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Everything posted by Maarten

  1. Emotions that shouldn't be there

    Stephen, do you know any good articles or books on this subject that explain the matter in more detail? The parts about emotions or feelings in VoS and OPAR are rather short, and I would like to read more about this subject. Could you recommend any rational writers on this subject?
  2. Emotions that shouldn't be there

    Well, this isn't how I personally see it, but I thought it might add something to the discussion. I haven't thought about this issue myself enough to know exactly how it works, but I do agree with you that it clashes with other things I know. It's probably best to just discuss what I know to be true, in the future. I left out the more dubious parts of the explanation, by the way, because I knew those things weren't true. I disagree with her on a lot of issues, though, so don't feel bad about getting between us; you won't
  3. Emotions that shouldn't be there

    Okay, I'm gonna try this. This is how she explained it to me (I have to translate it from my native language so it's paraphrased a bit): She says that feelings have a biological basis, and that they are always there. You notice them in reaction to certain external stimuli. For example, fear (a feeling), merely tells you that something exists, and tells you that you don't like it (due to your earlier, accepted ideas). Emotions are actions (I think the word comes from latin, and e-movere means something like moving out (I think, my latin is a bit rusty these days)), and this is the part where your volition comes in. When you choose to react to something (in the sense of an action, instead of merely identifying a certain feeling) this is what she calls an emotion. She then said that every action is an emotion, and that the word has been given a very negative association these days (I'm not sure if I agree with that, yet). An example of an emotion would be crying, or laughing, or being happy. A distinction that came to mind to me was that an emotions seems to be active, while feelings are passive. I think the aspect of volition is more directly apparent in emotions than in feelings. We can influence both, but to influence how you feel about something you have to alter unconsciously held ideas. It's much easier to just not show how you feel; that is an area where one has much directer, and greater control over.
  4. Emotions that shouldn't be there

    My mother is always talking about them being different. I'll ask if she can explain it to me later today, she comes up with some pretty interesting theories about these things
  5. Sense of Life

    The short answer is, I think, that because we are volitional beings a child always has the choice to reject what he hears. The fact that most do not do this doesn't mean that children are determined by the circumstances in their youth. I agree, though, that probably the majority of children are not confident enough in their own mind's efficacy to keep it functioning, so to speak. But that is their choice.
  6. Heroine worship:part 2

    Yes, but I don't think it's the competent women (in this case) who want affirmitive action to help them. They don't need it... It's usually the people who feel that the free market is cruel, and not fair, who are clamoring for these kinds of actions.
  7. Capitalism and Foreign Governments

    If you are right about that, it would help greatly. I don't think the invasion of Iraq was the best possible course they could have taken, because in comparison to other countries it wasn't very dangerous. Now that the US is there, however, it is very important to be able to defend their position from a moral perspective. They should make sure that the situation never occurs again with the least amount of resources spent, as there are far better uses for them elsewhere. I agree about that with most of the other people in this thread; it makes no sense at all to sacrifice your valuable time and effort (and lives of young people) to improve the quality of life of some backwards country. It's best to leave that up to the missionaries (although I doubt they would improve the quality of life much). It's been almost 40 years since AR wrote several essays about how destructive the US foreign policy is to the country, and it seems (sadly enough) that the situation has hardly improved.
  8. Sense of Life

    Oh no, neither of my parents are Objectivists, or anything like it. My parents divorced when I was 10 years old, and my mother's been through a lot in her life. She was brought up in a catholic tradition, but she left the church when she was 20 I believe (go mom!), and later on she started exploring a lot of other things. She's actually quite the mystic in a way (she's studied a lot of numerology, astrology, I-Tjing and things like that) but she is very laid back about it. I mean, she does mention it quite a lot, but although I've been interested in it a little bit while I grew up I've never really taken it seriously. I think someone else said that a SoL is something like an implicit metaphysics, an unconscious view of what reality is like. Because it is implicit I think it is very possible that people with a similar SoL end up with extremely different (conscious) philosophies. It is almost impossible to practice an implicitly held philosophy consistently, and I guess most people never realize how their consciously held ideas influence how they view the world in a more subconscious way. While I don't think that someone with a very positive SoL will be attracted to certain philosophies, they can easily accept certain (very destructive) ideas that from then on negatively impact how they view everything. But I don't think many people actually study, or even know they can study, their sense of life.
  9. Capitalism and Foreign Governments

    I think an important difference you have to keep in mind is that in AS they let the altruistic/collectivistic morality run its full course, and at the end probably everyone who survived the collapse of the system would learn that you can't live like that. That is not the case in Iraq, however. I don't know much personally about how the war progressed, but from reading articles about it I get the impression that it has not been shown with conclusiveness that the previous system doesn't and will never work. Another point is that there is no philosophical or moral base underlying the current occupation of Iraq, which would (if it was there) make the situation much clearer to the people living there. With the way the US (and most of the other western countries) have run their foreign policies you get the impression that they are the bad guys, instead of the regime they ejected from its seat. Retaliating against another country can only be effective if you do it decisively, and with moral certainty of the rightness of your actions. If you half commit yourself to the effort, and half apologize for doing so, you're giving the wrong message.
  10. Heroine worship:part 2

    That reminds me of something I read (I think in AS, but not totally sure) that an industrialist needs to plan for long range, and when laws can get passed (which cripple your business) at any moment it becomes impossible to do so. Do you think it is mostly a function of circumstances (like how society regards them working, and things like you mentioned) rather than something innate in men and women that makes the first more productive in general?
  11. Sense of Life

    Part of the answer is that I've always known I was smart, and I've never been ashamed of that. I remember when I was really young (about 7 or 8 I think) that my teacher once said somthing like: This assigment is only for the smartest kids (or something like that, can't remember it word for word) to which I replied: "You mean for someone like me?" If I recall correctly she wasn't too pleased about it and said that I shouldn't say something like that (probably because she thought it was arrogant), but I never had an inkling at the time that it was something that you should hide, like it was some shameful secret. I've always been quite independent, even when I wasn't. By which I mean that I always valued it greatly, and wanted to do things by myself, even when I couldn't really do it yet because I was too young. But overall, I think it also has a lot to do with how I was brought up. I think the most notable thing about my childhood is that my parents, and especially my mother, left me free to develop myself. I don't think I was brought up with much, if any, of the things that can easily cripple someone's mind. Of course they raised me, and taught me many things, but I think the most important factor that helped shape my SoL is that it never was dented when I was younger. I think that in general almost every child starts out with a positive outlook on life, but that in many cases this gets severely repressed by their parents due to their irrational beliefs (for example). Of course it helps a lot if it is encouraged, and that will probably help the child later on resist outside influences from negatively impacting his SoL. But the basis should already be there. There really is no reason to expect the Universe to be an evil place, so I think someone only comes to this conclusion when he's hurt a lot as a child, and his mind is severely poisoned by all sorts of irrational ideas.
  12. Sense of Life

    Good question. My earlier childhood is rather vague qua memories, so I can't easily say if my general outlook on life when I was, say, 5 years old was the same as today. It has become a lot more solid now that I have an explicit philosophy to back it up and validate it, though. I used to get bullied quite a bit when I was younger, because I was so small, and never did anything back. However, even though that was awful to experience, and it influenced my self-confidence quite a bit the best way I can explain it is that it only went down to a certain point. I think I subconsciously regarded it as not metaphysically important, and that overall the universe was still a beautiful place. The most annoying thing is that I noticed about two years ago that I had become very closed off to people I don't know yet, which is very far from my ordinary behaviour. I used to be afraid to be myself because I didn't want other people to like me less. Over the last year or two I've been able to slowly erase this, and nowadays I am influenced far less by such things, so I'm on the right track, and I am rather proud of doing that by myself. One aspect of that which I thankfully have almost completely lost now, was that I always thought way too much about certain things, and I would see (in my mind's eye) everything that could possibly go wrong. I can tell you, that is quite an effective barrier to doing things. I am not sure exactly how I got rid of it, but it just became less some time ago, and now I practically never have it anymore. It probably is related to the fact that I now know that I have to be my own source of self-esteem, instead of deriving it from pleasing others. So I mostly succeed in ignoring stupid people nowadays. In regard to philosophies, I was a deist for a while. Before that time I didn't really know why a God upset nearly all of the basic philosophic axioms, and I found a very convincing argument in favor of God somewhere, which seemed to make sense at the time. Nonetheless, that was already a very self-centered philosophy that didn't have many, if any, altruistic elements in it. Which is probably why I never recoiled away from it like I would have from a Christian viewpoint. That got demolished quite effectively when I started reading miss Rand's books a few months ago. To answer your question more specifically, I think I looked for philosophies that were compatible with my sense-of-life, in the sense that they had to uphold the same things I valued or I would reject them as nonsense. Perhaps the most important thing I can say about it is that I am glad to have found Objectivism, because I am not sure how long I would have been able to retain my (I think wonderful) sense-of-life without other sources of condemnation. I love reading, and I have always been quite open-minded, so I tended to accept something as long as it made sense and didn't contradict anything I knew to be true. Of course, a Sense-of-Life is not as useful for this in the long run as an explicit philosophy, but it most certainly helps!
  13. Sense of Life

    This is slightly off-topic, but it is about sense of life so I thought it was best to just put it here. If another topic is more appropriate then feel free to move it. Hi everyone, by the way! I thought it would be interesting to describe our Sense of Life, perhaps we can discover some interesting common themes in them. I am actually quite glad that I discovered AR's writings about this. Before that I never knew where some of the things I more or less instinctively valued came from, and I could not validate them. It seemed to contradict everything I knew, to hold some values as absolutes without knowing why, or where they came from. I am not sure since what age I have had my sense of life, it goes back as far as I can remember; in a way it seems like it has always been part of me, like it is very much fused into my character (which it probably is). I'm still quite young, almost 21, and before I eventually discovered Objectivism I struggled through some other philosophies. When I look back now I can't believe I actually thought things like that... The interesting thing was that the things I most valued, which are independence and rationality, I regarded akin to axioms. In the sense that I compared everything I found with those values, and rejected them outright if they didn't mesh. I think that has been a big part of the reason that I've been able to hold onto my reasoning mind without suffering too many perversions of it, as happens to the majority of people, sadly. Even though I've struggled through my share of unpleasant things happening I managed to keep a very positive outlook on life. I remember that I told someone a few months ago (before I had started studing Objectivism) that I hoped that would never lose that, because I did not think that I would care to live if I became very cynical and bitter. One aspect of this is that I tend to regard everyone I meet as innocent until proven guilty, so to speak. I think a crucial aspect of a good Sense of Life is that you regard success (in all aspects of life) as the standard, instead of failure; and consequently focus on those things that improve your life instead of always thinking of how horrible things are. If you hold the benevolent universe sense of life, then I think it is logical to presume that the same holds true for people. This contrasted with some people I know who are innately distrustful of others, and almost all of them are much more cynical about the world in general. I never actually made the connection between my positive outlook on life and my valuing thinking. Stephen's comment about that actually makes a lot of sense, so thank you!