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Isn't Zen Buddhism compatible w/ Objectivism?

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I posted a version of this earlier and it seems to have disappeared. Perhaps I posted it wrong. This is my historical perspective on Christianity from a rational look at my knowledge of it. I am not attempting to preach Christianity, I am attempting to show how the authoritarianism of the Christian suppressed reason and that suppression began to unravel with the Renaissance and progressively decayed up until the founding of the United States. The foundation of the United States was the culmination of the Age of Reason and in my opinion the highest achievement of man to date, for, for the first time man was as free as he was intended to be.

(If one desires to debate a radical Christian, there is much historical knowledge that you can use against them in order to poke holes in their fanaticism and the world needs much less fanaticism and many more rational thinkers.)

Looking closer at Christianity, no one can definitively define what it truly is. Taken as a whole, the term Christianity describes thousands of sects filled with people who do not agree on many things. The roots of modern Christianity can be traced back to the year 323AD and the Council of Nicea. At the council, Constantine the Great forced the codification of the official state religion. Christianity remained the European official state religion until 1517 when Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the Door of the Castle Church. That action sparked a long overdue reformation of the church. Hence the protestant reformation was born and with it the seeds for the Renaissance and Age of Reason were sown.

Throughout this time, occultists kept a semblance of the old rational knowledge alive. These occultists were heavily persecuted at times and kept much secret. However, from occultism came modern science. Today, the term occult evokes images of hocus pocus mysticism (something that should be attributed to the church's attempt at suppressing knowledge.) I also believe that psuedo occultists added to this by injecting into the discipline of science mumbo jumbo to make it appear, as they were magicians. One fascinating side bar to this story is Sir Isaac Newton, a brilliant rationalist who is credited to giving birth to modern science. Newton was a mad occultist and spent endless hours pursuing Alchemy. It was only after his pursuit of Alchemy that Newton made his most profound discoveries. Ironically, it was brilliant minds such as Newton that for the first time in many hundreds of years mysticism was de-emphasized and reason came to reign supreme. Part of occult knowledge is sacred geometry, which is a fascinating science that is based on math found throughout the natural world.

http://www.intent.com/sg/

If one studies these topics with a logical and rational approach, one realizes that as in all things nothing is as it first appears. Going back to the year 325AD, one will discover that many books were left out of the bible and many differing views on Christianity were suppressed the future followers of these views were persecuted, tortured and killed. Nothing was more important during these 1200 years than the power of the Church. The Church of Rome controlled all aspects of life from Kings to paupers. They were a repressive authoritarian state and controlled most of Europe even well up into modern times.

What was lost? I have come to believe that Christianity at one time was far closer to Zen Buddhism than any other religion. Christ used to say that he was the son of the lord. What I believe the church disguised that he really meant it in a figurative sense and that he believed anyone could become like him. In a way it is quite Objectivist. You control your own destiny through free will.

Zen Buddhism is based on the belief that enlightenment can come through meditation and intuition rather than faith. In other words, each one of us is the only one who can bring happiness to ourselves. To quote Ayn Rand:

Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values.
Man is a being with free will; therefore, each man is potentially good or evil, and it's up to him and only him (through his reasoning mind) to decide which he wants to be.

When man learns to understand and control his own behavior as well as he is learning to understand and control the behavior of crop plants and domestic animals, he may be justified in believing that he has become civilized.

I wonder what Jerry Farwell would say to this post? I am a believer that true Christianity is about taking responsibility for one's own life and making something out of yourself on your own terms and out of your own self-interest. I do believe that the European statists controlled and created what we believe to be Christianity, in order to enslave and exploit through the Divine Right of Kings and Popes.

The underlying moral to this story is one of ultimate tragedy. It is that much knowledge was suppressed and many ideas were lost in that 1200-year enslavement by the Christian Church. Just imagine if we never went through the Dark Ages, how far advanced we would be as a society if all that ancient knowledge was not perverted through time and suppressed by authoritarians? It is also a lesson to all of us that the ultimate danger of authoritarianism is both very dangerous and potentially a devastating, long lasting and true crime against humanity. Therefore, it must always be fought aggressively.

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One fascinating side bar to this story is Sir Isaac Newton, a brilliant rationalist who is credited to giving birth to modern science.  Newton was a mad occultist and spent endless hours pursuing Alchemy.  It was only after his pursuit of Alchemy that Newton made his most profound discoveries.

That is factually incorrect. Newton's work in alchemy and the bible crossed the entire span of his life, and his "most profound discoveries," mechanics and gravitation, and optics, occurred early to middle life, and later in life, respectively. Incidentally, Newton's religious and alchemical work far exceeded his scientific work.

Zen Buddhism is based on the belief that enlightenment can come through meditation and intuition rather than faith.  In other words, each one of us is the only one who can bring happiness to ourselves.  To quote Ayn Rand:[snip quotes]

You are deeply mistaken if you think that Objectivism in any fashion corresponds to Zen Buddhism. It is not "meditation and intuition" that are opposed to faith, but reason, and it is the last that the Objectivist flag waves. What you identify is not at all consistent with what "bring happiness to ourselves" according to Objectivism. You simply cannot take a few quotes by Ayn Rand, out of context, and try to make a point that does not exist.

As to the main portion and theme of your writing, I think you would do better here to focus on Objectivism instead of religion, and any attempt to meld the two will ultimately fail.

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That is factually incorrect. Newton's work in alchemy and the bible crossed the entire span of his life, and his "most profound discoveries," mechanics and gravitation, and optics, occurred early to middle life, and later in life, respectively. Incidentally, Newton's religious and alchemical work far exceeded his scientific work.

You are deeply mistaken if you think that Objectivism in any fashion corresponds to Zen Buddhism. It is not "meditation and intuition" that are opposed to faith, but reason, and it is the last that the Objectivist flag waves. What you identify is not at all consistent with what "bring happiness to ourselves" according to Objectivism. You simply cannot take a few quotes by Ayn Rand, out of context, and try to make a point that does not exist.

As to the main portion and theme of your writing, I think you would do better here to focus on Objectivism instead of religion, and any attempt to meld the two will ultimately fail.

The main portion and theme of my writing was a historical perspective of 1200 years of authoritarian enslavement based on a lie. That is not simply about religion. Perhaps you and I have differing interpretations on the purpose of meditation and intuition. To me meditation and intuition enables a person to pull things together and develop a rational conclusion. These are tools to achieve an end and may not necessarily be religious or metaphysical in nature (Einstein used them quite well.) As far as the story of Isaac Newton goes, I have based my statements on a book I read a few years ago entitled "Newton The Last Sorcerer."

You misunderstand the post if you feel I am melding anything. My post is just an examination of my historical perspective and how I see Objectivism in relationship to that historical perspective. Consequently, it is an historical perspective that is quite antithetical to any religious extremism.

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"Enlightenment" is just as mystical and arbitrary a concept as "God" and neither are compatible with a philosophy of reason. But apparently this isn't a problem in your mind.

I'd be interested to hear how "meditation" and "intuition" lead to rational conclusions...the only method I know of involves reason and logic.

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[...]

This is my historical perspective on Christianity from a rational look at my knowledge of it.  I am not attempting to preach Christianity, I am attempting to show how the authoritarianism of the Christian suppressed reason and that suppression began to unravel with the Renaissance and progressively decayed up until the founding of the United States.

[...]

Looking closer at Christianity, no one can definitively define what it truly is....

Throughout this time, occultists kept a semblance of the old rational knowledge alive.  These occultists were heavily persecuted at times and kept much secret.  However, from occultism came modern science

[...]

I also believe that psuedo occultists added to this by injecting into the discipline of science mumbo jumbo to make it appear, as they were magicians.  One fascinating side bar to this story is Sir Isaac Newton, a brilliant rationalist who is credited to giving birth to modern science.  Newton was a mad occultist and spent endless hours pursuing Alchemy.  It was only after his pursuit of Alchemy that Newton made his most profound discoveries.  Ironically, it was brilliant minds such as Newton that for the first time in many hundreds of years mysticism was de-emphasized and reason came to reign supreme.  Part of occult knowledge is sacred geometry, which is a fascinating science that is based on math found throughout the natural world... If one studies these topics with a logical and rational approach, one realizes that as in all things nothing is as it first appears.  Going back to the year 325AD, one will discover that many books were left out of the bible and many differing views on Christianity were suppressed the future followers of these views were persecuted, tortured and killed...Christ used to say that he was the son of the lord.  What I believe the church disguised that he really meant it in a figurative sense and that he believed anyone could become like him.  In a way it is quite Objectivist. You control your own destiny through free will.  

Zen Buddhism is based on the belief that enlightenment can come through meditation and intuition rather than faith.  In other words, each one of us is the only one who can bring happiness to ourselves.  To quote Ayn Rand:

I wonder what Jerry Farwell would say to this post?  I am a believer that true Christianity is about taking responsibility for one's own life and making something out of yourself on your own terms and out of your own self-interest. [...]

[Emphases added.]

Aha! This is precisely why I'll have no truck with these "fact-and-value" Christians. Ultimately, they are not loyal to structure, to logic, to ideas. They are not at all rational, no matter how nice they might sound on the radio or over a dinner table.

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"Enlightenment" is just as mystical and arbitrary a concept as "God" and neither are  compatible with a philosophy of reason. But apparently this isn't a problem in your mind.

I'd be interested to hear how "meditation" and "intuition" lead to rational conclusions...the only method I know of involves reason and logic.

Don't reason and logic come from thought? Isn't intuition the product of bits of knowledge coming together simultaneous to bring out a new idea? Aren’t meditation (silent reflection) and an integral part of the thought process? Is it not a proven fact that we do not know what the brain in its entirety does? Is it not possible that meditation allows unknown parts of the brain to process information and generate intuitive knowledge? Enlightenment is by definition education that results in understanding and the spread of knowledge. Zen meditation's purpose is for the discovery of one's self and not a mystical and arbitrary concept.

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Perhaps you and I have differing interpretations on the purpose of meditation and intuition.  To me meditation and intuition enables a person to pull things together and develop a rational conclusion.  These are tools to achieve an end and may not necessarily be religious or metaphysical in nature (Einstein used them quite well.)

First, a rational person with a healthy psychology does not need to chant a mantra to be relaxed and in control of himself. Second, what is commonly known as "intuition" is usally just a consequence of the degree of proper conscious thinking that a person has done previously on the subject or problem at hand. It is not "mediatation and intuition" that leads to a "rational conclusion," but rather it is rationality and a healthy psychology which makes sense of them both. Third, Einstein's supposed reliance on intuition is a myth. If you study the detailed facts of his life and his work, as I have done in great depth, you will see that Einstein's "intuition" is primarily a result of the enormous mental effort he expended in rational analysis.

As far as the story of Isaac Newton goes, I have based my statements on a book I read a few years ago entitled "Newton The Last Sorcerer."
Then you misunderstood what was written. I challenge you to find a passage in that book which reflects the point that you made.

You misunderstand the post if you feel I am melding anything.  My post is just an examination of my historical perspective and how I see Objectivism in relationship to that historical perspective.  Consequently, it is an historical perspective that is quite antithetical to any religious extremism.

My main point is that since you came to this forum, religion, in one form or another, has been the main thrust of all your posts. My suggestion is to focus on Objectivism itself and stop trying to relate the two.

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First, a rational person with a healthy psychology does not need to chant a mantra to be relaxed and in control of himself. Second, what is commonly known as "intuition" is usally just a consequence of the degree of proper conscious thinking that a person has done previously on the subject or problem at hand. It is not "mediatation and intuition" that leads to a "rational conclusion," but rather it is rationality and a healthy psychology which makes sense of them both. Third, Einstein's supposed reliance on intuition is a myth. If you study the detailed facts of his life and his work, as I have done in great depth, you will see that Einstein's "intuition" is primarily a result of the enormous mental effort he expended in rational analysis.

Then you misunderstood what was written. I challenge you to find a passage in that book which reflects the point that you made.

My main point is that since you came to this forum, religion, in one form or another, has been the main thrust of all your posts. My suggestion is to focus on Objectivism itself and stop trying to relate the two.

Why are you lecturing me?

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It seems almost too ridiculous to respond to but I am in a playful mood...

Looking closer at Christianity, no one can definitively define what it truly is.

Then how can you compare it to something that can be definatively described, i.e. Objectivism?

Zen Buddhism is based on the belief that enlightenment can come through meditation and intuition rather than faith.

I'm pretty sure that Buddhist "enlightenment" and objective knowledge of the universe are not the same thing. The four noble truths describe that desire - the desire of earthy goals - is the cause of suffering. The eightfold path, is nothing but an aribitrary set of doctrines (much like the 10 Commandments) completely untied to the needs and nature of man on earth. The 8th path is that of meditation and meditation is not a state of deep introspection; it is the attempt to obliterate all thought.

Zen Buddhism is even less like Objectivism than good old-fashioned Christianity!

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It seems almost too ridiculous to respond to but I am in a playful mood...

Then how can you compare it to something that can be definatively described, i.e. Objectivism?

I'm pretty sure that Buddhist "enlightenment" and objective knowledge of the universe are not the same thing.  The four noble truths describe that desire - the desire of earthy goals - is the cause of suffering.  The eightfold path, is nothing but an aribitrary set of doctrines (much like the 10 Commandments) completely untied to the needs and nature of man on earth.  The 8th path is that of meditation and meditation is not a state of deep introspection; it is the attempt to obliterate all thought. 

Zen Buddhism is even less like Objectivism than good old-fashioned Christianity!

I am not comparing Christianity to Objectivism. What I am saying that it is possible that what Jesus actually taught might have been about self-discovery and self-reliance, which is a hypothesis, based on alternative examinations of early Christian literature and therefore, fodder for a discussion with a radical Christian who thinks they "know." Moreover, I wrote about Zen Buddhism and its path to self-discovery through meditation and intuition, nothing more. Perhaps everyone in here should step back a moment and realize you are guilty of coloring my words with your own preconceived notions. In other words, everyone who has responded to my initial post is reading far more into it than what the words actually say.

With regards to Newton:

According to White,“the influence of Newton’s researches in alchemy was the key to his world-changing discoveries in science”(5).

http://courses.unt.edu/rdecarvalho/h5040/S...3%2CMichael.htm

I do not have the book so I needed to rely on an internet search.

Lastly, what I was saying about both Christianity and Occultism is that they are both gravely misrepresented in popular culture. Christianity is as hard to really define as any religion and since it has been so perverted through more than a millennia of manipulation, it is even harder to define and the same can be said for Occultism. Nevertheless, there is more than enough evidence to definitively state aspects of modern science grew out of Occultism and like Christianity, what most people think of when they think of Occultism is not really what it was in its true sense. That is why I posted the link to sacred geometry.

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Why are you lecturing me?

Sorry if you take it as a "lecture," but I have been making factual corrections to mistaken notions that you wrote. That can happen when you make posts to a public forum. And, as far as this forum is concerned, it is perfectly proper to remind you that its main purpose is for the discussion of Objectivism, not religion.

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Sorry if you take it as a "lecture," but I have been making factual corrections to mistaken notions that you wrote. That can happen when you make posts to a public forum. And, as far as this forum is concerned, it is perfectly proper to remind you that its main purpose is for the discussion of Objectivism, not religion.

Is not part of Objectivism the rejection of Religion? If so, is it not rational to explore what religion is and why it should or should not be rejected?

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I have three quotes from Einstein. I have not studied his life as you claim to have. But I have a hard time believing intuition never played a role in Einstein's discoveries based on these quotes. You are welcome to show me how I am wrong.

“The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will and the solution comes to you and you don't know why .All great discoveries are made that way”. A. Einstein

“The really valuable thing is intuition.” A. Einstein

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is the faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” A. Einstein

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There comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will and the solution comes to you and you don't know why

He doesn't even know what it is. What he is really saying is that he doesn't know what the last step in a process of discovery is.

One thing is certain; he would never have the "intuition", without the rational thought that precedes it.

"The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness..."

A leap? After what? The solution comes to you? After what?

And it illustrates that he is not an epistemologist.

I believe it was Newton who knew better when he said (I think this is correct): "Accidents happen to those who deserve them."

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But I have a hard time believing intuition never played a role in Einstein's discoveries based on these quotes.  You are welcome to show me how I am wrong.

Einstein may have thought that he derived knowledge from something called "intuition" but that does not mean that he believed that he possessed some mystical faculty of revelation. As Stephen pointed out , Einstein spent many years meticulously studying mathematics and physics. I would also be curious to know whether those quotes were originally written in German as it may just be an issue of translation.

Regardless, the phenomenon of "inuition" is well documented in cognitive psychology as simply the result of hard mental work. Ayn Rand gave the rational explanation for what is going on here and she called this process automatization.

One of the principles of Objectivism is that reason is man's only means of knowledge. This excludes revelation, ESP, drug-induced stupor, "silent reflection," and intuition. See Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand Chapter 5, specifically pages 159-163.

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Einstein may have thought that he derived knowledge from something called "intuition" but that does not mean that he believed that he possessed some mystical faculty of revelation. As Stephen pointed out , Einstein spent many years meticulously studying mathematics and physics. I would also be curious to know whether those quotes were originally written in German as it may just be an issue of translation.

Regardless, the phenomenon of "inuition" is well documented in cognitive psychology as simply the result of hard mental work. Ayn Rand gave the rational explanation for what is going on here and she called this process automatization.

One of the principles of Objectivism is that reason is man's only means of knowledge. This excludes revelation, ESP, drug-induced stupor, "silent reflection," and intuition. See Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand Chapter 5, specifically pages 159-163.

Where did I suggest that Einstein did possess some mystical faculty of revelation? Once again you are reading more into my words than is there. You realize that your responses to any discussion that mentions religion appear to be preconceived from all of you. I am suggesting that the act of meditation may allow the mind to function at a higher subconscious level, which in turn enables it to compute and digest information subconsciously (kind of like running a complex computation on a computer with the monitor off.) I am not suggesting that Einstein did such a thing. However, it is possible that his intuitions where due to similar processes. Not all that mystical in my book.

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Where did I suggest that Einstein did possess some mystical faculty of revelation?  Once again you are reading more into my words than is there.

I am just using common English meanings: intuition--The act or faculty of knowing or sensing without the use of rational processes; immediate cognition.

Perhaps it appears that posters on this forum are "reading more into your words than are there" because your thoughts are not very clear in your own mind?

That's fine, let's not call it "mystical" but, more precisely, "non-rational." I still disagree with you for the exact same reasons; there are no non-rational means of knowledge.

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I am not comparing Christianity to Objectivism.  What I am saying that it is possible that what Jesus actually taught might have been about self-discovery and self-reliance, which is a hypothesis, based on alternative examinations of early Christian literature and therefore, fodder for a discussion with a radical Christian who thinks they "know."  Moreover, I wrote about Zen Buddhism and its path to self-discovery through meditation and intuition, nothing more.  Perhaps everyone in here should step back a moment and realize you are guilty of coloring my words with your own preconceived notions.  In other words, everyone who has responded to my initial post is reading far more into it than what the words actually say.

We are not "reading into" anything more than you are saying. Zen Buddhism has the characteristics I described. You compared Objectivism and Buddhism as possibly similar, I pointed out just a couple of ways in which they are not. Perhaps you mistake our "reading into" your words as us actually knowing what those words mean.

Thus far you have:

1) Compared Objectivism with a version of Christianity you can't describe but guess may have existed, in some form, some unknown time ago and that may contain some ideas that, if context is ignored, may be superficially similar to Objectivism.

2) Compared the aforementioned bizarro Christianity and Objectivism with Zen Buddhism, in the process of which you have ignored the religion's own tenets and definitions of its primary practices.

3) Suggested that the “intuition” the Einstein speaks of and the Zen Buddhism are one in the same while admitting that you don’t actually know that much about Einstein and have demonstrated that you don’t know much about Buddhism either.

4) Suggested that meditation, which is defined at best as a means of introspection and at worst as a means of blanking out all thought, is actually a viable way to discover truths about the outside world and moreover that this is compatible with Objectivism.

If you don’t mean any of the above the above then you need to start using different words, stop dropping context and do a bit more reading about your subject before offering any more theories.

Or perhaps you arrived at these suppositions through intuition and meditation?

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With regards to Newton:

http://courses.unt.edu/rdecarvalho/h5040/S...3%2CMichael.htm

I do not have the book so I needed to rely on an internet search.

White's thought is not quite what you claimed, though I admit it is close. You claimed: "It was only after his pursuit of Alchemy that Newton made his most profound discoveries." That is patently false. Newton started his studies of alchemy in 1669, yet three years earlier, in 1666, Newton had already discovered the inverse square law and his principle of universal gravitation, and had invented the calculus as well as his theory of colors in optics.

"I found the method [of fluxions] by degrees in the years 1665 and 1666.... and the next year in January had the Theory of colours.... And the same year [1665 or 1666] I began to think of gravity extending to the orb of the Moon, and having found out how to estimate the force with which [a] globe revolving within a sphere presses the surface of the sphere, from Kepler's Rule of the periodical times of the planets being in a sesquialterate proportion of their distances from the centers of their Orbs I deduced that the forces which keep the Planets in their Orbs must [be] reciprocally as the squares of their distances from the centers about which they revolve; and thereby compared the force requisite to keep the Moon in her Orb with the force of gravity at the surface of the earth, and found them answer pretty nearly. All this was in the plague years of 1665 and 1666, for in those days I was in the prime of my age for invention, and minded Mathematicks and Philosophy more than at any time since."

--Isaac Newton, Catalogue of Portsmouth Collection, Section I, Division XI, number 41, Cambridge, 1888.

It is no wonder that scholars in the field refer to 1666 as the "annus mirabilis," the "miraculous year." And this was three full years before Newton began his studies of alchemy.

As to the words you quoted from White: they are from the introduction to his book and they overstate his thesis a bit, his thesis being the influence of Newton's alchemical and religious studies on his science, and vice versa. White's thesis is not new and has been written about by many who are much more scholarly than he. I consider it to be irrefutable that this synergy between Newton's science and his interests in religion and alchemy is true, but your claim that "It was only after his pursuit of Alchemy that Newton made his most profound discoveries," is completely false.

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Is not part of Objectivism the rejection of Religion?  If so, is it not rational to explore what religion is and why it should or should not be rejected?

As I tried to explain to you in another thread, the main focus of Objectivism is not on the anti- this or that, but on the positive principles and values the philosophy promotes. It is not so much the rejection of faith that is important, but rather the promotion of reason. Your posts here are preoccupied with religion, but Objectivism is not, and I have suggested you focus your efforts on this forum, which is dedicated to Objectivism, away from religion and more towards the actual philosophy of Objectivism.

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I have three quotes from Einstein.  I have not studied his life as you claim to have.  But I have a hard time believing intuition never played a role in Einstein's discoveries based on these quotes.  You are welcome to show me how I am wrong.

“The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will and the solution comes to you and you don't know why .All great discoveries are made that way”. A. Einstein

“The really valuable thing is intuition.” A. Einstein

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is the faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” A. Einstein

When you provide quotes, it is good scholarship to also provide sources. If you scour the internet you can find many undocumented quotes attributed to Einstein, words that he never said. Anyway, even accepting these quotes, note that Einstein also wrote:

"If you want to find out anything from a theoretical physicist about the methods they use, I advise you to stick closely to one principle: don't listen to their words, fix your attention on their deeds." [Albert Einstein, "On the Method of Theoretical Physics," Herbert Spencer lecture delivered at Oxford June 10, 1933, reprinted in Ideas and Opinions, p. 270, Three River Press, 1954/1982.

This is sage advice, and when I fix my attention on his deeds, I discover that Einstein used a proper inductive method in developing his theories. He did not rely on any sort of "intuition." I do not, as you say, simply "claim" to have studied Einstein and his theories. I have done so and and I continue to do, and I am probably as close to an expert on this subject that you are likely to meet. I have read every published word written by Einstein and have in my personal library more than three-hundred books on his life and the history and technical subject of relativity. Though I have never actually counted them I have in my possession at least one or two thousand papers on this subject from the technical journals. So I speak with some authority in what I say.

Elsewhere on this forum (probably in the science section) I made a long post in which I documented, for non-technical readers, the proper inductive method Einstein used in developing special relativity. I can extend that approach to his work in general relativity and quantum mechanics, but the issues become increasingly more technical. Einstein was a genius who was deeply concerned about ideas, and any sense of "intuition" that he may have experienced can be traced to the previous thinking he had done. When a man like Einstein, who has spent months and years thinking deeply about a certain technical problem, suddenly one day gets an "intuition" of its solution, it is not because of some happenstance or non-rational event, but rather because his sub-conscious mind has integrated all of the information and ideas from his conscious thoughts. There are those who like to emphasize "intuition" as that which belongs to the great human achievements, but the fact remains that the achievement is one of the rational mind. It is not meditation and intuition which gave birth to relativity.

One other note about Einstein. Einstein wrote so much over the span of his lifetime, on so many subjects and in so many different contexts, that, even as Einstein himself admitted, one can cull evidence that makes Einstein appear as being any one of a half-dozen different and contradictory types of epistemologist and philosopher. Unlike Ayn Rand, who through the course of her life ended up with the same principles with which she started, Einstein wandered about in his philosophical views. It is easy, then, to take some isolated quotes by Einstein, out of context of the entirety of his life, and make pronouncements as to his character and mode of thinking. But doing so is an injustice to the man, and, philosophically speaking, one needs to identify those principles which weaved their way through most of Einstein's life. Regardless, when it came to Einstein's actual work in physics, his rationality reigned supreme, and his focus was on reality.

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You realize that your responses to any discussion that mentions religion appear to be preconceived from all of you.

You might consider an alternative, namely that you are not clearly communicating just what you later claim you wanted to communicate.

I am suggesting that the act of meditation may allow the mind to function at a higher subconscious level ...

And what exactly does a "higher subconscious level" mean? Perhaps you mean for the subconscious to better perform its ability to integrate conscious material. If so, then, once again, a rational mind with a healthy psychology does not require the chanting of a mantra in order to best program his subconscious to function in the best possible manner. I am always suspicious of shortcuts that are offerred to take the place of actual thinking. Inevitably, even if one can document some relative benefit, the results, in terms of clarity and precision of thought, is never the same. Nothing can take the place of a conscientious mind dedicated to reason and reality, putting forth a constant effort to make his awareness and understanding the best that can be. Mediatation is, at best, superfluous, and, at worst, an excuse for the actual mental work.

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Mediatation is, at best, superfluous, and, at worst, an excuse for the actual mental work.

Well then you better go back and do some more mental work (I have also seen many other articles and stories on the subject):

http://www.mcg.edu/news/2003NewsRel/meditation.html

I really thought I could have a rational discussion in here. Instead, I found out that religious fanatics who call themselves “Objectivists” populate the board. People who have just as closed a mind as a Jehovah Witness, yet turn their nose up at anyone who does not share their "religion." Your statement on the futility of meditation was a real eye opener for me.

Someone who thinks rationally must be open to all ideas until they are proven to be false, otherwise one is no better than someone who fanatically believes in a religion with no rational basis.

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Wait. First you claim that Objectivists are religious fanatics, then you come to a board expecting a "rational" discussion. I don't care what you believe about Objectivism all I'm saying is that it was your choice to come and deal with us radical, closed minded Objectivist in the first place. It seems that you already have your mind made up. Show yourself the door then.

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I really thought I could have a rational discussion in here.  Instead, I found out that religious fanatics who call themselves “Objectivists” populate the board.

This is a known problem and we are working on it. When you joined the forum the Cabal was supposed to inform you of the secret handshake as well as send you the secret decoder ring. The messages you are reading are really in code and you cannot discern their true meaning until you employ the secret decoder ring. Please be patient. Your decoder ring is in the mail.

In the meantime, I do want you to know that your posts here have been a true inspiration to us. I am sure with enough of your special training we too can become rational and also eventually believe in God just like you.

Mediatate on that, and be sure to let the door slam you in the rear on your way out.

p.s. I have printed out your wonderful words ...

Someone who thinks rationally must be open to all ideas until they are proven to be false, otherwise one is no better than someone who fanatically believes in a religion with no rational basis.

... and put them in a frame, hanging on the wall between a picture of Jesus Christ and Rodney Dangerfield. It was difficult deciding which of these pictures your framed words should be closest to, so I put them in the middle.

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