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New member, and I have a question for you all!
Posted: 06 May 2012 04:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]  
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Being in the minority is irrelevant.  We each must find our truth.  I never set out to convert anyone, just to correct a distorted thread by saying ‘read for yourself” then take what you want from it.  I guess that’s a bizarre and dangerous concept around here.  Don’t accept warped third-hand interpretations of anyone’s ideas (whether it’s Hitler’s or Einstein’s) and draw conclusions.  I expected everyone on this board to be open minded and into discovering things for themselves.

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Posted: 06 May 2012 05:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]  
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mormovies - 06 May 2012 04:22 PM

Being in the minority is irrelevant.  We each must find our truth.  I never set out to convert anyone, just to correct a distorted thread by saying ‘read for yourself” then take what you want from it.  I guess that’s a bizarre and dangerous concept around here.  Don’t accept warped third-hand interpretations of anyone’s ideas (whether it’s Hitler’s or Einstein’s) and draw conclusions.  I expected everyone on this board to be open minded and into discovering things for themselves.

And you are reducing the entire discussion to whether or not one should read something we find utterly pointless. And yes, minority is an issue in this very specific case, for a very simple reason: You are still in the minority with your opinion, despite (because?) of your pathetic yapping. Remeber when I said you didn’t bring your point across? scroll up for two seconds. Yup, right there. The syntactic combination with an AND conditionalizes both expressions to each other, meaning they are both relevant in conjunction. So, while being in the minority is, by itself, irrelevant, the fact that not only has noone opted for your faction, the only person who was kind of potentially your ally has already concluded that Ayn Rand probably isn’t the socio-economic messiah, means your argument is not doing very well. I told you to try another angle, and you seem to have taken that the wrong way. I didn’t mean you should try and insult us by calling us ignorant bigots, but to think of something new that might get us rethink our position and not the reason why we bother arguing with you. Come to think of this, I am only doing this because I like feeding trolls, despite the warnings on every forum.

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Posted: 06 May 2012 07:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]  
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There is no ‘messiah.’  And I haven’t insulted or called anyone a bigot.  You’re probably having a bad day.  Don’t take it out on me.  I have no obligation to carry on a discussion to your liking.  To call any ideas that continue to be discussed and debated ‘pointless’ is odd.  Maybe you’ve found the ‘answer,’ I haven’t.

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Posted: 07 May 2012 12:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]  
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mormovies - 06 May 2012 04:22 PM

I guess that’s a bizarre and dangerous concept around here.  [...] I expected everyone on this board to be open minded and into discovering things for themselves.

And this doesn’t sound like an insult to you?

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Posted: 07 May 2012 05:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]  
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It was absolutely not meant an insult.  When the majority of the posts imply that Objectivism, a purely secular philosophy, isn’t worthy of a second of consideration or discussion, I should safely be able to characterize specific posts as close-minded and overreacting, especially on a board where religion and mysticism are openly discussed and debated and given more respect.  Any ideas here should be fair game to attack and dissect as long as we don’t personally attack each other.

The best I can close out this thread is to refer to this:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-shermer/why-liberals-should-see-a_b_854697.html

It’s pretty much all I was trying to say.

[ Edited: 09 May 2012 08:24 PM by mormovies]
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Posted: 09 May 2012 06:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]  
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Then I accept your apology and apologize myself for overreacting. I’m still not going to read Ayn Rand anytime soon wink since Free Will is approaching my desk and I still haven’t finished my Joseph Campbell studies.

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Posted: 12 May 2012 06:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]  
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Hi Jon,

Your question seems genuine and heartfelt, so I will try to give you what pearls I’ve picked up along the way regarding this particular subject without getting too preachy on you.

Let me start off by illustrating how others’ opinions can effect your judgement by relaying my own intro to objectivism.

The first time I heard about Ayn Rand was in a cursory and less than favourable light on some or other audiobook, and I think the word cult may have been used to describe the Rand phenomenon (it might have been Will Durant’s The Story of Philosophy vol. II), I’m really not sure what the source was but it seemed to carry enough weight with me for me to dismiss her as potty and not give her another thought for another 2 years. Until…another more or less respectable source, the Atheist Experience with Russell Glasser and Matt Dillahunty did a segment on her, but this time in a bit more detail, and again while the initial considerations were spot on, the philosophy was misunderstood and the cult-like nature of her disciples became the centre of the discussion. I’m not sure how much later than this I heard Hitch briefly rail against her in one of his debates, but that contribution pretty much drove the last nail in the door as far as any future investment of my time in furthering my understanding of her philosophy was concerned.

But then I stumbled over one of her youtube television appearances, so…intrigued, and ready to confirm that she was a nut job, I watched it, and to my dismay and surprise I liked what she had to say, as you seem to intimate was the case with you. Admittedly at first the whole idea of ‘selfishness’ seemed to stick in my craw but once I realised what in fact she was driving at, the penny dropped and I had one of those really great experiences; that feeling you get when you recognise that this really simple idea seems to yield devastating explanatory power. It was the same feeling I had when I really got evolution for the first time, not that I ever believed in the applegate affair.

The point I’m making is that it is very easy to latch onto the world views of those whom you’ve placed on pedestals, but I’m sorry to say it is also very lazy, not to mention dangerous when we do so without responsible consideration of said views. I have a few pedestals on which my advocates perch including the likes of the Four Horsemen, the crew of the Atheist Experience (mostly), the Reasonable Doubts guys and some independents. The key thing here is that I agree with none of them completely, but with all of them mostly, and to that list I now add Ayn Rand. Admittedly you point to the source of the first real disagreement I have had with Sam for as long as I have heard and seen him, and freely confess that on this point I might be wrong, but unfortunately it is not an incidental disagreement it is a core disagreement. I could go off on a tangent and explain how Sam has bolstered one of the less important disagreements I have with the meat of objectivism regarding determinism, but I leave you to find own way on this matter, save to say that the agreement is only skin deep, the bones are still solid.

Just as you get those who will fight to the death to defend every utterance that comes from the lips of their chosen mystic prophet, you will get those secularists who just as vehemently defend every idea that flows from their secular prophets’ lips/pen. It’s funny when you think about it, they all seem so close to being spot on with just about every issue, but each of them has a quirk or two which I just cannot reconcile with my philosophy. Personally I think this means I’m using a discreet mechanism for protecting against wholesale dependance on authority. There’s no point in forcing this reconciliation between their seemingly inconsistent views and mine as is the practice of our sky muttering kin, as doing so only renders our whole philosophy useless when we jeopardise internal consistency in exchange for unfounded submission to authority.

The litmus test is this, and you should be used to it by now as an atheist, if the hypothesis stands up to proper and rigorous internal scrutiny then it should make no difference what public opinion has to say on the matter. Like evolution, another hypothesis that get’s misunderstood and misrepresented by the masses, does your hypothesis have explanatory power, has Occam had a go at it unsuccessfully, can you make predictions, and is the hypothesis findings corroborated via multiple varied disciplines, and generally applicable? I believe the answer to all these questions is ‘yes’. I’m very happy I came to Ayn Rand via the path I did as it was almost a kind of deconversion from the stereotypical orthodox view held by the atheist masses.

Where do all these other eminent commentators go wrong, you might ask? In my experience as is clearly evidenced by this forum topic and as I noted when I revisited Hitch’s and the AA references, there seems to be really only three main categories of understanding and criticism.

1.There are those who have not spent an iota of time investigating what Ayn Rand actually says, which shows when considered by those who have spent the time in detail investigation of her logic. These commentators usually make knee jerk judgements based on sound bites, hearsay criticism & incomplete hasty analysis.

2. There are those who commit the sin I have relayed above and lazily accept authoritative consensus. I will say no more about this as the lack of rigorous attention speaks for itself.

3.Then there are those who have properly investigated her work by reading at least her two main novels, her work on objectivist epistemology and some of the works of say Leonard Peikofff, and based on this analysis present real criticism based on accurate understanding of her work. I place myself in this bracket today, as I believe there is space for criticism for some of her ancillary views on things like the place of woman, her position on determinism and some other bits and pieces I disagree with.

However it must be said that all the criticism I have in my view better interprets the consequences of her core doctrine. In the same way that Darwins views on various ancillary issues is out of date and in places erroneous we can now criticise these views not only without destroying the underlying theory but in fact in so doing strengthen it. Either way ad hominem is never far away. I freely admit that Rand is herself responsible for bringing some of this criticism on herself, and her following seems to have developed a semi cult-like status where there is absolutely no thought of countering any opinion she puts forward.

I have not ever come across a single vehement critic of Ayn Rand who represents her position honestly, therefore they wage war either by ad hominem or rhetorical argumentation against a thoroughly defenseless straw man (i.e 1-2 above not 3 as 3 is not vehement). It is this that mormovies reacts to when complaining about how some know-it-alls here set themselves up with great fanfare as authorities to be taken seriously, when it is obvious to those who know the subject that it is being molested. I agree wholeheartedly with mormovies when I urge that you be the the final judge after, and only after, you have invested the time required to properly absorb and then cast judgement on her work.

Before I get lambasted with comments like I just don’t have the time to…or I don’t intend spending…or, or, or…there are plenty of youtube resources available to peruse for free and they won’t take too long to digest. Then if you still agree with these thatch-hackers then I would be very surprised. Here are some good starting points for good understanding and constructive criticism:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cW-xUEYaBnU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0i_e0DNY9Co
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zsOVoSzZX0&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOQZpV89xJY

and then thatch-hacker ad hominem par-excellence…try and spot the errors…I could open a topic in this conceited attitude to life.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1niKEPwC1I

and of course my vids alluded to above:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7c-Ei7btbI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbsMJx_t20w

I believe from considering just about all of her thatch-hacking critics that one of the major disagreements with her work is to do with the whole business of selfishness. And it is by far the most powerful concepts to absorb within her philosophy and I will try to draw out a better way to think about it’s intended meaning by presenting this little challenge; think of any action, love, hate, charity, and tell me if that action, if performed willingly, is ever completely devoid of any real value to you. Every single one of us lives for ourselves, we love people around us for no one else but ourselves, we eat, sleep, work and fight everyday to make ourselves happy. It amuses me that there are people out there who find this aspect of reality uncomfortable.

The second part of this misconception that her TH critics don’t understand that the ethics involves two indispensable parts without either of which an action becomes immoral. It is often stated as ‘rational self interest’ or ‘rational egoism’. So when a critic says, “If it is in my self interest to murder my neighbour then how can that be moral?”, to which you must apply the formula…

Is the action of murder rational? - Firstly as humans who have evolved highly sensitive empathetic emotions such an action could be agued to be against self interest as it would haunt the actor, and secondly say he is a psychopath (in which case first point is mute), the action is still immoral because it is not rational. He could get caught and punished, he could get himself killed in the process…etc. etc.
Is the action in his self interest? - If he reckons that it is then a. above in his mind is being misjudged or he is under the spell of some deleterious meme (9/11 bombers etc.), but other than this it is plainly not is his self interest as it would have major effect on his psychological health, his ability to carry on life without major lies and deception etc. etc.

Now when it comes to politics I would say there is no worse a way of getting a system to work well for it’s participants, than to design it for different participants. Capitalism isn’t always pretty but it is the ONLY system that is fit for human purpose, i.e. it works best to keep most of the people happy most of the time. There’s not much we can do about envy as a human trait except to protect each other from actions derived from this emotion.

So here it is…what is objectivism in a nutshell?...continued on next post…

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Posted: 12 May 2012 06:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]  
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PainfulButTrue - 12 May 2012 06:32 AM

So here it is…what is objectivism in a nutshell?...continued on next post…


1. METAPHYSICS - Do you believe that there is only a material existence, i.e. no supernatural existence?
(incidentally if you think there is no material existence please check yourself into the next psychiatric ward, and if you think there is supernatural existence there’s always a church or mosque ready to fleece you for you gullible efforts)

2. EPISTEMOLOGY - If you have answered yes to 1, do you believe that reason is the only means to achieving an understanding of this material existence?
(again if you disagree please tell me how you reasoned this without reason)

3. ETHICS - If you believe 1 & 2 correct, then do you think that a moral system based only on the use of reason to bring about you personal goals is considered reasonable as a moral doctrine.
(you don’t really have a choice with this one whether you like it or not, as a human you live essentially for yourself an the you survive using reason)

4. POLITICS - Given 1-3 above do you think a system which allows people to freely actuate their rational self interest is advantageous? Or is it best to tell people what they ought to want? And to allow for willing exchange of the fruits of those actions and ensure that this interaction is carried out willingly and without interference or to anyones detriment would it not be best for us to set up a government which is going to protect these liberties? (and here is where most objectivist critics part company with objectivists).

If you agree with 1-4 you meet the criteria of being an objectivist, welcome to the rational club.

To gain a better grasp of the political question I can strongly recommend HUMAN ACTION - Ludwig Von Mises, and loads of Milton Friedman youtube clips, especially his series capitalism.

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLA63EE8C7380A0A04&feature=plcp

Concentrate on the philosophy not the philosopher, that way you deal with substance not sensation.

Sorry about war n piece here but the first commentator needs this more than you do.

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Posted: 12 May 2012 07:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]  
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PainfulButTrue - 12 May 2012 06:34 AM

. . .

Concentrate on the philosophy not the philosopher, that way you deal with substance not sensation. . . .

Excellent suggestion. The mess that was Ayn Rand’s personal life couldn’t possibly have had anything to do with her carefully crafted prescriptions for all of humanity to formulate in the regulation of their own lives. Don’t even acknowledge the sensation.

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

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Posted: 12 May 2012 09:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]  
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“The mess that was Ayn Rand’s personal life…”

By any standard, Ayn Rand’s life cannot be characterized as a ‘mess.’  This is just plain dishonest.  IMO, she lived a pretty heroic and amazing life compared to any woman in her era.

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Posted: 12 May 2012 10:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]  
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nonverbal - 12 May 2012 07:31 AM
PainfulButTrue - 12 May 2012 06:34 AM

. . .

Concentrate on the philosophy not the philosopher, that way you deal with substance not sensation. . . .

Excellent suggestion. The mess that was Ayn Rand’s personal life couldn’t possibly have had anything to do with her carefully crafted prescriptions for all of humanity to formulate in the regulation of their own lives. Don’t even acknowledge the sensation.


After all that, all you can do is prove my point? Thanks.

For anyone who read my post (I know that might seem like a feat but try…at least if you don’t intend making an omelette of your face), and now reads yours, your words stand as evidence to my point.

So let me agree with you for the sake of argument…her personal life was an absolute disaster area…now what? Does that mean her philosophy should now be binned? Man alive, with that kind of logic let’s see who we should take seriously.

Newton…nope he was theist with really potty ideas about alchemy.
Socrates…he never bathed, neglected his wife and family.
Tycho Brahe…he hired a dwarf, dressed him up as a clown, and without any explanation had him sit silently underneath the dining table for the duration of the dinner…that’s not normal
Michelangelo…he was just filthy and rarely changed his clothes…yet his painted characters look quite ‘fresh’.
Alfred Russel Wallace…phrenologist
No doubt this list goes on…

If had the time or the inclination I might go on, but it seems you never read my post properly…I won’y bother with this inane retort any longer, save to say your point actually suggest that some great people also happen to be eccentric and don’t mingle well with those who don’t understand them. The point is you expose your lack of intellectual rigour when you attack a personality and not a philosophy…even if it is justified.

Enough said!

[ Edited: 12 May 2012 10:19 AM by PainfulButTrue]
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Posted: 12 May 2012 10:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]  
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Excellent response.  Talk about judgemental in the most extreme, tyrannical Puritanical sense of the word!  If anyone lives a personal life we don’t personally agree with, then we discount that person as a human being and sweep away all their achievements and contributions?  This is rational?  Trying to dig up, fabricate or distort the most heinous aspect of Rand’s life, you’ll be lucky to even find evidence of an outstanding parking ticket!  No flesh and blood mortal could stand up to the scrutiny of the fanatical ideologue.

[ Edited: 12 May 2012 10:41 AM by mormovies]
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Posted: 12 May 2012 09:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]  
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Oh, my. I seem to have touched a raw nerve. And I’m not even a dentist.

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

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Posted: 12 May 2012 11:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]  
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I just think you’re off your meds.

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Posted: 13 May 2012 12:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]  
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nonverbal - 12 May 2012 09:52 PM

Oh, my. I seem to have touched a raw nerve. And I’m not even a dentist.

It’s not a raw nerve it’s a Rand nerve…

I can see you’ve exhausted your intellectual capacity here…so it’s all barrel scraping for you going forward…

I’ll see if I can find a teletubbies forum for you to join…

 

[ Edited: 13 May 2012 12:51 AM by PainfulButTrue]
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