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Charles Lester

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  1. There is a rumor that socialists, communists and other ethnic variants have been very successful at spreading: That capitalism depends on an “underclass,” or even goes so far as to create an underclass. It has always defied me—even when I was a staunch socialist—that this rumor could persist as well as it has. The most basic question—then and now—which comes to mind is: How can a capitalist make money, if everyone—or anyone—can’t afford what he sells? Put another way: How would a baker be "better off" if there are none—other than himself—capable of buying his bread? Logically speaking, it is easily understood that capitalism ultimately depends on there being as many people as possible capable of buying and/or producing things that are needed by other producers; as against some fabled "underclass." To demonstrate this, I think that it might be a good idea to take money out of the equation in order to simplify things a little. As an example, let’s invent a primitive tribe of hunter-gatherers that function as a capitalist band. Let’s further imagine that there are only five men within their society. One of them makes arrows; one makes knives; one builds and cooks; one makes lashings and fine tools; and the last is leader of the hunt. Each of these men—I assert—is better off producing as much as possible within the society; and none is better off trying to hold the other back. How could it be better—for the knife maker—that the arrow maker makes fewer arrows and bows? If there aren’t enough arrows, then, the number of kills that the band will be able to make will be fewer. How could it be better—for the arrow maker—if the knife maker made fewer knives? If there are not enough knives, it would take much longer to cut the animals up into much more manageable chunks. How would they skin the animal, so that they can maximize the amount of leather they have to make quivers, clothing and shelter? If these two men were to gang up on the builder/cook, in order to “squeeze” him; then, they would be left without a prepared meal. They would still have to build their hunting tools, AND NOW, cook for themselves—leaving little energy for them to do much else. Where would their hut come from; since, they have limited the number of huts that the builder can make? They would have to share a hut now—assuming that there's one available for them. How is this better off? No matter what the product is within their society, limiting its production would not be smarter, but an absurdity! An allegation no less absurd, than the one levied against the greatest producers within our society! Within the context of a capitalist system, there is an "occurrence" that seems to be quite common. But, before I label what it is, I will continue the previous example, and demonstrate how the "occurrence" works, before I let the cat out of the bag. Let’s now assume that the tribesman who is supposed to make lashings and fine tools decides—for whatever reason—that he will not be making many—if any—tools and lashings. How will he be able to justify his portion of the hunt? How will he be able to provide for himself the benefits of the cook and the hut maker? The answer is simple: He assassinates the character of the thinker within the group. Since intellectual expertise is the least tangible commodity, the commodity that in “good times” is most-easily taken for granted, and—quiet as it’s kept—the most enviable commodity, the should-be tool and lashings maker begins a campaign of distraction and subversion. He tells the other workers that they are the ones who keep the tribe going; and, that the leader of the hunt is exploiting their efforts. After all, what work does he do? Yes, he’s there at the hunt—but so are we! Why does he get as much as we do? We provide the tools for the hunt. We provide the meals that he eats. We provide the hut that he sleeps in at night. Why should his portion be as much as ours? And, by the way, who put him in charge? We must—if things are to be fair—organize ourselves and demand more of him! The tribesmen—in the example—are faced with a choice. Do they go along with the should-be toolmaker’s plan, or, do they disregard it as rubbish, and require that he “do his part” within their society? In order to be moral in their actions, the tribesmen have to justify what they do. If to none but themselves, they must, or face the iniquity of their actions head-on. In joining with the toolmaker, the tribesmen have to discount the values that the leader of the hunt brings into their lives. They have to eliminate: mind. After all, no one has to “work” for what they know. No one—they would say—has to “work” in order to be able to decide on anything correctly. The value of the leader’s decision-making ability has to drop out of existence, if the tribe is to force more work out of him, and be able to justify it—morally. If the tribesmen acknowledge the leader’s contributions, then they realize how much better off they are—if he’s good at his job. He consistently knows where to find prey. He consistently, and successfully navigates the terrain, after first studying it and understanding the geological and geographical information available to him. He intelligently delegates the various roles within the hunt, in order to maximize the energy that will be expended by the five hunters. He designs good strategies, in order for the hunters to be much more successful than they would have been, as compared to a plan that any of the others would have come up with. They all lack the expertise that he possesses. One path is capitalism; the other is socialism or its variants. One path recognizes all men’s right to what they produce, and that they function as traders within their society. The other enslaves some or all men to others. One is good. The other is evil. In one sentence, I can summarize: Socialism is the system of the power luster, who usurps power from men, by preying on their envy of others. Philosopher Ayn Rand states more completely: “There is no difference between the principles, policies and practical results of socialism—and those of any historical or pre-historical tyranny. Socialism is merely democratic absolute monarchy—that is, a system of absolutism without a fixed head, open to seizure of power by all corners, by any ruthless climber, opportunist, adventurer, demagogue or thug. When you consider socialism, do not fool yourself about its nature. Remember that there is no such dichotomy as “human rights” versus “property rights.” No human rights can exist without property rights. Since material goods are produced by the mind and effort of individual men, and are needed to sustain their lives, if the producer does not own the result of his effort, he does not own his life. To deny property rights means to turn men into property owned by the state. Whoever claims the “right” to “redistribute” the wealth produced by others is claiming the “right” to treat human beings as chattel.”
  2. And as I said earlier, Michael Vick was in the BUSINESS of dog fighting. It was within this context that the torturing and deaths of animals occurred. Without psychologizing, please explain to me the vast difference between what Michael Vick did and what any factory farmer, owner and employee of a slaughter house, pharmaceutical company, furrier, etc. does and what Vick did. So far the ONLY explanations offered have been psychological evaluations. The hard facts such as actions, evidence, statements, etc. are the same between Vick and his contemporaries in the business of exploiting nature's resources. At the risk of being calld "stupid" or "absurd" I ask you to attempt to do this without degrading into the realm of alleging to profess Michael Vick's psychological state as the difference. By the way, I consider it to be stupid and absurd to continually evade such a simple argument, rather than confess that there is no difference other than psychologizing.
  3. I disagree that Chuck should forego his Eagle aspirations is all. Hey! I never talked about how fat yo mama is, I only referenced her expertise in those things "ethnic;" in fact, I would assert that she is an absolute expert, and that's why you are so quick to make "ethnic" accusations without any foundation. As always: You funny!
  4. I'm with you on this one David!
  5. Aside from the fact that my tax dollars subsidizes only one of them, yes there is! I refer you to The lesson that you are not learning is that--unless you demonstrate otherwise--you are not qualified to render any such judgement, nor do you have enough information to do so even if you were a qualified professional. See Psychology of Psychologizing by Ayn Rand and become a better man, dood.
  6. I disagree with you. I am an Eagle Scout, and feel pride and a great sense of accomplishment at all the things I did in order to achieve it. I also relish the knowledge that I have, and pride myself on being able to live on Earth without any of the rest of you; although, I'm glad I don't have to! True; the prospective Eagle scout will no matter what still have his experiences so far, and will still have the knowledge, but he has still invested so much to go as far as he has gone. Chuck, all along you have said the pledge of allegiance, said the scout oath, been to meetings in churches, etc.. Forgive yourself, and recognize that these are things you chose to do in order to gain the things that you like and agree with; the knowledge, the memories, the adventure of it all! Get your final rank, and join the rest of us atheist and objectivist Eagle Scouts. I promise you that you won't wake up one day and hate yourself that you did. Scouts honor!
  7. About psychologizing: Hopefully once you guys read some Ayn, you will check yourselves, and then, I won't have to. "Armed with a smattering, not of knowledge, but of undigested slogans, they rush, unsolicited, to diagnose the problems of their friends and acquaintances. Pretentiousness and presumptuousness are the psychologizer’s invariable characteristics: he not merely invades the privacy of his victims’ minds, he claims to understand their minds better than they do, to know more than they do about their own motives. With reckless irresponsibility, which an old-fashioned mystic oracle would hesitate to match, he ascribes to his victims any motivation that suits his purpose, ignoring their denials. Since he is dealing with the great “unknowable”—which used to be life after death or extrasensory perception, but is now man’s subconscious—all rules of evidence, logic and proof are suspended, and anything goes (which is what attracts him to his racket)." “The Psychology of ‘Psychologizing,’” The Objectivist, March 1971, "A man’s moral character must be judged on the basis of his actions, his statements and his conscious convictions—not on the basis of inferences (usually, spurious) about his subconscious. A man is not to be condemned or excused on the grounds of the state of his subconscious. While the racket of the philosophizing mystics rested on the claim that man is unable to know the external world, the racket of the psychologizing mystics rests on the claim that man is unable to know his own motivation." “The Psychology of ‘Psychologizing,’” The Objectivist, March 1971, "Just as reasoning, to an irrational person, becomes rationalizing, and moral judgment becomes moralizing, so psychological theories become psychologizing. The common denominator is the corruption of a cognitive process to serve an ulterior motive." “The Psychology of ‘Psychologizing,’” The Objectivist, March 1971
  8. The fact that "Purdue" chicken drowns and electrocutes thousands and thousands of chickens every day to earn his money. Face it David, the principle is the same, and the fact that Vick has been jailed, and forced to pay animal shelters his income is a moral tragedy. I like dogs too, and although I can't say that I have never watched dogs "bang," I did not like it, nor did I go to the fights again. I have eaten chicken, beef, pork, and fish, although I have since become a vegan. I have a mink coat, and use drugs that were tested on animals still to this day. All of these things however, are irrelevant to the issue of property rights; unless, we are talking about my property. What Michael Vick does/did to his property is his business, and as long as there is such hypocrisy in how we apply and uphold property rights and individual rights, the impetus of those who slice away at our freedoms will continue to go unhampered. You can't have your freedom, and "shrug away" Michael Vick's too!
  9. I don't make the kind of mistakes and misquotes that plague your posts Jake. Are you an objectivist or someone on this forum intent on discrediting Ayn Rand through subversion? In case you would consider yourself to be an objectivist, I will give you yet another Ayn Rand quote in the hopes that your soul may be saved: "Just as reasoning, to an irrational person, becomes rationalizing, and moral judgment becomes moralizing, so psychological theories become psychologizing. The common denominator is the corruption of a cognitive process to serve an ulterior motive." I "wonder" what your ulterior motive is. Just kidding, I'm pretty sure; so, there is no need for a confession here. On one hand, he psychologizes about the mental state of Vick, then, on the other hand he psychologizes about what the employees of Purdue are thinking. Man, Jake is quite the mind reader isn't he? How much money do you make with your awesome talent Jake? Now that that has been dealt with yet again, let's list the things that they have in common for anyone else as remedial as you seem to be: 1.)Both Vick (hereafter referred to as V) and Purdue (hereafter referred to as P) profit(ed) by the death of animals. 2.)Both V and P sell the product of animal cruelty. One does so in the form of entertainment, one does so in the form of food. However, both instances are for man's benefit, and are forms of the exploitation of nature; things that objectivists are supposed to uphold. 3.)There exists substitutes for animal food, as there exists substitutes for animal entertainment. These are the things that Vick and Purdue have in common that I was referring to (in case you were too slow to "get it"). Aside from your bootleg attempts at psychoanalysis, what else differentiates them within this context? As always: You silly! Perhaps a philosophy class or two would do you some good--if you ever were to try one. Your ability to address those things relevant vs. the irrelevant; the subjective vs. the objective; what's known vs. what's believed to be, are all lacking tremendously if we were to simply read any number of your posts on this board. You seriously lack even the most elementary philosophic understanding, and should--seriously--refrain from using the word. No I don't draw the line a molecules dood, nor do I consider the words of "scientists" about global warming 100% valid or relevant to man, and his relationship to the earth. Hopefully you can follow that one... duh.
  10. EXACTLY! Apply the same principle to dog fighting, and you have your answer. I am not saying that everyone should enjoy or appreciate the "art" of dog-fighting; but, I do say that there is no way to totally understand the underlying motives of people that do, and it is outright wrong to pretend that we have such psychological expertise. Ostracise or choose not to associate with such people if you want; but, the condemnation and slander is a bit much, no matter how you feel about the canine species. In principle, there is no difference between Colonel Sanders and Michael Vick. In this regard the PETA people are correct.
  11. How about people who love to watch a tornados destroying stuff?
  12. The police should be hung for trying to punish this cab driver! Sickening.
  13. How do "to those of us who would choose to shun him" for his alleged "moral crime" reconcile the inherent moral contradiction in doing so? How does what Michael Vick differ from Purdue Chicken? I know of one way, but no one is outright stating that difference, but are offering what are obvious rationalizations and otherwise contradicting premises. Can someone please step up the plate and do a decent job of explaining their reasoning on this matter. * What kind of "change" are you looking for that your local cattle slaughter house owner shouldn't make? * Why should Vick "change?" as it relates to his conviction? I am seeking a moral argument, not a legal one here. We all know--some better than others--that there exist(s) laws which are immoral, and wrong, so let's not go there.
  14. Perhaps he is depraved, but I don't necessarily see it as such. Some people like to watch snakes eat rats, but I don't think that this makes them depraved, nor do I think that people wanting to watch dogs fight each other makes them obviously depraved. Personally, I tend to begin my psychoanalysis at the point where people harm other humans.
  15. Do you say this about chickens, cows, pigs, and fish? How about the calves that become veal? Personally, I am pro-veal!
  16. EXACTLY!!! Most young people new to politics are rejecting the social aspects of "conservatism," and aren't thinking about the fiscal issues as much as the "conservative's" consistent assault on civil liberties. As the youth get older, and having enough of their earnings stolen, they begin to notice the fiscal aspects of conservatism, and are placed squarely on a moral dilemma. Many people have much more financial responsibilities as they get older, and are then willing to "compromise" their aspirations of "social freedom" for "fiscal freedom." What is so sad is that we are almost forced to make such a choice.
  17. As if the--larger than your yearly earnings--bonuses that these people are paid isn't enough incentive. I seriously doubt that anyone in the NFL thinks about dogs while they are on the field; thank god! Whatever the NFL chooses to do is correct. If they allow Vick, or disallow Vick it their choice to make. Our choice is limited to wether or not we watch the games. I think that this conversation is best served by sticking to the morality associated with the gross violation of individual rights that has occurred to Vick about mangy excrement eating mongrels. I have noticed that most people who evade the rights of "select groups" tend to evade them consistently against other "select groups." Notice here that women's individual rights are being "slubbed over," and relegated to second-class status. If someone beats his wife, he is a wife beater. If someone shoots someone and kills them, he is a killer. Duh. It makes no difference wether or not he had good reason, or if he bullied the person he shot; in either instance, he killed the person, and is now in another class: killer. A dog really does seem to be some men's best friend; personally, I prefer women. However, personal feelings really aren't the issue here, so unlike certain individuals here, I will stick to having good reasons for my conclusion. If it's "worse to abuse a thoroughly defenseless creature than to abuse an adult woman who can defend herself," then, in principle, men who own or work in a chicken processing factory, or "factory farm" are worse men than men who hit their wives so hard that her teeth flies across the living room. This is the sort of idiocy that happens when people stray from the application of well-thought principles. A is A. You can't have your cake and eat it too. You either uphold the principle of individual rights, or your don't. Fence straddling where ____________ people are concerned, only serves to expose hypocrisy--latent or otherwise. In your opinion dogs are "useful." There are many who would make a case that such things as sending a dog into a flaming building is an abuse as well! Your "case" totally collapses by your own so-called premise: "It's wrong to kill a dog, because they have more value by being killed." In other words--what you are saying is--killing dogs by some men for their purposes is bad, but, when dogs are killed by other men for their purposes, it's good. What are the premises for such an argument? When a dog is blown to bits by being trained to sniff out bombs it's good. When a dog is torn to bits, by another dog, by because he is trained to fight dogs, it's bad. Given these premises, why? Why is the extension or pleasure of human life a valid reason for harming dogs under one circumstance, "better" than the other? If "respect" for dogs the standard, then, why is it ever OK to "disrespect" dogs? How do you reconcile the fact that you have stated that since we disrespect dogs, we should respect them? You funny as always!
  18. I believe you. But, do you consider him to be a great artist? Do you agree with the following: "The fact that one agrees or disagrees with an artist’s philosophy is irrelevant to an esthetic appraisal of his work qua art. One does not have to agree with an artist (nor even to enjoy him) in order to evaluate his work. In essence, an objective evaluation requires that one identify the artist’s theme, the abstract meaning of his work (exclusively by identifying the evidence contained in the work and allowing no other, outside considerations), then evaluate the means by which he conveys it—i.e., taking his theme as criterion, evaluate the purely esthetic elements of the work, the technical mastery (or lack of it) with which he projects (or fails to project) his view of life" If you don't why not? If you don't consider Michael Jackson a great artist, how to you reconcile your opinion given the definition above? (assuming that you agree with the definition) The reason I say this is because I dislike Elvis with all my heart. I can't stand his singing and his "dancing" is repugnant. However, I classify him as a great artist. I believe if there is someone here that does not like Mike, but isn't some sicko--it's you.
  19. It's good to see someone with a brain on the forum; as opposed to the troglodytes that I have been discussing this issue with. I agree with you 100% that there are many so-called objectivists, who themselves are most mediocre, and, nothing--at all--like the characters Rand portrays. These types are really men of very little self-esteem, who wish they were like Howard Roark or John Gault, but in reality, such men rationalize hating them; because, they wish they were them!
  20. I disagree. Do I think that he was even as good as Michael Jackson; no. But was he great; yes! Again: * The fact that one agrees or disagrees with an artist’s philosophy is irrelevant to an esthetic appraisal of his work qua art. * One does not have to agree with an artist (nor even to enjoy him) in order to evaluate his work. * In essence, an objective evaluation requires that one identify the artist’s theme, the abstract meaning of his work (exclusively by identifying the evidence contained in the work and allowing no other, outside considerations), then evaluate the means by which he conveys it—i.e., taking his theme as criterion, evaluate the purely esthetic elements of the work, the technical mastery (or lack of it) with which he projects (or fails to project) his view of life. By these standards, I deem Elvis great! I will even go further in saying that as a pioneer, his technical skills were not as keen as say a Michael Jackson, BUT it was him (and many other unknown--to the "mainstream"--African American artists) that began the movement that makes Michael Jackson and others since the era of Elvis possible. Elvis' theme was that of rebellion against the stale and stagnant--non-sexual--tradition. Goto www.youtube.com and look up his first performance on Ed Sullivan to see this. Elvis' presentation of music/musical performance was that of a more sexually inclusive nature, as opposed to the break that had previously occurred where music was divorced from sexuality, in an attempt--I believe--to appease the power of that time: The catholic church. Centuries later, a movement called Rock and Roll (which meant sex!) was started, and Elvis' performances and style of music began a change of bringing music back to its origin: Something to attract the opposite sex. Again, I disagree for the same reasons. I gave my standards, which I believe are pretty good ones. What about them seems wrong to you; or how is it that they don't apply to John Wayne? Also, have you seen The Searchers, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, The Alamo, Big Jake, True Grit, or The Shootist? If you have seen any of these, how could you possibly say that "John Wayne was clearly not a great actor?" I agree with you. The concept that you define is called: art.
  21. No, my contention was not that. My statements of how many records he sold, was in regards to an objective measurement of the value of his music. My contention that his music is "quality music" is supported by the Ayn Rand quote. Follow along, and be more detail oriented please. This discussion is getting really old, and I am weary of you. No disrespect or Ad hominem intended. Again, I submitted in an earlier post that an objective measurement of the value of Michael Jackson's music is $. Measurement = quantity. I am done discussin this with you any longer. I gave you Ayn Rand's take on the matter, AND explained to you how you have taken my statement out of context. There is nothing more to discuss with you on the matter. At the risk of another unfounded accusation, I will step out on a limb and say that you are reminding me of of Jake. Will you next accuse me of giving the "black perspective," or some other ethnic "jab?" For the sake of argument, please demonstrate any ad hominem fallacies I am guilty of, and please don't try and smuggle in some statement as if a previous insult to me didn't warrant it. Ball is in your court on the ad hominem matter. I consider any evaluative discussion on Michael Jackson, or your "skills" at analogies to be over.
  22. The thread speaks for itself. I'm done discussing anything with you, retard.
  23. I concede. However, I still believe that if proof--conclusive proof--is given at a person's trial, that the death penalty should be reserved for such circumstances, and be mandatory. But yes, I agree with you otherwise. Sorry for being so mean.
  24. Main Question 1-2 1.) What I've concluded from Roark is that he doesn't care what others think about him or his work. He doesn't care if other people agree with him or not. And so I've tried to apply this thinking to my own life but it doesn't seem too practical. For example, what happens with employment. Don't you have to care what your bosses think about you and your work? What kind of relationship do you have with your employer if he's the boss and the one in control of your salary? Your employer is not in control of your salary: You are! You determine what you do, and how much you get paid for it. If what you want is more than anyone is willing to pay, then, it is up to you to 1).change professions, 2).Get better at what it is you are doing, 3).reevaluate your expectations. As far as caring what your "bosses think of your work;" I suggest that if at all, such a thing should be secondary. Your primary concern should be to do the best that you can at whatever it is you are doing at any moment in time. From my experience of 36 years at it, all the rest takes care of itself. There is an outside chance that the person you work for is not rational. Some people as these exist. Some are owners of their own businesses, managers, supervisors, etc. These types I am speaking about sometimes enjoy pushing people around, making people squirm, strong arming people into sexual encounters, etc. Put this way, do you really care what such a person thinks? If the "boss" is rational, all that will matter to him is how much money he makes because you have the job. If you are good to great at it, you have nothing to fear. But again, this is a secondary; your first priority should be your own self image. And do you have any tips for not caring about what other people think. I've had an inferiority complex and I've been pretty self conscious all my life so I'm trying to think of ways to develop a "tough shell" so to speak. I'd like to be like Roark, where the pain only goes so far and then he's impervious to it. Any suggestions? The answer to this component is really an extension of the first. Self-image, self-confidence, self-esteem, self-anything cannot be faked, manufactured, counterfeited, or stolen. The first word is "self." You might be able to fool the world, but the one person who will certainly know the truth is YOU! Howard didn't give a shit about what others thought about him, because he admired himself. He was smart and in possession of great knowledge. He was good at his work. He had great work ethic. He was courageous. He was honest with himself and others. He was not a mooch. He was a creator. He was (insert other positive attributes here, etc.) He knew all of this better than anyone else, and, because of these facts, he felt confidence in his own judgement. If you want to get over your inferiority complex, don't be inferior. Not to say that in all ways, and under all circumstances, there won't be anyone better than you; but, really such is irrelevant. What IS important, is that you are the best that you can be, and that you do the best that you can at whatever it is you are doing, at all times. If you don't "slack off" on yourself, you will like yourself for it! Pretty good deal huh? I have never found one better! 2.) This might be linked to the first question, but how is it possible to not compare and contrast in everyday life? Roark said he was too conceited to make comparisons or consider himself in relation to anyone else. This is what I've found to be the hardest to do. What does it mean to not see myself in relation to anyone? Do you have any suggestions on how to stop? This is a function of him growing up surrounded by "second-handers" and/or leeches, moochers, slackers, etc., and had long since given up, and stopped looking for someone such as himself to compare himself with. He means a comparison holistically or of the "entire man," as opposed to a comparison of any facet. It is indeed linked to the first question. To achieve such a state of being, almost implies or requires someone to have since their birth been consistent in their practice of reason, and consequent desire to do their best at all times. Someone who "sees the light," and decides later in life to do so, will probably "compare" himself to others, but that's no big deal. If he compares his best effort to his previous best effort, he will wind up at the same point within a matter of time. All that is required is consistency. Then what about competition? When you compete in sports or grades, aren't you comparing yourself or your skills against someone else? Or if you're working for someone, aren't you making comparisons to your rival? And if self esteem shouldn't come from comparisons, what is that feeling that you get when you've beat someone in a tennis match? When you compete in sports, you shouldn't be comparing yourself against your opponent, you should be trying to win. See the difference? This difference, is really the answer. Yes, if you win, you should feel success (assuming that you didn't cheat), however, if you gave it your all, and your opponent was better, you still have much to be proud of. You are either on your way at getting better, or, you have arrived at the best that you can be at whatever game it is you are playing. Side Questions 3-7 3.) Is it possible for you to define what a friend is. And with respect to that, what would your family mean to you? Yes. For me, a friend is someone whom I admire and respect; and, a person that I can work with towards something we both consider important and worthy of our efforts... In a nutshell. In regards to my family, this places my family--for the most part--outside the "friend" zone. I sometimes am cordial to them, but most often try to avoid them. My mother is the exception, and the only reason I am ever around any of the others. I share nothing in common with my family, and have great disdain for most--if not all--of them; except my mother. Mommy is different. Although we are very different, my mother always admired and loved me, even though she isn't strong enough to be more like me. I love her dearly, and would do anything in the world possible to make her smile. But, she cleaned the doo-doo off of me when I wore diapers; consistently, and at great cost to herself. I owe her this--in my view. 4.) Is it wrong to be well liked or popular? Or is it just wrong to seek it? From what I've read, in order to reach that state, you have to make compromises, but from what I've felt I don't feel like compromises have been made. And I know it's wrong to seek other people's approvals, but does that mean it's not good to feel accepted or wanted? No, it's not "wrong" to be popular as long as you aren't sacrificing your principles in order to be so. However, your principles should be rational and well-defined, and hopefully the "circle" of people you are around will agree with them. If they don't, then, it will probably be difficult to be popular among that circle. As to compromise, I say it depends. For example, if you are married to a woman that you adore, but, she hates it when you take a piss, and neglect to lift the seat. You think that you are pretty good at pissing such that no urine gets on the seat, although, you concede that a drop or two of toilet water might. You really don't care about it though; you simply wipe it up, and flush. One day your wife catches you taking a leak, and demands that you put an end to your filthy ways, and become more civilized. She is adamant, and a little angry. You "compromise." Hell no, such "compromise" is not wrong; it's advisable. If you value your wife enough, and you don't have an insane value on proving to yourself how good you are a pissing past the toilet seat, then it is only rational to do as your wife wishes. As I said earlier, your principles--and now values--should be rational. 5.) I know Roark says the meaning of life is your work but have you guys found something else besides your work? I think that the meaning of life through work applies to Roark because work is his choice of happiness. What is your choice of happiness? You are wrong about this one. One could "choose" to be happy by unloading a truckload of babies with a pitch fork. Would you consider such to be a valid meaning to a life? What Rand means is being productive, and aquiring the values necessary to sustain and enhance one's life. Everything alive has to do something in order to stay alive. This is the primary for living things. If a life form does not do what is required to live, then, its life has no meaning, and consequently, the life will end with all certainty. Such is unavoidable, and any other imaginary construct is just that: imaginary. To think differently, is to abdicate the responsibility of sustaining your life, and if you wish to survive as such, the only choice available is to become a beggar or crook of some sort. Is there meaning to my life, outside of what my life requires? No. Are there things I like to do other than work? Yes. And, in order to do them, I have to work; thus, the meaning of my life! 6.) What does it mean to not be conscious of anyone? Throughout the story Rand stresses the idea that Roark doesn't seem conscious of anyone and I think that consequently makes the person on the receiving end to feel nonexistent. He knows that there's someone there, but how can he not be conscious of that person if he turns and talks to that person? He was thinking. People bored Roark, and their "chatter" could not occupy his mind. He occupied himself by thoughts he generated on his own, and found much more pleasure in that, than "chatting" with other people, or pretending that he was interested in what they were saying, or hearing their "thoughts" on any given subject. If he was in a restaurant and was thinking, but though that his salad needed a bit of salt, of course he would look around and see someone closer to the shaker than himself, and say, "would you please pass the salt?" After such an event, he would go back to his thinking, and the person who handed him the salt would drift back into oblivion. 7.) Finally, wouldn't you feel sort of...lonely? Especially Roark. With all this not caring and not being conscious of other people doesn't that make for a very lonely existence? No. Being surrounded with retarded people is miserable, lonely is pleasurable by comparison. If you were like Roark, then you would be competent, confident, self-assured, courageous, passionate, creative, admirable, etc. In order for Roark to be non-lonely would require many more people like him than exist in today's world. Otherwise, he would have to be surrounded by people that are insecure, incompetent, envious, deceitful, bland, stagnant, etc. Such people would be repugnant to someone like Roark. He would not feel lonely, but relieved that they are not in his presence... I can assure you. If you put into practice what I said to you in #1, one day you might feel the same.
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