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8 minutes ago, Lightyearsaway said:

tell me what you think about the value of my grass counting game in my original post and we can go from there. I'll repeat: 

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.

Btw, I'd be curious to know what you think about the following statement by Ernest Becker, where he (very broadly) describes the main forms of heroism/self-esteem that have taken place throughout history:

"We can ask about any epoch, what are the main social forms of heroism available? We can take a sweep over history and see how these forms vary and how they animate each epoch. For primitive man, who practiced the ritual renewal of nature, each person could be a cosmic hero of a quite definite kind: he could contribute with his powers and observances to the replenishment of cosmic life. Gradually, as societies became more complex and differentiated into classes, cosmic heroism became the property of special classes like divine kings and the military. With the rise of money coinage one could be a money hero and privately protect himself and his offspring by the accumulation of visible gold-power. With Christianity something new came into the world: the heroism of renunciation of this world and the satisfactions of this life, which is why the pagans thought Christianity was crazy. It was a sort of antiheroism by an animal who denied life in order to deny evil. Buddhism did the same thing even more extremely, denying all possible worlds. In modern times, with the Enlightenment, began again a new paganism of the exploitation and enjoyment of earthly life, partly as a reaction against the Christian renunciation of the world. Now a new type of productive and scientific hero came into prominence, and we are still living this today. More cars produced by Detroit, higher stock­ market prices, more profits, more goods moving-all this equals more heroism. And with the French Revolution anther type of modern hero was codified: the revolutionary hero who will bring an end to injustice and evil once and for all, by bringing into being a new utopian society perfect in its purity."

Look, joker: quote Branden's definition of self esteem and try working off that.

--Brant

jus tryin' to help (that's why I'm here)

(sounds sarcastic--well, it's a twofer: sarcastic and not sarcastic all at once)

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3 minutes ago, Lightyearsaway said:

We have no option but to use some theory of reality. 

TRY USING REALITY PER SE!

--Brant

going to bed

don't let the reality bugs bite

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6 minutes ago, Brant Gaede said:

TRY USING REALITY PER SE!

 

You can perceive the reality of, say, coffee burning your skin, without any theories. However, many more complicated social and physical phenomena require theories.

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4 hours ago, SteveWolfer said:

Here are the six pillars Nathaniel Branden wrote of:
1.The Practice of Living Consciously
2.The Practice of Self-Acceptance
3.The Practice of Self-Responsibility
4.The Practice of Self-Assertiveness
5.The Practice of Living Purposefully
6.The Practice of Personal Integrity

My contention was that 1) all these "pillars" exist within a socially constructed system of self-esteem 2) This socially constructed system of self-esteem lacks the capacity to (in his words) “honor” the self-esteem that humans truly “want and need”, and so Branden needs to emphasize these pillars to make the best out of a bad situation.

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34 minutes ago, Lightyearsaway said:

tell me what you think about the value of my grass counting game in my original post and we can go from there. I'll repeat: 

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.

I don't value it.  Your premise is wrong because you don't understand Branden.  The correction is it is a solitary game, with a solitary outcome, with a solitary reward.  Like solitaire.

34 minutes ago, Lightyearsaway said:

Btw, I'd be curious to know what you think about the following statement by Ernest Becker, where he (very broadly) describes the main forms of heroism/self-esteem that have taken place throughout history:

"We can ask about any epoch, what are the main social forms of heroism available? We can take a sweep over history and see how these forms vary and how they animate each epoch. For primitive man, who practiced the ritual renewal of nature, each person could be a cosmic hero of a quite definite kind: he could contribute with his powers and observances to the replenishment of cosmic life. Gradually, as societies became more complex and differentiated into classes, cosmic heroism became the property of special classes like divine kings and the military. With the rise of money coinage one could be a money hero and privately protect himself and his offspring by the accumulation of visible gold-power. With Christianity something new came into the world: the heroism of renunciation of this world and the satisfactions of this life, which is why the pagans thought Christianity was crazy. It was a sort of antiheroism by an animal who denied life in order to deny evil. Buddhism did the same thing even more extremely, denying all possible worlds. In modern times, with the Enlightenment, began again a new paganism of the exploitation and enjoyment of earthly life, partly as a reaction against the Christian renunciation of the world. Now a new type of productive and scientific hero came into prominence, and we are still living this today. More cars produced by Detroit, higher stock­ market prices, more profits, more goods moving-all this equals more heroism. And with the French Revolution anther type of modern hero was codified: the revolutionary hero who will bring an end to injustice and evil once and for all, by bringing into being a new utopian society perfect in its purity."

I much prefer Joseph Campbell's cultural myth theories, he doesn't make the mistake of confusing mythical heroes with metaphysical heroes. 

 

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3 hours ago, Brant Gaede said:

I'm not trying to drive you away; I don't care if you stay; I want you to care to stay; all I know about you is you've got brains, but you've fucked them up--so did Ayn Rand, but she got a hell of a lot right; if you drop this TM shit all that will be left is YOU--isn't that enough?

Lightyearsaway, this is wisdom.

 

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I really like Joseph Campbell.  I think the Objectivishs here would recognize several Objectivist principles in this.  (Replace bliss with Purpose..)

Babbitt had a special significance to Rand in her fiction writing, her art--what she dichotomized as Naturalism vs. Romanticism.  Campbell uses much elegance here to express Romanticism, and what can happen when a man can apply it to his daily life..

 

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4 hours ago, KorbenDallas said:

I really like Joseph Campbell.  I think the Objectivishs here would recognize several Objectivist principles in this.  (Replace bliss with Purpose..)

Babbitt had a special significance to Rand in her fiction writing, her art--what she dichotomized as Naturalism vs. Romanticism.  Campbell uses much elegance here to express Romanticism, and what can happen when a man can apply it to his daily life..

 

I'm not an expert on Joseph Campbell, but I know he wrote a book called The Hero with a Thousand faces, where he puts this bliss in the context of heroism. Basically, we can look at the self-esteem component of this bliss, and realize that it has to do with a sense of cosmic heroism, of cosmic importance. In the case of the Saint, to quote Becker, it means "living in primary awe at the miracle of the created object - including oneself in one's own godlikeness. Remember the awesome fascination of St. Francis with the revelations of the everyday world - a bird, a flower." Or, in the case of the artist, to a mixture between a devotion to some quasi-religious creative spirit, and to a creation or contribution to the cultural life of a society that must grant its approval to the work of art for the artist to gain heroism.

To some extent, we all have a tendency to imbue undue significance to even trivial day to day moments. I may feel proud of the sweater I wear to the supermarket; or of winning a 30 minute argument over whether something is an orange or a mandarin. 

Campbell would no doubt view these forms of self-esteem enhancement as petty and unsatisfying, just as he seems, in this interview, to regard many jobs and other economically productive activity as inferior in this regard.

From what I know of Ayn Rand, she seems to have had an admiration for the quintessential hero of her epoch, what Becker (to repeat part of an earlier quote I posted), described as:

 "a new paganism of the exploitation and enjoyment of earthly life, partly as a reaction against the Christian renunciation of the world. Now a new type of productive and scientific hero came into prominence, and we are still living this today. More cars produced by Detroit, higher stock­ market prices, more profits, more goods moving-all this equals more heroism."

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5 hours ago, Lightyearsaway said:

I'm not an expert on Joseph Campbell, but I know he wrote a book called The Hero with a Thousand faces, where he puts this bliss in the context of heroism.

Good God!

The idea of heroism is the least thing Campbell dealt with (and, frankly, I don't recall him dealing with it at all in this meaning--i.e., a hero being a good guy who fights evil--in the stuff I have read and videos where I have seen Campbell speaking).

Campbell's thing was the journey and "hero" was a synonym for "protagonist" as he covered commonalities in journey myths throughout all history. He also like dancing with Jung on archetypes.

The purpose of the same mythological myriad-variation journey over millennia was to find and bring bliss--or other things like knowledge, resources, etc. In other words, the Hero's Journey template was (and is) used for the protagonist to face a challenge and end up with a benefit, regardless of whether that benefit is transcendence, self-esteem, bliss, wisdom, money, power, magic potion or whatever.

(Note: I should say "more bliss" when using it in the context of the Hero's Journey. The way Campbell uses it in the video above, bliss just means deep mental pleasure. If you follow what little you have when you start in choosing your journeys, you will get more of it.)

I'm saying this for readers who may not know Campbell's work (which is very interesting), not for the poster who tries to teach other people things he is not familiar with.

:) 

Michael

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5 hours ago, Lightyearsaway said:

I'm not an expert on Joseph Campbell, but I know he wrote a book called The Hero with a Thousand faces, where he puts this bliss in the context of heroism. Basically, we can look at the self-esteem component of this bliss, and realize that it has to do with a sense of cosmic heroism, of cosmic importance. In the case of the Saint, to quote Becker

You can't import Campbell into Becker.  The rest of what you were saying is actually about Becker.

5 hours ago, Lightyearsaway said:

From what I know of Ayn Rand, she seems to have had an admiration for the quintessential hero of her epoch, what Becker (to repeat part of an earlier quote I posted)

Becker... again?


Lightyearsaway, I think you've been listening to the wrong people.

 

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12 hours ago, Lightyearsaway said:

My contention was that 1) all these "pillars" exist within a socially constructed system of self-esteem 2) This socially constructed system of self-esteem lacks the capacity to (in his words) “honor” the self-esteem that humans truly “want and need”, and so Branden needs to emphasize these pillars to make the best out of a bad situation.

Lightyearsaway,you have made up your own theory.  It isn't Branden's.  Yours is something that exists "within a socially constructed system of self-esteem" - your words.  Branden's theory of self-esteem is totally different.  It makes zero sense for you to start with something that is NOT his and then go on to criticize his theory which you clearly don't understand, and then to say what you think he should emphasize.

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1 hour ago, SteveWolfer said:

Lightyearsaway,you have made up your own theory.  It isn't Branden's.  Yours is something that exists "within a socially constructed system of self-esteem" - your words.  Branden's theory of self-esteem is totally different.  It makes zero sense for you to start with something that is NOT his and then go on to criticize his theory which you clearly don't understand, and then to say what you think he should emphasize.

You are smart in ignoring the fact that by quoting Branden directly: 

“If it is not grounded in reality… it is not self-esteem." http://www.nathanielbranden.com/on-self-esteem

I refuted the statement in your last post that I

"added this 'grounded in reality' phrase that was never in Branden's definition."

Acknowledging this refutation would not help you advance the notion that you're in a credible position to state that I "clearly don't understand" his theory.

 

 

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Lightyearsaway,

I worked with and studied under Branden for decades.  He supervised many of my hours when I interned to get my license.  I really do know what he was thinking of when he talked about self-esteem.  Here is the full context for your "grounded in reality" quote: "Self-esteem is not the euphoria or buoyancy that may be temporarily induced by a drug, a compliment, or a love affair. It is not an illusion or hallucination. If it is not grounded in reality, if it is not built over time through the appropriate operation of mind, it is not self-esteem."

Notice that he says what I mentioned right off.  Self-esteem is the result of how one operates the mind.  It is not a social construct.  It is an internal state that is, in effect, the residue of the sum of different volitional exercises of your mind.  If you lie to yourself about something, your self-esteem goes down some.  If you admit some shortcoming about yourself, to yourself, and it is something unpleasant, your self-esteem goes up some. 

When he says "If it is not grounded in reality..." that is not part of the definition but rather a way of saying that you cannot acquire self-esteem by collecting compliments, by complimenting yourself, by feeling good from a drug, or by pretending that things are other than they are.

You took "grounded in reality" and stuck it in his definition as a modifier of "disposition" - in the definition, "disposition" is synonymous with "tendency" - don't you see how "A grounded in reality disposition" is not the subject of the sentence Branden uses to define self-esteem.  You can't take Branden's words from paragraph 3 and stick them into a sentence in paragraph 1, making the a modifier of a word in his definition and then claim that is his definition. 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, SteveWolfer said:

Lightyearsaway,

I worked with and studied under Branden for decades.  He supervised many of my hours when I interned to get my license.  I really do know what he was thinking of when he talked about self-esteem.  Here is the full context for your "grounded in reality" quote: "Self-esteem is not the euphoria or buoyancy that may be temporarily induced by a drug, a compliment, or a love affair. It is not an illusion or hallucination. If it is not grounded in reality, if it is not built over time through the appropriate operation of mind, it is not self-esteem."

Notice that he says what I mentioned right off.  Self-esteem is the result of how one operates the mind.  It is not a social construct.  It is an internal state that is, in effect, the residue of the sum of different volitional exercises of your mind.  If you lie to yourself about something, your self-esteem goes down some.  If you admit some shortcoming about yourself, to yourself, and it is something unpleasant, your self-esteem goes up some. 

When he says "If it is not grounded in reality..." that is not part of the definition but rather a way of saying that you cannot acquire self-esteem by collecting compliments, by complimenting yourself, by feeling good from a drug, or by pretending that things are other than they are.

You took "grounded in reality" and stuck it in his definition as a modifier of "disposition" - in the definition, "disposition" is synonymous with "tendency" - don't you see how "A grounded in reality disposition" is not the subject of the sentence Branden uses to define self-esteem.  You can't take Branden's words from paragraph 3 and stick them into a sentence in paragraph 1, making the a modifier of a word in his definition and then claim that is his definition. 

 

You stated that 

"this 'grounded in reality' phrase was never in Branden's definition" 

Branden does say, as you now accept, that self-esteem is "grounded in reality".

And he does say that self-esteem is a "disposition". 

The question is: Was it accurate, in my attempt to condense his definition to one paragraph, to write in brackets "disposition [grounded in reality]''.

Yes, it was.

As for the notion that self-esteem "is not a social construct.  It is an internal state that is, in effect, the residue of the sum of different volitional exercises of your mind", notice that I already respond to that position in the 1st paragraph of my critique, when I question the assumed context in which he places the terms "success and achievement":

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.

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Lightyearsahead,

At this point I'll leave you to live with your social consensus, in your invented social reality.  You seem to insist on nothing less and I'm not sensing that what I might have to offer is valued there.

To everyone else, my apologies.  I clearly have been encouraging this more than I should have.

 

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5 hours ago, SteveWolfer said:

Lightyearsahead,

At this point I'll leave you to live with your social consensus, in your invented social reality.  You seem to insist on nothing less and I'm not sensing that what I might have to offer is valued there.

To everyone else, my apologies.  I clearly have been encouraging this more than I should have.

 

I do understand that Branden and objectivism do not aim for some conformist, majoritarian form of self-esteem, but rather, aspire to a more individualist approach, fueled by what Becker himself called "a sheer act of willpower". However, even if i were to ignore the aforementioned assumed context in which Branden places the terms "success and achievement" (which clearly imply a compliance to the values of a particular culture/social consensus) i.e. even if I were to ignore the huge gap between aspirations and reality, the fact is that Becker had already analyzed that particular aspiration, which he called "personal heroism" (as opposed to being merely a "cog in a heroic machine"), and which he gave reasons for why it was "doomed to failure". See 6:38 of this video:

 

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9 hours ago, Lightyearsaway said:

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. 

Note what Lightyearsaway implies -- a self-esteem grounded in social consensus is not grounded in objective reality. I will even accept that as true for some people. On the other hand, it is not true for all people.

6 hours ago, SteveWolfer said:

At this point I'll leave you to live with your social consensus, in your invented social reality.  You seem to insist on nothing less and I'm not sensing that what I might have to offer is valued there.

Steve, at least I value what you have written here. 

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24 minutes ago, merjet said:

Note what Lightyearsaway implies -- a self-esteem grounded in social consensus is not grounded in objective reality. I will even accept that as true for some people. On the other hand, it is not true for all people.

I would also refer you to 6:38 of the video in my last post, where that issue is dealt with.

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12 minutes ago, Lightyearsaway said:

I would also refer you to 6:38 of the video in my last post, where that issue is dealt with.

At 7:33 of the video: "[N]o person is strong enough to support the meaning of his life unaided by something outside him."

Whoop-de-do!! "Something outside him" is so unspecific that it's meaningless.

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1 hour ago, merjet said:

At 7:33 of the video: "[N]o person is strong enough to support the meaning of his life unaided by something outside him."

Whoop-de-do!! "Something outside him" is so unspecific that it's meaningless.

That "something outside"oneself usually refers to either other humans or to a higher power, like an imagined god, spirits etc. Let's go back to my example of the grass game.  If I invent a game of speed counting blades of grass in various geometric patterns, and it becomes a huge hit, with millions of humans playing it, competing in tournaments etc, or if I were to truly believe that God transmitted the knowledge of this game to me to communicate and express some of the primordial aesthetic properties of His magnificent creation, it would greatly help me support the meaning of my life. I may even be able to go to the grave thinking about this game as my greatest contribution, as the greatest meaning in my life. However, if everyone thinks the game is stupid, arbitrary, worthless and boring, and I don't believe it has anything to do with any God, I would have a much harder time using the game to support the meaning of my life.

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12 hours ago, SteveWolfer said:

To everyone else, my apologies.  I clearly have been encouraging this more than I should have.

6 hours ago, merjet said:

Steve, at least I value what you have written here. 

Same here.

 

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4 hours ago, Lightyearsaway said:

That "something outside"oneself usually refers to either other humans or to a higher power, like an imagined god, spirits etc. Let's go back to my example of the grass game.  If I invent a game of speed counting blades of grass in various geometric patterns, and it becomes a huge hit, with millions of humans playing it, competing in tournaments etc, or if I were to truly believe that God transmitted the knowledge of this game to me to communicate and express some of the primordial aesthetic properties of His magnificent creation, it would greatly help me support the meaning of my life. I may even be able to go to the grave thinking about this game as my greatest contribution, as the greatest meaning in my life. However, if everyone thinks the game is stupid, arbitrary, worthless and boring, and I don't believe it has anything to do with any God, I would have a much harder time using the game to support the meaning of my life.

Essentially there are now two views of self esteem: yours and Branden's or Peter Keating's and Howard Roark's or second-handerism and first handerism with the pretty much obsolete Brandenism of "Social Metaphysician" embracing your view of self esteem. It would seem by your lights Rand and Branden got the whole thing ass backwards.

In my view there is actually a hierarchy of values with individualism (first handerism) at the base and off that base the confirming social construct, if someone wants more than that base. I mean I like praise, but praise as a source of self esteem is actually for pseudo self-esteem. A minor but notable source of self esteem for me is I stopped smoking in 1969. This is for me self praise and/or my body praising me with good health. When I tell someone this, it's always "Good for you!" but that has nothing to do with the state of my self esteem. Nothing is added to it, but as a social creature I take some pleasure from the compliment.

--Brant

OL denizens should appreciate you for the fresh meat you have provided, so thanks for dropping into the lion's den (did your self esteem just go up?)

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1 hour ago, Brant Gaede said:

Essentially there are now two views of self esteem: yours and Branden's or Peter Keating's and Howard Roark's or second-handerism and first handerism with the pretty much obsolete Brandenism of "Social Metaphysician" embracing your view of self esteem. It would seem by your lights Rand and Branden got the whole thing ass backwards.

In my view there is actually a hierarchy of values with individualism (first handerism) at the base and off that base the confirming social construct, if someone wants more than that base. I mean I like praise, but praise as a source of self esteem is actually for pseudo self-esteem. A minor but notable source of self esteem for me is I stopped smoking in 1969. This is for me self praise and/or my body praising me with good health. When I tell someone this, it's always "Good for you!" but that has nothing to do with the state of my self esteem. Nothing is added to it, but as a social creature I take some pleasure from the compliment.

--Brant

OL denizens should appreciate you for the fresh meat you have provided, so thanks for dropping into the lion's den (did your self esteem just go up?)

You may be interested in a study showing that when smoking is part of your self-esteem, the warnings in packets make people smoke more https://www.researchgate.net/publication/222693048_When_the_Death_Makes_You_Smoke_A_Terror_Management_Perspective_on_the_Effectiveness_of_Cigarette_On-Pack_Warnings

I would say that, more than praise, self-esteem for most people entails social acceptance. I used the trivial example of a sweater earlier. Likewise, I may wear a shirt and get lots of compliments on it. However, most shirts that people wear do not receive praise. They just receive acceptance, which we generally find more important, as one could easily think of a shirt that doesn't receive acceptance and more seriously affects self-esteem. 

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I note you only reply to me and others if there is a particular confirmation bias for you.

I'm not saying I'm above it myself--I'm not (who is?)--only that it's you who are contending and we who are de-contending reactively.

--Brant

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