I always get even.
Think Big and Kick Ass
“To be self-sufficient is not to require anything else for one’s definition; it is to be identical with oneself and so to be definite. Thus worth consists in ‘in-itselfness’ and self-hood.” --Raphael Demos in THE PHILOSOPHY OF PLATO (1939)
When you’re young, meeting thousands of people a year from 'all over the world' can be exciting, but if you already know the type of person you connect with best, it would be smarter to surround yourself with only those people.
Six Things Wrong with New York City
Whoever espies human beauty can be afflicted by no ill: he feels himself in accord with himself and with the world.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Elective Affinities (1809)
Wellbeing starts at the lowest level of luxury. Everything below this point is mere survival.
Manfred F. Schieder (1937 - )
A dead man is not a man convinced.
Manfred F. Schieder (1937 - )
Manfred F. Schieder
Neither capitalism nor egoism nor minarchism nor romanticism is the essence of Objectivism. Anarchists may think that the essence of Rand is her politics, but compared to the essential nature of her epistemological method, which anarchists necessarily do not comprehend, her politics and her stands on other more concrete issues amount almost to mere accidents in the Aristotelian sense. Objectivism is the rejection of package deals and of stolen and floating and frozen concepts. Without the analysis of the contextual origin of individual concepts there is no such thing as Objectivism. The concept of rights would never arise if there were not some (potentially objective) third party to which at least one of the parties of a dispute could appeal.
The Concept of Rights and the Social Context
[The Ivy league schools] are America's stealth seminaries of Social Scientology, preaching and teaching that "S"ociety=God and the State is its proper church, and the annointed few are the chosen Acolytes on a mission to save Mankind from its crass, capitalistic self...'In the nation's service'.
By definition, the universe is the totality of ALL that exists. It doesn’t define “part of what exists,” for this would be a contradiction against itself and require a new word to define ALL that exists, a useless undertaking, since there is already a word to define ALL that exists, namely “Universe”. It is, thus, an absolute which renders, in itself, those scientists that hold that there are many universes as ignorant of the definition of “Universe”. By definition, “God” is the totality of capacities, characteristics and existence in itself. It is omnicreative, omnipotent, all-knowing, etc. etc. It is not a partiality of what it is, but a totality of it. It is, thus, an absolute. Here we have two absolutes, which, thus, contradict each other. As philosopher Ayn Rand clearly stated, whenever there’s a contradiction, at least one of its premises is wrong. Above absolutes are the two premises of the contradiction, i.e. they are absolute oppositions. Hence, if “God” exists, then the universe doesn’t exist. On the other hand, if the universe exists, its existence renders the existence of “God” impossible. Therefore, since the universe demonstrably exists, “God” does not exist. This, in itself, solves the riddle.
Manfred F. Schieder (1937 - )
"Ayn Rand, I and the Universe"
... one cannot give up one's property rights as such, because the very act of giving up a piece of property in exchange for something else is itself an exercise of one's right to the property. Property rights imply the right to use and disposal, and by exchanging one's property for something else, one is disposing of it according to one's wishes. One couldn't exchange it for something else if one didn't have the right to it to begin with. So the right to surrender one's property is only possible if one possesses property rights in the first place -- if one possesses the right to control that which one owns. It is the right to control that which one owns that one cannot give up or surrender.
Think about it. If the person is socially obtuse and just didn't recognize that they were abusing my hospitality, I've helped educate them. If they have a narcissistic sense of entitlement, I've not let their poor grasp of boundaries become my issue. If they are a bit mean spirited and hoped to take advantage of me, I've stopped them.
The conditionality of life and the circumstance that human life is open to choice has the structure of necessity right for morality. The absoluteness of life or death is the absoluteness of moral necessity. That one freely chooses life, originates life, in thought and action respecting its requirements and opportunities—this is one’s moral glory.
Ayn Rand is one of those things that a lot of us, when we were 17 or 18 and feeling misunderstood, we’d pick up. Then, as we get older, we realize that a world in which we’re only thinking about ourselves and not thinking about anybody else, in which we’re considering the entire project of developing ourselves as more important than our relationships to other people and making sure that everybody else has opportunity – that that’s a pretty narrow vision. It’s not one that, I think, describes what’s best in America.
Barack H. Obama
[secondary source] http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2012/10/26/barack-obama-doesnt-think-ayn-rand-is-a-fountainhead-of-ideas/
Since all demands for equality are by definition meritorious regardless of merit, and since consequences are irrelevant, some interpreters say that inequalities anywhere should be fought against equally. But some inequalities are more egregious, say others, and thus more deserving of society's immediate concern. ... People, they say, know what they want, so no hierarchy of importance is required. [The moral man] starts anywhere, singling out for crusade the specific injustice about which he feels strongly; he is moved by emotionally charged concretes in the here and now. His eyes are not on a vision of an ideal human future, but on a perceptual-level flux of social sores--inequality of health insurance, of gender pay, of wheelchair access, et al--sores to be picked up piecemeal, fought against, and, if the emotional charge runs down, dropped piecemeal.
Book: The DIM Hypothesis. (2012). New American Library, p 175-6
None of us -- none of us have to settle for the best this administration offers, a dull, adventureless journey from one entitlement to the next, a government-planned life, a country where everything is free but us. Listen to the way we're already spoken to -- listen to the way we are spoken to already, as if everyone is stuck in some class or station in life, victims of circumstances beyond our control, with government there to help us cope with our fate. It's the exact opposite of everything I learned growing up in Wisconsin, or at college in Ohio. Now when I was waiting tables, washing dishes, or mowing lawns for money, I never thought of myself as stuck in some station in life. I was on my own path, my own journey, an American journey, where I could think for myself, decide for myself, define happiness for myself. That is that we do in this country. That is the American dream. That's freedom and I will take it any day over the supervision and sanctimony of the central planners.
The other day I had a conversation with a co-worker about politics. At one point I said I don't really think it matters who wins the next election, because the real war is not being fought on that level. I explained that politics is an extension of ethics, and as long as our culture embraces altruism, you can never expect a real improvement.
The value, or WORTH of a man, is ... not absolute; but a thing dependent on the need and judgment of another.
Leviathan, English Works, 3, p. 76
So here's the point: "There are no self-made men. The individual is subservient to the state." This is what Lakoff was trying to conceive that other Democrats could take out into the public domain. They're not talking about roads. This isn't about roads and bridges. Obama and the Democrats are engaged in what I would call 'a determined philosophical takedown of the individual,' at the expense of the total empowerment of the state. If you read a sentence of this or a whole paragraph, what Obama's saying is: There is no self-made man.
An entity which was not concerned with itself or, to put it better, an entity that did not value itself, would not exist for very long. But now children are below the understanding of the issues and, in effect, do not have a choice. It is when children begin to speak -- when they begin to acquire ideas -- that their choice begins. And the idea of self-sacrifice is a totally artificial, very evil idea which children and adults learn from others -- which is passed from person to person. Now this doesn't mean that if a child were left alone he would naturally be selfish, properly. No, because it an enormous achievement to discover rational selfishness. Not acting on whim or pleasure of the moment, but knowing what is rationally an imporant goal, of what value is it to you, and how to achieve it. The idea of being rationally selfish is not available to children. It would take a long period of thought -- or the proper teaching -- for them to discover it.
1962 Interview on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson
I think that today's conservatives are worse than today's liberals. I think ... if anyone destroys this country, it will be the conservatives -- because they do not know how to preach capitalism, to explain it to the people, because they do nothing except apologize, and because they're all altruists. They're all based on religious altruism and, on that combination of ideas, you cannot save this country.
1979 Interview by Tom Snyder on "The Tomorrow Show"
You get lots of people like [McCranie] or others who do this who have great intentions and are civically minded and spirited. But acting one by one by one, they set into motion this dynamic ... where suddenly we're not acting collaboratively or collectively as a public. We're acting individually as philanthropists to benefit the thing we're most passionate about. And suddenly we don't have a civic sphere anymore. We don't have political participation. We don't have an "us." We have a bunch of "I's."
Rob Reich (co-director of Stanford University's "Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society")
When the interaction between two variables is labyrinthine it is meaningless to ascribe percentage values to the contribution made by either. And if this is true for just one gene interacting with one environmental variable, the argument must hold with even greater force for something as complex and multifactorial as human intelligence. Ironically, the IQ evangelists (such as Arthur Jensen, William Shockley, Richard Hernstein, and Charles Murray) use the heritability of IQ itself (sometimes called "general intelligence" or "little g") to argue that intelligence is a single measurable trait. This would be roughly analogous to saying that general health is one thing just because life span has a strong heritable component that can be expressed as a single number--age! No medical student who believed in "general health" as a monolithic entity would get very far in medical school or be allowed to become a physician--and rightly so--and yet whole careers in psychology and political movements have been built on the equally absurd belief in single measurable general intelligence.
V. S. Ramachandran
Book: The Tell-Tale Brain: A neuroscientist's quest for what makes us human. (2011). Norton; p 170-1
Experts tend to suffer from groupthink. ... Moreover, because experts tend to believe more than most in the absolute authority of experts, the average expert in the room will defer to the judgment of the superexpert. ... Some recent examples include Pearl Harbor, the Bay of Pigs, the failure to find WMDs in Iraq, and, of course, the release of New Coke. ... One of the more fascinating counterintuitive facts of life is that the introduction of dumb people can make a group of smart people collectively smarter. Bluntly stated, some stupid people are too stupid to automatically defer to smart people. Remember the story about the truck that got jammed in the tunnel because it was too small? All the experts were stumped. But some kid yelled, "Let the air out of the tires," saving the day.
Book: The Tyranny of Cliche`s: How liberals cheat in the war of ideas. 2012. Sentinel; p 93-4
The less one knows, the closer one comes to sharing with blocks of marble and bits of wood the advantage of being infallible and faultless.
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
New Essays on Human Understanding
Atheists may have many other virtues, but on one of the least controversial and most objective measures of moral behavior—giving time, money, and blood to help strangers in need—religious people appear to be morally superior to secular folk.
Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her: but once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game.
Francois Marie Arouet de Voltaire
Blacks today are just as racially different from whites of two generations ago as they are from whites today. Yet the data suggest that the number of questions that blacks answer correctly on IQ tests today is very similar to the number answered correctly by past generations of whites. If race A differs from race B in IQ, and two generations of race A differ from each other by the same amount, where is the logic in suggesting that the IQ differences are even partly racial?
Vol. 28, American Spectator, 02-01-1995, pp 32.
[I]deology signifies a phenomenon intermediate between a simple lie at one pole, and an error, which is the result of a distorted and faulty conceptual apparatus, at the other.
Occupy Wall Street protesters had just a few hours to celebrate what they saw as their biggest victory so far: the peaceful shutdown of the nation's fifth-busiest port.
Overheard: "School children who see the exhibits in the Creation Museum in Kentucky will be confused when they learn in school that the universe is 14 billion years old rather than 6,000."
The individual politic tactic of hypothesizing an authority above all of us individually ... and then jarringly speaking for it as individuals and presenting our individual interpretations of what this remote supreme and yet curiously otherwise mute authority demands of us individually... is the oldest carny huckster political trick in the book.
RoR's Morality Needs No God thread
Let's start calling spade the spade, whenever, tolerance has been overtaken by bigotry, blinkeredness and singularity; nations and empires have just withered away. At heart of hatred, viciousness and venomous intensity lies intolerance, bigotry and inability to ever find the enemy within. Fanaticism is an evil of a society that corrodes the elegance of any culture.
http://www.globalpolitician.com/print.asp?id=3999'Nation of Islam' and Denial of Its Killing Fields!
The Pluralism of Ideas and the prosperity of any land are intertwined. Freedom of minds and skill of intellect to 'think the unthinkable' is how humanity has progressed; when minds are incarcerated nothing endures.
If I claim to have an ideology, the specifics of that ideology are a reflection of who I am. There can be no factor that more accurately speaks to the content of my character. For this reason, we must judge people's beliefs if we are to assess their character. If there is an intolerance that should be tolerated, it is the intolerance of ignorance.
Tolerance of Intolerance
We ain't got no jobs, no money ... We heard that other people were getting things for free, so why not us?
A person rioting
What does "rational" mean? At its most basic, it means an ability to make a ratio, as with "rational numbers" in mathematics. More broadly, it means an ability to weigh one thing against another.
Ideals vs. Realities
Notoriously, disciples tend to narrow their minds, admitting as meaningful questions, legitimate interpretations, and acceptable patterns of thought only those which they regard---rightly or wrongly---as sanctioned by the example of the master within whose 'school' they are working.
Stephen Edelston Toulmin
Human Understanding: The Collective Use and Evolution of Concepts
"Intellectuals," no doubt, are often tiresome enough, because they are often pseudo-intellectuals--ingenious fools too clever to be wise, though brilliant at inventing the most ingenious reasons for their fatuous beliefs.
F.L. Lucas (1884-1967)
"Be Reasonable", by Wilcox & George, Prometheus Books, 1994 [quote of Lucas': "The Search for Good Sense"]
The being cannot be termed rational or virtuous, who obeys any authority, but that of reason.
...academic philosophers, who ought to have been Rand's allies in helping young people to knowledge, instead proved to be her enemies. Philosophy courses, with some honorable exceptions, seemed designed to leave students with the impression that philosophy means never having to say you are certain.
The Ideas of Ayn Rand
With regard to the idea of whether you have a right to health care, you have realize what that implies. It's not an abstraction. I’m a physician. That means you have a right to come to my house and conscript me. It means you believe in slavery.
... four further theses: that no way of conducting rational enquiry from a standpoint independent of the particularities of any tradition has been discovered and that there is good reason to believe that there is no such way; that the problems of understanding and representing faithfully the concepts and beliefs of some tradition alien to one's own in a way that makes those concepts and beliefs intelligible within one's own tradition confront difficulties which can in certain contingent circumstances be overcome; that rival traditions have rival conceptions of rationality and of progress in understanding, but that this does not entail relativism or perspectivism; and finally that although these theses are themselves advanced from the standpoint of a particular tradition, that of a Thomist Aristotelianism, they involve a substantive and nonrelativizable conception of truth, and that in this respect as in others there is no inconsistency in making universal claims from the standpoint of a tradition.
It is not the concept of government that is anathema to freedom; it is the concept of government unbound by any principle other than the brute force of numbers that is anathema to freedom. A government limited to defending the principle of free association and enforcing penalties for forced association is not anathema to freedom, it is a necessity for freedom.
"Racing frantically against the clock, the team was still scouting for locations [for the movie Atlas Shrugged, Part I]with only three days left before shooting ended. Some locations were found only the day before they were used; some actors were cast just two days before they went on camera."
"Atlas Shrugged: The Movie Scenes from the 38-year struggle to film Ayn Rand's famous novel", Reason magazine, May 2011
By elevating the issue of helping others into the central and primary issue of ethics, altruism has destroyed the concept of any authentic benevolence or good will among men. It has indoctrinated men with the idea that to value another human being is an act of selflessness, thus implying that a man can have no personal interest in others—that to value another means to sacrifice oneself—that any love, respect or admiration a man may feel for others is not and cannot be a source of his own enjoyment, but is a threat to his existence, a sacrificial blank check signed over to his loved ones.
“The Ethics of Emergencies,” The Virtue of Selfishness, 43.
Maybe sacrifice--altruism--is popular (though not so much in practice as in discourse) because people want other people to sacrifice for them! Not exactly a benevolent reason!
Tibor R. Machan
Post after his article "Are our actions mostly motivated unconsciously?"
I admire [Rand's] emphasis in everything she writes on individual liberties, and how fragile they can be. ... I do want to add that I'm not an admirer of her harshness, and her lack of thinking about the social contract -- what we all need to do with each other in order to live happily in society.
Anne C. Heller
In my opinion, the existence of life is a highly overrated phenomenon. Mars gets along perfectly without so much as a microorganism.
2009 post-kantian, existentialist movie: "Watchmen"
A physicist will accept the goal of grasping the nature of the independently existing physical world, only if he accepts that there is such a world, and he perceives it, rather than a shadowy world of subjective appearance. He will search for the causal laws governing nature, only if he accepts the law of causality and rejects the view that things can act apart from or in contradiction to their natures. He will require his theories to ascribe specific, non-contradictory properties to physical entities, only if he accepts the law of identity and the principles of Aristotelian logic. He will demand that his theories derive from observational evidence, only if he accepts the wider principle that abstractions, of any kind, derive from perceived concretes. And he therefore rejects claims based on arbitrary guesses or intuition. He will choose rationally between competing theories and eventually be able to prove his theories, but only if he accepts rational standards of proof and believes himself capable of achieving certainty. And he will hold to the independence of his scientific judgment, but only if he recognizes that truth is the correspondence between ideas and facts and not, for example, a consensus among the scientific community.
... Barbara and Nathaniel had inherited or adopted some of Rand's philosophical prejudices and modes of expression that (I felt) limited their ability to be objectively descriptive. ... I ended up disagreeing with some of both Brandens' interpretations of Rand's character and importance, but that was to be expected.
Anne C. Heller
Anne C. Heller interview in Summer 2010 issue of The New Individualist