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Sunday, October 7 - 5:12pmSanction this postReply
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Table of Contents

Introduction & Acknowledgments

Ch. 1 -- What this book is not about
--and why
 
Ch. 2 -- Life as a process
--end-oriented; unfolding over time; species-specific

Ch. 3 -- Other life forms
--what life processes are shared between humans and other animals/plants

Ch. 4 -- Different ways to think and be
--placing yourself somewhere in the universe

Ch. 5 -- Thoughts, feelings, and actions
--the process of soul-making

Ch. 6 -- Ethics, politics, and art
--the genesis of recurrent themes

Ch. 7 -- Virtues and values
--the chosen vs. the unchosen, the common vs. the uncommon, the validated vs. the non-validated, the inspiring vs. the uninspiring

Ch. 8 -- Epistemology (and metaphysics)
--scope, accuracy, and precision

Ch. 9 -- Putting it all together
--an integrated process

Ch. 10 -- Individualizing it
--short quizzes and other tools of self-knowledge and self-direction

References

Index

About the author




Post 1

Tuesday, October 9 - 12:11pmSanction this postReply
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Looks good Ed. Wish you success!



Post 2

Tuesday, October 9 - 7:21pmSanction this postReply
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This is my official request that you publish in Kindle format.  And include lots of emoticons.  :-)



Post 3

Tuesday, October 9 - 7:34pmSanction this postReply
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Thanks, Dean.

While sticking to Objectivist principles, I will try to tackle many contemporary-but-peripheral issues (e.g., Game Theory, religious values, neurobiology, etc.) in just one book. For instance, here's a note-to-myself for a blurb in Ch. 7 regarding the religious virtues of humility and gratitude/grace:
-----------------
Both humility and gratitude can be looked upon as being general (unlimited) or specific (limited). For instance, when a religion teaches that man should be humble, it teaches that man should always be humble and in all things. There is a both permanence and pervasiveness -- a kind of universality -- to this kind of humility. Another way to say this is that your humility is unconditional.

Alternatively, a secular philosophy might teach that man has to obey nature in order to command it. This is a specific humility. Instead of there being a Higher Power making demands -- such as the demand for humility -- there is, one could say, a Higher Order (of the universe, or of Nature). If there is this kind of a thing -- an ordering of the universe such that man should learn about it and obey it (in order to command it later) -- then there is a cause for a certain kind of specific humility: the realization that your potentially-childish wishes won't necessarily "make it so."

Gratitude is another virtue that can be viewed as being either general or specific. For instance, Christianity teaches that man should be grateful for everything. This is because, without God, your life would suck (actually, you wouldn't even be alive!). If you think of the example of Job, you get a teach-by-example story about how to react to life (i.e., you should be long-suffering and grateful ... come hell or high water). In that case, your gratitude is unconditional. Alternatively, a secular philosophy might teach that developing the skill of knowing when it is right or good to be grateful (or have gratitude) will be a big -- albeit indirect -- boon to your background "sense of life" (Ayn Rand's term for your implicit, fundamental stance on the universe, and your place in it).
-----------------
I want to include wording really close to this, inside of Ch. 7 of my book.

Ed




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Tuesday, October 9 - 7:47pmSanction this postReply
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Deanna,

Our posts got crossed.

:-(

But I'm real glad you chimed in anyway!

:-)

Deanna, I consider you to be one of those kind of people who is able to relate abstract principles to real-life scenarios -- yeah, I know, I'm starting to sound like a horoscope ("You are special, but few know it." "You have great ideas, but your boss doesn't always listen." etc. etc. etc.). Anyway, what I'm trying to say is actually a request: You got any suggestions for topics (for my book) to get tied into a life-affirming philosophy? I'm thinking that maybe you might have something to say about parenting or about children -- as you have mentioned how important your son is to you, and how you are somewhat in-tune with kids and how it is that they view the world.

Anyway, don't worry if you can't think of anything. I feel pretty good about the 10-chapter layout I've got, I just don't want to miss something that is really very hip, or really very crucial (for human life in the 21st Century).

Wait for it ...

Hold on ...

Any second now ...

:-)

Ed





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Tuesday, October 9 - 7:50pmSanction this postReply
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This looks like a worthwhile and interesting endeavor! I am looking forward to it!



Post 6

Tuesday, October 9 - 8:31pmSanction this postReply
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Ed,

Looking good, I have a few questions though.

1. Why did you begin your first chapter with a negative: "What this book is not about and why". Do you intend to offer a comprehensive worldview that would only omit a few details? Is that why you're using a negative?

2. Who is your target audience?

3. Do you intend to advance a secular morality (as hinted at in your post 3), or merely identify and explain contemporary ethics?



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Post 7

Wednesday, October 10 - 2:33pmSanction this postReply
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You got any suggestions for topics (for my book) to get tied into a life-affirming philosophy? I'm thinking that maybe you might have something to say about parenting or about children

Ed,
Probably my biggest complaint since I was introduced to Objectivism has been that there are very few "objectivist parenting" references available for those of us who wish to raise a rational and objective child.  What little there is available seems to totally miss the entire point of childhood and ignores the fact that children see the world in a very different way than adults.  That is, Objectivist parents need to understand that a completely rational, completely objective child would not be at all child-like and frankly, not very much fun to raise.  Now, usually when I express this complaint, I am met with the response, "Well, why don't you write something?"  My response has been, "I'm waiting for Ed to write something and ask me what to put in it."  (Okay, that last is a joke, hahaha.)

I digress.

Because there is so much of this type of material that you potentially could include in your book, I think you would run the risk of losing your intended purpose.  You could conceivably touch on the topics of children and parenting in almost every chapter you have outlined.  Assuming you are talented enough to mitigate that risk, and are even interested in tackling it, I'll send you my thoughts.  Let me know.




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Wednesday, October 10 - 8:30pmSanction this postReply
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Kyle,

You asked me these questions three:
1. Why did you begin your first chapter with a negative: "What this book is not about and why". Do you intend to offer a comprehensive worldview that would only omit a few details? Is that why you're using a negative?
My main reason to start with a negative is to preempt the potential criticism of "elitism." If I'm writing a book about being human, then the first question for some critics might just be: What does that make the rest of us (or those of us who don't agree with you)? Subhuman? This is the kind of reactionary withdrawal I am trying to prevent.
2. Who is your target audience?
The people of earth.

:-)

But seriously, I'd say my target is anyone in the market for a self-help book. Anyone stuck or confused, but open to exploring solutions.
3. Do you intend to advance a secular morality (as hinted at in your post 3), or merely identify and explain contemporary ethics?
I will attempt to do both. I will identify thinking patterns and show where they lead (and why it is that they must lead to those places), and I will advance certain thinking patterns.


Thanks for the questions, Kyle. Let me know if you have more or would like any of these 3 to be better explained.

Ed

p.s. Thanks, Jules. I'll try not disappoint your expectations. :-)

(Edited by Ed Thompson on 10/10, 8:34pm)




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Wednesday, October 10 - 8:52pmSanction this postReply
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Deanna,

I laughed when I read your joke. Good stuff! Anyway, now you've got me scared. I do plan to write about education. I am a former educator with at least peripheral experience in secondary and post-secondary learning environments. I think I've got the intellectual capability to say something interesting about how education matters, but in a manner that avoids feigning unearned expertise in the matter (coming off as a know-it-all with all the right answers). Thanks for being open to being a sounding board. I'll keep it in mind for when I have the time and energy to make great strides on the book. I'm currently just stretching out and warming up with it. In contemporary political terms, I consider it a shovel-ready job, but I haven't actually picked up my shovel yet.

:-)

Ed




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Friday, October 12 - 7:05pmSanction this postReply
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Deanna, if you're interested in Objectivist parenting ideas, I strongly encourage you to seek out an amazing and delightful young mom named Jenn Casey (Jennifer Blewett).  She and another young woman have a podcast devoted to parenting from an Objectivist perspective. I happened to catch part of an interview with Jenn on another webcast a few months ago. She and I are already friends on Facebook, but I had no idea she had this parenting podcast thing going on.  She's very insightful and funny. :)

 http://cultivatingthevirtues.blogspot.com/




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Saturday, October 13 - 10:01amSanction this postReply
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I want to include artistic representational archetypes of man, utilizing popular muppets characters: Kermit-the-Frog and Gonzo on the one hand, and the Cookie Monster and Animal on the other.

"Me want c-o-o-k-i-e!"

A lot of professional thinkers and writers have the Cookie Monster view of mankind (thinking that, if let loose on the world, man would ravage man). It's illuminating to capture this shallow view of mankind in a portable (manmade!) puppet. Like a word standing in for a whole class (concept) of items, a character could stand in for the meaninglessly-diverse views of a whole slew of intellectual professionals -- ranging from Saul Alinsky to Howard Zinn.

Ed




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Post 12

Saturday, October 13 - 5:48pmSanction this postReply
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I always was partial to the aliens portrayed on sesame street!.

brrringggggggggg!!

"yuuuupppyupyupyupyupyup!!

Let us not forget "Beaker"!!!! and his lab scientist!




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Saturday, October 13 - 7:54pmSanction this postReply
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Excellent suggestions, Jules. I may yet include them. I will have to look over the entire cast before settling down on these archetypes-for-one's-view-of-mankind ...

Ed




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Sunday, October 14 - 11:39amSanction this postReply
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Interesting idea, Ed, using the muppets to represent certain views on mankind. I never drew that parallel between the Cookie Monster and current (and past) views of man's nature. I'm sure it will be equally, if not more so, illustrative (and poignant) for your readers since people tend to relate to such characterizations more readily than to words like misanthropic, shallow, selfish etc.

At least that was my experience with your characterization.


As for the aliens, whom or what would they represent? The average state university professor? ;)

"yuuuupppyupyupyupyupyup tenure tenure"





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Sunday, October 14 - 2:54pmSanction this postReply
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Kyle,

Yip, yip, yip, yip, uhuh, uhuh, uhuh, uhuh, Byronic View of Existence, uhuh, uhuh, uhuh, yip, yip, yip, and man is bad, and man is bad, and man is bad, uhuh, uhuh, uhuh, ... must destroy the earth with my Plutonium-239 space m-o-d-u-l-a-t-o-r-r-r-r (to borrow and blend another alien phrase from Saturday morning cartoonery).

Okay, it's just not the same when you write it down versus when you can say it with the appropriate inflections and whatnot.

:-)

Ed




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Post 16

Wednesday, October 17 - 7:43amSanction this postReply
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Teresa, thanks for the link and the references.  Finally, some like-minded mothers!



Post 17

Tuesday, October 23 - 8:30pmSanction this postReply
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My main reason to start with a negative is to preempt the potential criticism of "elitism." If I'm writing a book about being human, then the first question for some critics might just be: What does that make the rest of us (or those of us who don't agree with you)? Subhuman? This is the kind of reactionary withdrawal I am trying to prevent.
You may receive this criticism regardless since you will be taking a committed stance on a secular morality.

"What? My nonsecular morality not good enough for ya?"
I know you're trying to minimize this possibility as much as possible. Might I suggest you add a "What this book is about" section and a "What this book is not about" section in the first chapter. That way you still can guard against that reactionary response and give an appropriate discription of what the book is about. Or you could just include a "What this book is about" section and avoid this altogether.

If someone were to see your book on the bookshelf or online, they will probably be put off by the title anyway (if they are going to be put off) before they get to the "What this book is not about" chapter. Those who endeavor to read on would probably like to know what the book is about rather than what it is not about.

Despite all this, I'm glad you are writing this book; I could have used it years ago when I was searching for purpose in my life. What I found when I visited the self-help section were books claiming that God has set a path for me. These didn't help at all.




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Saturday, October 27 - 6:19pmSanction this postReply
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Thanks for the advice, Kyle. I will use it.

Ed




Post 19

Saturday, October 27 - 8:42pmSanction this postReply
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One thing I would like to add would be a clear concise chapter on secular(objectivist) morality/ethics.

Time and time again religious biased people equate atheism with immorality and even communism. They try to lump us in this immorality by throwing spurious claims that "Hitler was an atheist he killed 6 million jews".
(same with Stalin). They fear that if atheists were to ever be in politics the whole world would be doomed to a dark age of immorality. As we know nothing could be further from the truth.

So a section on how secular morality /ethics can be the cause of personal happiness as well as how it could further how nations following these same principles could uplift not only it's own citizens, but how nations could and should deal with one another in a value for value exchange of goods, services and benevolence. Is that a tall order?




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