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Post 160

Wednesday, September 13, 2006 - 11:39pmSanction this postReply
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     I'm raising my kids to be Objectivists         :D

     I'm raising my kids to focus on what is now/next necessary to acquiring whatever is supposedly 'important' or effort-worthwhile to them. Yes, both my Down Syndrome one and my -still- little lawyer (gah, this 'phase' is getting tiresome to endure!) one.

     Such may consist of chores they are 'required' to do by us adults (learning to 'carry-their-own-weight' rather than leave others continually do it)...if they want more of  [some] of what they already get from us; or, such may consist of paying attention to reality-connections such as "You want the TV on? Find the remote wherever you last left it. Good Luck. Oh, and next time: put it back where it goes when you're done using it." --- The latter underline and italics apply to EVERYTHING they use; think about it (dishes, doors, clothes, toys....ad infinatumely.)   No put-back by them, no use-of for them. My point there is: their seeing the connection of "What you don't do (pay-attention-to/focus-on) affects (causes restrictions upon) what you later cannot do; but, what you do do about such causes later ability to do more about it." --- Then, there's the other, obviously simple side: "See that 'road-kill' in the road? The squirrel took a dumb chance crossing without looking both ways; remember that, if you don't want to be next to him." What you don't pay-attention to, carelessly, can definitely hurt you...at least.

     And I've no need to lecture the difference between 'objective' and 'subjective' to them yet; that'll be later...for only one, unfortunately.

     An 'Objectivist' doesn't have to have read (much less memorized) Rand's writings. Roark didn't, hmmm? They just have to have learned to pay attention to 'reality' enough that they've learned, basically, that it's to be ignored at one's peril, and it's to be extremely useable only to the degree that one pays attention to it.

LLAP
J:D

P.S: 1st and foremost, being an 'Objectivist' requires that one first be an 'objectivist'. By this I mean that being an 'objectivist', one has ('naturally', or decisionally) a certain...framework-of-mind...in their awareness about dealing with 'reality' (including other people). Thence, to be an 'Objectivist', one has an awareness of how to radically enhance that awareness. --- Jonnie will probably not live long enough (IQ and longevity prob) to get the latter; Joey will.

(Edited by John Dailey on 9/13, 11:54pm)




Post 161

Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 7:29amSanction this postReply
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Erica,

I appreciate your taking the time to understand my point of view.  I think that your distillation of this direction the thread has taken, is at the crux of the issue.

Is a person choosing to live a rational or an irrational life?

This is the same question that informed the works of both Maria Montessori and Ayn Rand.

It all comes down to Joe Rowland's question  "What Kind of World do You Want?"

I see in your brief recollections of experiences with your son Jake, the actions that have been informed by your desire to live a rational life; not only for yourself, but your son. The two of you are reaping the benefits of your wise actions.

The child's level of intellectual development, is the arbiter of what should be introduced into a child's environment.  This is what Montessori and Jean Piaget discovered.   In  adhering strictly to this premise, Robert and Ed are correct: fantasy cannot be understood properly, until the child is well-founded in reality.

I'm guessing here; but I think that children should have attained the mental construct of class inclusion, before they can understand what a thing is, and what it isn't, simultaneously.

For the denial or lack of reason, most parents fail to grasp the seriousness in the business of being a child.  Montessori did; and that is why she took her lead from the child. 

Continued good premises to you and Jake.

Sharon










Post 162

Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 8:28amSanction this postReply
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Chris

Post#145

Crass materialsim and Santa?   Santa/Satan?

Have you been to pray at Rev. Billy's church of stop shopping?

Sharon





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Post 163

Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 9:01amSanction this postReply
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Sharon,

First of all, thank you for your comments, especially:
 
I think that your distillation of this direction the thread has taken, is at the crux of the issue.




 (I'm glad someone else agrees! :-)
 
 Is a person choosing to live a rational or an irrational life?



 
Exactly!
 For the denial or lack of reason, most parents fail to grasp the seriousness in the business of being a child.  Montessori did; and that is why she took her lead from the child. 


Brilliant, Sharon. Well said.
And I've personally never had a problem with understanding that to seriously, and deliberately, raise a child rationally; joy and laughter not only don't have to be excluded, they need to be incorporated in that approach. (I only mention this because MSK felt that some parents who are "rational" don't necessarily have a benevolent and loving nature...as far as I'm concerned, these people have no business being parents...or teachers, or anything else that allows them to have a direct influence on a child. Children need truth and rational instruction, but they also need love, joy, laughter, imagination, and encouragement. People who cannot provide ALL of these things should remain childless. Kind of a hard line, perhaps, but that's my stance.)
 
 Continued good premises to you and Jake.




Thank you again. And I wish you well in your continuing endeavors...as I said, I greatly admire your passion and dedication.
 
Erica
 
P.S.  I would have LOVED to put Jake in Montessori school; but it just wasn't possible. So I did the next best thing; I made a point to counter the ridiculous ideas inevitably found in the public school system, instead of letting them be his "babysitters" and "influencers", like many irrationally lazy parents do because it is convenient. 

(Edited by Erica Schulz on 9/14, 9:53am)




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Post 164

Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 9:44amSanction this postReply
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John Dailey,
 
Just curious: How old are your children?
 
 P.S: 1st and foremost, being an 'Objectivist' requires that one first be an 'objectivist'. By this I mean that being an 'objectivist', one has ('naturally', or decisionally) a certain...framework-of-mind...in their awareness about dealing with 'reality' (including other people). Thence, to be an 'Objectivist', one has an awareness of how to radically enhance that awareness. --- Jonnie will probably not live long enough (IQ and longevity prob) to get the latter; Joey will.




(I once wrote a paper in college about Down's Syndrome; so I know (a little) more about it than the average person you'd meet on the street.) I do not know your child, Jonnie, however, so I do not know to what level the syndrome has made him educable, but I have always believed that Objectivist ideas can be taught to just about anyone. (Not the abstract, complicated, intellectual aspects of the philosophy, but the basic ideas that directly relate to human life---in the very way you described: teaching the kids the consequences of losing the remote, having them do chores, etc.)  Jonnie may never have the ability to argue the philosophy on a forum (but then, who cares?) I'm sure that, under your guidance, he will automatically make for much more pleasant company than any of the liberal, collectivist, Marxist, etc. so-called "intellectuals" I have had the displeasure of running across in my life.

Keep it up, John. You sound like a wonderful father.  :-)

Erica




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Post 165

Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 9:47amSanction this postReply
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Michael K.,

I know some really nasty people who are rational and some wonderfully loving people who are irrational.
This is a sentiment that is not quite free of contradiction. It is a very common misconception -- especially for those folks who are averse to Objectivism (though I'm not saying that you yourself, ARE, Michael). It's really about the moral-practical dichotomy, and the kinds of people who marshall this sentiment are usually group-hugging Lefties who decry what they see as a "cold rationality" that they've claimed to witness in others.

This is the crux of the thing:
Truly rational folks would've integrated the facts about the kind of creature they are (a creature capable of a fullfilling, happy, human life on earth). There actually is no such thing as a cold, rational person -- though there may be emotionally inept folks who are indeed cold and cunning (eg. Dr. Evil, from Austin Powers). Much debate has occurred among professional philosophers about a "contrast" between rationality (ie. practicality) and morality -- all of it is pure bullshit, dressed up in professional garb.

Truly rational folks (instead of cold, cunning ones) aren't ever really nasty folks -- because being nasty on earth is not the kind of behavior that a truly rational human inculcates in themself (understanding that nastiness is not conducive to a fullfilling, happy, human life on earth). In the same vein, truly irrational folks are not even capable of being "wonderfully loving" folks -- even though they can appear kind, empathetic, and sincere (especially at those times when it appears "needed"). I was about 20 years old when I realized that -- while being important to my parents -- my parents did not have it in them to provide me with the kind of psychological visibility that I would associate with rational love.

So Michael, when you say that rational folks have been nasty, and irrational folks have been wonderfully loving -- I take issue with the scope of the concept of rationality that you are employing. In this respect, you remind me of the Game Theorists who -- taken aback by the real-life results of the Prisoners' Dilemma (where supposedly "rational" folks don't exploit others; as would've been predicted) -- don't adequately understande that folks are the kind of creatures that understand the value of having other folks in their lives that they can trust. The Game Theorists are operating with a deficient concept of rationality.

The scope of rationality involves more than the here and now. The scope of rationality involves more than a disconnected summation of external award and punishment. The scope of rationality involves the very personal building of one's own character (where actions that reflect negatively on one's own self-concept -- are, ipso facto, avoided). This is the Aristotelian theme that Rand embraced, when she spoke of self-made souls and a healthy sense of life.

People need to understand better how much reverence Rand had for Aristotle's work on rationality and morality. If they do this, if they integrate this reverence with 'Objectivism proper' without contradiction -- then they will have a more adequate understanding of the value of applied Objectivism with regard to a fulfilling, happy, human life on earth.

Ed

(Edited by Ed Thompson on 9/14, 9:50am)

(Edited by Ed Thompson on 9/14, 9:52am)




Post 166

Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 10:00amSanction this postReply
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And I've personally never had a problem with understanding that to seriously, and deliberately, raise a child rationally; joy and laughter not only don't have to be excluded, they need to be incorporated in that approach. (I only mention this because MSK felt that some parents who are "rational" don't necessarily have a benevolent and loving nature...as far as I'm concerned, these people have no business being parents...or teachers, or anything else that allows them to have a direct influence on a child. Children need truth and rational instruction, but they also need love, joy, laughter, imagination, and encouragement. ...
Now, can there be any doubt left at all, why I would want THIS woman to be the mother of MY children???

;-)

Ed




Post 167

Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 10:05amSanction this postReply
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Chris,

Allowing a child access to common culture?  Surely, you don't think that Objectivists would have anything to do with common culture?   haha

I think that we agree that it's all about readiness.  Children find the common on their own.  We don't have to go out of our way to bring it into the sanctity of the nursery.  Don't go borrowing trouble, is how my parents cautioned me. 

By the time young people start demanding stuff, they will have reached the age at which we can reason with them. That's when the real fun of parenthood begins; teaching the benefits of being an individual thinker.    There are benefits aren't there Chris?  It's not been much of a benefit to you, on some of the other threads.  sigh

I'm amazed at adults who give sweets and other empty calories to babies.  We have so many drought resistant people in the world already.  Introducing sugar to infants should be necessary only for medical reasons.  Giving a toddler a popsicle to ice its fat lip after a fall, has benefits.  

It's Christmas every day Chris.  Alas, there's nothing left for feast days.  We've spoiled ourselves, and our children. 

Sharon  



Post 168

Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 10:10amSanction this postReply
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 Now, can there be any doubt left at all, why I would want THIS woman to be the mother of MY children???

;-)

Ed

;-)




Post 169

Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 10:15amSanction this postReply
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Thank you Erica for clarifying!  As I have come to respect Ed's opinions, this is good to know.

As an aside, my best friend has a 14 year old son, and they have the same kind of relationship it sounds like you have with your son.  He talks to her about EVERYTHING, and when he told her that some of his friends from school had sneaked a Playboy to look at, she promptly went out and bought him a copy of his own. 




Post 170

Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 10:23amSanction this postReply
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Sharon, I don't have kids myself.
Allowing a child access to common culture?  Surely, you don't think that Objectivists would have anything to do with common culture?
Common culture can mean a lot of different things. If my kids want to watch American Idol, I am perfectly okay with it.

I'm not all that sure what the theme of your post is.
By the time young people start demanding stuff, they will have reached the age at which we can reason with them. That's when the real fun of parenthood begins; teaching the benefits of being an individual thinker.
Well, yes. One thing I learned with my nephew is the rule of never volunteering anything. He already asked for a lot of things without me volunteering to give him things.
I'm amazed at adults who give sweets and other empty calories to babies.
It's worse than that. One of my old friends worked in a coffee shop. She even wrote an article for her college paper about parents giving their kids coffee. Recently, the press gave Melanie Griffith a hard time for smoking with her teenage daughter.

Don't get me started on parents letting their kids have beer bashes, not to mention coaches of sports teams.

(Edited by Chris Baker on 9/14, 10:23am)




Post 171

Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 10:31amSanction this postReply
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Michael,
Is it possible for a parent to be rational while at the same time exhibit bad-will toward his own child?  NOT exhibiting a loving nature to one's own child is probably the most irrational action a person can take, in my humble opinion.




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Post 172

Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 10:28amSanction this postReply
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Ed,

We essentially agree, even though our words conflict. There is a problem of precision. I normally use rationality to mean a chosen virtue, not an attribute of a whole human being. What is a "rational" person anyway if it is a category of person? Is it like an Oriental person? A short person? A sickly person? A young person? If he has an attack of unwarranted anger, is he no longer a rational person?

When we say a person is "rational" as a general attribute, we are normally talking about his temperament, not just a chosen mental process. We are talking about how he usually behaves.

In my former post, I specifically meant people who choose to be rational most of the time in their thinking. (Nobody can be rational all of the time because of the nature of the drift in our minds, biochemical processes and so forth. But we can be rational whenever we choose to focus. Since that focus is not omnipotent, many things can and do escape our awareness, or cause us to choose not to focus rationally.)

And yes, there are some really nasty folks who are "rational" according to that standard. That does not mean that warm, loving rational folks don't exist. I think I made it clear that they do.

btw - I see nothing wrong with the idea of loving New Age hippies. They exist. I know some. I have also known some really mean New Age hippy types who brought a whole new dimension to being petty and nasty.

What I am trying to highlight is that just as rationality is a chosen virtue, so is good will. You choose to be that way. All virtues are chosen. If you examine the issue rationally, you will obviously choose good will, but if you do not, whatever falls to you by chance will fall. (And that particularly applies to many Objectivists, from what I have observed in online discussions.) You will leave an important part of your character to anything and everything but your own volition. That doesn't mean you are irrational in the rest of your thinking, though. You can be highly rational.

I especially don't like phrases like "truly rational" as they smack of trying to redefine terms in the middle of a discussion. What is "untruly rational" anyway? What I say? And "truly rational" is what you say? Isn't that convenient? (I am trying to be truly rational right now, truly I am, but if I am not, later I can find out how to be - truly I can. //;-)

I vastly prefer discussing something until we arrive at clarifying the concepts behind the words - even to the point of changing the words often if necessary. That is the most rational manner of discussion I know.

Michael



Post 173

Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 12:22pmSanction this postReply
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I read Canticle a long time ago but I don't remember it any longer.  It was an odd book, but maybe that is because it didn't fit the usual type of book I read like that.

Also, just to make my point clear, I just found this particular fantasy, Narnia, to be lacking.  It was by no means a knock on fantasy per se.  I happen to like the genre, I just don't like when it is done badly.  Narnia, at least the movie, and from what I hear the books, are not the kind of story I like.  I also truly hate when morality is used badly or in a demonstrably false way.  Even well before Objectivism, I always had a sense when this was the case.  Sometimes I don't agree with the way something is written but it is at least done well and can also be written well.  I just found Narnia to be hackish.

On a related note - Dr. Who.  In the series when I watched it as a younger man, and sometimes in TV shows that would do the same, I was always appalled by some of the false morality.  As an example in Dr. Who, he didn't use violence, but he would then say render some guard unconscious.  Then he and his friends run away, the guard wakes up, sounds the alarm, and a bunch of his buddies end up getting shot to death as a result of his cowardly squeamishness.




Post 174

Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 12:54pmSanction this postReply
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Ted, I don't like most of the books you mentioned:

Mists of Avalon - boring feminist tripe
Earthsea - I heard this was good but never read it
Silmarilion - Unreadable, and DULL
Watership Down - too cutesy

To my mind the best Fantasy writers are:
Stephen R. Donaldson
Guy Gavriel Kay (except his latest which is dull, but his earlier works are brilliant)
Glenn Cook - somewhat dark but very epic, I like epic stuff
Katherine Kurtz - Deryni series, have not read much of her lately
most of my reading was pre-Objectivism, though.  Nevertheless, I stand by their skill.




Post 175

Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 1:54pmSanction this postReply
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Kurt,

Earthsea - This was really good
Silmarilion - Readable for English majors like myself. It's written like many pieces of classic myth. It's definitely NOT a novel





Post 176

Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 2:55pmSanction this postReply
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Michael, forgive the extensive block quotes (I know how you hate them so) ...

I normally use rationality to mean a chosen virtue, not an attribute of a whole human being.
But like Aristotle alluded to -- a virtue repeatedly chosen (a moral habit) BECOMES an attribute of a whole human being. You are what it is that you, repeatedly, do.


What is a "rational" person anyway if it is a category of person? Is it like an Oriental person? A short person? A sickly person? A young person? If he has an attack of unwarranted anger, is he no longer a rational person?
As is said above, a person is what it is that they repeatedly do. If you repeatedly fly planes -- then you are a pilot. You do not cease to be a pilot in those times between flights. What matters is what persists in your life -- what you persistently chose to do.


When we say a person is "rational" as a general attribute, we are normally talking about his temperament, not just a chosen mental process. We are talking about how he usually behaves.
But how he behaves stems from how he thinks. Accepted premises, as well as the emotion that springs from our consciousness of them, are what it is that governs intentional human behavior.

Nobody can be rational all of the time because of the nature of the drift in our minds, biochemical processes and so forth.
This is very true, but not very relevant. When I talk about being rational, then I'm talking about daily, normative, decision making -- ie. making daily choices that result an achieved hierarchy of values. In this respect, it doesn't matter that we aren't being rational while we're asleep, or that we aren't being rational while we're day-dreaming. These exceptions to the rule do not carry consequential weight.

btw - I see nothing wrong with the idea of loving New Age hippies.
I'm a recovering New Age-er, myself (even had a 'lights-n-sounds' machine to entrain my brain to different wavelengths!), so perhaps I was getting personal when I spoke disparagingly about the New Left. Please forgive me unconditionally, Michael -- and then give me a big hug, you big lug.

;-)

If you examine the issue rationally, you will obviously choose good will, but if you do not, whatever falls to you by chance will fall. ... That doesn't mean you are irrational in the rest of your thinking, though. You can be highly rational.
Disagreed. You can't be "highly rational" while, at the same time, defaulting on such a basic and objective human responsibility of choosing good will. Think about the anti-social miser, who utilizes his intelligence to accumulate money for its own sake (it's all he lives for). He's acting successfully for a goal, but the goal, itself, is irrational.

This man, as competent as he is at accumulating hoards of cash -- is not being a rational man (and he will never have a fulfilling, happy, human life). Good will is missing from his life, and this will mitigate his own ability to feel fulfilled and happy (because he's human).


I especially don't like phrases like "truly rational" as they smack of trying to redefine terms in the middle of a discussion.
I just wanted to highlight the idea that many competent folks will, from the outside, appear rational (while not truly being so) -- like the competent miser mentioned above.

Ed

(Edited by Ed Thompson on 9/14, 3:00pm)




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Post 177

Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 4:30pmSanction this postReply
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Ed,

(unconditional hug...)

Can you name me a group of people who are "truly rational" according to your standard? Don't say Objectivists, because you include good will as part of the package and I see way too much ill will among Objectivists. Too many of the ones I have observed flunk the "truly rational" test from ill will to qualify the category. Just look at the schisms for starters. (btw - Barbara's article on rage was essentially an article on good will.)

I, however, can give you many situations where most all people will almost always act rationally - even when they are mystics and altruists at other times.

You know, that's funny how you started your post, contesting me with something I agreed with (you kinda left out "temperament," which basically means repeatedly doing something, in your quotes). What did you do that for? Doing your mental push-ups on me? Dayaamm!

Back to topic. You said something I find problematic. Being rational does not always involve normative decisions (except maybe on the level of choosing to use reason over something like daydreaming as a mode of focusing and cognition). Sometimes mental activity is purely cognitive - identifying "what is it? or "where am I?". Normative only comes in with "what should I do?"

We certainly disagree on being "highly rational" and a sourpuss. I know far too many Objectivists alone who fit that category. (Funny, though. Get many of them face-to-face - like at the TAS Seminar - and they are nice and more upbeat. Not all, but enough to think about how hiding behind a keyboard on the Internet impacts this.) As you have probably perceived, I am actively engaged in trying to find the roots of this and foster a more civil way of social intercourse among Objectivists.

I repeat, good will is chosen. Merely choosing to be rational is not enough to ensure automatic cognition and choice on this. An act of will is involved. Cognitive automation does not extend to eliminating the need to choose values. They must be chosen over and over and over until you die. There is no way to automatically always choose the right thing. (Good habits can be developed, though.) Robots can be programmed like this. Man cannot.

(Be careful with your theory of emotions, too. They are far more complex than Rand depicted. See here for a fascinating theory of roots of emotion that will be coming out in JARS later this year.)

btw - What's wrong with a miser accumulating money if he gets his jollies doing it? I see nothing irrational there. It would be irrational if it were me, but then I don't get my jollies accumulating money. I get 'em spending it. Do you think the miser should hold to your values on such a personal level, where no infringement of rights or morbid pathology is involved, even if it betrays his? That will make him rational?

Michael




Post 178

Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 6:48pmSanction this postReply
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Michael, more Tiger stripes ...

Can you name me a group of people who are "truly rational" according to your standard? Don't say Objectivists, because you include good will as part of the package and I see way too much ill will among Objectivists.
The point is that all moral virtue is connected, and the virtue of rationality is the lynchpin holding it all together. Check out Rand's words here ...

"To know one's own desires, their meaning and their costs requires the highest human virtue: Rationality."
So, you see, being rational is what it takes to come to a sufficient understanding of the beneficial part that good will plays in one's own life. It's the first virtue.

You know, that's funny how you started your post, contesting me with something I agreed with (you kinda left out "temperament," which basically means repeatedly doing something, in your quotes). What did you do that for? Doing your mental push-ups on me? Dayaamm!
Temperament's tough. It's kind of like an inherent disposition to interact in a certain way with one's environment (eg. introverts get energized from down time; extraverts get energized from parties and other social gatherings). Habits are easier to deal with. Habits are, on paper (at least), easy to change. It just takes a strong will and some right answers. I wasn't playing around, Michael -- though I admit to avoiding talk of temperament (until now).


Being rational does not always involve normative decisions (except maybe on the level of choosing to use reason over something like daydreaming as a mode of focusing and cognition). Sometimes mental activity is purely cognitive - identifying "what is it? or "where am I?". Normative only comes in with "what should I do?"
Well, normative even comes in with "what should I think about" -- integrate THAT, buster.


Be careful with your theory of emotions, too. They are far more complex than Rand depicted.
I'll be as brazen as I want to be with my theories (but thanks for the warning, anyway). When I have more time, perhaps I will look past Rational Emotive and Cognitive Behavioral theory -- but for now, it's my story ... and I'm stickin' to it.


What's wrong with a miser accumulating money if he gets his jollies doing it?
The same thing that is wrong with narcotics addicts -- as THEY are getting their jollies "doing it."

Do you think the miser should hold to your values on such a personal level, where no infringement of rights or morbid pathology is involved, even if it betrays his? That will make him rational?
It's not MY values I'm championing here (that's too subjective for me to defend). No, the correct concept is what Rand called Objective (human) Values. Michael, do you believe that there may be such things as objective (discoverable) human values?

Ed




Post 179

Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 7:52pmSanction this postReply
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Inter Alia,

Ed: "Game Theorists [are] taken aback by the real-life results of the Prisoners' Dilemma (where supposedly "rational" folks don't exploit others; as would've been predicted) -- don't adequately understand that folks are the kind of creatures that understand the value of having other folks in their lives that they can trust. The Game Theorists are operating with a deficient concept of rationality."

• Could you expand upon what the game theorist’s premises are, and what real world actions it is that they were surprised by? I believe I know what you're talking about, but would like a more explicit exposition, and feel it would profit us all.

Deanna: "...a Playboy to look at, she promptly went out and bought him a copy of his own..."

• While this was certainly not something forbidden for her to do, I think that it robs him of one of the greatest joys of growing up, doing "naughty" things and experiencing the sense of autonomy and power that "getting away with it" develops. I would have acted nonchalantly. After some time, he would have snuck out and bought or stolen one. And NO, I am not advocating theft, per se, I am advocating testing boundaries. She knocked the wall over for him.

Ted Keer, Sep 14, 2006, Manhattan



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