Henrik Unné

What´s wrong with me?

27 posts in this topic

In order to understand where I am coming from in this post, you must first read my initial post in the thread in the "Ethics" section "An absurd (?) implication of the impotence of evil". I am assuming that post as the context, so as to not have to repeat myself at length here.

As you can see, after reading my first post in the thread "An absurd (?) implication of the impotence of evil" I have a *very* low opinion of the majority of the members of mankind. But that opinion does not reflect in my daily life. I do not go around with a negative attitude to the people around me. I am friendly to my workmates and my neighbors every day. I even help them out at times. For example I have a number of times lent modest amounts of money to workmates and neighbors, I help the teenage daughter of one of my neighbors with her homework once or twice a week, and so forth. I do not even feel any illwill towards my workmates and neighbors, or any contempt for them, when I am in their company.

The negative emotions that the vast majority of "common men" prompt in me, only wash over me when I am alone, and am contemplating these men. Then I often feel a shudder of revulsion.

I wonder what is the cause of this inconsistency? Is my deep contempt for the majority of mankind something rationalistic, that I do not "really" believe in? I doubt it. My feelings of contempt seem very real to me, when I am alone and am contemplating men in general. Do I have some kind of "split personality", whatever that is? (I have suffered from schizophrenia earlier in my life, so my thoughts are sometimes somewhat cut off from reality). Am I simply a hypocrite?

Maybe my emotions are different in different contexts of thought. When I am in the company of workmates and neighbors in daily life, maybe I focus on the "small" ways in which they can be values to me in daily life? And then I feel postivie emotions? And then, when I am alone, contemplating them, I think about the "big picture", about what these persons´ habitual default on the responsibility of thinking will mean for the world as a whole (in principle, of course I cannot know what any given workmate´s or neighbor´s concrete effect on world events will be)? And then I feel a shudder of contempt and revulsion?

It seems to me that I *should* continue to feel the revulsion that I feel when I contemplate the majority of mankind, because it is good in principle to recognize the facts of reality, no matter how unpleasant those facts are. I do not think that I should try to repress my feelings of revulsion and contempt, nor that I should try fo force myself to change my premises (i.e. my profoundly negative evaluation of the majority of mankind, because I am honestly convinced that that evaluation is true). At the same time it seems to me, that I might as well continue to feel friendly to people in general in my daily life, since they *are* values to me, in small ways, in my daily life, even though they are *disvalues* to me in "the big picture", since they default on the repsonsiblity of thinking.

Does anyone here see any dangers in having this kind of a disconnect (i.e. being friendly in daily life to persons who I evaluate as being, in a sense, still worse than Adolf Hitler and Immanuel Kant)?

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I wonder what is the cause of this inconsistency? Is my deep contempt for the majority of mankind something rationalistic, that I do not "really" believe in? I doubt it. My feelings of contempt seem very real to me, when I am alone and am contemplating men in general. Do I have some kind of "split personality", whatever that is? (I have suffered from schizophrenia earlier in my life, so my thoughts are sometimes somewhat cut off from reality). Am I simply a hypocrite?

No, it's not that you're a hypocrite, nor is this a sign of psychosis. The problem is that your idea of the evil "majority" is what's called a floating abstraction. That's why you don't feel the same way about real people that you feel about your concept of them. The concept is ill-formed, not grounded in experience.

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I wonder what is the cause of this inconsistency? Is my deep contempt for the majority of mankind something rationalistic, that I do not "really" believe in? I doubt it. My feelings of contempt seem very real to me, when I am alone and am contemplating men in general. Do I have some kind of "split personality", whatever that is? (I have suffered from schizophrenia earlier in my life, so my thoughts are sometimes somewhat cut off from reality). Am I simply a hypocrite?

No, it's not that you're a hypocrite, nor is this a sign of psychosis. The problem is that your idea of the evil "majority" is what's called a floating abstraction. That's why you don't feel the same way about real people that you feel about your concept of them. The concept is ill-formed, not grounded in experience.

But I have a wealth of experiences of people who stubbornly refuse to think, and who stubbornly refuse to question and reassess their established, cherished premises, even when I point out to them facts that obviously contradict their premises, when I point out obvious inconsistencies in their premises, when I point out obvious absurd implications of their premises andwhen I present them with eminently rational arguments for the correct alternative to their premise. If they stick to their mistaken premises in the face of overwhelming evidence that the premises are wrong, then they evidently are not being honest.

I have to admit that I am quite bitter, even though I am also happy. I´ve been working my a-s off for 30 years to spread Objectivism in Sweden. But when I try to enlighten people, and thereby try to help them, the most typical response is amusement, derision and even hostility. Most men, in my wealth of experience, dismiss the need for knowledge in a cavalier fashion. How do they imagine that they are going to be able to survive, if they avoid knowledge? They do not really value their own lives, in the final analysis, and a person who does not value his own life, is a moral monster. (I tried to commit suicide when I was 15. But that did not mean that I did not value my life, and therefore was a moral monster. I did not make a couple of suicide attempts *gratuitously. I thought that I had the prospect of a life without happiness before me, and I, properly, did not want to live such a life.)

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I wonder what is the cause of this inconsistency? Is my deep contempt for the majority of mankind something rationalistic, that I do not "really" believe in? I doubt it. My feelings of contempt seem very real to me, when I am alone and am contemplating men in general. Do I have some kind of "split personality", whatever that is? (I have suffered from schizophrenia earlier in my life, so my thoughts are sometimes somewhat cut off from reality). Am I simply a hypocrite?

No, it's not that you're a hypocrite, nor is this a sign of psychosis. The problem is that your idea of the evil "majority" is what's called a floating abstraction. That's why you don't feel the same way about real people that you feel about your concept of them. The concept is ill-formed, not grounded in experience.

But I have a wealth of experiences of people who stubbornly refuse to think, and who stubbornly refuse to question and reassess their established, cherished premises, even when I point out to them facts that obviously contradict their premises, when I point out obvious inconsistencies in their premises, when I point out obvious absurd implications of their premises andwhen I present them with eminently rational arguments for the correct alternative to their premise. If they stick to their mistaken premises in the face of overwhelming evidence that the premises are wrong, then they evidently are not being honest.

I have to admit that I am quite bitter, even though I am also happy. I´ve been working my a-s off for 30 years to spread Objectivism in Sweden. But when I try to enlighten people, and thereby try to help them, the most typical response is amusement, derision and even hostility. Most men, in my wealth of experience, dismiss the need for knowledge in a cavalier fashion. How do they imagine that they are going to be able to survive, if they avoid knowledge? They do not really value their own lives, in the final analysis, and a person who does not value his own life, is a moral monster. (I tried to commit suicide when I was 15. But that did not mean that I did not value my life, and therefore was a moral monster. I did not make a couple of suicide attempts *gratuitously. I thought that I had the prospect of a life without happiness before me, and I, properly, did not want to live such a life.)

Are you renowned in a field of study or enterprise? Have you made demonstrably large strides in some endeavor? Men generally will not take advice from someone they do not consider accomplished. Your ideas will be nothing but hot air to them if there is no evidence you are practicing them. That's just the nature of things.

Another possible explanation of the hostility is your own grasp of the ideas. As painful as it may be, you may wish to re-evaluate your grasp of the ideas you are trying to spread. Going by your hasty evaluation of 'average' people as monsters, you may not be properly introducing the ideas.

A third consideration is whether you are trying to "enlighten" the right calibre of individual. By "right" here, I mean appropriate to the ideas. Are they highly educated types who enjoy reading? Are they students? Are they in or around intellectual professions?

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But I have a wealth of experiences of people who stubbornly refuse to think, and who stubbornly refuse to question and reassess their established, cherished premises, even when I point out to them facts that obviously contradict their premises, when I point out obvious inconsistencies in their premises, when I point out obvious absurd implications of their premises andwhen I present them with eminently rational arguments for the correct alternative to their premise. If they stick to their mistaken premises in the face of overwhelming evidence that the premises are wrong, then they evidently are not being honest.

Henrik, have you considered the possibility that your difficulty in persuading others to think about abstract ideas has less to do with their “stubbornness ”- “dishonesty” -“evilness”- “intellectual slothfulness” etc. than it does with your approach? Often a gentle approach brings greater rewards than does a sledgehammer or a judgemental attitude.

There may be many reasons why some people resist challenging their traditional beliefs. It could be, as has been said in earlier posts, they are running on automatic and life is working for them as things are.

It could also be because they’re frightened. They are emotionally bound to their traditional beliefs that form the foundation on which all other values rest. By challenging the foundation, their entire epistemological edifice will come crashing down, and that would be terrifying for them. They need to prepare themselves for that event in their own time.

Also, sometimes the sheer intensity of an opponent’s passion activates a defensive, intellectual barricade in the receiver – especially when it relates to ideas that challenge their beliefs, and are delivered by someone who appears critical and disapproving. I speak from experience.

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Are you renowned in a field of study or enterprise? Have you made demonstrably large strides in some endeavor? Men generally will not take advice from someone they do not consider accomplished. Your ideas will be nothing but hot air to them if there is no evidence you are practicing them. That's just the nature of things.

Another possible explanation of the hostility is your own grasp of the ideas. As painful as it may be, you may wish to re-evaluate your grasp of the ideas you are trying to spread. Going by your hasty evaluation of 'average' people as monsters, you may not be properly introducing the ideas.

A third consideration is whether you are trying to "enlighten" the right calibre of individual. By "right" here, I mean appropriate to the ideas. Are they highly educated types who enjoy reading? Are they students? Are they in or around intellectual professions?

If men do not bother to consider my (rational) arguments, because I am not "renowned in a field of study or enterprise", then they are committing the fallacy of ad verecundiam. I am certain that I am more rational, and that I understand such subjects as philosophy and economics far better, than most professors and big business executives. But I am just a factory worker, and a highschool dropout. My main accomplishment in life is being one of the first pioneers who introduced Objectivism to Sweden (I was the second Swede to become an Objectivist in fact, to the best of my knowledge). Also I managed to become an Objectivist after having been a psychotic for several years. So I have achieved some notable things in my life.

I know that most men do not listen to someone who they do not believe is an "authority", and they take such superficial things as a college degree or success at making a fortune, as being a sign that one is "in the know", worth listening to and worth taking seriously. But all that is ad verecundiam, which is a fallacy.

Am I attempting to introduce Objectivism by inappropriate means? I don´t think so. I do not "hardsell" Objectivism, since I know that people would think that I was a "fanatic" dogmatist, and that it therefore would be counterproductive. I just present the Objectivist views on the issues that come up, for example in the lunchroom, in a calm and factual, straightforward manner. But I do not attempt to "water down" Objectivism, so my views come across as being very impopular, even "outrageous" (try advocating market wages and free immigration to Social Democrat factory workers). But what really p-s me off, is that my workmates consider me to be an *oddball* for the mere reason that I care about ideas, and they think that my passion for philosophy and intellectual activism is *amusing*. How do they imagine that they can continue to survive without knowledge and thought? Of course, they can´t continue to survive without knowledge and thought of their own, except by freeriding on thinkers like me.

As to the "calibre of the individuals" that I am trying to enlighten, since I am a factory worker, and I live in a working class neighborhood, it is for natural reasons mostly "Joe Sixpack" types that I try to enlighten face-to-face. But the mere fact that they are uneducated does not give them an excuse not to interest themselves in ideas, and not to listen to different viewpoints, when presented rationally. After all, I am also uneducated, since I am a highschool dropout, but that did not render me unable to learn abstract subjects such as philosophy and economics. I also target more intellectual types, by writing debate pieces to debate sites on the Internet, and formerly, to print newspapers. But the intellectual types are, for the most part, at least as hostile and/or dismissive as the Joe Sixpacks, in the replies that they write to my debate pieces. They just will not reconsider the views that they learned in college. Well, it is a common phenomenom that people to not like to admit that they are wrong, but that is not an excuse.

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If men do not bother to consider my (rational) arguments, because I am not "renowned in a field of study or enterprise", then they are committing the fallacy of ad verecundiam. I am certain that I am more rational, and that I understand such subjects as philosophy and economics far better, than most professors and big business executives.

But people should not take that -- or anything else -- on faith.

If someone comes to me claiming that he is rational and understands philosophy, I would verify that first-hand by seeing what he was actually practicing (and not just preaching) and how well HIS life was going as a result.

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If men do not bother to consider my (rational) arguments, because I am not "renowned in a field of study or enterprise", then they are committing the fallacy of ad verecundiam. I am certain that I am more rational, and that I understand such subjects as philosophy and economics far better, than most professors and big business executives.

But people should not take that -- or anything else -- on faith.

If someone comes to me claiming that he is rational and understands philosophy, I would verify that first-hand by seeing what he was actually practicing (and not just preaching) and how well HIS life was going as a result.

I don´t think that whether or not my own life is successful can be used to judge the truth of my arguments. The people I am speaking to should *listen* to my arguments, and see if they, in fact, demonstrate the point that I am trying to make. To reject my (rational) arguments, because I, for example, hava had such problems in my personal life as a bout of psychosis, becoming a highschool dropout, failing to become wealthy and not being successful until very recently in romance, that would be to commit the fallacy of ad hominem.

Of course if a person assumes, before he has heard my arguments, that I really am rational just because I am intelligent, that would be taking me on faith. But it is not taking me on faith to conclude that I am rational, *after* having heard my (rational) arguments.

And I have had the experience that people reject my arguments and views, even when I present them on debate fora on the Internet. And there my personality cannot possibly be an issue, because I never even meet the individuals who dismiss my views contemptuously. Lots of people are just irrational, and unwilling to admit that they are wrong.

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I don´t think that whether or not my own life is successful can be used to judge the truth of my arguments. The people I am speaking to should *listen* to my arguments, and see if they, in fact, demonstrate the point that I am trying to make. To reject my (rational) arguments, because I, for example, hava had such problems in my personal life as a bout of psychosis, becoming a highschool dropout, failing to become wealthy and not being successful until very recently in romance, that would be to commit the fallacy of ad hominem.

Of course if a person assumes, before he has heard my arguments, that I really am rational just because I am intelligent, that would be taking me on faith. But it is not taking me on faith to conclude that I am rational, *after* having heard my (rational) arguments.

And I have had the experience that people reject my arguments and views, even when I present them on debate fora on the Internet. And there my personality cannot possibly be an issue, because I never even meet the individuals who dismiss my views contemptuously. Lots of people are just irrational, and unwilling to admit that they are wrong.

The first sentence in the second paragraph above should read - "Of course, if a person assumes, before he has heard my arguments, that I really am rational just because I *say* that I am intelligent, that would be taking me on faith." Sorry for omitting one word, and therefore coming across as confusing.

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Henrik, have you considered the possibility that your difficulty in persuading others to think about abstract ideas has less to do with their “stubbornness ”- “dishonesty” -“evilness”- “intellectual slothfulness” etc. than it does with your approach? Often a gentle approach brings greater rewards than does a sledgehammer or a judgemental attitude.

There may be many reasons why some people resist challenging their traditional beliefs. It could be, as has been said in earlier posts, they are running on automatic and life is working for them as things are.

It could also be because they’re frightened. They are emotionally bound to their traditional beliefs that form the foundation on which all other values rest. By challenging the foundation, their entire epistemological edifice will come crashing down, and that would be terrifying for them. They need to prepare themselves for that event in their own time.

Also, sometimes the sheer intensity of an opponent’s passion activates a defensive, intellectual barricade in the receiver – especially when it relates to ideas that challenge their beliefs, and are delivered by someone who appears critical and disapproving. I speak from experience.

I do not think that I am rude or obnoxious. I think that it is *what* I say, not *the way I say it*, that antagonizes people. I state my views calmly and factually, but I do not "water down" the content of my views. For example, if a workmate complains about the unemployment in Sweden, I do not hesitate to point out that the problem is that the workers´ wage demands are not adjusted to the market, and that the unemployment therefore is the workers´ own fault. Of course, that infuriates many workers. But what should I do? Should I "water down" my views, in order to make them more palatable? That would be a violation of the virtue of integrity. Should I refrain from morally condemming workers who do not listen to my (rational) arguments about the causes of unemployment, merely because they do not *like* what I am saying (and therefore are being emotionalistic instead of rational)? That would be a violation of the virtue of justice? Do you want me to violate either of these two virtues?

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Henrik, have you considered the possibility that your difficulty in persuading others to think about abstract ideas has less to do with their “stubbornness ”- “dishonesty” -“evilness”- “intellectual slothfulness” etc. than it does with your approach? Often a gentle approach brings greater rewards than does a sledgehammer or a judgemental attitude.

There may be many reasons why some people resist challenging their traditional beliefs. It could be, as has been said in earlier posts, they are running on automatic and life is working for them as things are.

It could also be because they’re frightened. They are emotionally bound to their traditional beliefs that form the foundation on which all other values rest. By challenging the foundation, their entire epistemological edifice will come crashing down, and that would be terrifying for them. They need to prepare themselves for that event in their own time.

Also, sometimes the sheer intensity of an opponent’s passion activates a defensive, intellectual barricade in the receiver – especially when it relates to ideas that challenge their beliefs, and are delivered by someone who appears critical and disapproving. I speak from experience.

I do not think that I am rude or obnoxious. I think that it is *what* I say, not *the way I say it*, that antagonizes people. I state my views calmly and factually, but I do not "water down" the content of my views. For example, if a workmate complains about the unemployment in Sweden, I do not hesitate to point out that the problem is that the workers´ wage demands are not adjusted to the market, and that the unemployment therefore is the workers´ own fault. Of course, that infuriates many workers. But what should I do? Should I "water down" my views, in order to make them more palatable? That would be a violation of the virtue of integrity. Should I refrain from morally condemming workers who do not listen to my (rational) arguments about the causes of unemployment, merely because they do not *like* what I am saying (and therefore are being emotionalistic instead of rational)? That would be a violation of the virtue of justice? Do you want me to violate either of these two virtues?

One can still be pushy even if one is polite. Perhaps it is better to let things be when there is resistance. Some people just don't want to know what you think, even if you are 100% correct. If they really want to know why you disagree, they will ask. Concentrate on your own life, because preaching to the 'deaf' is not a requirement for your happiness, especially if it frustrates you this way. Give it a break until someone asks you for your opinion. Accept that some people don't want to think as you do, and let reality deal with them.

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Henrik, have you considered the possibility that your difficulty in persuading others to think about abstract ideas has less to do with their “stubbornness ”- “dishonesty” -“evilness”- “intellectual slothfulness” etc. than it does with your approach? Often a gentle approach brings greater rewards than does a sledgehammer or a judgemental attitude.

There may be many reasons why some people resist challenging their traditional beliefs. It could be, as has been said in earlier posts, they are running on automatic and life is working for them as things are.

It could also be because they’re frightened. They are emotionally bound to their traditional beliefs that form the foundation on which all other values rest. By challenging the foundation, their entire epistemological edifice will come crashing down, and that would be terrifying for them. They need to prepare themselves for that event in their own time.

Also, sometimes the sheer intensity of an opponent’s passion activates a defensive, intellectual barricade in the receiver – especially when it relates to ideas that challenge their beliefs, and are delivered by someone who appears critical and disapproving. I speak from experience.

I do not think that I am rude or obnoxious. I think that it is *what* I say, not *the way I say it*, that antagonizes people. I state my views calmly and factually, but I do not "water down" the content of my views. For example, if a workmate complains about the unemployment in Sweden, I do not hesitate to point out that the problem is that the workers´ wage demands are not adjusted to the market, and that the unemployment therefore is the workers´ own fault. Of course, that infuriates many workers. But what should I do? Should I "water down" my views, in order to make them more palatable? That would be a violation of the virtue of integrity. Should I refrain from morally condemming workers who do not listen to my (rational) arguments about the causes of unemployment, merely because they do not *like* what I am saying (and therefore are being emotionalistic instead of rational)? That would be a violation of the virtue of justice? Do you want me to violate either of these two virtues?

One can still be pushy even if one is polite. Perhaps it is better to let things be when there is resistance. Some people just don't want to know what you think, even if you are 100% correct. If they really want to know why you disagree, they will ask. Concentrate on your own life, because preaching to the 'deaf' is not a requirement for your happiness, especially if it frustrates you this way. Give it a break until someone asks you for your opinion. Accept that some people don't want to think as you do, and let reality deal with them.

OK. But I will continue to engage in intellectual activism, in order to reach the few decent human beings out there. And I will practice the virtue of justice, and feel contempt for all those depraved creatures who are not interested in gaining knowledge about abstract subjects.

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Does anyone here see any dangers in having this kind of a disconnect (i.e. being friendly in daily life to persons who I evaluate as being, in a sense, still worse than Adolf Hitler and Immanuel Kant)?

If I may be permitted an opinion, you seem to be at odds with yourself.

Does this cause you any discomfort?

I could not operate that way. I must be totally at ease with myself, whatever I do. If I have substantial misgivings about doing something I generally won't do it.

I find that making negative judgments is a high energy activity. I try to avoid situations where I have to make too many negative judgments. I am getting too old and to tired to do that any more. If I cannot be wholehearted with a person, I won't have much to do with that person.

That is why I have not listened to a single speech made by Lord Obama since he was elected. When he appears on my t.v. I flip channels or turn it off.

Bob Kolker

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Does anyone here see any dangers in having this kind of a disconnect (i.e. being friendly in daily life to persons who I evaluate as being, in a sense, still worse than Adolf Hitler and Immanuel Kant)?

If I may be permitted an opinion, you seem to be at odds with yourself.

Does this cause you any discomfort?

I could not operate that way. I must be totally at ease with myself, whatever I do. If I have substantial misgivings about doing something I generally won't do it.

I find that making negative judgments is a high energy activity. I try to avoid situations where I have to make too many negative judgments. I am getting too old and to tired to do that any more. If I cannot be wholehearted with a person, I won't have much to do with that person.

That is why I have not listened to a single speech made by Lord Obama since he was elected. When he appears on my t.v. I flip channels or turn it off.

Bob Kolker

I am at ease with myself. I accept the metaphysically given. Although I feel emotions of frustration at infrequent intervals. I still hold a grudge against my parents, who in my estimate betrayed me.

But I have gotten on with my life since the catastrophes that befell me when I was a teenager, and was philosophically ignorant. It is the fact that I believe that my own recovery from my setbacks was my own doing, that leads me to respect myself, and to feel contempt for people who have no ambition to think and pursue abstract knowledge. Because of my own experiences I do not buy the idea that "ordinary people" are helpless and/or innocent. So I believe that when "common men" meet with misfortune, it is usually their own fault.

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Does anyone here see any dangers in having this kind of a disconnect (i.e. being friendly in daily life to persons who I evaluate as being, in a sense, still worse than Adolf Hitler and Immanuel Kant)?

If I may be permitted an opinion, you seem to be at odds with yourself.

Does this cause you any discomfort?

I could not operate that way. I must be totally at ease with myself, whatever I do. If I have substantial misgivings about doing something I generally won't do it.

I find that making negative judgments is a high energy activity. I try to avoid situations where I have to make too many negative judgments. I am getting too old and to tired to do that any more. If I cannot be wholehearted with a person, I won't have much to do with that person.

That is why I have not listened to a single speech made by Lord Obama since he was elected. When he appears on my t.v. I flip channels or turn it off.

Bob Kolker

Actually, in the moments that I am interacting with other people, such as my workmates, I feel no contempt for them whatsoever. I find it easy to get along with them, and to be friendly to them. But when I am lying in my bed at night, contemplating these people, I sometimes feel a shudder of horror.

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Actually, in the moments that I am interacting with other people, such as my workmates, I feel no contempt for them whatsoever. I find it easy to get along with them, and to be friendly to them. But when I am lying in my bed at night, contemplating these people, I sometimes feel a shudder of horror.

Why do you contemplate "these people" if it makes you feel this negative?

Does your welfare require such contemplation?

I would much rather think of the people I like or admire than the people I detest.

Bob Kolker

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I still hold a grudge against my parents, who in my estimate betrayed me.

A person's sense of life -- his view of the nature of the world and of people -- is formed very early in life before he can develop a philosophy. Could your experiences with your parents have become generalized in your sense of life and affected your metaphysical view of all people?

Actually, in the moments that I am interacting with other people, such as my workmates, I feel no contempt for them whatsoever. I find it easy to get along with them, and to be friendly to them.

So it is not a reaction to actual people.

But when I am lying in my bed at night, contemplating these people, I sometimes feel a shudder of horror.

That is what a metaphysical sense of life emotion feels like.

You may want to think about how your experiences with your parents has colored your metaphysical view of people as such. You may eventually realize that your parents were horrible people who were terribly unjust to you, get angry at them, mourn the losses of your youth, and get over it. If you do, don't be surprised if the grudge you are holding is replaced with indifference toward them and your emotional reaction to people is no longer fear or revulsion.

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You may want to think about how your experiences with your parents has colored your metaphysical view of people as such. You may eventually realize that your parents were horrible people who were terribly unjust to you, get angry at them, mourn the losses of your youth, and get over it. If you do, don't be surprised if the grudge you are holding is replaced with indifference toward them and your emotional reaction to people is no longer fear or revulsion.

I don´t think that this is only about my parents. I have been working my a-s off for 30 years, studying and trying to spread Objectivism in Sweden, and I feel let down by people´s indifference to the ideas that I am trying to enlighten them with. I feel a grudge against all the people who, I think, are betraying themselves, and all decent people, including me. I feel that these people, who are indifferent to ideas, are like fellow passengers on a boat that is taking in water and sinking, and my fellow passengers refuse to help bail out the water, expecting me to bail out all the water for them. I feel that they are exploiting me. They are parasites on consciousness. And I feel that they are ungrateful, when they laugh at my interest in philosophy, and at my commitment to intellectual activism.

So the people around me keep on inflaming my feelings of contempt.

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Of course, they can´t continue to survive without knowledge and thought of their own, except by freeriding on thinkers like me.

This will sound harsh, but why pull a punch when truth is involved?

Freeriding on thinkers like you? Are we talking about fields such as philosophy? They certainly are not freeriding on your thought. They may be freeriding on the derivative thought of giants such as Aristotle, Plato, Kant, Ayn Rand, even Jesus Christ (or the words that were attributed to him), but they are not freeriding on your thought. Or do you place yourself in their league?

I do not suggest humility (although it can feel as such), but a stone-cold sober re-evaluation of self. You are not these giants. You are attempting to transmit the thought originated by another to the consciousness of a third party. Are you adequate to the task? What do they see and hear when you are communicating with them? May it be that not only are you not a giant of the ages, but also in want of communication skills? Is that possible? It does not serve your self-interest nor truth to blithely blurt out that your communication skills are fine. That the fault obviously lays at their feet. When you are dealing with philosophy, you are dealing in fundamentals and very wide abstractions. When you are engaged in conversation with one of these people, you are not only struggling with the particular personality, context, knowledge, psychological defenses and all that, but with millennia of beliefs that permeate every crevice of our culture and experience. You think just your words can break that?

And what do these people see and hear when you speak to them?

I used to think much like you in my twenties until I had a conversation with my boss one day when he told me most people see me as a lunatic. A hard working smart and honest person, but a lunatic nonetheless. I break into song constantly, full bellowing song mind you, and am a master of saying outlandishly absurd things that make people's jaws drop. How do you think they took me when I spoke of philosophy? Seriously? No.

Also consider the country you live in. That is a factor. We are still, in America, fighting against what Europe bowed to long ago. Look at our current fight over healthcare reform. Think that would happen elsewhere? Think again. Your experience here would be significantly different than in Sweden. Surely cradle to grave welfare statism is a factor in your experience.

Finally, if a simple rational argument was sufficient, we would never have this conversation. Atlantis would have been achieved long ago.

I would suggest dropping the philosophy, the rhetoric, the attempts to convince, to convert, for a time, and seriously re-evaluate exactly what is going on. As others having been saying in numerous ways, it is a lot more complex than simply transmitting syllogisms.

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Of course, they can´t continue to survive without knowledge and thought of their own, except by freeriding on thinkers like me.

This will sound harsh, but why pull a punch when truth is involved?

Freeriding on thinkers like you? Are we talking about fields such as philosophy? They certainly are not freeriding on your thought. They may be freeriding on the derivative thought of giants such as Aristotle, Plato, Kant, Ayn Rand, even Jesus Christ (or the words that were attributed to him), but they are not freeriding on your thought. Or do you place yourself in their league?

I do not suggest humility (although it can feel as such), but a stone-cold sober re-evaluation of self. You are not these giants. You are attempting to transmit the thought originated by another to the consciousness of a third party. Are you adequate to the task? What do they see and hear when you are communicating with them? May it be that not only are you not a giant of the ages, but also in want of communication skills? Is that possible? It does not serve your self-interest nor truth to blithely blurt out that your communication skills are fine. That the fault obviously lays at their feet. When you are dealing with philosophy, you are dealing in fundamentals and very wide abstractions. When you are engaged in conversation with one of these people, you are not only struggling with the particular personality, context, knowledge, psychological defenses and all that, but with millennia of beliefs that permeate every crevice of our culture and experience. You think just your words can break that?

And what do these people see and hear when you speak to them?

I used to think much like you in my twenties until I had a conversation with my boss one day when he told me most people see me as a lunatic. A hard working smart and honest person, but a lunatic nonetheless. I break into song constantly, full bellowing song mind you, and am a master of saying outlandishly absurd things that make people's jaws drop. How do you think they took me when I spoke of philosophy? Seriously? No.

Also consider the country you live in. That is a factor. We are still, in America, fighting against what Europe bowed to long ago. Look at our current fight over healthcare reform. Think that would happen elsewhere? Think again. Your experience here would be significantly different than in Sweden. Surely cradle to grave welfare statism is a factor in your experience.

Finally, if a simple rational argument was sufficient, we would never have this conversation. Atlantis would have been achieved long ago.

I would suggest dropping the philosophy, the rhetoric, the attempts to convince, to convert, for a time, and seriously re-evaluate exactly what is going on. As others having been saying in numerous ways, it is a lot more complex than simply transmitting syllogisms.

They are not freeriding so much on my thought, as on my effort. I have not originated the ideas that I am trying to provide people with, but I am putting in a lot of effort to transmit the ideas.

It is true that presenting a simple, rational argument is not enough, since people have volition. The reason that we have not reached Atlantis yet is that most people are so depraved that they do not care to seek out the knowledge that they sorely need, and, moreover, they do not even want the knowledge when it is presented to them on a silver platter by intellectual activists by me. I refuse to take the blame for the fact that the majority of Swedes choose not to listen to me. It is *their* depraved choice, not mine.

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I have to admit that I am quite bitter, even though I am also happy. I´ve been working my a-s off for 30 years to spread Objectivism in Sweden. But when I try to enlighten people, and thereby try to help them, the most typical response is amusement, derision and even hostility. Most men, in my wealth of experience, dismiss the need for knowledge in a cavalier fashion. How do they imagine that they are going to be able to survive, if they avoid knowledge? They do not really value their own lives, in the final analysis, and a person who does not value his own life, is a moral monster.

People are free to value what they value and not value what they don't value. It is their choice, not yours. You value what you will. Act on your values. If you are successful in your life endeavors it will show and perhaps other people will see what you have done. If they are impressed and admire what you have done perhaps they will listen to what you have to say.

The burden of the sale is on the salesman, not his potential customer.

Bob Kolker

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A feeling of general revulsion towards mankind sounds dangerous to me. At best, it would be harmful to the one feeling it.

I think that the average American is pretty stupid. That's just the way it is. They do things like spend their hard-earned money on the Shamwow, and stuff their pie holes with deep-fried Twinkies at the fair. So be it. Sure, I wish our general population had more intelligence but there's nothing I can do to change it. If you can't change something you really shouldn't let it get you down - in general. But, to shudder with revulsion while by yourself and dwelling on mankind...that sounds miserable at best. I wish you luck with this personal battle, too. There are some really good people in the world. They make up for the likes of Whoopie Goldberg.

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I have to admit that I am quite bitter, even though I am also happy. I´ve been working my a-s off for 30 years to spread Objectivism in Sweden. But when I try to enlighten people, and thereby try to help them, the most typical response is amusement, derision and even hostility. Most men, in my wealth of experience, dismiss the need for knowledge in a cavalier fashion. How do they imagine that they are going to be able to survive, if they avoid knowledge? They do not really value their own lives, in the final analysis, and a person who does not value his own life, is a moral monster.

People are free to value what they value and not value what they don't value. It is their choice, not yours. You value what you will. Act on your values. If you are successful in your life endeavors it will show and perhaps other people will see what you have done. If they are impressed and admire what you have done perhaps they will listen to what you have to say.

The burden of the sale is on the salesman, not his potential customer.

Bob Kolker

You've missed Henrik's point. He's not denying that people are free to value, he's saying that people don't value a rational view of life, but instead laugh at it. He's saying that their choice of rejecting the good is contemptible. He's trying to act on his values, as is every rational person in the world, but is having to constantly battle the mindless mob who is trying make life impossible.

There is no dichotomy of salesman/customer in the realm of ethics. All men are morally obliged to think. It's not up to Henrik to sell them on thinking. If they can't see the value of thinking, that is contemptible.

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I have to admit that I am quite bitter, even though I am also happy. I´ve been working my a-s off for 30 years to spread Objectivism in Sweden. But when I try to enlighten people, and thereby try to help them, the most typical response is amusement, derision and even hostility. Most men, in my wealth of experience, dismiss the need for knowledge in a cavalier fashion. How do they imagine that they are going to be able to survive, if they avoid knowledge? They do not really value their own lives, in the final analysis, and a person who does not value his own life, is a moral monster.

People are free to value what they value and not value what they don't value. It is their choice, not yours. You value what you will. Act on your values. If you are successful in your life endeavors it will show and perhaps other people will see what you have done. If they are impressed and admire what you have done perhaps they will listen to what you have to say.

The burden of the sale is on the salesman, not his potential customer.

Bob Kolker

You've missed Henrik's point. He's not denying that people are free to value, he's saying that people don't value a rational view of life, but instead laugh at it. He's saying that their choice of rejecting the good is contemptible. He's trying to act on his values, as is every rational person in the world, but is having to constantly battle the mindless mob who is trying make life impossible.

There is no dichotomy of salesman/customer in the realm of ethics. All men are morally obliged to think. It's not up to Henrik to sell them on thinking. If they can't see the value of thinking, that is contemptible.

Thank you. You have gotten my point.

But I can understand Bob Kolker. When he reads my bitter and angry posts here, it is natural that he assumes that I also am abrasive when I try to "sell" people on Objectivism. But I am writing to an Objectivist audience here, so I let my negative feelings all hang out. I expect that I may find understanding here. And I hope that nobody here will think that I am referring to them when I speak contemptuosly of the "Joe Sixpacks" of the world who lack the ambition to think and understand.

But I am not so stupid that I go around insulting and antagonizing people in daily life. That is not the way I try to spread Objectivism. I do try to be calm, factual and polite, and I do try to respect the listener´s context of knowledge. But I also do not "water down" the content of my views. And that is what makes a lot of people dislike my message. It is the *content* of my views that antagonizes people, not the way that I present them (at least that is what I myself think). One piece of evidence for this is that people are just as hostile to my views when I present them on debate sites on the Internet, as they are when I speak to their face. And, of course, on debate sites on the Internet, my personality cannot be such a major factor.

If other people choose not to think, that choice is *entirely* theirs, not mine. So I think that it is simply wrong to blame the "salesman".

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They are not freeriding so much on my thought, as on my effort. I have not originated the ideas that I am trying to provide people with, but I am putting in a lot of effort to transmit the ideas.

It is true that presenting a simple, rational argument is not enough, since people have volition. The reason that we have not reached Atlantis yet is that most people are so depraved that they do not care to seek out the knowledge that they sorely need, and, moreover, they do not even want the knowledge when it is presented to them on a silver platter by intellectual activists by me. I refuse to take the blame for the fact that the majority of Swedes choose not to listen to me. It is *their* depraved choice, not mine.

Wow, this is just like the other thread you started. You call everyone moral monsters, and then display the exact same behavior for the rest of the thread. And I'm also referring to all of the excellent points brought up by everyone else that you throw out as quick as possible. And not grasp at all.

On a silver platter, eh? So, why hasn't ARI snapped you up? You must have one hell of a presentation. Why ask what is wrong with yourself, and then deny that you have any faults? What psychological need are you enlisting us to fulfill for you?

Since it is not rational argument or discussion you after, but a need to re-affirm, ad-nauseam, your malevolent view of the world, there must be something you are seeking from this discussion PART 2. Part 2 because it is a carbon copy of the last discussion.

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