Sunzi Bingfa

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  1. I think part of what they do it to poke fun at certain ideas or people in order to promote their antipode.
  2. I think the reference to Atlas is a positive one for several reasons. Officer Barbrady is arguably one of the most dim-witted characters on the show. (That says a lot, given the abundance of other not-so-bright characters.) He is inarticulate and displays a clear inability to comprehend situations that he encounters, which makes him incapable of rendering proper judgment on the parties involved. To top it off, we learn in this episode that Office Barbrady is completely illiterate. So what does the dullard do as soon as he develops the ability to read the word "cat"? He runs out, reads Atlas Shrugged, and decides that he hates it. If the creators intention was to pan Atlas, why would they do it in this way? Why select an idiot to criticize the book? I give the creators more credit than to choose such a poor approach to attacking Atlas. It is clear to me that they carefully crafted this episode to present the viewer with the type of person who reads Atlas and hates it--dim-witted, uncultured, can barely read, and so on. I also think this is about the best method available to encourage viewers to give Atlas a look without sounding like cheer leaders for Objectivism (which would have had the oppostive effect of what they intended). Given the various views presented in this thread, maybe their approach didn't work out as planned, though it certainly got people talking about the book.
  3. Congratulations la zafada! I wish you all the best.
  4. NBC's "Green is Universal" Campaign

    That made me laugh! Well done sir.
  5. My world is burning

    To everyone impacted by the fires: take care and be well. On another note, I am wondering where the global warming crowd is on this one. Here we apparently have actual proof of human activity threatening increased global temperatures. How's this for a bumber stick concept? Prevent Global Warming: Stop Fire Now! I also wonder how many of the "environmentalists" had suggested the fires were the result of global warming prior to the revelation that arsonists may have caused at least some of the fires...
  6. Vote for Ayn Rand in Strand Book Store Contest

    More good news! Thank you for providing the link Betsy.
  7. Weird Psychological Trick

    On my browser the figure consistently loads facing slightly to one side with the tip of the raised foot almost at the furthest possible point to the right. I'm suggesting the figure's position upon loading (for example the position of the raised foot) could influence the viewers initial impression of which way she is rotating.
  8. Looking for Advice

    What an incredible recommendation! It is very easy to make assumptions about something and give up without that experience.
  9. Weird Psychological Trick

    Very interesting. I originally saw her move clock-wise, which seems wrong for me given the description in the two lists. I wonder what bias might be caused by the original pose of the figure as the page is loaded. Seems they would have to randomly choose the beginning orientation to avoid faulty results regarding what people see, at least at first. I didn't see any evidence for why they think "right brained" and "left brained" people will see her moving in different directions.
  10. Difficulties in Understanding Objectivism

    I sympathize with your frustration; I remember experiencing a similar feeling within the first few years after reading Ayn Rand’s work for the first time. It has been about 8 years since I first read Atlas. Miss Rand's philosophy has guided me toward a genuinely happier and more satisfying life. I compare the influence of her ideas to the effect of compound interest on principle; the early gains are tiny compared to the result after each gain is successively compounded. I spent the first several years striving to gain a deeper understating of Objectivism and to identify and remove the unwarranted conclusions and subconscious influences that I had developed over many years. I believe it was specifically that process of careful, deliberate introspection, with the consequent identification and gradual elimination of the unearned guilt and the unreasonable (non-reality based) expectations I accepted for myself that facilitated entering the intermediate stage of discovering for the first time what my passions in life really are. (I still remember being asked years ago by a woman I was dating what my passions in life were and having no answer. That’s not to say I’m 100% clear regarding my passions today, but the change is clear and significant.) Now I devote much of my thinking and time to the process of learning and truly grasping what it means to be a passionate valuer, both the causes and effects, along with continuing to identify my hierarchy of values. I hope you persevere with your study of Objectivism and take a patient approach that will see your personal spiritual profits grow with time.
  11. US Army vet cuts down Mexican flag raised above US flag

    I think this is a fascinating discussion and have formulated some comments and questions based on previous posts: What is treason? What actions, words, and so on constitute treason? What is the ethical status of treason? Does this depend on the nature of the government the treason is directed against? Can the same actions represent treason when directed against one government but have a different status if directed against a governement of a different nature? What forms of speech are criminal and which are not? Can certain expressions of speech which do not threaten a person's life be considered criminal? Does treasonous speech directed against a fundamentally free government necessarily constitute a threat against the people of that nation if the supported alternative is a less-free or fundamentally unfree society? Does that speech constitute a threat of the initiation of force (albeit in a very indirect way)? Can the desecration of certain symbols be considered a criminal act? Why? Currently I am inclined to condemn the man who forcibly removed the Mexican flag. In principle, speech that offends should be tolerated in a free society; a man's mind must be left free and not coerced or censored by the government. He must be free to use his property as he sees fit, presuming the rights of other men are not infringed. Additionally, I'm not sure how initiating force against another person rather than pursuing legal means of redress can be justified. It is also ironic that this man who presumably loves the freedom he enjoys in America would attack the property of another man who appears to be exercising his freedom. I have many more questions than answers at the present time, so I will content myself to read other people's posts and consider the relevant questions. Steve
  12. The Intrinsic Moral Community

    If I read your post correctly, in the example above you are viewing all men collectively and asking "how do they have value to me?" Your examples are good, as they are focused on the question of how a particular person or type of person may or may not be a value to you. Concrete examples are excellent for understanding. I know you've received numerous reading recommendations, and I'd like to throw in my two cents: For me Leonard Peikoff's Objectivism: Philosophy of Ayn Rand is the central introductory text that covers Objectivist ethics. I have delved into Tara Smith's Viable Values, but so far I find the content much more difficult to work through. Steve
  13. Interesting online games!

    The Last Stand was excellent, though it can leave the wrist a little sore. I'm very curious to see where games go from here. The Internet could well be a cheaper way to get games to market, opening doors for novice creators and games that target smaller niche markets. Steve
  14. Approaches to studying philosophy

    What a succinct way of framing the decision Betsy. That really is the key question, and a sticky one for me. I'm going to open a new post to discuss that, since gaining clarity regarding my future plans will only help me to decide what specifically to study and how much effort to expend in each area. Once I've written the new post I'll edit the link into this post. Steve
  15. Interesting online games!

    What a fantastic concept! That one is going into my list of interesting game mechanics. Steve