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About JMeganSnow

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  • Birthday 10/26/1979

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  • Location Dayton, OH
  • Interests Science Fiction and Fantasy literature, movies, role-playing games, tissue banking, psychology, art
  1. Okay, but if you want to answer "why didn't Dagny and Eddie hook up?", all the answers are along the lines of: "Eddie didn't consciously realize his love for Dagny until they were parting" and "Dagny thought of him as a piece of office furniture". A work of art is an integrated whole. You can't pull the two characters out of the story and start asking questions about how they might have acted in completely different circumstances; it's an act of speculation akin to trying to figure out what John Galt's favorite breakfast cereal would be. I'm not saying you can't examine their motivations; you CAN, and make all kinds of interesting observations. But you can't conclude that women can't suffer a relationship with a "lesser" man based on the fact that Dagny and Eddie never hooked up. There is no shortcut to learning about people; you have to observe real people. Now, if modern psychology were a real science (overall, I'm not saying there aren't good scientists in the field) instead of a mishmash of science, mysticism, unborn philosophy and (at its worst) vague wishes, you could pick up a few books and learn all sorts of principles about what is/isn't good for your (and others) psychological health/relationships/what-have-you. I personally have learned a lot about how to go about observing people from reading books, but I've also found an incredible amount of nonsense and disinformation. Now, I have a question for you, Mr. Speicher: is your assertion based on the fact that fiction qua fiction opens a doorway into understanding psychology, or that I included Ayn Rand in it? Do you think you can learn about real people by considering the relationships of two characters from Catch 22 or Cryptonomicon or Time Enough For Love? If I'd said you can't necessarily rely on Robert Heinlein to present an accurate picture of the psychology of real people instead of people as he's re-creating them artistically, would you disagree? Ayn Rand's understanding of people is fantastic, and I'm thoroughly an Objectivist, but that doesn't mean that I try to make my relationship with my boyfriend identical to Dagny's with Rearden.
  2. Yes, and you can't eat the image of an apple in a mirror, either. Fiction is not a good source of data for drawing conclusions about real people. At best, it tells you the author's conclusions. You cannot learn anatomy from a statue, you cannot learn optics from a painting, and you cannot learn psychology from a novel. If a man (or woman) looks down on people for being less intelligent that is his (or her) problem, and not some kind of fault inherent in the relationship. You CAN love people that are much less intelligent than you are, but you have to be AWARE that they are independant of you in the intelligence department. No one can think about everything, so if your spouse is independant and uses their mind, they will nonetheless have a great deal to contribute intellectually to the relationship. Active intelligence is an issue for me because I have met any number of people that essentially have nothing to contribute to me intellectually. When I talk to them I have to initiate conversation, pick a topic, and I do almost all of the talking, with their contribution being along the lines of "Wow, you think a lot about this, don't you?" They bore me. The issue between my mother and father is, I think, organizational independance. My dad can be relied-upon only sporadically to interest himself in the day-to-day maintenance tasks of the family and the organization that they require, whereas my mother is compulsively organized about everything. She really does evidence (on occasion) the belief that without her around no one would get fed, or have clean clothes, and the bills would be forgotten. In reality, I think my dad is just more laissez-faire about the particular schedule of tasks, but he does manage to get things done in time, if not ON time. As I said, it is independance that really makes the difference, and not the quantity of any particular trait. The idea is, though, that you have to be completely independant. It's not enough to be everything BUT, say, fiscally independant. You have to be completely capable of running your own life before you can share it with someone else.
  3. The real reason that Dagny didn't settle down with Eddie is that it would have made quite a different book. When speculating about psychology it's generally not wise to turn to fiction as your source of material for thought. I think I have some real-life perspective on this issue that I'm happy to share, however. My mother is six years older than my father, and while not as fiscally successful as he is, in her main career (namely, running the household and raising her children) she's quite a bit more driven than he is. They do not always have a fantastic relationship, and even when things are going well my mother has a tendency to, well, treat my father like one of her children. I can unabashedly say that I'm extremely intelligent and I often have the same problem: mothering men instead of viewing them romantically; it's a relationship-killer. The really important factor in preventing this from happening is that the woman needs to continue view the man as independant even after they're an item. Sure, she might make more money, but he's perfectly capable of taking care of himself in that regard. She might be older (more mature?) but he's still responsible. She might be smarter, but he's still more than capable of thinking for himself. It is only when a woman comes to regard the man as a true dependant in some respect that she loses her ability to consider him a hero and the relationship self-destructs.
  4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

    I find this comment interesting, because I didn't have this impression at all. The Triwizard Tournament was primarily a diversion and it served its purpose admirably. Harry was too busy trying to get through the tasks to pay adequate attention to the slightly-more-subtle signs of Voldemort's interference with ongoing events. Throughout the book, at least, he's worried about all the various suspicious happenings and it is Hermione that urges him to pay attention to the tasks because she's worried that something horrible will happen. Remember also that he has to keep up with his regular schoolwork during all of this, too. How much time do you have left to follow plot threads when you're buried in classwork AND working on an independant project on the side? Not very much. More generally, though, I'm not certain it's a good idea to complain that the bad guy drives the plot. In literary conflicts it is ALWAYS the evil that sets the terms of engagement; if the good was setting the terms there wouldn't be any conflict, and hence no story. It is when the good guys take over and start setting the terms that the conflict is resolved and the story comes to a satisfactory conclusion . . . well, if it's a happy ending, which it really ought to be.
  5. Jokes

    The other place is anywhere on a 1-km circle from the SOUTH pole. You keep going around the pole until you get where you started.
  6. A Constitutional Convention

    She was making explicit the fact that you cannot distinguish between them in this manner, which is, I think, what I said: that force subsumes violence, and you have to include ALL kinds of force, not just violence to have a proper foundation for legality.
  7. self-service checkout machines

    It would probably be best for convenience stores where they don't sell produce and paying cashiers is a MAJOR expense.
  8. self-service checkout machines

    Have you seen the new PayPass they have in the Chicago area for the toll roads? I'd like to see these tags combined with the security detectors they have on the doors of the store: your "Kroger Plus Card" acts as an automatic debit card on an account you set up. After all, if they can detect your groceries using these RFID tags, why not the card itself? If you try to walk out the door without a payment card or tag or whatever, the system beeps and you have to go pay the regular way. Anyone that just wants to grab a few items and has a card can just LEAVE. I think that would be really cool.
  9. A Constitutional Convention

    Drop "insure domestic Tranquility" and "promote the general Welfare" (a contradiction, since a government cannot do such a thing) and you have a pretty good starting point. I remove domestic Tranquility also because people enjoying their rights to liberty and the pursuit of happiness tend to be kind of noisy.
  10. Cryptonomicon

    I really enjoy reading and re-reading this book. Although Neal Stephenson has some philosophical flaws, they seem to be largely the result of the bizarre modern equation of individualism with Christianity (?) in some respects. His books are highly intelligent and very interesting, however.
  11. Cryptonomicon

    I suggest Cryptonomicon by Neil Stephenson
  12. Even among pack animals there is some selectivity going on. I was talking about this with a friend of mine: Men (generally) control the "what" of a courtship (the particulars of its prosecution), while women control whether there will be a courtship.
  13. Moral Dilemma #4

    Are the only options call Willis/not call Willis? My initial response would be to request an explicit explanation from Brad, and then think about what he said. Perhaps this is just because I'm lazy and if this new info requires me to re-evaluate people I met I don't want to have to call both of them mulitiple times to get information.
  14. Gay Parents

    I personally learned about romantic relationships by reading books and watching movies when I was, oh, TWENTY.