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Everything posted by icosahedron

  1. If a satisfying technical solution to this and similar difficulties could be devised, it would greatly help the O'ist cause. This is the number one objective raised to me personally in conversations where I advocate Capitalism to others and attempt to convince them on the merits. Tanaka made excellent points; but they still rely on human beings behaving rationally in the heat of the moment, which may be asking a lot at our crude level of social development. I have found that rather than try to change people when thorny issues like this crop up, it is often easier to provide them with a technical solution to the problem so they don't have to worry about it and can plan accordingly (i.e., without the extra uncertainty clogging the conceptual engine). So, rather than debate the morality of the situation (I find Tanaka's take spot on in this regard), is it possible to devise a technical or contractual means to resolve it? I am kicking around some ideas but none yet satisfy me. My point, nonetheless, is that where possible it is better to erect technical and/or contractual solutions, rather than ask people to change more than they are ready to. In fact, I think most if not all social change occurs as a result of increasing technical or contractual forces, in spite of history's focus on personalities. For example, without radio, the Battle of Britain would probably have gone the other way. That seems to me much more relevant to history than whatever psychological hijinks the Allies thought Hitler was falling for. - ico
  2. That's it, exactly! I "discovered" this way of thinking from reading R. Buckminster Fuller, but he was not the original. I believe that Boltzmann was the original. In Boltzman's model, stars decay to dust, and dust collects into stars, rinse and repeat. Perpetual motion. The only "problem" that this model suffers, from my reading, is that it conflicts with Hubble's expanding universe hypothesis. It also contradicts the Big Bang, but as Hubble is essential to that, I'm not so concerned about that. I call the Big Bang "the ejaculatory theory of creation", and really just find it too absurd to countenance. But, I don't think that physicists have properly codified the nature of "expansion". As shown in fractal maths, one can add complexity just as well by subdivision[\b] as one can by aggregation. In fact, to a sometime observer not watching the switch, the end result will appear to be the same! But the subdivision picture is nicer because it doesn't lead one to imagine an outside into which Universe could expand (which is my conceptual problem with Hubble as stated, though not with the empirical facts on which he based his hypothesis -- nor with the apparent effect that things get "farther" away -- farther in terms of how many nodes in a graph one must hop to get there. Start with a line segment. How can you tell the difference between subdividing it, and multiplying it, conceptually? You see, size is relative, conceptually. So the answer is, you can't tell the difference. What if "distance" refers to the number of discrete hops, and to increase distance you add more hop-nodes by subdividing the connecting segment? So Hubble's expansion could be a telescoping effect. It is actually a pretty cool visual -- Universe is finite and closed, complexity occurs by subdivision. Okay, enough speculation. But, the idea that Universe is the minimum and only perpetual motion machine holds water. Which is also to say, Ayn's robot IS possible to a point -- we usually call it "universe" or "existence" -- but Existence does not require consciousness, as it need not satisfy any conditionals. - ico (edited to change "minimum perpetual motion machine" to "minimum and only perpetual motion machine".)
  3. Alright, Marc, I figured I get some flames for that. But, yes, I do question the logic of making stark distinctions. Clearly, dog physiology is different than human, and especially with regards to the brain, so of course their methods of cognition differ. I am not disputing that dogs are like "little humans", sorry if that was not clear. But how do you work this all out with Darwin? In other words, when did humans stand up and become conceptual beings, versus apes? What is the genetic switch? I am certain that all mental states have corresponding physical states, and I don't see how humans could have "magically" evolved. I also see there is recent evidence that the human brain has SHRUNK, and the best explanation seems to be that irrelevant portions are gradually atrophying as what it means to be human evolves with society and technology and knowledge. So, to clear it up, I consider humans to be the only beings worthy of the adjective "conceptual"; but I don't see "pure perception" as any better than "pure sensation" in explaining the behavior of other living beings, and it bugs me that such an evolutionary leap as conceptuality (assuming you agree with me that human genetic ancestors were likely NOT conceptual beings). I guess that "complexity theory" or somesuch might apply, dunno -- my point is, how do you go from a zero to a fully functioning capacity when switching from one genetic species to another closely related one, e.g., humans and apes? Yes, this bugs me, and I think is an area that Ayn glossed over a little. I think it is essential also not to fall into making Ayn a demigod; betcha there are at least one or two of her ideas that we accept today but won't tomorrow -- not fundamentals, but maybe a conclusion that will change with context. For example, is it possible to breed dogs until you get one with a demonstrable conceptual facility? - ico - ico
  4. I am assuming a person who is not broken, but operating well below optimal, because of chronic/cumulative dis-ease -- not necessarily identifiable as a "disease" in the Western sense, but dis-ease in the literal sense of the word. Now, if someone is missing a leg, I am NOT saying that they should dispense with the prosthetic. Nor am I saying a diabetic should refrain from taking insulin supplements. What I am saying is that many meds treat symptoms rather than root causes, and long term masking symptoms without reducing root cause is something that seems irrational to me -- and leads to seemingly sudden illness when the root cause breaks out with new symptoms. Psych meds in particular don't address root causes of depression except maybe in cases where one's brain is genetically unable to manufacture a necessary ingredient. To me, psych meds are akin to naproxen in terms of being symptom maskers without treating root cause. Like physical pain killers, psych meds fool you into not feeling what you would otherwise feel. Pain killers are good for short term relief of stress, tension, pain, and inflammation -- and such short term relief can and does assist healing when the inflammation is preventing the body from bringing circulation to the site, or when you need to focus on something even more important to your life and can't take time for the pain at the moment. "Negative side effects outweigh benefits", yes, long term. The problem is, the benefits are seen short term, the side effects long term -- usually much longer term than any formal studies of the side effects. But that is not the worst of it, as I say above: it is the "misdirection", fooling the organism into thinking all is okay, meanwhile the root cause continues to fester. THAT is the biggest risk, IMHO. - ico
  5. I strongly recommend you do everything within your reasonable power to dispense with the meds. Unless your life depends on them in the short term, because in the long term, they are part of the problem, I'd guess. Meds push your body away from its natural equilibrium and will eventually cause attendant problems. In the case of depression, psych meds make you feel good now at the expense of tomorrow -- what I was trying to say by a "hyper-energetic" state, i.e., the meds crank up one aspect of your physiology, thereby addressing your short-term symptoms, at the expense of some other aspect(s) of your system, like your liver and kidneys. Then there is a feedback loop, as the weakness caused in the expensed aspect has knock-on effects, e.g., weak kidneys can lead to heart problems. My experience with meds was horrible. I was only taking naproxen, 1000mg per day for years, but when it stopped relieving the pain and inflammation (my joints really, really, really wanted to be inflamed for some reason, and the more painkiller, the more my body cranked up the underlying symptoms until increasing the naproxen was not an option due to stomach side effects). At that point, I was offered a more potent drug, with potentially severe side effects. Rather than take it and risk my life, I decided to quit the naproxen. Went through 6 months of hell, the only thing that saved me was accupuncture and massage. Now I am drug and disease free, but still have my neck locked up, working on that -- with accupressure, and its working! I expect to have full body motion restored within 3 years. Not easy to quit meds, but in the long run the meds are part of the problem. - ico
  6. Here's another suggestion, maybe you'll appreciate it more: try hardcore, deep-tissue accupressure massages. Every emotional state has a physical manifestation, and chronic or recurring states of depression are accompanied by non-transient physical symptoms, which show up as pain, stiffness, weakness, imbalance, indigestion, and lack of energy (or it's relative, hyper-energy that taxes you where you are weak and leads to crashes -- this, btw, is essentially the state that most drugs induce). - ico
  7. Oh, and to clarify: FIRST I determined that Objectivism made perfect sense to me, by reading everything I could find multiple times -- esp., OPAR and ITOE. THEN I considered how I might automate this philosophy, i.e., integrate it into my being. Then and only then did I hit on the idea of listening to it while doing other things, as a supplement to my readings. If I had found even a single iota of contradiction in the philosophy, I would not be trying to make sure I automate it. Psychology -- the science of how the mind works, i.e., inductive reasoning with the mind's operational processes as focus of consideration. This is so intimately related to epistemology, ethics, and all the rest that you can't really do it, properly, without a proper philosophical framework. If you are looking for a quick fix, rather than long term happiness, go see a movie. - ico
  8. Look, you asked for advice. I used to be less than happy, most of the time. I realized, via studying Rand and others, that my personal philosophy was more "by default" than "by choice", and that it had internal contradictions. I cleaned up as many of those contradictions as I could, it took me a few years, and I am still cleaning up after my former self, but I tell you, it does work. I guess you guess I am hallucinating my happiness. Oh well, I can't overcome your false premises about me if you aren't willing to at least acknowledge the fact that I may have a useful idea here. You certainly haven't found happiness yet, and I claim I have -- you can evade my testimony, discount more or less of it as a lie, or consider its merits. Your choice. There is no pill you can take. I was nearly paralyzed 10 years ago by ankylosing spondylitis. I am still recovering, my neck does not move at all. So my life is not altogether great, here. But I am happy. Yet I was not happy three years ago. The difference? Objectivism. - ico
  9. I agree that Japan and Korea haven't been proactive enough, but they are USA's lapdogs, militarily, so I think responsibility for not being tough enough on the China/NK axis falls on US diplomacy lacking the nuts to challenge China. Allow Japan to rearm, and I expect the political landscape would change dramatically ... - ico
  10. **This thread has been split from here. -Dante** The entropy of the whole Universe is constant, but the entropy of any part of it is non-decreasing. The difference is in the interactions among the parts. It is an induction with scale, as more encompassing systems can be maintained with less intensive entropy reduction -- less intensive in the sense that the incremental entropy reduction per unit time divided by the total entropy of the system goes to zero in the limit of the whole Universe. - ico
  11. And, in a sense, this is correct. Subatomics don't exist except in the context of a particular model of observations. It's a pretty good model, though, and just as I would be loathe to ditch English for Latin, I'd rather keep that model for now, if you don't mind. - ico
  12. **Mod Note: Ensuing posts about the entropy of the universe have been split to this thread. -Dante** Godel's theorem is a theorem about abstractions, disconnected from material phenomena. Obviously, Existence works even if I can't conceive of the whole in one shot (which is tantamount to Godel's theorem -- there is no self-consistent symbolic representation of the whole that does not refer to external facts). Godel's theorem SUPPORTS my position. "What the mathematicians have been calling abstraction is reality. When they are inadequate in their abstraction, then they are irrelevant to reality. The mathematicians feel that they can do anything they want with their abstraction because they don’t relate it to reality. And, of course, they can really do anything they want with their abstractions, even though, like masturbation, it is irrelevant to the propagation of life." -- R. Buckminster Fuller, Synergetics, section 220.11 - ico
  13. Entropy, entropy, entropy, not energy. You need an entropy sink. You can't cannabalize yourself. You are imagining an oscillator without friction. Sure, it will oscillate forever. But it won't change. If it can't change, how can it interact with its environment? An isolated system can't interact, by definition, and is therefore in its own universe, out of this world, and irrelevant -- not to mention, impossible. No perpetual motion, short of the whole of Existence. That is a fallacy, the heat death of the universe. It is predicated on considering Universe as an embedded system, which it is not. Universe is the ever and only, minimum, quintessential perpetual motion machine. Anything within Universe cannot be perpetual without disconnecting from the rest of Universe, which is absurd. Analytic-Synthetic dichotomy. Gödelian reasoning has NOTHING to say about the real world, it is a purely logical ("analytic") construct. Thermodynamics is much deeper, as it DOES incorporate external experiences, not just introspection (Gödelian reasoning doesn't require a material substrate beyond the ability to think conceptually. The point is that systems interact, and in doing so, they decay -- unless they have a thermodynamic engine to support them. Your body is such an engine. Engines push against the natural entropy gradient, converting lower order energy forms (such as heat) into higher order ones (such as work) and cannot be 100% efficient -- frictional effects always pertain. And that link is a crok. - ico
  14. I guess that my dog does indeed make some minor decisions. I am not convinced that the dividing line is stark, between human cognition and dog cognition. Dogs clearly have emotions. My dog gets angry when my son eats the leftovers the dog was expecting to get. I've seen this, it is hysterically funny. My dog gets sad when I leave him alone for too long. My dog is afraid of strangers, which causes him to respond aggressively if he feels cornered. On the other hand, plants and bacteria clearly do not have emotions. Emotions by their nature can change over time, i.e., my dog used to be afraid of riding in the car, now he enjoys it. So dogs can learn how to feel differently about the same situation. And dogs can of course learn new tricks which are clearly not instinctual, e.g., chasing a ball is based on their instinct but not actually something dogs do in the wild. Dogs also exhibit judgment, and clearly consider some actions (such as jumping into the pool) prior to acting. But I think it is the emotional responses that suggest a rudimentary level of conceptual consciousness in dogs. Is it possible to have emotions, i.e., automated but evolving feelings/responses, without some level of non-automated cognition/judgment? I think it is a bit facetious to isolate humans in a binary fashion from other higher animals. And I wonder: could emotions be the rudimentary form of cognition, for those creatures that haven't (yet?) evolved the necessary biology to support higher order conceptuality? I see no contradiction here. I see a bootstrapping procedure. First, perceptions/emotions, which provide the necessary grist to bootstrap the concept formation process; then, after sufficient experience, conceptual cognition becomes the norm and is used to re-integrate perceptions/emotions in a larger context, and then drive emotions (rather than the other way around, as for a dog or baby). Anyhow, another off-topic post here, gotta stop it. - ico
  15. Thanks to all who answered my query. I see the Fed as a big bad enabler of socialist policies, and agree that the rise in food prices is in large part manufactured by manipulation of the money supplies around the world. But I think that the culprit is, in each case, the social dictatorship culture in which the protests started -- and the USA's long history of supporting such regimes is, again, an enabling. I just can't blame individuals in the USA for the acts of irrationals in other nations, per se. - ico
  16. My question is, why did food prices rise? It may be that the food price rise and the uprisings are strongly correlated without the link being causal per se, i.e., both are, IMHO, likely symptoms of the same underlying problems. Why did food prices rise so quickly? I am curious to see what folk think about this, I have some half-formed ideas but just started considering it, so not quite ready to assert anything myself. - ico
  17. Marriage laws should be extended independent of gender, and independent of children. If one partner gets ill, then the other will need to support them and perhaps even make medical decisions for them. There are of course other examples where one partner needs the support of the other in a proprietary situation, such that only a marriage contract can establish a family bond allowing the competent partner to make decisions for their potentially incapacitated spouse. There is no excuse for marriage in the absence of children to be anything more, nor less, than a means to formally tell the world who you want to speak for you, legally, should you lose your voice. - ico
  18. D'kian, I'd advise you to check your premises re this sort of apologetic: if the end is wrong, then the means is too. Just so, integrity in pursuing wrong goals is more dangerous than its lack, if the goal is inimical to freedom. - ico
  19. Yea, I'm straying off topic, because up to this point this thread was run of the mill, but now something clicked into another area of interest for me. Sorry 'bout that, I'll try starting another thread when I get the opportunity, and I promise to incorporate responses to your last post, Marc, when I do. - ico
  20. That goes for all prescription drugs, why can't I just buy whatever the heck I want? Doctors generally have leeway to prescribe pretty much whatever they want for whatever condition. The potential for lawsuits limits this power (prescribing chemo pills for a common cold would be criminal, I'd guess), but there it is. What is so special about doctors accredited by the government, exactly? - ico
  21. Note that it's a general phenomenon, not just re Rand. I have had similar experiences multiple times, over Rand, Fuller, and others. What happened is you won the argument on the merits, but as a last ditch means to not concede, your friend found the most convenient discrediting of your words he could. He behaved like a poor loser, that's all. When I preface with 'Ayn rand said ...' in conversation prior to speaking her words, I usually do so to be clear that I was not the originator, as a nod to Ayn, don't want to be seen as carpet-bagging on her good works. But I find it's often simpler to just omit the attribution unless someone asks, if I think they will be unreceptive if they know the source. After all, it is the ideas I want them to accept first; if they later discover those ideas to be Ayn's, it will be harder for them to blank out a good idea once accepted, then to ignore it in the first place. (added via edit): And besides, Ayn would say that, if you understand her ideas, they are yours as much as hers, now, even if she is the original. And she would also encourage you to leverage her ideas and take credit for the offshoots -- with appropriate attribution, of course. - ico
  22. The word you want, I think, is "inductance", not "transcendence". - ico
  23. Consider two ethical systems, i.e., two systems for judging the morality of individual actions. Consider any given action that you can take, and see what the systems say about it. If they agree on the moral evaluation of the action, then, with respect to that action, they are synonymous. Now imagine doing this comparison for all individual actions. If the two systems come to the same conclusion no matter the context/action proposed, then, despite appearances, they are the same system. Now assume the systems lead to one disparate conclusion about, say, the morality of a particular act of suicide (just to be a bit closer to concrete). Oops! There is only one ideal ethical system, in principle. Whether I can discover it is another story ... oh wait, I can't find a logical flaw with O'ist ethics, so even if I haven't got the best of the best, I have got the best available ethics, and one that will fit neatly without any contradiction to any expanded ethical framework in the future. In other words, you can't contradict O'ist ethics in practice and remain objective. It's not that O'ists are dictating ethics, as past systems have; its a science, now, as John Locke said, so we ought to treat it that way. I can't imagine scrupulous scientists willing to accept a less than the best available tool/model for doing their jobs, why should I expect less in the science of Ethics? If you want to debate whether Ethics is a science, okay -- I won't participate in that debate. If you accept that Ethics is a science, then why do you want to have two contradicting theories of gravity to contend with exactly? How does this benefit you? Let me be sharper: what fact(s) are you trying to evade with your line of reasoning? What do you feel, and why do you feel it? Check your premises. - ico Either, they are both correct
  24. I am trying to understand how this claim could even be verified. First, are all 5000 watching the whole sequence of time connecting death to resurrection? Or could it be a hoax? Personally, I think this leads to dismissal of most such claims. Second, are all certain the person who died was the same person who rose up? Third, are all certain that the person actually died, instead of, say, going into a coma? etc. I say dismiss unless verified, and the fact that 5000 people agree on something doesn't make it so ... group hallucinations are so common as to pass for philosophy these days, after all. - ico
  25. Thinking about animated, aware entities, if the correlation between these aspects is 100%, so that my graph is a line when I plot all the entities I know of, then it seems there is only one measurement omitted. If so, can I call this a spectrum of "aliveness"? And, if so, can I claim that a self-consistent entity lies along the line, always? And while man the rational archetype lies on the line, any given individual has the conceptual power to deviate from the line. And a rational person will lie close to the line, i.e., their ideas and actions will be concerted. Makes some sense. Conceptual beings are more alive. - ico
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