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Everything posted by Extrication

  1. Yes No No There were quite a few things that came to mind when I was reading that speech. One thing in particular that I would like to discuss, since you ask is the notion of the cannibal society (page 972). Do you think that Miss Rand believed that USA was a cannibal society? I think I can see what she was getting at. It seems to be that the Australian and American societies are built on successive waves of immigration. New immigrants arrive and perform the less desirable, low wage, and more arduous work thus helping sustain the property market, the welfare system and consequently the lifestyle of the members of previous immigration waves. In such a system older immigrants could be said to be metaphorically cannibalising newer immigrants. Miss Rand was an immigrant herself do you think Miss Rand may have been highlighting the immorality of such a state of affairs having perceived herself as being cannibalised in her early years when she first arrived in the United States and had to support herself by doing menial work? Would anyone like to perhaps conjecture as to any real life evidence (both for or against) of this theory?
  2. Hi, I'm looking for a cogent and intelligent internet based analysis/debate/discussion of the John Galt speech and the novel "Atlas Shrugged". It could be both for or against Objectivist ideas. Ideally it would be unbiased. Could anyone help? It's just for my own personal use so that I may explore the ideas of this philosophical novel. Thanks
  3. I am inclined to believe that the science of evolutionary psychology can help us understand some of the mysteries of the human mind and consequently can be a huge practical value. According to two evolutionary psychologists evolutionary psychology is founded on the following principles: 1. The brain is a physical system. It functions as a computer with circuits that have evolved to generate behavior that is appropriate to environmental circumstances 2. Neural circuits were designed by natural selection to solve problems that human ancestors faced while evolving into Homo sapiens 3. Consciousness is a small portion of the contents and processes of the mind; conscious experience can mislead individuals to believe their thoughts are simpler than they actually are. Most problems experienced as easy to solve are very difficult to solve and are driven and supported by very complicated neural circuitry 4. Different neural circuits are specialized for solving different adaptive problems. 5. Modern skulls house a stone age mind. The have a primer on the subject here: http://www.psych.ucsb.edu/research/cep/primer.html What's BUGE? Could you clarify exactly what you mean by this giving maybe an example or two? What is conceptual content and value formation? Is this all explained in OPAR and ItOE? I received these books yesterday. Actually this research indicates that it is our subconscious mind decides what is going on in the the outside world. The conscious mind merely receives the reports of the results of the invisible workings of unconscious mind (according to this research). So there is a powerful invisible intermediate level driver of behaviour that is neither conscious nor reflexive. Why is human volition necessary for concept formation? Again I suppose I should read the texts that you recommended before asking these questions. There can be no doubt that emotions can and do strongly influence our behaviour. I strongly doubt that our volitional consciousness is capable of directing all of our actions and making all of our decisions. When you smile or frown do you do so as a result of a conscious decision? Neither am I, but I am interested in learning more about these subjects. I think many areas of philosophy will need to be revised based on the findings of these sciences. I think you have misunderstood the what I meant by the Jungian archetype of mother. I'm suggesting that the human brain comes pre-configured with a 'mother archtype' that will usually be attached to a physical person (a child's mother) by means of scents, facial recognition etc. soon after birth in other words bonding. The mind of the child will thus ascribe a very high value to the person that it has labeled as its mother. This behavior is non-volitional. I remember doing experiments at school where I 'conditioned' a newly hatched chicken to believing my hand was its mother. Whenever I cupped my and near it, it would rush toward my hand. This mother-child bond is so strong that it lasts a lifetime for most people. There may well be a psychological explanation for the "sanction of the victim" theory in AS. People could consciously override these situations but not without some heartache.
  4. What is the nature of the "you"? Is it a physical thing or something else? If this "you" is directing your consciousness then what directs the "you"? What causes "you" to direct direct your consciousness? Is the "you" a spiritual or supernatural entity? Try this exercise in introspection: Try to meditate alone in a quiet darkened room. Now try not to think any conscious thought. Do not allow yourself to think any thoughts. You should be able to do that if you are capable of directing your own consciousness. Can you do it? If not why not? I have not met anyone that can do this. Usually people start thinking about various seemingly random things automatically such as: oh my back is itchy, or what was that noise? or I'm starting to feel hungry what will I have for lunch? These sort of thoughts pop into the mind involuntarily. I would liken this to computer program that continual inputs data from various sources and outputs processed data into the mind. Where is the free will? Free will is illusory.
  5. Sorry I will re-word that final sentence: Yes, those traits facilitate the survival of that organism for a limited amount of time but if in certain circumstances an organisms reproduction is facilitated by its destruction their is no reason why it will not in such a manner as to destroy itself, thus ensuring its genes are passed on to the next generation, which what natural selection has designed all organisms to do.
  6. Living beings appear to act to survive to the best of their ability in some but not all circumstances. The mating behaviour of praying mantises and redback spiders is clear evidence of this. Animal behaviour has been shaped by the forces of natural selection over millions of years. Animals do what they do because their ancestors reproduced and endowed their progeny with those similar traits that facilitated their own reproduction. Yes those traits facilitate the survival of that organism for a limited amount of time but if in certain circumstances an animals reproduction is facilitated by its destruction their is no reason why it will act not to survive.
  7. Thomas, how exactly is this attitude trying to ascribe human consciousness and omniscience to these animals?
  8. It won't go extinct if it has mated and has passed its genes on to the next generation. It is the timid males, unwilling to sacrifice their lives to mate are the ones that will go extinct.
  9. I live in Australia, many companies have paid paternity and maternity leave which amounts the workers being paid more per hour worked according to their need. Here in Australia massive welfare payments (baby bonus, child endowment, paid maternity leave) are given to people that have children. ie. payment according to need. Many of the people that receive these payments do not even work at all.
  10. First some general comments. My educational background is in Chemistry, Physics and Computer Science at a university level. What is your educational background if I may ask? It might help me better understand where you are coming from. I have close to zero formal training psychology and philosophy though I have dipped into these fields in the course of my own recreational reading. During my studies of psychology I encountered Jung's theory of archetypes and the collective unconscious. I quote from “The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious (1934)” “A more or less superficial layer of the unconscious is undoubtedly personal. I call it the "personal unconscious". But this personal layer rests upon a deeper layer, which does not derive from personal experience and is not a personal acquisition but is inborn. This deeper layer I call the "collective unconscious". I have chosen the term "collective" because this part of the unconscious is not individual but universal; in contrast to the personal psyche, it has contents and modes of behaviour that are more or less the same everywhere and in all individuals.” Also from Wikipedia: “Archetypes are, according to Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, innate universal psychic dispositions that form the substrate from which the basic themes of human life emerge. Being universal and innate, their influence can be detected in the form of myths, symbols, rituals and instincts of human beings. Archetypes are components of the collective unconscious and serve to organize, direct and inform human thought and behaviour. According to Jung, archetypes heavily influence the human life cycle, propelling a neurologically hard-wired sequence which he called the stages of life. Each stage is mediated through a new set of archetypal imperatives which seek fulfilment in action. These may include being parented, initiation, courtship, marriage and preparation for death.[1]“ Do Objectivists reject these Jungian theories? I now respond in-line to your comments: Yes, I would suggest it was the word "powerful" that she was objecting to, implying that these drives are weak and can be overridden by the conscious mind. OK I know I have a lot of reading to do. I haven't even received my copies of OPAR or ItOE yet! I'm not sure what innate perceptual-level values and behaviours are. No, I don't think so. What you are describing there is a mechanical skill. I now concede that my suggestion of a distinction between drives and urges is wrong. I checked the dictionary, the two words essentially mean the same thing. Actually there's no single agreed definition of knowledge but if you like we can use your definition for the purposes of this discussion. Is that an Objectivists definition? No, I'm afraid I can't quite accept that analogy. Firstly it would not be the consequences that are considered knowledge but the programming itself. In the babies case there is a program somehow stored in the babies mind that facilitates suckling which admittedly which may or may not be knowledge depending on whether the baby is conscious and/or thinking (according to your definition of knowledge). Of course a human is not born with any knowledge of what ATP is any more than a human is born with the knowledge of what a pancreas is. I would suggest what is going on in the babies mind is something like this: (perception of hunger) + (perception of shape of nipple) → (trigger/call suckling subroutine) Whether the shape of the nipple and the mechanical skill of suckling are knowledge or not is merely a question of semantics. If it is not knowledge it is information that a baby's mind comes pre-programmed with. If a baby did not come pre-programmed with this information it would not be able to make the above association and therefore it would subsequently starve to death it not given medical treatment. I agree. But what if human being come preconfigured with certain Jungian archetypes (such as the archetype of a mother) which a human being is predisposed to ascribe a certain value to, do not such concepts deserve inclusion in a discussion about codes of values? Cast your mind back to some of the discussions between Hank Rearden and his mother. I agree that his mother did treat him very poorly but somehow I felt some of the things he said to his mother where just wrong even though I had a lot of sympathy for Hank Rearden. Life may not be a black and white issue after all. By the way, if anyone knows where I can get a text file of Atlas Shrugged so I can do text searches could you please post a link! I have already paid for both the physical book and the audio book of Atlas Shrugged. It would be useful to have a text file of it. Do Objectivists permit themselves to ascribe value to something solely or in part due to the emotion impact it has on them? What would you prefer to do: A. Walk on a treadmill in a gym for 2 hours facing a brick wall or B. Walk along a pristine tropical beach on a sunny day for 2 hours. PS: Why do you refer to her as Miss Rand? She was married for most of her life after all.
  11. Sorry for the long delaying in answering. I thought it would be best to take my time in formulating a considered response. Maybe an admin could move my post to a more appropriate topic. Sorry about that I will post my questions to a more appropriate topic next time. After re-reading Ayn Rand's answer to this question: there is something I do not understand. First she answers She ends her answer by saying When she refers to "his so-called urges" is not she acknowledging that the answer to the original question is yes? Maybe she draws a distinction between drives and urges. I rang up a friend of mine who has recently given birth to two boys and I asked her if she had to teach her babies how to suckle for the first time. Fortunately she is quite an open and honest person and wasn't offended by my question. This is a paraphrase of her response: "Very soon after they were born they just rutted about instinctually till they found they nipple. I did not need to coax or teach them at all." Maybe this early behavior is a special case. Surely genetics influences human behavior. Maybe genetics is what gives us our emotions and our genetics influences us though our emotions. I must state the I do like Ayn Rand's idea that we should be guided by our conscious mind and not by our emotions. Then the question must be asked why? Why don't people prefer to sit in front a brick wall all weekend? It would probably be a cheaper pass-time. True but careers such as outdoor education, and park management are very popular I believe.
  12. Hi, I'm reading the transcript of the interview that Ayn Rand Gave to Playboy in 1964. Ayn Rand's answer (quoted below) really got me thinking as it contradicts my world model. Let us take the example of a baby learning to suck on a nipple for the first time. Does the baby "know" that sucking on the nipple will satisfy its hunger or is it something that it is taught by its mother? Why are hunting, fishing and hiking such popular pass-times? Are they not satisfying some non-rational biological instinct genetically programmed into men?
  13. Thanks John, I have placed an order for both of those books.
  14. G'day!

    That's 4 of us active or semi-active) on the forum now!

  15. I bought "Philosophy: Who Needs It" and "The Virtue Of Selfishness" from Borders a few days ago. They were the only two non-fiction works of Ayn Rand they had in stock.
  16. Greetings from Australia, I have almost finished reading "Atlas Shrugged" and I have found the ideas contained in it to strongly resonate with me. I intend to learn more about Objectivism and see how comfortable I am with it. I have previously read a lot of Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy and also found their ideas quite persuasive, though many of their ideas directly contradict the assertions of Objectivism. "Atlas Shrugged" has opened my eyes to the fact that the Christian philosophy of self-sacrifice may indeed be slowly destroying me. I have been an atheist since I was 14 but I was sent to church as a child so I suppose my basic code of ethics and philosophy is essentially Christian. I'm trying to find a consistent and practical personal philosophy and I am hopeful that Objectivism will be that which I seek. A few more details about me: Gender: Male Age: 42 Profession: Computer Programmer INTJ
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