phantom000

Why I am here.

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23 minutes ago, Peter said:

Notes from the family owned funeral parlor. I wish Godfather Michael would more strictly follow his own rules for contributing.  

Aha! Peter is making his move! Batten down the hatches! It’s a hostile takeover, deploy the poison pills!

Note: It does fit reality for Peter, who makes significant donations. It does not fit for me as I have never made any donation. But somehow I am the takeover threat.

 

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Jon. You promised to not bother me, if I don't bother you . . . by name. You have broken your word. I took one last look at activity after logging out just now and saw my name in your message. For shame! I will keep you on my 'do not read' list so go back to your 'sincere' letter and reread it, and stop bothering me and using my name. Or is your word, not your bond?

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29 minutes ago, Peter said:

Notes from the family owned funeral parlor. I wish Godfather Michael would more strictly follow his own rules for contributing.  

You speak of me above, leaving my name out doesn’t change that.

I will keep it to minimum, if/as I observe you doing the same.

But you cannot expect me to not respond to your blatant assertion that I should be banned.

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Banned? I wouldn’t mind you being banned . . .  though you do contribute some good links. From that quote, you thought it was all about you? No. it was about “the rules.” Well. There you go again. You do break “the rules,” don’t you? I won’t say who I am talking to but I wish all the children of the world and all contributors to Objectivist Living would add to the site without discouraging others from contributing. Ta da! Peter  

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58 minutes ago, Jon Letendre said:

Ellen,

Why are you connecting my alleging Michael misfired on Phantom to my observations that William is here only to thwart OL’s intended use?

And why the siege mentality — I cannot replace Michael, cannot take over, it isn’t even possible. It does not fit into reality.

Jon,

Re the first paragraph.  Try tracking.

Re the second:  No "siege mentality." Michael knows, I know, you know that you can't take over.  You can, however, drop the efforts to tell Michael how he should run his list.

Ellen

 

  • Haha 1

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4 minutes ago, Ellen Stuttle said:

Jon,

Re the first paragraph.  Try tracking.

Re the second:  No "siege mentality." Michael knows, I know, you know that you can't take over.  You can, however, drop the efforts to tell Michael how he should run his list.

Ellen

 

And don't mess with "Capital E!" I watched an old episode of "Two and a Half Men" last night and it highlighted the character Rose who is, or was a psychologist. She goes out on a "sort of date" with Charley's brother Allen and twists his head into knots. Ellen is Rose without the kookiness. Peter   

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29 minutes ago, Peter said:

Banned? I wouldn’t mind you being banned . . .  though you do contribute some good links. From that quote, you thought it was all about you? No. it was about “the rules.” Well. There you go again. You do break “the rules,” don’t you? I won’t say who I am talking to but I wish all the children of the world and all contributors to Objectivist Living would add to the site without discouraging others from contributing. Ta da! Peter  

 

Without discouraging others from contributing, yes, I agree. But you can’t do that, Peter. I came here saying Michael unnecessarily discouraged Phantom from contributing. And you cannot say Michael should enforce the rules more diligently or consistently. That too is tantamount to attempting to shoot the traffic cop. Put your balls away, Peter, Michael will not sniff them.

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I don’t think I have quoted the following before from Ellen. It is bit jumbled but the majority is from back in 2000. Check out the last letter where she uses two exclamation points! And she signs off with Ellen, ES or Ellen S. Stop it, I say! And no, I was not stalking Ellen. Peter

From: Ellen Stuttle To: atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: Egoism meaning Date: Thu, 08 Jun 2000 01:39:16 -0500 Gayle Dean wrote: > ...When I talk about egoism, I mean Rand's egoism, i.e., a "narrow, maximized, consequentialist, non-moralized interest, rational egoism." OK, pause there. IF I understand the qualifying adjectives -- which is a big "if," except in the case of "rational" -- the only one of these adjectives which I'd say certainly applies to Rand's egoism is "rational." "Consequentialist," maybe. (I'm beginning to think after some further study of what "consequentialist" means, that it might be accurate as a description of Rand's ethics, but I reserve final judgment. I'm still not 100% convinced that "consequentialist" and "deontologic" cover the whole field.)  But "narrow, maximized, non-moralized interest" -- if I've understood correctly from Rob Bass's posts what these mean:  no, I don't agree that they describe Rand's egoism; indeed, I'd say that they contradict the adjective "rational."

Gayle continues: In the debate between Bill and Rob, Bill argued for a narrow, consequentialist egoism, IMO.  And Rob "always" argued against narrow egoism -- because as you know -- that's the only kind of egoism he believes exists.

Rob, if you're reading this, please affirm or disconfirm the above description of your views.  I'd be pleased to know for sure if that *is* what you think.

 > So, I [Gayle] don't think there was any confusion in that debate.

Interesting to hear that *someone* thinks there wasn't any confusion in it.  I found it so impossibly confused, I couldn't make heads or tails of what either Bill or Rob was trying to say.

> Rob argues that broad egoism (the kind that derives from the "every man is an end in himself" principle -- and what he calls a moralized interest theory egoism) is not really egoism at all and that broad egoism was not Rand's egoism.  > I [Gayle] agree with him on both those points.

Well, I [Ellen] remain astonished that anyone could interpret Rand as not having *meant* that "every man is an end in himself." It's impossible to interpret her as not having said it, since she did say it, emphatically.  So what's being argued is that even though she said it, she didn't mean it. On what basis is this argued?

And what principle is being argued for instead?  That every other human is a means to my purposes?  (But then by reverse reasoning, I would be a means to every other human's purposes, and we're back with sacrificial relationships between humans.)

 > But basically Rob holds an opposing view to mine.  The only thing Rob and I might agree on is that there is a  contradiction between egoism and Rand's right's formulation. And even then, we disagree -- because Rob believes that *IF egoism and rights are incompatible* (as he argues) THEN we should give up egoism. I, on the other hand (if I'm forced to choose between them) -- would choose to give up rights.

And I would say that there's no contradiction between rational egoism and rights, indeed that rational egoism and rights both derive, in an indivisible flow, from the same source, which is the role of the mind in human life, that it makes no sense to speak of rational egoism *without* rights. At least it seems we're progressing in trying to figure out where each of us stands. Ellen

From: Ellen Stuttle To: atlantis Subject: ATL: A Last Word for the Moment on Rights Date: Sat, 10 Jun 2000 03:27:51 -0500. Trying to analyze my emotional reactions to the prudent predator scenes we've been discussing, I've realized that part of what bothers me here is that sneaking into movie theaters, etc., seems so ignoble.  If there's one thing the early Objectivist movement did have, despite its numerous and acknowledged flaws, it had an emphasis on trying to lead a heroic life, a life of high character. Thus it seems to me so antithetic to the *spirit* of everything Ayn Rand stood for to think of her work being interpreted as sanctioning a lifestyle of "prudent" predating.  I find this esthetically offensive. I probably won't make any friends on this list by saying that, but it's something I had to get off my chest. And now I'm going to have to drop out of the rights discussion again for the next month or thereabouts: other demands on my time are looming. Ellen

From: Ellen Stuttle To: atlantis Subject: ATL: Why be moral when you have cancer? Date: Sat, 20 Jan 2001 16:24:17 -0500. I, too, lack the time to get into this again, but I would point out to Gayle that the possibility of pursuing *rational* self-interest -- which is the only form of "self-interest" pursuit which Rand's ethics upholds -- is rendered inoperative in a social context where the principle of rights is not honored.

Turn the thing around, Gayle: what you're saying is that your pursuit of *your* *rational* self-interest is legitimately at the mercy of anyone who happens to feel like killing you. Some ethics! Ellen S

From: Ellen Stuttle  To: atlantis Subject: ATL: Re:  Why be moral when you have cancer? Date: Sat, 20 Jan 2001 16:35:37 -0500. Bill, as he has multiple times before, quotes Rand as saying: "The Objectivist ethics holds that the actor must always be the beneficiary of his action...."

She does say this, but I notice, Bill, that you *always* leave out of consideration the full context (read the WHOLE Introduction to VOS!) and *always* leave out the "but" which immediately follows.

Here's the quote including the "but." "The Objectivist ethics holds that the actor must always be the beneficiary of his action.  BUT [my emphasis] his right to do so is derived from his nature as man and from the function of moral values in human life -- and, therefore, is applicable ONLY [her emphasis] in the context of a rational, objectively demonstrated and validated code of moral principles which define and determine his actual self-interest."

Let's not delete the part of a Rand quote (or of any quote) which happens to be inconvenient for one's thesis. ES

From: Ellen Stuttle To: atlantis Subject: ATL: Re:  Why be moral when you have cancer? Date: Sun, 21 Jan 2001 00:58:08 -0500. Bill responded to a post of mine today with basically the answer I expected, but, fact is, I don't think Bill's answer holds in the context of his own previous posts about rights.  (See his full reply below; for his earlier presentations see the archives.) We're seeing here a repeat of an argument which long-standing list members have gone round and round on, the argument as to whether or not "egoism" is the foundation of Rand's ethics. Bill has argued in the past that the sentence "[t]he Objectivist ethics holds that the actor must always by the beneficiary of his action" is the "hallmark" of the Objectivist ethics.

I disagree, and I think that even her Introduction to VOS can't correctly be interpreted thus.  Precisely the central thrust of this Introduction is that a beneficiary criterion of ethics is *wrong*.  This applies to *any* beneficiary criterion, whether altruist or egoist.  Everything Rand says against altruists adopting a beneficiary criterion applies equally against egoists doing so.

What I think Bill's view comes down to, as I've explained in the past (please read the archives if interested), is that sometimes it's ok to sacrifice others to oneself.  But I don't read Rand's analysis even of emergency situations as supporting this conclusion. The whole subject is one which is obviously very troublesome for interpreters of Rand.  It's also a subject which I'm not desirous of debating at length (psychology, where I *don't* see eye-to-eye with Rand, is my area of major concern).  Thus I'm going to step back out of a debate which I stepped into against my better judgment.

I'll merely add that I agree so strongly with George Smith's interpretations of Rand, I feel safe in adding "ditto" to his posts. Ellen S.

From: Ellen Stuttle To: atlantis Subject: ATL: Re:  Why be moral when you have cancer? Date: Sun, 21 Jan 2001 17:04:26 -0500

 > From: "William Dwyer" <wdwyer@california.net> Ellen wrote, "What I think Bill's view comes down to, as I've  explained in the past (please read the archives if interested),  is that sometimes it's ok to sacrifice others to oneself. But I don't read Rand's analysis even of emergency situations as supporting this conclusion." > Let's get real.  You tell me, Ellen, what you think Rand would recommend in an emergency in which the only alternative is to steal a loaf of bread or starve to death.  Would she oppose stealing the loaf of bread, because it's ALWAYS wrong to violate someone's property rights -- wrong even in an emergency? Is that what you think she believes?  Bill

Hell no, and we've been over this a million times (or at least it seems to me like a million times).  The issue is the details of how you analyze emergency situations -- or at least the details of how you analyzed them as of March 2000 – and the implications which can be drawn from your analysis.

(Those implications, BTW, are exactly what Luka is drawing. Luka keeps asking you to be consistent in what you take "egoism" to mean.  On that score, though not on any other, I think he has a point:  he's seeing more consistently than you did the implications of things you've said in the past.  There's a sense in which he's your philosophic son.)

In March 2000, I wrote a quite long (20K) post analyzing the specifics of your arguments about emergency situations.  I'd assume the post can be found in the archives: Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2000 08:23:35 -0500  From: Ellen Stuttle  Subject: ATL: (Magnum Opus on) Granted rights vs. natural rights...  There are a few details in the last paragraph which reflect my un-clarity at the time on the historic meaning of "consequentialist" and "deontologist."  I was getting my notion of these terms from list discussion and didn't know their proper academic meaning. But the bulk of the article, I'd stand by. Of course maybe you've changed your views since then.

For instance, you write: <<  "I'm not interested in pressing this point [about the hallmark of Oism].  The term "hallmark" is subject to so much interpretation and is so context dependent  that arguing over it is sure to get us nowhere. Forget that I ever said it."  >>

Hard to forget you said it, since you argued it for a couple months, though I sure can agree that the arguing didn't get us anywhere!! Ellen S.

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7 hours ago, Ellen Stuttle said:

Jon,

Re the first paragraph.  Try tracking.

Re the second:  No "siege mentality." Michael knows, I know, you know that you can't take over.  You can, however, drop the efforts to tell Michael how he should run his list.

Ellen

 

I will drop it:

— It has been several months since I last said Billy shouldn’t be allowed here, and I have said that maybe three times in as many years, but I will not do it again.

— And I will not again say a word about anyone who gets run off unnecessarily.

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22 hours ago, dldelancey said:

Regarding a Socratic circle, I have no idea if there is a correct way to do one, and I’ve never participated in one. I only know what the young people in my life have told me about their experience. It’s typically done in ELA classes when discussing literature, but I assume it can be done in other settings. There’s an inner circle of participants who are meant to discuss and an outer circle of participants who are meant to observe. After a time, they switch places. There is some general topic, but other than that the discussion is meant to be a sharing of ideas and wherever that goes, it goes. 

Now, my understanding is that it can be quite boring when participants repeat by rote. Therefore, kids like my son will open with some purposely provocative statement. Playing devil’s advocate if you will. Pot stirring if you prefer. It’s common for him to begin dinner discussions this way. We’re both entertained. 

I’ve seen this be not so entertaining. One of the young people on my team at work is accustomed to being the most brilliant person in the room. And she is brilliant. But what worked for her in the classroom doesn’t always work in the real world. When she comes to me with a purposely provocative idea, it’s my job to coach her through communicating that in a way that won’t get her laughed out of the room. Or called condescending. 

Regarding the phantom, I don’t know him. I’ve said already that I drew conclusions about him based on what I gleaned from his original post and my own experiences. I don’t have any attachment to the rightness or wrongness of those conclusions. 

Michael, I simply don’t know what else I could contribute that would be enlightening for you... 

Deanna,

That is exactly what I was looking for. I wanted to see what you were seeing. What you describe has nothing to do with anything I have witnessed. And it makes a hell of a lot more sense than imagining college graduates with the mentality of 15 year olds. So, in this understanding, the guy was repeating a pattern he learned in school that probably served him well elsewhere when he got bored.

In fact, if phantom was doing this, I can see it. It makes sense. If that was what he was doing, though, he should have expected some push back. I can't imagine a person showing up to a bunch of strangers, making a provocative statement, which to me means denigrating their values or something they value in some manner, and not know there will be push back. That's why a person does that, right? To get push back? Or is there something else you can see (from experience) that I am not seeing?

My first impression also makes sense to me but, like you, I don't have any beach I want to die on about it. I made a judgment call based on what I knew and I believe it's still quite plausible. It's my feeling in both cases this person would have stayed around if he felt totally misunderstood, at least until his intentions became clear. At the point he disappeared, there was hardly any hostility against him. Just a little push back and questions to see where he was coming from. So my gut tells me he wanted an audience much more than figure out where he was at, or learn about Rand like he said he wanted to, and interact for real.

Can you imagine him coming back now and seeing where this thread has gone? And how about if he's stoned seeing all this? I can see him going, "Holy shit."

:) 

Re the Socratic Circle, I had to look up ELA class--English Language Arts Class--is this right? If so, this is definitely Common Core. I know very little about this except criticisms of Common Core from conservatives. The Socratic Circle as you describe it seems like an interesting approach.

22 hours ago, dldelancey said:

Unless you expected a response to “aw, c’mon” in which case I’ll close with “Jane, you ignorant slut!”

LOL...

Believe it or not, I had to look that up, too. I missed a lot of SNL when I was in Brazil and I did not know this gag. But now I do. Damn, this was back when SNL was still funny.

LOL...

Perfect...

:) 

Michael

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16 hours ago, Ellen Stuttle said:

 You've explained a number of times why you don't ban William.  (I strongly agree with your reasoning.)

Ellen,

Just a caution. We have to be careful about saying good things about William. Otherwise we will get flooded with 50 RSS feeds a day on Orange Man Bad, Climate Change Deniers Bad, Q Bad, but at least there will be some pretty pictures of the globe.

:) 

Michael

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8 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

And it makes a hell of a lot more sense than imagining college graduates with the mentality of 15 year olds.

I'm breaking my own general rule about cherry-picking here because the notion expressed in this quoted sentence is quite different from what I was trying to communicate.  You seem to be using "mentality of 15 year olds" in a derogatory way.  In fact, all the teenagers and very young adults (who range in age from 15-22) I've talked about in this thread are intellectually superior within their cohorts and high achievers in both the academic and professional realms.  Yet, they have in common with other teenagers and very young adults a lack of experience in communicating their ideas in a way that will elicit a positive response from many of their elders. 

So no, in this context, there is nothing so very confusing about placing this particular college graduate in a demographic with the particular group of other teenagers and young adults I referenced.  It's not an insult to phantom or to the 15-year-old who calls me mom.  Rather, it's quite a good explanation for why I empathized with phantom.  (That, and we enjoy the same anime.)

That said, there are lots of college graduates of all ages, who exhibit every single day that they are less smart, less interesting, and with far less potential than these particular teenagers and young adults, even the 15-year-old. 

 

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Robert Tracinski wrote in “Anthemgate”: I had a somewhat disreputable acquaintance in high school whose idea of a clever trick, in a class debate, was to take a quote from the Founding Fathers and make it say the opposite of what it really meant. How did he do this? By using ellipses to remove the word "not." Boeckmann's technique is almost as crude. end quote

My high school humor was on a par with Beevis and Butthead. On TV, Big fan of Rand, Trace Gallagher, is ably filling in for Dana Perino today on Fox News. If you are watching TV you might as well give our brain brother a ratings jump. Peter

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I found another interesting reference to High School in Anthemgate:. In contemplating that advice, I have to ask, of ARI's leaders and its board of directors: what did they expect? From its beginning, the Objectivist movement has been fed by a steady stream of young people inspired by the vision of the independent thinker put forward in Ayn Rand's novels. That's especially true since the Institute began one of its most valuable and successful programs, which encourages teachers to assign The Fountainhead in high school. But how did ARI expect to fit all of these young people into a system of intellectual status and authority? Certainly many of those newcomers, encountering the system, will leave quietly. But shouldn't we have expected at least one of them to crack his ruler on the glass and say, "Yes, God damn it, the Parthenon"—which, come to think of it, is pretty much what I've been doing for some years now. From today's perspective, we can see that the movement's leaders have built a giant organization on an inherently unstable foundation. They have temporized and tried to hide the problem and avoid a crack-up that was inevitable given the nature of the system they created. 

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1 hour ago, dldelancey said:

You seem to be using "mentality of 15 year olds" in a derogatory way.

Deanna,

Not my intent at all.

Different does not mean derogatory.

I don't care how smart a person is, the adult brain is not physically formed in totality until quite a bit later than 15.

That has ramifications on emotional maturity, seeing how hormones are going wild amidst a still physically incomplete cortex around that age.

There's a reason it's so hard for a 15 year old to get a driver's licence, buy booze, be ineligible for sex with adults on pain of the adult being charged with statutory rape, etc.

I can give you all kinds of sources to where I learned about this if you like.

I would say it's not brain science, but actually it is.

:)

Michael

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1 hour ago, dldelancey said:

So no, in this context, there is nothing so very confusing about placing this particular college graduate in a demographic with the particular group of other teenagers and young adults I referenced.  It's not an insult to phantom or to the 15-year-old who calls me mom.  Rather, it's quite a good explanation for why I empathized with phantom.  (That, and we enjoy the same anime.)

Deanna,

Speaking of this (and once again, this is not a hostile question), what did phantom say or do to indicate superior intelligence? To me, he didn't show any sign of it. Not from anything I could discern in his writing. In fact, he appeared quite ordinary knowledge-wise.

Michael

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On ‎10‎/‎21‎/‎2019 at 3:16 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Deanna,

Speaking of this (and once again, this is not a hostile question), what did phantom say or do to indicate superior intelligence? To me, he didn't show any sign of it. Not from anything I could discern in his writing. In fact, he appeared quite ordinary knowledge-wise.

Michael

I never said he exhibited superior intelligence.  I said that he put me in mind of a particular group of people who have exhibited superior intelligence within their cohorts.  I drew conclusions about him and empathized with him from that perspective.  My strategy for communicating with him was influenced by my experience with that demographic of people. Had he chosen to continue communicating, no doubt my strategy would have changed as I gained new information.

From that frame of reference, there really shouldn't be anything that mysterious. 

Also, I'm quite familiar with the "brain science" of teenagers.  I'm raising one.  It's in the job description.

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De is certainly calm. How far above sea level are you? My wife's family is changing the zoning for a quarter acre next to marsh lands and they need a buffer, which also means because of the loss of buildable area they will need to be two or more stories tall, on stilts to create a livable space.   

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