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Posts posted by icosahedron

  1. Here's my nutshelling, based on my inductive interpretation of AR+LP.

    Hey guys, I`m reading OPAR and I came up with 3 important questions that I didn`t really understand.

    #1. Universe

    Based on what objective fact/observation/line of thoughts does he know enough to claim that the universe is not infinite? As far as i`m concerned, nobody knows that.

    Read the first full paragraph of page 5 of OPAR, and see if you still have issues with Existence being finite (a finite aggregate of finite aggregates is finite, no matter how complex, evolutionary, and recursive the structure). Universe exists within Existence, so must be finite if Existence is.

    #2. Senses

    Having said that, suppose that a certain specie of animal (lets say, a dog) perceive the leaves of a tree to be blue. We, humans, perceive a leaf to be green. The eyes of the dog processes the light differently from the way our eyes perceive it, but what actually IS the color of the leaf and how can we be sure of that? In answer to that, Ayn Rand would say that the quality "color" is not in the object, nor in our mind, but is a product of the interaction between two entities: object and apparatus. Can we conclude then, that in a world without consciousness, or perceivers, all the entities would be colorless? And what would something look like without a color? Suppose that there would be light (coming from a sun), what would the color of the reflection be?

    Read the final paragraph of page 2 of OPAR, continuing on to page 3. As stated on page 5 of OPAR, "Existence covers only what is known, implicitly or if not explicitly, by the gamut of the human race". Humans experience a particular electromagnetic variation with their visual sensory apparatus, and label it color. And, if they did not recognize a variation, they wouldn't make up a concept for it. Color is just the human means of identifying a specific range of visual properties. In a world without humans, the human means of noting variations in electromagnetic output in the range accessible to natural human visual function would not exist; however, what leads you to the arbitrary assumption that, without humans to grasp it, the electromagnetic outputs of the surroundings would cease to behave as they seem to, independent of human involvement?

    #3. Focus

    what would a full awareness state be like when someone is just relaxing and doing nothing? What should someone focus on when there is nothing to focus about? Like... suppose i`m walking home from work, what should I focus on? I don`t know if you guys understood my question, but try to understand it.

    "Doing nothing" is a contradiction in terms, eh? Try to be more specific about what you mean here. If you mean, "not producing material value", such as when celebrating by spending material values to raise spiritual values, why would you want to be in less than full focus for the fun stuff? That's usually easy for me to focus on, especially the human interaction side of the equation.

    The point is to be wholly committed and natural doing whatever it is you are doing ... not, to dumb yourself down so that mediocre feels natural (THIS DOES NOT WORK, BTW -- as a quick check will convince a rational mind); but to refrain from committing and deciding to do something unless and until you are certain it will be valuable to do, when possible; and dedication to do what is your best rational guess when perfect certainty is unavailable -- and then learn from mistakes/inefficiencies in your methods.

    So, you don't have to be producing trade-able values to be in focus; you could just be enjoying yourself, enjoying springtime or what have you, just happy to be alive, breathing, dancing, laughing, etc. -- being human in the fullest sense, celebrating life. But of course, there is a time to produce, you can't celebrate always, that is part of what focusing means ... to know when to change/refine focus is part of the skill.

    - ico

  2. I notice that focus requires direct use of my given faculties in a given moment, whereas concentration requires sewing together the data of my faculties, moment to moment, using my power of choice to re-focus my faculties with each heartbeat (and realizing that choosing to remain focused on the same thing for two beats is also an exercise of my power of choice).

    The power of choice is expressed, axiomatically, as the choice to focus: the act of focusing both invokes and demonstrates, in self-evident fashion, the power of choice (free will). That is why free will must be axiomatic: just try to "do" without it!

    - ico

  3. Right, focus and concentration not synonyms. Concentration means using your focus towards a particular goal, but the ability/choice to focus is sort of the "atom" of concentration. And, the visual analogy works: focus means how sharp any given frame is, such as if you imagine a freeze-frame of a tennis ball about to be served -- the frame can be blurry or sharp, distorted or correctly aspected, etc. Whereas concentration refers to how the frames are sequenced, e.g., concentration is what it takes to actually cause the racket to hit the ball in the process of serving. So focus is like the individual frames of a filmstrip, whereas concentration is the choice of what sequence of frames to consider.

    - ico

  4. If not, why not? I realize that Fuller is a bit of a Platonist and/or collective humanist in some ways, but his insistence on the principle of synergy was correct, and synergy is a principle that I would like to introduce more explicitly alongside the standard objectivist dialogue. Not because it isn't already there, but because I think it helps to suture together the axioms nicely. Synergy says, in a nutshell: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. And so for Fuller: while not pure, morally, from what I can tell (not galt or d'anconia, maybe more of a reardon experience from reading his bio), his contributions, especially to modeling reality without getting tied down to outmoded physical assumptions, are worthy of respect, even if I must apologize for his obvious socialist bent.

    I am curious because, beyond some of the obvious differences, there is much similar in their approaches and attitudes about people (albeit, Fuller's consistent insistence that he was nothing more than an average human is facetious and annoying). Fuller says that he made a conscious choice to rely only on his own verifications of reality, and I believe him. His approach is very much an objectivist one, operationally, once you strip out his attempts to fit into the social scene (which should not be overlooked, he was so wrong in some ways, e.g., the potential of Soviet Russia).

    And he was an architect, too. I am guessing he at least read and was influenced by Rand's writing ... just wondering, does anyone know if there was a closer connection than overlapping generationally, with any similarities in their thinking an osmotic effect -- great minds thinking alike, sort of?

    - ico

  5. So, can casual sex ever be moral? Yes, it can. We can come up with all kinds of scenarios in which it would be moral. Such scenarios would be unusual but they exist. But, is it moral to treat sex casually on principle like you would a massage? Dante did a great job explaining why that is not a good idea.


  6. Then why are you bothering to comment on a thread regarding the peaceful coexistence of science and religion, wherein the subject is quite connected to people's beliefs?

    Because I am asserting (and you are denying) that belief leads nowhere, scientifically. I "coexist" with my neighbor whom I have never spoken with. Similarly, scientists can coexist just fine with theologians if the latter leave the former alone to pursue their ideas. Scientists have no use for theologians; the reverse is not true, as theologians clearly want to embrace science as a means of furthering their social ends. Hmmm. Can you say "adulteration"?

    No, nothing I said could be boiled down to "it's all a matter of opinion". You might want to brush up on your reading comprehension skills.

    And you, on your expository writing skills.

    Well, then that seems to be in direct contradiction to the assertion (and I quote...), "All "theological" question about human values can be answered scientifically". Or is the person who made that assertion merely broadening the meaning of the term "science"? I am looking for evidence that is testable, measurable, repeatable, and conclusive.

    Well, yes, all theological questions can be answered scientifically. Here's the answer: they are all either not well-posed and thus deserving of dismissal out of hand; or they are well posed, and the answer is always negative in regards to whether theological beliefs have anything to do with reality outside the floating abstraction heads that banter faith about as if it had substance.

    - ico

  7. There is only one objective morality which is based on objective standard of value-life.The only difference between objective and subjective choice is that objective choice pertains to this reality and subjective is not. One should disregard subjective morality as one disregards any arbitrary concept.There is no such a thing. Morality is a code of values accepted by choice and the basic choice is that of ultimate value. If one chooses death or any other standard which is not life as such a value, one still acts within the realm of morality because this is volitional, agent-related choice. But, since the choice is subjective, his actions objectively contradict his own life and the life of others and therefore wrong, objectively immoral to everybody involved. Suicide bomber's or Nazi's feelings that their actions are " the right thing to do" doesn't make them pre-or amoral.

    All well and good as long as one realizes that Consciousness by nature is individually packaged and can't be gestaltified or smeared up to make a collective more than the individuals which constitute it. And, since every individual will rationally create a specific, individual value system, the assumption that there is a single code of morality that applies generically is doomed to lead to logical inconsistencies (you can't ignore such fundamental facts as the rational disparities among rational individuals without logical impairment).

    Choices are individual actions based on individual moral evaluations of individual experiences. You can't sum across individuals, it's not a linear problem, so you can't just come to an "average" or "mean" behavior. There is no one standard of morality in experience; there is one generic standard, but you have to plug your own self into the frame to activate the standard: the standard is indeed Life -- and to you, that means YOUR Life. So, it is both common and specific -- common that we each will come to similar evaluations based on similar circumstances (law of identity); specific because in detail our "fingerprints" will differ. Viva la difference!

    - ico

  8. The reason objective morality must be agent-relative is that everyone has their own context of knowledge.

    Right. Put another way, each cognitive experience I have involves some part of me, and some part of "not me". I go out to meet reality, and what I grasp is as much mine as not mine -- the grasping is mine, the grasped is not, but the product of the process of grasping reality, which product I term "experience", is objective and discretely identifiable in space, time, and concept.

    - ico

  9. I'm aware of this. I was using "proximity" very loosely to refer to ANY distance between two objects. If we are suggesting that this gravitational force was the beginning cause to action, it will not work since the objects in question would need to be eternal (along with gravity, itself) which would mean that the objects never would have had any distance between them in order for gravity to act upon them to begin with. All instances of gravitational motion must be reactions to prior motion (whether gravitational or otherwise).

    (Can't resist.)

    How do you define "gravitational motion"? How does this notion differ from the usual notion of motion?

    - ico

  10. Wow, it seems like a few people in this thread don't have too much faith in the decision-making skills of teenagers. Unfortunately (from that perspective), you can't simply wait until you're thirty and "wiser" to live your life; you have to make decisions in the present based on the best information you have from 17 years of life. As long as you've thought out the important stuff as much as you can, all you can do is go with your own thoughts and feelings. Best of luck to you.

    Au contraire. What I have, is experience to look back on. And there is no substitute for DOING something, and teenagers just haven't done enough to know enough to be certain of much of anything. So what? We are each limited and fallible within our own scope, and that scope increases with experience, no?

    So, what I am trying to get across is this: experience accumulates, combined with rational thought (another form of experience), to reach plateaus of insight/enlightenment; and without sufficient fuel (experience), even the best rocket engine will not be able to create thrust.

    A young person must take special care with decisions, to make them yes, but also to identify and learn from mistakes early and often, pulling out the weeds as you go, rather than arrogantly sticking with bad choices and refusing to cut and run when sunken costs become unrecoverable.

    This is really important, so if you care to, I'd be happy to continue discussing and clarifying. I wish someone had told me, maybe I could have saved a decade or so in growing up.

    - ico

  11. Leonard Piekoff claims that the universe is "the total of that which exists—not merely the earth or the stars or the galaxies, but everything. Obviously then there can be no such thing as the “cause” of the universe".

    What is the proper way to define the universe? Is Piekoff's definition question-begging, or is his definition already the proper one?

    Right at the beginning of OPAR, LP makes it very clear what is his definition of the Objectivist concept "existence". Page 5 (one of the key pages in the book, nutshell-wise), paragraph 1, of OPAR:

    "The concept of "existence" is the widest of all concepts. It subsumes everything -- every entity, action, attribute, relationship (including every state of consciousness) -- everything which is, was, or will be. As the first concept at the base of knowledge, it covers only what is known, implicitly if not explicitly, by the gamut of the human race, from the newborn baby or the lowest savage on through the greatest scientist and the most erudite sage. All of these know equally the fundamental fact that there IS something, something as against nothing."

    A few points:

    a. By "widest", LP means "of greatest scope", i.e., "containing everything". In other words, nothing is out of this world, everything that is, is part of, is within, existence.

    b. Note that "human race" is the set of cognitive individuals considered in the definition; this might need generalization someday, if another species of conceptual volitional beings is discovered/invented.

    c. My favorite definition of Universe (my etymological translation: "towards unity") is was given by R. Buckminster Fuller, but as you can see, it is in concert with LP's statement: http://www.rwgrayprojects.com/synergetics/s03/p0000.html

    d. Universe is less than or equal to all of existence, because Universe is based on human GRASP of existence, via experiences; whereas Existence is not based on anything, and subsumes humans, their experiences, and the entities of their experience, too -- plus all relationships among all those ideas. On the one hand, operationally, it makes no difference if one takes Existence to have meaning beyond our experience of it or not. If there is no operational distinction, then in fact Universe as defined, and Existence as defined, are synonymous. If one chooses to accord the existential substrate independent existence a priori to consciousness, no problem; in that case, Existence is strictly larger than Universe, conceptually on paper, but in practice the difference cannot make a difference.

    In a nutshell, using Fuller's most succinct statement: "Universe is the aggregate of all humanity's consciously apprehended and communicated non-simultaneous and only partially overlapping experiences."

    And, before you knee-jerk that this is a primacy of consciousness perspective, revisit LP's definitions/statements in OPAR, and think about it: all we have to work with are interleaved sequences of experiences across multiple perceptual modes conjoined with our current conceptual frame. Experience is an integral of existence and consciousness, and cannot exist without both me, and "not me" for me to relate to.

    - ico

  12. I understand where you're coming from, but it is hard for me to completely agree. I will be 18 in six months. If I am not ready now to make at least most of my own decisions, what will change in these six months that will prepare me?

    In my experience, it will take you another decade or three to figure out how to behave as a happy adult. If you are lucky. It was, in my estimation, not an accident that the characters in Atlas Shrugged are of the 30- or 40- something age bracket -- old enough to know better, young enough to have energy left to do something about it.

    - ico

  13. Unfortunately, I have to say: NO.

    You should not romantically pursue women who do not attract you sexually. It is called friendship.

    You have to find the qualities you value in a woman who also turns you on.

    I concur with Sophia. And, if I may suggest a wild possibility, it may be that the DNA match is so awful that you are recoiling at a visceral level that you cannot control mentally anymore than a typical NYC gay man can become sexually excited at the thought of naked boobs (apparently, one of the major ugghs for most of the gay men I know).

    For example, it is reproducibly demonstrable by controlled experiment that the pheromones of siblings are not as attractive as those of strangers. There is something chemical going on, and it is likely tied in to genetics.

    - ico

  14. I never suggested that you ought to believe in a god at all, which would be an amazing thing for me to suggest to anyone, given that I am not a theist. But to use the well-worn case of Galileo to showcase religious persecution of scientists simply isn't an effective argument, because atheist persecution dwarfs it. It doesn't demonstrate what you would like to demonstrate, namely, that religion and science can't coexist. By that standard, sceince is far less able to coexist with atheism.

    I'm sorry, but YOU are the one who seems to want to surf on context, and change waves whenever it suits.

    What you suggested is: because (in your reading of history, not mine) atheists have done more persecution than theists, the persecution of scientists by theists is not pertinent to your question. Have I got that?

    Assuming so, I just can't get your logic. It seems to boil down to "because self-professed theologian/scientists exist, the two methodologies are simpatico". That is just horridly improper logic, akin to saying that because I can "coexist" with a tapeworm, my life and its are in peaceful coexistence. No.

    - ico

  15. ico,

    That sounds like a recommendation - you have a number for me?

    But she must be prepared to travel, btw.

    Seriously though: no, and no, to your queries.

    An excess of casual sex proved to me eventually what I should have known from the start - not good for me, personally.

    Thanks anyway.

    I commend you for making rational choices in this regard, based on your own experience. And, I concur: casual sex is not so good for me, either. On the other hand, if that is the most one can hang, morally, on paying for it, i.e., that it's not good to have casual sex, well ... that ain't too terrible a sin, is it?

    Just advocating outside the lines a bit to see where the stress points are ...


  16. Also, I'm not sure what you mean by "entirely physical." Concepts are not physical and they exist, but their existence depends upon concrete entities. There cannot be action apart from a physical entities. There cannot be attributes apart from physical entities. Volition is the same.

    Exactly. Here's the deal: ideas are eternal, i.e., not temporally bound; as such, they are also weightless and non-physical, even if our concretizations and special-case experiences of ideas is always temporally bound.

    Ideas are not physical; they are metaphysical, i.e., they exist but do not obey the Law of Entropy; in fact, they obey the inverse rule, what R. Buckminster Fuller called Syntropy -- the fact that knowledge is always progressively accumulating and becoming more ordered.

    It is as if the material world must become more entropic, while the scientific representations of the world becomes more ordered and clear.

    - ico

  17. Galileo's main detractors were his fellow scientists, many of whom he had ticked off. But your point is well taken....However, someone here took me to task and clarified that the discussion was about intellectual coexistence ("The discussion is about intellectual peace, not physical peace" was the statement). So you're changing back to the physical realm? In that case, you don't have a whole lot of Galileos to rest your outrage on, whereas the atheist persecution and slaughter of religious scientists, artists, writers and teachers has a very extensive body count. Just on a personal level, I had grandparents and great-grandparents who were research scientists and teachers in the Soviet Union who were stripped of their positions and shipped to camps where they died or were killed -- because they were also devout Orthodox Church members. I wouldn't use that argument, if I were you, as it doesn't serve you well.

    Wait ... because bad people who didn't believe in God did bad things, I'm supposed to believe in God? Because the God-believers did less bad things?

  18. And again you deny the ability of my wife and I to jointly agree to each own the property that we own. You say, "if two people have say over something then neither does" - so because my wife and I must agree before we, for example, make a change to our house, you claim neither of us has a say over the house.

    But if neither of us have a say, then neither of us can agree to change the house.

    Do you see the problem with your thinking yet?

    As I said, neither of you owns the house; the fact that BOTH of you have say, means neither of you own it.

    My wife and I mutually own our house and our cars.

    To be objectively clear, you and your wife share the right of disposal of stuff; which means, neither of you actually own the stuff.

    Further, we have mutually agreed that my wife and I have equal ownership of all income earned by each of us, working alone or in tandem. We have mutually vested each other with a commitment to care for and provide for each other for the rest of our lives. That is a contractual agreement in place between the two of us. If I then decide I no longer wish to be a part of this contract, is my wife not entitled to some recompense for the loss she will suffer due to my choosing to break our agreement?

    Abso-f'cking-lutely, assuming the agreement was clear and present all along, and not a "creeping obligation", as is usually the case in the absence of pre-nup.

    No matter how you wish to define our shares in the property - you cannot disagree that we have a right to enter into this contract, and having done so, that one of us cannot unilaterally break the contract without the other being entitled to some recompense.

    Agreed. That is my whole point, it's a contractual obligation, but not ownership per se. In other words, it is not the same thing, and using oxymorons such as "joint ownership" or "collective ownership" or "government ownership" or "group ownership" just hides the truth from those too unwary or naive to notice what is really going on.

    Buyer beware!

    - ico

  19. The "john falling for the professional" happened to a good friend of mine. A stunning Russian named Verushka . I didn't have to be psychic to know that it wouldn't end well. What can one say to friend, but respect his judgment.?

    In the end, after some heart-ache, his good sense of reality kicked in, and he survived.B)

    It does seem to present quite a difficult starting point for romantic love, no question. But, of course, it DOES happen, successfully -- which is more where I was driving, i.e., the fact that true romantic love HAS AND DOES spring from such sordid beginnings, albeit rarely, just goes to show, IMHO, that morality is contextual.

    Because it is a lot to do with reality, I think.

    In hiring a pro, one is telling oneself that it doesn't mean anything, and all one requires is the physical relief, no involvement, no questions asked, no need to be attractive to her, and no judgment either way - except for her looks. A cash transaction, and value for value.

    Not sure I buy that it's so simple and uni-dimensional. I think it happens for a variety of reasons, physical relief probably being the least of it given the use of one's hand and free internet porn for audio-visual stimulation.

    There is a problem, though, and that it is a reversal of romantic love, in which mutual values and intimacy lead to sex.

    Here, sex often leads to intimacy - whether one wants it or not, it just does - in the 'client'.

    From what my experience of casual sex, I have realised that it was never quite so casual, in intent, and effect.

    But that's my experience, and I can only project that it goes for hiring sex as well.

    Agreed, the initial approach is "inside out" relative to social norms; however, if the result is, ultimately, based on mutual values, then who cares how two people meet? I think, the moral inversion is easy to get past for some, not so much for most.

    I think men with prostitutes are buying, not sex, but intimacy.

    Some are, maybe the majority. Then the question becomes: is trading intimacy for "hard" assets morally justifiable? And, I think, the answer will turn out to be yes in some cases.

    If I'm right, then it reveals that everything to do with it, is faking reality, and is self-justification.

    The impact on one's sense of worth is too obvious to mention here.

    I wonder, have you tried it? Maybe it is worth an experiment, instead of speculating?

    - ico

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