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  1. Starbuckle

    What if living is too painful to make it worth it?

    Perhaps I haven't read enough of the thread, but I don't have a clear idea of the problem. "How can life be worth living?" cannot even begin to be answered with respect to a given person's life without an idea of what it is which is making someone feel that life is not worth living. Lives have details. If a person were to tell me, "No no, I have all the regular components that fulfill other people, loving spouse or boy/girlfriend, productive and challenging job that exercises my interests and faculties, living in a good neighborhood, I enjoy food and movies and music, no mental or physical affliction, the cat is well-behaved and the toilet is not overflowing, etc.; but I just have this feeling that life cannot be worth living, and I don't even see how there can even be any possibility of its ever being worth the effort involved"--I'd feel either that some crucial information were being omitted or that I were being sold a bill of goods. This, for example, seems suspect to me: "I can't think of any future state I want to achieve. It's all so empty. Why choose to live? I'm over it." What if one attained a state of not feeling empty? Would that also be "so empty"? What if one had a glimpse that a better feeling about life is possible? Why is life too painful, or nothing _but_ pain? What are we talking about? A dead end job that makes one feel trapped? Inability to get a date or companionship? Having lost a loved one in a tragic accident? Chronic illness? Disfigurement? Paraplegia? Addiction? Abuse? Being 72 years old and stuck in prison for the next 20 years? Being stuck in Canada? What? Many other relevant questions would arise as the story begins to be told. But even if we knew something of the background, the best that persons of good will could do in a thread like this is suggest a few possibilities for pursuing a remedy. I agree with the commenter who said that a person suffering such a persistent feeling of hopelessness should seek professional help. Or, if professional help is not feasible for whatever reason, should at least talk in person to someone sensible in a candid way about the problems.
  2. See Wendy McElroy's responses to many of the issues raised in this thread, including the sexual content, at her web site. The posts are listed on this page:
  3. "Anyone who knows anything about fasting knows that during a fast, hunger (or what is called hunger) goes away." BaalChatzaf is a chronic troll.
  4. Starbuckle

    Being punished for writing

    The voice of this essay and of other essays by you that I have read is more vivid and engaging than at least the early pages of the DeVoon novel I checked out at Amazon. Since I have sampled only one novel, take this with a grain of salt. But perhaps one possibility is to pursue a basically different approach to fiction. I mean fewer standard structural elements, transitions, dialogue, attributions, physical details; more essay-voice commenting on the events transpiring; more witty, slashing, digressive meditation. Let the narrator be a non-participant.
  5. Starbuckle

    Binswanger Comments on J. Burns

    "I couldn't detect in what little I heard if he even understands the difference between learning something conceptually and acquiring a skill..." You apparently didn't listen to what little you heard. Binswanger did not claim that one must be able to conceptualize what's involved in the skill of bicycle-riding in order to learn how to ride a bike. He said that we know have (mentally) information about how to do it that would be difficult to conceptualize, or at least that it is _not_ the same task. You add that repetition is involved in learning a skill and that neural patterns are formed. Did Binswanger dispute that repetition is involved in learning a skill? Another commenter objects to BInswanger's mentioning the book he's been working on for many years on the subject of How We Know in response to a question about how we know.... Is citing your own published further explanation of a question being directly asked really objectionable in some way?
  6. Starbuckle

    Peikoff qua "intellectual heir"

    It would make for a good episode of "To Tell the Truth." "I am Ayn Rand's intellectual heir." "No, I am Ayn Rand's intellectual heir." "Actually, I am Ayn Rand's intellectual heir." "Intellectual heir number two, how come you pronounced 'Ayn' as if it rhymes with 'pane,' while the other two claimants pronounce her first name as if it rhymes with 'pine'?" "Intellectual heir number three, was the ceremony of your being anointed _the_ intellectual heir videotaped; and if so, where is the video now?" "Intellectual heir number one, how frequently must you as i.h. expel persons from Official Objectivism as a means of countering reasonable criticism in order to maintain your credentials as Rand's intellectual heir? And is 'intellectual' the right word for that procedure? Also, why are other advocates of 'reason as the only absolute' willing to play along with this?" "Intellectual heir number three, what is the definition of 'table'...."
  7. Starbuckle

    Show Your Work

    "There's nothing wrong with the textbooks, Phil. The problem is your short attention span and resistance to work -- your wish for everything to be made easy for you by others, and to then move on to a shallow understanding of the next subject that momentarily interests you....lazy dabblers like you." Wow. So I guess we shouldn't proceed from Economics in One Lesson to Man, Economy and State to Human Action, just dig right in with the hard-to-understand stuff. What an asshole.
  8. Starbuckle

    An ethical question?

    Yes, it depends on the details. But it's often not important to distinguish explicitly between whether a kind of action is moral or immoral per se and whether it's both moral and prudent to act in a specific context. The relevance of specifying and applying is taken for granted. (Whether an action is moral per se can't be the only desideratum, since there is usually a range of moral alternatives in pursuing a goal. Morality only gives boundaries.) If we say "it's moral to eat," we don't thereby imply that it's moral to eat anything, under any circumstance, by any means whatever. Nobody has to explain, "Well, an Objectivist will tell you that whether you have a right to eat is not the only consideration here in determining the morality of a specific act of consumption, whereas the libertarian doesn't care whether he's eating vegetables or drinking cyanide, he's going to assert his right to consume." Of course people can make bad choices while acting morally. The willfully bad choices may be immoral, depending on the motive and the consequences. They may not be. If you decide to act against the thug despite a large personal cost, it's moral per se to do so, if it is just to do so (which depends on both what the thug is doing and how you propose to respond); even if some of your decisions about when and how to go about it are blunders.
  9. Starbuckle

    wither TAS

    Of course if one "sets aside" all the actual work that people do should that work be deemed inadequately emblematic of Productivity, then productive people will seem less productive than they are. We're "setting aside" lectures and essays because they haven't yet been collected into books? Really? We also seem to even be "setting aside" Kelley's fully Productivity-emblemizing published books. A Life of One's Own doesn't make the cut?
  10. Starbuckle

    Casey Anthony Acquitted and Graceless Those expatiating about how wonderful it is that the jurors in the Casey Anthony case turned in a non-guilty verdict because it thwarts Nancy Grace might benefit from this NRO commentary by Fred Thompson. He explains why sometimes a case cannot be successfully prosecuted even when the evidence proves guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
  11. Starbuckle

    Reason, Superstition, and Enthusiasm

    Very good. Was suspicion of excessive "enthusiasms" one of Erasmus's major concerns?
  12. Starbuckle

    Casey Anthony Acquitted and Graceless

    Yes, the verdict was fine, except for the small fact that the defendant murdered her daughter.
  13. "This is the real harm, in terms of financial damages, that I suffered from Wendy's plagiarism. I can no longer use seven years of my work in an attempt to write my own book in my own way." Why not? You may have explained this, but it seems to me you could do a book with a preface explaining the situation, present the material the way you want to, and let the chips fall where they may. Is Brendy going to sue for your plagiarizing of the plagiarism of your work? Even if no publisher would touch the book, avenues for self-publication have multiplied in recent years. You would make money.
  14. GHS writes: "Fortunately, this troll is not the brightest bulb in the chandelier. Teacher, my ass. He couldn't teach a bear to shit in the woods. And he is a coward to boot." Guess what: bears already know how to shit in the woods. So is this the level of "non-contradiction" we can expect from Smith? No wonder McElroy plagiarized him. He left her no choice.
  15. Starbuckle

    Is your commute killing you?

    "Obviously you did not read anything else." I read the Slate article, in addition to, earlier in my life, some Aristotle, Plato and Jane Austen. Now I have two questions. 1) Why would you assume that anyone who undertakes a long commute must be crazy? 2) Why would you assume that anyone who asked you that question "obviously" could not have read the linked article?