KorbenDallas

Conspiracy theories and Conspiracy theorists

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8 hours ago, KorbenDallas said:

landscape-1449079735-alex-jones-lead.jpg

Korben,

That look of rage from Alex is always directed AT bullies, never at helpless people.

It kinda makes the bullies uncomfortable, too.

:) 

It sure feels good for people who are pissed off at the bullies. Let them get a dose of their own medicine.

Michael

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9 hours ago, wolfdevoon said:

I'm unlikely to qualify as a bully, being so far out of the organized world, but it seems to me that most of the bad guys have been small men, Napolean, Hitler, Lenin, Fidel, a long parade of popes and princes. Creepy filmmakers like Tarentino, Burton, Scorcese, Craven are little squirts, whereas most of the guys who blather harmlessly about pro sports are big men. Jonathan Gruber falls into the broad middle class of assholes that run the government, indistinguishable from female bureaucrats like Lois Lerner.

Tarentino makes weird,  very funny movies.   e.g.   "From Dusk Till Dawn", "Pulp Fiction", "Jackie Brown", "Kill Bill: Vol. 1", "Kill Bill: Vol. 2", "Death Proof", "Inglourious Basterds"

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1 hour ago, anthony said:

Few name the culprit "altruism" (-collectivism-egalitarianism). Why haven't Objectivists picked up on this deeper layer and not bringing supporting intellectual voice, instead of simply deriding the man personally?

Anthony,

Two very good points.

1. I believe the reason few treat altruism as one of the sources of evil like Rand did is because it isn't the motivator. It's a form of a con. It's a tool, not an urge. The real biological urge is to help someone in distress (or finish him off if that part of the brain is in control at the time). This urge is only present close-up. If you see a stranger doubling over in pain right in front of you, you will feel the urge to find out what is happening and help him out. You feel nothing for starving babies of inland Ethiopian tribes because they are distant.

(Apropos, there are some people who try to use this characteristic of our nature to make you feel guilty because you feel nothing for the distant babies so they can control you. That is an example of someone using altruism for evil.)

There are several areas of the brain that light up under fMRI scans when you provide aid to another in distress. (Not to mention the mother's instinct about her young. Think Momma Grizzly. :) ) Also, the brain releases an enormous amount of oxytocin at these times (the snuggle feel-good neurochemical). Since a whole slew of altruistic-like neurochemical reactions are prewired, to call altruism a fundamental source of evil is like declaring that part of our nature evil. That's why many people get cognitive dissonance with Rand's message.

The real evil of altruism is when it is used as a tool for manipulation, as a smokescreen or camouflage. It's very good for that precisely because we have these urges. Rand's deep insight was in showing how this is done. Unfortunately, she took it a step too far for biological precision. In my thinking, I don't pay attention to that part and focus instead on what she did identify correctly.

As to helping a bro out when he's down, there's nothing wrong with it. And there's nothing wrong with feeling good for doing it. In fact, that's your nature.

David Kelley tried to address this with the word "benevolence" and based it on the trader principle, but that's essentially a fudge. We are what we are as we are. If we can measure something that is in normal healthy humans and it always shows up, it is part of us. Human nature exists as it exists, not as some ideology says it should be. To quote an unambiguous proposition, A is A. :) 

2. As to Objectivists misunderstanding Trump, I have a hypothesis. Some people are attracted to Objectivism out of a need for protection and they use it as a shield to control others. But the urge is self-defense. Trump's very demeanor and life of achievement threatens that entire mental structure. Not only did he beat the power mongers at their own game in order to produce magnificent achievements, he didn't need a word of Objectivist jargon to do it. :) And, precisely because he made up his own rules as he went along, even as he stayed within the law, they don't know how to process this except by reference to Rand's villains. 

Other people are attracted to Objectivism as a form of motivational self-help. As a way of understanding why they should love their striving to achieve and why they should never feel guilty for being proud of their achievements. These people tend to love Trump. 

It's probably more complicated than that, but I don't buy the rationalizations for the hatred. Saying Hillary Clinton is preferable because Trump thinks imminent domain isn't so bad doesn't pass my bullshit meter. :) 

Michael

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3 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Anthony,

Two very good points.

1. I believe the reason few treat altruism as one of the sources of evil like Rand did is because it isn't the motivator. It's a form of a con. It's a tool, not an urge. The real biological urge is to help someone in distress (or finish him off if that part of the brain is in control at the time). This urge is only present close-up. If you see a stranger doubling over in pain right in front of you, you will feel the urge to find out what is happening and help him out. You feel nothing for starving babies of inland Ethiopian tribes because they are distant.(

That brings back the closing thoughts of Mark Whatney in the book version of "The Martian".  See my post on that. 

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5 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Korben,

That look of rage from Alex is always directed AT bullies, never at helpless people.

It kinda makes the bullies uncomfortable, too.

:) 

It sure feels good for people who are pissed off at the bullies. Let them get a dose of their own medicine.

Michael

And what is a AT bully?

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23 minutes ago, KorbenDallas said:

And what is a AT bully?

Korben,

AT is a preposition written in capital letters for emphasis.

But there is an error in the way you wrote it.

If you want to use the singular, you don't write, "... a AT bully." You write "... AT a bully." 

:)

Michael

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17 minutes ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:
44 minutes ago, KorbenDallas said:
6 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Korben,

That look of rage from Alex is always directed AT bullies, never at helpless people.

It kinda makes the bullies uncomfortable, too.

:) 

It sure feels good for people who are pissed off at the bullies. Let them get a dose of their own medicine.

Michael

And what is a AT bully?

Korben,

AT is a preposition written in capital letters for emphasis.

But there is an error in the way you wrote it.

If you want to use the singular, you don't write, "... a AT bully." You write "... AT a bully." 

:)

Michael

I thought "AT bullies" might have been a "thing", like Superior Ones, etc.,  though I meant to use the article "an" above.

Italics are your friend...  "That look of rage from Alex is always directed at bullies, never at helpless people."

:P

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5 minutes ago, KorbenDallas said:

Italics are your friend...  "That look of rage from Alex is always directed at bullies, never at helpless people."

Korben,

I'll meet you halfway and even keep lower case, but I have to re-format since I really really really want to emphasize the direction toward the bullies instead of toward weaker people.

"That look of rage from Alex is always directed at bullies, never at helpless people."

How's that?

:)

Michael

 

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5 minutes ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Korben,

I'll meet you halfway and even keep lower caps, but I have to format since I really really really want to emphasize the direction toward the bullies instead of toward weaker people.

"That look of rage from Alex is always directed at bullies, never at helpless people."

How's that?

:)

Michael

 

I feel bullied

:P

(okay not really)

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Michael, helping a bro when he's down has nothing to do with altruism as expounded by Comte and villified by Rand. With respect, that's the common, unphilosophical notion of 'altruism'. Altruism is the doctrine of selfless service (sacrifice and self-sacrifice) to all "bros" anywhere and for all time, known to you and unknown. Especially the unknown and anonymous. A man mustn't be getting any pleasure out of helping another, ideally.

You take pity on a homeless guy and look after him in your home for a while. You personally saw some worth in him, let's say. Then everyone else who hears about it arrives, squats at your house and demands you care for them as well**. Your hard -worked for values are up for grabs by all. And you are told that that sacrifice of your values (your life, at root) would be a "moral" act. It is in fact, only look around you, altruism, which leaves men with guilt - for not never being able to "do enough" and having to revert to being "selfish" to survive - which permanently kills off man's humanity, benevolence, decency, etc. to others. It is also a main driver of so-called Progressivism, a conspiracy indeed, being insidiously promoted by many bureaucrats, the media and intelligentsia toward some new World Order (they appear to believe).

**If you want to draw a conclusion with immigrants demanding to be allowed entry to a welfare State - to soak up values paid by the citizens - that's up to you...;)

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On 10/27/2016 at 4:28 PM, william.scherk said:

Of course. That is the best part.  Trump supporters couldn't give a shit about 'taking care' of the vets. They hear that the assholes will be taken out so the vets can take care of themselves -- by taking their problems to their choice of doctor, and paid in full by Uncle Sam.

Same with taking care of the economy. Trump supporters hear that jobs will begin to flow back from Foreign Adversaries. They hear that Mr Trump is smarter than all the generals, a real world-class  military strategist, thus he can take care of ISIS. They hear he is going to take care of the African Americans. They hear he is going to take care of the Inner Cities. They hear he is going to take care of the illegals and the refugees from Syria. He is going to take care of people who are sick in the streets. He is going to take care of Social Security. 

They hear a lot of things ...

You're foaming at the mouth here.

Liberal terror: he just might win the election. You guys are polling past the graveyard of your idealistic suppositions, almost all dead, a few Zombified.

If he loses this country will start fracturing in a way not seen since 1860-61.

By this I mean many states will start taking greater and greater exception to Federal oversight and control.

--Brant

 

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3 hours ago, anthony said:

... altruism as expounded by Comte...

Tony,

Which is a form of altruism not really used much in society, not even the society Rand lived in.

I think Objectivists diminish Rand's achievement when they limit her war against altruism as an intellectual con game to an archaic form like Comte's. This is akin to sending US troops over to the Middle East to fight ISIS with blunderbusses or bows and arrows.

:) 

Michael

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On 10/26/2016 at 7:10 PM, Brant Gaede said:

That which isn't permitted is prohibited. --Brant

 

I'm reminded what the little Russian lady wrote (AS, Objectivist Letter?):

The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/aynrand125008.html

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  On 10/27/2016 at 4:28 PM, william.scherk said:

"Trump supporters couldn't give a shit about 'taking care' of the vets" How did you come to this conclusion, William? Did you ask all of the Trump supporters? As a Trump supporter I care immensely as to how our vets are treated...even if I wasn't a vet, which I am. --J

 

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5 hours ago, anthony said:

It is in fact, only look around you, altruism, which leaves men with guilt...

Tony,

I tend to think many things leave people with feelings of guilt, including doing some dirty rotten guilty things.

:)

I do agree altruism can be used as a weapon. And just as often not. I don't agree that it has the same metaphysical status as a neurochemical.

btw - On your example about taking pity on a homeless guy, think about Dagny Taggart and Jeff Allen in Atlas Shrugged. She not only spared his life as a tramp stowaway on the train, she invited him to be her dinner guest for a fancy meal. You can twist the trader principle into knots justifying this, but I think it was a simple attack of human decency that slipped through Rand's ideological cracks. :)  

Michael

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10 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Tony,

I tend to think many things leave people with feelings of guilt, including doing some dirty rotten guilty things.

:)

I do agree altruism can be used as a weapon. And just as often not. I don't agree that it has the same metaphysical status as a neurochemical.

btw - On your example about taking pity on a homeless guy, think about Dagny Taggart and Jeff Allen in Atlas Shrugged. She not only spared his life as a tramp stowaway on the train, she invited him to be her dinner guest for a fancy meal. You can twist the trader principle into knots justifying this, but I think it was a simple attack of human decency that slipped through Rand's ideological cracks. :)  

Michael

I read that incident differently. Not as slipping through the cracks, but as how men and women can properly relate to other mankind when fully and rationally selfish - and free from others' demands/entitlement/guilt. It's not the trader principle per se, but simple appreciation (selfish evaluation) of other individual lives, I believe she indicated. For which one neither expects nor wants pay back.

I don't think ~everything~ is philosophy. But philosophy lies underneath everything, and that's a subtle and critical distinction. It materializes in practical consequences, either from good, or bad (real, or unreal) philosophies. If we don't give rotten philosophy enough attention, it always returns to bite us on the arse--usually by way of politics... or wars.

To touch on your "bullying" theme, I bet I can trace a connection between altruism and the bully. The bully is the most primitive altruist. Why and how does a bully exist? First, he manages to find enough victims who permit his acts or are too weak (physically, or psychologically and morally) to resist him. (He too is dominated by brain chemicals which give him a short rush of twisted pleasure in causing some form of pain to others). He thrives best and is more tolerated in a climate of prey and predator - or, self-sacrifice and sacrifice. By causing to others pain and loss, his puny ego is temporarily satisfied, which makes him the basest power-luster and second hander, secondary aspects of an altruist. In a culture of predominant rational selfishness, he'd be cut down, or find few victims.

(In a lesser way, I wonder where lefty liberals would be, if there were no "victims" to glorify, in order to parade their altruistic self-righteousness to others. Imagine if everyone were living healthy, purposeful, and well-off lives, who could a Progressivist create his victim out of? He thrives upon victimhood, to make examples of his idea of "social justice". Shame - he'd be lost. In the words of PJ O'Rourke, "liberals hate people". Evidently, a liberal can't stand people doing well for themselves, without help and aid).

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5 minutes ago, anthony said:

It's not the trader principle per se, but simple appreciation (selfish evaluation) of other individual lives, I believe she indicated. For which one neither expects nor wants pay back.

Tony,

Neither expects nor wants pay back?

Hmmmmmm...

Be careful...

Your ideology is slipping...

:evil:  :) 

Quip aside, as humans we are mammals. Empathy exists in mammals, neuroscience is proving how it's triggered, and oxytocin dumps make us all feel great. 

In earlier times I used to say that Rand defined man as a "rational animal," but promptly discarded the "animal" genus when it conflicted with any point she was trying to make and treated the "rational" differentia as the whole enchilada.

(But, man, could she write sex scenes. That's where she brought the animal back, even biting and scratching. :) )

Please note, I don't do this to attack Rand. I do it to adjust the scope of her ideas to the proper size so that they fit reality. So they become universal for all cases and all people, not just relegated to a small group of insiders who claim to be the only ones who can properly understand them. 

Michael

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On 10/27/2016 at 3:14 PM, william.scherk said:

I hate that.

What is so shitty about Canadian-style mixed socialism is Lesser Life Subhumans are classed as 'dangerous offenders.' They are put away for permanent, under a special rule of law.  For those who are better than them but still  'lesser,' well, our danged system keeps putting ramps up for the feeble and blows big money keeping lessers alive.

If the ruling class were up for systemic cleansing, they have found a much less direct means. Universal education and universal health care and universal child benefits tend to allow all manner of unfit cattle or commoners to erupt beyond their station. Why, I remember a great man from my youth, a high school French teacher who went on to become a popular mayor.  He 'ruled' Coquitlam with a sunny optimism and an inclusive community-development process.  He was a nobody from a Caribbean island. I see the marks he made in the community not as scars or shackles, but as bones for development. He is dead, but the bones he laid down in concert with his community are being built up into a city. Insert pointless Traboulay landscape here.

He was gifted in the classroom. French was the most deadly of 'electives' for most people. The thought of learning it was associated with hell and damnation and long lines in the rain. But somehow he brought his class up to a functional level.  

He was definitely destined to rise higher in the ruling clique had he not died. He would have gone to Ottawa as an MP and ended up  as Deputy Minister of Sterilizing Your Dreams. But I digress.

Superior One guiding humankind to perfection. Sounds like it could get godly.  Or eggy.   I see a candidate on the horizon that promises the world. Eggs must be whipped. 

The worst thing about the American political system is the Two Party System. It is too officialized, institutionalized (why the fuck should the government 'register' my party affiliation? Why is the government organizing and overseeing primary elections?)  How can such elaborate constructions as each party has built be dislodged or made more responsive?  Your rates of incumbency are fouled by the incredible amount of money spent to contest a race. The big reefs of power just get more cemented in place, it seems.  

No fixing that by November 8, and no prospect of a new party. It seems so shitty that America can't elect a third party to congress. turf a lot more grey carbuncles from their posts.  After each election you always seem to add one ratchet to the size or reach of government. 

Well, luckily there is an "Only I Can Fix" kind of guy with the best education, the best words, the best company, the best wife, the best hands, the best relations with women, the best deals.  He has ruled the roost at Trump Inc without compere, without shackles, without a care for the critics of the world, the slings and arrows.  He is of the Ruling Class, ready to take power and wield it responsibly.  He was destined to rule his entire life, since he first punched out a teacher.  He governs himself the way he would govern America ... 

Hail Trump, you weaklings, you losers. Hail Trump! He will take care of you. 

You can say the same about any presidential candidate. Hail Clinton!

I wonder if a parliamentary system might have served the US better--except it didn't seem to do so in Great Britain.

All this politico stuff is basically flotsam on the ocean of human progress. Even nuclear war won't make much difference for that. However, that's a broad and collective generalization covering nearly 7 billion people and about 200 countries. As individuals we need to look out for ourselves. I'm concerned about Clinton's absolute foreign policy incompetence and how it might set this country up for a nuclear exchange with Russia over eastern European issues with spillover into and from the Middle East. I'm not thus concerned with Trump. Regardless, Clinton can win but don't anyone think she'll be able to "rule." Even if she has any balls the American people will cut them off right out of the box. Watch. Watch and say goodbye to our current understanding of what the United States of America is. Her presidency will tear this country apart. The question is whether Trump's would do the same. He could tear off the current ruling elites and preserve the US of A--for what that's worth--or be seduced by them post rah, rah, rah Trump rallies and the beat will go on for awhile. Not long for he'll throw the economy off the rails for he has no proper understanding of the two economies which constitute the economy in toto and will traumatize both creating a Republican political disaster.

The two economies are 1) powered by government spending and 2) powered by productive activity in spite of government interference. Government makes no wealth but does cause both mis-allocation of capital and other resources and consumption and destruction of capital. The big biggie is it can make war on a grand scale. Absent war it can and did kill millions of babies and infect hundreds of millions with malaria by banning the manufacture and use of DDT. What terror about the War on Terror can match that terror? It's a comparative cosmic joke.

And the Vietnam War resulted in--if we include the Cambodian genocide--about 4-5 million deaths, military and civilian--and the communists "won" anyway. Thank you, you "ruling elite." Whoever wins this election will be part and parcel of a ruling elite, btw. The wars will go on--worthless war after worthless war, one leading to the next. But not worthless to the ruling elite. The only question will be the scale of the conflicts.

--Brant

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23 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Korben,

AT is a preposition written in capital letters for emphasis.

But there is an error in the way you wrote it.

If you want to use the singular, you don't write, "... a AT bully." You write "... AT a bully." 

:)

Michael

an AT bully   not a AT bully

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3 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Quip aside, as humans we are mammals. Empathy exists in mammals, neuroscience is proving how it's triggered, and oxytocin dumps make us all feel great. 

In earlier times I used to say that Rand defined man as a "rational animal," but promptly discarded the "animal" genus when it conflicted with any point she was trying to make and treated the "rational" differentia as the whole enchilada.

[...]

Please note, I don't do this to attack Rand. I do it to adjust the scope of her ideas to the proper size so that they fit reality. So they become universal for all cases and all people, not just relegated to a small group of insiders who claim to be the only ones who can properly understand them. 

Michael

I see much of neuroscience and neuropsychology as an attack on Reason, to undercut our rational faculty to make man not man.  This goes back to the Freudian id, that "we" have hidden impulses no matter what "we" do and it makes "us" gross and disgusting.  What's the difference between an aggressor attacking reason---btw as a tangent, I don't oversimplify and call all aggressors "bullies", I wasn't agreeing with your premises when I posted the Alex Jones picture earlier---saying in essence, "You think that's what you're doing, but this is what you really are," and a "neuropsychologist" essentially saying the same thing?  There isn't a difference.  Again this points back to the concept of the Freudian id, which points back to what Rand and what the Brandens had to say about original sin, to which neither exists, id or original sin.  I agree with the Brandens' concepts of the subconscious, psycho-epistemology, epistemology, and psychology.  I think you're making the mistake that the "lizard brain" and "mammal brain" has some kind of primacy over the "human brain" inasmuch as "these urges" exist first and then "we" try to deal with them---rather than saying man is a self-programmer, that he can program his subconscious, that his brain will react the way he wants in certain situations, ie. before these nasty chemicals or "good" ones fire off.

What you're espousing here is a form of determinism, not volition.  It seeks to make man not man, yet what he is is the rational animal.

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1 hour ago, KorbenDallas said:

What you're espousing here is a form of determinism, not volition.

Korben,

Bullshit.

What you are engaged in right now is swapping the meaning of one concept for another, then condemning the swapped word.

You are born with two arms and two legs. Is that determinism or law of identity? Think about it.

We have brains that are built with all kinds of parts, many that run on autopilot and a few select areas (very few--mostly in the prefrontal cortex) where our volition resides. Is that determinism or law of identity?

There is so much literature on this using modern tools that give repeatable results, I don't even know where to start pointing you if you are going to deny the validity of an entire field of science. That denial is an excellent example of deducing reality from a principle rather than forming principles from observation and integrating this knowledge into concepts.

As to Freud, how much do you really know about him and what he was trying to do? Just what you read from Nathaniel Branden? That's all I knew for years. Now that I am learning more (and for as much as I love NB), I'm beginning to see that my understanding was waaaaay oversimplified. (I'm not a big fan of much of the Freud that I have read, and he certainly wasn't lacking in the ego department :) , but he wasn't a blithering Toohey hell-bent on sucking all the joy out of life, nor the inventor of fairy tales, that he's been presented as in O-Land.) 

Incidentally, according to a Great Courses lecture by Charles Mathewes called "Why Evil Exists" (which is fantabulous, so much so I went through it twice--he describes how evil has been portrayed throughout history in philosophy and religion), the term "Id" came from American marketing of all things. They tried to jazz up the original German terms with Latin to make them sound academic. Freud's German word "es" means "it." Freud's German term "ich" means "I." It's sexier-sounding and more learned in English to say id rather than it, or ego rather than I.

I once made a promise to myself. I would not teach others what I had not learned myself. That put a damper on my moral condemnation muscle and holier-than-thou jollies for awhile, but boy did I start learning. 

Michael

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1 hour ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:
2 hours ago, KorbenDallas said:

What you're espousing here is a form of determinism, not volition.

Korben,

Bullshit.

What you are engaged in right now is swapping the meaning of one concept for another, then condemning the swapped word.

You are born with two arms and two legs. Is that determinism or law of identity? Think about it.

We have brains that are built with all kinds of parts, many that run on autopilot and a few select areas (very few--mostly in the prefrontal cortex) where our volition resides. Is that determinism or law of identity?

There is so much literature on this using modern tools that give repeatable results, I don't even know where to start pointing you if you are going to deny the validity of an entire field of science. That denial is an excellent example of deducing reality from a principle rather than forming principles from observation and integrating this knowledge into concepts.

To question #1:  Arms and legs are the law of identity

To #2:  Invalid question, I used "primacy" above to indicate that we have more control over our mind than many of these scientists want you to believe.  They want you to believe in metaphysical chemicals and lower brain functions over volition and reason.

To the last paragraph, there is a difference of making an identification that something exists and then saying what it exists as, meaning what are its causes.  Above I used the qualifier 'much' when saying, "much of neuroscience and neuropsychology as an attack on Reason."  I believe what these scientists have done is found some chemicals corresponding to some emotions, perhaps interplay between areas of the brain, but what they haven't done is correctly identified the causes or conditions for them and that's where philosophy and Reason comes in, which has primacy over science and what these "scientists" are claiming.  I don't think it's primitive that Rand and the Brandens identified the pain/pleasure mechanism and how we can program our minds for our own automatizations to have the correct emotional outcomes in the way we choose; what I do think is primitive are the "scientists" claiming chemicals have metaphysical primacy over our own self-programmed automatizations, over Reason and volition.

1 hour ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

As to Freud, how much do you really know about him and what he was trying to do? Just what you read from Nathaniel Branden? That's all I knew for years. Now that I am learning more (and for as much as I love NB), I'm beginning to see that my understanding was waaaaay oversimplified. (I'm not a big fan of much of the Freud that I have read, and he certainly wasn't lacking in the ego department :) , but he wasn't a blithering Toohey hell-bent on sucking all the joy out of life, nor the inventor of fairy tales, that he's been presented as in O-Land.)

I know enough that one of Nathaniel Branden's achievements was providing a solid philosophical backing to his views on psychology.

1 hour ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Incidentally, according to a Great Courses lecture by Charles Mathewes called "Why Evil Exists" (which is fantabulous, so much so I went through it twice--he describes how evil has been portrayed throughout history in philosophy and religion), the term "Id" came from American marketing of all things. They tried to jazz up the original German terms with Latin to make them sound academic. Freud's German word "es" means "it." Freud's German term "ich" means "I." It's sexier-sounding and more learned in English to say id rather than it, or ego rather than I.

Well incidentally, right before I read your reply I was looking over the syllabus of Nathaniel Branden's lectures "The Basic Principles of Objectivism" and the next one I'm going to listen to is "The Nature of Evil".  But I've listened to many, many Objectivist lectures already and read many books (and have heard their arguments on evil), but the thing I appreciate most about Nathaniel's lectures here is the psychological approach he gives to Objectivism.  And if I had to say what the nature of evil is, I'd say it lands somewhere around/near determinism, determinism vs. volition.

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5 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Tony,

Neither expects nor wants pay back?

Hmmmmmm...

Be careful...

Your ideology is slipping...

:evil:  :) 

Quip aside, as humans we are mammals. Empathy exists in mammals, neuroscience is proving how it's triggered, and oxytocin dumps make us all feel great. 

In earlier times I used to say that Rand defined man as a "rational animal," but promptly discarded the "animal" genus when it conflicted with any point she was trying to make and treated the "rational" differentia as the whole enchilada.

(But, man, could she write sex scenes. That's where she brought the animal back, even biting and scratching. :) )

Please note, I don't do this to attack Rand. I do it to adjust the scope of her ideas to the proper size so that they fit reality. So they become universal for all cases and all people, not just relegated to a small group of insiders who claim to be the only ones who can properly understand them. 

Michael

Michael, I'm unconcerned about attacks on Rand. :) I don't identify with her but with her philosophy, and that's not easy to invalidate. Actually, I have never yet seen it achieved, save for nit-picking around the edges and criticism often the result of misinterpretation.

Oxytocin (etc.) and empathy are - obviously - built in to the rational animal, from the era he was only animal. The instinct for bonding is clearly important for a species to survive. But not only good instincts. Remember, an animal is as likely to tear another animal from another herd/pack to pieces. There's the raw hatred and bigotry today from one 'group' on another, we see now. So, don't miss the dangerous chemicals/feelings that come with the pleasantly harmless.

This all comes under body-mind integration anyhow. Emotion-mind, brain-mind, the same. The "mind/body split" promoted by many thinkers is basically b.s. There's every reason they aren't in conflict with each other (except temporarily) and never have to be, when actions and feelings are reviewed and inspected regularly. Emotions, particularly, I think of as one's closest friend, instantly warning where something is amiss--and bringing good feelings when everything is right. Where they (whether emotions or simple chemicals) bring pleasure, no one, not Rand, is bothered. (Anything but: "Happiness is the state of non-contradictory joy"). I recently showed by her a quote that the help given to some stranger is rewarded by "pleasure" on the helper's part - to see that person back on his feet. The help is done by personal value, iow, not from a morality of duty. Although done at lesser cost to one's greater value hierarchy (human and material) - which would make it sacrificial. As long as the help is not expected and demanded or coerced of one.

I suspect that man's brain and consciousness is not able keep pumping out seratonin (etc.) and empathic feelings, every minute of every day. We'll run dry very quickly. And on a psychological level, nobody likes to be constantly taken advantage of, or presumed upon. When one helps someone, it should be only by choice. It's ironic that altruism is commonly equated with charity, when altruism makes charity begrudging - and eventually undermines one's charitable impulse. "Archaic", altruism is not. It's alive and kicking. And still it is widely accepted - always unquestioningly - as the supreme 'morality'. It was Rand who spotted its unmentioned premises, as contemporary as they ever were. Sacrifice others to your needs, or sacrifice yourself to others' needs.

That's where I see much of Trump's support coming from: those who sense without words that they have long been sacrificial lambs on the altar of a liberal ideology and its intellectuals..

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The physical, living human organism has metaphysical primacy over its volitional functioning? Yes or no, what's the point? The same things come out in the wash.

--Brant

add soap--the soap of reason

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