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Victor

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  1. Veritas, I’m glad you asked this question, and I would like to chime in with the others. AYN Rand attacked the issue of ethics by going to the root: to the question of “meta-ethics" Other philosophers have failed to do this, and so this is one of Ayn Rand’s great contributions to philosophy. There are many contenders, many possible “moralities” which have been postulated by philosophers: The Ten Commandments or ‘seek the greatest good of the greatest number’ or ‘the moral ideal is service to society’, etc, etc, etc. But what do all moralities have in common? Let’s ask Rand’s meta-ethical question: What is morality? You see, instead of merely asking “Which morality is correct?”—she asked, “Just what is a ‘morality’, anyway?” In other words, she went straight to the root of the question. A basic point: morality—any morality whatsoever—is generally a set of rules of conduct to guide the actions of an individual human being. THIS is what all possible moralities have in common. Sticking to the root of the issue, Miss Rand asked: why should there be any morality at all? Her question is a normative question. Let’s rearticulate it in a factual proviso: What would happen to a man who practiced no morality? (This echoes Rand’s “immortal robot”) A man who practiced no morality--NO morality at all--would be a man whose behavior was guided by no rules at all... and this man, of course, would die. (This is evidence that the connection between factual and normative statements is MAN’S LIFE). Man needs morality to live. But just any moral system will NOT do it. As Ayn Rand said: “Metaphysically, life is the only phenomenon that is an end itself: a value gained and kept by a constant process of action." Bottom line: Man ought to do certain things—because they are necessary for him to be. He ‘is’ because he does what he ‘ought.’ If man simply acted in any random manner, he would not be an “is” for too long. A valid moral code must address human needs long-range; it must conceptual the requirements of human survival into an integrated, hierarchically structured, non-contradictory system of rational principles. The conclusion: Such a code must hold human life as its standard of value. -Victor
  2. DarkReaver13 I found your post of particular interest. I’m a caricature artist…or rather, as I like to say: I’m an artist who can do caricatures. I don’t really have anything to say about “romantic art” or so-called “good art” or “bad art”—because I don’t create art for my viewer per se, but for myself. BUT keep this in mind: I am conscious enough to be aware of the viewer’s pleasure, and so technique must come at hand as well...or else I would have nothing more at hand than what would resemble a child’s finger painting with its various swatches and swirls of color across the canvas. If you have something to “say” in a drawing or paining—don’t disregard human perception and make your work intelligible. (Yes, in this regard, the Objectivist comes out). I’m in general agreement in what you express in your post---especially regarding the subject of humor. It’s fair to say that the art of caricature—or even more broadly speaking, satirical illustrations (such as yours) doesn’t get its due respect among the artistic literati. Somewhere along the line humor in visual art has been dealt a raw deal. Those who determine “taste” have decided it’s alright for an artist to move us to tears, or to show human beings at their best, or to anger the viewer or to awe him, or out-and-out repulsion or whatever else. But to make his audience laugh was considered beneath the artist’s station. Satirical work, to my mind, like that of Daumier, can be just as provocative. I always enjoyed drawing people. As a child, I was inclined from the very start to “twist the divine human form into silly putty shapes”---as one reviewer of my art put it. I have been a professional artist for a number of years. I have experienced many different reactions to my art over the years—from joyful laughter to awe-struck appreciation to disconcerted confusion to even enmity. The more mild responses of protest have ranged from “Don’t you draw real people?” to “Why do you draw such weird stuff” to “What kind of acid trip are you on?” (This could crush the heart of a sensitive artist, but of course I always retain my cool as the jovial bohemian that I truly am). As I said, I create art for myself—for the pleasure of it and to financially profit from it; I seek to enjoy my vocation and earn a living). Caricaturing was my way of coping with what I took to be a troubling reality. This “troubling reality” still haunts me to this day. It is the light within me, the good within me, that wishes to expose the dark side of the world—to alert the viewer of it—by ridiculing it in caricature. No, it is not an exploration of any dark side in me. It is an external exploration---not internal. My caricatures cannot come out decorous and beautifully detached: they must be, and are, charged with fear, horror, moral outrage, humor, and irreverence. You need an extraordinary gift for humor to laugh away all the perilous things in this world. It is for ME. Allow that personal voice within you to come forth without worrying too much what others might think. Be true to yourself. -Victor-
  3. Here are six top favorite romantic movies not to miss—especially if you are a die-hard romantic like me (I confess, I confess!) Mind you, I hate most of the so-called “romantic movies” as most are unbearably maudlin or formulaic. So I want to introduce and suggest what I believe to be the exception. (Fret not, guys, these are not “chick flicks”—so cut the macho posturing and rent one of these movies and watch it with the lady in your life). These movies are truly heart-warming, intelligent and plot-driven and therefore break with the usual lameness of the genre. Please, please feel free to add to my list. Let us know why you love the movie(s) you have selected. Here are a few of mine: 1, City Lights 2, Marty 3, When Harry met Sally 4, The apartment 5, Walk the Line 6, Notting Hill **
  4. I am a visual artist. As a kid I was a compulsive drawer. I would declare war on every blank area left on notebooks, desks and school walls. It seemed pretty clear from the start what career I would chose. Hey, sometimes it feels as if it chose me! Mind you, my explorations into caricature art were not necessary foreseen. I have discovered over the years that people like caricature artists pretty much the same way they love baby chimps: they are amusing and not to be taken too seriously. But most people know nothing about this art form. When it comes to the caricature artist, they pause to marvel, fire off enough questions to confirm that they don’t have much of a clue about art—much less about caricature art. However, I must say, I hate most caricature art myself. There are only a handful of caricature artists who spark my interest to the thousands who are out there. The vast majority are truly horrible as they are boring. The garden-variety caricature’s usual oeuvre is the tired cliché of BIG HEAD ON A LITTLE BODY. There is nothing wrong with this Big-head-Little-body cliché if done sparingly and not as the rule. It’s just that this mode of caricaturing has fallen into the definite category of “been there and done that.” My attraction to this art form was to break through the barriers....and to, um, get paid to do it. I clearly believe that caricature art is a legitimate art form which I obviously wish to explore. But I pursue it as a fine-art painter. I loathe the candy-cartoon colors so characteristic of the art form. So I wish to state from the outset that I am not primarily a caricature artist, but rather, an artist….who can paint caricatures. -Victor Samples of a few results from my chosen vocation: Jean Chrétien George Orwell –
  5. Anybody, I would be curious to hear why people have chosen their given vocation. -Victor
  6. 'Thomas, Good post, I agree. Today’s intellectuals, media commentaries (or just standard-issued people with intellectual inclinations) are predominately products of the modern education system which has bombed them with the tenets of skepticism, environmentalism, multiculturalism, altruism, pragmatism—the whole she-boom: knowledge is impossible, no one can know anything for certain, there is no independent reality, all ethics are arbitrary, the individual is evil or impotent to deal with the challenges of life, the collective is all, self sacrifice is the moral ideal, sacrifice progress to the ‘environment,’ submit to the dictates of the tribe, etc, etc, etc. The current intellectual climate is hostile to all the central ideas that make up “Western civilization.” This hostility is created and maintained by today’s intellectuals. None of these ideologies purports to be systems of objectivity. Very much the opposite---they are openly hostile or subtle in their attacks upon the concept. The hatred of Objectivism is the hatred of objectivity. -Victor
  7. What is it that you want to do? -Victor
  8. I am a professional Toronto caricaturist and illustrator. On the whole, I have extensive experience in caricature art, comic art, editorials, game boards, character design, CD covers, print advertisements, etc, etc, etc, etc.... I have also been privately commissioned for live events and commercial events. Wow, I must have drawn over 100,000 faces at these events over the years! (or do I exaggerate?) Really, I have done hundreds upon hundreds of these types of commissions and they do all tend to blur together! But I would like to highlight some proud career experiences. Some highlights and proud moments would include: *Teaching caricature, character design and humorous illustration at Max the Mutt Animation school here in Toronto. I enjoyed my stint as a teacher. I became rather close to my students, and it was rather sad to have to say good-bye. (Once, I received a round of applause from the students on the last day of a final semester, and it left me chocked up. That made me feel very proud). *Caricaturing actor Fred Ward when he appeared in Toronto for some on location shooting. Actually, the studio needed to hire an artist to paint a caricature portrait of Fred Ward’s character and the painting appeared in the movie for which it was commissioned. (Was it art or a movie prop?) *I was commissioned to paint Ron Howard’s caricature portrait as a gift for the famous director. I have also been commissioned to paint a head-honcho at the William Morris Agency. *I have also contributed articles on the caricature genre to magazines such as “Caricature” and “Exaggerated Features”. (This last is published by the NCN—National Caricature Network). *I am very proud to have been interviewed by many television shows (and print articles) which would include shows like Canada AM, Breakfast Television, News at Noon, etc—and I have been pegged by Canadian Media as being “Canada’s foremost caricature artist.” I don’t know where this started and it does ring of standard media hyperbole, but who am I to argue with the press? What am I, a trouble maker? Nah! -Victor
  9. The Big Sleep: Death can be fun and Beneficial. By Victor Pross "It's not that I'm afraid to die. I just don't want to be there when it happens,” declared the perpetually pessimistic Woody Allen. Views like this give death a bad name. Death has received a lot of bad press and so it is no wonder that it is universally reviled. In the Letters from a Stoic, Seneca wrote: “You want to live—but do you know how to live? You are scared of dying—and, tell me, is the kind of life you lead really any different from being dead?” It is a crying ignominy that the lighter side of death is never presented. I think dying doesn’t have to be the morose and cheerless event everybody insists on making it. Death can be fun. More: it can also be beneficial. Stevie Smith said it all: "If there wasn't death, I think you couldn't go on.” With this more optimistic approach, let us proceed to explore how death can be fun and beneficial. Let us not think of death as the end but rather as a beginning. And let us not forget that life is temporary whereas death is everlasting. I think there is something to be said for that. One of the first benefits that come to mind is one’s reputation. Eulogies are always sweetly sugar-coated and are purposely the complete opposite of the usual vile libel we receive in life. Everybody speaks well of the dead. There is even a hesitation to speak “ill of the dead” from one's sworn enemies. Amazingly, your enemies are able to recall better aspects of your character. You never get that while living. Even when the dead are spoken of in a disapproving manner, it is usually considered poor taste. Let them rest in peace! You get the picture. Alive, you are an asshole. Dead, you are affectionately recalled. The lives of the dead are retroactively subject to change so that a “difficult woman” can be reconstructed as a “misunderstood perfectionist,” and a “dumb blonde with big boobs and small brains” can be transformed into a “victim of the patriarchy,” and a “psychotic nut” can suddenly be altered into a “sensitive artist.” Sure, death seems like an inflated price to pay for respect, but remember that until she died, Marilyn Monroe was laughable. She was a luscious Hollywood parfait, her body parts viewed as much greater than her whole. The posthumous “unearthing” of Marilyn’s unacknowledged talent—her revision as feminist icon, as victim of a misogynistic, male dominated system would seem to be a sign of progress indeed. People who commit suicide possess a wisdom that is lost to those who cling to life. It was the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre who invented Existentialism, a philosophy that articulates life’s nauseating emptiness, this big vacant nothing that all of us fight so hard against. But suicides are the people who have given up the battle. They are tired and they want to go to sleep. And as best as I can recollect, sleep is good for us. Suicide has the added bonus of having a cult following: the fan club of self-destruction resulted in a Rolling Stone cover of Jim Morrison in one of his famous lizard-king poses with a caption that read, “He’s hot. He’s sexy. And he’s dead.” And let’s not forget the attention that Hendrix, Kurt and Elvis receive. They are more popular dead than alive. In fact, when the word that Elvis had died was received, one showbiz kibitzer said: “Good career move!” Elvis alive was a problem. Who wants an old and fat Elvis Presley? Elvis dead was a property. Personally, I don’t take death seriously at all. We all have to go sooner or later, so why get all wound up over it. Let’s have fun. I don’t want any irritating weeping and self-serving grief at my funeral. When I shake off this mortal coil, I would prefer to have my life celebrated. I don’t want to be mourned. You knew it was coming. I would want to be recalled as a creative and humorous person. So in the spirit of that, let me tell you how I foresee my funeral: First of all, I would insist in my will that the assembled are to wear Groucho Marx glasses and mustaches. This would include the individual who is to perform the eulogy. (Of course I would want any flattering acclamation to be followed by a debate as to its truth). I would want my widow to speak fondly of my sexual prowess...now that I’m a “stiff.” Secondly, I want my body to be left to the care of taxidermy. I read somewhere modern practice of taxidermy incorporates many crafts: carpentry, woodworking, tanning, molding and casting. It also requires artistic talent, including the art of sculpture, painting and drawing. I can see my body being stuffed like a cute little teddy bear. At the funeral, I would want my corpse erected upright in a surfing pose—complete with a swimming suit and sunglasses. (I never did surf in life and I don’t think that a dead man’s last wishes should be denied). Thirdly, I would prefer to have my wax-like carcass on permanent display at some museum. I prefer that a hand-crafted effigy to be buried in place of my actual cadaver. Most important, let's have some laughs. Lastly, I would prefer to have Frank Zappa CDs playing at my funeral in place of that awful lame organ music so characteristic of some funerals. That shit bores me to death. In the words of Charles Frohman: "Why fear death? Death is only a beautiful adventure." I say make it a creative and humorous adventure! Death is not to be feared. It is one of the absolutes! If you don’t find anything humorous about death, think of it as the Big Sleep. Still, everybody has to die. Such is life. Anyway, who wants to live forever? Is that really how you want to be remembered? That prick who just won’t die? In famous last words, Lord Byron on his death bed was reported to have said: "Now I shall go to sleep. Good night." *In case this needs to be stated, this is a humor piece. This site lacks a humor section and thus I chose miscellaneous.
  10. Philosophy Attacks Objectivism and objectivity By Victor Pross Did you know that Ayn Rand was a Nazi? Oh, you didn’t know that? It was a shock to me. An anonymous McGill philosophy professor has declared the following: “I was shocked to learn…that my department has even considered an offer to endow an Ayn Rand Chair. Imagine the department of political science considering an offer to endow the Adolf Hitler Chair in international politics.” A university newspaper reports that private donor Gilles Tremblay submitted the Ayn Rand Chair. His purpose was to establish in perpetuity a professorship for teaching the ideas of Ayn Rand, a philosopher who currently receives no exposure within the entire McGill university academic corpus. He offered 1.8 million dollars to establish the Chair. Mr. Tremblay’s goal was to “expose Ayn Rand’s philosophy to the average student.” He noted that Rand’s is a “practical philosophy that applies to everyday life,” and that this is in marked contrast [italics mine] to academic philosopher’s who “go on and on about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, or all sorts of esoteric questions that only other philosophers are interested in.” In making the statement that links Rand with Hitler, this professor is making a devious claim that Rand’s ideas are essentially similar to Nazism and racism. Such a claim is ludicrous on its face. Here’s a philosophy that holds that reality, reason and individual rights form the basis of a free society and the key to human life. The administration’s failure to note the easily available evidence of the importance of Ayn Rand’s system—and what her system actually stands for---is so clearly a demonstration in hostility and dishonesty. This type of dishonesty and philosophical corruption is all too typical, and not merely restricted to McGill University. Why is this? “Although Ayn Rand was most obviously controversial in her ethical and political views,” Ronald Merrill writes in his book, The Ideas of Ayn Rand, “the case could be made that it was her epistemology that was most radical. What has really driven opposing philosophers up the wall has been less her individualism or egoism than her claim to certainty. Vital to structure—and Objectivism is its promise of route to knowledge—real knowledge, certain knowledge.” Today’s intellectuals, media commentaries, or just standard-issued people with intellectual inclinations are predominately products of the modern education system which has bombarded them with the tenets of skepticism, environmentalism, multiculturalism, altruism, pragmatism: knowledge is impossible, no one can know anything for certain, there is no independent reality, all ethics are arbitrary, the individual is evil or impotent to deal with the challenges of life, the collective—or the state—is all, self sacrifice is the moral ideal, sacrifice progress to the ‘environment,’ submit to the dictates of the tribe, etc, etc, etc. None of these systems or ideologies purports to be systems of objectivity. Very much the opposite: they are openly hostile or subtle in their attacks upon the concept. The hatred of Objectivism is the hatred of objectivity. The philosophy of Ayn Rand, Objectivism, is unique in its position in the modern world—and that is why this philosophy is particularly vilified than what has ever been accorded to other philosophies. Here are a few reasons as to the reason why: Ayn Rand’s theory of concept formation provides a radically original, and correct, solution to philosophy’s central issue: the problem of universals. This problem concerns the relationship between abstract ideas and particular concretes in reality. By identifying the basis mechanism of concept formation, Rand validated the objective relationship between correctly formed ideas and their referents. This watershed achievement fulfills philosophy’s most dire need, a need unmet since Plato. It is the very concept of “objectivity” that has driven opposing philosophers and intellectuals over the edge. Now, I don’t care to become an alarmist announcing proclamations of inevitable destruction for the world, as do the “Orthodox prophets of doom”—as a poster put it. Such apocalyptic declarations are not mine. That is, I agree with Ayn Rand: there is no “historical necessity” or “historical determinism” to dictate that Western culture is due for ultimate destruction--or continued progress. There is no guarantee at all. Men have free will. That says it all. But I do say that the current intellectual climate is hostile to all the central ideas that make up “Western civilization.” This hostility is created and maintained by today’s intellectuals. This hostility and dishonesty is not a recent phenomenon. It goes back to the early days of Objectivism. As Nathanial Branden wrote: “Ayn Rand’s opponents have found it preferable to debate straw men, to equate her philosophy with that of Spencer or Nietzsche or Spinoza or Hobbes and thus expose themselves to the charge of philosophic illiteracy—rather than identify and publicly argue against that which Ayn Rand actually stand.” Most humanities and social science professors are anti-capitalist or outright Marxist. Many of them teach a distorted view of capitalism. They brush over the essence of capitalism, that it is the protection of individual rights, including property rights and the rights to life. And while is may be argued that communism is dead it can be argued that statism is alive and well. These teachers distort capitalism by telling students that it causes unfair differences in wealth, enslaves workers [so-called “wage-slaves”], exploits third world countries, dehumanizes the human soul and creates environmental degradation. It’s no wonder that many students choose to study science because they are weary of the “isms” found in the humanities. They avoid the humanities because most of the courses are irrational and worthless. This is to say that they are NON-OBJECTIVE. Today’s students do not learn the important ideas were discovered by Western intellectuals—such as free market economics, individualism, limited government, the role of reason in history. Students aren’t taught that western wealth has improved our lives dramatically, and that this wealth is the result of the fact that capitalism made it possible, and that the root cause of it all is human reason. The industrial Revolution proved that man’s survival and progress depend on science and technology. Of course Ayn Rand was an ardent advocate of reason, science, capitalism and technology. Being the twentieth-century’s greatest champion of reason and individualism, this makes her an outsider among today’s intellectuals—collectivist intellectuals of either the old Left or the New Earth First Left variety. Then there is ethics: The moral philosophy of relativism is widely taught in universities. Relativism is the idea that moral values are neither scientific nor absolute, that morality is determined by the feelings of the individual or the group. Most people believe that morality comes from God or is either an arbitrary social injunction. This is the popular viewpoint with the public at large! If one reads Ayn Rand’s “The Objectivist Ethics” in the The virtue of Selfishness, one will learn that Objectivism is the polar-opposite of this whole approach to the field of ethics. The fundamental question of ethics is: To be or not to be. It is the science of survival, which is not automatically known or guaranteed to man. Ayn Rand's position crashes in the face of the modern approach to ethics. **** When I attended University, I was struck by the brazen irrationally that was rampant all around me. There was a definite deterioration of course content. For example, the classes I attended had a particular axe to grind for the Western canon. [“Yo! Yo! Western culture has to go! Yo! Yo! Western culture has to go!”] However, luckily for me, I did take Objectivist professor John Ridpath’s class “Intellectual history.” This class was an A to Z in intellectual history starting with philosophical titans Aristotle and Plato culminating to the Postmodernist philosophies of the twentieth century and Ayn Rand. My eyes were opened. I was privileged to witness a living microcosm of Ayn Rand’s “philosophy: Who needs it” when I was able to trace the broad casual philosophical musings of my peers to the philosophers I was learning about: “There are no absolutes!” and “Ethics is a matter of subjective opinion!” and “Man is destroying the planet!” and “knowledge is not possible!” and “We have a right to education!” This was merely a tip of the iceberg. What surprised me was not that these old canards were trotted out. It was the failure of the students to be even slightly embarrassed by them. In some cases, they were announced with a kind of “hold page one for this item” confidence that totally belied their hoariness. Another unique University experience was when Objectivist Gary Hull delivered a lecture at my university. I’ll never forget the incident that occurred the evening he gave his speech. I forget the lecture topic, but I do recall Mr. Hull speaking at one point of the “absolutism of reason and reality”—and bam! A ruffled man stood-up and shouted out “HAIL! HAIL!” while giving Mr. Hull the Nazi salute. He was asked to leave. After the lecture I went to the university bar with some friends to down a few. Imagine my surprise when I saw “Mr. Hail” and learned that he was a TA! Downing a beer, he recognized me from the lecture and decided to join my table to discuss the speech. He took to critiquing Mr. Hull’s talk and it amounted to bashing not only politics but also the validity of sensory-evidence. And more: He claimed that Mr. Hull was, in effect, a “metaphysical dictator.” What nerve Mr. Hull has in excluding all the other philosophies as being “true.” Why can't they be true? And who is to say what truth is? Why is it that only “objectivity” that has the exclusive rein? Who the fuck does he think he is? I have learned of another interesting university incident. “Since its inception,” writes Ray Girn, editor of The University of Toronto Objectivist Club, “the Objectivist club has attracted a lot of controversy. The ideas published in our newspapers have raised the ire of many people on campus. The fact that we have caused so much offense is not a reflection of any intention on our part to offend. Rather, it is a symptom of the radical gulf between our ideas and those that are popular on campus." To conclude: The philosophy of Objectivism is not a separate, independent “species” of objectivity. It is the very concept of “objectivity” (little ‘o’) that Ayn Rand has identified and then proceeded to build her monumental system from. In philosophy, objectivity is known as the “correspondence theory of truth.” Many of today’s “Liberal art” intellectuals and professors, as an example of their colossal ability for intellectual dishonesty, treat the concept of “objectivity” as merely a member among a species of subjectivity. And that "species" are, for example, dialectical, feminist, analytic, Jungian, orthodox, religious, skeptics, etc. They merely bunch Objectivism in the mix. They regard the entire enterprise of a mankind’s capacity to philosophize as an indulgence in parlor game word tactics. They don’t regard philosophy as an urgent and inescapable necessity of survival—they regard it as all “linguistic contortions” whereby one merely paints the other guy into a verbal maze. Objectivism, for them, cannot be tolerated, it cannot be apart of any intellectual discourse—because it blasts away all of their torturous equivocations and evasions. It is important to understand that philosophical perspectives penetrate the culture. People are not philosophers and are always caught in some general propositions which they accept from their culture as being true and right. The power of philosophy is absolutely dominate, even though most people don’t even know that they have a philosophy. We can trust that today’s university students—especially those in the humanities—will become tomorrow’s haters of Objectivism. If they don’t become too familiar with Ayn Rand—they will, given today’s intellectual climate—become haters of objectivity and rationality. Objectivity, in metaphysics, ethics or epistemology is NOT POPULAR. It is not popular in the universities. It is not popular in the culture. Today’s intellectuals have all but excluded the concept. ***
  11. Kevin, I am one of those guys that you can’t stop from offering an opinion. I’m hot on the subject of romance now that I have finally met my true love—a cyber world spawned romance. Her name is Angie. An ideal ROMANCTIC relationship consists of two individualists. That is, two separate sovereign people who have developed the ideal of intellectual independence, who have achieved a healthy level of self esteem, who are confident in their person and who are prepared to celebrate these accomplishments in the person of another human being, a person who reflects their own achievements back at them. Individualism encourages personal autonomy. Both of us find this “hot.” We respect each other’s person; our autonomy does not pose a "threat" to the other. Our autonomy is a welcomed trait. We don’t douse our relationship with jealousy or prohibitions on the other’s actions. We don’t “police” each other as if one partner where a prisoner and the other the guard---with the roles reversing according to circumstances. All of this type of behavior stems from emotional immaturity and possessiveness and this lack of over all trust can tarnish the vitality of a romantic relationship. Common sense dictates this---and yet so very few people explicitly understand it. And while some mistakenly believe that “individualism” discourages the development of relationships, Angie and I realize that it is its lifeblood! Some people believe that relationships must consist of something 'other' than sovereign individuals pursuing their own self-interests. But how can a valuable relationship be based on anything else? For example, too many people conceive of relationships as "social" rather than personal. And this, of course, this would be contrary to Angie and me. We are in the relationship for the selfish enjoyment of the each other’s person. While others believe that the purpose of a relationship is to serve a “social function”----social status or the fulfillment of social expectations or family obligations or financial gain or “just because” or whatever---Angie and I realize that the relationship would serve no other purpose other than what the other puts in it and what is derived from it. That’s right, I’m speaking of selfishness. This is the heart of romance. -Victor
  12. Kori, I agree: too many people are waaaaay too serious about trivial subjects. Does the expression "get a life" come to mind? As I said to you before, I don’t regard messages boards or chat-rooms---or whatever---with any great seriousness (however much fun can be derived from them). They are a social outlet. They are nothing less and nothing more. (This is not a bad thing in and of itself, but that's how I see it). There are pluses and minuses that go along with them. A few of the pluses: you come across interesting people and are able to enjoy interesting conversations. Friendships and romances can be formed. I have experienced both. A few of the minuses: you come across people you don’t like and you run into conversations that leave you exasperated and angry. I have experienced that as well. (We all have). But there is an even darker side: messages boards bring out a side of people that is rather unpleasant, a side to people that is not seen in the “real world”—and here I speak from observation and experiences. We say things to people we wouldn’t dare say directly to their face. Sitting at a key board within the safety of our home, we don’t fear having our teeth knocked out and we feel at liberty to engage in any kind of vituperation our emotions push us into. In a cyber world, we feel that “social restraints” can be relaxed, and whatever personal frustrations we may feel in our private life can give vent in cyber la-la land without fear of reprisal and consequence. Observe that this vituperation and cruelty come from people who are loudest on preaching ethics! Oh yes, it’s a funny world. Many of us have been on the receiving end of the ugliest malice that I have ever witnessed, and this is no less true of “Objectivists.” Our interaction would be entirely different if we were interacting with each other face-to-face-- free of the synthetic form of communication that is this cyber word. What can I say, I’m old school. I like face-to-face and three dimensional interactions. I want to see you when I talk to you. Plus I am also fond of the fact that any acrimony someone may feel toward me be hidden in hypocrisy—the way it’s done in the real world. Everybody just chill indeed, Kori. -Victor
  13. Intellectual debate: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly By Victor Pross “By free-thinking, I mean the use of the understanding in endeavoring to find out the meaning of any proposition whatsoever, in considering the nature of the evidence for or against it, and in judging of it according to the seeming force or weakness of the evidence.” --Anthony Collins *** It has been said that “Man is a rational animal” and it’s true. He can also be said to be an emotional animal. This is often to the good. Without emotions our lives would be dreary and boring. The emotions compliment our triumphs and defeats and they add meaning to our lives. Properly understood and rationally harnessed, they are the source of our greatest moments. Without reason, we are merely animals. Without emotions, we are automatons. In short, emotions are good. Happily, Objectivists know that there is no dichotomy between reason and emotion. Now I don’t need to belabor the role of emotions in man’s life to a largely Objectivist audience. So this post will not address the Objectivist position of reason and emotions and their relationship to each other. Having said that, I wish to put to the reader the following: despite reasoned arguments, the emotions often get in the way. You read me right. They blind us from seeing clearly and from thinking objectively. Our emotions can trick us. Because of them, we may accept as true that which is not true and we may be lead astray to regard as relevant that which is not irrelevant. Now, I am not contradicting myself here: reason and emotions are not metaphysically antagonistic. The key word here is “metaphysics”—in that: it’s not in the nature of man that he must either follow reason or emotion. But I am saying that we are able—by choice or error—to take our emotions 'primary' and construct upon them our conclusions or perspective of a given topic. This is true of many people and, dare I say it, it is no less true of Objectivists. I am not necessarily speaking here of rationalizations, although that can be a hindrance to truth. Sometimes it's the simple fact of our being too irritated and not at all happy that someone else has bested us in an argument--even if we now are in hold of a new truth over a falsehood. A glance at many of the posts on Objectivist sites will substantiate my claim—and this is very true regardless of the constant blow horn howls to “reason.” It is evident that there are many Objectivists who are not entirely “on the same page.” Sometimes I see a new article posted “for discussion” to find it being tackled with open praise--to being expanded upon—to sometimes see the topic collapse into bitter disputes and snide attacks on the person who either posted the article, or else attacks upon the persons who have the unmitigated gull to agree with it! Then sometimes I see a total split from reasonableness, when following a certain thread, to find a break from the topic to personal attacks. This is hardly rational. It can even break down the spirit. It seems that Objectivists have failed to appreciate this: just because there is no dichotomy between reason and emotion—this does not mean that we should forget that others HAVE emotions. This is obvious, but it is frequently forgotten or ignored. Our emotions are delicate. We all have weak spots; we are vulnerable somewhere. There is an old adage: The truth hurts. Sensitivity is the key word in dealing with others. I say this, but I have been guilty in my life for failing to practice it. It's on such occasions that I dislike myself for it. This does not mean that the “truth is our enemy”. It merely means that sometimes…well, the truth hurts. Here are some of the specific ways that emotions can interfere with reasoned discussion: We—Objectivists included—become personally involved; we regard as a personal attack an idea or attitude that differs from one of our own ideas or attitudes; we feel that, because something we say is challenged, we are personally being challenged. Even Objectivists can be put on the defensive by making dogmatic statements such as, “You don’t know what you are talking about” to much worse. This is not rational, but the error can be subtle enough that we overlook this insight. We become sarcastic or patronizing or hostile. We use language that is evaluative without defending or documenting those evaluations. We use loaded words, words that have strong emotional connotations. Instead of addressing ourselves to the issue, we aim our remarks at the other person: at his weak spots, his personality or his style of presentation. We also commit the following intellectual sins: *We make jokes at the expense of the other person. *We do not listen carefully to the other person; we select what suits our purpose *We reject what does not suit our purpose. *We refuse to admit that the other person may have an occasional valid point and that there may be at least some truth in what is being stated. ** ** ** To conclude: Let’s try to remember that the truth is the final arbiter and our objective is to KNOW THE TRUTH. This is not about and painting the other guy in a corner. Let the search for wisdom be your desire and standard.
  14. Moebius, Well of course people are able to be dishonest over the Internet! It’s a good thing I didn’t say otherwise. But I stand by my guns that it remains a great resource to meeting someone. Angie, my girlfriend, made some good points in learning about another person in email or on-line. It can be done---if you are smart about it, as she was. She was really “checking my ass out” and good, to use our colloquial language. A few of her questions were so subtle and seemingly innocuous and I didn’t realize that a hot little brain was burning away, analyzing the nature and quality of my answer. Apparently—and without my knowledge—I was getting passing grades and no red flags were being raised in her mind. Of course, my questions were more direct and I was rather transparent. “Angie, are you the loyal, loving, fetching-your-man-a-beer type, the always smoking sexy, forever hot model variety?” Of course, I’m only joking around, no need to privately contact the site moderators. Kidding aside, Angie strived to paint a realistic picture of herself so I wouldn’t be “deluded” as to what I’m getting myself into. In the quest of this objective, she sent me day-to-day photos of herself--for example: tired and dressed slovenly, no make-up, pictures with her little boy, etc. All of this was on the basis, I believe, of: “So, you still want the package?” My answer was YES. I want and love Angie for what she is inside--her person, her values, her spirit. But I won’t deny it: she is an incredibly attractive woman. I have dated attractive women before, ones who are not too bright, ones who solely count on their looks and who are stuck for a reply if you say ‘hello’ to them. Never again. Angie is, yes, the complete package. You see, it can happen to you. -Victor
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