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Found 29 results

  1. I was thinking about some of the life-learning and wisdom of Nathaniel Branden, half-convinced in my mind that I was remembering a quote accurately, that Nathaniel Branden had written "disagree" and "disagreeable" much like I thought in the title of this entry. I did find a phrase, something like I remembered and put it in fuller context at bottrom. But first some thoughts from the departed. The natural inclination of a child is to take pleasure in the use of the mind no less than of the body. The child's primary business is learning. It is also the primary entertainment. To retain that orientation into adulthood, so that consciousness is not a burden but a joy, is the mark of the successfully developed human being. Nathaniel Branden We do not hear the term "compassionate" applied to business executives or entrepreneurs, certainly not when they are engaged in their normal work. Yet in terms of results in the measurable form of jobs created, lives enriched, communities built, living standards raised, and poverty healed, a handful of capitalists has done infinitely more for mankind than all the self-serving politicians, academics, social workers, and religionists who march under the banner of "compassion". Nathaniel Branden “When I disagree with a rational man, I let reality be our final arbiter; if I am right, he will learn; if I am wrong, I will; one of us will win, but both will profit.” Ayn Rand Thinking of someone with whom I have useful disagreements. Watauga Lake, Tennessee.
  2. On it's face, this statement couldn't actually be any more false. To think a philosophy created by a Jewish woman who was an immigrant with a thick Russian accent as fundamentally American seems absurd. As you look deeper, you find it to be even more untrue. In America, no matter how many copies of Atlas Shrugged are sold every year, Objectivism is relegated to the status of a fringe philosophy. And despite even this fringe status, it is attacked viciously by both the left and the right in the media on an almost seemingly daily basis. It is not respected, or even properly understood by the average American. If Objectivism is a fundamentally American system of ideas, why so much animosity towards it? Every indication in America life tells us we are going in the opposite direction to the Objectivist ideal. In economics, the public wants more state interventions in the economy, tariffs on China, monopoly busting and higher taxes on the rich, in politics, it wants the "lowest common denominator" type of person win, i.e. persuasive, popular hucksters or borderline criminals to sell them platitudes and vulgar jingoistic rhetoric, not well reasoned policy. In ethics, it wants some combination or variation thereof of pragmatism or altruism. In metaphysics/epistemology, most Americans believe in God, angels, demons , skepticism/cluelessness, something for nothing, (see economics), racial stereotypes and other silly and irrational concepts not befitting a generally civilized society. Americans believe these things far more than even Europeans do. If is was not clear to you by that America philosophically is actually one of the furthest countries from Objectivism, (and this has been true for some time) it should be now. America is a country literally held by the "string" of it's original founding documents and legal system, that prevent it plunging face-first into barbarism, poverty and irrationality. In other words, America is a country held on by it's past, not it's future. Objectivism, is not an American philosophy per se and most Americans do not like Objectivism very much. In truth to call Objectivism "American" is far too gracious a statement, Americans don't really have a coherent philosophy. Though it is a "western" philosophy in the tradition of Aristotle. If anything, it's a Russian-Jewish philosophy that was imported to America, like so many other ideas. Discuss.
  3. http://www.vermareport.com/2017/05/the-parrot-wind-gremlins-and-peikoffs.html The Parrot, The Wind, The Gremlins, and Peikoff’s Doctrine of Arbitrary Assertion When I read Leonard Peikoff’s Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand (OPAR) a few years ago, I was impressed by his exposition of Ayn Rand’s philosophy. But I also had some misgivings about certain ideas in his book—for instance, his doctrine of arbitrary assertion did not appear logical to me. Recently I discovered Robert Campbell’s article, “The Peikovian Doctrine of the Arbitrary Assertion” (The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, Volume 10, No 1, Fall 2008). Campbell offers a thoughtful critique of Peikoff’s doctrine of arbitrary assertion. His article has me convinced that my misgivings on the doctrine are not farfetched. Peikoff’s doctrine is rife with logical flaws. Campbell’s article is 86 pages long—in comparison, Peikoff’s explanation of the doctrine in OPAR extends across 9 pages (Chapter 5, “Reason”; Section: “The Arbitrary as Neither True Nor False”; Pages: 163-171). Campbell analyzes the doctrine from every angle—he looks at the steps through which Peikoff has developed his doctrine, he provides information on the philosophical background in which the doctrine was originated, and he goes on to expose the instances where Peikoff and his acolytes are themselves guilty of making arbitrary assertions. Since 1976 when Peikoff gave his lectures on Objectivism, the doctrine of arbitrary assertion has become a prominent feature in Objectivist epistemology. The publication of OPAR in 1993 has put the doctrine in front of a wider audience. But Campbell argues that the doctrine raises several questions. He begins his article by listing a few of these questions: “Does an epistemology firmly grounded in facts about human mental functioning, as Rand’s claims to be, require a notion of the arbitrary? Is Peikoff’s notion of an arbitrary assertion clear? Does the concept have the scope of application that Peikoff stakes out for it? Should arbitrary assertions all be handled as Peikoff prescribes? Are the arguments for the doctrine sound?” Campbell says that “these questions bear on the nature and quality of Peikoff’s work as a philosopher, and on the viability of Objectivism construed as a closed system.” Consider the fact that in his 9-page elucidation of the doctrine in OPAR, Peikoff does not offer clear instructions on how to identify an arbitrary claim. He presumes that a rational person knows which claims are arbitrary, as he or she would know which ones are emotionalistic or irrational. By arbitrary, Peikoff does not mean false—he regards the arbitrary claims as being worse than falsehoods. Here’s an excerpt from OPAR: “An arbitrary statement has no relation to man’s means of knowledge. Since the statement is detached from the realm of evidence, no process of logic can assess it. Since it is affirmed in a void, cut off from any context, no integration to the rest of man’s knowledge is applicable; previous knowledge is irrelevant to it. Since it has no place in a hierarchy, no reduction is possible, and thus no observations are relevant. An arbitrary statement cannot be cognitively processed; by its nature, it is detached from any rational method or content of human consciousness. Such a statement is necessarily detached from reality as well. If an idea is cut loose from any means of cognition, there is no way of bringing it into relationship with reality.” ~ (OPAR, page 164) Campbell detects several logical problems in this paragraph. He argues that “if what Peikoff says is true, what is the status of a correct judgment that a claim is arbitrary? How does one arrive at that judgment? How could one rationally judge an assertion to be arbitrary, except by engaging in correct cognition in relation to reality? If ‘the soul survives the death of the body’ is truly incapable of being cognitively processed, how can a rational person judge what evidence or arguments would be required to support it? For if the rational person has no idea what would be required, how can he or she go on to determine that the evidence or arguments have not been presented, consequently the assertion must be dismissed?” Peikoff claims that the arbitrary statements are completely out of context, to the extent that they cannot be evaluated on the basis of any previous knowledge. Yet the four examples of arbitrary assertions that he gives in OPAR—belief in the existence of soul, belief in astrology, belief in existence of a sixth sense, and a convention of gremlins studying Hegel’s logic on the planet Venus—are intelligible. It is possible for us to evaluate these assertions on the basis of previous knowledge and declare that these statements are falsehoods. If we believe Peikoff’s proposition that “gremlins” is an arbitrary concept which can never be cognitively processed then what about Phlogiston, the stuff that chemists in the mid-eighteenth century believed makes some materials combustible and is used up when they burned! Peikoff’s doctrine will lead us to believe that Phlogiston is an arbitrary concept and is therefore beyond the scope of human cognition. Campbell asks if the chemists in the 1770s and 1780s could have discovered what is wrong with the Phlogiston concept if they had adhered to Peikoff’s doctrine? Peikoff makes hardly any sense when he asserts that a rational person must regard every arbitrary idea as a noise. “An arbitrary idea must be given the exact treatment its nature demands. One must treat it as though nothing has been said.” (OPAR, Pages 164-165). He makes even less sense when he claims that the arbitrary is outside all epistemological categories. “None of the concepts used to describe human knowledge can be applied to the arbitrary; none of the classifications of epistemology can be usurped in its behalf… An arbitrary statement is neither ‘true’ nor ‘false.’” (OPAR, page 165) It is difficult to imagine a statement which is neither true nor false. Campbell posits that “if a claim can be refuted, it is not arbitrary; if it has been successfully refuted, one ought to conclude that it is false.” In his 1997 lecture “Objectivism through Induction,” Peikoff claims that when we recognize an assertion as arbitrary we are trapped into an unthinking condition. “When you see that a claim is arbitrary, then you cannot think about its cognitive status at all. You can’t think about its validity as a claim. You can’t weigh it, assess it, determine its probability, its possibility, its invalidity, its truth, its falsehood, anything. It is non-process-able. A rational mind stops in its tracks, in the face of any attempt to process such a claim.” According to Peikoff, a tryst with an arbitrary assertion induces paralysis in a rational mind. Campbell wonders “what the supposed paralysis would feel like, and whether one might need extensive training in order to experience it.” But Peikoff uses a shoot and scoot strategy in his lecture—he drops the word “paralyzed,” but refrains from explaining the nature of the paralysis. In OPAR, Peikoff offers the examples of a wind-blown sand and a talking parrot to establish the charge that the arbitrary claims are meaningless. Here’s an excerpt: “A relationship between a conceptual content and reality is a relationship between man’s consciousness and reality. There can be no “correspondence” or “recognition” without the mind that corresponds or recognizes. If a wind blows the sand on a desert island into configurations spelling out “A is A,” that does not make the wind a superior metaphysician. The wind did not achieve any conformity to reality; it did not produce any truth but merely shapes in the sand. Similarly, if a parrot is trained to squawk “2 + 2 = 4,” this does not make it a mathematician. The parrot’s consciousness did not attain thereby any contact with reality or any relation to it, positive or negative; the parrot did not recognize or contradict any fact; what it created was not merely falsehood, but merely sounds. Sounds that are not the vehicle of conceptual awareness have no cognitive status.” ~ (OPAR, page 165) He goes on to declare: “An arbitrary claim emitted by a human mind is analogous to the shapes made by the wind or to the sounds of the parrot. Such a claim has no cognitive relationship to reality, positive or negative. The true is identified by reference to a body of evidence; it is pronounced “true” because it can be integrated without contradiction into a total context. The false is identified by the same means; it is pronounced “false” because it contradicts the evidence and/or some aspect of the wider context. The arbitrary, however, has no relation to evidence or context; neither term, therefore—“true” or “false”—can be applied to it.” ~ (OPAR, page 165-166) The idea that a human being who makes an arbitrary assertion will have his cognitive abilities downgraded to parrot level is unbelievable. Campbell writes: “Even if we accept Peikoff’s contention that putting forward any assertion that he deems arbitrary is ipso facto an irrational act, it does not follow that the assertion is the product of a sudden complete interruption to one’s functioning as a cognitive agent—even if it is an interruption from which one can somehow quickly recover.” But Peikoff prefers to preach with the zeal of an Augustinian monk living in Europe’s dark ages. He is convinced that all who disagree with his ideas belong to the lowest rung of hell. Consider these lines from OPAR (page 248): “A man who would throw away his life without cause, who would reject the universe on principle and embrace a zero for its own sake—such a man, according to Objectivism, would belong on the lowest rung of hell.” In case of the doctrine of the arbitrary, Peikoff is, thankfully, not consigning the disbelievers to the lowest rung of hell, but the punishment he has in mind is still quite harsh. “The arbitrary, however, if a man indulges in it, assaults his cognitive faculty; it wipes out or makes impossible in his mind the concept of rational cognition and thus entrenches his inner chaos for life. As to the practical consequences of this difference, whom would you prefer to work with, talk to, or buy groceries from: a man who miscounts the people in his living room (an error) or who declares that the room is full of demons (the arbitrary)?” (OPAR, page 166) It is clear that Peikoff is offering a blatantly loaded alternative. Campbell says, “Every day, human beings make mistakes with much higher impact than most simple miscounts will ever have. People fail college courses, run cars off roads, alienate friends, mismanage businesses into bankruptcy, crash airplanes. Conversely, from Peikoff’s point of view, if a prospective seller, coworker, or conversational partner believes that his friend who recently died is now in heaven, walking on streets of gold, he is as fully in the grip of ‘the arbitrary,’ and should be as assiduously shunned, as the man who believes that his living room is swarming with demons.” Once he is done with exposing the logical inconsistencies in Peikoff’s doctrine, Campbell moves on to conduct an investigation into the doctrine’s origins. In the introduction to OPAR, Peikoff has denied making any creative contributions in the book. He says that much of the book’s material comes from the philosophic discussions that he had with Ayn Rand over a period of decades. He says, “Our discussions were not a collaboration: I asked questions, she answered them.” (OPAR, Page xv) Should we then believe that Ayn Rand is the real author of this doctrine? But Campbell points out that there is no evidence to suggest that Rand could have articulated the doctrine in the flawed form in which Peikoff presents it in OPAR. “She used the word ‘arbitrary’ rather often, but never in a way that signals the technical meanings that Peikoff expounds in OPAR.” In the context in which she uses the word “arbitrary,” it functions as a close synonym for “nonobjective” or “irrational,” and in some cases it serves as a substitute for “subjective.” Campbell says that in a somewhat different form, the doctrine was articulated by Nathaniel Branden in an article in the 1963 issue of The Objectivist Newsletter. In his article, Branden says: “When a person makes an assertion for which no rational grounds are given, his statement is—epistemologically—without cognitive content. It is as though nothing has been said. This is equally true if the assertion is made by two billion people.” Braden did not take the idea of “arbitrary” to the level where it might serve as an alternative to “truth” and “falsehood.” Campbell writes: “Branden restrained himself from concluding that ‘arbitrary’ is a truth value, or a way of being wronger than wrong, and he tried to qualify his claim that arbitrary assertions are ‘without cognitive content.’ He neither declared that arbitrary assertions ‘cannot be cognitively processed,’ nor offered comparisons with dunes shifted by the wind or speech sounds mimicked by a parrot. Branden indicted agnostics for cowardice, but not for zero-embracing nihilism. The focus of his article was on the irrationality of demanding evidence or argument in violation of the onus of proof principle.” Also, Branden did not turn the arbitrary into a basic epistemological category. “He regarded the distinction between faith and reason as fundamental, not the distinction between the arbitrary and the non-arbitrary.” Campbell informs us that Branden reflected on the arbitrary assertions in two Basic Principles of Objectivism lectures. While Branden believed that assertions about witches and goblins refer to nothing, he did not declare that arbitrary assertions cannot be cognitively processed. For him, “the negative consequences of accepting arbitrary assertions are one and the same as the negative consequences of supposing that faith is a shortcut to knowledge.” While there are problems in Branden’s theory of arbitrary assertions (Campbell discusses these in his article), his version of the theory is more robust than the doctrine that Peikoff’s offers in his 1976 lectures and OPAR. Campbell presents evidence to show that Branden (writing under the guidance of Rand) was the primary author of the doctrine of arbitrary assertion. Peikoff picked up Branden’s doctrine and dished it out in a vastly distorted format. Also, Peikoff’s failure to acknowledge Branden’s contribution to the doctrine is unethical and unscholarly. In the article's final section, Campbell comments on the issue of denial of credit to Branden: “The implications for Peikoff’s standing as a philosopher are distinctly negative. If Peikoff lifted the core idea without attribution from Branden’s (1967) lectures, as he appears to have done, he is guilty of intellectual dishonesty. His refusal to credit Branden’s (1963) prior publication on the subject is, in any event, unscholarly. He has elaborated the doctrine significantly; however, the best that can be said about Peikoff’s own contributions is that he has performed better on many other occasions.” I conclude my article with this question: Will Peikoff’s doctrine of the arbitrary assertion survive Campbell’s critique? It is clear that that the doctrine is illogical but the intellectuals with the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) continue to defend it—as if Campbell’s article does not exist. Campbell published his article in 2008 issue of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies—in the past nine years his article has provoked very little discussion in Objectivist circles. I find it strange that an article which practically demolishes the doctrine proposed by a personality such as Peikoff has not been comprehensively evaluated by the ARI. The lack of reaction to Campbell’s article exposes the insular and cultist nature of the Objectivist elite.
  4. Branden defines self-esteem as:“a disposition [grounded in reality], to experience oneself as being competent to cope with the basic challenges of life, and naturally worthy of happiness, fulfillment, success and achievement [as opposed to] fantasies of superiority and exaggerated notions of one’s accomplishments.”The “success and achievement” that Branden associates with self-esteem is not “grounded” in some objective “reality”, as he implies, but simply grounded in the social consensus one happens to live in or subscribe to i.e. in culturally relative and invented social reality. The self-esteem gotten from putting a spear through a fish’s head would be, according to Branden, more “grounded in reality” in a Tribal African culture than in say, American culture, where putting a rubber ball through a hoop would provide a self-esteem more “grounded in reality”. If I invent a game of speed counting blades of grass in various geometric patterns, I should, according to Branden, only “realistically” value my achievements in the game once the game has gained some popularity. If no one wants to play the game, then I can’t gain any self-esteem from it. It is only if others decide to value the game, and if I can then prove my proficiency in the game, that I can “realistically” gain self-esteem. Using this example, “false” self-esteem, according to Branden, would mean thinking that I was better (or worse) at the game than I really was.We have over 30 years of evidence coming from Terror Management Theory to show that when Homo sapiens gained self-awareness, s/he also gained an end-of self awareness: an awareness of his/her animal insignificance and finitude. This led to a crippling anxiety that in turn led to the creation of culture as we know it: to beliefs and activities that would provide individuals with the illusion of being persons of value in a world of meaning - usually by inflating the significance and meaning of tiny slivers of invented reality, so that we wouldn’t have to face the insignificance and meaninglessness of our place in the big scheme of things.The cultures that provided the best belief systems to counter our fear of animal insignificance and death were prehistoric, because they embraced an animistic spirituality that granted cosmic significance to each and every individual in the tribe.With the shift to civilization, we entered an era of materialism that increasingly relied on an (unequally distributed) earthly (as opposed to cosmic) self-esteem. Since the illusion of earthly significance is smaller than the illusion of cosmic significance, most individuals in civilization came to exist in a chronically deprived state of self-esteem. To quote Ernest Becker in 1973:“Our own everyday rituals today seem shallow pre­cisely because they lack the cosmic connection. Instead of only using one's fellow man as a mirror to make one's face shine, the primitive used the whole cosmos. We can really only get inside primitive societies by seeing them as religious priesthoods with each person having a role to play in the generative rituals. We don't know what it means to contribute a dance, a chant, or a spell in a community dramatization of the forces of nature-unless we belong to an ac­tive religious community. Nor can we feel the immense sense of achievement that follows from such a ritual contribution: the ritual­ist has done nothing less than enable life to continue; he has contributed to sustaining and renewing the universe. If rituals generate and redistribute life power, then each person is a generator of life. That is how important a person could feel, within the ritual­ist view of nature, by occupying a ritual place in a community. Even the humblest person was a cosmic creator. The primitive feels the effect of his ability to generate life, he is ennobled by it, even though it may be an illusion. Primitive man set up his society as a stage, surrounded himself with actors to play different roles, invented gods to address the performance to, and then ran off one ritual drama after the other, raising himself to the stars and bringing the stars down into the affairs of men. He staged the dance of life, with himself at the center.”From this light, we can see that Branden’s emphasis on mindfulness, self-acceptance, assertiveness, responsibility, purpose, discipline, integrity etc are all basically attempts to make the best out of a bad situation; attempts to squeeze the maximum juice out of various impoverished social consensus schemes that lack the capacity to (in his words) “honor” the self-esteem that humans truly “want and need”.(As a small side note, I may add that Branden had a preference for libertarian capitalism that influenced his ideas of how to best achieve this goal.)So when Branden insists that we see ourselves as being deserving of love, or for example, recommends as an exercise that we state “I have a right to exist”, we have to realize how, in comparison to primitives who felt they had a right to “raise themselves to the stars”; this sounds more like a shy “I have a right to keep my neck above the water”.In fact the very existence of the book bespeaks a social lack - the impoverished self-esteem granting capacity of our culture.
  5. Honesty, integrity, rationality - gak! - about as useful as a bullet to the brain. Few people were influenced more deeply by Ayn Rand than I was, and I bought the whole package, every word of it. How many Objectivists were elected or appointed to public office? - zero. Paul Ryan disavowed her. Alan Greenspan was famous for incomprehensibly vague Congressional testimony and tossed hard money under the welfare state steamroller. How many Objectivists became film directors, novelists, playwrights? - hahahaha. The cottage industry of Rand scholarship turned out swell. She was a covert Hegelian or a Jewish mystic. Handsome young homosexuals buried her and cashed in by going squishy on no-fault subjectivism. Film rights went to a certifiable dolt who sold it to an amatuer who hired a schlock horror promoter and soap actors. Eddie Willers became a cute black guy. Not bitter, just reality oriented. When Margaret Thatcher quoted Rand ("There is no such thing as society") it ended her career, after splurging on Soviet-style NHS health care and a fat welfare state pillow for unemployed miners. Rand's influence in Britain today? - none. Here in America? - hahahahahaha. Black Lives Matter. To equal the payola a single mom gets from various Federal and state welfare programs, she'd have to earn $70,000 a year with no high school diploma. If Rand had lived to see homosexual marriage and Hillary's cakewalk to the Oval Office, I can see her repatriating to Russia in disgust. Vladimir Putin's puny iron fist makes more sense than U.S. foreign policy past, present, and future. $2 trillion to invade and occupy Iraq, at least 100,000 dead and 1.5 million refugees. Billions in cash "missing" from Bremer's idiotic fiefdom that gave way to Iranian-backed Shia militias and breakaway Kurds backed by Israel. Not good enough for Obama. He and Hillary fucked up Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Anbar, and Syria, promoting and funding the "Arab Spring" in bed with the Saudis who promoted and funded 9/11 and the Taliban. Jesus H. Christ! -- could there be anything worse for American foreign policy interests? Yes, there could. A deal with Iran to hand them a nuclear bomb and ICBMs, with a pallet of Swiss francs for dessert, after the Republican-led Senate waived advice and consent on unknown terms and conditions. Really, you can't make this shit up. No one would believe it. So here we are, solemnly swearing how honest and honorable we are as Objectivists. That cuts no ice in the real world. Sounds a lot like Hillary Clinton, honest and honorable and you can't prove otherwise, because -- oh, that? -- old news. What matters now is the first female president, an historic gesture to gender equality, the antithesis of Rand's thinking about sex roles. I don't mind being "old fashioned" as my professional colleagues frequently remark, but I draw the line at honesty, the most dangerous of all virtues in the modern world. Speak the truth and die like Andrew Breitbart, or run for your life like Edward Snowden. The world belongs to Suge Knight and Rahm Immanuel. Fuck with them and they'll drop you head first in a sewer. But nothing tops the first class evil practiced by the electronic media and their hallowed bankrupt dead tree institutions. A couple years ago I worked for a leading trade publisher. I was aghast at the bullshit they peddled in praise of shale hucksters Floyd Wilson and Aubrey McClendon. The truth was fraud, bankruptcy, and fat Wall Street fees on high yield debt that will never pay off, never had a hope in hell of paying off. All I could do was roll my eyes at Sean Hannity yelping about "energy independence" -- a theme that The Donald picked up like a stolen tiara he found in the trash. Want to know the truth about oil and gas? -- I doubt it. Conventional production stalled in 2005, no new proved reserves anywhere on earth. Shale fracking in the Bakken costs $70 a barrel to produce and has to be shipped by rail because Keystone XL was killed by Obama. They don't separate out ultra-volatile condensate, and when trains derail they blow up. The environmental disaster at Ft. McMurry is worse. Canadian tar has to be diluted with volatile condensate to pump it anywhere, and when it arrives at a refinery, the first thing that gets produced is tar ash, mile-long piles of it in Detroit. Same financial hurdle, costs $70 a barrel to dig up, boil, dilute, transport, and upgrade into usable crude oil. When WTI collapsed to $30, hundreds of thousands of skilled staff were laid off, rigs idled, capex decimated. Guess why the price of oil fell? -- world demand collapsed. (shakes head) You will not get anywhere with the truth, bub. It doesn't matter what Hillary or Donald promise or propose, no matter how reasonable it sounds. Perhaps you're aware of a "post-modern" paradigm in art and lifestyle? In a similar way, we are in a "post-modern" world economy. The problem isn't us buying cheap shit from China, instead of nonexistent and hypothetical Made In USA cheap shit. The problem is collapse of demand worldwide. Throwing more paper around like Alan Greenspan will shoot flames of inflation higher and break Social Security, which is sinking to negative cash flow and can't pay a COLA increase. Honesty is boring and often scary. Better to speak cheerily of Objectivism. (smile)
  6. So guys, I found this article I think you'll find interesting, I know I did: http://www.seanedwards.com/what-is-christian-objectivism Tell me, what are your thoughts on it? Just read it and then express your opinions here Sorry, I'm new to this site by the way.
  7. Ayn Rand has the best moral philosophy ever invented. Karl Popper has the most important breakthrough in epistemology. Most Objectivists seem to think that Popper and Rand are incompatible, and Popper is an enemy of reason. They have not understood him. These lists are intended to help explain my motivation for integrating Rand and Popper, and also to help highlight many similarities they already have. Points Popperian epistemology and Objectivist epistemology have in common. In Popperian epistemology I include additions and improvements by David Deutsch and myself: - opposition to subjectivism and relativism - fallibilism - says that objective knowledge is attainable (in practice by fallible humans) - realism: says reality is objective - connected to reality: we have to observe reality, keep our ideas connected to reality - asserts there is objective truth - attention to context ("problem situation" or sometimes "problem" is the common Popperian term meaning context. E.g. a Popperian will ask "What is the problem this is addressing?" and be asking about context.) - pro-science - opposition to positivism - opposition to the language analysis school of philosophy - say that most professional philosophers are rather crap - opposition to both skeptical and authoritarian schools of epistemology - keeps our concepts "open-end[ed]" (ITOE). That means: possible to improve in the future as we learn more. - says that there are objective moral truths - does not seek a "frozen, arrested state of knowledge" (ITOE) - written clearly and understandably, unlike much philosophy - says epistemology is useful and valuable to real people; it matters to life; it's practical - you can't force an idea on someone. they can choose to accept it or not - you can't implant an idea in someone. you can't pour it in, stick it in with surgery, make them absorb it, etc. they get to think, interpret, choose. - free will - people are not born with some unchangeable nature and innate ideas. we can be self-made men. we can learn, change, improve, progress - emphasis on active use of one's mind, active learning - no inherent conflicts due to objective truth - understanding of unconscious and inexplicit ideas - if two ideas contradict, at least one is false - integration of epistemology with morality, politics, and more - rejection of authority - full rejection of idealism, solipsism - strong emphasis on clarity - rejection of limits on human minds - reject probabilistic approaches to epistemology - looks at man as rational and capable - value of critical thinking including self-criticism Strengths of Objectivist epistemology: - stolen concept - package deal - check your premises - ideas about integrating all one's knowledge and removing all contradictions - measurement omission and concept formation ideas both worthwhile, though flawed - good criticisms of many opponents of reason - good understanding of essentials vs non-essentials, e.g. for definitions - idea about automating some thinking - good explanation of what objectivity is - Judge, and be prepared to be judged Strengths of Popperian epistemology: - evolution creates knowledge - conjectures and refutations method - piecemeal, incremental method. value of every little improvement - identification of, and solution to, justificationism - addresses induction - conjectural, fallible, objective knowledge - idea that we progress from misconception to better misconception - myth of the framework - value of culture clash - emphasis on bold highly-criticizable claims, sticking your neck out to learn more - no shame in mistakes - value of criticism. criticism is a gift - understanding of rationality as being about error correction - unimportance of starting points. you can start anywhere, improve from there - criticism of definitions - criticism of foundations, bases - criticism of essentialism - criticism of manifest truth (and self-evidence, obviousness, etc) - static and dynamic memes - structural epistemology - coercion and common preferences - understanding of conflict and symmetry - applications to parenting, education, relationships - understanding of tradition - explanation of value of external criticism (if everyone has some blind spots, but some people have different blind spots then each other, then it's productive to share criticism with each other. a little like comparative advantage) - emphasis on critical method, criticism (ideas stand unless refuted) - let our ideas die in our stead Some of you are now wondering about details. I know. But it's so much! Let's do it like this: if you are interested in one of the topics, ask about it and I can elaborate. If you would preference a reference to existing material on the topic, that's fine too.
  8. Watching this youtube lecture you can see, Yaron Brook, foremost communicator of Objectivism, in a valiant, but it ultimately dull performance. It probably evokes at most, a loud, wailing yawn. Looking around the room, the level of boredom is almost felt palpably. Blanks stares throughout, as if they are watching not a real man in front of them but his holographic projection. It has only 1,246 views and counting. The Ayn Rand Institute, a 40 year old organization with millions of dollars in endowment, has only just over 12,000 subscribers on Youtube. A sad, sad state of affairs and pitiful in this age of million+ views for cat and dog chasing videos. Compare this with TED talks which routinely posts videos that get millions of views. As you can see, good presentation doesn't just make a difference, it makes a HUGE difference. And the issue is not that people don't engage intellectual ideas, they don't engage boring ones. Not all of the blame for this can be cast upon the public. At least part of the blame is because ARI is simply too boring for it's own good. Nobody was ever won to a noble cause by boredom. Especially not young people. As I highlighted in a previous thread (among others) Donald Trump gets this. I disagree that movements somehow "must" take several generations to come to full bloom. You can speed up the process. This requires a talented communicator. Presentation, charisma, delivery and ease of talk. All that + infectious enthusiasm = more followers to the cause. IMO Objectivism would be better off hiring a TV pitchman at this point. Really anyone with half-decent sales skills and/or acting chops. We need to bring sexy back. How can we do it? That's what this thread is about.
  9. This is a brief history of the philosophy and culture of liberalism. It describes a life-style and civilization which lifts human beings far above that of animals, chimpanzees, hominids, and even tribalist hunter-gatherers. Liberalism features man at his best. Liberals are clear-thinking and rational men: natural, sound, healthy, happy, uplifted, and heroic. Liberalism is a fundamental category of philosophy and life-style -- something broad and general. It constitutes a definitive concept -- beyond which one can not venture or improve -- like life, happiness, greatness, transcendence, virtue, beauty, pleasure, thought, reality, existence, and the universe. Liberalism's subsidiary concepts are also ultimate and final: rationality, egoism, and liberty. In the story of mankind, first come bonobos, then semi-human Homo habilis, then primitive man Homo erectus, then highly advanced Neanderthals, then truly intelligent and impressive Cro-Magnons -- who used their 100 IQs to exterminate their brutish competitors, and invent sophisticated arrow technology, and make art such as those Venus statues and cave paintings. By 9000 BC the Ice Age ended and humans immediately converted from hunter-gatherers to rancher-farmers. After domesticating multitudinous plants and animals, by 3300 BC human beings further cultivated them with irrigation on their new private property, backed by their revolutionary social institution called government. By 1700 BC men had well-established written laws, and well-developed literature and art, and easy personal transportation using horses, and elaborate international trade using sophisticated great ships. All of this constituted impressive advances in humans' quality of life; but none of it constituted philosophical or cultural liberalism. Finally, by about 600 BC, the ancient Greeks created the indescribably magnificent phenomenon of Western liberalism. They invented rationality or "Greek reason" or syllogistic logic -- or pure thought or epistemology. This is usually described as "the discovery of science and philosophy." But along with the stunning and wondrous epistemology of reason -- naturally and inevitably and inherently -- came the ethics of individualism, and the politics of freedom. All of this can be fairly, accurately, and usefully denominated as the thought-system and life-style of Western liberalism -- of liberal philosophy and culture, especially as exemplified by Aristotle, Epicurus, and Zeno the Stoic. These three theorists, ironically, were labelled by their intellectual opponents as "dogmatic." This was not because these scientifically-minded, open-debaters claimed to know everything based on faith, but because the claimed to know something based on evidence and analysis. By the 100s BC in Greece, the general ideology of liberalism was well-established in the middle and upper classes. Then the Romans conquered the Greeks and within a century made liberalism their own. They even advanced the noble ideas and ideals a bit, with such thinkers as Cicero, Lucretius, Virgil, Horace, and Aurelius. But skepticism of reason ascended rapidly by the 200s AD, and with it came the decline of the greatest country in human history. The new phenomenon of monotheism began to dominate in the 300s AD, especially Christianity or "Plato for the masses." By the middle of the 400s the philosophy and culture of liberalism was dead, and so was Rome. A long, terrible Dark Age ensued. This irrational, illiberal nightmare of Western civilization lasted for a millenia. The wretched and depraved philosophy of Jesus ruined everything. But a bit of reason and hope came back into the world in the 1100s of northwest Europe with the mini-Renaissance. High-quality Greek thinkers were gradually reintroduced. Then came the 1300s and the Italian Renaissance. By the 1500s a whole European-wide Renaissance began with France's conquest of northern Italy. The French brought their reborn art and philosophy to everyone in the West. The beautiful general philosophy of liberalism ascended still higher while the ghastly evils of fundamentalist skepticism, Platonism, monotheism, and Christianity declined. The classical liberal era was brought about by radical and heroic innovators like Francis Bacon, John Locke, Voltaire, Adam Smith, and Thomas Jefferson. The late 1700s Enlightenment and Age of Reason in Britain, France, Holland, and America featured liberalism at its height. But it was gradually and massively undermined by the irrational, nonsensical philosophers Bishop Berkeley, David Hume, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Immanuel Kant, and Friedrich Hegel. After the 1790s the French Revolution went astray and embraced ideological dogmatism and self-sacrifice to the cause. It also converted itself into an early version of modern communism; as well as the false, evil, and illiberal ideologies of right-wing conservatism and left-wing progressivism. In the art world this was manifested by the slightly but definitely irrational Romantic movement of 1800-1850. Paintings started to turn ugly again. Socialism and communism fairly quickly went into high gear after Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto of 1848. Religion also somewhat revived in the late 1800s. These two monstrous ideologies backed the moral ideal of self-destruction, or the "Judeo-Christian ethic," or, even better, the "religio-socialist ethic." The fin de siecle 1890s was the giddy, despairing, hopeless, lost, end of a noble era in the West -- a dynamic, heroic, rational, liberal era. A practical, real-world, irrational, illiberal, dystopia was achieved in the mid 1900s with Stalin, Hitler, and Mao. Later in the 1900s there was Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Ayatollah Khomeini, and countless other despots. Illiberalism reached a hellish trough around 1985. Then came Ronald Reagan in America, Margaret Thatcher in Britain, Mikhail Gorbachev in Russia, and Deng Xiaoping in China. These four political semi-revolutionaries, in four leading nations, used their governments to change world culture in a liberal direction. These liberal leaders emerged on the world scence because theory always proceeds practice, and the theory of liberalism began to rise again -- at least intellectually, and in certain recherché circles -- around the early 1900s. It began anew with Austrian economic thinkers like Ludwig von Mises, Henry Hazlitt, and Friedrich Hayek. In addition to the dry, mechanical realm of economics, they addressed the fields of politics and sociology -- and even ethics and epistemology. They filled in many of the gaps, and corrected many of the weaknesses and failures, of Locke, Smith, and company. The Austrians also attacked the communism, socialism, and progressivism of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson, among others. And they taught the fiery intellectual novelist Ayn Rand. Rand converted from fiction to philosophy from the late 1950s to the late 1970s. She was by far the most liberal thinker in the history of man. She created the philosophy of Objectivism. Ayn Rand advanced human knowledge about as much as Bacon, Locke, Voltaire, Smith, and Jefferson combined. Sadly, however, Rand undercut her liberal ideology with a heavy atmosphere and subtext of cultism and religiosity in her propaganda movement. This was understandable, considering how revolutionary and hated her philosophy was, but hardly rational. However Rand died in 1982 and a highly rational and non-religious organization organized around her discoveries emerged in 1989. This brought the world Objectivism as a thought-system, not a belief-system; and Objectivism as a rational, benevolent, effective philosophy -- not an irrational, malicious, weird cult. There are currently three separate but related avant-garde liberal ideological movements: Austrian economics, libertarian politics, and Objectivist philosophy. All three are tiny but, based on historical intellectual standards, seemingly growing solidly. Pure liberalism -- a pure, clean, complete comprehension that reason was 100% right in epistemology, individualism was 100% right in ethics, and freedom was 100% right in politics -- began in the early 21st century. Randroid illiberalism began to die out. A New Enlightenment is about to begin.
  10. The following announcement was posted on Facebook. If you plan to attend, click on the eventbrite link to register. http://www.eventbrite.com/e/in-memory-of-nathaniel-branden-registration-15431319492?aff=es2&rank=1
  11. The Atlas Society is sponsoring a Memorial Event for Nathaniel Branden, in Los Angeles, Feb. 22. Below is a partial screen capture of the details of the event. If interested, you must register as soon as possible. See the direct link to the "Eventbrite" announcement in my post in the "Nathaniel Branden" section. Please join us for a memorial gathering to honor Nathaniel Branden and celebrate his life and achievements, sponsored by The Atlas Society, John and Danis Fickewirth, and Nathaniel's family. The gathering will be a cocktail-style reception, with brief remembrances by those who knew Nathaniel and his work, with memorabilia from his long and productive life. Refreshments will be served. Nathaniel was a long-time associate of Ayn Rand and helped systematize and promote her philosophy of Objectivism. He launched the Nathaniel Branden Institute in 1958. His course The Basic Principles of Objectivism was the first systematic statement of the philosophy—and the first of many courses offered through NBI. With Ayn Rand, he edited The Objectivist Newsletter and The Objectivist magazine, where his early work on psychology was published. After a break with Rand, Nathaniel continued his career in psychology, as an innovative therapist and teacher of therapists. His many books and lectures earned him worldwide respect as a pioneer on the subject of self-esteem. He fought against those who identify self-esteem with narcissism—both those who denigrate self-esteem for that reason and those who promote narcissism in the name of self-esteem. Through his research, teaching, and publications, He argued that genuine self-esteem is earned by pursuing the essentially Objectivist values of rationality, integrity, productiveness, and responsibility. Please join his family and his many friends and admirers February 22nd to honor his memory. He opened new roads in psychological theory, and new paths in life for his many patients. We look forward to seeing you. Have questions about In Memory of Nathaniel Branden? Contact The Atlas Society Save This Event When & Where
  12. The publisher of The Vision of Ayn Rand: The Basic Principles of Objectivism, Cobden Press (a division of the Moorfield Storey Institute), published in 2009 ; has just announced that a "Study Guide for the book, including a corrected Index will be available by the end of January, 2014. See their announcement at www.fr33minds.com. Due to a pagination error during the original printing, the page numbers in that Index were mismatched. The corrected Index included in the Study Guide.
  13. The OL Atlas Shrugged A-Store Do you know how much Atlas Shrugged stuff there is for sale? That you can buy? I didn't until I made this astore. Browse around below and see for yourself. Does Atlas Shrugged excite you? Of course it does. But do you want more than the novel? Do you want books about Atlas Shrugged? Criticism? Analysis? You'll find them here, the good, the bad and the ugly. And a lot more than books and DVD's, too. You can get t-shirts, fashion items, iPhone covers, posters, coffee mugs, money-clips, and all kinds of odds and ends. Just navigate on the sidebar. Or search. Oh... you could find this stuff by yourself on Amazon, but who wants to bother when you're in an Atlas mood? Here it's all preselected. And great for gifts. I hope you find something you like. May Atlas Shrugged shine on your life and those of your loved ones.
  14. I just created a search engine for objectivism related content. http://objectiscan.com The options at the top of the page allow you to be more specific with your search for example forums will narrow the search down to objectivismonline and objectivistliving while official would display content from peikoff.com, the atlas society and the ayn rand institute.
  15. Im not sure if this is the correct place to put this but here it is. Objectivism Website Contest To promote the growth of objectivism on the internet and the knowledge of website creation i am launching the objectivism website contest. Your goal is to create the best Objectivism related website possible. Accepted entries will be hosted on a subdomain of the creators choice on objectiscan.com and creators will be given an an ftp account to access their subdomain. Here are some materials for you to start with: A high quality free webpage creation tool The w3c website an organization that creates web standards and provides reference information and tutorials. HTML and CSS, javascript, and php video tutorials. The requrements for entry are: The website must be related to objectivism. The website must have unique content or provide a unique service. The website must not contain illegal or malicious content. The website must be decent quality; consistent theme, good amount of content or good service, use of css, not spammy. Website must not be extremely demanding on the server (you shouldn't have to worry about this.) The website must be less than 10 gigabytes (will not apply to exceptional websites.)Right now we only have 80 gigabytes of storage to give away, but this may change. Leave the files of your entries, questions, or comments below.
  16. Understanding Objectivism Tests 03-05 are now complete! Understanding Objectivism Test (03) Understanding Objectivism Test (04) Understanding Objectivism Test (05)
  17. According to Objectivism, romantic valuation is unaffected by social status. This flies in the face of countless scientific studies (one good overview here) done on the subject, which show humans (particularly women) do take socio-economic factors into account, and at every stage of the courtship process (from dating to sex to marriage). This effect is most visible on "celebrity" blogs and gossip sites observing who dates who. Notice the higher the status of the man, the more beautiful (and more numerous) his sexual and romantic partners tend to be. Nevermind the other health and social benefits indirectly related social status not related to romance, that people of high status enjoy in human societies. Objectivism ignores this altoghether as well. Ayn Rand herself seems to contradict herself at various times, at one point saying romance is a "response to (character) values" and at another point saying women desire to "look up to" a man (which could be an indirect reference to social status). In any case, it is unclear what she actually means by her words. In her novels, the most accomplished, socially desirable men (Wynand, Galt, Rearden etc) are often the sole romantic focus of the female protogonists. Lesser men (i.e. less money and status), such as Eddie Willers, are not even a consideration. This is one of the most intriguing features of her fiction. So my question is, is Objectivism simply wrong or just unclear about the nature of social status and romantic connection?
  18. You need good arguments. This is the domain of the (seemingly forgotten) science of persuasion, i.e. rhetoric. Objectivism, is full of good ideas, but as we have seen (in todays' culture), they are largely ineffective, on their own, left to their own devices. Like a stillborn child who could not grow into a full and healthy adult. Every (successful) company knows this. It's simply not enough to have a good idea for a business, you need a sales and marketing strategy and you need sales people. It's common sense. Even charities understand this basic tenet of human societies. Religions like Christianity have practically enshrined it in it's moral code. No small wonder why it is the worlds largest religion with over a billion followers. Yet philosophies, including the proponents of Objectivism, think they are somehow exempt? I ask, by what premise? That ideas will somehow take upon a life of their own? Social osmosis? Objectivism's rhetorical record has always been dismal. Objectivism today is negatively characterized as stale, dry, contemptuous, and overly intellectual. The (predictable) result is the increasing prominence of (often bad) ideas which have successfully outsold and outmanuevered Objectivist ones or at the very least reasonable, capitalist ideas. We have today a culture which still more or less accepts altruism as the default moral standard, engages in systematic and systemwide destruction of wealth and property, debases and mocks proper law and justice, and enshrines mediocrity. Ancient Greece and it's culture was saved, sometimes singlehandedly (on many occasions), by successful, bold rhetoriticians. Arguably they will play the same, crucial role in the coming years in today's western culture. The question is, will Objectivism be up to the task of creating them?
  19. (Disclaimer: I am a student of Objectivism, not a critic, and these are simply my observations and opinions) The classic "dichotomy" between the popular, charismatic social climber and the lone, goal-driven, productive genius is the central theme of the Fountainhead, arguably one of Ayn Rands most fascinating works. Yet, it doesn't need to be a dichotomy. In fact, it's a false dichotomy. The issue need not be an "either or" proposition. There is no fundamental reason, from a rational standpoint, why Objectivism shouldn't endorse and support the cultivation of social skills and charm.This aspect of the human experience has been largely and needlessly neglected within Objectivism - and I believe, the key iusses within it, are still unidentified. The selfish, survival benefits are obvious, as are the psychological benefits of a successful, healthy social orientation and friendly disposition. "Social disposition" does not mean the disposition of a beggar or exploiter. As with all human values and relations, the issue here is trade. But social values are a trade that does not involve money. If Objectivism represents the cultivation of the best within humanity, it stands to reason that Objectivists should be the primary exemplars within our (Western) society, yet this is not what I observe. If asked to "point out" an Objectivist on the street randomly, most people wouldn't be able to distinguish a practicing "Objectivist" from a "regular person". Worse, most people could probably pick out Mormons, Muslims or even evangelical Christians out of a crowd pretty easily. Hell, I could probably pick out practicing Epicureans or Hedonists sooner than I could followers of Objectivist philosophy. The result is a serious lack of public acknowledgement and a failure to properly present and communicate Objectivist ideas in theory AND in practice. The result is a society that takes hardcore, fundamentalist religions more seriously than secular, rational philosophies. By showing others "by example" (i.e. living ones life in the highest possible way), gaining visibility and successfully relating to others, outside of proselytization of your personal beliefs you are effectively showing people the superiority of your philosophy in action. Objectivism is effectively defaulting on its own accord in the public sphere. There was, however, a time when Objectivists were often the most prominent, visible and accomplished (in their respective fields) in our society. Members of Ayn Rands inner circle such as Alan Greenspan or Nathaniel Branden come to mind, besides Rand herself. Alan Greenspan served as chairman of the Federal Reserve for many years one of the highest offices in the land. Her books were selling by the hundreds of thousands every year, and she was getting regular radio and TV interviews. Rand herself was described as "charming" even a "cult leader" at one point. Where are our comtemporary examples of charming, personable, Objectivist leaders in their fields? Why does the average Objectivist come off as dull, moralistic and dry as opposed to charming, persuasive and interesting? Does it really *need* to be this way? I don't think it does.
  20. While at OCON the other day I saw a talk by a programmer named Jason Crawford and he spoke a bit about spreading Objectivism. He has a cool little site that matches students who want to read Ayn Rand's works to people who have been touched by the philosophy and want to donate books to these students. If you have extra books around you want to share or would like to buy books for these students pledging to read them, check out the site at http://freeobjectivistbooks.org/
  21. No one is probably reading this right now, because you are all at The Atlas Society 2013 summer conference, excuse me, "Summit," feverishly taking notes from the summiteers...... right? Right?? Well, it's going on right now in Washington, D.C.. Started Thursday for eager college students only. The rest of the conference runs Friday though half of Sunday. Later in the summer, a special closed workshop for pre-selected Objectivist scholars-to-be will be held at the Bilderberger resort or other secuded retreat. Well, if you're not there (the Summit), you won't get the latest on the movie, and learn other ways that you can be as successful in applying Objectivism to your own life, as the Atlas movies were/are. But it probably would be impolitic to inquire on the publication date of The Logical Structure of Objectivism, safely in perpetual beta format for 13-14 years, on the TAS website (No, it's there. Really. Mouse around for it.) You will also get copies of Objectivist "flashcards" that will be available for college students to give out on their own to attract interest in Objectivism. Believe me, they are riveting. You will want a set for your own, and some to distribute to acquaintances. They will be so impressed. Well, if you are not there, right now, too bad. However, after the conference, you will be able to purchase a full set of all the speeches, every spellbinding moment! Yours to listen to forever! Have a party, invite your non-Objectivist friends!... .... But wait! Act now and you may be able to sign-up on the TAS website for their real-time streaming of the Summit to your PC. Just pay shipping and handling..Well, okay, the fee is a little more impressive.
  22. Has Richard Dawkins, famed atheist/agnostic, said anything about Objectivism or Ayn Rand? Has he been introduced to them? I wonder because one the other 'Four Horsemen' of New Atheism, Christopher Hitchens, mingled with The Atlas Society. All I can see coming from Richard Dawkins is about atheism and evolution, so I am interested in what he has to say about other things.
  23. The author of Goddess of the Market, a genuinely interesting and useful bio on Ayn Rand, writes in Bloomberg that if Mitt Romney loses, it will be the end of the Republicans' and the conservatives' fascination with Ayn Rand. No,...really. (see link, below) And you thought that Mitt was a me-too, middle-of-the-roader closet liberal! Nope. Just because he chose Ryan as his running mate that makes him an advocate of Objectivism (even though Ryan dis-avowed his allegiance to Ayn Rand, Yup, Mitt a loyal lifelong member and one-time "Bishop" of the Mormon church (whose religion bears no similarity on ethical stances with those of Ayn Rand), was really preaching Objectivism all along. Disguised so well that bona fide Objectivists did not recognize it. How do we know?. Well, wasn't Paul Ryan a one-time admirer of Rand? And werent there Rand admirers in the Republican Party who ultimately backed Mitt as an "anything-but-Obama" alternative. Anyway, Dr. Burns so asserts. Probably just what the crony-capitalists at Bloomberg would want to hear. .http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-11-06/will-this-election-settle-republicans-ayn-rand-debate-.html
  24. OK, got your attention. Yeah, so it does not exactly pertain to Objectivism, except by reference to a terrible prejudice that they often do not give a shit about anybody not related to them by blood or commerce. Of course, the benefit to someone like the fabulous ARI head of state would be great. From UK's The Independent:
  25. This comes with rolling quiz questions, and also clues and hints and helping information. My Name is Mrs Grundy. This is my classroom. Please fasten your harnesses and we will begin. The subject is emotion. The question is, "If we could illustrate our emotions by way of a 'colour wheel,' what would it say?" 1. Here is one image which contains clues, hints, ideas for cheating, and helping information. There are no 'correct' answers (until I unveil them and begin with the Corrective Ruler). Look at the Orange slice of the pie and figure out what is written there. Also please note that the examining magistrate has already seeded the results with two correct answers (and one incorrect one). Good luck. Prizes and Punishments will be announced later. 2. Here is another image. It contains a very good hint and helping information (if you know the purpose to which this image was used in psychological study -- and, better yet, know to what purpose it is used as evidence of the very thing it was used to look for. You do not need to steep in Foucault or Rand to get this helping information. It contains the key to the rest of the exam, and the Central Point of my Joycean Rant. In other words, I give you every opportunity to Cheat Wildly) but also a bit of unhelpful information in these notes. I might be drunk. I might want to entice you into the Torture Classroom.This is Open Book. Beware, this picture contains False Friends, like a page of mugshots that misses suspects entirely. undefined