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    Randall Chester Saunders
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  1. Only you are thinking that Michael. If you cannot see what a disgusting thing it is to even think such a thing, much less say it, to someone who has raised five children, with gandchildren and great-grandchildren. Sometimes you are beyond contempt in your insults. Perhaps you cannot help it. Two lies in two posts. My four former neighbors are all gay and none of them have spewed the kind of hatefulness you have. It's odd that I have never had a problem with homosexuals but with those very few who do not know me personally and whose bigotry is so overwhelming they refuse to accept anything anyone says who is not also gay. I have never understood that kind of irrational hate, or any kind of hate. It is such a useless waste of emotional time and energy. I don't hate, not even those who outright lie about me. I'm sorry you do not feel the same way. Randy
  2. Jonathan, I wasn't lying when I said I've read everything Rand ever wrote that is not hidden by ARI. I know what Rand wrote about music, but it is not a theory of music. She didn't think such a theory was possible until more was learned about its nature: "The nature of musical perception has not been discovered because the key to the secret of music is physiological—it lies in the nature of the process by which man perceives sounds—and the answer would require the joint effort of a physiologist, a psychologist and a philosopher (an esthetician)." I happen to think she was wrong about that. We know certain aroma's and flavors (like chocolate) are pleasureable and have learned how to combine them in different ways that are even more pleasureable. We don't need some elaborate theory of gustatorial aesthetics requiring the joint effort of a physiologist, psychologist, and philosopher to explain it. We know some sounds and combination of sounds are pleasant and have learned how to produce some sounds and combine them in ways that are very pleasing and moving. The whole field of music beyond that is infinite in scope, but I don't think there is some kind of esoteric, almost mystic philosophical/psychological mystery behind it all. That's strictly my view, of course, and at this point I'm not making an argument for it. I have a similar view about all of what is called art, and I do not think art is all of aesthetics, or even an aspect of that branch of philosophy. Randy
  3. Oh yes, girls. I was a little boy when I discovered I loved girls, and it is the little boy in me that still loves the girl that is in every women. A few days ago, my wife and I met a charming girl (well into her seventies I would guess) named Virginia. We talked a bit and I mentioned how lovely she looked. She turned to me, "Randy, are you flirting with me." I assured her I was. I do not expect those who have never understood the difference between love and lust to understand that. They're more likely to say something snyde, like, "girls, not women. Hmmmmmm..." as if they would know what a real woman is. Randy
  4. OK, it's my turn. The following is a Valentine's post I did in 2016. It's only three weeks away so here goes: Valentine Flowers for Every Girl Hayden Godfrey is a man after my own heart. "Hayden Godfrey, a 17-year-old student at Sky View High School in Smithfield, Utah, passed out carnations to every girl at school—all 834 of them!—on Thursday." I love women. I don't mean in that sickly sentimental way the bleeding hearts mean when they say they love everybody. I mean the way a man loves a woman, and I have ever since I discovered that girls are the most delightful creatures on the planet, sometime in the second grade. I love them all, and regardless of their age, I regard them all as girls. I guess that makes me a philogonist, as opposed to a mysogonist, but I believe all men, before they let something spoil them, are naturally philogonists. I like the way Oliver Wendell Holmes put it (including the quaint language): "The divinity-student wished to know what I thought of affinities, as well as of antipathies; did I believe in love at first sight? "Sir,--said I,--all men love all women. That is the prima-facie aspect of the case. The Court of Nature assumes the law to be, that all men do so; and the individual man is bound to show cause why he does not love any particular woman. A man, says one of my old black-letter law-books, may show divers good reasons, as thus: He hath not seen the person named in the indictment; she is of tender age, or the reverse of that; she hath certain personal disqualifications,... or, his capacity of loving being limited, his affections are engrossed by a previous comer; and so of other conditions. Not the less is it true that he is bound by duty and inclined by nature to love each and every woman. Therefore it is that each woman virtually summons every man to show cause why he doth not love her." [Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table, Chapter 9, (1858)] If every man loves every woman how does one choose one to be his one and only? The case is the opposite. If a man does not love women in general, he'll never love one in particular. It is because they are all lovable, each in their own way, that a man can discover that one that has exactly what he loves most. The love of a man's life is the special case of a generality, when a man chooses a particular woman to be his wife it is a choice from all that he loves of the one that he wishes to share his entire life with, because she is the joy and prize of his life. Though known as a curmudgeon, H.L. Mencken held a special place in his heart for women too. He once suggested this epitaph for himself: "If, after I depart this vale, you ever remember me and have thought to please my ghost, forgive some sinner and wink your eye at some homely girl." I've tried to honor Mencken's request, but with difficulty, because I've never seen a woman, no matter how plain, that I did not see a beautiful girl in. But I found a solution, I wink at them all. So here's a wink, some flowers, and my love girls. Happy valentine's day, Darlin'—especially to my one and only.
  5. In terms of aesthetics, I agree most of Rand's assertions were reflections of her personal tastes. If she had a theory of music, I'm unaware of it. That has been my experience as well. I think most people do associate some forms of music with a particular emotional experience, the pathos of minor keys, the excitement of stacatto, the fun of a polka, what is typically called blues, and music intentionally meant to evoke a mood in movies, but even those experiences are not universal. Personally, there is music that literally moves me to tears, but I do not associate such music with any particular emotion beyond the pleasure of the music itself. I have no idea why people think music should evoke a particular emotion beyond the enjoyment of the music itself. Randy
  6. This is a question, not an argument. I think, "evoke," would be more appropriate than, "convey," with regard to similar emotions in various listeners. Convery seems to imply the music tells one what to feel, which doesn't seem right to me. As for whether individuals generally agree about which music evokes which emotions, I think it would depend greatly on which kind of music is meant. Those who appreciate Brahms find it very romantic and moving. Rand hated Brahms. Those who enjoy rap, usually despise opera, and I doubt they would agree about the emotions the music evokes. Perhaps it would be more true to say, "within a given category or genre of music, men agree on whether a given piece of music is gay or sad or violent or solemn." What do you think? Randy
  7. Me too. Care to start it off?
  8. That's true.
  9. I am total agreement with that sentiment. Appreciate your efforts, however. Randy
  10. You're forgiven. Randy
  11. You must have forgotten, I'm not an Objectivist. If "Objectivism" holds that one can know another's emotions, it is wrong. I've read everything Rand ever wrote, except those things ARI keeps secret. Rand said explicitly that one cannot know what is in another's consciousness. Randy
  12. Rand described an irreducible primary as, "a fact which cannot be analyzed (i.e., broken into components) or derived from antecedent facts." I agree that consciousness is axiomatic because it cannot be denied without contradiction, because such a denial is a conscious act. I have never completely agreed with Rand's meaning of irredicible primary because her, "analyzed," does not include, "not contingent on any other fact." Consciousness is contingent, it is only possible to physical, living, entities. Consciousness is only primary in the sense that a physical thing is physical, a living thing is living, and a conscious organism is conscious. I think the important point is that Rand was not a physicalists (materialist) in the sense that the physical is all there is and that everything can be explained in terms of the physical. [Note: In the following quotes, Rand uses the words "matter" and "material" for the physical.] "Please bear in mind the full statement: 'Existence exists—and the act of grasping that statement implies two corollary axioms: that something exists which one perceives and that one exists possessing consciousness, consciousness being the faculty of perceiving that which exists.'" [Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, "Foreword to the First Edition"] About consciousness, she wrote: "And above all, above absolutely all, he must not lose the commitment to reason—because if he does, everything crashes. ... His essence, as a being, is his consciousness—not his body, because the body without consciousness is just inanimate matter. Whether he has a soul or is a material being with the attribute of consciousness, in either case his distinctive, essential attribute is consciousness, not matter. And his consciousness is his reason. When he renounces that, he has renounced himself, his essence, his nature...." [The Journals of Ayn Rand, "13 - Notes While Writing: 1947-1952"] "Man's consciousness is not material—but neither is it an element opposed to matter. It is the element by which man controls matter—but the two are part of one entity and one universe—man cannot change matter, he can control it only by understanding it and shaping it to his purpose. (The distinction between "entity" and "action"—between noun and verb. The essence of being.) "Man's soul or spirit is his consciousness—here, now, on earth. The ruling element, the control, the free-will element of his consciousness is his reason. The rest—his emotions, his memory, his desires, his instincts—all are determined by his thinking, by the kind of conclusions he has made and the kind of premises he has accepted." [The Journals of Ayn Rand, "13 - Notes While Writing: 1947-1952"] She clearly distinguishes between the physical (material) body and the non-physical consciousness: "Man is an entity of mind and body, an indivisible union of two elements: of consciousness and matter. Matter is that which one perceives, consciousness is that which perceives it; your fundamental act of perception is an indivisible whole consisting of both; to deny, to [separate] or to equate them is to contradict the nature of your perception, to contradict the axiom of existence, to contradict your basic definitions and to invalidate whatever concepts you might attempt to hold thereafter. Your consciousness is that which you know—and are alone to know—by direct perception. It is that indivisible unit where knowledge and being are one, it is your "I," it is the self which distinguishes you from all else in the universe. No consciousness can perceive another consciousness, only the results of its actions in material form, since only matter is an object of perception, and consciousness is the subject, perceivable by its nature only to itself. To perceive the consciousness, the "I," of another would mean to become that other "I"—a contradiction in terms; to speak of souls perceiving one another is a denial of your "I," of perception, of consciousness, of matter. The 'I' is the irreducible unit of life. [The Journals of Ayn Rand, "14 - Notes While Writing Galt's Speech"] She even recognizes that life itself is a non-physical "element" or attribute: "Just as life is the integrating element which organizes matter into a living cell, the element which distinguishes an organism from the unstructured mass of inorganic matter—so consciousness, an attribute of life, directs the actions of the organism to use, to shape, to realign matter for the purpose of maintaining its existence. "That which you call your soul or spirit is your consciousness, the life-keeper of your body. Your body is a machine, your consciousness—your mind—is its driver ..." [The Journals of Ayn Rand, "14 - Notes While Writing Galt's Speech"] She explicitly states that the consciousness is "nonmaterial:" "Man is a being endowed with consciousness—an attribute which matter does not possess. His consciousness is the free, nonmaterial element in him." [The Letters of Ayn Rand, "The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged Years" (1945-1959), To Nathan Blumenthal, January 13, 1950] Randy
  13. Do you regard psychology a science?
  14. Regi, On some things, sure. This stuff is in its infancy and the cases are quite primitive, but they exist. Recorded (and implanted) images in the visual cortex, for example, are more like smudged silhouettes, but they are there. When I asked you to describe one you implied that the above was such a description. I know you are convinced it was, and I'm certain attempting to change your mind would be a waste if time. Still I think it is of some value to explain why what you have referred to is not an example of knowing what anyone is conscious of, not to convince you, but help you see what you must do if you are interested in convincing others that this or any other examples are actually examples of knowing what anyone else is conscious of. There is possibly another mistake you are making, which is the assumption that anyone who disagrees with you, simply has not studied the things you have. In 2004 I published my article, "Perception—The Validity of Perceptual Evidence," in which I described all that is wrong with the Objectivist theory of perception, and described the true nature of perception. In 2016 I published a shorter version of the article, "Perception," addressing only the true nature of perception without reference to the Objectivist mistaken view. Since my understanding of the nature of perception was finalized sometime before 1990, I have since then read almost everything that has appeared in both the news and scientific journals concerning neurological developments in the areas of consciousness and perception and have been delighted that every step forward has agreed with my theory of perception. Science does not inform philosophy, but there can be no contradiction between a correct philosophy and science, so I have been very careful to look for any such contradiction. Now I know none of this is new to you, but just to set the background: The optic nerve, which is actually a bunch of nerve fibers (770,000 and 1.7 million) carries the results of the stimulation of the rods and cones in the retina of the eye to the visual cortex. The eyes focus the light reaching them into an image, and the light and color components of that image are detected by the rods and cones of the retina, and that detected information is transmitted to the brain via the optic nerve where the response of visual cortex to the action of those nerves is consciously perceived as the percepts of color and light that we call "seeing." It is possible to photograph the image that is focused on the retina. It is the image of everything in the visual field, upside down. Since the light forming that image is detected by the rods and cones in much the same way the individual photo cells of a digital camera detects an image, what is transmitted to the brain via the optic nerve is each bit of light that forms the image. If it were possible to detect what each nerve fiber was presenting to the visual cortex it would be all the visual components of the image. When I first read about experiments attempting to analyze the processes in the visual cortex responding to the information delivered by the optic nerve, I was excited, because, if successful, it would verify my theory of perception, at least with regard to vision. As you know it was successful, and proved what was delivered to the brain via the optic nerve was the image data captured by the retina. In spite of the hoopla, all the experiment proved is that the information reaching the visual cortex was faithful to the image projected on the retina. The experiment said nothing about how one is conscious of that image. Even if it could be illustrated that a perfect image was formed in the brain (which is not) how we see that image cannot not be explained. The forming of an image is not seeing the image. Years ago (over sixty, actually) while reading a philosophical discussion of perception, one philosopher pointed out the one question the physicalists never answer (and most apparently do not understand). If all the behavior of the brain could be fully analyzed so that every image and every sound could be identified, if how one was conscious of those images and sounds was not explained, all that would be identified is a TV running in an empty room. The thing missing from the room would be the conscious watcher and listener. The brain doesn't see or hear anything, it is only the instrument by which one consciously sees and hears. No brain activity, biological, chemical, or electrical identifies consciousness&meash;it only identifies the brain activity. (There is, of course, the much bigger problem for the physicalist view of consciousness, the physical impossibility of the unity of consciousness which I'll let pass for now.) So, Michael, you have not provided me an example of anyone being conscious of another individual's consciousness. If it satisfies you, than it does, but at least, perhaps, you'll understand why it doesn't satisfy me. Randy