Ifat Glassman

Introspection and morality

103 posts in this topic

I see no reason to get personal here. Ruveyn has been very open and honest about his views on this topic, knowing that people would have serious disagreements. And frankly I've seen people post on this forum with far less constructive things to say and said with a lot less respect. It's not right to attack his motives for posting.

I was not attacking his motives - I was pointing out his choice to evade. One cannot persuade someone to change their mind on a topic they choose to evade on. The only option is to state clearly what they are doing and hope this helps them to change their decision.

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He is also 75 years old and quite set in his ways, so don't expect him to change much.

I don't think that all older people are fixed in their opinions. It depends on their choice to be rational or not. I guess with age, the way they chose to use their mind ("I am always right" vs. rationality) becomes automatized and harder to change. But I don't think age alone makes a person fixed on his/her views.

Allow me to ask you this: would you want people to treat you as if you're too old to change your mind when you're 75?

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One needs to cut a little slack here, because this is not a case of disrespect or trolling. Betsy is right here. "Ruveyn" is a genuine character with a lot to offer. Allow for the differences and benefit from what you have in common. He is not attacking Objectivism, and speaks his own mind.

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I was not attacking his motives - I was pointing out his choice to evade. One cannot persuade someone to change their mind on a topic they choose to evade on. The only option is to state clearly what they are doing and hope this helps them to change their decision.

I don't evade. In the case I make an error I always drill drown to find out what the error was and why I made it. The only sane way to deal with errors is to identify them (no rationalizations, no denial) and to figure a way of avoiding the error in the future. For any other situation, I see no profit in drilling down, so I don't. My "basement" is not all that interesting so I don't spend much time there. Most of me is on the first floor (so to speak), so I have no great need for drilling down.

In general I do not do anything unless;

1. I see a benefit to doing it.

or

2 I see a harm in not doing it.

(benefit and harm to be determined by my judgment).

And there it is.

For those of you who have the need to drill down, then good luck in your Quest For Inner Space. Bon voyage and safe journey. For me, just about everything important to my life is outside my skin and that is where I spend most of my time. I prefer being superficial, because it makes things simple for me.

ruveyn

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I was not attacking his motives - I was pointing out his choice to evade. One cannot persuade someone to change their mind on a topic they choose to evade on. The only option is to state clearly what they are doing and hope this helps them to change their decision.

I prefer to state my case as clearly as I can, and leave the rest to them. If anything is going to change their mind, the facts will. Pointing to someone's motives typically just makes them defensive and accomplishes nothing.

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I was not attacking his motives - I was pointing out his choice to evade. One cannot persuade someone to change their mind on a topic they choose to evade on. The only option is to state clearly what they are doing and hope this helps them to change their decision.

I prefer to state my case as clearly as I can, and leave the rest to them. If anything is going to change their mind, the facts will. Pointing to someone's motives typically just makes them defensive and accomplishes nothing.

I don't see how usefullness matters here.

Actions always have motives. I think that pointing out possible motives is an important part of explaining a problem.

(That's a big part of why Ayn Rand's non-fiction is so great.)

Personally, I don't have any problems with hearing possible motives. I don't see how this can constitute an insult.

Is the insult/"getting personal" coming from a thought "How dare you think that you know my motives or my mind?"

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I was not attacking his motives - I was pointing out his choice to evade. One cannot persuade someone to change their mind on a topic they choose to evade on. The only option is to state clearly what they are doing and hope this helps them to change their decision.

I prefer to state my case as clearly as I can, and leave the rest to them. If anything is going to change their mind, the facts will. Pointing to someone's motives typically just makes them defensive and accomplishes nothing.

Just a small point on motives and motivation. Only the person doing (or not doing) something could know his motives for sure. Anyone else can only guess them from the external signs and actions.

I would hazard the guess that none of us can really claim mental telepathy on our resumes. I know that I can't. I usually do not attribute motives to others. I simply pay attention to what they do (actions, utterances etc) because that is all I know for sure. I guide my actions (vis a vis the other) accordingly. When I do attribute motives to others it is in the form of a guess or hypothesis, not a fact. I am very poor at "mind reading" so I very rarely attempt it. I could be a very good x-ray technician and I would be a very bad psychologist. I just don't have the talent.

ruveyn

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I was not attacking his motives - I was pointing out his choice to evade. One cannot persuade someone to change their mind on a topic they choose to evade on. The only option is to state clearly what they are doing and hope this helps them to change their decision.

I prefer to state my case as clearly as I can, and leave the rest to them. If anything is going to change their mind, the facts will. Pointing to someone's motives typically just makes them defensive and accomplishes nothing.

Just a small point on motives and motivation. Only the person doing (or not doing) something could know his motives for sure. Anyone else can only guess them from the external signs and actions.

Is the point here that "only guess" is never enough to decide if somebody is evading or not?

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I was not attacking his motives - I was pointing out his choice to evade. One cannot persuade someone to change their mind on a topic they choose to evade on. The only option is to state clearly what they are doing and hope this helps them to change their decision.

I don't evade. In the case I make an error I always drill drown to find out what the error was and why I made it.

Where do you suppose feeling murky and clogged on your inside comes from if not from an error? Do you consider it a normal state of being?

____________________________________________________________

I was not attacking his motives - I was pointing out his choice to evade. One cannot persuade someone to change their mind on a topic they choose to evade on. The only option is to state clearly what they are doing and hope this helps them to change their decision.

I prefer to state my case as clearly as I can, and leave the rest to them. If anything is going to change their mind, the facts will. Pointing to someone's motives typically just makes them defensive and accomplishes nothing.

I wasn't actually pointing to his motives. I was pointing out the simple fact that he has stated himself that he avoids facing his inner state of mind.

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What value is gained by psychologizing about 'ruveyn' and spending time criticizing his own psychological processes? Who cares? There must be something better to be thinking and posting about. It's one thing to discuss the value of introspection generally, another to be personally bashing somebody who made the mistake of openly discussing themselves on a public forum.

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Allow me to ask you this: would you want people to treat you as if you're too old to change your mind when you're 75?

No, but I am not typical, inside or outside of Objectivism. Because people form their philosophy of life before age 25, build their hierarchy of values on that base, and spend a lifetime automatizing their ideas and values to save "crow space," it gets harder and harder for anyone to change as they get older.

I mention this as a issue because, when you set out to convince someone, it is important to have reasonable expectations about the result.

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I certainly hope he is better off inside than he describes.

Remember, in the climax of Ed Cline's Sparrowhawk series, the way one character's self is described?

"the cathedral of his soul."

(And when he knows he's going to be blown to atoms in the next moment, he spends his last living moment enjoying it.)

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What value is gained by psychologizing about 'ruveyn' and spending time criticizing his own psychological processes? Who cares? There must be something better to be thinking and posting about. It's one thing to discuss the value of introspection generally, another to be personally bashing somebody who made the mistake of openly discussing themselves on a public forum.

Excuse me! I was not bashing anyone. I was also not psychologizing Ruveyn. I was pointing out something obvious; that he is evading. You may want to sugar coat it, but it won't do anyone any good, especially not to Ruveyn.

As for someone discussing himself on a public forum - If someone does something immoral (like evade their own inner state for years) I will certainly not sit quietly as they try to present it as something good and reasonable. It is destructive for everyone, including themselves.

So unless Betsy tells me to "zip it", I'll do what I think is right.

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What value is gained by psychologizing about 'ruveyn' and spending time criticizing his own psychological processes? Who cares? There must be something better to be thinking and posting about. It's one thing to discuss the value of introspection generally, another to be personally bashing somebody who made the mistake of openly discussing themselves on a public forum.

Excuse me! I was not bashing anyone. I was also not psychologizing Ruveyn. I was pointing out something obvious; that he is evading. You may want to sugar coat it, but it won't do anyone any good, especially not to Ruveyn.

As for someone discussing himself on a public forum - If someone does something immoral (like evade their own inner state for years) I will certainly not sit quietly as they try to present it as something good and reasonable. It is destructive for everyone, including themselves.

So unless Betsy tells me to "zip it", I'll do what I think is right.

I certainly won't answer for PhilO, but what I was objecting to was not that you discussed Ruveyn's errors, but that you challenged his motives for posting his views here. That's what I think is inappropriate and nonconstructive. And this tangent is good evidence of that. The topic is supposed to be introspection, not Ruveyn's membership on the FORUM.

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For those of you who have the need to drill down, then good luck in your Quest For Inner Space. Bon voyage and safe journey. For me, just about everything important to my life is outside my skin and that is where I spend most of my time. I prefer being superficial, because it makes things simple for me.

And the highlighted area is not "bashing?" Many times in this thread Ruveyn has used the words like "inner space" or inner peace" in what seems to me to be a condenscending way. And he has actually stated that he is the next step in human evolution, mentally, and this is not bashing.

I totally disagree with Ruveyn's seeming suggestion that his life is greater and grander than other people because he supposedly does not need to intropsecting. As it is the ability to introspect that allows humans to enjoy levels of integrated happiness beyond the nonintrospecting person. And, I should know because like Ruveyn, "I've been there." That is I have been on both sides and have found life even more enjoyful with rational introspection. Finally, it is not a sign of weakness nor a waste of one's time to introspect.

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I totally disagree with Ruveyn's seeming suggestion that his life is greater and grander than other people because he supposedly does not need to intropsecting. As it is the ability to introspect that allows humans to enjoy levels of integrated happiness beyond the nonintrospecting person. And, I should know because like Ruveyn, "I've been there." That is I have been on both sides and have found life even more enjoyful with rational introspection. Finally, it is not a sign of weakness nor a waste of one's time to introspect.

Not a waste of your time, for sure. You do it. It is a waste of my time (except for error correction and q.c.) so I don't do much of it. A value is something one works to get or keep. Something not of value one does not strive to acquire or achieve or do. What is a value differs from person to person.

So you will value what you value, and I will value what I value. It works out just fine. For me a good day is a day where I prove a theorem, or play with my grandchildren or take a twenty mile ride on my bike or crank out another audio book. To do any of these things I look Out There and not In Here.

You are deep. I am shallow. Being deep is too much trouble for me and I don't get much out of it.

By the way I do not (or at least I try not to) tell other people what is good for them (or what is bad for them). We are all adults and we can work out what we should do each for himself.

I wish you the best of luck in your journey to your Inner Core. Bon Voyage!

ruveyn

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I totally disagree with Ruveyn's seeming suggestion that his life is greater and grander than other people because he supposedly does not need to intropsecting. As it is the ability to introspect that allows humans to enjoy levels of integrated happiness beyond the nonintrospecting person. And, I should know because like Ruveyn, "I've been there." That is I have been on both sides and have found life even more enjoyful with rational introspection. Finally, it is not a sign of weakness nor a waste of one's time to introspect.

Not a waste of your time, for sure. You do it. It is a waste of my time (except for error correction and q.c.) so I don't do much of it. A value is something one works to get or keep. Something not of value one does not strive to acquire or achieve or do. What is a value differs from person to person.

So you will value what you value, and I will value what I value. It works out just fine. For me a good day is a day where I prove a theorem, or play with my grandchildren or take a twenty mile ride on my bike or crank out another audio book. To do any of these things I look Out There and not In Here.

How do you think in principles without introspecting?

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You are deep. I am shallow. Being deep is too much trouble for me and I don't get much out of it.

By the way I do not (or at least I try not to) tell other people what is good for them (or what is bad for them). We are all adults and we can work out what we should do each for himself.

I wish you the best of luck in your journey to your Inner Core. Bon Voyage!

I am not deep and you are not shallow. There is only rational and irrational and I choose to be rational and use my reasoning faculty to it's fullest capacity. I also do not tell people what to value nor do I care to except when asked for helpful insight. But, we are not discussing what someone should choose for values, we are discussing how one goes about choosing values, which it seems you are trying to deny the efficacy of introspection. I do not expect to change your mind. But I will not sit around and be silent and let you try and degrade it's efficiency just because you do not like using it and consider it a weakness.

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You are deep. I am shallow. Being deep is too much trouble for me and I don't get much out of it.

Perhaps I am not treating this with an appropriate level of seriousness, but it reminds me of that scene from Annie Hall where Alvy has just broken up with Annie, and is stopping people on the street to ask their opinions about love, sex, and relationships. After being told by an older woman that "love fades" and by an older man that he and his wife use a vibrating egg for sexual stimulation, he stops a couple, and the dialog proceeds like this:

Alvy: You look like a really happy couple, are you?

Woman: (upbeat) Yeah.

Alvy: Well, how do you account for it?

Woman: Well, I'm very shallow and empty and have no ideas, and nothing interesting to say.

Man: And I'm exactly the same way.

Alvy: I see. Well, that's very interesting. So you've managed to work out something, huh?

Man: Right.

Woman: (nodding yes)

Alvy: Well, thank you for talking with me.

^_^

Besides, I'm inclined to agree with what I think Betsy was implying, i.e. that rby introspects, but doesn't label it that way. In some people's minds, introspection may be a package-deal that includes what I think Ayn Rand referred to as being, "self-consciousness-centered" in a pathological sense. And there are those who may incorrectly equate introspection with irrational self-consciousness in situations wherein attention to external reality is the primary rational requirement.

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I was not bashing anyone. I was also not psychologizing Ruveyn. I was pointing out something obvious; that he is evading.

It is not at all obvious to me. It is a fact that ruveyn is resisting acknowledging the truth of our arguments, but when a person offers resistance, I have found that many things could account for it with evasion being the least likely. The most likely are defensiveness and ignorance. The latter is quite innocent and Ayn Rand admonished us to make every allowance for errors of knowledge.

Ignorance includes "knowing a lot that isn't so" which can seriously interfere with acquiring and integrating new knowledge. That happened to me when I first read Ayn Rand. I identified totally with her sense of life and ethics, but I had a hard time accepting her politics. It just contradicted too much of what I "knew" about history. Capitalism leads to the exploitation of poor children. monopolies, etc. That's what I had been taught by teachers I respected and I couldn't believe that such educated, decent people were all wrong. After checking the alternate sources Ayn Rand suggested, I discovered they were wrong, much to my surprise.

The older a person gets, the more likely they are to know a lot that isn't so. If they argue from a definite point of view with unquestioning certainty, as ruveyn does, that is a strong indication that's where the resistance is coming from. Before you conclude that you are dealing with evasion, it is a good idea to try to communicate what is and isn't so by determining which facts and conclusions your opponent's resistance is based on and directly addressing them.

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I was not bashing anyone. I was also not psychologizing Ruveyn. I was pointing out something obvious; that he is evading.

It is not at all obvious to me. It is a fact that ruveyn is resisting acknowledging the truth of our arguments, but when a person offers resistance, I have found that many things could account for it with evasion being the least likely.

What would you say if you saw a person refusing to understand the world around him? He sees a tree, blinks at it. The tree falls on his head, and he continues to stand there, under the weight of the tree. The sun comes out from behind the clouds and warms his body, and so the man tries to focus on the good feeling of warmth. Then, another tree falls on his head, and he does the same thing. You would definitely conclude that something is deeply wrong with that person, wouldn't you? The tree is literally on the guy's head, but yet he does not try to understand what the tree is, how to avoid or fix the situation - instead he tries to escape the pain by focusing on the warmth from the sun.

Well the case with someone who does not introspect is the same. The person feels down one day, he can't help but acknowledge this fact on some level because this is his own mind. He blinks and continues to bare the pain, tries to ignore it as much as possible, to run away from it and focus his mind on external things as much as possible. But the years go by, and more "trees" begin to accumulate. Yet the person refuses to understand what it is and make an effort to fix the problem. He pretends that there isn't really a problem, and nothing needs to be understood or corrected.

So this is evasion 101 as I see it.

Ruveyn described himself how bad his inner state is, and yet all his arguments suggest that nothing is wrong with him in this respect, and that there is no problem. He also said that he focuses on external things and avoids understanding his inner workings.

So that's why it's obvious to me that he is and has been evading.

Also when I asked him if he considers his "murky" state to be normal or a sign of error, he did not answer, yet he did post that his choice is good, that he has no problem, and hurried to get out of this whole debate (see "bon Voyage" in the journey to our "inner core").

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To continue the ideas RayK was discussing:

An emotion is an automatic response, an automatic effect of man’s value premises. An effect, not a cause. There is no necessary clash, no dichotomy between man’s reason and his emotions—provided he observes their proper relationship. A rational man knows—or makes it a point to discover—the source of his emotions, the basic premises from which they come; if his premises are wrong, he corrects them. He never acts on emotions for which he cannot account, the meaning of which he does not understand.

So what about a man who makes it a point not to understand his emotions? The only option then is to act on emotions that he does not understand, not as a temporary thing - but as a way of life.

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To continue the ideas RayK was discussing:
An emotion is an automatic response, an automatic effect of man’s value premises. An effect, not a cause. There is no necessary clash, no dichotomy between man’s reason and his emotions—provided he observes their proper relationship. A rational man knows—or makes it a point to discover—the source of his emotions, the basic premises from which they come; if his premises are wrong, he corrects them. He never acts on emotions for which he cannot account, the meaning of which he does not understand.

So what about a man who makes it a point not to understand his emotions? The only option then is to act on emotions that he does not understand, not as a temporary thing - but as a way of life.

I don't see evidence that he is acting on his emotions, only that he prefers to ignore them. He applies reason to understanding the world around him. I think his views of his inner self are personal, and one should let them be.

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To continue the ideas RayK was discussing:
An emotion is an automatic response, an automatic effect of man’s value premises. An effect, not a cause. There is no necessary clash, no dichotomy between man’s reason and his emotions—provided he observes their proper relationship. A rational man knows—or makes it a point to discover—the source of his emotions, the basic premises from which they come; if his premises are wrong, he corrects them. He never acts on emotions for which he cannot account, the meaning of which he does not understand.

So what about a man who makes it a point not to understand his emotions? The only option then is to act on emotions that he does not understand, not as a temporary thing - but as a way of life.

I don't see evidence that he is acting on his emotions, only that he prefers to ignore them.

That's the same thing. So long as one ignores his emotions, emotions are in control of him.

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I was not bashing anyone. I was also not psychologizing Ruveyn. I was pointing out something obvious; that he is evading.

It is not at all obvious to me. It is a fact that ruveyn is resisting acknowledging the truth of our arguments, but when a person offers resistance, I have found that many things could account for it with evasion being the least likely. The most likely are defensiveness and ignorance. The latter is quite innocent and Ayn Rand admonished us to make every allowance for errors of knowledge.

The evasion ifatart is referring to is the evasion of his own inner state:

I wasn't actually pointing to his motives. I was pointing out the simple fact that he has stated himself that he avoids facing his inner state of mind.

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