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Posts posted by Oleksandr

  1. 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.

    :wacko: 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:


    But reality is “benevolent” in the sense that if you do adapt to it—i.e., if you do think, value, and act rationally, then you can (and barring accidents you will) achieve your values. You will, because those values are based on reality.

    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.)

  2. Greeting someone I don't know should never rationally warrant a large positive emotion creating a large smile. It is done often, and regularly by people (at least from my experience). That is enough to address this topic.

    I wasnt arguing that either, but I do disagree with you here. Why should it never warrant a large positive emotion, creating a large smile? What if the person simply just likes what he/she sees?

    Because people should be selective in their values.

    On what basis do you claim that they are not being selective in their values? What evidence do you have as to what is going on in their mind?

    This is a rather heavy skeptical suggestion.

    Are you saying that unless you have a direct evidence from somebody's mind, you cannot decide that they are not being selective about their values?

    Or is this an even larger claim? Something like "since none of us has a direct view into another person's mind, we can never claim that they were thinking of"?

    In other words, I can never decide that another person is being agnostic towards his values, and just smiles at everybody without any regards to their value to him?

    If so, then we get into serious issues with making any moral claims about other people. :wacko:

    How did you ever came to conclusion that people have different values IF you never had direct evidence for that?

    Or (taking from RayK) how did you ever learn that people fake stuff IF you never had direct evidence for that?

    How did you learn that other people are conscious IF you never had direct evidence for that?

    I know that people fake smiles, so what. I know that people fake a lot of different things, so what.
    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". :D

    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? :P

  3. What is the cause?

    In reading about the crisis, I stumbled upon some essays by an economist of the Austrian school, Antal Fekete, who has a unique analysis. He says it is possible to have inflation and deflation at the same time. There are dollars, and then there are dollars...

    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.

  4. 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.)

  5. To continue the ideas RayK was discussing:
    An emotion is an automatic response, an automatic effect of man’s value premises. An effect, not a cause. There is no necessary clash, no dichotomy between man’s reason and his emotions—provided he observes their proper relationship. A rational man knows—or makes it a point to discover—the source of his emotions, the basic premises from which they come; if his premises are wrong, he corrects them. He never acts on emotions for which he cannot account, the meaning of which he does not understand.

    So what about a man who makes it a point not to understand his emotions? The only option then is to act on emotions that he does not understand, not as a temporary thing - but as a way of life.

    I don't see evidence that he is acting on his emotions, only that he prefers to ignore them.

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

  6. I was not attacking his motives - I was pointing out his choice to evade. One cannot persuade someone to change their mind on a topic they choose to evade on. The only option is to state clearly what they are doing and hope this helps them to change their decision.

    I prefer to state my case as clearly as I can, and leave the rest to them. If anything is going to change their mind, the facts will. Pointing to someone's motives typically just makes them defensive and accomplishes nothing.

    Just a small point on motives and motivation. Only the person doing (or not doing) something could know his motives for sure. Anyone else can only guess them from the external signs and actions.

    Is the point here that "only guess" is never enough to decide if somebody is evading or not?

  7. I was not attacking his motives - I was pointing out his choice to evade. One cannot persuade someone to change their mind on a topic they choose to evade on. The only option is to state clearly what they are doing and hope this helps them to change their decision.

    I prefer to state my case as clearly as I can, and leave the rest to them. If anything is going to change their mind, the facts will. Pointing to someone's motives typically just makes them defensive and accomplishes nothing.

    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?"

  8. (This was written by ifatart)

    is there any scientific basis for holding that a machine or electronic device could be conscious?

    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.

  9. No, it's not a sacrifice as such. But if she came back to save him this pain, then it would be, because she would be giving up her own happiness and time with Galt - essentially living her life for someone else and not for herself.

    It's not always a sacrifice (don't drop the context). Got to go.

    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.

  10. While KPO'M does not express a particularly Objectivist approach to politics, it is a way of approaching the subject that Ayn Rand was familiar with and wrote about.

    I talk about politics as it is, not as we would like it to be. So does Leonard Peikoff. In 2004 and 2006, he concluded that voting for the Democrats was the better of two undesirable options.

    Much as I disagreed with Dr. Peikoff's electoral recommendations, it is slanderous claim that they were based on an unprincipled, concrete-bound assessment of "politics as it it" rather than a reasoned concern for what he "would like it to be."

    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?

  11. While KPO'M does not express a particularly Objectivist approach to politics, it is a way of approaching the subject that Ayn Rand was familiar with and wrote about.
    "If you're so damn sorry for Bertram Scudder, you should have seen him try his damndest to make them break my neck! He's been doing that for years—how do you think he got to where he was, except by climbing on carcasses? He thought he was pretty powerful, too—you should have seen how the big business tycoons used to be afraid of him! But he got himself outmaneuvered, this time. This time, he belonged to the wrong faction."

    Dimly, through the pleasant stupor of relaxing, of sprawling back in his chair and smiling, he knew that this was the enjoyment he wanted, to be himself. To be himself—he thought, in the drugged, precarious state of floating past the deadliest of his blind alleys, the one that led to the question of what was himself.

    "You see, he belonged to the Tinky Holloway faction. It was pretty much of a seesaw for a while, between the Tinky Holloway faction and the Chick Morrison faction. But we won. Tinky made a deal and agreed to scuttle his pal Bertram in exchange for a few things he needed from us. You should have heard Bertram howl! But he was a dead duck and he knew it."

    Very nice quote and relation, thanks.

  12. 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?


    P.S. The questions may be a bit unclear, I'll try to nail them down in more detail.

  13. One morally evaluates a person by their values and their actions in relation to their affects on one's own hierarchy of values.

    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" ?