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Bob G

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  1. I said "baiting the suckers" because of your teasing questions about free will. I am sure that we will see more on that from you later. I wasn't concerned about terminology but meaning. The Objectivist view of causality and laws is significantly different from what seems to be your background. However, I don't want to slow down your exposition and I am sure that there will be ample opportunity to discuss the point later.
  2. Okay, I am generally finding this interesting enough to continue to follow. However, the build up and baiting the suckers is getting a little beyond the scientific. Whatever you have, it has no implications on free will. Free will is possed by individuals. Looking at large groups of people is something that various sciences have done for some time, and interesting things can be learned. What it means is that people live in a world with things, all of which are something specific which means there is causality. It should not be surprising that human activity within the world also tends to have certain patterns. We should not expect to know what those patterns are before we discover them. Even more important is that is that the pattern you may have discovered is not a cause. Let's go further and say that you have discovered a "law". The law itself does not exist, only things exist. If humans living in the world have long term patterns in certain contexts, then there is some connection and influence in the real world. It would be like gravity or the speed of light, or a law of motion, none of which have any meaning for free will.
  3. It also reflects that the prevalent morality at the time was altruism, which is inherently self-destructive. A man wanting to survive and prosper was left with no choice but to be immoral. Some did attempt to have some dignity and some tried for integrity, but none could be moral.
  4. Our decision making process in a specific case depends upon two things: our values and standards; our knowledge. We cannot reinvent ourselves in each case. We rely upon on the self we have created, which includes our knowledge. This is one of the reasons why having the right values and standards matters, including our standard for knowledge. But this is also a learning process, often by trial and error. In the situation you posed, your question offers and actually requires that you not only review what your knowledge was at the time, but how you decided that you had enough knowledge (time constraint is part of that context), how you acquired the knowledge, and how you integrated the things you knew. Even if you decide that you fell short on any of these questions (perhaps innocently at the time), if you learn from it and correct it, you have acted appropriately. Depending upon the total situation, you might have some earned guilt. If you did what you knew at the time to be correct, both in your processes and conclusion, then you don't. You may still have to take some responsibility for the consequences. So, in thinking and then acting on your conclusions, you asserted yourself. If you didn't think, or thought poorly, or did something other than follow your own conclusions, then you rejected yourself and things happened differently. The decision of which of these courses to follow is free will.
  5. Agreed. And as Jenni says, it isn't really about the actual number, but your partner's experiences and background. Shouldn't be an interogation, but a conversation. People like to talk about themselves and if you are interested in them you want them to do so. You learn about them, they learn about you as you respond to their story. It is part of the process of getting closer.
  6. There are good reasons for wanting to know and bad reasons. The bad ones are related to some sort of jealousy or control issues. If in some way you are going to react negatively to some possible answer, then you have a problem somewhere. Are you going to be unhappy or happy? or angry? (Indifference isn't good either. Just interested.) On the other hand, one reasonably wants to know about the person one is getting close to. You want to know all about them. you also want to know what kind of relationships they have had. Have they been hurt alot, treated badly, shown some bad judgment, and so on. What have they learned. What have they learned about sex. What do they like about sex. What do they like to do. What have they not experienced. Lots to know. Much of it can help with the relationship. Really, there are no bad questions in a relationship. You can ask badly. You can be implying something. Imply guilt. But any innocent question is okay. So it's the context. Tell us more.
  7. Look at a woman’s "physical beauty" in the sense of your experience. Think of the ebb and flow. You see a beautiful woman, and being confident, you walk up and start talking to her. You find out that she is a moron. I mean she has limited mental capability. You will see as being less beautiful. Or rather she is a mean, vindictive, complaining person. You will no longer see her to be as beautiful as before. And so on. Personality plays a big role in beauty. Yes, models and other professions learn to project certain mental feature. The best appear intelligent and sensual. It is an image. If you find that they are not intelligent or sensual or have other stupidities, you will no longer see them as being as beautiful. In another direction entirely, I remember from a few years ago that some people had developed programs that took women's faces and blended them together to get an average face. The result tended to be very attractive. Female beauty is the average.
  8. Okay, Jennifer, here goes. This is basically an off the cuff response on a very difficult and complex issue. The issue is one of self-worth. What does this act mean to you. Being intimate with another human is really that, being intimate. Sex is different from other activities or bodily functions. You are asserting yourself. You are opening yourself to another. Wanting a partner is wanting another person, not a doll, not a fantasy, not a picture in which you can project a personality. You want a real person. You want someone who is willing, or wants to open themselves to you. You want reciprocity. We do not need to say that this other person has a tremendous value for you, but that they personally have some. If we should find someone who we find that we like and get closer and open ourselves to them and then find that they were deliberately deceiving us, we feel cheated, betrayed. We have been taken advantage of. To find someone to pay money for, we are asking that person to become what we want in a partner. They are attempting to please us by pretending to be what we like (in a better, higher class prostitute). In this case we are pretending that they are someone we want or whose presence we enjoy. In our generally repressed society, as a male, finding a woman who openly enjoys sex and being with a man has some apparent value. I have seen a couple episodes of an HBO series at a brothel. Some of the women, especially the ones who make the best entertainment, project a delight in having sex. It is all smiles and fun. Even education. In that situation, a man who has modest self-worth might find some pleasure. A man who has self-esteem would be left feeling empty, because he is not willing to pretend that his partner is someone he has regard for. He wants reality. As a young person, finding out about life involves experimentation and learning. We do not necessarily learn of the importance of a partner’s self-worth until we experience a bad situation, or perhaps a good situation and realize our previous experiences, which might have been fun, are not enough any more. This whole issue, i.e., sex, is the most complex in humans, in that it involves our total self, our values, our upbringing, our self-appraisal, our options, etc. We need to give our selves and those we know a lot of leeway. We need to pay close attention to what we are doing and what it means to us, what we feel and think.
  9. Elysium, I'm sorry, but I have to ask, why are you on this Forum? You do not subscribe to the principles that members of this board agree to. It is asked that you have some understanding and acceptance of Objectivism to participate. You don't. Your say in your comments that you are a government employee (not necessarily bad in and of itself) who is pro Obama and socialism. You do not support freedom, let alone reason. You did understand the basis of Leibniz's view of the world, so you accept religion and really silly ideas. Okay, that's alright, lots of people do. I'm not going to kick you. I just wish that you would go off and play somewhere other than our Forum. We deserve that respect.
  10. Elysium, do you know the origin of that phrase? You might find it interesting.
  11. Hehehe "Do Be Do Be Do" Sinatra

  12. Avoiding an issue is not evading either. There are good reasons to avoid thinking about an issue. Avoidance can turn into evasion if the issue is not considered at some point. Generally, for an adult, evasion speaks of a policy, an approach, an unwillingness to think about an issue, and the mind will usually try to build barriers, defense mechanisms to maintain the evasion. If you are wondering if you have done enough on a subject, you aren't evading. If, all of a sudden, you realize that there is an important issue, especially a personally important issue that you have not thought about you probably have been evading it (a person evading would tend not to realize there was an important issue). Prioritizing issues is not evading, unless you are pretending that something is less important than you know it to be. Pretending to yourself. That is a defense mechanism. But not every question or issue you come across is equally important. You may make an honest mistake regarding the priorities. You'll find out. We learn from mistakes, right? Thinking an issue through is not a one-time deal. You may have done all you can at that time. Your subconscious may need to work on it a while. You may need more information. You may need a different perspective. You just may need rest, or food, or fun, or less pressure. But worrying about it is a clear sign that you are not evading. You would be trying to wipe the issue from your brain if you were evading it. Evasion can be compartmentalized. A person could be fine about most everything but, say, his parents, or philosophy in general. However, over time, evasion will spread. Integration will suffer. The mind will tend to fragment. Worrying about evasion is not really necessary. Turn that energy into good self-awareness and you'll be doing great.
  13. Nothing wrong with that, in that situation Hate the bad guy. Today, we're offered the same set of alternatives. Pay your taxes, abide by impossible rules, give so that others are better orr, self-sacrifice, self-distruct, same lifeboat.
  14. Leaving aside the question of your redefining altruism, I think that the two points you listed above are connected. First, what "works" is not relevant. If an action is aimed at helping the other person, it is good, whether it "works" or not. All that is important is the other person. The idea of self-sacrifice is inherent in the concept of helping others. To place others first you must automatically reject yourself as having any value. That is self-sacrifice.
  15. The point at which you are having trouble is that you are projecting reason onto altruism. It is true that what is best for all people in the long run is rational. But that is not what altruism consists of. You have left out several tenants of altruism that will help you see the difference. Altruism does not have an actual code. It only says that what is good is acting for others. That your only justificatin for living is service for others. It does not say that you are suppose to decide what they should have. It also says that you are to give up what you have for the other, no matter what it is or if it is needed by your family, etc. Others are more important because they aren't you. Sacrifice is a primary for altruism, it is the highest moral duty. (Look at the Lexicon.) What you have enumerated is the consequence of a morality of reason. A rational man does not expect or want sacrifice. He expects others to act according to their own interest, and when he finds another whose interest mesh with his, they both benefit. That is very enjoyable. Rational people actually enjoy seeing other people enjoy their lives. Rational people like other people. Self-interest does not mean indifference. Unfortunately for us, so many people we meet expect us to sacrifice ourselves. Those people deserve our contempt and indifference as to their welfare.
  16. Ayn Rand referred to this as the "life boat" situation. She pretty much rejected this as a test of ethics. It is like the real situation that ocurred in Germany when the SS required mothers to choose which of her children would live or die. You are not responsible for your choice. Neither is good or bad. All moral responsibility rests with the agency forcing you into it. You may need psychological help, but morally you are not responsible. There is no right, rational answer.
  17. While I agree that we do not need a new special ethics for biology, I do agree that the concepts you mention need to be addressed from a rational perspective. There are several reasons to address them. At this point, the more issues that are addressed rationally, the more we get reason placed into the debate. We need to attack on all sides. The subject does need a philosopher to consider it. If you do write about it, see if you can get one of the students from ARI to assist you. Even better would be Tara Smith, as she is focusing on ethics.
  18. Ever hear of "psycho-epistemology"? It is a concept well worth exploring. I think it was introduced in the Newsletter. I wonder. How many people have read The Objectivist Newsletter or The Objectivist? I suppose that many have just read what was republished in the books. If so, you are missing some real jewels and you have not actually read all of AR's works.. Also, you are missing many ideas that were broached as the philosophy was explained and expanded. There are also many phamletts that she wrote that were not republished, e.g., Textbook on Amerianism. Has Faith and Force been republished? If not, find it.
  19. Your question is answered directly in an "Intellectual Ammunition Department" article in The Objectivist Newsletter, April, 1964: To use the full power of your mind you must move it to start working, you have to move it to think. Consider thinking to be a use of energy and that to use it your mind must be started, it must focus. Only the mind can focus itself. Nothing else can do it. In the January issue of that year is the first article on volution. Go read both articles. In fact, go read the Newsletter from start to finsh. You will find it interesting and enjoyable.
  20. This whole set of answers so far has been wide of the point on two issues. First, remember the primacy of existence. Especially to begin with it is the world that one is aware of and the focus involved is focusing on reality, not just the eyes, or the percepions, but the mind. "What is that thing I see?" Even in a grown person with a good education, ultimately the question is "What is that thing I see?" Do you focus on that or not. Without reference to reality the question of focusing is back to Descartes, i.e., nonsense. Second, what does it mean to choose to focus? This isn't a big sit down and ponder question. To begin with it means to become active and exert energy, mental energy. To focus means to engage your mind. It is not a decision in the sense of deciding what career to pursue, it is the choice to think or be passive. The meaning of "think" is not to use logic but to attempt to identify what is before us in reality, and determine what it means to us. That leads to logic and concepts, etc. At the beginning of a person's life it is the perceptional reality that is the stimulus that prompts the choice. A blob pops up on front of our eyes, we focus our eyes, we focus our minds or maybe not. Sometimes we are successful, sometimes not, sometimes reality bites. How we react to the results helps set up the next time the situation occurs for us to focus. The starting point is the primacy of reality and our need to understand reality, to react to reality, to adapt reality. Reality does not cause us to engage our mind, it is what our mind is connected to. Understanding reality and acting within it is what the mind is for. We may engage our mind or not, that is the choice we have.
  21. Indeed. What does it take? If you live in a society and engage in its activities you do accept is laws and general methods of operations. You might want to change things, but until you do, you function within what is. If a producer of music does not wish his music treated as the RIAA treats it or the online stores, etc., then he should not put it out there. He should work to change these operating proceedures. For example, the Beatles catelog was held off the market for a long time (still is?). If a person respects copyrights, then he addresses the laws and the representatives of the copyright holders. That is what those institutions are for, so that people know what the rules are and act accordingly. Now if you know that the laws were put in place to explicitly steal property, like Reardon Metal was stolen, that is different. That is not currently the case. It is not necessary, however, to run around and ask every copyright holder his position. Nor is it necessary to demand that an institution like the RIAA have full rationality that we would like. What they do and say is their problem and their members problem. Part of the problem is that the context has changed. With LPs and even the poor quality cassette, the product was rather permanent and tied to the limits of playback options. If you had LPs, but spent a lot of time in your car and it had a cassette deck, you were stuck. You, the consumer, might be tempted to copy a few LPs onto blank cassettes so you could listen in your car, But the time and quality issues were a significant barrier. In the digital context, the situation has reversed. You have lots of different playback options, and the form of the product is immutable. But the playback options are also short term. MP3 players, phones, and computers all tend to be short term in their physical nature and the features they offer. If the digital product you buy is to have any lasting value, that is, if the consumer isn’t going to be forced to buy a new product every few years (a song tract), then he is going to have to be able to move it from one device to another. In addition, the music buying public wants to be able to listen at home on their computer, on their stereo, in their car, when they are walking around, etc. If the producer’s decision is that music can’t be copied, the product becomes much less desirable and sales will drop. (I am regarding copying for resale and trading CDs around for copying to be separate issues and immoral.) It is in the interest of the producer to allow personal copying. Of course, if the producer has not figured this out and not given permission, copying is still wrong. Just because we may be smarter than the producer, in this respect, doesn’t mean that we get to make the decision for him. It doesn’t matter if they themselves do it, etc. No specific permission means no permission. The comments in and out of court of the legal representatives of the producers just show that attorneys are not your best representatives. The view of the attorney is narrow, legitimately so, but in some contexts, he can screw things up badly. The RIAA has not helped. Because of the changing environment some people can't keep up. How confusing this is can be seen in the video industry. But we do have evidence from the RIAA and the digital music stores that personal copying is acceptable. I think that it will become even clearer over time. One context I am not clear on is the one within a family. Does ownership fall to just one of a couple? Maybe. Maybe not. If the music goes on a common use computer? If they share the same music programs? Do they buy two and one just sits? On the other hand, if they split, only one of them can keep the song tract. What to do? (Fortunately – or maybe not – for me, music is one of the least compatibility areas with my girlfriend. Not so much a problem.)
  22. Don't worry. Obama will make all of our choices for us. We are saved!!
  23. They never became Egyptians. Oh, there were probably some illigetamate children, maybe even in the royal line, but the Ptolemies did keep things simple by usually having the oldest son marry one of his sisters. The last Cleopatra, Cleopatra VII, is reported to be the first in the royal family to even learn the Egyptian language. After Alexander died, his generals fought over the territores he had conquored. There was also a great exodus from Greece to the cities he founded, especially Alexandria in Egypt. In most of these places the Greeks maintained sort of separate, Greek cities from the rest of the populations. This is true in Egypt. There was little intermingling, comparitively speaking. When the Romans came to Egypt, they were dealing with Greeks, a civilization the Romans knew and respected. Most educated, upper class Romans could speak Greek. If you look at the famous Greeks after Alexander's death, the Hellenistic period, you will find many names who lived in Alexandria in Egypt. Alexandria had one of the greatest libraries in the world. Although much of it was destroyed in the conflict with Rome, the remains fell into the hands of the Muslims and was a significant part of the legacy that was finally passed on to the West via Spain in the 12C. I haven't been able to determine Ptolemies birthplace. But it is a little misleading to call the conquorer of Egypt and the Eastern world Macedonian. Alexander took soldiers from all over Greece. it was the Greek civilization that he took with him. Alexander was a pupil of Aristotle. Alexander sent samples of plants and wildlife back to his teacher from his travels. I am sure that the influence of the Greeks was important in all of those areas. I would like to find a history of what those areas were like after the Romans left. That is the end of my little favorite set of questions. I hope that you found them interesting. Bob
  24. ex, it is not clear what consequences that you are looking for. I am tempted to say that moral consequences are not like a Newton law of motion, e.g., there will not be a physical reaction for everything you do. (Although, there is an emotional reaction within each of us for every act we take. I do not understand why you are dismissing that. You said something about telling yourself to not feel guilty, but we know that is impossible in the short term.) The consequences of moral actions are cumulative and far-reaching. To live in a society in which intellectual property is stolen constantly is to live in anarchy and with less and less creativity available. The rational egoist recognizes the long-term, general consequences. He recognizes that his moral principles apply to all men at all times, and that if he were to violate them he is in effect saying that it is proper for any and all men to do so. It seems as if you are asking what are the consequences if you alone do something once. The immediate result of ignoring your moral principles will be that you will more readily accept the emotional impulse to ignore your moral principles. That is called evasion. You will tend to become more controlled by your emotions over time. It is the conflict between emotions that are not rooted in your philosophy vs. your mind. If there were no conflict you wouldn't feel as if the theft of intellectual property was something that you want to do. The consequences to you will be self-destruction. That is what Tara Smith meant by full awareness. The moral principles are there for your happiness and success, in the most reality oriented, absolute fashion you can imagine.
  25. The last of my three questions is about ancient history. This is not a hard question. I have just been surprised how many people do not know the right answer, let alone the implications. Give me both, please, the right answer and some implications. This question comes from my reading, not education. What is Cleopatra’s nationality? It would be nice if you could give me her full name, and her background, what did she do that was different than her processors, etc.
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