Your video has been deleted by the user. I have no clue as to what it is about except your preliminary frame. And that's not enough for me to say anything intelligent about it.
When you recast my arguments, you distort my intent and the fruit of our inquiry. When you try to compress complex events and actors into a summary paragraph it can result in a distortion across the board. Michael, I do not recognize the world I now know better through your descriptive paragraph, nor my cautions.
You mean something like this?
Not indicative of anything but???
And so I understand the lure of The Preacher. And I think to some extent your affinity to Beck is both good and natural and not indicative of anything but an appreciation of a Great Showman.
I am going to be frank here and there is no way to do it without sounding offensive. But my intent is not to insult. Merely to identify as clearly as possible.
I find people of the left often to be incredibly arrogant and obnoxious like this comment of yours I just posted. What's worse is they do not show any sign of being aware of the fact that they are being arrogant and obnoxious.
In their comments, they come off to me as living in a fantasy world where their opinions have not only taken the manifestation of fact, they need to provide a character-flaw-like excuse for why someone they deem intelligent will not see their opinion as fact.
It's really easy for a left-wing person to think that someone likes Beck to the point of ignoring facts simply because he is vulnerable to showmanship. So the foolish, albeit otherwise intelligent Beck fan gets fooled by his weakness. Easy peasy, right?
But answer this. Is it so unreasonable to accept that a person may like the Beck show, but also like the Beck facts? And without the facts, he would not watch the show?
From what I see, when the rosy glasses of lefty-world goodness are the main filter for viewing reality, that is precisely the most unreasonable thing they think anyone could imagine. In fact, they claim Beck has no facts--at least nothing that has not been grossly distorted.
And I speak as a person who used to see reality mainly through the rosy glasses of Objectivism-world goodness and who used to accept Rand's identification of the mental weaknesses in others as the only reason they identified and evaluated specific things differently than I did. So I am intimate with the mental process, albeit from an opposite perspective.
(As an aside, there is another draw for me for Glenn. I have profound admiration for him as a capitalistic innovator of the highest order--literally innovating and revolutionizing certain market concepts from out of nowhere, taking huge risks and succeeding big-time. But that is not germane to my point.)
When I first wrote some thoughts here on OL called Moral Perfection
, I had an inkling of a critical problem in my previous use of Objectivism. But I couldn't put my finger on it. I, like you mentioned above in what you do, allowed reason to trump my rosy filter when I could pull it off. But that wasn't enough. There was that damn hole and I kept bumping up against a fundamental belief (which I believe you believe):The ideal is the practical when it is true.
If that becomes a primary belief to you and not a corollary, the only thing you have to do is convince others that your ideal is the true truth and you are done. They will do the rest forever and ever amen and you can thus help save the world. Time is not an issue. Ah yes. There is another part. Whoever doesn't see that true truth that you proclaim is true is mentally defective in some manner.
Well, recently I came across a person who explained the difference between ideal and goal (i.e., the practical) in such a simple, convincing manner, I felt enormous relief. He closed the hole for me. His name is Dan Sullivan.
In fact, because of Sullivan's presentation, I am better able to understand how to implement many of the great concepts in Objectivism while avoiding the pitfalls (at least the ones I discern). I want to add, ditto for left-wing ideas
. And religious ones. And even weird ones like Scientology. I'm serious. Often in the left-leaning material I read (and religious, etc.), I come across some critical slants and issues I had not considered, but that need to be addressed if true understanding is my measure (i.e., my ideal.)
To be clear, I am starting to take great delight in looking at what I haven't considered so far.
Sullivan's insight goes like this.
(Note, I am not blowing his gig by discussing this. He explicitly tells people to spread his ideas even though he charges an arm and a leg for consultation and doesn't seem to go much beyond his core ideas from what I have read so far. I will open a separate thread with videos on his thinking. And further note that the following discussion is not the whole of Sullivan's approach--merely one small, but critical, part of it. btw - This discussion is my understanding, so I am not speaking for Sullivan per se
--merely for what I have understood and taken from his work.)
If you look to the horizon, you will see a place that does exist, but one that you will never reach. The more you travel toward it, the more it moves. Sullivan says that this is very easy for most people to understand and they are not bothered by it at all. They learned at an early age that the horizon is merely a way our mind has of understanding space--a way to overview the playing field, so to speak.
We have a similar mental way for dealing with time. It is called ideals. An ideal is not a specific point in time you can get to while acting in a certain manner and then you're done. Since we all live in specific points in time, the moment you believe you have reached an ideal, it is still there in the future, beckoning you and taunting you with how little you measure up (if you let it). So while nobody is bothered about not reaching the horizon, people are enormously bothered about not living up to ideals.
People often make a conceptual mistake of thinking that once you achieve an ideal, you will live your life forever in that new state. And that never happens. People always have a future so long as they are alive.
Sullivan got to thinking about this because he looked at folks like athletes in the Olympics or high-powered businesspeople and noted that many of them did not achieve happiness once they reached the ideal they had worked for over years of strenuous effort. Some did, but some became absolutely miserable.
He noticed that the miserable ones always judged themselves according to what they had not yet attained, irrespective of how much they had achieved. This is deadly when you do it at a moment of triumph and their example proves it.
When an ideal is thought of like the horizon, though, it becomes extremely useful in guiding our actions.
Sullivan says that when you project a goal, you start from a point in time that he calls "Actual 1." When you reach the goal, you come to another point of time, "Actual 2." The happy people are the ones who look back from Actual 2 to Actual 1 and congratulate themselves on how far they have come--even if they fell short of their intention (say coming in second place for an athlete instead of first). As we use ideals to establish goals, the unhappy people will always measure how short they have come up. The ideal taunts them from a mental horizon.
This is a brain illusion--an on-off switch--that can make people miserable for their entire lives. But it is easy to fix (which is the reason for my sudden feeling of relief.)
Sullivan gives the example of bulimic girls. Excluding other psychological factors in this disorder, the girls are always looking at the ideal (somewhere in the future) when they look in the mirror. Something deep in their brain fools their aware self.
They never consider the measure of what they look like now compared to what they used to look like. And there is no arguing with them. They hear your words, but they do not perceive what your words convey. Their minds literally perceive reality in an incorrect manner and they live in misery, morally castigating themselves from within what Sullivan calls "the gap." This is the mental place between what you want and what you have attained.
The gap is not bad in itself. You need it to measure so you can set future goals. But when it takes the place of what you have achieved, when you see your whole life as a timeless "Actual 1" and a timeless ideal as your "Actual 2," you can never leave the gap and you live in a constant state of neurosis.
Some people even commit suicide from this place. They destroy their relationships. They throw away their careers. And on and on. (In my past, I have had too much personal experience with this for comfort.)
Getting back to ideology and preaching, I view people who become overly-guided by ideology in the same dilemma. The only difference is that they use their timeless ideal as a way to point the finger at others, condemn them and laugh at them. And when others do not act in the manner they accuse (i.e., based on their ideal), they literally do not see it--in the manner the bulimic girl does not see how skinny she has become when she looks in a mirror.
Am I saying this is your case with how you judge Beck and, even more, how you constantly say I think about Beck? I suspect it is true. All the indications are there. But there is also your constant willingness to look for a brief moment and set aside your ideology. So I don't believe this is a "mental defect" in the manner of the kind of character weakness (i.e., vulnerability) with which you constantly categorize me. I believe it is simply the ideal vs. goal switch going on and off at random.
Now I have made myself just as arrogant and obnoxious as I said your statement was. I have crawled into your skull and told you what is in your brain that you are not aware of--and how this leads to your ignorant errors. So to lessen that a bit, let me say I might be wrong. I don't think I am, but I might be.
I certainly don't think you are a puppet of ideological masters, although, like all of us, I do know you live within time. And within time, we all have waves of awareness. Up and down and up and down. We try to level it with reason.
I am in the same boat, too. Like I have said in the past, it took me a long time to take off the rosy Objectivism-world glasses, but keep the Objectivism I spent so much time learning. So, in my mind, I am not speaking from a moral or intellectual high-ground to a defective person. I am not a guru talking down to others and giving them my timeless enlightenment. I am more like a witness sharing what I have seen with someone I like and admire.
Just as I think about you, I also think about myself.And I think the same about Glenn Beck.I even think the same about Ayn Rand.
No one inhabits the Ideal That Time Forgot.
Ideals, morals, principles, ideologies, what have you, are time tools, not timeless states. They are primarily tools of degree to help us see and understand the time playing field of our lives, and only secondarily tools of kind (i.e., value). Even Rand called morality a "code of values to guide man's choices," i.e., a tool for measuring and moving toward the future within the context of our specific lives. Morality to her is not a definition of a state of being (although sometimes she slipped in this department).
A specific value may--or may not--be an intrinsic part of our identity, but the code is definitely a chosen tool. Thus, as in my earlier musing, moral perfection is not a state, just as ideological perfection is not a state. They are measures you use to help set goals. If you identify a goal using the same words as the ideal, you can say you have reached ideological (or moral) perfection when you get to that goal.
But that does not elevate you to a timeless superior state of ideal being. It does not remove time from your existence. That same ideal will still be out there beckoning and possibly taunting you.
What about ideological people like Beck and Rand (and Marx and Jesus)? To me, they point to different places on the horizon and it is up to me to see if going in that direction will take me across a swampland, an ocean, a volcano, a fertile prairie--or off a cliff. The ideals of these people are open to interpretation and interpret them I do--and will continue doing. But I correct my course as I travel. The reality of the cliff is not abstract, so no ideal ever presented to me can replace my own eyes and my own brain--and my own future.
Anyway, there it is. Food for thought.