Arkadi

giving one's life in battle

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Arkadi wrote with liquid nitrogen: There is a personage in Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov, named Smedyakov, who gives a famous speech to the effect that it would have been better if Napoleon defeated Russia, for thus a "civilized" nation might have civilized an "uncivilized" one. But by what extant "civilized" nation would one wish the United States to be "civilized"? end quote

Uh. England? Or is that a trick question? I don’t know history much, not having lived it, but are you saying history is like a box of chocolates because it could have been different? Now as regards ye olde France v. Russia, that’s a tough one. Napoleon was “a not always benign” . . . ruler . . . if not a dictator in a modern sense. But the Tsars? Who was better? If I remember, the Russians VERY much appreciated the French, their society, mores, and language. If Russian had become a province of France, what would they have called it?

Arkadi wrote "to prefer death over life in slavery"--is quoting me (and Rand); claiming that it implies anything about why soldiers enter the army--is ascribing. end quote

I think that is called conscription. Joke, from draftee number US52812234.  

Peter  

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On 2016/04/12 at 9:40 PM, Arkadi said:

I was just drawing attention to the fact that Rand's message to those in the military is to prefer death over life in slavery. I believe this is a great message. I have no "concerns" about it.

"Rand's message to those in the miltary is to prefer death over life in slavery". (Arkady)

"...unwilling to live as the conquered slave". (Rand)

Arkady you've become wedded to the conjuction of two words (which you misinterpret) and have garbled the meaning of virtuous selfishness. In spite of volumes by Rand on the subject, you have it arse-backwards.

Unwilling ... live.

Take this as example: I am "unwilling" to "live" (exist) in poverty. Therefore I do whatever it takes, within rationally-moral bounds, to defend myself against that potentiality. But if it happens, it doesn't mean my life is ended and I cannot work and apply myself to regain wealth. Thus I reject "poverty" as an aberration which has no permanent power over my life.

Simple or mundane as it seems, this is being rationally selfish.

For the rational soldier, the concept is almost identical, same kind but a greater degree. His risks are far higher, the stakes are too, as is the pay -off. His conviction is NOT "to prefer death over life in slavery", his conviction is to do whatever it takes to prevent it happening. And far preferably, to live - to enjoy the resulting freedom. He too rejects "slavery" as an aberration. If he survives but a dictatorship comes about, well he still has a possible choice of actions.

(There is a sentimentality about the glory of war and sacrifice running through the thread; all from the premise of "Giving" one's life in battle. Giving: for whom, for what? After all, one is dead, so cannot appreciate the consequences of his efforts, which might be inconsequential anyway. For what is also very worthwhile, freedom, culture, civilians and country, yes, a soldier also ~risks~ his life. Those who've seen the random destruction and splattered body parts are not going to see battle romantically).

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"But if it happens, it doesn't mean my life is ended and I cannot work and apply myself to regain wealth."--Correct. There is a way to think so as to prevent the undesirable from happening; but this way of thinking makes sense only if it has not yet happened. And there is another way to think so as to cope with the situation if the undesirable has, unfortunately, happened. Naturally, given her situation, Rand presented the first way only. We, also, are to determine what situation we are, currently, in, and think accordingly.

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"There is a sentimentality about the glory of war and sacrifice running through the thread; all from the premise of "Giving" one's life in battle. Giving: for whom, for what?"--Anthony: English is not my native language, and I dropped the unfortunate word "giving" long ago; continuing to pick on it is unfair. Thanks for citing any words of mine about the "glory" of war. If something is running through your head when you read the thread, it speaks, above all, of you, not of the thread.

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"He gave his life in battle" is a correct statement for someone who died in battle.

"He is willing to give his life in battle [if it comes to that]" can also be correct.

But hardly any soldier (not a Muslim anyway) thinks in terms of "giving his life in battle," but surviving and winning battles.

(Exceptions [Judeo-Christian and pagan] aren't germane to this discussion.)

--Brant

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1 hour ago, Brant Gaede said:

"He gave his life in battle" is a correct statement for someone who died in battle.

"He is willing to give his life in battle [if it comes to that]" can also be correct.

 

--Brant

It's correct, colloquially only. To give, denotes volitional consent. In the heat of the moment or in calm appraisal, no sane person ~wants~ that, unless he sees little value in his life or is suicidal. "Gave his life" has crept into common use, via the altruist narrative, I am sure. (The moral reversal of the self-sacrificial mentality, dying has value).

Conversely, the genuine truth (oxymoronic) of such a situation IS honorable - that a rational and selfish man would place himself in a position where he ~could~ lose his life to defend his objective convictions - not that he seeks to... And if he does perhaps lose it -- makes him no more or less admirable in my eyes.

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1 hour ago, Arkadi said:

 

...I dropped the unfortunate word "giving" long ago; continuing to pick on it is unfair. Thanks for citing any words of mine about the "glory" of war. If something is running through your head when you read the thread, it speaks, above all, of you, not of the thread.

Well if you dropped it, I can't recall. But still to be rescinded, is:

"...Rand's message to those in the military is to prefer death over life in slavery. I believe this is a great message".

I'm unconvinced this is not a 'glorious death', you see Rand as recommending. Why else should they "prefer death"? Why "great"?

Do their lives cease to have meaning and purpose, except as human sacrifices for the good of others, or for Rand's "message"? Should a surviving soldier exist in guilt, for not dying in battle with others?

Apart from that, you are attributing a complete falsity and immorality to Rand. I think I've listed enough proof.

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Anthony: "I'm unconvinced this is not a 'glorious death', you see Rand as recommending."--Given that I told you that this is NOT what I see, what other "arguments" do you need to be "convinced"? "Why else should they "prefer death"?"--The question is invalid, for "else" implies that "glory" is an answer, whereas it is clearly not. What value could a dead person have from his "glory"?! Given that there is no person around any more!

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"Do their lives cease to have meaning and purpose, except as human sacrifices for the good of others, or for Rand's "message"? Should a surviving soldier exist in guilt, for not dying in battle with others?" --No, to both questions. Again, thanks for demonstrating how different answers would follow from any of my statements (if this is what you meant).

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Anthony: As I wrote earlier: "We...are to determine what situation we are, currently, in, and think accordingly." You're again and again violating this self-evident rule of thumb, trying to think the way helping one to cope with one's defeat, whereas you're not defeated (yet), as far as I can tell (but, of course, my apologies if you actually are).

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And BTW, Anthony: If Rand, as you suggest, were meaning a conditioned "unwillingness" (like in: "I am unwilling to live in the town X but I will if I get a sufficiently paying job there"), why did not she mention any benefits of serving in the army? Why did not she say: "Guys, you are unlike those wretched sacrificial soldiers of totalitarian/"Kantian" states, but are being well paid and getting into a career at the cost of just a small risk of being killed"? Would it not be a more appropriate message, on your assumption?

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When I was in the Army we had a joke. If a platoon comes under sniper fire, the Marines charge. The Army falls back and calls in the artillery. But I deeply respect the Marines. Just glad I wasn't one of: the few, the proud, The Marines. I honor them with my Latin send off, Always faithfully thinking. 

Peter

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21 hours ago, Arkadi said:

And BTW, Anthony: If Rand, as you suggest, were meaning a conditioned "unwillingness" (like in: "I am unwilling to live in the town X but I will if I get a sufficiently paying job there"), why did not she mention any benefits of serving in the army? Why did not she say: "Guys, you are unlike those wretched sacrificial soldiers of totalitarian/"Kantian" states, but are being well paid and getting into a career at the cost of just a small risk of being killed"? Would it not be a more appropriate message, on your assumption?

Every choice is "conditioned", yes - though I take it you mean conditional or contextual. "If I want this, I must do that", in order to thrive as man qua man. What I think is escaping you Arkady is the rational selfishness as virtue, of all these things from the most simple and mundane-looking to the highest principles - integrated into a single conceptual mind. To move towns for a better job, the side benefits of joining the Army, working for one's wealth above poverty ... fighting for freedom above dictatorship. etc, etc.: So, I am willing to do *this* (to support and uphold my values); and I am unwilling to permit *that* dis-value to threaten my life (in its full meaning, not merely distinct from death). All form part of a value hierarchy (they are not isolated desires, needs or instances) -- founded upon the ultimate value, one's life. As you've heard, to relinquish a greater value for a lesser or non-value, is self-sacrifice. The reverse is rationally moral.

Rand's address was evidently aimed only at high principles, to soldiers who'd clearly and individually comprehended the highest value of a life in freedom as opposed to existing under slavery. By volunteering for the military, they are men who one presumes are tacitly stating: I know the dis-value of a dictatorship, I am "unwilling"/opposed/resistant to exist that way and I am a person with the conviction, resolve, ability and strength to do what's necessary. Far from a "message", praising them for 'preferring death to slavery' or an exhortation to battle, or for their 'duty and service', it seems Rand was congratulating each for being conceptual and selfish - for virtuously choosing a life as "proper to man" - even though accompanied with risk. Lesser priorities but important too, are that naturally these career soldiers should be well paid, trained, supported, etc. Things not within the scope of Rand's speech.

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"Far from a "message", praising them for 'preferring death to slavery'"--She is praising them for determination to risk death rather than be enslaved. Does this sound right to you?

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Arkadi, it sounds fine. The more valuable he knows his values to be, the higher the risk he may have to take and the price he knows he may pay for them - so the more proportionately advanced is the man's integrity and evaluative capacity, I think. Explains his "virtuousness", per Rand's speech.

 

I've called you "Arkady" I notice. From some favourite novels of mine, Detective Arkady Renko of Moscow. 'Gorky Park', etc. - have you read any?

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Good. I came to this clearer understanding of that phrase as I had taken a fresh look at it, prompted by our conversation. (I heard of the Gorky Park but never read it; needless to say, it was not available in the USSR.)

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On 4/12/2016 at 10:37 AM, Brant Gaede said:

... then, in the 1970's, "Biocentric Psychology" and, finally, just "psychology"

Damn Brant that brings back memories...

I can remember his use of that phrase which I thought was close to the mark on explaining the complexity of the human being.

Even today when I speak with a psychologist or psychiatrist regarding a client, or, mediation, I ask them if they are familiar with Brandon and that he created the school of biocentric psychology...

A...

 

 

 

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