Rebirth of Reason

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Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 8:37amSanction this postReply

Joe observed:

Yes, even better looking. This is a philosophy that seeks the best in everything we do. Why shouldn't that include dressing well, speaking well, and looking good?

It should.


Neil Strauss is no Objectivist and his book The Game was a tragic tale of a man who wanted to become Ward Cleaver but selected Don Juan as his role model.  Consequently, he at least learned to upgrade his appearances considerably thanks to a pickup artist (PUA) mentor whose code name was Mystery.  Mystery guided Strauss toward appropriate fitness and nutrition regimens, LASIK corrective vision, grooming, and clothing principles to lead to this dramatic "before and after" photograph:


Neil Strauss Before and After


After learning from Mystery and other PUA gurus, Strauss was soon dominating the scene with very attractive women in his bed.  Sadly, he evidently never stumbled across The Psychology of Romantic Love by Nathaniel Branden to learn how to cultivate heroic virtues in himself in a way that would attract heroic (and attractive) women.  The result was that he gained sex from plenty of nuts and sluts but never actually achieved his goal of marrying and reproducing.


My point is that Objectivists can learn important insights in this important area of appearances from non-Objectivists.


There is a trend now toward shaming those who are fit and attractive through memes like "fat acceptance" and so forth.  This video calls out the bullshit of the trend's proponents and recognizes that we can, in fact, adduce certain content of the souls and bodies of the beautiful or ugly based on how they choose to appear:



(Edited by Luke Setzer on 10/15, 11:33am)

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Post 1

Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 12:10pmSanction this postReply

    I've had my own experience with other objectivists, being a member of a objectivist meetup group in Toronto. From the people I've meet, I can say they would not strike you as being exceptional or living by an exceptional philosophy. However, I didn't meet any person I would describe as a minimalist as described by Rowlands. In fact, all of the people I truly got to know anything about were the opposite. Some were active in local political issues, others were very active in their careers. I'm not sure if I've meet any serious objectivist that separates his mental pursuits from his physical reality (mind body dichotomy). I also wouldn't say that government control has made anyone I know reclusive or inactive outside of objectivism. Maybe it has refocused some of their energy on fighting over intrusive government power, but it hasn't absorbed all of their energy.


    I have my own theory regarding how much better objectivism makes a person. Objectivism only gives a person a consistent view of the world, or at least his relationship to the world. If they were originally a leftist or a religionist, objectivism takes away the fear of the earths destruction because we are not sacrificing enough. If they were an empiricist, then the stress of many different interpretations of evidence and feeling lost in a sea of information that doesn't lead in any particular direction is gone. If they were a rationalist, then they now have a consistent means of gaining knowledge from the physical world, rather then toiling forever trying to understand the world from a priori knowledge. If they had no philosophy, now they no longer make moral decisions arbitrarily, and can now trust that they are objectively right when they need to be.


    There are mony things that don't come with being an objectivist, such as virtues and intelligence. You can argue that being an objectivist involves some intelligence and the virtue of rationality, but only so far as to read and understand objectivism. I would be curious to see the difference in life style between regular objectivists and objectivist writers, writers having a better and more consistent understanding of objectivism.

Post 2

Wednesday, October 21, 2015 - 10:47amSanction this postReply

I agree especially with your second and third. Attending to theory and attending to practice are two different activities, competing for our time and attention. We don't always hit the right balance. One reason is that the second is harder for most of us.


A fourth possibility comes to mind: Objectivism is a theoretical discovery, and we haven't yet learned how to apply it systematically. This distinction is easy to see in the sciences. The discoveries that lengthen our lives or raise our standards of living and convenience typically (perhaps always) come after the theoretical advances that enabled them. Without systematic techniques to apply the theory, which we don't yet have, who's a winner and who's a loser will remain a matter of chance. Here the analogy would be to the discovery of blood transfusion. People learned how to do this before they learned about blood types. A transfusion would either save the patient's life or kill him, and nobody knew which it would be until people realized that you have to know which blood type to use on a particular patient.


Similarly, some people are naturally healthy and slim. Medicine now has the technical knowledge to help the ones who don't come by these states naturally.


If this is true, what Objectivism needs is technical means, which theory is insufficient to supply, so that we could all be like the winners. I have no idea what these would be.


Rand said "man is a being of self-made soul." That doesn't preclude using materials and know-how supplied by others any more than building one's own house does.

Post 3

Wednesday, October 21, 2015 - 1:11pmSanction this postReply

Good post, Peter.


In addition to that lag between the discovery of the principles and their practice, and the fact that the application of the principles is a different activity with different skills, there is also the complication of the conflict with opposing views.  When you are at war (so to speak) you become preoccupied with firing and ducking and it can take one away from transitioning to applying the principles.


I also suspect that we underestimate the time it takes to really learn new principles and that when we attempt to apply those principles that aren't yet well understood or fully integrated, the practice is poorly done.


Medicine, which you mentioned, has theory, practice, and  technology, also has research - to measure, explain and evaluate.  Objectivism is the theory, and we know a little about the practice (reason, individualism, protection of individual rights - in some context or area) but the missing technology and research may be something like the comparisons that could be made between private schools as a context (if we had free choice in a totally privatized school system).  In Medicine, the application of theory requires a technology, BUT without an objective study of the results following the practice of a given technology, everything would be as much dogma as reason.  As the movement at the state level to convert to a very full voucher system goes on, we might have the integration of theory, technology, practice and research.  And sometimes the most cogent explanation of a theory comes from the explanation of the research results (a special kind of hindsight).


There is also "purpose" (motivation) and the fact that we move forward in theory before we have a very rich understanding of practice.  We had no clue what kind of uses personal computers would be put to when the theory, and the technology they required, came together.  People were excited about having a personal computer, but were clueless as to what purpose they could be put to ("You can store your recipes on your home computer!"  Or, "Keep a list of all of your record albums!")  I know that people have a hard time explaining the personal, economic and political benefits of Capitalism in a way that paints an exciting vision of the future to the average listener.  Sure, you can always get the political base excited with hot-button phrases, but how to paint a picture for the average person.... a picture that makes it purposeful to adopt limited government is harder to do.

Post 4

Sunday, November 8, 2015 - 5:11amSanction this postReply

I just read that Neil Strauss mended his ways and is now married with child and a much happier person.


Neil Strauss Married with Child

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