Objectivism Online Forum

# icosahedron

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1. ## Is it proper to date a girl who smokes pot?

So we agree: without the causal mechanism being known, variable outcomes, and historical statistics of them, are not predictors of the future. That is what I thought you were disputing. First, relativistic effects can cause the half-life to depend on the frame of reference, so you example is not as bullet-proof as you state. More importantly, it is your apparent conflation of "probabilistic" with "statistically inferred" that I question. For causal process known to have variable outcomes with definite probabilities, the statistics can be guessed out of sample, i.e., a perfectly good causal model exists ... and while the suggestion of the pattern of that model was statistically evident in experiments prior to the formulation of the model, the statistics do not suffice to demonstrate that the apparent probabilities of future occurrence are regular rather than due to sample vagaries not discovered or filtered out by the experimenter. And, your half-life example is not an example of statistics, because the same outcome occurs in any similar measurement. Statistics only happens when you have two or more outcomes. So, that the half-life of carbon-14 is definite is not a statistical result; how many atoms in a sample decay in a given time period is a statistical result. When there is a good probabilistic model, it will reproduce the known statistics, but without a model, statistics are just correlations of observed data, and the apparent correlations may be due to some as yet undiscovered underlying pattern that is more fundamental than the outcomes correlated by a statistical method. Again, this is a case where the functional model is more or less correct and pertinent, and the statistics are a reflection of that. But to be devil's advocate, even in this case, it is true that ingestion of asbestos into the lungs of a given individual may or may not lead to cancer, usually does, but not always. So whatever the causation, it is not certainly predictable in this case either. Cyanide is a better example; it is definitely deadly at high enough dosage for any human being, and the biological mechanism by which it destroys the body's living function is well known. There is no statistics in this case; no exceptions to death. Not skeptical, but not naive either, and I think it is clear that many folk mis-interpret statistics to their detriment. - ico
2. ## My Process of Thought

True, one can operate in a more or less unfocused state of mind, and when one does so, thoughts can appear to come out of nowhere; however, I am not saying that intent is necessary, if you want to drift, you can; I am saying that, in any case, I can't hold two ideas in my mind at one time. Maybe I am deficient relative to some other persons who can multithread consciously, but I have yet to discover how to do it. If you can do it, then it seems a useful potential which I would like to learn how to do, assuming I am capable of it. No, I am using "object" to mean "the grasp of an existent by the mind", whether that existent be experienced as an external, physical, and entropic "point-to-able"; or as an internal, conceptual, and syntropic "considerable" with only indirect external referent(s). Intention is the power that allows me to choose which objects of my experience (including concepts) to think about. But the process of applying intention is sequential, i.e., of choosing my considerable referents in various sequences, and also considering newly formed ideas induced by comparing sequences (i.e., looking at systems formed by inter-related sequences of experience, giving them a name, and then using them as a single object of consideration. As an example, I can consider 2; I can consider 3; I can consider the addition operation 2+3; and I can consider the result of addition, i.e., 5. But I cannot consider all of these at the same time, I must choose which aspect of the situation I focus on in each instant (or let the ambient winds blow whatever detritus across my mind that comes along, without attempting to direct the process -- but whether undirected or not, the process is the same, but the value of the products of thought (concepts and hence actions) differs as a function of degree of deliberate focus. The process is the same; the context/content/purpose of the process is variable. GIGO applies to assumptions and data, but the process of thought is the same independent of the content operated on. Or so it seems to me on extensive introspection. Is your experience contradictory to mine? How? Or, is it just a semantic impedance and we are thinking about the same ideas but using different framework objects to relate them? The usual meaning, as distinct and separable from "size". Shape is independent of size, which allows me to visualize shapes, and hence working models, in my mind without having to create an actual concrete working model (which wouldn't physically fit into my head). Nope. Not sure where you got that impression. Looks like an attempt by you to rationalize my pursuit of the nature of thought, my attempt to boil it down to essentials, because you don't agree with it but also don't want to be to severe in making me feel "rejected" by your attitude. If you genuinely desire to help me learn, then lose the patronizing attitude and stop looking for how I am "wrong" rather than understanding how I came to my conclusions (which method you can use for yourself simply by turning your focus inward and experience your own process of thought, instead of looking for others to define it for you). Right, "build on previous understanding". And that building is a process that occurs step by step in the mind. I am not disputing that the object of thought can be more or less involved and complex; I am saying something so simple it is almost self-evident: the process of building understanding is sequential, just like the process of building a skyscraper -- and you can't hire others to do it for you, if you want to really understand you must at least follow the logic of others for yourself. So it's like a skyscraper that only you can work on. Really? That contradicts my own experience; have you validated that for yourself, or are you parroting? (see, I can be patronizing and sarcastic when I want to, too). No, I am saying that I can choose to refresh the frame of consideration, and there is a maximum rate at which I can switch frames. What do you mean by ordinal measurement? Counting how many copies of a unit will "fit" into a given commensurable quantity? Certainly it is sequential if you realize the shortcuts you use to frame it as anything more than, e.g., laying down units end to end to measure length. Define random. Do you mean arbitrary moments? Subdivision of what, exactly. Division is also a sequential process, as is any programmable algorithm -- in fact, anything that can be programmed into a computer is sequential in nature, at the point of processing. - ico
3. ## Is it proper to date a girl who smokes pot?

That is my point. When I do see the causal connection, then the observed facts (statistics) are linked to a causative model. For cigarettes, there is a good basis for a causal link. I am not disputing that -- although, the causal link is, as in many cases of applied medicine, more or less inconsiderate of individual context. That is the strength and the limitation of generic medicine. To say that cigarettes are in all cases not worth smoking is ignoring the specific, individual context; to say that cigarettes are generally bad for you is fine, as long as this view is not a parroting of cultural mores, but the individual understands enough about WHY cigarettes are bad to avoid (or choose) them consciously and with full intent. And here again, you fuzz the line between history (observed outcomes across a statistically relevant sample), and future (relative probabilities of future outcomes). If you are saying that past statistics are a decent approximate predictor of future outcomes that we have in the absence of any other information, I agree; if you assume that past outcomes are a definitive predictor of future outcomes, then you are reading too much into statistical correlations. As an absurd but relevant example, up until 1969, no human had ever set foot on the Moon. There were exactly 0% of past outcomes consistent with a man walking on the Moon. But the probability of such outcome was, in retrospect, greater than 0%. Similarly, if you invest your money with mutual funds solely according to their past performance, you may be surprised to find yourself not obtaining the expected returns. Statistics are of the past, and can only speak to the future if the past sample size is sufficiently complete, and, just as importantly, if the future is more or less contextually equivalent to prior experience. The fact of man-made things, however, puts many future predictions based on past performance at risk of being rendered incorrect by future developments, up to and including developments that haven't yet been imagined. Statistics do not lie, but people interpret them to imply causality in individual cases, which is overstating the connection between past and future. As another case less definitive than direct smoking, how do you deal with the statistics around second hand smoke, and what do you make of them, in terms of power to predict the future? Cholesterol is another boondoggle, scientifically, where statistical interpretations and "projections" have been used to motivate and generate a whole drug industry based on inconclusive empirical evidence, and without a proper model of the details. For example, try squeezing cholesterol at body temperature through a small latex tube, and you will see that it is dang oily and slippery and doesn't stick to the edges of the tube or build up plaque. The only way to get it to do so is to create "friction" in the tube to which the cholesterol molecule can stick. But the cholesterol doesn't create friction in and of itself, the tube must be modified in some way. Why is it different in the body's arteries, and what could be causing "roughness" of arteries? There are enough questionable cases of half-baked forward "reasoning" based on past statistics that if I can't see the "why" behind the statistics, then I don't take them as predictive. - ico
4. ## When is economic assistance appropriate?

I would like to pin down the definitions of "economic", "assistance", and "appropriate". Economic refers to the individual process of gaining and keeping values in the pursuit of goals, and is an ETHICAL adjective (not a political one, the political effect is derivative). Given a society of separate individuals each seeking to gain and keep values consistent with themselves, the process of gaining values is often most efficiently executed via trade with others based on division of labor and sharing of knowledge. Assistance means one individual helping another. Under the trader principle, such assistance will only occur if the assisting individual deems the cost of assisting to be no greater than the benefit gained by assisting, when the consequences of assisting are considered long term. Appropriate means morally correct, i.e., not in violation of the moral basis of the individual committing the referenced act (of assistance in the present case), nor in violation of the moral basis of the individual on the other side of the trade (receiving the assistance in the present case). So, I translate the topic question into its logical equivalent under the context of my definitions: "When is it appropriate to to assist another by giving them values for which they cannot afford the recompense on the spot?" The answer is: when the cumulative long term benefits to the assisting individual are no less than the cumulative cost of providing the assistance. Any answer which deems as appropriate the knowing sacrificing of long term value, i.e., that demands more (perceived) cost to assist than the long term (perceived) benefit expected to be received, is IMMORAL. That's why loans are moral, but assistance not contingent on being paid back is immoral -- for both the giver, and the receiver. Be careful: the judgment of value in trade is in the eye of the trader, so you can't just apply your standards to the trades, including assistance, offered by others. - ico
5. ## Is it proper to date a girl who smokes pot?

As to cigarettes, let's drop that one for now, I am aware of the health risks and still choose to do it. As for induction, I am very fond of that power and am not limiting it by, again, repeating: Statistics do not inform future probabilities, because statistics focus on correlation, whereas the future is based on cause and effect; correlation does not demonstrate causal linkage. The fallacy of using past statistics to argue future outcomes, i.e., without understanding WHY the statistics come out as they do, and without having a model of the future that predicts the statistics (out of sample fit) is rampant and wrong. Keep it up, and I will keep shooting it down. - ico
6. ## My Process of Thought

You are missing the recursive nature of objects as hierarchical containers, and the fact that the sequences themselves, and any collection or relationship among them, are also objects of consideration. For example, I can consider my coffee cup and its contents as a whole; or I can change the level of my focus, and consider the cup and its contents as a system of two parts interacting; or I can refocus on the coffee itself, and consider how it is a mixture of a particular nature; and etc. At each step of consideration, there is an object in focus, which object can be multifaceted, i.e., a complex of lower-order objects. But I cannot simultaneously consider my coffee and your coffee as specifics; I can consider the two coffees as one item if I change focus to that level. I am saying that the process of thought produces such sequences; I am not saying that the sequence format is necessarily the common means to represent the process, but that, implicitly at least, that is what is going on: a sequence of focus and then refocus. The logic is lateral; the process of thought is still sequential, and each step of focus brings a new object into resolution and consideration. Objects are not points, they have structure and function, are containers of information, have size and shape (although in many cases size can be set aside, which is also the basis for thought of real thing as scale models in the mind). When I associate any two objects, I am considering them as a whole system and examining specific relationships between them consistent with considering them as a whole. My focus shifts from one object, to another, to their interactions/relationships, to the net effect of the interactions as a whole. When I have been definitive about the association, I have explored and exhausted the available sequences, at least in principle if not necessary in fact (I may not need to know the details of each sequence to make the considered association). True, levels of abstraction correspond to objects that contain other objects, and are contained by higher order objects. Objects are "state-ic", but the consideration of them over time is sequential. That is how time-perception works: by considering a sequence of related objects (like your images of a clock watched). True. It's object-oriented and complex. But the ACTION of thought is sequential, i.e., the process of cycling through the frames is a sequential process where the question "has it already been considered" can be answered definitively. But the process of measuring is sequential. The process of subdivision is sequential, the results produced by the process are not. The process of comparing can only occur in relation to sets of discretes, and is itself discrete, temporally executed, sequential. Um, no. I am attempting to convert the concept "change" into something more specifically useful, mathematically and operationally. Try thinking about something before you think about it. Not possible. Thought is sequential, and the objects of consideration are systemic, aggregatable, subdivisible, associatable, etc. - ico
7. ## My Process of Thought

Exactly, all examples of considering sequences of objects ... and then, considering the relationships among the sequences, and sequences of sequences, and etc. recursively in each and every available direction of elocution. - ico
8. ## My Process of Thought

Thanks for the reference. Corollaries that follow on: if two conceptual sequences contradict one another, then at least one of them cannot occur; if an imagined sequence cannot actually occur, it is unreal and must be rejected, in all honesty. Also, there ought to be an implicative algebra of the relationships between such sequences. I can already see how to express motion as such sequences, thinking only in terms of direction, duration, and intensity -- speed doesn't even enter into the fundamental picture, and velocity as macro-measurable falls out as a derivative that corresponds to the net temporal displacement of entropic bodies (some say "energetic bodies", I see that entropy/information is the basis, energy is just the "carrier wave"). - ico
9. ## Alcoholism and Labeling

Okay, as much as I admire Darwin and his good works, the hypothesis that genetic evolution is a process of random mutation is not supported by the facts. And the assumption that life itself is a product of entropic jiggling is the logical conclusion of this line of reasoning. Whether one considers how the machinery of life came to be, or how it came to evolve as it has, entropic considerations prohibit, within the bounds of reasonable doubt, the spontaneous evolution of DNA from simple molecules; and if the initiation of life cannot be random, it must be according to some patterns that are given and not stumbled upon. And, logically, the evolution is then also shaped, rather than random. Randomness contradicts the law of cause and effect. There is no such thing as randomness, in the purist sense. Uncertainty is always bounded, i.e., certainty is structural and acts to contain uncertainty. Uncertainty can be dealt with; randomness, like irrationality, cannot. - ico
10. ## Why wait to ask users pay directly for government services?

The problem is that without credit protection, i.e., recourse to legal intervention in case of contract violations, none of these markets you envision will take root. Credit is an essential feature of trade beyond spot exchanges, and relying solely on the good will of counterparties is naive. Currency is the most fungible credit, but all forms of security are more or less fungible. Only tangible commodities can be considered "hard" and without credit implications, and even then, since the finished goods produced will be a function of credit, smoothly functioning commodity markets are also contingent on a stable, enforceable, standard, fungible credit environment. Markets are built on trust. Trust is not an arbitrary agreement, but is based on track record and commitment (e.g., of collateral in financial loans). Without trust, you can't have all those other new markets you envision. Without an agreed agent in charge of enforcing contracts and adjudicating civil disputes, you can't have trust beyond your circle of friends and family at best. - ico
11. ## Why People Don't Accept Objectivism

I appreciate the thesis, and the topic is always interesting. My few comments, hoping to spur more discussion: 1) Mental laziness is the single biggest problem. Once a person learns to rely on others beyond what is fair in trade, they get used to the sense of relaxation that goes with not having to expend as much effort. Another angle is that evasions take extra effort to contain, and cause uncertainty, so the evader is left with fewer expendable cycles -- the evader feels like he/she is working just as hard as the honest person, and I expect they are (maybe harder!), but they have less to show for the effort. So, I do agree that "producing values" is the best antidote -- producing, i.e., not being lazy; and values, i.e., something of worth, so not evading reality. 2) While I applaud your attempt to analyze irrationality, I have found that irrationality, by its nature, is more or less inscrutable. Because it is irrational, it will foil any rational method of approach! So, good ideas, but I think it all goes back to your "antidote": people who don't expend the effort to learn how to earn and trade (for whatever reason) are going to be a problem for those that do. 3) In any case, I like your elaboration of the soul, self, sense of self, etc. Nicely written. One point here, which you allude to but I want to underline: the self is finite, and finitely accountable, because it is constructed; it is a structure built from finitely many identifiable experiences. It therefore cannot be an amorphous gestalt; it must be a volumetric, imaginable, finitely describable, even mathematical, structure -- with a specific nature and obeying specific rules of evolution, growth, decay, etc. Cheers. - ico
12. ## My Process of Thought

My process of thought appears to operate as a functional machine of a specific nature. I notice the following, and assume that if you understand my meaning, you are also capable of noticing these things about how your own process of thought works: 1) It is functional, and requires input on which to operate, or if you prefer, context on which to build. 2) The specifics of the input are omitted, that is, I can initiate a course of thought with respect to any available context. 3) If I don't choose the course of my thought, it does not stop; it keeps on going like the Energizer Bunny, processing away on whatever input it picks up from its surroundings. 4) I can, with effort, gain and keep focus on a specific object of consideration, mentally examining what I am aware of with respect to the object; the longer I try to keep full awareness of a single object of consideration, the harder it gets. Eventually, my focus switches, even if only briefly. So all I can accomplish is a sequence of pairs {focus,duration} 5) There appears to be a minimum duration for which I can consider any particular object of thought, which corresponds to the time it takes to switch to another object of thought. From these observations, I conclude that my process of thought is sequential with (approximately) fixed frequency of refocusing potential, so that it can be modeled as a finite sequence of objects, with the frequency telling the number of objects considered per unit time. It may be somewhat more complex, due to the integration of sensory inputs to perceptions across modes, such as seeing and hearing; this may require two inter-related sequences to represent truly. But the essential "segment of thought" still consists of a sequence of considered objects being brought into focus with a specific revision frequency (the same object may be held for multiple beats). I propose that, in the spirit of Objectivism, we discuss whether this model of the thought process, as a sequence of considerations occurring with a definite frequency, holds water. I claim it does, as outlined above; I claim it is necessary and sufficient, and does not contradict Objectivist principles in any way. I claim further that, because it is the essence of how thinking works (at least for me), one can gain conceptual leverage by basing and/or reducing the products of thought on such sequences. What else do I have to work with? - ico
13. ## Argument for the existence of God

And yet it is not. Perhaps I am not sophisticated enough to understand your use of the Logic (sic), but I can find no flaw in my logic, as based on what I or other reliable individuals can reproducibly experience and communicate. Experience has to be the basis; without grist, the mill cannot produce, no matter how pristine, proper, and principled its function. Experience shows unequivocally that there are physical events which are not predictable from their precursors; and the nature of these experiments makes it highly unlikely that the physical principles which constrain the outcomes to a finite set are necessitated by the presence of a volitional experimenter; i.e., it appears that the physics is natural and given, not man-made. In fact, in order to have uncertainty sufficient to allow volition requires that the uncertainty be at the root of the system; if the root is deterministic, then so is all concrete experience, including all our communications; and including all the nuclear and chemical compoundings; and all the genetics; and etc -- all the experiences that any individual consciousness can have are accompanied by a concrete material change in the entropy of the individual and their surroundings. If these changes are all deterministic, then the individual has no basis to validate volition as anything more than a figment of our arrogant imagination. A deterministic given world would be inconsistent with volition, not to mention change itself. Time is the ambient uncertainty in the present, which is necessary to spacing of entities that allows them to move and change relative to one another. Without time, the essential PHYSICAL uncertainty, which is clearly not a figment of our imaginations, there could not be volition. Whatever your Logic is, if it ignores the fact of uncertainty as a generative principle, then it cannot lead to volition except by fiat. - ico
14. ## Argument for the existence of God

First of all, the whole of which I snipped all but the final bit was VERY well written and clear, thank you! To underscore the nature of volition, note that conceptual knowledge, like all things man-made, does not have to be. It is the result of making conditional choices. As in, "If I want to live effectively, then I must learn how to do so", and then also, "If I want to learn effectively, then I must take my limitations into account in choosing my methods of learning." It is the recognition of limitations, and the limitations of those limitations, that leads to learning and growth. The limitations are rarely challenged except when necessary, and when necessary the challenges are most instructive. When one really, really wants something, and must stretch to figure out how to gain the object of desire, then one finds means that reduce the limitations that stand in the way, if such means are available; if not, then one finds that out and learns the bounds of the possible (and the sooner, the better). - ico
15. ## Argument for the existence of God

Logic is transformative, i.e., acts functionally to convert information in one form, into information in another form, such that the information after the transformation is implied by that before. As for any transformation, it is at best irrelevant if it is not applied, i.e., if there is no input to feed into a function, then it's not very useful. You still need both the power of thought (which is, IMHO, a more general notion that subsumes logic), and something(s) for that power to be referenced to, to use as inputs. Function is predicated on material to be processed. You can't drop context; a pump that might but never does run is not actually functioning, so why imagine it is useful without something to pump? You can probably come up with your own if you need more analogies here. - ico
16. ## Argument for the existence of God

Obviously, one's representation of the relationships among experiences is not the same as the experiences from which the representation is derived; but that the representation is derivative and (ought to be) contingent (if you want your ideas to correspond with reality); to take the representation as an equal partner is to accord it equal fundamentality, in contradiction of the experience of creating such representations, in which experience, the basis is logically prior to the representation, and without the basis in reality, the representation cannot stand on its own. You can't dichotomize mind and body and get away with it for the long term without paying more than the benefit you obtain. Operational efficiency naturally leads to rejection of "concepts" which have no bearing on Life. - ico
17. ## Argument for the existence of God

Logic is not "invincibly true" or any other form of true. Logic is a means to discover the relationships among known facts, i.e., a means to discover whether something is true. As such, it is correct in all cases where applied judiciously; but "correct" and "true" are not the same concept, that's why we have different words.
18. ## Hierarchy of Values

I find interesting to the question at hand the fact of different spoken/written languages that can each tell more or less the same story, but in different ways, based on different representational hierarchies of the (essentially) same reality. - ico
19. ## Argument for the existence of God

Wrong. Efficiency is a concept, not the ratio of work out versus heat into a thermodynamic engine. For example, one can debate the efficiency, in terms of testable results, of various medical practices, physical theories, mathematical frameworks, philosophical systems, etc. Efficiency is much more important mentally than it is physically, actually. Conceptual efficiency leads to technical efficiency and puts more bread on the table. - ico
20. ## Argument for the existence of God

I assumed that you understood the basic principles of logic. 1. Define your assumptions unequivocally 2. State your assertion as a function of your assumptions 3. Show that the assertion is true, false, or unprovable in the context of the given assumptions. Definitions are not assertions, they are assumptions. If you want to debate definitions, fine, but whatever definitions we come to (assuming you don't evade the self-evident) will lead to the same idea of testability, ultimately; but if you claim not to understand the concept of testability, because we can't agree on a definition, then you are being obtuse -- I am certain you understand the concept. Semantic games get no where quickly (which is why the relation back to reality is crucial). Not unreal, but irrelevant to my reality, because not graspable by me. And I am suspicious of anyone who claims to grasp something, but cannot show me how to do so. I suspect that, whatever they think they have grasped, is most likely vaporware -- either that, or we have a communication gap. And I have identified how your use of that basis is irrelevant to my reality, and not a basis (belief) on which I choose to base computations or take as a pillar of knowledge, or argue from in any way. Moreover, I do not respect perspectives that cannot be validated against reality; by "respect", I mean, re-spect, i.e., re-examine; as soon as I determine that arbitrary belief is the basis, I reject the conclusions. Not doing that. Saying that your conclusions are irrelevant to reality, because based outside of it. If they are self-consistent, then congratulations on creating your own little mathematical world! But don't expect me to embrace your idiosyncratic assumptions, nor any logics based on them. What leverage do you get with such worldview, versus, say, mine, which makes no mention of an unobservable? If you can show me how it helps my life in some way, without abrogating my freedom, then cool, I'll dig it. But I've been down this path. It leads nowhere. There are productive uses for one's time, and except perhaps in taking "solace" in "brothers" embracing the same evasions, I don't see how you get any net leverage from the "concept". Having said all that, I acknowledge your right to your assumptions, and I can see how you conclude as you do based on them. I think there is a better way. I have proof in my own life. If you are asking these questions, and thinking about them, then you are at least peering in the right direction, I would never ask anyone to take anything on faith. Eventually, if you persist, you will exhaust the metaphor, and move past it. Whether or not I said this. Cheers. - ico
21. ## Argument for the existence of God

Information requires an energetic basis. In that sense, a mind without a body would have no context to work with, so would be inert, and non-functional, i.e., not acting as a mind, i.e., non-existent. If you take this too far, and assume that causality implies lock-step evolution of information, a la Laplace, then you mistake logical deduction for causality, and fall into Determinism. If, instead, you say that every entity has a material, concrete, transportable, reproducible component, you will not run into any Determinism per se, unless you overstate the law of causality. I don't think you have understood the truths required for Quantum Mechanics to work as a theory validated against real experimental results. If you take the time to, you will see that it is precisely the limits of measurable certainty that give rise to future possibilities and inductions -- literally, uncertainty provides the space between things that allows them to be quasi-independent and only partly predictable as parts of a larger whole. Assuming our definitions of "logic" match, yes. I distinguish between inside and outside, volumetrically, but beyond that, I understand a set of general principles that are consistent with themselves and all other aspects of my sum-total experience, as far as I am aware. These principles are not "physical" or "mental"; they are "material" in the broadest sense of that word, including not only the material of today, but also the potentials of tomorrow as expressed in ideas, knowledge, judgment, and plans to transform the given into more useful form. I distinguish between the given and the man-made. The former had to be, the latter did not. But every entity, including conceptual entities such as ideas, has a structure, and occupies a volume. One can visualize material combinations and judge them worthy prior to expending effort in bringing them into material being. The duals of association and dissociation, contraction and expansion, cohesion and explosion, or however you wish to conceptualize the tension/compression forces that must exist to create stable structures (physical and mental); there must be a balance, a dynamic equilibrium, to create stable structures. Concepts are structural containers, just like any other volumetric device, and consideration naturally occurs in units commensurable with the primaries of perception, i.e., as volumetric relationships among definite entities. That the volume is the same as externally accountable is not my point; that it is mathematically analogous is my point. The same principles apply in the physical and mental worlds (your lingo), i.e., the given and man-made (my lingo). This must be true if the internal world of me, my inside which you cannot experience except imaginatively, is to be consistent with my outside. My inside is man-made. "Man is being of self-made soul", and I am a Man. My soul did not have to exist in the form it does today. But now that it does so exist, it is real. The problem is assuming that the organs of awareness and thought are static in their power; in fact they are dynamic and can evolve in power, scope, depth. They, like our arms, can make use of leverage (knowledge/tools) and time (division of labor/planning) to move mountains. But they, like muscles can atrophy too. I have an inside, and an outside. There is (at least) Me, and NotMe -- this is the basis of awareness, this "counting to 2", as I like to call it. One is realized in retrospect, but the first awareness is the awareness of otherness, of NotMe, which reflexively induces self-awareness and births the individual consciousness. How this is implemented, in detail, is not important, as long as you realize that you cannot detach Me from its perspective as an unique awareness of otherness; which is to say, you can't tear the soul from the body, as the body is the minimum representation of the soul, volumetrically, that is consistent with Existence. - ico
22. ## Obama is an Intellectual Midget

Wrong principles lead to wrong conclusions, no matter whose mind they are mixed into. Both world views devolve to the same operational (and moral) flaws, as the denizens of totalitarian lands will attest.
23. ## Argument for the existence of God

As I said: I DEFINE an arbitrary assertion as one which is untestable. Under that definition, "a non-testable assertion is arbitrary" is simply a reaffirmation of the definition, i.e., the fact that an object is identified with itself, which as you say, is a tautology. As I said it was. No, I was VERY specific. I defined arbitrary assertion as non-testable, then proposition as testable assertion, therefore not arbitrary. I further showed how the statement "an arbitrary assertion is not testable" is consistent with itself and irrelevant to everything else, i.e., non-contradictory. If you saw my writings as contradictory of the position I was supporting, then I can't help you -- except perhaps to suggest you brush up on your reading comprehension skills and stop trying to sharpen axes instead of making sense. You won't convince me of the unreal, the untestable, the unevidenced; and if you insist on building systems on top of your beliefs, without a valid basis, I will be powerless to convince you of the irrationality of your position, because you are obviously experienced at rationalizing and have made your irrationality self-consistent, if irrelevant. That is an insurmountable block to further progress. At the end, I can only appeal to your sense of efficiency. What advantage do you gain by spending so much effort inventing an unobservable to explain things you don't understand? - ico
24. ## Argument for the existence of God

Let me be more exact: 1. An assertion is arbitrary if it cannot be verified, i.e., tested against reality, i.e., is non-testable. 2. A proposition is an assertion that CAN be verified. Therefore, an arbitrary assertion is not a proposition. I claim, specifically, that an arbitrary assertion is not testable, which is indeed circular, but so what? It is a self-contained tautology with no ill effect on any further logics, eh? Can I test the assertion "an arbitrary assertion is not testable"? In other words, can I show that, given an assertion that cannot be verified, it is indeed impossible to verify? Well, yes I can, as it is a tautology. Checkmate. - ico
25. ## Objectivism, Pornography and Masturbation

Exactly. I try to maximize the QUALITY of my life, in sum-total. A long, sad life is not my goal. Neither is a short, happy one. I want a long, happy one ... but without the "happy", the "long" is actually a BAD thing. - ico
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