Mike Hansen

Objectivist Contradictions

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Mary,

I was using the word "natural talent" in that sentence to mean something more akin to "natural aptitude."

I don't hold to Rand's idea that hard focused work is the only component in a developed talent. I believe there are three components:

1. Biology (what I was referring to),

2, Non-volition conditioning (see Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell for a fascinating study of why some groups of people in some areas emerge as top talent and others don't).

3. Hard focused work.

Even in the hard work area, I am revising some of my thinking. I used to do it all the hard-assed way of sitting down, consciously plowing though the material, practicing, and fighting the boredom when it hit as it has done a lot in my learning. But there are far better approaches--not to replace the hard focus, but to add to it.

For instance, I am currently studying the modeling ideas of John Grinder (in what he calls "New Code NLP"). He holds that you can cut the time and effort in mastering a skill down to the bare bone by adopting the attitude of a child while modeling an expert. He highlights two aspects.

1. A child does not rely on his previous body of knowledge when modeling an adult for a new skill. He basically goes into monkey-see monkey-do mode until he gets the hang of it, and only afterwards does he relate it all to the stuff he already knows. Adults tend to do the opposite. They try to impose already known structures on new material they have to learn.

An important part of this previous knowledge is verbalizing. Even in learning a language, there is an enormous amount of non-verbal information that is absorbed by a child that an adult generally does not get when he tries to acquire a second language. In other words, a child does not put words to the monkey-see monkey-do stuff until it is part of him, while adults tend toward verbalizing as they learn.

2. A child has not developed the adult's resistance to admitting he is wrong and embarrassment about it. So he treats failure as simply something he didn't get right yet as he goes about trying it again. There is also an element of play in this attitude. An adult tends to feel shame, or discomfort, or weariness, or embarrassment, or overall dejection when he fails at a newly learned task.

So Grinder's idea is to try to construct the emotional state of a child every time you sit down to learn something new.

I think he's on to something. I'm certainly fascinated., and I'm starting to make my own experiments with this stuff.

Of course, there are other considerations like the complexity of the skill. You don't want to model an expert surgeon and then go around cutting folks without a lot of formal learning to go along with it. Some skills are a lot easier than others.

Back to the tabula rasa thing you brought up (the talent thing), I believe it is wrong to pigeonhole the human mind according to a theory and ignore reality, Biological aptitudes are measurable and have been measured over and over. For one good example, child savants exist.

Michael

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Mary,

I was using the word "natural talent" in that sentence to mean something more akin to "natural aptitude."

I don't hold to Rand's idea that hard focused work is the only component in a developed talent. I believe there are three components:

1. Biology (what I was referring to),

2, Non-volition conditioning (see Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell for a fascinating study of why some groups of people in some areas emerge as top talent and others don't).

3. Hard focused work.

Even in the hard work area, I am revising some of my thinking. I used to do it all the hard-assed way of sitting down, consciously plowing though the material, practicing, and fighting the boredom when it hit as it has done a lot in my learning. But there are far better approaches--not to replace the hard focus, but to add to it.

For instance, I am currently studying the modeling ideas of John Grinder (in what he calls "New Code NLP"). He holds that you can cut the time and effort in mastering a skill down to the bare bone by adopting the attitude of a child while modeling an expert. He highlights two aspects.

1. A child does not rely on his previous body of knowledge when modeling an adult for a new skill. He basically goes into monkey-see monkey-do mode until he gets the hang of it, and only afterwards does he relate it all to the stuff he already knows. Adults tend to do the opposite. They try to impose already known structures on new material they have to learn.

An important part of this previous knowledge is verbalizing. Even in learning a language, there is an enormous amount of non-verbal information that is absorbed by a child that an adult generally does not get when he tries to acquire a second language. In other words, a child does not put words to the monkey-see monkey-do stuff until it is part of him, while adults tend toward verbalizing as they learn.

2. A child has not developed the adult's resistance to admitting he is wrong and embarrassment about it. So he treats failure as simply something he didn't get right yet as he goes about trying it again. There is also an element of play in this attitude. An adult tends to feel shame, or discomfort, or weariness, or embarrassment, or overall dejection when he fails at a newly learned task.

So Grinder's idea is to try to construct the emotional state of a child every time you sit down to learn something new.

I think he's on to something. I'm certainly fascinated., and I'm starting to make my own experiments with this stuff.

Of course, there are other considerations like the complexity of the skill. You don't want to model an expert surgeon and then go around cutting folks without a lot of formal learning to go along with it. Some skills are a lot easier than others.

Back to the tabula rasa thing you brought up (the talent thing), I believe it is wrong to pigeonhole the human mind according to a theory and ignore reality, Biological aptitudes are measurable and have been measured over and over. For one good example, child savants exist.

Michael

Most of us are capable of learning to do tasks for which we have no particular aptitude. Human beings are, by and large, general purpose primates. That is not to say we will become masterful doers of such tasks, but most of us can get by passably.

Ba'al Chafatz

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Bob,

Rand's contention, if taken to the logical end result, is that we can all become equal geniuses in all fields with enough focused effort and enough time. She specifically denied innate talent--to any degree--that grows on its own.

Michael

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Bob,

Rand's contention, if taken to the logical end result, is that we can all become equal geniuses in all fields with enough focused effort and enough time. She specifically denied innate talent--to any degree--that grows on its own.

Michael

If that is Rand's contention then I disagree with it. It is empirical nonsense.

Anyone familiar with the extended Bach family or the Bernoulli family would know better.

According to Rand, if I do not become a musical genius (never mind that I am tune deaf and half my physical hearing is already shot) it is because I have not tried hard enough. To which I reply -- balderdash!

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Bob,

Rand's contention, if taken to the logical end result, is that we can all become equal geniuses in all fields with enough focused effort and enough time. She specifically denied innate talent--to any degree--that grows on its own.

Michael

If that is Rand's contention then I disagree with it. It is empirical nonsense.

Anyone familiar with the extended Bach family or the Bernoulli family would know better.

According to Rand, if I do not become a musical genius (never mind that I am tune deaf and half my physical hearing is already shot) it is because I have not tried hard enough. To which I reply -- balderdash!

Ba'al Chatzaf

But it's not Rand's own words - it's MSK's exaggeration, as he himself said.

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Michael's statement may be an exaggeration, but it reflects the implications of Rand's views on the primacy of the human will. There is a saying that any idea, taken to its logical conclusions, becomes ridiculous; and it is ridiculous to suppose that anyone who applies constant hard focus to his chosen field will inevitably end up a master at it. Such lifelong dedication in many cases produces nothing better than a polished mediocrity.There are more Casaubons than Rands in the world, in life and literature.

Edited by daunce lynam

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Quote from Nathaniel Branden's article, The Benefits and Hazards of the Philosophy of Ayn Rand:

"I remember being astonished to hear her say one day, “After all, the theory of evolution is only a hypothesis.” I asked her, “You mean you seriously doubt that more complex life forms—including humans—evolved from less complex life forms?” She shrugged and responded, “I’m really not prepared to say,” or words to that effect. I do not mean to imply that she wanted to substitute for the theory of evolution the religious belief that we are all God’s creation; but there was definitely something about the concept of evolution that made her uncomfortable." (NB)

http://nathanielbranden.com/catalog/articles_essays/benefits_and_hazards.html

What could it be that made Rand uncomfortable about the concept of evolution?

Edited by Xray

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I hate to be the fly laying eggs, given I'm newest one flying around here, but something has to be done about the spoiled meat of contradiction, and nature is ever-efficient and I didn't want to call myself a cockroach. Seriously though, the stench is really getting overwhelming and it's spoiling a perfectly good Rand worship-fest.

I cannot help but notice that no one is discussing the most apparent of contradictions -- not of Ms. Rand herself, who while flawed like any human being, does a workwoman-like job of expressing her philosophies, opinions and rationalizations for almost slavish service to both id and ego and in so doing makes self-indulgence and narcissism seem like hard work rather than the fun activities they should be.

No, I'm talking about all you fine gentlemen (note, most of you are gentlemen) who, while rejoicing in Ms. Rand's freedoms practically go into full tonic-clonic seizure mode when "ladies" ...especially "your ladies" wish to practice the most fundamental of freedoms, especially from governmental intervention into their most private of private places.

I trust I need go into no further detail.

Any relationship a current era Ayn Rand might have with the republican party of today would be awkward, and any relationship with the Tealaban wing of the Tea Party would be downright NOT possible. I suppose this might have been better placed in the political forum, but it seems perfectly appropriate here as well, and I'm very interested in hearing what you learned men have to say!

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I hate to be the fly laying eggs, given I'm newest one flying around here, but something has to be done about the spoiled meat of contradiction, and nature is ever-efficient and I didn't want to call myself a cockroach. Seriously though, the stench is really getting overwhelming and it's spoiling a perfectly good Rand worship-fest.

I cannot help but notice that no one is discussing the most apparent of contradictions -- not of Ms. Rand herself, who while flawed like any human being, does a workwoman-like job of expressing her philosophies, opinions and rationalizations for almost slavish service to both id and ego and in so doing makes self-indulgence and narcissism seem like hard work rather than the fun activities they should be.

No, I'm talking about all you fine gentlemen (note, most of you are gentlemen) who, while rejoicing in Ms. Rand's freedoms practically go into full tonic-clonic seizure mode when "ladies" ...especially "your ladies" wish to practice the most fundamental of freedoms, especially from governmental intervention into their most private of private places.

I trust I need go into no further detail.

Any relationship a current era Ayn Rand might have with the republican party of today would be awkward, and any relationship with the Tealaban wing of the Tea Party would be downright NOT possible. I suppose this might have been better placed in the political forum, but it seems perfectly appropriate here as well, and I'm very interested in hearing what you learned men have to say!

Ah, the psychology-sociology of abortion. Needs a new thread. Suggested title: "Barefoot and Pregnant?"

Rand would have little or no truck with the politics around us today. She had in fact burned out on the culture within her own lifespan. However, if you imagine her at different ages and inject her philosophically into the current era you might get interesting speculative results comparatively. While in 1964 she wrote "it's earlier than you think"--something like that--it always is and not just for a few but for most. When we're young we speed up time in our heads and when we are old time speeds up our heads as the possibility of future accomplishments hits knowledge of mortality. Thus many still capable of doing a lot more for quite some time run out of gas much too soon.

--Brant

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No, I'm talking about all you fine gentlemen (note, most of you are gentlemen) who, while rejoicing in Ms. Rand's freedoms practically go into full tonic-clonic seizure mode when "ladies" ...especially "your ladies" wish to practice the most fundamental of freedoms, especially from governmental intervention into their most private of private places.

So what is your point here? Is there a point at all?

In your profile, you state that "calling Ayn Rand a philosopher is rather like calling rap music" With due deference to your vast knowledge of both philosophy and Rand, here's a tip: If you are a newbie on a list and if you wish to be taken seriously, then don't start off by insulting virtually every member of that list.

Ghs

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I hate to be the fly laying eggs, given I'm newest one flying around here, but something has to be done about the spoiled meat of contradiction, and nature is ever-efficient and I didn't want to call myself a cockroach. Seriously though, the stench is really getting overwhelming and it's spoiling a perfectly good Rand worship-fest.

I cannot help but notice that no one is discussing the most apparent of contradictions -- not of Ms. Rand herself, who while flawed like any human being, does a workwoman-like job of expressing her philosophies, opinions and rationalizations for almost slavish service to both id and ego and in so doing makes self-indulgence and narcissism seem like hard work rather than the fun activities they should be.

No, I'm talking about all you fine gentlemen (note, most of you are gentlemen) who, while rejoicing in Ms. Rand's freedoms practically go into full tonic-clonic seizure mode when "ladies" ...especially "your ladies" wish to practice the most fundamental of freedoms, especially from governmental intervention into their most private of private places.

I trust I need go into no further detail.

Any relationship a current era Ayn Rand might have with the republican party of today would be awkward, and any relationship with the Tealaban wing of the Tea Party would be downright NOT possible. I suppose this might have been better placed in the political forum, but it seems perfectly appropriate here as well, and I'm very interested in hearing what you learned men have to say!

Ah, the psychology-sociology of abortion. Needs a new thread. Suggested title: "Barefoot and Pregnant?"

Rand would have little or no truck with the politics around us today. She had in fact burned out on the culture within her own lifespan. However, if you imagine her at different ages and inject her philosophically into the current era you might get interesting speculative results comparatively. While in 1964 she wrote "it's earlier than you think"--something like that--it always is and not just for a few but for most. When we're young we speed up time in our heads and when we are old time speeds up our heads as the possibility of future accomplishments hits knowledge of mortality. Thus many still capable of doing a lot more for quite some time run out of gas much too soon.

--Brant

Rand's defense of the right of abortion was unequivocal and well known. That's why I don't understand the point of AC's post.

Rand's dislike of conservatives was also unequivocal. As she wrote to a correspondent in 1980, while refusing to appear in a television series on Cultural Conservatism:

This year [1980] in particular, I would be ashamed to be connected with the so-called Conservatives in any way. Their anti-abortion stand is outrageous — and so is their mixture of politics with religion.

Ghs

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Rand's defense of the right of abortion was unequivocal and well known.

Naaaah! You're just making that shit up!

There's an equally insufferable person on OO calling herself Kate something or other, I bet they're the same. I see the same combination of deliberate insult with ignorance.

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Ms. Eastman,

Welcome to OL.

You called yourself smug in your profile.

Are you feeling smug right now, while looking down the chute of your nose onto the little people below?

:)

I'm not trying to attack you. I'm just trying to get the tone right and see if the impression I got from your posts is correct. I suspect there is much more depth behind your words than you convey, And I suspect this is so because you don't know how to approach people who think differently than you do.

I might be wrong. Regardless. That's why I ask instead of dismiss and have a hoot. (All right, all right, I did start just a little... :) )

I'm trying to resist my natural inclination, as I tend to eat smug Progressives for breakfast. :)

Quips aside, you sound like you have a good mind and heart, but I'm getting that from the vibes from in-between the cracks.

I come in peace. Do you?

I'm rooting for yes.

Michael

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No, I'm talking about all you fine gentlemen (note, most of you are gentlemen) who, while rejoicing in Ms. Rand's freedoms practically go into full tonic-clonic seizure mode when "ladies" ...especially "your ladies" wish to practice the most fundamental of freedoms, especially from governmental intervention into their most private of private places.

How on earth do get the idea that "the fine gentlemen" on this board "go into full tonic-clonic seizure mode" when "ladies" reject governmental intervention into the above-mentioned "most private of private places" ??

Can you provide any evidence to back up your assertions?

Or is this just an assumption on your part which you present as if it were a fact?

From your profile:

[Acerbic_ Critque]: "For the record, calling Ayn Rand a philosopher is rather like calling rap music...but that's just my personal opinion, which is of course open to change. "

It would interest me how you have arrived at that personal opinion. Has Objectivism played any significant role in your life so far?

There is one thing that stands out about Objectivism: it is always polarizing. Ayn Rand's ideas invariably provoke strong reactions, pro or con. There seems to be no in-between.

Imo this is also the reason why some ex-adherents to Rand's ideas have later become harsh critics of Objectivism.

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No, I'm talking about all you fine gentlemen (note, most of you are gentlemen) who, while rejoicing in Ms. Rand's freedoms practically go into full tonic-clonic seizure mode when "ladies" ...especially "your ladies" wish to practice the most fundamental of freedoms, especially from governmental intervention into their most private of private places.

How on earth do get the idea that "the fine gentlemen" on this board "go into full tonic-clonic seizure mode" when "ladies" reject governmental intervention into the above-mentioned "most private of private places" ??

Can you provide any evidence to back up your assertions?

Or is this just an assumption on your part which you present as if it were a fact?

My lady's most private of places is her ceramics studio. She won't let me go in there. And she doesn't even want me knocking on the door when she's firing the kiln. I totally respect her privacy, and I wouldn't go into "full tonic-clonic seizure mode" if she didn't want the government to enter her studio either.

From your profile:

[Acerbic_ Critque]: "For the record, calling Ayn Rand a philosopher is rather like calling rap music...but that's just my personal opinion, which is of course open to change. "

Rap is a type of music. Here's the dictionary.com definitions:

mu·sic noun 1.
an art of sound in time that expresses ideas and emotions in significant forms through the elementsof rhythm, melody, harmony, and color.
2.
the tones or sounds employed, occurring in single line (melody) or multiple lines (harmony), andsounded or to be sounded by one or more voices or instruments, or both.
3.
musical work or compositions for singing or playing.
4.
the written or printed score of a musical composition.
5.
such scores collectively.
Rap obviously qualifies, which apparently means that Ms Eastman was saying that Rand obviously qualifies as a philosopher?
J

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