Why wasn't Eddie Willers invited to Galt's Gulch?


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39 minutes ago, anthony said:

 I don't understand why you are raising any incompatibilism of being both biological and rational animal. Envisaging any fissure between the 'meat and the mind', crudely. I've seen you write some good material on this.

If one wants to survive, be healthy, think well of oneself, be self-reliant, understand existence, develop his knowledge, create things, find non-destructive pleasures, have good relations with others, earn and own material goods and attain spiritual well being - etc. - in all, seek and maintain his purpose and happiness in life, he hasn't traditionally had any moral guidance.

Except for "you Must - you Must Not".

By what standard? By whose standard?

You don't know by instinct what it good for you and what is poison, with food as well as moral ideas. (An eastern philosopher Lin Yutang remarked that every good philosophy should begin with men possessing stomachs...Fair enough).

The virtues, one's tools for life, singly and in combination, very well cover what a person "should" do for his objective good and fulfillment.

Yes, that does "depend on the fact that he is rational" (by one's nature - distinct from not always by one's thinking and actions). 

???  So... does the fact that he has a particular kind of digestive system and metabolism come into consideration or not?

 

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Anthony wrote: “Everything one regularly does, first had to be learned and *self*-programmed in the brain's neural pathways, which might appear 'automated' which may feel 'instinctive'.

I think one of my biggest wastes of time when I was younger was constantly looking at and seeking women. That may sound trivial, but I wonder how many hours in my lifetime have been utilized that way when I could have been doing something else? I have read that this behavior may be partially or completely instinctual with learned behavior tagging along. We may be imprinted with finding a “mate” so we look for attributes that indicate what will create a happy coupling and result with healthy children from that coupling. Men look for symmetry of features, healthiness, and a certain ratio between bosom, waist, and hip measurement.   

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I would think the reason a lot of discussions around instinctual behaviors and the like are center around infancy is due to the fact that infancy is the time with the least amount of experience, the idea that certain behaviors could not be from 'learning' and self programming if the opportunity time is nonexistent.

I will grant that 'instinct' isn't perhaps a well understood or applied concept. But that's just a gut feeling. :)

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Eddie Willers was excluded from the Gulch because his aw-shucks name, which just reeks of secondhadedness , would have lowered he tone of the community.

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1 hour ago, tmj said:

I will grant that 'instinct' isn't perhaps a well understood or applied concept. But that's just a gut feeling. :)

T,

LOL...

And it may give some people anxiety about philosophy similar to "the squirms" about creative writing (see here).

:)

btw - Human instincts are well understood. This understanding is one of the main reasons social media tech giants are so goddam effective--and easy for evil people to use to gain power for that matter. And that deals with harnessing only a few instincts.

Michael

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Yeah there’s a whole school of thought and study devoted to divining the human instincts, psychology.

The suckling reflex is a different category, more biological/mammalian/deep/evolutionary kinda thing. The buttons that the screen magicians push hit on some deep hardwiring , but the reflexes they stimulate are more conceptual.

For some reason (ha ha) some people need to blank out on stuff like amygdala’s and the interplay between regions in the brain. Almost like that gushy meat stuff messes up the pristine , sterile separation and elevation of the pure rational and feels better to just drop the animal part ,  but it doesn’t seem that vestigial just yet.

If we find some rational plants , I reserve the right to change my tune.

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Turned into quite a fest, it would be even better if I had denounced human biology - hmm?

I relate to your experiences, what a waste of time and energy, Peter. Chasing girls was an appetite for pleasurable sensations. Hunger is that sort of drive, too, I reckon, the automated sensations that our system urges one to satisfy by eating. An instinct? I don't think so.  

 I celebrate the body--and all its functions. I celebrate the mind. Therefore, the workings of the brain that make it possible.

I think "man's life" scared everyone. What - does that indicate only man's consciousness? Leaving off and eliminating his physicality, sensations and emotions? A life devoid of pleasure and appetites. Simplistic poppycock.

"Drop the animal part" exists only in your mind, tmj. Don't lay your skepticism on me. I am not a rationalist.

I am waiting to hear how instincts, which ever few they are, make moral choices.

 

 

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7 hours ago, Strictlylogical said:

???  So... does the fact that he has a particular kind of digestive system and metabolism come into consideration or not?

 

Yes.

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Instinct: n. innate propensity esp. in lower animals, to certain seemingly rational acts performed without conscious design;  ... Concise Oxford

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7 hours ago, caroljane said:

Eddie Willers was excluded from the Gulch because his aw-shucks name, which just reeks of secondhadedness , would have lowered he tone of the community.

OK, I noticed that in the "All Activity" feed.  It gives me an opening.

I've been avoiding reading the thread, but the title has been bugging me.

In the final conversation between Eddie and Dagny, Eddie told Dagny not to wait for him before going wherever she was going.

He would have been invited.  He said he didn’t want to go.

Ellen

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13 minutes ago, Ellen Stuttle said:

OK, I noticed that in the "All Activity" feed.  It gives me an opening.

I've been avoiding reading the thread, but the title has been bugging me.

In the final conversation between Eddie and Dagny, Eddie told Dagny not to wait for him before going wherever she was going.

He would have been invited.  He said he didn’t want to go.

Ellen

Probably because he couldn't have her there.

Nathaniel described Eddie as having a devastating lack of self esteem re his relationship with Dagny, not ever telling her how he felt until the very end.

--Brant

I think Rand just didn't have the time to buff him up and fit that into the novel (he was a place holder)

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13 hours ago, tmj said:

In a totally related issue , what is your disposition toward a loved one when you come upon them sobbing?

Weary, but determinedly sympathetic.  I comfort them by saying that the first COVID- free season will definitely be the Leafs CUP YEAR.

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9 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Tony,

You know better than that.

Michael

Hardly, Michael. We either have fixed definitions, or we're all over the place. Despite inroads by varied experts, psychologists and behaviorists, an instinct - is an - instinct. You can't squeeze other things, physical drives, learned and self-automated behavior, etc. to modify and expand that meaning.

"Instinct: Innate knowledge". That's most succinct. So - what "knowledge" is inborn or innate in humans? The few instincts we may be left with, how useful are they to survival, making (moral) choices?

As a friend who'd done several extreme survival courses said emphatically - "You don't know one damn thing - instinctively. Out there, only things what your body's telling you, you're cold and tired and hungry".

You don't know, in the bush or the desert, which berries to eat or what insects aren't poisonous, build a trap, where to find water, or how to light a fire and make a shelter - instinctively. Men and women there, are totally at the mercy of nature. They have to be taught and showed, to learn to identify and evaluate.

That's the point, if men are animals (which we know), how come we aren't outfitted with ~instinctual knowledge~ to naturally survive in the wilds, the animals' habitat?

And not even back in civilisation, where city dwellers like to indulgently believe they ~do~ have instincts, only going to show they're fooling themselves. (e.g. Do you know what train to "instinctively" catch? - and a million other things).

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23 hours ago, tmj said:

In a totally related issue , what is your disposition toward a loved one when you come upon them sobbing?

Who, me? My disposition would I hope not be "instinctive" concern. A loved one would be right to hate that.

A 'valuing' concern, what else?

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6 hours ago, anthony said:

Hardly, Michael. We either have fixed definitions, or we're all over the place.

Tony,

You know better than that, too.

There is no "we" here.

Come on... Using a 1919 edition of a dictionary when ALL the modern dictionaries do not use the word "rational" in defining instinct the way that one did?

See here.

The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English (1919)
https://archive.org/details/con00ciseoxforddicfowlrich/page/424/mode/2up
Page 424

image.png

You must have known I would look this up.

I couldn't find a modern online version of The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English, but I did find an offline copy of The Concise Oxford American Dictionary (2006 edition). Here is the definition of instinct given there:

image.png

 image.png

Where's the word "rational"? Yoo hoo! "Rationaaaaaal..." Come out, come out wherever you are...

Heh.

What's more, by the time Ayn Rand was discussing, as one of her talking points, that there is no instinct for conceptual thought, she would have used the American edition anyway. She was in California, then New York at the time. Duh...

What on earth makes you think she would have used a 1919 edition of a CONCISE dictionary from England as her reference for a word like instinct, anyway?

But it gets worse. Nobody knows what dictionary Ayn Rand used since she made an odd statement about the dictionary definition of selfishness in the Introduction to The Virtue of Selfishness, but did not say which dictionary she used.

Quote

In popular usage, the word "selfishness" is a synonym of evil; the image it conjures is of a murderous brute who tramples over piles of corpses to achieve his own ends, who cares for no living being and pursues nothing but the gratification of the mindless whims of any immediate moment.

Yet the exact meaning and dictionary definition of the word "selfishness" is: concern with one's own interests.

This concept does not include a moral evaluation...

Except people find the exact opposite of no moral evaluation in dictionary after dictionary.

This has been discussed to death in O-Land, even here on OL. For example, here: What dictionary did Ayn Rand use?.

But wait, it gets even worse. Even using that boneheaded definition in the 1919 edition of The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English, when a black widow spider kills and eats her mate after copulation, is that instinct a "seemingly rational act"?!!!

Gimme a break.

 

As to the second point, you know better than to pretend a cheap half-assed gotcha--a real stretcher at that--proved your point. It didn't. Quoting and not discussing, but treating it as if the quote proved a different point comes off as evasion.

I expect this kind of thing out of William, not you. 

I've never known you to be a cheap-ass gotcha man.

I was going to quote a huge list of of definitions of instinct from different dictionaries--all with links. And then for gravy, show a list of quotes from Rand that shows how inconsistent she was with the term "instinct." Quotes like the following.

This is Ayn Rand describing James Taggart in Atlas Shrugged (my bold):

Quote

He had received word of the catastrophe at eight o'clock this morning; by noon, he had arrived at his office. An instinct that came from reasons which he knew, but spent his whole effort on not knowing, had told him that he had to be there, this time.

Or maybe this. Dagny just took charge of the situation where the train was stalled out in the heartland. She is with Owen Kellogg.

Quote

Climbing down the ladder on the side of the engine, they saw a cluster of passengers gathered by the track and more figures emerging from the train to join them. By some special instinct of their own, the men who had sat waiting knew that someone had taken charge, someone had assumed the responsibility and it was now safe to show signs of life.

There are plenty of Ayn Rand quotes about instinct to choose from--including in her nonfiction--that fly in the face of what you understand her meaning to be. 

But I got to thinking, why put in all that effort to debunk a cheap half-assed gotcha from someone who's point of pride is that he refuses to look at information?

Bah...

Go discuss this with someone else.

You're wrong. You think I'm wrong.

Big deal.

I've got too much to do to spend a lot of time on bullshit like this.

Michael

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Since the dictionary definitions are being disputed, I got curious about the origin of the word...here's the etymology of the word "instinct"...interesting that there's no mention of "Rationality" in it...
 

instinct (n.)

early 15c., "a prompting" (a sense now obsolete), from Old French instinct (14c.) or directly from Latin instinctus "instigation, impulse, inspiration," noun use of past participle of instinguere "to incite, impel," from in- "into, in, on, upon" (from PIE root *en "in") + stinguere "prick, goad," from PIE *steig- "to prick, stick, pierce" (see stick (v.)).

Meaning "animal faculty of intuitive perception" is from mid-15c., from notion of "natural prompting." General sense of "natural tendency" is first recorded 1560s.

https://www.etymonline.com/word/instinct

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41 minutes ago, ThatGuy said:

... interesting that there's no mention of "Rationality" in it...

TG,

There came a moment in Rand's writing where she was trying to defend reason so much, she saw red whenever instinct came up. You can see this in Galt's speech and later essays where she blasted things like "instinct for self-preservation." I think she was in normative--not cognitive--mode at those times, though. 

The reason I think this is that there is no reason on earth to make instinct and reason in a brain--one that evolved in stages--an either-or proposition. The brain having one capacity does not negate it having the other. Both exist in the same brain. So why either-or? Look into it and you will see that there is no why other than Rand said so (only at certain times, at that).

Note that the examples of evidence she gives are not relevant. Man can't fly like birds nor claw like tigers, therefore man has no instincts to rely on for survival. 

Well, the brain can walk and chew gum at the same time. (Er... so to speak... maybe a different metaphor than that hacked-to-death cliché would be better... :) ).

Speaking of metaphors, one of the best analogies I have come across for reason sitting on top of instinct is a man sitting on an elephant. The man (reason) can teach the elephant (the subconscious) about where to go, what work to do, and so on, but he has to interact with the elephant according to the way it understands (its instincts). The man can even override--for a time--what the elephant wants to do. If the man does not interact with the elephant, it goes its own way (instincts). And if the man goes totally contrary to it, the elephant ignores the man, at least for the most part. (Just like the success rate of New Year's resolutions. :) )

I think this either-or thinking Rand did about instinct when she got on her soapbox has created a lot of confusion in O-Land. What's more, she did not use the either-or frame consistently when talking about instinct, neither before that phase, nor after.

I think she was right to attack the enemies of the human mind the way she did, but now her point has been made, so much so that I believe we will beat the indoctrination against reason of an entire generation, so there is no longer need for hyperbole so hot that it extends to inaccurate cognitive identifications.

She won.

(I know it doesn't look like it right now with the woke culture, but watch how little that endures.)

Now its time to clean up the mess from the battlefield.

What's more, it is critical to do this at this very moment, right now, when artificial intelligence is emerging all over the world in labs, the military, the market, and so on. Especially seeing how the growth and learning part in AI is being developed by mirroring the way human instincts work.

Michael

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There's absolutely no need to become combative, Michael. I don't even get what I'm accused of and supposedly misquoted: "seemingly rational" is in this definition in my COD, 1958. As it is unchanged in what you found. The meaning comes through: inherent/innate knowledge. "Unconscious skills". As opposed to conscious skills. We can't get around that to include everything like sensations, feelings, etc.  which ~are~ biological.

All this diverts from any place instinct has in the human brain and human activity.

The actuality of experiences in the wild, I brought up, which show a person can't even briefly survive on instincts, has been overlooked.

(And btw, this has little to do with what Rand said, or whatever, I see it for myself, repeatedly).

The Woke culture claims instinct for its own, those intellectuals who had a post-modernist influence are heavily invested in upsetting reason and objectivity, and that influence seeped into the mainstream. What remains for them, mankind are instinctive animals, noble savages existing in supposed harmony among the species, reliant on feelings and intuition. Continuing into people in societies and that final -obedient - Utopia.

The radical environmentalist movement, as a quasi-religion, is in there and draws from anthropomorphism and species equivalence - e.g. animals "are just like us" and humans are, or ought to be, just like animals. Perhaps even beneath animals. Therefore, "a human is no more important than a sea slug", as one scientist infamously said. If one wants to overcome "woke" it's reason and values, not peripheral instinctivism, one should fight for.

I asked generally where human instincts are apparent and/or effective and valuable- no replies.

There's no cause to be personal. I remind you that after pointing out something in good faith, the standard of value, this discussion was sidelined by others into "instincts". And dismissively of what I put out. Inferring, that it's considered by some that instinctualism has a place in man's moral code.

The simplest explanation is the best: the human brain evolved and expanded, gradually leaving most-to all instincts behind, replacing them with (volitional) reason. The strong emotions, for instance, are certainly not exhibitions of 'instincts' (but that's another debate which arouses um ... strong emotions). And even if conceding that the brain stem still has vestiges of influence over "self-preservation" and maybe many people's "fight or flight" instincts, that's a moral culture one should rationally and vehemently oppose. (Too late, its arrived). A 'self-evolution', in one's own lifetime not the far future, has to be paramount.

 

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7 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Note that the examples of evidence she gives are not relevant. Man can't fly like birds nor claw like tigers, therefore man has no instincts to rely on for survival. 

Well, the brain can walk and chew gum at the same time. (Er... so to speak... maybe a different metaphor than that hacked-to-death cliché would be better... :) ).

Perhaps we should put Rand's argument to the Bedevere test... 🙃

V: There are ways of telling whether she is a witch.
P1: Are there? Well then tell us! (tell us)
V: Tell me... what do you do with witches?
P3: Burn'em! Burn them up! (burn burn burn)
V: What do you burn apart from witches?
P1: More witches! (P2 nudge P1)
(pause)
P3: Wood!
V: So, why do witches burn?
(long pause)
P2: Cuz they're made of... wood?
V: Gooood.
(crowd congratulates P2)
V: So, how do we tell if she is made of wood?
P1: Build a bridge out of her!
V: Ahh, but can you not also make bridges out of stone?
P1: Oh yeah...
V: Does wood sink in water?
P1: No
P3: No. It floats!
P1: Let's throw her into the bog! (yeah yeah ya!)
V: What also floats in water?
P1: Bread
P3: Apples
P2: Very small rocks
(V looks annoyed)
P1: Cider
P3: Grape gravy
P1: Cherries
P3: Mud
King: A Duck!
(all look and stare at king)
V: Exactly! So, logically...
P1(thinking): If she weighs the same as a duck... she's made of wood!
V: And therefore,
(pause & think)
P3: A witch! (P1: a witch)(P2: a witch)(all: a witch!)

https://blog.apaonline.org/2019/06/27/monty-python-witch-trial-validity-soundness-and-the-fallacy-of-the-undistributed-middle/

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