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message 1: by Ilyn (last edited Jul 17, 2008 02:44AM) (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
When Filial Duty clashes with Personal Desires:

“Study medicine,” your parents demand. “This would make us happy,” they implore. But you have a passion for another endeavor.

Dear friends, thank you for your time. Please share what you would do in this situation, and why.



message 2: by Ilyn (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
Faith and Reason

Excerpt from Reason Reigns:

***
Jaya was asked to speak on the podium after Ron. When she finished, she requested Ron to give another speech. The islanders were all ears as Ron solemnly addressed them.

“Reason is the faculty that deals with the perception of reality, while faith is the claim to a non-sensory means of knowledge. Principles and values derived from faith are often accepted without question even in the face of contrary evidence, while reason deals with facts and employs the method of non-contradictory identification.

Faith has been used to further ignorance, enshrine irrationality, and exploit people. With faith, there is no necessity for justification. Force is its corollary.

But if one's personal faith holds reason as its top value, then, faith and reason are not incompatible. If one's personal faith holds the life, freedom, and happiness of each human being as the most sacred of values, then, reason and faith can coexist, parallel to each other, in the same man.

This man uses reason for everything that can be explained, while his faith holds on to dreams that inspire him to live.

Faith in a God who is all-good and all-loving, who treasures each man, endowing him with a mind capable of understanding man's nature, the Earth, and the universe.

Faith in a God who so loves man that He respects his freedom of choice.

Faith that God shares the most sacrosanct of values: each man's life, his freedom, and his happiness here on Earth. Faith that Heaven and Earth are one and the same.

Faith that human life goes on until eternity, that everything is possible to man. Faith in miracles -

Think of a miracle. Believe that God has given the means to achieve it. Think, and find out the facts. Think, with the clarity of purpose. Let the vision of a miracle be a beacon to guide your actions. Think, and then act. Act with the confidence that miracles do happen to doers who strive to actualize them.

Rejoice! Angels do exist in our midst, though it takes the highest of virtues to recognize them.

Heaven on Earth can be achieved when reason reigns.”

Alisa gazed at Ron adoringly. “A good man,” she thought. “His mind matches his looks.” Ron was six feet and three inches tall. He was proud and joyously confident.

Ron continued, “I respect the freedom of each man to celebrate the holy month, but I do not hold humility as a virtue. I think self-sacrifice is evil, suffering has no value, and one’s own happiness is the purpose of life.”

Those who envied achievement, who hated men and women of ability, and who wanted people to grovel and weep, decided to execute Armageddon prior to the holy month.



message 3: by Ed (last edited Jul 19, 2008 04:42AM) (new)

Ed (ejhahn) Regarding the first comment: give me a break, here. "Follow your passion" is one of the greatest pieces of advice I've ever gotten.

Therefore, use your reason to figure out what you should do.


message 4: by Ilyn (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
Thank you Ed!

Very wise.


message 5: by Dollie (new)

Dollie | 1 comments At my step-daughters wedding, my husband had been looking for a quote to end his speech to the couple. We found this toast to appropriately end the speech:

"It is written: when children find true love, parents find true joy. Here's to your joy and ours, from this day forward."

Our daughter found what we thought initially to be an unlikely match but to her joy and eventually ours, she clearly has found true love. Parents? What do they know. Much less about their children's joy than they may think. But if they stay open and alert, there is a lot they can learn.


message 6: by Ilyn (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
What a beautiful, loving toast.

Thank you, Dollie, for sharing.


message 7: by Ilyn (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
Opening salvo from Reason Reigns:

Part 1 - Faith and Reason

The Current Month, Day 1 - The I-TON


“I swear to defend, preserve, and live by the Constitution of the Saviors’ Isle.”

Jay Rahman was elected Chief Civilian Executive of the 570-square-mile country located a few hundred miles west of Senna, a province of the Republic of Ibelyn. He took the oath of office beside his resplendent wife and their fifteen-year-old son, Jawo. Jaya Rahman, Jay’s sister, gloried in her younger brother.

The island’s entire northern frontier was a high steep face of a rock. All its five hundred and fifty-five citizens witnessed the ceremony at the eastern side of the massive rock. Basking in the early morning sunshine, they applauded Jay as he finished his speech, stepped down from the podium amid cheers, and mingled with the revelers.

The revelry was a total departure from tradition. In eleven days, the holy month for honoring humility, sacrifice, and suffering would commence.

Two men and a woman eyed the happy faces with self-righteous indignation. “These sinners worship pleasure and pride. They must be made to see the error of their ways!” The codename of the older man was Suff, while the younger man’s was Sac. Humi was the woman’s alias.

As the citizens relished the festivities, a delegation from the Union of Ibelyn arrived looking for Dr. Ari Hugo.

The doctor had studied saxitoxin since his return to the Saviors’ Isle four years ago. A month prior to the election, he saved the lives of numerous islanders, including Jay and his family, after they ate seafood infected with the red tide toxin. Moreover, an Ari chemical formulation eradicated red tide around the island.

The large medicine supply that Ari sent to his Uncle Ethan in Senna also saved many lives in Ibelyn. Residents of the Republic of Ibelyn paid for the red tide drug, and ordered huge quantities of the chemical product.

The Union of Ibelyn was located north of the Republic of Ibelyn. The latter seceded from the former after the great invasion almost two centuries ago.

The delegation demanded that Ari give up the medicine and the red tide buster for humanity. The Union officials pontificated, “It is evil to profit from suffering, from what people cannot do without.”

Ari was direct. “I deal exclusively with traders.” He turned his back and moved away from the delegation.

“Please explain, Dr. Hugo.”

Ari faced the delegation, but kept his distance. “You are free not to buy what I spent four years to create. I am free to sell the fruits of my labors in a manner of my choosing; I earned this right. I transact with people who respect property rights. If you are here as advocates for people who desire the unearned, you have wasted your time.”

“But the people need your creations! The medicine for red tide poisoning is necessary to save lives. The product that eradicates red tide is absolutely essential to the livelihood of fishermen and to increase the food supply.”

“By your reasoning, only those who create products or offer services that have nothing to do with saving or improving lives may trade; that those who do otherwise forfeit their rights.”

“The public needs your medicine and your red tide buster. Poor folks utterly need them!”

“As I will not be ruled by a single human being, neither will I forfeit my rights to the public. An emperor has no claim on me; neither does a poor man. Need is not a claim.”

Many appreciated Ari’s principled stance which was in keeping with the individual rights enshrined in the island’s Constitution. But some vowed to destroy him. Each thought, “Ari is a danger to our cause and to society. He must be stopped!”


message 8: by Jason (new)

Jason Williams (aworldinfinite) I agree with Ron, with exception to the self-sacrifice and suffering part. Those depend on the situation.


message 9: by Jason (last edited Jul 22, 2008 07:37AM) (new)

Jason Williams (aworldinfinite) I've come to the conclusion that loving someone means a type of pride in their essential being. It means being proud and supporting who they truly are.

Not to say that the parents don't love the child in the above hypothetical situation (all the way at the top), but I think love means supporting what would make the child personally happy, and the parents being happy in the child pursuing their own calling.


message 10: by Jason (last edited Jul 22, 2008 07:44AM) (new)

Jason Williams (aworldinfinite) This makes me think of (here in NYC) having to pay ridiculous prices for transportation and medical help. Yes, Ari has a right to profit off his product like everyone else in a Capitalist society, but there should be a "roof", a maximum for how much Ari can charge for his product.


message 11: by Ilyn (last edited Jul 22, 2008 08:59AM) (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
Hello Jason,

Welcome to the group.

Regarding Ron's: "I think self-sacrifice is evil, suffering has no value..."

* * * suffering:

When Ron was 11 years old, his parents vanished. This is an excerpt:

After the ceremony, Ron joined fifteen-year-old Josephine Schwartz, eight-year-old Alisa Connor, and other children. They were having fun playing when Josef’s mother whispered to Ron, “My child, you should be in mourning.”

“I have to be happy,” Ron replied. “Father and Mother will be lonely in heaven if they see me sad.” But in his soul, the eleven-year-old was in the depths of sorrow. Often, he had to tell himself, “Mother and Father see me. They know my thoughts. Mother, Father, stay with me. I need you… I will not cry nor be lonely. I will be happy!”

Ron regarded his grandparents who had tears in their eyes. He said solemnly, “Father held dear that suffering is not a value, and that happiness is the aim of one’s existence.” He joined and played with the other children.

* * * end of excerpt

"Suffering has no value" means that one should fight it.



* * * Regarding "self-sacrifice is evil":

Sacrifice is giving up:

- a value over a non-value
- a higher value over a lower value

If parents work very hard, forego luxuries and even scrimp on basic necessities in order to send their child to school - this is not sacrifice because their child's well-being makes them happy. The child is their TOP value. Their child is more important than anything; his/her education is a value that the parents cherish above any luxury, and even worth scrimping for.

If citizens demand that their soldiers treat terrorists with kid gloves, and their own soldiers die - this is sacrifice.

The essence of individual rights is not sacrificing anyone for another or for the majority. Asking another person to sacrifice himself is evil. Glorifying self-sacrifice is evil.

When volunteer-soldiers risk their lives because they love freedom, this is not sacrifice. It means that they value freedom above their own lives.

Founding Father Patrick Henry: “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"


The Virtue of Selfishness by Ayn Rand explains self-sacrifice and self-esteem very clearly and wisely.

Feel free to ask questions. Thank you for posting.


message 12: by Ilyn (last edited Jul 26, 2008 11:10AM) (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
Thank you, Jason. It's a joy having you here.

The principle involved with Ari and his products is: property rights.

Without property rights, there can be no other rights. Say, a farmer works hard on a farm to feed his family. Without property rights, anyone could take his crops or his farm.

Regarding roof/ceiling prices. I value freedom, so I prefer free-trade. A reasonable person would price his products based on reason. Ari values and respects human beings, so he would not charge unconscionable prices.

A real-life hero is Henry Ford. At a time when cars were very very expensive, he made it his mission to create a car-model any man could afford.

While I was researching "tractors" for the "auto-plow" in Reason Reigns, I found out Henry Ford endeavored to create an inexpensive tractor at a time when the production cost was very high and only a few could afford it. His vision was for every man to have food such that there would be no more wars. He succeeded in creating an inexpensive tractor.

A creator/producer is a good man. A good man would never take advantage of any human being.


message 13: by Ilyn (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
More excerpts from Reason Reigns (RR) on self-sacrifice:

“I understand,” Anton reflected. He had deep-blue earnest eyes like his brother, Ali. “I will save or help good people because it is in my own interest that the good live and prosper. But I would not sacrifice myself, nor guilt myself for not doing so.”

“I won’t ever want anyone to sacrifice for me,” added Ali. “If Father or Mother dies saving Anton or me - that is not sacrifice since they value us more than their lives.”



message 14: by Ilyn (last edited Aug 12, 2008 10:22PM) (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
Posted in the To the Glory of Man group: The Virtue of Selfishness


message 15: by Ilyn (last edited Jul 27, 2008 06:38AM) (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
"This, in every hour and every issue, is your basic moral choice: thinking or non-thinking, existence or non-existence, A or non-A, entity or zero."

- Atlas Shrugged

*

"Integration is the essential part of understanding."

- Ayn Rand


message 16: by Ilyn (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
* When Filial Duty clashes with Personal Desires

Excerpt from Reason Reigns:

A day passed. A Yani valet waited for Kiran at the Academy’s dormitory hall. She had been summoned by her parents. She went to their house in the city.

“Are you dating Ron Balian?” her father asked.

“May I not answer, Father?”

“What do you think of him?” her mother’s tone was gentle.

“I admire him, Mother.”

“Your engagement to Rod Junior will be announced in two weeks. You will be married in six months. The Gullios will arrive shortly. Everything has been arranged,” Rudi Yani declared authoritatively.

“I will decide whom and when to marry.”

“Your position in society as the Yani heiress dictates that you must do your duty.”

“You think that it is a categorical imperative that I should obey regardless of my personal desire, that I have to undertake an unchosen burden, a causeless, not goal-directed, not reality-oriented obligation, regardless of the consequences. I cannot. I abhor the moral principle that behavior should be determined by duty.”

“Please do it for your father and me.”

“Why do you wish me a living death? No, I won’t marry Rod Junior.”

Her father demanded in a low but forceful tone, “If you won’t do it for the sake of filial duty, then do it for the good of Balian.”

Kiran regarded her parents calmly, her body erect and still. “If Ron is ever hurt, I will leave Rod Junior.”


message 17: by Ilyn (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
IF

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master,
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

- Rudyard Kipling



message 18: by Mandy (new)

Mandy (mandyp) | 10 comments In response to Jason: "Yes, Ari has a right to profit off his product like everyone else in a Capitalist society, but there should be a "roof", a maximum for how much Ari can charge for his product."


I must respectfully disagree. The only "roof" of profit should be the maximum people are willing to pay. Its a simple issue of supply and demand. If there's a high demand for a product, the price will skyrocket, so long as consumers still feel that the product or service is worth the price. As soon as the price gets higher than demand (or what consumers are willing to pay) the prices will drop.

Look at oil. The cost was becoming ridiculous. But as more and more people became unwilling to pay the prices, and started exercising that unwillingness by curtailing their spending at the pump, prices started going down. In addition, because the price became too exorbitant, it's now inspired people to start seriously researching and investing in our own resources and in alternatives to oil; the latter of which was previously only the interest of the "greens".

Supply and demand, my friend, is the ultimate deciding factor in a free market economy. Regulations should only be considered so far as to prevent criminal behavior (ie, tampering with the books and such). That kind of regulation is the intention behind the regulation clauses in the Constitution.


message 19: by David (new)

David Santiago | 1 comments Sure, charge whatever you want for an item or service and see what the market will bear. Supply and demand should be the driving forces on pricing most goods and services. But there needs to be some humanity and morality in making necessities available. There are laws about price gouging.
In general, I think the ability of a completely free market society to supply the general population is overestimated and misunderstood. It works if you believe to succeed in business, you have to cater to the masses. Well, basically maximum profit in a free market occurs when you sell to a certain percentage of the population at high price. The smaller the percentage the better. That reduces the overhead of transportation, advertising, marketing, etc. to those who you don't need to buy your product for you to succeed in business. A free market would have had the cost of gasoline at over $6 a gallon years ago at those lone gas stations in the middle of nowhere.
If the prices of food weren't regulated (profit caps, subsidies, tariffs, ...) there would be even more starvation. Most Americans would have a significantly reduced "quality of life" based on the everyday products they would not have been able to purchase on their income. Suburban and modern rural living come from availability of reasonably priced goods and services outside of cities.

Most economies are mixed with some regulation to benefit the general population.



message 20: by Ilyn (last edited Aug 10, 2008 01:03PM) (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
"When I disagree with a rational man, I let reality be our final arbiter; if I am right, he will learn; if I am wrong, I will; one of us will win, but both will profit."

- Ayn Rand

*

Thank you, Jason, Mandy, David, and everyone.

*

Let's use a specific example - Ari and his red tide medicine:

What is the motivation of an individual to spend time and effort studying a toxin and creating a medicine?

To save oneself, one's loved ones, one's neighbors, one's community, when one is poisoned of such toxin.

If no other has exerted the effort to produce the same medicine, or if no other has the mental capacity, then the medicine creator would have a monopoly.

Let's say that a father's wife and children are poisoned and would die without the medicine; the father could not afford the amount of the medicine.

If you are that father, what would you do?

If you are a government official, what woud you do?

* * *

If I'm the father, I would give whatever assets I have; if they are not enough, I would sign a promissory note.

I would work hard to pay the debt. I would be immensely thankful that the medicine creator exists, and I would be happy that my hard-earned money goes to him. I would hope that he continues to live, comfortably and happily, to create more life-saving products.

* * *

What if many in the community sign promissory notes but do not pay?

The medicine creator would need to do other tasks to support himself. The next time that an epidemic occurs, there won't be enough medicines to save lives.

* * *

Say, citizens petition the government official to force the medicine creator to continue producing the medicine and to provide it to anyone who needs it, for free.

This is slavery.

* * *

Say, not for free, but lower than the production cost. Still slavery.

* * *

Say, slightly above the production cost.

Ari is right to say: "I deal exclusively with traders.” Because there can be no other rights without property rights.

No one has the right to enslave others. Need is not a claim.

An individual who is motivated to spend precious time and effort creating a value is a good person. He would price such a value reasonably.

Henry Ford, a great creator, was a great man. He achieved his vision: that the car and the tractor be manufactured inexpensively, so every man would be able to afford them.


message 21: by Ilyn (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
Conversations with Marc:

Hello Ilyn,

My first novel attacked me when I was in Grad School for philosophy. I originally saw the main character, Tarkas, as a man with Kant's Holy Will, who did the right thing because it was the right thing to do. I wrote it over the course of my classes there and many of the ideas I picked up became part of it. I do not let any of my characters spout off on the Meaning of Life, which is something I've always hated in other books where the author had a philosophical axe to grind. My preferred method is to have the characters live and act according to the worldview they hold.

I wrote the second book while going to school for a Comp. Sci. degree, which I think has affected the style of my writing there as well.

I just finished my third novel, the first that becomes even remotely philosophical, by reference to other philosophers rather than spewing worldview bilge. The main character majored in Philosophy and Practicals, on the belief that there is nothing more ultimately practical than philosophy. It is my belief that it is not enough to just live. One has to have a reason to live, a story to one's life, a story that IS one's life.

To me the focus of my stories is the characters, not plot or theme, except as they spring from the characters. What do they want, and what are they doing to get it?

Anyway, lest I slide into diatribe Hell, let me say thanks, and I wish you well with your book. I hope someday you will take a look at the stories I've made of my life.

Marc

* * *

Hello Marc,

Thank you for your friendship and well wishes for Reason Reigns. I also wish you everything good. May you have good health always, may you achieve your dreams, and may you always be happy.

I just read "Off the Map". I will read "A Warrior Made" next weekend.

Regarding: "... who did the right thing because it was the right thing to do."

What standard is used when determining what is right? Ayn Rand explained it in detail and I agree - it is one's own life, one's self. Every man is an end in himself.

What furthers one's own life is the good. The principle of individual rights is sacred.

Kant is for altruism while Rand is for rational self-interest.

I am a much better and happier person because of Ayn Rand. I learned fiction writing from her book, The Romantic Manifesto; I posted info in Happy & Brainy.

Ayn also said:

"When I disagree with a rational man, I let reality be our final arbiter; if I am right, he will learn; if I am wrong, I will; one of us will win, but both will profit."

"If I were to speak your kind of language, I would say that man's only moral commandment is: Thou shalt think. But a "moral commandment" is a contradiction in terms. The moral is the chosen, not the forced; the understood, not the obeyed. The moral is the rational, and reason accepts no commandments."

*

I will write again. I look forward to hearing more from you. Have a wonderful day.


All the best,

Ilyn


message 22: by Ilyn (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
From Marc:

The problem with letting reality be the final arbiter is that the nature of reality is exactly what is at issue. Every man's reality is his own, a work of fiction. The thing that is the tree is there, but it only becomes a tree when I conceive it so, and it becomes different trees when different people conceive it. An elm tree is a different thing to me than it is to a botanist or a landscaper. The business of argument is to bring our differing conceptions of reality into some sort of congruency, which means we are changing our realities as we go.

*

My reply:

Existence exists. A is A.

Objective reality exists whether we know of it or not. DNA has always existed, centuries before man discovered it.

Man exists. Nature exists. Man has the faculty to understand nature: reason.

The laws of nature are: Identity and Causality.

The Earth revolves around the sun, even if a holy book says otherwise. The Earth is not flat even if 99.99 % of the world population thought otherwise. A tree is a tree; it has its own nature. It cannot turn into a forest even if a botanist wishes it to. It cannot turn into a rose even if a landscaper wishes so. It has no capacity to walk or talk even if Tolkien wrote that it could.

I exist. I have volition. I choose to think and use reason. Reality exists and reason reigns.


message 23: by Ilyn (last edited Aug 10, 2008 08:49PM) (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
From Marc:

For all we know trees and rocks are talking, just so slowly that we can't perceive it. It's not the thing that matters, it's the meaning of the thing. Objective reality exists but is irrelevant. An event or thing unperceived is of no moment. It is when I perceive it and make it part of the story of my life that it matters. To answer Bishop Berkeley's question, a tree that falls in a forest when there is no one around to hear it makes no noise. It makes the vibration, yes, but without a listener the vibration means nothing, or something very different to something which perceives by other means.

*

My reply:

Whether a man’s understanding of the nature of a thing is real or not, true or false, right or wrong, depends on its correspondence to the thing’s identity.

It is a man's choice to accept or disregard objective reality.

*

Some appreciate man's greatness while some hate man.

Some think altruism is good, and that concern with one's self-interest is evil. Ayn Rand thought selfishness is a virtue; so do I.

The judgments of different individuals could differ; some evade thought.

When a loved one's life is in the hands of a doctor, would one tell the doctor: "objective reality is irrelevant"?

When a toxin threatens the food supply, would one disregard objective reality?

What is the difference between civilized and uncivilized societies? How they regard objective reality.


message 24: by Ilyn (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
I said to Marc:

Could I post our conversation under Happy & Brainy?

It might be of interest to others. And it might spur a lively debate.

Thanks.

*

Marc said to me:

Feel free.


message 25: by Henrik (new)

Henrik Just a few words this time around. This is a very interesting thread, but alas I don't have much time in my sparetime to write lengthier replies. I hope you'll all forgive me...

"A is A" says Ilyn. Fair enough--except that you also connect this with "Existence exists", Ilyn. The logical principle of A = A has no necessary logical connection with actual existence. It is a basic element of rational reasoning, yes, but that has nothing to do (in itself) with the Reality of Nature. It's pure abstraction, if you will.

And the rest of your summary of what you believe re. reality sounds fine--but lacks solid, argumentary basis whatsoever. Now, I am not saying you don't have such arguments, nor that they cannot be brought to the fore, but merely stating that I can't find them in what you say. It's statements, nothing more. And as such, they are very loose, in my opinion.

Likewise with the notion of "I exist. I have volition"... On what grounds do you believe (!--this is not the same as knowing) this?

Lastly--I may be wrong here, but I also have the impression that you believe in God? Is that true? If so, how does this work in unison with the statements on "pure reasoning" you seem to be advocating?

Looking forward to hear everyone's thought on this.


message 26: by Mandy (new)

Mandy (mandyp) | 10 comments David:

"Humanity" has no large place in business. A company is not a person and should not operate as such. A company has a responsibility to the people who have invested in it (ie, the stockholders). The type of person who is targeted as a potential buyer (and therefore priced accordingly) is dependent on what type of product is being sold and what the goals of the company are.

Now, I have no problem with "some" regulation. Our Constitution provides for it in under limited circumstances in order to keep companies from price gouging, obtaining absolute monopolies, etc. That's fine.

However, we have to acknowledge that too much government interference can significantly harm the market, as well as the population that must rely on the market to survive. A prime example is the current economic "crisis". The federal government insisted on interfering by lowering interest rates, bailing out airlines and banks, etc. However, the economic bubble would have burst a lot sooner than it did and we wouldn't have had as far to go in order to recover if the feds hadn't interfered. They prolonged the problem that caused the crisis in the first place, digging us a deeper and deeper hole to try and climb out of. And the general population is worse off because of it.

Your suggestion that a more free market would have had the price of gasoline much higher is faulty and it shows in the results of the current drop in price. The kind of profits oil companies are looking to make (as returns on their massive investments) cannot survive on consumption of their products via the upper class alone. Their survival depends on oil being a commodity that most people are willing to pay for.

Since the prices started rising, we have seen record lows in fuel consumption at the pump. What happened? The prices came back down. Why? Because the oil companies were losing money. It's that simple. Your suggestion that if there weren't regulation, people would be starving is based on what assumption? Certainly not the reality of how the market works and is working today.


message 27: by Mandy (new)

Mandy (mandyp) | 10 comments Henrik: "Lastly--I may be wrong here, but I also have the impression that you believe in God? Is that true? If so, how does this work in unison with the statements on "pure reasoning" you seem to be advocating? "

I cannot answer for Ilyn because I do not know if she believes in God. However, I do and can provide insight into the inner workings of someone who holds to both reason and God.

Contrary to what some believe, the concept of God and reason are not mutually exclusive. While there are some that outright dismiss the idea of anything outside of the observable world as irrational, I contend it is that attitude which is irrational. Reason tells us we are finite beings. Therefore, rational beings must acknowledge that they cannot "know" everything. Rational beings must also acknowledge that there are many forces in the universe that are not observable, but are accepted universally as fact. Gravity, the laws of Physics, etc. We cannot see these things, but we know they are there and there is some evidence that they exist.

My belief in God is a highly researched and extremely reasoned one. I am honest enough to admit I am not an expert, however I am a thinker and I have the ability to examine any such evidence for myself and come to a well reasoned conclusion. The same is true for my decision to believe in God.

I'm certain this is not the place to debate science, so I will refrain from posting too much on this subject. Suffice it to say that the scientific evidence that there is some serious fine tuning in the universe (which I could tell you about for weeks, literally) is overwhelming. The current theories of random chance happening to bring things together as they are simply don't make any logical sense, given what we know about the observable universe.

In addition, it seems that many who cling to a denial of any God are being forced to go to further and further extremes to try and explain how the universe is what it is. Super string theory is one example of such overreaching. Reason tells me that resorting to hypothesizing the unprovable to disprove another unprovable is irrational.

This is just a taste of my reasoning. I won't bore you with it all. However, I can say that I came to reason FIRST and to God SECOND, and as a result of the first. My conclusions about God are as follows:

God endowed us with our most outstanding qualities. Everything good and noble that human beings are capable of achieving is of God. God is just. God values free will. God allows us to choose for ourselves. It is our choices that have the potential to bring good or evil into this world. God says "love thy neighbor" but he also says "as you love yourself". God says "do unto others" but he also says "as you would have them do unto you". This isn't some system of pointless self-sacrifice. God wants the BEST of us. He wants us to choose to achieve. He wants our nobility.

Anyway, just some of my thoughts on the subject.




message 28: by Ilyn (last edited Aug 11, 2008 08:17PM) (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
Hello Henrik, Mandy, Marc, David, and everybody.

Good evening.

*
Regarding Henrik's: "On what grounds do you believe (!--this is not the same as knowing) this?"

referring to my statements: "I exist. I have volition."

My answer:

I KNOW I exist because it is self-evident. This is an axiom, an irreducible primary.

*
I envision asking two human beings (HB1 & HB2): Do you exist?

Answers:

HB1: "No, I don't exist."

HB2: "I am a noumenon: unknowable & indescribable."

How do I communicate with HB1 who believes he does not exist (yet, he could evaluate that he does not exist), or with HB2 who does not know he exists?

I would think I misundertood, so I would further ask: Does the Internet exist?

Answers:

HB1: "There is no existence."

HB2: "I can never be certain; I believe the Internet is of an utterly indeterminate nature."

I already know the answers if I ask: Does Goodreads exist?


message 29: by Ilyn (last edited Aug 11, 2008 07:39PM) (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
Regarding: "The logical principle of A = A has no necessary logical connection with actual existence."

Answer: To exist, an existent must have a particular identity.

Aristotle's Law of Identity: A is A

*
Everything that exists has a specific nature or identity. Since reality has an identity, it is knowable.


message 30: by Ilyn (last edited Aug 12, 2008 02:22PM) (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
Regarding: "... I also have the impression that you believe in God? Is that true? If so, how does this work in unison with the statements on "pure reasoning" you seem to be advocating?"

Full answer:

I never use "pure" when I mention reason, because the proponent of that term, Immanuel Kant, was as evil as his principles of altruism and categorical imperative. His noumenal world is a negation of the mind.

Ayn Rand admired a great advocate of reason who was also a man of faith: St. Thomas Aquinas.

I am an Objectivist-Thomist, which to me means: an independent thinker who agrees with Ayn Rand's Philosophy of Objectivism, and, like St. Thomas Aquinas, believe in a benevolent God.

REASON REIGNS' Ron Balian speaks for me:

“Reason is the faculty that deals with the perception of reality, while faith is the claim to a non-sensory means of knowledge. Principles and values derived from faith are often accepted without question even in the face of contrary evidence, while reason deals with facts and employs the method of non-contradictory identification.

Faith has been used to further ignorance, enshrine irrationality, and exploit people. With faith, there is no necessity for justification. Force is its corollary.

But if one's personal faith holds reason as its top value, then, faith and reason are not incompatible. If one's personal faith holds the life, freedom, and happiness of each human being as the most sacred of values, then, reason and faith can coexist, parallel to each other, in the same man.

This man uses reason for everything that can be explained, while his faith holds on to dreams that inspire him to live.

Faith in a God who is all-good and all-loving, who treasures each man, endowing him with a mind capable of understanding man's nature, the Earth, and the universe.

Faith in a God who so loves man that He respects his freedom of choice.

Faith that God shares the most sacrosanct of values: each man's life, his freedom, and his happiness here on Earth. Faith that Heaven and Earth are one and the same.

Faith that human life goes on until eternity, that everything is possible to man. Faith in miracles -

Think of a miracle. Believe that God has given the means to achieve it. Think, and find out the facts. Think, with the clarity of purpose. Let the vision of a miracle be a beacon to guide your actions. Think, and then act. Act with the confidence that miracles do happen to doers who strive to actualize them.

Rejoice! Angels do exist in our midst, though it takes the highest of virtues to recognize them.

Heaven on Earth can be achieved when reason reigns.”


message 31: by Ilyn (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
Thanks Henrik, Mandy, Marc, David, and everyone for the spirited conversations.


message 32: by Henrik (new)

Henrik Hi Ilyn,

Thanks for replying:-)

"To exist, an existence must have a particular identity". Yes--but that is not the same as that identity being discernable or knowable by us. The metaphysical matter of things may not be accesible through our epistemological workings (which is the means where we "filter" all experience and knowledge).

More later. I see that there are now several comments to what I wrote. I'll try to catch up asap, okay?




message 33: by Henrik (new)

Henrik Dear Mandy,

Thanks for that well-composed reply:-)

My wife has thoughts along lines fairly close to yours, it seems. And I certainly respect that. I do not, however, believe so myself. Personally, I think there are more good reasons (I won't go into that either--would take a loooot of time and space:-P) for why there's no God than why there is. However, I leave the possibility open, since, after all, I cannot know if perhaps there's just something fundamental that I have been missing. So I don't believe in a God, but I don't rule it out 100% either.

"The current theories of random chance happening to bring things together as they are simply don't make any logical sense". They may not make sense to you, but that's beside the point, isn't it, ultimately? After all, maybe we human beings, limited as we admittedly are, just don't understand the greater workings of Nature? (I say this without any connection to an idea of "Greater Religious Workings".)

It seems to me that too often we human beings--whether believing in some religion or atheists--keep insisting too much on "We CAN KNOW" about The Ultimate Things (the Universe, Other Spheres of Existence, God etc.). Maybe we really can't?

That, in my opinion, is the true rational conclusion. (Briefly and rather crudely put, of course:-P)


message 34: by Mandy (new)

Mandy (mandyp) | 10 comments "Faith has been used to further ignorance, enshrine irrationality, and exploit people. With faith, there is no necessity for justification. Force is its corollary.

But if one's personal faith holds reason as its top value, then, faith and reason are not incompatible. If one's personal faith holds the life, freedom, and happiness of each human being as the most sacred of values, then, reason and faith can coexist, parallel to each other, in the same man."

That pretty much sums it up for me, Ilyn. I've never been one to blindly follow anyone, and while I respect each person's right to believe as they so choose, people who practice "blind" faith have always bothered me a bit.

It seems to me, that if your faith is based on "just believing" instead of reason, that it will fall apart at the first challenge.


message 35: by Mandy (new)

Mandy (mandyp) | 10 comments Henrick,

"It seems to me that too often we human beings--whether believing in some religion or atheists--keep insisting too much on "We CAN KNOW" about The Ultimate Things (the Universe, Other Spheres of Existence, God etc.). Maybe we really can't? "

I would say I agree with that statement. I think an honest person must admit that we will likely never know everything. We will likely never know most of whet thee is to know about the universe and its nature. I think we have to make the best decision based on what we do know and be open to altering our ideas if new evidence leads us there.

This is a great discussion everyone, and I'm really enjoying it!


message 36: by Ilyn (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
Thank you for the great exchange of ideas.


message 37: by Ilyn (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
Regarding economic regulations:

I admire and support the original American system: Capitalism.

I fully agree with Ayn Rand; she said:

"When I say "capitalism", I mean a full, pure, uncontrolled, unregulated laissez-faire capitalism - with a separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church."

*
"There can be no compromise between freedom and government controls; to accept "just a few controls" is to surrender the principle of inalienable individual rights and to substitute for it the principle of the government's unlimited, arbitrary power, thus delivering oneself into gradual enslavement."

*
"There can be no compromise on moral principles. In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win. In any compromise between good an evil, it is only evil that can profit."

*
There can be no other rights without property rights.


message 38: by Ilyn (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
REASON REIGNS' Dr. Ari Hugo:

Four Years Ago - The Fun House


Glenda received an invitation from her parents. While waiting for dinner, Mrs. Ibelyn showed off newspaper headlines praising the passage of a bill.

“Your father’s name appears in all the papers giving him credit for pushing this law. Everybody loves it. It passed unanimously. The masses hail it as great, compassionate, and humanitarian.”

Ari and Glenda stayed quiet. Lola paid close attention.

“Not only will this ensure my reelection, this is my legacy,” Representative Don Ibelyn voiced what had been in his mind since he proposed the policy. “I have provided a valuable gift to the public. Now, by law, every man has the right to medical care.”

He told Ari, “The Medical Association has eagerly concurred.” He read from a press release of the organization, “‘… our sacred goal is selfless service to our patients.’”

“I am no longer a member of the Medical Association,” Ari replied. “I gave notice this morning. I have also sent letters to all my patients; I am closing my practice in two months.”

“Why?” Ari’s father-in-law was aghast!

“How could you?” This was from his mother-in-law.

All eyes were on Ari.

“I refuse to be a servant of my patients. No man has the right to enslave others.”

“You are taking this way too seriously. This has nothing to do with enslavement.” Representative Ibelyn’s tone was most persuasive and sincere.

“If a man has the right to a man-made value, the person who is going to provide it is a slave,” Ari reasoned.

“You don’t have to interpret the policy literally,” Ari’s father-in-law fumed. “How dare you oppose me!”

“This will greatly embarrass your father! This is a scandal. You can’t do this,” Mrs. Ibelyn bemoaned.

“I won’t let you ruin this family’s reputation,” Don Ibelyn glared. “I will not be made the laughing stock of the city. How dare you sully my stature! Glenda, you will leave this man!”

“Father, your moral stature depends on what you do; it has nothing to do with what Ari or I do.” Glenda stood up. “I am proud of Ari. I admire his decision.” She added, “I am selling the school and closing the bookstore. Lola and I are going with Ari to the Saviors’ Isle.”

“You are no longer my daughter.”

“Father, I will always love you. But you have supported legalized robbery in the name of the poor. A moral man keeps his hands off another man’s life or property. It is evil to extort a man’s service or money. It is evil to give away that which you do not own. A moral government protects individual rights. It does not penalize those who create wealth. It does not demand that those who have invested time, effort, and money in acquiring skills to save lives and to heal the sick give up their services, energy, happiness, and their very lives to the public.”

Glenda, Ari, and Lola walked to the door.

“Glenda! How could you cause so much harm and heartache? You have always defied your father and me. You have never made us happy. One day, you will reap this from your own daughter.”

“Mother, all Lola has to do to make me happy is to be happy herself.”

...


message 39: by Ilyn (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
I will reply to the metaphysics & epistemology discussion Wednesday night.




message 40: by Ilyn (last edited Aug 14, 2008 03:54AM) (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
Hello everyone. It's Thursday early morning - good morning.

Henrik mentioned "pure reasoning" and "filter" ["... epistemological workings (which is the means where we "filter" all experience and knowledge)."]

These ideas are of the Kantian philosophy which is presented below.

I revere Ayn Rand and her Philosophy of Objectivism. Ayn greatly admired Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas. In a few words, I will present their metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, and aesthetics (art) no later than this weekend.

This is from Ayn's For The New Intellectual:

The “phenomenal” world, said Kant, is not real: reality, as perceived by man’s mind, is a distortion. The distorting mechanism is man’s conceptual faculty: man’s basic concepts (such as time, space, existence) are not derived from experience or reality, but come from an automatic system of FILTERS in his consciousness (labeled “categories” and “forms of perception”) which impose their own design on his perception of the external world and make him incapable of perceiving it in any manner other than the one in which he does perceive it.

This proves, said Kant, that man’s concepts are only a delusion, but a collective delusion which no one has the power to escape. Thus reason and science are “limited”, said Kant; they are valid only so long as they deal with this world, with a permanent, pre-determined collective delusion (and thus the criterion of reason’s validity was switched from the objective to the collective), but they are impotent to deal with the fundamental, metaphysical issues of existence, which belong to the “noumenal” world.

[continuation - Kant's words] The “noumenal” world is unknowable; it is the world of “real” reality, “superior” truth and “things in themselves” or “things as they are” –

[continuation - Ayn's words] which means: things as they are NOT perceived by man.

Even apart from the fact that Kant’s theory of the “categories” as the source of man’s concepts was a preposterous invention, his argument amounted to a negation, not only of man’s consciousness, but of any consciousness, of consciousness as such.

His argument, in essence, ran as follows: man is limited to a consciousness of a specific nature, which perceives by specific means and no others, therefore, his consciousness is not valid; man is blind, because he has eyes – deaf, because he has ears – deluded, because he has a mind – and the things he perceives do not exist, because he perceives them.


message 41: by Henrik (new)

Henrik Thanks for that reply re. Kantian thinking vs. your own (which, I understand, is along the lines of Ayan Rand). Very interesting.

First of all I want to make it clear that my question re. "pure reason" was based on neither Kantian thinking (which I am familiar with) nor because I myself believe it in such manner. It was based merely on curiosity because of earlier remarks by you--and I admit I did not think it would stir any ideas about Kant. Sorry about that. My bad, as they say:-)

As for "filter" being Kantian. Well, you could say that, I suppose--but that was not how I intended it. Let me be very clear, here: Personally I am very much an empiricist, the very philosophical outlook Kant deliberately fought against. That was my stand when I used the term "filter". But, again, I admit to have been rather vague here. Sorry about that too:-)

That said, I must say I find that reading of Kant rather troublesome and way too onesided. I hold no particular love for Kantian thinking (you'd know if you'd heard me through the years, studying Philosophy, heheh). Kant was actually trying to escape the problems of, for example, empiricism. Now, why would he do that, some of you might now be thinking. Well, he had good reasons (!). John Locke reached an, empirically based, conclusion that the human mind is rather limited and that therefore our knowledge, too, was rather limited--although he nonetheless insisted that there was a Truth "out there", something objectively existing... Which he called "a thing I know not what" (so this is not a Kantian expression, originally). And things are even worse with another of the great, classic empiricists, David Hume. In short, Hume argues--also with due reference to actual experience--that we have no rational grounds for believing our beliefs in the Uniformity of Nature to be true. We believe it based on inductive reasoning, which is actually not a very good basis for sure knowledge. There's a lot of arguments here but the short of the matter is that he ends up saying we simply believe so-and-so to be true, but have no real Knowledge about it.

Hume also argued against metaphysical thinking, by the way, since it was definitely beyond what we can actually experience in the physical world or can categorize for certain in our minds (like numbers);-)

Kant reacted strongly against these--very sceptical--lines of thinking. On the one hand he saw the points, if one accepted a straight empirical line of seeing things, but on the other he found it quite lacking and, in fact, rather far-fetched. So while trying to respect the points (accepting the limitation of what we can know based on pure experience) he tried to argue that we can nevertheless know certain things about the World "as it is". Unfortunately he had to do this in a way that often steers into a rather radical subjectivism + a transcendental stand train of thought.

Again, I am not an advocate of his thinking, but I think the arguments against him sound a little too hard here. At least as it's been presented so far...

Earlier in this thread there's also been said that Kant's ethical position is sort of Evil. A shame, really, because what he tries to argue for is goodness...

More later...



message 42: by Ilyn (last edited Aug 14, 2008 11:25PM) (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
Thanks everyone for the thoughtful conversations.

Thanks Marc and Henrik for the presentations of different philosophies. Hopefully, the ideas stir up minds, to ponder and research further...

*
Ayn Rand:

"If I were to speak your kind of language, I would say that man's only moral commandment is: Thou shalt think. But a "moral commandment" is a contradiction in terms. The moral is the chosen, not the forced; the understood, not the obeyed. The moral is the rational, and reason accepts no commandments."

"When I disagree with a rational man, I let reality be our final arbiter; if I am right, he will learn; if I am wrong, I will; one of us will win, but both will profit."


message 43: by Ilyn (last edited Aug 14, 2008 11:27PM) (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
Regarding: "Earlier in this thread there's also been said that Kant's ethical position is sort of Evil. A shame, really, because what he tries to argue for is goodness..."

Goodness - by what standard?

Kant is for altruism while Rand is for rational self-interest. Both are presented in "The Virtue Of Selfishness" topic in the "To the Glory of Man" group.





message 44: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) I don't agree entirely agree with Rand's statement, "The moral is the chosen, not the forced; the understood, not the obeyed. The moral is the rational, and reason accepts no commandments." , but I also don't agree that man can live on pure reason, capitalism or most other absolutes, beyond those dictated by physical laws. To think so is pure egotisim.

In my opinion, the world we live in is too complex for absolutes - people need wiggle room because we have different priorities which means we need to compromise in order to live together. Rational selfishness demands that we not press our low priority 'wants' on society, if they conflict too much with the general consensus or we'll wind up losing our ability to gain our higher priority 'wants' & possibly even our 'needs', such as freedom or life.

I'm saying that morality is not always chosen or rational. It doesn't work well when it's dictated, especially when it conflicts too much with our natures, needs & wants, but it does tend to put some wants lower on the priority list & that can be a good thing.

Sexual morals don't hold a lot of logic in most societies, especially in the modern world. While my self-interest may dictate that I have sex with a particular person, the morals dictated by society may make the proposition risky. I consider freedom a higher priority in my self-interest, so I will not have sex with that person.

Example: Say that person is on a border line, such as a teenage girl. She may feel she is ready, willing & able. I may feel the same, but if she is under a specific age & I am over a specific age &/or married, it could cost me too much to have sex with her.

This 'moral law' isn't well followed nor true in all situations, but it is a pretty good general rule in our society. Teenagers often think they are mature enough to make any decision, but aren't always. Men tend not to have enough blood to think with both heads at the same time. We probably don't have enough information about each other to make a truly rational decision, even though we believe we do at that time. While a sexual relationship may be OK, more than likely the above example of 'coerced morality' is actually in our best interests, even if we don't feel like that in the heat of the moment. (Pun intended.)

I guess my basic disagreement is that I believe we are not strictly rational beings, but rationalizing beings (a nod to Kant here). I've never met a truly rational being & never thought any of Rand's heros were strictly rational. While I admire their principles, their unbending adherence to them is counter-productive to their self-interest. In other words, they make life much harder on themselves & those around them by refusing to even make a nod to society.

I see this in your book, Ilyn, when the doctor doesn't even discuss/negotiate the price of his cure for the Red Tide. While they want it for free (I agree that's ludicrous) his flat refusal is counter-productive. It is in his self-interest to make a sale & not to stir an entire nation's animosity. Not all payment has to be made with cash - future trade & good will are a form of currency. It can lead to ambivilent situations, but that's not only typical of human interaction, but a fundamental part. It's one of the on going mysteries of life that keep things interesting - often too interesting.


message 45: by Ilyn (last edited Aug 20, 2008 01:53AM) (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
Regarding: “… when the doctor doesn't even discuss/negotiate the price of his cure for the Red Tide. While they want it for free (I agree that's ludicrous) his flat refusal is counter-productive. It is in his self-interest to make a sale & not to stir an entire nation's animosity.”

*
Reply:

It is inaccurate to portray that REASON REIGNS’ Dr. Ari Hugo refuses to trade when his response is: “I deal exclusively with traders.”, when he has saved many Saviors’ Isle and Ibelyn citizens who have no issues with the TERMS he has set for his products.

See the FULL CONTEXT of the Ari-delegation scene in “message 7”.

Knowing Ari’s terms, the delegation members branded him evil, as they demanded that he gives up his individual rights. The delegation is in Ari’s country, NOT to TRADE but to demand that he becomes a slave.

Ari created a cure that saves lives, and a toxin-buster that has increased the food supply. He is a great scientist and a principled man.

The response of many is appreciation. But some want him destroyed because he is unwilling to sacrifice his life to society!

If a man of a mind like Ari's gives up his rights at the “point of a gun” (i.e. coercion), then his country, the Saviors’ Isle, is doomed. His countrymen will become slaves like him.

To freedom-loving men (i.e. men who would not rule and cannot be ruled), these are absolutes:

1. Each man is an end in himself. His life is not a means to the ends of others or to society.

2. Individual rights

3. Property rights. There can be no other rights without property rights.

The theme of REASON REIGNS is: Heaven on Earth can be achieved when reason reigns.

There can be no heaven on Earth without these absolutes.


message 46: by Ilyn (last edited Aug 17, 2008 02:43PM) (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
Regarding: “I guess my basic disagreement is that I believe we are not strictly rational beings, but rationalizing beings (a nod to Kant here).”

*
Reply:

Man has the “faculty” to reason, but the use of one’s mind is “not automatic”. Since man has volition, he may CHOOSE NOT to think. He may copy or obey mindlessly, or he may decide to rule/enslave those who do use their minds.

What distinguishes Man from Animal is his capacity to reason. He could choose to live like an animal by renouncing reason; he could choose not to take responsibility for his own life and be a parasite; he could blindly cling to traditions, or mindlessly follow dogmas; he could choose to exist on a subhuman level. He could use his mind to destroy or rule other men.

A man may choose to think some of the time, and choose to be irrational at other times. He may employ his rational faculty when dealing with the physical sciences, and suspend it when dealing with the humanities.

Man has the free will to think or not to think. He has to EARN the virtue of rationality.

*
From Ayn Rand’s Philosophy: Who Needs It

Rationalization is a process not of perceiving reality, but of attempting to make reality fit one’s emotions.

Philosophical catch phrases are handy means of rationalization. They are quoted, repeated and perpetuated in order to justify feelings which men are unwilling to admit.

“Nobody can be certain of anything” is a rationalization for a feeling of envy and hatred toward those who are certain.

“It may be true for you, but it’s not true for me” is a rationalization for one’s inability and unwillingness to prove the validity of one’s contentions.

“Nobody is perfect in this world” is a rationalization for the desire to continue indulging in one’s imperfections, i.e. the desire to escape morality. …

The notion that reason is unable to perceive reality and deals only with “appearances” is a rationalization for the hatred of reason; it is also a rationalization for a profound kind of epistemological egalitarianism which reduces reason to equality with the futile puttering of "idealistic" dreamers.

The metaphysical superiority of the "nuomenal" world, is a rationalization for the supremacy of emotions, which are thus given the power to know the unknowable by ineffable means.

[IR: ineffable (dictionary.com)

1. incapable of being expressed or described in words; inexpressible
2. not to be spoken because of its sacredness; unutterable]

The complaint that man can perceive things only through his own consciousness, not through any other kinds of consciousness, is a rationalization for the most profound type of second-handedness ever confessed in print: it is the whine of a man tortured by perpetual concern with what others think and by inability to decide which others he should conform to.

The wish to perceive "things in themselves" unprocessed by any consciousness, is a rationalization for the wish to escape the effort of cognition - by means of the automatic omniscience a whim-worshipper ascribes to his emotions.

The moral imperative of the duty to sacrifice oneself to duty, a sacrifice without beneficiaries, is a gross rationalization for the image (and soul) of an austere, ascetic monk who winks at you with an obsecenely sadistic pleasure - the pleasure of breaking man's spirit, ambition, success, self-esteem, and enjoyment of life on earth. …



message 47: by Ilyn (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
The Voice of Reason (The Ayn Rand Library)

Ayn Rand on:

Objectivism: “A book salesman asked me whether I could present the essence of my philosophy while standing on one foot. I did, as follows:

1. Metaphysics.... Objective Reality
2. Epistemology.. Reason
3. Ethics............. Self-interest
4. Politics........... Capitalism"

[Ilyn Ross:

5. Aesthetics........ Romanticism]

She then translated those terms into familiar language:

"Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed."
"You can't eat your cake and have it, too."
"Man is an end in himself."
"Give me liberty or give me death."


message 48: by Ilyn (last edited Aug 16, 2008 05:30AM) (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
The Voice of Reason (The Ayn Rand Library)

Review of "Randall’s Aristotle" by Ayn Rand

“If there is a philosophical Atlas who carries the whole of Western civilization on his shoulders, it is Aristotle …”

“For Aristotle, life is not an inexplicable, supernatural mystery, but a fact of nature. And consciousness is a natural attribute of certain living entities, their natural power, their specific mode of action – not an unaccountable element in a mechanistic universe, to be explained away somehow in terms of inanimate matter, nor a mystic miracle…

For Aristotle, “living” and “knowing” are facts of reality; man’s mind is neither unnatural nor supernatural, but natural – and this is the root of Aristotle’s greatness, of the immeasurable distance that separates him from other thinkers.

Life – and its highest form, man’s life – is the central fact in Aristotle’s view of reality. The best way to describe it is to say that Aristotle’s philosophy is “biocentric.”

…”

Reason Reigns’ Dr. Ari Hugo:

"Ari" is in honor of Aristotle and Ayn Rand [ARI is the acronym of the Ayn Rand Institute]

"Hugo" is in honor of Victor Hugo

"Dr." is in honor of a noble profession


message 49: by Ilyn (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
The Voice of Reason (The Ayn Rand Library)

Coming soon: Thomas Aquinas & the Founding Fathers



message 50: by Ben (new)

Ben (dakobstah) | 1 comments In response to Jim's argument:

Before you disagree with Ayn Rand's views I would recommend that you read a little farther into them. Her conception of morality is NOT the same as the subjectivist view of morality which holds that morality is both absolute AND independent of reality. Instead Rand's philosophy is based on an objective view of morality, that it is in fact dictated by physical reality including human nature. It is absolute because it is based on reality, not because some philosopher or theologian decreed it to be so.

Now, it is true that not everyone chooses a rational morality and Ayn Rand never said that they did. Everyone does choose in one way or another though. For instance, you may decide that you do not need morality of any kind. That is a choice. Or you may decide that you do need morality but that it need not have anything to do with who you are as a human being or what the demands of nature place on you. That is a choice. That does not mean, however, that all choices are going to lead to equally happy consequences. If one is standing in front of a stream of lava one my decide not to move out of its path because one believes that lava isn't real, or that some supernatural being will save them, but the person who uses reason to move out of the way is going to be much better off. THAT is the essence of Ayn Rand's philosophy - using one's brain to make choices for one's own well being.

Now, how do we apply this to social interaction? Well, let's look at your own example:

"Sexual morals don't hold a lot of logic in most societies, especially in the modern world. While my self-interest may dictate that I have sex with a particular person, the morals dictated by society may make the proposition risky. I consider freedom a higher priority in my self-interest, so I will not have sex with that person."

The biggest problem with this example is that "freedom" is not well defined. You seem to equate physical freedom (freedom from being in jail) with mental/moral freedom (the freedom to act in one's interest). These are actually two different forms of freedom. Physical freedom is no good if you are a mental slave.

The problem here is that man lives and dies by his use of the mind/reason. Human beings are not the strongest animal in the jungle, nor do we have a lot of built in physical weaponry or defense mechanisms. Instead we have a mind capable of creating devices to make us stronger and defense systems that are beyond what nature could have given us. Taking away our ability to think for ourselves and produce products to advance our ability to survive is the same as taking away wings and beaks from a bird or the teeth away from a crocodile. Such a thing could only survive with the assistance of humans and so could not be free in the wild. The same is true of man - take away our ability to think and produce and we can only survive by the aid of those who can.

But how does all of this apply to sex? Sex is a reflection of one's own sense of value. One has sex with a partner based on the perceived virtues of that partner. Physical virtues are, of course, part of the equation. Humans like to breed while young because physically it is the most opportune time; we are better able to recover after pregnancies when young, have more energy to keep up with the offspring, etc. As mentioned though, we use our MINDS to survive, and we can use them to override the natural urge to procreate at a young age. We would do this because we find that physically it easier to bear children while young but we have few resources. When we are older we have much more resources with which to raise and educate our children, plus we may have more time to spend with them because we don't have to work as much. There is, however, a third option - we can choose to have sex but NOT procreate through the use of contraception. Why would we have sex without the intent of procreation? Because for humans sex is more than a physical act, it is also mental/emotional. When we have a special mental/emotional connections with someone we wish to express that in physical form. Doing so is mentally and emotionally gratifying and leads to an increased sense of well-being.

On the other hand, humans have the ability to CHOOSE to have sex based off of physical appearance only. This is likely to be a mistake. Part of your argument here is that other humans can prevent us from making such a mistake by making it illegal and threatening to throw us in jail. But here is the problem - humans are not infallible. Humans make mistakes and can make incorrect moral choices. What happens when a person not only makes a moral mistake but forces that mistake on a larger group of individuals? In Rand's view this is not moral. Humans MUST have the ability to make their own choices on what is moral so that those who are better capable of making the right choices aren't subject to those who are less capable.


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