Rich Engle

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Posts posted by Rich Engle

  1. I suck at chess, so count me out, but it just occurred to me that it might be kind of fun to try to come up with an anarchist variation on chess.

    I was thinking that the goal would be to be the first to eliminate one's own government (king, queen, bishops, knights and rooks) while keeping at least one civilian (pawn) alive.

    One possible way to make it work would be to have the players control their own pawns, but their opponent's "government." Maybe pawns could move one step in any direction, but would still be limited to diagonal attacks? The "government" pieces would move the same as in regular chess, and could be used to attack both the opponent's pawns as well as one's own "government."

    Criticism or suggestions, anyone?


    Woah. And I haven't even smoked any dope today. I like the idea, sort of. I think I do. I'm going to go smoke some dope now and watch "Searching For Bobby Fischer."

    You don't have to be good to enjoy and play chess. I have found that the real pleasure from it is the unique experience of playing with each person. I've had awesome games playing with little kids.

    But how many adults truly know how to have fun, right?cool.gif

  2. Unfortunately, I think Jeff is right on the money here. The "self-deception" also explains why religion has survived for as long as it has. Some people have seen the bankruptcy of religion and have tried other things--Landmark Education, The Secret, and other baloney. And how many adults do you know who truly know how to have fun?

    Ah, spoken like a true hard-ass. How many do I know? Hundreds. My wife and I are having fun right now.

    Jeez, I knew this whole thing was gonna get a stink on it right off the rip.


  3. Wow, that has to go into textbooks as the perfect False Dichotomy.

    Caught between non-existence and non-existence, we exist.

    How completely, is up to us, don't you think?

    There is no such thing as a degree of existence. What you are describing is precisely the hedonistic credo, which states that we should live life "to the fullest", the standard of "fullness" being pleasure versus pain or apathy. Am I mistaken? If yes, how?

    Well, you can say that kind of stuff, and be confident, but let's look at one fact--you are depressed, and you called in the Big Dogs for some help, right? So, whatever you are doing, thinking, however confident you are in your assumptions, your shit is not working. If it was, you would not be depressed--you would be joyous, which, by-the-way, is an appropriate condition for human living. You are, at the least, portraying misery. Consider your actions, consider your happiness level. All I get from your writing is various forms of logical/philosophical arguments, punctuated by a general tone of misery. Never once have you said anything about what you do, or enjoy. That means that your shit isn't working, and you could find something different. You are hanging on to something that is, apparently, dragging your miserable, sorry ass down.

    So, you can have that. I have pretty hard skin to read that stuff, and I will help when I can, but eventually I will pull away because I can't stand the fucking drag, drafting. You are very close to becoming an energy vampire.

    Man up. Choose who you want to be; either a miserable bastard, or maybe a person that loves waking up every morning.


    Good Luck On Your Mission!

  4. On the cognitive part, you make too many presumptions based on too little observation (at least in your posts). For instance, your understanding of the law of identity seems to be premised on speculation and deduction from abstractions of what you imagine should be, not premised on observation.

    Objectivist ethics does not require living beings to be infalible in the maintenance of life, it merely requires them to choose, when the choice is open, life over death. The problem here is that you seem to think this is a range of the moment thing, "do I choose to live for another 15 minutes or not?". It is not, and certainly not in humans. Existence is a pre-condition for continued existence, and as such, the "short term" cannot be ignored. The human being suffering from a so-called "terminal illness" must choose to live day by day, because that is a pre-condition for his long term survival, not because he earns points in the game of life for having lived a few more days, or having experienced more pleasure during those days, or whatever. He cannot make the choice to live once he is dead. The alternative is range of the moment hedonism, because it means man is divorced from past and future. You are stuck in a game mentality. This is a classic psychological process of death (awareness) evasion known as "Terror Management". It is a process which Rand herself struggled with and which is a fundamental part of the human psyche, so I'm not going to pound at you for this. You can choose to be aware of this, or you can choose to evade it.

    The unspoken truth is that Rand did not regard life as such to be the primary value, but freedom, which means the capacity to choose. Values do not depend on life in the sense of the capacity to exist and have experience, they depend on the capacity to choose between alternatives, to act as opposed to reacting. Planets have a conditional existence, but they have no choice in the matter. It is only within this context that values exist, and thus ethics is possible. Life is simply the primary requirement of this. Ethics is the study of a being's field of choice, and objectivism identifies the things (principles) that expand, sustain, or contract this field, particularly with regards to the human identity, in a long range context.

    (through megaphone): "Sir, put down the Rand books, and no one will get hurt. Exit the reading room with your hands interlaced on top of your head."

    And as far as your comments about terminally ill patients, that just flat out made me want to bitch-slap you, because, well, even if you have up-close knowledge of such, that would make you even more clueless. Are you suffering from a terminal illness? If so, that would be a different thing, and I apologize. I know one of the strongest, venerable terminally ill men on the planet, and he would either tweak your nose or just start laughing at what you wrote.

    Stop feeling sorry for yourself, man. And read something outside of Rand, for fuck's sake.


    wah, wah, wah.

  5. Ok, boys (only because so far no girls, right?), a couple of updates:

    I'm going to wait around a bit longer until we get more players together. Unless you guys want to play in two-man teams, it will be random pairings, best of three. Everyone will have to exchange email addresses right before we launch it.

    Also, there is a nice site for printable score sheets and other goodies here: Chessville


  6. Note from MSK: Spam content removed.

    Before I umpire in the violent sexual lesbian jello wrestling tournaments, I always soak my watch in cider, starting with my index finger and immersing up well past the wrist line.


    huh huh i made a funny

  7. I like Neil's "beatnik cap."

    Always on the lookout for incidental segues, I would like to say that the Beat Generation of the 1950s was more cuturally significant and interesting than the "Hippie Counterculture" of the 1960s, much of which was an intellectual wasteland.

    My bias, if that is what it is, may be partially owing to the significant role that jazz played during 1950s. Jack Kerouac, for example, paired with the tenor sax players Al Cohn and Zoot Sims for his 1959 album, "Blues and Haikus," and he once called a SF-based tenor saxophonist (whose name I cannot recall offhand) the perfect embodiment of the Beat movement.

    For the huge influence of jazz on some leading writers and poets of the Beat Generation, see:



    There is no doubt about what you say. Now, there were of course a great many things that came out around, but not always necessarily directly "from" the hippie movement, such as it was. It changed art and music around in a big bad way. Writing, not so much, I think. With few exceptions, the writers of note during that period were really more experiencing the psychedelic generation than making it--they were observing. These writers very, very often can have their influences traced back to the Beat writers. Hunter Thompson is a perfect example--he first came into large recognition by writing "Hell's Angel's," which was an investigative journalist piece and definitely not so much about hippies (although there are parts of it where he was with the Angel's at Kesey's house). It is difficult to find substantive stuff in the hippy lit world. I can't even barely stomach Ginsberg, and he was already established before it. Who do you read, Kesey? I'm not saying it was goose-eggs, just saying that most of it was already in motion. If anything, you could see the effects rendered in journalism, but journalists had a real hard time doing accurate portrayals.

    I stand outside of a lot of conventional opinion on this though--for instance I think Bob Dylan sucked. He was not "The greatest poet of our Generation." Fuck's sake no.

    One genre that continued to develop beautifully was folk. Even in spite of Dylan, if you're me. rolleyes.gif

    Here, Ghs--you might find this a treat if you haven't run into it . . .this is a song the latter-day King Crimson (Adrian Belew, Robert Fripp, Tony Levin, Bill Bruford) did off an album called "Beat," which was part of a trilogy.

  8. Each of us works out ideas in our own fashion.

    The methods we use have just as much to do with the mental habits we have acquired elsewhere as they do with abstract thinking systems given in Objectivism or even formal logic.

    I like Xray.

    I have learned over time that she seeks enlightenment in her own way. In other words, she may get some things wrong, but she will not bear false witness to her own mind. To me, that's top value. (You can change your understanding through learning--including learning by the Socratic system Internet forums encourage. It's much harder to change being true to yourself, which is a matter of character.)

    You have to look between the lines to see that, though, not look just at the surface of her manner of expression. Rather than see her as making absolute declarations, it helps to imagine her probing ideas in a Germanic fashion. :)

    Also, she sometimes comes up with some really cool outside-the-box curve balls. I always like it when that happens.


    Yes, for sure. And one thing you can say about her is that she does not feel the need to state a point and then follow it by a nasty personal zinger. She explores in a Germanic fashion, that is right, Maestro.


  9. Hi, and welcome!

    David's work is very, very striking.

    We don't do opposing camps here. There are simply excellent folks from all walks of life. If one of us doesn't have it, usually someone else will.

    I think we've talked about the lack of impact that Rand's work had in the U.K. It's kind of an interesting topic and if you look around here you might find some good discussions about it.

    Looking forward to your posts! Mike K. is a really great site host and I can't imagine you would have anything but enjoyment here. Oh, we get into some bitter sparring matches, but don't all families?



  10. One of the primal thoughts most people have is the issue of mortality, whether they choose to admit it, or not. Joseph Campbell had a lot of comforting things to say about it--if you look at his series "The Power of Myth" (with Bill Moyers interviewing him). This was done in the last couple of years before Campbell died. "Find your own bliss."

    Also, my buddy Michael Dowd has some very good things to say about it in his books and other writings. He talks about how you can come to peace with it because it is a natural cycle within the universe's growth, more or less. It helps you lose the fear.

    Michael Dowd website

    Now, no need to go running just because he is a Christian. He is a very scientific person and the things he says about this topic are very astute and warming. I don't have the tract right here but if you look around in his stuff you can find all kinds of things by him, and other esteemed authors that address this topic.

    If that is a part of it, Andre. I think it is always a root of it.



  11. I've known Byron off and on since he was a kid, as a matter of fact, when I was just starting out as a guitar teacher, a very young Byron came to me and took theory lessons. How funny! I put him through "Smith's Theory Book For Guitarists," or whatever that thing was called.

    Byron went on to play play play, build a studio, tour, all kinds of stuff. He's now out of Cleveland, having relocated to Arizona. He's been one of the most persistent, passionate musicians I have ever known. And a very nice guy on top of it. Here is the current press release, I strongly recommend you take a look at his music. Now, he's very musical but for sure he plays heavy guitar, so if that is not your cup of tea, you know . . .But his story is still very interesting. Great guy, and I'm really happy that we have managed to maintain contact over so many years.

    Byron Nemeth press release


    Rich Engle

  12. Now the big question: where do you actually find a competent therapist? There are certainly plenty of worthless ones out there.

    Nothing like good, positive vibes. Feel better now, Andre? After Chris performed his particular form of voodoo?

    Nathaniel Branden wrote some good stuff about anxiety. But you have to buy them, now. He has a good mp3 that might help. I mastered that one, originally; it was down to cassette tape and I brought in some pretty good guys to clean up the recording. Long time ago. Worth the five bucks, for sure. It could only help.


    Rather than hurt, and make it into your own Little Show<tm>.

  13. My concern is not that there are negative aspects to my life that I do not know, in the immediate moment, how to deal with. My concern is that I don't really have the time to figure things out, even assuming they can be figured out, that life is fundamentaly outside of my control. I may work hard to put myself in a "sweet spot" so to speak, but I'll be dragged out of it and into the abyss, where I'll be chained forever, with no way out.

    That's all very touching, but welcome to the human race. You could get mowed down tomorrow. You have The Fear. This is a classic situation, nothing more, nothing less. It Goes With The Territory<tm>.

    And take the pills. Do something. The abyss. Jesus, that's lovely imagery. Actually, life doesn't do things nearly as sexy to you as that. Looks good on paper, though.

    Either way, you wake up in the morning and that sun is gong to be up, right?

    You'll be fine, you are in a funk. But you have to take steps.



  14. I am sorry to see that you came here looking for sympathy. It looks like Michael is the only one capable of providing any so far, and I hope I can do that for you as well.

    Well, that was just lovely, Chris. You never fail to underwhelm me.

    Try making this about Andre and not you. Think you can do that?


  15. Now, you can't help laughing when you see stuff like this, right? I mean, really. Step One: slap a smile on your face or we will kill you. Step Two: repeat step one, as needed--lather, rinse, repeat.


    Todays Word is ". . .heh."

  16. Seeing oneself as a victim also means seeing oneself as helpless regarding what makes one a victim and that can spread out osmotically into other areas of one's life. This is one huge facet of negative thinking.


    Boy, ain't that true. "Victim mentality," right? Negative thinking is a downward spiral. And it is so attractive; it calls like a siren-sound.

    You're made of 13 billion year old stardust, you are the universe contemplating Itself, and then you get that shit. Oh, lovely!

    Sometimes I get it down to the basic old struggle between good and evil. I think, maybe that's what that allegory was. You can look at stuff like, oh, Hell, "Dante's Inferno" and see the struggle. <--that was a little creepy, I shouldn't have done that maybe.

    In any event, Andre, you have this time here, and there will never be another one like it for your soul. Make hay while the sun shines, and it does (for the moment).

    Have we cheered you up yet?

    That's one thing OL has in terms of capabilities. You won't see this kind of stuff on the other sites. We lay down the heat, baby. We actually help each other. Now that is some bad-ass shit.

  17. First aid first, imo. If meds can help, let them.

    For the record, I have been to a doctor recently. He asked for some tests and gave me some meds. I have the impression that this is futile, but I'm willing to be proven wrong.

    I think just do what he says. The main thing is to get the edge off. You have to go back to seeing through your true eyes. Hey, you know the old "definition of insanity" joke--doing the same things over and expecting different results.

    Back down, chill, try new things. It will break, if you let it.

    I had never considered dark thoughts in my whole life. Surely (by example only, and I am hesitant to bring it up), I had never considered suicide as an option. Oh, the depression was deep, and I didn't even get that because normally I am a real happy bastard.

    But it came on me, during bad times. One day I realized that I was seriously thinking about walking into the frozen, snow-covered woods, sitting on a tree, and just letting myself die.

    What saved me was, well, one thing was how many people were in my life. That I better practice what I preach. But, I was that close, I had truly given up. I couldn't leave people thinking that was my solution, which, in a way, is a very selfish one (in the bad sense of that word). So, I sucked it up, fixed what at that time was a very dangerous situation, came down here, and changed my life.

    And I did that. So I know you can too. I have more extreme examples if you really need them. There's always worse.

    You have to be strong, and really believe in what you believe.

    Listen to Dennis, and for sure listen to Michael--Mike knows. His story is quite the pipper. For that matter, listen to all of us. Daunce came in right away on this, you notice. That's pretty cool, isn't it? :)

    Hang in,


  18. Your profoundly negative world-view is clearly the issue. Focusing on the inevitability of death is a dead-end and a good way to paralyze yourself. So what if life eventually ends? Why would you want to pass on the wonderful opportunity for life and happiness that has been given to you?

    You would be well advised to look for a psychotherapist (regardless of their specific license) who specializes in cognitive-behavioral therapy. CBT has been shown to be particularly effective with depression. The whole purpose of it is to change your negative thinking patterns and help you think more positively and clearly.

    If you have medical insurance, you can often obtain a behavioral health referral. If not, you will have to pay out-of-pocket. In either case, you need to take action now. When you interview a prospective therapist over the phone, simply ask if they are experienced with CBT (or REBT—rational emotive behavioral therapy, Albert Ellis’s version of CBT—which is very similar). Do not simply choose a therapist randomly. Look for expertise with CBT or REBT.

    Incidentally, there are a lot of similarities between cognitive behavioral techniques and Objectivist epistemology/psychology. For instance, the CBT tool-kit includes the so-called “downward arrow” technique. It is designed to help clients discover the deeper thoughts which underlie their conscious thinking. In other words, to help you “check your premises.”

    Asking a therapist if he/she knows what the "downward arrow" technique is, might be a good way to test their expertise with CBT.

    Do it now. It will only get worse if you fail to act.

    I was hoping you would clock in on this one, Dennis. That's good! I hope he listens to you.


  19. The main thing is that it will be OK.

    Will it?

    Yes, it will. You are just looking down the wrong end of the telescope. This sounds like a bromide, but it really does just come down to a matter of perspective. You can see something, some feeling, that is surrounding, encompassing you. That is only one way of seeing. It is definitely not objective reality, it is subjective. If you want to get into those terms. There is always beauty, there is always hope.

    I do simple things to fix myself, these days--I remind myself of what is. You know, you can go for days and days, self-consumed, and what do you do (or not do)? You miss the joy, the beauty. You become separated.

    It is still there, regardless of how you feel about it. It will be there and look gorgeous. You won't stop it from being naturally beautiful. So, you can take it (which it gives you for free) or leave it (and be a miserable bastard). Simple choice, no?


    It'll Be Ah-Raght.

  20. Actually, Andre, a clinical therapist is maybe good. I think you have to eliminate a lot of variables.

    And the other thing I wanted to say about this is that often, strong people view their depression as a sign of weakness; like, they would feel it a sign of weakness if they were to take meds, even maybe just a little xanax or whatever.

    I have a lot of close people in my life that struggle with this, and I have myself. I don't take meds but there have been times when I did.

    I know there are some pros in the psych world around here, and maybe they can tell you more. The main thing is that it will be OK. You just have to figure out a path to get it off your back. It is a terrible feeling.

    When you are in that box, you lose most of your efficacy. Things close in, it is a darkness. It is like all the beautiful things in life are invisible to you. It's like a vacuum.

    Sometimes, it helps to just do something really different than what you are doing. Go see something uplifting and joyous. Flowers. Musicians. Comedy. Good food. Friends. Take a little bit of the remaining energy to try and get out of the funk. Hey, what have you got to lose? Remember what fun feels like?


  21. Hello,

    I'm suffering from a fairly serious depression, and have been for many years (since mid childhood, as far as I can tell). It is very debilitating. I have looked for a solution, but did not find it. My study has reached the conclusion that the only means by which depression can be cured is by self-deception, something which psychology has termed "Terror Management", or the use of symbols to evade awareness of death and the anxiety and fear this brings. I am open minded in the sense that I don't simply assume things to be false, and other people to be wrong, but everyone who promises a solution seemed delusional upon closer inspection. I'm sure they have the capacity to bring others into their delusion, and in doing this give them a certain sense of relief, but that's not enough for me. And yes, that includes "doctors".

    My problem as I see it is this: it seems to me that life is hopeless and action is futile. I cannot escape death. Rand is dead. I am a victim in a universe that is fundamentally hostile, I'm unsafe in the world. At first I was just concerned with politics, but as I grew older I realized this was not a "social" problem, but a metaphysical one.

    I need help. From people who are actually rational, and won't simply tell me to "meditate" and "let go of the Ego" or any other such nonsense.

    You need to see a good psychiatrist (not a psychologist). It could well be that you are dealing with a chemical imbalance, and require medication. This takes a good evaluation and sometimes you have to try different things.

    That is one part of it. I realize that you might be very against using a med, with good reason--some of them don't work well for people and it takes time to find the fit. But usually, it is a mixture of meds and therapy.

    I do not think you can always "think yourself out" of these things. You need to find out what is really going on, and in cases of heavy depression, you know, maybe "clinical depression," you are talking about health and psychology professionals.

    I wish you well.


  22. Alright, that's 4 so far (plus I might have a few non-OL friends in for it).


    I don't want to do this in real time (although I enjoy that, as a matter of fact I used to play on that very site you mention). The reason being is that it would be unrealistic for people in this kind of thing to schedule live one-on-one's (shoot, maybe I should've not phrased that such, that's a little greasy . . .anyway). My idea is to let it be done using the email chess program, so the pairings can play at their own pace. You have up to a week or so before the thing discards the game, and I think most people would be able to check in at least every day or three, something like that.

    And also notate the games, if possible. That way, we could put the notation up and see how it was played. Really easy--you just have one opponent, play to win, publish results, move through the round robin elims.

    That's the way I was looking at it. It doesn't have the white hot fun of realtime play but I do believe it would work out pretty well. Make sense?

    As far as who plays white (which technically gives you like a 4% advantage, at least in early play), I guess it could be a virtual coin toss or the players could just decide.


    Studying his Ninja-Indian Defense. Right.