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Everything posted by whYNOT

  1. "This isn't an epistemological claim about how one ought to think..." That is significant, and if as far that goes, no problem. But here's my problem: causality. "Emotions are evoked by perceived or imagined stimuli that generate a wide range of physiological responses--body states, as Damasio calls them--that in turn generate sets of mental images associated with those body states. For example, if you're walking in the woods and come across a bear, your perception of the bear's large bulk, possibly moving quickly toward you, will result in a series of physiological changes. Your pulse and respiration will quicken, your blood pressure will rise, your pupils will dilate, and adrenaline and other neurotransmitters will be released. Your brain senses these physiological responses, generates a host of mental images associated with this collective body state, and you experience the feeling you know as "fear." Note the sequence--the unconscious physiological responses precede the conscious awareness of the feeling". (from the essay) "Your perception - will result in - your pulse etc. - your brain senses these physiological changes - the unconscious...responses precede the conscious awareness of the feeling." This seems bunk to me. Your "brain" is the last to know -- effectively. Surely and conversely, one's senses, see (hear, touch, smell) an existent, stimulus or situation which instantly raises a subconscious - but previously consciously evaluated, good/bad for me - threat, and instantly brain chemicals are released, pulse rate jumps (etc.) Therefore, a consciousness initiates the process immediately causing the physiological responses and they in turn are what we *feel*, physically experience.
  2. Thank you, Stephen. I am getting up to speed on Damasio, e.g. here:https://www.edbatista.com/2011/07/antonio-damasio-on-emotion-and-reason.html and will need time to take in your paper. I have recently been in a debate in which others maintained that emotions must precede reason, consciousness is emotion, etc. which is lethally prominent in societies today - and that Damasio was the expert in this field, so I'm looking into him. They could be misinterpreting him. There are critical components I've not seen yet in Damasio's work on emotion and reason: identification, value, value-judgments and the "self-programming" of those in the subconscious. How does one *sense* which emotion is appropriate to feel for the bear one meets in the woods? Without some previous acquaintance, foreknowledge, etc.? There may be lack of causality and reversed causation (e.g. "I am angry because I strike" - James). But beyond doubt, the emotions provide invaluable, instant signals for our good and survival/well-being. For me the most masterful writing on emotions was done by Branden, whom I'd say built upon and refined on Rand. His thinking is evidently true to the point of being self-evident and irrefutable, I think. Just one indicative excerpt from Honoring the Self, ch. Rational Selfishness: "Another area of confusion concerns the relationship between reason and emotion. Rationality tells us we must not follow our emotions blindly, that to do so is undesirable and dangerous. Who can dispute that? But such counsel does not adequately deal with the possibility that in a particular situation our emotions might reflect the more correct assessment of reality. A clash between mind and emotions is a clash between two judgments, one of which is conscious, the other of which might not be. We do not follow the voice of emotion or feeling unthinkingly; rather we try to try to understand what it might be telling us. [introspection required, NB as with AR. "Why do I feel that?"]. [...] "This I might mention, is an example of where my approach differs from Rand's. She was far quicker to assume that in any conflict between the mind and the heart, it was the heart that had to be mistaken. Not necessarily -- although ultimately only reason can decide". HtS
  3. "Building on this foundation, he now shows how consciousness is created. Consciousness is the feeling of what happens-our mind noticing the body's reaction to the world and responding to that experience. Without our bodies there can be no consciousness, which is at heart a mechanism for survival that engages body, emotion, and mind in the glorious spiral of human life". "...our mind noticing the body's reaction to the world and responding to that experience." Sounds like "the pleasure-pain mechanism", which all sentient life has. What is Damasio saying contra Descartes- "I feel, therefore I am"?
  4. Huh, epidemiologists have 'models' like gypsies gaze into crystal balls. Half a million deaths in the UK, alone, they projected. Something over half a mill in the entire world, as it stands today. Good news, +/- 7.7 billion of the world pop. won't die of coronavirus. Bad news, this year like last year +/- 62 millions w.w. will die of other causes.
  5. dream_weaver, I don't have the capability on the virus side of things (and make no apologies) enough to question the epedimelogical- based policies - as this writer does https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/how-strong-was-the-scientific-advice-behind-lockdown ... ...but in total human terms - in terms of 'man's life' - one must question 1. how much 'loss' is due to the pandemic 2. how much to the lock down. And balance them by values gained and values lost: which is greater - and - how short and long term destructive/beneficial are the effects, together, in tandem? They, Covid-19 and the subsequent lock downs, have been accepted by populaces as mutually inclusive, cause and effect, as we see, but the one isn't necessarily contingent on the first. In the White Paper, Journo raises that a free nation and a first world nation should act in a certain way. Okay, and I argue that especially a free nation should have had no lock down. None, not ever. No matter how limited. Everything the government should focus on is to strongly advise and inform (and the obligations to look after people in state care, the homeless, etc.). The rest must be individual and voluntary. One's life should not be lived for non-specified others nor the others' for you. And spreading the responsibility of your life (by that morbid device of transmissibility) to others, the majority of whom are mostly healthy and/or young, and/or willing to take some reasonable chance with surviving the virus - so curtailing their lives, incomes, energetic outlets, aspirations, etc.etc., is the unquestioned and unquestionable sacrificial ethics at work here. As I view businesses failing and hear of 'small' personal tragedies unfolding every day -caused only by lock down measures, not the virus - I am sad and angry that others who could be fully living their 'lifes' and keeping business, commerce and industry continuously running are being surrendered for the sake, presumably, of those like myself who are older. I merely ask that no one lives for me. Absolute voluntarism is the only recourse. What we can see and will be with us for several decades is the financial and psychological and social fall-out and knock-on inflicting the many millions who presently fear for their health, AND fear of infecting others AND fear for their own futures. Those older or at higher risk, comorbidity, etc. need to take the full precautions and self-isolate, not everyone else. This virus while a new mutation belongs to a known family of viruses and it is/was always dubious of how can any virus "'be defeated". The costs have been enormous, beyond imagining, in that undertaking. The 'lock -down' is a blanket coverage solution that disavows individual lives, freedom and choices. In fact, is it not only the scientists who could come up with such a Grand Plan and only governments who could enforce it?
  6. The true meaning of "locking down", from a South African and of the contemptible SA govt. , but the gist is universal: https://www.facebook.com/VusiThembekwayoPage/videos/772639926813919/?fref=mentions&__xts__[0]=68.ARCQmnGyj7CowWO4x8SMStgZi5W3irDtcy7wPQniBaeRM53mqp7xK3VbVfQAr0tZpfsF4CdDYsFEk8up2epq9oF-R31JeMkOHSQ8xBY5cWAiOth8Fgiu5WWL0RbLur3zZykmduBbiQUES0c7sDiUzi5mgeGCOhDyfdTauwtPLiquK-45upocA54scZ61S9PAKjx_v78HJYcbx_mIZoAMIhX2ut_G1tDTjUoMWlQffZBvxcmb8aFm-jGNydB0a8DV69cyeefmil6RNHr2UFhToc5h0TxxRUMYzYPsHrcSg4q9746Zoc1QaGg83AonvNfmlnEiGfRobAcmhZnkqdyAwNa8JmGBMw&__tn__=K-R
  7. SL, Poetically said, I think the poetic manner is a singular way to condense and express this unbelievable totality of life and one's life's existence. There are wonders here, how this animal made of star-stuff could become consciously rational and aware of its consciousness which ~almost~ seem mythological or religious. "Lest we be mythologizing ourselves" - of the species and of the individual being, I don't know of how one cannot. Obviously, without the supernaturalism. That autonomous "I" unique to you was who could observe, will to think those things, question them and marvel. This recalls, I like that old "You are a child of the universe: no less than the trees and the stars, you have a right to be here". We are "right" to be here and right for "here", without any intention of the Universe. And another, from that song: "I sing the Body Electric ... I toast to my own reunion, when I become one with the Sun".
  8. "We'll probably all get Covid - 19 and keep getting it". https://www.spiked-online.com/2020/06/26/the-lockdown-is-causing-so-many-deaths/
  9. Certainly, there is hypocrisy and double standards in play. If not completely comparable to previous flu endemics, which were we hear not as contagious nor as fatal (although this remains to be seen, when more complete infection figures are known), but the fall out in human terms - and is that not the whole point of this? - had to be predictable from this pandemic's lockdown measures. It is a fact that for every one point loss of employment, the suicide rate goes up by a point. (Not anything I knew earlier, but the disease control bodies had to be aware of it or one must question their effectiveness). That 'one life at any cost' doctrine is essential altruism and an element of utilitarianism (but favoring the minority, I argue). At cost ... to whom? Has anyone stopped to consider, let alone halt one's own living, that another transmitted disease malaria, claims 400,000 lives a year, year on year in Africa? No, a mind isn't capable of taking in the large scale suffering and other -many- forms of painful deaths by disease and accident or mental suffering which afflict individual people whom one doesn't know, and the loss to their intimates. One is not, cannot and should be not, for the sake of one's rational sanity. Those whom one does personally know in pain and close to their end is more than enough place to dedicate one's caring. Making ~the general~ others' lives and lifes one's moral-emotional responsibility, that's clear altruism.
  10. https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/2562261/ https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/number-of-deaths-per-year
  11. Maggie, You are touching on many facets that this pandemic-lockdown has exposed, and one of them is the powers vested in governments. I put it that way because I don't see government per se, as the causal heart of the problem of our overbearing nanny statism. Yes, bureaucrats are always and have been only too happy to extend their powers, but it's the people who - ultimately - give it to them. The cause is the many citizens who clearly can't handle any amount of freedom and the selfish necessity to think for oneself, and therefore need the state to make their decisions and carry out the necessary actions. In short, the nanny to care for them is necessitated/caused by the (adult) children who depend on her. What freedom for an individualist amounts to : whose life is this, anyway? Stay out of mine. For an altruist-child: "you must look after me! I don't want to die!" The paradox raised is that altruism, always dominant is increasing in this time of infantilism and morbid terror of mortality. The greater majority of people in societies would have been lost without the often dictatorial, bureaucratic controls. The levels of panic (exacerbated by a media which deliberately boosts altruism-collectivism) by them, left alone without 'a nanny' - to think and choose, rationally and self-responsibly - have been bad enough. So up to a point I blame most of the governments less (except my own one, btw) and a majority of the people (and WHO's 'recommended' policies and models) more. What this ends up with, as you know - no one is allowed to be an individual, nor free, in this time more than ever. By pressure from "the other" and from govts. Others lives depend on you ...y'know. How can you be so selfishly callous? Right, the common refrain: "We are all in this together!". (Um, no, it seems "we" are all in this - apart - actually). And this one, heard regularly and the most disgusting: "Is it not wonderfully moral that the whole world could give up the economy and their livelihoods to save lives?!" Those are sentimental skeptics who have no idea of the standard of value "man's life", and see and measure only concrete "lives". And anti-capitalists, anyway, usually with safely tenured or guaranteed state employment. But in optimistic counter, reality bites eventually, and gradually there've been many more people emerging, who know from their own devastating losses and look around at others' suffering and trauma, and suicides, who are seeing the evils of sacrifice, plainly and for the first time. That returns to your "the best case against altruism".
  12. Hi Maggie. Yes, Governments all over fell to the same sacrificial altruism, your comprehension of which is exactly right. A few like my own, delight in the power it gives them and are reluctant to end our imprisonment. Those free-er are trying to get going sooner. What gets me is the self-sacrificial compliance shown around the world - and any dissidents have their objections stifled. ("Have you no compassion? What if it were YOUR mother/etc. who was infected?!": Answer: I look after my own and you do likewise! ). It was from the start until now the sight of small businesses closing, many of which I knew could not reopen, that deeply affected me, expanding to the millions more in every country. Then many of the large corps which looked invincible we see now are also filing for bankruptcy. Then millions out of work, and the central purpose of their lives gone, not to mention going short of money and in this place, pleading for food. The Motor of the World was allowed to stop and hardly anyone objected, all apparently presuming that man's mind is endless, always going to come to the rescue in constant self-sacrifice. "Not a bang but a whimper", comes to mind. Great post, and welcome!
  13. I saw it, he and others I have heard are greatly encouraging and confirm those things I'm on about, such as "the idea" of America. Please tell me he is indicative of the majority? No? But you note that whomever they are, they have in common a leaning to conservativism and definitely away from the Left. Maybe let's say they are the New Conservatives. Whatever, here's a man one could have long conversations with. By his words and inferences, he "identifies" and isn't timid to judge; he has practiced his free will (in coming out of a dicey start); he seems to think conceptually; he is individualist, and has integrity and independence; he knows about the effects of collectivism and race 'victimizing'; he would clearly be for individual rights; and above all he understands that freedom is being free from hindrance AND from help. I don't hesitate in considering him objectivist in everything but name. Could ARI invite him and other young conservatives into a panel discussion? There is where they should be "reaching out" lending the philosophy's intellectual/moral weight to already clear thinking and fine American individuals.
  14. One identifies - first. One makes value-assessments - next. Making things clear is half of what an Objectivist does. And, Eiuol, I'm sure you are a good guy, but your interpretation of saving the Republic as me being, let's say, rationalistic, is astonishing. This CAN be done and MUST be done.
  15. Maybe I'm less concerned about what you want to talk about. The OP has been outstripped by later events, not one "supremacy" but two, the second being Marxist.
  16. You speak rather blithely of replacing "their ideas with something". Ha, I'm in the choir, remember. My "complaints" appear to you as trivial, personal and subjective, no doubt. I have been warning about the rise of Leftism/extreme Leftism and the news propaganda (which I happen to have some expertise in) I watched helping perpetrate those ends for 5 years, and even longer in the UK and now there is no avoiding it. Anyone can see for themselves. Very little to do with the purported issues: policing, statues, political correctness, riots and 'racism', they are the cover, but a mortal attack on the "idea" of the USA from within. Horribly, a number are ready to sacrifice everyone else and any good to get into power. Not uncoincidentally at exactly the time the country is being ravaged, economically and morally weakened with a pandemic. Dismayingly, the business and commerce sector will not stand up for themselves. The better ideas have to be encouraged/defended - while - firmly keeping one's principles in mind. The good, Objectivist ideas in rights and laissez-faire, won't be accomplished in a vacuum, sorta magically all by themselves. Whatever the future, it will grow out of the present and near future. The "better idea" here is the Republic and its survival. Even assuming the Marxists will melt away for now, the compromised political scene will definitely I think go soft socialist, leaning harder with further Administrations. If some Objectivists have no problem with that, I am in the wrong place. So wake up, especially the Ayn Rand Institute, come down from those idealistic clouds and get your hands dirty, not despite your principles but *because of* the principles. Most certainly make no compromises, but the political game and the mass of people is not under our direct control and power. Objectivists persuade - but if they hold themselves aloof and *only* criticize/condemn - usually by impossible standards to non-Oists (as with this President and less with his predecessors, I noticed) - Objectivists and the philosophy will lose credibilty, influence and relevance in most minds. One goes a long way in persuasion by saying to others: I think you did well here; less well there. Your thinking was mostly good; your methods were poor, but your purpose and goal is right. etc. This has been my concern. If the USA loses this battle we are everywhere in for a dark age.
  17. But returning to Black Lives Matter, nothing spreads like bad news, and even here in SA I'm seeing by changing attitudes, hearing and reading of a new black against white campaign inspired by BLM. Not by the majority yet, who are generally decent and good-willed individuals (but for how long until this crippling virus lockdown sinks in, and they find they are permanently jobless and the white businessmen - who are going bankrupt - get the blame? Any easy target but the ANC government: that corrupt and incompetent body who'd done their best to ruin the economy for years) but from the 'intellectuals' and columnists, all Leftist and neo-Marxist to the core. Europe and England has caught the BLM disease worse, great corporations and industries are caving in to so-called anti-racist demands, people are being fired for demurring, but all lives matter...
  18. While the media (that Leftist monolith, indeed, Eiuol) was laying into the white supremacists, somehow they neglected by misdirection to also mention this bunch. More globally organized, embedded and lethal by far: https://gatestoneinstitute.us9.list-manage.com/track/click?u=ae44aaf3f07dbffc928ba7cb5&id=be00f5b35c&e=454b6dbddc
  19. Politics - "socio-politics" - is moving faster than philosophy. This is where I've chosen to focus, for one example, and am appalled that many of my colleagues don't see what this conservative does and several others have, and write about and broadcast it clearly and unambivalently: The Establishment Strikes Back By Buck Sexton Dear reader, If you turn on the TV or open up your newspaper, you'll find practically nothing about the fiercely contested presidential race just five months away. At least at first glance... The stories appear to be focused on an array of topics that aren't about electoral politics. And yet most of what we see is presented with a clear theme: America is doing poorly. There's the renewed media obsession with COVID-19, for example. The few weeks of relative quiet is all over now. Predictably, the Democrat-dominated media took a brief hiatus from the "social distancing" mantra so that tens of thousands of protestors (and rioters) wouldn't be the target of public shaming. There was a convenient absence of public health professionals on cable news networks or social media calling out protestors for their mass gatherings. Who needs social distancing when you have social justice? Among conservatives and independent-minded voters, this partisan hypocrisy was noted – causing a tremendous loss of faith in the so-called "objective experts" who are now demanding another lockdown. National media is also focused on the nationwide protests... which so often turn into riots. Nonetheless, they are described as "mostly peaceful" even when journalists can clearly see a burning building and violent mobs. At first, the movement was all about the killing of George Floyd and police brutality. Then it rapidly transitioned into demands for police budget cuts or even total police defunding. Now it's a Marxist movement seeking to erase and rewrite American history through toppling and destroying statues. Nobody really knows what these protestors will be enraged about next week. It doesn't really matter. Journalists certainly don't plan to get to the bottom of any of it. The point of all this rabble rousing and street activism is not to address systemic inequality or the history of American oppression and racism. This is all about power politics and the upcoming election, plain and simple. Call it the "Make America Miserable Again" plan. Recommended Link: 3 million to lose jobs... NOT because of coronavirus? A terrifying (for some) and new disruptive force is creating thousands of new millionaires (Barron's estimates 20,000 to 200,000 so far) while at the same time destroying the financial future for many others. Don't get left behind. Get the facts for yourself here. These mobs have taken to the streets as part of a mass mobilization of the Democrat party.... whether shouting in cops' faces, looting stores, or burning down buildings. And they are running a widespread and well-coordinated campaign against President Donald Trump – they're just not doing it in the most traditional way. Think of it as asymmetrical political warfare. This is not a standard presidential battle between two men... Presidential candidate Joe Biden is effectively a ghost, refusing to leave his basement in Delaware unless he dons an ominous black face mask and dark sunglasses. He seems to forget where he is and mumbles a bizarre gaffe almost daily. Few believe Biden is going to inspire a movement. But that's not the plan... All Biden has to do is fog a mirror. The establishment will take care of the rest. That's because all of 2020 is a referendum on Trump. If the mood of the country is positive and hopeful this November, he's probably going to be the president for four more years. The country doesn't have to be perfect... It just has to be moving in the right direction. What Trump was doing before the pandemic was working. All he has to do now is convince enough voters that he has a plan to bring back the economy of January 2020. On the other hand, Democrats and the establishment ruling class will seek to stop this "right direction" feeling at all costs. We are seeing that effort right now. The more they can get the American people to focus on a pandemic, civil unrest, and mounting economic anxiety from the shutdowns – the tougher it will be for Trump to focus on his voters and go on the offensive against his opponent. The national news media is pulling out all the stops to make sure that there is an overwhelming narrative of national fatigue and frustration that has set in by November. All of this will play to Biden and the Democrats' advantage... Fair or not, the American people expect the party in power to deliver. Trump is the guy in the White House with the biggest job in the world, and voters in the swing states aren't going to respond well to anything that sounds like, "It wasn't my fault, it was the virus and the dirty-fighting Democrats" – no matter how true that may be. Trump doesn't have to beat Biden... He has to beat the ruling class that is still in a state of shock and rage from 2016. Back then, they laughed at him and assumed they could force him out with the absurd Russia collusion hoax. Now, they're willing to tank the whole country as long as it finishes off Trump's reelection. Remember that as you watch and read all these stories about a nation in crisis. If we simply refuse to undergo lockdown again and enforce some law and order in the streets, America will bounce back pretty quickly. The biggest obstacle to our recovery is not from a virus or an anti-cop narrative... but is the coordinated, stop at nothing effort of many powerful individuals and their interests that view America as mere collateral damage in their maniacal anti-Trump campaign.
  20. Fascinating how low down some major nations are in GDP, lower than the top 20 in Walter William's estimation: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwj0v_3grqvqAhWDShUIHaKtC90QFjALegQIBBAB&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.usatoday.com%2Fstory%2Fmoney%2F2019%2F07%2F07%2Frichest-countries-in-the-world%2F39630693%2F&usg=AOvVaw22yy9R6OeySw_tzaX-_flx
  21. Intellectuals like this fellow: http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/williams062420.php3
  22. Yes, and this foul influence is sweeping all over the world now. What is dawning on many people, but nobody wants to articulate, is that some blacks are as a capable of racism as have been and are some whites. And why, in fact, should they not be? What underlies this evasion but intrinsicism, paternalism and condescension by mostly the Leftists (and the "soft bigotry of lowered expectations"). For long term damage, the Left has done the worst to societies. By viewing other races, by race, as children to be uplifted. As among any peoples there is an equal human propensity for any black here and there to compare and contrast and build up resentment, envy and anger of the 'other' on surface, racial impressions, because 'they' are seen to have more/do better/etc.. Instead of looking to oneself and one's own choices. Until this conversation can be openly held by anyone of any race, not only by the outstanding black intellectuals, the truth will be stifled. Rather an aside, and more psychological I happened to re-read some parts of Nathaniel Branden's Honoring the Self. This passage struck me anew: "Not self, but the absence of self, is closer to being the root of all evil. ... In failing to develop an independent and strong ego, to evolve to moral sovereignty, we become capable of unspeakable atrocities..." Broadened from personal "individuation" to entire societies this seemed apt and recalled by your line from the Galt speech.
  23. I endorse what you have written, especially the last. Very good. Full circle the secularists have turned, back to another "the kingdom of God". There is the same religious fervor and moral sanctimony, from the Left this time. The mystics of muscle and the mystics of spirit have only superficial differences. In reality, as many stand today, I prefer the latter's far better grasp of reality and values. They must only leave our bodies alone.
  24. D_m, What should take prime place at your table is that this battle is not racist or anti-racist - i.e., racialist - it is ideological. The Left and its media has "weaponized" race for its own unprincipled ends and millions of innocents (and ignorant dupes) of any race who initially went along out of sympathy and some innocent desire for social justice are being trapped in the deeper undercurrents. I think it must be stressed that the Left, as it has become, are today's biggest pragmatists. Of course none can see individuals, they perceive the power of masses and "demographics"; they are determinists, majoritarians and collectivists. In effect, "Since we know the greater and growing ethnicities, religion and nationalities are black, brown, Chinese, Muslims, than they are whom we must kow-tow to". Those (always conservative) American blacks whom we hear pridefully refuse 'the victimhood narrative" thrust on them - as well as Muslim reformists, usually bravely outspoken females - have been loathed, rejected and ignored by the Left and the MSM - which goes to prove this point. Not race, but the ideology of force of numbers. The white tribe and Christians are on the slide, numerically, and can be safely silenced and condemned for their original sins: their contributions in the gradual making of a civilization and the original Western values of reason and liberal rights. From which base their foes can launch attacks on them, horrendously, ironically and hypocritically. In confusion, without intellectual certainty, moderate minority groups can put up no resistance and humbly accept their own guilt. The ultimate fantasy which the New Left dream of is some sort of Marxist, global paradise, is all I can imagine.
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