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I want to put the genie back into the box. I have realized that thinking deep does not make you happier. In fact thinking about the big questions in life only makes you unhappier. Sometime I wish I can be that insensitive guy that does goes through his day only thinking about his gym routine or making some more money. I want my life to be about owning a great house, car and an awesome husband. That's all. In the story of Attila and the witchdoctor. Do you know who is the happiest: Attila! He never takes this nonsense about morality seriously but automatically, almost by instinct does what he thinks is in his self-interest. He never suffers any guilt feelings about not giving to the poor - he scoffs at the whole idea and dies happy living the life he chose. I on the other hand live under the torture of always wanting to know: ‘What is life all about anyway?’

How I wish I could put the genie in the bottle and put a lid on it. Does someone know how.

Edited by Superman123
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How I wish I could put the genie in the bottle and put a lid on it. Does someone know how.

Ignorance is bliss? This is one of three objections mention in Peikoff's "UO" lectures  (now a book). I don't think there's a healthy way to wipe out what you "know".

 

The question is: why would ignorance really be bliss? One possible response goes along these lines: "That ignorant guy does not know that an asteroid is going to wipe out all life on Earth 10 years from now; but, I do." But, this may not be how you would answer it. So, for you personally, why would ignorance be bliss?

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I can't say that I feel the same way. If hadn't thought about all the things I have thought about I would be miserable. There is so much stupid stuff I just ignore now because I know better now. Please don't discount the value of your knowledge. If you were just one of the ignorant masses, I imagine you ability to find a good husband and pursue a career would be hampered in a major way. You have dodged a lot of bullets just by eleminating the absurdities. What about your thoughts are making you miserable?

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I want to put the genie back into the box. I have realized that thinking deep does not make you happier. In fact thinking about the big questions in life only makes you unhappier. Sometime I wish I can be that insensitive guy that does goes through his day only thinking about his gym routine or making some more money. I want my life to be about owning a great house, car and an awesome husband. That's all. In the story of Attila and the witchdoctor. Do you know who is the happiest: Attila! He never takes this nonsense about morality seriously but automatically, almost by instinct does what he thinks is in his self-interest. He never suffers any guilt feelings about not giving to the poor - he scoffs at the whole idea and dies happy living the life he chose. I on the other hand live under the torture of always wanting to know: ‘What is life all about anyway?’

How I wish I could put the genie in the bottle and put a lid on it. Does someone know how.

Since you put your own life up as the subject of the thread, I'm gonna venture a somewhat wild guess on said subject. I think your problem isn't that you're thinking too hard, it's that your thinking is based in false premises.

 

The way you're psychologizing about people who work hard for material gain, health and physical appearance, is a clear symptom of evasion. Those are three very obvious, very important values that you've managed to "think" yourself into considering symptoms of irrationality.

 

Try being more honest with yourself. You know yourself best, you should be critical of yourself first. Stop guessing what reasons strangers have to go to the gym or make tons of money, and start thinking about why you aren't doing those things, and if maybe they're a good idea to do.

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I want to put the genie back into the box. I have realized that thinking deep does not make you happier.
 

Thinking is one aspect of pursuing values: acting is the other. Are you saying it is better to pursue values than it is to think about pursuing them? Or that it is better to pursue some less-than-ideal values rather than to think about what are the best values to pursue (and to stop there)? 

 

Casually, one might say that the way to be happy is to act to pursue values. Ideally, this means thinking: what should I pursue? how should I act? It is usually better to act to achieve some values than to be stuck in  "analysis paralysis".

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Yes, indeed. The 'thought of', and the 'aspired to' have no reality until the first steps are taken

to make them concrete - no matter how "real" they seem to one. Objectivism, naturally, appears to attract men and women who are already predisposed to think in abstractions. And then it gives one vast amounts further to think about... and one ~can~ head down a cognitive rabbit-hole.

But actions, no matter how modest at first, are really what define the philosophy.

Edited by whYNOT
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Yes, indeed. The 'thought of', and the 'aspired to' have no reality until the first steps are taken

to make them concrete - no matter how "real" they seem to one. Objectivism, naturally, appears to attract men and women who are already predisposed to think in abstractions. And then it gives one vast amounts further to think about... and one ~can~ head down a cognitive rabbit-hole.

But actions, no matter how modest at first, are really what define the philosophy.

 

Are you saying that OP may be suffering because he has not translated his thoughts into real action?

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Do you think Rands morality is nonsense? If so, why? What about it do you consider nonsensical?

Have you read any of Tara Smith's works on Objectivist ethics? I did a review of both books elsewhere. I find her morality the most compelling one to live by, certainly far from nonsense to me.

Isn't Attila a brute, one that uses brute force? Is that how you want to 'live'? The choice of course is yours though, we can try to live or survive or stay alive however we want to. A life of crime, a life of productive achievement, on and on and on, the choice is yours.

Edited by intellectualammo
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Are you saying that OP may be suffering because he has not translated his thoughts into real action?

I'm saying exactly that. There's a time to "walk the talk" as they say.

That Superman is envying Attila's unthinking, amoral actions, indicates he's

a deep thinker who "has not translated his thoughts into real action."

As I mentioned elsewhere, this might be the entire point of rational

selfishness: that one should be the beneficiary of one's actions. Presupposing that one ACTS.(In thought, word and deed - which is not a bad definition

of integrity.)

Otherwise, we (Objectivists) could become constrained by our "analysis-paralysis".

Additionally, it seems clear that Objectivism is two things:

A body of knowledge. A methodology. They should run concurrently, self-

reinforcing each other. Too much attention to the first, at the expense

of the second, may lead one into a "Witch Doctor" trap: Intrinsicism, and /or

rationalism.

I doubt there is any O'ist who has not experienced one or the other. (I have.) Objectivism is not some exam to be passed, it's designed to be used.

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Are you saying that OP may be suffering because he has not translated his thoughts into real action?

I'm saying exactly that. There's a time to "walk the talk" as they say.

That Superman is envying Attila's unthinking, a-moral actions, indicates he's

a deep thinker who "has not translated his thoughts into real action."

As I mentioned elsewhere, this might be the entire point of rational

selfishness: that one should be the primary beneficiary of one's actions. Presupposing that one ACTS.(In thought, word and deed - which is a fair definition

of integrity, I think.)

Otherwise, we (Objectivists) could become constrained by our "analysis-paralysis".

Further, it seems clear that Objectivism is two things:

A body of knowledge. A methodology. They should run concurrently, self-

reinforcing each other. Too much attention to the first, at the expense

of the second, may lead one into the "Witch Doctor trap": Intrinsicism, and /or

rationalism.

From my observation, I doubt there is any O'ist who has not experienced those. (At least I have.) Objectivism is not some exam to be passed, it's designed to be used.

Edited by whYNOT
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I doubt very much that Attila was a happy man. The existence was a frightening mystery for him.  Unable to understand the world without help of witch doctor he was completely depended on him in alleviation of his fears. The causes for his success or failure had no rational explanations. He was a blind leaded by blind. 

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I realize that I have really expressed myself badly. Fortunately, despite this, you all have answered my question. For my own satisfaction, I would like to restate what I was trying to say above as specifically as I can. I was too in a rush previously: I have been thinking that, ‘spending time thinking about ‘the big questions’ wastes your time from focusing your resources (thoughts, time and action) on achieving what you want from life. An example is that I spent some time thinking and reading on ideas such as rational selfishness, moral relativism, ego, altruism etc but would my time not have been better spent on actually living life and pursuing my goals. Most people use their resources in the following manner: They learn only what they need to know and use their minds to solve the problems in their lives as they come up. Perhaps I am avoiding actually acting on and achieving my goals by distractions. I could have benefited from Objectivism by reading ‘For the new intellectual’ once in a while. I know Attila is a philosophical archetype but he clearly does not worry about the big questions and I cannot see him (contrary to what Ayn Rand explains) feeling guilty about any altruistic morality. Lastly, I really like Objectivism. It is interesting but perhaps I should just get on with life and live it.

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Living life can be tough in this world with all things and people that stand in our way of the pursuit of our happiness.  It's hard to be happy and keep things positive when so much works against it.  I do not try to rise in this world. Like professionally, carrer wise.  I just hold a job and try to find value and enjoy myself to the extent that I am able to.

Edited by intellectualammo
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Living the Objectivist morality can be tough in this world with all things and people that stand in our way of the pursuit of our happiness.  It's hard to be happy and keep things positive when so much works against it.  I do not try to rise in this world. Like professionally, carrer wise.  I just hold a job and try to find value and enjoy myself to the extent that I am able to.

Two questions:

1. In what specific ways does Objectivist morality make it tough for you to live?

2. In what specific ways are other people stopping you from rising professionally?

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  I know Attila is a philosophical archetype but he clearly does not worry about the big questions and I cannot see him (contrary to what Ayn Rand explains) feeling guilty about any altruistic morality. Lastly, I really like Objectivism. It is interesting but perhaps I should just get on with life and live it.

 

You were right to choose Attila as your moral ideal because you are expressing a viewpoint that is fully consistent with the mind-body dichotomy.  As someone previously mentioned, your position epitomizes the “philosophy is useless” argument which Peikoff addresses in Understanding Objectivism.  All three of the objections Peikofff deals with in that book reflect some form of the mind-body dichotomy.  Your version amounts to the position: “What the hell use is philosophy for daily living?”

The proposed “solution”? Stop analyzing everything.  Get rid of it all--the judgmental attitude, the chronic concern with right and wrong, true and false.  Get rid of philosophy and then simply enjoy the blissful existence of the practical-minded man on the street.

As Peikoff says, the problem with all three arguments “is not philosophy or Objectivism, but philosophy or Objectivism wrongly understood.”  Properly chewed,concretized and understood, philosophy is your greatest ally in dealing with reality and achieving your long-term rational self-interest.  It will enable you to achieve mind-body integration and to fully grasp that the moral is the practical. 

Nobody would ever say: “Let’s do away with this obsession with reality; it interferes with my self-expression and my success in life.”  Yet that is exactly what Attila’s position is expressing.  Objectivism is nothing more or less than an intellectual tool for maximizing our effectiveness in dealing with reality.

I really cannot recommend Peikoff’s book highly enough.

 

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Sup,

 

Very good thoughts here from Dennis and others. As part of knowing yourself and what to do with your time, you might want to consider whether you just plain like learning philosophy ever more and more. You mentioned you like Objectivism, and it just might be that you enjoy philosophy beyond the ways it has or might help you in life. Similarly, it can go for mathematics, science, history, and so forth.

 

You have talked of the Attila psychological idea, but what you seem to find attractive about it has much overlap with what readers of the Tarzan books find attractive about him. He is being chased by a lion, falls into a pit for trapping animals, night falls, he finds he can’t get out of the pit, decides he’ll wait for daylight before trying further, then lays down and goes to sleep. It’s a fun fantasy psychology, but not a true human one. Modern man did not invent anxiety, for example.

 

Modern man did attain much more possibility of leisure time. I think you are right to wonder whether you spend too much time studying (and talking about) philosophy. There are other things to learn or otherwise do—projects of romance, travel, beautifying your dwelling, preparing for a more meaningful career—that might be more personally satisfying. Then too, there is the alternative of more time working to make more money. On the other hand, I am not one to think you have it wrong if you should realize you love philosophy and decide to allow much time of life learning more of it.

 

Stephen

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For Attila

"The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one." - George Bernard Shaw

 

Whether someone will be happier thanks to his or her study of philosophy is not guaranteed. Someone who (for example) lives on 1$ a day probably could use his or her time more productively than studying philosophy...

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If Rand's philosophy is making you unhappy you're either a monster or.............you're doing it wrong :stuart: like this.

 Be very careful when you use such words. Rand's  philosophy, poorly understood made unhappy many people. You need to learn a difference between breach of knowledge and moral breach. If Superman123 has difficulties with his understanding of Objectivism, he needs help, not moral condemnation.

Edited by Leonid
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