Initiating The "Process of Understanding"
Posted 05 March 2006 - 02:55 AM
If you want to understand Ayn Randís philosophy better and want to see what she talks about, start this process and stay on it. Donít give up on it. It wonít happen overnight. But if you continually ask yourself question after question until you understand why you have the actions you do on a daily basis, you will eventually see what Ayn Rand talks about. If you practice this way of ďThinking,Ē you will find you enjoy using your mind the way it is supposed to be used which is ďTo thinkĒ in terms of cause and effect. Eventually you will be able to answer the questions I asked when I first found this site on the internet.
When you think of introspection and how most psychologists tell you to perform it, it is typically regarding past experiences; such as, what happened to you when you were 20 years old or what happened to you 5 years prior. In order to perform introspection correctly, it should be done in the present in terms of cause and effect and is the way to understand her philosophy better as to why she came to the conclusions she did which seems to baffle most people. Iím not talking about just emotions here and identifying why you are having them. Iím talking about every action you perform on a daily basis needs to be acknowledged and identified.
For example, have you ever asked yourself while in the present, why did I just do that? Most people think about it for a split second and then lose focus and continue whatever they were doing and never answering the question that their mind has just posed to them. Donít do this. If you ever ask yourself or question yourself, why did I just do that, answer the question no matter what. Pay attention to it, stay focused on it, and figure out why you are truly performing this action.
Keep asking yourself question after question after question until you finally UNDERSTAND why you personally did it. This is called individuality and not grouping.
For example, the very first question I asked myself when I inadvertently started her process when I had just turned 16 was in regards to rushing a sorority at my high school. If youíve ever rushed a club, you probably know about the initiation and what happens to these people. For the club that I was trying to get into, they would publicly humiliate you. After rushing the club for a few months and being degraded, my mind finally asked myself, why I am doing this? Like most people, I thought about it for a split second and then went about doing what I was doing before. I never answered the question. Well, a few weeks later, the ever so faithful mind asked me again, why I am doing this?
Not knowing any better I ignored the pleas to figure out why I was truly doing it. Well, this time it bothered me and I started to wonder if it was normal to do this and if the other girls I knew also experienced the same thing. Well, I finally answered the question. I asked myself the question again, why am I doing this? Answer: Because I want to fit in. And then all of a sudden another question came to mind: Question: Why do I want to fit in? Answer: I want to be apart of the ďgroup.Ē And then quickly another question popped into my mind: Question: What is it about these people that I want to fit in so badly?
Basically after asking myself question after question, I realized it was because I wanted to fit into a ďgroup.Ē After realizing this about myself, I started to really notice all the little clicks at my high school. And as I kept watching them with this new knowledge that I acquired, I realized that most people wanted to fit into a group. The better the group and the more popular they were, the more outsiders wanted to be apart of that group. They truly didnít want to be individuals but wanted to be apart of a group. This is where Ayn Randís conclusion came from regarding grouping and individuality.
After realizing this, I stopped rushing that club. I didnít like the humiliation and degradation I was intentionally putting myself through just so I could be considered part of this ďgroupĒ of popular girls. I made the decision not to do it. After realizing that I truly had a choice, I realized that everybody else also had a choice regarding their actions. Shortly after I stopped rushing this club, my bestfriend approached me in the hall and asked me why I stopped. I told her that I didnít like it and it wasnít who I was as a person. I didnít want to humiliate myself just to fit in. She responded, God, I wish I could do that. I told her, you can, it is your choice.
And from this point on, her process of understanding slowly started to progress. I didnít do it religiously. That didnít start happening not until shortly before I saw what Ayn Rand describes as so much pain and destruction and it truly is terrifying to witness. I truly do enjoy her process because the answers about yourself are fascinating and the detective story at first seems so complex.
It truly is a hierarchy of knowledge. There will be certain questions you canít answer right now. You may ask yourself, why do I feel this way or why am I angry or why do I feel so guilty right now, or what is it about this action that I enjoy so much, how does this make me feel, what is it about him that I donít like for some reason, why am I washing the dishes, why am I acting this way, etc. And you may not be able to answer the question. If this happens, move on to something else. You havenít realized or answered enough questions about yourself and your actions in order to IDENTIFY it.
So there will be times you seem to find no answers. If this happens, donít dwell on it. Move on to something else that you can answer. As time goes on, you will ask yourself that question again, maybe six months later or even a year later, and you realize you can answer that question now whereas before you couldnít. It is a hierarchy of knowledge. You start with one answer and then you slowly build on it. And eventually everything will fit in nicely and will start making sense.
You will find that your mind will ask you some really ridiculous questions and questions that seem stupid to you and are so obvious. But still answer them anyway no matter what. Stop what you are doing when your mind asks you a question no matter how silly the question is and figure out why you are doing it and answer the question honestly. And then continue whatever it was that you were doing; such as, washing the dishes or taking a shower or studying for school. You will find that your mind will ask questions at all hours of the day when you are up and about in your daily life. When you attempt to answer these questions and put a NAME to it or IDENTIFY IT, no matter how silly it is, you are reinforcing Law of Casaulity and Law of Identity. It won't happen overnight. It will take some time but eventually THINKING this way will become very natural to you.
When doing this introspection while in the present, be honest with yourself. Donít lie to yourself and why you are truly doing it. You are defeating the purpose. This is where you will learn that honesty is the best policy. With honesty, you cannot evade reality. With every question you ask yourself, you are seeking an IDENTITY. When you finally put a name to it, you are completing the Law of Causality. You can also perform reverse cause and effect; such as, I did this today "because".... or I felt guilty "because".....
Do this every single day and stay on it. It will take a conscious effort on your part to stay focused and concentrating and integrating using your mind power ďTO THINKĒ in terms of cause and effect. After you do it for a while, you will eventually find that it comes very natural to you. There is no longer an effort on your part. You just do it. You will find that you enjoy using your mind the way it is supposed to be used.
When Ayn Rand makes reference to ďTo think or not to think,Ē the ďTo thinkĒ is in reference to thinking in terms of the Law of Causality or in terms of cause and effect. Every action and every emotion has a cause. You just have to figure out WHY you personally are feeling it or WHY you personally do it. There are reasons for everything. Nothing happens just because it wants to happen. There is a reason for it. You just have to figure out what the reason is. In order to find this reason, you have ďTo thinkĒ in terms of cause and effect.
Law of Identity is pretty much the same thing as Law of CasualityÖ.itís the process of IDENTIFYING your knowledge and why you are having it. Every time you ask yourself a question in the present and trying to figure out why you truly did something, you are practicing the Law of Casuality. Every question you ask yourself, you are seeking an IDENTITY or better said, you are practicing the Law of Identity. When you finally understand why you truly did something, you have given it a name, youíve verbalized it in your mind and have IDENTIFIED it.
When you perform this action in the present rather than regarding the past, you are able to draw conclusions with better accuracy. The events are still fresh in your mind, you know why you truly did it, you know what was said by others around you, you know what you are feeling so in turn you form your BELIEF as to WHY you PERSONALLY did it and have drawn a very accurate conclusion.
When you do introspection into the past, the events are not that clear in your mind, you forget what you were feeling, you forget all the little details. When you do introspection into the past, your conclusions that you draw regarding why you did something are not that accurate and are not reliable. As most people know, with the passage of time, events can be convoluted, you may misinterpret something, you will forget the little details that were necessary in drawing an accurate conclusion.
You will find that there isnít always one reason as to why you did something in the present. You may answer a question you ask yourself, quickly think about it right then and there, draw your conclusion as to why you did it and then move on. But six months later, you might be performing the same action and ask yourself that same question again and come up with a totally different answer. Thereís two possible reasons. The first reason is there may be more reasons than one as to why you truly did it. Or the second reason may be that you didnít draw an accurate conclusion in the first place.
So what do you do with the new answer? You integrate it into your beliefs that youíve already formed about yourself and why you did it. You fit in this additional answer in to the rest of your beliefs and move on. So you realize that there are 2 reasons as to why you truly perform this action while in the present. Or if it was a gross error in knowledge on your part in the first palce and why you truly did it, you toss out the old answer and fit in the new answer.
When doing this process of introspection while in the present, it will touch on every aspect of her philosophy and why she came to the conclusions she did. As time goes on, you will realize that you no longer are able to feel guilt. Yes, you can feel guilt concerning your own actions, especially if you know what you did was wrong. But when it comes to other peopleís actions, you realize the reason you do not feel guilty for others is that theyíve made their life what it is. Itís not your responsibility to pick up slack that they are not capable of picking up themselves. You will soon realize that they know full well of what they are doing and that they are capable of surviving on their own. Itís just they CHOOSE not to do it. Right now, the truly good people out there that donít know about her philosophy may truly not be aware of it. Even some Objectivists who haven't gone through this process, may truly not be fully aware of it.
They honestly believe that the looters and parasites have their best interest in mind. The truly good people donít think that they are being manipulated and used and they refuse to believe that these so-called friends, family members, etc., donít want to harm them. When in reality, these looters and parasites know full well what they are doing. Once they drain you as their host and they can no longer benefit, they will move on to the next host and will drain them of their ability to survive. Itís a continuous vicious cycle of destruction of the good. But when you get through this process and start seeing things for what they truly are, all you have to do is pronounce the words NO in your mind and you will be well on your way to seeing what Ayn Rand calls Atlantis. Trust me, you will see a huge difference between being ruled by your emotions which is they do whatever feels good without ever thinking of the consequences on them to being ruled by your mind which is a person who THINKS for himself in terms of cause and effect and does not act until he fully understands the ramifications on him.
When you perform this introspection while in the present, you will become aware of your contradictions and you will slowly eliminate the contradictions. You realize that contradictions are one of the components of destruction and why man is suffering so much on this earth. When you live by contradictions, you never know what is right and what is wrong. You continuously live your life on a double edged sword and no matter which way you go you will get cut.
Iíve answered the first two questions regarding introspection and why you should perform this action in the present rather than regarding the past. As you go through this process of understanding, you will be able to answer the last 2 questions. The last 2 questions truly can only be answered by those who have gone through this process and has reached what she calls Atlantis.
If you do this introspection this way while in the present, in the beginning, the answers truly are fascinating and the detective story seems complex and you will find you enjoy using your mind the way Human Beings are supposed to use their mind which is in terms of cause and effect and you will thoroughly enjoy this process. But I will warn you that it will get tough and will definitely be scary because you will realize that what Ayn Rand says is truer than you can imagine because you will see it with your own two eyes. And once you get there, you will realize that you have reached that higher level that so many people talk about but who never know how to get there. You will realize that all of that pain was so unnecessary and needless.
You will take that oath that she describes in her books because I also took that oath when I completed the first part of her process of understanding when I was 17 or 18 years old. But my oath was a little different. It was only in regards to myself that I would never ever live my life for another because I love my life too much to sacrifice it to another. The remainder of that oath was not realized until many years later when I realized that I never wanted another man to live his life for mine. So that oath is very accurate and you will live by this oath.
Eventually this introspection will turn into extrospection. Once you have a good understanding of why you do the things you do on a daily basis, you will then start the process of extrospection. You may not realize it but it will eventually turn to other people and their actions and why they are doing them.
Her philosophy is very easy to live by. Iíve been living by this philosophy since I was 17.5 or 18 years old. I went through this process inadvertently without ever knowing who Ayn Rand was or her philosophy. After I spent almost 10 years wondering if I was the only one, I met a great man that is now a good friend that said, Angie, you have to read Atlas Shrugged. And when you read it, I want you to tell me what you think of it. I cried when I read that book for the first time because I realized I wasnít the only one. There was someone else out there that saw the same things I saw and who drew the same conclusions as I did nd that I truly wasnít alone anymore.
After going through this process, read Atlas Shrugged again and you will find that what I am talking about is all over this book. You will find that the characters that are looters and parasites ask themselves questions such as what I think Taggart did when in a hotel room with some girl, he asked himself, Why did I just do that? He thought about it for a split second, didnít ever answer the question, and then quickly forgot about it. But with Hank, Dagny, etc., you will find they all are asking themselves questions while in the present but they always answer the questions. Very much different than the looters and parasites in the book that do ask themselves questions while in the present but who never take the time to answer those questions and to figure out why they are doing it in the first place.
Sorry for this post being so long. I really hope that some of you will try this because it truly will bring you the ULTIMATE in DELIVERANCE in being set free and is the ultimate in happiness. If you do start this, good luck.
Posted 05 March 2006 - 04:30 PM
The sense I am talking about that is also tremendously pronounced is not your sense of sight. I havenít read all of her fiction books. The only book Iíve read is Atlas Shrugged. But Iíve also read her other nonfiction books as well as a few books that Leonard has written. This other sense is not talked about in any of her books except one. Even in this book which is Atlas Shrugged, it is touched on and vaguely explained very very briefly. But when I read it for the first time in Atlas Shrugged, I caught it because I also went through the same thing.
Out of the entire book, it is only addressed directly by Ayn Rand this one time. She addressed it in a very small paragraph. She briefly describes it and what is happening and how someone else who is not going through this process in the book is perceiving it and their perception of it while it is happening to this one individual. And then Ayn Rand quickly moves on and is not addressed directly again like this in the rest of her book.
So the answer to the third question isnít what it seems to be.
Iím intentionally being vague because if anyone decides to start this process, it is something that needs to be ďDiscoveredĒ by them and not by what a book says or someone else tells you. This process and her philosophy is all about individuality and their own ďDiscoveriesĒ that they make as a result of thinking in terms of cause and effect. Atlas Shrugged concentrates heavily on each individualís beliefs and how they come to form these beliefs due to their own discoveries. And this is what the Process of Understanding is all about, each person as an individual and his/her ability ďTo thinkĒ for themselves in terms of cause and effect and forming their own beliefs as to why they do what they do and their own ďDiscoveriesĒ that they make on their own. And you will think to yourself just as I did, Wow, so this is what it is like being ruled by your mind and just imagine Iím not evenÖÖ.
So the answers to the last 2 questions and what I am referencing can truly only be answered by someone who gets through this process and ďseesĒ for themselves what Ayn Rand called Atlantis.
Iím doing this to invoke curiosity on your part. For humans and their need to understand is great and human beings are very curious by nature. You know the old saying, Curiosity killed the cat should actually be Curiosity set the cat free. So if you are at all curious as I am sure you are, you will initiate this process. This is all about you and your abilities To Think for yourself in terms of cause and effect. This is not about why I think you did it or why Ayn Rand thought you did it or what you read in a book. This is all about you as an individual and your own personal reasons and your own personal discoveries and your own ability ďTo Think.Ē
What can it hurt to just try this process and see if you like it? It wonít hurt anything. The only thing it will do is set you free in as many ways as you can imagine.
When you have a good understanding of the present and why you do what you do, it makes the past easier to reflect upon.
Posted 05 March 2006 - 06:23 PM
That's a great post. I think it illuminates one of the pricinple tenets of rational self-interest. More than anything, rational self-interest demands that we know the "why" of our own actions, and not live life as a pinball. I've seen a lot of people who call themselves objectivists, and who know the technical aspects of the philosophy very well, fail to apply this. It's much harder to look to the future and navigate your couse, than it is to look back and see how you ended up at past point.
Posted 06 March 2006 - 12:15 AM
He actually knew about Ayn Rand for almost the first 8 years I knew him. The little sh*t just never told me then. Even to this day, I remember him asking me questions that I thought were odd and didn't know why he was asking them at that time. He wanted to see what I had to say first. Anyway....funny but after becoming very close friends, he finally broke down and said, read Atlas Shrugged. This was after I started to go more in depth with my life which unfortunately has been very rough.
When I read it for the first time, I sort of laughed because there were questions I remember so many years ago he was asking me were in her nonfiction books. He was feeling me out and wanted to know how I would answer and if they would line up with AR's beliefs and conclusions. For the most part, they did line up very accurately.
So he is my baby boy and always will be.
Don't get me wrong. I'm still learning myself. I know this sounds weird or out of the ordinary but some of the terminology you use I don't know. How can I explain this.....let me put it this way, I have no formal education into any aspects of her philosophy. I've never taken a philosophy class, etc. The only formal education I have is in regards to my chosen trade which is court reporting. I have formal education into extensive English, Medicine, Law, and yes, Vocab but some of these words you guys use I'm not familiar with. But I understand her philosophy very well, maybe more so than most because I've been through it so I know all the little ins and outs of it. Does that make sense?
But I'm glad I was able to shed some light on it. And truly, this is how it started with me and I came to the same conclusions as AR did and saw the pain and destruction she talks about which is downright terrifying to witness and so heartbreaking to see. But there is nothing you can do. It is their choice. They know what they are doing is wrong.
Out of everything you have to let go; such as, caring so much for people you don't even know, caring for family members that truly are looters and parasites, etc., this was the hardest thing for me to let go. And what I'm trying to say is you have to go from being so loyal and caring so much for others to turning your back to them in indifference. And this is the hardest thing to overcome. I know it was for me.
But given my past and what I've been through, it was the best thing I could have ever done. Because unfortunately when I lived under the philosophy of pain and destruction and breaking my back for other people to ensure that they can keep going and keep surviving, my health started to fail.
But interesting enough, since getting through her process and realizing what is important to my life, my health mysteriously improved. Trust me, I had a battery of doctors running tests all the time but they could never figure out why and what was happening and why my entire system started to turn against me such as my immune system attacking organs, etc. One medical director that was one of my doctors even took my case to a panel of other doctors and they had no clue.
Don't get me wrong. I'm fine now and have recovered with the exception of a thyroid condition that was treated and type 1 diabetes. But what AR talks about the mind and body and there is a very close correlation and the contents of your mind, what you value, etc., is also very accurate. I'm living proof of that.
If I ever get time, I will write a little about that. So that indifference that I struggled so much with and had a hard time letting go of but finally did let it go has BENEFITTED me tremendously in so many ways I can't even count them.
But I'm glad I was able to shed light. I just want to share what I know and to help any objectivist "see" what AR talks about, help them understand better, help them understand their lives better and why they are the way they are. I want to show that there truly is a Path to take in reaching what AR calls Atlantis. There isn't any of this, okay, I guess only a select few can reach it; such as Ayn Rand or Leonard. No. It is open to everybody. They just have to be told how to reach it and attain it for themselves.
But I hope you try this process. If you do, tell me how you like it. Maybe it might encourage others to try it as well.
Again sorry for the long winded post. Like I said, I can be shy but obviously very long winded. //;-))
Strangely enough I feel so much at home here,....it's scary. Usually it takes me a long while before I open up. I guess I'm finally home.
Posted 06 March 2006 - 01:19 PM
That's also an interesting comment you made. Believe it or not, it's easier to navigate our course for the future when you see what mankind is doing to himself. I know some if not all possibly doubt that I've been through the same things AR has been through, saw the same things, and reached what she called Atlantis.
There is nothing I can "say" or "tell" anyone that will convince them that I've been through it. All I can do is "show" you the way. It's up to you to "choose" if you want to "see" it for yourself. One thing with this philosophy is we do not tell, we show. We do not claim. We give evidence. Unfortunately Atlantis cannot be brought down as Ayn Rand describes which is very true. But I will tell you this, it does exist but the key to unlock it and get there is through the mind. I can't tell you or claim it. All I can do is "show" you the way.
When you do "see" the pain and destruction, it is the fate of mankind and what will ultimately happen to them. I know that is such a dire thing to say. But as of right now, mankind holds the code of pain and destruction as the only means of his existence. When you finally see it, your future is so bright, you look forward to what life has to offer. You know that pain is to be fought and tossed to the side. It's easier to navigate the course into the future than most think it is when you value what is important for man to survive.
You seem to be one that will try this process and get through it. How can I say this without sounding funny. The differences between the two are great and there is no going back. Once you get there, it's difficult to leave it.
Have you ever noticed when you look at people and even objects, it has this cloud of doom that hangs over it. Everywhere you look, it's there, you feel it. You can't escape it. When you reach it, this will completely disappear. Everything is so bright and not dull. The sky is so blue, the trees are so green, the flowers smell so beautiful. You have the spirit of your childhood back, the outlook of life of waking up every morning eager for adventure and discovery, you can't wait to get outside and have fun.
I'll give you a good example of what I live in everyday, what Ayn Rand lived in everyday, what Leonard lives in everyday, or any person who has reached what she calls Atlantis. Out of all the pictures I've seen of Leonard, the look on his face says it all. he's so happy, no strain, no pain. It's a genuine smile and love of life. This is what it is like to be in what Ayn Rand calls Atlantis. Even if you have health problems such as I did and the outlook was not good because my entire system started to shut down, having problems with my heart, thyroid, pancreas, kidneys, they all started to fail and yes, it was stressful but it never put a damper on my view of life and how much I love it and how much I don't take it for granted.
I will give you a picture of what life is like in what Ayn Rand called Atlantis, just look at Leonard's face and it says it all, the happiness of a child.
Do you remember when you were so very young, take your happiest childhood moment of being outside and remembering how blue the sky was, how clear everything seemed, there was no doom that hung over everything, the grass is so green, the smells were amazing, and you were out having fun with your friends or being alone, or laying down in freshly cut cool grass that feels so wonderful on the skin and looking up at the sky that is so blue and clouds that are so pretty and never wanting to leave that spot or finding a bunch of leaves and just burning them so you can smell them, or waking up in the summertime and looking out the window and you just could not wait to get out there and have fun, eagerness, adventure, the spirit of your childhood. This is Atlantis. This is what I live in everyday. This is what Ayn Rand lived in everyday. This is what Leonard lives in everyday and why he always has such a huge smile on his face in all the pictures I've seen him in.
This is what you will have back. Nothing matters. You have responsibilities but very few such as you did when you were a childhood. You didn't worry about if some kid down the street you didn't even know got hurt or worried about what was happening to him in his life. You cared about your friends but did not care about people you did not know. This is Atlantis. This is your childhood. This is the spirit of your childhood, eagerness, happines, adventure. this is what you will have back.
Take the happiest moment of your childhood where there were no adults around, it was just you and friends or just you by yourself and remember what it felt like, what you saw, how much you loved it. This is what you will have back.
So in reality, our future is easier to navigate than what most people think it is.
I know out of everyone here you will probably be the first to intitiate this process. and I so hope you do because there is a huge difference between what I live in everyday and what you live in or what most people out there live in everyday. You seem intelligent enough to get through it. I know you will thoroughly enjoy this process. Please, if you start it, let me know how you like it.
Posted 06 March 2006 - 06:16 PM
I intend to address more of what was in your posts, but for the time being I just want to say that you should not worry about knowing all of the "jargon" that is tossed around with objectivism. You'll pick up on it, but living objectivism is what matters, not the naming of parts.
When reading your post, I was reminded of a story that the physicist Richard Feynman used to tell about his father. One day some kids asked Richard what the name of a bird was. He did not know, so they taunted him that his father did not teach him anything. While walking through the woods with his father, he said "hey pops. What's the name of that bird?" His father said, "In English it's called a such-and-such, in Japanese a..., in portuguese a...., etc, etc. Richard I could tell you what the bird is called in every language on earth, and you still would know nothing about the bird, other than what various people call it. Let's go take a closer look at the bird."
I hope you follow my thought here. LOL
Posted 06 March 2006 - 07:30 PM
Posted 06 March 2006 - 10:22 PM
Posted 06 March 2006 - 11:07 PM
Whatever you may think about LP's role in the post-Split Objectivist movement, or some of his views, it is clear that he is a very happy man (except when he's talking about the things he really hates, like Iran or Fundamentalist religion).
When you and Michael come here to Orange for the TOC Summer Seminar, I hope we can take some time to watch his DVD "In His Own Words." It speaks more loudly than words about his happiness. If, after watching the DVD, you still disagree, I will be interested to hear why!
Posted 07 March 2006 - 01:09 AM
I don't know enough about Peikoff myself to judge his peace of mind. The photographs I have seen show him to be tense and posed, not relaxed and spontaneous. It is really hard to judge the serenity of a person from stills.
I heard him on the radio over the Internet a few years ago. His voice was nasal and twangy and has an almost bored quality to it. I would not judge from the voice alone that he was a happy person. (I have some credentials for that as I directed dubbing for motions pictures for a while - and even dubbed a lot myself.)
I agree with Angie's liberation of the guilt trips and other baggage society lays on you. However there is a danger in going too far. You can cut ties too severely. You have a past and you will never cut yourself free of that. It is far better to gather what is good from it and let go of what is bad.
I am a person who cut deeply. I abandoned my parents and everybod here in the USA for over 30 years. I took off for foreign lands. Guess what? All I did was lose. Everybody got older and I didn't see it happen while it happened. On getting back with my parents and brother, I found that there were many feelings that I simply buried. I have been having one hell of a time untangling them all this last year and it has been a delight to discover all the love that was still there.
I am completely fascinated by what I have been discovering about myself.
On Peikoff being a role model, I am glad he is for somebody and I don't want to spoil that.
But I was the one who put that list of airbrushing the Brandens together. I see that ARI is even airbrushing Ayn Rand when she doesn't say what they want her to say (like the fiction writing course). That is the work of a true believer. The kind of mind that would do that is not the kind that could ever be a role model for me. My commitment to reality was too hard won to give it up to making that kind of fiction out of real life.
I have met extremely serene people who are not Objectivists. I have a few friends who are Jehovah's Witnesses in Brazil, for instance. Their inner peace is enviable. I would not have it for myself, though. I want none of it.
Life is too short for that. People who know me personally know that I am a very happy person - and serene too. I strongly believe in the benefit of using your own mind to judge everything. Even Rand and Objectivism. First hand and wrong is far better than second hand and right.
btw - Even if there is no time, we will make time to spend with you. That will be a great honor and pleasure. I would love to see that DVD.
Posted 07 March 2006 - 02:17 AM
What I've read of Leonard is he seems pretty laid back. I agree with Mike that I don't know him personally nor know enough of him to pass judgement on him, the same goes with Ayn Rand although I've read about other people's view of her that were not favorable.
Even though I know her philosophy, we're not all that similar. We are too a degree but what I do know of her is that she was an abrasive, hard woman; whereas, I'm not that way. She seemed to be a very unemotional woman which I disagree with this to an extent. I'm unemotional to a degree but I don't repress my emotions. I am not quick to anger. In fact, to drive me to the point of anger is very difficult. You can irritate me. But I am too rational for it. If you irritate me or hurt me, etc., I will tell you I'm upset but that I need to be alone for a while so I can think. I'll come around eventually after I've calmed down and have thought about what I'm going to say.
I agree you don't bash people over the head if you are in disagreement or argument. You talk it out. And if you can't resolve the conflict, then go your own way. There are certain people you can't reason with. When you find these people, it is silly to keep arguing with them trying to prove your point when it is useless in the first place.
Some of the things that Ayn Rand did in her personal life, I do disagree with to an extent. But again we are all individuals. We all live our lives as we see fit and what works best for us. I don't want to go over my childhood right now and air everything I've been through. I'll say this much but won't go into detail. ( I deleted this portion out. Only the frequent users of this website I wanted to see this so they could have a little bit better understanding. But personal information.)
After I got through the first part of her process and realized what was important to my life and saw the pain and destruction and then finally being set free of it, I went my own way.
As long as each man is making an attempt to better his life in some way and to support himself on his own abilities and own merits, then I will support him in his decisions and support him in his attempt to make his life better and easier.
So I haven't cut my family off despite what I went through. There are things that Ayn Rand did or believed in that for me is too harsh. But what I do know is what I went through with her process and there is an Atlantis. You are given back your childhood.
Because of my beliefs and what I went through with her process, my health has greatly improved. Stress can have devastating consequences on the body and has a cumulative effect. Which man is going to suffer health problems? The man that cares for a parasite and looter and decides to support him despite sacrificing himself and his health and never getting anything in return or the man that is indifferent to him because he recognizes that he is capable of supporting himself and surviving on his own. This is what I battled with.
So there are many differences between me and Ayn Rand. My personal opinion is her philosophy works very well. I've been living by it since I was 17 or 18 and it has made me extremely happy and has brought me peace within myself because I no longer feel guilty for being human, I no longer feel shame for being able to survive, I'm no longer destructive....for me, it has brought me peace and happiness, a kind of peace and happiness I could never find under the philosophy that holds man as a sacrifical animal to others.
But I also agree that Ayn Rand took it to the extreme on some levels. But I also know that you can dump your baggage from the past completely because it no longer matters. You've grown indifferent to it. When I look at my childhood and everything I've been through, there is no pain associated with it. It happened. I dealt with it and I moved on. What matters now is I know what is important to my life and I know what will make me happy. If it doesn't make me happy, then I shy away from it. The old saying, if you get burned bad enough, you learn to stay the hell away from it because it will only bring you pain and suffering. That is a life that was left behind. My past and what happened to me, I look at it with total indifference.
But you also have to remember I'm familiar with her philosophy but it is a philosophy from my view and a philosophy that I came to without ever knowing who she was. So they very much are the same but there are differences.
Ayn Rand's view of always follow your mind no matter what and never follow your emotions, I disagree with to an extent. Sometimes, if you are in a bad situation, say for instance someone you have fallen for and want in your life more than just being a friend, even though he is a flake at times and can be unreliable and has a bad track record, sometimes good things happen to those who wait and are patient. But again, this also boils down to caring for your friends, not strangers, but friends. So even though for the most part I've come to the same conclusions as she has, there are differences. But again, when I went through it, I did not know Ayn Rand or her philosophy so there were no outside influences. It was all me and my perspective of it.
Also, my philosophy only rules my life and guides my life. I am not familiar with outside affairs; such as, the situation in Iraq, current affairs, etc. I do not keep up with these things so I would not have an opinion regarding it when I have no information regarding it. So if you want to talk politics, I can't help you there nor can I give an opinion.
But I can give an opinion when it comes to more personal issues such as inner conflicts and her philosophy when it comes to guiding an individual life. Issues regarding government, etc., I can't give an opinion because like I said I don't keep up with it. For one, being a mother to a young boy, my television revolves around the Disney Channel. My job takes up a lot of time so I don't have the chance to sit down and watch even the news.
But again, there is nothing wrong with trying this process out. What can it hurt? It can't hurt anything. If you don't like it, then stop it. If you do like it, then keep it up. It is all about individuality and your own personal beliefs you form while going through it. Yes, there will be differences but for the most part, you'll come to the same conclusions. One benefit with this process is that Ayn Rand is not there to influence it. It's all you and your beliefs as to why you do what you do.
I've also read that Ayn Rand was very much against any scientific research into ESP or things as such and discredited it before it got its foot out the door. For me, this is not the case. If they can prove it, then I will change my belief regarding it and will fit it into my beliefs. So there are differences and we are alike but not that much alike.
But again, I don't know LP personally or knew Ayn Rand nor have I seen videos or even interviews of them. I've only seen pictures. But I also know that they will release pix that are favorable.
But again, what does it hurt to try this process of introspection while in the present? They are your personal beliefs and no one else's. It's not about why Ayn Rand thought you did it which I heard she was also stubborn in this regard unfortunately, it's not why I think you did it or why anybody else thinks you did it. It's WHY you THINK you did it. It's about individuality, to each their own.
I've never been to a meeting with other people that has the same philosophy as mine. Like I said, the only person I knew before you guys was my friend and he is the only person I've talked to regarding my beliefs.
But again, what does it hurt to try this process out?
If there is a conflict, rationalize it. If you can't come to an agreement, leave it at that and don't keep hashing it up or beating each other over the head about it. Just say, hey, you have your reasons and I have my reasons, but let's still remain peaceful and friendly. Like I said, to each their own. Your life is your life and my life is my life.
Also I'm not familiar with their relationship or post splits, etc. Like I said, I'm very new to reading about her philosophy. I've read it but not major in depth. But her personal life and her wars I'm not familiar with.
I have a few good friends still. But have a hard time keeping most because of differences in values; such as, most women I know are very materialistic and I am not. They love fashion. I have about as much fashion sense as a cow. It's just differences in values is why I've had a problem keeping true friends.
So you guys, please don't think that I am like Ayn Rand and I'm harsh, etc., and to be aware because we are alike but not that much alike as you will soon see I'm sure.
Posted 07 March 2006 - 02:37 AM
If you give me evidence that tells me otherwise, then I will change my view.
To each their own
And Mike, WOOHOO....I hope you are doing it. It's a great way to discover yourself.
Posted 07 March 2006 - 07:15 AM
As far as Rand and Peikoff being role models, they both have good and bad traits. I admire Rand much more than Peikoff, but I really have not seen him in video much, what I did see didn't portray him with the childhood joy, but a rather blah talking head. I certainly do not admire the fact that he is trying to write the Brandens out of Objectivist history and heavily edit Rand's own words. I can't admire someone I don't respect.
Ayn Rand's presentation varies by the venue. For example on Mike Wallace she was very tense and her eyes moved constantly (very negative portrayal), but with Tom Synder she was much more at ease and it paints a much more positive picture of her. I am just starting to watch the various television appearances and getting more of a picture of who she was. I only discovered Objectivism a few years ago and I feel that I have barely scratched the surface. I do consider Ayn Rand a good role model for her brilliant mind but I don't know if we would have clicked up close... maybe, maybe not. As far as fictional characters, I greatly admire Dagny, but not Dominique. Dagny was a very strong woman and inspirational.
Posted 07 March 2006 - 10:04 AM
I'm not saying you wake up every single day like it was the summertime and you couldn't wait to go out and have fun, etc.
You do wake up in good moods a lot. There isn't a doom that hangs over everything. Everything is very bright. the burdens you once carried and that were so unnecessary are gone. The burdnes of your past no longer weugh you down. you look forward to your life and what it has to offer you.
There are days I wake up and I'm cranky because I didn't sleep wll or don't feel good. But more the most part, you are very happy. Each person has their own personaltiy. some may be drier than others and others may be extremely outgoing with other peple. Me, I'm happy, sweet, shy, reserved to a point, don't talk a lot. But I don't have a problem loosening and going to have fun with no cares or worries, etc.
Posted 07 March 2006 - 04:45 PM
Yes, you can be benevolent to others and not consider it a sacrifice. But it truly is not a sacrifice if the man that says, yes, I want to try, I want work for what I value, then your support and benefit is the gratification that you see when he succeeds and he has attained the goal he set out to do.
But this isn't like a 12 step program. Let me see if I can explain this so it will make sense. It makes sense in my head but may not come out making sense to you. When you start asking yourself questions as to why you do something, you essentially are picking apart your current philosophy of life but at the same time, you are forming your own rational beliefs as to why you truly did it. So the first is tearing apart your current philosophy and beliefs in the present but replacing those beliefs and philosophy with a new one. That's what it boils down to. This is why Ayn Rand came to the conclusions that she did. What little I know of her and reading the back page of Atlas Shrugged as to where she was born, etc., she gives the impression that she was born this way without ever living under that code of pain and destruction. I disagree with this ambiguity that is presented.
If this was the case, then introspection and extrospection never would have been addressed in the first place. She also lived under this code but seems to not admit it openly to others. Admitted it to herself yes, but not to others. I honestly believe she went through it at a young age as I did. She wanted to understand more as to why she saw what she saw so she started taking philosophy classes and history classes to help her understand why she went through what she did and why she saw man destroying himself and this did give her even more insight as to why.
Some of the stuff you talk about, I don't know about; such as, fundementalism (sp). I don't know what this is. I've never studied it. Or another, religion, I was exposed to religion as a child but I thought it was ridiculous and never took it seriously. I didn't even know who mary magdalin was if I'm even referring to the right person. But I guess the lady that slept around. When I heard her name for the first time, I was like, who the hell was that.
But back to your question if I can clarify it better. The heirarchy of knowledge is extremely extremely complex and cannot be broken down and presented to others as a systematic approach for everyone. In this case, the heirarchy of knowledge is done on an individual basis. This is where the difficulty comes in in presenting it to others as a systematic approach to it. The heirarchy of knowledge takes into account individuality.
I've looked at my own life and analyzed when this process first started with me as it has progressed and I've tried to break it down. But unfortunately I can't do it for myself and reality is neither could Ayn Rand because neither one of us was aware at the time what was happening to us. As I went through it, the answers as to why I did things so intrigued me. The more I found it fascinating and complex and the detective story is wonderful and as I realized more about life and myself and why, I knew I was on to something and it felt good, it felt right and that's why I kept pursuing it even more. I truly didn't know what I was onto and neither did Ayn Rand. We both stumbled upon it by accident.
The only person that can break it down to a system but is a system that can only be used for them personally and not others is the person that keeps track of each question they ask themselves and then keeps track of the answer and then keeps track of any followup questions they ask themselves in regarding to figuring out why they personally did that action in the first place. And then it builds from there.
Once you get this down, it becomes even more complex because it starts to branch out into other areas. It branches out in an attempt for your mind to understand it better. It's like a tree. The base is the first question and answer. And then as you go along asking yourself even more questions, you'll sprout a branch that leads to other areas that you have an understanding of say for instance animal behavior. That branch you just formed regarding animal behavior is now being used in order to understand yourself better as a person. You start comparing the two. You ask yourself another question with another answer as to why you did something, you then ask yourself even more questions regarding that behavior in an attempt to get to the root CAUSE as to why you did it. If you are having trouble understanding it or identifying it, you go to the first branch you formed looking for answers and lo and behold, you find your answer.
From there, you ask yourself another question and answer it but this time you sprout another branch let's call it grouping, you now take this branch you just formed and start looking for answers. If you can't find it there, you go to the branch called animal behavior. And it slowly goes from there. The first question is the foundation and from there, the next thing you know your tree is now 200 feet tall with 25 separate large branches. But on those 25 separate large branches, you also have smaller branches which all of this structure is built on questions and answers.
So literally before you know it, your tree now looks like a tree that is very large, very old, with no leaves but tons of branches. This is how the hiarchy of knowledge is built. It is extremely complex as you can see. But in order to keep track of it, you have to keep track of every single question and answer you ask yourself. This would be the most tedious thing ever and so nerve racking and would take a seriously dedicated man with no friends, no life outside of this structure, in order to complete it. But it would be a very detailed systematic approach into how the human mind works, how the human mind learns, and how the human mind integrates information to come to a very detailed conclusion or answer to the first question you asked yourself.
But again, you learn how to do all this stuff by asking yourself the first question and answering it honestly and you slowly develop this tree whether you are aware of it or not. And you don't have to be aware of it in order to get through her process. But the one draw back is and why it can't be presented to others like this is it takes into account individuality and why we as individuals do what we do. My reasons may be far different as to why I perform one action compared to yours. So you tree and the names of your primary branches might be different. But as you go along in this process, you will for the most part come to the same conclusions she did but with slight differences here and there.
When you go through this process, try not to remember what Ayn Rand says in her books or her philosophy. Just concentrate on why you do it personally.
For instance sex, some people use it to relax after a long hard day. And others don't use it to relax, they use it strictly for pleasure. The first answer to relaxing after a long hard day is evading reality that they are stressed out and are looking for a way for them to deal with reality as it is. They second answer is a man that enjoys experiencing the unique ability that only humans have in feeling a physical pleasure. He's not doing it to evade reality because he's stressed out at work but he's doing it to celebrate his life and the pleasures that life has to offer which it is true, sex is the most profoundly selfish act any human can perform.
But I've read that there is evidence, not a lot and they are still working on it and trying to gather more evidence, that humans aren't the only species that have orgasms and experience pleasure with sex.
A good example, Kat, is say today, you're at the mall buying a really cute purse, expensive maybe, let's say a Coach bag, nice quality, but ask yourself, Why do I really want this bag so much? Did I see a girl with it the other day? Yes. How was she dressed? Nicely Was she dressed fashionably? Yes. What does this bag truly represent to me? Is it a status symbol that I'm on top of fashion and my wanting to show other people that I can afford it and fit in to a certain group? Yes and No. Well, which is it? It is because I want the bag because I want to impress other people and make them believe that I fit in with a certain group. This scenario boils down to grouping. The more popular the designer and the more fashionably it looks it will sell quickly because everybody wants to be apart of the group that's popular at that time.
I'm not saying this is your reason. I'm just giving you an example.
My purses come from Target. Quality is nice if I can find a purse that fits all my stuff in it and is big enough and has compartments that I need to put my stuff in which for me is difficult to find. When I look for a purse, I don't look for purses that I see all the 18, 20 year olds have. I look for a purse that is big enough to fit all my crap in. I'm not buying a purse to fit in with the group. I'm buying a purse that suits my personal needs at that time.
I'm trying to think of another example. Say you get in a fight with a friend today and you walk away feeling angry or guilty even. Ask yourself, why do I feel angry right now? Look back at the situation and start analyzing it. Did I say something......
I'm going to get Atlas Shrugged out and try to give you a better example. Say for instance, a really stupid and obvious question of mine when I was in college. This question just popped out of know where for no reason and was the most ridiculous question ever.
While studying medicine sitting at my desk. My mind asked, What are you sitting at right now? a desk. Why are you sitting at the desk? I'm studying. Why are you studying? Because I want to pass this class. Why do you want to pass the class? Because I want to graduate. Why do you want to graduate? Because I want to get a job and support myself. Why do you want to get a job? Because I want to make money.
Or another one....same deal, sitting at the desk. What are you sitting at right now? My desk What is its purpose? It helps me study. Look at it again, what is its purpose? It keeps all my school things organized. Why do you want it organized? It helps me to get more done. Why do you want to get more done? I want to be productive. Why do you want to be more productive? It makes me feel good that I'm doing something for myself. Why do you want to do something for yourself? Because it makes me happy.
I'll get Atlas Shrugged out and start looking for examples.
I'll give you a few examples of Dagny and asking herself questions. This is going to be time consuming for me to give you examples from her book. My book is heavily marked up. When I was trying to help my friend get through his and to help him understand what I meant by asking questions in the present, I went through her book and marked the areas as well as many other areas to give him passages from her book to help him understand what I was wanting him to do. I have a few of Dagny's thoughts and questions to herself. But not many. I'll find those when I have more time to give you better examples. But I will tell you Dagny's process is heavily extrospection but occasionally does perform introspection.
Whereas, Hank's is more introspection than starts to become extrospection later. I'm looking for more basic examples as well as trying to remember what I went through in first part of it and looking for examples. But as I said, I didn't know what I was onto and didn't really pay attention to it at first. I thought everybody did it. Well, I soon later realized that most people didn't do it. And realized I was onto something big but didn't know what. And this drove me even more to ask questions and give answers, trying so hard to understand it, trying so hard to understand myself and understand others. I mean I was relentless with it before I saw it becuase it feels so good and so right.
"She had not given up her quest for the man who invented the motor. It was the only part of her work that made her able to bear the rest. It was the only goal in sight that gave meaning to her struggle. There were times when she WONDERED WHY she wanted to rebuild the motor. WHAT FOR? some voice seemed to ask her. BECAUSE I'm still alive, she answered."
This is Hank but his questions are becoming more complex and harder to answer. In the beginning the questions you ask yourself about who you are, are very simple and easy to understand. But as time goes on, the question will become harder to answre and you'll find no answer. But the more you realize why you do what you do and it starts going into extrospection and their actions, you'll be able to answer these more difficult questions. Here's hank asking himself questions. He's already done the introspection and it has now turned into extrospection. Hank is getting close to finally seeing it.
This is Hank in court looking out at the crowd and the jury, all the participants in court.
"Why were they ready to renounce their highest moments as a sin? Why were they willing to betray the best within them? What made them believe that this earth was a realm of evil where despair was their natural fate? He could not NAME the reason but he knew that it had to be NAMED. He felt it was a huge questoin mark within the courtroom, which it was now his duty to answer."
Now here is Dagny struggling to find words to name and identify an emotion but she can't figure it out yet but she's trying to name it. There are questions that you can't answer right now, there are things you can't name or identify right now. Don't dwell on it. Move on to something else you can identify and name regarding your actions and emotions and why you are having them.
"She backed away from him; she felt as if emotion had flung her ahead of her own consciousness and questions were now catching up with her, groping toward the form of words."
Another one for Dagny
"She lay in the darkness, listening to the wheels, thinking that only Daniels and his motor still remained like a point of fire ahead, pulling her forward. OF WHAT use would the motor now be to her? She had no answer. WHY did she feel so certain of the desparate need to hurry? She had no answer. To reach him in time, was the only ultimatum left in her mind. She held onto it, asking no questions. WORDLESSLY, she knew the REAL ANSWER: the motor was needed, not to move trains, but to keep her MOVING.
There's a lot more in here. I just have to find them to give better examples. I'm also trying to think of situations with me and when it happened with me, (deleted out)
But since falling hard on his butt and recovering like most people do, he now owns 2 businesses and is successful, has learned, and tries everyday to keep hiw own life afloat. Despite our problems in the past and what happened, I will support him and encourage him becaues he is trying so hard and has succeeded. My support and encouragement has paid off for me in the way of gratification and pride because he is now successful at sustaining his own life.
I'll give more examples. I just have to find them.
More on this one later.
Posted 07 March 2006 - 04:52 PM
She presents in her book that you lose guilt when you finally see the pain and destruction. For me, this was not true.
Even after seeing the pain and destruction and deciding to leave and to stop supporting my dad, I still felt guilt. Like I said, indifference was the hardest thing for me to overcome. Since I still cared so much and did feel guilty, (deleted out. Ther were only certain people on this site that I wanted them to read this so they could understand a little better)
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