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Hello everyone. My name is Mike and I'm from Ohio. Like many of you I read Ms. Rand's works fairly recently, beginning with Fountainhead, then reading Atlas Shrugged and so on. Now I'm working through her unpublished works and the book "The Ego And His Own" by another author.

Her writings gave words to many of the thoughts and feelings I've experienced throughout my life, for which I'm thankful for. My interest in her is primarily because hers is the best philosophy I have found.

I search for the best philosophy I can find because I don't have the answers to life, and I desire them. This is why I've studied many religions (Which has left me wanting), read a great deal of books, had many conversations and so forth. I plan to spend much time reading here, eventually contributing on my own.

I did have two things that have been on my mind frequently lately regarding Objectivism.

I'm still having a difficult time rationalizing the merit of art. This is important to me because I consider myself an artist. I'm a skateboarder, a good one. I've spent the last decade of my life working on my skateboarding. I've stopped, many times, and thought, what have all these years of work accomplished? The answers I think of are usually, in no particular order, my own happiness, physical fitness, it's given me an outlet for my creativity, and I've utterly shattered any preconceptions I held about how good I could get at skateboarding.

When I ask myself what I'd like to do for a living, skateboarding is it. I wonder though, why should I be paid to do this? I look up at my wall where I have pictures of myself skating and think, that is beautiful, anyone who looks at that and doesn't feel the same is an idiot. When I look at those pictures I am inspired. I think that is worth paying for. I think I might of just answered the first thing I had on my mind. The only part of the equation missing is my effort. Comments on my thinking much appreciated.

The second thing I have on my mind is my job. Like Roark working in the Quarry, my current job is a way to earn an income and little else. I work as a cash register operator at a Gas Station. As minimum wage as it gets. I like the job because I find it interesting from a sociological perspective. However, I have a difficult time with my job because I feel like I can't work it in an honest fashion. When someone displays ignorance or obliviousness or is quite rude, I feel compelled to point it out. When someone makes a joke that isn't funny and I don't laugh and they get uncomfortable, I'm fine with that, I think that is the correct course of action. When someone tries to make a joke of their shortcomings or shrug these things off, I want to tell them they're irresponsible in behaving that way. When someone comes in and their kid is under no control whatsoever, I want to tell them it appears they're being a bad parent. It feels dishonest to me to keep my mouth shut, knowing the only reason I do so is because I risk my job if I do. Maybe I should risk it though? I'm competent enough to find something better if I really pushed myself to, and I have enough money that I can pay for a few months rent without the job I have. Is it wrong to risk getting fired over making known my judgment? Today I worked my entire shift alone because someone just recently quit, which wasn't too fun not having enough time to piss or eat or make fresh coffee because there was a constant line of customers. I could put a co-worker in the same position if I got myself fired by being what I consider honest. I feel kind of torn here. On one hand I feel like I've made great strides as far as responsibility goes in the past few years. I've gone from walking out of jobs without a second thought to sticking around when stuff gets rouh, trying to pick up slack from others so things get done. But I wonder how much of these things I really ought to be responsible for. I'm also in disagreement with a customer service model that caters to the customers every whim. the customer is not always right. The customer is sometimes wrong, ignorant, stupid, oblivious, immature, slutty, careless or just a piece of trash. I can't fake respect for these people, and don't. It's getting difficult to keep my mouth shut. Seeking advice...my own thoughts have me running in circles.

Edited by Raum
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First, welcome to OO.net.

On the skateboarding thing, I'm not much of a sports guy, but I think you're right. The feeling of achieving something -- "I can do this" or "I'm good at this" -- is a common theme across sports. From a spectator's viewpoint "they can do that" or "they're good at it" does seem analogous with art. There've been some thread in the past, discussing sports. If you use the Search and use the "search Titles only" option, you should find them.

On the gas-station thing, it is not your job to correct your customers. If they aren't paying you extra for psychoanalysis, don't give it to them for free; if parents with bratty kids aren't paying you extra for counseling, don't give it to them for free.

If your customers or their kids are getting in the way of your job, that's different. There too, some amount of tact is an objective job requirement of many jobs. When the French traded with the Indians, their primary objective was not to change the Indians, it was to trade for fur. To do so, they had to establish some common friendly framework within which to trade. One does not have to go beyond that, but that's a minimum requirement. Your current job may be as good a place as any to learn the skill to get from others the values you seek via trade, even if they are not people you value as a whole.

Of course, occasionally one might get a customer who is way outside the norm, and needs "special treatment". That's fine. However, if such customers are so routine that you fear losing your job over them, I think you need to re-evaluate.

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Welcome.

I skated for 6 years in my youth and it played a part in making me the person I am today, so I would never disown it. The sense of achievement granted by the sport is unparalled in most others. Now, some years later, golf has replaced it for me. The foremost problem with skateboarding, and the part I now criticize, is the fact that one uses the property of everyone else. I would even say maybe that it is OK, because most of the property is public, but, in many occurences we skate on private property. There is no way around it. Of course, maybe you're a vert skater, and keep to the parks and what not. But that is unlikely in my estimation. I used to love to skate Lansdowne. On the other hand, I used to love to skate Love Park and Freedom Plaza. Most skaters are street skaters, and [like I did] use the property of others without payment or permission.

As for your job, decide if the job is a current value to you. If it is, perform the abilities necessary to keep it, i.e. subscribe to the garbage 'customer is always right' creed. Ask yourself, why does it matter to you if the owner is wrong in his policy? In most cases, the answer is: it doesn't matter to you. You have no obligation to point out if an individual is wrong or not. Just try to remain calm and rational and remind yourself that irrationality will only affect you to the extent that you allow it.

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Welcome.

I skated for 6 years in my youth and it played a part in making me the person I am today, so I would never disown it. The sense of achievement granted by the sport is unparalled in most others. Now, some years later, golf has replaced it for me. The foremost problem with skateboarding, and the part I now criticize, is the fact that one uses the property of everyone else. I would even say maybe that it is OK, because most of the property is public, but, in many occurences we skate on private property. There is no way around it. Of course, maybe you're a vert skater, and keep to the parks and what not. But that is unlikely in my estimation. I used to love to skate Lansdowne. On the other hand, I used to love to skate Love Park and Freedom Plaza. Most skaters are street skaters, and [like I did] use the property of others without payment or permission.

As for your job, decide if the job is a current value to you. If it is, perform the abilities necessary to keep it, i.e. subscribe to the garbage 'customer is always right' creed. Ask yourself, why does it matter to you if the owner is wrong in his policy? In most cases, the answer is: it doesn't matter to you. You have no obligation to point out if an individual is wrong or not. Just try to remain calm and rational and remind yourself that irrationality will only affect you to the extent that you allow it.

The last sentence of yours was in my mind during yesterday. I kept thinking about how irrational everyone was, and how I need to be careful to not let it influence me for the worse. It's hard to keep my mouth shut anywhere really. I feel like if I'm not pointing these things out I'm doing the world a disservice. Whether it's my job or not, whether the person wants to hear it or not, I know few will tell it to them, and I want to make sure they hear it. I want that woman at my line to know that while her organizational methods do not personally affect me, having to dig through her purse every time she pays for something at a store does hold up the line for other customers. Efficiency is something I value highly in any aspect of life. The idea of seeing something done wrong and not making any effort to correct is difficult for me to live by.

In regards to skating, I do have mixed feelings on it myself. I stick to skateparks primarily, because I just want to skate and be left alone by people. When I street skate I always watch out for cars and pedestrians, never blatantly cut people off etc. I'll street skate, but I try to do it as respectfully as possible. I rarely do grinds too, mostly manual tricks and big gaps when I street skate, so property damage generally is a non-issue. If someone asks me to leave, I do without argument. I understand their position, but at the same time our local parks are pretty bad and don't offer all the terrain street does, nor the sense of freedom and adventure.

On the gas-station thing, it is not your job to correct your customers. If they aren't paying you extra for psychoanalysis, don't give it to them for free; if parents with bratty kids aren't paying you extra for counseling, don't give it to them for free.

If your customers or their kids are getting in the way of your job, that's different. There too, some amount of tact is an objective job requirement of many jobs. When the French traded with the Indians, their primary objective was not to change the Indians, it was to trade for fur. To do so, they had to establish some common friendly framework within which to trade. One does not have to go beyond that, but that's a minimum requirement. Your current job may be as good a place as any to learn the skill to get from others the values you seek via trade, even if they are not people you value as a whole.

Of course, occasionally one might get a customer who is way outside the norm, and needs "special treatment". That's fine. However, if such customers are so routine that you fear losing your job over them, I think you need to re-evaluate.

Well, I don't so much consider giving it to them for free. I'll buy anyone who is interested in reading it a copy of Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged, not because those people are poor and I'm generous, but because I place a strong value on the thoughts that those books could get going in someone's mind. My intentions are similar with my criticisms I keep in my head regarding customers. Such as, "Old lady, if you came up with a better way to organize your purse, you would save yourself much hassle and time, and quit holding up lines in the stores you visit." Or "Ma'am, if you brought your kids up with a better sense of discipline the future would be better than it's going to be."

It's difficult for me to spend 8 hours a day facing hundreds of irrational people a day. My mind can't comprehend how so many people can live the way they do, and I know if I took a look at the entire world I'd go right back to where I was two years ago (Wanting to build a cabin in the middle of the woods and spend life in solitude). The more I consider it, the more I feel it's my moral duty to at the very least inform these people that the choices they are making are not good ones.

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The more I consider it, the more I feel it's my moral duty to at the very least inform these people that the choices they are making are not good ones.
You could say it is your moral duty only if you have really considered why it is, and decided that it is, a value for you to correct irrationality in other people.

The first thing you might consider: do those people want correction in the first place? If you tell the lady that she is unorganized and should fix it, will she? Does she care? Will another lady change her parenting methods based on what you tell her? Probably not. If there is no mutual desire for your advice, just on that basis I would say it is not a value for you to think up ways for other people to improve their lives. Better to spend time thinking up ways you can improve your own life.

Also, consider: there are thousands of people you interact with weekly. If you were to advise each of them individually, you would surely have time for nothing else. Since life is impossible unless you think up ways you would like to discriminate, what would those ways be? Why? Are your conclusions good, and do they fit in with the rest of your goals in life? Remember, even assuming you're a good fit for the job ( :) ), it's actually impossible for you to fix everybody.

And a thought to add to softwareNerd's last couple points: most people, I have noticed, have at least that "base" level of rationality, where you can interact with them in business. With practice, you can learn to ignore the irrational parts, at least as far as the business interaction goes. But sometimes most of the people you interact with are those "special cases." Beyond fear of losing your job, you might fear losing a pleasant outlook for the day, or week, or even year. It can get difficult dealing with that day in and out. I have been in situations like that. You might consider finding another job, if you think it is a big enough problem for you.

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I understand what you mean about having a difficult time letting things go in other people. What I eventually concluded for myself is that they're just not worth it and, just like with me, the best lessons in life are figured out yourself, and those are the things that really stay with you. If a person honestly makes the effort to find the good and the true in this world, they will. Until they make that choice their own there is really no helping them. You need to focus on your highest value, you. It's one thing if you are very close to someone and you see them hurting themselves and they ask for your help. Then I think it's almost a failing not to give it your best shot. But strangers on the street? Forget it man. They're just the herd and they always will be.

I do think skating is an art form. It is a method of expression, like something I dearly love, music. About the most I can do on a board is go and MAYBE ollie on a good day. I have a lot of respect and appreciation for people who can skate beautifully, who can make me feel what they are feeling just by watching them. I watch someone like Tony Hawk and I am so inspired by how much he loves his life and how that comes across. I'm not even a huge skating fan. But I know good when I see it.

Don't worry about your job. For the past year and a half I've been working at a job that I actually sort of enjoyed for a while until the people just became intolerable (mostly my peers and superiors, not my direct reports so much). You do what you have to do. When I first got my supervisor position I thought to myself, "Wow, you know, I can really make some great changes around here and since I'm not looking to build a career here I don't have to worry so much about the consequences of going against the status-quo." And I put a lot of effort into that. And while some good came of it, at this point I have much more realistic conceptions of the maximum my actions can really achieve. Now, I'm leaving my job for my real career in just 2 months, and that's exciting. But sometimes just a job takes a while. It's good that you aren't walking away as easily anymore. Sometimes you do have to stay in that rock quarry for awhile, or in my case that cubicle. (Ever seen Office Space? My office is so much like that movie that many of the workers recognize it and openly compare it.)

You seem self-directed and that's a great start. I think you'll be just fine.

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The more I consider it, the more I feel it's my moral duty to at the very least inform these people that the choices they are making are not good ones.

While there might be some contexts where this statement holds true (although I hate the use of the word 'duty' in any ethical statement), as a general statement it is a form of 2nd handedness. On what basis is this a moral duty?

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While there might be some contexts where this statement holds true (although I hate the use of the word 'duty' in any ethical statement), as a general statement it is a form of 2nd handedness. On what basis is this a moral duty?

Duty might not be the proper word. I feel a general compulsion to improve things that I see in need of improvement, whether they are sentient things or inanimate. If I see a computer full of spyware, I feel compelled to clean it. If I see a car with low air pressure in the tires, I want to tell the person to fill it up or even do it myself. A more in-depth example is knives. A knife's cutting edge is ground at specific angles, say 25 degrees per side, or 50 degrees inclusive. Most knives can be ground at 8 degrees per side, while many of them leave factory as thick as 20-30 degrees per side, which is absurd. This trend is so common, and after getting discouraging responses from knife production companies themselves about their customers not wanting properly ground edges but rather absurdly thick edges, I started my own knife website. I now offer to let people mail me their knives and I will regrind them myself, free of charge, for them. I do this because I know knives ground the way I grind them will cut so much better, function as a knife so much better, and I am willing to give my time and effort to see that particular knife be re ground according to rational principles. I have knives of my own being passed around the United States because I'm trying to directly show people that I am right and that they edges companies give them are terrible, and eventually I'd like to get enough people enlightened to see the demand for thin edges rise enough for companies to pay attention to us. Here's a photo to show you what I do: http://img170.imageshack.us/my.php?image=w...regrind2yi0.jpg

Now, serious digression aside, it's not a duty, it's a choice. I value a rational world. We don't live in a rational world. I see three general paths for me to take. Go seclude myself in a cabin in the woods like I've considered doing for the past few years, seek out like minded folk and ignore everyone else, or try to influence anyone that looks like they have enough reason left in their skull to listen.

This may stem from a re-occurring thought I had in my younger days. For a long time I've had a superiority complex, which probably contributes. Regardless, I've lived life seeing people not try, give up, think self-defeatist thoughts and generally suck at life, and I don't like seeing that. I've felt like a revolution is needed in our world for a long time, and that I'm a person capable of bringing about such a thing. Silly childhood fantasy? Most likely. I still can't seem to let go of it though, because I still feel like there's some truth to it, as stupid as that may sound. The world needs help. Badly. If humans utilized their capabilities we would be so much better off. I think you guys are right though in that I should forget the average joe.

The point was brought up that if a person hasn't decided to live a rational life, trying to reason them towards such a thing is folly. I've witnessed this before but it doesn't keep me from trying. I just think about if I miss someone who could be positively affected by something I say or do. Like I make my own shirts with messages for people to think about. The one I'm wearing right now says on the back "You'll die someday." It's meant for people to look at and think, you know, he's right, what am I doing with myself, how much of my capacity is being put to work? If I died today, would I feel proud and accomplished or would I feel worthless?

I can manage at my job. I'm going through a lot of internal rationalizing about the things I do there and I know I'll reach a decision soon. I'm seriously considering quitting and not finding another job until mid September. I have enough money to do that, especially since I have a room mate at my house now. I'd like to take time off from work since I don't need the income and that's the only reason I go there and instead focus on my skating. I'm 21, which is fairly old for someone trying to make a name for himself in skating. I'm concerned if I don't bust ass right now and really go for it, it may be too late. A body can only take so much before it starts breaking down.

EDIT: Thanks for the responses. It feels so good to have my thoughts be challenged. No one will do that for me face to face.

Edited by Raum
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Now, serious digression aside, it's not a duty, it's a choice. I value a rational world. We don't live in a rational world. I see three general paths for me to take. Go seclude myself in a cabin in the woods like I've considered doing for the past few years, seek out like minded folk and ignore everyone else, or try to influence anyone that looks like they have enough reason left in their skull to listen.

In apologies to another member I thought was you I accidentally posted a response there that belonged here. http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.p...st&p=179038

My thought is that this idea you express here has issues with it. First off, a world is not rational or irrational. Individual people are. To use the idea of a rational world or to value a rational world as your standard strikes me as a bit Platonic, i.e. as a sort of formal ideal which in reality doesn't or can't exist.

So let me ask you this. Let's assume that you mean rational people instead of a world per se. There are millions of irrational poeple that need correcting out there. How do you decide amonst them? What values lead you to conclude that sharpening knives for people is the best use of your time in this compulsive mission to make the world more rational? Your options that you list include a very, very incorrect statement if you really mean what you said. Did you really mean anyone, and regarding any topic? You may, but the reality is that cannot be what you actually do. That principle followed consistently as a moral duty, is life destroying.

Olex had very good advice for the poster in that other thread, and it would apply to you as well. While I don't know much about you or your psychology, I would suggest that you either need to clarify your statment much better than what you say above, or if you really believe that statement and that is your basis for acting in those situation, I think you need to really understand what it is that you do value.

There are times when acting to help others see reason is in your interest and therefore you should do it. However, it is not based upon the principles you state above.

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The world needs help.

This may be true but the focus of your help should be on yourself (read "The Virtue of Selfishness"). After all, the most horrific evils visited upon mankind have all been perpetrated on this premise.

Your view of the world seems to be quite malevolent (investigate the Benevolent Universe Premise). I have a different view. I see most people as, at least, semi-rational, (or they wouldn't be alive). And I see the world as a place where happiness can be achieved.

I think you should give people about which you know very little a break, give them the benefit of the doubt. If a woman comes into the gas station with a car load of crying kids and she seems frazzled -- consider that maybe she just drove five hours in a car with a bunch of energetic fidgets instead of automatically assuming she is a bad mother. After all, have you ever fallen off your skateboard? Would it be appropriate for someone to judge your boarding after seeing only that?

Is it wrong to risk getting fired over making known my judgment?

Judge, but judge properly. Prepare to be judged. And allow others the right to act on their own judgement. (See Dr. Tara Smith).

I like the way you referred to your boarding as art. I agree that anytime a sport is played on its highest level it resembles good art -- it shows the body (and mind) achieving the ultimate. It seems to me that the premise of "sport as art" could be quite lucrative. So in answer to your question of: why you should be paid for your art? I would say: "for the same reason Ayn Rand should be paid for writing Atlas Shrugged". Which is to say: you should be paid to the degree that it is good and that you will be paid to the degree that others freely trade you for it.

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We don't live in a rational world.

What exactly does this mean? I think I understand what you are trying to say here, and my reponse is that you're wrong. Marc called it when he stated that your worldview seems to be operating on a malevolent level. If so, you need to recognize this and try your best to correct it.

Secondly, you feel like you have reason to correct people. I've seen and heard of this problem in others, and it is usually a derivative of low self-esteem. Why would you care if an individuals tire is flat or if they fumble with their change? So what? There are so many things to think about and accomplish, that I notice small things like this only in a passive, disconnected manner.

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My thought is that this idea you express here has issues with it. First off, a world is not rational or irrational. Individual people are. To use the idea of a rational world or to value a rational world as your standard strikes me as a bit Platonic, i.e. as a sort of formal ideal which in reality doesn't or can't exist.

So let me ask you this. Let's assume that you mean rational people instead of a world per se. There are millions of irrational poeple that need correcting out there. How do you decide amonst them? What values lead you to conclude that sharpening knives for people is the best use of your time in this compulsive mission to make the world more rational? Your options that you list include a very, very incorrect statement if you really mean what you said. Did you really mean anyone, and regarding any topic? You may, but the reality is that cannot be what you actually do. That principle followed consistently as a moral duty, is life destroying.

Olex had very good advice for the poster in that other thread, and it would apply to you as well. While I don't know much about you or your psychology, I would suggest that you either need to clarify your statment much better than what you say above, or if you really believe that statement and that is your basis for acting in those situation, I think you need to really understand what it is that you do value.

There are times when acting to help others see reason is in your interest and therefore you should do it. However, it is not based upon the principles you state above.

My apologies, I could of avoided confusion if I worded my thoughts more accurately. The world is not rational place is a false statement. I was intending to describe the behaviour of the human population. On a whole we are not as rational as we could and ought to be. Many people may lack the courage, or are delusional about what rational, or never even consider living differently than impulsively reacting to experiences and a host of other problems keep this from happening. As far as I know this is in accordance with Objectivism.

I don't go after every person and every irrational behavior. I manage my time well enough to live my own life as well. If I'm somewhere and see something wrong, I do not mind spending a minute or two pointing it out. If I'm at work, I'm required to be there until the end of my shift regardless of how I spend my 8 hours there unless I decide to quit, so telling someone "You could save yourself a lot of hassle by organizing your possessions better" would not be a waste of time. I don't act on this impulse every time I get it, but if it's convenient for me to do so I often do, or at least feel very compelled to.

I didn't select the knife example based on it being the best way to help others. I selected it because knives are an interest of mine and I saw a vast amount of irrational belief concerning them, so I sought to correct that. I spend less than 1% of my time a week on my knife website, so it's not robbing me of a significant amount of time to follow my strongest interests.

This may be true but the focus of your help should be on yourself (read "The Virtue of Selfishness"). After all, the most horrific evils visited upon mankind have all been perpetrated on this premise.

Your view of the world seems to be quite malevolent (investigate the Benevolent Universe Premise). I have a different view. I see most people as, at least, semi-rational, (or they wouldn't be alive). And I see the world as a place where happiness can be achieved.

I think you should give people about which you know very little a break, give them the benefit of the doubt. If a woman comes into the gas station with a car load of crying kids and she seems frazzled -- consider that maybe she just drove five hours in a car with a bunch of energetic fidgets instead of automatically assuming she is a bad mother. After all, have you ever fallen off your skateboard? Would it be appropriate for someone to judge your boarding after seeing only that?

Judge, but judge properly. Prepare to be judged. And allow others the right to act on their own judgement. (See Dr. Tara Smith).

I like the way you referred to your boarding as art. I agree that anytime a sport is played on its highest level it resembles good art -- it shows the body (and mind) achieving the ultimate. It seems to me that the premise of "sport as art" could be quite lucrative. So in answer to your question of: why you should be paid for your art? I would say: "for the same reason Ayn Rand should be paid for writing Atlas Shrugged". Which is to say: you should be paid to the degree that it is good and that you will be paid to the degree that others freely trade you for it.

I focus on myself most intensely of all and use the irrational behaviors I see in others as something to compare my own actions against to check for similarities and differences.

I agree.

I think I worded myself poorly there as well. The woman is a bad mother at that moment in time, but knowing the context of her actions might make them more or less forgivable, though still not the proper course of action. If I fall on my skateboard, I judge it as a failure, no matter how rarely or frequently it happens, no matter the circumstances. If I hit a rock I did not see, I consider myself at fault for not seeing it, and judge myself as failing at that moment in my life. If my kids were that out of control I would consider myself having failed as a parent at that moment in life.

I wish to be judged, people do not voice their judgment enough, it frustrates me. I do not like people talking behind your back, that does you no good. If they are right, it is important for me to know what I am doing wrong, if they are wrong, I should be there to correct them. I strive to judge properly, and if I do not I wish to be called out on it. This discussion would be meaningless if people were not responding to what they perceived as flaws in my judgment, for example.

What exactly does this mean? I think I understand what you are trying to say here, and my reponse is that you're wrong. Marc called it when he stated that your worldview seems to be operating on a malevolent level. If so, you need to recognize this and try your best to correct it.

Secondly, you feel like you have reason to correct people. I've seen and heard of this problem in others, and it is usually a derivative of low self-esteem. Why would you care if an individuals tire is flat or if they fumble with their change? So what? There are so many things to think about and accomplish, that I notice small things like this only in a passive, disconnected manner.

See the above.

I do not have low self esteem. I think about many things and accomplish my share, but I still spend a small portion of my time considering these things and at least noting, if not acting on the desire to speak up.

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I'm still having a difficult time rationalizing the merit of art. This is important to me because I consider myself an artist. I'm a skateboarder, a good one. I've spent the last decade of my life working on my skateboarding.

You might be interested to read The Romantic Manifesto, in which Ayn Rand lays down her theory of the meaning and value of art. She discusses dance, and mentions her favorites are tap and ballet.

They just opened up a big new skatepark here in Houston, right next to downtown. I went to the opening the other day. It was super crowded! But there was a demo, the first pro demo I'd seen irl. There does seem to be an element of dance in it, though I suppose there are sports elements too. Anyway, it looks like so much fun, I wish I was better at it. Hopefully that place won't always be so crowded so I can try it out. : )

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So, um, where are you in Ohio, exactly? I'm in Dayton.

I find myself curious as to how you approach people when you feel compelled to correct their behavior in some way. Do you tell them "you're doing it wrong!", or do you take the route of saying, "hey, I just thought of an easier way to do that!"

It's also usually a good idea to refrain from giving unsolicited advice to people simply because 99% of the time your advice is liable to be bullshit unless you actually are an expert in a given subject area. I get this type of advice from people all the time and I'm absolutely sick of it.

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