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Saturday, February 4, 2012 - 2:06pmSanction this postReply
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Manfred,

I half-agree that tatoos are, for the most part, intentional supercompensation. In this way, getting a tatoo is like that guy in his late 40's experiencing a mid-life crisis, who buys a Corvette or a 4x4 truck with over-sized wheels. Either that or he gets himself a 19-year-old girlfriend who has about as much theoretical wisdom as a dung beetle. As they say:

"Don't be that guy."

:-)

But, seriously, I am thinking about getting what might be considered -- in certain circles -- to be a campy- or perhaps a corny tatoo. Actually, it's 2 of them. No, scratch that -- actually, it's 4 of them (it's 4 words, in total). What I have in mind is a chest tatoo, one for each pec (chest muscle). On the left would be the 2 words: Faith and Force. On the right would be: Reason and Freedom. Now, because these tatoos are literally chock-full of abstract meaning, it would be difficult to apply your quote to me, in order to get to the conclusion that my intention to get these tatoos is evidence that my mind is, in fact, empty.

p.s. And the answer to your unspoken question is: Yes, I am in my 40's ...

:-)

Ed

(Edited by Ed Thompson on 2/04, 2:12pm)




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Saturday, February 4, 2012 - 2:51pmSanction this postReply
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I am not inked and I cannot see it for myself.  However, I caution againt condemning it or any other fashion out of hand.  I am reading The Rational Optimist and I just watched a PBS thing about early humans.  Trade was invented not for food, but for jewelry: in North Africa drilled shells (presumably strung) dabbed with red ochre are found far from the sea. As useful as obsidian and copper are, again, in the Americas, it seems that decorative shells impelled long-distance trade. 

I challenge anyone to design completely functional and totally unfashionable clothing.  It cannot be done.  Covering is statement.

I iron my shirts.  I get haircuts -- and the style changes over time.  I wore a flat top both in the 50s and the 90s.  It is not for lack of self or want of intellect or intelligence, but to make a statement. 

I am not usually impressed by piercings and tatoos, but I have seen some nice ink.  Take it or leave it. 

European businessmen drape themselves in gold.  Their wrist watches are fashion statements.  Here in America, an executive just as successful by any measure might wear a watch he got free for a fill-up at a gas station.  Both are statements.  You can argue the displays but we cannot deny that the exhibitings exist.




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Saturday, February 4, 2012 - 3:29pmSanction this postReply
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Ed,
How about just a dollar sign over your heart? Less painful. Cheaper.



Post 3

Saturday, February 4, 2012 - 4:27pmSanction this postReply
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I don't care much for this quote. I'm sure the people with tatoos and piercing do NOT think that their minds are empty - so that is a technical problem with the sentence.

And there is the matter of degree. A young woman with a small butterfly tatoo somewhere is not the same as the fellow who is tattooed clear around his neck and down both arms. And saying that those who go to the greater extent are compensating is not quite right. I'd say they have chosen to identify with a particular counter-culture and they get a sense of stability in their stated rejection of the mainstream - much like the hippies of the 60's were more confortable when they exhibited their conformity to the group that claimed to be the counter to mainstream's 9-5 conformity. As to whether their minds are emptier than others is likely, but not certain. And the headscarf for religious reasons can't be judged out of context. All it states is adherence to a particular religion.



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Post 4

Saturday, February 4, 2012 - 5:20pmSanction this postReply
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Mike,
Ed,
How about just a dollar sign over your heart? Less painful. Cheaper.
Ooooooooh, that's seems like a good idea! Symbols are cool. It's not as corny or campy as are 4 written words which stand for pages of a completely-integrated philosophy. In fact, it actually already jives with a certain section of culture (rap artist culture). When I first saw a picture of Ayn Rand with a dollar-sign necklace, I thought of her as a rap artist wearing what is known as "bling." Improbable to say the least, but it gave me a chuckle, anyway.

:-)

I like the idea that its over my heart, too. Hmmmmm, let me think about this some more ...


Ed

(Edited by Ed Thompson on 2/04, 5:21pm)




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Post 5

Saturday, February 4, 2012 - 5:37pmSanction this postReply
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Oh geez Ed.

When you said you thought of Ayn Rand as a rap artist when she wore that necklace, I immediately imagined her wearing multiple gold chains, large gem-encrusted sunglasses, various rings on each finger, and a "grill" (mouth piece which covers either the top or bottom set of teeth) with a dollar sign on it. Then I imagined her strutting like a pimp in some city.

Now that is an image I'll never get out of my head.



Post 6

Saturday, February 4, 2012 - 8:23pmSanction this postReply
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Kyle ... my man,

I heard that Ayn Rand could lay down some serious freestyle, back in the day. Could hold her own with the best of them. Rappers and street thugs call someone an "OG" to refer to them as an "original gangster" (pronounced "gangsta") -- someone who came up from the projects and is a serious go-hard (someone you don't want to mess with). Ayn Rand is like that, too, only she came up out of Czarist Russia -- which, to my mind, is just as bad as any ghetto. She sure had to earn her "street cred." I mean, it wasn't just handed to her or something. I guess we could call her an OI for original individualist, or maybe an OO for original Objectivist?
  
You certainly can't dispute that. You better recognize (and give up them props).

:-)

Ed 

p.s. Picture this -- and then I promise ... then I promise to behave after this -- picture Ayn Rand walking into the classrooms of Columbia University (or some other haven for collectivist indoctrination) and grabbing the mic away from the professors and laying down some serious Objectivist sh#$ in front of the class. Complete with the forceful hand gestures and what have you. Never mind the glaring point that this would be a violation of property rights. This is a counterfactual. Duh, didn't you 'get the memo'? So I can say whatever I want. ... Oh heck, it's been a tough week for me. I need to get some shut-eye. Maybe I'll be less loopy after a good night's rest.

Maybe.

:-)




Post 7

Saturday, February 4, 2012 - 9:54pmSanction this postReply
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I just woke up after working a 19 hour shift I am definately feeling loopy.



Post 8

Sunday, February 5, 2012 - 7:17amSanction this postReply
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Jewelry and related adornments, i.e. what could be called a momentary or ad-hoc aspect enhancement, isn’t at all involved with the content of my quote (since it can be used or taken off at will) and must, therefore, be left completely disregarded.

Any other DELIBERATE and PERMANENT physical alteration of the natural aspect of the human body (here too excepting accidents or necessary medical [surgical] interventions) is a sign of disrespect toward it and should, thus, be purposefully avoided, for it means a defilement of the human being.

My quote follows exactly Ayn Rand’s own words in “The Fountainhead”: “Because the beauty of the human body is that it hasn't a single muscle which doesn't serve its purpose; that there's not a line wasted; that every detail of it fits one idea, the idea of a man and the life of a man.”  (My emphasis)




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Sunday, February 5, 2012 - 7:33amSanction this postReply
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...  picture Ayn Rand walking into the classrooms of Columbia University ...  and laying down some serious Objectivist sh#$ in front of the class. Complete with the forceful hand gestures and ... 


We have that in the two "Hayek versus Keynes" rap videos.
Fear the Boom and Bust
Round 2: Fight of the Century

It could be worse
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvrUQqqm1O0

Really, it could.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FpdwIWJndQ

You have no idea how worse...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NH-m564_TIU

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 2/05, 7:57am)




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Sunday, February 5, 2012 - 8:56amSanction this postReply
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I think men with pierced ears are sexy.  ;)

And body builders are really sexy. Talk about alterations! Wowzer!  No one is born like that!  If an alteration enhances one's figure, I don't see a problem with it. If a tattoo reflects what burns in one's soul, where's the problem with symbolizing that unity?  




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Post 11

Sunday, February 5, 2012 - 9:32amSanction this postReply
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"Any other DELIBERATE and PERMANENT physical alteration of the natural aspect of the human body (here too excepting accidents or necessary medical [surgical] interventions) is a sign of disrespect toward it and should, thus, be purposefully avoided, for it means a defilement of the human being." - Manfred F. Schieder

So cosmetic surgery is a sign of disrespect towards the human body -- since it's not in response to an accident or to necessary medical intervention? Seriously? That would mean that no surgical improvements done solely for the sake of one's appearance would ever be justified, including breast reductions or enhancements, hair implants to overcome baldness, plastic surgery to improve one's facial appearance, to correct natural occurring deformities, to remove sagging skin after weight loss, or to eliminate unsightly moles or scars.

In essence, what you're saying is that we should never try to improve on nature, if the only purpose for doing so is solely a matter of taste or esthetics. Do you really think that this is part of Rand's philosophy?



Post 12

Sunday, February 5, 2012 - 10:06amSanction this postReply
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Ed,

If you keep acting like that, I'll never want you to behave.

Columbia University? Oh yes, don't property rights effectively end for any and all who step foot on that campus? Therefore, I don't see any conflicting aspects between Ms. Rand's behavior and ideas. Also, I don't see Rand casually walking into a classroom, I think she'd rather break down the collectively-owned door, reclaim the stolen mic from the state-appointed instructor, and sling some blazin' rhymes (rap community, please forgive me for that).

In regard to the tattoo, I'm liking the idea of the dollar sign on the chest (over the heart). That would be heavily symbolic since it would associate value (the dollar symbol) with one of the most valuable of organs (the heart)or the dollar sign could represent a shield protecting human life. The dollar sign over the heart could also indicate romanticism. So much symbolism.

But if you must have words you could tattoo "In pursuit of the inviolate truth" onto your back. :)

Michael,

My teacher had the "Hayek vs. Keynes" rap posted as an external link on his "Black Board". I thought it was interesting and informative.

Hey, I liked the kid's rap. The other two though, of those I'm not too sure. I did find the Hammond keyboard to be fitting, though lol.

Teresa,

I agree with you.

Well, I agree with your opinion on tattoos and other body enhancements.

I don't find men with pierced ears to be sexy. XD

I also agree with Bill.

I wonder if this will descend into a debate on what's natural and what isn't.
(Edited by Kyle Jacob Biodrowski on 2/05, 10:09am)




Post 13

Sunday, February 5, 2012 - 3:42pmSanction this postReply
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Manfred, can you prove your assertion that making a physical alteration necessarily equals an empty head?

I have no doubt that in some cases the assertion is true, but not in all cases.  




Post 14

Sunday, February 5, 2012 - 4:29pmSanction this postReply
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Any other DELIBERATE and PERMANENT physical alteration of the natural aspect of the human body (here too excepting accidents or necessary medical [surgical] interventions) is a sign of disrespect toward it and should, thus, be purposefully avoided, for it means a defilement of the human being.
It is human nature to imagine and make changes. We discover the laws of nature for the very purpose of being able to control our environment instead of being it's helpless subjects. We alter nature constantly. After all, being a hunter-gatherer who lives in a cave is so yesterday - better to pick up something in the grocery store and live in a house. I don't see any difference between taking control of the appearance of our body, versus taking control of the appearance of our house, clothes, car, etc. We attend to our hair style, and our clothes. Some people show what I'd consider good taste and others... not so much. But some of that is subjective preference.

If someone wants to make the argument that many of those people who go wild on tattoos and piercings are exhibiting bad taste... that I could agree with.



Post 15

Sunday, February 5, 2012 - 6:09pmSanction this postReply
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yes, animals react - they live with what they're dealt with... humans, however, proact - they alter to suit best themselves, as they see themselves...



Post 16

Sunday, February 5, 2012 - 7:33pmSanction this postReply
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Also there are those women that have servived cancer and for obvious self esteem had their breasts enhanced, that to me in no way shows an empty head but a celbration of life and womanhood.

I have a dragon tattoo on my chest that I designed years ago, the tattoo artist offered me a job on the spot.(which I declined as I make way more than he could pay me but I took the complement with pride).

Most of your quotes I thoroughly enjoyed..kind of shook my head on this one.

I do see your point from the context that many "tatoo freeks" are little more than brutes emulating the tribalist hordes.
There are always exeptions though.



Post 17

Monday, February 6, 2012 - 7:27amSanction this postReply
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It’s evident that here are people scraping every possible exception out of the bag to oppose my quote. So, piece by piece:

Teresa, William and Steve: Ok, enhancing muscles add beauty to the human body…but this is not a tattoo, and I am speaking of tattoos and body piercing. Besides, there are also body building women and most of these look more like monsters than human FEMALE beings. Would you, Teresa, also state that they have brains in the sense I’ve put it? I’ll extend this a bit further. 1,000 years ago Abu l-'Ala al-Ma'arri (973 – 1057) stated: „Mankind is divided in two parts: those with brains and no religion and those with religion but no brains.“ At least I, for one, clearly understand what he meant that “religious people have no brains.” Of course religious people have brains… though they don’t use it to fulfill what characterizes a human being, i.e. a RATIONAL being. Thus, I perfectly understand what Ma’arr meant when he said that “those with religion have no brains” and no further explanation is necessary. There’s no need to search for exceptions, for none of these would dent one tiny little bit what Ma’arri said. As the saying goes: “A word to the wise is enough”. (Here, too, perhaps you need more than one word, but the sense is clear enough). Which, of course, also goes to you, William. No; cosmetic surgery is no disrespect to the human body, just as surgical improvements (in the case of breast cancer evidently MOST necessary) of all kinds aren’t. Here again, you are scraping the bottom of the bag to find excuses to oppose what I, like Ma’arri, meant by reducing the quote to its essentials. Else, William and Steve, tell me what Ma’arri should have done to satisfy you. What exceptions would he have had to cite? Please tell me, but remember that if he had gone with your wishes his quote would have lost every effect of what he wanted to transmit through, as they say, a punch in the eye of the reader. Kyle said that he doesn’t find men with pierced ears sexy. Would you, Teresa and you, William, agree with this… or do you think that this is a bodily beauty enhancement? Or would you rather agree with Jules statement that “I do see your point from the context that many ‘tattoo freaks’ are little more than brutes emulating the tribalist hordes.”
I understand that I made my case. The defense rests.
(Edited by Manfred F. Schieder on 2/06, 7:31am)




Post 18

Monday, February 6, 2012 - 10:20amSanction this postReply
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Manfred, the defense rested before you answered all of the objections. You think that this is what you were saying: "People with tattoos and piercings have empty minds." Not so. You were saying, "People with tattoos and piercings are people who think their minds are empty."

Next, you state that altering the body is disrespecting it. People who get a tattoo or a piercing don't necessarily see this as an act of disrespect. They believe they have enhanced their natural beauty. You haven't shown that this is an objective difference as opposed to a subjective preference.

You go on to say that disrespecting the body is defilement of the human being. "Any ... DELIBERATE and PERMANENT physical alteration of the natural aspect of the human body ... is a sign of disrespect toward it and should, thus, be purposefully avoided, for it means a defilement of the human being." I don't think any native English speaker would have used that 'defilement of the human being' phrase. And clearly what you said does NOT follow exactly Ayn Rand’s own words in the quote you provided.

You are speaking as if it were a moral duty (a concept that Rand hated) - that a person wants a tattoo, thinks it would make them more attractive, but has to forego this 'enhancement' because it would commit the moral sin of 'defilement of the human being.' If they think it would be of value, they should, by their standards, pursue it. On the other hand, if it is objectively a disvalue, you need to show the evidence, and you haven't.

Here is my take. People who are stressed with low self-esteem will feel higher levels of shame, fear, anxiety or depression and they will expend a lot of effort to mitigate those negative feelings. This will occur mostly on an emotional level, with some accompanying rationalizations. Some of these people will adopt a counter-culture in rebellion that they hope will make their life feel better. And this counter-culture may be one that identifies with extreme quantities of tattoos and piercings. These counter cultures don't offer substantial, rational ideological bases. But still, the jump from they-have-tattoos to they-have-empty-minds is not warranted and isn't justified by Rand's quote.



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Post 19

Monday, February 6, 2012 - 11:14amSanction this postReply
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Manfred answers his critics!
It’s evident that here are people scraping every possible exception out of the bag to oppose my quote.
But he, of course, is not scraping every possible rationalization out of the bag to defend it! ;-)
So, piece by piece:, William and Steve: Ok, enhancing muscles add beauty to the human body…but this is not a tattoo, and I am speaking of tattoos and body piercing.
Well, you said more than that, to wit: "Any other DELIBERATE and PERMANENT physical alteration of the natural aspect of the human body (here too excepting accidents or necessary medical [surgical] interventions) is a sign of disrespect toward it and should, thus, be purposefully avoided, for it means a defilement of the human being." This was not simply a statement about tattoos and body piercings, nor was it simply a condemnation of what you consider to be ugly or unattractive.
Would you, Teresa, also state that they have brains in the sense I’ve put it? I’ll extend this a bit further. 1,000 years ago Abu l-'Ala al-Ma'arri (973 – 1057) stated: „Mankind is divided in two parts: those with brains and no religion and those with religion but no brains.“ At least I, for one, clearly understand what he meant that “religious people have no brains.” Of course religious people have brains… though they don’t use it to fulfill what characterizes a human being, i.e. a RATIONAL being. Thus, I perfectly understand what Ma’arr meant when he said that “those with religion have no brains” and no further explanation is necessary.
I agree. Ma'arri's statement is perfectly clear, for he was speaking figuratively, but you were not. You enunciated a very clear, general principle in precise language.

So if you did not mean what you said, then what is your general principle? To what are you objecting? Is it simply to tattoos and body piercings or to certain other deliberate and permanent alterations of the human body that are not medically necessary? And if so, what are these, and on what grounds do you oppose them? And if you are against body piercings, does that include pierced ears, or just the piercing of other parts of the body? And if the latter, what is your general principle? I'm still trying to understand the principle that you are defending. Are you also, for example, against permanent eye liner, which some women have done, or to the surgical elimination of the epicanthic fold covering the inner corner of the eye, which some Asian women have done to improve their appearance, which I don't see the reason for, as I don't consider the epicanthic fold unattractive. But if the woman who has it done feels more attractive as a result, who am I to argue that she is being irrational, for in this case, one could say that beauty truly is in the "eye" of the beholder.

Now that doesn't mean that I don't have strong esthetic objections to certain "alterations" of the human body, such as multiple tattoos, like arm sleeves, which I regard as bizarre and lacking in good taste. I also think that these kinds of major and "permanent" alterations reflect questionable judgment, as the person may come to regret it as his tastes and priorities change over the years. But I can't condemn it on philosophic grounds as "defiling" or "disrespecting" the human body. If you think you can make an argument against it on those grounds, good luck defending it!

(Edited by William Dwyer on 2/06, 11:16am)




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