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. It's hard to see any conflict here. A good tale, but really what does it show? You spotted an individual human need, and individually did something about it. The central thing is, you did it freely, of your own identification and value-assessment and of no sacrifice to your self and wealth and apparently don't derive your ethics from that act, or boast about being morally superior. For a small outlay, you might have made some poor guy's day, he was left feeling a little less abandoned; and you were left with a good, memorable, feeling. I doubt you're going to expand these acts to seek out every unfortunate person and dedicate your life and values to selfless service. While there's nothing to stop anyone with large resources creating, say, a foundation or Trust to aid the poor, orphans, etc. I don't believe anyone can have a problem with "do-good, feel-good" as part response to a helpful action to an other. However the objective recognition/act of value plus good emotions plus pleasurable brain endorphins, have been turned and glorified into an idealist duty - ethically, socially, in politics - for each, impossibly, "to live for" each other. Left to his own, we know man can be a generous, rational animal. But pushed into it, plainly he increasingly rebels and it curtails his good will. So practically, for starters, altruism has glaringly failed and done far less for the needy than people with free choice and self interest would have - and altruists will never admit that. When all else fails, they still have "feel-good" left. The altruist, by definition, doesn't have faith in human nature, doesn't understand man's mind and probably does not think much of mankind or himself.
  2. Korben, great. The apparent ambiguity of the sentence flummoxed me for a long while, and because it is so pivotal to the morality, but ~appears~ to set a subjective standard of value - i.e. any individual's life - an error could easily set one off in a wrong direction, of subjective egoism, or egotism (as I recall it partly did). Whereas the true "standard" or benchmark and gauge, is the high, objective concept, "man's life", applying to us all. (Gripe: just here, she could've used "Man"...) That imagined "a" may be the most critical word to not appear in any book.
  3. Considering all the unversed readers of 'Atlas', "never to ACT for ..." would have read strangely, I guess. Sure, to "act for", in the ordinary sense: one does things for, helps, co-operates with, cares for, engages with...etc. - others - and so do they for you. I think in the fully integrated sense of *life-action*, and since men can't exchange their consciousness (or bodies), it's impossible and so immoral to even try to ~think~ for each other, impossible to perfectly know and experience each other's values, concepts and goals, let alone to know what to DO 'for them'.
  4. Correction. "Objectivist ethics holds man's life as the ~standard~ of value" -- and ~his own life~ as the ethical ~purpose~ of every individual man". ( The standard of value is the abstraction, man's life, not "a" man's life, qua individual).
  5. Synonymous, no? "In a fundamental sense, stillness is the antithesis of life. Life can be kept in existence only by a constant process of self-sustaining action".[The Objectivist Ethics] "Stillness" isn't of course simply physically immobile. *An act of consciousness* [NB?] addresses the complete picture of *action* (senses, perception, cognition, conceptualization, emotionality, and all). Add in the automated organic functions, all which shows the impossibility of acting/living for another.
  6. 'Trading' dis-value for dis-value, iow? Do unto others as they did unto you? ha! I'd say, I'm against. Can it be rationally and selfishly of any purpose for one to exact payback for wrongs, especially when it's rationalized (as we are emotionally inclined to) as teaching 'em a lesson? In later years I learned the sense of leaving anyone who's done me dirty to stew in their own juice. To break contact and move on. By their nature, such individuals meet what they deserve one way or other.
  7. (The only thing to be done with a sociopath is to stay well away from any, once recognized, I found). But there is something missing when picking out sociopaths, especially. Since: 1. They are a small minority 2. They are known for a predisposition for harm (which I hasten to add and agree, can not be legally and morally excusable). If all or most evil gets laid on their doorstep, we badly miss the point and invert the real causes of evil . Most evil done in mankind's history has been perpetrated by non-sociopaths, only going on studies/numbers alone. Most evil then is by average humans - rational and volitional - and who largely lack such deviant aberrations. I quite enjoy/admire animals in general, and particularly value my own dogs and cats. A dog has specific canine characteristics. For instance if it barks at visitors and growls at other dogs, it's simply protecting its territory or you, its pack leader. Within a range, a dog can only be a dog and no more - he shouldn't be punished e.g. for pinching food off the table, etc. (when it's the owner who's at fault for leaving it there). Similarly, a lioness hunts and kills buck, and cannot be 'blamed' for its nature. All dogs have identity as the species, and (as dog owners know) a particular ~individual~ nature, above that. ('A personality', enhanced by good care, communication and attention). A dog can never be "evil", it just is what it is. Man too has a biological nature - but - also a metaphysical nature, which is the identity of man's consciousness. Autonomous, rational and volitional. Within the limits and capacities of this range, an individual forms a consciousness with its own identity too. Unlike the dog, one isn't 'man' automatically nor can survive automatically, he has to apply himself to reality with his volitional reason (and of course he picks up human behavior from others around). Therefore a man has to teach himself to be 'good', has to learn pro-life values for himself, and has to look for and find and think of the good ideas which sustain them - or else his ideas may be so badly wrong - potentially evil - that he can and likely will - do evil. I say sociopaths are a tiny part of the problem of evildoing. The major part is leaders with power and control on their minds with false ideologies and their followers who have renounced independent minds. Next to some 'normal' people, I prefer my dogs.
  8. Good enough for me. You say more rational selfishness, less evil. I actually agree with you...
  9. William, A question: do you think there would be less Evul, or more, in the world, if every person were held responsible (more importantly, selfishly held himself volitionally responsible) for his actions and their consequences? Although you've always been a little derisive of "evul", I know you acknowledge that evil exists, in what men do to men - we've often seen your horror at the Syrian death toll. If you think though that sociopaths represent the depth of evil-doers, in light of the facts you've presented which show that they are conscience-less by accident of biology/circumstance of upbringing - it then follows, they lack responsibility (more like, have diminished responsibility, I rather view it) for what they do to others. I could infer that you might consider Bashir al-Assad clinically sociopathic. Maybe he his, may be not. What then can you say of the other 24 out of 25 people who follow him, and all the other leaders and followers on all 'sides' of that war, (since the self-evident facts are being released, only now, that other groups have committed atrocities in this drawn out, pointless war, but that's another story) who are not sociopaths?
  10. The "Trader principle" is what it is all about, practically and morally. By which one chooses as ably and rationally as one can to always 'trade up'. Iow, to always receive a higher value for a lower one, in dealings with people and commerce, but not just, not at all. Good you brought it up, I think the principle is basically a subset of the principle of objective value and I believe you will see, very much part of "value/sacrifice".. You'll know that popular misconception - e.g. of two, not very wealthy, parents enrolling son or daughter to a quality college, which costs x per year. Others will often say of them (approvingly) that it was a 'sacrificial' act. If they're honest the parents will respond that x dollars is the lower value, their children's best education is the higher - to them. Not a sacrifice then, but 'trading up'. Conversely, 'trading down', giving up a value - which may be a person, a virtue, money - for a non-or-lesser value, is true sacrifice as you know. The value hierarchy one has is invaluable, since issues big and small are always with us, and all our choices depend on it. Idea evaluations and choices such as the difficult ones we all face now between the degree of security and safety in one's country, against the degree of loss of liberty it entails. How much loss of freedom - for how much public safety? is it worth it? Will it be recoverable in future? Not easy.
  11. Yes I see that my little distinction between "sacrifice" and "self-sacrifice" may be confusing. Its only to be clear about the roles of the two parties, I use it. In the way Rand discerned the relationship - and interdependence - between taker and giver. It is a symbiotic relationship, a vicious circle, and is at the heart of any evil, I think. Specially in one handing over one's 'power', to those who want authoritarian power. "It stands to reason that where there's sacrifice, there's someone collecting sacrificial offerings...The man who speaks to you of sacrifice, speaks of slaves and masters. And intends to be the master". (The Soul of a Collectivist, FNI) That causality here is just one way, from willing "self"-sacrifice to those collecting on such sacrifice. Self-sacrificer->sacrificer. It is as often the other way, when existing force of some kind (social and psychological, as well as political) imposes or demands the (unwilling) sacrifice from one. Both courses however, exactly lead to one point, sacrifice of one's values (spiritual, material) ultimately one's independent mind, freedom and life. Yes. An innocent victim isn't the sanctioner of his forced fate - unless he supports the evil some way. To "sanction" your mugging, would be to apologize to the mugger for his trouble, offer to take him to an ATM to hand him more money - and if he's arrested, rise to his defence by stating that you forgive him, he didn't mean it, and he came from an under-privileged upbringing so should be excused.
  12. The metaphysical approach is right I think. Before filling in the specifics. The central principle of evil always existent is - sacrifice, helped along by self-sacrifice by some. It requires humans as perpetrators - and victims - but withdrawing one's sanction, naming it and opposing it, takes away the oxygen evil needs to survive. There's an "evil" seen even today as something mystical, maybe a 'substance' which descends on people? and isn't as uncommon as I'd think; the other perception is a form of evasion, as in 'Hitler was evil but wasn't he a psychopath?' In this is apparent the political Left's assertion: evil is caused by 'circumstances'. Both versions deny that to be evil is 'a choice' made to be less than 'man'. (I assume Steve is jesting about not granting his sanction to a mugging).
  13. Yep. As always it's practice -focus- and dedication to recover one's "eye". Aftera detached retina some years back and nearly losing vision in an eye, it took some while to come back.
  14. William asks "Can one be educated to 'see'?" Yes, certainly, one can be educated to see - better. That's a good thing a good artist accomplishes for we the viewers. An artist gives a subtle or bold emphasis to detail and lighting and composition, proportion and perspective, colour and line, which gives to viewer a whole different way of looking at the same subject matter back in real life(which he very likely has seen many times, and ignored as common or uninteresting). We learn to see afresh, by his view and treatment. The isolated, presented picture within its rectangular borders and frame, adds importance and significance in the viewer's mind, all making it 'special'. The question here is can one be educated to see what only the artist knows, he 'meant' to show? Above that, what a few educated sensitives can also see--or claim to see there? Here it begins to enter the realm of suggestion (association, etc.) When we look at those picture pairs, one can see the similarities - because we were supposed to, by whoever showed them. But if one saw only the right column, many might be confused as to the identity of some. With more exposure to art, viewers become a little more proficient at accurately spotting one or two: i.e. This 'looks like' a field of red flowers among green foliage. i.e. up to a point, art education and exposure helps with slightly abstracted art. Lines, horizontal or diagonal depicting calm or dynamism, sensual curves; cool colours, like blues and whites reminiscent of clouds and skies - or reds, and 'violent'; and other techniques - suggest 'things' up to a point (and are tecniques used in realist painting by custom). But there has to come a point with contemporary art when nobody can know for sure, and past which when it becomes guesswork. (Ive likened this here before to slowly throwing a lens out of focus on a camera with a ground glass focus screen. As the image de-focuses through stages, it goes from still recognizable, to less, to eventually at maximum a complete misshapen blur, and (perhaps attractive, design/colour-wise) a non-image . I can claim this was a beautiful woman's face, or city skyline I photographed, but why should I be believed?) One can appreciate that artists, especially since the advent of photography, deliberately first set out to challenge established realism. As long as the works remained quite representational, on the border-line between clear and unclear, and still teasingly close to identifying the subject, and still evoking emotions, that's fine and fairly honest. Crossing the boundary altogether into fully abstract art is where deception may come in and surely does. For one to claim that a blurred hodgepodge image can be 'seen' by the educated and sensitive viewer, is doubtful. She may sincerely 'believe she knows'; she may be 'cheating' from what she's heard or read by the artist himself and his visual intentions in a specific painting; she may be dippy. Who knows? To know better, this intuitive insight should be empirically tested in several double-blind experiments, using unknown artworks by unknown artists. Claimants would state what they 'see', against the artist's testimony of what he 'meant', or at least what he was feeling at the time. (If he meant anything beyond a nice design).
  15. (Some were talking of this, I think it deserves its own thread once more). "Sanction of the victim" - or, the full consent, acceptance and aid given to his 'martyrs' by the one being 'martyred' - I think ought to be seen as a sub-category, although critical, of the concept of the "sanction of evil". "Evil", in general, is not to be just abstractified, or concretized in historical persons (Hitler, et al...), it can be anticipated in its false doctrines and then directly known in reality we see. It requires human beings: to think of, obey, initiate and enact. Evil then depends on its active participants and on those who passively do not speak out, first against the ideology, failing which, against the acts which follow. "...for good men to do nothing" - perhaps best articulates this. But one can't speak of evil outside of the concept, 'objective value', and value not outside of 'sacrifice'. Something and someone (of value) is evidently always sacrificed when evil is done. Then, good people and ideas are tamely surrendered to bad or worse ones; freedom, to controls; expression of minds, to popular opinions/restrictions; a minority group/individual to a majority; independent judgment over-ruled by a mass judgment; humanity to brutality. For most all 'sacrificers' it seems there exists by necessity an abetting 'self-sacrificer' with a superior morality. Excepting where and when he has completely no choice in the matter, and is under total coercion, such a man gives tacit or willing permission to his sacrificers, so aids their cause with his mind and its products, his complicity, even his statements, and his virtuous reputation. He may be for a little while partially and innocently ignorant, under the impression it is his - and all men's duty - to serve others and the 'greater good'. But not for long. If he doesn't recognise soon that he is debasing his highest value, his mind and virtue, to evil ends (and so lending his previous moral stature to the repression of many other people too) his is the biggest abnegation and fault, because he "knew better".