A N Other

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About A N Other

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  • Birthday 06/28/1947

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  • Gender Male
  • Location Flint, Michigan
  1. Atlas Shrugged Part 3

    Really bad, at every level. The first two movies were good to OK in my opinion; this one damages the franchise, in my opinion. The characterizations were implossible, the relationships between the characters were poorly drawn and so very many things were completely unexplained. Why did the Taggart Bridge collapse? Just because several characters said it would? What are they, closet Post Modern Progressives? (You know, Reality is whatever we say it is when we say it.) Much time devoted to the Galt's Gulch travelouge could have been devoted to subsatnce, to adding coherence. Was the Francisco character plausible as having been one of the few of Dagny's great loves? Well, maybe that dagny. AAAAARGH! I've been a defender of getting the movies made and believe, as Amity Schlaes said in an interview on Frank Beckman's show, they weren't great but they got the message out. But, as I said above, this one is so bad it damages the franchise. Who picked these producers? By what standards?
  2. "The Planet Will Boil" (yes, that's a quote)

    AS a follow up, I often wonder all over again at how brilliant is "Atlas Shrugged". I was just rereading the passage where James Taggart is bragging to Cheryl about how he got over on his "friends" by being a wiley political player; just what we see today. The friends, of course, turn out to be snakes and mock Jim when he complains about being bitten: he knew damn well they were snakes before he took them in.
  3. "The Planet Will Boil" (yes, that's a quote)

    A lot of commentary on his behavior during the immigration crisis includes notice that he seems detached; he keeps to his schedule of political and fund raising events. They either fail to see or do not want to admit how disciplined and task oriented he is; they - the commentators - still don't understand or don't want to understand what his task is: copting and undermining rational, self directed, self supporting individuals. I used to think it was mostly prosperous middle class people who suffered from a certain condition exploited by polititians: they - the prosperous middle class - want to lead their own lives, follow their own agendas and are willing to ignore the activists to a certain extent; the activists take advantage by creating opportunities to insinuate them selves into positions of power and control and seemingly mysteriously arise one day in control of something the middle class cares about. The class that Obama belongs to has taken this technique to a whole new level; it isn't just moderately educated, prosperous middle class people who've stuck to their own traditional ways, by many intellectual, business and media people. The Obamaites are coopting much "higher" level people; many in congress, the media and others have collars on their necks and think they've been given golden chains to wear.
  4. Trying To Teach

    ewv - you are right in the cautions you offer; a danger of working as and where I do is to use such language less carefully than I should. One of my biggest frustrations is that the many of people I have in class understand the game that's being played against them by the elites; too often they don't know how to fight it. But I do take every chance to remind them that they succeed as individuals and I have a store of "war stories" I can tell, stories among people the elites are desperate to make permanent dependents. So I have one venue in which to explain and spread better ideas and I'm doing with it what I can. Converting the elites is just one strategey; they don't often seem have the same sense of direct personal stakes that my students have.
  5. Trying To Teach

    The motivation of some students is an issue; I get people who are going to school just to get financial aid. They just signed up for a course someone told them to take. I get about 25% who are really motivated; people who lost jobs, lost everything; people in their 40's, 50's, occasinaly 60's. I point out to them something they already know, at some level, that whatever they do, the cost is their lives; that nothing is free and everything has a cost and that they should be keeping score in terms of their own values; and that a lack of care and work on their financial affairs can result in the waste of their lives. I do my best to show them that they can be usefully literate in the areas of knowledge that matter, something not many other people tell them. The greatest challenge is to get them to appreciate the power of a few big ideas: risk, with all its faces in both the real and financial realms; the real vs. the financial economies and how and when to be attentive to the different forms of risk and reward in each; and how to be attentive to what they hear, see and read and how to be critical thinkers about such matters. The "big picture" is always the biggest problem and the area of greatest need. Most of the people I get are so concrete bound they can't usefully think about the end of next month. Budgeting, investing and time value of money analysis are the three big areas where I direct the focus. Fourth, I am working on a model of how working class people can thnk about the economy. It is based on an understanding first of the interest rate and then looks at the behavior of rates of return over time along with the behavior of GDP, inflation and employment; what we knew as the business cycle before 2008. It all sounds pretty grand for a 10 week class for mostly working class and welfare class people; but if material is presented in terms they understand and in examples they see around them, it comes together for most of them. The materials I am given want to focus on shopping, car loans, insurance, mortgages and so on and I cover those. But they are already functionally literate in those areas and actually need little work there compared to budgeting, investing, retirement planning and most of all sitting back and appraising the economic/business environment and constantly asking what's true? What might the consequences be? Hence the use of the Rand essays and a few other pieces. I hope this helps some; I'm in the process of reengineering the course right now and I constantly question what I'm doing and what will benefit those who take it seriously. I tell them a true story: when I hired into the bank as a teller and worked for little money in the early years, there were paternalistic old guys who put away money in a profit sharing plan we couldn't touch. That money, invested at compound interest that early in my working career became the core of the wealth I have today that permits me to live well. Their long term perspective has been a blessing to me. I tell them in today's world they have to be their own Old Guys.
  6. Trying To Teach

    I second the recommendation of "The Metaphysical Society". I hear the voice of Oliver Wendell Holmes mocking every one of us who respect - or would respect - the rule of reason. I teach a personal finance class to people who, for the most part, have been really beaten up by life, most starting over, some just graduated from poor high schools. I start with them reading the title essay, 'Philosophy: Who Needs It" and later "Inflation" from the same collection. Then all quarter I try to be relentless about picking out things we read and hear in the Post Modernist press and demonstrating to them the lack of respect for reality therein and the consequences for their lives, which they can plainly see.
  7. There is a book review in today's Wall Street Journal, a review of "Our Mathematical Universe", the review written by Peter Woit. The title of the review is " The Multiverse in a Nutshell". Leading into his review Mr. Woit says "Mr. Tegmark (the author of the book) raises the age old question of whether math just describes physical reality or whether it defines physical reality. This distinction is of relevance to philosophers, but its significance for practicing physicists is unclear." As I typed that out it occurred to me one could play "what does he (either) mean by...." for a long time. But the thought it triggered originally in my mind was this: The universe, physical reality, existed before there were human beings, indeed, before their was consciousness in any of the forms we find it on earth (assuming the atheists are right). Mathematics is a human concept; so there was no mathematics before human consciousness arose. The question of which came first would be the wrong question, misunderstanding the nature of reality in this way: mathematics is objective, a product of the intersection of human consciousness and the rest of the universe, ie, physical reality. I became interested in the work surrounding the "multiverse" idea after reading Michael Crighton's notes and bibliography for the novel "Timeline", so that is how the book review noted above arrested my attention. THX for your interest.
  8. How Free is Your State?

    As far as Michigan goes it looks about right to me. We have nominal Republican administration and legislatures, but taxes have gone up a lot and of new programs have been started. A major new burden on the health care system, requiring everyone to pay for the care of autistic children rolled through with no public dissent heard. Genuine autism is a terrible burden; how I would cope, I don't know. But' of course, now many facets, phases, levels and newly discovered related conditions really should be covered also and so the autism infrastructure is growing.
  9. Why Does Health Care Cost So Much?

    Regulation creates what the Progressives call "stakeholders", but not just among their regulators themselves, but in the accounting firms, laboratories, hospital staffs and hospital administrations and more. These people ostensibly work on the producing side but have jobs that really depend on the inefifiencies created elsewhere. At the bank I worked for there was a cadre of people who would rub their hands together and warm up to whatever new demand that was made. Simple solutions to simple requests "required" major productions to solve. So: many people who work on the "product" side have their "investment" in the inefficiencies in the system.
  10. Allan Gotthelf and Aristotle's Biology

    That is a good thought and I'm glad to have the idea. I was thinking only of buying a book or books, which are expensive in the wake of his passing. (I saw a copy of Alcain and Allen's economics bbok offered for $1,000 after Alchain died early this year). Listening to a lecture would possibly give me a good idea about whether to pony up for the book. I almost always think of books first. Rand's Randall lecture not only convinced me to buy the book but gave me a heads up on what to look for and look out for. I bought a pristine first edition for $20 after looking for a week. THX!
  11. In my work on Aristotle, I have a book I was assigned in school a long time ago, Reford Bambrough's The Philosophy of Aristotle; the two volume set of Complete Works, purchased from ARI; the companion edited and co-written by Barnes; and a copy just arrived of Randall's Aristotle, purchased after listening to Rand's lecture on the Barnes book. I have a copy of Gotthelf's book on Rand (autographed and inscribed to me). We corresponded briefly. I did not know much about his other work. This question is born of impatience and some ignorance and will sound, well, stupid at one level. But unlike other books, philosophy books, which most epople consider obscure, disappear quickly sometimes. So: Does anyone know if Gotthelf's work on Aristotle's biology go beyond just that topic; or, another way: is there significance in that work beyond the field of biology per se? Does Gotthelf find information of metaphysics, even ethics and politics? Other areas?
  12. Gravity (2013)

    I found the multiple catastrophes, near misses and crashing action a bit tedious after a while, but perhaps they are necessary to the two most moving parts of the film. Her final deliverance, having to remove even her spacesuit to reestablish finally her life on earth was very moving and if not deliberately symbolic, worked as such. The triumph of technology is its service to human life. But the most poignant part of the film was her monolouge regarding her impending death, with her tears floating in space around her; followed by the resurgence of the will to live and survive and the summon of new resourcefulness. I wonder what, if anything, goes through the minds of Progressives and other neo-Nazis when they see that. How could anyone be indifferent to the presciousness of the individual human life seeing that? I would like to believe those moments had a lot to do with the popularity of the movie.
  13. If Ayn Rand were still alive...

    I would like to ask her if all of the research in brain function has changed any of her philosophical views; also what impact her studies of mathematics have made. And I'd like to aske her about the impact of the long awaited Atlas Shrugged miniseries.
  14. Meaning of the Word Soul

    A related thread in the Ayn Rand Lexicon is Psycho-epistemology and I think that concept comes closer to the meaning of "soul" expressed in common usage. I haven't read Aquinas yet on the subject but my educated guess is his discussion will focus on the immaterial, "immortal" idea associated with all religion; they seem to want to divide consciousness, maintain some discontinuity within human consciousness. I have been reading Aristotle's usage but not yet seen a definition. I am becoming inclined to use the word to refer to a man's psycho epistemology. I am working to overcome a lifetime of poor, ineffectual mental habits (and other habits) such as rand warns about in her discussion in "The Comprachios" and the depth and strength of habit continues to astonish and sometimes dishearten me. Yet, a great deal of mental processes must be, yes, correct and appropriate to context, but also automated if one is to function with any facility in complex situations. Most people, I think - I do - spend a lot of time functioning at that level and I think the word soul is a good usage to describe the psych-epistemological, sense of life based person must people encounter in most interactions. Isn't it focus on some particular aspect of a another person that makes significant encounters with other people significant? By the same token, it is possible that an accurate appraisal of the whole person, made in an instant - Hank Reardon's first sight of Dagny Taggart on a construction sight - is a function of the "soul", later to be appraised in detail as needed by the mind? Well, thanks for your thoughts; working at it!
  15. Truth about the Atlas Shrugged Part 3 Kickstarter

    The producers of the movie seem to be doing things appropriate to the mass info/entertainment culture that exists today, things to drum up interest in and support of the movie(s). I wish the culture were different than it is. The movies pleased me at times and disappointed me at others. I find the attitude of some people discouraging. This is - apparently - the best deal Ayn Rand's hand picked heir and executor could make. It is a fact that he made this deal. To the extent the movie has a purpose beyond mass entertainment, it cannot be solely to please only those of us who are "believrs" ( a better word won't come to mind). There aren't enough of us to give them as big a box office as they've had. I know several people who've picked up the novel since seeing the movie, some who surprised me with the extent of the impact of the ideas. I've rewatched The Fountainhead lately, screenplay by the master herself, production steered and supervised by herself to the reatest extent possible, and she was not happy with that result. I think as a movie it works very well and first time viewers "get it". The movies could be much better. I'm sorry they are not. But better the message is out there and new interest is being cultivated. Given today's world, maybe this IS the best deal that could be hoped for.