anthony

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    tony garland

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    A. GARLAND
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    My all-time quote: "Man is a being of self-made soul."
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  1. Merjet, I don't know why we can't communicate. I think the one problem is that you get tangled in 'primary beneficiary'. One's life IS the primary. "As ye sow, so shall ye reap". "The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully, will also reap bountifully". (2 Corinth) Here endeth the lesson, and about exhausts my biblical recollection. See! It's even in the Bible. Heh! Simple unbreached causality, followed logically by the next essential causality, which is that one receives the total, due rewards of his sowing and reaping. Derived from such a simple, self-evident principle, it's no wonder that Christians etc. are often excellent businessmen and have a good grasp of market economics and become wealthy. (As contrasted with the secular and the atheists who either deride the capitalist ethic or who debate the theory). Apparently, the religious received their "sanction" to work, produce and righteously prosper, from God. (See: Greg the moralist who is a good example). 'We' receive sanction from reality, metaphysics and morality, or ought to. Then the next stage of (unbreached) causation is the formulation of rights and property rights, to protect one's freedom of action and one's proceeds from it. Worrying like dogs over a bone on who is "primary beneficiary" is crazy and I think, self-restrictive. 'You' are THE beneficiary of all your productive efforts - full stop. It's a moral injustice, when not. And who does one then 'spend' (in virtue, time, energy, knowledge, thought, affection, money, etc.) the proceeds upon? Throw them away arbitrarily to all and sundry who extorts, demands or 'needs' them? Or: On whomever or whatever is within one's scope of values, including whatever fleeting value one comes across, like an old guy with a flat tire. As your values do well so do you; as you do well and thrive, so do they.
  2. I don't believe there is such a thing as a perfectly even trade of values. Over a long time and only with intimate individuals close to one, things -sort of - even out. E.g. A single action for you by the other person, might equal six by you for him/her. The strength and support someone gives to you in character and spiritual value only, may be 'worth' several acts by you. So who's measuring, by what standards? Quantity - quality ? The point is, it doesn't matter. Does it give 'you' (anyone) "pleasure" to help someone in distress regain their normal state? Surely that's what counts. Unforced in any way, and without guilt, service and dutifulness, is how men and women can relate amongst each other. Not even "reciprocity" - or that Golden Rule - is quite valid. Both are subjectively based. Yes, one could 'put one's self in their place'; one might also do as you hope "would be done for you". The objective manner though, I think is more to see, identify and evaluate the reality of another person (a fellow man) in trouble, and the nature of his problem - outside of other considerations - and most likely rise to the occasion without expecting and accepting reward. As long as it is not - conceivably- going to be a self-sacrificial act, your pay-off will be pleasure in seeing him on the road again .
  3. Well - a mobile and calculating "robot" for it to be a reasonable metaphor I guess, unlike the rock. "Every living thing has values, even a virus". Brant I figure you're joking. Else, this is the n'th degree of biological reductionism. Air, water and nutrients are sufficient for all living organisms, nowhere near enough for a 'proper' man's life, man who has the consciousness to know and to value. Raw survival - except for a very brief period under an uncommon emergency - isn't life, it's just breathing oxygen. ("*Man's life* is the standard of value")
  4. You ask the most pertinent question. ("What is a value?") Why - value? A book could be filled with the Objectivist explanation (and probably has) to expound further on Rand's well known words: "It is only an ultimate goal, an _end in itself_ that makes the existence of values possible". "Values are the motivating power of man's actions and _necessity_ of his survival, psychologically as well as physically....The form in which man experiences the reality of his values is - *pleasure*". "..try to imagine an immortal, indestructible robot...which cannot be affected by anything...which cannot be damaged, injured or destroyed. Such an entity would not be able to have any values; it would have nothing to gain or to lose; ...." (I'd suggest superfluously that in contrast to "the robot", now envisage man and individual man. Mortal and destructible (physically, mentally, emotionally) who CAN be "affected" and with EVERYTHING "to gain or to lose". Thus, values - and the virtues required to get and keep them). "Is he buying these things without educating them [his children] about their worth ..." (Korben) That's a great topic on its own, initially I think that "value" given and received (traded) visibly shows itself in action, and so the objective standard is passed on and learned by others, like the youngsters involved.
  5. Korben, Doesn't "primary" imply secondary, tertiary...etc.? I think "primary beneficiary" is a red herring which takes us off point. I'll repeat an earlier observation that there are two distinct areas here. What Rand wrote in the Introduction, is simply that a man, the actor, must be THE beneficiary of his moral acts. Period. ( You recall she's writing against the background of altruism). Therefore, he must get what he strives for and deserves, despite all claims/demands by others who want to interfere and "breach" him from - let's call it - his "input" (his income, profit, knowledge, leisure time, etc.). That's the one side of the coin. Then, simultaneously, he has all kinds of values - human, material entities, 'spiritual' goals, recreational activity, and so on - that support his life and help him pursue his happiness. They require his "output" and virtues to gain and keep. On what or whom he dedicates some part of his input, how much and in what order and priority, is moot and irrelevant. It may be on his daughter, some good person in trouble, a swimming pool, or one of his many other values - or on all of them, at once. He receives his unbreached input, and then disperses it as he sees fit, but we are hardly going to call all these a 'secondary beneficiary', are we?! They are all HIS objective values, held hierarchically, and his existence and life's work is the source. This second part, Rand simply posed as the moral justification for the first, I think is clear.
  6. Merjet: How do you measure "value"? How does one know who is the greater beneficiary of an action, the 'giver' or the 'receiver'? I quote from your article: [Galt] ""Do you ask if it's ever proper to help another man? No -- if he claims it a right or as a moral duty that you owe him. Yes--if such is your own desire based on your own selfish pleasure in the value of his person and his struggle". (AS975) [Merlin] "This strikes me as an odd use of "selfish" when the primary beneficiary of such action is somebody else.. Moreover, her use of the term has caused Rand's arguments to be frequently misrepresented and made a frequent target for critics"". --- The above by Galt is a TRUE representation of AR's arguments; being altruist, the critics choose to pretend they don't grasp it.. I haven't seen that you refer much or at all to 'values', and that's where you miss the critical point: Value perceived by the 'giver'. So long as his beneficent act is unforced, and someone's plight is recognised (identified), (dis-)valued, or sympathized with by him, individually/selfishly - and it is his "own selfish pleasure in the value of [another's] person and his struggle" - AND, helping that specific individual/institution is of higher value to him on his personal scale of values than the 'cost' of the action (so, not sacrificial: i.e. he is outlaying a lesser value for a greater) - Then, it is "proper" that he does so - in fact - why not, "rational and moral"? That's "cognitive and normative" (more accurately, I think - cognitive, evaluative and ethical). The "primary beneficiary"? How do you know which he is? It could well be the "giver" who gets the most out of it. Sorry, merjet, but your rendition ( I suppose in trying to make more palatable, "rational selfishness") I find idiosynchratic. Rand is usually the one accused of this, but in terms of reality, man's nature, and 'objective value' - hers is the completely and only rational theory. There can't be yes-no compromise or equivocation - NO "breach" is permissible: what a moral actor thinks, creates, produces and then profits from, is morally his. This is indeed a cognitive, evaluative, moral principle, nullifying the Is-Ought false dichotomy again, I think. ("As it should be"). And btw, 'profiting' from his moral acts, his efforts, is precisely how he can afford to help out someone struggling whom he sees worth in, a 'value' to him, in the first place. (You are a defender of Capitalism, what did you think of "You didn't build that!")
  7. I think that it is rare for Rand to dictate "categorical imperatives", such as this one seems/is. ("Man must be the beneficiary of his own moral actions"). Consider this though, it's not so much aimed at the "moral actor" (and yes, it provides him with moral sanction for his actions) as much as directed at those who'd deprive him of his 'rewards', those who'd cause the "breach", the sacrificing altruists.. The only other "imperative" which comes to my mind is in Galt's speech, her words through his mouth, broadcast to a nation (obviously not to the rational producers, the "moral actors"): "To interpose the threat of physical destruction between a man and his perception of reality, [that "breach" again] is to negate and paralyze his means of survival"..."So long as men desire to live together, no man may INITIATE--do you hear me? no man may start--the use of physical force against others". Once more, here is a general Imperative and warning to the populace, largely - and evidently for the sake of the immoral numbers - to never "interpose" a breach by force upon their victims. When Rand is categorical, there is always a full rationale she gives. First case is in developing her ethics, now in developing individual rights via the NIOF principle. A nice symmetry there.
  8. I'm not getting you. Are we not agreed that ~without~ a breach, actor and beneficiary are one? As it should be?
  9. O' Brian is also great, in a similar vein to CSF. I believe I have the full paperback collection of Travis MacGee, the private detective on his houseboat at Fort Lauderdale. A wonderful character with a touch of the Randian romantic, independent man of integrity and professional righter of wrongs. Barbara Branden also loved the books and told me in a brief exchange here 6-7 years ago how she had foolishly loaned out all her books, never to be returned. She agreed that JD McDonald did not receive the significance from critics he deserved. Ah well, here's to a gracious lady.
  10. Cicero, hah. Was I declaiming somewhat, Marcus Aurelius? (thanks, Peter). Cicero: "The absolute good is not a matter of opinion but of nature". Not a subjectivist. Which goes to show there's nothing new under the sun, not much in the realm of fundamental ideas, anyway. But like a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle, it takes some smarts to piece them all together into a whole. Further, to cohesively evaluate the best and real ideas and toss out the others is another mighty step. And who can deny that anything totally original discovered (in epistemology and ethics, say) over and above those, takes sheer brilliance. "Do not begin with some derivative concept or issue, while ignoring its roots..." AR's "Razor" is most fitting to this topic. Know the roots. Quote from a Stephen Boydstun essay: "The existence of the external world is perceptually self-evident and not to be proven by deduction from contents of consciousness, contra Descartes. Knowledge of the world is "derived from perception of physical facts", contra Rationalism, and knowledge of the world is not "by direct perception of immediate facts, with no recourse to concepts", contra Empiricism."[Perception and Truth, Kant and Rand] And L. Peikoff: "Man's knowledge is not acquired by logic apart from experience, or by experience apart from logic, but by the application of logic to experience". (The twin rocks an objectivist has to steer safely through - empiricism to port; rationalism to starboard. Mind as she goes. On the nautical theme of novels and writers you enjoy too, have you read CS Forrester and his series of Captain Horatio Hornblower, RN? Early favourites for me).
  11. Okay. Not to bother, as usual I''ll answer to myself. At first read many years ago, Tony, you 'knew' exactly what Rand meant in those passages. You saw the picture. Then later, with second-guessing and with others' commentary and interpretations came doubts, ambivalence and uncertainty. "Man must be the beneficiary of his own moral actions". hmm. MUST be. Moral actions. Beneficiary? So, how's this -- whatever (whatever) our egoist does - he must always gain something out of it directly? Is that what she says? If he chose to donate to charity, he MUST still benefit ... Ah, right. he'll receive a State tax deduction and he will get good publicity and others' acclaim. And if he lays out money to put his children through college ... ah, with their education they will one day reciprocate and support him in his old age! Then to outlay on something 'superficial' and 'inessential' for his child, of little beneficial use to him-personally? Well, no, sorry. No can do. Etc. From there you went through a confused, subjective and skewed - and narrow - interpretation of "rational selfishness". Reprising, it's easy to see now that I needed to stick firmly to my initial 'guns', to trust myself and to give Rand that "charitable read" - no charity at all, actually, only to read her exact words, exactly and clearly. The mistakes: I dropped context, badly. (To start that passage Rand leads with an indictment of altruism, in which men can only end up either "sacrificial animals" or "profiteers on sacrifice"). Then I ignored and down played the centrality of the concept of "value". Then, I misperceived "moral actions". All in all, I gave AR a superficial interpretation for a period. But if contained under one concept as I first did, it comes together in the only way Rand meant and possibly could mean. Roughly. One's "moral' - i.e. rational, selfish, honest, creative, *productive* - actions, are the ONLY source of one's capability to sustain one's human, material and spiritual values, and that source is not ever to be self-sacrificed, if one has value in one's life and values. Nor, to be sacrificed, interrupted and robbed by the claims and coercion of others. It would constitute an immense injustice against life and values to do so. (Note how the insertion of "productive" shifts the meaning). Precise, elegant and succinct, by Rand:- "...man must be the beneficiary of his own moral actions. Since all values have to be gained and/or kept by men's actions, any breach between actor and beneficiary necessitates an injustice". It turns completely on the meaning of *value*, as well as of *moral actions*, I think. If the meanings, painstakingly set out in her further writing in VoS, are disregarded, Rand's statement can indicate anything, anytime to anyone and take one way off course. Thanks Tony, that helps a lot.
  12. "If it is true that what I mean by "selfishness" is not what is meant conventionally, then ~this~ is one of the worst indictments of altruism: it means that altrusim ~permits no concept~ of a self-respecting, self-supporting man--a man who supports his life by his own effort [..] It means that altruism permits no view of men except as sacrificial animals...as victims and parasites[...] that it permits no existence of a benevolent coexistence among men--that it permits no concept of *justice*. [AR's preamble] [...] The reason why man needs a moral code will tell you that...*concern with his own interests* is the essence of a moral existence, and that *man must be the beneficiary of his own moral actions*. "Since all values have to be gained and/or kept by men's actions, any breach between actor and beneficiary necessitates an injustice; the sacifice of some men to others, of the actors to the non-actors, of the moral to the immoral. ---- There's enough of the context, merjet - Rand's argument arrives at a principle based on other principles (justice, values, benevolence, self-respect, sacrifice), therefore the principle must be treated ~conceptually~ and taken in whole, as one concept. The reader has to trace it back along conceptual chains, to 1. compare it to Rand's complete writings to see how well it integrates, and 2. compare it for congruence with the reality he knows. Being inductive and conceptual, I think it is not something that can be empirically validated or invalidated. I can only imagine that one either recognizes its truth and agrees unreservedly, or does not. Would you please make your reservations clear?
  13. You'll have to do better than that. Please criticize my last post in detail in your complete response. "How was Rand stating or indicating that a child should not get braces from her parents?" ?? "Man must be the beneficiary of his own moral actions". To make yourself clear, what do you interpret this to mean?
  14. Plenty of place for polemics elsewhere, this is really basic. To put it this way - if a man isn't receiving the full, uninterrupted, due reward of his productivity, he exists under (at least) a partial servitude. To Rand I suppose, there can be no compromise - he is a slave, period, existing by the permission of looters. Doesn't matter if he planted potatoes, advances his knowledge, authors a book or starts a business - "man must be the beneficiary of his own moral actions". Values versus sacrifice. Merjet approached this from the wrong end, as I did for a while, getting confused between "actors" and "beneficiaries". How was Rand stating or indictating that a child, say, should not get, say, braces from her parents?! What sort of a "rational selfishness" is that?! That's crass egotism, and sacrifice of value. But it is exactly with regard to and in honour of a moral individual's values that she made her statement - undoubtedly. "Since all values have to be gained and/or kept by men's actions..."(she prefaces the rest). (Your values - persons and entities - will also suffer and be sacrificed, if you aren't receiving the benefits of your effort). Her statement is only (what could be called) the ~practical~ derivation or end result of her morality, and so she said it is "not a moral *primary*.
  15. Some fascinating insight into he who is the most, um ~ kind and sweet ~ man in history. Uncle Emmanuel was firm and categorical about dishonesty. Never. Ever. Lie. "For instance, if you have by a lie hindered a man who is even now planning a murder, you are legally responsible for all the consequences. But if you have strictly adhered to the truth, public justice can find no fault with you, be the unforseen consequence what it may".... [I. Kant, 'The Supposed Right to Lie'] "Certainement, Monsieur Jihadist avec votre AK-47- the editor of Charlie Hebdo is in that building, two flights up and first door to the left. Bonne chance. Adieu".