Tonix777

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  1. Yes I meant "savage" (already corrected thanks) I tried to visit that topic "What are we" but couldn't find it with a normal search Could you please provide link?
  2. More than 50 years after Atlas Shrugged and after much years of being Objectivist, I strongly believe that some update is necessary to Rand's original approach In fact more than an update is an extension consisting in applying Objectivism deeper to the Human Animal: Ourselves The Aristotelian "A is A" means also that WE are what we are, and in recent years after Rand's main body of work, several science disciplines has gone much further in the research about our very own nature as "biological machines". In an oversimplified analogy our body and specially our brain would be the "hardware", our mind the "software" and our emotional system standing between both, and functioning as some kind of "firmware" specially in our early years of life Rand focused her wonderful insights in our mind, the software, which is of course the proper terrain for philosophy but I think now that she overlooked the strong influence of our hardware in our behavior, moods, and choices, specially our Emotional System which is shaped by our "sense of life" = values in Randian terms but also by our biology and even the particular chemistry and hormone balance inside our brains What follow are some concepts for discussion, followed by some Conclusions at the end: 1- Modern Evolutionary Psychology and Neuroscience are progressing more and more in revealing how strong is the influence of DNA-inherited traits in our behavior and moral choices and preferences So Aristotle-Locke's concept of "Tabula Rasa" is valid to a certain (great) extend but not absolute since we have innate tendencies acquired thru darwinian evolution 2- The (also Aristotelian) "Eudaimonia" and thus our pursuit-of-happiness are very strongly influenced by our emotional system, in fact happiness itself is an emotionally based state of mind, complex, quite different for each individual, hard to define, but emotional in nature: We feel happy as opposite to we think we are happy 3- Altruism and Religiosity, two apparently DNA-inherited traits are central to the discourse of Objectivism vs traditional organization in Society Recent studies strongly suggest that these two tendencies found in all World's societies across all Ages, are "hardwired" in our brains and helped specie's survival As a sample of this line of though please read Matthew Alper's book "The God part of the Brain" or this article in LA Times: http://articles.lati...theism-20110718 4- Human Society's evolution leads also to "biological weakness"? Not to mention modern medicine hindering Natural Selection, Capitalism as the best-to-date political system is strongly linked to an evolved morality, and any regression in human history would likely diminish or eliminate Capitalism in modern Society with the subsequent possibility of returning to more savage relationships among men that in turn would also call for "less evolved" individuals in order to survive? 5- Beatles' classic "All you need is love" is an expression that probably would produce revulsion in Rand and most Objectivists BUT there is something extremely important inside the very concept of "Love" that is essential to our survival as individual and species: The DNA-inherited natural tendency of "attachment" in the Human Animal which is also emotionally driven. Attachment to our beloved ones, to our projects, to other people, even to objects or devices that become important for us, allowing to move towards needs generated by these feelings that not always have an easy or even logic explanation. 6- Ayn Rand stressed the essential importance of a John-Galt style of relationship with Nature, absolutely agreed BUT dominion of Nature is dominion of just one half of our environment, as social animals we usually live in groups so our "Reality" is compressed of Nature and People with the latter posing also multiple challenges coming from our relationship with others, personal interactions, rules and laws, rewards vs punishment, control vs freedom, etc. Conclusions: A- We are what we are, A is A and it is pointless to deny our very own nature consistent with our current degree of evolution as species. Thus integrating Objectivist Philosophy into our complex "interior" (including specially our Emotional System) is a challenge that everyone has to solve in his/her own way. But to me we need adequate managing not denial, of all these DNA-inherited traits and tendencies that are more strong in some individuals than others but always present in the end. B- Borrowing from conflict management strategies an interesting option I found is working "in the frontiers", meaning accepting that conflict is an essential part of existence and try to make our choices accordingly and as smart as possible. This is specially important in the relationship with all other people around us who usually are far more unpredictable and illogic than Nature that is much more benevolent in David Kelley's sense of the word C- It sounds politically incorrect but I also believe that we should contemplate the need to be less overcivilized in some cases, keeping deep inside ourselves some residual "primitivism" just in case modern Society collapses and relationships among men change in some future. This applies also to the sometimes overprotective environment and education we are giving to our children?
  3. You are right and I share your feelings but other people thinks very different and this difference has to be respected if we want to live in freedom I am a late Objectivist and also a late father, both in my 40's and I would gladly give my life for my 3 years old son (literally if I need to, I have already lived a wonderful life anyway). But it doesn't change the fact that some people have other feelings, needs, values, circumstances and the list goes on...
  4. What about this one? symbolizing "Modern Objectivism"
  5. A child is not a man either. Does that mean that you agree with the Romans that it is okay for a father to kill his children at will? You need to define your terms, and to avoid equivocation - the use of the same word like "man" in two different senses. My point is indeed that is is not easy to define what is a Man. it depends from your philosophical axioms and ethical basic values From a legal point of view in our age & civilized western societies you can't kill your children, because legally you are a person since the very moment of birth But besides the legal aspects that as you pointed have varied trough ages I believe that any Man is a work-in-progress since he is born, so your philosophical axioms and ethical basic values decide where to draw the line. For me in particular this line is far from the moment of birth so a fetus is philosophically not a Man even when the law can say so in some societies But you are still using the word man. That's not very helpful. Do you hold that it is okay to kill a baby during delivery, while its head is still in the birth canal? How about 1 second afterwards? I am not interested in your opposite poles of man and fetus. Tell me where your borderline case lies. I don't want to be rude but I am not interested in discussing unreal "lifeboat" situations... Why any normal parents would like to kill their baby while its head is still in the birth canal? or a second afterwards? It sounds more as a crime-scene than actual life, usually an abortion is a very hard decision and has to be made in the early period of pregnancy as far as I know The main discussions around abortion are about legal issues and there are those ugly anti-abortion groups trying to convince people to push the legal system towards their point of view and against minorities and individual freedom and using those horrible images for punching below the belt and appealing to people's feelings instead to people's reasoning or convictions But in the end "legal" is not necessarily correct in the philosophical sense. Hitler killed 6 million people "legally" with the authorization of laws from the Congress but it was terribly wrong anyway... Unreal "lifeboat" situation? See here. What rock do you live under? http://en.wikipedia....bortion_Ban_Act Late term abortions are statically rare and the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 properly addressed what seems to be a murder case because the baby is partially outside the mother, meaning he is partially born. I think you are making one of the five more common mistakes of men: Confusing rule with exception Exceptional cases shouldn't be used to decide broad issues Statistically rare has nothing to with being a hypothetical case about which one cannot even theorize. In any case, it was because I had responded to your man versus fetus dichotomy as banal that I asked you to explain what you yourself view as a borderline case. Your response seems to be that you don't want to draw a line anywhere because debating it would be inconvenient - or maybe you just didn't understand the question. No problem. You can stick with your a fetus is not a man position if you find it adequate for your needs. You are right, it is adequate for my needs, since knowledge is infinite, even about a specific object/subject But I have learned a lot from this topic so I probably owe a deeper contribution just for the sake of theorizing as you said 1-My man versus fetus dichotomy is not as banal as it seems, since there are people out there saying that one is Man from the very instant of conception when you are only a couple of cells together I guess those are probably religious people based more on dogma than on reason? 2-I will definitely draw the line in the moment of birth, it is a crucial milestone in the development of a Man, when he becomes a body functioning autonomously and separated from the mother in the very symbolic act of cutting the umbilical cord. The just born baby however only has a autonomous body not yet a mind, he only possesses the basic emotions of joy and pain and some primitive reflexes and instinct for initial survival, so he is not yet a Man in the full sense if we define Man as a Conscious Animal. Animal meaning an autonomous living organism with specific characteristics and needs. Conscious meaning having a mind which is gradually acquired by the newborn in the months, years and decades to come In this matter I have come to agree with the excellent posts of Michael and Darrell in general and specifically about the "sliding scale" idea, which is in tune BTW with my initial broader concept of Man being a work-in-progress
  6. Is this a faux Rand quote? Not one word about human rights. --Brant Please read correctly before talking about faux quote I didn't say that I was quoting Rand at all, I said that it is my belief that Rand had an implicit (not explicit) approach Excuse me! I asked a question. And I also made a statement you did not address. Please read correctly before replying. Gracias! --Brant not one word about human rights The concept "human rights" has unfortunately become an anti-concept. Anyone is using those words to designate whatever they want to push for For me human rights from a philosophical point of view are the natural rights to life, liberty and property. Any other "right" has a legal connotation and depends on the particular society you are living on Some particular societies (in our or previous ages) could eventually give you "wrong" rights or impede your natural rights PS: There is an old philosophical argument about what are "natural rights" anyway and wether Objectivism is related to them or not
  7. A child is not a man either. Does that mean that you agree with the Romans that it is okay for a father to kill his children at will? You need to define your terms, and to avoid equivocation - the use of the same word like "man" in two different senses. My point is indeed that is is not easy to define what is a Man. it depends from your philosophical axioms and ethical basic values From a legal point of view in our age & civilized western societies you can't kill your children, because legally you are a person since the very moment of birth But besides the legal aspects that as you pointed have varied trough ages I believe that any Man is a work-in-progress since he is born, so your philosophical axioms and ethical basic values decide where to draw the line. For me in particular this line is far from the moment of birth so a fetus is philosophically not a Man even when the law can say so in some societies But you are still using the word man. That's not very helpful. Do you hold that it is okay to kill a baby during delivery, while its head is still in the birth canal? How about 1 second afterwards? I am not interested in your opposite poles of man and fetus. Tell me where your borderline case lies. I don't want to be rude but I am not interested in discussing unreal "lifeboat" situations... Why any normal parents would like to kill their baby while its head is still in the birth canal? or a second afterwards? It sounds more as a crime-scene than actual life, usually an abortion is a very hard decision and has to be made in the early period of pregnancy as far as I know The main discussions around abortion are about legal issues and there are those ugly anti-abortion groups trying to convince people to push the legal system towards their point of view and against minorities and individual freedom and using those horrible images for punching below the belt and appealing to people's feelings instead to people's reasoning or convictions But in the end "legal" is not necessarily correct in the philosophical sense. Hitler killed 6 million people "legally" with the authorization of laws from the Congress but it was terribly wrong anyway... Unreal "lifeboat" situation? See here. What rock do you live under? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partial-Birth_Abortion_Ban_Act Late term abortions are statically rare and the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 properly addressed what seems to be a murder case because the baby is partially outside the mother, meaning he is partially born. I think you are making one of the five more common mistakes of men: Confusing rule with exception Exceptional cases shouldn't be used to decide broad issues
  8. A child is not a man either. Does that mean that you agree with the Romans that it is okay for a father to kill his children at will? You need to define your terms, and to avoid equivocation - the use of the same word like "man" in two different senses. My point is indeed that is is not easy to define what is a Man. it depends from your philosophical axioms and ethical basic values From a legal point of view in our age & civilized western societies you can't kill your children, because legally you are a person since the very moment of birth But besides the legal aspects that as you pointed have varied trough ages I believe that any Man is a work-in-progress since he is born, so your philosophical axioms and ethical basic values decide where to draw the line. For me in particular this line is far from the moment of birth so a fetus is philosophically not a Man even when the law can say so in some societies But you are still using the word man. That's not very helpful. Do you hold that it is okay to kill a baby during delivery, while its head is still in the birth canal? How about 1 second afterwards? I am not interested in your opposite poles of man and fetus. Tell me where your borderline case lies. I don't want to be rude but I am not interested in discussing unreal "lifeboat" situations... Why any normal parents would like to kill their baby while its head is still in the birth canal? or a second afterwards? It sounds more as a crime-scene than actual life, usually an abortion is a very hard decision and has to be made in the early period of pregnancy as far as I know The main discussions around abortion are about legal issues and there are those ugly anti-abortion groups trying to convince people to push the legal system towards their point of view and against minorities and individual freedom and using those horrible images for punching below the belt and appealing to people's feelings instead to people's reasoning or convictions But in the end "legal" is not necessarily correct in the philosophical sense. Hitler killed 6 million people "legally" with the authorization of laws from the Congress but it was terribly wrong anyway...
  9. Is this a faux Rand quote? Not one word about human rights. --Brant Please read correctly before talking about faux quote I didn't say that I was quoting Rand at all, I said that it is my belief that Rand had an implicit (not explicit) approach
  10. A child is not a man either. Does that mean that you agree with the Romans that it is okay for a father to kill his children at will? You need to define your terms, and to avoid equivocation - the use of the same word like "man" in two different senses. My point is indeed that is is not easy to define what is a Man. it depends from your philosophical axioms and ethical basic values From a legal point of view in our age & civilized western societies you can't kill your children, because legally you are a person since the very moment of birth But besides the legal aspects that as you pointed have varied trough ages I believe that any Man is a work-in-progress since he is born, so your philosophical axioms and ethical basic values decide where to draw the line. For me in particular this line is far from the moment of birth so a fetus is philosophically not a Man even when the law can say so in some societies
  11. Did you note that in Ayn Rand's novels and essays there are no children? I am the proud father of a two years old, smart, curious, beautiful son that is the light of my life, however I agree with Rand in an important point that I believe she made implicitly in her approach to Philosophy: A person isn't born as a person, it takes a long process to become a person Here my central question is: Are children really "persons" in the full philosophical sense of the word about what Objectivism speaks? Are they free to choose? Are they capable of bearing responsibility for their acts? Can they live to their own effort? In any case at which age? At some hard-to-define point between 10 and 20 years old a child become a man depending on his life's circumstances, it is a slow gradual process that takes years to happen, from the very moment of birth until you are capable to face existence by your own. In fact in most countries the law says that you are some kind of "property" of your parents until at least 15 years old or more. In most modern western cultures by example you are nor free to choose even the color of your shoes until you are 8 or 10 or your religion until you are 12, nor your high-school, your ideas, or your bedroom until you are 14 or more, and your parents are responsible for your crimes in front of the law until you are 16 or 18. So for me a fetus is definitely not a man. And this is the main reason why I am not against abortion: an unborn baby is not yet a person in the total sense of the word, he is a "promise" for a future person.
  12. This nasty image reflects the cruel concept that a large majority of humanity has about Capitalism as the culprit of poverty and inequality in the world. Nothing more unfair: Poverty does not exist, it is only the absence of wealth. As poverty is actually the natural state of man if he is stripped of goods and services he produces. Without these goods and services produced (by men) and shared (traded) in modern societies, we are at the mercy of the strong and inimical forces of Nature and reality, which we know well all we that ever found ourselves suddenly isolated from these goods and services either lost in a forest at night in the Winter or with the car accidentally broken in the middle of some solitary nowhere. This wealth that we share and that protects us from poverty/nature (medicine, technology, food, shelter, transport, leisure, culture. etc.) is not generated spontaneously nor by "The Society" neither by God nor grows on trees, it is produced by men like us. This wealth which we value so much explicitly or implicitly has grown extremely slowly in all the millennia who preceded us in the history of mankind and has multiplied exponentially only in the last 200 years specially starting from the Industrial Revolution and Capitalism. Before it and just 300 or 400 years ago Man as species still struggled in disadvantage against hunger, pestilence, distances and all the powerful forces of Mother Nature, because the growth of wealth goods and services was so small that it was much easier to get them by force: stealing. For hundreds of thousands of years the formula to get better off in life was very simple: Take an ax and crack the head your neighbor, the tribe next door or whoever had what you wanted, all which was called "conquer." Slavery, permanent warfare, rape, torture, exploitation and death were massive and general commonplace for us as a species until only 200 years ago. Even today there are large segments of the global population fighting in disadvantage against those same forces of Nature, experiencing firsthand the living conditions of that ancient past, these are all parts of the World where the Industrial Revolution and Capitalism have not arrived yet, or where for a variety causes they have arrived only partially. Why then Capitalism is blamed for the historical ills it is actually healing? Here are my guesses: 1- Philosophical and historical inertia: Philosophers, intellectuals and leaders of the mankind (and along with them most of the population) have not yet grasped this relatively new historical phenomenon and continue analyzing the reality with parameters of the previous historical period, the feudal era where wealth was obtained by means of force and man was still the master of man. The "bad guy" was the rich because he had quite sure stolen his wealth somehow from others. He or his predecessors had to exploit, kill or torture many men weaker than them to acquire or preserve prosperity. So many people still apply the same obsolete logic to the capitalist entrepreneur who not only do not steal by force the wealth form others but is the real hero of society because he produces the wealth, goods and services other men eventually enjoy. Capitalism is the only political-economic system that allows the free action of these modern heroes, who in turn do not produce that wealth guided by altruistic purposes, but do so for their own sake and here comes another reason why Capitalism is blamed: 2-Christianity and its inverted model of values: 2000 years ago a man named Jesus of Nazareth came up with a philosophy that says that it is wrong to do things for the benefit of your own but it is good to do things for the benefit of others. Why? There is no logical explanation for this idea and it would take too long analyze the causes in this brief post, but the truth is that this position have become widespread ever since affecting the thinking capacity of a large majority of humanity promoting altruism as the ultimate ideal of nobility. 3- There is in all of us some primitive desire to return to be "Children" So someone take care of us, so we don't have to pay for our mistakes, so we make decisions that have no significant impact on our lives because someone or something will forgive us and finally save us. The Catholic Church and many other religions exploit this feeling through a "pastoral paternalism" and divine figures appealing to our lost childhood: "God Father" and "Mother Mary" for example. The atheist collectivists instead favor a "paternalistic society" to whom we owe who we are and always ensure that our needs are satisfied not matter how good or bad children we are: We are all "Equals" The explosive combination of these 3 concepts are mixed in the following reasoning: If someone has more than others is bad because surely he took it from other people in some obscure way, plus it is also wrong to have when others do not have. Someone has to be guilty of the plight of the less fortunate, a good Father does not make difference between his children The nasty picture shown at the beginning is a living reflection of this thought, the chubby child with a McDonald's cup in hand and a western cap on his head signaling a hungry child probably from Africa, both under the words "enjoy Capitalism" written in letters of the logo of Coca-Cola represents more or less the following message: The "fat" Western society is guilty of the African hunger together with multinational business usually identified as a bulwark of "Heartless and stateless capitalism" that has plunged humanity into a nightmare of inequality and cold, materialistic injustice. When it is quite the opposite, no one has done more for the poor (and every) men in the history of the human race that capitalism and "heartless" entrepreneurs who have progressed under its protective umbrella of individual rights. Bill Gates, one of the wealthiest men of the world has indeed and unwittingly done (while generating his own wealth) much more for the men of planet Earth than the already holy Mother Teresa of Calcutta and all missionaries in history together. But why "the art of love"? I was reading last week a brilliant essay of Nathaniel Branden in the book "Capitalism: The unknown ideal' Branden critically analyzes there in depth the ideas of the German philosopher Erich Fromm who wrote "The Art of Love" book that I read many years ago and luckily forgot. Fromm belongs to the obsolete large group of twentieth century philosophers who longed for Feudalism and the Middle Ages and the alleged and glamorized harmony between their fellow man and Nature that was "lost" in the industrial era, probably because his aristocratic ancestors did not die young working the land of the master or in one of the frequent famines or in an epidemic of cholera. He and all the modern stupid (and ecologists) that despise so much the advances of modernity and technology should be given a dose of their own medicine and left to live alone in the middle of the Brazilian jungle where they will quickly reach before 30 that "lost" harmony they long for... in heaven.
  13. Thanks for the warm welcome I come from Argentina, a country with almost no Objectivist activity and unfortunately with a current government leaning more and more towards collectivism, populism and other unpleasant "isms" from the left side of the World So I am happy about working and living in NY since a couple years ago. A big but nice challenge for me and my family
  14. Hi everyone, nice place you have here I am a "late Objectivist": In my case it was sad to suddenly discover in my 40s that I was somewhat stupid most of my previous life. Almos all my existence I was close to Objectivism in some basic vital attitudes and thoughts, specially those concerning to Metaphysics (Objective Reality) and Epistemology (Reason), but when it came to Ethics and Politics my mind was a strange mixture that I now regret and even when it could be quite worthless I have to confess my sin: I was more close to the "left wing" in most political and ethical points of view when I was young and even later. I have to say however in my defense that they were inherited ideas and concepts from my family and not from my own intellectual harvest, which doesn't necessarily redeem me from my own responsibility anyway. Over the time I questioned those ideas more and more and my points of view were gradually moving to a more realistic perspective, as long as I confronted myself with questions like: Why being rich "has" to be bad? Why socialist countries were falling one after other? Why the masses "have" to be always right? Where come the wealth from? How I would like to live? Who am I in reality and what I want as values? So for all that I did and said wrong before, for al the ideas I repeated without deeper researching or getting more first-hand information, for all the people I despised and blamed, for all the things I "thought" without really thinking: I apologize But then some day, some years ago, it came to my hands a book from Ayn Rand (Thanks to my friend Daniel for this) and since then I finally found myself reflected in a coherent philosophy, my soul found a home. However you can't just forget who you are overnight, so it has been a long learning process to integrate Objectivism into "my" mind & life which even included moving from my country to NY (It was at first kinda disappointing that USA is far less Objectivist than I imagined, but this is another topic). When I first saw that golden statue pointing the skyscrapers in front of the Central Park I quietly cried thinking that Aynd Rand lived there... And in the end we are humans, we have moods, and "stages" in our lives. We have also cycles of good an bad times, etc. so John Galt is a ideal to follow, sometimes it amuses me when some people get disappointed when they realize that they can not be "The perfect Objectivist" they can not be John Galt. For me the secret is to try hard everyday to be better than yourself whoever you are, having in any case John Galt a beacon in the horizon, but trying also to be the hero in the movie of your life in your own way
  15. Here it goes my own version of the Seven Deadly Sins (against Reason): 1- Lust The real truth about sex is that it is not an end in itself, it should be a consequence of your triumph in life and not the supposed source of it. Highly overrated in our modern culture by both its fans and detractors, it has not the power by itself to make you more successful or happier beyond the ephemeral range of the moment after which you will feel even more miserable than before if you are lying to yourself about your own worth. So the real sin is to revert the relationship between cause and consequence. Sex is GREAT but is not the cause of success. 2- Gluttony It could be a sin eating too much, but it is not a sin against those less fortunate or against the limited resources of Mother Nature, it is eventually a sin against yourself, your health, your body that is the hardware were your more precious software has to run: Your Mind. Indulging yourself with some pleasure is GOOD as long as you earned it, as long as you remain in control of yourself. The real sin is to make your decisions about your own pleasure (or your life in general) based in the opinions of others or the alleged false assumption about limited resources on Earth or the guild induced by some ancient priests in order to keep you unhappy, fearful and consequently under their control. 3- Greed It is definitely not a sin at all. It is a VIRTUE only publicized as a vice by those ignorant or haters of what life is, or worse by those with the most evil intention: to take your wealth away, to rob you from the reward earned by your effort, this noble resource that is a expression of your values and achievements and also a tool for getting your dreams done: Your money. The real sin is not having greed, or having greed for the unearned. It is the worst sin of all not having the greed to be better, to be more, to earn a place on Earth by your effort and intelligence, the greed to be richer in soul and body, in spirit and in practice in wisdom and gold, the greed to fight against laziness and the grey background of the emptiness before and after that marvelous spark burning against the cold nothing of eternity: Your Life. 4- Sloth It is definitely a sin, but not against God, it is a sin against yourself and against life. Your success in life or even more your simple daily survival can be only achieved by effort and work and intelligence. If you are not doing it, other people are doing it for you and worse: if you are not paying them, they become your slaves, whether they know it or not, whether they do it because they have not choice or impulsed by the vice of altruism. 5- Wrath Here things get more complicated. Where come your wrath from? It is rational or irrational? Against what? Just or unjust? What "Justice" means for you anyway? Your wrath is a consequence of your values, so it is hard to say if the wrath is good or bad in itself. You have to look for the causes, you have to check your premises, you have to revise your values and for this you have to know them, explicitly. You have to know yourself. Wrath can even be a virtue when generated by the right values because it moves you, it can be also a powerful tool to defend yourself and the ones you love against aggression and injustice. So the real sin is not wrath but only wrath generated by the wrong values. The real sin are wrong (irrational) values. 6- Envy Envy is good or bad according to your later intentions. There are three different kinds of envy according to these intentions: a- The good envy which impulses you to make the effort to win or build the material and/or spiritual resources that will allow you to achieve your desired neighbor's status or at least to get as close to it as possible according to your own real possibilities. b- The bad envy which impulse you to try to unjustly deprive your neighbor from his own achievements ir order to get them, to steal his wealth, to rob his achievements, to enslave his soul or his mind when and if you can. c- The worst envy which impulse you to try to destroy your neighbor's achievements or life, just because they remind you about your own worthlessness or your hate of your own miserable existence. 7- Pride Considered by Christianity the origin of all Deadly Sins, it is in reality the best of all virtues and the origin of the single most important feeling toward happiness: Self-steem. Of course they don't want you to be proud, of course they don't want you to be happy. A proud and happy person can not be as easily controlled as a poor bastard that thinks about himself as worthless and unfit to existence, as unable to think by himself and to use his intelligence to survive and advance in life. The real sin is not to be proud if you have something to be proud of. The ultimate sin then is to have nothing to be proud of and do nothing about it...
  16. What you are defending is the need for factual accuracy about Christianity. That sort of thing will get you banned from RoR. The poster of ROR is right about Christianity. Specially in USA "...There is no authoritative voice "Christianity" - it is a collection of different sects with differing details about their common moral and mythical beliefs..." On the other hand this country was founded with a very strong religious base by people looking for religious freedom long time ago For me it is hard to imagine the "what if" alternative, meaning what would have happened if this great country had been founded by non-religious people? We probably will never know... It would have taken longer absent a gold rush. The Pilgrims were basically insane with their faith thing, but it got them over here. There is also the matter of religion countering the power of the State and with the essential moral equality of everyone before God--all bow down--made individualism practicably possible both within and without all members of society. The bromide, "A man's home is his castle" culturally fleshes that out. And going to church on Sunday socially binds a community together and provides implicit psychotherapy for those having various hard times which they were having most of the time. --Brant I am aware of the importance of Churches in the development of western civilizations I was talking here more specifically about Christian Commandments in modern times About the general concept of God(s) and their role in human history my approach is quite different as stated in this topic whose ideas were polemical to say the least among orthodox Objectivists
  17. Gods have been there since the obscure beginnings of humanity, when we finally emerged from the darkness, slowly finishing being monkeys and beginning being men. Try for a second to imagine yourself in the shoes of these primitive creatures with a brain complex enough for beginning to think, but too simple to understand reality as most of we can do now. What could be then the answers to so many questions that suddenly appeared?: Gods! Who could save us from the now evident end-of-ourselves and make us live forever? Gods! And we should probably be grateful to religions because they were the primitive (and probably irreplaceable) substitutes for philosophy in the first stages of man's evolution and according to Matthew Alper's theory they even allowed human species to survive Gods have by definition all that we lack and men invented Gods because we are not Gods, i.e. we are not omnipotent nor omniscient and most people needed (still need) someone to allegedly take care of which they can't. So here go my two cents Background: Atheists to believers spectrum: Full believer: Honesty believes in miracles and in the God pictured in the Bible by example (or any other similar religion), he is convinced that people can fly, walk over water and create matter from nothing, or revive long dead bodies, contradicting all the known scientific and/or natural rules. Half believer: Believe that there are some "divine" entities outside our current human-limited sphere of understanding, but don't believe in magic miracles or in priests from any particular religion. Probably considers the Bible as a metaphoric story Agnostic: With a more scientific approach he is sure that the "magic" God pictured in the Bible by example (or any other similar religion) doesn't exist outside man's mind But he is not sure if other Gods (superior "divine" entities) exist or not outside man's mind, because he doesn't care or because he has no scientific proof for either position Atheist: Is absolutely convinced that no Gods exist at all outside man's mind, either the God pictured in the Bible by example (or any other similar religion) nor any superior "divine" entities of any kind. He only believes in what he can "touch and see" or what current science can proof. Hypothesis: There is some kind of "mystic instinct" in all men: Some kind of natural tendency to associate things we don't understand or things we specially value to some "kingdom of magic": Gods, angels, demons, spirits, reincarnation, gnomes, divination, astrology, whatever. In his book "The God Part of the Brain" previously cited Matthew Alper exposes a scientific theory about the evolutive need of this "mystic instinct" in human species So it would be probably good to exercise somehow this instinct, since self-repressing totally any instinct could eventually be dangerous for our mental health long term? With the additional benefit of knowing more first-hand about these "kingdoms of magic" even for refuting them. Knowledge is personal and the most real knowledge can be only acquired by personal experience or proof, as long as we keep always clear in our minds that Gods are a product of man's fantasy. I see however three basic dangers in "playing with Gods": 1-End up believing in Gods as entities with existence outside man's mind and thus believing they are some kind of external, "real" beings with power on their own. 2-Thus leaving Gods the job that we are supposed to do: The job to change what we can change: adapt our environment to us, develop our own means to survive, use and improve our mind, fight for what we desire. 3-Finally granting to some priests or witch-doctors the supposed ability to communicate with these Gods and then say what should or shouldn't be done, thus granting them power over our lives Conclusion: I wouldn't take so lightly the "fantasy" of men, it is after all one of the most powerful driving forces that took humanity up to here. Fantasy reflects the exercise of one wonderful quality of man: imagination. Though as every tool of the mind it can be used for good (projecting things for the future for example) or for evil (denying reality for example). If some religious people can't distinguish between reality and fantasy is their problem and beside that I usually don't argue with worshipers of any religion, it is pointless because they can't prove the existence of whatever their God happens to be and I can't prove otherwise. More important: Religious people believe in Gods because they need to, their minds and souls are not strong enough to stand that we exist by chance and someday we will disappear or to follow their own values instead of some commandments written two thousand years in an ancient book Finally I don't think being an Objectivist necessarily means having a mind so "flat" that is incapable of distinguishing the shades of gray in other's people approaches to life. Reality (including man of course) is complex, so our mind have to be complex enough to properly understand it. An oversimplified discourse is useful for chatting in a club where all members agree with you, but trying to really understand other people with different mental structures is a different challenge. Never again I will say to a religious person that his or her God doesn't exist, it is not true because all Gods exist, as literature, mathematical equations or music exist, since for good or worse we invented all of them. And to be honest I also would like to believe for an instant, even when I know the entire Universe is neutral to the existence of men on this little rock called Earth. Even when I know there is no eternal consciousness out there, only the cold eternal Cosmos that don't care if we live, die, love, do good or evil, or make airplanes, satellites, Bibles, Giocondas or whatever...
  18. What you are defending is the need for factual accuracy about Christianity. That sort of thing will get you banned from RoR. The poster of ROR is right about Christianity. Specially in USA "...There is no authoritative voice "Christianity" - it is a collection of different sects with differing details about their common moral and mythical beliefs..." On the other hand this country was founded with a very strong religious base by people looking for religious freedom long time ago For me it is hard to imagine the "what if" alternative, meaning what would have happened if this great country had been founded by non-religious people? We probably will never know...
  19. I speak and write Hebrew. Ignore what the Church people say. Ba'al Chatzaf You are right but I "am" indeed talking about Churches, specially the Roman Catholic Church that is very strong and influencing worldwide and affirms she is the voice of Jesus on Earth
  20. Those go back to a time before Moses. Read the book called Leviticus by the Gentiles (Vayikrah, by the Hebrews). The commandments were issued three years after the flight of the Hebrews from Egypt. By the way the commandment is don't murder. The commandment is NOT don't kill. Ba'al Chatzaf Apparently the translation is not cristal clear and The Roman Catholic Church usually uses the translation "kill"
  21. Michael: I do know that this subject is far more complex than I sated in my short article, it was just a pretext to kick the ball entering this prestigious Forum I somehow like rants because they "motivate" people and move to further discussion
  22. whYNOT, Michael Even when my post could give that impression I am not a religion-hater at all I respect religious people, I even used to be one of them long time ago. I understand them probably more that average Objecivists do because I think I know where religious tendencies come from But in despite of religions and their important role in human history, I think Christian Commandments are harmful to most people in modern times when human evolution is coming to a point where we should be finally able to "walk by ourselves" as conscious species. The very concept of a "commandment" meaning some principle that has to be blindly accepted is against reason In any case I could think in some Commandments closer to Objectivism
  23. 1- You shall have no gods before Reason. 2- You shall make for yourself an idol in the form of the Hero of your own life In heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall always bow down to Reason for she is a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who dare not to think, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who think and keep the power of the mind. 3- You shall not misuse the name of the Concepts, your essential resource to understand the World, for the concepts will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses theirs names. 4- Remember the Learning day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is for Learning. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days Nature made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but she rested on the seventh day to learn about she did. 5- Honor your father and your mother only if they deserve it, so that you may live long in the land of the World. 6- You shall not kill, except in self-defense. 7- You shall not commit adultery because you choose not to, according to your own principles. 8- You shall not steal the fruits of other man's work or reason. Make your own instead. 9- You shall not need to give false testimony against your neighbor. Because need of lying come from fear and weakness in Reason. 10- You shall covet your neighbor’s house, wife or servants or his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor, only if you are willing to acquire the skills and make the effort to get the same or better things by your own.