Henrik Unné

Am I still an Objectivist?

89 posts in this topic

1) Enormously much is at stake when a person chooses habitually not to think. A person who does it renders himself metaphysically helpless, and in a sense, he dies (being unconscious is like being in a state of living death). So he gives up everything..

He is impaired, but there is a life and death difference between being impaired and being dead.

2) The choice habitually not to think is volitional.

The habitual is the automatized not the chosen so the more habitual a behavior is, the less volitional it is. The more a behavior is automatized the less volitional action is needed to sustain it and the more volitional action is needed to counteract it.

3) The choice habitually not to think is made knowing that it is wrong. Everyone knows, in some terms, that they *should* bother to think.

I don't think this is true at all.

I maintain that it follows from these three premises that anyone who habitually chooses not to think is betraying life,

Since the premises are in error, nothing follows at all.

and is therefore a moral monster. If you still disagree with me, please show me either that one of my three premises is wrong, or that a person who betrays life is not a moral monster.

Even if he were "betraying life," he is not betraying some Platonic "form of life." He is betraying his life. It's his problem, so why should you care?

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Or that it does not follow from the three premises that a person who chooses habitually not to think is betraying life.

If you could demonstrate that such actions habitually betray his life, then that is all you'd be able to state. You have no demonstrative evidence to claim that they are moral monsters.

Life is a precious gift (in a metaphorical sense, I do not believe in God). If you throw it away, for no good reason, then you are a moral monster. And if you do not bother to think about the questions that your life depends on, because thinking feels like too much of a bother, then you are throwing away your life for no good reason.

Again, your use of the term "moral monster" is without sense. A huge animal with huge fangs which went around only attacking its own legs and tail, we would not call a monster. It is of no danger to any innocent person. If I say, "So and so is throwing his life away; how stupid"---that makes sense. If I say, "So and so is throwing his life away; what a moral monster!"---that makes no sense at all. Conversely, if I say, "That man is using lies and deception to ruin that girl's happiness; what a nut"---that shows a weakness in my judgment, but if I judge, "He's a spiritual monster", or "What monstrous behavior"---that makes sense.

Your use of "moral monster" is so far off it makes all the posts in which you use it very boring---at least, to me. It's like you are stuck in a rut that goes round and round and round.

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2) The choice habitually not to think is volitional.

The habitual is the automatized not the chosen so the more habitual a behavior is, the less volitional it is. The more a behavior is automatized the less volitional action is needed to sustain it and the more volitional action is needed to counteract it.

But the act of automatizing it is volitional. And you have to choose not to think many times, volitionally, in order to automatize it. So I maintain that it is evidence of moral depravity, if a person is the kind who habitually does not think.

3) The choice habitually not to think is made knowing that it is wrong. Everyone knows, in some terms, that they *should* bother to think.

I don't think this is true at all.

I am certain that it is true. From introspection and from observing the guilt displayed by people who do not bother to think.

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Or that it does not follow from the three premises that a person who chooses habitually not to think is betraying life.

If you could demonstrate that such actions habitually betray his life, then that is all you'd be able to state. You have no demonstrative evidence to claim that they are moral monsters.

Life is a precious gift (in a metaphorical sense, I do not believe in God). If you throw it away, for no good reason, then you are a moral monster. And if you do not bother to think about the questions that your life depends on, because thinking feels like too much of a bother, then you are throwing away your life for no good reason.

Again, your use of the term "moral monster" is without sense. A huge animal with huge fangs which went around only attacking its own legs and tail, we would not call a monster. It is of no danger to any innocent person. If I say, "So and so is throwing his life away; how stupid"---that makes sense. If I say, "So and so is throwing his life away; what a moral monster!"---that makes no sense at all. Conversely, if I say, "That man is using lies and deception to ruin that girl's happiness; what a nut"---that shows a weakness in my judgment, but if I judge, "He's a spiritual monster", or "What monstrous behavior"---that makes sense.

Your use of "moral monster" is so far off it makes all the posts in which you use it very boring---at least, to me. It's like you are stuck in a rut that goes round and round and round.

Why does it concern me that other people habitually do not think? Because, as I see it, they are in a sense betraying me. They are not violating my rights, but they are betraying me, and I am outraged. I see it like this - Our civilization is collapsing due to irrational philosophy. We are in a boat that is taking in water. In order to save ourselves, *all* of us must help bail out the water that is coming in. I am doing my bit. I am fighting the irrational ideas that are destroying our lives. But the people who do not bother to think about abstract subjects are sitting around on the lounge chairs, sipping martinis, while I am working to bail out the water that is threatening to sink the ship. And I will die, along with them, if I am unable to compensate for their indolence by bailing out more than my share of the water. So the habitual non-thinkers are free-riding on me. They are parasites. And my life is put at risk by their indolence. So I am outraged.

And I do not think that the above makes me a collectivist. Because I do not allege that the habitual non-thinkers are in any way violating my rights. They do not owe me anything, in a legal sense. They do not have any duties towards me. But they *are* parasites, and they are wronging me in a moral sense.

Why have I written so many posts on this subject? There are personal reasons. But you are probably not interested. If you are interested, then you can read my long essay in the Psychology section, "The Causes of My Schizophrenia". That essay explains how I have been grievously hurt by certain persons who did not bother to think.

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Or that it does not follow from the three premises that a person who chooses habitually not to think is betraying life.

If you could demonstrate that such actions habitually betray his life, then that is all you'd be able to state. You have no demonstrative evidence to claim that they are moral monsters.

Life is a precious gift (in a metaphorical sense, I do not believe in God). If you throw it away, for no good reason, then you are a moral monster. And if you do not bother to think about the questions that your life depends on, because thinking feels like too much of a bother, then you are throwing away your life for no good reason.

Again, your use of the term "moral monster" is without sense. A huge animal with huge fangs which went around only attacking its own legs and tail, we would not call a monster. It is of no danger to any innocent person. If I say, "So and so is throwing his life away; how stupid"---that makes sense. If I say, "So and so is throwing his life away; what a moral monster!"---that makes no sense at all. Conversely, if I say, "That man is using lies and deception to ruin that girl's happiness; what a nut"---that shows a weakness in my judgment, but if I judge, "He's a spiritual monster", or "What monstrous behavior"---that makes sense.

Your use of "moral monster" is so far off it makes all the posts in which you use it very boring---at least, to me. It's like you are stuck in a rut that goes round and round and round.

Why does it concern me that other people habitually do not think? Because, as I see it, they are in a sense betraying me. They are not violating my rights, but they are betraying me, and I am outraged. I see it like this - Our civilization is collapsing due to irrational philosophy. We are in a boat that is taking in water. In order to save ourselves, *all* of us must help bail out the water that is coming in. I am doing my bit. I am fighting the irrational ideas that are destroying our lives. But the people who do not bother to think about abstract subjects are sitting around on the lounge chairs, sipping martinis, while I am working to bail out the water that is threatening to sink the ship. And I will die, along with them, if I am unable to compensate for their indolence by bailing out more than my share of the water. So the habitual non-thinkers are free-riding on me. They are parasites. And my life is put at risk by their indolence. So I am outraged.

And I do not think that the above makes me a collectivist. Because I do not allege that the habitual non-thinkers are in any way violating my rights. They do not owe me anything, in a legal sense. They do not have any duties towards me. But they *are* parasites, and they are wronging me in a moral sense.

Why have I written so many posts on this subject? There are personal reasons. But you are probably not interested. If you are interested, then you can read my long essay in the Psychology section, "The Causes of My Schizophrenia". That essay explains how I have been grievously hurt by certain persons who did not bother to think.

Why are you hanging on to this "grievous hurt". Drop it; move on; grow up. Stop being a little victim.

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Why does it concern me that other people habitually do not think? Because, as I see it, they are in a sense betraying me. They are not violating my rights, but they are betraying me, and I am outraged. I see it like this - Our civilization is collapsing due to irrational philosophy. We are in a boat that is taking in water. In order to save ourselves, *all* of us must help bail out the water that is coming in. I am doing my bit. I am fighting the irrational ideas that are destroying our lives. But the people who do not bother to think about abstract subjects are sitting around on the lounge chairs, sipping martinis, while I am working to bail out the water that is threatening to sink the ship. And I will die, along with them, if I am unable to compensate for their indolence by bailing out more than my share of the water. So the habitual non-thinkers are free-riding on me. They are parasites. And my life is put at risk by their indolence. So I am outraged.

And I do not think that the above makes me a collectivist. Because I do not allege that the habitual non-thinkers are in any way violating my rights. They do not owe me anything, in a legal sense. They do not have any duties towards me. But they *are* parasites, and they are wronging me in a moral sense.

Why have I written so many posts on this subject? There are personal reasons. But you are probably not interested. If you are interested, then you can read my long essay in the Psychology section, "The Causes of My Schizophrenia". That essay explains how I have been grievously hurt by certain persons who did not bother to think.

Why are you hanging on to this "grievous hurt". Drop it; move on; grow up. Stop being a little victim.

I don't that will help him. Henrik, whatever was grievously done to you directly long ago by specific individuals cannot be transferred onto the rest of the world. You know that the rest of the world doesn't literally owe you anything. That they don't live up to their own potential is not an affront to you; it is simply the kind of world you were born into. Some humans were born into stone age tribalism; others were born into the Dark Ages. Others into communism. The world you happened to appear in is what it is and you can only make the best of your own life in whatever the context you find yourself. Value people for what they can do that makes possible the current level of civilization that does exist. You don't have to pretend that they are more than that, but neither should you be obsessed with what they are not. You can't change that.

You only have a finite time on earth. You have a new wife and a better understanding than most people. Make the most of it and live the best life for yourself that you can while you can still do that. Pursuing personal values is not the same thing as constantly fighting political corruption on behalf of others as much as yourself. Maybe you are over-emphasizing social aspects at your own expense. There is only so much you can do that is possible at all.

Spending so much of your time and mental effort dwelling on what other people are not is not helping you. At least "what people are not" is not as bad as specific injustices done directly to you, which some of us are contending with. Dwelling on what people could be but are not is not the same thing as recognizing how much more is possible to the human race and striving for it the best you can within your own life to whatever limited extent is still possible. Remember Roark's famous line in The Fountainhead: "Only down to a certain point." If you don't remember that, reread the novel and watch for it.

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Why does it concern me that other people habitually do not think? Because, as I see it, they are in a sense betraying me. They are not violating my rights, but they are betraying me, and I am outraged. I see it like this - Our civilization is collapsing due to irrational philosophy. We are in a boat that is taking in water. In order to save ourselves, *all* of us must help bail out the water that is coming in. I am doing my bit. I am fighting the irrational ideas that are destroying our lives. But the people who do not bother to think about abstract subjects are sitting around on the lounge chairs, sipping martinis, while I am working to bail out the water that is threatening to sink the ship. And I will die, along with them, if I am unable to compensate for their indolence by bailing out more than my share of the water. So the habitual non-thinkers are free-riding on me. They are parasites. And my life is put at risk by their indolence. So I am outraged.

And I do not think that the above makes me a collectivist. Because I do not allege that the habitual non-thinkers are in any way violating my rights. They do not owe me anything, in a legal sense. They do not have any duties towards me. But they *are* parasites, and they are wronging me in a moral sense.

Why have I written so many posts on this subject? There are personal reasons. But you are probably not interested. If you are interested, then you can read my long essay in the Psychology section, "The Causes of My Schizophrenia". That essay explains how I have been grievously hurt by certain persons who did not bother to think.

Why are you hanging on to this "grievous hurt". Drop it; move on; grow up. Stop being a little victim.

I don't that will help him. Henrik, whatever was grievously done to you directly long ago by specific individuals cannot be transferred onto the rest of the world. You know that the rest of the world doesn't literally owe you anything. That they don't live up to their own potential is not an affront to you; it is simply the kind of world you were born into. Some humans were born into stone age tribalism; others were born into the Dark Ages. Others into communism. The world you happened to appear in is what it is and you can only make the best of your own life in whatever the context you find yourself. Value people for what they can do that makes possible the current level of civilization that does exist. You don't have to pretend that they are more than that, but neither should you be obsessed with what they are not. You can't change that.

You only have a finite time on earth. You have a new wife and a better understanding than most people. Make the most of it and live the best life for yourself that you can while you can still do that. Pursuing personal values is not the same thing as constantly fighting political corruption on behalf of others as much as yourself. Maybe you are over-emphasizing social aspects at your own expense. There is only so much you can do that is possible at all.

Spending so much of your time and mental effort dwelling on what other people are not is not helping you. At least "what people are not" is not as bad as specific injustices done directly to you, which some of us are contending with. Dwelling on what people could be but are not is not the same thing as recognizing how much more is possible to the human race and striving for it the best you can within your own life to whatever limited extent is still possible. Remember Roark's famous line in The Fountainhead: "Only down to a certain point." If you don't remember that, reread the novel and watch for it.

Thank you for the good advice. Actually the bad state of the world does only go down to a certain point in me, and that point is not very deep. But I am disturbed by the thought that it is likely that habitual non-thinkers are hurting innocent children right now, in a similar manner to the one in which my parents hurt me. I cannot help but feel for the innocent victims, and I cannot help but feel outrage at the habitual non-thinkers. It is very real for me, in a way that it is probably not for most other people, how much harm an habitual non-thinker can do, even without any malice. I can´t stand the human quality of indifference (towards, for example, such things as the need to think).

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Why are you hanging on to this "grievous hurt". Drop it; move on; grow up. Stop being a little victim.

I am not being a little victim in the sense of just sitting around feeling sorry for myself. I am fighting. For my values, and against the kinds of things that hurt me. Such as the choice not to think.

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Why does it concern me that other people habitually do not think? Because, as I see it, they are in a sense betraying me. They are not violating my rights, but they are betraying me, and I am outraged. I see it like this - Our civilization is collapsing due to irrational philosophy. We are in a boat that is taking in water. In order to save ourselves, *all* of us must help bail out the water that is coming in. I am doing my bit. I am fighting the irrational ideas that are destroying our lives. But the people who do not bother to think about abstract subjects are sitting around on the lounge chairs, sipping martinis, while I am working to bail out the water that is threatening to sink the ship. And I will die, along with them, if I am unable to compensate for their indolence by bailing out more than my share of the water. So the habitual non-thinkers are free-riding on me. They are parasites. And my life is put at risk by their indolence. So I am outraged.

And I do not think that the above makes me a collectivist. Because I do not allege that the habitual non-thinkers are in any way violating my rights. They do not owe me anything, in a legal sense. They do not have any duties towards me. But they *are* parasites, and they are wronging me in a moral sense.

Why have I written so many posts on this subject? There are personal reasons. But you are probably not interested. If you are interested, then you can read my long essay in the Psychology section, "The Causes of My Schizophrenia". That essay explains how I have been grievously hurt by certain persons who did not bother to think.

Why are you hanging on to this "grievous hurt". Drop it; move on; grow up. Stop being a little victim.

I don't that will help him. Henrik, whatever was grievously done to you directly long ago by specific individuals cannot be transferred onto the rest of the world. You know that the rest of the world doesn't literally owe you anything. That they don't live up to their own potential is not an affront to you; it is simply the kind of world you were born into. Some humans were born into stone age tribalism; others were born into the Dark Ages. Others into communism. The world you happened to appear in is what it is and you can only make the best of your own life in whatever the context you find yourself. Value people for what they can do that makes possible the current level of civilization that does exist. You don't have to pretend that they are more than that, but neither should you be obsessed with what they are not. You can't change that.

You only have a finite time on earth. You have a new wife and a better understanding than most people. Make the most of it and live the best life for yourself that you can while you can still do that. Pursuing personal values is not the same thing as constantly fighting political corruption on behalf of others as much as yourself. Maybe you are over-emphasizing social aspects at your own expense. There is only so much you can do that is possible at all.

Spending so much of your time and mental effort dwelling on what other people are not is not helping you. At least "what people are not" is not as bad as specific injustices done directly to you, which some of us are contending with. Dwelling on what people could be but are not is not the same thing as recognizing how much more is possible to the human race and striving for it the best you can within your own life to whatever limited extent is still possible. Remember Roark's famous line in The Fountainhead: "Only down to a certain point." If you don't remember that, reread the novel and watch for it.

Thank you for the good advice. Actually the bad state of the world does only go down to a certain point in me, and that point is not very deep. But I am disturbed by the thought that it is likely that habitual non-thinkers are hurting innocent children right now, in a similar manner to the one in which my parents hurt me. I cannot help but feel for the innocent victims, and I cannot help but feel outrage at the habitual non-thinkers. It is very real for me, in a way that it is probably not for most other people, how much harm an habitual non-thinker can do, even without any malice. I can´t stand the human quality of indifference (towards, for example, such things as the need to think).

"I cannot help", "I cannot help" equals helplessness. Helplessness against what?---feelings. Feelings for what?---for imagined victims, and of anger (outrage). "It is very real for me". What?---your imagination.

Also, "...that point is not very deep" and "I cannot help but feel" are contradictions.

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"I cannot help", "I cannot help" equals helplessness. Helplessness against what?---feelings. Feelings for what?---for imagined victims, and of anger (outrage). "It is very real for me". What?---your imagination.

Also, "...that point is not very deep" and "I cannot help but feel" are contradictions.

1) "I cannot help" means, in this context, that the facts that I see necessitate that I feel certain things, because a certain evaluation follows from the facts. That is not helplessness.

2) It is very real for me, what kind of harm habitual non-thinkers are *capable* of doing. I know that from personal experience. I do not project it onto any particular individuals, except when I have concrete evidence, So I do not see how it can be "imagination". I have never visited China, but I am not imagining things if I say that I know that the country China exists.

3) I feel outrage, but that outrage does not poison my life. I am happy nevertheless. So the evils that I see in the world do not "go down so deep" in my soul, even though I feel outraged by them.

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"I cannot help", "I cannot help" equals helplessness. Helplessness against what?---feelings. Feelings for what?---for imagined victims, and of anger (outrage). "It is very real for me". What?---your imagination.

Also, "...that point is not very deep" and "I cannot help but feel" are contradictions.

1) "I cannot help" means, in this context, that the facts that I see necessitate that I feel certain things, because a certain evaluation follows from the facts. That is not helplessness.

2) It is very real for me, what kind of harm habitual non-thinkers are *capable* of doing. I know that from personal experience. I do not project it onto any particular individuals, except when I have concrete evidence, So I do not see how it can be "imagination". I have never visited China, but I am not imagining things if I say that I know that the country China exists.

3) I feel outrage, but that outrage does not poison my life. I am happy nevertheless. So the evils that I see in the world do not "go down so deep" in my soul, even though I feel outraged by them.

1) You have identified no facts.

2)Imagining potential actions of "non-thinkers" IS imagination.

3)Maybe you are happy; maybe not. I don't know. I have no evidence.

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Why does it concern me that other people habitually do not think? Because, as I see it, they are in a sense betraying me. They are not violating my rights, but they are betraying me, and I am outraged.

When I read things like this, I get very concerned. To take the limited or non-thinking of others so personally is to, in my view, lose oneself. I can only imagine what it must be like to be emotionally tied to and controlled by a nameless, faceless horde of alleged non-thinkers. To be "betrayed" by the majority of men in the world, even though 99+% of them are strangers, has to make the world seem like a place where danger and/or deception lies around every corner. It would have to be a waking nightmare.

I could try to convince you that this isn't true, but I don't think you would change your mind. You are convinced that the world is composed primarily of rotten people who will directly or indirectly harm you. You even take a "psychological value" in that conclusion and the related emotion (i.e., contempt). When one takes value, perhaps even comfort, in condemnation and contempt, there's really not much I or anyone else can do for you.

So, what exactly are you hoping to achieve here, Henrik? Is it to vent? You have done so. Is it to gain agreement and validation? It doesn't look like that's going to happen. Is it to process your thoughts and emotions to really understand if they are reality-based? If so, I suggest re-reading what others have written in this and several others threads. Is it something else? What is it that you want?

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Why does it concern me that other people habitually do not think? Because, as I see it, they are in a sense betraying me. They are not violating my rights, but they are betraying me, and I am outraged.

What is betraying you are your expectations. No other living soul has any duty to satisfy criteria of virtue which you have established. The only person beholden to your standards is you. If others do you harm or threaten to do so, take the necessary steps to protect yourself. As long as you expect much from others, you are doomed to disappointment.

If I may offer some advice without charge (take it for what it is worth to you), stop worrying so much about the deficiencies of other folk and set out to be excellent by yourself, for yourself according to your standards. The only life you have any real control over is yours.

Bob Kolker

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Why does it concern me that other people habitually do not think? Because, as I see it, they are in a sense betraying me. They are not violating my rights, but they are betraying me, and I am outraged.

When I read things like this, I get very concerned. To take the limited or non-thinking of others so personally is to, in my view, lose oneself. I can only imagine what it must be like to be emotionally tied to and controlled by a nameless, faceless horde of alleged non-thinkers. To be "betrayed" by the majority of men in the world, even though 99+% of them are strangers, has to make the world seem like a place where danger and/or deception lies around every corner. It would have to be a waking nightmare.

I could try to convince you that this isn't true, but I don't think you would change your mind. You are convinced that the world is composed primarily of rotten people who will directly or indirectly harm you. You even take a "psychological value" in that conclusion and the related emotion (i.e., contempt). When one takes value, perhaps even comfort, in condemnation and contempt, there's really not much I or anyone else can do for you.

So, what exactly are you hoping to achieve here, Henrik? Is it to vent? You have done so. Is it to gain agreement and validation? It doesn't look like that's going to happen. Is it to process your thoughts and emotions to really understand if they are reality-based? If so, I suggest re-reading what others have written in this and several others threads. Is it something else? What is it that you want?

My purpose in writing all these posts was primarily to get the pleasure of reasoning about a subject that interests me. It felt stimulating to try to answer all the objections that people here had to my views. It helped to clarify my thinking. I believe that I will be able to do a better job of writing the book that I am planning to write, because the long debates here, have shown me in what ways people can misunderstand my views. Iin my opinion there were some misunderstandings of my views here, and they were partly due to my not expressing myself clearly enough. I will be able to express myself more clearly in my book, so that the risk that my book will be misunderstood will be diminished.

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Henrik, this is a bit off subject, but who is it that you intend on selling your book to? Do you expect the average man to buy your book and read about your hatred of him? I cannot imagine reading a whole book full of the loathing that you have already demonstrated.

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I was going to ask the same question. If the reception here is any indication, rational men are not the audience.

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My purpose in writing all these posts was primarily to get the pleasure of reasoning about a subject that interests me. It felt stimulating to try to answer all the objections that people here had to my views. It helped to clarify my thinking. I believe that I will be able to do a better job of writing the book that I am planning to write, because the long debates here, have shown me in what ways people can misunderstand my views. Iin my opinion there were some misunderstandings of my views here, and they were partly due to my not expressing myself clearly enough. I will be able to express myself more clearly in my book, so that the risk that my book will be misunderstood will be diminished.

So, misrepresentation was part of all this ongoing rationalistic malevolence. You didn't want to know whether you were "still an Objectivist" in the thread where you proclaimed you were not an Objectivist. And in "what's wrong with me?" you were simply doing exercises in an issue you already knew you were never going to change your mind on. No one here misunderstood your views. You actually expressed them quite clearly. It is also evident that you never had any intention of changing your views no matter what (and was never in it for that possibility) because you have been rounded refuted dozens and dozens of times.

Nobody is going to buy your book. Even Adolph Hitler had a sizable potential audience with Mein Kampf because the object of his hatred was a small enough minority to gain a popular following. "How 99% of Mankind are Immoral Scumbags" is not going to fly off the press. Unless you title it as I have. You might want to try such titles as: "You all make me want to barf." "I Hate You All!" "Man = Satan" or the Hitleresque "My Contempt"!

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When you say "chooses habitually not to think," do you mean evasion, or just a lack of effort to seek out knowledge?

I mean primarily a lack of effort to seek out knowledge. Because, in my experience, most men do not actively evade most of the time, but they *are* anti-effort.

I regard the lack of effort to seek out knowledge as being as depraved as active evasion, because in both cases you wind up lacking the knowledge that you need to live (if you do it to any great extent). And also, a lack of effort to seek out knowledge necessarily entails some evasion, because you have to evade the knowledge that you need to be aware of things, in order to default on seeking out knowledge. Lack of effort is, beyond a point, not an innocent error.

OK, now the next important distinction to make is: a lack of effort to seek out abstract, philosophical knowledge, vs. a lack of effort to seek out any knowledge. I take it you are talking about the former, right?

The majority of men do make an effort to gain the knowledge necessary for their jobs, as well as to be able to do things like use their microwave ovens and cellphones, find their way around their city, etc. Some of them make quite a lot of effort in their fields and some of them make only a little, but I definitely wouldn't say that a majority of them are anti-effort as such. They're just not interested in philosophy--probably because they don't even know what exactly philosophy is supposed to be good for. Are you saying they ought to know it?

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Henrik, a general reply to the things you've been writing about:

1. Second-handedness is not the same as social learning. People's faculties are limited. We learn much by social osmosis, and as an infant we can't do otherwise. If you want to bean-count everyone into two piles: those who would be like Ayn Rand and would figure out all the right answers even when placed in a communist cesspool, and those who wouldn't--you will come out with one pile. Or close enough.

I think you need to drop the emphasis on figuring out where a person lies on the scale of "what they would have learned if they hadn't been 'lucky'" as it's nonsensical. A virtue requires action, not just parroting the virtuous words of others, and that is to their credit, even if they wouldn't have thought the virtue up by themselves without having seen it in others. Look at all those who are exposed to virtue and still don't practice it! If someone does practice virtue they deserve credit, period.

2. The fact that they don't think about what you said doesn't mean that they don't think on an absolute scale. People will often dismiss what a person is saying based on what they already think of him and why they think he is saying what he is saying, and this, to a point, is perfectly rational. Thinking about things, particularly something as far-reaching as philosophy, is an investment of time and effort. If they decide not to, it is probably on account of you rather than a conscious decision to ignore all abstract thought. You tried to sell the idea to them and you were a poor salesman.

If it were just a matter of "look at the product, not at me!" salesmanship wouldn't even exist as a concept. It's not irrationality to place importance on presentation, since we're all trying to save time and so many people will waste our time. The success your own ideas have brought to your life is a much more compelling argument, before which, your words won't even get a hearing by most ears, and rightly so.

I've had people not listen to me over much simpler things than philosophy. I think if they catch a whiff of neediness to persuade on your part, they are instantly suspicious of your motives and lock up. The general rule is to not offer unsolicited advice. EVER (this advice exempted, since the context is completely different). Wait to be asked. That will save you a lot of bother. And stop trying if they're not interested. They'll come back to you if they have doubts, whereas if you keep trying to convince that will only convince them that what they think, is more important to you than what you think. Is it?

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Henrik, this is a bit off subject, but who is it that you intend on selling your book to? Do you expect the average man to buy your book and read about your hatred of him? I cannot imagine reading a whole book full of the loathing that you have already demonstrated.

I do not feel "hatred" for the majority of average men. I feel contempt for them, and I am disgusted by them, when I think about them in the abstract that is (I am not filled with contempt and disgust when I pass "common men" on the street, largely because I have no opinion about particular, individual men before I get to know them, but also because my contempt and disgust is only "abstract" and "general").

The book that I plan to read, will not be on the subject of the moral status of the majority of men, but on the role of philosophy in forming men´s psychologies, and, in extreme cases, in causing psychoses. I will use my own case of psychosis, which I have recovered from in case you are wondering, as the empirical basis for my hypothesis that bad philosophy can sometimes cause psychoses. The purpose of the book, will be to show professional psychologists and psychiatrists that philosophical ideas play a major role in forming men´s psychologies. I believe that today, most psychologists and psychiatrists do not have the slightest clue that philosophy can play a role in forming men´s psychologies. I want to help change that with my book.

I am planning to have the book consist of about a half dozen sections. First I will present a detailed account of my own life, with a focus on the development of my psychosis. I will preface that account with a challenge to the psychologists and psychiatrists who read it, to see if their present theories suffice to explain my life and the development of my psychosis. I suspect that they will find their theories to be inadequate. After the account of my life I will provide a detailed exposition of my own theory about how Kantian philosophical ideas caused me to become schizophrenic. I seriously believe that it was specific Kantian ideas, such as altruism, intrinsicism and duty ethics, that caused me to go insane. The psychologists and psychiatrists can then compare their theories´ ability to explain my life and psychosis, with my own explanation. My hope is that some of the readers will see that my explanation makes more sense than today´s conventional explanations.

Since my book will be on the subject of psychology, it will contain one section each on two key aspects of my psychology - my view of myself and my view of other people. These two subjects are among the most important aspects of each man´s psychology. The section of my view of other people will, naturally, contain my moral assessment of the majority of the other members of mankind. That assessment is relevant to understanding my psychology.

I have not begun the writing of my book yet. I am still just planning it. If I am lucky, it will be published within 2 or 3 years. If I am unlucky, I will not be able to find a publisher at all. I will write the book in English, and try to get it published in the USA.

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OK, now the next important distinction to make is: a lack of effort to seek out abstract, philosophical knowledge, vs. a lack of effort to seek out any knowledge. I take it you are talking about the former, right?

The majority of men do make an effort to gain the knowledge necessary for their jobs, as well as to be able to do things like use their microwave ovens and cellphones, find their way around their city, etc. Some of them make quite a lot of effort in their fields and some of them make only a little, but I definitely wouldn't say that a majority of them are anti-effort as such. They're just not interested in philosophy--probably because they don't even know what exactly philosophy is supposed to be good for. Are you saying they ought to know it?

Yes, I am saying that most men do not care to enter the field of *abstract* ideas, including philosophy, but also including such subjects as political science ("ideologies"), economics, history, science and the like. I think that everyone must know in some terms that they *need* abstract knowledge of some kind, in order to live, althought they do not know initially that they need, specifically philosophical knowledge. But I am saying that they *ought* to follow up their inkling of the fact that they need some kind of abstract knowledge, and if they did that, they would eventually discover their need of rational philosophy. When I was 20 years old, I realized that I needed a knowledge of the subjects of political ideologies and economics, in order to understand the things that were going on in politics, which I thought was important. So I began reading books on politics and economics. As a result of my search for knowledge about politics and economics, I after 5 years of reading books, discovered Objectivism, and the value of philosophy. I think that every young person who values his life should do something like what I did. Most young people are concerned about such things as poverty, war, destruction of the environment, etc. They must in reason realize that they need more abstract knowledge than they already have, in order to understand those things. So why can´t I *expect* young people to practice the virtue of integrity and enter the field of abstract ideas, by, for example, searching out good books to read?

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Henrik, a general reply to the things you've been writing about:

1. Second-handedness is not the same as social learning. People's faculties are limited. We learn much by social osmosis, and as an infant we can't do otherwise. If you want to bean-count everyone into two piles: those who would be like Ayn Rand and would figure out all the right answers even when placed in a communist cesspool, and those who wouldn't--you will come out with one pile. Or close enough.

I think you need to drop the emphasis on figuring out where a person lies on the scale of "what they would have learned if they hadn't been 'lucky'" as it's nonsensical. A virtue requires action, not just parroting the virtuous words of others, and that is to their credit, even if they wouldn't have thought the virtue up by themselves without having seen it in others. Look at all those who are exposed to virtue and still don't practice it! If someone does practice virtue they deserve credit, period.

2. The fact that they don't think about what you said doesn't mean that they don't think on an absolute scale. People will often dismiss what a person is saying based on what they already think of him and why they think he is saying what he is saying, and this, to a point, is perfectly rational. Thinking about things, particularly something as far-reaching as philosophy, is an investment of time and effort. If they decide not to, it is probably on account of you rather than a conscious decision to ignore all abstract thought. You tried to sell the idea to them and you were a poor salesman.

If it were just a matter of "look at the product, not at me!" salesmanship wouldn't even exist as a concept. It's not irrationality to place importance on presentation, since we're all trying to save time and so many people will waste our time. The success your own ideas have brought to your life is a much more compelling argument, before which, your words won't even get a hearing by most ears, and rightly so.

I've had people not listen to me over much simpler things than philosophy. I think if they catch a whiff of neediness to persuade on your part, they are instantly suspicious of your motives and lock up. The general rule is to not offer unsolicited advice. EVER (this advice exempted, since the context is completely different). Wait to be asked. That will save you a lot of bother. And stop trying if they're not interested. They'll come back to you if they have doubts, whereas if you keep trying to convince that will only convince them that what they think, is more important to you than what you think. Is it?

1) I divide people into 5 categories, not 2. The best kind of men are those who discover original abstract knowledge, on their own. They are people like Ayn Rand. The next best kind of people are those who do not discover original abstract knowledge themselves, but who are so intellectually active that they actively seek out the abstract knowledge that the people in the first category have discovered, in order to learn that knowledge. I consider myself to be in this category. The third best kind of men are those who are not intellectually active enough to discover abstract knowledge, or even to actively look for it, but who are mentally active enough to examine abstract theories when they are presented with them, and who are rational enough to prefer the good abstract knowledge to the trash (i.e. they will embrace Ayn Rand, and they will reject James Joyce and Immanuel Kant). The fourth category are the men who are intellectually slothful, but are not active evaders and destroyers. They are the better second-handers. They do not seek out abstract knowledge, and they just passively accept whatever ideas happen to be floating around them in the cultuer, without examining those ideas critically. The fifth category is the worst, this category consists of the evil members of mankind, those who actively evade, and who destroy values on purpose. They are the worst second-handers. Some of the types of people in this category are, criminals, dicatators, many priests and the bad kind of modern intellectuals. In my opinion the vast majority of the members of mankind belong in category 4 in this scheme of classification.

As you probably can see, this scheme of classification categorizes men by the amount of effort they put forth to perceive and understand reality. The more they try to perceive and understand reality, the better they are. And I think that you can see that I have found the "joints" in the chicken that I am carving up (to use Harry Binswanger´s metaphor), when I categorize people in this way. It makes sense.

2) You are merely guessing here, when you hypothesize that it is bad "salesmanship" on my part, that is responsible for the perceived lack of interest in my ideas. You should not assume that because I come across as abrasive in my posts here, that I try to "hard-sell" Objectivism to people here in Sweden, and that I am a generally obnoxious personality. I do not think that it is my *way* of presenting my ideas that puts people off. I think that it is the *content* of my ideas that they do not like. It goes without saying that I do not, and should not, water down Objectivism, in order to make it more palatable, even when I am speaking to factory workers and Social Democrats here in Sweden.

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My purpose in writing all these posts was primarily to get the pleasure of reasoning about a subject that interests me. It felt stimulating to try to answer all the objections that people here had to my views. It helped to clarify my thinking. I believe that I will be able to do a better job of writing the book that I am planning to write, because the long debates here, have shown me in what ways people can misunderstand my views. Iin my opinion there were some misunderstandings of my views here, and they were partly due to my not expressing myself clearly enough. I will be able to express myself more clearly in my book, so that the risk that my book will be misunderstood will be diminished.

So, misrepresentation was part of all this ongoing rationalistic malevolence. You didn't want to know whether you were "still an Objectivist" in the thread where you proclaimed you were not an Objectivist. And in "what's wrong with me?" you were simply doing exercises in an issue you already knew you were never going to change your mind on. No one here misunderstood your views. You actually expressed them quite clearly. It is also evident that you never had any intention of changing your views no matter what (and was never in it for that possibility) because you have been rounded refuted dozens and dozens of times.

Nobody is going to buy your book. Even Adolph Hitler had a sizable potential audience with Mein Kampf because the object of his hatred was a small enough minority to gain a popular following. "How 99% of Mankind are Immoral Scumbags" is not going to fly off the press. Unless you title it as I have. You might want to try such titles as: "You all make me want to barf." "I Hate You All!" "Man = Satan" or the Hitleresque "My Contempt"!

I was honestly wondering how my views could be reconciled with Objectivism. I had not made up my mind. But my "meta"-purpose was to clarify my thoughts, for the book that I am planning to write. One of the thoughts that I had to clarify was the relationship between my ideas and Objectivism - i.e. whether the ideas were in contradiction with the Objectivist principles, or whether I just disagreed with other Objectivists on a concrete. I did not *expect* to have to change my views, but I did not rule it out in advance, I just regarded it as unlikely that it would turn out that I found reason to change my views.

I definitely did not intend to be dishonest. But given the very large number of posts that I have written in several related debate threads, over the course of several months, it is likely that you can find a number of incongruities in some of the posts.

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Most young people are concerned about such things as poverty, war, destruction of the environment, etc.

Are they? I would think that most young people are primarily concerned about things like finding a career, making money, and getting married. If someone figures that becoming an expert at, say, a field of medicine or a programming language can earn him a good living, I don't see why he should turn his interest toward politics or other more abstract ideas.

In fact, if someone's thinking is centered around the things you listed--"poverty [of the 'masses,' I suppose], war, destruction of the environment"--then he sounds very much like a second-hander to me. If these concerns of his lead him to study philosophy, chances are he'll reject Objectivism anyway. I'm rather puzzled you even mention this as an argument (or did I misunderstand you completely?)

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1) I divide people into 5 categories, not 2. The best kind of men are those who discover original abstract knowledge, on their own. They are people like Ayn Rand. The next best kind of people are those who do not discover original abstract knowledge themselves, but who are so intellectually active that they actively seek out the abstract knowledge that the people in the first category have discovered, in order to learn that knowledge. I consider myself to be in this category. The third best kind of men are those who are not intellectually active enough to discover abstract knowledge, or even to actively look for it, but who are mentally active enough to examine abstract theories when they are presented with them, and who are rational enough to prefer the good abstract knowledge to the trash (i.e. they will embrace Ayn Rand, and they will reject James Joyce and Immanuel Kant). The fourth category are the men who are intellectually slothful, but are not active evaders and destroyers. They are the better second-handers. They do not seek out abstract knowledge, and they just passively accept whatever ideas happen to be floating around them in the cultuer, without examining those ideas critically. The fifth category is the worst, this category consists of the evil members of mankind, those who actively evade, and who destroy values on purpose. They are the worst second-handers. Some of the types of people in this category are, criminals, dicatators, many priests and the bad kind of modern intellectuals. In my opinion the vast majority of the members of mankind belong in category 4 in this scheme of classification.

As you probably can see, this scheme of classification categorizes men by the amount of effort they put forth to perceive and understand reality. The more they try to perceive and understand reality, the better they are. And I think that you can see that I have found the "joints" in the chicken that I am carving up (to use Harry Binswanger´s metaphor), when I categorize people in this way. It makes sense.

To begin with, this classification is not based on effort. Ayn Rand was not only focused on reality and always thinking and integrating, she was also brilliant, which is a completely different matter. Effort does not guarantee ability. This connects to your related discussion where you try to say that intelligence is a product of morality, which it is not. And by this standard you are implying that everyone who fails to equal Ayn Rand's achievement is her moral inferior, which is certainly not the position of Objectivism.

Secondly, what of those who are highly successful in fields other than philosophy? Are they morally inferior because they chose to become doctors, CEOs and basketball players rather than "discovering original abstract knowledge"? Your ideal better resembles Plato's philosopher kings than Ayn Rand's heroes.

And thirdly, you say that the vast majority of mankind belong in your category 4, which is still better than category 5 where Hitler belongs, contradicting your earlier position. I would recommend that before you start writing a book, you get your story straight.

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