the long term. In Lebannon, a country only in the same sense the USSR was a republic, geograghy, tribelism and proximity to Syria rule out any permanant solution unless a strong central government emerges in Lebannon (which will not happen) or Israel declares everything south of Beirut a "no hut zone" (which will not happen). To qoute Israeli intelligence officials (and I might be able to give out the video file), the arab state is no longer an effective institution, the future of the middle east belongs to radical Islam whose inexorable focus is centered on the Levant. Radical Islamic groups will slowly take over the countries surrounding Israel leading to the first truly complete war for survival (not being surrounded by determined combatants in '47, '67 or '73). Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebannon are relatively powerless to stop its advance. Given that Israel can not fight them on all fronts at one time and the suicidal nature of the opponant any kind of effective anti-islamic blitzkrieg is not going to happen. It is my beleif that radical Islam is fast approaching the critical mass needed in the Levant to make an even combat with Israel for control of the region. Israel lost the battle in Lebannon and with more time, resources and casulaties may have won and its loss is a blow to Israel and the free world. The battle's overall signifigance in the general war however I would say is low. Nor is it a war Israel can win alone. Ultimatly this war for Israel's survival comes down to the arab world itself. The will and resources needed to eliminate the Israelis will grow out of the arab world with the IDF being a minor deterrent to radical Islam's aims. The war can only be effectively won by continuing the campaign for democracy in Iraq, cutting down the influence of Iran (the key front in this whole affair) and restrengthening of arab secular law in Egypt and Syria. I agree however that Israel should have fought in Lebannon harder. Despite Hezbollah's unexpected ability to counter the israelis effectively and the vietnam-like atmosphere of the conflict Lebannon now stands essentially as an Iran-in-the-womb because of the defeat. Edited, redacted an overstatement. Which I can do?
  9. Prometheus98876 asks When I say moral in this context, which I think falls in line with the general Objectivist definition, are those things with a determinable survival value. Things like taking up the Guitar over playing chess, learning Java to build a wargame over watching Star Trek have no apparent survival effect but obviously have value in that they engage us in pleasurable ways. Keep in mind very little of our activity is now spent in an effort to secure our survival but is more geared toward self improvement. If I wanted to over think this I'd say something like how surviving as "Man qua Man" is polymorphous and does not follow the same standards of action and worth as "surviving for survival". DragonMaci pointed out the follwing; Self-mutalation is not morally neutral. To my understanding...though I hear in San Francisco........ My fundemental point here however is in the idea of existing through action. Before one can say "this is who I am" one must first say "I have done", one must want to do. Who you are, your idea is forged by the things you do and want to do. This to me is the essential nature of the first hander versus the second hander, do you agree?
  10. This is an off angle veiw judging by what others have said but I would recommend The Journals of Ayn Rand. It does a good job showing the historic evolution of Rand's beliefs as well as Objectivism generally. You'll find the earlier vague hero worship and Nietzchean tendencies maturing and moving toward a more rational view as well as here theories of psychology and archetypes growing over time as well. Its been a while since I read it but it is the best book on Objectivism I've seen.
  11. Australia has a long history with dealing with light pollutions as well, using street lights that force the light downward, declaring massive light and radio dead zones in the desert. This may just tap into that trend in Australian society. I can see how one could find this disconcerting (the kids chanting "turn them off") generally though I find using "the children" the lowest and most annoying political actions - eventually they'll grow up and lose all of their parentally-induced enthusiasm. As for enthusiasm and hopefulness it sounds like typical modern society. If global warming is a problem turning lights out will do nothing to prevent it, but it does give a good excuse for back patting.
  12. Which axioms? Are you asking if you can have infinite material in the universe or something else? As in religion, mysticism etc?
  13. Those were some valid points all around, and again what I'm experiancing is more of a mood thing not any coherant thought out way to operate. Let me reply to some of these points raised. JMegan said "This yen for the new and the challenging sounds like a form of experential whim-worship to me" Whim Worship as I understand its meaning in Objectivism is a kind of instinctual action - to follow the most immediate "good course". So an alcoholic drinks because it feels good and sees no consequent actions in his mind when he grabs a drink. This has a moral aspect to it, the drinker is putting his life ("as man") in danger thus making "Whim Worship" a negative. What I attempt to do is somewhat different. I try to take those morally neutral things I have little experiance with and pursue them because they are outside my normal range. For example a few years ago (when I began experiancing this new kind of mood) I started listening to country music as I had previously ignored it and in doing so actually found how it is good in its own way. Other such "morally neutral" areas would be introversion/extroversion (this one is debatable but not in any critical way to me), attraction to physical/mental behaviour (putting down the pen for a first game of basketball or vice versa). I should also add this attempt to move outside my normal range is not a constant. Doing so constantly is psychologically impossible. I mean to say that when opportunities arise to leap into a different and what I judge as morally neutral spectrum I try to do so. JMegan said "While this ad-hoc approach to life may be a helpful practice if you're, say, seeking to overcome a bad habit or train yourself into a better behavior, in doing this all the time you are intentionally disintegrating your consciousness by shutting off your *conceptual* handling of situations." What is meant by "conceptual" in that context? JMegan also said " As I said, you might make use of your ability to break everything down into separate, consciously-identified component parts for a number of reasons, but always with a specific goal in mind. Operating at random is not a state to be sought." I should add that I have a general goal which I can only describe as making my range larger. In each decision of this kind I ask whether it will make my abilities expand or not - deciding to take up the guitar to open my mind up to music, taking up sports to become athletic etc. A chess master was asked how many moves he could see ahead and he replied "only one, the best one". These decisions are not random, but they are not part of a great plan either. I took up the guitar because the ooportunity emerged to learn how music is made but I have no over arching plan to become a "guitarist" - being used in a band or what have you. Obviously there are time limits involved and in my time management you can see how I operate as well, setting daily goals as opposed to more longterm ones --> as far as these kinds of acts are concerned. Obviously like most people I have long term goals but these are more of a "moral" nature - finances, family, not smoking etc. I hope that makes things more clear in that regard. DragonMaci had good points and identifies some of the more extreme edges of how someone attempting the same thing could end up. I can definatly see how my phrasing could make it look like I fit the description so let me explain a bit better. What is personality? I see personality as a kind of transaction. The best way for me to describe it is by an example drawn from my impression of Ayn Rand's greatest novel, "The Fountainhead". Howard Roark stands at the edge of the cliff, he sees wood for cutting, stone for blasting, great skyscrapers in his mind. In this moment only two things exist - the resources around him and the goal of building great things. Now a secondary observer will see Howard as a "personality", a great heroic being with pride and diligince, but these ideas are not in Howard's mind, they are secondary (second hand) to the fundemental process of creation. Howard does not care what another thinks about him, and while he may on reflection see the heroism of his action he does not seek heroism per se but to be faithfull to his great visions and constantly expand his powers to make these visions a reality. While the Fountainhead seems to not explain his quest to create (if you were able to see it, PM me I don't want the thread to go haywire) I always thought of it as Roark building each building as his own home giving each of his works a fundemental connection to himself. When I'm at work I always get a sense of my power over my life by working to the best of my ability (a sense offered by pure capitaliam). In this way I gain some sense of self and the responsibility I have to mself to maintain it. However this idea of personality will remain secondary, a reflective element that depends entirely on how I act, something that expands because of my drive to make each action greater, to strive to break through challenges. Or such are the times that I am proud of myself. Please reply. Also, I'm seeing qoutes specially laide out on the forum and italics, bolds etc. My Explorer does not "toggle side panel" so I guess I need a new browser.
  14. The past few years I have been driving toward one ultimate goal, the elimination of the reflective element of my mind in favour of a more "obect oriented" approach. Now that I've caused you a mild headache what I mean by this is as follows - I have striven to throw off those ideas and constructs created by measuring myself from the outside - shyness, charisma, diligence, laziness, "being me". I found that "who I am" is limiting what I can experiance and accomplish. Instead I have struggled to exist only in relation to the creation and changing of the materials around me. I no longer am a "hard worker" with 10 software updates made a day. I am an entity that sees a corrupt structure and resolves it, its resolution is the only evidence or existsence of my being in that moment. I am no longer "outgoing" I simply see an opportunity and sieze it. I strive exist purely, not even with a center outside of the objects and tasks in my mind. This means that any "heroic confrontation with the cosmos falling before the central power of my ego" is an experiance I have made intentionally beyond my grasp, I am firmly in the world of changing the material around me feeling the weight of time. This has created an unbearable need for the new, the challenging. Life in short has become hell. Man can not exist in this way, and I would not classify this new form of mind a sustainable philosophy but more of a mood or disposition. To the extent I am aware of it Objectivism lends itself to this mood hence why I am here. Can anyone else relate to this? Oh, the handle Shol'Va is a StarGate reference - One who has betrayed his God.
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