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Everything posted by organon

  1. "Reason is the faculty by which man grasps truth. Logic is the instrument of reason, the means by which it operates." Is this entirely true, and are these definitions valid? Do objections come to mind?
  2. Every Loneliness Is a Pinnacle

    Everything good in all of human action comes from such aloneness -- from the man who faces reality alone, who weighs the truth or falsehood of his convictions with a regard for nothing but fact, who is dedicated to the uncompromising conviction that he must concern himself not with men, but with what is right (i.e., what corresponds to reality). It can require inordinate bravery to abandon the false comfort of what others think and concern oneself with the autonomous grasp of what is true.
  3. Reason and logic

    What of the material of which one is introspectively aware? Should this be included in the definition of reason?
  4. Reason and logic

    Thank you. Do you consider Rand's "Reason is the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man's senses" to be a description or a definition, and if a description, what would you offer as a definition?
  5. Objectivist Environmental Ethics

    Not even the fact that, even if alone, I have labored to gain the thing?
  6. On Motivation

    I define motivation simply as the desire to act to achieve a value.
  7. On Motivation

    I have identified the following four components of Motivation; comments welcome. - Self-Esteem (foundational)- the belief that one is worthy of values as such, i.e. of living. - The conviction that that is it possible for the value to be achieved. - The conviction that one is worthy of the value in its particular context. - The conviction that the value is worthy of the investment of time and effort necessary to acquire it.
  8. Objectivist Environmental Ethics

    From not being mine. When I pluck a banana from a tree existing in the state of nature, i.e. "[mix my] labour" with it, as Locke wrote, it becomes my own, regardless of whether other men are present. In other words, to speak of property, and to speak of property rights, are different things entirely. One does acquire all valid property rights when a thing becomes one's property, but these only become necessary when other men appear. (Wynand spoke of the example of buying a cheap ashtray, which, when he acquired it, gained a certain quality.) Locke also wrote, "every man has a property in his own person...." Even were other men not present, wouldn't you consider your body still yours, and distinguished fundamentally from other things in the world that are not so?
  9. I would value your thoughts on this; be well. -- The most fundamental concern of any man is that of values. As Ayn Rand writes: “There is only one fundamental alternative in the universe: existence or non-existence—and it pertains to a single class of entities: to living organisms. The existence of inanimate matter is unconditional, the existence of life is not: it depends on a specific course of action. Matter is indestructible, it changes its forms, but it cannot cease to exist. It is only a living organism that faces a constant alternative: the issue of life or death. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action. If an organism fails in that action, it dies; its chemical elements remain, but its life goes out of existence. It is only the concept of ‘Life’ that makes the concept of ‘Value’ possible. It is only to a living entity that things can be good or evil.” (For the New Intellectual) For any man who would seek to remain in existence, values are his most important concern. The issue of values is the most important one of a man’s existence, for it is upon them that his life itself depends. It is from this fact that the primary character traits of human beings derive, and they are: Confidence and Insecurity. These are the most fundamental character traits as they relate to the most fundamental issue of man’s life on earth; they are the traits that follow from what makes life possible. And as values are his first and highest concern, his grasp on whether they are secure or not so is the first and highest influence upon his character. There are five primary areas in which values can be categorized: Environmental, Cognitive, Moral, Procedural, and Social. Environmental values relate to the safety of a man’s person and property — a rational man thus, for example, values rational government, which provides this to him. Cognitive values relate to a man’s ability to grasp truth, the foundation of all that he is. Moral values relate to a man’s judgment of moral worth, both his own and that of the men who surround him — he thus values rational ethics, and knows especially the importance of grasping his own moral value, the foundation of his motivation to continue life itself. Procedural values relate to a man’s ability to act successfully — a rational man thus values the knowledge and experience that allows him to do so. Finally, Social values relate to others — friends, love, and confidence of his own value in a social context; a good man grasps that should those around him not grasp his value, the fault is in them, and not in him. In each of these areas, a man’s grasp of his values may be secure, or not so. In the former case, he experiences confidence — in the latter case, he experiences insecurity. The emotional corollary of confidence is inner peace -- the physical corollary, calm. The emotional corollary of insecurity is anxiety -- the physical corollary, nervousness. To the extent a man is confident, it is because he is sure of his values in any given area; to the extent he is insecure, he is not so.
  10. Objectivist Environmental Ethics

    I take it then there is a significant distinction between saying "I have a right to this lamp, as I have purchased it" and "This lamp is my property". Rights concern one's relation to other men, and freedom of action in that regard within the context of rational law. It is different then to say "It is mine" and "I have a right to it," though the latter is implied in the former. Is that right?
  11. My Poetry

    This will likely become part of a (much?) longer poem, that will describe a child's dedication to Reason. Poetry has not been a priority for me in recent years; other concerns predominated, and I am now planning to pursue further formal study in psychology, as well as focusing on other forms of literature. Nevertheless I hope you enjoy such as may come, when they do so. -- The first thought I recall is this -- That two and two were four; And that as long as time endured, 'Twould be no less, no more.
  12. My Poetry

    Stephen mentioned that I might post my poems in a single, collective thread, and I find it an excellent idea. Additional poems may, as they are created, be added to the thread. Comments always welcome. -- On Visiting a Cemetery One day I walked through iron gates Through which some came one way alone My eyes roamed o’er the spread of land The ordered names there set in stone. I walked the rows, and read the names My legs moved forth with even pace Beneath each stone, now still and gone What once had mind, and pulse, and face. I stopped at one, now deep in thought Another would have done as well The name not in my memory now But rather what the stone did tell. Beneath this plaque, now matter lay Once with lungs quick with breath, with eyes Perceiving all that ‘round him stood And at day's end, no longer would. And though the time a different one Still day like this, with air and sun And on that day, his light did leave From life, as soul from flesh did cleave. And once did leave, could ne’er return And nothing more his soul might learn Existence done, no further fete The journey played, his time complete. Yet though now dead, and ne’er to live Again, what if his mind might think? Now knowing what would come to pass Now firmly grasping that black brink? Would he look back upon his days And say “Alas! What have I done! The sunlight that moved o’er my skin! My eyes that o’er the earth might run! “I did not know that which I owned! This life that might have earned my love! This tree, this earth, the thoughts of men! Oh God, that I might live again! “To live each day no less than I And that sweet life should have deserved! Rejecting fear, embracing pride Treating that life as though a bride! “And now, alas, my time is done! My body cold, no honors won -- No pride of soul, no joy, no life! I’ve lost it all, my breath, that wife! “Throughout each day, she ever stood Before an altar in white gown Her body straight, her form ideal And yet with ever deep’ning frown! “For as time passed, and years moved by I did not come to meet this love I somehow fell into the depths! I somehow lost the light above! “And light as I think I once knew! Once in the days of long past youth But this -- somehow -- it fell away! Oh God, to live again that day! “The day on which the path began That took me from that church of light Into the graying world of doubt And farther from the path of right! “And by this ‘right’ I do not mean A duty from a world above But rather knowing life, with joy And with each sight, sealing that love! “And what is it that caused this loss! This cleavage ‘tween my is and ought? The thought that such life could not be! By God, now I will find this key! “I can recall, during my time Some moments where my joy did surge But only that -- a moment -- then The joy lost strength, the gray did merge. “What was the nature of this foe? This thing that took from me my sight! What is the beast that rose against That glory which was mine by right? “Alas, I know that which it was! It was no beast that took my life! It was the false that took my mind! It was ideas that left me blind! “The thing which said, ‘It cannot be!’ ‘Men in this realm cannot be such!’ ‘No blacks and whites, but only grays!’ This was the nature of that haze! “And all it would have taken was To call these to the court of light! And from me fog would then have fled! And that dear wife, I would have wed! “And now I have lost my own worth! Now without hands to take the earth! Now without eyes to give me sight! Without the joy that was my right! “And fault for this was mine alone! It’s to myself I owe this moan! I did this fog myself condone! My life lost, and the guilt -- my own!” And now this pale, unhappy ghost Returned to that from which he came A void, where he does not exist As all men someday will the same. And then I asked, “What shall life be?” And saw another, shining ghost But one who did not give his days To less than what might be the most. “I heard his tale,” he said with smile “That wife he left, I took with pride And on that day, when her I took I that foul fog with thought defied!” O noble soul, O proper Man! To drink of life thus deep and pure! Who did not give his soul to loss! Who with firm hand opened that door! The door through which that bride was met! Her bright eyes brimming with glad tears! The one who you did never leave Throughout the scope of all your years! Heroic soul, golden in form! It shall be yours I make my tone! No minute lost, no day unsung! No thought within but Reason’s own! To think that one might lose one’s life To that which does not have defense! To thoughts which if identified Would be released with laughing pride! And then did I to myself speak Upon the earth an oath I swore To hold that dear wife by my side To take her and with her abide! “By all that is, I swear this now! Upon my life a solemn vow! Before such fog I will not bow! Neither in days to come, nor now!” And with that firm decision made To take that wife while still she stayed I grasped her with soul unafraid And on that day our vows were made. And evermore she walks with me And so she will as I grow old For as long as I choose to live My soul is forged in shining gold. And on that day, in days to come When this fair earth at last I leave With pride will I look on my life And I will have no cause to grieve. For that foul day, when I must go And leave this dear, beloved world My heart will carry no regret No curse at this existence hurled. For as long as I walk this earth I shall not lose the joy I’ve won For never shall my soul relent To thought unthought, or deed undone.
  13. This is my own; I trust that, provided it is of value (and I believe it to be), there is no objection. :-) "The man whose grasp of his own worth derives from the group or groups to which he belongs, whether racial or otherwise, has no grasp of his own worth."
  14. If the second law of thermodynamics states that energy spontaneously disorganizes, my question is this: Doesn't matter, by virtue of gravity, spontaneously organize?
  15. A top-notch web host

    Here's my brief review of a top-notch web host, Unlimited disk space -- bandwidth -- domains -- subdomains -- "MySQL databases" (for things like discussion boards, photo albums, and blogs -- all of which are available to you at no additional charge) -- and more. And great support, online or on the phone. Your first month is $0.01 with no setup fees, with the coupon given at the URL above. Be well. John Rearden
  16. A photo of the earth and sky

    I took this photo in Dunnellon, Florida, and thought you might value it. There are others in the album that you may enjoy reviewing. Be well. John Rearden
  17. Personal Quotes and Observations

    Re Kelley's "Truth and Toleration": Toleration of what? Of the false?
  18. On Agnosticism

    I posted this to my Facebook profile today, and thought you might enjoy it. -- On Agnosticism Imagine that someone were to say to you, "I have no evidence for this, but I believe that approximately 9.02 million light years from the earth in some direction there is to be found a small brown teddy bear, approximately eighteen inches in length." Would you answer: "Well, I can't be sure -- I'm willing to leave the issue open." Properly, you would say, "In the absence of evidence, I will not admit this contention to the courtroom of my mind. Imagine it were otherwise! Would you have me admit to the possibility of any of ten billion or more random assertions, as questions to be 'left open' according to a ridiculous alleged virtue of 'open mindedness' (in this case, of entertaining nonsense)?" Agnosticism is not a noble position -- it is an attempt to seek a middle ground between the rational and the groundless.
  19. My Poetry

    A Choice “Just put it through,” he said to him, “Just look the other way. “And no one here will know a thing, “Sure, not one word they'll say.” He left him there, saying in brief, “Do it, or it's your job. “And be quite sure, each ad we post “Gets called on by a mob.” He sat there, next to his PC, And thought of his dear wife, “Laura,” he thought, “to lose my job!” “And now, you carry life!” For in his wife's womb then, there grew A soul-to-be, a boy, Whose life, he hoped, would be sun-filled, A stream of thought's own joy. But were I to do this, he thought, I'd give up all there is! My soul, and all that which I am! And to a soul like his? And to that boy, who soon will come, What kind of father thought? A man, whose eyes look down when met! A soul, valued at nought! So to his boss he walked, and said, “Look here, the answer's No... “And tell me firm, within the day, “If from here I must go.” For there are things, that on this earth, One cannot lose the health – But be quite sure that those these know, Will never lack for wealth. Copyright ©2009 John Rearden. All Rights Reserved.
  20. My Poetry

    I love the earth, I love the sky And he who wins, through strife I love all that's Good that I see! Good god, I love my life!

    On a more positive note: "To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical." - Thomas Jefferson, 1779.

    Re Lenin: bottom-dwelling life-hater. A fitting memorial to all such men, in the world to come, including Lenin, and Hitler, and Kant: let their portraits and, where applicable, a copy of their major works, be placed in the central incoming pipelines to, as a matter of principle, all of the world's sewage treatment facilities.

    "The clergy...believe that any portion of power confided to me [as President] will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly: for I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." - Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Rush, 1800.

    "When Mount Tambora in Indonesia erupted in 1813, it ejected 211 million tons of chloride [into the atmosphere]. At the highest rate of worldwide CFC production, it would have taken about 282 years to produce as much chloride-yielding CFCs as this one eruption." - from Environmental Overkill: Whatever Happened to Common Sense? (Dixy Lee Ray with Lou Guzzo. HarperPerennial (1994), p. 34.)

    "What are the facts? Again and again and again — what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what 'the stars foretell,' avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable 'verdict of history' — what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!" - Robert A. Heinlein