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Jim Henderson

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  1. Like
    Jim Henderson reacted to Boydstun in What and When Is Capitalism?   
    What and When is Capitalism?
    William Thackary was evidently the first to use the word capitalism in print. That was in his 1854 novel The Newcomes. Its essential mark was ownership of capital. So if one knew what is capital, one should have a definition of capitalism. By that simple definition, I’d say capitalism goes back at least to the periods of the various archaic states, that is, back at least to the social organization coming after hunter-gatherer groups, after tribes and chiefdoms.
    Capital
    Rand took the essential mark of capitalism to be purely private ownership of property. (note) That would include private ownership of capital goods. Rand called mixed economy one having both private and public ownership of property. Purely private ownership would mean that the entire bundle of specific rights in each property is held by the private owners. I own a couple of acres, but with that does not come the right to make bonfires under all wind conditions (city ordinance). So there is some public ownership of my land property, though the bundle of my rights over the property is preponderate in the total bundle.
    Rand and many others have thought of our modern mixed economies as mixtures of capitalism and socialism, and that is right, but I think the more fundamental characterization of the mix is the mixture between private and public ownership.
    Ideologues of either pure capitalism or pure socialism tend to see only each other as what is other in the mixed economy. I’ve come to realize this is an enormous error. There is an important third component, and it is a publicly owned thing. It has been present since those archaic states and apparently isn’t going to go away or be made to go away. That factor in nation states is outlay for common defense of the country. And in the contemporary world with its greater wealth and technology, that common defense has expanded beyond defense against aggressions to common defense against natural catastrophes (warnings and evacuations), against contagious diseases, and against all sorts of manmade dangerous things within the country.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Consider also: Capitalism
     
     
  2. Like
    Jim Henderson reacted to Boydstun in Objectivist Mechanical Engineers   
    Twice the strength of steel and one-sixth the density of steel: MIT
    I am grateful to philosopher Neera Badhwar for notice of this important development.
  3. Like
    Jim Henderson reacted to Boydstun in Rand and I contra Kant   
    ~J~
    In 1975 Rand composed an essay she titled “From the Horse’s Mouth.” She had been reading a book by Friedrich Paulsen (1846–1908) titled Immanuel Kant: His Life and Doctrines, published in 1898 and translated from German to English in 1902.
    The horse Rand was referring to was Immanuel Kant. She took Paulsen to be “a devoted Kantian” giving a fair reflection of Kant in this book, a modest commentator in comparison to the stature of the originator of the system that is transcendental idealism, but a philosopher parlaying Kant’s ideas in an exceptionally honest way. She took Paulsen’s Kantian views at late nineteenth century to illustrate what she took to be the fundamental cause—philosophic influence of Kant—of twentieth-century progress being, in her estimation, second-rate in comparison to what had been accomplished in the nineteenth century. Indeed, she took the Kant influence to be the reason one could no longer go to the theater and expect to find a great new play such as Cyrano de Bergerac (1897), rather, productions such as Hair or Grease.
    In the Preface of the second edition (1899) of Immanuel Kant: His Life and Doctrine, Paulsen lamented that belief in ideas, such belief in ideas as Kant and Lessing had exhibited and imparted to the nineteenth century at its beginning, had “gradually given way to belief in the external  forces and material goods that now dominate our life. Nevertheless, as in families the grandson may resemble the grandfather, so it may perhaps happen in history; perhaps the twentieth century will be more like the eighteenth than the nineteenth.” Not that Paulsen hoped for a revival of the intuitionistic formalism in ethical theory (Kant) of the eighteenth century.
    Alongside being a philosopher (metaphysics, knowledge, ethics) and historian of philosophy, Paulsen was a famous conservative educator and commentator on current affairs in Germany. He saw at the turn into the new century a “general breakdown of traditional patterns of authority and respect” (Aschheim 1992, 37). That was why, according to Paulsen, the youth were so attracted to Nietzsche.
    Rand was correct in her essay when she described Paulsen as an admirer of Kant, but she erred in taking Paulsen to be a Kantian. Neither was he a post-Kantian, which anyway is too revisionary of Kant to pass off as genuinely Kantian. No, the correct classification of Paulsen would be post-idealist, meaning following on the entire load of German Idealism. Paulsen had been a grad student under Trendelenburg, a major late German-Idealist.
    A few months after Paulsen’s death, Frank Thilly, composed a review essay titled “Friedrich Paulsen’s Ethical Work and Influence” (1907). Thilly had been the graduate student of Kuno Fischer and Friedrich Paulsen. Thilly had translated Paulsen’s most important philosophical work A System of Ethics (1889) into English in 1899. 
    That is, Thilly translated the first three of the four books constituting that work. Those three books come to over 700 pages. Paulsen’s critique of Kant’s duty-consumed and a-prioristic-intuitionalistic ethics runs to 13 pages; it is not different than the critique Rand and others would make across the decades since then. The ethical views that Paulsen himself espouses are not Kantian.
    In her essay, Rand did not seem aware that in Paulsen’s view it is the effects of an act that make it right or wrong, contra Kant. Then too, Paulsen rejected hedonism. It is life, not pleasure that is the ultimate good. The proper end of the will is action, not feeling. The highest good of human life is its objective content, including perfection of psychical powers and including pleasure (Thilly 1909, 146). “The highest good for man, that upon which his will is finally directed, is a complete human life; that is, a life that leads to the full development and exercise of all capacities and endowments, particularly the highest, the mental and moral capacities of the rational personality” (quoted in Thilly 1909, 146–47).
    The highest good “consists in the perfect development and exercise of life” (Paulsen 1889, 251).  “In the moral sphere, every excellence or virtue [positive ones, not absences of wrong] is an organ of the whole, and at the same time forms a part of life; it is therefore, like the whole, an end in itself” (Paulsen 1889, 276). This is like Rand in seeing the individual whole life as an end in itself, but differs from Rand in giving virtue (the positive ones) not only a means-value, but an end-in-itself-value on account of being not only in a relation of service to the living whole, but in a relation of part in the constitution of the living whole. Similarly, Paulsen takes the individual life as part of the sphere of civilization and nonetheless as an end in itself.
    Paulsen recasts certain aspects of the ethics of Kant, Hegel, and Schopenhauer partly from variance with them on ordinary manifest human nature, but also by explaining those aspects in terms of the modern theory of evolution, which was not available for assimilation into those systems of metaphysics or ethics. The metaphysics on which Paulsen rests his ethical theory contains a teleological element, expansive in the way of Aristotle, not rightly confined to the realm of life, which was the confinement Rand gave to teleology in her golden insight. The take of Paulsen and many other intellectuals in the late nineteenth century was that the process of evolutions was teleological, rather than rightly understanding that novel generation and natural selection explained the appearance of teleology at work in biological nature—apart from intentionality in we higher animals.
    In his book on Kant, the book about which Rand wrote, Paulsen devotes pages 324–33 to criticism of Kant’s ethics. The portions of this book of about 400 pages that Rand made use of in her essay were pages 1–6. Rand’s marginalia in Paulsen’s book, the marginalia published in Mayhew 1995 (40–46), span the first 143 pages of Paulsen’s book. It is only after that point of the book that Paulsen digs into the Critique of Pure Reason; the Prolegomena; Kant on traditional issues in metaphysics; Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science; Kant’s moral philosophy; and Kant’s theory of the law, the state, and religion.
    Rand used only those first few pages of Paulsen’s Immanuel Kant: His Life and Doctrine. She was struck by his opening picture in which religion, philosophy, and science all bear truths of reality, that “the history of philosophy shows that its task consists simply in mediating between science and religion,” and that Kant had created a peace pact between science and religion. She was rightly appalled that science and religion or reason and feeling should be regarded as each having rightful claims to truth. She took Paulsen to be claiming, at the end of the nineteenth century, that philosophy is the handmaiden of theology. Well, as a matter of fact, that was what I was learning from my Thomist philosophy professor in my first course in philosophy in 1967. It is nothing foreign to America or Europe to this day, pretty sure.
    Paulsen was certainly wrong in saying that the task of philosophy is “simply” mediating between science and religion, in his day, Kant’s, or ours, if the translation “simply” is intended to imply that that is the only function served by philosophy.
    Rand paints a picture in this essay (and in FNI) in which men were getting over the ancient split between mind and body and between morality and the physical world until Kant “revived” and steadied the split. Rand overcame the latter split by her theory of value in general and moral value in particular. She overcame, or anyway attempted to overcome, the former split by her metaphysics.
    The Kantian division of reason and faith, she alleges, “allows man’s reason to conquer the material world, but eliminates reason from the choice of the goals for which material achievement are used. Man’s goals, actions, choices and values—according to Kant—are to be determined irrationally, i.e., by faith” (79). Well, no, that is not Kant, and differently, not Paulsen either.
    Rand thought that the Kantian picture painted by Paulsen at the outset of this book, if typical of intellectuals at the end of the nineteenth century, surely would doom the twentieth century (to 1975) to what she saw as its declining achievements and to the century’s totalitarian states and the Holocaust. The outset-picture of Paulsen was not untypical among philosophers of Idealist stripe, though we should keep in mind that German Idealism (and its posts) was not the only major philosophy on the scene and the season of German Idealism was coming to an end. The conflict of faith and reason tearing apart integrated life and the award to faith the province of values continues to this day, as it did in the age of Copernicus. It did not and does not require the thoughts of Kant on it for its continuation. The Baptist University across town does not require Kant for continuing their faith-based rejection of the scientific account of the formation of the earth or of the biological evolution of our kind or of the separability of body and soul or of the other-worldly source of morals and home of the righteous.
     
    References
    Aschheim, S. E. 1992. The Nietzsche Legacy in Germany 1890–1990. California.
    Mayhew, R., editor, 1995. Ayn Rand’s Marginalia. Ayn Rand Institute Press.
    Paulsen, F. 1889. A System of Ethics. F. Thilly, translator. 1899. Charles Scribner’s Sons.
    ——. 1898. Immanuel Kant: His Life and Doctrine. J. E. Creighton and A. Lefevre, translators. 1902. Charles Scribner’s Sons.
    Rand, A. 1975. From the Horse’s Mouth. In Philosophy: Who Needs It. 1982. Signet.
    Thilly, F. 1909. Friedrich Paulsen’s Ethical Work and Influence. The International Journal of Ethics V19N2:10–55.
  4. Like
    Jim Henderson reacted to Boydstun in Sculpture   
    Theodor Lundberg "The Wave and the Beach" (1897)

  5. Like
    Jim Henderson reacted to Boydstun in Sculpture   
    What is this? Something man-made and of wood. Not something whose form and strength are determined for some utilitarian purpose so far as I know. It is something pleasing to me, and I’d like to see it in real space and walk around it to get its different views. I’d like to touch it. Any principles of geometry it exhibits would be of a secondary interest. Any neurological findings of why it is pleasing (or not) to us would be of secondary interest. Any imagination-feats along the lines of “It’s like a (fill-in-the-blank)” or “I could use it as a (fill-in-the-blank)” would be of still lower interest.
    This solid form in 3-space is itself the center of interest. The sharing of it, with its bundle of pleasures, between creator and audience inheres in our experience of it. I think that much suffices for metaphysics in sculpture.  

  6. Like
    Jim Henderson got a reaction from Boydstun in How many times have you read Atlas Shrugged?   
    I have read Atlas Shrugged three times, the most recent about a decade ago for a class at The University of Chicago discussing it and comparing it to the Grapes of Wrath. But my introduction to Ayn Rand was reading The Fountainhead when I was in high school. I've also read it a couple of times since then.
  7. Like
    Jim Henderson reacted to Boydstun in "Is Capitalism NECESSARILY Racist?"   
    Of related interest, on 14 April 2022 a paper by Wayne Wapeemukwa will be read and commented upon in a Symposium “Decolonization and Capitalism” at the Pacific Division APA Meeting.
    “‘For Indigenous nations to live, capitalism must die’ (173). With this, Dene philosopher Glen Coulthard put anti-capitalism at the very core of decolonizing programs. Yet the view that decolonizing struggles must also be struggles against capitalism is rather new and, in light of the broader history of Indigenous politics, quite controversial. In fact, Indigenous activists throughout the twentieth century, such as Russell Means, Ward Churchill, and the American Indian Movement (AIM), reproached such Marxist pretensions as indelibly Eurocentric; recognizing calls for the restitution of ‘the commons’ as a new colonizing trick. Today, though, a new generation of so-called ‘Red Marxists’ are searching for new ways to bridge the critique of capital with decolonization. Activists and scholars like Howard Adams, Lee Maracle, and, most recently, Nick Estes, particularly stand out in their efforts to put Marx’s thought in conversation with Indigenous Peoples. But in spite of this recent thaw, the question remains: Must Indigenous struggles for land also be struggles against private property?”
  8. Like
    Jim Henderson reacted to Boydstun in Ballet   
    HIS BITTER EARTH (6.5 minutes)
    dancers -Alessandra Ferri and Roberto Bolle
    choreography - Christopher Wheeldon
    music - Clyde Otis (song) / Max Richter
    singer - Dinah Washington
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWrMXvZFfu0 

  9. Like
    Jim Henderson reacted to Boydstun in Ballet   
    RIMINISCIN (7.5 min.)
    dancers - Alicia Graf Mack and Jamar Roberts
    choreographer - Judith Jamison
    song - A Case of You by Joni Mitchel
    singer - Rufus Wainwright
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrp4lCPunFE

  10. Like
    Jim Henderson reacted to Boydstun in Ballet   
    INFRA - finale (3.3 minutes)
    dancers - Edward Watson and Marinela Nunez
    choreographer - Wayne McGregor
    music - Max Richter
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjERnGQiJfg

  11. Like
    Jim Henderson reacted to Boydstun in Ballet   
    CARAVAGGIO

    Music: Bruno Moretti after Claudio Monteverdi
    Choreography: Mauro Bigonzetti

    Dancers: Vladimir Malakhov and Mikhail Kaniskin
    https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=2963852373853645&set=a.2562699263968960
     
  12. Like
    Jim Henderson reacted to Boydstun in Ballet   
    SWAN LAKE -Tchaikovsky
    Nureyev and Fonteyn 1966
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qG7JvpPGdEU
     

  13. Like
    Jim Henderson got a reaction from Boydstun in What are you listening at the moment?   
    Richter
  14. Like
    Jim Henderson reacted to Boydstun in Some Fine Film Finales   
    Now Voyager

  15. Like
    Jim Henderson reacted to Boydstun in Some Fine Film Finales   
    Cat on a Hot Tin Roof 

  16. Like
    Jim Henderson reacted to Boydstun in Some Fine Film Finales   
    On the Beach

  17. Like
    Jim Henderson reacted to Boydstun in Some Fine Film Finales   
    Shadowlands
    "The pain now is part of the happiness then. That's the deal."

  18. Like
    Jim Henderson reacted to Boydstun in Facebook   
    I joined Facebook originally in order to get access to particulars of certain Objectivist gigs that, some years back, were being announced outside of Facebook, but to get the particulars you had to be able to get into the link to Facebook, which in those days required FB membership. I had not intended to do any socializing there. I had used my real name, and after a few months of being on there, a long-time real-life friend found me and made Friend request to me, which I accepted. Next thing you know, I got Friendy with other real-life friends. Then a deluge, becoming Friend to people I've known only online.
    It is a distraction from other projects, but I've so enjoyed it these last seven years or so. I make the rounds to the Page of each of my Friends and see what they've been up to or have had to say. The variety of purposes to which people use their Page is interesting. Many have much interest in politics. Also cats or dogs. My Friends consist of family, philosophy/libertarian types, high school classmates, and gay friends known from when we lived in Chicago. Sometimes I get a Friend request that I accept, but then it becomes evident over a few months, that they were just gathering audience for doing their political spiels, never responding to what I post on my own page, and I unFriend them. Another neat thing about FB that enables one to have the sort of social experience one wants there, is that you can Block a person (whether Friend or not) such that you and they no longer see each others posts, even when you are both posting at the page of a mutual Friend. That's effective: if someone is saying nasty things to you, usually over political differences, just block them, and continue to participate in peace thereafter.
    We retired to Lynchburg, VA in 2009, and ever-better internet communications have made it possible to continue or begin anew being with friendly acquaintances of all sorts from across a lifetime.
    At my own Page, I don't write about politics, culture wars, etc.---plenty of opportunity to discuss those things at other people's Page. The most wonderful thing I use at my Page is the area they have provided under Photos called Albums. I have created several Albums, friends and family really appreciate them. Me too, and if later on in life, I can no longer remember on my own who I was or my loved ones or what had been my life, I hope there will be someone who will lead me to my Albums.
  19. Like
    Jim Henderson reacted to Boydstun in Brainworks   
    On Human Perception of a Starry Sky
    "For millennia, humans have looked to the night sky and chosen star groups to name. But why does Centaurus comprise that specific set of stars rather than some other? We hypothesize that the perception of star groups (constellations) can be explained by a simple model of eye movements taking a random walk along a network of star-to-star transition probabilities. The walk is biased by angular distances between stars, preferred angular distances of human eye movements (also known as saccades), and stars’ apparent magnitudes. To derive predicted constellations from the random walk, we employ a free energy model of mental calculations that maximizes the accuracy of perception while minimizing computational complexity. The model transforms the true transition probability matrix among stars into a perceived matrix, in which star clusters are evident. We show that the statistics of the perceived star clusters naturally align with the boundaries between true constellations. Our findings offer a simple explanation for the identities of the 88 standard constellations."
  20. Like
    Jim Henderson reacted to Boydstun in My Verses   
    "Hardness of Happiness"
    (Click on photo - poem March 2021)
     

  21. Like
    Jim Henderson reacted to Boydstun in James G. Lennox   
    In his book to issue this spring, James G. Lennox "argues that Aristotle has a richly normative view of scientific inquiry, and that those norms are of two kinds: a general, question-guided framework applicable to all scientific inquiries, and domain-specific norms reflecting differences in the target of inquiry and in the means of observation available to researchers. To see these norms of inquiry in action, the second half of this book examines Aristotle's investigations of animals, the soul, material compounds, the motions of heavenly bodies, and respiration."
    That book is Aristotle on Inquiry (Cambridge).
  22. Like
    Jim Henderson reacted to Boydstun in Correspondence and Coherence blog   
    Berra, Aaron - 1957

  23. Like
    Jim Henderson got a reaction from Boydstun in Atlas Shrugged   
    You mention that "Philosophic traditions down from the Greeks have constructed arguments to conclude that just acts are good for the agent (the self)." A good example of this can be found in Cicero's book, On Friendship (Laelius de Amicitia). In it Cicero states that "the very essence of friendship" is "a common set of beliefs, aspirations, and opinions." (p 31). He further states that friendship is only possible between those who "act and live so that their lives give proof of faithfulness, integrity, fairness, and generosity; and who are free from any low passion, greed, or violence; and are of great strength of character," (p 37). Most important for true friendship, however, is virtue and "virtue, too, loves itself," (p 165); in conclusion he states, "I say it is virtue that creates and preserves friendships. Virtue is the source of compatibility, stability, and permanence." (p 169)
    Cicero's stance would seem to be one that in most respects is consistent with Rand's view as it prominently does not depend on "service above self", but is consistent with integrity and treating others with respect while acting virtuously.
    Quotes are all from How to be a Friend: An Ancient Guide to True Friendship by Marcus Tullius Cicero, trans. by Philip Freeman. Princeton University Press, 2018.
  24. Like
    Jim Henderson reacted to intrinsicist in Thoughts on Walden   
    I share your distaste in those particular aspects, but find the book overall to be extremely good. Keep going and let me know how your opinion changes.
    Favorite Walden quotes...

    ----------
    "If I should sell both my forenoons and afternoons to society, as most appear to do, I am sure that for me there would be nothing left worth living for."
     
    "We select granite for the underpinning of our houses and barns; we build fences of stone; but we do not ourselves rest on an underpinning of granitic truth, the lowest primitive rock."
    "In proportion as our inward life fails, we go more constantly and desperately to the post-office. You may depend on it, that the poor fellow who walks away with the greatest number of letters, proud of his extensive correspondence, has not heard from himself this long while."
     
    "I do not know but it is too much to read one newspaper a week. I have tried it recently, and for so long it seems to me that I have not dwelt in my native region. The sun, the clouds, the snow, the trees say not so much to me. You cannot serve two masters. It requires more than a day's devotion to know and to possess the wealth of a day."
     
    "Shall the mind be a public arena, where the affairs of the street and the gossip of the tea-table chiefly are discussed? Or shall it be a quarter of heaven itself, — an hypæthral temple, consecrated to the service of the gods?"
     
    "By all kinds of traps and signboards, threatening the extreme penalty of the divine law, exclude such trespassers from the only ground which can be sacred to you."
     
    "if you would know what will make the most durable pavement, surpassing rolled stones, spruce blocks, and asphaltum, you have only to look into some of our minds which have been subjected to this treatment so long."
     
    "We should treat our minds, that is, ourselves, as innocent and ingenuous children, whose guardians we are, and be careful what objects and what subjects we thrust on their attention. Read not the Times. Read the Eternities."
     
    "How many things there are concerning which we might well deliberate whether we had better know them, — had better let their peddling-carts be driven, even at the slowest trot or walk, over that bridge of glorious span by which we trust to pass at last from the farthest brink of time to the nearest shore of eternity!"
     
    "We tax ourselves unjustly. There is a part of us which is not represented. It is taxation without representation. We quarter troops, we quarter fools and cattle of all sorts upon ourselves. We quarter our gross bodies on our poor souls, till the former eat up all the latter's substance."
     
    "Why should they begin digging their graves as soon as they are born?"
    "Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion. What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate."
     
    "As if you could kill time without injuring eternity."
     
    "the same sun which ripens my beans illumines at once a system of earths like ours. If I had remembered this it would have prevented some mistakes. This was not the light in which I hoed them."
     
    "There are nowadays professors of philosophy, but not philosophers."
    "When he has obtained those things which are necessary to life, there is another alternative than to obtain the superfluities; and that is, to adventure on life now, his vacation from humbler toil having commenced. The soil, it appears, is suited to the seed, for it has sent its radicle downward, and it may now send its shoot upward also with confidence. Why has man rooted himself thus firmly in the earth, but that he may rise in the same proportion into the heavens above?"
     
    "I am sure that there is greater anxiety, commonly, to have fashionable, or at least clean and unpatched clothes, than to have a sound conscience."
     
    "We know but few men, a great many coats and breeches."
      
    "the number of those who own a shelter is a very small fraction of the whole. The rest pay an annual tax for this outside garment of all, become indispensable summer and winter, which would buy a village of Indian wigwams, but now helps to keep them poor as long as they live"
     
    "An average house in this neighborhood costs perhaps eight hundred dollars, and to lay up this sum will take from ten to fifteen years of the laborer's life, even if he is not encumbered with a family — estimating the pecuniary value of every man's labor at one dollar a day, for if some receive more, others receive less; — so that he must have spent more than half his life commonly before his wigwam will be earned.
     
    If we suppose him to pay a rent instead, this is but a doubtful choice of evils. Would the savage have been wise to exchange his wigwam for a palace on these terms?"
    "I reduce almost the whole advantage of holding this superfluous property as a fund in store against the future, so far as the individual is concerned, mainly to the defraying of funeral expenses. But perhaps a man is not required to bury himself."
     
    "On applying to the assessors, I am surprised to learn that they cannot at once name a dozen in the town who own their farms free and clear. If you would know the history of these homesteads, inquire at the bank where they are mortgaged. The man who has actually paid for his farm with labor on it is so rare that every neighbor can point to him. I doubt if there are three such men in Concord."
     
    "Most men appear never to have considered what a house is, and are actually though needlessly poor all their lives because they think that they must have such a one as their neighbors have."
     
    "what should be man's morning work in this world? I had three pieces of limestone on my desk, but I was terrified to find that they required to be dusted daily, when the furniture of my mind was all undusted still, and threw them out the window in disgust."
      
    "We now no longer camp as for a night, but have settled down on earth and forgotten heaven."
    "There is actually no place in this village for a work of fine art, if any had come down to us, to stand, for our lives, our houses and streets, furnish no proper pedestal for it. There is not a nail to hang a picture on, nor a shelf to receive the bust of a hero or a saint."
    "What is called eloquence in the forum is commonly found to be rhetoric in the study. The orator yields to the inspiration of a transient occasion, and speaks to the mob before him, to those who can *hear* him; but the writer, whose more equable life is his occasion, and who would be distracted by the event and the crowd which inspire the orator, speaks to the intellect and health of mankind, to all in any age who can *understand* him."
     
    "Little is to be expected of that day, if it can be called a day, to which we are not awakened by our Genius, but by the mechanical nudgings of some servitor, are not awakened by our own newly acquired force and aspirations from within, accompanied by the undulations of celestial music, instead of factory bells, and a fragrance filling the air — to a higher life than we fell asleep from; and thus the darkness bear its fruit, and prove itself to be good, no less than the light. That man who does not believe that each day contains an earlier, more sacred, and auroral hour than he has yet profaned, has despaired of life, and is pursuing a descending and darkening way. After a partial cessation of his sensuous life, the soul of man, or its organs rather, are reinvigorated each day, and his Genius tries again what noble life it can make. All memorable events, I should say, transpire in morning time and in a morning atmosphere. The Vedas say, "All intelligences awake with the morning." Poetry and art, and the fairest and most memorable of the actions of men, date from such an hour. All poets and heroes, like Memnon, are the children of Aurora, and emit their music at sunrise. To him whose elastic and vigorous thought keeps pace with the sun, the day is a perpetual morning. It matters not what the clocks say or the attitudes and labors of men. Morning is when I am awake and there is a dawn in me. Moral reform is the effort to throw off sleep. Why is it that men give so poor an account of their day if they have not been slumbering? They are not such poor calculators. If they had not been overcome with drowsiness, they would have performed something. The millions are awake enough for physical labor; but only one in a million is awake enough for effective intellectual exertion, only one in a hundred millions to a poetic or divine life. To be awake is to be alive. I have never yet met a man who was quite awake. How could I have looked him in the face?"
     
    "We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor."
     
    "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion."
     
    "If we read of one man robbed, or murdered, or killed by accident, or one house burned, or one vessel wrecked, or one steamboat blown up, or one cow run over on the Western Railroad, or one mad dog killed, or one lot of grasshoppers in the winter — we never need read of another. One is enough. If you are acquainted with the principle, what do you care for a myriad instances and applications? To a philosopher all news, as it is called, is gossip, and they who edit and read it are old women over their tea."
    "With a little more deliberation in the choice of their pursuits, all men would perhaps become essentially students and observers, for certainly their nature and destiny are interesting to all alike. In accumulating property for ourselves or our posterity, in founding a family or a state, or acquiring fame even, we are mortal; but in dealing with truth we are immortal, and need fear no change nor accident."
     
    "Books must be read as deliberately and reservedly as they were written."
     
    "A written word is the choicest of relics. It is something at once more intimate with us and more universal than any other work of art... It is the work of art nearest to life itself."
     
    "...when the Vaticans shall be filled with Vedas and Zendavestas and Bibles, with Homers and Dantes and Shakespeares, and all the centuries to come shall have successively deposited their trophies in the forum of the world. By such a pile we may hope to scale heaven at last."
     
    "yet this only is reading, in a high sense, not that which lulls us as a luxury and suffers the nobler faculties to sleep the while, but what we have to stand on tip-toe to read and devote our most alert and wakeful hours to."
     
    "How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book!"
     
    "Who would not be early to rise, and rise earlier and earlier every successive day of his life, till he became unspeakably healthy, wealthy, and wise?"
  25. Thanks
    Jim Henderson reacted to Boydstun in Feynman And Ayn Rand   
    Lawrence Edward Richard, firstly, welcome. I wondered if you are related to the Lawrence Edward Richard who died in 2011, because a Facebook man of that name stopped posting there at that time and recently that page has started again having posts under that name. I wondered if perhaps you were his son or other relation. Anyway, welcome to Objectivism Online. I enjoy your posts, as so many others here.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I think Rand, as any person in a sensible moment, would squarely object to the statement of Feynman’s as stated, which William Hobba rightly disputed, at the root post of this thread. In its context, which is unknown to me, we might see some better sense to Feynman’s remark. To the remark as it stands here, I would add to Mr. Hobba’s remark that Newton’s definition of Force, as well as its expanded formula by Einstein/Planck, is precise. They are both precise. That the later one is wider in correct application and contains the earlier one in the appropriate physical limit, does not make the later one more precise, but more widely correct. On and on, there is precise definition in physics. The definition of what are canonically conjugate pairs of dynamical variables is precise. The indeterminacy of their precise joint values in the quantum regime is precise. The definition of what is a Feynman Diagram is precise.
    Rand praised modern science a lot, but had criticisms of a number of general things being said about science by ’57, quoted from the fictitious book Why Do You Think You Think? (AS 340-41). Also in Atlas Shrugged, she made a couple of criticisms of some particular modern science. Most famously, she criticized Behaviorist psychology, which critique she extend in a later essay concerning Skinner. She indicated what was by her lights a wise attitude towards QM, with its “Uncertainty Principle” so salient with the educated public at the time, through words of the fictional character Dr. Stadler (346). She never returned to QM physics stuff herself, but she put her stamp of approval on all the contents of Peikoff’s 1976 lecture series “The Philosophy of Objectivism” which included his understanding and critique of the “measurement problem” in QM.
    Rand’s rejection of Behaviorism and (with Branden) of human instincts (under some prominent meanings) and the subconscious (under some prominent meanings) was under her view in what is usually called philosophical psychology. Her conception of What is a human being? was at odds with those quasi- or pseudo-scientific psychology schematics. 
    Rand carried in The Objectivist a serial article on epistemological issues in biology that was authored by Robert Efron, a distinguished neuroscientist (Christoff Koch was a student of his). The title was “Biology without Consciousness” (1968). Rand savaged a paper by philosopher of science Feyerabend in her 1970 essay “Kant v. Sullivan.” Rand’s philosophy has also had some interface with science in her conceptions of what sort of thing could or could not be a cause anything.
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