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    • Michael Stuart Kelly

      New upgrade with simpler interface   05/13/2016

      Once again, the fine folks at IPB made a new upgrade and things might not be where you started to learn they were. However, this is one time where I think they actually improved things for navigation. There are only a few big buttons: When you click on one of those buttons, some other stuff opens up, depending on which button you click. (Later Note: These only appear when zoomed in or in the mode for smartphones/tablets.) I'm learning this as you are, so I suggest you do what I am doing: click on these big buttons, see what they open and fiddle with the software some. Ironically, you will find there is a lot that is intuitive. That's what I'm discovering. (Later note: I just discovered that I was viewing the site zoomed in too far to see the normal view. The menus are still there with the old buttons, but when I zoom in too much, they disappear and the new buttons appear. I believe this zoomed in way is what the site looks like on mobile devices. I'm going to mess with it some more, then maybe make some explanations.) Sorry for the inconvenience. Still, over time, I hope you end up liking these changes. Michael


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    Stephen Boydstun

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  • Full Name Stephen Boydstun
  • Description The most important thing in the world is love. The most important thing about the world is mathematics. The most important thing upon the world is the human mind.
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  • Gender Male
  • Location Virginia
  • Interests Metaphysics; Theory of Concepts and Predication; Philosophy of Science and Mathematics; Philosophy of Mind; Foundations of Ethics; Physics; Mathematics; Biology; Cognitive Science

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  1. A Life, A Philosophy

    1923 in We the Living "Historians will write of the 'Internationale' as the great anthem of the great revolution. But the cities of the revolution had their own hymn. In days to come men of Petrograd will remember those years of hunger, and struggle, and hopes to the convulsive rhythm of 'John Gray'. " . . . It had a tune and a rhythm such as those of the new dances they imagined far across the border, abroad. . . . Petrograd had known sweeping epidemics of cholera; it had known epidemics of typhus, which were worse; the worst of its epidemics was that of 'John Gray'. "Men stood in line at the co-operatives---and whistled 'John Gray". . . . Men hung on the steps of speeding tramways, humming desperately 'John Gray'. . . . "Its gaiety was sad; its abrupt rhythm was hysterical; its frivolity was a plea, a moan after that which existed somewhere, forever out of reach. Through winter nights red flags whistled in the snowdrifts and the city prayed hopelessly with short, sharp notes of 'John Gray'." John Gray
  2. Donald Trump

    . Clinton victory, Democratic Senate?
  3. Donald Trump

    . On a lighter note. On the serious side.
  4. Donald Trump

    . Good for you, Michael. Also evident in that search, using "President Obama" in their own address (not in quote from media): Peter, William, Ed, and Robert. I'll definitely be going with "President Clinton" (not "Evita") or "President Trump," even "President Sanders." The derisive labeling can spill over into disrespect for this country. One's fellow-American opponents have more commitment to our constitutional process than one might like to admit in the heat of (now every-day-of-every-year) making propaganda against them. Not one of these candidates is anything remotely near the character and deeds of the elected leaders in Venezuela right now. That goes for President Obama too. All the Presidents as far back as I can remember have argued in court for increase in the powers of their office. But all of them and their attorneys have yielded and intended to yield to the constraints from the judiciary (it was not so smooth as that in the early years of this constitutional republic, but now it's deeply set).
  5. Psychological Visibility

    . Also in Rand 1936, a bit for the mirroring mix, in the first meeting of Kira and Leo: "Her face was a mirror for the beauty of his" (58).
  6. Donald Trump

    Michael: "But you might have to start practicing the phrase, 'President Trump', since you resist it so hard." Why, no. I don't recall anyone at this site besides me ever using the respectful title President Obama. Perhaps William did. It certainly seemed that many citizens in the country at large could never really accept that he was President. It was a kind of psychological disowning of him, I think.
  7. Happy Birthday, Tibor (and, sadly, RIP)

    . Celebrating the Life of Tibor Machan
  8. The love affair between Rand and Branden was going on while she was writing Galt's speech for Atlas Shrugged, according to Branden's chronology in My Years with Ayn Rand. I came across a passage this morning in Atlas in which Francisco says to Rearden "You're the man who would know that just as an idea unexpressed in physical action is contemptible hypocrisy, so is platonic love. . ." (491). According to Branden's memoir, when Rand, with Branden, had announced to the spouses that she and Nathan had fallen in love and were intending to consummate it, she had said something like "We're not Platonists. . . . We don't hold our values in some other realm, unrelated to the realm in which we live our lives. If Nathan and I are who we are, if we see what we see in each other, if we truly hold the values we profess, how can we not be in love?" (133). In Shoshana Milgram's contribution to A Companion to Ayn Rand, she includes the following in a footnote: "There is incomplete documentary information about the course of the romantic relationship between Rand and Branden. At some point, Rand wrote in her personal notes, that they had made a 'Platonic decision', . . . which signaled a change in their relationship [the end of the making-love element]" (43n67). The final sentence in the recollection of Branden's, quoted in the preceding paragraph, echoes Rand's "You will follow me" passage as Dagny heads for the tunnels where she will be ravished by John Galt (955). Perhaps she indeed made such an echo as is contained in Branden's recollection. On the other hand, perhaps Branden's reconstruction of what Rand said to the group adds the echo or strengthened it, given his familiarity with Atlas. Insert existing attachment Insert image from URL c. 1953 (somewhat before the love affair)
  9. GOP Debates

    . There are some new world-wide data on numbers of abortions here. The Libertarian Party national convention is at the end of May in Orlando. Their principles and policies are these. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ New photo is Yosemite Firefall - sunset on a waterfall.
  10. Why is there religion???

    Oh, I see. I've told you what I mean by the term 'love', two senses with two examples, since then. But as for the statement you had in mind, in which I said "It is often said" I should add: When people say God is love, they mean various things, but mainly, if versed, I think they mean the pure outflowing love that goes under 'agape'. And when the passage "For God so loved the world that . . . [perhaps an echo of the older characterization of Prometheus' love for man]" is read, I think the traditional thought has also been of agape. Of course not all who love God or who recite Bible passages are that versed in theological distinctions. And their saying God is love and their loving God and their fellows is good enough for real goodness, without any quibbling. God's incessant love is in no wise excuse for Greg's incessant hatred of his fellows, and Greg does not speak for God.
  11. Why is there religion???

    Which statement? Which question? SB "Love" - v. to value, to esteem, as in "I love the springtime at our place" or "I love man, the glory of the earth." American Heritage Dictionary - 6. Theology - a. God's benevolence and mercy toward man. b. Man's devotion to or adoration of God. c. The benevolence, kindness, or brotherhood that man should rightfully feel toward others.
  12. Why is there religion???

    Jonathan must be on to something true, as Greg hides behind a smiley. “Our own self-inflicted suffering.” Glad to see that our. How about our own self-attained happiness? As in happiness and success manifest in many atheist folk at this site, and in Greg, a theist . . . no, correction . . . a could-care-less about objective truth of that theo matter, rather, duck into subjectivism and get on with the usual political drivel. Love defined would be as in the first entry in your dictionary. Love from God would be the agape sort and, as among your fellows (that our you slipped into), the philos sort. Don’t play innocent of such instruction or pretend that your perpetual ill wishes for humanity and evasion of their goodness is love or put the blame for your hatred on God.
  13. Choosing Life, by David Kelley

    . "My morality, the morality of reason, is contained in a single axiom: existence exists---and in a single choice: to live. . . . To live, man must hold three things as the supreme and ruling values of his life: Reason---Purpose---Self-Esteem. Reason, as his only tool of knowledge---Purpose, as his choice of the happiness which that tool must proceed to achieve---Self-Esteem, as his inviolate certainty that his mind is competent to think and his person is worthy of happiness, which means: is worthy of living." --Ayn Rand (AS 1018) "If you have understood how sacrilegious it is to rebel against life . . . then, fortunately, you have understood something else as well: the futility, fallacy, absurdity, deceitfulness of a rebellion like this. A condemnation of life on the part of the living is, in the end, only the symptom of a certain type of life, and has no bearing on the question of whether or not the condemnation is justified. Even to raise the problem of the value of life, you would need to be both outside life and as familiar with life as someone, anyone, everyone who has ever lived: this is enough to tell us that the problem is inaccessible to us. When we talk about values we are under the inspiration, under the optic, of life: life itself forces us to posit values, life itself evaluates through us, when we posit values." --Friedrich Nietzsche (TI 5, translation of Judith Norman)
  14. Why is there religion???

    . Greg, why would God need order and the structure of mathematics in his mind? or why would such things be an emanation of his mind if his being of mentality is not an ordered thought across time, but an omniscience in an eternal instant? He would know all, however ordered or chaotic. Would he necessarily have to create mathematics in creating the world? Could his power be constrained in that way? Would he create mathematics only for our enjoyment and utility, mathematics being inessential to his own being? Do you agree with the tradition according to which God created the world? From nothing? Do you believe in God or only something significantly like that? You seem to avoid using the name God. Is avoidance of that name only a public-relations approach for preaching to people such as Objectivist-types, who don’t believe in things such as a supernatural God? If God created mathematics, did he also create the principle of mathematics and of the world that we call the principle of identity: all things have specific characters and not some other specific characters? If he created that principle, could he have the specific character of being a creator before creating that principle? Greg, it is just evasion to switch the topic to politics or to say the junk about "we have different backgrounds, education, and life histories, therefore we must think differently about these and many other matters." No. We both have the power to collect seven bolts by counting them. We both have the power to think or not to think. To think of the preceding logical issues concerning reality or to evade them. Have you bothered to read Rand before preaching to the Randians? What have you read of hers? What are your rejoinders to her arguments (different than those in this post) against the conception God and his existence? Insult or going mum is no substitute for articulate counter-argument, no substitute for the work of articulate thought. (Also, have you read the Bible? You said you don't regard it as the word of God, but as being about God. I'd think that's a good enough reason for reading it and bringing its thought and eloquent expressions forth in support of your view. You did not invent the First Commandment and how it is about God and man, however central it is in your own view.) It is often said that God is love and that God loves the world and man. In Luther's catechism, the meaning given for each Commandment nine times out of ten begins "We should fear and love God such that we may not . . . ." Do you think it appropriate to love God? Do you think it appropriate for you to love your fellow human beings as God is said to love us? Why is there nothing but hatred and insinuation of your wicked wishes for suffering of those you disagree with in your message? The message with which Christianity has won so many hearts and minds is quite other.
  15. Epilepsy and Consciousness

    Thank you, Talia, for sharing this personal history and experience. When I was a child in the '50's I had grand mal seizures. There was a certain feeling preceding them I came to recognize, and I could start to tell a family member it was about to happen. I "outgrew" those. In about 1996, I began having complex partial seizures. In those I don't know proper names, no thought is complete, all is unconstrained association, I get lost in colors, and although I come out of it, I won't be able to do intellectual work until the next day. My husband would help me through those episodes, particularly the fear aspect (for I knew I was not right) by sitting me down with my Vermeer book and talking me through the elementary things in the pictures, as with a young child. These seizures came into pretty good control with the modern medicine Neurontin. There was something else happened to me for a couple of days, of which your summation reminded me. We didn't know what was happening to me at the time. Back in 2005, I was beginning to lose ability to remain standing, walking, or sitting upright. I would lie on my library floor and try to do my writing, but my mind was fading. It turned out I had a bladder blockage, and although they got that fixed easily enough at the hospital, I then went into a couple days of what my neurologist calls metabolic encephalopathy. I lost my mind. I could not remember my extended personal identity, did not know how old I was, even though it was printed on my bracelet, and had hallucinations and paranoid delusions. At the end of the second day, my husband's elder son visited and talked to me about a book he was reading, and I began to be able to have a short coherent conversation. The next morning I was well. From my window, I could see up to a balcony of a condo on which a father was holding his little girl in his arm as they watched the sun rising out of the lake. I reached over for a book of poetry a friend had left beside my bed and began to read. I know what you mean how wonderful it is to have full rational consciousness, how personally wonderful.