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Understanding other viewpoints

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Mod's note: This is a split from another thread. -sN

This will be the first of 9 major topics that I have trouble understanding through Objectivism, which is the philosophy I embrace and guide my life by to the best of my knowledge.

And this first post is what the effect observing evil should be on us and even more so, how to work on physically embodying this conclusion. For example, take the Ayn Rand and Phil Donahue videos on youtube. This was the first time I had ever seen Ayn Rand in the flesh on camera, and like i posted earlier, was an incredibly spiritual experience for me. However, my blood boiled, my emotions flared, my mind raced whenever Donahue touched Rand, had a condescending tone, attempted to intimidate her -- when that bitch in the audience attempted to undercut Ayn in front of the audience, on Ayn's show, by just weakly claiming that she disagreed and diverged from Rand years ago without giving any logical reason why, without making any statement, without asking Rand anything, just getting up their to somehow validate her "reasoning" by just telling a giant of a woman that she disagreed. Sick. I couldn't stand it. Ayn (by the way, what is the correct way to refer to Ayn Rand? Full name? First? Last? Ms. Rand? Mrs. Rand, even though she died a widow?) just sat there quietly, unaffected by any of it, her patience empowering me to fight back Donahue's and the audiences' hold on me.

But it was so hard. It is so hard. I am in a (required) freshman anthropological class. I listen to people all the time preaching about the equality of all cultures, the virtue of acceptance of anything, completely subjective morality -- that women in South Africa were actually EMPOWERED by the men because they were held as wealth, as objects to be valued, to be traded, to be used, to be bought -- "wealth in people" is the term used. Hearing people talk day after day about how there's no such thing as cultural evolution, just different cultures. Finally after class I approached the teacher and wanted to hear her opinion on the matter, and the field of anthropology was laid out for me: there is no right and wrong, no absolutes, no progress, only observation, acceptance, and universal love, no matter the actions. Unfortunately, it really hurts, it sickens me, it pains me to hear my fellow peers attempting to authenticate their existence by dedicating themselves to all cultures, all people, anybody but themselves. And worse, to see that they never do this in action, but attempt to hold it as their universal philosophy.

So how do I approach this? I've read The Fountainhead and Atlas and I know the unbelievable virtue, the distinguishing virtue, Roark held in being completely indifferent to the choices of his peers. A "Hands Off" policy; letting them be affected by their evil choices but leading a separate life, until force is used. But isn't there also the idea that when valuing something, there's the flip side that we must accept feeling pain if that value is lost (to us)? Rand lost her greatest value, her husband, and she felt incredible amounts of pain. And I understand the reasoning that it is OUR lost values we should only feel pain about and not others, but if we are to hold justice as an absolute across our earth, for example, then isn't it naturally painful to see a lack of justice in the outside world? And don't those choices eventually affect those that cannot help but be affected by them, by say the military strategy of W. Bush? Where do we draw the line between indifference and activism? Passivity and intervention? How can we hold values as absolute, like justice, rationality, and honesty, and yet not let the decay of them outside of ourselves affect us? Are these "absolute" values only for us? Ugh, just trying to figure this all out...

I do not want to feel this anymore. I do not want to be affected by Donahue, by my peers, by anthropologists, by anyone. I highly, highly value the virtue of patience, of the complete independence Rand, Roark, and many others hold, but it is personally very hard for me. How can I work on this? If you have any advice, any personal experiences to relate, anything to pump me up, some motivational quotations, haha, anything, I would love it. Thanks

This is very interesting.The things you mention are inner conflicts that one finds in all humanity.Most humans are conflicted by the dualities in life.We live by justice but one suffers because there is a lack of it in the outside world.So how does one find peace in a world that is in turmoil? I beleive that the virtues that Ayn Rand speaks of are eternal and not limited to one philosophy or to the beleives or ideals of one person.Rather these virtues are the highest ideals of the human spirit and the human mind.When we understand this then perhaps we begin to understand that the philosophy we choose is not the only path to a life of peace.There are many paths that lead to a better life and everyone has chosen a different one. And everyone is at different levels.To have understanding and compassion for these individuals is the only way otherwise life begins to feel heavy.The virtue of patience is not to be valued but to be lived.And this too takes understanding.Try to understand others point of view and were they are coming from.This doesnt mean that you agree with them it simply means that you will keep an open mind and try to find some common ground. This isnt impossible but it can be hard. You see I found that sometimes our beleives can sometimes limit us from opening up to the reality of life which is that we are all different and we are all the same . In other words we are a bit of an abstraction.We are different because we take different paths and we are the same because we all want to feel that we are right and that what we beleive is the only way.What does this create ,but conflict with one another. There are some people that let their anger speak for them ,it is better to walk away and let them be for those are the ones that perhaps dont know themselves yet and live in fear. For if a person lives truth then one would have no need to defend their values and have no need to stand up against anyone who beleives different. Let others be and respect the fact that they value their beleives as much as you value your own. With this in mind you will feel less affected by others viewpoint,and this is how we create a more peaceful world.Not by getting others to agree with us or us agreeing with others , but by letting others be and being more concerned with our own personal evolution. As far as right and wrong are concerned I have dispelled with the idea. There is only Life. And everyone is doing the best they can with what they know.It takes time and plenty of trial and error. Rome wasnt built in a day afterall.

Edited by softwareNerd
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What do you mean by that?

Or more specifically, how do you know that view is right?

..

I know it to be right because it works for me. It has helped me to understand people and situations that I would not have understood otherwise. It may not work for others,I dont know.We all look at life through our own personal point of view. I may look at what someone else is doing and may deem it wrong, but to them it may be right, I do not know their reasons. So who am I to judge their way as right or wrong. I can only judge my own the best I can with what I have learned, know and feel, and see where that takes me.So far its looking pretty good, there is no inner conflict within me. Trust thyself.

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I know it to be right because it works for me. It has helped me to understand people and situations that I would not have understood otherwise. It may not work for others,I dont know.We all look at life through our own personal point of view. I may look at what someone else is doing and may deem it wrong, but to them it may be right, I do not know their reasons. So who am I to judge their way as right or wrong. I can only judge my own the best I can with what I have learned, know and feel, and see where that takes me.So far its looking pretty good, there is no inner conflict within me. Trust thyself.

haha kublakan, I'm not sure why you're on this forum man. Not only did you succeed in inserting as many 1-liner colloquial snippets of liberal pseudo-wisdom as possible in your past two posts, but also in rejecting close to every fundamental Objectivist conviction. Forum readers, please, for the sake of keeping this topic specifically on "how evil affects us" (how ironic), let all of us objectivists practice this with kublakan and let him go. Kublakan, if you're really interested in understanding the Objectivist philosophy, (edited after Laszlo's comment below) read one of Ayn Rand's novels. Or to get a quick snippet of the Objectivist perspective, make a topic explaining your world view and presenting your reasoning, and I bet you'd get a ton of great feedback. But really wait to post on an Objectivist forum until you have at least an idea of what Objectivism is.

Edited by Robert L. Pothier
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..

I know it to be right because it works for me. It has helped me to understand people and situations that I would not have understood otherwise. It may not work for others,I dont know.We all look at life through our own personal point of view. I may look at what someone else is doing and may deem it wrong, but to them it may be right, I do not know their reasons. So who am I to judge their way as right or wrong. I can only judge my own the best I can with what I have learned, know and feel, and see where that takes me.So far its looking pretty good, there is no inner conflict within me. Trust thyself.

The problem with your morally agnostic view is that it is fundementally unjust(what I would call, wrong). You have to realize that in failing to judge others, you do as much of a disservice to good people as you do to bad. To claim or assume that a criminal mugging and shooting someone has the same value and moral worth as a highly productive, honest guy, means that none of the vices of the first are to be differentiated from the virtues of the second. Which means that virtue and vice do not exist, or more specifically, morality does not exist.

Now I would agree that one ought not be too quick to judge, to be prejudicial, as it were, in passing final judgement, but that is entirely different from not judging at all. When anyone judges someone else, it is assumed to be within the context of their knowledge. So if knowledge can be known, judgements can be fair. If the criminal in kufa's example were threatening me or anyone I valued, I would know that he had given up any claim to a right to life, and would act accordingly. So now you see, you have simultaneously dispensed with the need for epistomology as well as ethics. All you have left is metaphysics. Can you know about the existence of the world, or only your consciousness?

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The problem with your morally agnostic view is that it is fundementally unjust(what I would call, wrong). You have to realize that in failing to judge others, you do as much of a disservice to good people as you do to bad. To claim or assume that a criminal mugging and shooting someone has the same value and moral worth as a highly productive, honest guy, means that none of the vices of the first are to be differentiated from the virtues of the second. Which means that virtue and vice do not exist, or more specifically, morality does not exist.

Now I would agree that one ought not be too quick to judge, to be prejudicial, as it were, in passing final judgement, but that is entirely different from not judging at all. When anyone judges someone else, it is assumed to be within the context of their knowledge. So if knowledge can be known, judgements can be fair. If the criminal in kufa's example were threatening me or anyone I valued, I would know that he had given up any claim to a right to life, and would act accordingly. So now you see, you have simultaneously dispensed with the need for epistomology as well as ethics. All you have left is metaphysics. Can you know about the existence of the world, or only your consciousness?

Pehaps you have misunderstood me, or rather I have not made myself clear.The answer I gave was in the context to what Robert mentioned about feeling a certain impatience with people like Donahue and peers who do not seem to be living up to certain standards. From my own experience I had to dispell with the idea of wright and wrong when it came to how others perceive life, their philosophy, theirwayof life ect.etc.In other words not to judge them, because otherwise conflict arises within, and this creates impatience towards others.Impatience certainly does not do anything to solve the problems, or does it? I never claimed or assumed that a criminal mugging and shooting someone has the same value and moral worth as an honest person.That was your assumption about me. But that was most likely my fault for not being more clear about it. . And yes, if my life was in threat or anyone I valued (which to me are all beings)I too would act accordingly. I am for self preservation. "When anyone judges someone else, it is assumed to bewithin the context of their knowledge" That may be true, but does knowledge equal wisdom? Many people have a great deal of knowledge, know alot of facts are well read and may be very clever and intellectual.But they dont seem to be very wise. All you need do is take a look at the leaders and the present condition of our world.And just because knowledge is known doesnt mean judgements are fair. Your

judgement of me wasnt completely fair and you were quick to judge and pass final judgement.

As far as knowing about the existence of the world wouldnt a good begining be my own conciousness? How could I know and understand anything

about the outer workings of the world and universe if I do not understand the inner workings of my mind and spirit,of myself first.

I thank you for taking some interest in what I said. It makes me realize how much I need to work on communicating and explaining my thoughts.I'm just beginning.

Most of anything I wish to grow so I welcome all comments.

Kublakan

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haha kublakan, I'm not sure why you're on this forum man. Not only did you succeed in inserting as many 1-liner colloquial snippets of liberal pseudo-wisdom as possible in your past two posts, but also in rejecting close to every fundamental Objectivist conviction. Forum readers, please, for the sake of keeping this topic specifically on "how evil affects us" (how ironic), let all of us objectivists practice this with kublakan and let him go. Kublakan, if you're really interested in understanding the Objectivist philosophy, (edited after Laszlo's comment below) read one of Ayn Rand's novels. Or to get a quick snippet of the Objectivist perspective, make a topic explaining your world view and presenting your reasoning, and I bet you'd get a ton of great feedback. But really wait to post on an Objectivist forum until you have at least an idea of what Objectivism is.

For the same reason you are, to learn,to "try to figure all this out". Or have you already in this short time been able to embody the kind of patience that Ryand showed in the face of ignorance when she was on the Donahue show?It takes alot more than just reading books to follow a philosophy, it takes alot of probing into your own mind, which is what Ryand most likely did and which is why she was able to come up with a Philosophy of her own while others just follow it .You read her books,correct?and yet you still ask others to give you advice on how to be unaffected by your peers, when and how to be indifferent.Perhaps you ought to reread Fountainhead or Atlas to remind you of how to find your own independance like Rand did or the characters in her books.Meanwhile I will when I get a chance make a topic explainig my world view and shall present my reasoning.I do like the feed back.I am on a quest.

"the pursuit of my own rational self-interest & of my own happiness is the highest moral purpose of my life"

Kublakan

Edited by softwareNerd
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