From Selfishness to Rational Self-Interest


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Not enough defining of terms as opposed to the descriptive. Not one mention of Rand and Objectivism and her use of either "selfishness" or "rational self interest." Did you consider enough about whom you wrote this for?

I don't see much overlap between ego-centrism and selfishness in a child. Rand applied selfishness to adults contrasting it with altruism. I don't think she used "rational self interest" very much. Both "selfishness" and "rational self interest" need work in the philosophy, with the latter more inviting of investigation referencing human psychology. The former has way too much negative baggage. I do like the progression of using "selfishness" as a battering ram to get inside the monopolistic moral castle of selflessness or altruism, then sending in the "rational self interest" troops saying that's what "selfishness" is actually about. The binary fight--war--between selfishness vs selflessness is not to be resolved with one triumphant, but in consideration of proper understanding and use of terms. Rand fought altruism and those who use the idea for political and religious and moral authority. But when those people are vanquished, where and what and to whom do those terms naturally attach themselves and why?

My schematic is selfish is the primary with a combination of selfish and selfless derivative in any actual human being. That is, the primary is pure abstraction, almost axiomatic, and the derivatives seemingly contradictory, but that "selfless" merely needs another word, not another meaning, for selflessness is literally an impossibility. The person who advocates "selflessness" advocates for others, not him or herself. If not lying it might as well be, for even delusionally it's still, basically, being "selfish."

And the Branden article, "Isn't Everyone Selfish," might be referencingly used and considered.

The article needs to be twice as long to keep and use most of what has been written if my criticisms are valid.

--Brant

please note I don't have time to rewrite this and had to choose between deleting my comments in their entirety or just posting them as is, but will try to reply to criticisms of my criticisms

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will try to reply to criticisms of my criticisms

Most men hope to be celebrated and successful, remembered for achievements that made life easier for others. That was never my purpose. I selfishly sought knowledge and seized opportunities when offered. I repeatedly made life more difficult for others. Tibor Machan once shouted at me: “It's important to be right!” to which I replied “It's more important to be original.” I still believe that to be true. Children stand in the fire hose of good evidence and philosophically well formed formulas, unable to resist, unless someone takes a hatchet to the damn thing and says: Wait a minute, let me think for myself. [Preface, COGIGG]

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will try to reply to criticisms of my criticisms

Most men hope to be celebrated and successful, remembered for achievements that made life easier for others. That was never my purpose. I selfishly sought knowledge and seized opportunities when offered. I repeatedly made life more difficult for others. Tibor Machan once shouted at me: “It's important to be right!” to which I replied “It's more important to be original.” I still believe that to be true. Children stand in the fire hose of good evidence and philosophically well formed formulas, unable to resist, unless someone takes a hatchet to the damn thing and says: Wait a minute, let me think for myself. [Preface, COGIGG]

Very accurate Wolf.

I have approached every task that way since I can remember since I was about 8 or 9, kinda turning what I observed and turning in my mind and say what if we did X ......

It is a wonderful way to walk through life.

Quite dangerous, however never dull or boring.

A...

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will try to reply to criticisms of my criticisms

Most men hope to be celebrated and successful, remembered for achievements that made life easier for others. That was never my purpose. I selfishly sought knowledge and seized opportunities when offered. I repeatedly made life more difficult for others. Tibor Machan once shouted at me: “It's important to be right!” to which I replied “It's more important to be original.” I still believe that to be true. Children stand in the fire hose of good evidence and philosophically well formed formulas, unable to resist, unless someone takes a hatchet to the damn thing and says: Wait a minute, let me think for myself. [Preface, COGIGG]

Original and wrong--both are okay to work with. As for being "right"--right. What does one do with that but come with mind freeze and endless arguments centered on defending the "right" that may actually be wrong? Knowing "right" is easier than knowing "wrong." The latter means more work is to be done. (This is not a discussion about "is water wet"?)

I have no idea about how you made life more difficult for others. They couldn't take care of themselves? If it was drugs, then I can understand you.

--Brant

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I do not think we are all using the same connotation of original.

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I do not think we are all using the same connotation of original.

Entrepreneurship, innovation and competition make life more difficult for others because when it works it makes what they previously did or thought obsolete. Original doesn't always mean better ideas, but better always comes from original. Is that what you mean?

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I do not think we are all using the same connotation of original.

Entrepreneurship, innovation and competition make life more difficult for others because when it works it makes what they previously did or thought obsolete. Original doesn't always mean better ideas, but better always comes from original. Is that what you mean?

M...

At one level.

Also, In Inherit The Wind, the Baltimore reporter explains that his job is to "Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."

A...

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I think we've been here a few times in the past:

I have no idea about how you made life more difficult for others.

Filmmaking.

There are infinite ways to be original.

Okay, name something you did that was wholly original, never done by someone else, not inspired by the known.

Where can we see your films?

As for naming "something you did that was wholly original, never done by someone else, not inspired by the known," you go first, please. Show us your original stuff.

J

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Pitiful. Almost like an obsession.

Alright, a short resume:

six-word definition of justice based on defense of innocent liberty

proposal to exempt women from the criminal law and put women in charge of law enforcement

police power linked to and justified exclusively as individual right of self-defense

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Pitiful. Almost like an obsession.

Right back to playing victim, again, huh? Right after issuing a veiled threat of physical violence?

Make up your mind, Pup. Are you a tough, street-fighting bad ass who's going to deliver a whoopin', or are you a poor little victim who's being savaged mercilessly?

Alright, a short resume:

a six-word definition of justice

proposal to exempt women from the criminal law and put women in charge of law enforcement

police power linked to and justified exclusively as individual right of self-defense

Dictionary.com has a six-word definition of justice: "the moral principle determining just conduct."

So does merriam-webster.com: "conformity to truth, fact, or reason."

Anyway, wow. So your notion of "original" doesn't exactly raise the bar, hmmm? Any nutty idea or statement that pops into your head is "original" and therefore automatically valuable?

I would think that it's highly unlikely that anyone has ever said, "Nocturnal shoes pizza whereabouts are vindicated in sap oil adjustment fever." By your standards of originality, I guess that I should put that statement on my "resume" of "originality"?

J

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There are infinite ways to be original.

Okay, name something you did that was wholly original, never done by someone else, not inspired by the known.

It is only noteworthy to be original when you are correct. Tibor was right. You are being trivial. I've posted nearly 1500 posts on RoR in more than ten years, more than that on OL. I've been a product design engineer for decades, before that construction and landscaping. I've written poems and prose for my own amusement and for my family and loved ones. I've attempted to argue in favor of liberty and individualism at every opportunity since I was 18 years old. On being introduced to a new CPO on the Navy he said "Oh, I've heard of you, you're one of those sea lawyers". I was 20, I engaged in debates and won them against having a military draft with fellow sailors when I was in the military during the Viet Nam war. I lectured my shipmates out of Ayn Rands "Capitalism, the Unknown Ideal". I carried "Anthem" in my back pocket. I officated the wedding of my wife's daughter which I am very proud of, all 22 drafts of my comments. I hesitated to say this before now but I didn't finish your book because, to me, it read like a Batman comic. And I think your confidence that the rules of logic are sufficient to guide ones life through the unbelievably layered and fractal like complexity of physical and psychological and biological reality is naive to the point of absurdity. Life is action->mistake->action->mistake->action->mistake ad infinitum. Without losing your spirit. Then you die. Learn this.

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There are infinite ways to be original.

Okay, name something you did that was wholly original, never done by someone else, not inspired by the known.

It is only noteworthy to be original when you are correct. Tibor was right. You are being trivial. I've posted nearly 1500 posts on RoR in more than ten years, more than that on OL. I've been a product design engineer for decades, before that construction and landscaping. I've written poems and prose for my own amusement and for my family and loved ones. I've attempted to argue in favor of liberty and individualism at every opportunity since I was 18 years old. On being introduced to a new CPO on the Navy he said "Oh, I've heard of you, you're one of those sea lawyers". I was 20, I engaged in debates and won them against having a military draft with fellow sailors when I was in the military during the Viet Nam war. I lectured my shipmates out of Ayn Rands "Capitalism, the Unknown Ideal". I carried "Anthem" in my back pocket. I officated the wedding of my wife's daughter which I am very proud of, all 22 drafts of my comments. I hesitated to say this before now but I didn't finish your book because, to me, it read like a Batman comic. And I think your confidence that the rules of logic are sufficient to guide ones life through the unbelievably layered and fractal like complexity of physical and psychological and biological reality is naive to the point of absurdity. Life is action->mistake->action->mistake->action->mistake ad infinitum. Without losing your spirit. Then you die. Learn this.

Yeah, but have you been a filmmaker who hasn't made any films?

J

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I think your confidence that the rules of logic are sufficient to guide ones life through the unbelievably layered and fractal like complexity of physical and psychological and biological reality is naive to the point of absurdity. Life is action->mistake->action->mistake->action->mistake ad infinitum. Without losing your spirit. Then you die. Learn this.

There you go! I bronzed it!

--Brant

an OL first!

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.

Merlin, the RoR site is MIA today, so I thought I'd record this here. Hopefully the thread over there and all else over there is not gone for good. This relates to intergenerational, inheritance structuring of individual development.

. . .
I would say that the biological role of the mind is not only to enable the survival of the individual whose mind it is, but to enable the survival of other members of the human species. So I don’t think Robert’s proof works. The faulty premise in Robert’s argument is appealed to in the complex weave of Rand’s argument as well. How wide are the ramifications of this flaw in her argument? I wonder.
. . .

Of related interest: "Aristotelian Egoism and the Ergon Argument" by David Potts (2015).

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Well, the individual needs the social. It's next to impossible to survive alone except maybe in a tropical paradise with your DNA stymied and you climbing the wall of loneliness if not going bat-shit crazy.

OL is primarily a social site in the basic sense of the concept. There is no point to the intellectual without the social. You can chicken and egg this if you want.

--Brant

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Yeah, but have you been a filmmaker who hasn't made any films?

My late friend Lenore Herb was a longtime friend with Canadian poet bill bisset (yup, cousin to ee cummings and k d laing), and although brain-damaged from a terrible fall, he was still capable of light-but-savage remarks at other folks' expense.

He had just arrived in Vancouver to Lenore's apartment from Toronto. The usual chaffing and bitching followed, and then bill said: "I met someone a lot like you -- a filmmaker who doesn't make films." Lenore was 'nonplussed.'

Here is a small private video short I made for documenting a major archival video project that never got off the ground ... Lenore is the grinning figure with tattooed eyebrows. I don't expect anyone to endure till the last of its six minutes. I wish that Lenore had given up her massive archives to a professional ...

Edited by william.scherk
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