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Everything posted by Oleksandr

  1. Atlas Shrugged as a Spark

    The following is one of my blog posts. The original is here. I have recently read it over, and found that I like it enough to share elsewhere other than my blog. I feel it belongs to this forum. Judge this yourself.
  2. A problem dealing with people who act nice

    To get back to the topic: The issue of this topic is not "Is person X faking?" The issue is "Once you know the person X is faking, what do you do?" To the degree that a person is rational, justice is a psychological need. With that in mind, I think the root cause for many people who struggle dealing with fake nice-ness is inability to find and act the proper response that fake nice-ness requires from you. I had this problem well before Objectivism, and introspectively my implicit reasoning was: "There is something very wrong about fake nice-ness. I really don't like it. Every time I face it, my desire is to act according to what it deserves." When I faced this problem, I didn't have Objectivism to help me, which took the struggle much worse and longer for me than it should have been. A decently rational person often is capable of developing a proper benevolent view of the world. This can properly be done through induction. From one side, that helps the person be at ease with the world. From another side, it makes any bad part strike you in your face, if you have not resolved how such a bad part is possible and if you don't know yet how to deal with it. It can be a serious "downer." I think this is exactly what Dagny Taggart felt after her first party. She saw all the fake-ness in the room: the people were attempting to gain something they didn't have by coming to the part and being surrounded by bright lights. Btw, how did she make such a conclusion? How was she able to state such a moral judgment without having a direct evidence to others' minds? Fake nice-ness is really only small concrete from that scene. The issue here is NOT how do you deal with salesmen who smiles at you. The issue here is how to deal with going to a party where all you can see is a fake smile staring at you from everybody you see there. I claim that such a case is very hard to handle. It's understandably easy to lose the full context and imagine the whole world of fake smiles directed at you. And then you look at yourself and your own mind and see that you want something benevolent. The question easily arises: "Is it even possible for my benevolent world to exist? What if it's not possible b/c of the sea of fake smiles around me?" It took Dagny a tennis match with Francisco to regain her own benevolent sense of life. One could claim that if it wasn't for that match, then perhaps Dagny would have lost her spark over time, and would not become the great person she was later in her life. It would certainly be tragic. And this is why the issue of this topic is important. It can have serious psychological effects on the person. It has been suggested in this thread that one should just tell yourself "Benevolent universe premise" a few times and somehow calm your mind down by doing that. First of all, this is wrong epistemologically. If one has arrived to a conclusion that people fake smiles through induction - by seeing over and over again fake smiles everyday at one's work, buses, shops, work meeting, salesmen, car shops, parties - the one cannot be satisfied by a general abstract statement that "one ought to be benevolent to people" due to benevolent premise or that "this is part of an etiquette that we owe other people." It is simply not convincing. Consider what it would mean for an individual. On the one hand, he has a large inductive integration about fake smiles. On the other hand, he hears an abstract statement about benevolence and etiquettes. I cannot imagine how somebody would rationally choose an abstract statement which has no basis (as yet) in his mind over the large inductive conclusion. Even if one tries to consider, the person would only need to turn a corner and see yet another fake smile, and whatever abstract rule he had tried to hold would fall apart in an instance, and he would be back to square one. This is not a solution. I am NOT saying that there is no such thing as a benevolent view of the world. But it has to be inductively reached, otherwise it's useless for the individual. Deducing the proper behavior from "benevolent view of the world" is impossible without resorting to floating abstractions. For example, consider this passage: http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/benevolentuniverse.html There is nothing in the definition of "benevolent premise" that deduces into "smile at others, just in case." I'm highly interested in an inductive chain of thought and perceptual/conceptual concretes that leads to an inductive conclusion that the universe is relevant. I'm aware that Ayn Rand and Peikoff wrote on this issue. For example, here: http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/benevolentuniverse.html However, what I've seen (and I've read all fiction and non-fiction, not just the link above) is only a summary of a final inductive conclusion. I have not seen how one would go about reaching such conclusion inductively by starting with directly perceivable and moving up the chain of concretes into the final statement. (I'm sure somebody here has done this. I would be glad to see it. I'll attempt to work on this myself later.) I think that only the correct inductive approach can resolve the issue people have with dealing with fake nice-ness. Secondly, there is a psychological problem here as well. Justice is a psychological need. You cannot expect a person to just let go of his conclusion that he sees something wrong. The person will not to be convinced by an abstract description when he is facing a strong psychological desire to be just. When I had this problem before Objectivism, I had actually tried to tell myself that be less judgmental and express less disgust and open statements about fake smiles. That did me no good at all, because I would literally have to fight myself every time I see another example of fake-ness. Eventually, I would feel completely exhausted and refuse to be quiet. (At that time I was in college, so I was confronted by a great many examples - this is not a case of some quiet work office.)
  3. A problem dealing with people who act nice

    How do you know that? How can you ever know that other people do that if you never had direct experience of another person's mind? This is an example of a fallacy of using a "stolen concept," or perhaps a whole new fallacy of "stolen knowledge". What I'm wondering now is what inductive evidence and inductive chain of thought you used to make any judgements and conclusion about people IF you are implying that nothing less that direct evidence will do? And since direct evidence is impossible, then aren't you setting up an impossible standard by which to judge if somebody made a correct call another person?
  4. The Theory of Elementary Waves

    Good point, Dean M. Sandin. By the way, I didn't see a link to an awesome article by Stephen that introduces TEW here: http://speicher.com/tew.html I've not read the book yet, but this article was very good in explaining the theory in simple and clear terms.
  5. The Theory of Elementary Waves

    That's a great post, Betsy. Hopefully, it will make it to HBL.
  6. Drop in Oil Prices in 2008

    Has anybody been following on the recent and very significant drop in oil dollar-price? The drop is pretty darn significant. In just 3-4 months, the price went down by almost a dollar. What is the cause? (I've done some small research but haven't found anything significant to explain this.)
  7. Drop in Oil Prices in 2008

    This is the usual approach from Austrian school. According to them the major damage that a government can do to the economy is always and must be coming from the printing press (real or virtual as in your quoted article). And that is plain false. Printing money sure causes problems, but my questions was about a drop of price of a concrete product in the market. Not every single product out there is dropping as oil did in the past few months. Printing real or virtual money does not answer how come oil is the one that got hit the most.
  8. Introspection and morality

    That's the same thing. So long as one ignores his emotions, emotions are in control of him.
  9. Introspection and morality

    Is the point here that "only guess" is never enough to decide if somebody is evading or not?
  10. Introspection and morality

    I don't see how usefullness matters here. Actions always have motives. I think that pointing out possible motives is an important part of explaining a problem. (That's a big part of why Ayn Rand's non-fiction is so great.) Personally, I don't have any problems with hearing possible motives. I don't see how this can constitute an insult. Is the insult/"getting personal" coming from a thought "How dare you think that you know my motives or my mind?"
  11. Imagination vs. Reality

    (This was written by ifatart) As far as I know there isn't. But the way to know for sure is understanding the physical basis of consciousness. Evidence shows that there is something physical in the brain that gives rise to consciousness. Once you know what it is (what is the physical correlate of consciousness) you can know if it can be recreated in machines or not. Suppose the correlate of consciousness is a certain pattern of electrical activity. then it could be recreated in a machine as well. But in my opinion, electricity is not the full answer. I don't think machines can ever be conscious (just imitate human behavior and analysis). Consciousness seems to be unique to something in a nervous system. I actually changed my mind completely on this topic. I used to think that no doubt, if a machine can be designed to process information like a human, learn etc' (which is possible IMO), then of course, it can also be conscious. But information processing and awareness are two different things.
  12. Was it Just to let Rearden think that Dagny was killed?

    That sounds like the correct answer. To FC: recall how Rearden told Dagny later that there can only be one reason for not letting him know where and how she was.
  13. A short background from Atlas Shrugged: Dagny crashes into Atlantis. Rearden learns of the crash and thinks she is dead. At this time Dagny and Galt are in Atlantis. Francisco joins them, and learns that Dagny is not dead. Francisco indirectly asks Galt if they could let Rearden know that Dagny is alive. Galt explains to Francisco that the answer is no. Question: Was this good to do? Was is it just to do? Would it be unjust to do otherwise? My Thoughts: My "feeling" is that it is just and right, though it results in Rearden's pain. Of course, feeling of justice is not enough. I am building a complete logical chain, but I have not completed it yet. Does anyone have thoughts or links that would help me? Thanks. ------- Here are the relevant snippets from Atlas Shrugged: Pages 763-764: (Dagny talks to Galt.) ------- Here is my logic so far. The world outside is out to drain people of ability to death. Galt starts his quest, and builds with fellow "warriors" a safe place where they can live. One of the rules is "No communication with outside world." Dagny breaks into their world. Galt decides to hold her there for a month. Dagny is still one of outsiders, and so is Rearden. Now, a key point is that Rearden's grief is the consequence of his choice - to remain outside and to "feed" the looters. This is where I have a problem. How come it is not morally good to let Rearden know of Dagny's well-being so that he doesn't suffer and doesn't risk his life flying a plane in the mountains? It is Galt's choice to hold her hostage after all. My thoughts are that Rearden by remaining outside is working against Galt and for looters. Thus, his actions are morally bad. Whatever he suffers from it is his own fault. Now, this is simple with material things and "looters." But what about those who are aware of Dagny's and Rearden's situation? It seems (I'm not sure yet) that the main reason is the rule set in the Gulch. By breaking into it, Dagny had become the "scab," and Galt is morally good in following the rule and letting Rearden suffer his consequences. Furthermore, it seems that it would be unjust to let Rearden know of Dagny until she either goes back to the world or Rearden shrugs.
  14. I have recently finished an awesome course "Understanding Objectivism" by Leonard Peikoff. Really great stuff. One of ideas that really grabbed my attention is grounding one's ideas to reality, i.e. removing floating abstractions. Having brought up in a modern culture with many irrationalities and floating abstractions, I'm sure that some of those ideas were able to get pass me without my notice. I'm interested to hear from people who have gotten passed this phase. Can you recall any specific concepts and ideas that you had hunt after? Or some common pitfalls after the course? Thanks. P.S. The questions may be a bit unclear, I'll try to nail them down in more detail.
  15. Pretty cute. I wonder what was that "pen" he was using, and what was picking up the movements.
  16. Did Obama take Econ 101?

    I agree. Peikoff was basing his decision precisely on Individual Rights not on "politics at it is" whatever that means. KPO, does it mean without a context of the rest of life?
  17. Did Obama take Econ 101?

    Very nice quote and relation, thanks.
  18. Yes, partly. But still.
  19. And willing to do it in such large numbers. Talking about different philosophy...
  20. Happy Birthday to Oleksandr

    Haha, yes, very much so.
  21. Happy Birthday to Oleksandr

    Thank you again for photoshopped image.
  22. EDIT BUTTON!!!!!!!!!

    Yeah, I like lack of edit button for that reason despite its drawbacks. It does make these forums much better.
  23. Value, objective or subjective

    I would also suggest to start by reading here: http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/objectiv...ryofvalues.html
  24. I'm a starting out programmer myself, and possess ability to create amateur level video games for PC platform. (Example: http://youtube.com/watch?v=EQjnSBOSgTM) I've been wondering what kind of game project would be a good way to promote and present Objectivism via a video game. I'm interested to hear various ideas on this. Thanks.
  25. Introspection and morality

    I'm not clear what you meant here. In relation to "affects ... on hierarchy" ? Is this like changes on hierarchy? Or did you mean: "in relation to their affects based on one's own hierarchy of values" ?