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Posts posted by themadkat

  1. I wondered what the Atlus Shrugged mentality would have to say about the BP oil spill. A great case is made for the stifling of free enterprise by government that want to "make things more comforable for the little guy." But what about when big businesses destroy the livelihood of others and their businesses, through their own actions?

    Then they should be liable. Simple as that. One problem we have is that our legal system is currently stacked in favor of defendants with reams of corporate lawyers at their disposal to delay and drag things on indefinitely, expending the resources of their opponents. Legal reform would help this. The legal system getting more used to adjudicating environmental issues based on property damage would also help this. Another issue is that frequently government is complicit in the damage. For example, in Love Canal in New York, it was Hooker Chemical that put the dioxin in the ground, but it was the municipal government that bought it and put a school on it.

  2. I don't think anyone is suggesting that the OP wait until he finds his future wife to have sex, not even Zip. But you can still have high standards and wait for someone you care about deeply. It doesn't have to be forever, but it shouldn't be "just tonight". Is this a person you have feelings for? Is this someone you value on multiple levels? Would you make her breakfast the next morning? Is it someone who, even if things don't work out romantically, you would still want to be friends with?

    To some of the people on here who say that a first time must be awkward by definition I disagree. When two people care about each other a great deal and they have taken sufficient time to explore their own bodies and desires (do this!!!!), I think a first time can be a really positive and satisfying experiences. One of the things I think really trips people up is that they're drunk or otherwise impaired. Try to make sure you and your lady friend are sober (or no more than a couple drinks). This should greatly improve focus and reduce fumbling. Also, communicate. You ought to feel comfortable enough with this girl to ask her what she wants.

    Objectivists and their close philosophical cousins do not always see eye-to-eye on sex, and you can see that I think even in this thread. Some are overly puritanical, others overly hedonistic. I will not tell you to find a "happy medium"...the point is to pursue your values. Clearly sex is a value, but context is everything.

    Here is a little more specific advice to get you out of that "friend zone". This may not work for all women but I know it is something I like. It's nearly summer. Do you swim? Offer to take a girl swimming, preferably in a wild (but safe!!!) setting. Movie nights are nice but it's all dark and you're covered up in something of a formless mass of clothes, unless you're wearing a tight t-shirt or something. The point of going swimming isn't to show off. In fact I advise against this. The point is to show her your physicality and let her think it over a bit. Let her see the lines of your body and the confident way in which you use it. On a nice sunny day with the water rolling off your back...hm, I'll be in my bunk. You see where I'm going with this.

  3. I think you're trying too hard. The more you focus on the narrow goal of simply losing your virginity, the more likely it is that when it does happen you will do it with the wrong person and it will be a bad experience for you. Lowering your standards is not the answer. I know you say you have female friends but do you hang out with them a lot? Do you hang out with them in a group or are you able to spend some time with the girls alone? My advice to you would be to find a few girls you enjoy hanging out with one-on-one and developing those friendships, and see if they turn into something more. If you end up really valuing one of these girls, don't be shy about making a move on her. Be casual about it but let your intentions be known so that she can't mistake what you're after.

    Remember that there's no value to losing your virginity in and of itself. What's the sense in having sex if it's crappy, awkward, and embarassing?

    Oh yeah, and for the sake of full disclosure, I'm female. I don't know if that will change your interpretation of my advice any but I thought I'd put it out there.

  4. And this is precisely what is not possible, in almost any aspect of one's life, in a primitive society. Typically, a tribal would not be able to choose such important things as his occupation, or his mate(s). If the superstitious beliefs of his tribe happen to call for a sacrifice from him, perhaps involving a painful ceremony or even his death, he will not be able to refuse. If his tribe goes to war, he will not have a choice about whether to fight. If the tribal leader makes a decision which he knows is irrational and will doom the tribe, he will not be able to follow his own judgment instead. Since there is likely no system of property, he will be able to keep any value he produces only as long as the tribal leadership does not demand that he hand it over. If he is unhappy about the tribal leadership, he cannot simply leave the tribe (since this would mean almost sure death whether by nature or another tribe) and it is likely that his only options will be unquestioning submission or violent overthrow. Since there is no system of objective law, he may not even be protected against other members of the tribe who are not part of the leadership, and who decide to initiate force against him. If any of the things I have mentioned does not apply to a specific tribe, it is likely because of the specific nature of their arbitrary superstitions, over which the tribal has no control, and which can change at any time by random chance or the decree of a witch doctor. In the end, the only things the tribal may reliably have control over are some of the details of his everyday life. This is precisely the situation of a citizen of a modern slave state also, except that the modern man will almost certainly have a greater degree of privacy in his everyday life.

    Having learned about many extant tribal societies from my recent anthropology classes, this describes almost none of them. Parts of it may apply to certain tribes but there are many tribes where nearly none of it does. For example, in a New Guinean tribe portrayed in a video we watched for class, the narrator was explicit about the headman's role in the tribe: the headman has no political authority. He only has the power to persuade. If he cannot convince the other tribesmen to do what he says, there is no way for him to force them to do anything. All he can do is withhold his own cooperation. At one point in the film, a mob is coming down on his village due to some question of sorcery killing the other town's headman or something like that. To stop them, he sits in the middle of the road. Sounds tyrannical to me.

    One common feature of tribal life is that it's true neighboring tribes don't tend to get along. But within the tribe there is often little strife at all. People seem to be primarily limited by their physical environment and technology, but there is almost no institutional structure limiting individual action.

    Is modern life better than tribal life? Sure. We have more freedom of action because our division of labor is more complex. But you don't need to make out tribal societies to be something they aren't in order to argue this. It's better to stick to the facts.

  5. Morality is NEVER taken out of the question, at least not in situations where men capable of volition are involved.

    From an Objectivist standpoint, this is your error. According to Rand's ethics there are so-called "lifeboat situations" where ethics are impossible due to the emergency situation. The only prerogative in a lifeboat situation is to return things to normal as soon as humanly possible.

    Rand made the point that ethics are for living a normal life on this earth. They do not apply in emergencies. It also may not be possible to act ethically where force is involved. "Morality ends at the point of a gun." You appear to be looking for some kind of absolute ethics that applies in all situations regardless of context as if ordained from somewhere else. This is not the perspective Objectivist morality takes.

  6. So what was their means of survival, reason or "the environment" ? Make up your mind.

    This is a false dichotomy. Modern hunter-gatherer societies can't even just rely on "the environment". They have to use their reason to get what they need from it, which is why Rand had the insight that reason is man's tool of survival. All men use it, as they must...reality demands it. I would argue that a member of a tribal society is actually less protected from not using reason than someone living off the dole in a modern industrial society, because death is so much nearer.

    Most people in the world use reason instrumentally (unfortunately) and don't apply it in a consistent fashion to all of their high-level abstractions. But that does not mean we deny them their rights. I agree with Maximus and Sophia that by your line of reasoning absolutely terrible and rights-violating treatment of actual human beings living on this planet now (not in a movie) would be justified, and I reject that.

  7. If you don't know what it means, how can you say you disagree with it?

    As far as I know — and bear in mind I am not a woman — hero worship is an emotional experience; it's the desire to look up to a man within in a romantic context.

    I'll let others who are more adept than I am go into greater detail, but Miss Rand did a good job of explaining it in her "About a Woman President" essay.

    Themadkat, I have question for you: What do you think of Aretha Franklin's song "You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman"?

    It's a good song I guess. I like Aretha but I don't know the song that well. When I think of her I think of "Respect". And for the record I never agreed with About A Woman President. I think there is some loneliness in being "at the top" regardless of what you are at the top of, because you know in some respects you are always looking a little bit down in that relevant arena. But there is also joy and pride to be found in such elite status. And as it is a situational thing, it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with romance. I would think both men and women would feel some loneliness in this regard.

    Consider this...there isn't much factual evidence (in terms of expressed actions) of Ms. Rand hero-worshipping her husband, that I can tell. It's hard to make a judgment about people's private lives like that, but when one partner makes all the major life decisions of a couple it's not exactly what I think of as worshipping.

  8. Miss Rand was correct in her idea of hero worship — I'm certain of it. But how could I convince someone else that it's true? I couldn't, and Miss Rand never did, although she wrote and lectured copiously on many subjects. (That she didn't "prove" her sexual theory is a criticism often leveled against her.)

    What I've been trying to tell you, and possibly bluecherry as well though I can't speak for her, is that we disagree with this notion. In my 10+ year friendship and romance with my fella, who I would think most people consider typically masculine, hero worship does not and has never played a part. I do not look to him for guidance, leadership, or whatever it is that hero-worship is supposed to mean. It's no slight against him...I wouldn't feel that way towards ANY man, no matter how much I love him. It's just not in me. The main character of my story is me. I'm the only hero I need in my life.

    I think you should listen if for no other reason than the fact that many rational, independent, and self-directed women (i.e. the type desirable to Objectivist men) might feel the way I do. If you go off all chivalrous-like you would not attract a woman like me. I'm not assuming you would want me, necessarily...for all I know I'd be entirely too weird for you. However, it's not a stretch to say that productive, high-achieving women are used to calling their own shots and are not looking for someone to look up to. Rather, what we want is a companion to love, to adore us and for us to adore in return, but most importantly to share in the joyful life we are trying to build for ourselves. To me love means sharing of lives, common experience, putting out there for your partner all parts of you that you don't reserve exclusively to yourself (i.e. if it's open to anyone, it should be open to him).

    Conventional romance works for some people but for many others it is unsatisfactory or even restrictive. My advice for men who need help would be to get to know the woman you are interested in, really know her. Find ways to share in her life and add to it. Show that there is a place for you in that world of hers, but don't try to "lead" her, especially if you don't know beforehand that that's what she wants.

  9. One thing is certain: romantic love is not friendship. Whatever we might say about members of different sexes being friends, it's hard to draw parallels from that to the vastly different context of man-woman sexual loving.

    I'm not so sure about this. Clearly friendship alone is insufficient for building a real relationship. There has to be that "spark", that physical and emotional attraction. You have to want them and I don't think you can (or that it would be healthy to) try and force an attraction to someone you love only as a friend. But I don't see why that attraction can't organically grow out of a friendship, especially a deep one. What distinguishes romance from deep friendship + sex? I must be missing something here.

    This is one of the things Rand described in her notions of sexuality that I never quite understood. I like masculinity and am attracted to it (my guy is pretty stereotypically manly, face fur and the like), but I certainly don't worship it. I don't doubt Rand's account of the way she experienced her sexuality (I mean, who would know better?), but it shouldn't be taken to be the way that all women experience sexuality, because it's nothing like that for me.

  10. Kevin I have a question for you. Do you believe that adult men and adult women can be friends? If so, could you ever see yourself having a close friendship with a woman in the same fashion as your close male friendships (I assume you have some good buddies you pal around with)?

    The reason I ask this is because I find, for whatever reason, that people's answer to this question greatly affects their perception of romance and, notably, sex differences in romance.

    As an aside, and speaking to what bluecherry was saying, although my fellow and I are different in many important ways personalitywise, I can see little of it being attributable to gender. I'm a big-picture person, he's a details guy. I'm the idealist, he's the practical one. I'm hyper and moody, he's mellow and steady. I like to go out and do stuff just for the hell of it, he'd rather have a quiet evening at home. He likes to talk out issues, whereas I prefer to try and work things out in my own head first. I don't really see any of these differences as being gendered.

  11. Well, since you're asking for women's input, here goes my take, but be forewarned I'm not exactly your "typical" lady. However I have had my man around now for a good 10 years almost and I like to think we have something really special going, so considering I'm 1/1 with serious romantic relationships in my life hopefully I'm not a total maroon, as they say.

    "I am a woman, and that no doubt means a lot of things. It means I'm similar to all other women in many respects and probably different in many, but most important, it means I am not a man. I don't think like a man, feel like a man, or, in many respects, act like a man."

    Like bluecherry I don't care for this one. In many respects I DO "act like a man", and I hate playing the stupid emotional games that many women seem to indulge in with their men. I don't want my fella to see me as the WOMAN he loves so much as the woman he LOVES. Make sense? I don't expect my femaleness to carry much weight with a guy beyond the physical. Yes, love the boobs and the squishy spots, but don't attribute stuff to my personality as a result.

    "Every woman would prefer to build her fantasies on memories of what she has shared with her man. . . . We women collect memories like a miser saving coins. The more the better. Give your woman the stuff on which dreams are built, and you'll keep her far better entertained than a TV rerun."

    Memories are nice, don't get me wrong. But as for my fantasy life it has almost nothing to do with actual memories. In fact, my fantasy life often has little to do with anything I've ever actually done or even, sometimes, would consider doing for real. I think about stuff that would definitely have no appeal for me in real life. That's kinda what fantasy is for. I will say this, though. Instead of memories, I could build some very nice fantasies about things my guy WILL or WOULD do, and that would be a good fire-starter. In other words, memory is nice but don't forget to look forward as well.

    "We know we can win the boy-girl game only when you win too. Nothing could be dumber than a battle of the sexes."

    This is just common sense. Any relationship needs the good faith effort of both parties to be healthy.

    "We enjoy being treated like a mistress. . . . Playing female to a man's maleness is something every healthy woman enjoys. . . . We don't feel 'put down' when you come on with some good old-fashioned chivalry. It tells us that you recognize what we want you to recognize: that we are not 'one of the boys'; we are women. We like it, and we're glad you like it. We want to keep those sex differences."

    Not every healthy woman it seems, or perhaps the author would not consider me a healthy woman :P I do like being "one of the boys" and not only does my boyfriend like it, his friends like it too when we can all hang out together and I am the "cool" girlfriend instead of the one who whines and bitches and tries to monopolize her man's attention when you're out at a show, tries to get him to go home early, etc. My guy likes that I love to talk football and political history with him. I am his best friend, his pal, and I love that. It does not minimize our passion for each other. I think it gives it a sturdy foundation.

    "Every woman knows — or ought to know — that sexiness is not incompatible with brains and capability. . . . It takes more than average brains to be truly sexy."

    Well, my dude is into nerd girls anyhow, so this particular one worked out well for me. :)

    "So long as you let her know you are interested in what she has to say, that's all that's important. . . . Just knowing you value what she may think is enough to turn her on."

    I wouldn't say it's ALL that's important. I don't demand that my guy be interested in me every second. On the other hand, it is extremely annoying when I have to say something two or three times until it gets through, so yes, for the sake of your partner's sanity listen to her or at the very least make time to listen to her later if you can't at the moment. Also remember that a woman of self-esteem is not going to be sitting around waiting for a man to find her interesting. She's got things to do.

    "Every woman is addicted to two things, and one of them is romance."

    Huh? Romance is nice and all but I'm hardly addicted to it. Also I don't know what the other addiction is supposed to be. Chocolate maybe?

    "Romance is something which is not taught to boys as it is to girls."

    This may or may not be true but in my case I wouldn't know much about it. No one "taught" me romance either. I sat around and thought about my preferences and feelings and that's pretty much my frame of reference for romance.

    "Dating is not just 'going out somewhere' . . . . Much as I hate to give men a failing grade in anything, I'm afraid when it comes to dating, the average husband flunks out all the way. . . . We want our men to plan the dates, to ask us out for the evening, and to take us."

    There's some truth to this but with a caveat. I would LOVE for my fella to take me out more, to plan it and make it happen. However I do not object to doing the same myself. I am more than happy to plan a day and make it happen, I just don't like doing it all the time. I would like to see a little more initiative from my guy just to help balance things out. No one likes feeling like they have to think of EVERYTHING all the time or it won't happen. I think this applies to guys as well as girls. Rule of thumb, the partner who usually doesn't make the plans as often should put some more effort into doing so, if only to take the pressure off the partner who more typically "leads".

    "Imagination is one of the biggest elements in creating romance."

    Yeah, this one is good. I'm a creative person and I love to see creativity in response. The only thing I would say to watch out for is make sure the creativity is personalized to your partner. It's more touching and shows you know them well.

    "Romance is, in a way, the unnecessary gesture. . . . The romantic action is 'impractical.'"

    There's a point to this as well. I occasionally get frustrated with my man because he is OVERLY practical in this sense. Doing stuff just for the hell of it, just because it's enjoyable, can add a lot of fun to a relationship. It shouldn't just be about paying the bills together and deciding who gets to clean up the cat puke this time.

  12. I have recently been looking into Objectivism (along with other philosophies), having recently realised that all of my beliefs untill then were based on unverified assumptions. I understand and accept the argument that one cannot be conscious of nothing or of one's own thoughts, which depend on consciousness, but I don't see how this necessarily invalidates the claim that one can be conscious of one's own emotions or feelings, since emotion is not dependent on consciousness (I mean that it is a feeling, which one is aware of, not awareness itself). How would an Objectivist respond to that? And if it is true, wouldn't it mean that the external world need not necessarily exist as one can be conscious purely of the contents of one's own mind?

    Thanks to anyone who can answer this.

    One can and should be conscious of one's own emotions and feelings. But how do you make the leap from this to saying the external world does not really exist? To be conscious is to be conscious of SOMETHING. I don't understand the distinction you are making between thoughts and feelings. They are both aspects of consciousness. They are both reactions to things going on in the world, the "external" world in which you are conscious (there is really only one world, "inner world" being only a descriptive metaphor we've invented to describe our subjective experience).

  13. Hey all,

    A friend convinced me to get back into writing and I did a short one-shot Xena fanfiction, which I subsequently published to the web. It has been quietly garnering some positive attention. I like it and I think it is a good story in its own right, even if you are not overtly familiar with the television show (though it helps).

    I encourage all interested parties to check out my story at www.fanfiction.net under TV shows, Xena: Warrior Princess. It's called Nearly Lost You (yes, like the Screaming Trees song) and it's about the 9th or 10th story down on the page, by A Mad Kat. The work is about 10,000 words and is a standalone. All constructive comments are welcome, either here on OO.net or at ff.net Thanks for looking!

  14. I saw it opening night. I was thoroughly unimpressed personally.

    What about it did you or did you not like? I admit I'm always a sucker for action and so I enjoyed the battle scenes. I also thought the characters were portrayed richly, especially King John, the old nobleman Locksley, and Marian. Finally I liked the message of what happens (what MUSt happen, really) to lawful men when subject to arbitrary and punitive rule.

    Would be interested to hear your take on it.

  15. Here go my main question:

    What is or should be the stand Objectivism in this matter?

    Is there a current "official" position? (ARI's perhaps) I also have read some time ago Rand's excellent book "The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution" that had a quite clear position about this IIRC, or at least the basis to form your own opinion...

    And what is your opinion about what range should we Objectivists move in (assuming we are not all identical) between the extremes of Soft ecology to Radical Environmentalism? Should we be concerned at all about Ecology anyway?

    Well, I can take a crack at this. I am pretty sure I am the only professional ecologist on this board. Someone feel free to correct me but I have never run across any other ecologists, or even any biologists who are not working at the molecular level, around here.

    Ecology as I understand it is nothing more than the study of living systems at the macro-level (organismal and above, so population, community, ecosystem, etc). You can choose to focus on the biotic parts of the system (i.e. the living things), or you can also study the abiotic parts (such as tracing the nitrogen or carbon cycles, water, you get the idea). I became an ecologist because aside from my fascination with how nature works, it is a good area of study for my puzzle- and systems-oriented thinking...I gravitated to it as a "big picture" kind of person who also swore never to be trapped in a lab all her life.

    I believe that the study of ecology is crucial to man's flourishing because it is, in a very fundamental way, the study of our context on this earth. For the majority of our existence we have lived inexorably tied to our natural environment, and even though we are a little bit farther from it now, we are still not that far. I do not believe that nature is something separate from man, nor do I believe man and nature are somehow opposed. Instead it seems obvious to me that man exists within nature and is a part of it.

    If you have more particular questions for me, fire away. I could prattle on and on about my research interests but that may not have anything to do with what you actually want to know about. Also you should know, for the sake of honesty, that I do not call myself an Objectivist. I guess you could say I am "Objectivish" (not sure where I picked up that word but I like it). In other words, I am committed to reason and egoism but am not yet 100% confident that I agree with the entire philosophy. It will require more thought on my part, but I'm in no hurry.

  16. Okay; can you explain what that theory is by which this accident was preventable? What exactly caused the accident, and what did BP incompetently neglect to do that caused the accident. The answer can't be "prevent the spill".

    The accusation of incompetence has to be supported by identifying actual breach of professional standards. So what standards were breached, according to you? "Taking a risk" is not incompetence; failure to reach a goal is not incompetence. Let us know what well-known fact BP should have taken into consideration and didn't.

    From what I understand there was an additional type of valve BP could have installed which would have allowed methane to be released rather than build up pressure. They did not install this valve and what caused the severity of this explosion was a buildup of methane pressure.

  17. I am currently reading this book. Has anyone else who is actually reading or has read this book want to discuss it? I have a largely positive impression of it so far but I am just now coming up on some "fireworks" (Atlas Shrugged has just been published and I think Rand's relationship with Branden is about to get problematic).

    Positive or negative, I am mostly interested in the opinions of people who have read this book.

  18. I just saw this movie tonight. Boy, was it great! Hit Girl was by far the best character, although Kick-Ass himself is very sympathetic as well and not totally lame considering that he begins the film as, well, totally lame.

    The best part of the movie was the unrelenting commitment to seeing justice done on the part of the main characters.

  19. I think the money you make cannot be used to buy material wealth that will lead to happiness unless

    you have first established your values and understand how to achieve them. If you know what you want

    to accomplish then surely money will bring happiness when you've accomplished your desired goal, which

    money was a necessary part of gaining and keeping your value. To pursue your happiness ask what it is

    that you purchase that will lead to your desired goal.

    This is mostly how I feel. I would be thrilled if I were to suddenly come into money. I would have no problem deciding how to use it to further my values. The more money I had, the more values I could support. I could do all sorts of things...from easy obvious things like funding my own graduate school and possibly some of my research, to helping out friends who are financially in trouble through no fault of their own, to buying a nice plot of land and providing for me and all my boyfriend's needs and having too many animals there, and then onward and upward...I don't think it would negatively affect my self-esteem because I would continue to be productive regardless of how much money I have. I could definitely be more flexible in my career, for example by waiting longer to get a job to get exactly the kind I want, and not worrying so much about what happens if I don't get tenure. I could also always fall back on writing, which I love, without fear of my family starving.

    If I had tremendous amounts of money I might consider founding a new private university which I would then control and hand-pick the very best faculty to teach there. That would be freakin' sweet.

  20. There are other legitimate reasons not to eat factory-farmed meat. Because of the conditions the animals are kept in, they must be pumped full of antibiotics. They are also frequently fed massive amounts of growth hormones so that they mature much faster than they are meant to. It is possible that consuming these chemicals in the meat you eat is not terribly good for you. If you were to eat instead, say, grass-fed beef and free-range chickens, they may not have quite as much fat content or portion size but they would be better for you and, I venture, taste better as well. I once ate pork from pigs that I could see being raised, mostly on discarded produce as well as anything they could root up themselves. Boy, was that good sausage.

    Unfortunately this kind of meat is more expensive, more difficult to find, or both. Because of the regulations on slaughterhouses, all farmers are basically forced to send their animals to the same few slaughterhouses to be processed, and so you may not actually know whose animals you are eating, because it is difficult to keep them all sorted. This is no fault of the farmer - he has no choice about how his animals get processed. It's regulated. So even if you think you are buying one thing, you may be buying another.

    I generally eat whatever meat is on special at the supermarket, usually chicken, pork, or ground beef. If it were cheaper and more easily available (which it probably would be in a free market), I would choose to eat non-factory-farmed meat.

    YMMV. You have to make choices for yourself in the context of your values.

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