Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Inspector

  1. *** Split from another thread - sN *** I've been told my point could be misunderstood so I'm going to flesh it out some. Yes I know she was just sharing her "own take." That's the problem. This forum is not a place to simply assert points of non-Objectivist personal opinion or even philosophical musings. It is perfectly fine to ask questions about ones musings from the perspective of Objectivism. I.e. "I was thinking x and y; how does this match up with Objectivism?" The problem is that Ifat phrased her own musings in the form of an answer to someone else's philosophical question/thread. It is not that it is inappropriate as such to have ones own musings here or to discuss them. Such things are in fact welcome, in the proper context. It is that they should not be placed as an answer in someone else's thread which is asking a question about Objectivism. As stated per the rules, this is a place for questions and answers about Objectivism. If you are not speaking of Objectivism, then your questions may be desired but your answers are not (not per the rules, that is). As per the rules, this is not a place for people to give NON-Objectivist answers, personal opinions, or "own takes." All of those things are valid for discussion, but only within the proper context (i.e. as the person asking the question, not giving the answers). Which this is not. If Ifat had her "own take" musings about the matter, it would be perfectly acceptable via the rules to start her own thread linking to this one in which she can present her own theories and ask everyone if they are valid or not. I don't see anything wrong with doing such a thing - but that is not what Ifat did. She simply presented her own theories as an answer to someone who had a thread asking a question about Objectivism. I do not think that Ifat did anything malicious - I think it is simply a common and unfortunate misunderstanding that it is fine to put your "own take" musing up as a reply to threads here. I don't think that there is any cause to take action against Ifat, other than to split her commentary into its own thread and let her know of the correct procedures - which is why I reported her only after her own insistence that things proceed in that direction.
  2. If they would but step out of the way, we would be a net oil exporting nation. Thus such concerns are entirely a manufactured crisis caused by the government, used to call for more restriction of the government.
  3. As sN said, that's not even close to what Objectivism says. Far from being a Materialist system that mocks all ethics, Objectivism is famous for having an ethical system that it says is NON-optional. I agree with sN: you'll do better to learn a lot more about Objectivism before you attempt any debate. As it stands right now it would be futile.
  4. How can you see this? May I ask what economics you have read or what your level of familiarity of economics is?
  5. Ifat, if you're trying to figure this out, then why are you speaking in the form of an answer, rather than in the form of a question? It's fine that you've said you're not sure of Objectivism's answer to this question, but that doesn't change the fact that this forum is a place for questions about Objectivism and answers from the perspective of Objectivism (or at least, that's the idea). It is not a place for answers from perspectives other than Objectivism or from those who do not know Objectivism (again, that's the idea anyway). The tendency on the internet is for everyone to just feel free to chime in with whatever is on the mind, as if that is valuable thing from anyone and everyone (no matter their knowledge or philosophy) - but that is explicitly not the purpose of this place. I'm not saying that's what you're trying to do here. I'm sure you can re-phrase your post into something that fits the purpose of this forum. But you may be accidentally wandering into that territory and I'd just like to remind you and everyone else what this place is supposed to be. If you think you have the correct answer about or application of Objectivism, then by all means try to answer the question. If you don't or aren't sure, then please restrict your posts to asking questions, rather than trying to give answers.
  6. You think the government is artificially pushing things toward oil? Ha. Hahahahaha. Oil is the cheapest, most efficient, most economical portable source of energy. The government is doing everything it can get away with to force us away from oil, to our extreme detriment. If they would but get the hell out of the way, we would be exporting oil and it would be so cheap that people on the street would give you funny looks if you used the word "dependent." Which is what they ought to be doing anyway because even now the concept is ridiculous.
  7. How so? I mean I don't think it's a "challenge" either, but I don't see how it's that. Who was corrupted by power?
  8. "Right" is a term which pre-supposes a goal. Right for what purpose? (in other words: Of value to whom and for what?) Asking for why it is right to choose to live is like asking for proof of logic. The very concept of "proof" depends on the validity of logic. By what means, other than logic, would you "prove" something? The very concept of "right" presupposes that one has already chosen a standard of value. So you can't ask if choosing to live is "right" because "right" implies a choice has already been made.
  9. Then you might want to say, "Sort of like the libertarians, but not exactly. I have my disagreements with them, but they're the closest you've likely heard of." Or something to that effect. But don't just outright endorse them, is what I mean.
  10. Sure, but that still doesn't mean that there's an "Objectivist style" either. I mean obviously you want to won't want to express a negative theme (such as "I'm a slob who doesn't care about anything because anything goes!") with your dress, but that doesn't make any particular positive style "Objectivist." There was, at one point, a Q&A or lecture on the ARI website that specifically addresses the difference between Objectivism as such and The Good in general. I can't seem to find it, though.
  11. Ers, The problem that Objectivism has with Libertarianism is that it is open to all sorts of people who can pay at least some lip service to "liberty." But without philosophy, it is only lip service and very many of those people are dangerous lunatics who will do nothing but discredit and smear the good name of Laissez-Faire Capitalism. If you doubt this, try having a debate with a Marxist about what he considers "freedom" to be and what he wants to do to achieve it. Now I don't know how you feel about Ron Paul, but even many libertarians see there's a lot wrong with him and pretty much all of it falls completely within Objectivism's predictions/criticisms of Libertarianism. More broadly, the dispute is philosophical. Objectivism holds that philosophy matters and that it the most crucial factor in changing the world, the country, and any given individual for the better. Libertarianism holds that philosophy is unnecessary or incidental, and that the wrongness of the initiation of force is self-evident and needs no further justification.
  12. The really dreary, slow, medieval sounding recorder-and-lute stuff you hear all the time on most classical stations and NPR. What do I like, you ask? Things with passion and triumph, such as Vivaldi's "Summer" form the Four Seasons and Double Cello Concerto, Camille Saint-Saëns' Samson and Delila, Greig's Peer Gynt suites, Antonin Dvorák's Symphony #4 in D minor, Bizet's L' Arlésienne, Holst's Planets, Mahler's Titan, Berlioz's Damnation of Faust, Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor, and so on. That list is by no means exhaustive.
  13. Heh. Cats are strange creatures. Thank you, and I apologize for any inadvertent friendly-fire in my post. Now, the author I'm not particularly sorry to if I've been unfair to him because he's been terribly unfair to a great deal of the population - after all, he entitled his essay, "Why Do So Many Smart People Listen to Such Terrible Music?" And what does he consider "terrible music?" The answer he provides is: "specifically rock-and-roll in all its distinctions that are the mainstays of commercial radio." He's dismissing all of rock-and-roll played on commercial radio as "terrible," and furthermore something which in a right-thinking world would be avoided by smart people. So Chuck Berry, Elvis, The Beatles, Roy Orbison, Dick Dale, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, The Animals, The Kinks, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Boston, The Who, Kansas, Journey, Styx, Rush, Queen, Foghat, Lynyrd Skynyrd, CCR, Golden Earring, Aerosmith, Foreigner, Dio, The Eagles, Van Halen, Def Leppard, Alice Cooper, The Scorpions, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Metallica, Guns n' Roses, Nazareth, George Thorogood, ZZ Top, and countless others - these are all "terrible music" which should be the domain of non-smart people who "have less innate musical intelligence, talent, musical sensitivity," or other benighted attributes. I rather love and appreciate classical music and understand that rock-and-roll is limited, as a genre, in its range of emotions and themes that it can express. I think that if a person who listens to only rock and roll is missing out on quite a bit. But that doesn't make it terrible or the domain of The Stupid. Right, so - I could see how the way I put it, it sounds like "in that way" is referring to liking structure qua structure "purely." To get more at my actual meaning, I'd re-phrase it that the "that" is referring to the enjoyment of it qua structure but not necessarily with a blind eye to its other elements (thus, this is what I think the author is doing). What I'm getting at is that non-musicians aren't interested in the structure itself, but rather only if it serves to make the music express something. As Ayn Rand said, music is enjoyed in the reverse order to other art, with emotional response coming before conceptual understanding. Musicians, on the other hand, I have seen enjoying, judging, and listening to music based on its compositional virtuosity. (Not that these same musicians I know don't also listen to and enjoy simpler music - they do) There's nothing as such wrong with this (it can go so far sometimes so as to be almost non-music, but that does not describe all of it); I just think that they shouldn't expect non-musicians - even smart ones - to do this. Note that this is where the "smart" thing comes in and how I agree with the author that it is a "smart people" thing - because as Ayn Rand said, "The pattern of the process involved in music is: from perception—to emotion—to appraisal—to conceptual understanding," and I think you do have to be at least basically smart to attain a conceptual understanding of complex music and I believe it is precisely a conceptual understanding which the author is expecting smart people to be attaining of their music. Otherwise, as you say, why make it a matter of being "smart" at all, since just about all people can enjoy even a complex piece on an emotional level, if its complexity is well integrated in the service of its purpose. But "smart" is not a precise term - you, I, and the author may all have different ideas of what the boundaries of smartness are. Now, as I said I think that the author is doing this, to some extent. By no means am I saying that it's his exclusive or even major premise, but I think it might be in there somewhere. (He is a bit vague, as you have noted) A big cue in my suspicion is that he is a Jazz Pianist - a genre which, as Thales noted, is well known for making music to be appreciated for structural cleverness ("listen to the notes he's not playing!"). Which is not to say that all Jazz is like that, but certainly there is some and it is famous for it. As I said, I didn't even have Classical in mind at all; although I'm sure that one could find some that fits the description. If the author is not at all saying anything along those lines, then that's fine and I've made a point that's irrelevant to his statements, but nonetheless interesting to me and hopefully others. And as I said, if he is not saying this then I am a bit baffled by his focus on smart people, unless he is just simply a snob. In that sense, there is some accuracy in saying that I found the author to be a convenient figure on which to start making a pre-existing point that I had been mulling. But anyhow, if I had to answer the question of why good Classical music is not more widespread, I would say that it is because bad Classical music gets so much play that it buries the good stuff in most peoples minds. As you said, a lot of the modern conductors re-interpret, and ruin, the greats. And then it doesn't get a wide audience, which only worsens the problem. Hope that clears things up. Do feel free to ask me any more questions if you have them.
  14. See, it's that "necessarily" part that gets me - that and the "set up" ("construct" is a misquote - I had to head out the door at the time) is also a term heavily colored with the idea of intent - as if I deliberately knew that these were strawmen that I was intentionally and dishonestly setting up to discredit an opponent. The phrasing that doesn't imply this would be "you are attacking a strawman," which doesn't say anything about whether it is one that I deliberately and insidiously designed to further my own nefarious ends. Because between that, the rest of your phrasing, and the overall tone of your post, I definitely saw it as attacking and accusatory. I didn't ask why you were quoting me - I asked why you were stretching what I said so far. That's "stretching" as in interpreting it in a way so far out of the bounds of a reasonable and good faith reading of them. And I was asking not to you, but rhetorically in order to demonstrate the internal line of questioning that lead me to think - and subsequently suggest the possibility that - you had some other motive. Now you've said to me that you had at least some level of suspicion that what I wrote was "a snide attack on people here," and that has not likely helped your interpretation of everything else. So I'm telling you outright and explicitly: it's not - not on the author, not on musicians generally or even progressive musicians specifically, not on anyone who appreciates music qua composition, and certainly not on anyone here. At worst, I think maybe the author expects that non-musician smart people ought to be expected to appreciate music in the way that composers of music do (i.e. for its compositional virtuosity, rather then the direct perceptual effect it has - or to put it another way, qua composition rather than qua music), which I describe as "erroneous." (not that the appreciation is erroneous, rather that the expectation that others do so is) And that if that is not specifically the cause of his confusion as to why more smart people don't listen to his kind of music, then it is at least an existing error which I am bringing to the attention of the reader. What other things you see attacked in my post (i.e. disharmonious composition which is made only to be complex, etc) are directly only at those who commit them, which is not something I am accusing anyone specific of. Here, this is at once the bottom line and the real irony here. If you weren't so hostile in your approach so as to do such things as describe me as an animal viciously balking against its own good then I can guarantee you that I would have pleasantly engaged all of your queries. And as I said, I'd be more than willing to start this conversation over and communicate with you in good faith to answer all of your questions and concerns (if you have any) - but you're going to have to promise me that you'll cut it out with the quips, attacks, loaded language, and generally hostile attitude. Do we have a deal?
  15. Okay, I will grant you that it is a reasonable interpretation to believe that the words "in that way" are refer to "purely on the level of its structure," so I can see how I did mention that I think author was expecting people to appreciate music "purely on the level of its structure." But this is referring only to the claim in my post # 61. By showing I was wrong there, you have not validated your original accusation that I was responding to. Nor, at that, your other accusations or your general characterization of my original post. No, that's what you've done, in your previous accusations of how I'm "constructing" straw men "in order to" "insinuate" this and "implicitly equate" that. What I have suggested is not dishonesty on your part, but prejudice. And I only presented the possibility of your wanting to think I have said these wicked things because at this point I have to ask: why are you stretching what I said so far? Is it because you want to do so for some reason? Why are you going so far out of your way to characterize me badly? Couldn't you treat me as an honest participant here and if you have questions about my meaning then ask them instead of leveling accusations against me? I see what you're doing and I don't appreciate it, and I am capable of and prepared to respond in kind. I am also prepared to treat you the way I expect to be treated - as an honest participant. Even now, I am prepared to do this. But the choice is yours. So what shall it be? Shall we drop the back-and-forth you're-smuggling-this-and-insinuating that business and actually get down to understanding each other? If you are not in fact wanting to think that I am the way you've characterized me, then how about you stop acting like it and start discussing things with me in good faith instead of as an attack? Because I don't honestly think we disagree here on the actual topic.
  16. Again you are not reading what I said - you are stretching it mightily to make it say what you think or want to think I said. The particular part of what I wrote that you quote is where I say the author is appreciating complexity qua complexity as a major value in his music. I haven't yet at that point moved on to discuss complexity disconnected from harmony or emotion. Here is the part of what you said which I object to: That is the accusation of yours which I was responding to when I said "And who said I was arguing against anyone here?" By the time I have moved on in my post to discussing favoring structure to the exclusion of other factors, I am no longer specifically mentioning any individual here or anywhere else. But you missed that. What I say I think the author is doing is expecting ordinary smart people to look at music the way that a musician or music geek would - of appreciating design quality as an element on the level of emotionally enjoying its presence. What I am definitely saying is that the author is appreciating design quality as an element on the level of emotionally enjoying its presence. What I haven't said at all is that he is specifically doing it to the exclusion or at the expense of conventional musical appreciation. You seem to be implying that I've said that. But I haven't and I'd like to see where you think I have. No, you need to take better care with your reading because you are leveling accusations against an innocent man.
  17. Bingo - exactly my point. Well, that and to think that there is necessarily something wrong or unsophisticated with someone who is doing the former rather than the latter is erroneous. On a side note, I think it's ironic that I write something against mistaking one's personal interests and tastes qua musician with objective quality and I get criticized for equating my personal tastes with objective quality.
  18. Or an inauthentic one. What, specifically, did I say that would contradict this? I'm not playing with strawmen - I'm saying, to put it simply, that music can be smart without being good. It can contain complexity at the expense of harmony. And the existence of such an animal accounts for a lot of the smart people who don't listen to smart music. It is you sir who have constructed the straw man here. I never said or even implied that all progressive music and any people who liked it are pursuing form at the expense of function - only that such music and people do exist. I think you must be drawing that from other articles you've read on the subject, and extrapolating from their superficial (though inessential) similarity to mine, rather than from my commentary. Because half the people I had in mind when writing this are tattooed metalheads who would probably punch me in the face if I called them "dessicated, effete esthetes." Who said I was addressing anyone here? I am simply saying that I've seen musicians who appreciate music on a purely structural level, and that I think that the author is one of the people who does that. Note that I didn't say it was wrong to appreciate music on a purely structural level, only that it was wrong to look down on non-musicians for not doing that - as if that made their tastes less "smart" or something. So? I'm not arguing against him or them. In fact, I haven't really ever heard any classical music that I would consider to be spinning notes for the sake of it - I had in mind jazz, rock, and metal pieces, but I don't doubt you in the least that such a thing exists in the classical music world. And who said I was arguing against anyone here? Well, you do have to be smart enough to be able to understand what is going on. I'm agreeing with the author on that point - it's just that I believe that he is under the impression that if you are smart then you will necessarily be interested in appreciating music on a structural level - or else why would he be so confused that all smart people don't automatically shun simple music?
  19. Right, and adding to this: the author, implicitly, is saying that what he is looking for from his music is the complexity of structure to it - i.e. for the piece to do something "clever," musically. This is also the meaning behind the "smart people" thing - because it is required that one be smart to be able to enjoy a piece of music in this way. There's just one problem with that - not everybody wants to get that particular kind of enjoyment out of music. Some of us - yes, even smart people - aren't interested in the structural complexity and cleverness of a piece - we're interested in whether is sounds good (i.e. harmonious) or not. We're interested in the particular emotions that a piece expresses and accesses. In fact I would go so far as to say that it is only musicians who are entertained by a piece purely on the level of its structure (i.e. apart from its overall harmony), because they study and understand composure itself. Music that is particularly concerned with that structure, often (but not always) to the exclusion of harmony, is generally referred to as progressive - and it exists in many schools of music including jazz, rock and roll, and even metal. But the mistake I think people like the author (and his fellow musicians) make is that no non-musician has any reason to care about or appreciate music in that way. It's kind of a by-artists for-artists art. It doesn't make them smarter or more sophisticated - it is at best purely a professional interest, and at worst a form of pretentious rationalism that utterly misses the purpose of music - i.e. to be enjoyed emotionally. So what if it's simultaneously working three levels of structure which switch on every third stanza or whatever. Does it sound good? What does it do on an emotional level? Is all that complexity acting in the service of harmony, or is it just getting in the way of it? Or worse, is there no harmony at all, with the complexity being there for its own sake? (which is not only useless, emotionally, but in the extreme could mean that there isn't even a song at all - just a bunch of cleverly composed noise!) Those are the questions that the end users of music are concerned with. So while you do have to be smart to appreciate progressive music, it doesn't make necessarily any better than anyone else for doing it, nor do all smart people have to do it. So to look down on people or get all worked up because they don't spend their time appreciating progressive-style music is erroneous.
  20. If morality consists of the choosing what is in congruence with reality, then what is or is not in fact reality is definitely important. But as I said, this is not a matter of saying that homosexuals are immoral - I am not saying that (and this is, what, the fourth time I've had to repeat that?).
  21. Right - not all ridicule is the kind of humor you mean, but all humor is a statement that its object is absurd. Even if it's just a clever absurdity of language (i.e. a pun) that you came up with out of the blue.
  22. But, undeniably, it is something that will take away from your time with each other. So it had better be something you're more than a little interested in.
  23. Well, I've sort of gone over this a bit earlier, but here's a summary: 1) We know that other aspects of emotional response are a product of experience and free will, not inborn. We know that man is not, generally speaking, biologically determined in the contents of his consciousness or subconscious. 2) There isn't any conclusive scientific evidence or study that proves biological determinism. There are studies that show correlations, biologically, but not causation. They don't actually show that the biology preceded the psychology and not vice versa. That's all. Not a conclusive scientific proof, but rather the default which science hasn't disproven. If someone comes up with a study conclusively proving that sexual orientation is not caused by or changeable by one's consciousness, then I would listen to that study. It relates because I think some people are so afraid of the idea that homosexuality being not-inborn would make it immoral that they won't consider the idea. As for your second sentence, you're going to have to rephrase that as I'm afraid you've lost me - I didn't say "homosexual immorality;" I said, "it still doesn't make any given homosexual [person] necessarily immoral."
  24. Hahaha. Seriously, though, my example was to say: here is some empirical evidence that there was at least some meaning to the principle. I don't think it is to say that nobody should ever have kids, but it is to say that you'd be fooling yourself if you think you can have them and still have the exact same kind of relationship you had previously had. Which is to say that the rest of your reducto ad absurdum may not hold water. But the trick is that you're addressing Jennifer's argument, which is a separate deal from Dan's. Dude. Read his post. He's talking about psychology and emotional programming. I.e. he's saying that getting intimate emotionally with a female can do things to your emotional mechanism - things a happily married man wouldn't want his emotional mechanism to do.
  • Create New...