Nerian

Arbitrary desires and pursuing pleasure

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I am sorry to hear about your physical ailments, jts.  

 

That “Jabba The Hutt looking human” was *enabled* because he appears to be immobile, so someone is caring for him in more ways than I care to discus(t)s. From a moral standpoint I suppose he could be wealthy and is hiring people to help him . . . but I doubt it . . . a rich person might also be able to purchase psychological counseling.

Spock, you have observed the obese humanoid from the planet Dough Nutt. What should we do with him?

Since he has asked for our help we will tell his caretakers he is on holiday. We will transport him to the holodeck where he will lie upon a combination bed and toilet. He will have access to a straw which is attached to a replicator that will only supply him with water, until he loses a large quantity of mass. Then, when he is able to walk we will place him at fat camp in the Texas badlands, where he will need to walk a prescribed distance for a small quantity of caloric intake. After that . . .    

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On 1/20/2017 at 0:26 PM, jts said:

For the past 16 years I've been battling an inoperable spinal cord tumor in the neck that causes a degree of paralysis and body deterioration neck down. I am strict in avoiding things that promote tumors. I do not want to promote the spinal cord tumor in moderation or a little bit or once in a while. I must be what you call silly and dogmatic.

Over the years my body has acquired a sensitiveness to where it reacts violently against even small amounts of pro-tumor things, let alone what you call excess. And the reaction is not against sugar and starch but the weird ass chemicals. I can eat large amounts of sweet fruit without being bothered by the sugar.

My sense of taste has changed too. For me salad dressing tastes worse than bad, it tastes revolting evil. I can't eat honeydew melon because the acid burns my mouth and lips.

Suddenly we know where you're coming from and it all makes a lot more sense for we can see things better from your perspective.

When you poison yourself you know it immediately and stop. We others may be poisoning ourselves and not know it for decades. Supermarkets--almost every food store--are full of poisons. And for that we pay money, a lot of money.

--Brant

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On 1/20/2017 at 2:26 PM, jts said:

For the past 16 years I've been battling an inoperable spinal cord tumor in the neck that causes a degree of paralysis and body deterioration neck down. I am strict in avoiding things that promote tumors. I do not want to promote the spinal cord tumor in moderation or a little bit or once in a while. I must be what you call silly and dogmatic.

Over the years my body has acquired a sensitiveness to where it reacts violently against even small amounts of pro-tumor things, let alone what you call excess. And the reaction is not against sugar and starch but the weird ass chemicals. I can eat large amounts of sweet fruit without being bothered by the sugar.

My sense of taste has changed too. For me salad dressing tastes worse than bad, it tastes revolting evil. I can't eat honeydew melon because the acid burns my mouth and lips.

 

I season my salads  with pseudo-salt (potassium chloride).

You are in a tight place, in terms of your health.  You have no choice but to be vigilant. 

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3 hours ago, BaalChatzaf said:

I season my salads  with pseudo-salt (potassium chloride).

You are in a tight place, in terms of your health.  You have no choice but to be vigilant. 

I'm a hedonist about food but I look upon seasoning as cheating. For example you might be able to make dogshit taste good by putting enough seasoning on it but I require food to taste good without seasoning.

 

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4 hours ago, jts said:

I'm a hedonist about food but I look upon seasoning as cheating. For example you might be able to make dogshit taste good by putting enough seasoning on it but I require food to taste good without seasoning.

Dog poop? Good luck with that.

--Brant

shit is shit is shit

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On 20/01/2017 at 8:05 AM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

5. Last thing, and this is a quibble. It's to get out of the us-against-them frame and into seeking wisdom. I don't care much for the expression "Objectivism says" and similar. Objectivism is not a person. It's a collection of literature and ideas. :) Use that term ("Objectivism says") if you like and let Objectivism talk up a storm. I won't. I find it a super-religious way of talking. It makes "Objectivism" seem like a god you have to get approval from.

That is all I'm doing. I assure you.

I'm setting the context. All I mean by it is "consider this is a proposition made by Objectivism", or if you like, "this is an Objectivist idea", and here are my thoughts or problems with it.

I have no interest in disproving Rand, or getting props for finding errors for the sake of it. I am looking for truth. I have no interest whatsoever in social props. I came here to get feedback. Other people are useful for working through ideas.

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On 20/01/2017 at 10:49 AM, anthony said:

"Objectivism ... doesn't even consider our natures relevant". Why should it (any more than it does?)

Our biology is a metaphysical given, it doesn't need much more philosophical attention than its fact of existence, its specific and special purposes and of the need to keep a watchful eye on any biological drives, such as the possible effects of hormones (etc.) causing impulses and erratic urges.

I mentioned mind-body integration before.

But the main error, I think, you need to fully differentiate sensory pleasure/satisfaction(touch, taste, particularly) - from emotional pleasure, which you seemingly combine.

The second is a consequence of one's thought-about and chosen values - the first is all physical sensation (sought excessively for its own sake, it would be hedonistic behaviour).

At times of course, one's high value, and resultant emotions, and senses/sensuality - all peak together with another human being - and thus, sex with a loved person. When they meet creates the ultimate emotion "non-contradictory joy".

I disagree. Many experiences give us psychological pleasure, for seemingly no reason, and different people enjoy different experiences. Some people enjoy snowboarding, others do not. Are you suggesting that the psychological pleasure a person gets from snowboarding is a result of their beliefs and ideas?

Why do we laugh? Is it because we chose to laugh? Or did we simply find something funny? And did we choose what we find funny, or do we simply respond to things that are funny to us? Do you think our sense of humour is a result of our beliefs and our ideas?

Why do some people enjoy learning so much?

Why do some people enjoy sports so much?

They are gaining a psychological pleasure from these experiences, but it has nothing to do with their beliefs or ideas. They never chose the kinds of activities they enjoy, any more than what tastes they enjoy.

Why do some people like music so much? Why do some people not like music at all? Neuroscinece has shown that people with musical anhedonia have less connections between the auditory cortex and their nucleus acumbens, which is the pleasure center. So people who don't like music, don't like it, because it doesn't give them pleasure. People who like it, like it, because it gives them pleasure. And this was never chosen.

Furthermore, neuroscience shows us that there is really only one pleasure center in the brain. There is no actual neurological between physical pleasure and psychological pleasure. 

I'm not saying that our emotions are not sometimes the result of our evaluations, and that emotions are not also a source of pleasure or pain, but I am not merely speaking about emotions.

But certainly, not always, otherwise we would have to say all depression and all mania comes from a person's evaluations. This is simply counter to known neurological facts.

Furthermore, I would have to ask why one would evaluate anything as good or bad and thereby get an emotion from it? Why would you feel anxious or fearful about something if not because you anticipate physical or psychological pain? And I suggest that what gives one psychological pain is no more chosen than physical pain.

In fact, the more you look into the actual science, the more you realize, science is aware of all this.

Ethics cannot tell us what to value, it can only tell us how we ought to act to get it. I suggest that the choice to live is only made as a contingent instrumental value to the things that we value intrinsically, those things that in themselves give us physical and psychological pleasure. Ethics can then tell us, given that you want to live for these things you want, here are some groundrules for not destroying yourself in the process, so that you may continue enjoying yourself.

That is my current conception. I think, strangely, Hume figured this out and I never understood the profundity of it until now.

Quote
Nothing is more usual in philosophy, and even in common life, than to talk of the combat of passion and reason, to give the preference to reason, and assert that men are only so far virtuous as they conform themselves to [reason's] dictates. Every rational creature, it is said, is obliged to regulate his actions by reason; and if any other motive or principle challenge the direction of his conduct, he ought to oppose it, till it be entirely subdued, or at least brought to a conformity with that superior principle. On this method of thinking the greatest part of moral philosophy, antient and modern, seems to be founded; nor is there an ampler field, as well for metaphysical arguments, as popular declamations, than this supposed pre-eminence of reason above passion....
It is from the prospect of pain or pleasure that the aversion or propensity arises towards any object: And these emotions extend themselves to the causes and effects of that object, as they are pointed out to us by reason and experience. It can never in the least concern us to know, that such objects are causes, and such others effects, if both the causes and effects be indifferent to us. Where the objects themselves do not affect us, their connexion can never give them any influence; and it is plain, that as reason is nothing but the discovery of this connexion, it cannot be by its means that the objects are able to affect us.
Since reason alone can never produce any action, or give rise to volition, I infer, that the same faculty is as incapable of preventing volition, or of disputing the preference with any passion or emotion. This consequence is necessary. It is impossible reason could have the latter effect of preventing volition, but by giving an impulse in a contrary direction to our passion.... Nothing can oppose or retard the impulse of passion, but a contrary impulse.... We speak not strictly and philosophically when we talk of the combat of passion and of reason. Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them
- David Hume

Reason can only figure out how we can get what we want, and it can also order our innate drives and desires in the service of the desire of enjoying ourselves more fully. Such that, I won't sit here eating chocolate, but I'll have a chicken breast and vegetables instead, because that is going to give me a higher oder of pleasure in life than the immediate base pleasure of some chocolate. So an action is only irrational if it doesn't lead to its intended goal. But reason cannot say whether we ought to enjoy this or that activity, or whether or not this or that type of woman should be attractive to us, what kind of lifestyle we should enjoy, what kind of activities we should pursue. All of this is merely discovered by us, and the things that we enjoy form the only basis for choosing to live in the first place.

These are my current thoughts on the matter. Criticisms welcomed.

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6 minutes ago, Nerian said:

Furthermore, neuroscience shows us that there is really only one pleasure center in the brain.

Nerian,

That's a hell of a statement.

I would check it if I were you.

The brain has far more pleasure places in it than the nucleus accumbens.

There are hedonic hotspots all over the brain.

Michael

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Here is an example of the hell a person creates for themselves if they think ethics is going to make them happy

http://www.philosophyinaction.com/podcasts/2014-04-20-Q2.html

In her response, she says that the questioner is being 'rationalistic' and needs to discover 'what they really like to do rather than what thye think they should like.' This is exactly my point. You do not choose it. And ethics only role is to help you live so you can continue to get more of it. 

I feel for the questioner who I think actually was listening to the Objectivist ethics as it is stated. Peikoff has said that virtue is a necessary but also sufficient condition for happiness. Unfortunately, in my opinion, no it is not. A life filled with the things you enjoy, meaningful activites, and a whole host of things that cannot be deduced out of thin air, that have things to do with the very nature of our brains is what will make you happy. 

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2 minutes ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Nerian,

That's a hell of a statement.

I would check it if I were you.

The brain has far more pleasure places in it than the nucleus accumbens.

Michael

I think you misunderstand. I wasn't claiming that. There's a structure that forms the 'pleasure center' and there's no seperate one for 'psychological' and 'emotional' pleasures. The patterns of activation may be different for different pleasures, but pleasure is pleasure.

Quote

The hedonic hotspots or pleasure centers – i.e., brain structures that mediate pleasure or "liking" reactions from intrinsic rewards – within the reward system that have been identified as of May 2015 are contained in subcompartments within the nucleus accumbens shell, ventral pallidum, and parabrachial nucleus of the pons;[12][13] the insular cortex and orbitofrontal cortex likely contain hedonic hotspots as well

This is what I mean.

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6 minutes ago, Nerian said:

This is what I mean.

Nerian,

Wikipedia is your friend?

:)

(I was looking at it to get the list of other regions and your post crossed with my addition above. :) )

I can't recommend the book Snap highly enough. (Just for starters, but what a hell of a great start.)

It will disabuse you of certain oversimplified notions about neuroscience. Like, for instance, that brain activity is all in the brain.

Or, hell. Being a Wiki-warrior works, too, up to a point.

:) 

Michael

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3 minutes ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Nerian,

Wikipedia is your friend?

:)

I was looking at it to get the list of other regions and your post crossed with my addition above. :) )

I can't recommend the book Snap highly enough. (Just for starters, but what a hell of a great start.)

It will disabuse you of certain oversimplified notions about neuroscience. Like, for instance, that brain activity is all in the brain.

Or, hell. Being a Wiki-warrior works, too, up to a point.

:) 

Michael

Am I making a mistake by finding information to support my statements and presenting it?

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2 minutes ago, Nerian said:

Am I making a mistake by finding information to support my statements and presenting it?

Nerian,

No.

I think you are making a mistake by trying to teach people something you haven't learned yet.

Do as you please, but, hey. Maybe you can't help it because you can't choose the pleasure it brings.

:)

Michael

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15 hours ago, Nerian said:

I disagree. Many experiences give us psychological pleasure, for seemingly no reason, and different people enjoy different experiences. Some people enjoy snowboarding, others do not. Are you suggesting that the psychological pleasure a person gets from snowboarding is a result of their beliefs and ideas?

Why do we laugh? Is it because we chose to laugh? Or did we simply find something funny? And did we choose what we find funny, or do we simply respond to things that are funny to us? Do you think our sense of humour is a result of our beliefs and our ideas?

Why do some people enjoy learning so much?

Why do some people enjoy sports so much?

They are gaining a psychological pleasure from these experiences, but it has nothing to do with their beliefs or ideas. They never chose the kinds of activities they enjoy, any more than what tastes they enjoy.

Why do some people like music so much? Why do some people not like music at all? Neuroscinece has shown that people with musical anhedonia have less connections between the auditory cortex and their nucleus acumbens, which is the pleasure center. So people who don't like music, don't like it, because it doesn't give them pleasure. People who like it, like it, because it gives them pleasure. And this was never chosen.

Furthermore, neuroscience shows us that there is really only one pleasure center in the brain. There is no actual neurological between physical pleasure and psychological pleasure. 

I'm not saying that our emotions are not sometimes the result of our evaluations, and that emotions are not also a source of pleasure or pain, but I am not merely speaking about emotions.

But certainly, not always, otherwise we would have to say all depression and all mania comes from a person's evaluations. This is simply counter to known neurological facts.

Furthermore, I would have to ask why one would evaluate anything as good or bad and thereby get an emotion from it? Why would you feel anxious or fearful about something if not because you anticipate physical or psychological pain? And I suggest that what gives one psychological pain is no more chosen than physical pain.

In fact, the more you look into the actual science, the more you realize, science is aware of all this.

Ethics cannot tell us what to value, it can only tell us how we ought to act to get it. I suggest that the choice to live is only made as a contingent instrumental value to the things that we value intrinsically, those things that in themselves give us physical and psychological pleasure. Ethics can then tell us, given that you want to live for these things you want, here are some groundrules for not destroying yourself in the process, so that you may continue enjoying yourself.

That is my current conception. I think, strangely, Hume figured this out and I never understood the profundity of it until now.

Reason can only figure out how we can get what we want, and it can also order our innate drives and desires in the service of the desire of enjoying ourselves more fully. Such that, I won't sit here eating chocolate, but I'll have a chicken breast and vegetables instead, because that is going to give me a higher oder of pleasure in life than the immediate base pleasure of some chocolate. So an action is only irrational if it doesn't lead to its intended goal. But reason cannot say whether we ought to enjoy this or that activity, or whether or not this or that type of woman should be attractive to us, what kind of lifestyle we should enjoy, what kind of activities we should pursue. All of this is merely discovered by us, and the things that we enjoy form the only basis for choosing to live in the first place.

These are my current thoughts on the matter. Criticisms welcomed.

But I didn't get round to mentioning ethics, I only raised emotions vis-a-vis sensations. I said that when senses and emotions and values all come together, is the best possible result, non-contradictory joy. Definitely there's value-variance among people, and this can be subjective - or objective, if they are as rational about their values as they can be. 

A "person's evaluations" observed in the broad mass of people, will often be subjective and self-contradictory, what of it? The question is, are rational and objective evaluations possible? Are there, in fact, 'objective values'? Values, "psychological" and otherwise are of utmost importance for the pleasure they bring. Rand says it best: "Values are the motivating power of man's actions and a ~necessity~ of his survival".

I argued to not equalize sensations with emotions or you can trivialize emotions (and wrongly elevate sensations). Definitely, we do discover values the same manner we find knowledge, and conceptual knowledge starts with the senses. Then we integrate and evaluate facts for their good and bad, and gain values and learn of disvalues. Conversely, all emotions are the ~consequence~ of values in context of reality. Eg. A threat to a value brings about fear in one. Granted, something which doesn't appeal to the senses - a bitter taste, say - is not going to appeal as much of a value, at first. Then again, it may well be that something which has an unpleasant taste (feeling etc.) can be very good for you - or a pleasant taste, bad - and you consciously learn to override the sensation and appreciate the substance/food as a minor value. I think an emotional hierarchy relates directly to one's hierarchy of values, which helps determine, emotionally, the values' relative importance (and therefore which (high) value should not be sacrificed to which lesser value). 

"Ethics cannot tell us what to value, it can only tell us how we ought to act to get it". Clearly that's only half true -- unless you're thinking of something other than Objectivist ethics. WHICH values and why, needs to be the first enquiry to ask of a morality.

"Man's life is the standard of value". AR. ( And each man's life is his ultimate value, and all subsequent values, looked for, found, and made, derive from that base, his life-value).

Ethics "...is a code of values..."AR

Hedonism = sensationalism, I think.  Almost by definition. Hedonism I'd say is a subjectively compulsive drive to find only sensory pleasure, in denial of rational values and so lacking true emotional response. (Self-disgust might be one effect).

I can't see that Hume can have any "profundity" in this - as he was an empiricist, skeptic, and therefore, anti-conceptualist - seeing him as profound fits him poorly and contradicts his methodology. Certainly he's well known for placing emotions above reason. "Ethics...groundrules for not destroying yourself in the process so you can continue enjoying yourself." That could be a direct quote from Hume. Emotionalism with skepticism: result, quite a hedonistic ethics.

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15 hours ago, Nerian said:

Here is an example of the hell a person creates for themselves if they think ethics is going to make them happy

http://www.philosophyinaction.com/podcasts/2014-04-20-Q2.html

In her response, she says that the questioner is being 'rationalistic' and needs to discover 'what they really like to do rather than what thye think they should like.' This is exactly my point. You do not choose it. And ethics only role is to help you live so you can continue to get more of it. 

I feel for the questioner who I think actually was listening to the Objectivist ethics as it is stated. Peikoff has said that virtue is a necessary but also sufficient condition for happiness. Unfortunately, in my opinion, no it is not. A life filled with the things you enjoy, meaningful activites, and a whole host of things that cannot be deduced out of thin air, that have things to do with the very nature of our brains is what will make you happy. 

Going on in the same vein, "You do not choose it. And ethics only role is to help you live so you can continue to get more of it".

You have a very Humean-empiricist formula there. He has got your attention, hasn't he? Objectivists would retort that the "very nature of our brains" is - biological. The nature of man's consciousness is metaphysical and philosophical.

Go ahead and flood your brain's "pleasure centres" with sensory stimuli and see how far you go. ;)

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I knew someone who was using Nutri-system to lose weight. They did not like their frozen burritos so they gave them to me. The recipe was excellent, corn meal, whole corn, peppers, etc., but the food was overloaded with spices that made it un-eatable except when placed on a country ditch bank. To a person’s taste, spice can be good, bad or downright ugly.    

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19 hours ago, anthony said:

Going on in the same vein, "You do not choose it. And ethics only role is to help you live so you can continue to get more of it".

You have a very Humean-empiricist formula there. He has got your attention, hasn't he? Objectivists would retort that the "very nature of our brains" is - biological. The nature of man's consciousness is metaphysical and philosophical.

Go ahead and flood your brain's "pleasure centres" with sensory stimuli and see how far you go. ;)

There are more pleasures than physical pleasures. I agree with Mill that there are higher quality pleasures that are worth pursuing. A qualitative hedonism.

When I say pleasure, I include psychological pleasures. I do not equate them with emotions. The pleasure we get when we satisfy one of our desires. Our desires are innate and amoral.

An emotion can have positive valence, but emotions are not the only type of psychological pleasure. People have different drives and psychological pleasure conditions. In fact, one professor suggests that we 16 basic desires, and each person has a different amount of each . How much each desire you have innately will define the things you enjoy doing, ie what gives you pleasure.

https://explorable.com/16-basic-desires-theory

Sex is pretty much the only physical pleasure that I'd chase, and half the fun of sex is psychological.

Here are some examples of such pleasures I have come up with:

Fun - a class in itself, many autotelic activities that one personally finds enjoyable (ie. it triggers one or more of your innate pleasure conditions)

  • Music
  • Russian cuties
  • Beauty in any form
  • Reading fiction
  • Understanding and learning (The little jolt of pleasure when things click)
  • Dancing (Fun)
  • Chasing tail & flirting (Fun)
  • Working out (Pleasure of power over yourself)
  • Endrophins (Endogenous morphine feels good)
  • Laughter
  • Hanging with friends
  • Thrills like driving real fast, or doing a flip, or shooting a gun.
  • Sports (Fun)

This is not an exhaustive list, and such a list will be particular to each person by their nature.

Writing this list has gotten me all excited about life. God damn. And I wouldn't do any of it for the sake of 'survival'. I want to survive for the sake of these types of things. Life has no value except for doing things and experiencing things that are inherently enjoyable, ie. that are intrinsically pleasurable.

Objectivist ethics in my mind now stands merely as, "here are some things you need to do to survive as an animal with a volitional consciousness".

Then the massive leap that successful living will make you happy. As Tara Smith says: Objectivism doesn't just teach you that you should be happy, it teaches you how to be happy. As Peikoff states: virtue is a necessary but also sufficient condition for happiness. But unfortunately ethics cannot do that. It tells you nothing of what to do with life once you obtain it. It doesn't tell you what the point of life is as a consciousness experiencing it. It doesn’t tell you why you should want to live. It says nothing about what matters IN life. It says nothing about the fact that our desires and the things we enjoy - psychological and physical - are ultimately set by our natures. The Objectivist answer to “what should I do?” is “you should survive by reason”. But for what? In service of what? Living? Why live? To be happy. How to be happy? Pursue values that let you live. Why? Because it will make you happy. It's circular and has no relation to how human's actually attain happiness or what actually motivates us in life. Life is the standard of value for survival, but it is an instrumental value, not the standard, for life-as-conscious-experience. The standard of value in consciousness is pleasure. Joy is the highest quality pleasure. Everything in life, everything you want concretely, comes down to the passions. Reason is needed to determine proper means for maximizing pleasure long range, such that one does not get morbidly obese or get HIV, which would be very unpleasant, and limit pleasure. Obviously. But the point of it is indeed to maximize your pleasure. It's rational hedonistic-interest. :D

The value of life, the instrinsic good of being conscious, and the reason why one ought to want to survive, the point of living, is the satisfaction of one's desires and the attainment of joy. This also means suffering in the pursuit of difficult goals. As Nietzsche points out:

Quote

“…human beings do not seek pleasure and avoid displeasure. What human beings want, whatever the smallest organism wants, is an increase of power; driven by that will they seek resistance, they need something that opposes it – displeasure, as an obstacle to their will to power, is therefore a normal fact; human beings do not avoid it, they are rather in continual need of it.” (The Will to Power, Friedrich Nietzsche)

Though I don't agree exactly, the gist is there. Improving your capacities certainly does give one a certain higher quality pleasure, there are studies that show people place more meaning of things they had to work hard for. I think this is an innate trait in humans. We need to be doing something hard that we find worth doing in order to feel some sense of meaning in our lives. Struggle (suffering in a sense) in the pursuit of some lofty goal then, should not be avoided by, but embraced as part of the process of attaining the highest pleasures.

Nietzsche eloquently explains:

Quote

But what if pleasure and pain should be so closely connected that he who wants the greatest possible amount of the one must also have the greatest possible amount of the other - Nietzsche

Indeed, this is probably not far from the truth.

Objectivist Ethics makes some good suggestions on how to go on surviving. Rationality. Independent judgement. Productive activity. I remain on board that these are good survival values.

On 23/01/2017 at 3:00 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Nerian,

No.

I think you are making a mistake by trying to teach people something you haven't learned yet.

Do as you please, but, hey. Maybe you can't help it because you can't choose the pleasure it brings.

:)

Michael

Does being snarky ever get you anywhere? ;)

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51 minutes ago, Nerian said:

Does being snarky ever get you anywhere? ;)

Nerian,

It got me a forum, for whatever that's worth.

I wasn't being snarky, though. I just think if you are going to preach shit, and insist on applying it to everybody else, you should also apply it to yourself.

Or does it not apply in the case I said?

Seriously.

If it does not apply to you in the manner I said, how do you justify preaching it for others? Are you above the reality you preach for others?

Someday if you are truly interested in volition instead of trying to teach your opinions as if they were facts, you might actually learn something about it.

Michael

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1 hour ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Nerian,

It got me a forum, for whatever that's worth.

I wasn't being snarky, though. I just think if you are going to preach shit, and insist on applying it to everybody else, you should also apply it to yourself.

Or does it not apply in the case I said?

Seriously.

If it does not apply to you in the manner I said, how do you justify preaching it for others? Are you above the reality you preach for others?

Someday if you are truly interested in volition instead of trying to teach your opinions as if they were facts, you might actually learn something about it.

Michael

I'm expressing my thoughts in an open forum in the hopes for constructive feedback. That is not preaching. I'm not attempting to teach others anything.

Please. I am not the boogie man. I am not your enemy. I'm not telling anyone what they have to think. I'm not forcing my opinions on anyone.

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3 hours ago, Nerian said:

There are more pleasures than physical pleasures. I agree with Mill that there are higher quality pleasures that are worth pursuing. A qualitative hedonism.

When I say pleasure, I include psychological pleasures. I do not equate them with emotions. The pleasure we get when we satisfy one of our desires. Our desires are innate and amoral.

An emotion can have positive valence, but emotions are not the only type of psychological pleasure. People have different drives and psychological pleasure conditions. In fact, one professor suggests that we 16 basic desires, and each person has a different amount of each . How much each desire you have innately will define the things you enjoy doing, ie what gives you pleasure.

https://explorable.com/16-basic-desires-theory

Sex is pretty much the only physical pleasure that I'd chase, and half the fun of sex is psychological.

Here are some examples of such pleasures I have come up with:

Fun - a class in itself, many autotelic activities that one personally finds enjoyable (ie. it triggers one or more of your innate pleasure conditions)

  • Music
  • Russian cuties
  • Beauty in any form
  • Reading fiction
  • Understanding and learning (The little jolt of pleasure when things click)
  • Dancing (Fun)
  • Chasing tail & flirting (Fun)
  • Working out (Pleasure of power over yourself)
  • Endrophins (Endogenous morphine feels good)
  • Laughter
  • Hanging with friends
  • Thrills like driving real fast, or doing a flip, or shooting a gun.
  • Sports (Fun)

This is not an exhaustive list, and such a list will be particular to each person by their nature.

Writing this list has gotten me all excited about life. God damn. And I wouldn't do any of it for the sake of 'survival'. I want to survive for the sake of these types of things. Life has no value except for doing things and experiencing things that are inherently enjoyable, ie. that are intrinsically pleasurable.

 

I got through your wish list before I was 30 (I think there even was a Russian cutie... maybe she was Slavic ...) plus some more items and didn't stop then. Really, what does it leave one?

That approach simply, is the desire to satisfy all the possibilities in reality and one's body and all of one's urges - and - to hell with the price. 

"Psychological pleasure"-- but naturally! Why is that new? Rand's quote in full : "Values are the motivating power of man's actions and a *necessity* of his survival, psychologically, as well as physically".

She doesn't distinguish survival from "flourishing" (the Oi'st favorite) - notice. Hers is "survival" of man qua man, which is all-inclusive of his flourishing, i.e. living life to its maximum potential. What was it she also said?

"To teach you not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourselves and live".?

 But "psychological pleasure" treated and acted on ~as an end in itself~ is also going to require a "psychological" price to be paid, and that may be lifelong. "Take what you want and pay for it"- the man said. Take my word, one does and will pay. Not only once.

I'm not urging caution on you, I actually do believe in taking (rational) risks, exploring and adventuring (actively and intellectually) and nobody could have taught a thing to me when I was 20 something. Like many youngsters with energy to burn, wild hormones, a good mind and terribly little life experience, I doubt you're much different: impatient, rebellious, gonna live forever, etc.. But I am stating for the record that sensory and sensual pleasures pursued and taken - without objective value and virtue - will steal away your capacity for pleasure. Do you see the paradox?

The good, lasting emotions and pleasures become slowly more distanced from one, because rational values based in reality, their cause, have been compromised. It will gradually create in one 'a mind-body' separation. Are you willing and able to make that sacrifice? 

 

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I read all three pages with interest, although I confess to skimming some of the posts, a privilege of perspective. Let's agree that life is an unchosen gift, each of us challenged with a unique latent character to evolve, an awkward situation to grapple with. I know about physical, psychological, financial, and social utility (pleasure and pain). Marginal utility bores me (maximizing pleasure or longer-term profit).

I feel the same indifference about book reviewers and grammar nazis. It took a long time to find my voice, to write freely and personally and uniquely. I understand Ayn Rand in those terms -- and more importantly Scott Fitzgerald, the only author I've found who had the gift of literary genius. Like Ayn Rand, there was a little gap of daylight in the fortunes of cultural hegemony that let Fitzgerald slip through, and both writers were promptly ridiculed, repudiated, and scorned. It's fine to say that Rand's work still lives, and Fitzgerald remains an icon of his time. Has nothing to do with their experience of pleasure and pain.

Nor did they move the world in any meaningful sense. Creative work is individual.

In the broadest sense, living is just so. Each of us is an unrepeatable dice roll of physicality and an unchosen time and place.

 

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4 hours ago, anthony said:

But I am stating for the record that sensory and sensual pleasures pursued and taken - without objective value and virtue - will steal away your capacity for pleasure.

Tony,

Wise words.

Pleasure without some kind of view where you fit in within existence and life in general (a conviction, a belief, or at least an opinion about the meaning of life) does lead to bad places over time--the biggest is boredom. Existential boredom. Sometimes suicide.

There are suicide stats in a book I just read on "meaning." People devoted mostly to pleasure have a far higher rate of suicide than people who live within core stories (philosophies or religions) where they--as individuals--can play a heroic role and matter to those around them.

The four pillars of meaning, according to this book, are:
1. Belonging
2. Purpose
3. Storytelling
4. Transcendence

For people who follow Objectivism, they get a sense of belonging to something bigger by being part of an enlightened elite (although they bicker like cats in heat about who controls the group and what the criteria for belonging are--especially the fundies :) ), their purpose is to live their lives according to reason in a manner to attain maximum moral potential (Rand called this striving for "moral perfection") and, also, improve the lot of other humans (after all, they produce to sell to whom on the market if not other people? :) -- in O-Land this improvement of others is through practicing laissez-faire capitalism), they are heroes in the stories of their lives and their overall core story (Rand even said "man is an heroic being"), and they seek transcendence in using Rand's heroes or other similar people as role models to imitate and guide them to become better versions of themselves (Rand called this a "command to rise").

I speak from not only looking at Rand's words for a long time, but also from observing how O-Land people act online from my position of relatively small prominence.

Pleasure to folks following Objectivism fall under this, not above it. They are not guided by hedonic pleasure alone. To pretend otherwise is to misidentify what people are doing. They seek meaning, not just pleasure (or even happiness). All one has to do to see this is just look at them.

It's that old mental process I refer to over and over. If one doesn't identify something correctly, one can't evaluate it correctly. And the best way to evaluate what happens in the Objectivist world is to look at the words in the philosophy, but also at what people do (how they behave and what they say) who claim to adopt these ideas. If one doesn't look, one can't see, so to speak.

btw - The book I refer to is The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters by Emily Esfahani Smith written and published just recently (2017). She extols serving others as an end in itself waaaaaaay too much for my taste, but it's easy to step around it like I just did above. (Happiness and meaning are not either-or. We need both, although for some damn reason, people--especially pro-altruist people--keep trying to frame this as either-or and talk about self-abnegation and crap like that.) There is a lot of empirical evidence on the psychological benefits of feeling like one matters to others, though. She produces a good discussion of modern research on meaning in positive psychology and some neuroscience.

In short, trying to put pleasure in the place of meaning is like trying to make the heart work like the liver. Without both, you don't fare too well in life. :) 

Michael

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"Man is an heroic being"--the problem is, heroic for what?

Communism?

See, We the Living. It had its heroic communist.

Then there were the heroic Nazis.

Objectivism has no God. Therefore the "heroic" Objectivist man might someday do horrible wrongs just like Hitler, Stalin and Mao. That we wouldn't recognize that Objectivism makes no difference. Certain people have already demonstrated the ability to take it over and make it over. They're centered on ARI plus Binswanger with his nutty immigration views and private club philosophizing. The big man on top started by the big woman on top as a follow on to her fictional John Galt.

Objectivism needs the God of Reality. Everything that exists is part of that God. The heroism is from knowing It and bowing down to It which to be commanded must be obeyed. This demands modesty respecting existence, but its for fun too especially for the young, so it can be right to be full of oneself respecting oneself although not respecting others.

Man is not an heroic being but a being capable of doing heroic things. By such do you know him and her. Heroism is not something you climb into and drive off in like a tank. The tank is not a being at all and is not you. The same goes for posturing.

Reality not man is perfect but man is perfectly capable of modifying reality through his works of creation. The imperfection of man is from his free will but even his fuckups can be turned or transmogrified into buildups through learning from failure, the biggest being Top-Downism. Rand was a Top-Downer. Reality is a Bottom-Upper. That's where Reality is--it sleeps with the Objectivist axioms--go roust it out.

--Brant

 

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I think one has to adjust the heroic aspect of man with a mental shift from its traditional and ancient meaning, of looking for and looking up, in admiration, at a sterling man(woman) -- for all the inspirational affirmation that does bring. It becomes all very Platonist, removed from reality, maybe tending to the second-handed. It's 'an image' of man (in fact, or fiction and art) one needs to know exists and can exist, but is not the purpose of the 'heroic' in Objectivism. Of highest priority is to make and see the hero in your own self, an 'ordinary' individual doing the 'ordinary' things of living - which are anything but ordinary, imitative and conventional - taking in reality, thinking, making the choices, following through with the actions and keeping to your principles.

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