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Introductions, apologies, explanations, and etc.

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Decided to give a late introduction since I appear to have riled up the board a bit although it was not my intent or plan.

For the accusations against me that everything i'm writing is an essay and I write too much, Ayn Rand couldn't make a point in less than 1000 pages either. I'm still in the process of developing my ideas. I'm sure the first writing of Atlas Shrugged didn't start with perfectly formed arguments. It will probably take me years to figure out exactly how to say what i'm trying to say. Since i'm wanting to start an intentional community and trading circle based upon Objectivist principles before the socialists destroy the world i'm trying to see if there are any quicker ways to get the answers I need or to get around the resistance i'm encountering with friends i'm trying to convert to Objectivist principles. What i'm hoping to offer others here in exchange for helping me i'm not quite sure yet - maybe a valued trading partner, maybe a source of new insights, maybe a better understanding of the resistance against Objectivism to improve the propagation.

I'm aware i've been posting in a controversial way - taking a certain type of thought to it's extreme of what seems to be implied allowed and possible by one way of thinking and using that extreme near-caricature as an example of why a certain line of thought seems to be a dead end. Rand seemed to do the same in Atlas Shrugged, I felt I was in good company. It probably didn't come across that way though. I hoped controversial claims would elicit the best of the best responses from the best posters to blow my arguments out of the water because i'm playing devil's advocate for something i'm hoping isn't true.

I'm TRYING to say something I think is new. Rand could not say what she was saying in a few pages, because she was trying to draw distinctions between things that nobody had really seemed to make before. People thought there was two sides to an argument, she was trying to give a third answer, and only with long drawn out arguments, and examples, could she start to draw a line where one hadn't existed before. I'm still grappling with the same.

First, I am somewhat new to Objectivism. Atlas Shrugged had been on my reading list for years but the monstrous size of it had scared me off for a bit. What made me finally go through it was the game Bioshock. (which is itself a criticism of Objectivism of a free market destroying itself but which stirred my interest) Finally going through A.S. I was absolutely spellbound by it and it's already permanently changed my views on many things. However it left me with questions. I started going through the audiobook of Objectivism: An Unknown Ideal in January (after i'd already made a few posts) which was answering part of my questions I had left from Atlas Shrugged, but other classes of questions remained unanswered, namely those i've seen categorically ignored by every free market Chicago school type argument tract i'd ever studied in the past.

Part of me fears after reading tens of thousands of more pages that they will still be unanswered, or I feared with too much reading i'd simply train myself to repeat the official answer having trained myself to ignore the cases where the philosophy doesn't seem to work perfectly. I've seen people do that with other fields of argument and didn't want to Pavlovian-train myself to ignore contradictions or inconsistencies simply parroting the party line which i've seen many "true believers" of other philosophies do. What makes it right is not that Rand said it, but that it's an observation and analysis that best fits reality. Observations she's made so far that i've read seem to be completely unassailable and incontrovertible - rejecting them would only be willful denial. The only possible source of disagreement is whether her observation is a complete accurate and total accounting of the consequences from all sides of the argument. Just like lawyers arguing in a courtroom, the prosecutor can argue something incontrovertible but then the defense argues something equally incontrovertible and in the end what matters is the total weight of evidence - the forest, not the trees. Surely only the best case will win before a jury of rational people and none of you need fear my devil's advocate case arguments?

Another part of my reason for posting before reading everything is to keep a record of my own beliefs at the time to try and figure out if when and how they change and why.

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SOME MISTAKES I'M MAKING:

At first I tried to put alot of arguments in one post, and was told to separate it up. I then made a bunch of separate posts and was accused of spamming the board. I only have intermittent internet access a few times per month, so I felt a need to post all my arguments at once in a shotgun approach hoping some of them would yield fruit when I checked back in a month. I felt anything not worth reading would be ignored by the free market, and that someone that found a particular topic or argument worth considering and responding to would respond and help me get some clarity to my own thoughts, or be able to say "all of your arguments on this topic are found in Rand's other book X, or in the free market book Y" so I could better prioritize my reading list on what to read next.

I'm aware i'm creating burdens by writing too much for most people to follow, and failing to offer value to others (apparently) with my wordy text and still formulating arguments. Sorry about that and i'm still trying to figure out how to correct that. :-/ I'm not trying to make others do my work for me. Perhaps it's a nonsequitor that Objectivist activism is somewhat unrewarding, I assumed or hoped an activist that wants to propagate an idea finds it rewarding to either exercise their mind, wants to hear possibly new criticisms to strengthen their own arguments, expects honorable repayment by someone grateful for time saved, or to convert others with the hope they'll have something useful to bring to a trading circle in the future.

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I'm going to be alot more restrained in postings and followups from now on. I'm not trying to take over the board or annoy people or spam out all the other discussions. If you feel i'm doing something wrong or annoying please PM me directly and help me understand what I can do to fix it.

Edited by Puppy Dog
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Thanks for the introduction. Sometimes people have different purposes for being here. Some people are looking for an argument, others for discussion. Sometimes people who want discussion are quick to think others are looking for an argument. I haven't read every post you've made recently, so maybe you do have something to apologize for. You don't have to address every misunderstanding; it could be a better use of your time to discuss things with those of whom you share a better rapport.

@lols:

I don't understand what's funny about this post.

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Thanks for the introduction. Sometimes people have different purposes for being here. Some people are looking for an argument, others for discussion. Sometimes people who want discussion are quick to think others are looking for an argument. I haven't read every post you've made recently, so maybe you do have something to apologize for. You don't have to address every misunderstanding; it could be a better use of your time to discuss things with those of whom you share a better rapport.

I miffed a mod forcing a temporary closing and reevaluation of the debate forums because things arent fulfilling their original purpose or i'm setting a bad example or taking them off track.

So far my 'rapport' is the devils advocate, i've been arguing anti-Objectivist to try and ferret out the best responses to such questions, so I posted every argument I wasn't able to answer with an Objectivist position so far and it was felt I was just bringing up every tired old argument that had already been answered.

My interest isn't finding people who agree with me but those who disagree to understand why. Sometimes they just have a better answer and I accept it immediately, that's what i'm here for. Sometimes they think they've answered but I think they haven't, so I keep posting til I get to the bottom of it or try to post from a different angle.

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For the accusations against me that everything i'm writing is an essay and I write too much, Ayn Rand couldn't make a point in less than 1000 pages either. I'm still in the process of developing my ideas. I'm sure the first writing of Atlas Shrugged didn't start with perfectly formed arguments. It will probably take me years to figure out exactly how to say what i'm trying to say.

You are not making any progress at all. Presenting a thousand-word long apology for writing extensive questions is an absurdity. I can't understand why asking specific questions is taking such a tremendous effort for you. Everyone else seems to do it. You are obviously using the wrong analogy here. There were a great number of points that were made in Atlas Shrugged, not just one. Your claim that Ayn Rand could not make herself understood in less than a thousand pages is ridiculous. What is the point of saying that Atlas Shrugged didn't start with perfectly formed arguments? Are you writing a book? Is anybody here demanding perfection from your arguments' structure? Are you developing a philosophy? You are obviously using this example as a rationalization. Puppy Dog, if you can't say what you are trying to say, then the right place for you is none other than a classroom. Take the time to learn how to formulate questions, and come back when you are ready.

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So far my 'rapport' is the devils advocate, i've been arguing anti-Objectivist to try and ferret out the best responses to such questions, so I posted every argument I wasn't able to answer with an Objectivist position so far and it was felt I was just bringing up every tired old argument that had already been answered.

I trust they responded by directing you to the place where you questions were answered, such as an old thread or a particular essay? If not, then shame on them.

You are a bit wordy, puppydog. I have the same problem. If you have time, focus on condensing your sentences without losing meaning. It's been a while since I read "the art of non-fiction", but I think that Rand has some good advice on how to concisely present ideas.

Is it possible that the some of your questions are so long because you are trying to present counter-arguments to Objectivism that you don't understand? I would have a hard time tersely rephrasing someone if I didn't understand what they were getting at. I'd only be able to repeat what they said, and if I didn't know how one of their points related to another I wouldn't know when to stop.

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Occasionally a member says they're aware of being wordy, and yet they seem not to be able to help it.

Maybe, ask yourself what your single main point is. Form the key idea into one sentence: just one. With that done, formulate one or two paragraphs to explain the central idea. Don't try to put all the twists and turns into a post. This is a forum, you'll get a chance to explain...once you've got someone to read your post. If the post contains (say) 200 words, edit until it goes below.

Also, edit and re-edit, with an eye to cohesiveness of your post.

Also, focus on one problem/topic at a time. If tons of questions are swirling about, write them all down as wordily as you like...for your own future use. Don't post them. Then, decide what idea you really want to explore on the forum, and tackle that single idea.

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Here is my suggestion. Identify some aspect of Objectivism that you partially understand but either do not fully agree with, or do not fully understand. In 200 words or less, identify that topic and give your reasons for disagreeing, or explanation of the multiple interpretations that you arrive at. Post it; then actually engage the responses that you get. Do no start a new thread on something else.

And don't bother with apologies or explanations of your personal failings, or whatever. Focus on the philosophical ideas; show us that you can actually grasp the basics of Objectivism. For example, re-think what you see as being the axioms of Objectivism, and don't ever ever claim that "your mind is the final arbiter of truth" is an axiom of Objectivism.

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:):( :(

It's really a writing problem. When you write long, windy sentences that turn into long, windy paragraphs you over load the mind of the reader, making it difficult to comprehend what you are saying. Shakespeare said it best, brevity is the soul of wit.

And you say Ayn Rand was wordy. Well, not really. If you look at her non-fiction you will see short, cogent, essentialized arguments. She is probably the best writer I've seen for saying a lot in a few sentences.

As practice I think you should try and present ONE point in ONE short paragraph.

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I miffed a mod forcing a temporary closing and reevaluation of the debate forums because things arent fulfilling their original purpose or i'm setting a bad example or taking them off track.

We're not "miffed", it's just that this situation has brought to our attention the fact that the debate forum isn't really being used for anything any more. We're re-evaluating its existence.

If you feel pressured to try and cram as much as possible into a post because you only have internet access a few times a week, maybe the forum isn't the right place for you to be chewing your ideas at the moment. Doing more reading and maybe some face-to-face discussion might work for you a lot better. There's no reason to be so anxious over this. Give yourself time to get a grip on the material and try to integrate it before you start worrying about the technical arguments.

And definitely STOP trying to convert your friends. By all means, DISCUSS with your friends, but if they stump you take this as an opportunity--they've pointed out where YOU need to do more thinking for YOURSELF. But trying to get them *interested* before you've even got your own grip is essentially pointless.

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A person's time is precious. Every moment someone spends reading your words is a moment they can never get back again. You are asking for more than you are giving here.

They are trying to encourage you to be more concise.

Ayn Rand probably didn't share everything she thought.

...before the socialists destroy the world i'm trying to see if there are any quicker ways to get the answers...

The quickest way is to study Ayn Rand's own writing, and extensive multi-media libraries. It can seem overwhelming at first, but keep at it and your ability to make sense of it all will improve. I have some of her voice on my Ipod, each time I hear something she says the more it means to me.

Convincing friends doesn't happen over night. It takes more effort than some are willing to invest. Making your arguments concise will help. If connecting to people is important then be worthy of their friendship. Some people believe they are helping you by encouraging you to be more independent.

Say this stuff to yourself, read it, re-read it, put it away for a couple weeks, a couple months, a couple years, read it again, edit it, then only post it if you love how enlightening it is.

First, I am somewhat new to Objectivism. Atlas Shrugged had been on my reading list for years but the monstrous size of it had scared me off for a bit.

Atlas Shrugged is just the tip of the iceberg. Being afraid of the requirement of your effort is not a good sign.

Questions are challenges for to you to seek the answers. At the moment I am interested in exploring some answers, but I have a million other things I could be doing. It is of great value for you go get answers. It is not of great value for other people to spend their time answering questions that have already been answered.

Part of me fears after reading tens of thousands of more pages that they will still be unanswered, or I feared with too much reading i'd simply train myself to repeat the official answer having trained myself to ignore the cases where the philosophy doesn't seem to work perfectly.

You have to improve the value of your judgement. Ayn Rand had unanswered questions.... where do you think she got the answers? She was still searching herself for answers right up until her death. It is a process, not a finish line.

It's not fear of devils advocate, its spending too much time on concepts we already get.

Another part of my reason for posting before reading everything is to keep a record of my own beliefs at the time to try and figure out if when and how they change and why.

This will make people avoid you, or try to push you out.

At first I tried to put alot of arguments in one post, and was told to separate it up. I then made a bunch of separate posts and was accused of spamming the board. I only have intermittent internet access a few times per month, so I felt a need to post all my arguments at once in a shotgun approach hoping some of them would yield fruit when I checked back in a month.

You aren't the first to do this. Your impatience implies that you don't have time to consider the responses anyway.

You Shouldn't expect people to sift through so much. You can prioritize your reading list by prioritizing the questions you have that are most important to you.

Its human nature to want to find a more efficient way of acquiring information and effect solutions.

You have to focus on doing all of this for yourself first. Objectivism doesn't owe you something for your appreciation.

Some individuals who are attracted to Objectivism seem to do so because they lack the communication skills, tact, or desire necessary to function productively with other people. Some Objectivists are elitist, they will push you to rise to the challenge or get out of the way.

You might want to consider changing your member name, it makes it hard to take you seriously.

"If you do it by your own choice, and if its not your primary aim in life, and if you don't regard it as a moral virtue, on those conditions its fine to help people if you want to." -Ayn Rand

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It is tedious to argue back and forth with someone who is constantly being a Devil's Advocate when he expects other people to do his thinking for him. You have admitted that part of you fears to have unanswered questions after reading thousands of pages. Instead, then, you have decided to skip the aspect of personal research and instead have come here to treat the board and its members as your personal oracle. You pretend to benefit from the experience and knowledge of others while offering nothing more in return than the questions themselves, unnecessarily lengthy and verbose. In short, you're expecting to get something for nothing. It's not a matter of fearing your demonic advocacy, it's a matter of seeing little value in them.

Edited by kainscalia
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