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Leonard Peikoff, Podcaster

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#8 is up: some topics discussed

  • Doing creative work during a serious emotional upheaval

Dr. Peikoff gave a slightly different answer than what I was expecting given the brief description of the topic here. He parsed it down more in terms of the time needed to focus and be creative if one has other issues that need to be resolved first, like taking care of one's parents who require a lot of time when they are older and can't take care of themselves as much as they used to. I agree with him that eventually, one has to get back to living one's own life, that one cannot be a slave to one's parents and let that override one's creativity.

However, I though the question from the brief description was more about writing when one is having emotional / psychological problems, so I wanted to say that being creative -- especially when one is in emotional turmoil, and especially in writing poetry or short stories or even a novel, is very helpful in concretizing what the conflict is, if you can find a way to work your own personal conflicts into the work of art. There are many times when I have been in emotional turmoil, say due to the loss of a loved one through death or dissolving of a romance or a potential romance, in which writing a poem or a short story has helped me to put it all in perspective. This is done on my part to help keep the context and not let my emotions determine what I'm going to do about the disaster. In fact, I started my novel as a short story, because I couldn't find anyone who would hire me right out of college based on my hard-earned degrees; so the story was about a guy who couldn't find the right type of help to run his own business, and so had to settle with grabbing skills from the bottom of the barrel, so to speak. Later, I found that if I focused in on the conflicts better, I could write about them in more detail, and this eventually lead to me writing 300+ pages on the conflicts (and other aspects of a novel) that I realized were taking place all around me, and that lead to me being under employed.

So, not only ought one not to let the misgivings in life detract one from one's purpose, it is possible to further concretize the issues in poetry or short stories that can really help you to see the big picture. At least as an artist, I find this to be the case.

And, in a way, the same is true for me writing to an Objectivist oriented message board, since it is easy to loose site of one's ideals if one doesn't keep them in the forefront of one's mind on a daily basis. It's just that doing art -- for me poetry, short stories, and working on a novel -- makes it possible to live in that world in the abstract, to re-create the world as it might be an ought to be, despite the temporary set-backs in life that confront oneself -- sometimes for long periods of time.

Basically, in order to keep oneself motivated, one has to experience the world as it might be and ought to be, and for an artist, the ready-made art that is available may not hit the right combination of factors, but writing it yourself, once one builds up one's skills, can be tailor made to one's own private issues.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Here is my summary of Podcast9 (E&OE):

  • Atheist child not dealing religious parents parents
  • Being old, but looking/staying "young"
  • Teenage sex and experimentation; also, is love necessary for sex?
  • Difference between automatizing new concepts versus getting rid of older concepts

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  • 4 weeks later...

Though it's skipping number 10, I just listened to Podcast 11, so here are the questions:

1

asks, "Does John Galt exist in the real world?"

2
concerns the difference between hedonism and Objectivism, and Peikoff explains happiness.

3
prompts Peikoff to briefly offer his opinion on Bill Gates and Google.

4
: To what extent can there exist a fully evil genius?

5
: What is art to an intelligent, but mixed up, perhaps "trashy," person?

6
: Does "sense of life" form as a child? Can it be changed as an adult?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Podcast number 12 is up:

1. How would an Obectivist look at a job slightly less fulfilling but with better monetary rewards.

2. How does someone know the statistics of wether white men like asian women more than other women.

3. What is the ethical correctness of concierge medicine.

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6: Does "sense of life" form as a child? Can it be changed as an adult?

I asked two Psychologists, familiar with Objectivism, this question.

The first, Branden, said the same as Peikoff, that one can change a sense of life, only that it takes a lot of time and effort.

The second, Dr Kenner, well - they said to phone into her show with the question, but I doubt it would get aired, since it's such a technical, philosophical question, which the majority of her listeners wouldn't understand (not a comment on their intelligence, but instead on the fact that they probably have never even heard the term 'Sense of Life').

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... since it's such a technical, philosophical question, which the majority of her listeners wouldn't understand (not a comment on their intelligence, but instead on the fact that they probably have never even heard the term 'Sense of Life').
While browsing through Gutenberg's catalog recently, I found that the term "sense of life" was used before Rand in pretty much the same sense.

But, back on topic: it should be possible to frame the question in terms that anyone would understand.

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  • 1 month later...

There is a notice on Dr. Peikoff's website http://www.peikoff.com that says he is getting so many questions that he will be pod casting once a week for the foreseeable future. Since I like to listen to them, because they are informative even in those cases where I might disagree with him, I am happy to see this notification. I think sometimes he elaborates just enough to get one thinking about the topic in a new light, but doesn't always answer the question as thoroughly as I would like him to. However, answering four or five questions in 15 minutes necessarily makes them that way. But they do get one to think about the question and the answer, so I'm glad he's doing this.

One question I wish he would have elaborated more on was the question a few weeks ago about military men basically having a girl in every port. Dr. Peikoff basically said it was OK, so long as it wasn't too casual and so long as the military man wasn't leaving a baby in every port. While he made a lot of good points, it almost came across as saying that being a womanizer was OK, so long as one's life was in danger and so long as one didn't stay in one place for very long due to re-assignments in the field.

I've never been this way about women, since I prefer a more long-term relationship, and my father was in the US Navy for 30 years and he managed to have a long-term relationship with my mother and they have been married now for 50 years. So, it is certainly not impossible, though I understand that these men who might die at any time, especially in time of war or conflict, would like to be able to celebrate their sexuality when they have the opportunity.

Just to clarify, I don't think that one night stands are necessarily immoral, I've had a few of my own, but I definitely think that the long-term relationship is preferable. It's not quite the same, or maybe in a way it is, but I had to make new friends every time we moved, which was about every four years or so a thousand miles away form my former home. We all had to do that in my immediate family. But, I would still say that my friendships were not short-term, since I had friendships that lasted a least a couple of years in every port, so to speak.

So, in a sense I would have preferred him to have said that one ought to be in a committed relationship, even if it only lasted until the military man got transferred to another port, rather than the implication that he ought to have sex with many women at each port.

I don't know if my attitude is a left-over from having once been catholic, or whether I just prefer to date a woman for at least six months once we get to know one another, unless it falls apart before then. Otherwise, I don't think one would fall in love and thoroughly enjoy the relationship. In other words, it would just be for sex and nothing deeper.

Maybe some military guys can comment on this.

There are Objectivists that I know -- or sometimes they were pseudo-Objectivists -- who thought that James Bond and Mike Hammer were womanizers, but I never saw it that way due to the danger of their missions; and maybe Dr. Peikoff is making the same point. In other words, there is something very masculine about a man in grave danger falling in love with a woman for a short amount of time before he has to move on to take care of the bad guys.

Any thoughts on this?

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One question I wish he would have elaborated more on was the question a few weeks ago about military men basically having a girl in every port. Dr. Peikoff basically said it was OK, so long as it wasn't too casual and so long as the military man wasn't leaving a baby in every port. While he made a lot of good points, it almost came across as saying that being a womanizer was OK, so long as one's life was in danger and so long as one didn't stay in one place for very long due to re-assignments in the field.

Any thoughts on this?

Peikoff gives the caveat that if a military man is in a constant state of emergency (this is key here) that it is ok to be seeking short-term relationships in which to enjoy sex. Living in this perpetual state of emergency, one would not be looking for long-term relationships, and should pursue values in other people accordingly. One would lower one's standards slightly in order to engage in the act of enjoying the value of sex (and I don't take this to mean that it should be with a random prostitute, as Peikoff mentions). Peikoff makes the statement that if one is purely looking for a physicalistic pleasure, one should just masturbate. I agree with this and don't take it to mean that if one is in the military, that it's proper to drink and brawl and womanize. Just that one's range for the enjoyment of values becomes a bit shorter, and more, that one's standards are slightly lower (one has less time to wait for that person, devote as much time, etc.).

Edit: made post slightly clearer.

Edited by West
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  • 3 weeks later...

I thought that podcast #16, June 2, 2008 was very interesting in the topics; which includes: writing or doing any work as if one is doing something historic or comparatively great, artificial intelligence, whether or not one ought to take an artist's personal insecurities into account when evaluating his work, and whether or not determinism was operative in the universe or on earth before man arose.

http://www.peikoff.com

*** Mod's note: This led to a discussion AI, that was split off here. - sN ***

Edited by softwareNerd
Added 'split topic' notice
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Podcast #17, June 9, 2008 is a very important one for the future of Objectivism and how dissenters ought to be treated. People, well some people, are continuously complaining that Ayn Rand, Dr. Peikoff, and some others, including myself, are rude an obnoxious in the way they handle presenting Objectivism to others. Dr. Peikoff makes a very clear point that if the person being responded to does not want reason, the facts, and Objectivism, then there is no need to be polite to them. I'm glad he came right out and said it, because it needed to be said. I think one ought to be a firm as reality when one is presenting one's understanding of reason and Objectivism. And if they don't want it or want it presented in a kinder and gentler way, well, we are reality oriented, not feelings oriented.

And also, I think he brought up a great point further in this podcast, that one is responsible for another insofar as the other has agreed to engage in an activity that is mutually beneficial -- i.e. for example if someone came to my OPAR study group and suffered some physical illness, such as a heart attack, that it would be incumbent on me or someone healthy in the group to render aid by at least calling an ambulance for them.

On a more personal note, in this thread I related an incident whereby I was being stalked and harassed for several months in a row leading to me having severe emotional problems and being unemployed for many months. I think it originally started off as some sort of game, but it got way out of hand, and I do think, under the principles outlined in this podcast that if I ever find out who they were, then they owe me many months of employment payment plus a recouping of my savings. They knew it was doing harm to me, and yet they kept at it, which is why I consider them to be evil.

During that episode, I never intentionally tried to hurt anyone, but if one of them did get harmed by my actions, they are free to contact me and we can work it out. I am trying to find out who they were, though I have hints and clues as to who they might have been, but I was actually harmed and require recompense.

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  • 4 months later...

I wasn't sure where else to post this, but in the October 20, 2008 podcast, Dr. Peikoff stated that he will not vote for either candidate for President this election. He says that the Republicans are too much appealing to the evangelicans and McCain choosing Palin as a running mate proves that, and that he despises the way Obama handled the Wright controversy (another religious issue) and that Obama is the first anti-American Presidential candidate. So, he wouldn't dream of voting for either one.

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  • 1 month later...

Dr. Peikoff's podcast on Dec. 8 after not making any comments "for decades" on this man, he takes a question in this podcast, about Alan Greenspan. The questioner brings up that Greenspan says that the free market is to blame for the recent economic troubles, how can he can basically go from supporting a free market, to the person he is today. Then the questioner wonders how/why people betray Objectivism as the years go by. You can listen to it all here.

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The questioner brings up that Greenspan says that the free market is to blame for the recent economic troubles

For what it's worth, I believe that is a misquote of what Greenspan actually said. I listened to the testimony, and while he admitted a flaw in his ideology, he claimed to not yet have figured out exactly what that flaw was.

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For what it's worth, I believe that is a misquote of what Greenspan actually said. I listened to the testimony, and while he admitted a flaw in his ideology, he claimed to not yet have figured out exactly what that flaw was.

Actually I did a little searching further into this, for what it's worth, and he is pretty explicit about it, what do you think?: This is a transcription and there is also a video in this LINK you can watch:

Do you feel that your ideology pushed you to make decisions that you wish you had not made?ALAN GREENSPAN: Well, remember that what an ideology is, is a conceptual framework with the way people deal with reality. Everyone has one. You have to -- to exist, you need an ideology. The question is whether it is accurate or not.

And what I'm saying to you is, yes, I found a flaw. I don't know how significant or permanent it is, but I've been very distressed by that fact.

REP. HENRY WAXMAN: You found a flaw in the reality...

ALAN GREENSPAN: Flaw in the model that I perceived is the critical functioning structure that defines how the world works, so to speak.

REP. HENRY WAXMAN: In other words, you found that your view of the world, your ideology, was not right, it was not working?

ALAN GREENSPAN: That is -- precisely. No, that's precisely the reason I was shocked, because I had been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well.

(bold emphasis mine)
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Actually I did a little searching further into this, for what it's worth, and he is pretty explicit about it, what do you think?: This is a transcription and there is also a video in this LINK you can watch:

(bold emphasis mine)

O.K., _HONESTLY!!!_... for Greenspan to explicitly say what he said in _that_ quote...

He's either a moron or a shill for the state... He didn't know??? What complete bullshit!

For someone...ANYONE in Rand's inner circle to make that kind of equivocation is just unforgivable. ...so I suspect that he just sold out, but, I don't know, ...maybe he's a "special" kind of stupid. :D:dough: :dough: :dough:

For him to have the absolute effrontery to talk about "frameworks" and still maintain that conclusion of his... it's just incredible.

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Wow, the congressman from West Hollywood and Beverly Hills! What are the chances he's going to want to attack Ayn Rand? There are so many ways Greenspan could've put this, especially considering who's questioning him, that would've been less satisfying to Waxman.

I think Greenspan's answers were very much deliberately going along with a direct attack on Objectivism, and that is the reason why Peikoff chose to address them.

Also this whole theory, about an unidentified flaw in the ideological system, which Greenspan is now setting out to find, seems so stupid to me: there is no reasoning given, no description of what it could be, etc. Is our view of human nature flawed? Or is it ethics, should we stop being individualists, Alan? The idea of capitalism doesn't stem from practical considerations, but rather from Rand's philosophy, so the flaw must be in there, and it must be huge: to allow for legal theft and central planning, I think almost everything would have to go, including reason and individualism. ( reason is of course not possible without the latter)

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For someone...ANYONE in Rand's inner circle to make that kind of equivocation is just unforgivable.

There's one from the circle I can still certainly respect, and that is the late Kay Nolte Smith. The two novels I've read of hers were of great literary wealth (Country of the Heart and A Tale of the Wind (of which I still have to finish)), but I think there might be a trace of an issue she has with O'ism, (that I've gathered from information outside of the books themselves) but I haven't exactly been able to pinpoint it myself, perhaps it's not even there, but definately nothing like NB,BB,AG.

Edited by intellectualammo
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