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Welcome to Objectivist Living. Come on in and say hello.

Hello Kat,

I just met Michael on a "Rant" thread I started regarding the "Objectivist" Party (political) and thought it would be good to check in as a new member of the MB. I am the same age as Michael and have tried to live the Objectivist life for the last 40 years. I have absorbed almost everything Ayn Rand has written as well as the biographies that have been published. As I told Michael, I don't adhere to any "school" of Objectivism. The in-fighting both before and after Ms. Rand's death have done nothing to further her epistemology and, frankly, I ignore that distraction. My focus in on Objectivism and how I run my own life.

You all have a good message board here and I will try to contribute when I have something helpful to say.

Cyrus

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Hi Cyrus,

Welcome to Objectivist Living. I hope you enjoy your time here. Most of us tend to be "Open Objectivists" or Objectivish, but we welcome all kinds as long as they don't come charging in hating on us.

I like your avatar... got some of those too, along with the coppers.

I dunno about the Objectivist Party and looking at their website, they seem to be a small fringe group that could never really win an election...and really don't want to. They may be able to draw some attention to important issues if they get on the ballot or they may just makes us all look like fools if they are total nutters (which is my suspicion). Since their facebook group is closed, I tend to think they are a secret society and don't want popular appeal or to actually grow and win elections. If they run someone good in my community maybe I'll vote for them just because I live in an extremely liberal college town and my guys never seems to win anyway. There are some good tea parties out there and that is probably where we belong, alongside the independents, libertarians and republicans. Don't let the social conservatives crowd us out. As long as the tea party doesn't get hijacked, we'll be fine.

Kat

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  • 8 months later...

Hello everyone!

Just posted in a thread about the philosophy of quantum mechanics and figured I should introduce myself before I post anywhere else since this seems to be a "first-name basis community." My name is Andrew Espenlaub, I'm 21, a senior at the University of Pittsburgh studying physics. I am taking my fourth graduate course now and three more next term and have three-and-a-half years of experience working in a research lab as lab manager/experimenter (that's for potential employers :smile:). I have been a life-long Objectivist though for most of it I didn't know that was what you call it. I just sort of decided that religion and duty and such things weren't rational and discounted them. Imagine my joy when reading OPAR for the first time! It made explicit many of the implicit beliefs I had held and gave me more solid ground to stand on when making decisions. I have a broad range of interests across the humanities and sciences, but focusing on work and school leaves me little time to devote to serious study of anything else.

Recently I have met several other objectivists at UPItt and they have become instant friends. Discovering a whole forum of people who share my dedication to rationality and familiarity with Ayn Rand's philosophy is sure to lead to many many many interesting discussions and I can't wait!!!!

--Andrew

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Welcome to OL, Andrew.

Thank you for the informed cogent post.

Stephen

This discussion could benefit from another person who is familiar with the mathematics of quantum theory I think.

First, physicists should not relegate metaphysics to the "domain of the irrelevant!" It is a necessary tool for developing the correct conceptual interpretation of a theory. However, as quantum mechanics shows, it is possible to construct a marvelously precise and accurate theory using mostly physical facts and mathematics. What the implications of this are to the ultimate nature of the universe lies in the metaphysics however! Everyone needs every branch of philosophy, even physicists. If you don't agree with that, why are you posting on an Objectivist forum?

Second, to explain how quantum mechanics can be so successful but still have absolutely no metaphysically acceptable interpretation as of yet, I need to talk a little about the mathematics. Nothing obtuse, just the broad concepts:

There is an amazing theorem called the "von Neumann Spectral Theorem" which is at the very heart of the success of quantum theory. In essence it states that any set of real numbers can be associated with a mathematical object called an "Hermitian operator on a Hilbert space." The mathematics of such objects and the objects upon which they operate in the "Hilbert space" is well developed, largely as a consequence of quantum theory. The power of this (proven) theorem is that any observable quantity, any measurable property, has a set of possible (real, not complex) values and so simple enumeration of these values allows us to immediately apply the mathematics of "Hermitian operators." This is would give us the same result as classical dynamics gives us if the measurable values were continuous -- that is for any two measurable values, there is always another one in between them on the number line. However, experiment shows that for some phenomena, some observable quantities have a discrete set of allowable values such as {1,2,3,...} and not the numbers in between. This discreteness leads to ALL of the distinctly quantum stuff in quantum theory.

In addition to discrete sets of measurable values, we observe that physical entities at small scales are actually impossible to localize to a specific point in space. That is, every "particle" metaphysically can be said to be everywhere at once. The usual analogy is that of a water wave -- it is something which exists across the whole surface of the lake/pond/pool/etc.... Like the water wave, "particles" are not uniform across space but have a property which varies spatially. The interpretation due to Max Born takes this property and associates it with the probability of an interaction with another particle. This probabilistic behavior CAN BE OBSERVED in experiments involving the diffraction of very low intensity particle beams. If you shine even moderately intense light (which is as much a particle as an electron or neutrino) through a narrow slit, it will produce a pattern of light and dark on photographic film placed opposite the slit. However, at low intensities the pattern is slowly built up over time on the film by individual light particles hitting the screen. Where they hit (and where spots appear on the film) can be described by the Born probabilities. This is the same slowly emerging pattern that appears when you plot the results of rolling a die. Though you may roll a lot of 6's initially, eventually, each side will be rolled an equal number of times -- but the pattern takes time to appear.

The question is then, not one of the metaphysical status of fundamental probabilistic behavior, non-locality or discreteness of measurable values, but what these experimentally observable FACTS mean metaphysically. What is the true nature of existents which gives rise to these non-common sense properties?

What seem to be the two main points of contention in this discussion are therefore resolved:

1. Yes, philosophy is important in interpreting physics, but you must be wary that the things which you give the status of metaphysically fundamental are not in contradiction with experimental fact. And do not throw out philosophy altogether because someone else's philosophy (or the bulk of humanity's philosophical thought) is at odds with experimental fact. It just means that most philosophers are flat out wrong, not that proper philosophy isn't useful.

2. The central question concerning quantum mechanics is not whether fundamental probabilistic behavior or non-locality are metaphysically possible, because they are in fact experimentally verifiable, but rather, it is what do those observations imply about reality outside the realm of common experience.

Both sides of this discussion were right on one of these points and wrong on the other. This was partly due to the ineptitude of most physicists at grappling with quantum mechanics AND metaphysics (thus a lack of available, useful information to non-specialists), and partly due to needing to check one's premises. If I have misstated any facts or am ambiguous, please comment to that effect -- this is important to get right because quantum mechanics is unfortunately the source of much of the new "philosophical word salads and b.s." and having the right answer is the easiest way to discredit the wrong ones.

P.S. -- Richard Feynman was a brilliant physicist but tartness does not imply correctness. He didn't have the right answer and was tired of hearing wrong ones so he told people to give up trying to provide an answer. At least then no one would be wrong.... :sad:

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Recently I have met several other objectivists at UPItt and they have become instant friends. Discovering a whole forum of people who share my dedication to rationality and familiarity with Ayn Rand's philosophy is sure to lead to many many many interesting discussions and I can't wait!!!!

So that means you

a) call yourself an Objectivist and have

b) meet others who call themselves Objectivists and

c) it turned out that they actually believed the same as you do regarding Objectivism?

That's amazing! :smile:

When did you read OPAR?

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  • 3 months later...

Good evening good people. I have been looking for a good place to hang out with like minded souls. This place looks most promising. I'll post more on myself and eventually I look forward to sharing thoughts and hopefully a bit of fun as well. I'm off to get some sleep at the moment but I'll be back ASAP. Be well!

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  • 1 year later...

Hello all that might read, new guy on the block here across the Atlantic. I presently don't know how much time I'll have to spare around here, but I hope I'll find some in the not so distant future in oder for me to talk with objective smart and intelligent people that might not only be a joy to be with but....I'll tell you: "I secretly plan for maybe being able to learn a few things in the process" ^^.

I'm a relatively young guy (or at least I was, less so now than a couple of years ago...But time has flied fast) who have already some experience with ppl's nonsense giving the distinct and unpleasent sensation of needing to vomit. I've been looking, or rather dreaming that one day I would find some place, and some people at least that would be able to think in a straight line for lack of a better word. And not simply spew out subjective garbage and things like..."well, logic isn't always true/right, emotions and feelings are true too" Makes me go all 'Achmed the Dead Terrorist' on your ass proclaiming "I'll kill you !!!" (in a high pitched voice ofc for those who haven't heard it before)

In short, what seems to me as objective, intelligent and critical thinking is what drew me here, and made my encounter with Objectivism. As well as a personal suspicion that ppl's kverulating and manipulating arguments is not simply the sum of bad thinking alone, but quite simply caused by a more pre-existing condition, dishonesty.

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Thanks Michael. I honestly still don't know yet how much time I'll have available to be very active or not, but as the saying goes, "he who only looks at the skies, never plants his seeds" So at least I took a step in this direction in order to facilitate it.

Mandal, not exactly, but you speak familiar terms, still remember the wasabi I once ate at a restaurant there many years ago. It's very idealic I guess for those who have a penchant for eating out at the coast in the sun with sounds of seagulls. It's seems to go hand in hand with shrimps and beer for the most part.

I'll admit it does have it's charms.

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Mandal, not exactly, but you speak familiar terms, still remember the wasabi I once ate at a restaurant there many years ago. It's very idealic I guess for those who have a penchant for eating out at the coast in the sun with sounds of seagulls. It's seems to go hand in hand with shrimps and beer for the most part.

Welcome aboard...my lady who is half Japanese sent this to me this morning...

Hot Like Wasabi
Wasabi.jpg

Wasabi is a plant native to Japan, and in the same biological family as mustard, cabbage, and unsurprisingly, horseradish. In a culinary context, it's most commonly known as the green, spicy stuff that comes with sushi, next to the ginger (although if you're eating it in the United States, there's a good chance you're actually eating horseradish and mustard, dyed green). Wasabi is known for the distinctive, spicy flavor one experiences when eating it, and that experience, it turns out, is mostly detected by our noses. While the oils from wasabi will set off our taste buds, they're easily washed away by any subsequent food (including sushi or rice). The aroma, on the other hand, sticks with the nasal receptors much longer, and is often more intense than the taste.

Which is why it makes for a good fire alarm.

The problem with fire alarms is that, usually, they involve a loud bell and occasionally, a flashing or strobe light. That's great for most of us, but for the hearing impaired and for elderly whose hearing wasn't what it once was, the bell doesn't do much. A flashing light is helpful but only if you're awake or otherwise able to notice it. The best alternative, right now, is likely an alarm which can vibrate your bed, but who knows how reliable those are. So a team of Japanese researchers turned to wasabi, rigging an alarm (as seen above) to spray the stuff in case of emergency.

The alarm sprays out allyl isothiocyanate, the oil responsible for the pungent smell of wasabi, horseradish, mustard, and the like, according to CNET. When the alarm detects smoke, it creates a mist-like spray from the oil, with the hopes of tingling the noses of those nearby, alerting them to danger. The device works, too; during one experiment, the alarm worked for thirteen of the fourteen subjects (including the four deaf people in the group) within two to three minutes. (The exception had a stuffy nose, according to Reuters.) The now-patented product hasn't hit the mass consumer market yet, and the current version costs over $500.

It has, however, received praise. In 2011, it was awarded an Ig Nobel Prize -- given to "achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think" -- in Chemistry. And perhaps someday soon, it will save lives, as well.

Bonus fact: Another potential target of the wasabi-powered fire alarm? Children. According to a study conducted at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia (as retold by TIME), "78% of school-aged children slept through a smoke alarm blaring for 30 seconds." Younger children tend to sleep deeper, and the alarm simply didn't do its job. Whether wasabi would be a better option is unknown, and either way, in case of emergency, be sure to wake your children.

You have to love the creativity of the Japanese!

I know I do hmmm, well, you know what I mean.

A...

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  • 2 months later...

Hello friends

I'm Derek.

Artist - derekofbaltimore.com, First time Author (just last month). Atlas Shrugged and Fountainhead fan. I have them on audio book and listened to them while I painted. Also it was Atlas Shrugged that inspired me to write my book. Agnostic when concerning a (general) creator, atheist when concerning the specific Christian faith that is taught today. Brimming with questions and curiosity as too how Mrs Rand's system would hold up in the real world. Trekkie and general sci-fi fan. Reader before watcher. Lastly (and I think this is most important as it will color my topics or responses on this forum) not a supporter of capitalism but a supporter of Freedom.

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Derek,

Welcome to OL.

I looked at your portraits and I like them.

As to your ideas, jump on in.

From your intro, there's a lot to discuss. And there are some really smart people around here to discuss them with.

Don't worry about full agreement with anybody. Working out ideas is messy and that's what we do here.

Michael

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My NY City dream, a black man interested in Ayn's ideas.

Welcome aboard ...

A...

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Hello friends

I'm Derek.

Artist - derekofbaltimore.com, First time Author (just last month). Atlas Shrugged and Fountainhead fan. I have them on audio book and listened to them while I painted. Also it was Atlas Shrugged that inspired me to write my book. Agnostic when concerning a (general) creator, atheist when concerning the specific Christian faith that is taught today. Brimming with questions and curiosity as too how Mrs Rand's system would hold up in the real world. Trekkie and general sci-fi fan. Reader before watcher. Lastly (and I think this is most important as it will color my topics or responses on this forum) not a supporter of capitalism but a supporter of Freedom.

Are capitalism and freedom not one and the same?

J

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Carol, that is a good distinction. I would, however, consider not only the right to do anything you choose, but more fundamentally, the power to do things of one’s choosing in a social context. Everyone can have equal protection of that power, as in a capitalist system, yet that power varies enormously with one’s assets. Positive, material freedom does not attend equally everyone’s legally equal freedom. There is no iron tie between material freedom of all persons and capitalism, conceived as the system of equal legal rights to private property and its commerce. To argue that all the alternatives to pure capitalism are systematically worse for the material freedom of people is, of course, uninspiring even if true. Rand attempted an inspiring vision of capitalism as desirable for persons of any station. To be sure, her transplant of “new aristocracy” from Nietzsche to her own vision has not played well.

Much freedom, we should note, is common to pure capitalism, mixed capitalism, and liberal socialism. These freedoms are not linked uniquely to pure capitalism, and arguments to the effect that those alternatives to pure capitalism will not be able to continue without degeneration into regimes absent those freedoms are feeble to the point of embarrassment.

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Stephen, you express my view more clearly than I can!

The utopian view such as jts discussed, that freedom from all constraints on capitalist activity will necessarily create such wealth that no one need be poor, has always seemed fundamentally unsound to me.

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I think freedom is freedom to move closer to reality: what is out there and what's 'in here' - and what am I going to do with it.

Capitalism represents the freedom to act with free will, while respecting the same freedom other people have. Individual rights are its safeguard .

To liberal-progressivism, freedom is a movement in the other direction, to what have you got, what do I need and what are you going to do about it?

Dependence on others' minds and energy isn't freedom, nor is freedom being held accountable for the minds and bodies of everyone else.

'Free-dom' = free of charge, and free from reality.

Carol, "no one need be poor" is not a guarantee one won't ever be poor. Capitalism creates opportunity, that's all, and we may take it or leave it.

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Thank you everyone for the welcome

No, I do not think that capitalism and freedom are equal... perhaps close, but I agree with this:

Well, freedom is a negative concept, the absence of coercion or restraint. In a free capitalist system your right to do anything you choose often depends on how much capital you have.

and I plan to write my opinion on " why capitalism is not as free as I would like" very soon

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Freedom, is freedom to act. Only and always a positive concept.

"Thus, for every individual, a right is the moral sanction of a ~positive~ --of his freedom to act on his own judgement, for his own goals, by his own voluntary, uncoerced choice.

As to his neighbours, his rights impose no obligations on them except of a ~negative~ kind: to abstain from violating his rights."

[CUI, Man's Rights]

So the positive (freedom) presupposes the negative (non- interference of that freedom)..

Otherwise - to define freedom (primarily) as "the absence of coercion or restraint" - any liberal statist could claim (and does) that being 'forced' to work for his survival- is "coercion".

Or, not being granted xyz (free education, free healthcare, etc.) is a "restraint" on his life, liberty and dignity.

But then this guy only really wants freedom from reality. ;)

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I guess I happen to high a extremely optimistic view of what the human race can achieve, so while I agree with your definition WhyNot, all that I will say

for now is- we may be able to change reality.....

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I guess I happen to high a extremely optimistic view of what the human race can achieve, so while I agree with your definition WhyNot, all that I will say

for now is- we may be able to change reality.....

Whatever humans can achieve in future will always be within the bounds of reality.

I agree with you in the sense that we just don't know yet completely where those bounds lie - but they will always circumscribe an unchangeable reality.

I believe high optimism is entirely appropriate and non-contradictory... though only short of the point of arbitrary whimsicality.

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Somewhat apropos, Tony I wonder if you have read Harwood's Home, a terrific novel by a South African Jewish English author? I enjoyed this novel enormously.

And Derek are you proud of your brilliant homegirl Laura \Lippman?

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