Michael Stuart Kelly

Root Admin
  • Posts

    38,747
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    643

Everything posted by Michael Stuart Kelly

  1. I just googled the words in Kevins's quote and came up with the following: http://www.importanceofphilosophy.com/Epis...y_Emotions.html btw - Marsha, it is a delight to have both you and John join us. I am very pleased to meet you. (I will comment on that impressive post later, but first I want to hear Kevin.) Michael
  2. I was sent the following news item in an email (thanks S): Baby's helping hands The text is given below (in the event the link breaks one day). What I found interesting about this behavior was that the "altruism" was strongly involved with empathy for the person's perceived intentions. If the adult (or human) was seen as purposely discarding the item, then no help was given. I know this is a terrible word for Objectivists, but the results are coming in. It might be time to define two distinct types of altruistic behavior, one type being empathy with another person is goal-directed and the other type as imposition, then do the morality accordingly. Michael
  3. Paul, I just saw that your article, "A Beautiful Woman as Spiritual Fuel," was reprised today on the Rebirth of Reason website. This warmed my heart. You are a good writer and I am glad when I see your work getting more exposure. Michael
  4. Roger, Due to a letter I received from Nathaniel Branden yesterday, I moved the discussion to the "Ethics" section (you can go there in this link). We have gone way beyond ranting and are now engaged in a deep, important discussion. Michael
  5. I was delightfully surprised to receive the following letter from Nathaniel Branden yesterday concerning the questions I recently raised on RoR, then later here on OL in the "Rants" section, The Ayn Rand Love/Hate Myth – Part 2 – Moral Ambivalence. My emphasis was on ethics and rights for children in emergencies. By and large, the greatest opposition - and a good deal of it drastically overheated in the emotion department - has centered on government intervention in an individual's life. This focus has been stubbornly maintained even where the topic evolved and no longer warranted it. Nathaniel cut deeper, as he is wont to do. The crucial issue he raised is one that I strongly believe needs to be addressed in Objectivism. (For the record, I asked for Nathaniel's permission to post this as he wrote it and he authorized me to do so - with my heartfelt thanks.) Michael
  6. A sad, sad day for freedom. Harry Browne is no longer with us. Your memory is an inspiration to all of us, Harry. Michael
  7. Roger, Are you taking lessons from Phil? You announce something like that and then sit on it? Dayaamm! Come on, man! Out with it! Michael
  8. John, The two answers (in order of use) that never fail - at least until the kid gets bigger: 1. Just because I said so! (This must be said firmly, forcibly, but in a reasonable manner.) 2. Just because! (This must be said while imitating Godzilla.) Michael
  9. Dragonfly, The link doesn't work on my computer. Michael
  10. From my own experience (and observing the experience of others), some of the Objectivists I have engaged online have gone out of their way to be inexcusably nasty and smarmy, and have used the Objectivist jargon for insulting people and trying to craft put-downs. Also, I have noted that when something like this flares up, any discussion of ideas right beside it loses it audience momentarily. Usually newbies only join something like that after it has gone on a long time (and only very few of them jump in), whereas they will join a discussion of ideas rather early in the thread. Michael
  11. Objectivist Living Update 0005 – February 26, 2006 It was a fine busy week on OL. Here are the highlights. 1. There has been a new addition by Tibor Machan to the thread, Statements from those who knew Ayn Rand from NBI & such. (These are statements from those who actually knew Ayn Rand.) It consists of excerpts from his autobiography, The Man Without a Hobby, Adventures of a Gregarious Egoist and he has graciously authorized the version presented on OL. Note: This thread is locked. If you knew Rand, or someone you know did, and you wish to record a statement for history, please contact me or post it on another suitable thread in the Branden corner. Then I will either set a time to unlock the thread for you, or copy the statement in the manner that the others are posted. http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...hp?showtopic=60 2. Very exciting news. I received scans of two partial transcripts of the taped interviews that Ayn Rand granted to Barbara Branden in preparation for her title biographical essay in the 1962 book, Who is Ayn Rand?. These are previously unpublished words of Rand and give her appraisal of Nathaniel and Barbara at the beginning of the 1960’s – including the importance she attributed to NBI in helping her to overcome her post-Atlas Shrugged depression. Also included is the inscription she wrote on the copy of Atlas Shrugged of Barbara’s parents. Incidentally, it was pointed out to me once in a discussion that Rand never defined the word “genius” and used it very little. In these comments, she both defines the word and uses it to describe Nathaniel, way back at the beginning of the 1960’s. http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...p?showtopic=301 3. A new expanded version of “The Psychology of Romantic Love” by Nathaniel Branden is on the way! http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...p?showtopic=298 4. Paul Mawdsley made an extremely perceptive post on Nathaniel Branden’s Yahoo forum on the differences between him and Rand. He has authorized it to be posted on OL. I personally call this the quiet voice of reason. http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...p?showtopic=290 5. John Enright dug into his files and came up with a lovely perceptive poem from the 1970’s on Ayn Rand’s favorite painting. A wonderful idea is hatching to pair up some masterpieces with poems to enrich the experience of both. http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...p?showtopic=255 6. Barbara contributed a brilliant article (in addition to her normal brilliant posts) by constitutional scholar Henry Mark Holzer, entitled “The Press Defaults On Its Duty.” It is a damaging look at American media’s behavior in light of the Danish newspaper’s publication of Muhammad cartoons. http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...p?showtopic=297 7. In Aesthetics, there is a new thread open on music theorist, Joseph Schillinger, and how his theories this might tie in with Objectivist esthetics. The idea came from the enthusiasm of Dr. Wesley H. Lowe, who recently joined OL. http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...p?showtopic=300 8. I got into a bit of a tussle on a discussion of rights. The pros and cons are presented in a rant (and analysis) I wrote that ran off from another forum, plus the comments to it. This topic seems to have gotten under everybody’s skin, which is a good indication of its importance. (Notice that I do not claim here to be 100% right – or agree that anybody is. We are still chewing on it and the implications that have arisen from several quarters are both interesting and critical.) http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...p?showtopic=293 9. Blowing my own horn, Kat posted in the “Parenting” section a sign she made of my words a few months ago. (Yup folks, lil’ ole’ me.) In an unrelated discussion with another person, I tried to simplify learning morality by presenting the process from a child’s point of view. Kat found this to be good advice in general for children, so she made the sign. http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...p?showtopic=303 10. A new member to OL, Eudaimonist (Mark) from the Fellowship of Reason, contributed a very interesting article on rational spirituality and a science fiction short story that is almost a parable for adopting a philosophy of reason. Article: http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...p?showtopic=306 Short story: http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...p?showtopic=307 11. Roger Bissell’s wicked parodies just don’t stop. Here is an essential reading list. http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...p?showtopic=295 One complaint I received from several people is that I was not putting the group email addresses in BCC. I have corrected this. Chalk it up to growing pains. My apologies for any inconveniences. Be happy everybody. Best wishes from Kat and me. Michael btw – You are receiving this update because you joined the OL forum or you are someone I like a lot. There is no set date for OL Updates. They will be sent only when there are interesting things to highlight. If you do not want to receive these updates anymore, please send me a return email stating your wish and I will take you off the list. This is not automatic yet. I’m doing it all by hand. This list will not be shared with anyone. Edit: The links were changed because of the new domain.
  12. Objectivist Living Update 0004 – February 19, 2006 Some mighty interesting things have happened recently on OL. Things are happening quicker than I imagined. Here are the highlights. 1. There have been two new additions to the thread, Statements from those who knew Ayn Rand from NBI & such: one by Brant Gaede and one by Ellen Stuttle. These statements from those who actually knew Ayn Rand are highly appreciated. I am sure that scholars and people interested in Rand will value them for many, many years to come. Note: This thread is locked because of a recent invasion. If you knew Rand, or someone you know did, and you wish to record a statement for history, please contact me or post it on another suitable thread in the Branden corner. Then I will either set a time to unlock the thread for you, or copy the statement in the manner that the others are posted. http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...hp?showtopic=60 2. Speaking of Ellen Stuttle, she wrote a very poignant impression of Ayn Rand, including impressions Allan Blumenthal discussed with her previously. This was prompted by reading Rand’s 1968 journal entries. Barbara Branden joined the thread to give an amazing analysis of Leonard Peikoff’s nature, explaining the root of his religiosity toward Rand and his vicious hatred of her and Nathaniel. Even the streaker in the Academy Awards ceremony that Rand analyzed gained something – after all these decades, he finally received a pardon from Kantian disgrace and repudiation hell. http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...p?showtopic=275 3. Mike Lee recently made a couple of extremely perceptive posts on Nathaniel Branden’s Yahoo forum. He presented a very different historical analysis of the 1968 break than the spite that has normally been touted these days. He allowed me to join and edit his posts and publish them on OL. Frankly, I have not read anything as inspiring as this about the Brandens this past year. Mike’s colorful and analysis hit me like a breath of fresh air – a voice of sanity amidst all the irrational hatred. Thank you, Mike. http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...p?showtopic=278 4. Up for a little fun? Do you like wicked lampoons? Folks, I do not allow bickering on OL and avoid negative commentary about other sites and luminaries in our small Objectivist subculture. But when the talent of an author like Roger Bissell shines so brilliantly with his creation, Dizzy Vertigo, I not only have to applaud, I can’t resist joining in the fun. (Hell, the purpose of OL is to foster talent, anyway.) I went ahead and started a small collection of descriptive (and highly “rational”) phrases lovingly bestowed upon my very being by those who wish me well. But then out of the blue, I received an email from a devoted fan of Dizzy Vertigo of the world famous Dizzy and the Gang. He provided us with a picture that captured the essence of Dizzy’s multi-faceted personality. Dayaamm! Whatever on earth made Rand say that photography was not an art form? http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...p?showtopic=272 http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...p?showtopic=284 5. On a more somber note, I believe in practicing what you preach. I have eschewed the uncontrolled hair-trigger hate-and-bash approach that seduced me on the old forum where I used to post. (I came to the conclusion that this practice – especially the manner in which it has been practiced throughout the Objectivist subculture – is highly irrational, destructive and disgusting.) That meant taking a good hard look at myself and correcting past mistakes. Here is my public apology to a person I had been unfair to back then. http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...p?showtopic=282 6. Roger Bissell posted the first review on OL of “that book.” But don’t worry. Over time, OL will post a few more reviews of that thing, but no long drawn-out, hair-splitting, acrimonious discussions will happen to bore our audience to tears. http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...p?showtopic=286 7. A new section has been added to OL on parenting. There is not much to see yet, but contributions of ideas and experiences are welcome. (Thanks to Patrick Peterson for the suggestion.) http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...p?showtopic=276 We just had a small influx of new members. Welcome newbies! Any of you have any talent you want to show off or hone in public? Talent’s the name of the OL game. We will be working hard to make this site useful to you. Be happy everybody. Kat and I sure are. Michael btw – You are receiving this update because you joined the OL forum or you are someone I like a lot. There is no set date for OL Updates. They will be sent only when there are interesting things to highlight. If you do not want to receive these updates anymore, please send me a return email stating your wish and I will take you off the list. This is not automatic yet. I’m doing it all by hand. Edit: The links were changed because of the new domain.
  13. Objectivist Living Update 0003 - February 14, 2006 Some very interesting things happen recently on OL in the last four days. Here are some highlights. 1. Robert Hessen authorized us to post a glowing statement from him about Barbara Branden and her general account of Ayn Rand’s personality. It is entitled “Ayn Rand's Angry Answers--A Statement by Robert Hessen.” (You have to scroll to the bottom after going to the thread, Statements from those who knew Ayn Rand from NBI & such, at the link below.) http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...hp?showtopic=60 2. Nathaniel Branden’s magnificent work, The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem, is being studied at Harvard. http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...p?showtopic=263 3. Surfing the Internet a while back, I came across a very interesting set of study questions on ITOE from the Enlightment website. I have organized the links for easy reference. I am thinking about putting together a small OL study group for this work. I will keep you posted. http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...p?showtopic=268 4. Kat has drawn up a most charming visual chart for the five disciplines of philosophy according to Objectivism. As there is some disagreement on what should be included and what should go where, even among more learned Objectivists, she is inviting comments to try to make it as accurate as possible. http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...p?showtopic=264 5. Blowing my own horn, I did a little rant about recognizing where Ayn Rand’s real influence is in the majority of her reader’s lives, and big frogs in little ponds, “The Ayn Rand Love/Hate Myth.” http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...p?showtopic=262 6. Still tooting, I wrote a Valentine poem “Passing Spell” for by beloved Kitten. http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...p?showtopic=271 7. On a lighter note, Ciro and I are playfully and mightily bantering on “Irrationality” (although it started as a serious topic). http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...p?showtopic=266 Happy Valentine’s Day to all. Michael btw – You are receiving this update because you joined the OL forum or you are someone I like a lot. There is no set date for OL Updates. They will be sent only when there are interesting things to highlight. If you do not want to receive these updates anymore, please send me a return email stating your wish and I will take you off the list. This is not automatic yet. I’m doing it all by hand. Edit: The links were changed because of the new domain.
  14. Objectivist Living Update 0002 - February 10, 2006 We’ve had some interesting things happen recently on OL. Here are some highlights. 1. Roger Bissell just posted his article, “Art as Microcosm: The Real Meaning of the Objectivist Concept of Art.” This was first published in The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies 5, no. 2 (Spring 2004): 307–63. It is one of the most important works dealing with Objectivist aesthetics to appear in recent years. It is a bit hard going, but well worth the effort to understand his microcosm concept. http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...p?showtopic=259 2. Did you know that Ayn Rand liked modern art when she was younger? Read what she wrote about it from an earlier draft of We the Living. http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...p?showtopic=248 3. Want to see Ayn Rand’s favorite painting? http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...p?showtopic=255 4. Speaking of paintings, Kat came up with an absolutely gorgeous one by Martin Johnson Heade, Cattleya Orchid and Three Brazilian Hummingbirds (1871). There are not many works in our little Art Gallery yet, but every one is extremely inspiring and/or challenging. http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...p?showtopic=249 5. We have had some very good discussion about the movie version of The Passion of Ayn Rand by Barbara Branden. Jody Gomez kicked it off, Barbara weighed in with other OL members and I wrote a small review. http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...p?showtopic=240 6. Nathaniel Branden wrote a play in 1971. Dayaamm! He’s now offering his own audio reading of it. http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...p?showtopic=261 7. In the Creative Writing section, Landon Erp posted a draft of a “shooting script” of a comic he is writing, Frontier War: Manipulation Family Curse. Although not specifically an Objectivist project, it is highly interesting to see the birth of a comic by a talented young writer. It should be quite a treat to see how the finished version of the story differs from this early draft and watch how it develops. Landon has opened his draft to the public for comments. http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...p?showtopic=245 8. Ciro keeps sending us delicious recipes in The Kitchen and Kat keeps cooking them. Other posters are also sharing their own favorite meals. http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...hp?showforum=22 On a personal note, I’m having a ball with this. And that’s because of you all. So see you there and be happy. Michael btw – You are receiving this update because you joined the OL forum or you are someone I like a lot. There is no set date for OL Updates. They will be sent only when there are interesting things to highlight. If you do not want to receive these updates anymore, please send me a return email stating your wish and I will take you off the list. This is not automatic yet. I’m doing it all by hand. Edit: The links were changed because of the new domain.
  15. Objectivist Living Update 0001 - January 22, 2006 Folks, Barbara just posted a wonderful article on OL, "The Psychology of Suicide Bombers." Here is the link (you may have to copy/paste in the URL field): http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...p?showtopic=216 It is one of her best. Enjoy. Michael Edit: The link was changed because of the new domain.
  16. Here is a list of the updates we periodically send out with links to new items of interest. Michael.
  17. Come on, Rich, Around here: EVERYBODY LOVES PHIL! (Otherwise, who would we shi... er... uhm..) Once again: EVERYBODY LOVES PHIL! Michael
  18. Objectivist Living Objectivist Living is a forum for Objectivists and their friends. All people are welcome, but we do have our own particular focus. The view of Objectivism fostered here is that it is a set of philosophical principles created by Ayn Rand. The initial official version includes contributions by her and people she indicated (as she formally stated in The Objectivist). We hold that Objectivism is a dynamic, not static, set of principles. These principles are integrated into one system, but this does not preclude future integrations, additions and corrections as the nature of human beings and the universe becomes understood in more depth. "Check your premises" is one of the basic attitudes that is encouraged here and no premise is so sacred that it cannot be periodically checked. There are no Objectivism commandments defining heresy and blasphemy around here. Intelligent and sincere examination, however, is the standard. Objectivist Living is devoted to the creation of new works in all areas. Both fiction and nonfiction in literature are encouraged, but fiction is given special attention, as are other creative arts. Objectivism started out as wonderful novels by Ayn Rand. More works need to be written and published, but this cannot happen in a vacuum. Thus Objectivist Living is a place for creators and producers to hang out with each other and with their friends - and hopefully get some work done. For the detractors of the Brandens, please be advised that Objectivist Living is a haven for them. People can get a positive image of them here. They can learn about the Brandens and learn from them. The Brandens were fundamental to the creation of Objectivism and we feel lucky to be able to interact with them. Disagreements with them on specific issues are OK, but Branden bashing is not tolerated. Instead, we wish to honor them. Also, flame wars will be extinguised the moment they erupt. We will try to be as diplomatic as possible about this but gratuitous insults are not tolerated. We hold good manners as a value in exchanging ideas. On an emotional level, we nurture positive emotions like love, admiration, curiosity, etc., and not negative ones like hatred, contempt, rage, etc. This is not an exclusive policy, since some things must be condemned, but predominance is on the positive side. Objectivist Living is not a movement, merely a place to discuss important ideas in peace with highly intelligent people and create works. We are a place for Ayn Rand's "silent contingency" to appear, should such individuals care to do so, or they can simply read. These are people who admire Rand's works but do not admire the behavior of the Objectivists they have encountered, so they stay home. We aim to be an oasis from the bickering for them. We wish to extend a hearty welcome to all who come in goodwill and peace. Michael & Kat
  19. Ciro, Kat and I keep this corner because of several reasons. One is we love the guy. He is one of the absolute high points in independent Objectivism and should be honored. He is also a sweetheart of a person. (A lot like you.) Another reason for this corner is that I intend on doing a "thing" with Russian Radical to make it more accessible. Also, I have a few other surprises planned. For now Chris doesn't post anywhere except on his own blog. He recently had an operation and some terrible personal losses (people and animals) that have thrown his schedule far behind, on top of coping with grief and troubles. The bottom line is that Chris doesn't need to post here for me to honor him. This is just a small homage for the time being. Watch and see what it grows up to be. A seed never does look like a tree. Michael
  20. John, Thank you for that explanation. Now I have a question that is even more basic (and this is for the benefit of non-poetry readers - those who want to appreciate poetry, but whose eyes glaze over when they see verse). Why does a poet choose the form he chooses? How does the rhythm, rhyme scheme and other technical matters impact on his message? Tension is a good thing to prompt (and you made me think a bit there - thank you), but it is delivery, not the subject itself. Most people, for example, have no idea why you would choose varied rhythms for a message about contemplating the glory behind the power of a commuter train (basically man's mind, which you brilliantly contrasted with "beast."). The connection of the whys and hows between form and content is something I believe will make people read more poetry. Any thoughts? (Sorry to abuse your time, but having a willing author explain what he was doing is always a treat for readers.) Michael
  21. Gary, The sad sad sad sad sad truth is that I have done all I am gonna do with booze. I still like to smell certain alcoholic beverages and articles like this one strike my fancy and make me wish for a moment that I was active again. I have nothing against those who do drink as it is a wonderful pleasure for those who know how. (I don't.) In compensation, I can't feel too bad. I have more in my past than 5 heavy drinkers normally have in the sum of their entire lifetimes... When I get down, I go all the way down. There's nothing halfassed about it... Michael
  22. Gary, That was quite a gush. Thank you! That's a nice relaxed time thing you got going. I imagine the Brandens should be answering you back in about a year or so... So tell the truth. Under the weather... what does that mean? (Really, really, under the weather...) Was about hurricanes or were you tom-catting after the born again of the female persuasion? Welcome back, friend. Michael
  23. This ain't wine, but it sure looks interesting as all hell. (sigh) Ah, the poignant wistfulness of temperence... (Shaddap all of ya!) Read the article with picture on the linked title: Distillery to Revive 184-Proof Whisky (But here's the text just in case the link breaks one day. This is just too important to run that risk... )
  24. Jody, You... you... you... ap.. ap.. ap... ologize to.. to... ahem... whom?!!! Dayaamm Phil! Dayaamm! Now look what you done! Michael