Is it possible that Ayn Rand was wrong about her theory that reason rules before emotion?? was Neitzche right?


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I will attempt to address this issue without writing a book...

In my personal musings i have come to the conclusion that Ayn Rand was quite possibly incorrect in her assertion that everything, including emotion stems from reason.. let me try to explain in as brief a manner as possible.. I hope i can do my best in doing so without having to write the book that I would really write were I to go into full depth in my thinking.

Also I must admit although I have gotten fairly deep into Rands philosophy, I have not studied it 100% thoroughly so I may be missing pieces of the puzzle, which is why I post here, out of interest of qualification of my idea and to bounce it around some other people, who may perhaps come up with things which I do not see..

Ok i have come to the fundamental belief that all reason, and all human motives actually come from some mystical emotion rather than reason.. similar to what Nietzche would refer to as "instinct"

to quote Nietzche: "“With regard to the superstitions of logicians, I shall never tire of emphasizing a small terse fact, which these superstitious minds hate to concede: namely, that a thought comes when ‘it’ wishes, and not when ‘I’ wish, so that it is a falsification of the facts of the case to say that the subject ‘I’ is the condition of the predicate ‘think’. IT thinks..."

I have come up with 3 types of emotion.. which I also have created a method to effectively identify each one, but I dont wish to write a book so I will not post it here... Lets just say it is a formula for which one can find their "instinctual" desires..

1. Pure emotion of the self/ "instinctual, passion, base, primal drive emotion": The deepest form of emotional self interest..

For example: The fundamental assertion in Rands work is that each man is bound to live for himself and his own happiness.. and that altruism is objectively "evil".. the question becomes.. what if a man desires to have no genuine desire for his own happiness, and genuinely desires to sacrifice his happiness for that of selected others, even if he knows it will make him live in personal misery? what of a man who wants to live, vs a man who desires to commit suicide..? if we have no "duty".. then where is the very "duty" to desire to live? is this not a PURE emotional decision.. the fundamental emotional decision, "instinctual" decision, to live or not to live.. to thrive or not to thrive, is for each man to make individually.. no? How can this decision come from reason or logic? Where is the logical premise that each man MUST desire to live for his own well being? What "logic" gives him the "duty" to do so?? So therefore how can we objectively judge that man as "wrong"?

2. Mis-placed/mis-allocated/mis-understood emotion: An emotion based on one of the base emotions, mis-interpreted as belonging to something else..

For example: While watching a movie we might catch feelings watching a white character who sacrifices himself in order to free 100 slaves from bondage and save their life.. whereas we may not catch the same feelings watching a Nazi Supremist sacrifice himself in order to save the lives of 100 other Nazi Supremists. So does the feeling really come from watching someone self sacrifice?.. Which we may believe it comes from... or does it actually come from watching someone sacrifice to OUR CAUSE??? So does the feeling ACTUALLY come from the deeper, base feeling of watching somebody contribute to our base values and therefore for our own self interest? A soldier may feel bad about killing a friendly soldier and regret it the rest of his life, but does not feel the same level of pain and regret killing an enemy soldier, unless he can somehow identify with that soldiers personal values.. one may have great hesitancy to allow to die somebody they absolutely love, but not have such great hesitancy to allow to die somebody that they absolutely hate.. what is the underlying emotion come from? The act of killing.. or the act of killing somebody who goes against our personal values?

In the Christian inquisition, one may feel righteous watching a "witch" burn.. but not feel righteous about watching a fellow Christian burn..

In other words, these are second - order emotions, emotions which have their base in first order emotional values, but are possibly mistakenly attributed to second order events. We may feel "guilted" into attributing such emotions to these causes out of social programming, social pressure, our upbringing, etc..

3. Emotions of whim: These are emotions which are felt temporarily, but hold smaller emotional value to us than our larger emotions, and acting upon them would ultimately deny us of achieving our larger values, but we may do so out of a lack of proper rationality, or foresight...

For example: If your greater desire is to become an athlete, and your smaller desire is to smoke cigarettes But you choose the smaller desire and end up inadvertently sacrificing your larger value desire in the process and live to regret it.

The method I have devised to calculate which type of emotion each feeling falls into basically discovers whether the felt emotion is genuinely instinctual, or programmed/mis-attributed in some way. And whether one emotional drive will cancel out a greater emotional drive in the process..

That being said.. I have come to belief that man shall not live upon 2nd or 3rd order emotions.. but 1st order emotions are the very basis of our rational self interest..

Therefore all things ultimately begin with emotion, and end with emotion- the emotional desire to fulfill our final goals, whatever they may be, lets say happiness, life, or self preservation..... with reason being the process in between...

In other words I have come to believe that our core values themselves are determined essentially by our first order emotions, and objective rationality is simply the process through which we achieve that emotion..

For example.. one imagines a purpose, a project, an idea for what one wishes to achieve, then one devises and acts upon a formula to achieve it.. then one feels the satisfaction of having achieved his original idea..

but where did the original idea originate??

Ayn Rand says that emotion is the result of value judgements, however, where did those values come from in the first place??

In other words, a computer must be programmed by a human to perform a purpose which the human desired, such as to play a game.. a computer cannot simply program itself to have its own desires through logic and reason alone.. therefore desire must come from another source.. that is what separates humans from robots, and why we do not have true AI.

Here is a scenario.. other than the core desire to live itself: Lets say my only motivation for why I hold or feel any values is because of sheer logical rational self interest.. so lets say.. I could enter a neighborhood of poor people with nobody watching, and successfully steal a small child from the neighborhood in an alley where nobody sees me and I have 99% chance of getting away with it forever.. then I can successfully take that child and sell his organs on the black market, or sell him as a sex slave, I will not make a habit out of it to get caught, but will only do it once.. lets say I make 50 thousand dollars selling that child on the black market, I dont get caught.. I then return to my country and use that 50 thousand in order to start my own business, which in the end gets me rich..

The whole time I was acting solely in my rational self interest... and if all my values are based on that which is directly good for me, and my emotions are based on my value judgements, which are non-emotional in nature.. shouldnt i feel very good about doing so?? am I then simply deluding myself to feel bad about such an action??

I know Ayn Rand is against the use of force.. but isnt her whole point that it is wrong to use.. purely only out of rational self interest and whats good for me? otherwise it becomes a "mystical, un-objective" value or a "socialist" value in her interpretation..

So if I can get away with it, and use it to build up my life.. shouldn't I feel good about myself for doing so based on those premises?

Am I simply deluding myself into feeling bad?

I dont think one can reasonably say "it is because we do not want to do what we would not like to be done unto ourselves".. since that is a value which must be taught and ingrained in us, proving that it is not inherent or instinctual.. And I can come up with the example, that if I could, I would embezzle many casinos, or scam certain people who are suckers... Yet I would not want my own casino embezzled, or to be scammed for my own weaknesses

I quote Rand: "Many people, particularly today, claim that man cannot live by logic alone, that there's the emotional element of his nature to consider, and that they rely on the guidance of their emotions. The joke is on ... on them"

is it possible that the joke is in fact ON HER?

It seems to me that our very core self interests itself, come from core first order emotions.. and not from any other rational explanation..

Ok.. I have decided maybe I should post the way in which one differentiates 1st from 2nd or 3rd order emotions which I came up with...

To determine a 3rd order emotion is simple.. If it is an emotional urge which inherently conflicts with a greater emotional urge if executed.. such as long term happiness for example.. this is what determines "rational self interest" from simply "whimsical self interest"

To determine a 2nd order emotion from a 1st order emotion I have come up with 5-6 basic steps.. these steps are based on the activities one chooses to do or not to which one believes is ones rational self interest.. which are based from a cause.. here we are to identify the cause.. since it is my belief and understanding, there is no cause of "logic or reason" for such basic decisions, as I have hopefully demonstrated my personal reasons for believing so sufficiently above..

1. Did you desire/would you desire to do that activity being an un-trained, un-programmed child?

2. In your free time do your thoughts naturally gravitate to performing that activity, or not or to the opposite

3. If you eliminate the possibility of all judgements and commands from others, and remove all your guilt to them, would you still like to be doing that activity, or would you rather be doing something else

4. Do you have to keep your urges to do, or not do that activity in some "secret" or "shameful" space in your mind that "youre not supposed to think like that"

5. Does not doing that activity, purposely avoiding it, or purposely doing the opposite bring you any pleasure, or perhaps a guilty or secret pleasure and satisfaction

These are the 5 main questions one must answer the proper answer to all of them before one can decide whether something is a true base emotion, or "driving instinct" or not..

It is my belief due to my above explanation that all rational self interest essentially begins with first order base emotions, or "instinct"

For example for me, on donating my time to charity I would answer 1. No, 2. No they dont, 3. No I wouldnt, 4. To an extent I have previously felt urges to not do so to be kept as a "guilty secret" 5. Yes

So giving to charity is not one of my first order instinctual emotions, and is not in my rational self interest, but rather used to be a second order one.. As I used to constantly say, when I grow up I will dedicate all my money to feeding the poor etc..

Upon rational analysis, I have discovered that the true first order emotion behind this was my desire for praise from others..

upon analyzing the desire of praise from others i come up to these answers

1.yes, 2 they do, 3, upon removing any guilt to others, i still want that, 4. I have kept my urges for that in a shameful place, which means that i really wanted to do it, and have extolled false urges to not do it, 5. experiencing it definitely gives me pleasure

Therefore my desire for praise from others is a candidate for first order base instinct emotion and is a basis of my rational self interest, AS LONG AS it does not interfere with values I EMOTIONALLY judge as greater, such as my overall happiness, or my wealth.

on killing children and selling their organs to start a busienss i would answer: 1. No, 2. They dont gravitate to that, 3. No I wouldnt like to do that, 4.No I have no secret urges to do so 5. I feel like avoiding it would definitely bring me pleasure..

therefore according to my EMOTIONAL JUDGEMENT, this is NOT a candidate for rational self interest... and my emotions do not value it..

Although based on the concept of pure rationality, and valuing that which is best for myself, if i got away with it and it helped me start my business and become rich and live the life i wanted.. technically I should feel emotionally good about such a thing, but I dont.. unless somehow Im deluding myself, and I somehow SHOULD feel good about doing such a thing.. since it would technically be good for my existence and even in the long term, or that I just rationally chose that such an action would make me unhappy somehow, and all I have to do is adjust the reasoning behind my values, wake up and see that its good for me, and then I will suddenly become happy about the prospects..

Sorry for the length of this post.. but I hope it shows my point..

I have come to believe that Neitzche is right.. that ultimately our drives are not by reason, like a computer, since a computer has no inherent drives, although it is perfectly rational.. but ultimately come from some mystical place of things like "passion, instinct, etc.."

So the best form of rational self interest is to follow ones heart ultimately, as long as one truly rationally understands what ones heart is actually telling him..

That the formula is Heart- Head - Heart.. discover ones passion drives, use reason to achieve them, enjoy the results thereof..

That all things ultimately begin and end in the heart, in some mystical, currently un-explainable by reason or science place..

Perhaps that is the thing that makes us human, not totally figured out, and different from machines or robots

I am a musican, and when I write my compositions, which are supposedly an expression of my values.. I do not use the head, but rather the heart to create my ideas.. they may be an expression of my musical values.. or values on life.. but where do these values themselves come from other than from personal choice or preference.. which comes from where other than first order emotional drives?

No?

I am not saying reason or knowledge has no place.. I am simply saying that I have come to believe that reason and raw knowledge is NOT the basis of a persons greatest individual values, preferences, etc.. but rather a means of getting there..

Please give me your thoughts on my ideas..

Edited by audiognostic
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I do not mean to be rude, but please do not come back at me with a reply such as "obviously you haven't looked at epistemology closely enough" etc..

If you have the inclination to say so.. you may be correct, I may have not looked at it closely enough to your standards, so please care to explain. I have not read and seen 100% of all of Rand's work.. Although I have gone through quite a decent amount in my view.

I have come here mainly to bounce ideas for the process of learning.. not to preach nor be criticized for a preaching which I did not intend..

Edited by audiognostic
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I agree, instinctively, with the main thrust of your argument here.

The Objectivist passion for tidying reality into categories with a clearly comprehensible hierarchy has culminated in the DIM Hypothesis. Lindsay Perigo, who risible as he is can turn a phrase, called it "turning politics into algebra".

Your approach is to try to understand your own emotions, and turn them into art.

I like yours better.

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Pope:

Welcome to OL. Nice to see a clearly presented exposition of your ideas.

There is a significant nexus between Nietzsche [sp?} and Ayn. There are a number of threads here on OL, as well as a number of articles in the non-OL world that you may find interesting.

No need to apologize for presenting your ideas clearly.

I offer you my apology, if I offended you in any way.

Adam

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This Nietzche quote is fascinating: With regard to the superstitions of logicians, I shall never tire of emphasizing a small terse fact, which these superstitious minds hate to concede: namely, that a thought comes when ‘it’ wishes, and not when ‘I’ wish, so that it is a falsification of the facts of the case to say that the subject ‘I’ is the condition of the predicate ‘think’. IT thinks..."

Can you point me to where I can find it and read the context?

We are talking about this very issue on my "What is Consciousness?" thread as well.

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This looks like an excellent website...http://braungardt.trialectics.com/philosophy/what-is-a-subject/

The first philosopher who attacks this foundation of Western philosophy in a systematic approach is Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900). He writes in Beyond Good and Evil:

“With regard to the superstitions of logicians, I shall never tire of emphasizing a small, terse fact, which is unwillingly recognized by these credulous minds—namely, that a thought comes when “it” wishes, and not when “I” wish; so that it is a PERVERSION of the facts of the case to say that the subject “I” is the condition of the predicate “think.” ONE thinks; but that this “one” is precisely the famous old “ego,” is, to put it mildly, only a supposition, an assertion, and assuredly not an “immediate certainty.” After all, one has even gone too far with this “one thinks”—even the “one” contains an INTERPRETATION of the process, and does not belong to the process itself. One infers here according to the usual grammatical formula—”To think is an activity; every activity requires an agency that is active; consequently”… It was pretty much on the same lines that the older atomism sought, besides the operating “power,” the material particle wherein it resides and out of which it operates—the atom. More rigorous minds, however, learnt at last to get along without this “earth-residuum,” and perhaps some day we shall accustom ourselves, even from the logician’s point of view, to get along without the little “one” (to which the worthy old “ego” has refined itself).”[3]

In his analysis, he describes the ego as a linguistic construction – just as we assume that an activity must have an actor, we assume that thinking must be done by a subject. A closer analysis shows that this is not the case, since thoughts are not produced “at will” – when a thought comes to one’s mind, who is the actor? We get confused about who we are, because we use language as if it were reality, and since we operate as masters within speech, we automatically assume that the ability to speak about reality also gives us the power to shape and transform this reality. But reality is not synonymous with language.

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Daunce wrote to audiognostic:

Your approach is to try to understand your own emotions, and turn them into art.

end quote

What crap, Daunce. Introspect, introspect! Nietzsche and Rand attempted to elevate exceptional people to a heroic plane but the similarity stops there. Nietzsche stood upon the shoulders of Emmanuel Kant and Schopenhauer who stood upon the shoulders of Plato. For that matter Freud, Jung, and a multitude of others stood upon the shoulders of Emmanuel Kant. To keep the human form analogy alive, Ayn Rand and Aristotle were not observed standing but instead were enthusiastically hugging and kissing!

Audiognostic, I suggest reading “Nietzsche and Individualism” by John Ridpath, which I have in The Objectivist Forum Vol. 7, No. 1 and 2 from February and April 1986. It may also appear elsewhere. Nietzsche was thoroughly repudiated by Ayn Rand and was rarely mentioned outside of her early journals and marginalia.

John Ridpath wrote in that Forum article, “In glaring contrast to Aristotle and Ayn Rand, who see the glory of man and the challenge in life as lying in the unremitting exercise of and total reliance on reason, Nietzsche laments the fact that most men have come to rely so heavily on reason, and sneers at them in this for being “human, all-too-human.”

Paradoxically, there is also a constant link from Nietzsche to Rand to Anarchism in the minds of many anarchists. Here is an old, EDITED, jumbled letter of mine that I wrote to Chris M. Sciabarra at The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies (JARS).

Nietzsche writes in Beyond Good and Evil:

Not one of these clumsy, conscience-stricken herd animals (who set out to treat egoism as a matter of general welfare) wants to know . . . that what is right for someone absolutely cannot be right for someone else; that the requirement that there be a single morality for everyone is harmful precisely to the higher men; in short, that there is an order of rank between people, and between moralities as well. (§228)

end quote

The Rational Anarchist says EVERYONE within any geographical area, is fully capable of being rational, and to administer their own justice. If some fail to meet this standard then the Rational Anarchist or their defense agency will administer justice. To simplify the message: the individual is more frequently right about judging and administering justice while The State is flawed and less likely to always administer justice. The “Higher Men” as Nietzsche calls them, who are Rational Anarchists, are born to rule their geographical area.

Chris, I mentioned the link between Nietzsche, Rand and Rational Anarchism in a one word sentence to a thread Ghs is reading and he responded today on Objectivist Living:

Too late, Peter. You should have given it some thought before posting this bilge.

Ghs

Some other notes:

From The Ayn Rand Lexicon:

Philosophically, Nietzsche is a mystic and an irrationalist. His metaphysics consists of a somewhat “Byronic” and mystically “malevolent” universe; his epistemology subordinates reason to “will,” or feeling or instinct or blood or innate virtues of character. But, as a poet, he projects at times (not consistently) a magnificent feeling for man’s greatness, expressed in emotional, not intellectual, terms.

Nietzsche’s rebellion against altruism consisted of replacing the sacrifice of oneself to others by the sacrifice of others to oneself. He proclaimed that the ideal man is moved, not by reason, but by his “blood,” by his innate instincts, feelings and will to power—that he is predestined by birth to rule others and sacrifice them to himself, while they are predestined by birth to be his victims and slaves—that reason, logic, principles are futile and debilitating, that morality is useless, that the “superman” is “beyond good and evil,” that he is a “beast of prey” whose ultimate standard is nothing but his own whim. Thus Nietzsche’s rejection of the Witch Doctor consisted of elevating Attila into a moral ideal—which meant: a double surrender of morality to the Witch Doctor.

End of quote from the Ayn Rand Lexicon

Some disjointed excerpts from: IN DEFENSE OF RATIONAL ANARCHISM

Copyright George H. Smith (november 1997)

Anarchism is a theory of the good society, in which justice and social order are maintained without the State (or government). Many anarchists in the libertarian movement (including myself) were heavily influenced by the epistemological and moral theories of Ayn Rand. According to these anarchists, Rand's principles, if consistently applied, lead necessarily to a repudiation of government on moral grounds.

Suppose I am asked what could conceivably change my mind and cause me to endorse government, and suppose I give the following reply: "If I believed in the God of Christianity, and if I believed that God had dispatched a squad of angels to communicate with me personally, and if these angels told me that the State is a divine institution, ordained by God for the protection of human rights, and if these angels further informed me that anarchism would lead to widespread death and destruction - then, under these circumstances, I would abandon my anarchism in favor of minarchism."

OBJECTIVE JUSTICE VS. LEGAL MONOPOLISM

I defend anarchism, or society without the State, because I believe that innocent people cannot be forced to surrender any of their natural rights. Those who wish to delegate some of their rights to a government are free to do so, provided they do not violate the rights of dissenters who choose not to endorse their government.

As Ayn Rand has said, the lives of other people are not yours to dispose of. Yet this is precisely what every government attempts to do. A government initiates physical force (or the threat of force) to prohibit other people from exercising their right to enforce the rules of justice. (Either every person has this executive power, or no one does, according to the principle of political reductionism.) A government, while engaging in certain activities which it claims are just, coercively prevents other people from engaging in those selfsame activities.

Likewise, an activity, if moral when pursued by a government, is equally moral when pursued by someone else. All this should be obvious to those who agree with the principles put forth by Ayn Rand. If, therefore, the principles of justice are objective (i.e., knowable to human reason), then a government can no more claim a monopoly on the legitimate use of force than it can claim a monopoly on reason.

If, however, justice is neither subjective nor intrinsic, but instead is objective - i.e., if it can be derived by rational methods from the facts of man's nature and the requirements of social existence - then the principles of justice are knowable to every rational person. This means that no person, group of persons, association, or institution whether known as "government," "State," or by any other name - can rightfully claim a legal monopoly in matters pertaining to justice.

end of quotes from George H. Smith.

I once thought about contacting John Ridpath who I once knew, at UVA, about pursuing this idea of the link from Rand to Nietzsche to anarchism but decided not to.

John Ridpath wrote:

Zarathustra, the hero of Nietzsche's epic poem, is the shepherd who climbs to the top of the highest mountain, sees the greatest distance (into the future) and then returns to report that he has seen beyond the looming nihilistic future.

Nietzsche called Zarathustra his "victor over God and nothingness," which has supported the view that Nietzsche is not a nihilist and therefore not a source of the nihilism now engulfing contemporary culture. Is this true? Or is the opposite true: that Nietzsche is, in fact, a major source of nihilism?

In these two lectures Dr. Ridpath addresses this question. He considers the nature of nihilism and its underlying assumptions, as well as the necessary repercussions of holding such a doctrine. He shows, using Nietzsche's biography and writings, that Nietzsche is one founder of today's nihilism, and that it is Ayn Rand, not Nietzsche, who is the true victor over nihilism.

John Ridpath wrote:

Since the appearance of The Fountainhead in 1943, Ayn Rand has repeatedly been characterized by intellectuals as a follower of Nietzsche. In fact, she is the 20th century's greatest opponent of Nietzsche. This lecture addresses the reasons offered for this false association, which, despite Ayn Rand's repeated denials in the 1960s, continues to this day. Given that the most commonly asserted basis for characterizing Ayn Rand as a Nietzschean is that they both admire the strong "sovereign individual," the man of "noble soul," this lecture culminates in the grotesque contrast between Nietzsche's vision of the man of "noble soul" and Ayn Rand's vision.

Semper cogitans fidele,

Live long and prosper,

Peter

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Ayn Rand and Aristotle were not observed standing but instead were enthusiastically hugging and kissing!

Wow! Kinky...kind of a Lazeras Long affair...

Who do you think would be on top?

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Peter,

A timely intervention - thanks.

Adam,

This philosopher who quotes FN (I can't find his name on the website) writes:

"The idea of an autonomous ego has flourished in the Western intellectual tradition

based on a philosophical duality of mind and body. The duality derived from religious

beliefs..."etc.

(Ego = mind-body dualism? that's rubbish.)

"When a thought comes to one's mind, who is the actor?"

(Well, if you don't know, buddy...I'd like to say to him.

I mean, it's self-evident that random percepts pop up in our minds constantly; but to call it thought is a

long stretch. Thought is connected, extensive and effortful. One could ask this fellow what it was did the thinking to write his article. His 'non-ego'?)

Also:

"We get confused about who we are because we use language as if it were reality".

(Maybe he does, maybe many do - people who are ruled by primacy of consciousness.)

Adam: Interesting, this unknown philosopher - if you need to know who has paved the way for

liberal-progressivism, it is he and his ilk.

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Tony:

Lol ...just being the dutiful messenger here...

Adam

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The Nietzche quote has a very Eastern ring to it. Here is the Tao Te Ching:

When people see some things as beautiful,

other things become ugly.

When people see some things as good,

other things become bad.

Being and non-being create each other.

Difficult and easy support each other.

Long and short define each other.

High and low depend on each other.

Before and after follow each other.

This is the antithesis of the "duality" described by Nietsche, and it goes back at least 5,000 years.

One upshot of Eastern thought is that the "consciousness" that can observe the random thoughts inside our heads is actually the True Self.

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Yes, I'm certain neuroscience will find how the brain 'reviews' itself at work, through neural-mapping

or whatsit. It is self evident that we are self-aware, conscious of being conscious.

(This takes me back to The Third Eye, by Lobsang Rampa - a fad read in the 60's. A Brit who became

a Buddhist.)

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Tony:

Lol ...just being the dutiful messenger here...

Adam

..and you know what they get!

Will you have the roasting over coals? Or, do you prefer the really slooow death?

I am from the League of Non-Voters...None of the Above Are Acceptable to Me!!

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Ayn Rand and Aristotle were not observed standing but instead were enthusiastically hugging and kissing!

Wow! Kinky...kind of a Lazeras Long affair...

Who do you think would be on top?

My guess is they would be on their sides, thus producing an equal arrangement.

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Ayn Rand and Aristotle were not observed standing but instead were enthusiastically hugging and kissing!

Wow! Kinky...kind of a Lazeras Long affair...

Who do you think would be on top?

My guess is they would be on their sides, thus producing an equal arrangement.

Excellent, I was thinking along the same lines, or, stay standing for the same reasons ...lol.

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Tony:

Lol ...just being the dutiful messenger here...

Adam

But seriously, you made a good find with that website.

The philosopher is one Jurgen Baumgardt. From his article "What is a Subject?":

"Ideas like individual autonomy, or freedom as the self-determination of a conscious

subject, are only the the consequences of complex historical, social and political

processes that determine the role of individual in society. The ideas people hold of

themselves are ideological constructions..."

more:

"Once self-awareness exists, the subject sees itself as different from its experience

of the world, and the difference becomes a strong inside-outside distinction, a

juxtaposition between the ego and the world."

and this peach: "Language creates reality."

Adam, My 'Not-I' has actually been looking for some sort of intellectual justification for collectivism - argued from principles, rather than the normal categorical imperatives, utilitarianism, and plain ole 'humanism', and this is probably as good as it gets. It's so terrible, a beginner to Objectivism could see through it. That he dragged in Nietzsche - who's egoism was all wrong, but whose brilliance and writing I admire - to dispute egoism, is dishonest, this Non-I believes.

It seems Baumgardt - a clear skeptic(philosophical)- equates egoism with alienation.

An argument Branden demolished in his essay "Alienation" (taking on Erich Fromm) in CUI, way back in the 60's.

Anyhow, it's nice to see that the collectivist ideology is still so bereft of the slightest justification. The article is worth reading only for that reason.

Thanks, from the not-me, to the not-Adam.

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1st to address WHYNOT: I am not sure if you are referring to me, but I have never implied any form of collectivist ideology.. what I am in fact implying is collectivist, vs individualist, vs suicidal, vs homicidal vs any other ideology cannot essentially be called "right, wrong, nor reasonable" .. because once you begin to try to categorize either as right or wrong.. the question must be asked "By what standard?" and "Why does that standard exist?"

Ok.. first to address the point on anarchy:

It is my understanding that anarchists are essentially flawed, because what they fail to understand is first came man, then came government. In other words we EVOLVED to the point we are at now. Think of the semi-anarchy which exists in the streets of a ghetto neighborhood, or in the past among freely wondering people. People always form into groups, those groups always standardize into a form of those who are dominant and those who are submissive. Since we are by nature group creatures, and not sole individuals, this is unavoidable. Therefore is the basis of the first governments. When groups coalesce we form larger groups, with more power, and therefore again with a ruling class, and a subservient class. Such is just the physics-nature of humanity.. the same as if you drop a bunch of marbles into a bowl, they will eventually all collect in a pile at the bottom. Therefore true anarchy in my belief is absolutely unsustainable. I personally think the best form of government is the states rights confederacy of before the civil war. This allows for maximum personal freedom to move between states as one wishes to follow the codes of conduct one finds most preferable while still keeping the benefits of a large protector and supplier for the entire country.

We can see that anarchy is unnatural because if you put a bunch of un-affiliated children into a school, within a week 95% of them will belong to their individual groups with dominant and submissive members.. a microcosm of states… therefore my belief that anarchy is nothing more than a silly utopian concept of impossibility.

Ok.. enough on that.

As Ayn Rand has said, the lives of other people are not yours to dispose of.

This is a real nice, warm, and fuzzy quotation, but who’s morality is it HERS? Who is she to dictate the rules, god?

Nietzche said: “Indeed, if one would explain how the abstrusest metaphysical claims of a philosopher really came about, it is always well (and wise) to ask first: at what morality does all this (does he) aim?”

I believe the same can be asked of Ayn Rand…

I personally believe that her morality is great in the sense that, if in a utopian world, every single person adopted all of her ethical principles.. we could all live together for maximum self benefit, as well as societies benefit..in balance.. in a system of pure consciousness-energy capitalism.

That is her utopian ideal from which she considers good and evil to originate from.

I have come to the conclusion that good is something which simply promotes ones personal utopian ideal, whereas evil is something which goes against it...

Take the Christian inquisition, many of us today would call it “evil” since it goes our utopian ideal, back in the day they would call US “evil” since we go against their utopian ideal.

Nietzche said: ““man needs to supplement reality by an ideal world of his own creation.”

In essence to create their own personal utopia in their minds according to those base emotional desires which they have emotionally chosen to hold as personal ideals and values.. which they are usually 100% sure to be right, since it is right FOR THEM.

But not anyone has a true monopoly on a utopian vision. For example, for the communists that which is right is total equality for everybody.. whether or not that can realistically be achieved is another story… For Ayn Rand the right is that which is good for the individual and the masses.. that is her utopia.. whether or not that can be realistically achieved is another story as well.. I’m sure for Ghengis Kahn, or for Hitler, or lets say if I wanted to take over the world, my vision of the ideal utopia would be different where I hold all the major cards, and others exist mainly for my service, or some other arrangement.

Probably for most of us commoners, such a dictatorial feudal type system seems “wrong” and we would probably agree with Rand’s version of utopia as being the best as a balance of what is good for each individual and society as a whole, being a capitalistic system. However, if I wished to gain more power for myself than others, I may have the temptation to break Ayn Rand’s ethics of what is “morally right” such as the rules against the use of force, or ethics such as honesty, etc.. as many came to power by breaking these rules, in which case my right would be me having more power and everybody else having less, and that would be my personal utopia and all that which goes against it I could call “evil”.

In other words, like I have stated before, it seems to me that essential value judgments, come from emotional drives and largely unknown causes, or un clearly determined causes.. and the methods of getting there are what is founded in objective reason... I do not think that you can subject all values to simply being described as :

"Ideas like individual autonomy, or freedom as the self-determination of a conscious

subject, are only the the consequences of complex historical, social and political

processes that determine the role of individual in society. The ideas people hold of

themselves are ideological constructions..."

As, is it historical, political, etc process that determine one mans desire to be great vs another mans desire to help others be great? Or better yet, are they which determine whether a man would rather be a philosopher, a scientist, an architect, a mathematician, or an artist.. could you simply place him into any career and say "you will learn to like this because your desires are just a result of rational historical processes . so all you have to do is change your thinking" ?

Also on Nietzches point of thoughts arriving on their own.. or “it thinks”.. I find very interesting.

If you see the little question system I have pointed out for discovering your raw instinctual passions or drives.. they are things you DISCOVER.. NOT things which you create..

Meaning yes.. essentially what is good for you and in your rational self interest, or your personal utopia, in a sense, you do not create.. but rather discover..

What do you think of that?

I have essentially come up with a formula for personal happiness in my own personal musings.. it follows like this.. and I actually have a whole book I am working on writing which really breaks this down and explains exactly why it is true, the details of it, and a full explanation of it, but for now you will just have to take my word that there is deep reasoning behind this. It follows like this:

Personal Identity + Personal Life + A Continual Movement Upwards Towards Progress and Excellence..

Personal identity essentially is composed of these 1st order emotions which form each persons self interest, values, drives, etc..

Personal life is solely a function of POWER, or personal power.. as what defines life from death is movement vs stillness as Rand said herself. And what defines stillness vs movement is POWER. What defines a sick man from a healthy man is POWER.. and not simply financial power, or power of holding environmental prosperity, which I think Rand has mistaken as the form of happiness, being simply prosperity of working to make money. But rather the realization of complete personal power.. society being a garden of the environment, finances being required for the accumulation of environmental power, environment being a garden of the body, the body being a garden of the mind. Therefore full personal power involves maximum power and balance between: social-financial-environmental-bodily-mental.. all of them being interconnected, if one fails or lags too far behind it will affect all the others.. so life = personal power

Constant upward movement – nothing stays still through the passage of time, at all time things either build up or get destroyed, come towards order or towards entropy.. as long as you are moving up, you are moving towards life.. which by the way requires effort but that’s another story.. (Nietzche talks about this how all of life requires pain if there is to be joy) if you let yourself go and move down, you go away from life..

So as long as you have the above three requirements you are moving in a direction of ever increasing personal happiness... to achieve this process effectively is what requires reason..

This can be seen in all areas of nature, as people are always moving towards: orderly perfection, maximum positive personal style, elimination of negative aspects…. Such are the things all life gravitates towards and finds beautiful..

Anyway long story.. Im trying to summarize my book I’m working on in as short of a method as I can.

The interesting point is.. does true happiness in a sense come from the elimination of free will??

Is the only point of our reason to move towards our “destiny” of perfection + style.... life + identity... power + fulfillment?

Even if you think of each mans personal utopia which he constructs and desires as their ultimate mental goal.. it is a combination of perfection + style.. order of life + identity.. think about it. Identity being ones personal values, order of life is the desire towards the destruction of entropy, which is the very definition of life.. the ability to resist entropy..

If identity and personal drive as I have explained in my first post is FOUND rather than created through reason, and life power itself is something already pre defined which we are simply to maximize, and upward motion is already a predefined law of nature..

Is the key to our happiness simply to give up our essential free will and move towards our pre-programmed “destinies”? I know it can be a scary thought.. but think about it

There are two things reason can do.. Help us navigate the objective world to get there and live out our destiny, or if we make the “wrong” choices against our pre programmed destiny – to lead us into misery.. meaning.. maybe we all have an innate destiny of personal greatness, or a destiny of personal failure inside of us.. and it is the function of our reasoning to guide us down the best path towards greatness through this objective world..

What do you think of THIS?

Here is a quote regarding Nietzche:

“First and foremost, like Spinoza before him, Nietzsche is a naturalist and a determinist. Human beings are not privileged over other animals – rather, like them, we are part of “a causal web that comprises the whole universe.” Where other writers speak of the freedom of the human will, Nietzsche tells us that the will is neither free nor unfree, but rather strong or weak.”

Seems to go along with my own personal philosophies which I concocted... By the way I have concocted these philosophies long before I knew of Rand or Nietzche.. in fact my discovery thereof was a direct result from searching for more evidence/answers etc.. for my own philosophy.

What I find interesting is how closely my ideas in a way coincide with both philosophers.

Whats interesting to me as well, is that if you look at the writings and ideas of many thinkers from the 1960s era of psychedelics.. many of them claimed that we are not in fact individuals in a sense, but that we are all somehow interconnected through a mass consciousness.. Nowadays in the field of quantum physics and such.. there seem to be a development of similar ideas.. that we may be a sort of individual antenna for individual collections of ideas and concepts, which are all part of a whole.. I cant say any of this to be true or untrue.. but it seems to fit with the concept of “IT thinks”…

It seems to me like everything from the concept of anarchy, to the concept of happiness and free will.. seems to have a built in ideal pre determined physics sort of arrangement for its ideal position.. and I think it may be the job of our rational mind to simply somehow discover that.. that going against it may be essentially bad for us.. and that accepting this may be good for us..

Another quote regarding Nietzche:

“Mankind, according to Nietzsche, is corrupt and its highest values are depraved. He asserted that "... all the values in which mankind at present summarizes its highest desiderata are decadence values."[12] Mankind is depraved because it has lost its instincts and prefers what is harmful to it. "I consider life itself instinct for growth, for durability, for accumulation of forces, for POWER: where the will to power is lacking there is decline”

The question which puzzles me is how did all these I came up with randomly one night, while by the way experiencing a rather psychedelic experience from some drugs (please dont mock me for this.. haha) somehow begin to coincide with the works of these philosophers.. that makes me think there may be something to all this..

To quote Nietzche again:

“What provokes one to look at all philosophers half suspiciously, half mockingly, is not that one discovers again and again how innocent they are, how often and how easily they make mistakes and go astray, in short, their childishness and childlikeness, but that they are not honest enough in their work, although they all make a lot of virtuous noise when the problem of truthfulness is touched even remotely. They all pose as if they had discovered and reached their real opinions through the self-development of a cold, pure, divinely unconcerned dialectic (as opposed to the mystics of every rank, who are more honest and doltish, and talk of ‘inspiration’), while at bottom it is an assumption, a hunch, indeed a kind of ‘inspiration’, most often a desire of the heart that has been filtered and made abstract, that they defend with reasons they have sought after the fact”

I do not wish to insult Rand as she came up with some very good ideas, particularly I like the idea of rational self interest, non whim worship, and a formulation of personal ethics to get to ones personal utopian values.. as well as her rejection of popular moral values as being universal truths, ideas such as altruism, humility, selflessness, etc..

However, in her thoughts that her philosophy was the ONLY true philosophy, that she somehow knows EVERYTHING about the world, and that her utopian vision was in fact perfect in all forms and in her solid universal objective assertions of good and evil.. could she possibly have been guilty of what Nietzche speaks of ?

For example, I and Rand are both artists, she being a writer, me being a composer and musician.. It is easy for me to see how she could so simply ascribe art as an expression of ones reasoned values.. being a writer and all.. but for me it is not so simple.

“The Dionysian, which corresponds roughly to Schopenhauer's conception of Will, is directly opposed to the Apollonian. Drunkenness and madness are Dionysian because they break down a man's individual character; all forms of enthusiasm and ecstasy are Dionysian, for in such states man gives up his individuality and submerges himself in a greater whole: music is the most Dionysian of the arts, since it appeals directly to man's instinctive, chaotic emotions and not to his formally reasoning mind.”

I seem to relate to this quote greatly.. I have no reasoned explanation why some certain noise sends me into a state of ecstasy.. particularly being an electronic musician, I deal with improvised sounds created from nothing, and creating all sorts of sounds and content which seem to come from nowhere and mean nothing yet strike me greatly.

-----Socrates claimed we know nothing.. Rand seemed to claim we know everything.. I believe that we know what we know in the context that we know it…\

It is good to think one is right, it is great to keep an open mind..

As I also like to say.. don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater, and do not keep the bathwater with the baby.. fore no one human has all the correct answers to everything..

I like this quote from Buddha.. even though I am not a Buddhist .. ““Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”

Oh also check this out as far as what Nietzche said:

“Far from discouraging, or a recipe for misery, Nietzsche thinks this “play of resistance and victory”, this overcoming of moments of pain and suffering, is how the feeling of joy (Lust) is attained.4 Joy, for him, seems to be closely akin to happiness, it is the conscious state of being man ultimately desires.5 What is important to see about Nietzsche’s conception of joy or happiness is not only that it contains a component of pain (“in all joy pain is” included”), but that it is intimately bound up with the notion of power. Nietzsche conceives of power as not only an overcoming of moments of suffering but as a total sort of self-overcoming, exhibited in those who are strong enough to maintain their mastery in the face of fervent desires and passions and ultimately in those who are able to sublimate their impulses, to “organize the chaos,” and give “style” to their character.

Its interesting to me how this coincides with my own theories on happiness..

That true happiness comes through POWER + individual STYLE/identity + a constant upward motion.. a going up.. which is created through EFFORT..

Which is interesting because in physics power is defined as

Power = Work / time… I think there is a correlation between the laws of physics and the laws of life itself since we live in a physical world.. since essentially the creation of life power comes through effort, as does the creation of physical power on a literal level..

On Nietzche:

” Nietzsche introduced his concept of will to power in § 2. He defined the concepts of good, bad, and happiness in relation to the will to power. "What is good? — All that heightens the feeling of power, the will to power, power itself in man. What is bad? — All that proceeds from weakness. What is happiness? — The feeling that power increases — that a resistance is overcome.”

This is EXACTLY the concept I came up with when on my own trip where I wrote the rough draft of my book.. only I came to in in a bit more detail and specification as I have listed above..

Again though even he misses his own point of “good and bad” is defined by HIS values, which are his and his own.. fore some men may not desire their own happiness, and that statement may only be a half-truth, or a truth representing half the knowledge.. as power is not the ONLY requirement to happiness, but the requirement of the increase of life.. which must be accompanied by IDENTITY and self expression.

I think what Ayn Rand missed in her musings was that our brains are not a Newtonian model of reason.. which is why we cannot create AI from Newtonian computers.. rather they are a quantum-mechanical process.. and in the field of quantum physics there is a whole lot of un-reason, probability, things randomly popping in and out of seemingly nowhere.. etc..

She said emotion comes from values, and values come from our self interest, which comes from what makes us happy, but what determines what makes us happy other than emotion??

Some men wish to be engineers, other men wish to be artists.. if you place one in the others field he will not feel fulfilled and therefore happy.. so did she propose some scientific model to map out each persons happiness factors?? Is there some formula one can use to simply pre-determine everybody's personality which could be discovered if we just reasoned hard enough?

You see what I’m saying..

Emotion creates passion, reason fulfills passion, emotion feels joy.. thats what I think so far..

If all emotions come from values, and all values come from some form of reason..

then what are the values/reason behind this?

I know its rather comedic.. but think about it..

perhaps this can help us consider what Nietzche spoke of when he spoke of Dionysian inspiration.. of chaos.. meaninglessness, instinct, and other rather "mythical" concepts.. which can I argue be thought of now as more of "quantum" concepts..

Perhaps we can better use it to understand the rational values of him dancing around in his home naked..

considering this song, and the entire video..

If this does not express clear values, then is it "objectively" art? and if not.. then what is "objectively art" or not would seem to me to be more of a "subjective opinion" of Rand herself

are their dance moves inspired by rational values and logic>?? or perhaps the result of political actions or social actions, and where did THOSE originate?

I know I said a whole lot…

Anyways I would love to hear some feedback.

Edited by audiognostic
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You ask the right question, but do not answer it.

"By what standard?"

The standard of life (qua,life).

Followed by: "To what purpose?

The purpose of each individual life.

Apart from that, you've articulated some original thoughts, I think. That Buddhist

quote I've always liked - it's highly rational - and O'ist..

But your knowledge of Objectivism is limited, and so you are misrepresenting

a lot: from "utopianism" (the O'ist view isn't utopian), to emotions. AR - "Happiness can

properly be the PURPOSE of ethics, but not the STANDARD."(The latter is hedonism.)

Essentially, it looks as if your take is primacy of consciousness. Your ethics

is therefore whim-based, the polar opposite to rational egoism, and quite frankly,

mostly Nietzschean: and as Peter has pointed out, opposed by Rand.

You have every right to construct your own philosophy, but before you add or

subtract anything to or from Objectivism, you should understand it completely.

Have you read 'The Virtue of Selfishness'?

(And, no: I did not refer to you in my last post.)

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My point in asking by what standard I mean..

Who defines that the ideal standard should be "qua man"??

And who defines the purpose to be each individual life??

Where does that decision ultimately come from??

Also you said :

Happiness can

properly be the PURPOSE of ethics, but not the STANDARD."(The latter is hedonism.)

I ask WHY SHOULD it be that? and WHO DETERMINED that hedonism is not a good purpose in itself??

Arent those primacy of consciousness decisions in themselves?

That is what I am saying...

In other words.. the big question.. WHY?

This is the biggest question i think Rand may have failed to look at which Nietzche greatly addressed.. at least from what I can assert thus far..

I have started the virtue of selfishness, but did not finish it yet..

i essentially see quite a lot of truths in Rands theories, and also quite a lot of gaps.. Reason can be a tricky thing because it can cause one to believe one has the entire answers, when one simply found a particular path.. from point A to point B.. perhaps not even realizing where points A or B initially came from.. or what context they truly lie in..

Thats the essence of what I think Nietzche was saying in this quote:

“Indeed, if one would explain how the abstrusest metaphysical claims of a philosopher really came about, it is always well (and wise) to ask first: at what morality does all this (does he) aim?”

I find it pretty much physically impossible to believe that she knew everything about everything and was 100% correct all the time anyway..

I believe personally so far that neither Nietzche nor Rand is 100% correct.. but rather I believe in some blend thereof to be most accurate so far.

Therefore my statement along the lines of ... some think we know nothing.. others think we know everything.. I think we know what we know in the context that we know it

Edited by audiognostic
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