RohinGupta

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  1. I am working to convert content of the blog into a Video. Here is the link to a trailer –
  2. Cultural Survey Ayn Rand’s insights into mind-body dichotomy, DIM Hypothesis by Dr. Peikoff, and my understanding of the differences between Aristotelian and Platonic Philosophy are applied here. The purpose is to survey ethical ideas in current culture, infer right ethical principles, and also understand the social reality of our time. — Whether it’s in supermarket, or career selection, or falling in love — every decision and corresponding actions have consequences. Actions that lead to a good life are right. A good life is a life that is healthy — physically, mentally, and emotionally. However, it’s not automatically clear which decisions are right or wrong. Some thinking and judgment are required to check correctness. This thinking and judgment are guided by the subject of Ethics. Further, intensity of thinking and impact of consequences range from very small to extreme. For example, career selection and love-related decisions are impactful, and decisions in the supermarket have relatively less impact. Purpose of Ethics is three-fold. First is to help an individual identify values. Second is to enable an individual to prioritize identified values. And third is to guide the individual, as he acts to achieve or maintain the identified values. The three criteria of ethics, identification, prioritization, and action on values will be used here to understand and judge different Ethical Systems. So here are various Ethical Systems: Altruism: Historically and widely popular, it calls a decision or action right if it involves intention to sacrifice values. This sacrifice may involve values owned by self, or values owned by others. Examples can be charitable actions of Bill Gates for sacrificing values of self. Or actions of socialist leaders in Venezuela and elsewhere, for sacrificing values owned by fellow men in society. So it’s clear that in Altruism, the main criteria for right and wrong is action aspect of Ethics. That is, a person is judged good by this Ethics if he or she sacrifices values. Identification and Prioritization of values is subservient to the decision to sacrifice. For example, Mother Teresa mostly just made death easy for the sick and homeless. But because she sacrificed her own life for others, she was given high moral credit, driven by the Ethics of Altruism. Further, in Altruism, the focus is on other people rather than self. Predatory Egoism: Like Altruism, Predatory Egoism also has sacrifice as the standard of right and wrong. Further however, it classifies an action or decision as right if the beneficiary of the sacrifice is the person making the decision. Examples can be Donald Trump maligning Amazon and Jeff Bezos, trying to sacrifice their reputation and therefore market, to appeal to his political followers; or many industrialists like Gang of Four in American Railways around 19th Century, pushing government regulations that harm competitors and therefore benefit themselves through coercive (forceful) monopolies. Here, too, focus is on other people rather than self. Hedonism: The most visible image of a Hedonist is a drug addict or a raging alcoholic. However, since hedonism refers to those who make decisions solely based on what they feel is right, often based on their mood, so hedonism should also include those who make career and love decisions primarily from their feelings, even if they are not using drugs or alcohol. Ethics of Eudaimonia:Eudaimonia is a Greek origin word which means human flourishing and prosperity. According to this system of Ethics, human happiness realized due to flourishing is the standard of right and wrong. (As against hedonistic happiness). However, when we go into specific principles of Eudaimonia, there is resistance to facts as the basis of Ethics. That is, whenever there is a conflict between the judgment / intuition / feelings about what is valuable, and facts that might have been basis of those values, then practitioners of Eudaimonia prefer intuition over facts. And therefore sometimes, Eudaimonia implicitly promotes altruistic thinking like charity as very important or helping colleagues over personal career etc. Rational Egoism:Like Eudaimonia, Rational Egoism also has life and well-being of the valuer as a standard. Unlike Eudaimonia however, here relevant facts are given primacy when in conflict with intuitive guidelines. Example of relevant facts is production as a fundamental element in human survival and flourishing, creating values like e-Commerce and factories from ideas, that is. Further, there is hierarchy or definite order in which the Ethical code is identified and then applied. Virtues or guides for obtaining values for flourishing are derived from flourishing life as standard, and after that organization of facts relevant for flourishing life. For example in this Ethics, we have virtues or guidelines that involve evaluation of individuals based on how they contribute to one’s productive purpose, or seeking of knowledge for purpose etc. Production rather than sacrifice as the focus of pursuit is the foundation for purposeful action in Rational Egoism. This is the fundamental difference between Rational Egoism and Predatory Egoism. Since the nature of valuer, wants of the valuer, and socio-ecological environment of the valuer is used for identifying the Central Motivation of his or her life, therefore Egoism or the view of self is a key element in this ethics. Further, since purpose is derived from facts, and executed based on Ethical Principles derived from facts, so Rationality is also the key element here. Actions of Steve Jobs, whether being able to visualize future benefits from technology, or praising good Computer Engineers, are examples of Rational Egoism. Overall, this is the only Ethical System, whichconsistently considers identification of values as primary. Eudaimonia being the system which inconsistently considers identification and prioritization of values as primary. Pragmatism: Discarding principles of any kind is the essence of Pragmatism. Whether principles are value-generating or value-destroying, Pragmatism holds that as long as an individual reaches out to principles for creating or protecting values, he is acting on a wrong premise. An example is a statement such as an idea may be good in theory, but is bad in practice. So rather than question specifics of theories or principles, the school of ethics rejects the need for principled and abstract thinking itself. So here too, like Altruism, identification and prioritization of values is secondary, compared to actions in pursuit of values. Categorical Imperative: Converse of Pragmatism is this school, where the need for Principle to be practically validated is completely discarded. So if any principle is raised to the Ethical level, then the school says it is wrong to attempt to consider its practical implications. For example, the school says charity or socialism as good should not be validated with facts of reality. Or even ideas like will of majority is always true, should not be validated. Further, the Ethical Principles that Rational Egoism or Eudaimonia correctly derive as right, are often misrepresented by the school of Categorical Imperative while executing. For example, earning more money is a right thing, as long as it improves flourishing life and does not involve coercion, overall, supporting the Central Purpose of the individual’s life. However, since Categorical Imperative disconnects this principle from practical aspects like flourishing, so this can lead to an unhealthy or irrational obsession with wealth. Therefore through the Ethics of Categorical Imperative, wealth becomes a distraction rather than the means to promote rational purpose and happiness. Therefore Categorical Imperative also falls in the same category as Altruism and Pragmatism, only more extreme. It completely discards identification and prioritization in favor of action. Divorcing What from How, that is. Nihilism: In Predatory Egoism, sacrifice of other people and their efforts for benefit of self rather than mutual benefit is considered. Nihilism goes one step further. Here the action or the decision is considered right, if it involves sacrifice, or more precisely destruction of values. (Destruction being the motive, with sacrifice as the straw man or the rationalization.) Unlike Predatory Egoism, here there is no intention to gain from sacrifice or destruction. Destruction is an end in itself. Example can be socialized medicine destroying medical institutions, without providing any tangible gain to anybody. Skeptical School of Ethics: This school focuses mostly on maintaining already achieved values, and not on creating new values. The examples of this school are nutritionists, environmentalists, Libertarians etc. (There is an element of nihilism also in this school.) The best of environmentalists focus on the negative impact human activity has on the environment, which in turn impacts humans back. The solution they offer is abstinence from progress itself. The worst of the environmentalists consider environment as an end in itself. And like Altruists, such environmentalists also want individuals to sacrifice for the environment, irrespective of whether the sacrifice provides overall benefit to the individual or not. Similarly, Libertarians focus on negative aspects of government only, some of them advocating anarchy rather than specific reforms. Since Production or Creation of values is low on the agenda of skeptics, they end up stalling the flourishing. (Values for flourishing being not just products but also methods, processes, guidelines like law and Constitution etc.). Flourishing refers to activities that make humans more capable of surviving. And therefore skeptics turn into nihilists by implication. Conclusion: Survey of various Ethical schools brings out a few types in decision-making: a type that is focused on sacrifice and destruction of Values; a type like Libertarians and Environmentalists, who look only at the negative aspects of Production; a type that considers flourishing life as the standard of values, but is reluctant to question sacrificial or Altruistic actions; a type that discards principled thinking and puts emotions over fact-based principles; a type that disconnects principles from facts and implications, making them out of context absolute. And finally a Rational Egoist, deriving decisions from facts about self and own environment, and using fact-based rational principles to execute these decisions. Of course, many subscribe to mixtures of these schools. For example, Altruism leading to a sense of entitlement and therefore Predatory Egoism. Or Pragmatism leading to Hedonism. At an even wider level, there are schools of Ethics that give primacy to actions on values. Here content of values involving identification and prioritization is mostly an afterthought. Rational Egoism and Eudaimonia, on the other hand, promote identification and prioritization of values before any decision related to action is taken. These give importance to What over How, Content over Form, and therefore are from the Aristotelian Philosophy. Remaining schools are different versions of Platonic Philosophy.
  3. Based on feedback to previously musical video, added a voiceover in American accent. Checkout this updated video on human motivation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZQKk_x_gqs
  4. Final draft of video It captures the essential concepts involved in Human Motivation, introduces the most popular model for motivating humans, identifies the gaps in that model and fixes them. So checkout the video and share the feedback here or in Youtube. Hope its useful...! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lmHBjgSSHI P.S: The ideas are derived from Central Principles of Objectivist Ethics
  5. Hi All, I am in middle of converting the content of blog into video. Please check the first draft of part of video and share feedback. Pending : Voice over and parts explaining values, Central Purpose of Life, and Alternative model.
  6. Please differentiate between civilized humans and animals. Also, some of your answers are in the blog. Hint - Productiveness as the core.
  7. A more elaborate explanation is here https://medium.com/@rohingupta2k18/reinventing-maslows-model-of-motivation-5cdc0d173caf?fbclid=IwAR1A2QxMa6NfYpUeu_zkYQJPbPtDnWIdKzl5szrk3aTXobSQD3FQEiL97Yc P.S: The Maslow's model of motivation is widely quoted in many influential books of management. I use Objectivist Ethics, concept of Central Purpose of Life in particular, to improve the model and its application.
  8. Maslow’s theory of motivation claims that first motivators are physiological factors like food, shelter, etc., after that safety factors like rule of law and insurance(protection in general), then meaningful social relationships, then social status and reputation, and finally an individual’s need to find himself or herself. The final one being self-actualization. From OEFO perspective, not a chosen few, but all adults are or should be motivated by self-actualization (OEFO refers to my book “Organizational Ethics from Objectivism”, from which the snippet is taken). The Central Purpose of Life (CPL) in Objectivist Ethics is quite similar to the concept of self-actualization. Other needs in Maslow’s model, ranging from physiological, safety-related, social, and emotional should be inferred and adjusted based on the CPL. For example, a CEO of an organizations will need a bigger social circle than a scientist(generally speaking), since the latter focuses more on in-depth study, and the former more on collaborative actions for building products and services. Safety is a negative factor and should not be the primary motivation. E.g., retiring early without having any clear CPL is not right. Also, the emotional part of the self should be fuelled using art or sports, such that one is sufficiently motivated to move towards their CPL. The same criteria is true for personal and other relationships. The contribution of each relationship towards the CPL should be evaluated. True, there are adults who have very destructive CPLs. Communism in Soviet Russia and elsewhere, Socialism in Nazi Germany, or many Socialist intellectuals and politicians of the Indian Left are a few of the examples of those having destructive CPLs. Also, among millennials, the non-productive purpose of enjoying as an ultimate end is popular. However, this too is not right as a Central Virtue, because it’s not derived from the Virtue of Productivity: The creation of products and services as a priority. These CPLs can be contrasted from the CPLs of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates 1.0, the founding fathers of America, Walt Disney, Narendra Modi, etc. Overall, irrespective of the value or the disvalue of CPL, the fact remains that humans are, or should be motivated by purpose.
  9. Good Morning, today is Saturday, 16th March. Second part of the study-group starts now. Following is the scope for this week’s study ------ 1. CONTINUING VARIOUS CONNETIONS BETWEEN THE CENTRAL PURPOSE OF LIFE(CPL) OF THE EMPLOYER(S) AND EMPLOYEE a.) The CPL in a skewed social system. 2. Summary of apparent CPLs that do not subscribe to Objectivist Morality 3. Employer-Employee relationship in Government Jobs 4. Conclusion ------ I will publish questions that the participants can optionally answer. Participants can also summarize or outline the text. They can also select the portion of text, analyzing and synthesizing it deeply, chew the content that is. So here are the questions from this week's content (CPL = Central Purpose of Life.) Q1.) What does “skewed social system” refer to in this book? Compare it to Totalitarian system? Q2.) What does “CPL in skewed social system” mean in the context of Industrial Relations? Give example from outside. Q3.) What is common between the CPLs discussed up to the apparent CPLs? Q4.) What are two apparent CPLs discussed here? Q5.) Contrast “hobby first” approach from “Wages” part of Employer-Employee relationship? Q6.) Why are we studying apparent CPLs? Also share your experience of these apparent CPLs in your professional lives? Q7.) Explain psychological variations of apparent CPLs? Q8.) What do you think of “making as much money as possible” as a CPL? Q9.) Why should we study Employer-Employee relationship in government jobs? What is the approach that should be taken for this study? Q10.) Apart from what government ought to do, what else one needs to know, for understanding employer-employee relationship in government jobs? Q11.) What is the right role of government in the society? Q12.) What are the different activities governments have done in society? (May or may not be derived from right role of government in the society). Q13.) What are various drivers of government and government employees? Give examples. Q14.) How should constitutional driver be evaluated? Give examples from book or outside. Q15.) Which role in private organization can be compared to a role of politician in the society? Q17.) What should be done about the activities that government should not be doing in the society? Give examples from book or outside. Q18.) How should taxpayers driver of Government jobs be evaluated?
  10. Good Morning, today is Saturday, 9th March. Main study starts now. Following is the scope for this week’s study ------ WEEK 1 1. PURPOSE AND SCOPE OF AN ORGANIZATION 2. VARIOUS CONNETIONS BETWEEN THE CENTRAL PURPOSE OF LIFE (CPL) OF THE EMPLOYER(S) AND EMPLOYEE a.) Create value in same material form b.) Create complementary values c.) Learning work-specific skills d.) Discovering the CPL e.) Wages ------ I will publish questions that the participants can optionally answer. Participants can also summarize or outline the text. They can also select the portion of text, analyzing and synthesizing it deeply, chew the content that is. So here are the questions from this week's content Q1.) Which relationships are deepest in an organization? Q2.) From definition of an Organization, identify the key attributes of Organization, and list these in bullet points? Q3.) What is the difference between an individual and an organization, when they engage in transactional or contractual relationship? What is the similarity? Q4.) What can an employee do to become successful and happy? Q5.) Summarize different forms of business collaborations, sorted according to their complexity in an Organization? Q6.) What are different ways in which the business collaborations can be sorted in Organizational Ethics? Q7.) What are similarities and differences between purpose of an Organization, and Central Purpose of Life for an Employee? Q8.) Give examples of Purpose of various Organizations from the book and outside? Q9.) What is the significance of Employee’s Central Purpose of Life in an Organization? Q10.) Give an example of the connection of Employer-Employee CPLs from the book and outside? Q11.) What does create value in same material form mean in the context of Industrial relation? Give example from book or outside. Q12.) What does creation of complementary values mean in the context of Industrial relation? Give an example from book or outside? Q13.) Under what circumstances is creation of complementary values part of Contractual relationship? When is it part of Employer-Employee relationship? Q14.) What does learning work specific skill mean in the context of Industrial Relation? Give an example from book or outside. Q15.) How does management of Employee having “learning work specific skill” as main goal in an organization change, compared to an employee having previous two CPLs? Q16.) What does “Discovering CPL” mean in the context of Industrial relation? Give an example from book or outside? Q17.) What is the opportunity for an Employer, if the employee is in “Discovery of CPL” stage? Q18.) What does “wages” mean in context of Industrial relation? Give an example from book or outside? Q19.) How does management of Employee having “wages” as the main goal in a job change, compared to employee having first three, or even “discovering CPL” as the goal in an Organization?
  11. Please check following links to get a glimpse of whats in store.1. Study Group on intellectual development of Ayn Rand - http://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?/topic/28351-ayn-rand-chapter-from-the-power-and-the-glory/2. Study Group on how iPhone was conceptualized and developed - http://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?/topic/29185-becoming-steve-jobs-how-a-reckless-upstart-became-a-visionary-leader/
  12. Pre-study started yesterday ----------------- WEEK 0 CHAPTER 3 - COLLABORATION 1. Introduction 2. Business Collaborations - Purely Transactional, Transactional and Contractual, Purely Contractual - Employer-Employee relationship - Employee-Employee relationship - Employer-Employer relationship - Cultural Relationship, Government-Businessman relationship 3. Conclusion ---------------------- I will publish questions that the participants can optionally answer. Participants can also summarize or outline the text. They can also select the portion of text, analyzing and synthesizing it deeply, chew the content that is. So here are the questions from this week's content Q1.) Which subject does business collaboration belong to? In this chapter what are we trying to resolve? Q2.) Business collaborations are inferred based on which facts? Q3.) Explain with examples, transactional form of business collaboration? Q4.) Explain with examples, "transactional and contractual" form of business collaboration? Q5.) Explain with examples, purely contractual form of business collaboration? Q6.) What are similarities and differences between contractual relationship and employer-employee relationship? Q7.) What is the problem with having a contractual relationship with house maid? Q8.) What is the scope of employer-employee relationship? Q9.) Explain with examples employee-employee relationship? Emphasis can be on key attributes of this relationship. Q10.) Explain with examples employer-employer relationship? Emphasis can be on key attributes of this relationship. Q11.) Explain with examples, cultural relationship businesses have? Q12.) If possible, share examples and attributes ( both positive and negative ) of Government-Businessman relationship?
  13. Mini version now available here - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NWBS1SJ?fbclid=IwAR1oBovyShIf5wtAwtPCrFiwDpLmPG3VFZNz8eXEhosyqHvJ64fm-UJQgUs So those who may not have bought the full book, considering it complex, can still buy the mini-version and participate in the study-group.
  14. Just posted following etiquettes for the upcoming study group. Etiquette is the art of facilitating trade by applying principles and rules of behavior to social situations. In this case we are trading ideas on particular topic, and etiquettes deal with how we should post and interact in the thread. Here are etiquettes designed specifically for study-group method of discussion. 1. THE NATURE OF POSTS IN THIS STUDY GROUP a. Focus on the Text. The study-group is a text-focused series. This means each participant's weekly post should be either an outline of the text, a summary of the text, a "chewing" on some point in the text, an elaborated question about a point in the text; or an answer to the weekly optional questions about the text. b. Unacceptable Substitutes. Not acceptable as core subjects of the main weekly posts are: personal comments; mere statements of agreement or disagreement; links to sources other than the particular text which is the object of study; criticisms of the author's style; or debate with the author. Any of these might be appropriate as an aside in the main weekly post. c. Duplication. Duplication of form is not a problem. Even if, by unlikely accident, all participants were to write the same kind of post (e.g., a summary of the text assigned for the week), the content will inevitably be different. d. Secondary Posts. Sometimes a secondary post (written after posting an outline, summary, etc. for the week) can increase learning about the text. Secondary posts are optional. Topics might include: showing a connection to another field; asking about the best study method to be employed for a certain text; or describing one's personal experiences with the subject of the text. Of course, these secondary topics, if very brief, can be woven into the primary post. 2. DO Do address issues, not individual SGO members. If Mike says "X and Y and therefore Z," address his argument, summarized in your own words, but without naming him. Do remember that no member has an obligation to respond to another member's questions, invitations, or comments. Do edit for typographical errors. 3. DO NOT Do not name other participants in your posts, but instead deal only with ideas. For example, you could write "The notion of 'necessity', as it is traditionally used, implies a false dichotomy of . . . ," instead of "John Smith's bizarre fantasy about 'necessity' in metaphysics . . . " or any other personalized statement. Do not link to, name, or discuss individuals, websites, or ideas not relevant to the topic discussed in a study group. Do not quote participants, but instead express their ideas in your own words. IMPLEMENTING ETIQUETTES I will be sending the message to the person in case I think the etiquette is violated. And he can edit accordingly, or reply back if there is misunderstanding. These etiquettes are adapted from etiquettes of Burgess Laughlin's study-group. Study Group Link is as follows:https://www.facebook.com/groups/146490542953558
  15. Continuing my journey to apply Objectivsm into Management, I have started a study group. OVERVIEW The study will involve chapter 6, Organization, of the book "Reinventing Management: Organization Ethics from Objectivism". The chapter builds on the Employer-Employee and Employer-Employer relationships from chapter 3, Collaboration. Delving into relationships like creating complementary material values, skill building, wages, and Central Purpose of Life in a skewed social system. Details of the study-group are here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/146490542953558/ The book can be bought here - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MH79D18 Once the study is completed, I will convert the group into a discussion forum for working professionals. The forum will cover topics related to work environment and work culture, career and job related discussions, business counsel etc.
  16. Thanks Michael. Already a bestseller in a category 🙂 https://www.amazon.com/gp/new-releases/digital-text/8493717011/ref=zg_b_hnr_8493717011_1
  17. Got a question in another forum, which is relevant here also.
  18. Proud to announce that the book is now released - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MH79D18
  19. Hi All, I am happy and proud to have written the book, "RE-INVENTING MANAGEMENT: ORGANIZATIONAL ETHICS FROM OBJECTIVISM". In a sentence, the book is about applying Objectivist Ethics and Epistemology in a non-political social space. Specifically and primarily, within the business. You can get the book here - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MH79D18 The book also resolves the question I think is crucial not just for businesses, but every Objectivist. "Analyzing Maslow's model of motivation from Objectivist perspective"
  20. I will start working on my debut book this year. Working title(or maybe even final title) is “REINVENTING MANAGEMENT: ORGANIZATIONAL ETHICS FROM OBJECTIVISM”. Many or all of you are connected to the domain of the planned book. Urging you to leave relevant comments here. Mission statement is as follows ------------------------- INDUSTRIAL SOCIOLOGY, ORGANISATIONAL ETHICS, AND OBJECTIVISM Industrial Sociology” is a branch of Sociology. Sociology being its Genus that is. Sociology studies various human relationships in society by organizing them. “Industrial Sociology” in turn studies human relationships in Industrial setting. (Or in contemporary terminology, Corporate setting). Range from family or friends to National-Global citizens being different type of social relationships. And different relationships between corporate workers, or customer-supplier relationships, or government-industry relationships being examples of “Industrial Sociology”. Coming to why Objectivism needs to work on “Industrial Sociology” at this stage of its development (Objectivism’s development). Before that, let’s look at where we are in the development of Objectivism. Apart from foundation work from Metaphysics-Epistemology to Art-Politics in non-fiction, Ayn Rand’s novels deeply concretize and also publicize many of her ideas. Books likeObjectivism:Philosophy of Ayn Rand and The Ominous Parallels by Dr. Peikoff look into same ideas from different perspective. Books like How We Know, DIM Hypothesis, and Ayn Rand’s Normative Ethics dig deep into various aspects of Objectivism. Clarifying things that many of us find ambiguous. If we add work of Yaron Brook, Alex Epstein, Burgess Laughlin, Elan Journo, and other such writers, the connecting links between Ivory Tower of Objectivism and Man in street grow stronger by the day, despite the movement being in nascent stage. Coming to the fields involving social relationships, following thought I think offers the foundation bed rock on how Objectivism should proceed. The symbol of all relationships among [rational] men, the moral symbol of respect for human beings, is the trader. We, who live by values, not by loot, are traders, both in matter and in spirit. A trader is a man who earns what he gets and does not give or take the undeserved. A trader does not ask to be paid for his failures, nor does he ask to be loved for his flaws. A trader does not squander his body as fodder or his soul as alms. Just as he does not give his work except in trade of material values, so he does not give the values in his spirit – his love, his friendship, his esteem – except in payment and in trade for human virtues, in payment for his selfish pleasure, which he receives from a man he can respect. The mystic parasites who have, throughout the ages, reviled the traders and held him in contempt, while honoring the beggars and the looters, have known the secret motive of their sneers: a trader is the entity they dread – a man of justice. Galt’s Speech, For the New Intellectual, 133 The thought has been called “trader principle”. Going into this thought, and other similar thoughts, there are two aspects to these. There is the negative aspect, where the irrational relationships cannibalize rational men. Artistically, for this aspect we can recall Hank Rearden from Atlas Shrugged. In Industrial context, an example of this are taxes for altruistic reasons (You are your Brother’s keeper). And using those taxes to fund people who strangle your business through arbitrary regulations like Anti-Trust laws. Objectivist Politics, work in the field of “Individual Rights” and “Nature of Government” specifically, focuses primarily on this aspect of “Trader Principle”. Protecting the rational man from Initiation of Force by other members in society. Here however I focus on other aspect of trader principle. How can rational man, or rational aspect of any person, benefit from other rational people in society? The field that I think can cover this is“Organizational Ethics”. Specifically, this would mean extrapolating Objectivist virtues to social, Industrial setting in particular. In Corporate setting (I use Industrial and Corporate interchangeably), Honesty for e.g. can be Data based decision making, and Integrity can become Policy based decision making. Just as science is related to “Applied Science” and Technology. Similarly, Ethics will be connected to “Organizational Ethics”. Before making this connection however, I think we need to classify relationships in an Industrial setting. And this is where “Industrial Sociology” comes into picture. So these relations can be intra-company or inter company. Customer-Supplier being the example of latter. Apart from Objectivism, I think society as a whole badly needs Industrial Sociology and Organizational Ethics. Even the best of companies are struggling because of the lack of proper intellectual base in these fields. Implosion of Uber due to various allegations, firing of young employee from Google for raising genuine policy concerns, conflict between CEO-Promoter inInfosys and Tata are few of the examples. Many of the innovations these days happen in startups. Whether Uber or Facebook or Dropbox, ultimately however, every small successful company becomes a big business. And howsoever frustrating many corporate interactions may be; from “Power Corporations” to “Internet Service Providers” and Big Factories in China and all over the world. Fact is that Big Business is indispensable for most of us. And long term survival of humanity depends on building strong foundations for Industrial relations – developing fields of Organizational Ethics and Industrial Sociology that is. To illustrate the idea, here I take Agile Model being followed in Software Development. Industrial Sociology, various relationships that is, in this model will center around Scrum Team. Scrum Team consists of Developers, Testers, Scrum Master, and Product Owner. Scrum Master and Product Owner often being part time roles of Developer or Tester. Product Owner bringing in features or bugs to be fixed by the team. Scrum Master ensuring that activities of each member are tracked every day to the nearest hour (by member himself). Both these roles also facilitating planning, review, and retrospect every few weeks, known as Sprint activities. People Managers, Product Managers, Program Managers etc. form next layer around many such Scrum Teams. Involving themselves more deeply in the time of crisis. Marketing and Sales, and further Administration teams also come into wider picture. Coming to Organizational Ethics part of Scrum Team, there are specific ways in which various Individual Ethics can be extrapolated in these relationships. Using past data for estimating activities (Honesty). Or splitting complicated activity (an Epic) into smaller stories, an example of Rationality. Various Sprint activities act as input for Objectives assessment by Manager, the Organizational application of the Virtue of Justice. “Idea to Product” and “Product to Market”; Productivity in a nutshell being central driving force of Scrum Team and surrounding ecosystem. When we think of Superhuman, Superman or Spiderman come into mind. This is good for artistic presentation. In reality however it’s the Big Business, people who are its “Prime Movers” to be more precise. It’s this association of “Prime Movers” that is a Real Superhuman. Due to leftist bent of mainstream intellectuals, the superhuman is struggling, and is not completely healthy. Let’s take the pointers of Ayn Rand and Objectivism to re-energize this Atlas. Rohin Gupta 28th December, 2017 -------------------------
  21. CHAPTER 3 - CHARACTER SKETCH OF DAENERYS **************SPOILER ALERT******************** Introduction Many a times I face dilemma while reviewing literary works. Whether I should give primacy to plot, or to characterization. And this confusion is mostly resolved by looking at the content to be reviewed. There are novels like Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, where major characters play little or no role in events. They just go with the flow of externally triggered events. And then there are works of Shakespeare or Victor Hugo, where characters often drive the plot. In such literature it makes sense to analyze characterization first. Game of Thrones is clear case of Romantic literature, plot driven by choices of characters. Converse being Naturalism of Dickens, and also some of the early 20th century writers like Ernest Hemmingway. Having understood the key theme of this webseries, understanding characters becomes relatively simple. We need to separate out and classify motivations, and connect these to key actions. So connecting the threads of motivations, actions, and events, forms the essence of characterization. With this objective in mind, we begin the review of various characters of webseries. Character Sketch of Daenerys Looking at overall trajectory, she is one of the most well written characters. Moving from timid girl being pushed around, to the most powerful person in the world. Apart from the first episode, liberating people from slavery and plunder is her primary motivation. This is visible in various events, ranging from treatment to Dothraki captives to unsullied or slaves of Yunki and Mareen. Judging by the punishments she gives, from witch who sent Khal to comma, and also punishments to various slave owners for their brutalities. It’s clear that her love for liberty is driven by deep sense of Justice, rather than benevolence being an out of context absolute. It is this purpose to liberate that determines her emotions also. So her emotion towards lovers also changes, depending on how connected they are to this purpose. Ranging from relatively weak feelings towards Daario Naharis of second sons, to quite strong ones towards Jon Snow. Khal Drogo, while antithesis of her principles, still commands her passion. Because at that time she is unsure of her true potentialities, since there are no Dragons with her. But as her growth in Season 1 itself shows, she applies reason to liberate her own soul first of all. Taking control of her intercourse with Drogo. Few impulsive decisions like burning Tarlys apart, she comes out as a rational person in her interactions, strategies, and selection of advisors. One major troubling aspect in her character, and all relatively good people like Jon, Arya, Stannis etc. It is the role of supernatural in their rise. Daenerys is not harmed even after having contact with the extreme heat. Given the nature of biological beings, they are not capable of synthesizing fire within themselves. So Dragons also can be considered as supernatural. Though one can redeem this supernatural aspect to some extent, considering how dragons were raised, had many natural qualities similar to how children are raised. So in that sense, writer is conveying that without aid of supernatural, good has no chance in this world. And by implication, to succeed in the natural world we live in, one has to deal with others through threats and force. Being dishonest and manipulative like Peter Baelish and Cersei. But the reality is that without honest thoughts a productive person will neither build efficient factory, nor select committed people. Survival of humans depend on fidelity towards facts of reality. Conclusion being that character of Daenerys is good because of her full commitment to the principle of Liberty, and also trying her best to be rational. But if Dragons or their material counterparts like the jet planes were product of natural knowledge rather than supernatural, she would have been a perfect idol to emulate. Very much like Dagny Taggart, John Galt, Howard Roark, or Jean Valjean from classic Romantic literature. Acting in the webseries Daenerys is played by Emila Clarke. The skills here required great transformation of a person, but in subtle steps. This in turn required constant reinvention of sensibilities and corresponding expressions. The character has been accurately portrayed in this regard. Unlike negative powerful characters like Cersei and Eujon, who could afford to be reckless, Daenerys had to be less expressive. And should be seen as holding her calm even in desperate situations. This makes Emila a natural fit, despite limited acting abilities. In Acting of Jon Snow part, I will explain further why there is limited room for expressiveness for these two. And why this is bad!
  22. CHAPTER 2 GAME OF THRONES – THE PLOT THEME **************SPOILER ALERT******************** Plot Theme A theme of what motivates humans can be realized in multiple forms to create a plot. A theme of what motivates humans can have modern context, as in The Godfather or Jerry McGuire. Or it can be extremely personal as in Pursuit of Happyness. The scale here is world capturing, bigger than even The Godfather. Action takes place in two fictional continents in a fictional world. And time spanning across 8000-12000 years, if full story is considered. It’s a fiction that is constructed by selective recreation from facts of reality. Facts ranging from Medieval Europe, to Mongol Herds, to modern Middle Eastern conflicts. Children of the Forest quite similar to contemporary tribals and environmentalists. White Walker zombies in some ways concretization of lethargic cultures of past and present. These specific elements help in building the plot theme from a more abstract theme. Power struggle, its causes and consequences, in a fictional continent of Westeros. This is theplot theme. From Stark plotline, to Lannisters and other Southern plotlines, to plotline in Essos. Every plot and sub-plot is connected to Iron Throne in some way. White Walkers, while very limited is known about them, also look like they want to dominate Westeros, based on legends and excavations. In that sense, they are also after Iron Throne in a metaphorical way. Motivations other than quest for political power highlighted in the theme, from revenge to public good to servitude, are related to this power struggle. Starks carrying most of revenge part, earlier through Rob and later through Arya, is a consequence of harm done through power struggle. Good Daenerys pursues is good of people of Essos and Westros. The good of Essos is realized while building resources for Westeros conquest. Clash of Five kings, emanating from internal power struggle in Westeros, has made life of common people and even feudal lords miserable. Daenerys intends to break the wheel by recapturing Iron Throne of her ancestors. So her motivation of doing good is also connected to Iron Throne. Jon Snow works to protect people from White Walkers, who want to capture Westeros in in their second reincarnation. So Jon’s motivation is also related to this power struggle. Similarly, allegiance of those serving is impacted by the wars in power struggle. Brianne and The Hound being few of the examples. Finally, while specific movements of plots will be discussed in Plot chapters. In the theme part of plot we can discuss prime movers of plot. Essentially there are three independent plot lines. War of five Kings, Rise of Daenerys, and expansion of White Walkers. As is revealed in later seasons, manipulations of Peter Baelish are prime mover for the clash of five kings. Her brother Viserys, while now dead, starts the movement of events for Daenerys. Though their motivations are still not completely clear, we know for sure that zombie-parasitic nature of White Walkers makes them villainous. So basically, the evil is the prime mover of plots in all three scenarios, and good merely responds. Responding either through revenge, servitude, or through its own quest for power. Next section discusses evaluation of idea of evil as a prime mover, and deeper excavation of this idea in context of the webseries. Review of Plot Theme Criteria of evaluating the plot theme is relatability of plot elements. That is the elements used for translating Theme to a more concrete Plot Theme, how relatable these elements are for humans. For better or for worse, power struggle of Kings, Tribals, and Priests, deeply impacted every civilization on earth. Even White Walkers can be related to Islamic invasions of Medieval Period, killing and converting tribes and civilizations, as they march on. The Medieval world projected, apart from deep emphasis on hedonistic sex, is also very similar to medieval world of Asia and Europe. The feudal system, while not prevalent extensively in modern times, has still transmitted many of its attributes across centuries. The Ethics of Duty that is often called upon in interpersonal and social context, being the most dominant characteristic of feudalism. So elements, except hedonistic and subjective view of sex, which make our present, are shown through the prism of past. This is quite inspiring aspect of series, because it connects evaluation of who we are, from where we have come. The evil as the prime mover is the most disagreeable aspect of the plot theme. Not agreeable with facts of reality that is. If we look at history and pre-history of man, its productive aspect of man that has moved the humanity. Whether it’s improving stone tools to flints and javelins, or inventing stitching of clothes, or forward thinking that invented agriculture. True, for most part the productive activity was misrepresented and disproportionately exploited, as in Ancient Egypt through slavery and worship of death. But the fact remains, its productive that move the world, and evil can only manipulate the fruits of production like a parasite. Same is true for later prime movers, from Aristotle, to Newton, to Watt and Jobs. So literary work to be more meaningful, ought to reflect this critical aspect of humanity. A small clarification. While at a normal level it’s true that Peter Baelish, Viserys, and White Walkers are the prime movers. But they derive psychological and existential powers from the good (or the weakness of good to be more specific). Jon Arryn’s oversight to understand what’s happening with Lysa, timid nature of Daenerys sanctioning his exploits, and children of forest misunderstanding sovereign power of their own creation. The evil prime movements at a deeper level are indeed just the creation of good. But this still does not salvage RR Martin from the false view of evil as the prime mover. In real world, as reflected in works of Ayn Rand, the role of good in getting things moving is much more visible. So overall, the plot theme accurately translates theme, but with a mistaken view of prime mover.
  23. Here I will be posting reviews of various aspects of Game of Thrones web series. Done according to tools learnt from The Romantic Manifesto and Eight Great Plays by Dr. Peikoff. Introduction Game of Thrones is a webseries by HBO. Having run for seven seasons so far, it has now become a cultural phenomenon. In all continents from Pacific to Atlantic to Indian Ocean, it now commands a passionate fan following. Yet, more than just a decade back, there was a series F.R.I.E.N.D.S, that also had massive cultural impact. While having a similar level of impact, the two serials are drastically different. Understanding nature and scope of this webseries can give insights into the world we live in, how it has changed, and where it is going. Most importantly though, I think the insights we gain here, will also help us to define our own sensibilities, motivations, thought process, and decision making. Because how our mind responds to artistic values, is often how our conscious, sub-conscious, and their connection is tuned. Art being the fuel of mind, it’s important it goes through quality check and analysis, to help us move and rise in right direction. So let the dissection begin… ******SPOILER ALERT********* Theme The world this series projects is diverse. Geographically, culturally, even biological elements involved are vast. Yet there is an essence, the skeleton of an art work, which can be seen in every frame, every dialog, and beyond. The actions and reactions of characters, and therefore the storyline has this undercurrent. This essence extracted from more than 60hrs of run time is what we call The Theme. “Primary motivations of humans”, this forms the main clause of theme. Primary motivations of humans, ranging from seeking revenge, to seeking political power, to seeking good of the masses, to seek to serve”. This forms the theme of the web series. I think it underscores the main, secondary, and tertiary aspects of the series. From beheading of Eddard Stark, to rise and rise of Daenerys, to Tyrion, Cersei, all the way down to Arya and Brienne of Tarth. I think this theme can explain the similarities of actions despite wide differences in individual circumstances. Lust for asserting his power moves Joffrey against all reason. Applying principle of Liberty for freeing slaves in Essos, or breaking authoritarian wheel [metaphorically speaking] over masses in Westeros. This is what comes to be motivation of Danaerys. Motivations of Tyrion are little bit more complex, but can be understood as the combination of these elements. Service to those in power, whether it’s Tywin, or Joffery, or Daenerys. Objective being the good of masses, and also to assert his own power despite all odds. Denied to him by the nature of his physical being. Cersei vacillates from revenge based motivations, to power for its own sake. (Though she rationalizes power lust and revenge by saying "its Game of Thrones, you win or you die"). Arya of course is clear case of revenge, though there is a positive variation which I will discuss when we go into the depth of her characterization. And Brianne of Tarth clear case of pursing to serve under oath. One might say that people like Bronn are motivated by money. But means of getting money is force of sword. So ultimately they are also motivated by power to force, in a narrower scope compared to Cersei though. Similarly, I think we can understand the motivations of most of the characters, as well as the movement of various plot lines. Review of Theme Before I go into the analysis of different types of motivations, let’s look into the theme of motivation as such. How valuable is the theme? Is it worth exploring, to the extent that RR Martin has devoted 26 years and counting? The answer is unambiguous Yes. Its motivated people that drive the world. Quest for truth and its tool logic, motivated Aristotle all his life. Most visible products are phone we use, and relative liberty we live in. Newton was motivated enough to apply Aristotelian logic to unleash principles of science. James Watt applied science to unleash technology. Steve Jobs combined key elements of Engineering, Business, and artistic sensibilities to unleash what he called tools for human mind. Passionate, motivated people move us and our world, no doubt about that. Yes, there have been people in history (and also currently), motivated by revenge. World War I was triggered by one such vengeful assassination. Revenge can also have positive references. Its resentment towards the British policies that moved Benjamin Franklin towards warriors for Principles of Liberty. George Washington and other founding fathers of America clearly left a world much better for masses, than the one they entered in. Very similar to what Danaerys intends. Positive instances of quest for power. But lust for power institutionalizing corrupt and irrational like Joffrey, is also littered in history. No need to go till Attila or Aurangzeb or Caeser, when you have recent examples of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Ayotollah Khomeni, and Al Baghdadi backed by ideology of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. While revenge and power lust are visibly lethal motivations. Motivation to serve can also be a double edged sword. Here again there are positive and negative references. One positive instance of service given in ancient world I can think is Chanakya. His service to Chadragupt ultimately brought concept of truth (Satyameva Jayate) to the collective conscious of ancient India. Though there was an element of revenge against Nanda dynasty, also in his motivation. Not very different from what Tyrion is doing with Danaerys. The service derived from faith rather than reason is what’s the prime mover for Brianne of Tarth, and The Hound serving Joffrey earlier in the series. Brianne however escapes negative consequences, because the actions her service involved had relatively rational people. But The Hound serving Joffrey was forced to give disproportional punishment to people. The servitude of Manmohan Singh to Congress party, though different in particulars was similar in essence. Some of the motivations indirectly relate to listed motivations of revenge, power, collective good, or servitude. Tywin Lannister’s(also later Cersei’s) vision of lasting legacy for e.g. is related to maintaining power. Though making world a better place would have formed a better legacy. Also Danaerys is attracted to Jon Snow, and the attraction serves as motivation for some of her actions. But reason behind attraction is similarity in their prime motivations. Thus feeling of love derived from similarities of values and corresponding motivations. So love is a derivative rather than a primary here. Finally I share following clip to highlight a critical hole in the theme. https://youtu.be/UKLNB0FY2e0 This is the video of Hot Pie explaining process of preparing really tasty and high quality pie to Brianne and Podrick. Though it’s just few minutes, it highlights most important motivation, otherwise missing in the series. The motivation to produce values. From harnessing existing fire to creating fire using stones, to cars, skyscrapers, genetic crops, and eCommerce. Businessmen and intellectuals (or the thought process behind their being) producing better and better material and spiritual values is what built modern civilization. If humans were motivated by just revenge, power, servitude, or even collective good without proper comprehension of production. Similar to motivations of all of the characters, then I doubt humanity would have even discovered agriculture. So final take away for me as an audience is to understand the concept motivation, and how it relates to decision and action. But finally integrate the understanding to instances of production of goods, services and intellectual tools like logic. E.g. integration being integrating concept of Liberty by Danaerys, with production as in enlightenment era, through the concept of private contract enforced by government. Then the webseries can act as a genuine fuel for the soul.
  24. Continuing the tradition of honoring Burgess Laughlin, on his 73rd Birthday week, we study one of his blogs. The blog being studied here is part of series classified as “THE MAIN EVENT”. And its objective is to explain “IN TODAY'S PHILOSOPHICAL CONFLICT OF REASON VS. MYSTICISM: WHO ARE THE MAIN ADVOCATES ON EACH SIDE? WHAT ARE THEIR KEY IDEAS? WHAT SOCIAL ACTIONS ARE THEY TAKING TO WIN?” The particular blog is titled “BkRev [Book Review]: Shaw's American Church”. As in any study-group, we can summarize the blog, outline it, or do in depth study of some or all parts of blog. Complete blog can be viewed here - http://reasonversusmysticism.blogspot.in/2013/08/bkrev-shaws-american-church.html The study-group starts on Monday 3rd July, and ends on Sunday 9th July. Please confirm your participation, along with purpose for participating, in the following thread. http://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?/topic/30710-invitation-to-study-group-from-burgess-laughlin-blog-“bkrev-shaws-american-church”/ Actual study-group will take place in the following thread. http://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?/topic/30709-remembering-burgess-–-study-group-from-his-blog-“bkrev-shaws-american-church”/