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Posts posted by iouswuoibev

  1. If you really want to understand Objectivism, you will need to read the works of Ayn Rand--including her novels, which are an important part of the philosophy.  You cannot be taught the philosophy as a system on a message board like this.

    I will do that, and what you have said seems all fair and good. I think in the case of my country, the DLA (Disability Living Allowance, the government-funded organisation responsible for benefits) should be turned into a private charity. I still find this hard to approve of, as a disabled person, because there is no guarrantee of this safety net, it depends on the free will of the public. I could easily be screwed and without money, if people choosed to turn the other cheek. As an objectivist, I see that this is perfectly within their rights to do, and I cannot argue with it, but I still would be compelled to disagree with it. Objectivism has nothing to say for human sympathy. If everyone turned the other cheek, as Objectivism permits, disabled people would die, almost instantly, and every sick person would die, almost instantly.

    I appreciate the moral standpoint (that people should be free to do what they want with their money, as any other property) and I somewhat stand by it. But I also see where people are coming from when they say objectivism is a callous philosophy. It has nothing to say for compassion. I think charities are valid because they do not initiate the use of force in order to accomplish their means, but I wonder if charities only work because society instills an alrtuistic mentality within its members.

    In other words, would an objectivist who has rational self-interest as their moral standard, and who grew up in a society of objectivists, be inclined to spare a single penny for a charity? I think most would not, but I guess that is neither here or there...

  2. I am struggling a bit trying to understand the source of the negative estimates you continue to make about relatively innocent activities. Why would a hobby not be a "morally acceptable pleasure?" What exactly do you see in the nature of a hobby that is "contradictory to rational behaviour?"

    I don't think the moral standard for an activity should be the pleasure derived from it, and this is the the objectivist view as well, as I understand it. I don't think that someone who is rational could get enjoyment out of a game such as mine, because it is so in-depth as to require a serious sacrifice in time that could be spent on more fulfilling, less addictive persuits, and a rational person would not forfeit that time.

  3. But, there are also lesser pleasures in life, things which are more optional in choice but still of value in action. People have hobbies which give them pleasure -- I would not call that an indulgence lacking long-term benefit. Why couldn't computer or video games be seen in that same light? A physical/mental pleasure.
    Indeed, I guess that is what they are. I do not know if that makes it a morally acceptable pleasure. It seems contradictory to rational behaviour. Of course, being human, it feels natural to do what rewards us with physical and/or mental pleasure. However, with the abdication of reason, many of the activities concerning those pleasures are far from beneficial.

    I think the experience of joy would be the best justification for a game like the one I am making, but many so called 'good' games end up ultimately being time-consuming and at the end, not very satisfying. Many MUD's do not have a distinct 'game over' to them, so you either make a conscious decision to stop it - which brings in to question whether it was worth it in the first place - or you get hooked, constantly striving for an elusive feeling of satisfaction.

    Being as a MUD is designed to emulate some form of reality, and provides a complex form of interaction with other people, it can often become a lifestyle rather than a pasttime. Because of the amount of depth that goes into many of these games, and that I plan to have in mine, it would not be feasable to play for short, brief periods, you would simply not get anything out of it and either stop, moving onto more productive pastures, or increase your playing time. Which can easily turn into an addiction.

    Virtually any activity can result in "long term problems" if misused by the person performing the activity. But that is a reflection on the person, not necessarily on the nature of the activity itself.

    In this case, I think it could be both.

  4. The government can only properly act in those areas outlined above, and is expressly forbidden to act outside of this realm. It is solely the province of private individuals, or groups composed of private individuals, to provide charity of any kind to those in need. This is a personal decision, not a proper function of a government.

    When you say "It is solely the province of private individuals", this implies that the government is a public entity, and therefore there is no individuality in it's members. I think that this is false, and that if a government wants to be charitable, and does it in a way that does not violate the rights of individuals, and is founded on objectivist principles, then it should be free to do that. To say it cannot is to deny the members of the government their individuality. I do not see why a government cannot function as a "group of private individuals".

    Another observation, is that it appears to be like 'inverted communism': the government is to be the enslaved, collective entity with no rights, as opposed to the people. The bondage of a collective government is a pre-requisite of objectivist society, just as the bondage of a collective people is the pre-requisite of a communist society. I think this is contradictory to the objectivist assertion that man is a rational, thinking being, because it assumes that a government can only do it's job if it is severely tied in what it can and cannot do. What objectivist would want to be a member, a willing slave if you like, of such a government?

    Of course, when I speak of a government doing it's job, I am talking about what Rand states is the proper function of a government. However, for the aforementioned reasons, I ask why this must be it's sole function.

  5. Sorry. I do not relinquish the soul of a man to religion. I use "soul" in the same sense that Ayn Rand did throughout her writings, to mean the spirit of a man, his essence, the sum total of his sense of life and his mind.

    "... that as man is a being of self-made wealth, so he is a being of self-made soul—that to live requires a sense of self-value, but man, who has no automatic values, has no automatic sense of self-esteem and must earn it by shaping his soul in the image of his moral ideal." [Atlas Shrugged, p. 932]

    I see what you mean now. I guess I am having trouble identifying the shape of my soul. ;)

    If you really are not sure of your estimate I would suggest you not be quite so hard on yourself. Back off a bit until you are more clear in your assessment. Random rewards in a game certainly seems a bit strange, but not necessarily immoral.
    The randomness itself is not inherantly ammoral. But randomness, and moreso unpredictability, is a big playing factor in provoking an addiction. What I'm trying to say is, the game would most likely have very addictive elements to it.

    I cannot really assess the game you are designing without learning a lot more of the details, but I must say I am a bit struck by your statement above. I would suggest if that is your assessment of computer games in general, then it is not at all surprising that you should be having a conflict over designing a game. As I said before, I am not a game player myself, but I see nothing inherently wrong with computer games per se. If you do, you seem to have chosen the wrong field for your work.

    It definitely is the subject I am most passionate about (except maybe programming). These questions arose when I was contemplating the things that are mentioned in The Virtue Of Selfishness. When I say that it is a mindless activity, I mean that it is an indulgance that rarely ever gives you any long term benefit, and can cause long term problems. That doesn't mean to say I don't see it's appeal; I do.

  6. From my CyberNet:


    The European Objectivist conference will be held September 24-27, 2004

    in the heart of London, UK.  The 3-day program will include lectures



    See the European Conference Web Site or e-mail MERLIJN SLUIS

    ([email protected]) for more information.

    Interesting, however I wouldn't care to go all the way to London unless accompanied by someone who understood my views. That's not going to happen. * sigh *

  7. Believe me: Ayn Rand will bring you back from the cold. You will fall in love with reading again. If you don't truly enjoy The Fountainhead and then Atlas Shrugged I will eat my nonexisting hat. :huh:
    Then I guess we'll see. ;)

    BTW - I think this is the first time I meet or hear about a British Objectivist... is it just me - or are there fewer Objectivists in Great Britain than there are in Small Israel? And if this IS the case - would you venture to guess why?

    I wish I could guess, but I don't have the faintest idea. I don't know anything about Israel. I know objectivist Brits are around - I've seen a handful on hotornot.com, of all places! But I have never met an objectivist in real life, at least, not that I'm aware of...

    I do believe though that Ayn Rand and objectivism is much less heard in this country than America, and America isn't exactly rampant with it (sadly). Over here it's more a case of 'never heard of Ayn Rand' than 'don't like Ayn Rand'. I would never have heard of her if I hadn't read Goodkind and then wandered over to the official website.

    Are there any other british residents on this forum?

  8. I don't call video games crack for nothing. I do see it as entertainment though, interactive entertainment. I see video games and computer games as a higher form of entertainment than say watching TV or movies where all you do is zone out. At least in most video games you are doing something or solving problems. That in itself can actually be constructive. Problem solving and decision making are important things to get better at.
    I agree unreservedly with this. I think my debating skills have definitely improved through my addiction to MUD's, because I argued with the admins all the time. :huh:

    I'm not sure I am familair with what a MUD is though. Could you link to an example ( I promise I won't become addicted ). ;)

    Well the definition I gave encompasses more-or-less every game that can be considered a MUD, but if you want a better idea I suggest you check www.mudconnect.com , which is one of many MUD listing websites. Bear in mind that one MUD can be very unlike another. I expect if you do some googling you can find the information you want easily.

  9. Art is man's fuel. Art gives man the great value of making his strongest convictions concrete. Ayn Rand captures the need for art best when she wrote about Dagny Taggart:

    Joy is one's fuel, how true! Then again, I have the image of a teenager, hunched over a keyboard, playing into the early hours of the morning. They would seem somewhat lacking in fuel. I have never learned to play any computer game without becoming addicted. I don't want other people to be addicted to my game whilst at the same time, I want it to succeed and be popular. Ah well, I guess it's up to them. That excerpt was fascinating, thanks.

  10. How can a weapon be wrong?  It's a tool.  Only it's use by a person can be wrong.

    I think this is off-topic. I never said a weapon can be wrong, and the example I gave served the purpose of demonstrating someone promoting a value they don't believe in (even if the value does not make sense). The argument does not require that the weapon dealer's beliefs are rational, that is inconsequential, and the weapon's dealer is hypothetical. Here's a different version: "the dealer must deal with his own conscience when he believes that <insert thing> are a <tool/creation/creator/perpetuator/etc.> of <insert negative/non-value>".

  11. My point is--you are not responsible for the rationality of others. Only they can exert that control over their lives. You are no more responsible for someone spending too much time playing a game than McDonald's is responsible for the ill health of its customers. Each individual is responsible for his own actions and that is the end of it.
    I definitely agree that I am not a factor in what people do with their lives. However, I am still concerned over what I am in fact condoning. Going back to the example of a weapons dealer: whether or not the person deals weapons or not does not influence whether or not people will still buy and use weapons, however, the dealer must deal with his own conscience when he believes that weapons are wrong (not that I am of this mind, it merely serves an example). In the same way, by making a MUD, I sense that I am promoting the value of addiction, which is not something I value at all. Do you think this is rational?

    Build a game that people will love and relish in the fact that you are offering them an important value.

    I am not sure of the value you speak of. It is nice to hear what I want to hear, as I feel that whatever conclusion I come to will not affect my decision to continue making this game. But, I would like to have my conscience clear if possible, and I want to attain that clear conscience through rational means. Hence this thread. ;)

  12. Hi Rob,

    Welcome to OO!


    I highly recommend you read The Fountainhead and then Atlas Shrugged. The world may seem irrational and hopeless in the beginning - but you will discover true greatness. I assure you - you WILL enjoy it if you read it till the end. It IS definitely worth it.

    Besides, don't you want to know Who is John Galt?  ;)

    If you've read Terry Goodkind, and survived through the horrors - you can certainly survive AS and TF.

    I recommend TF before AS because it is easier, and is in a sense a foundation for AS.

    Good luck!

    Tragically, I spoiled this for myself by looking it up online. Your recommendations have inspired me to take a look at The Fountainhead and if I can digest that, Atlas will be next. I see your point in regards to Goodkind, but I think I was able to endure the grueling perils faced in those books simply because it was fantasy (not the best of reasons I know). I'm not saying Atlas Shrugged is shallow or lacking in something other than the philosophical ideas it illustrates, since I have not read it, but reading isn't really a big hobby of mine anymore. In other words, I probably won't enjoy it in a general sense, even if the philosophical ideas are uplifting and inspiring (I already know of and understand them).

  13. If you really think this, and have good evidence to back this up, then at the least it is not good for your soul to continue creating products like this.
    Since I don't believe in the existence of a soul, I find it difficult to relate to what you are saying here. Unless the soul is a metaphor for something else. Could you explain what you mean by 'soul'?

    I am not a game player myself, but are you really sure of your conslusion? Is the problem inherent in the game itself, or is it the fault of some who misuse it? Are you convinced that the nature of the game is such that a reasonable person cannot enjoy reasonable use of it?

    I am not convinced of this fact. I think it is a difficult matter to evaluate because there are certain elements that are popular in this sort of game that inspire a repetitive drive in the player. The game is based on a virtual world, and the rewards it yields for playing are random.

    A therapist I know made the suggestion that random, unpredictable rewards can elicit addictive behaviour in a subject. A classic example of this is the Skinner Box (which uses rats). As we are not rats, the faculty of reason within us can over-ride such temptations, but it requires us to initiate the use of reason in a proper way in order to evade the trap that this behaviour can become. Those who fail to initiate it and come to a reasoned conclusion will succumb to the addiction.

    I did a search and came up with the following article: http://www.nickyee.com/eqt/skinner.html which discusses the issue of addiction in Everquest (a very popular MUD-like game) and proposes just this thing. Where this article fails to answer my question though, is as to whether the game I am making has inherant traits that make it addictive. It certainly has the potential to do so, but I can implent certain gameplay traits that are less addictive. However, this seems to be contrary to my goal of creating a successful game. In my experience, all computer games benefit from at least some addictive element. There is no valid reason to play a computer game, it is designed to satisfy mindless whims and urges. There are a few exceptions, but I think I can safely say that a MUD is not one of them.

    I think the critical question is, would such a game be victimless? And to that, I am not sure.

  14. I am a programmer and I have been working on a project for nearly a year now. It is a MUD.

    For those who aren't in the know, a MUD is a multi-player computer game that uses text as its medium (at least traditionally) and is most frequently fantasy-based in content. If you care to learn more: http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node=MUD would be a good place to start.

    Now that's out of the way, I'd like to explain my problem. I am not sure that the nature of the game I am writing is in accordance with my philosophy, objectivism. A game of this nature is designed to sate irrational desires and impulses, and it generally requires a player-base of heavily devoted individuals (read: addicted) in order to be successful.

    I've been addicted to MUD's in the past and I wouldn't wish anyone to experience the same thing. I forfeited my eduction, my personal hygene, in fact, my entire life as a journey ground to a halt whenever I played, and that was more-or-less all the time.

    I still appreciate the pleasure that one can derive from indulging in playing these games, but I think to get something out of them, one has to sacrifice a significant amount of time. Some people are able to allocate their time sensibility, but a lot (perhaps the majority) of MUD players cannot. If it's not in any way addictive, then it is not in any way successful. And if my project is not succesful then I am wasting my time.

    Because this project has been on-going for a significant amount of time, I do not want to abandon it. I don't think even if it were proven to me that what I am creating is a violation of my objectivist principles, I could care less. I am still passionate about MUD's and especially about mine, which has been a labour of love.

    I can say to myself that people will play this game out of choice and how often they play is out of choice, and it is not my responsibility. But this seems to make no more sense than someone who condemns the use of weapons being an arms dealer.

    This is something I'm finding very hard to nail down. While it is within my rights to create a game like this, I am supporting and perpetuating irrational behaviour that I am against by creating it. So far, I have just been ignoring this fact.

    What do you think?

  15. Hi, my name is Rob and I am from Derbyshire in the UK. I discovered objectivism through the terrygoodkind.com forum.

    I find this philosophy to have a non-contradictory sense of rationality, and a code of ethics that is based on demonstrable principles. This sets it apart from all other philosophies that I am aware of, and gives it a credibility and self-supporting integrity that the others lack. Objectivism has given me much clarity in my course through life for the relatively short time I have been aware of and understood it (approx. 1.5 years).

    My current collection of books I own based around objectivism is:


    We The Living

    Atlas Shrugged

    The Fountainhead

    The Virtue of Selfishness

    Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

    Ayn Rand and Business

    Despite my apparent enthusiasm for all things objectivism, the only book of these that I have read all the way through is Anthem. I've made some progress on The Virtue of Selfishness, and read a couple of hundred pages of Atlas Shrugged before getting bored and weary from finding the irrational world depicted in it hard to bear! Maybe I will read it some day, but only if I think there is a chance of me enjoying it. I don't believe it is necessary for me to read the literature that started it all in order to understand the principles involved.

    I am 19 years old and computer programming is my passion, and eventually it will be my trade. I am currently working on a project on my own time. This is made easier by the fact that I am disabled and out of work, and receive benefits.

    Maybe that is something to contemplate, that; benefits are demanded and validated by the socialist doctrine, are they not? My take on it is this: I think an objectivist government (insofar as objectivism has something to say towards politics) would neither condemn or condone the provision of benefits towards disabled people, and regard it as a matter of free will on behalf of the government as a body of individuals.

    I read elsewhere on this forum that Ayn Rand said: "If you wish to help them, you will not be stopped." (forgive me if I mis-quoted). I think this speaks well for what objectivism has to say on the morality of benefits, i.e. nothing. I would regard a government that provides benefits to disabled people as a benevolent government - a compassionate government, but I think that a government should do it out of a personal interest as being human beings with a conscience, not because it is demanded of them by their philosophical precepts regardless of whether they wish to or can afford to.

    This brings me to ponder another matter, that of the government being composed of human beings. Ayn Rand often discusses government as serving to protect people's rights. From what I have read she has not commented on a government's capacity or permissibility to perform functions and acts based on human feeling (although from what I have read, I could easily be wrong). This leaves the matter open to interpretion and guessing. I would guess that Ayn Rand would advocate, or at least not condemn, the government acting on it's personal ethics, so long as it did not reject the fundamental objectivist ethics or abdicate reason in its conduct.

    I would be interested to hear what you all think. These ideas have only come to my mind as I've been typing, and I have not given time to stew them.

    Useless fact: I have asperger's syndrome, or as I like to call it, "nerd-disease". No offense intended to anyone else who has it.

    I'm sure you all have heard the phrase "randroid" before. This slur against objectivism, Rand and its followers has potency because of its use of the word "droid", which implies that said followers have the mentality of an automaton, and are devoid of emotion.

    That this is blatantly false is without question to those who truly understand this philosophy (I will expand on that if anyone wishes me to, but I don't think it is necessary). However, I have considered that the philosophy is more attractive from the outset to those who are of a more logical mind. Case in point, my asperger's syndrome (people who have this generally think more logically and think in terms of logical merit) and my interest in computer's.

    I am sure it would be unfair to say that most objectivists are of that disposition, but I do wonder if the knee-jerk reaction of lazy thinkers towards objectivism is less likely to occur if someone is already more pre-disposed to a logical, rational thought process, and therefore more likely to embrace the philosophy. What do you think?

    And yes, I do like the Sword of Truth series, although the last two books were below the standard of his earlier writings.

    Anyway, I could go on, but I think I should save something for another thread. :)

    I've attached a picture of myself.


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