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About Mark

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  • Birthday December 07

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  1. In Atlas Shrugged and in Rand's nonfiction, she uses the terms "moocher" and "looter". Is there any difference between these two? Any distinctions in connotation? I'm looking for good definitions. Mark
  2. Marathon

    You mention you enjoy the solitude. What do you think about when you run?
  3. Love Triangle, Sticky Situation

    Thanks for your thought. Notwithstanding, I think I have a lot to go on. If John is open to rational discussion, for example, I want to present these kinds of questions to him. 1) John is married and has committed his partner for life. Is that commitment invalid, in which case what good is his word? 2) It occurs to me that John values his integrity. How does his decision to pursue Joan, in violation of his friendship with David, relate to his integrity? 3) Does the relationship between Joan and David, husband and wife, count for anything? I am looking for rational, not emotional, points, but I don't know whether these are the right ones. I think he might respond to rational inquiry because he purports to be a rational man. This can't be the first time this has happened.
  4. I have a real scenario that is very close to home. I don't want to say more than that, but I need some advice. I'm not sure how to think about this, or if my line of questioning will yield any answers that I can use, but I will be grateful for some rational insight. David and Joan's marriage is not very good. They started a business together with David's best friend, John, that is becoming successful. They have two kids. John subscribes to Objectivism, and has been profoundly affected by Atlas Shrugged. He (John) has been having an affair with David's wife, Joan, and wants to leave his own wife and family, and be with Joan. I know all three of them, but I am closest to David. As I said, I don't know if it's too late (sounds like it), but I wonder if any rational argument will reach John, or whether Objectivist ethics would only reinforce John's plan. It's devastating to watch David go through this.
  5. Capitalism's Dark Side?

    Thanks for all of the advice and answers. The illustrations are particularly inspiring, and they go in the opposite direction of the emotional response Steve was going for by mentioning the "children working in factories." This entire discussion thread has been very helpful.
  6. Capitalism's Dark Side?

    CUI p 21I found this also, but I'm anticipating the challenge of the many who died working in mines and sweat shops in the U.S. Help me with my history. What am I missing?
  7. Capitalism's Dark Side?

    Looking for answers, I came across this: -- Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal p 20. Perhaps some help with some of the examples that are "a matter of historical record." Any suggestions?
  8. Capitalism's Dark Side?

    I need help with a question I encountered today. Speaking about capitalism, my friend Steve asked me what happens when workers are oppressed in a capitalistic system, and there's no place to go (19th century Britain, poor conditions, men and women starving and dying of disease). He painted a picture of the factory owners' disregard for the well-being of his employees. I responded: In a trade-based relationship, the worker chooses to trade his skill for wages. He can also choose not to trade. Steve said: He can choose not to trade, but when he has no other place to go, that isn't really a choice. What can I do to continue that discussion?
  9. Animals and Thought

    Kurt -- Thanks for your post. This is exactly the question I am trying to understand. I can see how language is conceptual, but not that conceptualization requires language. In the original example--knowing that the berries on the tree are poisonous and shouldn't be eaten--the human uses conceptualization to conclude he shouldn't eat them. Rand said (Objectivist Ethics, TVOS, p 23) this is a distinguishing characteristic of humans, and that animals are guided by mere percepts. I think what you're getting at is that animals can abstract concretes. This may be the way they identify a poison berry. (?)
  10. Animals and Thought

    Betsy -- Thanks for your answer. Animals don't eat poisonous berries unless there's something wrong with them, as you said. Is it possible that it's a process of thought that leads them to this conclusion? If not, how do we know?
  11. From Ayn Rand, "The Objectivist Ethics" TVOS, p 23: "Man cannot survive, as animals do, by the guidance of mere percepts. A sensation of hunger will tell him that he needs food (if he has learned to identify it as "hunger"), but it will not tell him how to obtain his food and it will not tell him what food is good for him or poisonous. He cannot provide for his simplest physical needs without a process of thought." I understand that man must use his mind to survive, in this case to identify which food is poisonous. Rand seems to say that animals have automatic perceptual ability. How is this different from human beings? Don't animals need a process of thought to categorize perceptions about poisonous plants (or any other observable phenomenon)? Thanks for your help. Mark
  12. Values and Choice

    In the first chapter of The Virtue of Selfishness, Rand talks about the concept of value saying that "Where no alternative exists, no goals and no values are possible." I think her logic is as follows: 1) values are that which one acts to gain or to keep 2) gaining or keeping the value is the goal for which one acts 3) if the goal is either impossible or inevitable, there is no choice 4) therefore, there is no value. Fundamentally, she goes on to say, the only choice we have is whether to live or die. Consequently, all values come down to the fundamental question, "Will this further my survival, or detract from it?" I'm struggling with this because it seems so simple. Am I missing a link? Are all other choices reduced to this one choice?
  13. It's Election Day!

    ==== I appreciate your differentiation between simply stating the truth and "appealing to people's reason." There is not enough well-thought-out discussion/presentation of the truth. It's a struggle because our culture's appetite for, and tolerance of, sound (sometimes lengthy) argument is waning. Even when I support the ideas presented, I often find it difficult to hang with a lengthy presentation. I'm open to suggestions and I want to be part of the solution.
  14. "The end of American capitalism?"

    The article implied that Germany's brand of capitalism employs more government regulation. Is that right? What are other differences?
  15. Screen villains

    I would like to add Nurse Ratched in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" to the list.