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When it comes to my unanswered proposition that Ayn Rand's Jewish background might have played some role in the development of Objectivism's most basic premises.

I've read nothing about her family's religious background, merely that they were ethnically Jewish. I don't think I've ever seen her mention it either.

Now, Ayn Rand's most basic proposition is that man is, can be, and ought to be, a heroe -the best he or she can be- . Her novels are pure idolatry, and she made an idol of herself.

Have you even read her books? I don't know what this point has to do with any of your other arguments, but nevertheless, the proper term is "romantic". "Idolatry" is a religious concept, which accepts the premise that there is one exclusive god.

I ask myself whether Obectivism was structured, in a dyalectic way, upon Monotheism. i.e. her theory of rational selfishness might not have taken that form wasn't from a previous and prevailing theory of mystical altruism.

Grammar aside, it cannot have been "taken" from a mystical altruism because the foundational premises of the two are diametrically opposed (A is A versus A is-not A).

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I've read nothing about her family's religious background, merely that they were ethnically Jewish.

I've never read any mention of this either, but I am quiet sure that her family wasn't socialist (owned a pharmacy, moved yo Crimea so it wasn't expropriated - for a while) nor orthodox converts (no proof but I highly doubt it) now, tzarist Russia was not a place for idle "freethinkers". If you were born a jew, no matter how much money you handled on the sabbath, you were still a jew at least for everybody else.

Have you even read her books? I don't know what this point has to do with any of your other arguments, but nevertheless, the proper term is "romantic". "Idolatry" is a religious concept, which accepts the premise that there is one exclusive god.

The proper name would be hero. Of course idolatry is a religious term, that's my point. The essence, however, can be the same (it depends on the idol).

Grammar aside, it cannot have been "taken" from a mystical altruism because the foundational premises of the two are diametrically opposed (A is A versus A is-not A).

that's what I mean by dyalectic!

And yes, I've read her books, and then some. I am -obviously- (intellectually) interested in religion, and I sometimes play the Devil's advocate when I get tired of agreeing with you guys and fancy some fresh discussion..... but in any case, each and every tenant of Objectivism is indeed diametrically opposed to most commandments (I believe the only exception would be 'not stealing'), so my point is that someone who was ignorant of these mitzvot could not have outlined a philosophy so perfectly diametrically opposed.

Note that I brought up Judaism for a reason: iconoclasm. The Eastern Orthodox church has no problem with icons and idols - much to the contrary.

PD: please correct my grammar, I couldn't find the mistake and I don't like it when that happens

Edited by volco
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so my point is that someone who was ignorant of these mitzvot could not have outlined a philosophy so perfectly diametrically opposed.

Why? Do you believe it would be impossible to come to a rational conclusion about something without there first being a wrong example?

You don't need to read a really bad book in order to appreciate and recognize a good one.

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Why? Do you believe it would be impossible to come to a rational conclusion about something without there first being a wrong example?

Why of course. But I don't think "rational selfishness" could have even been spelled without the meaning of reason, self and existence, ellaborated and contested beforehand. To put it bluntly, again, I don't think humankind could have passed from instinct-driven primates with a huge frontal lobe, to philosophy students who can understand what faculty that huge lobe enables on a single leap forward.

And by necessity of evolution, of hierarchy, most previous definitions of these concepts will be flawed.

You don't need to read a really bad book in order to appreciate and recognize a good one.

I'm not sure I agree with this. Since good/bad are relative terms, you need something to contrast one from the other.... right?

yes, the only use of the bad, is to be able to identify the good.

I have to remind you guys that I hopped into this weird thread without a thesis I want to prove. I might in the future open a structured thread about my concerns about Objectivism and religion. This was fueled by some "attacks" I've received claiming that Objectivism is a form of religion because it relies on absolute certainty. That is not the case, but I believe it's worth an inspection.

Edited by volco
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Why of course. But I don't think "rational selfishness" could have even been spelled without the meaning of reason, self and existence, ellaborated and contested beforehand. To put it bluntly, again, I don't think humankind could have passed from instinct-driven primates with a huge frontal lobe, to philosophy students who can understand what faculty that huge lobe enables on a single leap forward.

And by necessity of evolution, of hierarchy, most previous definitions of these concepts will be flawed.

I am not disputing the idea of an evolution of reason, just that I don't believe Rand had to have been well versed in the Bible to go from A to B on her own.

yes, the only use of the bad, is to be able to identify the good.

I disagree that it is impossible to know what is good without having first seen what is bad. It seems to be a chicken or the egg question. If a person were to first experience something that was "good" would he necessarily need an example of the "bad" opposite to call the first thing good in the first place?

I have to remind you guys that I hopped into this weird thread without a thesis I want to prove. I might in the future open a structured thread about my concerns about Objectivism and religion. This was fueled by some "attacks" I've received claiming that Objectivism is a form of religion because it relies on absolute certainty. That is not the case, but I believe it's worth an inspection.

Interesting that someone would call it a religion because of its certainty do they consider mathematics a religion as well?

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I am not disputing the idea of an evolution of reason, just that I don't believe Rand had to have been well versed in the Bible to go from A to B on her own.

Oh no no no... I never implied A.R. read the Torah or the scriptures. Hehe, . But she certainly understood some basic tenants of Judaism. All Christian altruism comes initially from Judaism, and she certainly understood her enemy. My point was specifically the case for the sin of idolatry contrasted to the virtue of heroism. The former a very abrahamic concept and the latter a very Objectivist concept.

I disagree that it is impossible to know what is good without having first seen what is bad. It seems to be a chicken or the egg question. If a person were to first experience something that was "good" would he necemssarily need an example of the "bad" opposite to call the first thing good in the first place?

It's a binary thing. And yeah, he probably would. Look at what happened with America destroying its own economic freedom 1888-1930 for not recognizing that the former system was good.

Interesting that someone would call it a religion because of its certainty do they consider mathematics a religion as well?

You mean you've never had it compared to a religion? Ayn Rand had to answer herself that Objectivism was not a cult.

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thinkforyourself: We are not responsible for your inferiority complex, we Objectivists "are" superior people, but it is not big deal, anyone can be a superior person as long as he/she wishes, all it takes is being committed to rational constant evolution of oneself.

I am superior to the person I was five years ago, and I am inferior to the person I will be five years from now. The biggest challenge is not being superior to other people, but becoming superior to yourself.

Volco: I think your hypothesis is interesting and quite possible to be true at least in part. However I recommend again the book of Matthew Alper "The God part of the brain" http://godpart.com/ which would even explain the alleged "cult" component of the Objectivist movement in the middle 20th Century, since we all have a "spiritual/religious instinct" genetically hardwired in our brains.

My advice in this matter is to find a way to rationally exercise our "mystic muscle", to use our "religious instinct"

My opinion is that it is healthy in fact to exercise every instinctive part of oneself in some way compatible with one's own rational values and moral principles. Sex, curiosity, fighting, parenthood, to name a few are other instincts that should also be exercised in order to be more in harmony with what we really are. A is A no matter how strong we would like to be other thing.

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thinkforyourself: We are not responsible for your inferiority complex, we Objectivists "are" superior people, but it is not big deal, anyone can be a superior person as long as he/she wishes, all it takes is being committed to rational constant evolution of oneself.

I am superior to the person I was five years ago, and I am inferior to the person I will be five years from now. The biggest challenge is not being superior to other people, but becoming superior to yourself.

Volco: I think your hypothesis is interesting and quite possible to be true at least in part. However I recommend again the book of Matthew Alper "The God part of the brain" http://godpart.com/ which would even explain the alleged "cult" component of the Objectivist movement in the middle 20th Century, since we all have a "spiritual/religious instinct" genetically hardwired in our brains.

My advice in this matter is to find a way to rationally exercise our "mystic muscle", to use our "religious instinct"

My opinion is that it is healthy in fact to exercise every instinctive part of oneself in some way compatible with one's own rational values and moral principles. Sex, curiosity, fighting, parenthood, to name a few are other instincts that should also be exercised in order to be more in harmony with what we really are. A is A no matter how strong we would like to be other thing.

No, I do not have an inferiority complex. I just think that perhaps highly intelligent people have very little tolerance for people that don't quite "measure up" in their opinion and can perhaps be a bit short, or sarcastic or what have you. I tend to be that way myself when people annoy me with their stupidity. Of course one can always improve oneself and evolve. I also, am not the same person I was five years ago, or even last year, etc. I can never understand how people can say "You have changed" and mean it in a bad, accusitory way, like you are supposed to remain some kind of emotional retard stuck in time. I do think its essential though to have a silly side though, and a sense of humor. Life's pretty dull without it. This may sound "not very nice" to the altruist or other people of that ilk, but I am one of those people that think we are not all "equal". Some people are smarter than others, some more logical, some more artistic, etc., others, maybe being just "ignorant". Not meaning stupid, but not understanding, or lacking in a particular knowledge. I guess I fall into the "ignorant" category in some sense. I am sorely lacking in logic, and fall into the artistic category. And lets face it, people are not always logical, although we should strive to be at least rational or have common sense. That's what makes us human. Do I not belong on here because I'm not "as smart"? I'm not being "sensitive" about this, I'm asking an honest question.

I'm just someone trying to figure it all out. Unlike probably a majority of people on here, I am self-educated in a certain sense. While most people have read all the major philosophers probably in college or what have you, I have embarked on this at my stage in life. I'm in my 50's. I never went to college, nor did I finish high school. I did go to night school to get my GED, and am not ashamed or embarrassed by that fact. The kids I had to go to school with were morons and I hated school. I have done pretty well in my life considering all the odds against me. So, I'm just an ordinary person with perhaps a lack in knowledge that others might excel in. You sound very Nietzsche by the way. He's an interesting read. I had read Spinoza (even I got sick of how many times he used the word God), and just thought it made sense that the universe consists of one essence. To me it makes sense. Call it Nature or whatever, it's just everything that is. I don't mean this in the sense of what has degenerated into those silly New Age pantheist "religions" . It's amazing how many of those books are on the shelves of bookstores, and I must admit, I became enraged reading in a Buddhist book that we should all go around apologizing for what we have done to others. I don't know why I torment myself by even looking in there, but there you have it, it's like picking at a scab. I hate those "Shave my head bald, I am full of Wisdom" apathetic idiots. On the other hand, if A = A, where did it all come from? See, I'm just asking, this is "not knowing" or "ignorance" not stupidity. Nor is it the belief in a bible God, who was a kind of homicidal maniac when I think about it. Anyway, yes there is always room for mental improvement. Maybe I'm just beyond it? Just live and stop thinking so much? I'll tell you one thing though, you MUST have a sense of humor in life or you risk becoming an intellectual bore or Mr. Spock. Am I missing something on this site? Should I look elsewhere on here at other topics? Probably. Do you have a humor section? Is there anything lighthearted on here? Maybe I'm missing something. Let me know. I will look up the recommended website in your post also.

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Okay, so it's occurred to me that rather than being somewhat sarcastic about your initial post, perhaps I should respond to your questions with an equivalent level of substance. My purpose for doing this is to indicate how little is to be learned or exchanged intellectually between two people if one just lays down assertions without underlying reasoning.

That stuff is total hogwash.

I know right. I just don't understand why people consider concepts so important.

Well that's very interesting, but I always thought god was pasta. I mean, there isn't anything better than a plate of spaghetti with meatballs, right?

Oh no, definitely at least two... marinara and parmesan.

Maybe it is hogwash. I honestly don't know. My crime is being "ignorant" I suppose.

Please see my reply to Tonix777. I got the feeling he thinks I'm some overly sensitive person with an inferiority complex. (Maybe!) By the by, I thought I was kicked off here? Nice to see I can still state my opinions.

Glad to see you have a sense of humor also. I probably was being overly sensitive to your comments. I guess I felt I was being attacked. I am for the most part short on logic. Terrible in math, etc. My mind tends to work more on the artistic side I guess, and I wonder if I even belong on here, but I feel I do have common sense. Maybe that is the best I can do. I am willing to learn. Albeit to the best of my mental capacity :(, which may not necessarily be up to par with someone else's standards. So be it. I am what I am, as Popeye would say.

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What about the god of Spinoza? ... ... My opinion is that god is energy.
There's a plausibility to that, which one does not find in other conceptions of God. I think the intellectual route to the Spinozan God goes something like this...

For starters, a relatively rational, modern day person ends up realizing that the concretes of religions are less important than the things that are more universal across religions.

The first stage away from the typical religious God, is to reach a point of toleration. Here, one thinks that one's own religion is the best, but that other religions have good points too. Implicit in such a view is a rejection of the concretes of one's religion. Another stage, slightly further from traditional religion, is deism, which acknowledges a God in the form of a consciousness, but rejects most of the specific concrete stories about God intervening in human life.

I've spoken to some people who have moved one step further: speaking of energy, almost as a God without consciousness, though I'm not familiar with Spinoza's idea first-hand. However, when you say energy is God, the important question is: are we speaking of a consciousness of any type at all? What I mean is: let's say energy is neither created nor destroyed. Fair enough. Now, why would one come up with a concept like "God"? Of what use is it? What would such a concept identify that is not already meant by the concept "energy" or the concept "eternal"? [For instance, the concept "mind" means something different from the concept "brain". How does the concept of God relate to the concept of energy?]

Edited by softwareNerd
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Yea, silly people actually trying to understand reality rather than just assuming an "it's all good" attitude. What the heck are they thinking?

And you base this opinion on???

Which one, carbon?

Axiom, rather. It is, in fact, quite logical if one does put in the time to understand beyond the fact that "A = A". Rather than taking the word substance in such a literal manner (and, although carbon is a substance, it is more so defined as an element), if only one would look at the word substance and think of it as a singular matter (and once again don't take the word matter quite so literally), which of course is ultimately all in existence, for it is in existence. If it does not or is not, then it would not be in existence, and would therefor not be. Again on the subject of this singular matter: this singular matter must be singular, for there cannot be another of the same attribute as the singular matter. And where did it come from? Of course, one cannot get something out of nothing, which in turn asserts the factuality that all which is in existence has always been in existence, and will always been in existence. A bit more for thought of all in existence has always existed and will always been in existence: energy cannot be created nor destroyed.

I can understand this being beyond comprehension to one who would be reading it, but if, instead of saying "This makes no sense" reaction, one really thinks about it, it does make sense. It does to me, at least.

Edited by Eneiledam
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I can understand this being beyond comprehension to one who would be reading it, but if, instead of saying "This makes no sense" reaction, one really thinks about it, it does make sense. It does to me, at least.

Unless the reaction "this makes no sense" is a result of someone who "really thinks about it".

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Maybe it is hogwash.

My point was less to say that it is hogwash versus demonstrating that the statement that it is hogwash doesn't mean much without some supporting reasoning. Hence my early criticism, a couple of statements made for purposes of discussion don't help much without understanding the basis of those statements.

At any rate, no one saw any particular reason to ban you.

My simple suggestion would be that if you are going to bring up topics (particularly those unrelated to the philosophy this board was intended to discuss) you might want to include at least some minimal underlying reasoning if you want the discussion to be taken somewhat seriously. I truly mean this as a helpful suggestion, not an insulting commentary.

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My point was less to say that it is hogwash versus demonstrating that the statement that it is hogwash doesn't mean much without some supporting reasoning. Hence my early criticism, a couple of statements made for purposes of discussion don't help much without understanding the basis of those statements.

At any rate, no one saw any particular reason to ban you.

My simple suggestion would be that if you are going to bring up topics (particularly those unrelated to the philosophy this board was intended to discuss) you might want to include at least some minimal underlying reasoning if you want the discussion to be taken somewhat seriously. I truly mean this as a helpful suggestion, not an insulting commentary.

You are right! I got totally off the track. Saw the word "God" and stated my views on "it". Not only is this a Debate Forum (which I did not notice - shows you how my mind works---or doesn't!) but what I said really doesn't have anything to do with Objectivism at all. I don't think I am an Objectivist. Perhaps I should look for a philosophy forum. I can certainly understand the "one substance" idea that Eneiladam is talking about. That is what I meant. Yes, I know we can just call it Energy, or what have you, and Why call it God, etc. I choose to call it God. There are just too many things that are amazing to me to just chalk something up as, well, A = A, that's all, lets move on. So, yes, I do believe there is a God. Believe. I quite like the deists also, by the way. Yes, I know it leaves you saying Well, if God exists, then where is he/It? It all becomes so circular. So I will just flat out say, Yes, I do believe there is a God, and leave it at that. Although I do admire Objectivists straight foward common sense attitude, and agree on a lot of the issues I read on this web site (pease see my comment in the buddhist section, if you have time), I don't think I belong on here. I enjoy very much though, reading people's comments on here! Regards

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There's a plausibility to that, which one does not find in other conceptions of God. I think the intellectual route to the Spinozan God goes something like this...

For starters, a relatively rational, modern day person ends up realizing that the concretes of religions are less important than the things that are more universal across religions.

The first stage away from the typical religious God, is to reach a point of toleration. Here, one thinks that one's own religion is the best, but that other religions have good points too. Implicit in such a view is a rejection of the concretes of one's religion. Another stage, slightly further from traditional religion, is deism, which acknowledges a God in the form of a consciousness, but rejects most of the specific concrete stories about God intervening in human life.

I've spoken to some people who have moved one step further: speaking of energy, almost as a God without consciousness, though I'm not familiar with Spinoza's idea first-hand. However, when you say energy is God, the important question is: are we speaking of a consciousness of any type at all? What I mean is: let's say energy is neither created nor destroyed. Fair enough. Now, why would one come up with a concept like "God"? Of what use is it? What would such a concept identify that is not already meant by the concept "energy" or the concept "eternal"? [For instance, the concept "mind" means something different from the concept "brain". How does the concept of God relate to the concept of energy?]

Spinoza's concept was that everything that exists is of one essence. He call's it God, but you may substitute Nature, and it would read the same. It exists of necessity. It's own necessity. It is all that exists, we are but extensions and modes of "it".

I never had that first stage of feeling toleration and thinking one's own religion was best, but others had good points too, as you've said. I've always questioned things, even as a child.

To tell you the truth, I have more trouble with the morally grey attitude of people today than with anything else. It might very well be due to the fact that people do not believe in anything, hence they have no moral "guide book" or even "conscience" so to speak. Who's to say that anything is wrong? Everything is morally relative today. Oh, he killed that man because he just had to have those pair of sneakers? Poor man, he was probably deprived as a child, he really didn't mean it, we must be more tolerant and try to understand his ------------fill in appropriate bleeding heart word. Or, Heather has two Mommies? Well, that's o.k., who are we to say it's wrong. We are not allowed to judge people. Why not??? I also find society sadly lacking in justice. I can't tell you how sick to death I am of the words "compassion" and "tolerance". My point being, I think that might be at the heart of why people cling to their "religious values", while secretly thinking in their mind, Oh, what a lot of "godwash", I mean hogwash! :lol:

As for me, I can see God as being a conscious entity, or energy or even the deist concept of a remote creator that does not intefere with our personal lives, but "sets the world in motion, and turns on all the machines" as Rush said. You have some good questions as to what is meant by the concept of energy or is "brain" different than mind, how would this entitity be "conscious", etc. I feel that as human beings, we are limited by the fact that we simply can't know everything. We know a lot, and know the "how" of things, but will never know "why" concerning life, the universe and everything, so to speak. We are nothing but dust motes or ants in the "big scheme" of things, if there is a "scheme" at all. Who knows?? I sure as hell don't! And no, I can't back it up, logically, other than to say it makes sense to me. Being somewhat of a solipsist, :lol: that's all I care about. It works for ME. Objectivism works for you. Who is right? Who cares. Does it matter? I don't think so. So, not being a brainbox or of superhuman intelligence, I'm going to answer this the only way I know how, and say, I just don't know. It's the best answer I can give you. So, you see, I'm not really an Objectivist, although I find a lot of their ideas in tune with mine when it comes to some issues, but not all, obviously. I make no apologies for myself as to why I think the way I do, and I don't think I'm inferior either, for thinking this way. I probably need to find a philosophy forum. As I said to Rational Biker, I really don't belong on here, and silly me, didn't even notice it was a "debate" forum, so I got in over my head. I do enjoy reading other people's thoughts on things here though, and you seem like a nice bunch.

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Although I do admire Objectivists straight foward common sense attitude, and agree on a lot of the issues I read on this web site

If you admire something you can't describe, there is no worth to your admiration, and Ayn Rand would, in my opinion, be the first to reject that feeling of admiration you hold. "Straight forward common sense" is the opposite of a characterization, it is about as nondescript as you can be. It cannot be the reason why you admire Objectivism, there must be something else.

What is the reason? How would you describe Objectivism?

If you just agree with some of the opinions on this forum, well that's not what Objectivism is. Objectivism is mainly the philosophy and the sense of life and art contained in Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, not the opinions people hold on this forum. It's not something you can like and reject, the way you like but reject somebody's take on an issue, because you have a different subjective opinion. (it would be a bit like liking and rejecting math, in favor of astrology)

How far are you from Objectivism in actuality?

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I feel that as human beings, we are limited by the fact that we simply can't know everything.

What on Earth would make you "feel" that I can't know certain things. Well, I guess you don't know the answer to that, so let me ask you this: How did you experience this feeling? How did you become aware of this feeling, which clearly contains a piece of information that describes this very Unknown?

Surely you see that there are only two options here:

1. You actually know this information, that this Unknown has a specific characteristic: it is unknowable. But how? How can you know something about an unknowable Unknown? That is a contradiction. If that is possible, then everything is possible. (including fully knowing this Unknown, and at the same time not knowing anything, in which case there's no such thing as knowledge)

2. You are making it up. No feelings came to you, you're just trying to support your delusion of grandeur. The idea that you can know something via a feeling, which no man can come to via reason (no matter how much more intelligent than you) makes you feel more important than anyone, much like Pat Robertson feels important when he goes on TV and tells people that he spoke to God. This forum (and probably anyone who'll listen) is your audience in this act of evasion.

I suspect the second option is the right one. I beg your pardon for my bluntness.

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If you admire something you can't describe, there is no worth to your admiration, and Ayn Rand would, in my opinion, be the first to reject that feeling of admiration you hold. "Straight forward common sense" is the opposite of a characterization, it is about as nondescript as you can be. It cannot be the reason why you admire Objectivism, there must be something else.

What is the reason? How would you describe Objectivism?

If you just agree with some of the opinions on this forum, well that's not what Objectivism is. Objectivism is mainly the philosophy and the sense of life and art contained in Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, not the opinions people hold on this forum. It's not something you can like and reject, the way you like but reject somebody's take on an issue, because you have a different subjective opinion. (it would be a bit like liking and rejecting math, in favor of astrology)

How far are you from Objectivism in actuality?

Yes, I know that isn't what Objectivism is. If you read my overly long rant, you would have known that. I had already stated that I most likely do not belong on this site at all. Maybe I'm just a voyeur? Ayn Rand this, and Ayn Rand that....maybe some day you will see that she has become your form or worship. You sound like a robot.

What is the reason? How would I describe Objectivism? Well, at this point, I would describe it as not worth my time. I'd rather be "me" and think what I want regardless of what you consider "rational" than be a walking computer.

Will not waste any more time on the equivalent of a teenager's "whatever".

Whatever. Bet I'm a whole lot happier than you are though!

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How would I describe Objectivism? Well, at this point, I would describe it as not worth my time.

Great. I just have two quick questions:

1. Why did you say you like Objectivism? Is it the pretty colors on this website or on one of Rand's bookcovers?

2. How do you decide if something is worth your time or not?

Edited by Jake_Ellison
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Yes, I know that isn't what Objectivism is. If you read my overly long rant, you would have known that. I had already stated that I most likely do not belong on this site at all. Maybe I'm just a voyeur? Ayn Rand this, and Ayn Rand that....maybe some day you will see that she has become your form or worship. You sound like a robot.

What is the reason? How would I describe Objectivism? Well, at this point, I would describe it as not worth my time. I'd rather be "me" and think what I want regardless of what you consider "rational" than be a walking computer.

Whatever. Bet I'm a whole lot happier than you are though!

And there's a good example of letting your emotions get the better of you.

Edited by K-Mac
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My dear dear thinkforyourself:

I appreciate your energy and your intention of participate, but you are trapped in your own prejudices:

A man who thinks is not necessarily a "walking computer", feeling and thinking are not necessarily contradictory and an artist can also be logic

These kind of prejudices you have are spread by the current mainstream way of thinking

My advice: Try first to eliminate as much as possible your apparently BIG internal contradictions, it leads to a happier existence

You can start to do it now by buying a copy of Atlas Shrugged and do the effort to begin a new stage in your life

Believe me, in a couple of years you could be a new and better person. I speak by my own experience.

Edited by Tonix777
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  • 2 weeks later...
No, I do not have an inferiority complex. I just think that perhaps highly intelligent people have very little tolerance for people that don't quite "measure up" in their opinion and can perhaps be a bit short, or sarcastic or what have you. I tend to be that way myself when people annoy me with their stupidity. Of course one can always improve oneself and evolve. I also, am not the same person I was five years ago, or even last year, etc. I can never understand how people can say "You have changed" and mean it in a bad, accusitory way, like you are supposed to remain some kind of emotional retard stuck in time. I do think its essential though to have a silly side though, and a sense of humor. Life's pretty dull without it. This may sound "not very nice" to the altruist or other people of that ilk, but I am one of those people that think we are not all "equal". Some people are smarter than others, some more logical, some more artistic, etc., others, maybe being just "ignorant". Not meaning stupid, but not understanding, or lacking in a particular knowledge. I guess I fall into the "ignorant" category in some sense. I am sorely lacking in logic, and fall into the artistic category. And lets face it, people are not always logical, although we should strive to be at least rational or have common sense. That's what makes us human. Do I not belong on here because I'm not "as smart"? I'm not being "sensitive" about this, I'm asking an honest question.

As one can understand the arguments presented (and counterarguments given to your own arguments) then one is not "less smart" or "severely lacking in logic." A lesser intelligence wouldn't grasp the meaning of what is being said throughout this thread, and would at the very least take more time than the average poster here to comprehend it. Don't confuse an accusation of hard-headedness with one of stupidity. :D

I'm just someone trying to figure it all out. Unlike probably a majority of people on here, I am self-educated in a certain sense. While most people have read all the major philosophers probably in college or what have you, I have embarked on this at my stage in life. I'm in my 50's. I never went to college, nor did I finish high school. I did go to night school to get my GED, and am not ashamed or embarrassed by that fact. The kids I had to go to school with were morons and I hated school. I have done pretty well in my life considering all the odds against me. So, I'm just an ordinary person with perhaps a lack in knowledge that others might excel in. You sound very Nietzsche by the way. He's an interesting read. I had read Spinoza (even I got sick of how many times he used the word God), and just thought it made sense that the universe consists of one essence. To me it makes sense. Call it Nature or whatever, it's just everything that is. I don't mean this in the sense of what has degenerated into those silly New Age pantheist "religions" . It's amazing how many of those books are on the shelves of bookstores, and I must admit, I became enraged reading in a Buddhist book that we should all go around apologizing for what we have done to others. I don't know why I torment myself by even looking in there, but there you have it, it's like picking at a scab. I hate those "Shave my head bald, I am full of Wisdom" apathetic idiots. On the other hand, if A = A, where did it all come from? See, I'm just asking, this is "not knowing" or "ignorance" not stupidity. Nor is it the belief in a bible God, who was a kind of homicidal maniac when I think about it. Anyway, yes there is always room for mental improvement. Maybe I'm just beyond it? Just live and stop thinking so much? I'll tell you one thing though, you MUST have a sense of humor in life or you risk becoming an intellectual bore or Mr. Spock. Am I missing something on this site? Should I look elsewhere on here at other topics? Probably. Do you have a humor section? Is there anything lighthearted on here? Maybe I'm missing something. Let me know. I will look up the recommended website in your post also.

If what you presented at the first here is so, it is admirable that you gained your knowledge through self-study and thought. Nobody can argue against that method here; Rand didn't have a Ph.D. But, at the same time, the proper methodology here is to listen to the arguments and follow the logic where it leads. To this forum, it leads to Objectivism - therefore, if you reach different conclusions, prepare to retort with extremely strong counterarguments for all of us to consider. We're asserting Objectivism is true; you, visiting Objectivism Online, knowingly are not. Should you provide deep challenges to particulars of Objectivism, I'm sure everyone here will give it the utmost consideration and thought, unless they themselves are irrational. However, nothing in your critiques (that I've seen) present any kind of challenge that has been assessed and dispensed long ago.

Regarding Spinoza's argument through essence: in our current context of knowledge, physics necessarily dispenses of the notion that all existents are composed of an identical fundamental essence metaphysically. Although all matter is, at its base, comprised of fermions, even these fermions themselves have different identities (six, if I recall correctly). If it weren't for these different spin-states, no matter could exist at all. There could only exist a bunch of fermions that wouldn't have anything to do with one another - that's what you're left with in Spinoza's universe. Even if one stamps his foot and screams that there must be one essence, our knowledge of the necessarily divergent identities of the fundamental composition of existent matter via physics leads to a contradiction metaphysically, rendering such a claim of the unity of essence arbitrary and subject to dispensing. And asking "well, all matter is ultimately fermions, so why isn't all matter of the same basic essence?" would drop the context that these fermions themselves have different identities, i.e. they cannot be of the same essence. One might as well drop the ball all the way up to stating that God is everything because "hey, this stuff all exists in general!"

Why would one define God as the fundamental essence even if there was such an essence to begin with? There is no logic implying that a fundamental essence is God; all that is implied metaphysically is that there is a fundamental essence. One may argue from organization and the "pockets of decreasing entropy," as it were, but all of that can be explained through physical laws presupposing metaphysical identities of the constituents and reactions therein. For instance, Ancient American Indians in Oklahoma may have marveled slack-jawed at the sudden formation of springtime tornadic supercells arising suddenly from seemingly nothing more than a sunny, warm, and somewhat humid day, but modern meteorology accounts for all of it: wind shift at weather fronts or features coupled with wind shear and available energy granted by heat and moisture (with some other conditions) lead to, at times, a big honker of a twister plowing through cows in the countryside. I know - I chase 'em.

"On the other hand, if A=A, where did it all come from?" - It couldn't have "come from" anything. All fundamental components of existence are eternal, in the sense that time cannot be applied externally to the Universe. Even the Big Bang Singularity necessitated by physics and mathematics could not have "come from" something before - in its external and internally timeless (i.e. metaphysically unrelated to any outside context or even internal context of motion) and, due to the identities of the fundamental particles of existence necessitated through physics by that state, the Singularity led to motion (time), separateness (space), and eventually, to us. This, by the way, rules out a Creator God by the impossibility of the contrary. See my post near the bottom of the thread here: http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.php?showtopic=14971

I am not a regular member here, but I am certain (I hope!) that this forum has humor on it somewhere. But in the context of something of a question of such fundamental metaphysical, epistemological, and possibly moral and political relevance such as that of the existence of God (or in this subsection on philosophy in general) humor even in minor usage may very easily lead to sidetracks and thread derailments when more important subjects are to be considered. This is not saying that it's proper that no humor should exist - only that it should be the vast exception to the norm while talking about this kind of stuff, and in such cases must be related in a side-dish sense to the topics being considered, to wit (in the context of your post, courtesy Monty Python):

Immanuel Kant was a real pissant,

Who was very rarely stable.

Heidegger, Heidegger was a boozy beggar

Who could think you under the table.

David Hume could out consume

Schopenhauer and Hegel;

And Wittgenstein was a beery swine,

Who was just as schloshed as Schlegel...

There's nothing Nietzsche couldn't teach ya

'Bout the raising of the wrist,

Socrates, himself, was permanently pissed...

John Stuart Mill, of his own free will,

On half a pint of shandy was particularly ill

Plato they say, could stick it away,

Half a crate of whiskey every day!

Aristotle, Aristotle was a bugger for the bottle,

Hobbes was fond of his dram--

And René Descartes was a drunken fart:

I drink, therefore I am.

Yes, Socrates, himself, is particularly missed--

A lovely little thinker,

But a bugger when he's pissed!

Pay attention especially to the first quote and you'll do just fine here, so long as you quit your hardhead habit. :)

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