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Yuval Noah Harari

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This is a philosopher that is getting traction and seems concerning. On one hand he as some valid points to make but his attack on the existence of freewill may be problematic. Here I think the word liberal is used to mean classical liberal. In particular the belief that "you can't decide what desires you have", in one context (in the moment) may be true, but not over all.

Harari wrote that although the idea of free will and the liberal values based upon it "emboldened people who had to fight against the Inquisition, the divine right of kings, the KGB and the KKK", it has become dangerous in a world of a data economy, where, he argues, in reality, there is no such thing, and governments and corporations are coming to know the individual better than they know themselves and "if governments and corporations succeed in hacking the human animal, the easiest people to manipulate will be those who believe in free will."[34] Harari elaborates that "Humans certainly have a will – but it isn't free. You cannot decide what desires you have... Every choice depends on a lot of biological, social and personal conditions that you cannot determine for yourself. I can choose what to eat, whom to marry and whom to vote for, but these choices are determined in part by my genes, my biochemistry, my gender, my family background, my national culture, etc – and I didn’t choose which genes or family to have."[34]

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuval_Noah_Harari

 

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It's not the use of a "new form of democracy" that came across as "off" to me. Many folk use democracy in the 2nd sense offered at Webster's 1913 Dictionary.

In order to "know people better than they know themselves", suggests a knowledge of the nature of human beings. Turn it around and to use such knowledge to manipulate people, and it's back to the snake-oil salesmen, or con-artist's availing themselves to technological advances.

Even in technological advances, ways to ward against hacking, viruses, etc., are continually evolving as well. The tools can be used for good or for evil, depending on the hands wielding them.

 

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2 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

Perhaps, but here he seems to attack the idea of rights.

What to do, then? You've quickly added context that sets the tenor of your OP. As a diverse community, each member here has their values that frame what they find of value to focus on. 

In a world of nearly 8 billion folks, there are many influencers on a variety of different platforms. 

Setting aside the differences of the participants on groups such as Objectivism Online, Objectivist Living, Galt's Gultch, The Objective Standard, The John Galt Line, The Prometheus Foundation, ... Is it reasonable to take the fight to the Jordon Peterson's, Dennis Prager's and Yuval Noah Harari's of the world, or might it be more productive to hone and develop the capacity to become the influencers, taking a foundation of morality and reason that a Steven Pinker can't quite put his finger on, and use where they go right and where they go wrong to help concretize a position better? 

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2 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

Setting aside the differences of the participants on groups such as Objectivism Online, Objectivist Living, Galt's Gultch, The Objective Standard, The John Galt Line, The Prometheus Foundation, ... Is it reasonable to take the fight to the Jordon Peterson's, Dennis Prager's and Yuval Noah Harari's of the world, or might it be more productive to hone and develop the capacity to become the influencers, taking a foundation of morality and reason that a Steven Pinker can't quite put his finger on, and use where they go right and where they go wrong to help concretize a position better? 

Yes, but first I was trying to find out if this guy is in fact on Objectivist's radar at all. I had not heard of him and then I have multiple people including a very few Objectivists bring him up to me. I was hoping that people here may know more about him than I.

But I'm not sure if I understand the second part of your question, about to hone and develop the capacity to become the influencers. Are you talking about me and members of this forum enhancing that capability? If so, I'm all for it, and if you have some pointers on how to do that, I'm listening.

At this point, with what I know about him, I can't categorize him as a Jordan Peterson, or Prager type person although he may be. What I see is a philosopher that has captured the imagination of very powerful and influential people like in the Davos crowd, Bill Gates, and Obama too. That is the reason for this inquiry into who this guy is and what does he stand for. It would be reasonable to expect him to be a strong influencer and I would like to know if he is friend for foe.

I would be interested to know if you are threated by him at all?

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@Easy Truth, you introduced him to me here. My assessment is based on about five minutes of the two audio segments and your analysis in the OP.

As to the second part, I do not have particulars in mind. Alex Epstein would certainly qualify. There is a couple I met a decade ago that formed the Objectivists of Southeast Michigan, that began doing podcasts as an alternative to get together's at the onset of the hoopla over CoViD-19. Five Minutes with Robert kicked it off. Robert and Amy are still producing that weekly podcast, and also one hosted by the Ayn Rand Centre, UK dubbed "Life On Earth". Another, James Valliant, co-auther of the book "Creating Christ" has his own podcasts has been a frequent guest on Life on Earth, as well as Gena Gorlin, who is currently fielding a project she called "Building the Builders" over on Substack. She has been interviewed by the ARC team, been on Robert and Amy's podcast as a guest. 

As to pointers about enhancing capacity, it is a byproduct of intellectual growth. Alex investigated fossil fuels. Robert and Amy teamed up and made Objectivism an integral part of their day to day lives. James delved into the origins of Christianity. Gina is exploring the psychology of the builders (producers?).

These examples all share what Joseph Campbell advocated, "Follow your bliss.", or Andrew Bernstein's advocation of Objectivist's becoming "value intoxicated".

Yes, the "conspiracy without leader" still goes on. To the degree Galt's Speech is the essence of Objectivism, it has always gone on, and will likely continue long after you and I have finished acting out the roles we have chosen for ourselves. In that sense, if Israel, or Judaism, are considered as "the chosen ones", why not Objectivism be comprised of the choosing ones, openly recognizing the "secret" so many dread to name, i.e.;  "the fact that man is a being of Volitional Consciousness."

His concrete bound approach to human rights is an end run attempt around the development of an understanding of individual rights, what they are, and how they came to be recognized by those who advocate and uphold them. 

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I stumbled upon this suggestion to me by the algorithm this morning , while a little lengthy (but exactly a good pace for Saturday cleaning chores) , the conversation reminded me of the questions in this thread , or at least struck me as thinking adjacent , as the kids like to say, to questions that may be raised in a continuing thread in this vein.

 

 

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The initial gut reaction would be to ask if Yuval Noah Harari is in cahoots with folks the likes of Daniel Schmachtenberger and Alexander Bard.

In her essay, For The New Intellectual, Miss Rand put forth:

"If America perishes, it will perish by intellectual default. There is no diabolical conspiracy to destroy it: no conspiracy could be big enough and strong enough."

Yet, I've run across individuals who declare that it is not a conspiracy, that the attack on America is an open assault (by the descendants of Frankfurt School, for instance), that the power of philosophy is recognized by the enemies of philosophy and being harnessed produce a concentrated impact, dedicated to bringing down any supporters of an alternative view of existence.

In other words, it is not a conspiracy being done behind the scenes, but an open assault with no need to remain hidden behind the scenes, in order to escape detection. Is this how the Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times" be brought about?

 

 

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43 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

In other words, it is not a conspiracy being done behind the scenes, but an open assault with no need to remain hidden behind the scenes, in order to escape detection. Is this how the Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times" be brought about?

I have heard the open assault argument too. But all of the theories I have heard of seem to have some arbitrary elements to them so I have not become enamored with any of the theories.

When I see a philosopher gaining traction that promotes the idea that right and wrong are simply a human invention, as if that has no significance, I get worried. I don't know what to make of "there is no free will therefore we should ...". Should what? What is the point of assuring any freedom if you don't have freewill to exercise it?

Maybe a dialogue is all that is needed, but I would assume this type of educated person is now set in their ideology and has already invested in their position and will not change. The next step is to counter each of their arguments which is painstakingly slow.

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