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About RSalar

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  1. Thanks Betsy, I appreciate the advice. I suppose there are no "objective" limits in terms what they should or should not do together. It comes down to feelings -- how and why she feels about what they do and how I feel about it. I understand that my feelings in this regard are the result of my value judgments. At this point I am trying to introspect and determine what my feelings are and what premises are responsible for them. One question I ask myself is: "What are my true values as opposed to those acquired unconsciously?" The reason I posted my question here is that I presupposed that Objectivism offered some hard and fast rules in terms of acceptable behavior. I can see now that my assumption was wrong--I am the only one who can know what behavior I can accept and be ok with. It is definitely hard work—the introspection part and the honest communication part. Thanks again for your thoughtful responses, --Ron
  2. Thank you. I have taken your advice and discussed my concerns with her. She assured me that she no longer desires to have that kind of a relationship with him. I believe that she is being honest about her feelings and I do feel better. However I know that feelings can change. I question myself as to how far I should "allow" their friendship to go. Would it be appropriate, for example, for them to go out to lunch together? They used to hike together. Would it be appropriate for them to go hiking? I have conflicting feelings. On the one hand I know she likes him as a friend and I don't want to tell her that she can't be friends with him. On the other hand I think that the only reason he would suggest these activities is that he is interested in reestablishing a relationship with her. Maybe with time and in the right circumstances her feelings could change. This is true in any relationship I suppose -- however this situation seems especially vulnerable to the possibility. I asked her how she would feel if our circumstances were reversed and I was hanging out with an ex-girlfriend. She admitted that it would be difficult and it would bother her--but she would have to handle it. She also said that she understands my concerns and respects the way I am dealing with the situation. I do feel much more secure now that I have discussed this with her--because I believe her. The unanswered question that remains in my mind is where to draw the line. What activities are objectively inappropriate for them? And what principle should be applied to determine this?
  3. My girlfriend works for her ex-boyfriend. To make matters worse they had a serious relationship for ten years prior to me. Now she says they are just friends but I keep thinking it wouldn't take much for them to end up back together. I keep thinking I should just back away and let her go but I really like her and we have a lot of fun together. It's hard for me to be objective. I'm thinking that I need an outside objective opinion. So please feel free to take a shot at helping me with this conundrum. Thanks, Ron
  4. That is a great question. I think you put your finger on the answer to your very first question regarding epistemology. This new question explains why, when you believe in the primacy of consciousness, there is no need for epistemology. Epistemology is the science of knowledge, and we can not obtain knowledge about things that do not exist. How can a person ever "match the contents of that supreme consciousness," when that supreme consciousness does not exist? We can only know about things that do exist, and there is no science that will help you learn about things that don't.
  5. Objectivist view of volition

    Keep in mind Rand's definition: "A concept is a mental integration of two or more units possessing the same distinguishing characteristic(s), with their particular measurements omitted." Based on this definition, "red" is only a concept if there are 2 or more shades of red. If there is only 1 existent then the word we use to reference it is its name. This is why I have said that "inch" is a name and not a concept. There is only 1 "inch." The same identical inch is used to measure length all over the universe.
  6. Discussion Without Bitterness.

    There is at least one point that needs clarification. I am assuming that the person who is experiencing the anger does not enjoy being angry. If a person enjoys being angry then of course he would stay and duke it out with the person who is using sarcasm, and other insulting and/or degrading words. So if this makes the universal statement inaccurate I hereby correct my statement accordingly. It seems a little odd, however, that someone who wants to be angry (for whatever reason—for professional reasons or achieve another value) would be able to experience the anger they are seeking. I would think that they would be happy that they are getting angry—and that is difficult for me to comprehend—but if that potentiality makes my universal statement incorrect I hereby amend it to accommodate that scenario. So, except for the people who want to be angry, we are left with the people who do not want to be angry—let’s assume we are talking about them. Further I want to make it clear that this anger I am referring to is directed at the other poster and not at myself. It makes perfect sense that I should be angry with myself for subjecting myself to a situation that makes me angry. Now let me see if I can walk us through a scenario: Let’s say I am the guy who comes to this, or some other site, to learn about a subject that is important to me. Let’s assume that was a good decision for the sake of this discussion and there is in fact the potential to learn from the other participants. So I make a post that states a position that I think is valid. Someone replies to my post in an insulting way. He says my view is stupid, he implies that I shouldn’t be here until I understand more, he tells me to go read XYZ book, and he insults me with sarcasm. What emotion should I experience if I am rational and have a high regard for myself? Before we are able to answer that question we need to answer a more fundamental question: What should I think about these remarks? Or perhaps even more fundamental: Should I think about his remarks? We know that the only way to understand the truth is to think … so let’s think about it. Did the poster who insulted me have good cause to insult me? If not, then the poster is at fault. If he did have good cause, then I was wrong to state my position. So if I experience anger, what am I angry about? If the poster was correct and justified in making his insulting remarks then I must be angry with myself for thinking the way I do (this is not the anger I was referring to in my original post). If the poster was at fault and had no cause to insult me, then I must understand why he made his insulting remarks. Why would an unknown Internet poster insult another unknown Internet poster without a good reason? I am not a psychologist but I know this: If this guy had no good reason to insult me, but he did anyway, he is not someone who I am going to hold in high regard. I know rational intelligent people find no pleasure in insulting people—in fact they try not to. So this guy must not be very intelligent, must not be rational, and moreover he seems to be a jerk (to use a highly technical term). What emotional response should I, a rational person with high self-esteem, feel when an unknown, irrational Internet jerk attempts to insult me? Perhaps I would find it humorous, maybe interesting, but why would I get angry? Angry at what? The fact that there are jerks out there? I already knew that. I also knew that I am a good person and I know I made a valid point. Who is this guy who insulted me? I have no way of knowing; maybe he is normally a decent guy but is having a bad day. Maybe he is always this way; maybe he insults everyone. I just don’t know what I am supposed to be angry about. Maybe you should argue the other side. Explain to me why it is appropriate to be angry with this guy. Maybe you can help me out here but I am unable to come up with any other scenarios. Either the insulter was justified or he wasn’t. If he was, then I need to improve; if he wasn’t then he needs to. I just don’t see anything to be angry about. The only cause of anger that fits is that I have low self-esteem: I am not sure about myself, I think the guy must be right because I feel stupid and inadequate I project my feelings of frustration and anger at the jerk poster guy. I personally can’t be angry about the fact that jerk poster guys exist—that would be like being angry that gravity exists. Jerk poster guys are a reality and we need to learn how to deal with them. Getting angry with them solves nothing. We can work on fixing them or we can get rid of them. Finally let me address the very valid point you raised by asking: “Are you assuming this forum is not a work or other fundamentally important "environment," for all individuals involved? If so, what is the basis for your assumption?” No, I am not assuming that. For those people who choose to be here as part of their profession and/or for those who chose to be here for other “fundamentally important” reasons, I would say that it is even more important for them to take a big picture view. The best way for me to explain this is to give you an example. I’ll use golf because it is a game that I have some experience with. I am not a professional golfer, but I have played in some “important” matches where my performance mattered. The match comes down to a 2-foot putt (a no brainer—a sure thing—a slam dunk) that I need to make to win the match for my team. I tap it in and I am a hero, I miss it and I am a bum. I miss it! Boy do I feel bad. The most awful feeling you can imagine has come over me. I feel about 2 inches tall as I sulk off the green. I asked a professional golfer about this. I asked him how they feel when they miss a putt like that. He said they have been taught by there coaches, sports psychologists, and trainers to look at the big picture: it is a learning experience. How else will you learn how to handle pressure? You have to get yourself into these situations and experience them. It’s great that you missed that putt. Now you know that the world does not end. Know you know that there will be another match tomorrow; even after you miss a simple putt. Next time you will be able to handle the pressure a little better. So for those people who chose to be here for professional or other fundamentally important reasons, they should be able to look beyond this one situation of a jerky Internet poster and realize that they are part of the business and they “really do not have to be taken very seriously.” (I am thinking of Dagny’s first words to Galt.) Oh … what does it mean to “deduce reality?” Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
  7. Discussion Without Bitterness.

    The idea that "injustice" (in the context of posting ideas on the internet) has been brought up by several people. Would someone care to explain how and when an "injustice" can occur here? (I can think of only one--it has happened to me and I was not angered by it, because I accepted the fact the the person who perpetrated it is lacking something in his/her character.)
  8. Discussion Without Bitterness.

    Because I take your question seriously, I will attempt to take this one step at a time. In regards to your first and second question, to which you also added an editorial, I would first like to address the editorial. You say that I have "provided no evidence that would justify such a broad induction." I take exception to this statement because the first sentence of my reply to Thoyd Loki's questions stated the following fact: "I support it with the fact that you do not have to deal with that person." I will now expand on the evidence provided. I believe that you would agree that that is a true statement: If someone here offends you, you can simply turn off your computer and do something else. Or perhaps you would like to correspond with someone else. There is absolutely no reason why you would choose to continue to debate with a person who is intentionally trying to make you mad. The fact that he is intentionally trying to cause anger in you is reason enough to avoid him, and not take him seriously. If, on the other hand, the person with whom you are debating is not intentionally trying to make you mad, but is causing you anger by his lack of intelligence or his lack of etiquette, you still have the option of doing something else. Internet posting/debating is hopefully not a huge part of your existence—you do have other interests … and life is good, so you move on to something that makes you happy. We all know that there are people out there with whom we disagree, or dislike, or for whatever reason just can't tolerate. In the work environment we may have to deal with these disagreeable people, of maybe this "bad guy" is your brother-in-law and you see him at family functions ... in which case you have to figure out a way to "get through it." But here you have the choice to read a post or not, spend time at the computer or not, visit this site or not --- The simple fact of the matter (and the "evidence that would justify such a broad induction") is that you choose to be here, you choose to read the posts that are written by the person whom you are angered by, and moreover you choose to let yourselves get angered. It makes sense to get angry when the government steals your money, or if you hear your President making a speech that you know will negatively impact the future of your country, or if a kidnapper takes your daughter, or if a reckless driver almost kills you, or if you are cheated during a poker game, or if a loved one becomes a liberal, but to let yourself get angry because an anonymous internet poster says something that you disagree with (or because he insults, belittles, or is somehow hurtful with his words) is a sign that you (meaning the person getting angry--not you personally) lack the self-esteem to see through it and recognize it for what it is. What situation would prevent you from turning your computer off and doing something else? There is no reason why you have to stay. That is why this is a "universal phenomenon without exception and regardless of context and circumstances." The person making the post is not the President of the United States. Metaphysically speaking--what the internet poster says will have no impact on your life. What more can I say? What other evidence do you require? Now to your last two questions: "Does your thought apply as well to all other emotions that arise in debate? For example, disgust, elation, affection, dismay, admiration, fear, and love? If not, why?" The essential distinguishing factor is whether the emotion is a positive one or a negative one. Negative emotions result from something hurtful happening--in the context of internet debates you can choose not to participate--you can avoid being hurt by understanding how the debate impacts your overall life. If the emotion is positive and you like it--the same choice exists: to participate or not. And, in the case of positive emotions, why not? In the case of negative ones, why? It all comes down to the fact that you have a choice--you have volition--you are in control of which posts to take seriously and which ones to dismiss. The evidence rests in the facts of reality and the facts of reality are that you get to choose--choose whom to listen to and how seriously to take them. Maybe you would provide an example of a post that you think represents the kind of post that should cause us to get angry?
  9. Discussion Without Bitterness.

    I support it with the fact that you do not have to deal with that person. There are other sites to visit, books to read, people to meet, activities to participate in, etc. Why would you choose to get emotionally wrapped up in a discussion with an irrational internet poster? What if you discovered later that some computer geek made a program that was able to debate irrationally with the intended purpose of getting you mad. And all the time that you were getting all worked up and coming up with brilliant replies no one was even there to see your brilliance? It was just you and a computer -- let's say even the other posters were computer generated -- how would you feel about all the wasted time and emotional energy? Why would the time and energy be wasted if only a computer was responding to you? Now consider why you were debating with this irrational internet poster in the first place. What was in it for you? What did you hope to gain from the exchange? Was your expectation consistent with reality? Did you need to prove to him that you were right? If so, why?
  10. Discussion Without Bitterness.

    We have to accept the reality of the situation: Not everyone is rational and in control of their emotions. Why let someone who lacks control of their emotion control yours?
  11. Discussion Without Bitterness.

    If the assertion is wrong it should easily be corrected. At least in this environment you get the chance to address the inaccurate assertion. If this same person makes the assertion out in public, to friends at a party, in a newspaper editorial, etc. you may not even be aware that these inaccuracies are being spread.
  12. Objectivist view of volition

    I have focused on the material written by, or authorized by, Ayn Rand. Is there any other objective way to know which, if any, other literature is Objectivist literature? For example, do you believe the Kelly camp represents Objectivism? Do you believe Objectivism is a "closed" system? Perhaps another thread is in order ...
  13. Objectivist view of volition

    Is my misunderstanding of "deterministic" based on the fact that I am isolating one particular instance where a choice or action is determined rather than using the broader notion that "deterministic" means that every event, act, and decision is the inevitable consequence of antecedents that are independent of the human will?
  14. Objectivist view of volition

    Which answers are you refering to?
  15. Epistemology is an exact science based in reality for the purpose of understanding how man's consciousness grasps reality. If man's consciousness does not need to grasp reality (as is the position that the advocates of the primacy of consciousness schools take) what purpose would there for epistemology? In simple terms: If you are not trying to grasp reality why would you need to know how to do it?