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Everything posted by ALS

  1. The only fiction that I have read, apart from whilest at school, are those written by Ayn Rand. I found The Fountainhead most enjoyable. So what are the recommendations to read considering I don't usually read fiction? also, considering some people have issues with translations, when recommending books please state the best translation as I may go out and buy them . Oh and state them in order if that is required, in the sense of difficulty...least difficult first please
  2. I wonder if anyone else shares a similar experience to mine that occurs very frequently and leaves me with frustration. Sometimes I am merely walking around on my lunch break and all of a sudden a thought enters my awareness but pretty quickly fades away, leaving me unable to grasp the thought and seek clarity, suddenly something else pops into my awareness and the cycle repeats. I try hard to focus and concentrate on these thoughts, to take them to their conclusion, but they progressively diminish and I am left with no benefit of this process. When I sit down in a quiet room without any distractions and set myself a goal to understand a book I am reading or merely to introspect, I can follow my thoughts easier and focus. It seems that most of the time I am not fully focused on what I am thinking or feeling because I get easily distracted by what is in my perceptual awareness, noises, and because I feel tired quite often. If you have experienced this and overcome it, what was it that you did?
  3. I think I'll give these excercises a go and see for myself if they are beneficial. I am aware of Ellen Keller, although I have not listened to her radio show, I have visited her site and read some articles, but there is not much reading material on her site. I know Dr Hurd is another Objectivist psychologist but I have found that many of his daily articles pertain to politics, they seem less personal. Anyway thanks for your feedback on the effectiveness of sentence completion exercises.
  4. I've just finished reading The Psychology of Self Esteem and wonder if anyone has tried the excercises from the last chapter. If so: 1. Did you do them the next day or re-read the book and study it, making notes etc? 2. Were they helpful? 3. How quickly did you notice your self esteem improve if it did so? I also own Mind over Mood by Dennis Greenberger and Christine Padesky, and found it very useful in identifying my emotions and understanding them. The problem is that I am very private and have not carried out the exercises for quite a while, I fear people (family) will see them and I don't want them to know how I feel. Through the book I identified that I suffer from anxiety (I actually experienced it today and had no idea why), guilt, shame and have suffered depression. My self esteem has always been low, while growing up as a child I never felt competent in my thinking and always felt nervous when handing school work in, never being sure I was right. Even now I am not always 100% certain in my thoughts, even in basic every day use. Through Branden's book mentioned above, I identified that I do evade and rationalize my thoughts, I may repress also but I am not sure as I did not study the book, I just read it and intended to re-read and study it later. I recently purchased An Introduction to Logic by Lionel Ruby and have found it very clear and understandable, by carrying out the excercises at the end of and throughout each chapter I have applied what I have learned, it raises my self esteem to a certain degree as I know that I am certain I am right.
  5. It is possible to be selfish and receive approval, though not because you live for the approval of others. In the first sense you use the term to mean duty to others (their is no reception of a positive evaluation), in the second sense you use it to mean receiving compliments/admiration (receiving a positive evaluation)
  6. I think it's a bit hasty to say that a woman cannot give birth to an 80 year old man...maybe in the future it is possible, or when we discover more about our universe. Heck, when this 80 year old baby turns up at your door and is born right infront of your eyes, what are you going to say, "This is not possible"?
  7. I always thought that those that don't want to engage in conversation with others, with the absence of fear, are known as introverts. They prefer ideas to people, of thinking rather than talking.
  8. I am not a psychologist, nor have I studied it, my post was based upon my own experience growing up as a shy child. An emotion is an automatic response to an object perceived or imagined, based upon one's subconscious operative value judgements. It is an automatic evaluation of whether something is good for you or bad for you, for you or against you, but the evaluation itself was programmed consciously, or at least semi-consciously. With that in mind, applied to shyness, you can see that there is an automatic response to people one is not familiar with, the emotion is fear and in written form it is saying "this person is against me" or at least potentially against me. An emotion does not exist by itself, it includes a physical response, for me this was an increased heart beat, tense muscles, shaking and increased temperature resulting in a red face. In addition there is a behaviour associated with this, it is avoidance behaviour, the avoidance of being emotionally hurt. The mind operates like this to protect you, whether it is a rational or irrational fear. In order to consider another person's view of yourself as important to you, or more important than your own, that is, any other person, you have to have low self esteem. This would mean not being confident in using your own mind, and replacing whatever self evaluation you had with an evaluation by someone else. The fear of being humiliated or rejected may be based upon one's own view of self, one avoids others for the fear of them knowing what you know to be your own weakness, and then trying to exploit it. Basically, everyone is out to get you, the malevolent universe premise. I remember as a child while eating lunch when one "friend" made fun out of me for the way I ate. I had never thought about it before, but from then on I used to avoid eating in public places, for the fear of someone noticing that I ate funny (according to him), and then proceeding to humiliate me. Now I was shy beforehand, but didn't mind eating around others, this made me more shy. Negative life experiences such as this, in addition to low self esteem, were the reasons for my shyness.
  9. Shyness is a fear of other people. It is a fear of being rejected or humiliated and that other people will not like you. The problem is treating other people's opinions of you as important, especially in regard to people you do not know or even value, or do not offer rational reasons for disliking you.
  10. I have been advised by my doctor (whom I saw about my knee injury) to increase the strength in my legs by resistance cycling and taking protein shakes. I tried this for a few days but must have pushed too hard as my knee became painful once more after months of no excercise and pain relief tablets. I know that to strengthen my knees I must strengthen my legs, but the best leg strengthening techniques such as squatting and the machine leg press are not suitable due to my injury. Does anyone know if Electronic Muscle Stimulation works? or any resources for leg strengthening cycle routines?
  11. Thanks all for the suggestions. The reason I asked was because I was not sure of the intended audience of these lectures in terms of required context of knowledge and also purpose, specifically Psycho-Epis I+II . I think I'll go for The Psychology of Self-Esteem and the two lectures by Locke on setting goals. The lectures by Peikoff are pretty expensive but vast in quantity (The Art of Thinking contains 15 CDs and is 14 hours hours) and I assume rich in quality as I have listened to various short lectures by him online. Now I must find the thread that discusses the best sequence of Peikoff lectures. Thanks again.
  12. I have been studying Objectivism for a few years now and have read the main Objectivist literature including but not limited to OPAR, ITOE, and The Virtue of Selfishness. My aim is to improve my thinking and understand my emotions, therefore I was intrigued by many lecture CDs over at http://www.aynrandbookstore2.com/, but could not decide which CD was right for me. Harry Binswanger has many interesting lectures including: -Abstraction From Abstractions (CD) -Emotions (CD) -Logical Thinking (CD) -Psycho-Epistemology I (CD) and Psycho-Epistemology II (CD) Then there are those by Edwin A. Locke: -Reason and Emotion (Audio CD) -Setting Goals to Improve Your Life and Happiness (Audio) -Setting Goals to Improve Your Life & Happiness-Part2 (Audio) -Stress and Coping: An Inductive Approach (Audio) Finally by Leonard Peikoff: -The Art of Thinking (CD) -Introduction to Logic (CD) -Objectivism Through Induction (CD) -Understanding Objectivism (CD) I would like to purchase all, however I don't have enough money to do so. Any advice appreciated.
  13. ALS

    Child Abuse

    Sorry, I made the mistake of equating immoral action with illegal action.
  14. ALS

    Child Abuse

    When 2 people decide to have a child they are responsible for both their actions and the child's. The purpose of the parent is to guide the child in his thought and action, to help develop his rational faculty so he eventually becomes an independent being relying on only his own thinking to guide his action. If parents do this then they have succeeded in their guidance, their child is now a man, an independent individual that is fit for existence and has developed the rational tool required for his survival. This tool can help him discover the values he needs to guide his choices and actions, the choices and actions that determine the purpose and course of his life. If however the parents have brought the child up in a religious way, they have taught him to be irrational, to negate is mind and rely on his emotions to guide his action. The child does not become fit for existence and has to rely not only his emotions, but he must be dependent upon others for his survival. Dependent either intellectually, or materially or both. In the second instance the parents have abused the child and acted immorally, by man's nature he has to survive by his own reason, the parents therefore have abused him by telling him to negate his reason, to act not as man but as an animal. In today’s society the parent would not be accused of child abuse, but in an objectivist society with objective laws and limited government, then the parent should be punished for child abuse. Do you agree? Would this be seen as an initiation of force? in the sense that the child was forced to negate his rational faculty, he was free in the sense that he could discover his rational faculty, but in the other sense he wasn't because he did not know that to use one's mind was right or how to use it.
  15. You have to think about the current political environment, do you want to risk your life fighting on behalf of some Kosovans? becuase there is a possibility you would be sent to a conflict which is not in your self interest. There's also the risk of being imprisoned for killing someone in a war zone, or risking your life becuase some authority told you to be restraintful, to protect civilians from being killed, at your expense. Currently in Britian a soldier is going through this process after killing an Iraqi civilian, the army back him but he must be tried not by the military courts but by domestic courts.
  16. AndrewSternberg "If you choose to use reason, and then meet its demands, when your knowledge falls short due to a missed fact, then it was out of your control; you did everything in your power to grasp reality but failed. Thus you can't be morally blamed for any negative consequences that follow from that missed fact." Yes that is right. In Rational Cop's first example of the policeman, remembering the context of the situation then the policeman's action can be determined as moral, his life was in danger and he acted in self defense to preserve his life. The man holding the toy gun up to the policeman is responsible for his own death, he is the one who is immoral and at fault for the negative consequence, raising a gun up to someone is an initiation of force, whether he intends to use it or not is irrelevant as the policeman is not to know and cannot know, he must act to preserve his life, and that requires him to fire back. If he was to somehow believe that a man holding a gun at him would not shoot, then he wouldn't be acting to preserve his life. "Are you responsible for all of your actions even those which follow from a failure of knowledge due to honest error?" Didn't you already answer this question before you even asked the question? If you can't be morally blamed for any negative consequences due to an honest error, then you can't be morally responsible for that negative consequence, but you are responsible for all your actions. That may seem like it doesn't make sense, but using the policeman example again, the policeman is responsible for his actions, in the fact that he was in danger of his life and acted in self defense, he did kill a man but only to preserve his own life, but he wasn't responsible for the negative consequence, the man with the toy gun was. Man is not omniscient, so although the policeman acted from an honest error and failure of knowledge (he was not to know the man had a toy gun, and could not know, it was out of his control) he is not responsible for the negative consequence. This is best understood by looking at cause and effect. Gunman---------Policeman Responsibility---Responsibility Cause-----------------------------------Effect (raised gun aimed at policeman)-----(gun shot) Initiation of force----------------------Retaliation of force Immoral-------------------------------Moral So the gunman is responsible for the cause of his own death, the policeman responsible for the effect.
  17. ALS


    This may have been asked before but I can't seem to find it. When is it in one's self interest to give money to charity? I can think of about 2 reasons. 1. You suffer from a disease that has no known cure, you donate money to a research charity in order to help them discover a cure. 2. Someone you value suffers from a disease that has no known cure, you donate money to a research charity in order to help them discover a cure. There may also be a case to give money to charity in good will, but I'm not sure about this. How would you determine how much to give, how many times to give it and what charity to give it to?
  18. "Where there is no choice, morality doesn't apply." Freedom of choice to use one's reason. Freedom of choice to act on one's reason. If someone makes an honest error, then the error was not chosen, but the use of one's reason was freely chosen. The man who makes an honest error and acts on that error still has free choice and morality therefore does apply but it depends on the context as RationalCop pointed out. So for the first example of the policeman, morality does apply and the policeman was moral, not amoral. I made a distinction between freedom to use one's reason and freedom to act on one's reason for the purpose of explanation, but the second is a corollary of the first. If one is not free to reason he is not free to act.
  19. I recently had to go to hospital after suffering periodic severe stomach pains resulting in vomitting, the diagnosis was inflamed appendix and they decided not to take my appendix out. I asked what I could do to prevent it and the doctor said that it is not certain that it will or won't come back (the pain) but by having a healthy diet it will reduce the risk. Anyway I received a book that was based on a tv series called "You Are What You Eat" written by nutritionist Dr Gillian McKeith. In it contains a section warning of cooked food asserting that 85% of nutrients become unavailable and all enzymes destroyed. She also goes on to mention the same process pertaining to proteins and vitamins (mainly 50% lost). She mentions a study of medical researchers where they found that a diet full of cooked food may cause brain reduction. Her own study revealed that people who only eat cooked food have blood cells that appear to be in a constant state of alert, as if fighting an infection. I'm sceptical of this as throughout the book she warns of the dangers of organic food, tells you to not drink tap water, and dangers of cancer from pesticide on crops. I've read the Skeptical Environmentalist and all the warnings on organic food and pesticide is just scare mongering. That said, can anyone verify her warnings of the dangers of cooked food or is it just scare mongering? also can anyone recommend websites and books regarding healthy nutritional diets.
  20. Just to make this clear. Theory - Of what? Big Bang - Creation of Existence Abiogenesis - Creation of Life Evolution - Evolution of Life These theories do not depend upon each other, Evolution starts with life not needing or wanting an explanation for how it was created, I think Abiogenesis starts with matter not needing or wanting an explanation of how it was created, Big Bang theory starts with nothing and and believes existence is created from nothing. Objectivism says only this, existence exists, and dismisses Big Bang Theory as absurd, there is no official view of abiogenesis or evolution in Objectivism as these are scientific matters and not a metaphysical matters as is Big Bang Theory. Only the Big Bang Theory deals with existence and tries to explain creation of it from non-existence, essentially it's the same as Creationism in the fact that both believe in existence arising from non-existence.
  21. ChildofGod "Evolution gives an explanation for creation that doesn't involve a creator - how ridiculous." Theory of Evolution Process of change over time to life forms starting from the first living organism, the evolution of eukaryotes cell from prokaryotes cell. Abiogenesis "hypothetical generation of life from non-living matter" - wikipedia "The modern definition of abiogenesis is concerned with the formation of the simplest forms of life from primordial chemicals." - wikipedia I.E how the first cell came about, the origin of life, Miller's experiment simulating condition of primeval planet demonstrating that building blocks of life can be produced from mixture of water, methane, ammonia and hydrogen. Electrical discharges (such as lightning) pass through the mixture, sealed off from the atmosphere, that yield a number of more complicated organic substances such as aldehydes, carboxylic cids and basic components of protein: amino acids. - Origin of Species by Charles Darwin, Introduction by Richard E. Leakey. The Big Bang Theory tries to give an explanation for creation, Evolution does not, and Abiogenesis gives theory for origin of life, which is different from Evolutionary Theory and is not an explanation for creation either, but origin of life. The link below mentions the distinction between Evolution and Abiogenesis http://atheism.about.com/library/FAQs/evo/blfaq_evo_abio.htm If someone was to believe in Evolution and in Creationism, they would not hold a contradiction as they are not theories of the same thing, Evolution does not care how life was created, it begins with premise that life exists and goes on to say how it evolved. Creationism gives an explanation of creation that rests with the fact that something was created out of nothing - how ridiculous.
  22. "A grade is an indicator of success/achievement of understanding, but when the grade belongs to the group, it does not belong to any individual, it does signify an individuals understanding of the module, it signifies "the group" understands or doesn't understand." That should read doesn't.
  23. In an individual assessment a pupil is rewarded for his efforts, he knows that if he puts in the effort he can reach his goal and be proud of his work. The individual grade signifies whether the pupil has achieved his goal and acts to guide him in his actions, if he receives a lower mark than expected he knows he has to work harder. If however he receives a high grade it signifies he has achieved his goal and the grade is justly earned. In group assessment this is different, a pupil is no longer rewarded for his efforts, his grade depends on the unearned effort of other group members which comprise of the following: unearned (reward + punishment) 1. unearned reward (good performance of other group member(s)) 2. unearned punishment (poor performance of other group member(s)) A grade is an indicator of success/achievement of understanding, but when the grade belongs to the group, it does not belong to any individual, it does signify an individuals understanding of the module, it signifies "the group" understands or doesn't understand. A group mark therefore does not indiciate whether an individual has achieved his goal, it does not evaluate an individuals understanding and cannot guide him in further action. If the group recieves a high mark it signifies the group has developed an understanding, but since the group is a collection of individuals, and since individuals have not been given marks it can mean several things. 1. An individual has developed understanding (which one nobody knows) and the others have not. 2. More than one individual has developed an understanding but less than the one individual in case 1. The result of this is a loss of pride and self esteem, since the definition of pride is feeling of satisfaction of one's actions, and since an individual does not know his grade, therefore he doesn't know if his actions led to the achievement of his goal, or the actions of other group members led to the goal, the members who may have contributed more to the final grade. The other result is an increase in anxiety and depression as with group assessment an individual no longer can control his life, he cannot control what mark he gets, therefore becomes dependent on others. There is no moral reason for group assessment, I have only heard a rationalization such as " In business you have to work as a team, the group assessments prepare you for the business world " etc to defend it. This is wrong, in business all employees aren't paid the same wage becuase employees have different abilities and the wage rate is a recognition of this fact. In group assessment intellectual abilities of individuals are not recognised, it is collectivism of the egalitarian variety as all individuals of the group are treated as having the same intellectual abilities, and rewarded as 1 entity, ignoring the fact that a group is made up of individuals, that only individuals think, that a brain subsides in one person and is not a collective organ belonging to more than 1 person that can function as one. END Grade and Mark mean the same, forgive me for using both. Anyway as you may guess I am back at University, first week back and I'm hit with a group based assignment for Business Studies, it is assessed collectively and each person recieves "equal" marks no matter what they do and how well they do it.
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