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Everything posted by samr

  1. Mikhail, I have written about this over the years, but I'm too busy to dig for it. One day I intend to organize the better things I have written. I used to work for the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra as first trombonist and assistant conductor to Maestro Eleazar de Carvalho. I was an upcoming star and, modesty aside, very good at what I did. But one idea kept sticking in my craw: the government paid my wages. A series of things happened and one day I walked off. Nobody could believe it. I threw a brilliant career and future into the garbage. I made a go of it for a while in pop music and motion pictures (since there was no government involvement). You can get a glimpse of my work back then from a thread here on OL where I posted a few songs I produced (A Few Tracks). Then, continuing on the "strike" wave inside my mind, I separated from my wife and two sons. All this broke my heart and I gradually sank into alcoholism, then drug addiction. Coming out of all that was one hell of a journey. But I made it. Michael It's not Mikhail, it's sam. Thanks for writing (sharing?), it's quiet honest. Do you think that the day you had left, you were better if you had stayed, if someone would put pressure upon you for example, or are you glad "all in all" that you made this journey? I am asking because I am more or less in a similar situation. I am not doing anything with my life, I am hopelessly unemployed, but I am constantly ruminating how important it is that I do not live on my parents (which I am), or on the government. It started with me ditching the army, and going to university on my parents' account "because it is more rational to do it, to take money from them during my b.a. Then during the m.a. I will be independent". The b.a. I didn't finish, more or less reasoned that "my desire to live off my parents was the source of all", but this didn't really help. Since then I am trying to somehow live of myself, but it is more a symbolic live on myself than anything useful. Then I reasoned that me not going to the IDF is really unfair if I use it's resources. So it seems to me that the best thing for me to do would be to live in the desert... This is where I come to the beginning of the post - the question. It would really make me happy to try and live in the desert on my own - trying to live according to my ideals somehow. Problem is, it isn't rational in the conventional sense of the wordly-wisdom. I realize that a better word to describe my attitude towards self-reliance is not reason, but actually faith. As in "faith" in a spiritual ideal, faith in a cause. And it does help one to live according to his faith, and does make one happy. (1) He is at least self-satisfied. (2) He acts according to his reason. You might wonder how can I call it reason, if it is faith? Well, it is the nature of faith that it poses as reason. When I think it, I really think it. I also have a mode similar to a "strike" inside my mind. It has to do with religion, and self-sacrifice actually. It does seem _rational_ not to live on the government. Even though it is faith. I try to battle with "irrational" concepts day and night, and I just lose time and effort. But following those concepts even though it brings hapiness, and a certain stillness to my mind - I am more intellectual when I am anti-intellectual - is very hard. By "I am more intellectual when I am anti-intellectual" I mean that I have _reasons_ for my fanaticism. If I do not follow these reasons, then I am just stuck in emotionalism, without any chance to get out. SamR
  2. WhyNOT, I think that the argument for the independence of the artist is really a good one. ¨Free¨money tends to corrupt. Thanks,
  3. samr


    Mike, How can the above help you with certain "Randians" that have the right definitions, and everything, but do not think for themselves? (Actually, I do not mean the people here. People at ObjectivismOnline often seem like this).
  4. One of my reasons for a government is that art is not supposed to be "for the wordly motive of gain", but "art for art". Since a "wordly motive" and "the motive for greed", would corrupt the artist himself, art should be subsidized. Yes, I realize that this is a paradox, because subsidy in practice just means taking money by force, not anything especially noble And it contradicts other ideas - that of the free artist. But does anyone have a criticism of the idea I mentioned above _per se_, not regarding its practical consequences.
  5. I just think it's despicable, because he obviously hasn't read Ayn Rand.
  6. Can you tell about the strike you attempted?
  7. As far as I understand, for Descartes "only certainty can lead to certainty" (Don't remember where I got this phrase from). Bacon, at least according to George Smith's "Why Atheism" thought that an indirect route to certainity is what takes you there. But, for Aristotle, "| We suppose ourselves to possess unqualified scientific knowledge of a thing, as opposed to knowing it in the accidental way in which the sophist knows, when we think that we know the cause on which the fact depends, as the cause of that fact and of no other, and, further, that the fact could not be other than it is. ..... By demonstration I mean a syllogism productive of scientific knowledge, a syllogism, that is, the grasp of which is eo ipso such knowledge. Assuming then that my thesis as to the nature of scientific knowing is correct, the premisses of demonstrated knowledge must be true, primary, immediate, better known than and prior to the conclusion, which is further related to them as effect to cause. " So, it seems to me that for Aristotle, the "only certainty can lead to certainty" attitude does hold. It seems to me a much better way. However, I do not understand how this is possible. For example, because sense perception can err.
  8. Your error is that you're treating the concept "value" in an Intrinsic manner (i.e. as if it were a mind-independent stuff like matter). The problem is that the concept of value emerges from human life (the lives of individual human beings). Without the self, there would be no human life. Human life is an inherently individual thing because only individuals can be meaningfully described as alive or dead. Far from making human life "meaningless" or "valueless," this argument makes our lives the origin of value. It seems you are right. Cool.
  9. Alright, what about my right to steal from the government? It is ok to steal from the Mafia. And if the government taxes people more because of it, I cannot really be blamed for it, it isn't my responsibility. In the same line of thought, why shouldn't I live on welfare? If the government taxes people, it is not I who do it.
  10. Tony, how do you draw the distinction between metaphysical nature of man, and physical nature of man?
  11. I think there is something about the perception of individualsts and collectivists about groups that is different, I am not sure what. Perhaps, that collectivists think that there is something in the group more than just the sum of its individuals? You can have many individuals. But, when people talk for example of "The nation of Israel", they don't mean just the many individuals together.
  12. Yes, a negative connotation, and I am implying that persuasion doesn't deal with truth (as the final goal). You can persuade someone using reason, but the final goal can be either him agreeing with you, either him being rational, and believing in what he considers rational.
  13. One that pretends that he is interested in reasoning about truth, but instead is interested in persuasion.
  14. Shmuel Boteach writes here It seems to me that the author is more a rhetorican than a philosopher. But, I think a large part of it is true, in the sense that these are the logical consequences of the metaphysical assumptions of what many people believe today they intend or not. By metaphysics I mean (a) What is "really real", "the most real thing". For example, one can think that the group is "really real", while individuals are just parts of it. Or, one can think that individuals are "really real", and groups do not "really exist". Or, one can believe that the whole universe is not "really real", and that there is another one waiting for us after death". Or, one can believe that he himself and all the experiences he has is "really real", and what other people think of him is not. I realize this isn't a good philosophic definition, it is part literary, part philosophic. But I think it is a good one in order to explain what I mean. (b) The values that one believes in, as a consequence of what thinks to be "really real". If one believes Humanity to be more real than the individual, he will have values consequently. If one believes individuals to be real, and groups not, he will have other values. If one will believe this universe to be "really real", he will love it. ------------------------------------- To the arguments : According to the metaphysics commonly held by most atheists : (1) The existence of Man, the specie, and of the self (ego in Rand's terminology) is contingent. It could have arisen, but could have not. (2) There is no natural law that Man in general, or the self, in specific, are parts of the universe. Both came to be by chance. . (There is no natural law according to which evolution must lead to an intelligent specie. It is a matter of chance, in the end. Of course, it is not just chance, it is chance and natural selection. But it is chance in the end, according to what most biologists tell me). (3) The metaphysical primary is matter. Matter is eternal and non-contingent. Man, and the self is not. (4) We have an eternal annihilation waiting in the end. So, metaphysically, life is meaningless, it cannot have a ultimate goal. It cannot have even a ultimate personal goal. One could say "I dedicate my life to the glory of Man", (Rand), or to building scycrapers. But, it is a goal only during your life, it isn't a ultimate goal. A ultimate goal would be possible if you could dedicate your life to something, and then enjoy its fruits after death. As nowdays people think, you can only dedicate your life to something during your life, but then it isn't really a goal. Just something to do during your life. A temporary, good, personal goal. But ultimately - in the end, it is all nothing. (5) Metaphysically, life indeed is meaningless. Coming from nothing, we go back to nothing. ----------------------- I am not saying that all atheists are going to lead shallow lives, but that these are the consequences of their philosophy. To the extent that atheists will have meaningful lives, they won't live on the premises of their own philosophy. For objectivists, the self is supposed to be the higher value, but how can it be a value if it disintegrates at the end of your life? I am not denying that from the existential point of view it isn't the best value. I think it is. But when you think of metaphysics, of "what is really real in the universe", then it makes no sense to posit that the self is, or life is, or the individual is. As far as I understand the buddhist point of view, according to it, consciousness is eternal, just as matter. The self (a combination of our body and our consciousness) is at least in some sense eternal, since we reincarnate without a beginning. What happens to us in the following reincarnation, is a consequence of our actions, so our goals are not ultimately futile. Sadly, I do not really believe the buddhist point of view. But I am bringing it here to show that compared to buddhism (Which somehow builds man into the nature of the universe), atheism is really gloomy. Can anyone show where I am mistaken? I would really love to be.
  15. samr


    Interesting, I have read (though I did, at least) this sentence in your original post, and was sure you said : samr, I am not sure that i am the person to explain this
  16. I'm not really sure what is the objective basis of morality. But if it's objective, then people have it even if they believe to the contrary. You can't steal land from Hamas - but you can from individual palestinians. They don't stop being individual palestinians even if they do not consider themselves as such. (And of course, not everybody are members of Hamas). Or do you argue that only Israel, as having a law for protecting individual rights can have individuals with moral rights?
  17. I can't believe that Rand was honest in this example in her reasons. I think she was guided mainly by a wish to protect America from criticism, and not by desire to "protect individual rights". According to her logic, if one's neighbour is a savage, one can abuse him of rights. I am not arguing against this topic; but this is so inconsistent with all of her thinking, I cannot believe she was intellectually honest. It is very non-randian to argue that because a person doesn't recognize his own rights, he doesn't have any. Objectivism... Hello? The historical example that I had in mind in the opening post, was Russia's revolution. Would the communists be justified in seizing land from the czar? From the aristocracy? It is very easy to slip on a slippery slope, because one can continue and ask - what about people who god priveleges from the czar? What about borgois that had priveleges? Can one demand retribution? It opens the case for an all-against-all war, but I am sure that the initial premise is true (one can seize land from the czar), and I don't see a line by which to stop.
  18. I think that any contract that cuts its own feet is illegitimate. I don't have a good formalized way of defending it, but it sounds wrong. To use freedom of speech in order to deny your self the right for freedom of speech? To use your freedom of judgement to deny it? One can hire himself for very low wages, on a horrible contract, for a long number of time. But that wouldn't be slavery, just horrible work conditions. Maybe this will be valuable. It isn't directly about the same, but he makes a detailed analysis on how binding voting is, which might be extended to slavery.
  19. Redistribution means taking from persons X,Y,Z, and giving it to persons A,B,C,X,Y,Z. I think it is a morally neutral term, actually "restoration" is more morally charged than "redistribution". I didn't intend to smuggle a moral evaluation. But my english is not that good, you can choose any other term. In the case of the thief, it would fit under the above definition of "redistribution", and I would consider it just. A thief, however, is different from aristocracy/monarchy/clergy. The stealing of these groups was often done in the past, by their fathers from your fathers, and sometimes with the implicit agreement of your fathers, that believed in the divine right of kings, or the divine right of the church. Selene, I don't know who would make the redistribution. Suppose an enlightened dictator, or an elected group of people.
  20. Would you consider land redistribution as fair in a country that has a priveleged class ? Taking the land from dukes \ from the king \ from the churh and redistributing it?
  21. I think the following : Take two persons, A and B. If there is no more information about them, A has no right to prevent B from suicide. Take two persons, A and B. They belong to the same society. A, qua member of the society has no right to prevent B from suicide. ------------------ Take two persons, A and B. They are good friends\relatives. A knows B, and personally has really good reasons to think why it is not really good for B to commit suicide. In such a case, A has a right to prevent B from suicide. Take two persons, A and B. A has reasoned in depth about suicide, and has realized (gained true, deeply justified knowledge) that suicide is always irrational. (I believe such knowledge is possible). To the extent that A has such knowledge, he has a right to prevent B from suicide.
  22. john42t, If one's existence is the highest value, it logically follows that one can commit crimes in order to preserve it. In the context of "One should sacrifice himself to others", it does make sense to reply "no, one's survival is one's own highest value". But it makes no sense in other contexts. Samr.
  23. samr


    I'll try to get the books.
  24. I thought so, but I really disagree. Why?