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Bold Standard

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  1. What is it about the events in Anthem that make them love at first sight? What makes them different from the example of Ayn Rand and Frank O'Conner, or any other plausible story you've heard of people meeting and "knowing" the other person is "the one" and eventually getting married? (Maybe I just talk to people about romance more than a normal person, but I've heard such stories many times). Nathaniel Branden's definition seems good to me: "Romantic love is a passionate spiritual-emotional-sexual attachment between two people that reflects a high regard for each other's value." But I'm not sure what he means by "between two people" (actually, I pulled that quote off the internet. I think in his book, The Psychology of Romantic Love, he says, "between a man and a woman" but I guess he revised it now that he's altered or suspended his previously stated views on homosexuals). I think unrequited love is possible, which is a love one person has for another that isn't reciprocated.. I'm not sure if that fits with his definition or not; it might be better if it were reworded a little. I think I would say "...a passionate spiritual-emotional-sexual attachment one person has for another that reflects..." Try looking at people.. You might be surprised what you see. (You might need a strong stomach sometimes. Other times, you might wish you had a camera, or a microscope--metaphorically speaking).
  2. How could this be anything other than self-sacrificial? Would you propose a boycott on all books written by evil or dishonest living authors, regardless of their value? If nothing else, why not just buy them from a used bookstore? I haven't read The Psychology of Self Esteem yet. But I've read How to Raise Your Self Esteem and am now reading The Psychology of Romantic Love. The first had some quite valuable parts, the latter I have thoroughly enjoyed so far. It's his essay, "The Benefits and Hazards of Objectivism" which I find quite unforgivably dishonest, and some of those sentiments are repeated in other interviews and essays I've read by him. My favorite Objectivist psychologist is Ellen Kenner. But I've gotten more from Dr. Branden than I have from non-Objectivist psychologists such as Freud or Jung or Rogers for sure (I might add that his contributions to The Virtue of Selfishness are quite good and important as well--and it's a shame they were omitted from the Oism Research CD). Maslo is pretty good.. Unfortunately, I haven't heard any of the lectures from the original post. I've heard both of Dr. Peikoff's History of Western Philosophy lectures, though, and they were phenomenal. "Understanding Objectivism" has been highly recommended by a lot of friends I respect. I wish I had the money for all of those lectures, too!
  3. So what would you call what happens in Anthem? And what Ayn Rand describes about Frank O'Conner definitely comes across as stronger than admiration.. Smitten seems acurate, but what is being smitten besides an early stage of romantic love? Would you agree romantic love is not one singular emotion, but a series of experiences that moves through phases?
  4. This is how I've heard Ayn Rand's meeting Frank O'Conner described many times (one reference would be the documentary Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life).. As I remember it, she was on a bus, shortly after coming to America. She was on her way to the DeMille studios. She was working on the set of Cicile B DeMille's movie, The King of Kings. She saw a man get on the bus, and immediately she thought that he looked like her ideal man. To her astonishment, he got off at the same exit as her. To her further astonishment, she realized that he was going to the DeMille studio too--he was in the cast of The King of Kings. Already smitten, she decided that she had to meet him. So when he was filming his scenes (in which she was an extra) she memorized his steps. On the next take, she deliberately stood in his way so that he would trip over her. He apologized, and they started talking. After the filming was over, she hadn't gotten his number yet, and was afraid she'd never see him again. Sometime later (a few weeks I think) she was supposed to have an appointment with someone in Hollywood, and she got there early, so she decided to stop into the library while she waited. In the library, she saw Frank O'Conner, reading a book. So she approached him and that's when their courtship officially began. I think the primary reason that love at first *sight* (sorry) is possible, is because a person carries his sense of life with him all the time, and sense of life is what someone primarily falls in love with.
  5. I believe in love at first site. I also think that some/many values can be communicated through body language.
  6. This was a cool guitar.. I don't remember if I ever figured out exactly what it was.. The only inscription on it was "Made in India".
  7. Yes, you can call me Gyges. : P Yes, it's going quite well, thanks.. One fortunate thing about the way the complex is laid out is that the gym is right by the computer lab.. So when I want to come use the computer.. inevitably it will be full and I'll have to wait for someone to finish using a computer, which is a good time to work out for a bit; otherwise I'll bring a book. I forgot to mention another book I've been reading.. The Psychology of Romantic Love by Nathaniel Branden. Has anyone here read it? It's actually pretty good so far. I really want to get Ellen Kenner's lectures on romance, though.. Maybe when the holliday season gets here and I hopefully have some extra money. I just bought a new gadget.. A Lexicon multieffects processor for my guitar. It's basically something that will make my music sound really cool, but it was very expensive and it's pretty complicated to figure out! So I have a feeling a significant amount of my free time is gonna go to that now.. I've also been practicing flamenco strumming styles on the guitar. I've been trying to put together a band to play live shows, but people keep flaking out. Actually, I would like to learn Mandarin, too. I bought the book on tape for Cantonese a while back when I was interested in visiting Hong Kong. I have some friends who speak Mandarin though.. also, there are quite a few people in Houston who speak Vietnamese. I didn't know Xiamen had its own language... Wikipedia says it's most similar to Taiwanese, but I thought they spoke Mandarin in Taiwan.. I guess not.. hmmm...
  8. Well, I've moved to a new apartment, and I don't have my own computer right now.. There is a computer lab I can get on sometimes, but I usually just stay on long enough to check my mail & myspace & facebook, because there's no AC in here.. Here are some of the other things I've been doing: Working (a lot more than I did last summer). Reading: Kant's _Critique of Practical Reason_ & rereading _Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals_, _Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre_ edited by Walter Kaufman, studying Aristotle's _Nicomachean Ethics_, and studying a book on how to speak Spanish. Sometimes I go to the bookstore by my house and read random things for a couple of hours here and there. Listening to books on tape for how to speak Cantonese (for fun) Writing lots of new songs. Going to see local bands perform. Also seeing some real concerts.. I saw Morrissey a couple of weeks ago and he was fantastic. Hanging out with random people and trying desperately to get some intellectual conversation going, but usually getting glazed-over-eyes. Doing chores. Taking lots of showers. Going swimming & working out. Cooking. Trying on my clothes in different combinations and stare at myself in the mirror. That's mostly what I've been doing. I've missed you guys though! ; D -David
  9. Is it a fact that she knew relatively little about musicology, or is it merely to your knowledge? Upon what are you basing this knowledge? Have you read the Romantic Manifesto? Relatively little, relative to what? I think the theories she elaborates on in RM are the most plausible.. and she does advance some hypotheses, and has more to say than the important passage which was quoted above. Her knowledge was based to a certain extent on the work of Hermann von Helmholtz. There have been more studies done on the physiology of how the ear interprets musical intervals since she wrote RM, but not many. Very little is still known about how music works and why it evokes the things it does. Listening to modern compositions, it would almost seem as though less were known now, but that's only true for composers, maybe not for scientists. : P
  10. This excerpt from Ayn Rand's letters suggests that her opinion of Wagner and his vision was much different from her opinion of Rachmaninoff and Victor Hugo:
  11. Did the Mormons change the book of Revelation? If you read that verse in context, it is clear that it only applies to the contents of the Book of Revelation, not to the whole Bible or whole New Testament, which did not exist at the time Revelation was written, as "the Bible" was compiled and canonized a couple of centuries later. But maybe the Mormons did rewrite Revelations. I don't know much about Mormons, besides what I've learned from Southpark and Orgazmo! [edit:spell]
  12. Hello. : ) I'm curious.. You said it's been a long time since you've had a good philosophical discussion.. But have you had bad ones? What makes a philosophical discussion good or bad, in your view? Welcome to the neighborhood!
  13. That's interesting. I like how you say that the earring sparkles. I agree, but I am not sure how that's possible, since the paint itself isn't sparkly (at least, in the reproductions I've seen such as this one). How does he make the earring sparkle? I think it's just the right amount of sparkle for that amount of light.. Like if you happen to catch someone at the right angle at the right instant.. The kind of sparkle that would last only for that special moment and not even be noticed unless one was looking for it and waiting for something like that to happen. Hm, I don't think art is subjective, so I just can't comprehend why that would possibly be. His subjects are pretty naturalistic, but the technique is just so brilliant. I think the technique makes up for anything unromantic about his subject matter. This one doesn't look realistic to me. It looks more realistic than a Spider Man comic strip, but if I were to compare the quality to the best Renaissance painters and to talented comic book artists, I would say it falls closer to the comic books. I think everything looks too outlined. It looks like every shape was outlined in black and the colors filled in, but things in reality don't look like that. I think that her dress approaches ultra real.. This is the best of the three. But it still looks too cartoony and outline-y in the foreground. And the background looks too blurry and foggy/vague (at least, on my monitor, which is not the best). To me, this looks like the opposite of realistic. The costumes especially--they look more like liquid than metal, if they look like anything. I think I've seen greater realism in some of Van Gogh's paintings than this. Of course, I'm no expert and I know I need glasses. But still. : P But I don't think that painting all the details would make the painting look realistic. At best, I think it would look like a photograph, but I think a truly realistic painting should look more realistic and three dimensional than a photograph.
  14. Hmm, actually, I don't know what specific techniques the painters use to achieve the effect I'm talking about.. I'd like to know. But, when I look at a painting that I really like.. When I look at the painting as a whole, it looks much more real and three dimensional than any photograph, and even more perfect and clear than when I'm actually looking at something in real life. After looking at such paintings, I see more detail and clarity in everything else I look at in real life for the next few hours. But when I look really closely at the details of the paintings, I notice that it's not usually an exactly proportionately accurate representation of the dimensions and colors of actual objects.. Certain details are exaggerated, and others are omitted, and some of the colors are completely different than anything I would normally notice in nature. Here are some pictures from my favorite artist, Vermeer of Delft. He's the best I know of at what I'm trying to describe, but I don't know how he does it. This is his most famous, "Girl With a Pearl Earring." Especially the earring itself looks like what I'm trying to describe. It seems to jump out of the picture. Also, the moisture in her eyes and on her lips is incredible. But when I look closely, the details look more exaggerated than I think they probably would in a photo or in real life: Here's "View of Houses in Delft" or "The Little Street." The bricks on the buildings, and the people look so real, but I think the colors are more extreme and everything more symmetrical than it would probably really look: Here's a close up detail of the globe from his famous painting "The Geographer." Close up it looks a little less realistic, but in the framework of the whole painting it looks ultra-real: Why would he have to? What would compel him to do this rather than merely make mediocre art? If there is such a force compelling artists to work hard, I assume, to achieve some goal, how do you explain modern art?
  15. Is that the greatest thing? I would have thought the greatest thing artists can have would be something more like, the ability to essentialize visual data such that their representation of an object looks "more real" than actually looking at the object. I suppose the ability to do that without a model would provide even greater freedom, but still I would think that that skill would be the most important, and the ability to do it without a model would be a secondary issue. Does that make sense, and would you agree with that?
  16. I think the reaction has more to do with a disagreement over your use of "self esteem" than a rebellion against the possibility of injustice in the world. How do the words imply that self-esteem is subjective? Although I'm reluctant to recommend this author twice (because of severe disagreements with his statements about Objectivism, among other reasons), I'm really curious if you've read any of Nathaniel Branden's early books on self esteem, such as The Psychology of Self Esteem. I mentioned them the last time we discussed this, too (maybe in the chat). I think he had some really valuable things to say about self esteem. I think that self esteem is more than an evaluation of one's own worth according to some explicit standard one has chosen, or that someone is trying to convince himself that he's chosen. I think it's a longstanding reputation one develops with oneself, that includes many subconscious evaluations that happen automatically, and involve a person's sense of life, and relationship to reality in general. It's a person's real evaluation of self, and people who are delusional in general are likely to present a false sense of self-worth that is a poor and deceptive representation their true self-esteem. And although I'm not really qualified to make this type of judgment, it's my suspicion that if someone is drawn into a life of crime, that alone is a good indicator that their self-esteem is already deficient. In normal circumstances. I can think of one fictional pirate who had high self esteem, though.. His initials are RD.
  17. If you think someone has been rude or disrespectful to you, why not just report them, and describe the specific context of the incident? [Edit: At the bottom of every person's post is an icon that says "! REPORT" that you can click to do this.] Rude and disrespectful posts are against the forum rules too. I didn't read the thread in question, so I have no idea if anybody really was rude or disrespectful. Sometimes, on Internet forums, a person can come across that way when they're not meaning to, though. Even if it's a moderator, and maybe especially then, it would probably be more constructive to report them than it is to simply boycott and call people names (smelly religious dogmatists) while refusing to further explain your grievance. This is just a message board for people interested in a philosopher and novelist, not an organization. People who post here vary in knowledge, motives, personalities, life experience, and so forth. Sometimes, when discussions get heated, people who usually behave say things that are inappropriate. There are some similar message boards that are more heavily moderated than this one, and any inappropriate posts are deleted. This one is less strict. There are pros and cons to that.
  18. Thanks. : ) You guys should add it to the site map page.
  19. Didn't there used to be a lo-fi version of Objectivism Online? I've been looking all over for it and can't find it. Sometimes I use my cell phone to get on the internet now, but it's way too slow to try to come to this site in its normal version.
  20. Bold Standard


    I agree. I think one of the ironies of Pragmatism, given its name, is that its unprincipled ethics and Kantian/Hegelian metaphysics and epistemology make it exasperatingly impractical. And important ones. (The existence and nature of objective reality is an important one). Unfortunately, the History of Modern Philosophy lecture series is not available for free download.. You can buy it from the Ayn Rand Bookstore, but I can't look it up for you right now because their server seems to be down. It's pretty expensive, but if you have access to an Objectivist Campus Club near you, they can get it for free. The whole History of Western Philosophy lecture series is really good.. The Pragmatism lecture is on the second lecture set, Modern Philosophy (the first set deals with Ancient Philosophy through the Enlightenment, and the second is Kant to the present, or at least to the 1960s when the lectures were given). The other relevant lecture on "Why Should One Act on Principle?" is available for free online, at aynrand.org you just have to register with the website. It's free. Once you register, just go to the registered users page, and scroll down about halfway, and it's there on the left.
  21. I think it's probably true that Kelly doesn't believe in any inherently dishonest ideas. But I think what that means, for him, is that the fact a person holds a particular idea is not enough information to determine *why* he holds the idea, and whether, if it is a false idea, it is the result of an error of knowledge (which is morally excusable) or an act of evasion (which is not). He apparently extends this from isolated ideas to sophisticated systems of ideas, but I'm not sure if he puts some qualifications on it at some point, or if so at what point. I'm not sure if this is a clear and explicit example of "implying the absence of the concrete," if I'm understanding what you meant by that, because I do think Kelly believes in personal responsibility on some level, and I do think it's his position that acts of evasion, when there is (what he considers to be) sufficient evidence to show that there have been acts of evasion, are immoral. He does seem to drive a wedge between thought and action, or between body and mind, that is contrary to Ayn Rand's views (maybe that's what you meant by "absence of the concrete"--the presence of the abstract/mind without a concrete/physical counterpart. If so, I do think that's what he's doing, and I do think it's in opposition to Objectivism). (It's been a while since I've thought about this or read anything by David Kelly, so I just wanted to put that as a disclaimer to this comment in case I've unintentionally misrepresented the issue at all).
  22. Bold Standard


    These are certainly part of Ayn Rand's critique of Pragmatism, but I don't believe it was her main problem, because these things are merely consequences of the metaphysical and epistemological foundations of Pragmatism, a philosophy she once described as "a bad recycling of Kantian-Hegelian premises" ("Don't Let it Go--Part II" The Ayn Rand Letter, pg 19). This is not what Pragmatism claims. Pragmatism claims that the true is what works. That is drastically different. Pragmatists do not claim that if something works, it's probably true--they claim that if something works, that makes it true, and that that is all that anyone can possibly know about truth. ("'The true,' to put it very briefly, is only the expedient in the way of our thinking, just as 'the right' is only the expedient in the way of our behaving." -William James, The Meaning of Truth, preface). Pragmatists do not usually recognize a "reality" that "changes." They recognize only what works--they are extreme empiricists. If what works changes, they do not make inferences about antecedent causes in metaphysical reality outside of human experience--they regard that as entirely unknowable, if not nonexistent. There are different variations on Pragmatism, but in the Peirce/Dewey school or the James school of Pragmatism, I think metaphysical assumptions about reality are usually out. There is not just one reason that Ayn Rand was critical of Pragmatism.. She spent much of her time criticizing it for different reasons. But I think understanding the Objectivist arguments against Pragmatism would probably be easier if you research Leonard Peikoff's criticisms of Pragmatism first. When I put "Pragmatism" into the search engine of the Objectivism Research CD-ROM, I got tons of hits from AR, but, at least in the first several excerpts I read through, when she mentions it, she already assumes that the reader is familiar with the major positions of Pragmatism, as well as the Objectivist positions, and seems to expect the reader to be able to figure out for himself what her objections would be. But Dr. Peikoff has several articles that go into detail explaining what Pragmatism is, and putting it in perspective of its relevance to the history of philosophy, and analyzing it from an Objectivist perspective. The best, most detailed explanation of Pragmatism I've heard was from Dr. Peikoff's History of Modern Philosophy lecture series. He devotes at least a whole lecture to Pragmatism. There are two Peikoff articles in The Ayn Rand Letter dealing with Pragmatism, one called "Pragmatism Versus America," the other called "Altruism, Pragmatism, and Brutality," (which I haven't read all the way through, but I skimmed through them and they seem relevant and consistent with the method I described in which he explains the Pragmatist position before critiquing it). There are some interesting sections in The Ominous Parallels in which Dr. Peikoff explains Pragmatism in its relationship to Nazi and Fascist ideology, and their counterparts in American politics, which is definitely worth reading (see pages 56-64 especially). Also, there is a lecture available for free download at the Ayn Rand Institute website's registered users page called "Why Should One Act on Principle?" which includes many relevant criticisms of Pragmatist morality. [edit: spelling & clarity]
  23. I think it's worth pointing out that even on this message board, I sometimes see people reverting to this principle--it is very influential in our culture. I see it come up when people ask questions about why it would be immoral to steal even if you "knew" you could get away with it.. Inevitably someone will say, "Well, if everybody stole, then the producers would all stop producing, because they wouldn't make any profit, and then nobody would have anything, so it's not in one's self interest ever to steal." That's straight Kantianism. The fact that it would not be in one's self interest for everybody to steal in all circumstances doesn't alone prove that it's immoral for one person to steal in every possible circumstance. Of course, Objectivism also advocates principled action, but not on the basis of universalizability alone (there are several threads on Objectivism's stance on principles, I think.. and last time I checked, there was still a good lecture by Leonard Peikoff on "Why Should One Act on Principle?" for free at the registered users page at ARI's website). [edit: I just checked, and as of now, it's still there.]
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