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themadkat

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Posts posted by themadkat

  1. If you haven't already, give a read to the essays in the post above yours. Especially The Return of the Primitive.

    As to the question of science, the environmentalists are lying about that. Ayn Rand called it 30+ years ago and it remains true today because they are doing it for philosophical reasons (which she also called).

    And no I don't know what you mean by the "ism" thing. Too used to seeing BS out there that you won't accept truth when you see it? Or so befuddled by BS that you don't believe something can be true? Whatever your reasons, you had better take it to the debate forum if you wish to discuss it, because it's against the rules here. (I mean that; my questions in this paragraph are rhetorical) It's enough to make the statement, which is appreciated for clarity.

    I actually did take a look at Return of the Primitive, enough at least to know that that's the work in which she makes her main arguments against environmentalism. But I feel like she misunderstands some environmentalist positions and incorrectly posits a dichotomy of "technological society exactly as it is now with all the inherent environmental problems it causes" and "everyone living in a stinking hovel with no modern conveniences". I don't think that questioning the cost-benefit analysis of some of our modern systems is the same as wishing we were forest-dwelling hunter-gatherers. I mean, hey, industrial society is great. I love my internet, my computer, the fact that I don't have to die of a simple infection, the fact that I can talk to people all over the world, the fact that I can travel all over the world without serious bodily peril (most of the time), the fact that generally food is available and cheap, all those things. Best of all I love the feedback loop between advances in science and advances in technology, with one reinforcing and making possible the other (personal note: I am a scientist by trade, or at least I will be).

    And I'll agree Rand made some great points. A lot of irrationality needs to be discarded. I found the argument against the worship of Nature as an intrinsic value particularly strong. I'm not exactly sure how you can even classify Nature as a giant monolith like that, to be worshipped or not. The truth is that even when you are "despoiling Nature" in the worst possible ways, you're actually helping some organism or other, and those are "nature" too. So the whole unassailable Nature-value has absolutely got to go, since not only is it wrongheaded it really doesn't even make sense. And when people are extremely irrational you tend to get things like PETA killing animals...in the name of saving animals. For anyone who doesn't already know, PETA actually kills far more animals than it saves (I think this is widely known by now, though).

    Kat

    Oh, also: editing post to add that I know truth is real, and that the truth is something I deeply love. One could possibly say that the truth is the only thing I really find sacred. One thing I wholeheartedly agree with Objectivists on is that the truth must never be compromised, no matter what the consequences.

  2. It's been a while since I watched the show, so I don't remember a lot of plot specifics that might prove useful debating points, but what I do remember is that it was basically viewed as a vehicle of feminist/lesbian propaganda, and I eventually grew to dislike it for that reason and the fact that it was more than a little stupid.

    (Actually, that latter reason is why I don't watch T.V. any more, period.)

    Was there a major male protagonist anywhere in that series except maybe Hercules? He only did cameos, IIRC. I will say that Lucy Lawless kicks butt, though. :)

    Lucy does, in fact, kick butt. I love the fact that, especially early in the series, she did a lot of her own stunts including the fire-spitting and most of the horse tricks. I can't say as there were too many major male protagonists, aside from Hercules, who I don't care for, mostly because of the stupidity and one-dimensionality. There were good male protagonists on an episode-by-episode basis, sort of like Bond girls except as boys. On the other hand, there were absolutely fantastic recurring male villains, many of whom proved formidable and complex. I'm thinking specifically of Ares, but there was also Caesar and the enigmatic Borias, who ended up being a good person by the time he died. Joxer was the show's punching bag, but though he was used mostly for slapstick, Xena and Gabrielle did care for him deeply and trusted him with quite a lot. Joxer is cool because even though he wasn't strong or skilled on the level of Xena and Gabrielle he was still courageous and did what he could to protect what he valued.

    As to being a vehicle of propaganda, you would have to make a reference to a particular event or episode for me to intelligently comment on that. To my way of thinking, the most egregious, odious, and simpleminded message found in feminist propaganda is simply "men bad, women good". I don't think you see too much of that in Xena, as there were many villainous, evil women (Callisto, Alti, Hope), including one who could be said to embody altruism of the worst sort (Najara). One thing that made Xena special, to me at least, was that the majority of the characters, good and bad, were women, and where do you ever see that in a show that's not a soap or a romantic comedy? It's like, hey, women exist, women do stuff.

    I don't think it's possible to talk about Xena without talking about "the question": are they or aren't they? I know the producers, actors, and such intended to keep it ambiguous, which says to me it could be read either way. Personally, I do not see them that way. I have no problem with "the subtexters" who want to read lesbianism into Xena and Gabrielle's friendship until they tell me I'm wrong to view it as nonsexual. I see Xena and Gabrielle as the dearest of friends who deeply love each other but are not snogging when the sun goes down, if you know what I mean. I think that a friendship can work this way. As I mentioned before I like to hold the friendship up to a comparison with an Aristotelian "virtue friendship" and see if or how well they match. The idea of the virtue friendship has always intrigued me and I'm interested to see if an ideal friendship (if there even is such a thing) works that way.

    To your last point, sure, some people will say it's dumb. I don't think you can enjoy Xena if you dislike fantasy, camp, or a baseline degree of silliness in a show. And hey, that's fine. To each their own.

    One MAJOR problem I did have with the show, though, is that I pretty much had to disown the last two seasons (jury's still out on season 6, as I haven't seen them all). The show began to have strong Christian overtones and also just make idiotic story choices. But focusing on the earlier seasons it still brings me great joy even though it's been off the air since 2001.

    Kat

  3. I do not agree that the concept of God can be proven to be contradictory in the same way that a concept like "married bachelor" can unless you want to use a very particular definition of God which will end up making your argument circular. Also, if God shows up on your doorstep someday in all his white-bearded, sword-of-vengeance wielding glory, what are you going to do, say, "Hey, I've philosophically proven you don't exist?" Personally though, I wouldn't lose any sleep over this. :thumbsup:

    I guess perhaps it's in my empirical nature to be suspicious of a philosophical conclusion that a thing can or can't exist. Philosophy is undoubtedly useful in this, especially in clarifying what things are included in a concept. But what was that quote from Hamlet? "There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than can be found in your philosophy."

    As I said before, I'm not exactly holding my breath, and I certainly live my life under the presumption that there is not a God. But seeing as we are not yet aware of all the machinations of our universe (hopefully someday!) I always think it's a bit hasty to make grand presumptions about what kinds of things COULDN'T exist (as opposed to that they just DON'T exist).

  4. Hey there folks. I was hoping some of you could clear up a bit of a mystery for me. See, I'm a big fan of Ayn Rand, and I think it's fair to say I've been deeply influenced by her ideas. The only reason I don't call myself an Objectivist is because I don't think my personal philosophy can ever be summed up by something ending in "ist" (I hope some of you understand what I mean by this). On the other hand, I also consider myself an environmentalist. Other than the fact that I know Ms. Rand would call me an anti-life evader for this standpoint, I have never particularly felt a disconnect between being an environmentalist and adhering to an individualist, freedom-oriented philosophy. In fact, to my way of thinking, one reinforces the other. Now, I know why Ms. Rand, personally, objected to environmentalism. She didn't have a good understanding of science and didn't care to, as she didn't have a good understanding of the facts behind many of the things she commented on. This is by her own admission (she told Nathaniel Branden that she didn't really have much understanding of psychology, for instance). This is not a slam on Ms. Rand by any stretch of the imagination. I greatly admire her, and let's face it, no one has time to be a scholar on every subject. I certainly don't!

    So my question is, why do Objectivists today continue to disparage environmentalism? Is it because of agreement with her personal opinions? Or is it because they genuinely feel it has a deep conflict with the philosophy? If the latter, I am interested in talking it out. I really don't see it, myself. I mean, I'm definitely speaking as a science-oriented person who is proceeding from a certain understanding about the way our physical world works. I don't at all care for the sentimentalist environmental movement and find it counterproductive, even destructive. But in light of certain empirical facts, if facts seem to conflict with ideas, isn't it the ideas that must be revised, not the facts? I thought one of the biggest tenets of Objectivism is that Reality is the final arbiter of all philosophical disputes, as reality is non-negotiable.

    Thanks!

    Kat

  5. This is one reason I consider myself agnostic, rather than atheist. The truth seems, to me at least, that we don't have enough evidence one way or another to prove or disprove God. Could God, in one form or another, exist? Sure, although I think it's much more likely God doesn't exist. But I think the question of whether or not there is a God, while a fascinating metaphysical question, somewhat misses the point in a discussion of how we should act and by what moral compass we should guide ourselves.

    What I'm trying to get at is, if God does exist, considering the state of the world at this point, God is NOT worthy of worship. In fact, if we take what is typically considered the Judeo-Christian outlook on God to be the nature of God, I would say that contrary to worship, resistance is what is properly required. I would absolutely refuse to worship the God of the Bible, even if he was real, as I consider him to be evil. I would fight to the last even if it meant being sent to the mythical Hell. I have never heard one single argument from a theist as to why I should worship God that does not somehow boil down to "might makes right".

    I think that whether or not there is a God does not change the fact that humans, because of our nature as sentient beings, must discover a life-affirming morality for ourselves and must find it through reason. This is why I believe the question of God may not actually be relevant to ethics.

  6. I saw this movie recently and loved it. Though I would never try to tell anyone whether they should have children or how many, I have to admit I do get frustrated when it seems like the biggest families always belong to the biggest morons. (Not a slam on anyone from a big family, as some of them can be very loving, just a trend I happen to see.) One thing I did like about the movie is that Joe, who is the epitome of average, shows that everyone has heroic qualities in them if they care to take their shot. He wasn't particularly gifted, but he did what he knew was right and was still able to help the idiot society.

    On the other hand, maybe living in stupid world wouldn't be so bad...after all, we'd have "Ow, my balls!" Hehehehe, he got hit in the balls. Aw, man, look, he got hit in the balls again! Sweet! Dude, he just got clocked in the balls! Hahahahaha!

    Kat, ordering advance tickets to go see "Ass"...

  7. This is my favorite TV show. I've noticed that many people on this board seem to be fans of shows that had some overlap with the Xena fandom (like BtVS, which I also love). Any other Xena watchers out there? Anyone want to discuss some of the philosophical implications of this show? Some things that have intrigued me about it include the discussion of "the greater good" and self-sacrifice. Although I don't care for the terminology at some points, I've always tended to read "fighting for the greater good" as "fighting to uphold universal values common to everyone and necessary for life". I have always enjoyed the fact that the characters use their minds to solve problems instead of just smashing straight through and asking questions later (Hercules, I'm looking your way...), and that mental acuity is regarded as valuable. I also look at the friendship between Xena and Gabrielle and like to analyze it through the framework of the Aristotelian "virtue friendship", if anyone is familiar with that concept. (It's a pretty big theme in Nichomachean Ethics).

    And for anyone on here who thinks Xena isn't worth discussing from an Objectivist standpoint, you should post too, as I think I can prove you wrong! Though I have to say that if it becomes patently obvious that you've never WATCHED the show then I don't see much purpose in continuing the discussion...

    The Kat

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