Of mockingbirds and blue jays and shooting and singing


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I don't know if this is going to turn into an article or not. I am presently working on a book project and some of these ideas definitely will go into it.

I sent a good deal of this in an e-mail to Barbara last night, but I am posting a modified part of that e-mail here. I think the ideas are important enough to bring out into the open. (Thanks Barbara. Even though I didn't ask, I know that you will not mind me sharing this here.)

This is not an article, nor are the thoughts completely worked out. So comments are most welcome.

I just saw "To Kill a Mockingbird" on TV, based on the novel by Harper Lee. It is so rare that I watch TV these days, and then I prefer crime stories. But I was completely blown away this time. I caught it about a third of the way through and couldn't stop watching. I feel like I have taken a spiritual bath after all the recent futile hair-splitting, pettiness, power games and monkey-shines I have observed coming from of a myriad of self-styled guardians of rational morality.

Atticus Finch is a moral man to whom justice means something important. He lives his morality in a manner that I admire enormously. I try to live my own life that way.

Atticus is a lawyer. He takes on the case of a wrongly accused black man in Alabama during the Great Depression of the 30's. The only reason he did that was he believed that it was the right thing to do if justice were to mean anything at all in his life. He tries to teach this to his kids. He also tells them that it is OK to shoot a blue jay if you can hit him, but it is a sin to kill a mockingbird, whose only purpose is to sing for us.

Slap. Bang. Screech. Say what?

Sing for us? This is like so many people in our lives - both little and big people in our lives. Time to stop and take a look at this a little deeper.

There's a principle here that ties in with Objectivism, with all those experiences I went through in life, with all the recent childish clashes I have observed by adults in the name of reason, and with everything I want to put in this book of mine.

It has to do with innocence, but there is more. It has to do with harmlessness and maybe beauty and comfort. When people bring these things into your life, what right do you have to shoot them? You must protect them and care for them instead. Call it a trade, if you will. I think it goes beyond trading, though. Maybe that psychological mirror visibility thing...

Good Lord, a word is jumping out at me in my mind right now that I rarely hear from Objectivists with respect to strangers and to the mockingbirds in their lives.

Decency.

I think one of my own main problems in life has been that I have always sought decency in people who like to shoot mockingbirds.

I don't know how I am going to tie all this in, but I know that this movie hit me harder than anything I have been doing and thinking in the last few months.

I still get tears when I think about the scene where Atticus Finch stood alone against all those in power. gave his absolute best but lost his case, the court room clears and he is still gathering his papers, all the black people in the upper rafters of the courthouse stand up in silence to wait for him to finish and leave, and the preacher tells his son, "Stand up. Your father is passing." What a magnificent scene!

I think I have one of the key elements that will tie the events in my book together because of seeing this movie tonight. Something clicked in my mind. I think I will have a theme running throughout all the episodes - the fight to maintain an inner innocence and decency - to not lose the capacity to sing like a mockingbird.

It's funny, but the catharsis that happened inside me when I first read The Passion of Ayn Rand - it was during a horrible time in my life - was that it led me back to innocence, to understanding that I was a human being. It demolished the human moral robot ideal in my mind by showing that Rand herself - and all those around her - had to deal with their own inner conflicts. And reading about the triumph over inner conflicts told so beautifully cut deeply through the pain in my life at that time.

Objectivist people argue on and on and in circles about a state of moral perfection (mostly Rand's), but that has always rang false in my ear, even when I adopted it on the inside. One part of me believed that this was the purpose of life and another kept telling me that things are much more complex.

Like I mentioned in a post on another forum once, one does not attain a state of moral perfection, one simply makes a morally "perfect" decision and/or choice at times - some people more often than others.

The inner state that is possible to attain is that of innocence (or maybe something like "restored innocence"), and with that, harmlessness and beauty and comfort and some other life-enhancing attributes.

I think that achieving that state with your intimate life, while being jaded and careful (and even dangerous when needed) with your outer life is the best spiritual balance I can think of. I include inner life here to mean the people with whom you are intimate also.

I think this is the spiritual bedrock that one has to use to underlie the love of production, reason and all the rest that are Objectivist virtues and premises for happiness. Without a solid bedrock like that, I don't see Objectivist values turning automatically into happiness.

It could be called peace of mind, but it is so much more.

If you are a mean-spirited person, or overly arrogant, or a chronic complainer (I could go on in this vein), I cannot see how on earth you can ever be happy - even if you discover the cure for cancer or build the world's highest skyscraper. The love that leads to high achievement is one part of happiness, but it is not the whole story.

I have long suspected that species considerations are denied by many of those who adopt Objectivism. Now, after months of posting on SoloHQ, I know it.

In reality, nobody can avoid being a member of a species. They are attracted to other members of the human race, they are envious or appreciative of the positions of other human beings, they play power games - another human species motivation, they reproduce and, regardless of what they say, when a defining situation comes to a head, they more often than not consider blood thicker than water (or even philosophy).

Yet Objectivists formally deny these species-based drives in proclaiming their values. They claim that the greatest happiness as an individual is to achieve wonderful productive work. And it actually is one of the greatest forms of happiness on earth. But there are other parts to happiness.

As a member of the human species, what could be better than to spiritually become a mockingbird to sing for the one you love and make him/her happy with your beauty and innocence and comfort? Or those you love? That's the other half of happiness (or third of it or whatever). To sing and to be sung to.

One thing a mockingbird does is to sing like the one he is imitating. Spiritually, that could be a very nice present to give to a loved one, day after day, if the singing is sincere. The song is imitative (and that makes it very welcome to the one being imitated), but the wish to sing and please is authentic.

I've got to do a lot more thinking on all this.

I'm sorry that this thing went all over the place. That movie got to me (and even Gregory Peck's acting was FAR ABOVE most of what you see these days - What an inspiration, both as a character and as an actor!).

I sort of feel that a bottom card in a house of cards was pulled out and they all scattered as the house fell down. Now on picking them up, I am looking at each card and thinking about it.

Well, off to bed right now to dream about mockingbirds and kittens and very special people I want to chirp and sing to...

Michael

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Hey, Michael if you liked the movie, you should read the book. The movie covers at most a third of the action of the book and pretty much ignores the specific context that gives Atticus' actions their full meaning. I saw the movie again recently myself, and couldn't help seeing something of the Objectivist in the person of Atticus Finch.

Another book with many overlapping themes which describes a similar moment in our history is Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. With a title like that I wouldn't expect a lot of Oists to pick it up, but it's a shame, because the book has much to say on the subject of individualism, personal integrity and innocense. And Hurston is by no means a close up friend of religion. Here's a snip:

It was inevitable that she should accept any inconsistency and cruelty from her deity as all good worshippers do from theirs. All gods who receive homage are cruel. All gods dispense suffering without reason. Otherwise they would not be worshipped. Through indiscriminate suffering men know fear and fear is the most divine emotion. It is the stones for altars and the beginning of wisdom. Half gods are worshipped in wine and flowers. Real gods require blood.
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Kevin,

It's good to see you here. Thanks for the tip. I looked up Harper Lee on the Internet and discovered that she was a descendant from Robert E. Lee, the Southern Civil War general. She also was a secretary for Truman Capote for awhile, and apparently he insinuated that he had written large portions of the work after it received the Pulitzer prize. (Ahh vanity...)

Ms. Lee never did write another novel, but she did write some essays. Here is a mockingbird quote (a marvelous one!):

"Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."

I was not familiar with Zora Neale Hurston, so I looked her up. An American black authoress, 1891(?)-1960, who was influential in the 1920's through the 1940's. Here is a quote from a biography I gleaned from a Google search:

Zora Neale Hurston was a utopian, who held that black Americans could attain sovereignty from white American society and all its bigotry, as proven by her hometown of Eatonville. Never in her works did she address the issue of racism of whites toward blacks, and as this became a nascent theme among black writers in the post World War II ear of civil rights, Hurston's literary influence faded. She further scathed her own reputation by railing the civil rights movement and supporting ultraconservative politicians. She died in poverty and obscurity.

She sounds like one interesting lady. I will be sure to read her.

Michael

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Hi Michael, it's good to be here!

Oh, yes, her ancestry plays a big part in the book. To Kill a Mockingbird is thoroughly autobiographical. Scout is based upon Harper herself, her real life father was a lawyer. Also, Dill, the odd little boy with the somewhat mysterious homelife was modeled on Truman Capote; they grew up together.

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Kevin,

You know, I have been thinking a lot about this these days. I believe that the more I think about it, the more importance I put on the "mockingbird principle."

I will be writing with this in mind and working to integrate it with Objectivism.

I like the idea of being nice - being beyond nice - to those you cherish, and fundamentally being decent to all unless a strong reason arises to be otherwise, and still follow a philosophy of rational self-interest.

So, to me, whatever is used by a person in Objectivism or anything else that takes this inner decency and goodness from a person's soul is not a proper recipe for happiness. A philosophy is only valid if it can be of some human value. The highest human value is happiness, so the best philosophy will instruct you on the way to attain that.

btw - I still remember your thought on epistemology, that consciousness might be a product of brain activity, and I still find it an impressive one to think about - and think deeply.

Michael

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Michael,

I'd like to say that I was very moved by that article.

I hate to keep repeating the theme song of not having time for

posting these days. But things are very pressured here:

My sister-in-law, of whom I'm quite fond, has been diagnosed

with an aggressive sarcoma. The prognosis is hopeful, but

the situation is worrisome. And my husband, who's always tense

at the end of a semester, is even more so than usual. Plus I

have a 279-page book written by a friend which is on a tight

schedule and which I've promised to proofread before the

end of the first week of January.

When I get the chance, though, I think I'd like to share with

this group the outline for a book I never wrote -- a book

about the Objectivist world I encountered in New York City.

I think that the folks here would find the outline of interest --

maybe you especially, because of its relevance to the

issues you're groping with.

Meanwhile, I just wanted to say how much I liked your

Mockingbird piece.

Ellen

___

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Hey Michael, I couldn't agree with you more. The very notion that Oist morality might require that I harm or condemn another person whether they posed a specific and direct threat to me or not seems wrong at its core. I cannot imagine a context in which my real personal happiness would be enhanced by the pain and suffering of another human being. Certainly, if he threatens my life, I need to stop him by what ever means presents itself, but once the threat has been avoided I see no reason to extend my relationship with my attacker beyond that point. It would interfere with my happiness.

As I think you know, I come to Oism pretty much by way of SOLOHQ, not, as is usual, through the novels. What first caught my eye was this idea of sense of life and the benevolent universe. And yet the more I read of Objectivist thought (I mean, of course, the thoughts of SOLOists), the more I saw aggression and condemnation put forth as the ideals of human behavior. Anecdotally at least, it would seem that Oism's benevolent universe is chock full of evil doers.

Certain Oist discussions of crime and punishment seem particularly bizarre at times. The idea that rationality somehow requires that we reduce our morality to Newtonian physics (i.e.: an eye for an eye, every action must have an equal and opposite reaction) would seem to fly in the face of sense of life (or at the very least, my sense of life).

To my way of thinking, personal power and self esteem are the most important context for human action and the source of real happiness. There is a point at which one's personal power makes specific retaliation unnecessary or even counter productive, particularly with respect to sense of life. I'm thinking of the example of the knife wielding thief in the shadows as I walk down the street at night. He clearly intends to do me harm, but what he doesn't know is that my study of kung fu has rendered him mostly harmless. There is no reason I can think of to harm this fellow if I can avoid it. To indulge in violence as just punishment for his mere intent to harm me would absolutely interfere with my sense of life. Let him go, I say; no harm, no foul. The Oist obsession with punishment for misdeeds, though pragmatic in many instances, lacks a moral underpinning that I can get excited about, particularly in light of the way in which personal power can change the nature of the interaction from one of force to mere ill will.

Furthermore, it seems self evident that training in self defense so that I can neutralize my attacker without harming him would be morally preferable to having to shoot him--I'm certain that it would be psychologically preferable for me. It would concern me were I to discover that Oism did not support this principle.

Anyway, not exactly germane to your Mockingbird Principle, but I have been chewing on these ideas for a while now and they seemed appropriate nonetheless.

As to consciousness being a product of brain activity, I point to evolution for support. There was a creature who spent her life unconscious until the moment of her (and so her race's) first conscious thought. Now, did her consciousness fall into her head out of the sky? I don't think so. I think it was generated by the equipment she had on hand at the time. To say that consciousness is not a result of brain activity, is to say the it is the result of something else. And what the heck would that be?

-Kevin

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I have long suspected that species considerations are denied by many of those who adopt Objectivism. Now, after months of posting on SoloHQ, I know it.

A heartfelt and honest post...

Species, yes. "Incarnation" - "into the flesh".

The behaviors you describe have occupied my thoughts for a long time. They first became more in my forefront because I began to realize those behaviors in myself. I could not see them, or, when I did, I called them something else, something more favorable to my ego.

I will not blame my heavy involvement with Objectivism for those behaviors. But, I will say that Objectivism facilitated them nicely. I still have not decided if that is something innate to Objectivism, if I misnterpreted what I read, or perhaps both. It is evidentially, not speculatively, that I can say that I continue to see those behaviors run through a significant amount of those who are around Objectivism. I believe that this is problematic to being able to spread the virtues of Objectivism. It is, in the end, a psychological issue.

I can only isolate two areas that I think are reasonable to attribute to the behaviors. The first, and probably the most prevalent, has to do with self-esteem, as defined by Nathaniel Branden. It is deadly clear that the behaviors you speak of are very frequently seen in those who have low self-esteem, whether more in the area of self-worth, efficacy, or both. Personally, I believe that it is more common in those dealing with the self-worth side, who might be reasonably efficacious. But it could come out of any situation of low self-esteem.

The second area is one that I have not articulated very clearly as of yet. I am convinced that it has to do with how one deals with mortality, and Michael has suggested that I write on that separately, which I will. In Objectivism, what I see sometimes is an attitude that the Objectivism, when reasonably mastered, has now closed all the loose ends, answered all the nagging questions that make us wake up in the middle of the night feeling stark and mortal; it is done with and on to the next thing. I do not believe that is always possible. I do not believe that Objectivism can do that on a standalone basis. Why? More to consider. I only look at lackings. For one, there are difficulties with how interpersonal skills are addressed (or non-addressed). There can be a harsh, judgmental way of going through life as a good Objectivist, although it is not required. It gets done, though. I believe this involves misinterpretation, or too close of a modeling of Ayn Rand the person. It is something in there. Secondly, if Objectivism is to be developed as a way of living (and dying) on earth, it might be that more writing could be done specifically addressing the issues incarnate. Put it this way: in Objectivism, if you're not careful, you will end up alone because you alienate. You will be very alone.

rde

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Michael wrote:

If you are a mean-spirited person, or overly arrogant, or a chronic complainer (I could go on in this vein), I cannot see how on earth you can ever be happy...I have long suspected that species considerations are denied by many of those who adopt Objectivism. Now, after months of posting on SoloHQ, I know it..In reality, nobody can avoid being a member of a species. They are attracted to other members of the human race, they are envious or appreciative of the positions of other human beings, they play power games...Yet Objectivists formally deny these species-based drives in proclaiming their values. They claim that the greatest happiness as an individual is to achieve wonderful productive work. And it actually is one of the greatest forms of happiness on earth. But there are other parts to happiness.

Rich commented:

The behaviors you describe have occupied my thoughts for a long time... I continue to see those behaviors run through a significant amount of those who are around Objectivism. I believe that this is problematic to being able to spread the virtues of Objectivism. It is, in the end, a psychological issue. I can only isolate two areas that I think are reasonable to attribute to the behaviors. The first, and probably the most prevalent, has to do with self-esteem, as defined by Nathaniel Branden. It is deadly clear that the behaviors you speak of are very frequently seen in those who have low self-esteem...The second area is one that I have not articulated very clearly as of yet. I am convinced that it has to do with how one deals with mortality, and Michael has suggested that I write on that separately, which I will...In Objectivism, what I see sometimes is an attitude that the Objectivism, when reasonably mastered, has now closed all the loose ends, answered all the nagging questions that make us wake up in the middle of the night feeling stark and mortal; it is done with and on to the next thing. I do not believe that is always possible. I do not believe that Objectivism can do that on a standalone basis. Why? More to consider. I only look at lackings. For one, there are difficulties with how interpersonal skills are addressed (or non-addressed). There can be a harsh, judgmental way of going through life as a good Objectivist, although it is not required. It gets done, though. I believe this involves misinterpretation, or too close of a modeling of Ayn Rand the person. It is something in there. Secondly, if Objectivism is to be developed as a way of living (and dying) on earth, it might be that more writing could be done specifically addressing the issues incarnate. Put it this way: in Objectivism, if you're not careful, you will end up alone because you alienate. You will be very alone.

This is very deep stuff, guys. I am looking forward to reading Rich's thoughts on mortality.

My wife, Becky, and I have just in the past two days been faced with yet another symptom of this problem in a couple of emails from her ex-husband, who continues to evangelize and subtly threaten us with eternal death if we do not become Christians. I'll start another thread on this shortly. Suffice it to say here that I think that Rich is exactly right: low self-esteem and bad people skills separately or together give rise to the judgmental and controlling behaviors that we so often see among fellow Objectivists. And those problems are not peculiar to Objectivism, but seem to appear among people with a religious kind of attitude in general.

all 4 now,

reb

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My wife, Becky, and I have just in the past two days been faced with yet another symptom of this problem in a couple of emails from her ex-husband, who continues to evangelize and subtly threaten us with eternal death if we do not become Christians.

ACK!!!! You poor folks! I'm looking forward to that thread. It's great to see you here, Roger.

If you need help, let me know. We have a number of young Ohio

pagans that attend my UU church, I'm sure they would be glad

to start counter-terror activities. :twisted:

Or, to mess with them, refer them to www.christianalliance.org

and ask them if they will sign the petition.

Cheers,

rde

Hit 'em hard.

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Kevin,

As I told you, I am projecting a work on psycho-epistemology (for next year, obviously). I believe this no-nonsense approach of yours is a very good starting point for one line of thought. Here is another thought, though.

Human beings are limited by five senses (some say more if you include gravity). That means that there is more to reality than what the human organism is capable of sensing. What the nature of that "more" is constitutes quite a discussion of its own.

Well, here is the thought. What if the conceptual and cognitive faculty also came as part of a new kind of sense organ that is still in evolutionary development? That means that it would receive input from a part of reality that is not accessed by the traditional senses.

I do not pretend to have any answers right now, but this seems like a very good question to go along with your own observation of consciousness being a product of brain activity.

Rich and Roger,

You think those new-age wiseguys would like to do a bit of moonlighting as an OL hit team?

:twisted:

Michael

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Rich and Michael -- Becky and I were married in a UU Church in Omaha in 1990. Her ex steered clear, which was somewhat of a surprise, since he is such an unreformed party crasher and wet blanket. It was a nice church and a nice ceremony (we wrote it), and the bride was (and is) beautiful. :-)

I'm not really interested in wreaking vengeance or even hassling my wife's ex. I just wish he'd voluntarily go away!

We just got back from our weekend trip to Nashville. Our son's wedding was wonderful, and our visit with the other kids was great, too.

My wife's two grown daughters (from her marriage to the ex) came along, because they are really close to my 20-something kids (from my marriage to my ex), and regard my son as their brother. They also met and fell in serious "like" with my 38 year old son (from my marriage to my first ex), and now regard him as their brother! (Just the kind of thing that gives my ex and my wife's ex fits. And that is much sweeter revenge than any bully-boy stuff from UU terrorist organizations. :-) And they reiterated how I have been more of a father to them (supporting, accepting, etc.) than their own dad. That is particularly sweet, considering that for a good 7-8 years or so, the younger one (now 23) was more or less hostile toward me. (She's now very affectionate and respectful, having caught on to her dad's distortions and empty promises and seen my patience and efforts on her behalf as real caring.)

But enough on that for now. I gotta hit the hay and go back to work at Disneyland at 8:30 tomorrow morning -- and hope that my chapped, swollen lips will be able to negotiate the Disneyland Band material without too many muffed notes!

Buenos noches, mi amigos.

REB

No como los otros muchachos

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Well, here is the thought. What if the conceptual and cognitive faculty also came as part of a new kind of sense organ that is still in evolutionary development? That means that it would receive input from a part of reality that is not accessed by the traditional senses.

Why would you propose a new kind of sense organ that receives input from a part of reality that is not accessed by the traditional senses? Is there any reason to suppose that our conceptual and cognitive faculty is not fully compatible with receiving input only from our traditional senses? Where have you left Occam's razor?

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Hi Dragonfly,

Where is thy sting?

You asked me three questions: I will try to answer them.

1. "Why would you propose a new kind of sense organ that receives input from a part of reality that is not accessed by the traditional senses?"

I'm not proposing anything right now. More musing or speculating. Call it a science fiction level.

Kevin proposed that consciousness is a product of brain activity. I like that very much. In the same manner, our sense organs are a product of our life activity. Yet each addresses a different part of reality that is not accessed by the other. So I am taking the fiction writer's license of going in that same direction with consciousness.

Still, I can make the same question right back at you. Why would you think that reality is limited only to what we can perceive, then integrate?

Have you ever seen a flock of animals all take off in the same direction at the same time? How do ants do what they do all together when they go out for food? There are a million of observations that do not completely line up. Do these life forms merely have one of our five senses in a more amplified manner, or are they perceiving something we cannot?

So my proposal is more of a question than an answer. (btw - What do dragonflies eat?)

2. Is there any reason to suppose that our conceptual and cognitive faculty is not fully compatible with receiving input only from our traditional senses?

Nope. No reason at all.

I believe that it is not only fully compatible with that, it might be compatible with being built upon - just like any life form in evolution.

3. Where have you left Occam's razor?

Er... ahem... it was right over there... uhm... I'll get back to ya' when I find it...

Michael

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Hi Dragonfly,

Where is thy sting?

You should know that dragonflies have no sting...

You asked me three questions: I will try to answer them.

1. "Why would you propose a new kind of sense organ that receives input from a part of reality that is not accessed by the traditional senses?"

I'm not proposing anything right now. More musing or speculating. Call it a science fiction level.

Kevin proposed that consciousness is a product of brain activity. I like that very much. In the same manner, our sense organs are a product of our life activity. Yet each addresses a different part of reality that is not accessed by the other. So I am taking the fiction writer's license of going in that same direction with consciousness.

Wait a moment, I can't follow you here. I can understand what you mean by "brain activity". But "life activity" that produces sense organs? Do you mean evolution? Or just the activity of a living body? In the latter case brain activity is of course just a subset of life activity. Neither do I understand your point about addressing different parts of reality. That seems rather trivial to me, even different sense address different parts of reality, each organ has its own task. But of course they work together. To use the computer analogue: the brain is the processor, the senses are the peripherals that provide input from the outside world (scanner, camera, microphone) for the processor.

Still, I can make the same question right back at you. Why would you think that reality is limited only to what we can perceive, then integrate?

What we can directly perceive is of course only a very small part of reality, but thanks to science and its instruments we can indirectly perceive a lot more. If there is anything that we can in principle not perceive (directly or indirectly), then it is not part of science, and for me therefore not part of existence. I reject supernatural phenomena, where I take "supernatural" in the literal sense (outside nature), not phenomena of which people think that they need a supernatural explanation.

Take for example the notion of the "classical" orbit of an electron in an atom (i.e. the electron moving along a well-defined curve in space). We know now thanks to Heisenberg that we are in principle unable to measure such a classical orbit, we can only determine the probability that an electron will be at a certain position and we call this probability distribution an "orbital". The notion of a classical orbit is in this case meaningless, as it is in principle unmeasurable, so it is not part of reality.

Then perhaps you're thinking of the possibility that there are things in reality that we could in principle find using scientific methods, but that we also can perceive directly with some new, developing sense organ. But what is the evidence for that?

Have you ever seen a flock of animals all take off in the same direction at the same time? How do ants do what they do all together when they go out for food? There are a million of observations that do not completely line up. Do these life forms merely have one of our five senses in a more amplified manner, or are they perceiving something we cannot?

The explanation is not so mysterious. Many years ago I've even written computer programs to simulate this behavior, that can be explained by relatively simple mutual interactions between the animals in a group. Did you read Feynman's "Surely you're joking, Mr. Feynman"? (If not, do read it, it is delicious, and you'll roar with laughter!). Herein he describes a few simple experiments he devised to account for the movements of ants. And it is instructive to see how even a non-specialist can find relevant information just by doing some clever, but simple tests.

So my proposal is more of a question than an answer. (btw - What do dragonflies eat?)

Flies (yumm!)

In the meantime you should look for that razor!

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Dragonfly,

Let's take this to another thread, as it is going in the direction of epistemology, which bores a lot of people.

The present thread is about the lovely mockingbirds in our lives who bring beauty and joy to us through their singing.

I invite you to start it and I suggest "Chewing on Ideas."

Michael

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  • 1 year later...

Michael; Thanks for the article. Your reaction to the scene in the courtroom as Atticus Finch is leaving is the same as mine. It is worth noting that Atticus Finch was selected as the greatest movie hero by AFI. I hope Mockingbird will be shown this month on TCM.

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It is worth noting that Harper Lee probably deserved credit for much of the research on In Cold Blood. In Capote she is depicted as doing much of interviewing of people in Garden City. Truman Capote took some getting used to and Miss lee smoothed the way. Truman Capote was a very good writer but a very graceless man and his trying to take credit for To Kill a Mockingbird is one example.

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There are a great many rational reasons for having a deeply benevolent view of other humans and even of other living creatures. I am sure that some of the resonance that being nice to others and feeling good when they are nice to us is also built into us by evolution, or at least into many of us. In addition, there are many ways in which benevolence provides us with many more avenues for arranging the trade of values, whether they be in the form of ideas, goods, services, or good will. Enhancing the appreciation of these objective truths has long been important to me as an Objectivist and is the subject of a number of my articles and many of my posts. I applaud your new (Dec 05) appreciation of being nice, Michael.

Reality is primary and man's needs to live a full, rich, and creative life are many. We, as Objectivists, are required to appreciate the complexity and the richness of living our lives both with respect to the non-living and the living aspects of our reality.

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Chris and Charles,

Thank you very much. I wrote that just as SoloHQ had split and there was an enormous amount of bickering.

On a happier note, I would like to be only a mockingbird for Kat, but Kats eat birds (even Kittens do), so I have to be more. :) (Still, I sing to her.)

btw - We rented To Kill a Mockingbird since Kitten had never seen it. We tried to watch it last night. The film from halfway through the trial up to the last 3 minutes was damaged. I was really looking forward to sharing the climax of this film with Kitten and this completely blew my high.

So I admit that I do not feel very benevolent toward Blockbuster at this moment. I am going back there to raise some hell.

Michael

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Anyone use Netflix or the Blockbusters by mail? Are they any good?

We use Blockbuster, and so far it's been good. I love the option of dropping discs off at the store and getting new ones instantly. We've gotten a couple of discs that have had enough fingerprints, scratches and sticky stuff on them that viewing would've been impossible if I hadn't washed them first (rubbing alcohol works well for the persistent stuff), but the same is true of any rental discs from any store.

When did it become popular in America to eat pancakes with your fingers, with extra syrup and sand, and then touch every millimeter of surface area on a rental DVD?

J

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