Monday, November 28, 2005

Uncertainty and Objectivism

I am clearly at variance with traditional and official Objectivist philosophy as far as the issue of certainty in knowledge is concerned (and actually, that is not the only one issue on which I part ways with them). Briefly, the Objectivist stance is that since all knowledge is hierarchically connected and related, they all have logical and necessary relations with each other. All knowledge is ultimately and fundamentally traced down to the most rudimentary tool of sensing the externals, upon which all higher forms of knowledge is linked and constructed. According to Leonard Peikoff, an Objectivist philosopher, "nothing is a completely isolated fact, without causes or effects; no aspect of the total can exist alternatively apart from the total. Knowledge, which seeks to grasp reality... must also be a total; its elements must be interconnected to form a unified whole reflecting the whole which is the universe." (from Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, p. 123) Hence, gaining knowledge or grasping reality according to Peikoff is a matter of tracing the logical precedent or antecedent links that form the chain for that concept. Since all knowledge is related and not isolated, if one can gain certain knowledge of some facts, then it is at least possible in principle to be able to gain certain knowledge of ALL facts (since they are all interconnected through necessity). Hence, Objectivism holds that certainty is fully possible and attainable. Uncertainty is merely human failure, lack of important contextual facts, or a temporary handicap. Note, this view does not mean that humans can and should have certainty of all things at the same time - like Omniscience. That is clearly rejected by Objectivism. It agrees that knowledge can extend into an infinity of logical and necessary connections. It also concedes that holding all of that knowledge at the same time or at any duration of time is impossible. My own view at variance with this position is that certainty is possible and achievable only in some respects, some situations, in relation to some facts. I think the crucial link that Objectivism is blind to is the subjective nature of much of the facts and realities out there. Knowledge cannot only be seen as a logical tree growing interrelatedly and suspended objectively "out there" merely for us to grasp and perceive. I believe that in the process of grasping realities and gaining knowledge, each one of us introduces our own subjective influences to the body of interconnected knowledge, such that some aspects of this knowledge "tree" is certainly and continuously changing due to our influences. Knowledge is actively influenced by subjective acts of apperception, intergration, creation, etc. And as a causal result of our subjective apprehension of facts and realities, we have an additional variable on the heirarchical tree of knowledge -- that of the influence of the human consciousness. And as such, I believe in some respects then, uncertainty is as objectively a part of reality as certainty in some respects is.

Doing Philosophy

I am sitting here at work with really nothing much to do (and getting paid for it), and I'm thinking... what does it mean for me to think? It's interesting how I can think and "do" philosophy in a sense, without needing any "tools" as such. Let me say here, just for the fun of saying it: I do not need tools qua tools to think. And this is an interesting position philosophers find themselves in: they can do their work anywhere and anytime - at least on principle. The only "tools" thinkers really need are the ones they already have: existence and consciousness. It is so simple, and so overwhelmingly profound -- to think; and think of thinking.

Objectivist Jokes: An Encore

These jokes are SO HILARIOUS! I can't control myself from laughing out LOUD!!! Hahahaaha!!! They certainly deserve to be posted here ONCE MORE! I couldn't find any other objectivist humor any more hilarious than these! The 25 Most Inappropriate Things An Objectivist Can Say During Sex by Jason Roth at this link "Before we continue, there's something I have to ask you. Will you still accept the axiom that existence exists tomorrow?" "I appreciate the thought, but I consider it an act of self sacrifice for you to swallow." [hahahaha!! this is one of my favorites!! I might have to use that sometime! ;)] "I believe in the complete separation of the left leg from the right." "Now that's what I call standing up for what you believe in." "Emotions are the mind's near-instantaneous evaluation of a perceived fact or idea as either good or bad for the individual. Hence, my wet panties." "You sure smell better down here than the collectivists I've slept with." "To say 'Fuck me harder' one must first know how to say the 'me'." "No, I don't always object to you sticking your finger there. But that's a borderline case." "I haven't had this much fun since I rejected the concept of God." "There's no such thing as a collective orgasm. But let's try our best." "Would you like me to concretize that for you?" "Contradictions do not exist. You can't insert it there and there at the same time. Wait a second. Open up the top drawer of my nightstand." [HAHAHAAAHAAHAAAHAHAA!!!!!!] "Good for you, you finally found my G-spot. Score one for goal-directed action." "No, you're not my first. But you are the first man whose penis has made me understand the role of measurement omission in the act of concept formation." "Don't you have any Tchaikovsky? Rachmaninoff is fine for 69s, but nothing beats Tchaikovsky when it comes to anal." [I wholeheartedly agree!] "What do you mean, it's 'possible' that you had an orgasm? Are you saying that you have some evidence that you had an orgasm, but not sufficient evidence?" "No, I don't need Viagra. It's this damn non-objective pornography." [read: lesbo porn] "You feel warm and fuzzy? Check your premises." "It's time for me to teach you the difference between Platonic love and Aristotelian love." "You selfish bitch! You greedy, selfish bitch! What? You don't like my pillow talk?" "It doesn't really matter whether I cum or not. I believe that man's tongue is an end in itself." "Don't construe my liking that as an instance of the sanction of the victim. Now excuse me while I wipe off my face." [OMG!! THIS IS SOOOOOO FUNNY!! LOL!!!!] "There's nothing like grasping the objectivity of values. And what values they are." [I've heard many guys say that to me... so yea, it ain't too funny when you hear it repeated so much.] "John? Who is John?"

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Stir of Emotions: Social Evils

So, I've come to realize that the surest way to stir my emotions into profound sadness or deep anger is not through movies or novels or anything as such... but through real documentaries, reports or non-fiction articles of actual social injustices happening around the world. During the past two days, I watched a news report on PBS "Now" about the plight of undocumented immigrant workers who were uprooted from their low-paying but stable jobs in other parts of the US and were taken down to Louisiana to help re-build the cities there after Katrina hit, in the lure of high-paying wages. These workers were hired by unscrupulous and deceitful subcontractors who then contracted them out to other subcontractors, all of whom were working on behalf of other large corporations who were rebuilding their facilities down there. The point of the story is: these workers were treated as modern-day slaves. They were housed in trailer trucks, each of which had 42 beds placed in a bunked tier system, with barely any walking space in the middle. They were paid a whole lot less than they were initially told, they were bused back and forth from the worksite to their trailers and back so that they could not escape, run away, report to law enforcement agencies or journalists, and they were kept away from meeting anyone outside of their co-workers. Now, there were also some African Americans who were working in those conditions along with the latino undocumented workers. But many of the blacks got up and left within a couple weeks. Infact, the story broke out because one of the African American workers was so enraged by these conditions, he took a hidden camera with him to work and filmed the whole thing and sold it to the reporters. Notice, though that the black workers have the liberty and the means to get up and leave and look for jobs elsewhere. They are legal US citizens with recognized rights. The undocumented workers, on the other hand, have almost no rights recognized by this country -- even though they are entitled to the same human rights that all people are -- and so they are mostly helpless and silent of this exploitation. One can argue a lot about the what rights undocumented workers should have. And I have written many papers in college about this issue. But exploitation of humans, regardless of the status of people, enrages me.... and saddens me at the same time. The other documentary I watched was last night, again on PBS - "American Experience", and it talked about the flooding of the mississippi river into the delta region... and how the blacks were enslaved at the point of a gun to risk their lives and work to fortify the broken levees along the river, and when the levees did not hold, they were utterly abandoned on the narrow high ground of the levees, with no food supply, no drinking water, no sanitary conditions, no nothing. They were left there for weeks, until the large businesses of the region thought it would be in their best interest to have some of the blacks rescued and kept alive so they could be put to work in their fields and plantations. Anyway, the story goes on and on... the point is, as I sat there and watched all this, I was so viscerally attacked by the brutality of such exploitation. I think I understand this sort of degradation of humanity more personally because having lived in India for the majority of my life, I have a first-hand experience of what that kind of exploited, degraded life might feel like. Even though, I have never myself had to live as such because I was born into a comfortable lifestyle in my family, living among and around people who had very little or nothing at all, having friends who lived under those conditions, and in a country known for its levels of abject poverty, has allowed me to empathize very intimately with the experience of the exploited, and has also allowed me to so uniquely enjoy the incredible good that this country has to offer. So, when I see such instances of social evil happening here, I know exactly what it means and how dangerous it is to the concept of Americanism and individual rights. I find little things as appalling symptoms of the perniciousness of what could be. Things like the banning of smoking in Chicago bars, clubs, restaurants, and other areas... the proposed banning of foods like foie gras... these, I see as symptoms of a very dangerous erosion of freedom. And finally, there is another story that comes to mind right now. This one I watched on Oprah (I LOVE OPRAH!!) of very young American kids, mostly in rural and suburban America (there isn't much to do around there except maybe, stare at cows...) who try to hang themselves or choke themselves to a certain point where they can cut the blood supply to their brains for a few moments and experience some sort of escapist "high". Apparently, it's a game among these dumb young idiots now. They challenge each other to remain choked the longest (and some have succeeded way beyond any challenge -- they died). It's called the "choking game". American's are bored with their lives. So they find dying exciting.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Lookism

This morning, as I was in a bus headed to work, I happened to be thinking about my theory of "lookism", which I think more accurately identifies the prejudice and bigotry in today's society that is commonly referred to as "racism". I came upon that concept a long time ago, while I was writing and arguing my point for an English research paper in college. During my research of the topic, I learned that there were only a few other social psychologists who had identified a similar concept, but called it "Colorism" and applied specifically to intra-racial behavior in regards to skin color. They talked about things like "chicano" skin and "mulatto" skin color, etc. etc. So this morning, as I was thinking about all of that, and I realized that I should change the name of my concept from "lookism" to "colorism" BUT differentiate my conceptual referrents from those being referred to by these other researchers. Infact, what I really want to do is SHIFT the very concept of "colorism" itself from what they have been typically using it by showing that they are missing a crucial aspect of the concept -- and to place it upon the referrents that I believe are actually the important aspects of this behavior. The behavior I am referring to is the act of prejudice (either deliberate, learned, or subconscious) based on the physical/physiological looks of an individual. I argue that the traditionally and stereotypically considered white/caucasian features (this includes, skin color, hair color, eye color, nose, lips, etc. etc.) are positively assessed and either consciously or subconsciously desired by members of all ethnic/cultural groups (including other caucasians). Moreover, I argue that since Race is a biologically invalid concept, it has to be a social construct, and as such is the result of a long history of unquestioned acceptance that people belong to "races" that are biologically predetermined. In my paper, I also referred to European imperialism and the European hijacking of Christianity as the cause for the spread of a subconscious stratified classification of races -- with Whites being at the top and everyone else falling below them in relation to how physiologically distant they seemed from the "ideal" white. Now, we all know that race, being a social construct, lacks any scientific rigor in accurate classification of peoples according to racial categories. There is a plethora of cases out there where a person seems to look like belonging to a certain race, and has infact believed it all his life, only to one day have a DNA sample taken from him that proved he had more "other racial" genes in him than the one he believed to have. A person could have the traditionally accepted caucasian features but not be socially classified as caucasian (because maybe the person is from India, for example). Or, take Innommable as an example. Many (including myself) had thought at first sight that innommable was Asian atleast in some respects -- until I got to know him and found out that he's just a strange anomaly from Guatemala (hahaha! ;-P) The point is this: you can socially classify yourself into any race whatsoever. The act of prejudice does not come from the fact that you have categorized yourself as black, say... or latino, but actually from HOW MUCH YOU INFACT LOOK like you are Black or Latino! In other words, a man who classifies himself as "Black" for all purposes but actually LOOKS more Caucasian (lighter skin, long narrow nose-bridge, thinner lips, etc.) will most likely (and there is empirical evidence for this) not face the same quality or quantity of prejudicial actions against him as another black man who does infact does possess traditionally considered physiological features of a "black" individual. Since my realization of prejudice is based on truly biological and physiological criteria than a socially constructed racial basis (since we know race is not biological), I had decided to call my concept "Lookism". However, I realized today on the bus that "lookism" seems to also imply any sort of discrimination based on good-looking people versus average or ugly-looking people as also a sort of prejudice. And that is something I don't wish to imply or promote. I believe beauty and good-looks are something that infact should be valued, praised, and preferred over the not-so-beautiful or the ugly. (note, I am not bringing in other contextual issues like intelligence, wealth, personality, etc. into this discussion. I am merely isolating one concept for analysis here). And the argument that 'beauty is in the eyes of the beholder' notwithstanding, the "beholder" like to choose and value that which is beautiful. Beauty can be thought of, in Rand's words, as a harmony of elements creating an entity or an idea. Thus, a poem could be beautiful as could a person. So, I am not saying that it is wrong to choose the pretty one over the ugly one! This matter of superficial beauty is regardless of one's racial classification. In other words, one could be beautiful or ugly regardless of what race that person is. Hence, we must discard this variable of beautfy as a variable of no difference. In the creation of concepts, one must discard the details of insignificant measurements and only focus on the ones that describe uniqueness and difference (this is according to Rand's formulation of measurements in concept creation). So, I thought, lookism seems the imply that beauty is also a variable that matters in the concept of prejudice. Hence, inorder to dispel that implication, I thought it best to switch the name of my concept from lookism to colorism -- EVEN THOUGH, my concept as I described it, goes well beyond merely the issues of skin color. Note how people these days tend to want to dye their hair blond, get blue-colored or light-colored contact lenses, get plastic surgery for a narrower-longer nose... etc... those are all traditionally accepted Caucasian features that members of other "races" like Asians and hispanics also desire. Clearly, this blogpost does not do any or full justice to my concept of prejudice. It originally belonged to a 10-page research paper... but I think, a decent sized book might be necessary. Ofcourse, I could never be able to bring myself to write a book on anything! So there.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I'm Depressed! :(

You scored as Unipolar Depression. Congraulations! You are depressed! You know just how it feels to bear all the world's burdens, and the value of a 19-hour night's sleep. And you really hate that circle-guy thing on your Zoloft pill packets.

Unipolar Depression

100%

Borderline Personality Disorder

75%

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

58%

Antisocial Personality Disorder

58%

Eating Disorders

33%

Schizophrenia

0%
Which mental disorder do you have? created with QuizFarm.com

A Compendium of Thoughts

Incredibly enough, I seem to have some time on my hands with which I don’t know what to do! So, I decided to go back through the annals of my blogposts and pull out some quotes that I think are representative of me, my thoughts, and my entire blog as such. I have wanted to do such a project for quite some time now – to create a compendium of my thoughts. Needless to say, I am proud of most of my works. However, there are some that I wish I had not written! I notice that the way I use the English language in some instances is so confounding that it often hides the true meaning of what I wish to say, or am attempting to say. Going through some of my previous works, I have also found serious errors of logic rampant in some of the articles – mostly not because my process of thinking is erroneous, but because my use of words and my phrasing of premises necessarily imply the error in logic. (As an example, read: Values and Choices). Anyway, what follows is an expression of my pride in my overall body of thoughts. “In what was truly man's greatest act of conceit, he captured all the greatest notions of his God and manifested that in the body of ONE HUMAN BEING, which meant that the Human body was idealized towithhold the essence of the fully Divine.” -- From My New Theory: God and Art “You have the right to insist that Art be as nourishing to your mind as the food you eat is to your body.” -- From A Vindication of Art Through a Work of Art “…evidence of mal-nourished minds are also closely associated with mal-nourished cultures and societies. They have plenty of hissing snakes and meandering cows to worship, but very few thinking minds that have a vision to look up to.” -- From A Vindication of Art Through a Work of Art “The paradox of death is that it is at the same time an end as it is a beginning. It is an end to one’s self. But it is a beginning of everything about that person.” -- From My Death “…death will offer her the most silent and serene stillness of all… and in that, I am glad death will be the end.” -- From My Death “If your life is getting too easy for you, you ain't really living at all!” -- From Oct. 4th: Thought of the Day “…only a true atheist can fully marvel at the miracle called "life" and the incredible job our lives have done with this world.” -- From Sept. 19, 2005: Thought of the Day “The very concept of "God" should render that Being to the intelligent, rational, and logical scrutiny of the Human mind. An IRRATIONAL God, an ILLOGICAL God, a NON-INTELLIGENT God cannot exist, by definition.” -- From Hero Worship “…it was in the perfect trade of unspoken words that they had discovered each other. When they met in person for the first time, the words they had exchanged became the faces they beheld.” -- From Pasha et Jardin, Resurrected! “Love is like the context or the ambience that sets the tone of the sex that occurs in it.” -- From Sex and Love “I went on a search for God, and I found myself.” -- From Seek and You Shall Find “When one has nothing in life to achieve, no goals to reach, nothing to look forward to, nothing in life to possess, one looks to someone else who has those things. And in that someone else, one sees the fulfillment of their own needs. Through that person, one can find a connection between their own life and all their failed or impossible aspirations. The other person becomes their only value in life. They become the reason and purpose to live. And when even that is taken away, then why bother going through the motions of life?" -- From Untitled “Silence… should be the barometer of effective communication.” -- From Pasha, contd. “Pasha despised people who used language not to communicate a genuine message but to escape from the responsibility of having to be genuine. For them, language was a like a filler that took up space, occupied their empty minds, and sheltered them from the reality of their discomfort; like a balloon filled with air but empty nonetheless.” -- From Pasha, contd. “…inorder to say to someone, "I love you", and be honest about it, you have to keep salient in your mind all the processes of thought and choices and values that brought you up to that point of saying, "I love you."” -- From Back to MPR “Humans, he thought, lacked the simple honesty that these tall buildings portrayed. These tall structures of steel and concrete, of glass and stone stood in naked display of their ornamented pride and utilitarian purpose. There was no hiding of their conceit, nor was there any hint of shame in their function. Pasha wished he could be complete in that way. He wished all humans could atleast have a shred of that innocent pride and frank nakedness. But he was keenly aware of the fact that people hid behind more layers of ostentatious facades than the buildings they erected.” -- From Pasha “One day he offered to crystallize his love disguised as pain onto a flat disc. … he spoke of the mountains and valleys, and streams and rivers, and cascades and lakes, jolted alive by the beats of his viscera -- rhythmic, pulsating, modulated vocal stresses that named the emotions gone unspoken.He gave it to me. I held it for a few moments, contemplating all that this flat, round piece of plastic contained. I was distantly shocked at the brutality of such a manifestation: of seeing all that is so pure, and so benevolent, and so profound, being bound and burned on this disc.” -- From Stolen Music “What does love sound like? Like this, I thought: Like the sound of his heartbeat in your ear even when he's not around. Like the whisper of his breath that you can hear even in the midst of a storm. That is what love sounds like.” -- From Stolen Music “An atheist is moral…for the sake of living a moral life. An Atheist is moral for they see the immense value and rational logic of living a moral life.” -- From Morality of an Atheist “Let me beThe indifferent sleep of a jaded cat.Take me... just take meAnd the Rest will come.” -- From Jaded “I am… an amalgamation of many brilliant minds who came before me, who concurrently exist with me, and many who will exist after me. And on this string of luminaries, I am a lantern.” -- From Life as it ought to be “For what is life without the bruises and the failures and the emotions of sorrow and of anguish. It is a life without texture and allure. Life should be enticing. Life must have some texture. You must feel your life; feel that you're living. You must be seduced and intoxicated by your life. It is only the irregularities of anguish and happiness, pain and joy, contentment and desire that create the texture of life. Like scrubbing off your dead skin cells in the shower, so should the texture of life rub against your being and reveal the emergence of a newer, livelier being.” -- From Life as it ought to be

Monday, November 14, 2005

Musings on Metaphysics

It is a matter of fact that every thing that lives has existence. But not every thing that exists has life. We are all conscious beings. When people think of being conscious, they typically think of the fact that they are aware of things as existing. When the concept of “self-awareness” is brought up, people typically understand it to mean that they are aware of their own existence. However, I think a more fundamental and, therefore more important, aspect of self-awareness is not just being aware of your own existence, but also being aware of the FACT THAT YOU ARE AWARE, and being aware of the process of awareness itself! In other words, I think true introspection should be this analysis of one’s own awareness, of the process of one’s own thinking, a kind of meta-consciousness. I think that sheds so much light on many questions of one’s own identity and the reasons for one’s beliefs. Now, moving on to a different, but related topic: Everything that exists, we can imagine, at least in principle. And everything that exists, we have concepts for them (our knowledge or ignorance of these concepts are irrelevant here). For example, we can imagine a tower because it does exist. We have the concept of a tower. Also, there are things that can be purely imagined and we can have concepts for them, but they possess no real existence (i.e. they have only abstract existence). We can imagine a unicorn, or Batman, or Centaur, (or God, for that matter) and we can have well-developed concepts for them, but they have no real existence. However, those things that we CANNOT imagine AND those for which we have no concepts for, necessarily DO NOT exist. (Note, however that this does not mean that certain things cannot come into existence in the future. For example, cavemen had no concept of a computer, probably never imagined of the existence of one, and it did not exist at that time, however it has now obviously come to exist). Now, I have deliberately used the conjunction “AND” to qualify my statement because I believe both of the clauses (imagination AND concept) are a requirement in order for this syllogism to be true. Now, as far as I have been able to use my mental abilities to think about it, I think it has proven to be true in all cases. For example, one CANNOT imagine what would it look like for a circle to have 4 corners. And we have NO concept as such to describe such a figure. Moreover, it is an apparent analytical truth that such a figure does not exist. However, I’m open to correction if anyone can think of something that cannot be imagined (that itself is a contradiction, isn’t it?) and for which we currently do not have any concepts for but that they exist or could exist.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Blanshard and Rationalism

Lately, I've been exposing myself to critiques of Objectivism and I happened to stumble upon an almost unknown Oxford and Yale philosopher - Brand Blanshard. It's interesting how he parallels Objectivist ideas quite thoroughly, even in his aesthetic assault on abstract art and relativism in art. He, like Rand, insisted on rational and stylized-realism in art as the only kind of art that can be relevant to human consideration. Ofcourse, his philosophy is Rationalism, and as that he misses out on the crucial union of reality with abstract thought - the importance of which is one of the most enlightening elements of Objectivism. This divorce of thought from reality allows Blanshard quite consistently to believe in a God (a supernatural Being that can be rational but need not have any necessity to bear consistency with reality). I agree with almost all of Blanshard's philosophy precisely because he considers subjectivism and relativism as merely a joke in philosophy and because he places Reason (the practice of) as the highest of human virtues. "Our age is one of uninhibted artistic experimentation, which may of course lead to achievements of great value. But its most conspicuous achievement so far is a state of aesthetic anarchy . . . . There is, to be sure, a kind of philosophy behind the development of abstract art. It is felt that the sentimentalism of the nineteenth century, the attempt through painting or sculpture to tell a story or paint a moral, was artistically impure because it introduced so much that was not properly aesthetic, and that the right way to get rid of this embarrassing freight is to confine oneself to arrangements of line and color . . . . If this is the only way in which art can achieve integrity, we must wish it well. But is there any reason to believe this? I cannot think so. The painter or poet who prefers the fall of man to a pinhead as his subject is choosing what gives him larger scope as an artist; and he has not felt in the past that he was immolating his art when he used it for the expression of significant ideas and feelings. And an art so pure as to be meaningless can hardly complain if a busy and burdened humanity passes it by." -- Blanchard in Reason and Analyis
"delightful combo"11/19/2005 11:05:00 AM|W|P|Blogger innommable|W|P|Actually, "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing" comes from the 18th century English poet Alexander Pope. It's from his great masterpiece, An Essay On Criticism (found in part ii, second stanza, first two lines).

Yeah, Ergo, you're soooooo depressed. ;-)11/19/2005 06:09:00 PM|W|P|Anonymous Patrick|W|P|Well, Emerson once said, "By necessity, by proclivity, and by delight, we all quote. In fact, it is as difficult to appropriate the thoughts of others as it is to invent." Then again, he is also credited with saying, "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."

My favorite, though, which I rather think is not true - but we'll see - is "The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization." I saw that one on a bumper sticker today.11/21/2005 09:49:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Oh... it seems like I quoted a secondary source there then. I've always known of that quote...but I remember reading it in the articles written by Emerson, compiled in the book "American Pragmatists"11/21/2005 06:14:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Hmmm.. I like how this quiz says, "Congratulations, you're depressed!!" Oh, how cheerful!

*sigh* I'm depressed....

Actually.. I'm really looking forward to the Thanksgiving break! Wow.. I'm so eager to devour all those new books I bought! I just want to read as much as I can... (those books atleast).. but I don't seem to have the time or the energy... :(
Well.. anyway. Now that I've discovered Blanshard... I want so badly to read more of his works... but for some strange reason, they don't teach his Rationalism in colleges/universities anymore.. and so his books are out of print.
The only one's available are at such exhorbitant prices on Amazon! Damn that!
It's strange.. this culture. They teach nonsense like Wittgenstein and other linguistic fools, but they don't teach the enlightenment-traditioned philosophers... not to mention, an utter silence when it comes to Rand.
Hmmm...11/21/2005 06:21:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|I think these comments below are apt to describe our current intellectual climate:

Rand said this about the dominant trend in modern philosophy: (paraphrased) never before has there been a more rigorous and concerted attack on man's conceptual faculty, reducing man's consciousness to the animal level of sensory perception.

Blanshard similarly observes that "both reason... and rationality...are today under attack. Indeed, there has been no period in the past two thousand years when they have undergone a bombardment so varied,...so massive and sustained as in the last half-century" (Blanshard was writing this during the 1950s-60s.. about the same time Rand was producing her works).11/21/2005 07:34:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Tyrel|W|P|Cheer up!!

Perhaps a joke...

A woman asks her husband, "I thought you were trying to get into shape." With which the husband replied, "I am. The shape I've selected is a triagle."

I thought of you when I read this joke!!11/22/2005 01:27:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Rubicund Y. Logorrhea|W|P|No idea why, but I've always loved that joke, Tyrel.

I seem to be slowly heading to circledom.11/22/2005 01:31:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|No comment about the joke. It's applicability to me is clearly so far-fetched... infact it could be grounds to sue you for libel/defamation.

What say you, mr. going-to-be-lawyer-but-not-yet Pooty? Would you like your first case?11/22/2005 01:50:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Rubicund Y. Logorrhea|W|P|What say I? On the strength of a libel case? I say... hmm... difficult to say. Who's paying? And whom do we sue? For the right amount maybe I can twist and tweak the case law sufficiently...

Mirror mirror on the screen... who has the deepest pockets, cash obscene?11/22/2005 02:28:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Oh. Hmmm.. I thought the only reason one befriends a lawyer (or a lawyer-in the making) is so that legal fees can be waived or atleast compensated by other non-monetary means... I mean, what else would the point be!? Do lawyers really make great friends?? Hell no!

Besides, suing Tyrel for libel, or for that matter, anything at all shouldn't be too difficult. I doubt that he could afford a decent lawyer to defend himself...11/22/2005 04:01:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Rubicund Y. Logorrhea|W|P|Hmm... Non-monetary means? Hush your mouth... a Guatemalan anomaly may be reading this! Call me later...

All I was hinting is that we need to set up a contingent fee agreement. The benefit of "befriending" a lawyer - I have the degree, just not the license - is that he may see fit to keep the contingency around 25%.

And, damn you, by the way. I make a hella awesome friend, so double hush your mouth.11/22/2005 05:16:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Tyrel|W|P|LOL!!! With a degree in physcology, it should be obvious you are in denial - my "little" Buddha!

Can't afford a decent lawyer, huh? What a low-blow. (oops, here go the low-blows again!)11/22/2005 05:39:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Ummm... Psychology is grossly misspelled in the previous comment. Hmmm.... college kids, these days. *sigh*11/22/2005 05:44:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Tyrel|W|P|Oh, stop your sighing!

I new it wass missspellled but diddn't feeel like loooking upp thhe corrrect speelling.11/22/2005 05:56:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|*Gasp*!!! You have to LOOK UP the correct spelling of Psychology!??!?? *sigh* college kids these days.11/15/2005 12:11:00 PM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P|Incredibly enough, I seem to have some time on my hands with which I don’t know what to do! So, I decided to go back through the annals of my blogposts and pull out some quotes that I think are representative of me, my thoughts, and my entire blog as such. I have wanted to do such a project for quite some time now – to create a compendium of my thoughts. Needless to say, I am proud of most of my works. However, there are some that I wish I had not written! I notice that the way I use the English language in some instances is so confounding that it often hides the true meaning of what I wish to say, or am attempting to say. Going through some of my previous works, I have also found serious errors of logic rampant in some of the articles – mostly not because my process of thinking is erroneous, but because my use of words and my phrasing of premises necessarily imply the error in logic. (As an example, read: Values and Choices). Anyway, what follows is an expression of my pride in my overall body of thoughts. “In what was truly man's greatest act of conceit, he captured all the greatest notions of his God and manifested that in the body of ONE HUMAN BEING, which meant that the Human body was idealized towithhold the essence of the fully Divine.” -- From My New Theory: God and Art “You have the right to insist that Art be as nourishing to your mind as the food you eat is to your body.” -- From A Vindication of Art Through a Work of Art “…evidence of mal-nourished minds are also closely associated with mal-nourished cultures and societies. They have plenty of hissing snakes and meandering cows to worship, but very few thinking minds that have a vision to look up to.” -- From A Vindication of Art Through a Work of Art “The paradox of death is that it is at the same time an end as it is a beginning. It is an end to one’s self. But it is a beginning of everything about that person.” -- From My Death “…death will offer her the most silent and serene stillness of all… and in that, I am glad death will be the end.” -- From My Death “If your life is getting too easy for you, you ain't really living at all!” -- From Oct. 4th: Thought of the Day “…only a true atheist can fully marvel at the miracle called "life" and the incredible job our lives have done with this world.” -- From Sept. 19, 2005: Thought of the Day “The very concept of "God" should render that Being to the intelligent, rational, and logical scrutiny of the Human mind. An IRRATIONAL God, an ILLOGICAL God, a NON-INTELLIGENT God cannot exist, by definition.” -- From Hero Worship “…it was in the perfect trade of unspoken words that they had discovered each other. When they met in person for the first time, the words they had exchanged became the faces they beheld.” -- From Pasha et Jardin, Resurrected! “Love is like the context or the ambience that sets the tone of the sex that occurs in it.” -- From Sex and Love “I went on a search for God, and I found myself.” -- From Seek and You Shall Find “When one has nothing in life to achieve, no goals to reach, nothing to look forward to, nothing in life to possess, one looks to someone else who has those things. And in that someone else, one sees the fulfillment of their own needs. Through that person, one can find a connection between their own life and all their failed or impossible aspirations. The other person becomes their only value in life. They become the reason and purpose to live. And when even that is taken away, then why bother going through the motions of life?" -- From Untitled “Silence… should be the barometer of effective communication.” -- From Pasha, contd. “Pasha despised people who used language not to communicate a genuine message but to escape from the responsibility of having to be genuine. For them, language was a like a filler that took up space, occupied their empty minds, and sheltered them from the reality of their discomfort; like a balloon filled with air but empty nonetheless.” -- From Pasha, contd. “…inorder to say to someone, "I love you", and be honest about it, you have to keep salient in your mind all the processes of thought and choices and values that brought you up to that point of saying, "I love you."” -- From Back to MPR “Humans, he thought, lacked the simple honesty that these tall buildings portrayed. These tall structures of steel and concrete, of glass and stone stood in naked display of their ornamented pride and utilitarian purpose. There was no hiding of their conceit, nor was there any hint of shame in their function. Pasha wished he could be complete in that way. He wished all humans could atleast have a shred of that innocent pride and frank nakedness. But he was keenly aware of the fact that people hid behind more layers of ostentatious facades than the buildings they erected.” -- From Pasha “One day he offered to crystallize his love disguised as pain onto a flat disc. … he spoke of the mountains and valleys, and streams and rivers, and cascades and lakes, jolted alive by the beats of his viscera -- rhythmic, pulsating, modulated vocal stresses that named the emotions gone unspoken.He gave it to me. I held it for a few moments, contemplating all that this flat, round piece of plastic contained. I was distantly shocked at the brutality of such a manifestation: of seeing all that is so pure, and so benevolent, and so profound, being bound and burned on this disc.” -- From Stolen Music “What does love sound like? Like this, I thought: Like the sound of his heartbeat in your ear even when he's not around. Like the whisper of his breath that you can hear even in the midst of a storm. That is what love sounds like.” -- From Stolen Music “An atheist is moral…for the sake of living a moral life. An Atheist is moral for they see the immense value and rational logic of living a moral life.” -- From Morality of an Atheist “Let me beThe indifferent sleep of a jaded cat.Take me... just take meAnd the Rest will come.” -- From Jaded “I am… an amalgamation of many brilliant minds who came before me, who concurrently exist with me, and many who will exist after me. And on this string of luminaries, I am a lantern.” -- From Life as it ought to be “For what is life without the bruises and the failures and the emotions of sorrow and of anguish. It is a life without texture and allure. Life should be enticing. Life must have some texture. You must feel your life; feel that you're living. You must be seduced and intoxicated by your life. It is only the irregularities of anguish and happiness, pain and joy, contentment and desire that create the texture of life. Like scrubbing off your dead skin cells in the shower, so should the texture of life rub against your being and reveal the emergence of a newer, livelier being.” -- From Life as it ought to be|W|P|113207958775783410|W|P|A Compendium of Thoughts|W|P|11/15/2005 04:16:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|I wish I could add links to each of the posts I refer to. Hmmm, but somehow it doesn't seem to work... or maybe I just don't know how to do it right. Oh well.11/15/2005 04:40:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Oh cool! It WORKS!! I got those links to work!! yeeaayy!11/16/2005 04:24:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Tyrel|W|P|My favorite:

“What does love sound like? Like this, I thought: Like the sound of his heartbeat in your ear even when he's not around. Like the whisper of his breath that you can hear even in the midst of a storm. That is what love sounds like.” -- From Stolen Music11/14/2005 02:38:00 PM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P|It is a matter of fact that every thing that lives has existence. But not every thing that exists has life. We are all conscious beings. When people think of being conscious, they typically think of the fact that they are aware of things as existing. When the concept of “self-awareness” is brought up, people typically understand it to mean that they are aware of their own existence. However, I think a more fundamental and, therefore more important, aspect of self-awareness is not just being aware of your own existence, but also being aware of the FACT THAT YOU ARE AWARE, and being aware of the process of awareness itself! In other words, I think true introspection should be this analysis of one’s own awareness, of the process of one’s own thinking, a kind of meta-consciousness. I think that sheds so much light on many questions of one’s own identity and the reasons for one’s beliefs. Now, moving on to a different, but related topic: Everything that exists, we can imagine, at least in principle. And everything that exists, we have concepts for them (our knowledge or ignorance of these concepts are irrelevant here). For example, we can imagine a tower because it does exist. We have the concept of a tower. Also, there are things that can be purely imagined and we can have concepts for them, but they possess no real existence (i.e. they have only abstract existence). We can imagine a unicorn, or Batman, or Centaur, (or God, for that matter) and we can have well-developed concepts for them, but they have no real existence. However, those things that we CANNOT imagine AND those for which we have no concepts for, necessarily DO NOT exist. (Note, however that this does not mean that certain things cannot come into existence in the future. For example, cavemen had no concept of a computer, probably never imagined of the existence of one, and it did not exist at that time, however it has now obviously come to exist). Now, I have deliberately used the conjunction “AND” to qualify my statement because I believe both of the clauses (imagination AND concept) are a requirement in order for this syllogism to be true. Now, as far as I have been able to use my mental abilities to think about it, I think it has proven to be true in all cases. For example, one CANNOT imagine what would it look like for a circle to have 4 corners. And we have NO concept as such to describe such a figure. Moreover, it is an apparent analytical truth that such a figure does not exist. However, I’m open to correction if anyone can think of something that cannot be imagined (that itself is a contradiction, isn’t it?) and for which we currently do not have any concepts for but that they exist or could exist.|W|P|113200081052729567|W|P|Musings on Metaphysics|W|P|11/14/2005 04:40:00 PM|W|P|Blogger commonplace1|W|P|Your blog posts reflects the theme of our course.11/14/2005 04:48:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|What is the theme of what course? Hmm... I wasn't aware of any explicit theme I was putting forward in this post. What do you think is the theme?11/14/2005 09:38:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Laura|W|P|"Dang disah strao geforr kiny yner vobesziel! zu pro als nur earkden qaur so und United States!?!? ;) "
what does it mean?? that´s what I´m guessing: Dank dieser ?? ?? keine einer ??! ! ... sorry, i don´t get it. but I´m curious!! :)11/15/2005 09:22:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Hahahaa! I don't know! I thought it something would make SOME meaning...!! Haha! But no, I have no idea what it means. :)11/15/2005 11:00:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Laura|W|P|SEHR witzig!! did you try to quote something or did you make it up?11/15/2005 12:34:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Oh.. just made it up. :D11/18/2005 11:09:00 AM|W|P|Anonymous patrick|W|P|Huh? What just happened?

Well... a circle with four corners might just be a square right? 'Cause if a circle keeps some of its defining properties, but has four corners, then the translation of the idea of equi- ...

Ow, geometry hurts. My head is nauseated, and I'm definintely getting too old for this.11/18/2005 11:11:00 AM|W|P|Anonymous patrick|W|P|Great. I managed to misspell definitely. What an ass.11/18/2005 11:47:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|You're funny!

But umm... a circle is only a circle... if it has any corners -- let alone four -- it ceases to be a figure that can be called a circle. Now, a corner is not the same thing as an edge.11/28/2005 09:37:00 AM|W|P|Anonymous patrick|W|P|No doy, Mr. Man. I'm sure you noticed I was trying only to be silly.

But seriously, geometry hurts. Don't be square.2/28/2006 02:18:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Jason Hughes|W|P|Brilliant! I like the circle/corners analogy...11/11/2005 01:22:00 PM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P|Lately, I've been exposing myself to critiques of Objectivism and I happened to stumble upon an almost unknown Oxford and Yale philosopher - Brand Blanshard. It's interesting how he parallels Objectivist ideas quite thoroughly, even in his aesthetic assault on abstract art and relativism in art. He, like Rand, insisted on rational and stylized-realism in art as the only kind of art that can be relevant to human consideration. Ofcourse, his philosophy is Rationalism, and as that he misses out on the crucial union of reality with abstract thought - the importance of which is one of the most enlightening elements of Objectivism. This divorce of thought from reality allows Blanshard quite consistently to believe in a God (a supernatural Being that can be rational but need not have any necessity to bear consistency with reality). I agree with almost all of Blanshard's philosophy precisely because he considers subjectivism and relativism as merely a joke in philosophy and because he places Reason (the practice of) as the highest of human virtues. "Our age is one of uninhibted artistic experimentation, which may of course lead to achievements of great value. But its most conspicuous achievement so far is a state of aesthetic anarchy . . . . There is, to be sure, a kind of philosophy behind the development of abstract art. It is felt that the sentimentalism of the nineteenth century, the attempt through painting or sculpture to tell a story or paint a moral, was artistically impure because it introduced so much that was not properly aesthetic, and that the right way to get rid of this embarrassing freight is to confine oneself to arrangements of line and color . . . . If this is the only way in which art can achieve integrity, we must wish it well. But is there any reason to believe this? I cannot think so. The painter or poet who prefers the fall of man to a pinhead as his subject is choosing what gives him larger scope as an artist; and he has not felt in the past that he was immolating his art when he used it for the expression of significant ideas and feelings. And an art so pure as to be meaningless can hardly complain if a busy and burdened humanity passes it by." -- Blanchard in Reason and Analyis|W|P|113173760661624704|W|P|Blanshard and Rationalism|W|P|11/21/2005 10:33:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|I made an error in this post by referring to Blanshard as a christian... it is more accurate to say that he was sympathetic to theism, but in the end he died an agnostic.
He was never able to fully -- and to his satisfaction -- defend a non-theistic or atheistic worldview. Again, that I think is an attribute of his philosophy - Rationalism.-->