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Everything posted by Nxixcxk

  1. Yes Sure. I'm not arguing that meditation is the best way to go about improving your concentration, but it's definitely a way, and it is mentally challenging. You could also try to follow the second hand on a clock for two minutes without allowing your mind to become distracted--is this a better method than meditation for improving concentration? I have no idea, but I'm sure it works.
  2. Good points. What I was describing, as you have pointed out, was that meditation is a certain state of consciousness, rather than a state of being. I would also say that meditation is slightly different than concentration. When one concentrates, one usually focuses outward; whereas with meditation, the focus is almost always inward. Is meditation a species of concentration? Yes. I would argue that meditation is concentration focused inward...So the "focusing inward" is the slight difference between concentration and meditation. Thanks for the questions and observations Burgess.
  3. http://www.aikidoonline.com/Archives/2000/..._tmr_10_13.html Try that link instead of other
  4. After browsing through some of these self-help topics, I started to think that some may be interested in meditation. Being Objectivists, some may instantly cringe when they hear the word "meditate," but hopefully I can shed some light on what that term really means and if it has any practical purposes. As this thread is lengthy, I've highlighted the main points in bold. Please feel free to skim through it. Anyhow, here we go. First and foremost, what is meditation? Dictionary.com defines meditation as, " A contemplative discourse, usually on a religious or philosophical subject." But to elaborate and give it my own definition, meditation is a state of being that allows for one to focus completely on oneself, be it body, mind or a combination of both, while deliberately or passively negating all outside disturbances. Contrary to popular belief, meditation does not always involve clearing the mind and sitting like a duck on a log; in fact, there are many different forms of meditation, some more active than others. For instance, when an NBA player has the ball in his hands with three seconds left on the shotclock, and he needs to score in order to win the game, I consider him to be in a meditative state--he is focused completely on the task at hand, the noise of the crowd is not heard, and the only thought running through his head is, "how do I score in three seconds?" When an unintoxicated man is able to ignite his whole body on fire without emitting an expression of pain, I consider him to be in a meditative state. What are some purposes for meditation? When you first begin to meditate, the primary virtue you will be learning and practicing is self-discipline (and patience ). The self-discipline that you procure from meditation can be applied to any part of your life--whether it be sticking to a diet, a workout schedule, or any other motivational task. Without self-discipline, your life is more likely to be a wreck. Once you're able to sit down peacefully and not think, "oh my God, I'm sitting down doing nothing, whatever shall I do!" your are able to move on to other benefits of meditation, such as body awareness. Also, you should find that your levels of concentration increase exponentially with practice. Body awareness allows you to keenly focus in on aspects of your body that may hold tension, pain, or soreness. I like to encorporate body awareness into the beginning of my meditation because it allows me to release or at least be aware of any somatic aberrations--thus allowing me to be more relaxed and more focused. The mind, just like the body after great exertion, needs rest. After practicing meditation for a while, you will learn that it becomes easier to maintain a sense of void in the mind--or what I like to call, ultimate mind relaxation. Don't confuse this with refusing to think; it is simply resting the mind as you would the body after a marathon. If there is an aspect of your life or a thought you would like to change, meditation can help. By inventing your own mantra (a phrase that you incessantly repeat while in the meditative state), you can accomplish a revamping of the subconscious, AKA the infamous but usually misunderstood, brainwash. I'm not sure that's an appropriate title for what I'm about to describe, especially since it carries a negative connotation, but it shall suffice. For instance, pretend you have an important speech to give in the upcoming week yet you are somewhat nervous---you could come up with a mantra such as, "I know what I want to say and I am confident saying it, therefore I will not be nervous," through repetition of this phrase in the meditative state, it should be helpful in boosting your confidence. The idea above uses the same principle as telling yourself you are confident and then actually being confident--in other words, believing you are confident presupposes having confidence. In some instances, I think the meditative state can be better than a normal state of consciousness for self-affirmation. Those are the most important benefits that meditation has to offer that I can conjure up. (There are other things you can do with meditation, such as guided imagery, but unless anyone is genuinely interested, I'm going to omit it since I don't find it to be as useful as the ideas above.) How does one go about meditating? To successfully meditate, one should be in loose clothing (this isn't absolutely necessary, but it helps) and in a suitable environment--that is, an environment with minimal distractions and a sense of isolation. Then, get into a position that is comfortable but doesn't block or slow the flow of blood to the body. I prefer a seated position where both my legs are tucked under my butt with two pillows between them. These pillows prevent any unnecessary stress on the knees and allow bloodflow to the feet. (To see an image of this positioning go to this link http://www.aikidoonline.com/Archives/2000/...tmr_10_13.html). Any position that's comfortable with your spine aligned will do. After you are situated, define what you want out of the meditation and go from there. (See the above section on the purposes of meditation) If you're a beginner, I'd suggest taking a few minutes to perform a body scan. Become aware of how your body feels, where you may be holding tension. How's your posture? Are you sitting on your pelvic bones? Are you slouching? Does it feel like your shoulders are level, or is one higher than the other? Is your tongue pressed against the roof of your mouth? Can you feel the soles of your feet on the floor? Depending on what your meditational purposes are, the next step could be to clear your thoughts, sometimes referred to as grounding. You'll come to find that your thoughts are all over the place...this is normal; don't let it deter you from focusing and continuously practicing. If you've ever watched a thunderstorm, saw the lightning strike, and then waited in absentmindedness for the sound of the bolt, that's basically the same mental state you are striving for when you're clearing your thoughts; it's almost a mental state of anticipation. Once you are able to clear your thoughts for more than a few seconds, your mind's concentration is at a decent level, so you can redefine your purposes and go from there. I think that covers the basics--meditation isn't as complicated as some may say it is, but if you guys have any questions, feel free to shoot. Now get out and start meditating!
  5. I suggest you take another look at this statement, Randrew. Are you really unconscious while you sleep? For any of you who think that sleep is simply superfluous, try experimenting with lucid dreams. If reality is exciting now, just imagine what it could be like if it was commanded by your every thought and desire. In a lucid dream, you are aware that you are dreaming, and the capabilities you have are basically unlimited--that is, anything within the realm of your imagination. So far I've only been able to be completely lucid throughout one dream, and it was a kick in the butt. And this is no hooey; scientific experiments have been done to show that lucid dreaming is a reality If you're not into having some extravagant fun now and then while you sleep, you could substitute wanton debauchery for some hard core Objectivism studying. If interested, start writing down your dreams as soon as you wake up from them, and every night right before you fall asleep remind yourself that you want to dream and that you will have full control of your dream. Recalling your dreams is the first step to lucidity. If anyone else is interested, I have a few more tips for lucidly dreaming.
  6. Hope that asshole wasn't me I used to play D2 incessantly, especially when it was still a viable PVP game. The 1.06 patch era was the most balanced version of pvp, save a few glitches and hackings here and there. But with time and the inclusion of the expansion pack, the game's pvp ability diminished. Then I moved to WC3--got to a decent solo level, but had to quit because 56k was too hard to micro anything. Few years down the road however, I got cable modem and bought the expansio pack for the game and became pretty insane at playing it--especially 2v2's. I'd say D2 1.06 is the best game I've ever played--and probably will ever play. I tried WoW for kicks but wasn't too impressed. The $15/month is quite a deterrent. Regardless though, I don't htink I'll ever seriously pick up a computer game again because they are too addicting and time consuming. After mastering WC3 TFT for 6 months or so, I realized how much my brains mental abilities had deteriorated, and I wasn't happy with that--so I forced myself to take the TFT CD in both hands, and crack it in half. Nonetheless, it was one helluva way to break the addiction Oh, and to rationalize GTA, just pretend as if you are sniping criminals rather than innocent pedestrians, and it all works out for the better
  7. Good points and refutations, never thought about some of those before . Thanks for all the replies too--I think I now have a better idea of what's being argued.
  8. Well that was my other attack as well---if you banned smoking you'd have to ban the industrial age. But making an analogy between sneezing, industrializing, and driving doesn't hold much merit since sneezing is an involuntary action, and industrializing and driving has the capability to produce or accomplish something useful, whereas in any case, smoking does not.
  9. Alon try maybe objectivist.net or .org or something like that and you should come about a lengthy article of an Objectivist and his thoughts on the current legal system and why he stopped practicing law. I'd find it for you, but currently my computer is not handling more than one page at a time---I think the subtitle for the website is the "unofficial objectivst site."
  10. Recently, my sister and I got into an argument regarding smoking. At first, she said that smoking should be banned in all bars, private or public. Then she went even further and said that because smoking is harmful, it should be completely prohibited, regardless if it's done in a private or public place--because those smoke molecules eventually enter into the lungs of those who do not wish to smoke, thus impinging upon their rights. I am wondering how some of you argue against arguments of this type (i.e. ones that are highly speculative, theoretical, but nonetheless highly speculative). As I agreed that eventually some minute and insignificant amount of cirgarette smoke would ineluctably enter my lungs, even if it was smoked far away from me, I argued that it was much more dangerous to our "health" and to individual rights to have a government that oppresses such an unenforceable and theoretical act of hazard, than it would be to allow smokers to continue smoking. It also seems that because so many cases can be made for--I guess I will call them "speculative rights infringements" that it would be absurd to try an enforce any of them---and if we did enforce them, we'd quickly end up with a dictatorship. Anyhow, what I'm looking for are suggestions in how to refute these type of arguments--all help is appreciated.
  11. Evangelical, thanks for the response and elaboration, it was really helpful.
  12. In Milton Friedman's book Capitalism and Freedom, he states that "a common objection to totalitarian societies is that they regard the end as justifying the means. Taken literally, this objection is clearly illogical. If the end does not justify the means, what does? But this easy answer does not dispose of the objection; it simply shows that the objection is not well put. To deny that the end justifies the means is indirectly to assert that the end in question is not the ultimate end, that the ultimate end is itself the use of the proper means. Desirable or not, any end that can be attained only by the use of bad means must give way to the more basic end of the use of acceptable means." I disagree. In any case I do not think the end can justify the means because the end is a consequent where as the means is a cause, and a consequent, because it comes after a cause, cannot logically be a basis for justifying something that has preceeded it in time. In other words, justification would be too late. Furthermore, if one looks at the corrolaries of the ends justifying the means, one will see that it does lead to Nazism and other undesirable forms of government. However, my dissent does not name what justifies the means...and I'm not really sure what does. It would seem that one ought to regard the means as ends in themselves, judging whether or not they are rational...But then in doing so, it seems like that reasoning is out of context. "To deny that the end justifies the means is indirectly to assert that the end in question is not the ultimate end, that the ultimate end is itself the use of the proper means." It seems to me like Friedman is playing some semantical game here, but I'm not able to reveal it. Sounds almost as if he is begging the question... "Desirable or not, any end that can be attained only by the use of bad means must give way to the more basic end of the use of acceptable means." He gives no reasoning for his above statement and I cannot think of any argumentation for his proposition here. Thoughts, suggestions? WIsh I could right more but I'm on a public computer and am running out of time.
  13. Here is my real world example: When I was enrolled in college, I was planning on majoring in philosophy, but was deterred when I realized how many prerequisites were required in order to obtain the major. I specifically remember their being a requirement of 10 credits of "practical math" before I could take any of the upper level courses. But regardless, I'm sure all courses could fall under the category of "benefitting me somehow, some way," but I can think of many courses that would be a better allocation of my time and money than "practical math." Also, I'm going to create a topic called "the ends justifying the means" in the BASIC QUESTION forum, but it is somewhat of a tangent with what we are discussing here.
  14. Alright, thanks for the significant suggestions I do have a few concerns regarding college however, and was wondering if you could shed some light on it. If I want to take some upper level courses, but the requirements for them are rediculous, say for instance, I want to take a course on capitalism, but the prereq is Shamanism, do I take Shaminism---and if so, is that the same idea as the end justifying the means? After all, I must admit that many colleges have ludicrous prereqs.
  15. Thank you for the welcoming and helpful replies, I really appreciate them. I went through one year of college but didn't find many of the classes to be of much use, so now I am training to become a massage therapist. After I graduate, I plan to work for a few years with that trade while slowly working my way into the stock market. If all goes well, I will be able to save up enough money to attend classes that interest me at the collegiate level---which seems more efficient than self-education in most cases. I'd say my long term goal is to become proactive in the political realm by spreading Objectivism via speeches and letters. Hobbies include basketball, weight lifting, philosophy, debating, and various forms of wrestling. Currently living in Boulder, CO and attending Objectivist meetings at CU. P.S. don't have readily available access to the internet, so if I'm slow to respond it's usually because of that.
  16. Hi, my name's Nick and I've been studying objectivism quite intensely for about 2.5 years now. Some of my goals related to Objectivism are: 1) Being able to speak efficiently about the philosophy as well as repudiate attacks against it with great verbal clarity. (As Ayn did as well as many others...usually I'm able to understand underlying themes of statements ,but when it comes to explaining or making them known to others, I don't do it as eloquently as I'd like to.)--I've been to a few public speeches of renown Objectivists, and during the Q&A's, they speak will admirable verbal clarity! I want to be able to do that too as it is of great use. 2) Increase my vocabulary so that I'm able to define and use words appropriately. Currently, whenever I read a book and come across a word I don't know, I make a mark of it and then come back to it later. I put the word on one side of a flash card along with it's part of speech, then define it on the back and write down the sentence with which it was used in the book. This method seems to work well for me but also seems inefficient (or maybe I'm impatient), so if anyone has any better methods I'd love to hear of them. Those are my 2 primary short goals. I do have long term goals in relation to objectivism but I think they will be precluded if these 2 short term goals are not met. If anyone has any methods that I could use to help accomplish goals 1 and 2, I would love hearing them! Also, I've read many of Rand's books and I'm looking for other books that are rational and of use. Any books that express the antagonist of Rand's views would be beneficial as well, because I need to know the arguments the antagonist's use in order to familiarize myself with them and therefore better repudiate them. Thanks for the help, Nick P.S....I have copious questions but I didn't want to belabor my introduction. Hopefully I'll have a chance to ask them later.
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