MRZ

The subconscious effects of living in an irrational society

47 posts in this topic

Being surrounded by a plethora of religions (or materialism) here in India, most people being either very staunch in their beliefs or not willing to deviate from the norm, I realized today how the shadow of religion (or materialism) looms over almost every *social* (as against professional or business) interaction I have with the people here.

By [a] the things they say (e.g. about duty, sacrifice and the good of all, or how all morality is pointless), the things they avoid like the plague talking about (e.g. sex, or sacredness), [c] the things they react positively to (e.g. images of "holy" men/women, or smutty sex), [d] the things they detest (e.g. businessmen/women, or those who want to think), if you're not paying attention, they'll pull you into their world where religion get the utmost deference (or nothing does) and anything or anyone that tries to stand up to it is beaten down (sometimes, literally). My life is not just made worse by *actual* interactions with irrational people but also by the ripples they set off by their effect on the people and objects around them.

I sometimes feel hopelessly stranded and, I'm not proud to say, quite vengeful about many things like, for example, the general lack of courtesy (which seems like something so small to them and is yet so important) deriving from their general lack of respect for other people. My wife and I almost hugged a guy in a store (a foreigner of course ;)) who told off a young Indian boy trying to butt in ahead of him in line at a departmental store.

Would other people on this forum like to volunteer their experiences living in a society like this (or close), how it affected them, how they protected themselves from it's effects (physically and mentally) and managed to remain happy?

Your comments remind me of my general theory on the stupidity of my fellow Americans. Through observation, chemical testing, work in the drinking water industry, and just paying good attention to our food supply I have come to the conclusion that Americans are being chemically dumbed down. I could get into some stories about this but will just leave it at this. There's an entertaining video on youtube about it (love the Pink Floyd in the soundtrack). See "chemically dumbed down" in the search and you'll find it. Dr. Woeller, in the video, is somebody I have associated with. Frankly, the average American is not capable of understanding Objectivism.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a difference between the UK and France, though, which makes the UK a bit safer. Police in France is unwilling to intervene in welfare areas (other than to harrass the locals, provoke them into getting a beating).

The UK has always relied on a strong enforcement of property rights, it is in their blood, and so they have been a lot more willing to (and successful) tackle gangs, violent crime, and terrorism. Whilst only 1 in 10 CIA agents in Saudi speaks Arabic, MI6 has infiltrated most networks and has an agent in every British mosque. This is how they averted such well planned attacks as the transatlantic plane bombs that paralyzed Europe for a couple of days.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for that video, Betsy. I can find only one fault among his comments: the notion that there's been a fundamental change in Sweden's ideology. What's happening now is the perfecly logical conclusion of the ideology that's been here for many, many years.

But that's only a short quip amongst 6 minutes of truth. All the rest of what he says is, to my knowledge and according to my experience, accurate, and there's much, much more. That is why my position is that it is staying in Sweden, not moving abroad, that amounts to giving up important values.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thank you for that video, Betsy. I can find only one fault among his comments: the notion that there's been a fundamental change in Sweden's ideology. What's happening now is the perfecly logical conclusion of the ideology that's been here for many, many years.

But that's only a short quip amongst 6 minutes of truth. All the rest of what he says is, to my knowledge and according to my experience, accurate, and there's much, much more. That is why my position is that it is staying in Sweden, not moving abroad, that amounts to giving up important values.

Good video, and I agree. Sweden has been ruled almost exclusively by the Social Democratic Party for the last 100 years, so what we are seeing now is just the result of that.

However, regarding rape, as I understand it the statistics are a bit off on that one. We have a broader definition that atleast accounts for a part of the increase. I'm not sure how much though, and I suspect it's being used as an excuse by those who like to put their head in the sand and deny there's any problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Good video, and I agree. Sweden has been ruled almost exclusively by the Social Democratic Party for the last 100 years, so what we are seeing now is just the result of that.

However, regarding rape, as I understand it the statistics are a bit off on that one. We have a broader definition that atleast accounts for a part of the increase. I'm not sure how much though, and I suspect it's being used as an excuse by those who like to put their head in the sand and deny there's any problem.

Have you found in Sweden that feminists are noticeably silent on the brutality of Sharia, as they have been in the US? My initial cynical reaction to reading your comment was that perhaps the feminists would agree to redefining rape in the name of their unspoken alliance with jihadists. That statistic is a real threat to the illusion that Islam is a religion of peace.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Good video, and I agree. Sweden has been ruled almost exclusively by the Social Democratic Party for the last 100 years, so what we are seeing now is just the result of that.

However, regarding rape, as I understand it the statistics are a bit off on that one. We have a broader definition that atleast accounts for a part of the increase. I'm not sure how much though, and I suspect it's being used as an excuse by those who like to put their head in the sand and deny there's any problem.

Have you found in Sweden that feminists are noticeably silent on the brutality of Sharia, as they have been in the US? My initial cynical reaction to reading your comment was that perhaps the feminists would agree to redefining rape in the name of their unspoken alliance with jihadists. That statistic is a real threat to the illusion that Islam is a religion of peace.

I've found that they are growing increasingly silent about it. A few years ago I heard alot more protests from feminists. While they're not completely silent today, there's certainly far less talk about it. The feminist movement tends to be a bit diverse though, so i'm sure you'll always find some feminists who haven't completely lost their marbles.

If I were to make a generalization of the feminists here, this recent story illustrates the situation pretty well.

Our "equality representative"(ha, I bet you don't have one of those in America! :) ) that it's discrimination to disallow student from wearing burqas at school. Now, that in itself I understand can be a tricky question, as i've seen disagreements on such issues even among Objectivists. The interesting thing though is how she, the "equality representative", ends her ruling with(my own translation here):

"Contempt towards women is expressed in different ways in every culture, for example by sexualizing their bodies or by directing them towards taking care of the home and children. However, such expressions[of contempt] cannot be eliminated by shutting the women out from fundamental areas of society."

This kind of reasoning is what happens when feminism and cultural relativism meet. Apparently it's just as bad to look at women as sexy, or have them take care of the children - nevermind if it's by their own free will - as it is having them stoned as punishment for being raped. Since our "equality representative" seems to equate our western culture to Islam, that must essentially be what she means.

It's very typical of Sweden. If you ever hear someone have a negative judgement of another culture, you can be sure that they'll attack the western culture in the next breath.

Regarding the statistics for rape, there are two arguments i'm familiar with as to why we have so many instances of rape here. One is that more cases are being reported, claiming that swedish women are more likely to go to the police if they get raped. The other is that under swedish law it's considered rape to have sex with a minor(even if it's consensual) or with someone who is too drunk and/or drugged. Not all european countries count that as rape, making it a little trickier to compare statistics. While I find the first argument ludicrous, the second is atleast factual - though I sincerely doubt that it accounts for the vast differences(a quick statistic I found said that in Finland they have ~500 cases of rape per year, while in Sweden it's over 4700... good luck trying to explain that, even when taking differences in population into account).

Now feminists in Sweden are trying to change the law. They no longer want rape to be defined by the use of force, but instead by consent. Consider the impications by that. In most sexual acts the consent is implicit, and how do you prove there was no consent if you remove the criteria of force? It would be up to the judge to decide, arbitrarily. There is in fact an ongoing case that demonstrates this quite well:

http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/12/02/when-i...-they-go-along/

Man and woman have sex, woman brags about her high-status conquest, and now tries to put him down for rape. Hey, she wanted a condom, but there was no condom, so clearly there was no consent. ;)

Anyway, I don't think this has so much to do with supporting the jihadists. You're not nearly "cynical" enough here. :) I think they're just after power. Plain and simple. One way to get that is by imposing non-objective laws. Multiculturalism also serves that purpose, it provides them with votes and people who are ashamed of themselves are easier to rule. Add feminist-marxism and environmentalism to the mix and you get some real nasty stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
However, regarding rape, as I understand it the statistics are a bit off on that one. We have a broader definition that atleast accounts for a part of the increase. I'm not sure how much though, and I suspect it's being used as an excuse by those who like to put their head in the sand and deny there's any problem.

I have not had a chance to view that video yet, because right now I am using a computer on my coffee break at my job training program. But judging by Red´s comment about rape, the video touched on the subject of the rise in crime during the last 60 years or so, the period in which the Swedish welfare state was created. Well, the Swedish government´s own official statistics show that roughly 150.000 crimes were reported to the police in the year 1949. And today, roughly 1.000.000 crimes are reported to the police every year.

So there is no doubt whatsoever that crime in Sweden has skyrocketed during the time that the welfare state was being brought into existence and built up. Welfare politics does *not* seem to reduce crime. Even though the socialists are fond of saying that the poverty allegedly brought about by capitalism, and allegedly eradicated by welfare politics, is the cause of crime.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Good video, and I agree. Sweden has been ruled almost exclusively by the Social Democratic Party for the last 100 years, so what we are seeing now is just the result of that.

However, regarding rape, as I understand it the statistics are a bit off on that one. We have a broader definition that atleast accounts for a part of the increase. I'm not sure how much though, and I suspect it's being used as an excuse by those who like to put their head in the sand and deny there's any problem.

Have you found in Sweden that feminists are noticeably silent on the brutality of Sharia, as they have been in the US? My initial cynical reaction to reading your comment was that perhaps the feminists would agree to redefining rape in the name of their unspoken alliance with jihadists. That statistic is a real threat to the illusion that Islam is a religion of peace.

Many Swedish feminists, including the former leader of the Communist Party, Gudrun Schyman, who is now the leader of the feminist party, are reluctant to condemn oppression of women by muslims. They are so afraid of being taken for being racists. Well, just about all Swedish feminists *do* agree that prostitution, even if no coercion is involved, should be illegal. Well, this brings up the question of the standard of proof. If it is illegal for a woman to exchange sex for money - then what about the case of a man who treats a woman he is not married to to a dinner, and then gets to sleep with her later that night, either at his place or her place? And what about the case of a young attractive woman who marries an older millionaire? How can anyone prove that she *didn´t" marry the old geezer for the sake of his money, and not for the sake of love?

The feminists seem to display a lot of schadenfreude whenever some male, especially if he is well off, or is a businessman, gets caught with a prostitute and is publicly embarassed in addition to being punished by the law.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is also worth noting the history of Sweden. Sweden was the experiment that disproved Schumpeter's theory of the natural progress of civilizations. Schumpeter thought that countries moved from free market capitalism to corporatism, and as the restrictions of corporatism impaired the health of its economy, to communism (Ayn Rand explained it better, and in more details; but Schumpeter was pretty good). By and large, Sweden followed this model to the letter, right up to the corporatist phase, and it was about to shift its government to, effectively, communism, when the breakup of the USSR happened. At this point, the world was able to witness the horror of a centralized control economy, and the communism forces in Sweden rapidly lost ground, to replace it with the mixed economy that is in place today.

That being said, without the breakup of the Soviet bloc, Sweden may well have shifted to a full control economy 20 years ago.

I believe Cuba and North Korea's existences are a good thing in that they represent living examples of what communism looks like. Ask anybody from my generation (anybody born in the 1980s or later) what the Soviet Union was like, and chances are they will either not know or answer some vague platitude like "there were queues to get bad cars" and "it wasn't real socialism". But everybody knows Cuba is run down, broken and on its last lap (it recently capitulated and a broke Castro brother fired a million state workers and allowed them to own property). And most people do not see North Korea as idyllic.

Once these two last examples of a full control economy are gone, I do fear that several Western nations may shift to it gradually, following Schumpeter's model. This will especially be the case in poorer, more welfare-heavy Western nations such as Greece (whose communist movement is particularly brutal as history has shown) or Portugal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It is also worth noting the history of Sweden. Sweden was the experiment that disproved Schumpeter's theory of the natural progress of civilizations. Schumpeter thought that countries moved from free market capitalism to corporatism, and as the restrictions of corporatism impaired the health of its economy, to communism (Ayn Rand explained it better, and in more details; but Schumpeter was pretty good). By and large, Sweden followed this model to the letter, right up to the corporatist phase, and it was about to shift its government to, effectively, communism, when the breakup of the USSR happened. At this point, the world was able to witness the horror of a centralized control economy, and the communism forces in Sweden rapidly lost ground, to replace it with the mixed economy that is in place today.

That being said, without the breakup of the Soviet bloc, Sweden may well have shifted to a full control economy 20 years ago.

I believe Cuba and North Korea's existences are a good thing in that they represent living examples of what communism looks like. Ask anybody from my generation (anybody born in the 1980s or later) what the Soviet Union was like, and chances are they will either not know or answer some vague platitude like "there were queues to get bad cars" and "it wasn't real socialism". But everybody knows Cuba is run down, broken and on its last lap (it recently capitulated and a broke Castro brother fired a million state workers and allowed them to own property). And most people do not see North Korea as idyllic.

Once these two last examples of a full control economy are gone, I do fear that several Western nations may shift to it gradually, following Schumpeter's model. This will especially be the case in poorer, more welfare-heavy Western nations such as Greece (whose communist movement is particularly brutal as history has shown) or Portugal.

The *Communists* have never been influential in Swedish *politics*. Although they have, at times, dominated the mass media and the universities. But I think that the Social Democrats, who still have most of the *political* power in Sweden, are more influenced by fascist ideas than by Communist ideas. As you yourself said, Sweden has a lot of corporatism. And the "inventor" of corporatism was the Italian fascist Mussolini.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Would other people on this forum like to volunteer their experiences living in a society like this (or close), how it affected them, how they protected themselves from it's effects (physically and mentally) and managed to remain happy?

I think the best answer is the one Ayn Rand gave in her essay "How Does One Lead a Rational Life in an Irrational Society?" which you will find in The Virtue of Selfishness.

Her answer to the question was "One must never fail to pronounce moral judgment" and understanding why that answers the question is the key.

If you judge yourself and others correctly, you will choose better friends. associates, and business relationships. You will know who you can trust and who you should be wary of. Given that information, you can build a sub-culture of life-enhancing, value-promoting, mutually-supportive friends and associates for yourself and a lead a rational, productive life even if you are surrounded by irrationality.

Thanks Betsy, you're right. I've managed to keep the most rational, productive people I could find around me. They're the bright spots in my life here. It doesn't help though that they do not explicitly hold a rational philosophy that I can see in action and talk to them about in the context of life in India. But the FORUM is my substitute for that - philosophical discussions with Objectivists.

I haven't lived in a place like you describe, so I can't speak from firsthand experience. However, related to the title of your thread, I suspect that the primary subconscious effect of living in such a place is an ongoing sense of threat. The sense would be "quieter" or more acute depending on a given situation (i.e., relatively quiet background noise when going about routine activities, but more acute or "loud" when seeing someone harmed for voicing objections).

A sense of threat leads to fear, anger, or a mix of both. From that point, one's personal psychology takes over. For instance, if one tends to feel fear, then he may have scenarios of persecution and/or harm run through his mind, which might affect his actions or overall demeanor. If, on the other hand, he feels anger, then scenarios of vengence could come to mind, also affecting his behavior. And so forth.

The good news is that although the subconscious acts automatically, one can gain a fairly significant amount of control over it. You can become more consciously aware of what happens subconsciously; give your subconscious orders to pay attention to or ignore things around you; alter irrational thoughts, etc. This takes time and practice, and it will not completely stop something negative coming up from the subconscious. But that needn't necessarily be the goal. It's often appropriate to feel anger or fear, and then to act appropriately given reality.

I do feel anger and fear all the time Scott, yet it is helplessness that I feel the most. The thing with where I live in India (and indeed in most parts of the country) is that you cannot rely on the law to protect you from your fellow men. In most cases, if not all, the police (or judiciary) usually does too little too late and then tries to make some money besides. The "Rule of Law" is something I miss the most whenever I come back after traveling outside India. Politicians who stood by and watched thousands of people get massacred (in Gujarat) because of their religion are still in power. I cannot explain how glad I was when the U.K. refused a visa to the then (and still) Chief Minister of Gujarat because he was responsible for "crimes against humanity". You don't really know how *each* life is (and should be) valued till you stay for a while in a place like the US.

It wouldn't hurt so bad if the people around me weren't all so cynical ("the way it is is the way it is - deal with it").

What I think I need the most is to be able to understand how to deal with/respond to the wrongs that I have to face that I cannot do anything (or at least not some one thing) to stop. Miss Rand's essay seems like a good place to start. Thanks for the pointer Betsy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks Betsy, you're right. I've managed to keep the most rational, productive people I could find around me. They're the bright spots in my life here. It doesn't help though that they do not explicitly hold a rational philosophy that I can see in action and talk to them about in the context of life in India.

The Swiss act quite rationally. They defend gun rights, they refuse to pardon criminals, they keep taxes low by forcing cantons (the local "states") to compete against each other, they refuse to ban victimless "crimes" (you can shoot yourself legally with heroin in Zurich, in rooms with medical supervision and clean needles)...

...but not one Swiss I know is able to understand why, state why, and if you read the Swiss Constitution, you rapidly realize they ended up with this not-invaded-for-600-years state (thanks to a well armed militia, dixit the US Constitution, an ocean away) by sheer luck and circumstances, whilst the Americans designed the greatness of their country.

Still, I would much rather spend my time around the not obviously rational Swiss, than around people who state that they are Objectivists and then act in very irrational ways, which was the case to an extent in the UK. Reading Atlas Shrugged does not an Objectivist make, that takes effort.

I would say do not worry about who is "explicitly" rational; for people to act rational is good enough, and you may find that when they start caring about ideas, Ayn Rand's will resonate fairly well with the values they already hold.

Having lived in Mumbai (Vikhroli), I do know what you mean. It's not a particularly rational country to live in. But better the India of today than the India of Gandhi.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks Betsy, you're right. I've managed to keep the most rational, productive people I could find around me. They're the bright spots in my life here. It doesn't help though that they do not explicitly hold a rational philosophy that I can see in action and talk to them about in the context of life in India.

The Swiss act quite rationally. They defend gun rights, they refuse to pardon criminals, they keep taxes low by forcing cantons (the local "states") to compete against each other, they refuse to ban victimless "crimes" (you can shoot yourself legally with heroin in Zurich, in rooms with medical supervision and clean needles)...

...but not one Swiss I know is able to understand why, state why, and if you read the Swiss Constitution, you rapidly realize they ended up with this not-invaded-for-600-years state (thanks to a well armed militia, dixit the US Constitution, an ocean away) by sheer luck and circumstances, whilst the Americans designed the greatness of their country.

Still, I would much rather spend my time around the not obviously rational Swiss, than around people who state that they are Objectivists and then act in very irrational ways, which was the case to an extent in the UK. Reading Atlas Shrugged does not an Objectivist make, that takes effort.

I would say do not worry about who is "explicitly" rational; for people to act rational is good enough, and you may find that when they start caring about ideas, Ayn Rand's will resonate fairly well with the values they already hold.

Having lived in Mumbai (Vikhroli), I do know what you mean. It's not a particularly rational country to live in. But better the India of today than the India of Gandhi.

I thought after rereading my post that I might not have been very clear in that paragraph. If you've been In India, you probably know that a lot of people here are very honest, productive people - in their jobs and in many other aspects of their lives. That is what I meant by "most rational people". The very same people will ridicule you or ostracize you for being an atheist or deviating from the norm (e.g. going against your parents' wishes, standing up to "society" (which you'll very probably have to do in India if you agree with Ayn Rand), etc.) so they're only relatively the "most rational". Mumbai and Bangalore are much better in this regard than, say, Delhi, or Gurgaon (where I live). I have yet to meet more than a very few people who at least try to be rational in all aspects of their lives (I am very glad that my wife and sister are among them).

The implicitly rational lifestyle I have seen in my travels to the US is virtually non-existent here and I have not met anyone yet who tries to live rationally (and is not just relatively more rational by virtue of being more productive or honest) without having fought to explicitly acquire a rational philosophy.

I do not wish to portray myself as a "victim of the system" - I don't really care about people who don't really care about anything, what I'm really looking for are ways of dealing with what affects me but that I cannot help especially when it can be totally overwhelming sometimes. As an example, there are power blackouts for upto 12 hours a day sometimes because the electricity board is government run and doesn't really care about curbing power theft and reducing distribution losses. Another example is that the roads have potholes the size of my car after the rainy season. They get patched only to start going bad a couple of months later and are just as bad by the end of the next rainy season because the road works department is corrupt and uses sub-standard material for repairs. And literally *everyone* knows it. I mean, how long of how much can a person take?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I do feel anger and fear all the time Scott, yet it is helplessness that I feel the most. The thing with where I live in India (and indeed in most parts of the country) is that you cannot rely on the law to protect you from your fellow men. In most cases, if not all, the police (or judiciary) usually does too little too late and then tries to make some money besides. The "Rule of Law" is something I miss the most whenever I come back after traveling outside India. Politicians who stood by and watched thousands of people get massacred (in Gujarat) because of their religion are still in power. I cannot explain how glad I was when the U.K. refused a visa to the then (and still) Chief Minister of Gujarat because he was responsible for "crimes against humanity". You don't really know how *each* life is (and should be) valued till you stay for a while in a place like the US.

It wouldn't hurt so bad if the people around me weren't all so cynical ("the way it is is the way it is - deal with it").

What I think I need the most is to be able to understand how to deal with/respond to the wrongs that I have to face that I cannot do anything (or at least not some one thing) to stop. Miss Rand's essay seems like a good place to start. Thanks for the pointer Betsy.

Although I also live in a bad culture (Sweden), my country is at least *Western* and industrialized. So I do not have to deal with such acute existential problems as out-of-control-crime, corrupt government and substandard roads and power supplies. I live quite well, existentially.

My problems are more on the "psychological" level. The *culture*, and many of the *people* around me are just rotten. It used to "get me down" - although it doesn´t any more, thanks to Objectivism.

How do I deal with the state of "my" culture? Well, read that essay by Ayn Rand - The Metaphysical versus the Man-Made (if I remember correctly it was in Philosophy Who Needs It, but I am writing from a computer at my job training program, so I cannot check which of Ayn Rand´s Anthologies the essay was published in right now). Since I cannot effect any immediate change in the state of the Swedish culture and the Swedish people, I don´t worry about it. I just live my own life happily. My knowledge of Objectivism gives me an ability to co-exist with the bad things around me with equanimity, even though I do work to change them for the better.

Also read Ayn Rand´s essay What Can One Do? There Ms. Rand explains the error of worrying one´s self sick about the fact that one cannot "save the world" overnight and single-handedly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This thread has gone way off topic although the side discussion (now somehow the primary discussion :blink:) is an interesting one. I would suggest perhaps continuing this in a new thread for one is surely warranted for such a discussion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This thread has gone way off topic although the side discussion (now somehow the primary discussion :blink:) is an interesting one. I would suggest perhaps continuing this in a new thread for one is surely warranted for such a discussion.

I have split off the posts dealing with immigration into a new thread titled "Immigration and the welfare state" here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I've figured out what I really wanted to ask here.

How should I react when the law breaks down and there is no one that I can go to that will not try to further harm my life (in the form of forcing me to pay a hefty bribe often by threatening to throw me in jail) even if I am not in the wrong? I have personally been in situations like this and in one case, the only thing that saved someone very close to me from being thrown in jail (despite being innocent and with a very promising medical career on the line) was knowing a Commissioner of Police and someone in the Upper House of Parliament. Even then, the police continued to hound that person, who, luckily, was able to leave the country.

What is the right way to react to such circumstances? I do not wish to break the rule of law but what if the enforcers of the law are the ones doing the law breaking? And not just a few but most of them? Cases run on in courts for years, sometimes decades. Another person very close to me has been fighting court cases like this for almost two decades with one case just recently ended because they decided to give up despite being the innocent party in both cases.

I can truly understand what drives people to vigilantism even if I do not condone their actions.

Thanks for your suggestions Henrik. I really appreciate them. The state of the law in India is a source of much distress for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How should I react when the law breaks down and there is no one that I can go to that will not try to further harm my life (in the form of forcing me to pay a hefty bribe often by threatening to throw me in jail) even if I am not in the wrong?

There is no "right" answer because you are subject to the initiation of force and morality ends where a gun begins. You just do whatever you have to do to remove the force and/or minimize the damage.

Ultimately, the best solution is to get out of there and to a place where there is the rule of law and rights are respected. I realized there is no place where that is true 100% of the time, but some places are better than others.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Betsy. You are not the one acting in an immoral manner. When a thief comes to your door and ask if you have any money in the house and you tell him no, even though your pockets are full of money, it is not you that is the immoral one. Do what is needed to protect yourself while you attempt to change your situation, but do not feel or think of yourself as the gulity or immoral one for doing what is needed to protect yourself against evil.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Betsy and Ray. I'll think more about what you've said so that I can overcome the unhealthy amounts of anger and despair that I feel. Ironically, since I try to be more aware of how principles work in real life, I get more distressed than people who have "gotten used to the system".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Would other people on this forum like to volunteer their experiences living in a society like this (or close), how it affected them, how they protected themselves from it's effects (physically and mentally) and managed to remain happy?

I think the best answer is the one Ayn Rand gave in her essay "How Does One Lead a Rational Life in an Irrational Society?" which you will find in The Virtue of Selfishness.

Her answer to the question was "One must never fail to pronounce moral judgment" and understanding why that answers the question is the key.

If you judge yourself and others correctly, you will choose better friends. associates, and business relationships. You will know who you can trust and who you should be wary of. Given that information, you can build a sub-culture of life-enhancing, value-promoting, mutually-supportive friends and associates for yourself and a lead a rational, productive life even if you are surrounded by irrationality.

I pronounce judgment on the people around me here in Sweden all the time. It helps to enable me to survive, psychologically. That is the reason for my extremely negative evaluation of the majority of the John Smiths and Joe Sixpacks of the world, which evaluation many on this Forum dissaprove of.

That is to say, I pronounce negative (most of the time they are negative, given the nature of the people around me) judgments in the privacy of my own mind. There would be no point to stirring up fights with almost everyone I meet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites