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Everything posted by Lazariun

  1. Interesting that we are going over this in my History of Modern Philosophy class currently. Although we are reading the Critique of Pure Reason, the instructor will occasionally touch on Kant's view of morality. In his explanation, Kant regards moral law as on a higher order than happiness. Happiness is just the fulfillment of baser natural desires. The self is tied to the body and it's humors, the knowable, causal connections that have been brought about via nature and nurture. Moral duty is of the noumenal world, i.e. the intelligible but unknowable realm. The ideal, the kingdom of heaven is to have both, but, if you cannot have both it is far greater to do your duty than be happy. As my instructor put it, when I asked for further clarification, "The moral man would rather burn in the fires of hell if it meant doing his duty."
  2. From what I recall, I heard a clip of this radio show and a nurse called in telling the DJs of the danger involved. They joked openly about it on air.
  3. Basically it is a balancing game. You fight and it immediately tells you your results for the battle. Your rank, strength and quality of weapon determine how much damage you do. I am not certain on the slot machine rotation thing, but I think it is basically luck of the draw on who you end up fighting. I speculate that if you are unlucky you could end up getting hurt pretty bad (in terms of damage). I do not know what the difference between damage and wellness is. Either way, in my experience you typically lose about 10 to 15 wellness per fight, and you can't even fight if you are below 40 wellness. They idea is to fight in a battle and then use the hospital to increase your wellness beyond where it was. Example: You have 45 wellness, you fight in the USA vs. Russian war in the Alabama battle. There is a quality 3 hospital. You fight and lose 10 wellness, you are now down to 35 wellness. You click "go back to battlefield" and there will be a "use hospital button". Since it is a quality 3 hospital, you will get 30 wellness, so now you are at 65 wellness. For this reason it is generally best to avoid fighting multiple times per day unless you know that you can make your way back up to fighting condition for the next day (via food). Juxtys and I bought gifts and traded several with one another in generally equal amounts. This helped us heal back up for the next day. So I think eventually we should have professional soldiers that fight, train, and buy gifts of equal value for one another and then trade 1 for 1 to help heal each other up into fighting form. It seems there are even organizations in the game that gather in IRC channels and organize their strikes in mass. For instance, read the site's wiki on the eUS Marine Corps. They are all general rank, 14 strength and attack at once. Pretty cool.
  4. Yes, this is my interest. I am strongly interested in it at this point. I love philosophy, and I think Rand is correct. I would like to help further Objectivism as the prevalent position in academia, as I believe that will have a trickle-down effect into the sciences and culture as a whole.
  5. I think I have a decent understanding. It helps that I came to many of the same conclusions as Rand before I encountered her, but she helped me untangle my mixed premises and discard some bad ideas. I've read AS, VoS and OPAR. My grasp is strong, although in discussion with a philosophy professor it can be a chore to explain. I haven't completely integrated it to the point I can seamlessly debate and refute every claim thrown at me. But no worries, I have no intention of becoming an intrinsicist anytime soon. I did think it was interesting that this professor's favorite philosopher was Hegel. I don't know much about him, but I gather that he was an influence on Marx. Most of the time as I described Objectivism's take on the topics we were discussing he would interject and say, "Oh, well, that's Locke." or "Well, that's Hobbes." or "That sounds like Kant's Categorical Imperative sloppily mashed with Nietszche." His general complaint seemed to be that she didn't come up with anything new. That immediately seemed niggling to me though. From what I can see, very few philosophers have come up with any completely original ideas since Plato and Aristotle. They all seem like variations on the same ideas. Rand seems original in that she argues from the validity of the senses, accepts only what reason dictates and doesn't accept the mixed results of other philosopher's packaged ideas. Sure, there are some similarities, and maybe she was influenced, but that didn't strike me as the kind of damning dismissal he couched it as. Besides, if we were dismissing people's ideas on the grounds of influence I think he'd be on much shakier legs. There is one thing I do like about this man though. He didn't immediately dismiss me or my positions. He seemed interested in learning, and regarding Relativism he said: "Relativism disgusts me also. I think it should disgust anyone who loves truth."
  6. Today I sat with one of my philosophy professors in his office discussing some of our course material and tangential subjects that came up. One of these was Rand, and my influence to become a philosophy major due to her work. My professor was quite surprised by this, and I responded that that didn't surprise -me-, as many Philosophers claim that her philosophy isn't very rigorous. I myself am beginning to get some inkling of why they say this. Much of Rand's work seems scattered over several different writings, and a concise dialectic hasn't really been written. Even Peikoff's OPAR doesn't seem that in depth when compared to the Cogito. Admittedly, my professor labored under some of the very common misunderstandings about Rand and Objectivism. I explained some of these that I understood, and he seemed opened to listening to them, but what this whole conversation has left me with is a desire to integrate Rand into the education I will receive in University. So how do Objectivist philosophers answer the claim that Rand's philosophy isn't rigorous?
  7. The poster presumes that life is a zero-sum game and that human history is nothing but a war of different collectives, whether tribal, racial or social, all out to strangle one another for the lead. It is a false sum of the whole of human history, but it is what many collectivists believe: We're just a bunch of animals unknowingly marching to the tune of our genes or social zeitgeist, beating one another with clubs to get the most resources, to breed the most. It's a pretty sick, malevolent view of humankind.
  8. Just joined and made Level 2 today. I'm Lazariun on there as well.
  9. Your position is self-refuting. If you will not accept axioms because they are "something that exists in our minds", then you will accept no argument whether based on logic or not. So what is the point of you even taking a position? Why post here? Why ask a question at all and expect any answer? It is all something that exists in your mind.
  10. Tabula Rasa means that you have no inborn ideas. Man still has a particular nature according to his biology, his genetics, his cognitive faculty.
  11. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVChNmN9y7E...player_embedded "How can a President speak the kind of poetry that President Obama does about the Rule of Law, and call for the power to indefinitely, preventively, inprision people because they might commit crimes in the future?" How can those two things coexist in the same man.. even in the same speech?" Easy answer there Rachel: Blank out. Or Doublethink, if you prefer. Or, to put it simply, philosophical Pragmatism. Is it just me or is this the Left getting a glimpse at it's own reflection?
  12. I have gone from being a bitter, communist-sympathizing youth, to a standard nihilist, to finally awakening to reason. It was because of the webcomic artist Jay Naylor and his blog that I first became aware of Ayn Rand and later learned as much as I could about her via the internet. The first book of her's that I read was For the New Intellectual on a plane flight to California and became so absorbed in the book that I hardly put it down all vacation. All my adult life I had been coming to the conclusions that Rand had outlined one at a time and here they seemed laid out. Her logic was impeccable. The reasoned measure of her writing impossible to hold a consistent argument against. Since then, I've had a fondness for her nonfiction.
  13. I read Better Days, Order of the Stick, Lackadaisy, Penny Arcade, XKCD and Keychain of Creation.
  14. It is interesting to recognize the heroic in even animals. http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x88o46_what-a-dog_animals
  15. Here is a review of the movie I wrote on my Blog. I think it is pretty spoiler-free for the most part, but read at your own risk: A bunch of my friends got together and we went out to the local Movie Tavern to watch the Watchmen last night. I'm probably going to echo a lot of professional critics when I say that if you are a fan of the graphic novel, you will love the movie despite its flaws, but if you have never read the comic, it will probably confuse and frustrate you with the amount of jumping around that happens. The film is an almost flawlessly faithful rendering of the comic, and this is probably also why the movie clocks in around three hours--and you will feel all three hours. It was because of the visual sequences of its frames and the fact that half of the story is told through panels that the Watchmen was once considered un-filmable. The graphic novel is rife with symbolism pertaining to the plot, often as foreshadowing. Take for example the classic symbol of the Smiley Face with "bean juice" on it. The spatter resembles a clockhand, pointing Five Minutes to Midnight; an allusion to the Doomsday Clock and the looming threat of nuclear extinction which provides the backdrop of the plot for both comic and film. And there are several of these, probably many I haven't even spotted yet. I think this visual style was one of the biggest reasons The Watchmen is considered one of the greatest graphic novels of all time. Going along with the visual adaptations are the costumes and special effects in the film. It is a beautiful movie and they did a great job updating the look of the comic to a more modern appeal. Some people complained about the look of Dr. Manhattan, and there are a couple of scenes where his balloon-like musculature does look very obviously fake, but it's hard to really judge when you are trying to render a glowing blue Man-God. Casting was incredible. The man playing Rorschach looks dead-on the character in the comic, and almost the entire ensemble matches their print counterparts. Unfortunately some of the supporting actors were painfully bad, and you are glad to see their characters offed later, not only because they are scum, but just to be done with the actor portraying them. Even more unfortunately, this can not be said for the actress portraying the original Silk Spectre in her retirement days. Ugh. In the end though, it does not depreciate the overall quality of the film. The entire starring cast does a great job, including Rorschach, who I see as the main hero of the story. Now to address the main complaint about the movie, often by those who haven't read the graphic novel: The plot is all over the place. Let me say, I understand. Without condemning or condoning (hah!). Really, the film is such a faithful adaptation that it follows the comic's narrative jumps from 80's to 40's, from one character's flashback to the next, all in almost the exact manner it is presented in the comic. The only problem is there are no boxes in the top left or top right corner of the screen to let you know when or where the scene you are watching is taking place. Sometimes, this is easy to gather through context, other times, it is hard to place when exactly the scene in question is taking place in the overall plot. The Comedian is dead, but now here he is shooting people and waxing nihilistic about armageddon. What? For someone who has never read the comic, I can see how this could get really confusing. I understand it, but it doesn't bother me. I knew the plot before I came in, and it only made me appreciate it more, seeing it so skillfully adapted. For what it's worth, two of my friends in the group had never read the comic, and still managed to pick up on what was going on enough to enjoy the experience. Related to the narrative is dialogue. In the comic, most of the story is driven by Rorschach as he investigates the murder of the Comedian. Almost all of this is spoken as an internal monologue in the form of his working journal. If you are in a noisy theater like we were, are easily distracted by your friends or just don't pay that much attention, you are definitely going to have no idea what is going on later in the film. For those who haven't read the comic, it may take more than one viewing to completely grasp every nuance of the plot. Now to get a bit deeper into the message and aesthetic of the film. I hear a lot of mixed reviews on this from people, primarily Objectivists, regarding the message and inherent philosophy in the film. Well, the film is a retelling of the comic, and the comic was written by Alan Moore, a man who has identified himself as essentially an anarchist in political philosophy and in general, comes across as rather nihilistic in his art. The Watchmen is definitely no exception to this rule. The Watchmen became a sort of buzz among some Objectivists because Rorshach's character is an adaptation of the original Charlton Comics character The Question, who was a creation of Steve Ditko and later became the property of DC Comics. The Question was an explicitly Objectivist superhero in his original form, and Moore, who was a fan of Ditko's work, wanted to portray the original character's moral absolutism and unwillingness to compromise. As Moore put it, he wanted to see what a Batman-like character commited to unwavering, brutal justice would be like in the real world. Moore's conclusion was that the character would be a nutcase. This is no surprise to me, coming from a man who has an extremely bleak view of the world, and while I disagree with him on that premise, I can still enjoy Mr. Moore's work. Moreover, I think it is interesting that whether he intended it or not, Rorschach, despite his dwindling sanity, is the real hero of the story. He also happens to be my favorite character--despite his paranoia, nationalism and homophobia--because he is so dedicated to justice and heroism, and because he doesn't compromise. The very essence of Rorschach is summed up in his line in the trailer: "[...] And all the whores and politicians will look up and shout 'Save us!'... and I'll look down and whisper 'No.'" For all his faults, Rorschach remains a hero in the end--although I won't spoil that for you. Every other character compromises, often "for the greater good." Veidt sacrifices everything in his life, from his principles (pacifism, humanitarianism) to his pet, to try and save the world from itself. The Comedian is a sociopathic nihilist from the beginning. Dr. Manhattan, I think, disgusts me the most, because he is the very essence of the Intrinsicist and the Determinist in one package--able to see the consequences of every action around him, he ignores the fact that his own will can change events and instead becomes something akin to an automaton pretending to be a man that has all the powers of a God. He tries to divorce himself from his emotions and becomes a fractured man, drifting in the waft of what he sees as Fate, but is really just the effects of others' actions around him and his own refusal to stop them. The Watchmen is a very bleak story, but really, so is Atlas Shrugged. Sure, the characters and the narrative are much more naturalistic, but I disagree with many that the end of the film is bittersweet and anti-climactic. As I see it, Rorschach and justice prevail.
  16. As others have said, for me, it depends on the context. I'd say that I have been in turn frustrated, amused, bilious, symapthetic and enraged by collectivists at various times. Usually it has to do with how deluded they are and just what they are professing exactly. Some, like my mom, would never intentionally hurt a maggot, but believe that coddling and helping are cut from the same cloth. Others will try and start up conversations at a coffee shop where I'm playing Monopoly with a friend and talk about how it's the perfect illustration of what would happen under "rampant unregulated Capitalism"; to these sorts I can only smile wryly and say, "Oh really?". I can't say I've really ever met any Tooheys, unless you consider religious nuts so deluded by their own belief in a transcendent world that they're willing to take anyone with them. These I just avoid, because reasoning with them is like trying to reason with a rabid dog. I've met quite a few Attilas, nihilists and pragmatists in my time though. These people can really frustrate me, and sometimes I feel like showing them the results of their beliefs on a personal level, first-hand.
  17. I am by no means an expert, but here is what I learned in my three short years of researching Taoism in my own personal quest for knowledge. This is what I remember the most, but keep in mind that Taoism says a lot of, often contradictory, things because it is a loosely defined, mystical philosophy that developed into a religion through tacked on shamanism and centuries of folklore as it traveled across the East: Taoism is split between philosophical and religious Taoism, with the latter being inundated with many minor gods/spirits, holidays, rituals and practices which vary from region to region in it's thousand year span. Mostly, Taoism was used as a form of social control. It teaches that to accept your lot in life is the pinnacle of wisdom, that peasants are made great by accepting to be ruled, and that leaders are humbled by being magnanimous. Its metaphysics are based in the concept of duality--yin and yang--and that the only 'truth' arises in paradox between these two poles, very similar to Zen. The koans that deal with these often set up false dichotomies and do a lot of question-begging that eventually comes to the conclusion: "There's no way of knowing! It's a paradox, so let's just accept that!" Typical blankout. Overall, it is a very loosely defined system of thought that changes according to the whim of, alternatingly, authority--either in the form of dictators or mystics--or the culture of the time. This is all accepted as part of the Way. The Way is Change, after-all. What is right and wrong are also meaningless. Good and evil are two equivalent forces locked in eternal conflict, one winning out at one period of time, the other later, neither permanent. The Tao says that it is the natural way of things for the universe to act in this way, and to be either one or the other for too long is to not be in harmony with the Way. In summary, it is mostly a bunch of poetic mysticism based on ideas ascribed to for thousands of years in the East, that were explored and quickly refuted and swept aside by the Greeks in short order.
  18. Good point K-mac. Or perhaps a terrible phobia of dogs. Or maybe the shop owner has his own dog, or cat, that is a sort of store mascot. There's a CD store here in town, where Zedic lives, that owns a store dog. Maybe the store dog or cat would flip out if another animal were brought in. In that case, does the blind man get special privilege over the store owner and his dog? (Although I'm sure most merchants would just try to contain their own animal to allow the patron to browse for the remainder of his stay.) There are a lot of realistic circumstances for why a merchant may not want a service dog in his establishment, aside from mindless bias.
  19. This is really the essence of it, right here. You can't force people to be nice, you can't force them to not be a bigot. You may think that you can use government to keep people in line, but then your reasoning is no different from those who would attempt to enforce restrictions on cursing in public or PDAs in parks. It rests on the same principle, and you can't justify another reason outside of a basis on emotion ("Well, I don't feel it is right") or your own subjective opinion. Although a bigot may be irrational, he still has the right to speak his ignorant opinion, and he still has the right to say what goes on his property. The rest of us have the right to judge him for it. And the same goes for someone that would arbitrarily decide he won't serve blind people with service dogs. Again, I still don't think it's a realistic situation though. I've never heard of anyone being refused from an establishment for being handicapped or having a service dog. It almost sounds like a hypothetical invented for the sake of argument. I can do that too: What if a grocery store decided to not serve customers who have canes, because they don't want their floors scuffed up?
  20. Can you provide examples of people who have been discriminated against due to their service dog? It seems to me that any prospective business would want to avoid the stigma of ostracizing customers due to their disabilities. Just because government offers a benefit doesn't mean that benefit is necessitated.
  21. When you say there are certain experiments in Quantum Physics where the observer affects what he is observing, I believe you're speaking of those that use electrons to detect the position of other electrons. The only reason that this method changes the state of the observed particle, is because you have to throw something of equal mass at it to determine it's position, which then changes that position. For now, electrons are the smallest things we can 'throw' at matter to observe those qualities. So it's not that we change the observed by dint of observing alone, but via the method of observation. It's become a common misconception, and one used by new agers and mystics of all stripes to try and have any scientific relevance.
  22. Lazariun

    Animal rights

    http://www.dakotavoice.com/2009/01/animal-...administration/ From the article:
  23. I actually first encountered this guy and his prediction on 4chan of all places, to speak to the level of thinkers who give it much credence. I think this guy has no knowledge of American history and the resulting panoply of culture which has resulted from it. Even if the US did split apart I could never see Alaska going to Russia or Texas to Mexico. Now, parts of California to China, maybe... Definitely wishful thinking.
  24. I have to say, that while the legalistic end is interesting, I am far more interested in what may have drove this child to kill, if he did indeed do it.
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