Arnold

Objectivism's Followers

34 posts in this topic

IIRC,-------, IMNSHO, -------

Please write out.

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That's exactly what *isn't* fully grasping and applying Objectivism - a series of disconnected moral commandments ala the Bible, mouthed and practiced out of context by blind followers. Note that taking that statement on faith is exactly what the Libertarians claim as "axiomatic", then proceed to diss Objectivism as overly intellectual and "impractical". This all reinforces my point in this thread.

I think you missed the little word "understood" in my post.

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I think you missed the little word "understood" in my post.

Not really. How are you proposing that a small piece of a comprehensive philosophy is going to be truly grasped and applied contextually, all by itself? "Thou shalt not kill" for example has been around for quite awhile, which hasn't done a lot for world peace.

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I would like to return for a moment to the original thread-starter posting by Arnold.

Betsy made a great statement when she said that Philosophers created ideas, Intellectuals wholesaled them, and teachers were the retailers.

It is the academics who must create the intellectual environment that Joe Public will take in subconsciously. The intellectuals and teachers are the ones who take the trouble to understand Objectivism, but most (not all) will absorb what they are taught without much thought. I refer you to the examples above [earlier in the post]. Let's face it, even most Christians are not likely to have read the bible with the mission of understanding it, so why expect the average man to expend the effort to learn Objectivism.

The fact that Objectivists are rare by any standards, doesn't mean they can't have an influence by providing the proper intellectual climate. The ARI is working on all levels here; wholesale and retail, of the Philosophy manufactured by Ayn Rand. When the critical mass occurs, it will be like a light went on. With reality supporting the ideas, the transformation may be more rapid than we can imagine. Just as today's man thinks sacrifice is noble, but doesn't know why, tomorrow's man will feel self interest is noble, but not quite know why.

I see two separate issues here, and some of the subsequent disagreement in this thread seems to have arisen from mixing these two issues:

1. How difficult or easy would it be for individuals to adjust and adapt themselves to a fully rational society, if one existed?

2. What will it take to bring about and sustain a fully rational society?

I also see two additional questions that emerge from some of the discussion:

3. What are we, as Objectivists, seeking to accomplish for the culture or society as a whole? I.e., do we seek an entire society comprised of individuals who have deep, explicit intellectual comprehension of Objectivist philosophy -- or do we seek merely a society that is rational enough so that those who seek to be productive to any degree will be free to do so and to enjoy the potential rewards of their productiveness?

4. Is a deep intellectual comprehension of Objectivist philosophical principles by a large majority of members of a rational society essential to such a society's existence?

My answer to Q1 above is essentially the same as Arnold's. In a predominately rational society, everyone would be told constantly, from myriad sources: "Respect others' property and freedom -- work for a living -- thinking and productive work are the keys to a prosperous and happy life -- if you want something from others, deal with them by persuasion and honest trade, not by any form of coercion, deception, or charity -- don't expect charity from others unless they are convinced that you deserve it temporarily for some special reason, and then be grateful to them if or when they give you any charity -- instead of expecting charity, strive to find ways in which you can be productive on your own -- don't ask for or accept any governmental handouts or special favors other than basic protection of your own rights to life, liberty, property, and your own pursuit of happiness through productiveness and trade guided by reason -- government is not a source of wealth; don't expect government to act like one -- expect to be punished if you violate others' rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (including property rights) -- and always remember that "trade" isn't limited to goods and services, but includes intangibles, too, such as handshakes, smiles, hugs, kisses, and affection of all kinds for friends and loved ones."

("Loved ones" can include children. The question of how trade might apply to children would surely arise in a rational society and would not be difficult for intellectuals to explain; but it is a little beyond the scope of the present discussion. I can say more about it in a separate discussion if there is interest.)

I really don't think it would be hard at all for any ordinary person to live in a society where he constantly hears those messages and sees them implemented in the actions of others and in the society's various intellectual media, including art of all kinds, from music to theater to movies and TV, paintings and sculptures. Indeed, such a society would actually be the easiest of all for the vast majority of ordinary individuals to live in harmoniously and happily, since it is the one form of society that is most consistent with man's fundamental nature.

My answer to Q2 is also essentially the same as Arnold's. In order for a rational society to come into existence and remain vibrant, it needs intellectuals who understand explicitly what the society's fundamental underlying principles are and who consistently apply them in their intellectual works, from journalism, education and law to documentaries and art. The intellectuals are the key, and Objectivism is their fuel.

As I see it, that is what Objectivists of all kinds, now and in the future, fundamentally want to see in their society -- rationality, productiveness and vibrancy -- which depend crucially on intellectuals who understand the full theoretical system of Objectivist philosophy. That is my answer to Q3.

My answer to Q4 is "no" -- as is implied by my answers to Q1 through Q3 -- agreeing, once again, with Arnold.

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The measure of success as a parent to me is the extent to which the child recognizes and acts consistently and continuously upon the fact that man's mind is a specific type of consciousness that is most productive and engenders the greatest happiness through the choice to control the action of one's mind; the parent directs the child's use of his free will.

This is important because even the most intelligent child can choose to freefall, rather than select and guide certain values - in fact, most intelligent children today do this. Currently, even the most rational parents I have met encourage every habit (neatness, diligence, punctuality, morality, honesty, creativity, etc.) and provide all the intellectual stimulation except that one thing - how to take abstract ideas and values and apply them to present real circumstances in a fully integrated, non-contradictory manner.

I very much liked this post of yours. I agree. I am not one of those parents who is worried despite the fact that my son spends most of his time under the influence of others.

Just identifying to the child, as early as possible (appropriate in terms of his level of development), the fact that there is a right and a wrong way of using his mind is very helpful. Then the habit of non-contradictory integration has to be reinforced; if necessary occasional contradictions explicitly identified - stressing the importance of approaching life (and thus ideas) with honesty.

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I don't see how one can have an "abstract" focus without something to focus *on*. If that is so, then focus may be tied to, e.g., motivation (as in, e.g., I refuse to focus on 18th century French literature because it bores me to tears even if my teacher says that I *must* - what I want to do is focus on reading that Heinlein science fiction novel! I think motivation, which is really personal and internal rather than externally driven, is a key driver of action including the desire to focus.

Motivation can be influenced in a certain direction by providing a child with an understanding of the importance/benefit (to his self interest) of a task or particular knowledge. We are selfish creatures and we will do what benefits us. The clearer that connection (in understandable terms in case of a young child) the stronger the motivation.

Also a great advantage is that children, especially when young, like to please their parents. Children will focus on things which they get rewarded for and that can be used for creating good habits. For example, my six year old son takes piano lessons. Every time he played well, I made sure to produce a visible expression on my face of joy and pride (providing psychological visibility for what he was feeling himself). I don't have to ask him to practice.

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You ask, "How many are needed?" For what? Your essay doesn't address your question.
42

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You ask, "How many are needed?" For what? Your essay doesn't address your question.
42

:)

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe?

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