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Smallness of Mind


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#81 whYNOT

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 03:51 AM

I want to continue to build on four more key ideas from Dennis's post #41, adding my own views or elaboration: (D.) > There is an enormous amount of unhappiness in the world Because it's not automatic. Because no matter how high your intelligence or how much philosophy or Objectivism you've read, you still have to work at it, to know how to apply all of that. Because life is hard. And challenging. Because mistakes and oversights are as perennial as the grass. And that's just on your own personal level in terms of challenges *all of which* would exist in a fully rational culture and in a robust fully free society.

Excellent points, Phil. I’ve always believed that Objectivism holds some important answers regarding the objective requirements for human happiness, and that this would help pave the way for Objectivism’s eventual triumph as a rational philosophy for living on earth. A major problem, of course, is once again Ayn Rand herself. In many ways she seemed to offer a radiant example of what a human being could be and should be—and then there is that other side to her which seems to contradict all that. Much of my admiration for Nathaniel Branden derives from the fact that, in the years following their break, he seemed to represent the Objectivist ideal in a way that Rand and Peikoff and all the rest of the alleged Objectivist ‘purists’ did not. They seemed to look upon her shortcomings as an excuse to perpetuate them. Branden rejected that crap, and used psychology to work out the mechanics of what living rationally truly entails. The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem is like a "Users Manual" for implementing the Objectivist ethics. The field of psychology, though still in its infancy, holds the answer to many of the questions you raise.


"User's Manual" for '6 Pillars' is a nice one. I saw it the same way.
My impression is that Nathaniel was actually relieved to get out from under, Dennis.
Is that true, do you speculate? Certainly, it didn't take long for him to launch himself into his new career.
That he did not allow any residual bitterness to be publicly known, or to revoke O'ism,
speaks volumes about Objectivism, and his integrity and forebearance I feel.
Definitely never a petty man.
"To know that we know what we know, and to know that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge". Nicolaus Copernicus (An original objectivist) 1473-1543 ***No man may be smaller than his philosophy...***

#82 Dennis Hardin

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 03:53 AM

One of the tenets of Ayn Rand’s Objectivism is that one’s “sense of life” can be reprogrammed. But can it be reprogrammed to think happy thoughts, or rational appreciation of the good, etc.? when you read the following notes, wonder about it, because she writes so well, even a “not yet proven” or dis-proven assertion seems to logically flow from her chains of logic.
I hope some of you will comment especially Ellen Stuttle with her Jungian background. What does the science of psychology say today?
Peter


Notes from The Ayn Rand Lexicon
The Romantic Manifesto, 31
This leads many people to regard a sense of life as the province of some sort of special intuition, as a matter perceivable only by some special, non-rational insight. The exact opposite is true: a sense of life is not an irreducible primary, but a very complex sum; it can be felt, but it cannot be understood, by an automatic reaction; to be understood, it has to be analyzed, identified and verified conceptually. That automatic impression—of oneself or of others—is only a lead; left untranslated, it can be a very deceptive lead. But if and when that intangible impression is supported by and unites with the conscious judgment of one’s mind, the result is the most exultant form of certainty one can ever experience: it is the integration of mind and values.


In my view, Branden's approach to building self-esteem in combination with cognitve therapy can go a long way toward "reprogramming" our subconscious "integrated appraisal of man and existence." The extent to which cognitive behavioral therapy has been embraced by the psychological community is an enormously hopeful sign. It is now regarded as being on an equal level with medication in terms of its overall effectiveness in combatting depression. In my opinion, that's a huge endorsement of the practical value of Objectivist epistemology. Rand used to like to say: "Check your premises." That is exactly what cog-B therapy is all about.

I'm not saying that psychology is now at a point where it has all the answers. Far from it. But Branden's sentence-completion technique can raise awareness of negative subconscious ideas, and cognitive therapy can then go a long way toward totally reshaping one's view of self and the world.

Many of our subconscious values and beliefs, however, are acquired at a very early stage of development and subsequently sealed into our psyche in a way that seems almost indelible. This is one of the main obstacles to helping patients achieve genuine, long-lasting change. The effort required to uproot irrational or malevolent or pathological modes of thinking is overwhelming. Imagine the discouragement that a person with morbid obesity must feel when he/she realizes the effort that's going to be required to lose all that dead weight. The main obstacle is keeping the patient motivated to get past that horrible sense of hopelessness. The difficulty of achieving major change on the psychological level is infinitely more challenging.

#83 Dennis Hardin

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 04:16 AM

Much of my admiration for Nathaniel Branden derives from the fact that, in the years following their break, he seemed to represent the Objectivist ideal in a way that Rand and Peikoff and all the rest of the alleged Objectivist ‘purists’ did not. They seemed to look upon her shortcomings as an excuse to perpetuate them. Branden rejected that crap, and used psychology to work out the mechanics of what living rationally truly entails. The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem is like a "Users Manual" for implementing the Objectivist ethics. The field of psychology, though still in its infancy, holds the answer to many of the questions you raise.


"User's Manual" for '6 Pillars' is a nice one. I saw it the same way.
My impression is that Nathaniel was actually relieved to get out from under, Dennis.
Is that true, do you speculate? Certainly, it didn't take long for him to launch himself into his new career.
That he did not allow any residual bitterness to be publicly known, or to revoke O'ism,
speaks volumes about Objectivism, and his integrity and forebearance I feel.
Definitely never a petty man.


Tony,

Yes, he was definitely very relieved to break free of Rand's Brain Trust. Branden made that very clear in an interview in Reason magazine that was published a year or two after the break. It was transparent to anyone reading that interview (or anyone meeting him in person, as I did at the time) that he was enjoying life in a way that had not been possible to him during his years as her associate. It was probably the best thing that could have happened for him.

Unfortunately, thanks to those who inherited his stewardship, it was the worst thing that could have happened to the Objectivist movement.

#84 whYNOT

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 06:05 AM

Much of my admiration for Nathaniel Branden derives from the fact that, in the years following their break, he seemed to represent the Objectivist ideal in a way that Rand and Peikoff and all the rest of the alleged Objectivist ‘purists’ did not. They seemed to look upon her shortcomings as an excuse to perpetuate them. Branden rejected that crap, and used psychology to work out the mechanics of what living rationally truly entails. The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem is like a "Users Manual" for implementing the Objectivist ethics. The field of psychology, though still in its infancy, holds the answer to many of the questions you raise.

"User's Manual" for '6 Pillars' is a nice one. I saw it the same way. My impression is that Nathaniel was actually relieved to get out from under, Dennis. Is that true, do you speculate? Certainly, it didn't take long for him to launch himself into his new career. That he did not allow any residual bitterness to be publicly known, or to revoke O'ism, speaks volumes about Objectivism, and his integrity and forebearance I feel. Definitely never a petty man.

Tony, Yes, he was definitely very relieved to break free of Rand's Brain Trust. Branden made that very clear in an interview in Reason magazine that was published a year or two after the break. It was transparent to anyone reading that interview (or anyone meeting him in person, as I did at the time) that he was enjoying life in a way that had not been possible to him during his years as her associate. It was probably the best thing that could have happened for him. Unfortunately, thanks to those who inherited his stewardship, it was the worst thing that could have happened to the Objectivist movement.

Much of my admiration for Nathaniel Branden derives from the fact that, in the years following their break, he seemed to represent the Objectivist ideal in a way that Rand and Peikoff and all the rest of the alleged Objectivist ‘purists’ did not. They seemed to look upon her shortcomings as an excuse to perpetuate them. Branden rejected that crap, and used psychology to work out the mechanics of what living rationally truly entails. The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem is like a "Users Manual" for implementing the Objectivist ethics. The field of psychology, though still in its infancy, holds the answer to many of the questions you raise.

"User's Manual" for '6 Pillars' is a nice one. I saw it the same way. My impression is that Nathaniel was actually relieved to get out from under, Dennis. Is that true, do you speculate? Certainly, it didn't take long for him to launch himself into his new career. That he did not allow any residual bitterness to be publicly known, or to revoke O'ism, speaks volumes about Objectivism, and his integrity and forebearance I feel. Definitely never a petty man.

Tony, Yes, he was definitely very relieved to break free of Rand's Brain Trust. Branden made that very clear in an interview in Reason magazine that was published a year or two after the break. It was transparent to anyone reading that interview (or anyone meeting him in person, as I did at the time) that he was enjoying life in a way that had not been possible to him during his years as her associate. It was probably the best thing that could have happened for him. Unfortunately, thanks to those who inherited his stewardship, it was the worst thing that could have happened to the Objectivist movement.


Dennis,

How long before the inevitable would have happened, though? (more conjecture from me).
As the saying goes, the guy best for the job, wouldn't want it. Branden would have gone on his own either way, I sense.
It is an inherent 'challenge' (not flaw, or dilemma) to Objectivism, qua philosophy, that it attracts, insists upon and turns out the most independent minds, in contradiction, it seems, to Objectivism qua movement.
Not to say that these disparate individualists do not also share a huge commonality in their chosen philosophy.
This, and our relatively small numbers, *should* if anything, be a binding factor among O'ists - not the converse - bickering and pettiness - which comes back to the purpose of this thread.

Tony
"To know that we know what we know, and to know that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge". Nicolaus Copernicus (An original objectivist) 1473-1543 ***No man may be smaller than his philosophy...***

#85 Philip Coates

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 08:25 AM

> a binding factor among O'ists - not the converse - bickering and pettiness - which comes back to the purpose of this thread.

Tony, I'm very happy about how this thread has turned out.

Even if it were to end right now - it's actually one of our shorter intellectual/philosophical/psychological threads to date - it has stimulated a lot of valuable thinking from quite a number of people. I wanted to respond to all the interesting posts but couldn't actually keep up**. Coool!

The topic of smallness of mind seems broad enough to cover more than just Oists but to be culture-wide and to be something every human being gets trapped in from time to time. It is a negative topic, though, so upon reading a third time what has been posted**, I would like to start a thread on the "flip side": What constitutes "Largeness of MInd". {Raises a whole new set of issues, I think. I'd start off by giving my own views and then seeing what others think.} Would that be interesting?

**what works for me is to create a Word document on my computer in which I 'snip' or boil down all the posts that are provocative on a subject: makes it easier to rethink them, quote them and don't have to be endlessly loading and flipping back thru pages on the web.

#86 BaalChatzaf

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 09:25 AM

Largeness of Mind is the willingness to transcend the bounds of received knowledge of wisdom if experience and the facts requires one to do so. Nature is under no obligation to make it easy for us to understand it. Be prepared for sweat, aches and pains.

Ba'al Chatzaf
אויב מיין באָבע האט בייצים זי וואָלט זיין מיין זיידע

#87 Peter Taylor

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 10:59 AM

Tony wrote about Nathanial Branden:
As the saying goes, the guy best for the job, wouldn't want it. Branden would have gone on his own either way,

end quote

Great insight! Kudo’s to Dennis, Phil, Tony and everyone else
I hope some others who were Objectivists back when Nathan and Ayn were united in purpose will comment. I was a neophyte in the mid 1960’s but it seemed to me that NB only reluctantly stepped in and spoke as the “next in line” for Ayn Rand. I thought she was pushing him to be a spokesman but his interests lay elsewhere especially in the field of psychology. Starting the Nathaniel Branden Institute was his way to gain independence of thought and purpose. At the time, I felt that he was IN NO WAY cashing in on Rand. After the split I was bitter and excepted Rand’s version of events. If there had only been an internet back then!
Today, I hold Barbara and Nathanial in high esteem.
My asides, Phil, were not meant to change the topic, but just reflect my interests.
Peter


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#88 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 11:38 AM

Peter,

Here's a teaser for stuff in addition to the Brandens and cognitive psychology on happiness.

1. I did a variation of "sense of life" in my article on addiction. I called it "sense of identity." As time has gone on and I have learned more about the lower parts of the brain, I believe I am on to something. And I believe this might become a useful idea in a way sense of life is not. (More at another time on this.)

2. L Ron Hubbard came up with a similar concept to sense of life. He called it a tone scale (emotional "tones"). He claimed to have arrived at it from years of "clearing" Scientology folks, however I have tried to find corroboration of his alleged data to no avail. What all this means is too extensive to write about right now, but there are many serious people who have used the tone scale as a jumping off point for teaching people how to alter their behavior and basic outlook on life.

(I believe this is one of the reasons so many high-profile actors and media people are Scientologists--there's just enough truth in things like the tone scale to work a lot of the time and it gives actors an extremely useful tool for putting together a believable and effective character.)

Incidentally, Wyatt Woodsmall, who is a top teaching and learning expert (years teaching the USA armed services things like how to improve shooting performance), teaches the tone scale as a tool of influence, albeit he does not support Scientology. I mention him because I have been studying his work and influence on information marketing. He's the reason I first looked at the tone scale.

The point is that Rand's concept of sense of life is really unwieldy. It's an oversimplification with few specifics. If you think your sense of life is deficient, there's not much you can do to change except maybe study more Objectivism, change your premises and things like that. But whether you'll be successful is a crap-shoot. (I've messed with this long enough and deeply enough to realize that there is a huge guilt booby-trap built into it that you have to step around if you want to get value from it.)

Hubbard, in his own kooky way, actually came up with a system of gradually moving up the scale from the dark side to the happy side. (And, please, don't take this as an endorsement for Scientology. The fact is that if Scientology only contained kooky stuff, it would not spread like it has done. Like any religion, there are things that work in it. Large numbers of people do not join these groups because they want to become fruitcakes or turn into zombies. They are initially attracted by positive results they can see and verify for themselves. That is the part I am looking at. The bad stuff comes after the indoctrination.)

3. I am really fascinated by the writings of Mihály Csíkszentmihályi on flow. (I am currently reading The Evolving Self.) He contends that there is a huge difference between pleasure and enjoyment. Pleasure is short-term and enjoyment is medium-to-long-term.

Flow, which is a form of enjoyment, is essentially a state you get into when doing something difficult with mastery and time seems to stop. Pleasure is good and we constantly seek it, but it wears thin really quickly.

I believe the recipe for happiness is somewhere in this direction, including other positive psychology stuff I have been skimming over. They call it seeking the conditions for "a life worth living."

Apropos, I was very grateful for coming across the idea of flow since I have been in flow so often and so deeply. Now I know that I am not crazy. (Well... that's a discussion for another time... :smile: ) I tend to conflict with people I live with for pulling me out for mundane reasons when I am on a roll.

So while Rand was in the ball park with her concept of sense of life, I don't think she came up with much except a variation on the classical temperaments idea that goes back to the ancient Greeks or even earlier. As an artist, I have pondered her sense of life concept over and over (I desperately wanted to get it right), but the best I can make of how to use it can be expressed by an analogy. It's like telling a person that if he wants to get rich, he has to make a lot of money.

It's true, but it's so general that it's not useful for much.

I have a bunch of other things like this I have been looking into. This is one area that gets my juices flowing.

Michael

Know thyself...


#89 Peter Taylor

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 09:40 AM

Msk wrote:
I did a variation of "sense of life" in my article on addiction. I called it "sense of identity." As time has gone on and I have learned more about the lower parts of the brain, I believe I am on to something. And I believe this might become a useful idea in a way sense of life is not. (More at another time on this.)
end quote

I have been away for most of a day, and oh well! The one thing you are not ready to explore is what greatly interests me. There is a union of the body and the mind so a theory would be needed to explain our physical and mental survival or put another way, our happy mental and healthy physical longevity. The physical portion is not “baggage” nor should it be considered as such but . . . I am not trying to put this into the realm of the silly but what if there were real Klingons? Even Klingons recognized portions of their inherited psyches that were baggage, that hindered rational evolution. So without calling some of homo sapient traits baggage, though slyly implying that they are, I think there are portions of *US* that we need to be wary of, modified, or lessened - but not denied or sublimated.

I am not sure the category of the *Doctor Branden’s* will succeed in a vacuum. Objectivism without a smidgeon of real evolutionary psychology IS NOT “MAN QUA MAN.” Sure, “man is a rational being” but Doctor Branden probably has some of the keenest insights into who he, and we, really are, and we are not Howard Roarks. (I haven’t read anything of his new in twenty years. I may check out his website.) In the mean time you, and this thread are on to something. And I will be pondering what you and others have been saying.

We are working on Christmas day brunch. I’ve ordered a meat and a veggie tray to be picked up Christmas Eve day, the frozen portion of the punch is in the freezer. It is 59 at 10:30 am and I think I will jog.
HO HO HO.
Peter
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#90 Philip Coates

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 04:30 PM

I mentioned yesterday morning that it's important not just to explore smallness of mind, but its opposite. Since this thread is largely critical of the culture and of the movement, I've just started a new more positive thread.

It's called "Psychological Health and Largeness of Mind" and raises entirely new issues.

#91 Peter Taylor

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 02:19 PM

Msk wrote
(I believe this is one of the reasons so many high-profile actors and media people are Scientologists--there's just enough truth in things like the tone scale to work a lot of the time and it gives actors an extremely useful tool for putting together a character.)
end quote

I did a web search and came up with a lot of derogatory info on “tone scale” and Scientologists. I have only known two and they were vindictive people. I have no doubt there may be some good in tone scale but I would not pursue it or speak well of Scientology in any way.

Here is one brief article from a detractor.
Peter

By George Groves (Observer) on Friday, October 04, 2002 -From the Operation Clambake Forum
Strangely enough, by scanning psychiatric annals from the 1930s which I have found in a used book store, it seems that Hubbard stole the basis of the Tone Scale Chart from his nemesis, the infamous 'psychs'. I have seen several charts in these annals that are extremely similar to Hubbard's chart - even the wording is along the same 'professional expert' lines.

It would seem that the original purpose for these psych charts was to depict the emotional/behavior states of mental patients, in order to judge what sort of treatments they should be given. For example, one such chart lists anger as a higher state than that of apathy - as does Hubbard's chart. The idea was to explain to psychs that when a mental patient is becoming angry this is not necessarily a bad thing - it could show that they are being healed because they are moving upwards from the apathy state.

If the psychiatrist realizes this and allows the patient to pass through his anger - rather than driving him back down into apathy - the patient may come all the way up to calmness. In other words, the patient has confronted the subconscious, traumatizing act, possibly from his or her childhood, which they have been unknowingly angry about and which has been driving them into manic-depression for years. Unfortunately, Hubbard perverted the idea of attaining psychological healing through becoming conscious of such traumatic events of which one is not aware into the bizarre notion of being rendered unconscious in the completely physical sense during a traumatic incident and then coming under the control of voices, which remain as engrams.

Actually, one is very rarely rendered unconscious in the physical sense, as described by LRH (Liar), but is rendered unconscious in the sense of not wanting to remember and not being able to understand. One chooses unconsciousness and one chooses to regain consciousness - in Scientology, one is still choosing to remain unconscious, and become even more unconscious.
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#92 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 04:49 PM

Peter,

I will not defend Scientology, but I will not let PC peer pressure silence my ideas, either.

I am highly interested in your quote, though. When I saw the lecture by Wyatt Woodsmall, he mentioned that he had spent a great deal of time and money trying to track down a person or work that he had heard about from which Hubbard got his idea. But it was to no avail so he eventually gave up. (Your link doesn't work, by the way. I had to go to the Clambake forum from a Google search.)

Notice that Mr. George Groves does not cite who his source is other than claim it is from some unnamed "psychiatric annals from the 1930s" and apparently authored by "his nemesis, the infamous 'psychs'," whoever that might be.

I have no idea what any of that means, so I can't really take Mr. Groves' speculations seriously. However, if he (or anyone else) can come up with a real source, I would love to see it. I am very interested in where this notion came from--but for real, not la-la-land stuff just because someone wants to bash someone else.

Note--I don't doubt that Hubbard was capable of doing what Groves said. I'm just not willing to accept an opinion as a fact because a controversial organization is involved.

Also, if you find the tone scale chart on the Internet (which is very easy to do), you will find "tones" for before birth and (possibly) after death, which is pure gibberish to me.

But let me give you a little better feeling about this.

There is a lady named Ruth Minshull who wrote a series of books that were used to recruit people into Scientology in the 1960's, 1970's and early 1980's. One of them specifically dealt with the tone scale, How to Choose Your People. This book was a best-seller in the organization, right alongside Hubbard's own books. And apparently, it sold gobs and gobs of copies. Later, Minshull was excommunicated (or something to that effect--I think they used the term "squirrel," but I'm too lazy to look it up right now) and her books were declared off-limits to members.

If you Google it, you can find a free copy in several places on the Internet.

From my research a while back, I read somewhere that this book, when it was being sold, was considered as one of the most effective tools for convincing newbies that Scientology was something good during recruitment. I also read that it's popularity (and that of the other works of Minshull) was probably the main reason it was banned since it was competing directly with Hubbard's works.

I printed the thing out and only read half of it before getting distracted by other stuff. It appears to contain a lot of wisdom, but this seems more due to the introspection and speculations of Ms. Minshull than to any verifiable theory. As with all works of this nature, there are also some things that don't sound right.

The main point for me is this. I believe the idea has some merit to it that there is an emotional background "sense of life" scale for normal human beings. I don't believe it is as Hubbard gave, but I believe in the possibility that he got close.

Once again, to address your concerns about getting tainted by discussing a topic where the main organization has so many negatives, there are people like Greta Van Susteren who openly admit to being a Scientologist. If you are interested, here is celebrity list from Wikipedia: List of Scientologists.

Since this is a subject that does prompt kneejerk reactions, though, let me stress once again that I am not promoting Scientology, nor do I think it is a good thing to belong to it.

I'm just looking at interesting ideas, wherever they may be found. And I do see a strong parallel between the tone scale and Rand's sense of life idea.

Michael

Know thyself...


#93 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 11:18 AM

Peter,

I'm going to elaborate on this, but I am still going off the top of my head (with the help of some copy/paste). It's going to be a bit long, so settle in with a cup of coffee. But I will even tie it into the smallness of mind theme that started this thread.


Sense of Life

Part of the entire problem with sense of life is how to change it. I just reread all the entries on sense of life you posted from Ayn Rand. There is nowhere in them a method for changing, only judging. She claims that sense of life comes from subconscious emotional integration (which I believe might be part of it, but certainly not the whole reason a person is, for example, mostly pessimistic or optimistic).

But can you do anything to change it? Or are you condemned to being a metaphysical loser if you have a bad sense of life?

Here are Rand's own words from your post 74 (my bold):

A sense of life is not a substitute for explicit knowledge. Values which one cannot identify, but merely senses implicitly, are not in one’s control. One cannot tell what they depend on or require, what course of action is needed to gain and/or keep them. One can lose or betray them without knowing it.

So it looks like, to her, you are basically stuck with what you've got, unless you make some kind of heroic effort that not everyone is equipped to do--and I only say that to give Rand the benefit of the doubt.

She did dabble in trying to change some people. She mentioned in her essay "Art and Moral Treason" in The Romantic Manifesto a Mr. X, whom she helped:

When I saw Mr. X for the first time, I thought that he had the most tragic face I had ever seen: it was not the mark left by some specific tragedy, not the look of a great sorrow, but a look of desolate hopelessness, weariness and resignation that seemed left by the chronic pain of many lifetimes. He was twenty-six years old.

He had a brilliant mind, an outstanding scholastic record in the field of engineering, a promising start in his career—and no energy to move farther. He was paralyzed by so extreme a state of indecision that any sort of choice filled him with anxiety—even the question of moving out of an inconvenient apartment. He was stagnating in a job which he had outgrown and which had become a dull, uninspiring routine. He was so lonely that he had lost the capacity to know it, he had no concept of friendship, and his few attempts at a romantic relationship had ended disastrously—he could not tell why.

At the time I met him, he was undergoing psychotherapy, struggling desperately to discover the causes of his state. There seemed to be no existential cause for it. His childhood had not been happy, but no worse and, in some respects, better than the average childhood. There were no traumatic events in his past, no major shocks, disappointments or frustrations. Yet his frozen impersonality suggested a man who neither felt nor wanted anything any longer. He was like a gray spread of ashes that had never been on fire.

Basically, she showed him, through art, that he had a different sense of life than the one logically implied by the philosophy he had accepted. So the conflict shut him down inside and caused him guilt. Once he became aware of this, he changed his philosophical principles, fixed it, stopped feeling guilty and lived happily ever after. I'm not kidding about the way she presented this, too. Here are her own words about the outcome:

(Ultimately, what saved Mr. X was his commitment to reason; he held reason as an absolute, even if he did not know its full meaning and application; an absolute that survived through the hardest periods he had to endure in his struggle to regain his psychological health—to remark and release the soul he had spent his life negating. Due to his determined perseverance, he won his battle. Today—after quitting his job and taking many calculated risks he is a brilliant success, in a career he loves, and on his way up to an ever-increasing range of achievement. He is still struggling with some remnants of his past errors. But, as a measure of his recovery and of the distance he has traveled, I would suggest that you re-read my opening paragraph before I tell you that I saw a recent snapshot of him which caught him smiling, and of all the characters in Atlas Shrugged the one whom the quality of that smile would suit best is Francisco d'Anconia.)

There are countless cases similar to this...

In other words, he already had a great sense of life. He was already among the superior ones. He merely did not know it and was holding himself back through the wrong philosophy.

There was another "Mr." that Rand helped in the original essay in The Objectivist Newsletter, but it got cut from the book version.

I shudder to think of the "countless cases similar to this" (her words, not mine). Not the ones Rand helped, but the ones where I believe she essentially condemned the people to having a "death premise" in their sense of life--a flaw they gained by philosophically betraying their minds when they were too young to make any kind of informed choice--and shuffled them off to Branden's psychotherapy as the only chance to fix their broken selves.

However, she described something that is quite true. This is from your quote once again (from "Philosophy And Sense Of Life" in The Romantic Manifesto:

A given person’s sense of life is hard to identify conceptually, because it is hard to isolate: it is involved in everything about that person, in his every thought, emotion, action, in his every response, in his every choice and value, in his every spontaneous gesture, in his manner of moving, talking, smiling, in the total of his personality. It is that which makes him a “personality.”

Introspectively, one’s own sense of life is experienced as an absolute and an irreducible primary—as that which one never questions, because the thought of questioning it never arises. Extrospectively, the sense of life of another person strikes one as an immediate, yet undefinable, impression—on very short acquaintance—an impression which often feels like certainty, yet is exasperatingly elusive, if one attempts to verify it.

That part rings true.

But can you change it?

I have looked at this question from so many angles over the years, it's not funny. My intention was not psychology per se. I wasn't interested in changing people. I was interested in writing fiction. I wanted to know how a person changes from one emotion to another on a small level, and how a big change occurs throughout the book.

I was aware that Rand's characters never change their sense of life. Rand deserves a lot of credit for creating them and keeping the suspense going without such an obstacle to overcome. But having lived through addiction, I knew it was possible to change something fundamental in ones life and I wanted to portray this.

I believe Rand's insistence on and portrayal of a static sense of life is one of the main reasons writers of Objectivist-leaning fiction after her do so poorly. You can easily get away with a total hero or total villain in action stories, but it is much, much harder in philosophy, where the starting point is practically "know thyself" and opening ones mind to inquiry.


Sense of Identity

I came up with the sense of identity concept in an essay I wrote, Understanding Addiction, in 2005. Here are some highlights:

There is one major part of the subconscious that is affected by addiction. It is almost a sense of life issue, but runs parallel to it -- a merging of the addictive substance with the person’s sense of identity. According to Rand (“Philosophy and a Sense of Life,” in The Romantic Manifesto), a sense of life is “a pre-conceptual equivalent of metaphysics, an emotional subconsciously integrated appraisal of man and existence.” A sense of identity is similar, but it is a pre-conceptual equivalent of the axiom of identity at the personal level, an emotional subconsciously integrated appraisal of who and what a person is in relation to life and existence. I know I just coined this term, but the basic conceptual idea is Ayn Rand’s. These levels are about the deepest ones where a mental event can be perceived.

To illustrate, let us go back to what addiction feels like, the thirst experiment. Thirst is much more than an emotion; it is a basic survival drive. When a living organism needs liquid, thirst arises and lets the mind know about it so that water will be sought. It sets an immediate survival goal. That is how this drive generates an emotion at a very basic level for all conscious beings. For humans, regardless of what a person is doing, regardless of how high-level the conceptual activity is, the “I’m uncomfortable -- must seek water” emotion butts in.

When a person reflects on his nature in terms of sense of identity, he finds it inconceivable to live a lifetime without consuming liquids. Drinking liquids is an essential part of who he is.

. . .

An addict cannot conceive of a future without that addictive substance being a part of his life. The thought of eliminating the substance gives him a panic on a fundamental level that few other values are able to do. The automatic, non-chosen, part of the sense of identity exists to prompt the organism’s survival and general health actions. Any nonessential drive lodged there is an “abnormal condition” and interferes with other organic drives. Not one addictive substance is essential to survival or health, so a need for it has no business being down there.

The subconscious literally gets sick -- the automatic premise/emotion part of sense of identity gets contaminated -- and it needs to be cured.

. . .

The hardest part of curing a sense of identity is that mere good thinking doesn’t change it. A sense of identity premise/emotion requires a great deal of time and specifically directed effort to be excised. Simply realizing and saying that it needs to change is not enough. It constantly returns and pops up in the most varied mental places, causing the most varied rationalizations (after all, it is a premise).

. . .

The fact that a sense of identity premise can be chosen also means that a bad one can be removed by choice and effort.

I remember when I first came aware of this. I was at a doctor's office and he prescribed antibiotics. He then told me I could not drink alcohol during the treatment and I literally had no idea of how to do it. That was simply not who I was. It was like telling me to flap my arms and fly.

I intend to refine my sense of identity concept later in a book where I will delve into human nature, but notice that there is more than a focus difference between what I came up with and what Rand did. I make a point of saying you can change it.


The Overton Window

I am beholden to Glenn Beck for bringing this idea into my life. This is basically a method for making incremental change on a fundamental level. You will see the importance of this idea later in this post.

Wikipedia does a pretty good job of explaining it: Overton Window:

The Overton window, in political theory, describes a "window" in the range of public reactions to ideas in public discourse, in a spectrum of all possible options on a particular issue. It is named after its originator, Joseph P. Overton, former vice president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

. . .

When the window moves or expands, ideas can accordingly become more or less politically acceptable. The degrees of acceptance of public ideas can be described roughly as:

- Unthinkable
- Radical
- Acceptable
- Sensible
- Popular
- Policy

Wikipedia did not do such a good job on explaining how it works. You can get a much better idea of how to use it here: A Brief Explanation of the Overton Window. Here is an example of the degrees using Overton's original freedom as a standard.

Least government intervention
Most freedom

No government schools
Parents pay for the education they choose
Private and home schools monitored, not regulated
Tuition tax credits
Tuition vouchers
Private and home schooling moderately regulated
Charter schools
Public-school choice
State-mandated curricula
Private and home schooling highly regulated: parents pay twice
Home schooling illegal
Private schools illegal
Compulsory indoctrination in government schools

Most government intervention
Less freedom

Basically, the window includes any four of these ideas, but keeps them in order. At the site, there is a cool gadget you can move to highlight the four ideas.

And here is how it works. If, for instance, a person is convinced that home schooling should be illegal, the closest you will be able to discuss something with him and still connect will be to talk about people being able to choose their public schools. That is within the window. If you up up further and talk about things like tuition vouchers, you will not connect with that person and, if you insist, the discussion will eventually become a yelling match or worse.

We see this behavior all the time in discussing philosophy online.

The big takeaway here is that if you get the person focused on choosing public schools as priority instead of making home schooling illegal, you shift the window. Now you can include a discussion of tuition vouchers and he will take you seriously as you move more in the direction of freedom. (The opposite is true, too.)

This approach also works well on the level of personal outlook on life.


Reaching by Ten Percent

As you know, I have been studying Internet marketing. This led me to go through a lot of motivation stuff.

One of the most useful concepts I have come across is the ten-percent rule. If you have a skill or positive outlook, you try to improve your efforts by just 10% each day. You try to do just a little bit better, not a whole lot. Adapting the Overton Window as a method, a whole lot better falls outside your window of what is thinkable short-term for your life, but just a little bit better moves you up the scale.

This also works in the opposite direction. which is why motivational people tell you to be careful about who you hang around. If you are really positive and come across a total pessimist, you will not take him seriously and try to get away from him. But if you find a person who goes in the pessimist direction and can communicate with you on your ten-percent level going down--or within your window of what is thinkable--he will suck the spiritual energy right out of you.

As an aside, you don't make fundamental changes to your long-term vision with this method. You merely move toward it or away from it. Vision is another area and I will write about that at another time.

Notice that this is the same method you use for learning a skill. For instance, I became a top-notch trombone player and worked in that field for a few decades. I did not improve from one day to the next. I had to practice each day with the intent of getting just a little bit better. As time went on, I was able to raise my bar of what was thinkable for me to play. As a beginner, I knew I had no chance of playing the trombone solo in Bolero by Ravel, but later in life, I did that professionally many times.

In tying skill and happiness together, Mihály Csíkszentmihályi came up with the concept of the flow state.

I don't have a quote for what I am about to say off the top of my head since I only heard the following in a lecture, but here goes my summary. (And if I get it wrong, that's on me, but I think I'm right.)

Csíkszentmihályi noticed that people get into the flow state when they get intensely focused on what they are doing. In general, when they have mastered a difficult skill and perform it with a high degree of focus and willingness, this ultimately triggers the state of flow and provides a deep level of medium-to-long-term enjoyment. But one essential component of getting into the groove is the commitment to do the best one can, epitomized by trying to do ones limit and just a little bit better. Not a lot better than ones capacity. Just a little bit.

This is the window idea.


The Tone Scale

I have already dealt with this above, but here is how I have seen some people implement it for persuading others. They basically wed the Overton Window concept to it.

Here is a list, but I copied the categories from the Wikipedia article, Tone Scale, so it is not exactly as I have seen it used. But it's close enough. Note that I have removed the silly point scale Hubbard attributed to it (to make it look "scientific") and I cut off the end points since these generally deal with the afterlife.

Exhilaration
Aesthetic
Enthusiasm
Cheerfulness
Strong interest
Conservatism
Mild interest
Contented
Disinterested
------------------------------
Boredom
Monotony
Antagonism
Hostility
Pain
Anger
Hate
Resentment
No sympathy
Unexpressed resentment
Covert hostility
Anxiety
Fear
Despair
Terror
Numb
Sympathy
Propitiation
Grief
Making amends
Undeserving
Self-abasement
Victim
Hopeless
Apathy
Useless
Dying
Body death

I put a line in the middle, This is the crossover point from where a person goes from negative to positive. Or goes from a bad sense of life to a good one.

By applying the window concept, you first determine where a person is at in a general sense. Since these are merely words for states and not descriptions of how the world looks from that angle, you can get a better overview from the work by Ruth Minshull I mentioned earlier. (Here is a PDF version: How to Choose Your People. You can right click on it and save it to your hard disk.)

The way you use this is to apply the window idea. Woodsmall suggested using three (two up or two down) as the window instead of four.

So, for example, if a person sees the world from the emotional angle of feeling undeserving, you can connect with him and help raise him up if you talk about making amends or dealing with grief. But if you try to talk about profound resentment or maintaining a strong interest in something, you will lose him, unless he temporarily gets into a higher mood.

One of the flexible aspects of this scale is that, although it depicts a "sense of life" level. we all experience mood swings throughout the day, so we can jump up or down quite a ways on the scale for short amounts of time. After that, though, we tend to settle back to the default "tone."

As I mentioned before, I don't think human nature is accurately reflected in this scale, but I do see it strongly in the ball park. From my experience and observation, there is enough that is correct here to be extremely useful in dealing with people.

As a fiction writer, this is a great rule-of-thumb guide on how to have characters interact.

And, if you are into self-improvement, you can set up a program for yourself of trying to move up the scale, adapting it as you see fit.


Changing for Good

There is an excellent book called Changing for Good: A Revolutionary Six-Stage Program for Overcoming Bad Habits and Moving Your Life Positively Forward by James O. Prochaska, John Norcross and Carlo DiClemente. (You can get a PDF overview here: Changing for Good. Once again, you can right-click the link and save it to your computer.)

Basically, the authors noticed that there are five stages--or five windows (see where I am going with this?)--in the behavior and concerns of people who make long-lasting changes in their lives:

- Precontemplation
- Contemplation
- Preparation
- Action
- Maintenance

You don't jump over any stage. You have to go through them all for a change to stick.

This is a fascinating and highly effective approach to changing yourself. There are a lot of details, but I won't go deeply into them right now. Leave it to say that this method has been adopted by many, many institutions and people devoted to change, from addiction to politics.

But I am interested here in applying the incremental window idea to this outline.

The easiest way to understand what I am talking about is to look at communication. You can only be in the next highest (or lowest) stage if you want to connect with a person on a deep level.

So, for example, people who are not aware that they have a problem will be able to connect with those who are contemplating it, but will certainly not connect with a person who is doing something about it. If you alter your way of speaking to a person to reflect this, you have a far greater chance of convincing him than you do otherwise.

In talking philosophy, imagine what the implications of this are. If you want to convince, say, a Muslim that suicide bombing or killing those who leave Islam is evil, you first have to figure out if you are talking to a person who is aware that he has a problem. To many of that culture, these things are simply a matter of taking what they have learned on faith. You will not get to him by telling him to do something about it and showing what you do. You must entice him into contemplating first. The best way to do that is to be in the contemplating frame when you talk to him.

I could go on, but I think I have already pointed to a vast horizon well-worth using as a North Star to guide a long journey.


Smallness of Mind

Whew!

Believe it or not, I have only scratched the surface of what I have been looking into, but hopefully you will see what I am driving at.

Briefly stated, I hold that you have to correctly identify something before you can evaluate it rationally. Thus, it is essential to check your sense of identify before even worrying about a sense of life since you can identify what is innate and what has been put there (by yourself or by others).

Next, you have to come up with a method of incremental change if you want to do something about your state--or the state of others. I believe the Overton Window approach is the most useful I have come across, especially if you apply different visions to it depending on what you want to change. You can use it to reach for that extra ten-percent you need to improve and be sure you are going in the right direction.

Now let's look at the smallness of mind Phil complained about.

Doesn't it now seem like this is a problem we can do something about?

Or do we just throw up our hands, presume that people either get it or don't, presume that people have a sense of life they cannot change (or can only change with superhuman effort), and point to the bad guys as some kind of metaphysically given?

Or do we try to do something about it (other than killing bad guys)?

I remember a time when I was in the gutter in São Paulo, doped out of my mind and really, really bitter about the world. One day I looked at myself objectively. I saw that I was not in a very good state--especially not for the task of changing the world. So if I wanted to change the world, I had to start by changing myself.

And that is where I started my climb out of the gutter.

Since then, I found that the great world changers have done precisely that. They started by changing themselves, then they changed the world.

The way to get from being small-minded to "large-minded" is to accept that you need to change. And on this point, I agree--in broad terms--with Rand's sense of life idea. If you learn how to take stock of your soul (sorry, you have to figure out how to do that on your own since Rand doesn't tell you), a sense of life is a good indicator of where you are at spiritually and whether you will be small-minded about certain issues.

But if you want to change (and become "large-minded"), you have to find a method for doing it--a method that works.

On that score, I've just raised some really good ideas to think about.

So congratulations to me. I rock. :smile:

(I guess some things never change. :smile: )

Michael

Know thyself...


#94 Philip Coates

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 04:37 PM

Subject: Sense of Life and "Smallness" or "Largeness" of Mind

Sense of life and attitude of mind are very different. One is largely an emotional conclusion while the other is largely a cognitive direction. One is automatic while the other is largely chosen - over and over.
Sense of life is an emotional sum, a generalized conclusion about the world formed over the course of a life. Smallness or largeness of mind is more about the process of using one's mind, whether consciously and deliberately or not. If one is small-minded that will over time lead to a different (and worse) sense of life than if one is not. But many other things will result in a certain sense of life.

One can't -directly- change it. And Michael is mistaken** in saying that Rand didn't believe it could be changed -- Rand's point, expressed many times in her writing, was that it such change is slow and takes time (and maybe for some people it is too late or will never be chosen). As MIchael points out sense of life can be changed, and, as he also points out, change of something this big is in increments.

But a person shouldn't directly aim at changing a sense of life, just like one doesn't directly aim at changing any emotion. A changed sense of life would be a gradual, indirect result of many changes in thought and behavior, in attitudes and premises, in knowledge and accomplishments. Don't worry whether or not you have "good" emotions or a good sense of life. Just worry about your actions and the accuracy of your evaluations.

**You can't just hunt through and look at places where she explicitly uses the phrase for all of her views on this phenomenon. It's implicit as well in other places, including in the fiction.

#95 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 09:05 PM

Sense of life and attitude of mind are very different.

Phil,

I thought I was clear about this. I never claimed they were the same. I thought I showed how one influences the other.

One is largely an emotional conclusion while the other is largely a cognitive direction. One is automatic while the other is largely chosen - over and over.

This is a presumption and premise well worth checking.

I believe you are taking these positions on faith, or because they sound more or less good to you, not because you are aware of any actual evidence or studies or have read any literature on this. At least you don't cite anything other than your own opinion (but you are quite good at stating your opinions as presupposed facts)..

I won't even go into the "emotional conclusion" idea except to say that this sounds like it is based on Rand's notion that emotions are automatic value judgments that occur as a result of thinking (or refusal to think). Neuroscience makes short work of that idea. But just common sense should, too. Slap a newborn on his butt and you will get a hell of a lot of emotion that didn't come from thinking or refusing to think.

Sense of life is an emotional sum, a generalized conclusion about the world formed over the course of a life.

This is Rand's theory. I thought it was presented in her own words pretty well in the quotes Peter and I provided. Thank you for repeating this as if nobody knew.

Smallness or largeness of mind is more about the process of using one's mind, whether consciously and deliberately or not. If one is small-minded that will over time lead to a different (and worse) sense of life than if one is not.

I can see causality moving in this direction. But I can also see a pessimist being small minded about optimistic stuff. In other words, the sense of life causes the closed-mindedness. Meaning the causality moves in the other direction in this case.

I think you are starting with a speculation here and trying to make reality fit it. (This is one terrible mental habit I see in Objectivists over and over. Believe it or not, Shayne was the person who pointed this out to me. He criticized the ARI people--several times--for trying to deduce reality from principles, so I started to look. It's pretty easy to see once you start looking.)

So I suggest the contrary. Look at reality first, then come to your conclusions. And, to be frank, try to get some opinions and perspectives other than the Objectivist canon. Try some critical thinking for a change. Try looking at an issue from many different angles. Your have a good mind. It needs the exercise.

Don't worry. You won't lose your Objectivism if you try that for a while.

... Michael is mistaken** in saying that Rand didn't believe it could be changed -- Rand's point, expressed many times in her writing, was that it such change is slow and takes time (and maybe for some people it is too late or will never be chosen).

Well, if it is "expressed many times in her writing," a quote or two should be easy to produce. Do you have anything in mind other than a vague "many times," i.e., a floating abstraction here? I can't come up with a single one right off the top of my head. And I know the Objectivist canon just as well as you do. I dealt with the only places I can recall for now where Rand tried to change someone, Mr. X, etc., on a sense of life level. And, like I said, she did not try to change the man's sense of life. She tried to remove the obstructions from it.

I am going to look into "The Comprachicos," where she discussed a child's mental development to see if she talks about the possibility of changing a sense of life. I recall her talking about the difficulties a child would have in changing his thinking methods, but I don't recall anything of this nature regarding a sense of life.

But a person shouldn't directly aim at changing a sense of life, just like one doesn't directly aim at changing any emotion.

Why?

Because you say so?

Bull.

I believe a person is the property of the person, not the property of Mr. Coates. I hold that each person "should" do as he damn well pleases with his soul, not obey what some third party tells him he "should" do with it.

Don't worry whether or not you have "good" emotions or a good sense of life. Just worry about your actions and the accuracy of your evaluations.

Sorry, Phil.

This sounds too much like Dear Abby for me. Why shouldn't a manic depressive, for instance, worry about changing his emotions?

Heh.

I don't think you have a premise to stand on other than your own prejudices.

In fact, I think you looked at my work here and merely thought in jerks with your knees because you imagined I was attacking Rand. I don't believe you applied any real Phil Coates thinking at all.

Michael

Know thyself...


#96 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 25 December 2011 - 11:52 AM

I have an added thought here.

In Rand's literature, when a bad guy tried to change his sense of life, like Peter Keating or James Taggart, it didn't end well. Keating ended up realizing that he had wasted his life as he tried to become a painter, and Taggart, confronted by the true nature of his sense of life, went mad.

The Wet Nurse could be argued as a case of changing a sense of life, but he didn't have a sense of life issue. He was basically an upbeat person all along and an admirer of good heroic productive stuff--albeit against his will because of the philosophical principles he had been taught. He struggled to get better not because of a change in sense of life, but to remove the obstructions from his inner goodness, somewhat like Hank Rearden.

Michael

Know thyself...


#97 whYNOT

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 02:36 AM

I won't even go into the "emotional conclusion" idea except to say that this sounds like it is based on Rand's notion that emotions are automatic value judgments that occur as a result of thinking (or refusal to think). Neuroscience makes short work of that idea. But just common sense should, too. Slap a newborn on his butt and you will get a hell of a lot of emotion that didn't come from thinking or refusing to think. Michael


Michael,

Some valid thoughts, but this one is untrue. (Slap an adult on the butt, and you'll get a reaction, too!)
You have mixed up sensory-feelings with emotions. A baby cannot experience emotions like envy, resentment,bitterness or guilt because her cognition is not far advanced enough. She is geared to a simple pain - pleasure response at the sensory/perceptual level, as far as I know.*
Actually, I think Rand's writing on emotions in VoS is some of her best.
As to neuroscience, broadly I believe it can show us the 'what' and the 'how', but hardly the 'why'.

*Eleanor Louise b. 21/12/11, makes me an overnight expert.
:)
Tony
"To know that we know what we know, and to know that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge". Nicolaus Copernicus (An original objectivist) 1473-1543 ***No man may be smaller than his philosophy...***

#98 Selene

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 07:35 AM


(Slap an adult on the butt, and you'll get a reaction, too!)

*Eleanor Louise b. 21/12/11, makes me an overnight expert.
:smile:
Tony


Tony:

Congratulations!!!! Happy and healthy hopefully! All our best to mom and pop!

As to your first point, if the spanking is administered properly, the reaction is nothing short of spectacular!

Adam
"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice..and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

#99 BaalChatzaf

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 10:57 AM

As to neuroscience, broadly I believe it can show us the 'what' and the 'how', but hardly the 'why'.

*Eleanor Louise b. 21/12/11, makes me an overnight expert.
:smile:
Tony


Mazel Tov!

Ba'al Chatzaf
אויב מיין באָבע האט בייצים זי וואָלט זיין מיין זיידע

#100 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 10:57 AM

Tony,

At a newborn level, infants have a primitive form of emotions called affects and these cover a broad range of expressions. They are automatic, they are at the base of all emotions and they are not simply pleasure-pain reactions. They grow on their own, somewhat like a child gets bigger as he grows without doing anything to cause that to happen.

If you want to get an introduction to affects, look at the following thread here on OL: The Wonderful Way Shmurak Faces Emotion.

Steve based his work on Silvan Tomkins, who started studying children slightly older than newborn. There are now experiments where researchers film newborns 24 hours a day just to observe their behavior. (They also do a lot of filming of prenatal infants still in the womb, but that's another area.) Some of the things they are discovering are highly interesting, like the excessive attention newborns give to the faces of adults. Then they do MRI scans and some other procedures to see if they can figure out what is going on in the brain.

The pain-pleasure response does exist and it is a critical element in our makeup, but to claim that this is the root of all emotions is a huge error.

From the recent research on newborns, here's a clunker for you. But facts are facts. Mirroring is also an important component in the development of emotions. That's right. Monkey-see-monkey-do.

A good portion of our emotions is not developed from pain-pleasure, nor from choosing to think or not think, nor from any other derive-reality-from-principle method of thinking. Instead, if you start by simple observation, here's what you get universally. Infants look at what an older person does and imitate that person. This includes emotional reactions.

But imitation doesn't stop here. This also goes into the cognitive area of epistemology. Primates learn by imitation better than by any other method. If you start looking into the psychological literature on learning, this will always be present (at least in the stuff I have looked at).

I believe this has major implications for how we approach human nature, and even epistemology. That is, if we want to use the "identify correctly before judging" system of reasoning.

"Rand wrote it so it must be true" (or at least probably true when there are doubts) is not a premise for me any longer. It used to be, but I gave it up. Now I still get much value from her works, but I put them in a wider perspective of verifiable knowledge. She derived a lot of her conclusions from introspection and I believe that, when this was the case, the respective conclusion should be treated as such.

(btw - Congratulations!)

Michael

Know thyself...







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