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  1. Without trying to unravel the body of the post, look back at your chosen title for the thread. Some beginner questions about morality and human nature Miss Rand recognized that the first question regarding morality is: "What are values and why does man need them? The cardinal values of Objectivism are the culmination of her answer to her identification of the nature of man. Conversely, if your view of the nature of man does not culminate into the values identified as being the cardinal values of Objectivism, who are you going to call on? Ultimately it is your choice whether you are correct in your conclusion(s) or not. Ayn Rand stated this most cogently in this following excerpt from Atlas Shrugged, speaking via Hugh Akston: "Consider the reasons which make us certain that we are right," said Hugh Akston, "but not the fact that we are certain. If you are not convinced, ignore our certainty. Don't be tempted to substitute our judgment for your own." It is only prudent to add another consideration at this point in the juncture. Be sure that your judgment is validly certain.
  2. The Christmas Lecture http://www.engineerguy.com/faraday/pdf/faraday-chemical-history-complete.pdf Only to lecture two at the moment, but this is of the caliber of Newton's Optics and what I've grasped of the Principia so far.
  3. When I was about 7 or 8 years old, I used to sneak out of bed at night to add stuff into the stockings hung on the rail. If mom or dad asked, I figured I could pawn it off on the big guy. Here is a thread on Telling Children about Santa Claus. There are a few others as well.
  4. Collective mind, no. Collective term, as in man refers to every man that was, that is, or that ever will be. Even the compartmentalist that uses reason to make a new discovery, uses reason in that regard. Argument(s) that try passing off irrationality as plausible, or deserving the benefit of a doubt, bypass or bastardize reason in such regard(s). Individuals are either seeking values, or they aren't. Individuals are either seeking to apply right reasoning to their understanding, or they aren't. Capitalism is the system that manifests under a system devoted to upholding the rights of man. Fascism, Communism, Nazism, etc., could be considered different outcomes of irrationality. The 'ballast' winds up under a system conducive to Capitalism, or it does not.
  5. Consider this portion of a paragraph from "What Can One Do?" There are also a great many men who are indifferent to ideas and to anything beyond the concrete-bound range of the immediate moment; such men accept subconsciously whatever is offered by the culture of their time, and swing blindly with any chance current. They are merely social ballast—be they day laborers or company presidents—and, by their own choice, irrelevant to the fate of the world. While being able to state things collectively this way, the quantitative singular nature of Rand's expression can shine through. Sometimes I wonder if it is agreement and accordance sought by those with which Rand's words resonate, or if discordance and division are the "natural" line of demarcation.
  6. Taking free-will as a sub-type of causality, bearing in mind that man is not a deterministic specie, Miss Rand's forte sheds light into the dark corridors where the causal nature of wrong ideas could lead helping to provide an illuminating contrast using her chosen art for the communication of a moral ideal.
  7. A general idea from Atlas Shrugged, where John Galt was being warned of the dangers of returning to the outside world from the valley. This would be a variation on what she wrote in the Metaphysical vs. the Man-made. Man builds a damn. The dam bursts. The bursting of the dam is metaphysical in nature. The damage done is increased by a magnitude of the man-made intervention. In the valley, the discussion was around the technology of the day in the hands of frighted individuals, exemplified later in the novel by the power struggle involving Project X.
  8. There are folk who focus on Aristotle's errors in attempts to impugn his accomplishment. Rand brushes them aside as irrelevant in her lead essay in For The New Intellectual" But Aristotle's philosophy was the intellect's Declaration of Independence. Aristotle, the father of logic, should be given the title of the world's first intellectual, in the purest and noblest sense of that word. No matter what remnants of Platonism did exist in Aristotle's system, his incomparable achievement lay in the fact that he defined the basic principles of a rational view of existence and of man's consciousness: that there is only one reality, the one which man perceives—that it exists as an objective absolute (which means: independently of the consciousness, the wishes or the feelings of any perceiver)—that the task of man's consciousness is to perceive, not to create, reality—that abstractions are man's method of integrating his sensory material—that man's mind is his only tool of knowledge—that A is A. In an earlier acknowledgement an intro to Atlas Shrugged she added: The only philosophical debt I can acknowledge is to Aristotle. I most emphatically disagree with a great many parts of his philosophy—but his definition of the laws of logic and of the means of human knowledge is so great an achievement that his errors are irrelevant by comparison. You will find my tribute to him in the titles of the three parts of ATLAS SHRUGGED. Her upbraid of Aristotle was not used to tear him down, rather to demonstrate the foundations of what he provided for her.
  9. To borrow, and paraphrase from the subject matter of your dissertation here: Those who're making an effort to fail to understand [Ayn Rand] are not a concern of mine. While you might yet demonstrate error on my behalf to this point, so far, you are only underscoring this tactic to me.
  10. Then you are free to come up with an answer for yourself. The answer Rand provides via Hugh Akston in Atlas Shrugged was: "If any part of your uncertainty," said Galt, "is a conflict between your heart and your mind—follow your mind." "Consider the reasons which make us certain that we are right," said Hugh Akston, "but not the fact that we are certain. If you are not convinced, ignore our certainty. Don't be tempted to substitute our judgment for your own." Correlation, last I checked, is not causation. Does it demonstrate any biological markers? Far from futile. Humans act according to the philosophy they accept. As for those who are making an effort to fail to understand Objectivism, they are not really a concern. This too, is addressed adequately in Atlas Shrugged: [W]e will move to reclaim this country once more from the impotent savages who never discovered its nature, its meaning, its splendor. Those who choose to join us, will join us; those who don't, will not have the power to stop us; hordes of savages have never been an obstacle to men who carried the banner of the mind. Have you stopped to consider why the words "once more" were selected to express this otherwise trivial observation? You are underestimating the power of that which you have yet to understand.
  11. Renunciation is not one of Ayn Rand's premises. She states it explicitly in the introduction to The Romantic Manifesto. Renunciation is not one of my premises. If I see that the good is possible to men, yet it vanishes, I do not take "Such is the trend of the world" as a sufficient explanation. I ask such questions as: Why?-What caused it?-What or who determines the trends of the world? (The answer is: philosophy. ) In a letter to Mr, Crute written August 24, 1963 she wrote: The philosophical and political trends which are destroying the country in my novel, exist today and dominate our culture. Their practical results have not yet reached the stage portrayed in Atlas Shrugged, but we are moving in that direction. However, a trend can be stopped and changed. History is determined by men's philosophical convictions. It is philosophy that brought the world to its present state, and it is only philosophy that can save it—a philosophy of reason, individualism and capitalism. I'm not sure that most people will have to be convinced. Of those who do become convinced, what other method than reason does such a conviction come from?
  12. Parthenon vs. Hekatompedon (the hundred foot temple) “That [Hekatompedon] means ‘the hundred-foot temple’ and the main room of the big temple was indeed exactly 100 feet long,” Janric van Rookhuijzen, the archeologist behind the research, told The Telegraph. He acknowledges that Hekatompedon, which is mentioned in archives dating back 2,500 years, does not exactly roll off the tongue. A more user-friendly name would be “The Great Temple of Athena.” “Hekatompedon is a difficult name to pronounce. That may be part of the reason that Parthenon caught on – it was much more catchy,” he said. It is more telling with the following tidbit as well: Parthenon means “house of virgins” and the smaller temple is indeed decorated with stone caryatids, sculpted female figures which act as pillars, holding up the roof. Alas, The Fountainhead shall never read the same for me again.
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