regi

Ayn Rand And The End Of Love

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21 hours ago, Rodney said:

If I understand your point, I would reply that consciousness being an irreducible primary (I assume you agree with Rand on that), we will never be able to say that THIS physical state is a complete explanation of THAT conscious state--however many connections one might prove. Therefore, if the former contradicts the latter, we should assume that more investigation is required of the former. 

Rodney, Good thought. I liked your essay very much at first read and will go read it again. I don't know if the perception exists that consciousness is 'not quite' as much "an irreducible primary" as is existence. Iow, consciousness has an uncertain (or only physical) identity and could be mutable. The opinion of science and scientists give the impression of that. To them must be said, short of discovering we live in 19 parallel universes, reality will always be reality, and so consciousness, ditto.

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23 hours ago, Rodney said:

My point was that science is not restricted to the study of physical things. Psychology, I said in answer, is saturated with concepts of consciousness.

Do you regard psychology a science?

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3 minutes ago, regi said:

Do you regard psychology a science?

Yes. 

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21 hours ago, Rodney said:

I would reply that consciousness being an irreducible primary

Rand described an irreducible primary as, "a fact which cannot be analyzed (i.e., broken into components) or derived from antecedent facts."

I agree that consciousness is axiomatic because it cannot be denied without contradiction, because such a denial is a conscious act. I have never completely agreed with Rand's meaning of irredicible primary because her, "analyzed," does not include, "not contingent on any other fact." Consciousness is contingent, it is only possible to physical, living, entities. Consciousness is only primary in the sense that a physical thing is physical, a living thing is living, and a conscious organism is conscious.

I think the important point is that Rand was not a physicalists (materialist) in the sense that the physical is all there is and that everything can be explained in terms of the physical.

[Note: In the following quotes, Rand uses the words "matter" and "material" for the physical.]

"Please bear in mind the full statement: 'Existence exists—and the act of grasping that statement implies two corollary axioms: that something exists which one perceives and that one exists possessing consciousness, consciousness being the faculty of perceiving that which exists.'" [Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, "Foreword to the First Edition"]

About consciousness, she wrote:

"And above all, above absolutely all, he must not lose the commitment to reason—because if he does, everything crashes. ... His essence, as a being, is his consciousness—not his body, because the body without consciousness is just inanimate matter. Whether he has a soul or is a material being with the attribute of consciousness, in either case his distinctive, essential attribute is consciousness, not matter. And his consciousness is his reason. When he renounces that, he has renounced himself, his essence, his nature...." [The Journals of Ayn Rand, "13 - Notes While Writing: 1947-1952"]

"Man's consciousness is not material—but neither is it an element opposed to matter. It is the element by which man controls matter—but the two are part of one entity and one universe—man cannot change matter, he can control it only by understanding it and shaping it to his purpose. (The distinction between "entity" and "action"—between noun and verb. The essence of being.)

"Man's soul or spirit is his consciousness—here, now, on earth. The ruling element, the control, the free-will element of his consciousness is his reason. The rest—his emotions, his memory, his desires, his instincts—all are determined by his thinking, by the kind of conclusions he has made and the kind of premises he has accepted." [The Journals of Ayn Rand, "13 - Notes While Writing: 1947-1952"]

She clearly distinguishes between the physical (material) body and the non-physical consciousness:

"Man is an entity of mind and body, an indivisible union of two elements: of consciousness and matter. Matter is that which one perceives, consciousness is that which perceives it; your fundamental act of perception is an indivisible whole consisting of both; to deny, to [separate] or to equate them is to contradict the nature of your perception, to contradict the axiom of existence, to contradict your basic definitions and to invalidate whatever concepts you might attempt to hold thereafter.

Your consciousness is that which you know—and are alone to know—by direct perception. It is that indivisible unit where knowledge and being are one, it is your "I," it is the self which distinguishes you from all else in the universe. No consciousness can perceive another consciousness, only the results of its actions in material form, since only matter is an object of perception, and consciousness is the subject, perceivable by its nature only to itself. To perceive the consciousness, the "I," of another would mean to become that other "I"—a contradiction in terms; to speak of souls perceiving one another is a denial of your "I," of perception, of consciousness, of matter. The 'I' is the irreducible unit of life. [The Journals of Ayn Rand, "14 - Notes While Writing Galt's Speech"]

She even recognizes that life itself is a non-physical "element" or attribute:

"Just as life is the integrating element which organizes matter into a living cell, the element which distinguishes an organism from the unstructured mass of inorganic matter—so consciousness, an attribute of life, directs the actions of the organism to use, to shape, to realign matter for the purpose of maintaining its existence.

"That which you call your soul or spirit is your consciousness, the life-keeper of your body. Your body is a machine, your consciousness—your mind—is its driver ..." [The Journals of Ayn Rand, "14 - Notes While Writing Galt's Speech"]

She explicitly states that the consciousness is "nonmaterial:"

"Man is a being endowed with consciousness—an attribute which matter does not possess. His consciousness is the free, nonmaterial element in him." [The Letters of Ayn Rand, "The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged Years" (1945-1959), To Nathan Blumenthal, January 13, 1950]

Randy

 

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On 1/23/2018 at 1:26 PM, regi said:

Since the emotions are conscious experiences, the only evidence of emotions are those conscious experiences themselves. Six people observed to have exactly the same physiological events occurring in their brains and nervous system might have entirely different conscious emotional experiences. There is only one way to know if that is true or not. Those having the experience must say, as well as they can, what their experience is. There is no way to examine another's emotional experience.

Randy

 

2 hours ago, anthony said:

Randy, I've seen the same phenomenon too many times, of several background subjects photographed observing an event displaying different facial clues of their emotions. That said to me that some could be in shock, some haven't identified what they are seeing, and/or, that many have very dissimilar values/value-judgments, from downright ugly to sane and healthy. But as you say, there is no way of really knowing what each consciousness is experiencing.

You must've forgotten that Objectivism holds that we CAN know others' emotions, via music! And not just emotions, but specific abstract themes/meanings revealed via the emotions!!! Rand's "objective" theory of music was that listeners experience the same emotion that the composer felt while composing, or that placed into his work. Her view was that all people experience the same emotions while listening to music. In effect, the composer puts the emotion in the music, and then it is experienced the same by everyone! 

So, if you guys are pondering how science might go about objectively examining/measuring others' emotions, you should look into using the Objectivist theory of music, and tapping into its possibilities.

Ooh, wait, you're probably going to want to reconsider one of your positions, eh, Tony?

 

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2 hours ago, regi said:

So, Michael, you have not provided me an example of anyone being conscious of another individual's consciousness. If it satisfies you, than it does, but at least, perhaps, you'll understand why it doesn't satisfy me.

Regi,

Forgive me if your request sounds like a gotcha because I can't produce a magic trick.

It sounds to me like someone saying that nobody has proven man can fly through science because he cannot flap his arms and levitate. And everybody knows people are heavier than air. Yada yada yada.

If you want an example of folks zapping each other with their brains, I suggest science fiction or fantasy. In science it goes a little slower, it's a bit more methodical, it's more fragmented, it's not as flamboyant and it takes into account the way humans are. 

But humans are starting to read minds. Later I'm pretty sure they'll hook it into virtual reality. You can either look and see how this is coming about, or you can sit back and congratulate yourself on knowing more than others by playing word games.

I have no problem if you take comfort in your certainty in what you believe to be impossible and your fortune telling about it. I, for one, am excited about the world opening up. My thing is awe right now, not dictating rules to others.

So I prefer not to waste time on dueling gotchas when the discussion reaches this level. To be honest, I feel like I wasted my time one this post itself.

Try this:

You're right about everything. And you know all without even thinking. I bow before superior intelligence and vision. I feel so humbled...

I stand in awe...

:evil: 

Michael

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And which position would that be? That reality and a re-creation of reality are distinct from each other?

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21 minutes ago, anthony said:

And which position would that be? That reality and a re-creation of reality are distinct from each other?

Position 1: "We know for a fact which emotion each and every human is experiencing when listening to music, because Ayn Rand experienced a certain emotion when listening to a given piece of music and declared that she absolutely objectively knew with pure objective certainty that everyone else experienced the same emotion that she did. Therefore it is true!"

Position 2: "There is no way of really knowing what each consciousness is experiencing."

The two positions contradict each other. Which do you prefer to abandon?

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26 minutes ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Regi,

Forgive me if your request sounds like a gotcha because I can't produce a magic trick.

It sounds to me like someone saying that nobody has proven man can fly through science because he cannot flap his arms and levitate. And everybody knows people are heavier than air. Yada yada yada.

If you want an example of folks zapping each other with their brains, I suggest science fiction or fantasy. In science it goes a little slower, it's a bit more methodical, it's more fragmented, it's not as flamboyant and it takes into account the way humans are. 

But humans are starting to read minds. Later I'm pretty sure they'll hook it into virtual reality. You can either look and see how this is coming about, or you can sit back and congratulate yourself on knowing more than others by playing word games.

I have no problem if you take comfort in your certainty in what you believe to be impossible and your fortune telling about it. I, for one, am excited about the world opening up. My thing is awe right now, not dictating rules to others.

So I prefer not to waste time on dueling gotchas when the discussion reaches this level. To be honest, I feel like I wasted my time one this post itself.

Try this:

You're right about everything. And you know all without even thinking. I bow before superior intelligence and vision. I feel so humbled...

I stand in awe...

:evil: 

Michael

Technology has advance quite a bit lately in the ability to identify which emotions people are experiencing. It's been as high as 94% with just reading facial cues. It does even better when input from brain activity sensors is included.

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3 minutes ago, Jonathan said:

Technology has advance quite a bit lately in the ability to identify which emotions people are experiencing. It's been as high as 94% with just reading facial cues. It does even better when input from brain activity sensors is included.

Jonathan,

Try convincing Luddites of that.

Ah me...

Life is short and blind certainties are long. That's why we have a discussion board to prove it.

:)

Michael 

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4 minutes ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Jonathan,

Try convincing Luddites of that.

Ah me...

Life is short and blind certainties are long. That's why we have a discussion board to prove it.

:)

Michael 

They don't seem to be aware of it, but they're arguing that man's reason can never penetrate to the noumenon.

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1 hour ago, regi said:

"a fact which cannot be analyzed (i.e., broken into components) or derived from antecedent facts"

When Rand said this, she clearly meant that no set or interrelationship of non-consciousness facts can define consciousness in the way that, for example, the concept of a meteor can be defined in terms of matter, body, falling, Earth, gravity etc. There is just no way you can do this and end up with "awareness." Even if you say that awareness is the state of a living being in which it registers outside things and prepares to deal with them in the interest of preserving its continued existence (as I would), and even if you somehow completely explain all the physical processes underlying this state, you have not broken down or derived "awareness" as such but only described how it operates. Awareness is that actual final state you and I are now experiencing, and that is the only realm and sense in which consciousness as such exists. You cannot break that final state into components. 

(Don't take it amiss if I do not fully engage in these discussions. At present I have very little leisure of the type I would need. Why do I start in on these discussions at all? Well, that's a question I ask myself! My mind gets going and I like to think things through and explain things.)

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39 minutes ago, Jonathan said:

Position 1: "We know for a fact which emotion each and every human is experiencing when listening to music, because Ayn Rand experienced a certain emotion when listening to a given piece of music and declared that she absolutely objectively knew with pure objective certainty that everyone else experienced the same emotion that she did. Therefore it is true!"

Position 2: "There is no way of really knowing what each consciousness is experiencing."

The two positions contradict each other. Which do you prefer to abandon?

I'm used by now to J.'s re-interpretations of misinterpretations and cross-conflations of media, of Rand and art in TRM. Others may not have read the original.

"Objective certainty" [about emotions in music] is a fabrication.

What Rand wrote on music:

"From the standpoint of psycho-epistemology, I can offer a hypothesis on the nature of man's response to music, but I urge the reader to remember it is only a hypothesis.

If man experiences an emotion without existential object, its only other possible object is the state or actions of his own consciousness". [Etc]

What Rand wrote:

" Until it is brought to the stage of conceptualization, we have to treat musical tastes or preferences as a subjective matter--not in the metaphysical, but in the epistemological sense". [Etc]

Art and Cognition

J, you should open your own topic. I'll not be replying to you here. 

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1 minute ago, anthony said:

I'm used by now to J.'s re-interpretations of misinterpretations and cross-conflations of media, of Rand and art in TRM. Others may not have read the original.

What Rand wrote on music:

"From the standpoint of psycho-epistemology, I can offer a hypothesis on the nature of man's response to music, but I urge the reader to remember it is only a hypothesis.

If man experiences an emotion without existential object, its only other possible object is the state or actions of his own consciousness". [Etc]

What Rand wrote:

" Until it is brought to the stage of conceptualization, we have to treat musical tastes or preferences as a subjective matter--not in the metaphysical, but in the epistemological sense". [Etc]

Art and Cognition

J, you should open your own topic. I'll not be replying to you here. 

 

Rand's position, as the last quote above reveals, was that musical tastes had to be treated as a "subjective matter" ONLY "in the epistelmological sense," and "not in the metaphysical" sense. In other words, she was saying that it was a metaphysical fact of reality that music communicates specific emotions to all, but the only question that remained unanswered was HOW it did so, which, to her, was just a mere technical side-issue. What she was urging readers to remember as being a hypothesis was only the HOW of it, not her belief that all men experienced the same emotion.

But all of that doesn't really matter, since, on this thread, you're disagreeing with her theory of music. You're saying that it's silly,  that, in your own words, "there is no way of really knowing what each consciousness is experiencing."

That is an outright rejection of Rand's theory of music. It is a rejection of her belief that we can know the emotions that others experience in a work of music, as well as the hypothesis of HOW music allegedly makes them experience those emotions.

 

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1 hour ago, Jonathan said:

They don't seem to be aware of it, but they're arguing that man's reason can never penetrate to the noumenon.

Jonathan,

That's a helluvan insight.

What's worse, by implication, they are postulating the very existence of the noumenon, which in O-Land is supposed to be a fantasy dreamed up by Kant, not reality.

But here's the deal. All knowledge according to Objectivism is contextual. And that, as I learned it, holds true even for statements like "consciousness is an irreducible primary." It was an irreducible primary (an axiom) according to the sum of human knowledge at the time Rand said it. That sum (and respective human mental capacity) was her context.

In the positions now being argued, this statement will hold true despite any future discovery or context (or evolution of humans). In other words, it belongs to a noumenal realm of existence that is accessed only in an entirely subjective manner and can never be otherwise irrespective of any context that may come, for ever and ever, Amen.

Man finally becomes God and reigns over the universe for all space and time, for infinity and eternity (which, in O-Land, is somehow finite at the same time :) ), by axiomatic decree with no need for any context except acceptance and obedience by others. :) 

Future knowledge coming from anyone else will certainly not change the decree according to the decreers. The decree for this noumenon has replaced reality by claiming to be the ultimate contextless reality and, by God, they mean it and they are subjectively absolute about it. :)

I think you are right that they are not aware of what they are proposing.

Hell, I wasn't even aware of it. Now I am, so I'm gonna be an even bigger pain in the ass than before. :) 

Michael

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3 hours ago, Jonathan said:

You must've forgotten that Objectivism holds that we CAN know others' emotions

You must have forgotten, I'm not an Objectivist. If "Objectivism" holds that one can know another's emotions, it is wrong. I've read everything Rand ever wrote, except those things ARI keeps secret. Rand said explicitly that one cannot know what is in another's consciousness.

Randy

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3 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Forgive me if your request sounds like a gotcha because I can't produce a magic trick.

You're forgiven.

Randy

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2 hours ago, Rodney said:

Don't take it amiss if I do not fully engage in these discussions. At present I have very little leisure of the type I would need. Why do I start in on these discussions at all? Well, that's a question I ask myself! My mind gets going and I like to think things through and explain things.

I am total agreement with that sentiment. Appreciate your efforts, however.

Randy

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1 hour ago, regi said:

You must have forgotten, I'm not an Objectivist.

No, I was addressing Tony.

1 hour ago, regi said:

If "Objectivism" holds that one can know another's emotions, it is wrong. I've read everything Rand ever wrote, except those things ARI keeps secret. Rand said explicitly that one cannot know what is in another's consciousness.

 

Except through music.

Rand also explicitly said many other things, and then also the opposite.

 

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3 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Jonathan,

That's a helluvan insight.

What's worse, by implication, they are postulating the very existence of the noumenon, which in O-Land is supposed to be a fantasy dreamed up by Kant, not reality.

But here's the deal. All knowledge according to Objectivism is contextual. And that, as I learned it, holds true even for statements like "consciousness is an irreducible primary." It was an irreducible primary (an axiom) according to the sum of human knowledge at the time Rand said it. That sum (and respective human mental capacity) was her context.

In the positions now being argued, this statement will hold true despite any future discovery or context (or evolution of humans). In other words, it belongs to a noumenal realm of existence that is accessed only in an entirely subjective manner and can never be otherwise irrespective of any context that may come, for ever and ever, Amen.

Man finally becomes God and reigns over the universe for all space and time, for infinity and eternity (which, in O-Land, is somehow finite at the same time :) ), by axiomatic decree with no need for any context except acceptance and obedience by others. :) 

Future knowledge coming from anyone else will certainly not change the decree according to the decreers. The decree for this noumenon has replaced reality by claiming to be the ultimate contextless reality and, by God, they mean it and they are subjectively absolute about it. :)

I think you are right that they are not aware of what they are proposing.

Hell, I wasn't even aware of it. Now I am, so I'm gonna be an even bigger pain in the ass than before. :) 

Michael

Ain't it fun arguing with Accidental Kantians?

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26 minutes ago, Jonathan said:

Rand also explicitly said many other things, and then also the opposite.

 

That's true.

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1 hour ago, Wolf DeVoon said:

Not unappreciative of other considerations, but I would like to return to the topic of love.

Me too. Care to start it off?

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Sure. Rand's work was keyed in high dudgeon, triangles, and fatality, using that term as Victor Hugo did. I believed some of it. It's conceivable that stainless heroes exist, men who are celibate and virile (jeez, what a combination!) and gladly stand aside if the babe they love walks off with someone else. Family was not one of Rand's strong suits, mentioned only in passing that Ragnar's wife was a glamorous movie star, and that a mom with two kids had chosen motherhood as a career, which it is most certainly not. It is a destiny for some, a choice for others to toy with petulantly or to reject outright, a common cuckoo ignoring her young.

I've known a lot of married couples, life partnerships that turned out fine, and certainly they doted on one another. I'm not certain that's love. It's nesting. There's an old German proverb: "Little birds in their nest agree." Most men are pleased to have a reasonably attractive, reasonably intelligent wife. Can't blame them for gratitude if it works out well. In the old days there would be a passel of children to wrestle through adolescence, then grandchildren to cherish. Modern first and second marriages are a little different, but the basic idea is the same, be helpful and affectionate, candid, sexy, industrious. Not love. Nesting.

Let me noodle a bit on what love might and ought to be.

 

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2 hours ago, Wolf DeVoon said:

Let me noodle a bit on what love might and ought to be.

That's the question that's been asked, pondered, suffered, and cursed by many people for millennia.  All I have to say, is good luck to you in answering it!  Broad strokes Wolf, use broad strokes!

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