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  2. Rand was well on record in her mature years as holding the viewpoint on philosophy being mostly epistemology which is expressed in the Journals passage Michael quoted. Ellen
  3. Yesterday
  4. What was published by Rand in her lifetime is primary for referencing her. What she wrote but didn't publish is secondary IF it's in the original form. Work edited to publication after her death is third tier at best and possibly much worse. I wouldn't trust ITOE unless it was the original printing. Esthetically speaking Leonard Peikoff putting his introduction into AS was an obscenity. Morally speaking, not so much. But they're integrated so the fish stinks regardless. --Brant
  5. I made an offline communication that I liked so much, I'm posting it here. A person mentioned that the Dems will size up President Trump's manipulation of social media (presumably with Russian aid ) much better this next time around and will presumably trounce him in 2020. Part of the reason will be no wall, no Obamacare repeal and replace, no Hillary Clinton in jail and he will be crying about how the Dems did it. I wrote the following: But I'm not posting this to be cute (although I am ). I'm posting this because it led me to thinking about... well... I want to say how futile reason is when people hate, but I wasn't really thinking about that. I was thinking about how cute I am. Michael
  6. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh in the news today: "Canada politician Jagmeet Singh reveals childhood sexual abuse"
  7. And take that, anti-Trumpers: President Trump is going to have a city named after him on the Golan Heights. Let the hating begin... Michael
  8. Brant, My point was that I was not discussing Rand right or wrong. In fact, no matter what gets discussed when the name Rand comes up, no matter what the nuance or insight or even folly is on the table, someone always takes the issue back to whether Rand was right or wrong, then people start discussing that instead of the issue. Then they start fighting over whether she was right or wrong. The issue becomes secondary when not forgotten. In AA when I was going to meetings way back when, it was a common occurrence to see a person punctuate his personal tragedies and attempts to figure out how to stop drinking and destroying his life with a call for everyone to obey the program (the 12 steps). Then he would emphasize that, start preaching and that would become his point, no longer his own witnessing about his experiences or his successes and failures to stay sober. In other words, AA is right and those who question it are playing with fire. Those who say it is wrong are damned. And if you don't believe it, he will talk about it until you get it. (Many of the people like that I knew had Homeric relapses. Sporadic relapses with few and far in between, but Homeric when they hit... ) Michael
  9. The gist of her screed comes down to the primacy of existence. Mysticism, primacy of consciousness: it is so because I feel it to be so (and I don't wish it to be so, therefore it isn't), is of course not limited to religion and faith - you find it in every sphere (politics, science, ethics and the arts, for just a few).
  10. Brant, Rand is right, Rand is wrong, Rand is right, Rand is wrong, Let go of doubts, Just sing along, Rand is right, Rand is wrong... Michael
  11. One hell of a report: ROBERT MUELLER: UNMASKED by Congressman Louie Gohmert I thought this guy Mueller was supposed to be Mr. Integrity. Michael
  12. If you quote Ayn Rand's "Journals" you aren't quoting Ayn Rand. Her unedited work is secondary Rand and for scholars, if available to them. It's not available to the polloi. That said I'm not saying she didn't write that bit on cosmology. --Brant
  13. The world is full of competing religions many resorting to force if other means fail with any reason becoming rationalization. This includes the religion of the left, the imbedded moral superiority of which is so deep and integrated that the not left can be run over and flattened at will. This includes sundry genocides. Even the Nazis can be included with the left, but there was a problem: Hitler invaded Soviet Russia so the Nazis and fascists were thrown out of the left by the communists into the right and now advocates of freedom are described as fascists, racists, climate change deniers, etc. Businessmen are only good for selling the rope to hang them with, and, so, Trump drives them up the wall. He's blocking their main route to power and they have to get him out of the office the "deplorables" elected him to. It doesn't matter if you are a shitty two-bit journalist as long as you serve la causa. --Brant
  14. The Innovators #1 Bernie Sanders lies about Amazon income taxes Bernie Sanders' Medicare for All Bernie Sanders' Medicare for All #2
  15. Vicious remarks notwithstanding, the man who has to stay kinda quiet about his trial does the next best thing -- emulate Stephanie Clifford. What if they told you this was faked news?
  16. Last week
  17. Brant, Can of worms time. Right now I can't delve into making a case about the value and nature of mythology and religion in terms of human evolution (see Darwin's Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society by David Sloan Wilson for one scholar's quite reasonable presentation of that), so I will simply quote a few pertinent thoughts about religious stories and some tangential but related thoughts. Let's just say that most people hold major religious events as coming from (or informed by) a realm different than everyday reality. Rod Sterling called it the "realm of the imagination." Christians call it Heaven and Hell. Either way, this different realm has been a concern of humans ever since recorded history. And even when there are odd happenings in the stories using only everyday reality as a standard, like the Virgin Birth, it's not pure 100% unadulterated everyday reality. It's a mixture with this other realm. There is always a mythic element to it--myth meets and mixes with physical reality so to speak. That, to me, puts these stories in a different class of mental event that deserves more thought than simply sniffing in superiority and calling all of mankind stupid for believing in them. I mean, one can do that if it rings one's ding-a-ling, but pointing at people and saying, "See how stupid religious people are? I'll never understand how they can believe all those crazy stories..." doesn't explain reality and, frankly, doesn't explain people. All it does is scratch a vanity itch. It's like Person A asking Person B what the meaning of life is and Person B responds by complaining about the flavors of chewing gum available. Person B is totally clueless about the issues at stake, but highly interested in something that tastes good. To use another analogy, a fish isn't aware of the water it swims in until there is no water. If the human mind were not constructed to swim in story, it would not have to create other stories (like the big bang) to replace the ancient ones when people begin to find them silly. And, frankly, as a foundational story, the big bang is a piss-poor story. It does not come with the ability to be used as social glue, for instance. No one will get married or buried in its name. And that's just one shortcoming. There are a slew of them. (A foundational story helps integrate the different modules of our highly modular brains so we--as individual members of a species--can behave in a manner where we survive and reproduce with relative success.) If people wish to sever their own beliefs from ancient foundational stories (and I'm not saying they shouldn't), they at least need to replace such stories with something that fills in the human life gaps left over when the old stories are removed. For those who laugh at people's current beliefs in myths and religious stories, I have yet to hear a single merrymaker explain why religious foundational stories have survived ALL of human history. Just saying people are stupid is a piss-poor excuse for thinking about that issue. Now a few quotes. I could--and probably will--write a whole book about this. I just looked and did find it in her Journals. Quoting Ayn Rand: Rand's metaphysics is essentially the axiomatic concepts. No stories of why and how things work. Just that things are and that things work. Done. Notice her phrase: philosophy is primarily epistemology. This means that she has no response to the big questions of philosophy like: What is the meaning of life? Why do we have to die? Why is the universe so infinitely large and infinitely small at the same time while we are so limited in scope? And so on. Rand did not even attempt to answer these questions. She essentially implied that people who ask these things are stupid to ask them. And if that thought bothers you to disagree, then let's just say she blanked out that people ask these questions and why they ask them. How can a philosophy spread when it leaves out such a big chunk of the human soul? It's not like you can't observe people mulling these questions over in records in all societies throughout all history. I can't resist the following entry as a playful gotcha to Barbara. (I wonder what she would have thought about my current conclusions. ) At one time--I don't remember where and when, I think it was in her apartment, I mentioned to her that philosophy was like an instruction manual on how to use your mind. She had a fit on me. She said that philosophy dealt with the fundamental nature of the universe. Period. End of story. But thus spoke Rand... None of this has anything to do with writing techniques, but it's interesting as all get out--to me and I bet to many readers. That's the nature of discussion forums, I guess... OL is OL. Michael
  18. And it's funny... I'm now seeing sporadic articles in the mainstream fake news media say that, "according to sources close to the event" there may be some inaccuracies in the Steele Dossier, but how that happened is still uncertain... Michael
  19. Well gaaawlllieeee... Woodward just discovered that having Robert Redford portray him in a movie decades ago is not a hedge against him trashing his own legacy. Woodward has been on a hunt for the next Watergate ever since Nixon resigned. And it looks like he just woke up to the fact that there has been one right under his nose for over two years, except he was on the side of the bad guys. Irony of ironies... He had joined the equivalent of a cover-up for Nixon and had been running it for over two years. He even wrote a goddam book to back up the cover-up. But now he is going to go after his new Watergate, meaning the Steele Dossier and the intelligence community... Yeah, right... Sorry, pal. Two years is a long time to be as wrong as you were. Now you gotta get in line and wait your turn. There are far better journalists than you already on the gig. Michael
  20. Since tens if not hundreds of millions do it baffles me how anyone can believe reason can overcome that. Part of the answer, of course, is compartmentalization, something Rand never acknowledged or addressed. Her getting down to basics over-simplified the human organism. The reductionism was necessary but once into that binary hole she needed to climb out. Thus in her cosmology ideology triumphed over empiricism. Karl Marx made the same mistake. --Brant
  21. Right: well after the fact, everything is easy to fault. A little appreciation, Wolf. One way or other, everything we've inherited came via deists, theists or Christianity (Capitalism. Science. Novels ...)
  22. Wolf, I'm baffled by the big bang. Lots of people have faith in it, though. And you do realize that predestination is a predominant theme in many denominations of Christianity... What all that has to do with literary style, though, is baffling... (Something tells me this topic is uncomfortable for you. ) Michael
  23. A recent passage from my blog... Baffles me how anyone can believe the absurdity of immaculate conception and virgin birth, resurrection of a dead man, and immortality bestowed by faith.
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