Friday, December 30, 2005

Untitled

You broke the morning sun On a flat non-stick pan, The searing sound hissed in my sleep Your milk and eggs, Or, your health and strength Such discipline you demanded Even the yolk knew better than to seep In my dreams I wondered How your hair would look today Not that I cared too much, Or that I could care at all, While you stepped out the door Into the bathroom, I walked Squinting at that sleepy-cute face Admiring me watching myself The cold breeze kissed you Good Morning The cold water slapped me wide awake You walked a short distance, Carrying the earth behind you I dragged my towel across the floor I did not wonder, only for a moment Where would you be Would you be waiting for me You couldn't wait Nor could I wonder So, I thought, how is the weather?- 36 degrees! Did you have your jacket on? Surely enough, as I stepped onto the train And caught your glance glancing at me I knew why the morning seemed much brighter Your hair told me of the dream I had Your warm jacket invited me to your corner So I sat with you, Tightly huddled next to you Our separate mornings had just ended Our silent poetry had only just begun

Books/Authors - Past and Future

Books/Authors that I read in 2005 [this list does not mean I liked all of the books/authors that I read, nor is this an exhaustive listing of all my reading activities]: The Idiot - by Dostoevsky The Da Vinci Code - by Dan Brown Judgement Day - by Nathaniel Branden What Art is - by Louis Torres & Michelle Marder Kamhi The Irrational Man: A Study in Existential Philosophy - by William Barrett Philosophy: From Hellenes to Heidegger - I don't remember the author's name Objectivism and the Corruption of Rationality: A Critique of Ayn Rand's Epistemology - by Scott Ryan Digital Fortress - by Dan Brown The Russian Radical - by Chris Sciabarra We The Living - by Ayn Rand ================================================== Books I'd like to read in 2006: Brother Karamazov - by Dostoevsky Madame Bovary - by Gustave Flaubert The World is Flat - by Thomas Friedman ================================================== I can't think of any other one's I wish to read. Any other suggestions? I typically read non-fiction works, though I don't like reading political non-fiction.

Year-end Musings

Well, we are at the cusp of a brand new year, and I'm thinking -- how different am I at the end of this year from what I was at the beginning? I'm not sure I can say that I have changed. Or maybe, that is up to the people around me who know me, to say whether or not I have changed. But, I don't believe that I have. What has changed, quite dramatically at times, is the environment around me - that includes, people, places, events, etc. For example: I moved apartments, I switched jobs, I switched boyfriends once (then switched again, and then again! ;-)) -- and while the argument could be made that those events have invariably also changed who I innately am, it does not seem apparent enough to me. I feel I am essentially the same person I have been for quite a while. The most dramatic changes of the innate person that I am came about, I believe, when I switched from Catholicism to Judaism... and then to Islam... and then to Vedic Hindusim, and then to Buddhism... and then back to protestant Christianity... and then, finally in my sophomore year in College, I settled irreversibly upon Atheism! :-) After embracing atheism very excitedly, I discovered Objectivism and Rand. (I had only read "The Fountainhead" until that time, but did not think of Rand as a philosopher - only as a novelist. I was not really keen on Objectivism, yet). So how did I manage to stumble upon Objectivism? Ironically, it was through one of the gay "Randroids" I had come across in college. I fully despised his attitude and demeanor - and I knew that he had read Rand's other novel, "Atlas Shrugged". He and I had diametrically opposed interpretations of Rand's heroic characters. For some reason, this guy tried in his personality to emulate those characters literally - and my only response to that was "Yuck!" Anyway, the point was that, partly because I wanted to understand his psychology better, and partly because I was curiously fascinated by the strong influence Rand had on this person, I decided to buy the other novel - Atlas Shrugged, and study it. It took me about ... oh, let's say... definitely more than six months to complete that book -- much of it had to do with the fact that it was somewhere about 1000 pages long, and each page was loaded with a 1000 megaton of philosophical ideas! Well, so that was the beginning of another major change in my life. Ever since then, I have developed a deep and dedicated devotion to ideas, philosophy, and moral purpose. I think have managed to remain scrupulous in the kinds of ideas I accept and/or reject - and have steered clear of any blind-faith influence or beliefs. And until now, I assume also going forward into the future, I have constantly adapted and adjusted my positions on a few moral and/or personal issues that were not of any majorly important scale -- for example, I changed my position from animal rights and vegetarianism to rights as applicable only to humans. I changed from the idea that monogamy was the only moral state of a love relationship, to the understanding that morality of any relationship derives from the morality of the individuals involved - not inspite of them or outside of them. Beyond that, I suppose there weren't anything else that influenced a change in me in any important way. And so, here I am. A very different person in some respects, and yet, still the very same person I was at the beginning of this year. I am certain of this fact, though, that if (when) I go back to India and meet my friends and family, they will find a fully and unrecognizably different person - would they take it in stride? I don't know. Would they respond to me differently? Most certainly yes. Will we still be friends? Don't know. Hmmmm...

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Reverse Racism

Last night on ABC News Nightline, I watched a segment about the Justice Department bringing a lawsuit against a black politician in Mississippi, alleging racial discrimination against white people in his community. And I was pleased. I do not really care about the particulars of this case: whether or not this black politician is/was infact racist, or whether there is any merit to the case. None of that matter. Nor does it matter to me that the news story portrayed the arguments as a race issue - as that of whites versus the blacks. Nightline could have decided to tell the story as that of a politician blatantly advocating and violating the civil rights of a group of people - but it chose not to. Clearly, that the majority of the alleged victims of this violation were whites, and the politician was black, played an influencing factor in how the news agency chose to tell the story. I was pleased because finally someone is shattering the silence about that which has always been pretty quietly obvious, prevalent, and condoned in this society. I don't have any more interest in discussing this issue other than stating that racism is a pathetic behavioral mind-set regardless of who's committing it. It just so happens that our society passively accepts and sometimes even condones blatantly racist attitudes against whites and/or other groups by blacks - and that I fully despise. While I condemn racism -- because society chooses to view these violations as a matter of race -- I am also keenly aware of the fact that race is a social facade that covers the true reason, motivation, and nature of these crimes, and hence, my true condemnation is and should be directed towards those underlying nature of the crimes, such as fundamentalist or collectivist attitudes, moral relativism, religious fanaticism, corruption, etc.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Logic and Reality

The following is because I think this is important, and because I needed to explain myself more clearly. It rose out of the comments section from this post at Sasca's blog. Logic is reality, apprehended in principles. Logic is reality in epistemic form. Logic is the form of principles that we have formulated to speak generally and wholly of reality itself. Thus, when you think abstractly of the principle "A cannot be A and non-A at the same time in the same respect" -- you have abstracted concrete reality -- you have NOT made reality "fit" into that principle, the principle is itself reality apprehended differently, i.e. not through physical sensory organs, but through cognitive conceptualization. Thus, when I say reality does not violate the law of non-contradiction, I am speaking of a general abstract principle that is obedient to the very brute nature of reality itself - eg. This chair cannot exist and not exist in the same respect at the same time. By saying that reality cannot fit inside a "logic box", one is infact being epistemologically Kantian. By saying that our consciousness is structured in such a way that it is restrained by logic - or a "box" of logical principles, one subsribes to a Kantian position that is so ubiquitous in our culture, it is almost inconspicuous and subconscious! The basic point of Objectivism is that reality does not and cannot fit into any "box" or man-made principles -- and one has no business trying to say it does or attempting to do it. Objectivism correctly points out that our abstract principles of logic should correspond or "fit" with reality -- not the other way around.

"We The Living" - by Ayn Rand

I’ve read a few reviews around different places on “We The Living”, and many of them capture some of the same opinions I have about the novel. So, I’m just going to throw out some words/phrases that come to mind when I think about the story of the novel: Poignant, tragic, grand, vivid, sad, inspiring, torrid love affairs, moving, shocking, benevolent, desire, romantic, love captured and described like how love should be, human strength, highest value, worship, weakness, anger, hate, purposeful, beautiful... P.S. Here's the wikipedia contribution I made to its entry on "We The Living" (follow the link in the title of this post):
"Being that Rand was only 25 years old when she began working on this novel, the integration of the theme and plot reveal, through the characters of the book, a young Rand only beginning to formulate her philosophical view of man and life. Some critics have also argued that 'We The Living' is primarily a grand story of romance and tragic love set in the backdrop of Soviet Russia, that reveal Rand's own intimate convictions about love and human relationships more than any of her other fictional and non-fictional writings."

Outsourcing 'The Fountainhead'

From this morning's news reports, I read yet another sign of Rand's ideological influence on India's younger and business-savvy, generation. According to this article, a young Indian working in one of the American-owned call centers had adopted "Steven Mallory" as his American name (you see, American callers would not be able pronounce "Khaneja" while asking for an increase in their credit limit). Now, "Steven Mallory" happens to be the name of a Randian hero from her novel, The Fountainhead, which also happens to be Steven's...er... Khaneja's favorite novel. There is really no denying this young, surging popularity of Rand's works in India. However, pondering this phenomenon for a moment, I cannot help but have mixed feelings. Young Indians being lured into the heroic and benevolent idealism portrayed by Rand's characters can also be enamoured by a false sense of egotistical empowerment. I have personally known of a few young "Randians" who, after having read one of Rand's major fictional works, warped themselves into such grotesque caricatures of Randian heroes, and then tortured their psyches for the "immorality" of having inevitable emotions of sadness, loneliness, depression, and in some cases that I've read about - even suicidal tendencies. Such is the wizardry of Rand's polemic style that unless you have a mature and critical approach to her ideas, it becomes very easy to be sucked into a foolishly superficial interpretation of her philosophy. And that is certainly a very discomforting factor. Given the amateurish and adolescent intellectual environment among young Indians - who would probably much rather indulge themselves in Bollywood song and dance - there is a very good chance that the next time I visit India, I might come face-to-face with Randian Robots, also known as "Randroids". In fact, the article has used terms like "greedy" and "individualistic" to characterize these younger generation Indians. Now, that in itself is not a bad/wrong thing; it depends upon how they interpret "greedy" and "individualistic". I doubt that the author of the article or some of the young Randian Indians truly and correctly understand the Objectivist interpretation of those terms. India is relatively new to open and free discussions, especially of the kind of Objectivist ideas espoused by Rand, such as atheism, reason, individualism, self-interest, etc. There are probably very few Objectivist scholars who have a good and solid grasp of the philosophy to provide any guidance to Indians wishing to learn more. Typically, resources and guidance can be found over the internet - but, so can much of the junk. I feel a sense of impending tragic dramas unfolding within Indian communities and families. The collectivist Indian consciousness is surely to clash with strangely and variedly interpreted individualist, egotistical ideas. The article talks about a new "cultural backlash, as the country's young, hip... workers run up against the traditions of the older generations." So in the end, I'm not even sure if this new wave of Randian influence is even good. I don't think there is any doubt that I admire Rand's fictional works and subscribe to her philosophy to a great extent, and that notwithstanding, I am still very hesitant to recommend her books to others, especially when they are dicovering Ayn Rand for the first time. So, about this upsurge of Randianism in modern India? -- Let's wait and see what happens!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Reality and The Axiom of Identity

This Christmas holiday was a very welcome break for me because it allowed me to do something I had wanted so much to do for a while now – read all the new books that I recently bought! So, over the weekend, I was able to complete my reading of Ayn Rand’s “We The Living” – which is the most fascinating work of fiction I have read – even better than Rand’s two other epic fictions, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. I still have two other books to go, though I’m reading both of them sporadically and simultaneously – if that makes any sense! [A detailed revelation of my experience and thoughts while reading “We The Living” might follow as a separate post.] What I want to bring up in this post is an incredible insight I stumbled upon while reading “We The Living”. It is most certainly not a book on philosophy – though it deals with some very heavy ideas. And yet, I found that this novel carried Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism most eloquently than many of her other formal writings on philosophy. The amazing thing is that she began writing this novel when she was only 25 – way before she fully and consciously grasped her own philosophical premises – and the novel reveals her rudimentary philosophical beginnings to some extent. Rand’s final and formal philosophy of Objectivism rests fundamentally on three axioms: Existence, Identity, and Consciousness. I have always been able to grasp these axioms independently and understand their veracity. It would be self-defeating not to. However, it was only over this Christmas weekend, while I was reading “We The Living” that I finally and fully understood the grand scope of Objectivism’s other proposition that Existence is itself Identity. This is the truth I realized from having read the novel: Existence is itself Identity because of the reciprocal relationship between reality and the structure/nature of reality. Existence is. Identity is what it is. The entire structure of all logic rests on this recognition of existence being the same as identity. In order for one to begin the most basic syllogism, one has to begin by saying “A is” – which is a statement of existence and identity at the same time. One cannot say “A is A” or that “A cannot be non-A in the same respect at the same time” without implicitly accepting the existence of “A” and simultaneously also admitting the fact that “A” is something that “non-A” is not. Thus, it is only the axioms of Existence and Identity that can allow for the logical principle of non-contradiction; without one, there cannot be the other. Thus, objective reality is simply (and also profoundly) an expression of these axioms and of all the logical structure that are made possible by these axioms. Hence, those people who argue that “logic is restrictive, stultifying, ‘human’” etc. clearly do not grasp the inseparable bond between all that is logically based on axiomatic premises, and objective reality itself. And a further implication I realized was of their applicability to atheism. Logic (and consequently, reality) allows for atheism to be the only metaphysical – or “spiritual” if you will - truth because any other supernatural belief rests on self-defeating premises or contradictions – which, due to the violation of the axiom of Identity, cannot possibly have existence. Ayn Rand vociferously argued that contradictions cannot exist in reality. She lucidly grasped the truth that abstract principles of metaphysics and epistemology had a direct and logically inseparable relationship with objective reality. That is certainly another heavy blow to Cartesian and Kantian philosophies.

Human Life and Freedom

Sean, I've decided to continue our discussion on this topic here as a separate post - mainly for clarity. First off, get the whole "christian" problem out of the way. They are irrelevant in our discussion. Objectivism does not tailor or adapt its premises of reality based on any problems posed by "christian" agendas. Reality is as is, and Objectivism seeks to recognize and understand it. You said: "human beings cannot exist without existence" I don't understand any difference. Human beings are existents in existence. Being, is existing - which is existence. You said: "existence is good for existence, if existence were bad for existence then existence would cease to exist, or, at very least, would stagnate and cease to evolve; therefore, this is self-evident." It is not self-evident to me. Infact, that whole argument makes no sense to me. How can "existence" per se have any value assessments? Who "exists" outside of existence to deem existence as "good" for existence"? The fact that I posit that question should itself be a flaw in logic - but I ask it because it arises out of your statement that "existence is good for existence". I fail to see how, why, and what the difference is. How can existence cease to exist based upon a value assessment that it were "bad"? Stagnation and evolution occur to existence, in the context of existence. Existence ceasing to exist is a contradiction of concepts. You said: "freedom is necessary for existence to exist, if it was not, existence would be enslaved to nothingness, which, in concept and concrete reality, is preposterous." Existence being "enslaved to nothingness" is not possible in "concrete reality", and hence is not preposterour -- it is simply impossible. It is a contradiction, and contradictions cannot exist in reality. Freedom is not necessary for existence to exist. Infact, the discussion of the two in the same context is awkward, at best. Existence is a discussion of metaphysics, while freedom falls in the realm of ethics. Existence just is. Freedom is contingent upon existence. Existence has ontological priority over freedom and every/any other value. You said: "human life evolved because of the freedom of existence" No. Infact, if you survey the history of human socio-biological evolution, it is not because of freedom that we evolved, but towards freedom that civilization has generally evolved. You said: "one cannot value human life without valuing freedom and existence" Again, I fail to see the difference between human life, and existence as such. Valuing human life is infact valuing the existence of human life -- which is one and the same thing. Valuing "freedom" as a state of existence has to come logically after one has recognized that one exists and that one's existence is a value. You said: "if one chooses to value human life MORE than freedom and existence, then one can irrationally justify destroying existence and/or enslaving freedom for the sake of human life, which, in the end, destroys human life." None of that follows any logic. First off, I am not saying that one must value human life MORE than freedom... the difference here is not of quantity, it is of priority. The value of human life metaphysically rests on a separete, more fundamental plane that comes prior to the plane upon which values like freedom rest. The difference is not of "more" or "less", but of what flows logically from the other. Justifying anything "irrationally" is a contradiction of terms. If it is irrational, it has not been justified, it has merely been stated based on whim, fancy, faith, or force. Justification necessarily implies rationality. "Destroying existence... for the sake of human life" -- I'm not sure again how and why you separate existence from human life. If, by existence, you mean other things besides humans, then I still do not see how and why that bears relevance to a discussion of freedom? Anyway, well, I would strongly recommend reading "The Logical Structure of Objectivism" by David Kelley for an introductory understanding of this philosophy.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Pride and Conceit

I have always been confused by how people take some of the things I say as a sign of my "conceit" or pride -- things so random that I many times have no clue that the communication could be construed as me being bragful. Anyway, it does not bother me... it merely amuses me. It's a strange insight into the underlying meanings that people derive out of my communication, based upon the kind of premises they hold for themselves. The point of all this is -- I had decided to move all my scattered works on "Pasha et Jardin" into an integrated story, with its own separate blog. In the process of doing that, I came upon these few lines I wrote that clearly expresses my position on "pride" and "conceit": "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." -- from Pasha

Overheard in New York, Here in Chicago

This is so funny! This morning, while I was deeply engaged in some water-cooler office banter (hmm... well, not really a "water-cooler") with some of the rare cutie's at my job - in the midst of discussing and critiqueing our numerous christmas trees rooted around various corners - we ended up talking about New York! Ofcourse, all conversations ultimately end up being about New York - I mean, how can one avoid NEW YORK in any conversation?!? It's the only thing worth talking about around here... Anyway, I digress drastically... The point is, I was made aware, during our chatter about New York, of this awesomely funny site called "Overheard in New York" -- and as the name suggests, it has daily postings of some of the most random, funny, inane conversations overheard around New York by fellow Yorkers! It's so cool. I wonder if there's something like that about Chicago. Hmmm...... Here as a sample of today's conversation:
Meet Saul and Jesus
Businessguy #1: If I were gay I would change my name to Paul. Businessguy #2: Why Paul? I would go with something more Latin. --A train Overheard by: Cory Agid

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

My Response to Relativism

Due to increasing public pressure (i.e. from Rubicunt et al.) I have decided to very briefly post my responses in skeletal form to the article on Relativism. I think the following could serve as guideposts for your own attempt (if you so fancy doing) at fleshing out a full and coherent argument against Relativism as a philosophy. First off, notice how the author, Dr. Partridge sticks to a very narrow definition of “moral” in his presumably comprehensive defense of relativism as the most progressively moral philosophy. "Moral", according to the author, is defined as the actual conduct or the “practice”. This is his first disastrous mistake. Morals are not merely actions or practices. Morals are primarily guiding principles that we depend upon in helping us assess a situation or certain actions. An act can be a moral act. But it is moral not intrinsically (like religious people believe charity is). It becomes a moral act because it remains consistent with a moral principle that endorses that act in the course of our human assessments. Calling “acts” or “situations” moral is akin to calling it virtuous or beneficial or advantageous – it is purely a semantic usage. The actual concept of “morality” refers to the ethical realm of principles – the abstract guideposts that dictate whether or not a certain act based upon a certain principle will in fact be virtuous or in violation. Thus, relativism argues that since morals are acts and situations, it can never be objective because behavior and situations change over time. Hence, there are certain "good" acts and there are certain "evil" acts. However, the difference is in the mistaken premise of accepting what the concept of “moral” refers to. The question you must ask is, how can I know if my act is "good" or if the situation is "evil"? The question then necessitates an anwer that requires guiding principles. Morals are those guiding principles that are based in objective reality, not on whim or intrinsicism. Relativism is intellectually vapid precisely because it gives no philosophical foundations to any allegedly moral or immoral judgements. For a relativist, nothing can be defended as being either good or bad. Their functioning premise is that, "there are no aboslute truths" - and yet they ascribe to that premise the very thing they are attempting to deny, i.e. it is an absolute truth that there are no abolute truths. If the foundational premise itself is mired in vicious circularity, then what legitimacy can there be for any relativist arguments based on such a premise!? Anyway, moving on. Then pretty much for the rest of the article, the author goes around debunking so-called “absolutist” commandments and thereby “proving” that morality is relativistic. The big problem here is he uses “absolutist” commandments that are based on lousy and false ideology like religion, dogmatism, intrinsicism, etc. For example, he uses the commandment of the “Sabbath” day and the commandment against “idolatory” – well, ofcourse they are wrong! They are religious beliefs! They have no basis in objective reality. Abortion – if I accept that abortion is not immoral then his argument simply falls. Same thing with euthanasia. He talks about how the Catholic Church denounces divorce; that divorce is an objective immorality. Well, what if one believes that divorce is not immoral at all? He tries to debunk arguments that merely carry the label of “absolutism” or “objective morals” – clearly his examples from religion and whims are anything but that. In one example, he cites an idiot who claims that God absolutely forbids lying, who then later gets stumped trying to get out of a hypothetical scenario of an ethical conflict. Clearly, what the author debunks then is not the concept of objective morals, but that of basing morality in God and religion. Then somewhere towards the middle or end of this poor work of argumentation is a challenge! Dr. Partridge asks the reader to “state an ethical rule for which it is impossible to imagine some particular emergency that would morally require you violate it”. If the reader can’t, then he is a moral relativist. My response to that is two-fold: first, the more simpler response is that a human being is primarily differentiated from other species as a rational being, and hence rationality is a virtue, and hence choosing to use one’s faculty of reason is always a moral and virtuous act. Intentionally and willfully refusing to use your mind and capacity to think in the face of any given situation is an immorality regardless of the situation. In willfully refusing to use your mind, you are desiring to be less than human. There does not exist any situation that would flip the princple of morality on its head here and require that irrationality, nonsense, and whim be the morally virtuous act. The second part of my response is a little more complicated. This response attacks the author’s question itself. If the author claims that there can always be a conceivable emergency that would require you to violate any given moral principle, then the author has clearly lost all sense of what gives rise to morals and morality. By the very definition of morals, there needs to be out of necessary logic, a range of choices and options of behaviors open to a volitional and free being. Morality is the principle that guides you to choose one action over another – presuming there are choices. Morality also presumes that you have the capacity to choose willfully – coerced choices are a contradiction of concepts. If you are forced to pick a form of action – that is not your choice. If you have not chosen your actions, you cannot bear responsibility for the virtue or the vice/evil of that action. [On a side note, this is where the insanity plea comes from – you legal people reading this. Insanity is the loss in capacity to make sentient choices. Instinctual, psychological and behavioral disorders trump one’s capacity to make moral assessments. Hence, severely retarded people for example, cannot be legally punished if they go burn someone’s house. Their caretakers could be punished, however. Same principle applies with very young children and infants.] Anyway, my point is this: an act is virtuous only if it is willfully chosen, based on some moral principle that competed with opposing choices, and was chosen by someone who is free and able to make those choices and perform those actions. Emergency situations, by definition, lack one or all of those above requirements. An emergency situation, for example is like a man pointing a gun to my head demanding that I kill my sister. In this case, my freedom and volition is robbed. I am incapacitated to make a moral choice. I can make a choice – but whatever that ends up being, I cannot be held morally responsible for it because I had a gun to my head. Emergency situations break down all moral and ethical concepts. Another example, if I am required without any other choice to give all my money to the first beggar on the street – then my act is not virtuous or moral or charitable, because I had no choice in the matter. This is the micro-scale example of socialism and communism. In this example, morality is sucked out of the situation because no competing choices are given to me. I have to give my money to the beggar – I am not permitted to do anything else with my money. My “giving” then is not virtuous – it is the only act I am permitted to perform. So, my response to Dr. Partridge's challenge is that discussions of morality have no business in contexts of emergencies. Emergency situations do nothing to invalidate the objectivity of morals - they are in a wholly different category of their own.

Doing My Part to Make Changes Happen

Okay, so here are the facts: I know I am not blazingly intelligent, nor do I have any extraordinary intellectual acheivements to show - that means I cannot command any intellectual authority in places that matter - like think-tanks, media, academic societies or journals, etc. My opinions, while it may sometimes be right and useful, does not necessarily hold any/much sway among influentials and decision-makers. In so many ways, I have come to realize that being non-American, being an immigrant, being a non-native speaker of English, being gay, being an atheist, being of marginal educational qualifications, being young and being poor are incredible indicators of how inconsequential my voice and opinion can be among the milieu of other sounds. Typically, I would not even bother or care about that. Primarly, I hold that my purpose is to not to be influential or popular. I care less than little about what people think about my ideas and opinions. If my beliefs are true, I will hold on to them regardless. The possibility that I may or may not have influence over people or that I may or may not be popular are mostly insignificant in the decisions I make.
Yet, everytime I am moved and/or stirred by some decidedly evil and criminal acts in society - I am compelled to do something. Mostly, I just end up blogging about it. However, that is clearly so insufficient. I don't like feeling helpless about situations because it is a false sense of reality. Helplessness is not a matter of fact -- it is a matter of perspective.
Hence, I have been trying desperately to shift my perspective and take cognizance of my situation. Where am I now, where am I headed in life, and how can I change the direction of my life so that I can consequently affect change in the society I live in? I understand that this desire in me is not to make the society better for other people or for coming generations -- that is of no concern to me. If they wanted those changes, they should work to bring it about themselves. I have a desire to change any and some aspects of the society I live in because it's where I live, and I want to live fully, in the way I choose to live my life. In view of that, I realize that the most crucial societal policy affecting the direction of my life and many other consequent factors, is the issue of this world's immigration policies. Where I live and where I am permitted to live means greatly to what I do and how I go about doing it. I take issue specifically with America's immigration policies because this country claims to be founded upon liberty and individual rights. Yet, the glaring contradiction of its immigration policies with that of its "official" ideals are flatly immoral - to say the least. Many other countries flatly deny any individual rights and liberty, or if they do accept those principles, they never stay consistent even in their most fundamental applications - like in the media, economy, etc. America, to some extent, does stay true to its concepts of rights and liberty. Americans do have a sense of what private property and free market economies mean, and they support it - though not wholly. The problem with immigration policies of America then, is that it fundamentally violates the basic human right to own property. The right to own property implies a consequent right to seek legitimate means to own property. Often, those legitimate means go beyond production and trade, and might require movement and mobility. Now, understand that these rights are not "American" rights, but Human rights -- thus, applicable to all human beings. Thus, the right to own property should also permit the legitimate means to gain access to property through a free market system consisting of individuals exchanging value for value. If the very means of gaining access to such a market, or of restricting the movement of traders is enacted as official immigration policy, then that state has just violated the fundamental right that permits such activities. This is why, I believe change is urgently required in this country's immigration policies. Something needs to be done. What have I decided to do about it? Nothing, for now. I have decided to focus my efforts at doing earnestly whatever it is that I am currently doing. I believe that as I progress in my career and earn higher incomes, I will eventually have the ability to direct my monetary contributions in a meaningful manner. Money is certainly a veritable means of wielding power. In my own small way, I can fund and/or contribute to organizations and media outlets that are aligned with my vision of change. Certainly, advancing in education is another one of my plans. For some reason, it seems that having higher educational credentialing will validate my efforts for others - and I suppose one has to play by those rules to be able to do anything else. So, I will.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Pasha et Jardin, contd-

Jardin did not answer. He did not have an answer. Everything Pasha said made sense - rational sense. But Jardin could not shake off the instinctual feeling that life is not always rational, and things do not always make sense. Humans are not unfeeling, unemotional robots, he thought. “Right now I feel horrible, and it is only rational for me to want to end it – whatever way I can.” He could not bring himself to say those words. Jardin raised the fork of salad over to his mouth – and a pang of guilt pierced him. His consciousness could not handle the massive contradiction before him: His body acting in self-preservation while his mind contemplating and desiring non-existence. Pasha picked up on that momentary hesitation, and knew what Jardin had realized. Both of them knew nothing more was needed to be said – the choice had been made.

Court Fines NYC Transit Strikers!!

Yay!! The best news I've read in a loooong while! That serves them right!

Pasha et Jardin - Revised

It was in a moment’s instance that all the chatter of their surroundings dissipated. A giant chasm suddenly ripped their table apart from the rest of the world; everyone else rapidly sank into the descending mud, while Pasha and Jardin rested solidly on a narrow pillar of ground. It seemed like the only sentient purpose of the booth they sat in was to protect the lonely intimacy of these lovers. In sadness he spoke. His whispers echoed through space like a prophecy come true on judgment day. Jardin felt an odd distance from his words, like as if they were not his. Like as if he were not capable of uttering such emotions.Pasha made no attempt to mitigate the sadness in Jardin’s voice. The greatest insult one could hurl at another in such a situation would be to descend into an elaborate pretense at empathy, and utter the greatest lie of all: everything will be okay. That is the surest sign of the fact that the person cares a damn about you. Jardin clutched the napkin in his hands, holding on to it like it would slip away. The plain, white napkin was marred with faint blotches of red sauce. He looked down at his food, thinking how strange it was that he was eating - feeding his body - to what end? “I cannot go on living this life that I find so disappointing. Shouldn’t I want to demand the best, and only that? How can I live and hate my life at the same time? Isn’t that a particularly repulsive kind of dishonesty?” “You can only demand that which you should deserve, Jardin. Demanding the best life is a demand that you make upon yourself. Fulfilling that demand is infact the process of living.” “But it’s not worth it” “Should your life be worth anything more than itself?”

Monday, December 19, 2005

Geniuses, and Me

*sigh* I'm 23 years old! Ugh! So old, so fast... and what have I done in my life?? Achieved anything noteworthy yet? Ugh. I was reading this article about extreme genuises feeling like "outsiders" among society, and I thought to myself -- well, it's true that I feel like an "outsider".. or more like, I feel glad to be an "outsider" among the society that currently exists around me... and it's also true that school and college, they all seem so trivial to me... and the things they taught me there were so banal for the most part. Hmmm, so the question is... do I fit the category of "extreme geniuses"? Ha! Most definitely not! (Oh. Well, can't be too sure of that though... I'm only 23). But then again, there apparently was this genuis kid who the author talks about in the article, who graduated cum laude from Harvard at 16 years of age. Clearly, I've lived far longer and achieved grostesquely little! I think I seem to appreciate what Aldous Huxley said about people, apparently in relation to Isaac Newton (quoted from the linked article):
"Perhaps men of genius are the only true men. In all the history of the race there have been only a few thousand real men. And the rest of us--what are we? Teachable animals. Without the help of the real man, we should have found out almost nothing at all. Almost all the ideas with which we are familiar could never have occurred to minds like ours. Plant the seeds there and they will grow; but our minds could never spontaneously have generated them"

A Defense of Relativism

Recently, I read a ridiculously amateur article that attempted to philosophically defend Relativism, written by an ethics lecturer with a PhD, no less! Interestingly, Dr. Partridge, the author, chooses to poise Relativism as a "moral philosophy for progressives" - thereby stealing the concept of "progressive" and implying that those who do not accept Relativism are somehow not progressive -- backward or stagnant in their thinking. I have linked the article for those of you (if any) reading this who would like to tackle the arguments Dr. Partridge brings up and debunk them. It shouldn't been difficult at all. I refuse to link to his own site. Besides Relativism, he also subcribes to the philosophically invalid position of Skepticism. I'm not going to get into a discussion here of why and how Skepticism is an invalid philosophical position. Anyway, as a teaser: Dr. Partridge challenges the reader to "state an ethical rule for which it is impossible to imagine some particular emergency that would morally require you violate it. If you can’t, then you are a moral relativist." I can think of more than one without even having to really "think".

Friday, December 16, 2005

A Shift In the Indian Paradigm

I think the recent spurt of economic growth in India that started over 12 years ago and that precipitated ever since is due to an undercurrent of capitalist and individualist philosophy gaining influence in the minds of the Indian people. I have been reading a spade of articles recently in Indian newspaper editorials that are criticizing public sector economics and pushing for more privatization of Indian assets. A more direct evidence of this shift in paradigm is the prominence of Ayn Rand’s philosophy in the popular culture. Those Indians who can speak and read English fluently (typically, the affluent, educated, and younger generation Indians) have been devouring Ayn Rand books and discussing her ideas openly. I recently read an editorial online by an Indian Administrative Services officer – the equivalent of a top-level employee of the Federal executive branch bureaucracy – who pitted Ayn Rand’s ideas favorably against the collectivist/communist ideas of our first Indian prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. As an Indian myself, I perceive discussions like these astonishing because personalities like Nehru have mostly been revered among the Indian masses, and to even imply in the public media that he might have been wrong – and devastatingly wrong – for the entire country its economy, is a radical concept, and certainly an act of some courage. I think India is finally rising from the oppression of its communist/socialist policies that plagued the Indian eco-political system for more than 50 years. Finally, I believe that the intellectuals who wield the requisite power and influence in Indian society are propelling a rapid growth in the modern Indian economy with increased privatization and capitalism. And I am very happy to discover that the Indian intellectuals – unlike their American counterparts – are increasingly getting their ideas from the “Fountainhead” of reason – Ayn Rand.

Party Party Party!

So, today was my Account Management department party! It was so super fun! We had P.F. Changs for catering... and there was a gift exchange -- well, it wasn't really a gift exchange... more like a gift stealing and fighting! ;) It was all cool though... I managed to snatch a very beautiful 3 pillar San Miguel candle lamp. Anyway, it was lots of fun... I'm very full with all the chinese... and I think the department on the whole had a good time to get to know each other. Well, so there's another party coming up... the company-wide New Year party. Apparently, it's going to be held at Le Passage. And it's a buffet and cocktail evening, entirely free for all company employees! I'm excitedly looking forward to that evening!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Identity and Causality, contd.

Upon thinking further about this issue, I realized that the approach Kant used to describe our experience of reality – or what he called our experience of phenomena – is so opposed to the actual evidence of the senses and the function of our faculty of reason. Kant took the Platonic premises of ideal forms and argued that having direct experience of those forms is impossible to perception because our consciousness always filters all data through the a priori structures of space and time. Thus, causality, according to Kant did not exist in the objective reality, per se. The object or its identity did not cause effects and actions, but we observed that phenomenon as causality due to the structure of our consciousness. The question that one must quite obviously ask then is, how did Kant figure that out? How does he know that it is true? If according to Kant, all a priori concepts like space and time limit our senses from experiencing noumena such that we only can experience and observe phenomena, then in vicious circularity, it might also be the case that Kant’s own theory of metaphysics might be borne out of his misperception of the appearance of reality with the true mechanics of it. Okay, to clarify in other words: If Kant cannot trust his consciousness to grasp actual reality (noumena) then how can he trust his proposition that he cannot trust his consciousness? - Because after all, even that very proposition has to be grasped and recognized consciously! This is where Rand comes in with her heavyweight emphasis on the power of reason to grasp reality by integrating the evidence of the senses with a contextual body of knowledge. Rand bases her epistemology on the axiomatic laws of existence, consciousness, and identity. According to the law of identity, then, the entity can only act in consistency with its own nature. Thus, causality is the relationship between an entity’s identity and the nature of its actions. This is why Rand rejected all Kantian concepts of a priorism. Rand argued that since to exist means to exist as something, all activities of the entities arise fundamentally from and in relation to its identities – not as merely appearances to our consciousness. No wonder Rand believed that Kant’s philosophy was among the most destructive influences in the history of philosophy. Kant created the greatest chasm between our grasp of reality and reality itself.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Identity and Causality

I think I may have struck upon a very important implication of the laws of identity and causality. As I was reading The Russian Radical, I realized how brilliantly insightful Rand's exposition of metaphysics was. She tackled some of the very complicated questions of philosophy. With clarity and luminence, Rand unraveled some of the mistakes, false dichotomies, and inaccurate premises of traditional philosophers. Here is an example of Rand's razor sharp intellect at work. In The Russian Radical, Rand argued that the concept of causality does not refer to our observation of disembodied actions and reactions, but rather to the relationship between entities and their actions. Rand emphazised the axiom of existence and the axiom of identity. According to her, to exist is to have identity, i.e. that something exists is the same thing as that something exists. Hence, causality is the relationship between the identity or nature of an entity and its necessary actions. These, she called efficacious actions. Self-evidently inherent in human identity is the concept of volition. The law of causality says that the nature of the action will and does depend on the nature of the entity. Thus, causality as applicable to humans is the relationship between our inherent nature (the fact that we have volition) and hence we can choose or will not choose. Rand was once asked the question that how can one define the concept of fragility that is inherent in glass without involving another object in relation to glass (concrete, for example) to demonstrate the relational nature of that concept? Wouldn't this be violating the law of identity that requires all entities to be particulars and finite? Rand's argument in response was that characterizing the question this way was an example of the false dichotomy created by traditional philosophy. Rand emphasized the nature and structure of an entity as inseperable in grasping its identity. Once the identity has been established, the consequential action and expression can be determined. According to Rand, "identity implies causality". It is in the inherent nature, structure, and character of glass that gives rise the concept of fragility -- fragility is the action implied by the nature and identity of glass. The potential of glass to act in a particular way, i.e. be fragile, is inherent in its structure, composition, and its physical and chemical properties. Those are the very things that also describe the identity of glass. Hence, there is no dichotomy, according to Rand. Fragility does not require a relational understanding with another entity like concrete. "To be is to be something. And to be something is to act accordingly" Now, the implications of that law to human life is only now becoming increasingly apparent to me. To be a human, one must grasp what it means to be human. In other words, what is the identity of human beings? Once our identity is grasped and understood, we realize that we humans, unlike inanimate objects, have inherent in our identities the capacity to act according to our fundamental natures or against our natures. Inanimate and instinctive entities like plants and dogs do not have volition as a constituent of their identities. That means those entities can only and simply act consistent to their nature, without any choice in the matter. Humans have the faculty to choose. Hence, that creates the entire moral implication for the kind of choices we make. This is where our identities and our nature can guide and help us in assessing moral choices. That presumes however, that we have correctly identified who we are. The most fundamental differentia of human beings as from other entities is our faculty of reason. Thus, humans are primarily rational beings -- we have the capacity and the tools to reason that is only unique to us as entities. Hence, living according to our identities would be living in accordance with reason. Reason is the faculty of perception and integration in a consistent, coherent, and non-contradictory fashion. Integrity is the insistence of recognizing reality using reason. I can only now see the entire and full scope of the philosophy of Reason in being the moral and practical way of living. It's a wonderful sight!

Oprah Tomorrow

Oh... tomorrow, Thursday night, I've marked my calendar to watch Oprah.... she's going to have this cutie gay boy on her show who thinks he is butt-ugly. I think it'll be interesting! Y'all should check it out too! :)

Rand on Ontology

The more I read and understand Rand’s technical philosophy, the more amazed I am at her unique insight on philosophical issues that, upon hindsight, seem like it should have been intuitive! Take this for example: from Chris Sciabarra’s book The Russian Radical: Rand was tackling her response to a very prevalent question among philosophers, theologians, and thinkers alike. Who created the Universe? In other words, what was the First Cause, the cause of the Universe? Rand argues that this question presumes a contradiction and a vicious circularity. It assumes the something existed that brought existence into existence. It attempts to question “who” or “what” was that, that brought existence into existence, which invariably leads to an infinite regress of causality. The questioner is making an attempt, according to Rand, to stand at an omniscient point looking at and into existence, while being in some way “outside of existence”, which must mean “non-existent” – a position that the questioner has no business being in, and is an impossibility. In Rand’s view, the questioner regards non-existence as a thing that is metaphysically equal to existence. Rand explains that “nothing” is a concept without validity if it is separated from its relation to “existence”. "Nothing" derives its meaning only in the negation of something. Rand argues that there is no “pure negation”. Thus, every question that seeks to contemplate the beginning of existence, tries to place the primacy of epistemology (knowledge) over metaphysics (existence) and ontology. To know, there must be a knower.

Cool Names

I love these figure skater's names..... and actually, I love figure skating itself - watching it, I mean. Boitano ; Oksana Bayul ; Alexei Yagudin ; David Pelletier I guess if I ever had kids -- which is highly unlikely -- I would name them something fun and unique like this. I would give them names that would make people ask them "Oh, are you Russian?" or "Oh, is your family french?" I think the concept of culture-specific names is very strange... and passe, in my opinion. I enjoy the idea of having an Indian named Andrei Kiraskulov, as an example... or a country-American farm boy named Jardin Bornierre. :) Ha! So fun!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Note to Self:

Every concept of knowledge is interrelated. Therefore, consistency and coherence is the key in analyzing any proposition. They should all fit well together and build upon each other.

Zombies Riot in Australia

What I watched on BBC last night enraged me to no end. The vile, racist and indiscriminate attacks of Australian white youth against people of middle-eastern origin – watching those ignorant creatures rioting, waving their Australian flag, proclaiming “Aussie White Pride” everywhere – there is no better way to describe those creatures than calling them sub-human specimens utterly not worthy of existing. Ignorant dunces who cannot see past a person’s skin color to make their assessment of the person cannot possibly bear the burden of thinking, producing, and living. They are parasites on the productive capacities of a moral society and should be disposed. There is no need and no reason to defend the sustenance of brutes who are capable of nothing more than attacking human beings on the basis of their race or ethnicity. This is the vilest manifestation of collectivist zombies who have no self-identity above that of their stupid concept of race. All those drunken fools – Lebanese, Australian, and whoever else – that attacked and rioted indiscriminately in response to no personal or individual attack are functioning on the collectivist premise. An attack on any white person is considered an attack on the entire white blob. A counter-attack on any middle-eastern person is considered an attack on the entire middle-eastern splotch. They do not want to exist within the integrity of their own minds and bodies. They wish cower and hide in among the masses and launch cowardly attacks from among the safety of their collectivist leeches.Society should not find any need or obligation to recognize any modicum of humanity in these creatures. They are mindless animals and should be treated as such.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Immigration, contd.

They come and take our jobs away, they lower the wage rates for employment, they crowd the cities and stretch public resources, there are fewer resources and an increasing number of players competing for those resources. "Our jobs"? Is anybody entitled to a job? If there is any entitlement, shouldn't that be based on meritocracy? If I own a business with jobs to give away, I will certainly want the best that I can buy with the lowest amount of wages I can give out. It's a labor market just like any other consumer market. Should jobs go defacto to Americans by virtue of their citizenship, even if they are not as good as the immigrant with a better work ethic, more qualifications, higher suitability, fewer demands? Yes because this is America. These are American jobs. It's the ownership rights of citizens to demand that their American businessman counterparts choose Americans first over non-Americans. But does that make good business and economic sense? Why does Microsoft employ a majority of their workforce from abroad? Should patriotism, or collective ownership rights take primacy over individual capabilities, merits, differences? What's the difference between Communism and the concept of collective ownership of American assets? Merely a logical extension? Or a real and practical imitation? "They lower wages for employment". Low costs of production mean higher profits for businessmen and companies -- who, we oftentimes forget -- are consumers themselves, also investors, risk-takers, etc. Companies, stockholders, CEO's get richer with higher profits. Consequently, their spending margins increase on a variety of things. Typically, the more one earns, the more one begins to spend. Profit-making is a right of every business -- that is the sole purpose for which they exist. The effects of higher profits and higher spending should invariably ripple across the entire market at some point. Wages for employment should be based organically on such market forces -- not on some perceived entitlement demanded by Unions and other idiots. Case in eg.: Union of Auto Makers trying to fight to hold on to their "entitlement" wages of $115,000 annually, which have now been brought down to about $89,000 annually. Apparently, this major slash in their wages as auto-makers are forcing them to live "meager" lives! Ofcourse, the ripple effect of such entitlement mentality -- GM is on its way to bankruptcy. Detriot is a ghosttown with the only industry keeping it afloat (the automotive industry) now caught up in heckling with Unions. They crowd the cities and stretch thin public resources. That is a cyclical argument. That is the very result of the inhumane and immoral immigration policies. Those laws themselves have created the situation where the new immigrants cannot find cover, comfort and solace unless they are surrounded by clans of their own members -- in ghettos, nonetheless. The one's that wish to leave, that wish to move up in education and careers, cannot because they do not have the legal and societal permissibilities like an SSN, or recourse to citizen aid, driver's licenses, etc. They visit ER's because they cannot get legitimate health insurance under current laws. This entire argument is cyclical... there's no need for me to delve into them anymore. Increasing number of players competing for resources You're living in a fools land if you expect to not compete for resources that always have been limited and are steadily decreasing. The only rational and intelligent solution is to accelerate human acheivement in technology and production, to produce and create new resources or new and efficient methods of gaining/using/spending them. Trying to adopt some kind of population control simply reduces your chances of getting more brains to work on social challenges. Also, population control clearly does NOTHING to produce or create anything new. It may merely slow down the rate at which resources deplete, but it does not change the status quo. Moreover, increased competition for resources also helps to reveal inefficient systems. They help identify and eliminate waste, unwanted loads, unharmonious systems... the "flowchart" gets streamlined when the pressure to minimize waste is high.

Immigration: Private Property or Freedom of Movement

Need to throw these thoughts out... for further analysis: Private property - arising out of self-autonomy - fundamental in nature Private property implies a method or means of gaining and owning such property... the method or means have to be legitimate inorder to fit the definition of property -- property is that which is rightfully owned -- what is the legal definition of property? If the means and method of gaining property is itself illegitimate, then the property owned through the use of that method is also illegitimate. In other words, if I kill a man who I know will outbid me at an auction so that I can be the highest bidder, then that which I have rightfully owned by bidding becomes illegal property because I committed illegal activities to get it. (Right? I don't know. Maybe. Are there any caveats?) So, if an immigrant enter illegally and then owns property in gainful employment, would all of that property then also be illegal and subject to seizure by the state? No. It can't be. There must be a separation between means and ends. Production is not the same thing as the product, and a cause is not on the same moral, ethical platform as the effect. Illegal immigration is illegal only because of a whimsical fiat by the most populous voices. It was not illegal for the early puritan immigrants to enter American, since there were no such laws. Can laws be randomly made to dictate anything based upon the whim and fancy of the contemporary society? Clearly no. However, today America as a collective group of citizens own "America" the land. Hence, illegal immigration could be a violation of the property rights of the citizens as a collective whole, who own America. Any illegitimate movement would be encroaching upon the private property of Americans. Right? No. It can't be. How does one become American? The overwhelming majority of the first "Americans" were not born here... they moved here. Hence, American citizenship is open to some immigrants -- or atleast was open to some of them at one time. If collective ownership requires one to be American, then.... ugh, I'm getting muddled. Owning "America" the land as a collective whole cannot be possible. Why not? There's something wrong. The collective whole needs to have legitimate right to claim that status. Citizenship. But immigrants also can and have become citizens. So, they can claim that ownership too. But, collectivist talks and perspectives just don't work... because they typically collapse in disagreement and in the suppression of minority voices.

Friday, December 09, 2005

OH MY GOD!!! THE BUILDING IS ON FIRE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and strangely enough, I have the time to blog about it.

Snow-white Redemption

There is a kind of redemption In the frolic of happy flakes In their softest yet persistent fall In how they blanket everything A new layer of wonderful white Burying deep the coarseness of life They seem to know their way around For they settle so smoothly Into the crevices of our hearts They print patterns so beautiful On the fabric of our souls A radiant vision of a bright, new life Begins in the sky And falls down on us In tiny pearls of hope

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Intelligent Design: Immigrant Genuises

What's up with the majority these young genuises being of Asian and/or Indian decent? Is there a pattern here? Are the majority of smart people defacto non-American? Immigrant geniuses like these... is this an example of Intelligent Design among humans? Should we see this pattern and recognize that an Intelligent Designer wanted it that way? So does that mean that the Asian and East Indian cultures are intellectually superior to other cultures? Hmmm... food for thought.

Come Up Here With Me

I cannot see beyond the flakes of white snow Singing their soft blues outside my office window My yearning eyes shielded by the porous art Searching… gleaning… a lonely lover’s heart. Down below, you sell your sorry plight You lose your joy, your passion and delight Melancholy sojourner, your head dips lower than the setting sun Your feet are heavy and yet you try to run If you could only make an upward glance And lose yourself in the movements of the trance If you could stop your steps and spread your arms Then raise your head and sing a heartfelt Psalm From up here on the thirteenth floor The ominous number of many a lore I would swallow the songs of your rising voice And add to the chorus of snow’s mirthful noise Together and apart, separated and joined Our souls would balance on a delicate point Between you below, and me above Embraced by the valiant sunset of love We can dance to the tune of our own rhythm Smother their shrieks of any Christmas hymn You can let yourself soar high and take flight Come up here and let’s waltz under the city lights.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

You are beautiful. He is Ugly.

I have lately been thinking about this issue and trying to clarify it in my head. I think there is a certain relationship between individualism as a philosophy of the self and its effect on the perception of beauty and self-esteem. There have been many times when I have made a comment like, "oh, he's ugly", to which I sometimes get a response from whoever is next to me, "well, you ain't that hot looking either! So, don't be talkin' bad about others!" Well, does it matter? All that is making me now think: Typically, when a person admires another human being for their physical characteristics, one is said to be admiring their beauty. But here's a question: inside the psyche of the viewer, does the person inadvertently begin to compare themselves with the person they are admiring? In other words, if I were to look at a man passing by and comment upon how strikingly harmonius his features are, and that he is beautiful, does that also mean that subconsciously I am thinking about my own physicality and placing it in comparison to his? Do I believe he is very attractive because I believe I am less attractive than he? Another question: if I were to assess another man passing by me as attractive but not too much... am I assessing him on some external objective standard criteria? Or am I comparing him to me and making that judgment that he is attractive but not too much because in comparison to myself, I happen to think I am more attractive than he is? Another question: if I were to assess a man passing by me as simply ugly, or completely unattractive , am I still using myself as a standard of comparison, or have I now SHIFTED to some kind of objective criteria for beauty and ugliness that I am using? Now, let's forget about a live human being. Let's suppose I saw three life-sized statues/sculptures of men (nude or clothed, that's for your imagination to decide) standing before me. I look at these sculptures and I come upon to decide that one of them is decidedly very attractive, one could be perceived as reasonably attractive, and the last final one is decidedly unattractive or ugly. Here, I am referring to the same physical and superficial characteristics of the statue's figure... I am not referring here to the skill or craftsmanship of the artist -- I am not concerned with how skilfully the artist made the ugly statue look convincingly "ugly". So now, in this case... do we still place ourselves in comparison to the three statues every time we assess its beauty? If we consider statues as works of art, do we always or usually place ourselves in comparison to such artistic sculptures of the human form and other works of art? I think can safely say that the answer here is no, we don't compare ourselves to works of art. (You could challenge me on that). However, I believe that most people generally do infact, subconsciously or not, place themselves in comparison with other real people they see. I think this is evidenced by how people look at others on the street and get their cues on fashion, or on what's hip, or on what is considered "outlandish", "wierd", "cool", "in", etc. Also, if people were not constantly assessing others' beauty by placing themselves in the field of comparison, then why are celebrities worshipped and emulated? Why do some people find that their self-image is borrowed from how they perceive their personal celebrity? Clearly, it seems to me that one's assessment of another person gives cues as to what is "hot" and what is "not" to many people. Also, the desire to emulate and be like the person one admires, shows that some people assess themselves simultaneously while they are assessing someone else. So, it seems, that people have this tendency to look at artistic works of the human form and admire/despise it externally without simultaneously making any conscious or subconscious assessment of themselves... however, when it comes to watching other real people, immediately the focus becomes not a matter of admiring/despising those people independently, but of actually placing oneself right along-side that other person. And this behavior, whether subconscious or deliberate, I believe is fundamentally because of a philosophical outlook. So, when someone tells me that I should not make an assessment of a person as being "ugly" because I am not that "hot-looking" either, I think to myself, "does it matter that I am not "hot-looking" either? And WHY should it matter?" Incidentally, I've never heard anyone say to me "don't say the other guy is very attractive! You ain't that bad yourself!" I think the fundamental philosophical context is one of individualism versus collectivsim. In a collectivist mentality, one perceives their own existence as being in a relation to another. A collectivist mentality always has the "other" not the "self" as the basic standard. Every assessment, judgment, etc. is filtered through the lens of the other-oriented context. Hence, every assessment is made through the lens of "them in comparison to me". There is no "me" beyond and outside of comparison, needless of comparison. Their whole idea of the self, their self-image, and their self-esteem is derived from the people around them - "what do others think of me, am I dressed better than him, does he find me more attractive than that other kid, am I smarter than that other boy, do you like me because I'm better than your ex?" There is empirical evidence for that phenomena. Studies have shown that Japanese people are more likely to describes themselvse as "mother, husband, friend, lover", etc. -- which are all other-oriented descriptions of the self. Americans and Australians, on the other hand, have typically described themselves as being a "businessman, philosopher, human, intelligent, rockstar, actor, sex-worker, whore, the President," etc. -- notice how they are mostly independent assessment of selves. This collectivist mentality renders the person incapable of self-assessment on objective criteria and standards that stand outside of other people. So, beauty is what people in general decide it is. Or "hip" is what my friends think it is. The person's sense of self-esteem is also handicapped because it requires the existence of other persons around to give them an assessment of themselves. Note, how this does not carry over to their assessment of inanimate objects like human sculptures and works of art. An individualist philosophy however, gives ample psychological and emotional strength to perceive one's self as honestly as possible. Hence, when I look at a beautiful human being, I am not saying that he is more beautiful than I am (though that could be true and presumed in many cases)... what I am saying is, I see beauty in him that should be admired.... it works the same way as if I saw a beautiful work of art and I commented likewise. I am not stating anything of a relationship between the artwork's beauty and my own. Infact, I would go so far as to say that beautiful people are beautiful Art! And as such they can and should be assessed objectively. It is easy for me to look at an unattractive person and comment about it because to me it is like a matter of fact. It is true, so I recognize it. It has nothing to do with me, hence why should I feel "guilty" of making such a comment as if I am obligated to be UGLIER than the other person inorder to say that he is ugly! To feel guilty for admitting a fact of reality is actually a desire to evade that reality. Similarly, to say that someone is more attractive than I am is not to say that "oh I feel like shit now. I am so ugly, I am not good enough. I just lost all my self-esteem." No, it simply means that I admire that person's beauty, that he is certainly attractive, and it is because I view him and myself as two separate, distinct, individuals that do not require to be placed under any unnecessary or unwarranted comparisons. Oh, I bet the arguments I make in this post will be highly controversial, to say the least!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Wal-mart Controversy

Look at what I found on the internet! Some guy making a quite surprising claim about Sam Walton. Now, I'm very undecided on this controversial Wal-mart issue -- whether it is doing more harm than good to this country and the market. I've heard arguments that Wal-mart has lower-priced consumer goods, but we end up paying for much of its employees' healthcare costs because of the low pay and mediocre health insurance benefits. I don't know all the facts yet. However, given what I know, I am unconvinced that Wal-mart is doing more harm to this country than any other large discount retailer is. Infact, I think this country and the global economy benefits extensively by the effects of Wal-mart's business practices. Anyway, this article is unique. I've never read anything like this about Wal-mart or Sam Walton before. Picking On Wal-Mart Union Critics Just Wasting Their Time Assailing Retailer November 28, 2005 Ron Galloway In Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged," the productive, inventive minds of the world are constantly belittled and attacked by the envious and agenda-driven in a society whose squeaky wheel gets the most grease. Sound familiar?Wal-Mart, hate it or love it, will always be the subject of controversy. I set out on my own to find out what makes the retail giant and employer of more than 1 million Americans tick, and I made a film about Wal-Mart, called "Why Wal-Mart Works, and Why that Drives Some People Crazy." Why does Wal-Mart make some people crazy? Because it started selling groceries in California, that's why. A certain union got unhinged and funded a staff of 35 at WalmartWatch.com to do nothing but use member dues to pester Wal-Mart. Is it a prudent use of union dues to pick on a store most of their dues-paying members enjoy shopping at?Unions and assorted special interests (the National Petroleum Marketers Association, hmm) are comically obsessing on a store 138 million people voluntarily shop at every week. It's just a store. The anti-Wal-Mart campaign is the biggest waste of time and resources since the last three "Star Wars" movies. Speaking of Hollywood, why are they picking on Wal-Mart? Wal-Mart is Hollywood's biggest customer, responsible for nearly 40 percent of DVD sales. Except for my film's DVD, which they won't carry. Check out the Screen Actors Guild website - Wal-Mart is a guild signatory. Did Robert Greenwald's anti-Wal-Mart film use union crews and pay guild wages? Just asking. Has Wal-Mart lost the life savings of investors, as WorldCom did? Did Wal-Mart just fire 30,000 workers, many of them union, as GM just did? Does Wal-Mart stiff its workers on their pensions, as the airlines are doing?No, no and no. Wal-Mart saves families nearly $2,000 a year on average, Wal-Mart is hiring, and even part-timers at Wal-Mart get an employer match in their 401(k). I firmly believe no special interest group in this nation benefits the poor and blue-collar as much as Wal-Mart does. Ask a single mom where she shops. Money is freedom, and by saving families money, as is its mission ("Always Low Prices"), Wal-Mart provides their customers more freedom in their daily lives.Wal-Mart's detractors are focused and well organized in their media assault on the company. I think that Wal-Mart believes that by doing its best to fulfill its responsibilities to its associates and customers, the need to defend its success and innovations should be an afterthought. In today's world, it's not. In "Atlas Shrugged," John Galt is a fabulous businessman and inventor, yet is constantly criticized for benefiting society as a whole through his innovation and success. In the book, the question is famously asked, "Who is John Galt?" Sam Walton is John Galt. Ron Galloway is the producer and co-director of the film "Why Wal-Mart Works & Why That Makes Some People Crazy." This article was distributed by HuffingtonPost.com.

Difference in Work Ethic

So, there’s a fundamental difference in my own work ethic and others’ at my office. Just a few moments ago, I had this cutie new hire gay boy who works in our graphics department come up to me and say he can’t do the project I asked him to do by the specified date because he is currently swamped right now, and needs to prioritize. Well, then. I said, try to prioritize it as well as you can, and let me know how late beyond the due date you can complete it, because I need to respond to my customer accordingly to inform them of the delay. But in my mind I thought: Well, no shit! Get your ass here at night and sit through it to finish it on time! See, when I get someone giving me a deadline, I feel it is now wholly my responsibility to meet it in however way I can. And that is what I have always done; in every job I’ve held. I’ll stay as long as it takes; do whatever it takes to get the work done in time. I do not want anyone else having to take responsibility for the delay that is mine. Like now, I have to answer to the customer and take responsibility for this delay because the customer could not care any less who is really the one making all the delay here. The fact that I may be swamped with many things to do is my own business; it is not the responsibility of someone else to worry about and consider my list of priorities so they have to change theirs. Of course, I do understand that consideration should be given to a reasonable amount of workload. But I work under the assumption that due dates are specified precisely because that is the date out of necessity that it needs to be done – not out of some spite or arbitrary whim to simply make my workload miserable, but because the deadline is indeed a requirement that has to be met. So, if someone gives me a deadline, I work under the assumption that there is very good reason why there is a date when this job needs to be completed, and I give myself the instruction to complete it in any way I can. In fact, I am so careful about such things that when I place a request for project to be completed, I never put a due date unless I absolutely need it to be completed by any certain date. It seems like the ethic of this boy at my job is quite different. The fact that I specified a deadline makes no difference to him. I have to tailor my deadlines to meet his at a project that I gave him to do! Anyway. So this is annoying, to say the least.

Pasha et Jardin, contd-

It was in a moment’s instance that all the chatter of their surroundings dissipated. A giant chasm suddenly ripped their table apart from the rest of the world; everyone else rapidly sank into the descending mud, while Pasha and Jardin rested solidly on a narrow pillar of ground. It seemed like the only sentient purpose of that booth they sat in was to protect the lonely intimacy of these lovers. In sadness he spoke. His whispers echoed through space like a prophecy come true on judgment day. Jardin felt an odd distance from his words, like as if they were not his. Like as if he were not capable of uttering such emotions. Pasha made no attempt to mitigate the sadness in Jardin’s voice. The greatest insult one could hurl at another in such a situation would be to descend into an elaborately constructed pretense at empathy and utter the greatest lie of all: everything will be okay. That is the surest sign of the fact that the person cares a damn about you.

Friday, December 02, 2005

I'm not sure if I'm getting fat or not... Here's the deal. This morning as I was getting ready for work... and rummaging through my numerous piles of clothes strewn all over my apartment... I happened to mine a longlost shirt. Hmmmm.. I thought. I wonder if I can fit into that shirt now... you see, this shirt is an awfully tight, bodyfit, shirt... it's tailored that way to hug your torso (mine, in this case). So, now, the background of the story is that at one point in my life was able to squeeze into that shirt... then came a phase in my life when I couldn't do that anymore... so I retired that shirt from any more stretching exercises. Now, this morning as I stared at the shirt in contemplation... I decided, it was worth one more try to demonstrate to myself if infact I have become fat, lost wieght, or stayed the same. And lo and behold! The shirt fit! Quite smoothly too!! Infact, I'm wearing it right now! So, now I have EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE! I guess I'm NOT fat. Or maybe even better... i might have infact LOST some weight!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

How Can Atheists Have Morals?

People keep asking me that. So, I'll just post these links on here that anyone can go read to understand how I explain my basis for morality. Ofcourse, if you want a more detailed and indepth analysis of those ideas, you might as well go study the source of many ideas that I subscribe to: The Philosophy of Objectivism. God's Life Must be Boring Morality of an Atheist God's Limitations Hmmm.. I also understand that none of my posts really and thoroughly explain the foundation of morals as objective. Well, I guess I never found that necessary to do because I already knew what that foundation is, and it's a waste of my time to repeat that which has already so powerfully and lucidly been explained by the philosophy of Objectivism. I have nothing new to add to it. Nonetheless, I did mount my own attempts of a defence of the Objectivist morality on some other debate forums of Catholics who were presumably unaware of such ideas. They (those on that forum) believed quite lazily that if one has no God then one cannot have morals. So, for their sake, in that context, I explained my ideas. I've copy/pasted them here below. It's long. Read it if you like... scan through it if you want. Despite it's length, it's not exhaustive, it's not robust, it's not anywhere even close to an air-tight argument. For those things, you'll have to read books on philosophy that I am quite frankly incapable of writing for anyone. So here goes: Why do we need morals? Because we humans are volitional beings and we make choices at every point in our lives. We are the only ones responsible for our own actions, and as such we must accept the blame or win the rewards of our actions appropriately. Some actions might lead to very positive and desired consequences, while some others might be detrimental or at least undesired. We need a system of knowledge to guide us into making the right choices that will enhance the condition of our rational lives.How do we decide what's right or wrong? Only through the use of our faculty of reason.Objective morality is possible and can only be achieved through reason and logic. Follow this train of thought: Logic, by its very nature, is strict, conservative, disciplined, and absolute. In other words, logic has a set path on which it follows based on necessity of reason. Every correctly logical argument can be recreated over and over again by anybody who practices and applies the laws of logic appropriately. Logic is non-contradictory. Thus, logic rejects subjectivism and relativism. There cannot be two entirely and essentially opposed statements that can be both logically correct at the same time.Reason and logic will only permit you to arrive at objective conclusions. A moral system can be fully built upon a logically strong and consistent foundation that is objective, so that it is applicable to all people at all times.In order to begin a discussion of morality, we need to understand what can be used as a universally accepted standard of morality, from which we can construct a value-system of good and bad:Human life is, can, and should be that universal standard. One's value for having life and living it. One's quality of being worthy of living. One's consciousness of all the necessary tools required for living. These are values that are objective. We can build a moral system on these things. To lead a moral life, you need to first understand why you need to lead a moral life? Because you want to live in a certain way. Why do you want to live in a certain way? So that you can protect your own life and the lives of those dear to you and enhance the condition of your lives. So what do you do to achieve those values or protection and enhancement of lives? You identify universal rights that are necessary for a rational life. If you recognize that those are universal rights, then you also understand that others have those same rights as you do, and therefore they wish to live rational lives like you do too. If they do not wish to live rational lives, that is their choice... however, it is NEVER your prerogative to decide that for others. A brutish existence functions on the premise of decay, irrationality, impracticality – an immoral life is primarily an impractical lifestyle. Reality exists as is. Our actions and behaviors and thoughts and ideas are all responses to the reality that we perceive and integrate within ourselves. The realm of MORALITY consists in the "HOW" and "WHY" of things... not in the "WHAT" or "WHERE" of things. “Morals” are not things-in-and-of-themselves. They are attributes of facts, existence, and consciousness. Morals are the "how" and "why" of reality and our responses, actions, behaviors, thoughts, and ideas in relation the actuality of existence. Just as there can be no dichotomy between mind and body, so there can be none between reality and morality. Morality should be properly seen as an attribute of reality itself. Thus, MORALITY is not created or given to us by anyone. Morality is the rational application of our rights in the fact of living. Reality and existence — along with our conscious decision to remain in it, i.e., to stay alive — dictates and demands a specific code and method of action. Humans do not pursue the proper values to stay alive automatically; we must discover and choose them. The character and behavior of humans are facts existing in reality, which have effects on one's own well-being or on their decay.If you function on the standard of death, that is what you will get.If you function on the standard of life, and deem human life important and worth living, and seek the rational (REASONED, MINDFUL, LOGICAL) protection and enhancement of your life... then you will get a source of rights and morality to live by. This ground is a universal ground for all people who accept that "human life" is a universal value.Those who don't accept "human life" as a universal value, ofcourse will not be able function under the construction of those morals.

Abolish Limbo

Limbo -- the place where the Catholic Church teaches that babies go if they die before being baptized -- may have its days numbered. How convenient. Oh, and while we're at it, might as well abolish hell... and, purgatory too... why not? Being the pope in the Catholic Church is so cool -- he gets to create his own reality for "souls" of dead people... upon his wishes there was a limbo... and now upon the wishes of the new pope... there might not be one anymore. I feel sad for the souls who will be evicted from the limbo -- where will they go? Oh, the tortured state of such homeless souls, even in death they can't find rest. Pope John Paul asked the commission to come up with "a more coherent and enlightened way" of describing the fate of such innocents. So, according to whatever new description they come up with for the fate of these "innocent" souls, there will indeed exist such a place that will fit the description that they attempt to create. That's quite amazing powers that the pope has! (Interestingly, if the Church is already assuming that these souls are innocent, then why aren't they in heaven by default? Doesn't innocent mean in some manner, pure, sinless, holy, naive? Is it not enough that one is devoid of sin to be in heaven? Does the soul REQUIRE to have done "good deeds" while alive inorder to be admitted to heaven? I though God was all-loving and all-merciful. It's strange that God has such reservations on letting the souls of babies into heaven. Apparently, His love and mercy does not extend to the souls of babies who have not "wilfully" chosen HIM -- because they simply, physiologically cannot do that yet. However, God's ego -- being so bloated that it is -- requires even from babies that stringent criteria that they must have chosen God and good deeds inorder to be admitted to heaven -- if not, they have to go to this place called "limbo" -- which, incidentally, might not exist anymore if the pope decides so. Oh, all the CRAP people believe!!)
>i had written that "logical" post rather kwikly; obviously, there were a few flaws in my communication...

however, i want to give myself a day to read your rec'd "The Logical Structure of objectivism." i just wish i could d/l the damn thing as one file, perhaps morpheus has it compiled for me?!

peace,

sean12/30/2005 10:42:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Rubicund Y. Logorrhea|W|P|Or, sean, you could perhaps cut and paste...12/30/2005 04:25:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|No.. he can't copy and paste. It's in PDF format, and you have to view each chapter at a time. It's a pain... yes.12/28/2005 11:47:00 AM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P| I’ve read a few reviews around different places on “We The Living”, and many of them capture some of the same opinions I have about the novel. So, I’m just going to throw out some words/phrases that come to mind when I think about the story of the novel: Poignant, tragic, grand, vivid, sad, inspiring, torrid love affairs, moving, shocking, benevolent, desire, romantic, love captured and described like how love should be, human strength, highest value, worship, weakness, anger, hate, purposeful, beautiful... P.S. Here's the wikipedia contribution I made to its entry on "We The Living" (follow the link in the title of this post):
"Being that Rand was only 25 years old when she began working on this novel, the integration of the theme and plot reveal, through the characters of the book, a young Rand only beginning to formulate her philosophical view of man and life. Some critics have also argued that 'We The Living' is primarily a grand story of romance and tragic love set in the backdrop of Soviet Russia, that reveal Rand's own intimate convictions about love and human relationships more than any of her other fictional and non-fictional writings."
|W|P|113579272450703006|W|P|"We The Living" - by Ayn Rand|W|P|12/28/2005 06:26:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|P.S. When I contributed this part on Wikipedia, "Some critics have also argued that..." I momentarily hesitated with just a touch of guilt..."hmm... some critics? Do I know of any?" And then I realized, "ofcourse, I'm a critic myself! Why not!?"12/29/2005 02:11:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|P.P.S.: I also thought of adding that "MPR is all over WTL"! haha!

It's crazy!2/16/2006 01:23:00 PM|W|P|Anonymous Philip Coates|W|P|Ergosum,

I just discovered your blog and I find your refelections on various literary and cultural subjects, objectivist and non-objectivist, quite original and interesting.

Philip Coates2/16/2006 02:16:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Thank you Philip. I'm proud that you think that about me. I will freely admit, however, that my knowledge in many areas, including Objectivism, is very limited and am very eager to learn... read... discover more.
So, while I am most proud of everything on my blog, I am also well aware of things I have said and positions I have held that seemed true to me at the time of my writing, but which I would probably change or modify or qualify more clearly were I to state them again.

Do you have a site/blog that I could visit?12/28/2005 08:40:00 AM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P| From this morning's news reports, I read yet another sign of Rand's ideological influence on India's younger and business-savvy, generation. According to this article, a young Indian working in one of the American-owned call centers had adopted "Steven Mallory" as his American name (you see, American callers would not be able pronounce "Khaneja" while asking for an increase in their credit limit). Now, "Steven Mallory" happens to be the name of a Randian hero from her novel, The Fountainhead, which also happens to be Steven's...er... Khaneja's favorite novel. There is really no denying this young, surging popularity of Rand's works in India. However, pondering this phenomenon for a moment, I cannot help but have mixed feelings. Young Indians being lured into the heroic and benevolent idealism portrayed by Rand's characters can also be enamoured by a false sense of egotistical empowerment. I have personally known of a few young "Randians" who, after having read one of Rand's major fictional works, warped themselves into such grotesque caricatures of Randian heroes, and then tortured their psyches for the "immorality" of having inevitable emotions of sadness, loneliness, depression, and in some cases that I've read about - even suicidal tendencies. Such is the wizardry of Rand's polemic style that unless you have a mature and critical approach to her ideas, it becomes very easy to be sucked into a foolishly superficial interpretation of her philosophy. And that is certainly a very discomforting factor. Given the amateurish and adolescent intellectual environment among young Indians - who would probably much rather indulge themselves in Bollywood song and dance - there is a very good chance that the next time I visit India, I might come face-to-face with Randian Robots, also known as "Randroids". In fact, the article has used terms like "greedy" and "individualistic" to characterize these younger generation Indians. Now, that in itself is not a bad/wrong thing; it depends upon how they interpret "greedy" and "individualistic". I doubt that the author of the article or some of the young Randian Indians truly and correctly understand the Objectivist interpretation of those terms. India is relatively new to open and free discussions, especially of the kind of Objectivist ideas espoused by Rand, such as atheism, reason, individualism, self-interest, etc. There are probably very few Objectivist scholars who have a good and solid grasp of the philosophy to provide any guidance to Indians wishing to learn more. Typically, resources and guidance can be found over the internet - but, so can much of the junk. I feel a sense of impending tragic dramas unfolding within Indian communities and families. The collectivist Indian consciousness is surely to clash with strangely and variedly interpreted individualist, egotistical ideas. The article talks about a new "cultural backlash, as the country's young, hip... workers run up against the traditions of the older generations." So in the end, I'm not even sure if this new wave of Randian influence is even good. I don't think there is any doubt that I admire Rand's fictional works and subscribe to her philosophy to a great extent, and that notwithstanding, I am still very hesitant to recommend her books to others, especially when they are dicovering Ayn Rand for the first time. So, about this upsurge of Randianism in modern India? -- Let's wait and see what happens!|W|P|113578556612195700|W|P|Outsourcing 'The Fountainhead'|W|P|12/27/2005 12:16:00 PM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P|This Christmas holiday was a very welcome break for me because it allowed me to do something I had wanted so much to do for a while now – read all the new books that I recently bought! So, over the weekend, I was able to complete my reading of Ayn Rand’s “We The Living” – which is the most fascinating work of fiction I have read – even better than Rand’s two other epic fictions, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. I still have two other books to go, though I’m reading both of them sporadically and simultaneously – if that makes any sense! [A detailed revelation of my experience and thoughts while reading “We The Living” might follow as a separate post.] What I want to bring up in this post is an incredible insight I stumbled upon while reading “We The Living”. It is most certainly not a book on philosophy – though it deals with some very heavy ideas. And yet, I found that this novel carried Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism most eloquently than many of her other formal writings on philosophy. The amazing thing is that she began writing this novel when she was only 25 – way before she fully and consciously grasped her own philosophical premises – and the novel reveals her rudimentary philosophical beginnings to some extent. Rand’s final and formal philosophy of Objectivism rests fundamentally on three axioms: Existence, Identity, and Consciousness. I have always been able to grasp these axioms independently and understand their veracity. It would be self-defeating not to. However, it was only over this Christmas weekend, while I was reading “We The Living” that I finally and fully understood the grand scope of Objectivism’s other proposition that Existence is itself Identity. This is the truth I realized from having read the novel: Existence is itself Identity because of the reciprocal relationship between reality and the structure/nature of reality. Existence is. Identity is what it is. The entire structure of all logic rests on this recognition of existence being the same as identity. In order for one to begin the most basic syllogism, one has to begin by saying “A is” – which is a statement of existence and identity at the same time. One cannot say “A is A” or that “A cannot be non-A in the same respect at the same time” without implicitly accepting the existence of “A” and simultaneously also admitting the fact that “A” is something that “non-A” is not. Thus, it is only the axioms of Existence and Identity that can allow for the logical principle of non-contradiction; without one, there cannot be the other. Thus, objective reality is simply (and also profoundly) an expression of these axioms and of all the logical structure that are made possible by these axioms. Hence, those people who argue that “logic is restrictive, stultifying, ‘human’” etc. clearly do not grasp the inseparable bond between all that is logically based on axiomatic premises, and objective reality itself. And a further implication I realized was of their applicability to atheism. Logic (and consequently, reality) allows for atheism to be the only metaphysical – or “spiritual” if you will - truth because any other supernatural belief rests on self-defeating premises or contradictions – which, due to the violation of the axiom of Identity, cannot possibly have existence. Ayn Rand vociferously argued that contradictions cannot exist in reality. She lucidly grasped the truth that abstract principles of metaphysics and epistemology had a direct and logically inseparable relationship with objective reality. That is certainly another heavy blow to Cartesian and Kantian philosophies. |W|P|113570789042861064|W|P|Reality and The Axiom of Identity|W|P|12/27/2005 01:32:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Semperviva|W|P|I would make a veeery bad and yet irnically a very good objectivist, lol12/27/2005 01:32:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Semperviva|W|P|*ironically12/27/2005 01:35:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Semperviva|W|P|How weird that we were writing on the same topic simultaneously, without knowing it.12/27/2005 01:40:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Semperviva|W|P|what do u think of the segemnt of chapter 1?12/27/2005 09:58:00 AM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P|Sean, I've decided to continue our discussion on this topic here as a separate post - mainly for clarity. First off, get the whole "christian" problem out of the way. They are irrelevant in our discussion. Objectivism does not tailor or adapt its premises of reality based on any problems posed by "christian" agendas. Reality is as is, and Objectivism seeks to recognize and understand it. You said: "human beings cannot exist without existence" I don't understand any difference. Human beings are existents in existence. Being, is existing - which is existence. You said: "existence is good for existence, if existence were bad for existence then existence would cease to exist, or, at very least, would stagnate and cease to evolve; therefore, this is self-evident." It is not self-evident to me. Infact, that whole argument makes no sense to me. How can "existence" per se have any value assessments? Who "exists" outside of existence to deem existence as "good" for existence"? The fact that I posit that question should itself be a flaw in logic - but I ask it because it arises out of your statement that "existence is good for existence". I fail to see how, why, and what the difference is. How can existence cease to exist based upon a value assessment that it were "bad"? Stagnation and evolution occur to existence, in the context of existence. Existence ceasing to exist is a contradiction of concepts. You said: "freedom is necessary for existence to exist, if it was not, existence would be enslaved to nothingness, which, in concept and concrete reality, is preposterous." Existence being "enslaved to nothingness" is not possible in "concrete reality", and hence is not preposterour -- it is simply impossible. It is a contradiction, and contradictions cannot exist in reality. Freedom is not necessary for existence to exist. Infact, the discussion of the two in the same context is awkward, at best. Existence is a discussion of metaphysics, while freedom falls in the realm of ethics. Existence just is. Freedom is contingent upon existence. Existence has ontological priority over freedom and every/any other value. You said: "human life evolved because of the freedom of existence" No. Infact, if you survey the history of human socio-biological evolution, it is not because of freedom that we evolved, but towards freedom that civilization has generally evolved. You said: "one cannot value human life without valuing freedom and existence" Again, I fail to see the difference between human life, and existence as such. Valuing human life is infact valuing the existence of human life -- which is one and the same thing. Valuing "freedom" as a state of existence has to come logically after one has recognized that one exists and that one's existence is a value. You said: "if one chooses to value human life MORE than freedom and existence, then one can irrationally justify destroying existence and/or enslaving freedom for the sake of human life, which, in the end, destroys human life." None of that follows any logic. First off, I am not saying that one must value human life MORE than freedom... the difference here is not of quantity, it is of priority. The value of human life metaphysically rests on a separete, more fundamental plane that comes prior to the plane upon which values like freedom rest. The difference is not of "more" or "less", but of what flows logically from the other. Justifying anything "irrationally" is a contradiction of terms. If it is irrational, it has not been justified, it has merely been stated based on whim, fancy, faith, or force. Justification necessarily implies rationality. "Destroying existence... for the sake of human life" -- I'm not sure again how and why you separate existence from human life. If, by existence, you mean other things besides humans, then I still do not see how and why that bears relevance to a discussion of freedom? Anyway, well, I would strongly recommend reading "The Logical Structure of Objectivism" by David Kelley for an introductory understanding of this philosophy.|W|P|113570061498550169|W|P|Human Life and Freedom|W|P|12/22/2005 11:56:00 AM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P|I have always been confused by how people take some of the things I say as a sign of my "conceit" or pride -- things so random that I many times have no clue that the communication could be construed as me being bragful. Anyway, it does not bother me... it merely amuses me. It's a strange insight into the underlying meanings that people derive out of my communication, based upon the kind of premises they hold for themselves. The point of all this is -- I had decided to move all my scattered works on "Pasha et Jardin" into an integrated story, with its own separate blog. In the process of doing that, I came upon these few lines I wrote that clearly expresses my position on "pride" and "conceit": "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." -- from Pasha|W|P|113527481997414647|W|P|Pride and Conceit|W|P|12/22/2005 01:09:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Semperviva|W|P|hey! what up!? pax et bonum!12/22/2005 01:51:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|What's pax et bonum... sounds like latin for peace and somethin else....12/23/2005 10:47:00 PM|W|P|Blogger S.R. Deardorff|W|P|groovin'...

but, hey, kwik, back to that previous convo we had goin'--->>>re: freedom vs. human life valued...

(by the way, i'm poor and would like more free resources/links to objectivism if you have any; i ran into the ayn rand institute's site and was quite aroused...hehe)

anyway...here's my worry regarding the placement of "human life" at the top of the value pole...it could easily be interpreted by, say, for example, christians to constitute a validation of their whole belief system/philosophy...

in everyday living, i consider christians harmless creatures; however, when it comes to government, i fear their monopolization of the system and their "well intentioned" attempts to condition human behavior to meet their ends...

human beings cannot exist without existence; everything flows from the first thing, whatever that may be...

the logic goes, loosely, like this:

existence is existence.
existence is good for existence, if existence were bad for existence then existence would cease to exist, or, at very least, would stagnate and cease to evolve; therefore, this is self-evident.

freedom is necessary for existence to exist, if it was not, existence would be enslaved to nothingness, which, in concept and concrete reality, is preposterous.

human life evolved because of the freedom of existence; therefore, without freedom, without freedom of existence, human life would not be possible; in order to value human life, one MUST value freedom AND the freedom of existence; to do otherwise is not only self-defeating, but contrary to the idea of valuing human life.

one cannot value human life without valuing freedom and existence; if one chooses to value human life MORE than freedom and existence, then one can irrationally justify destroying existence and/or enslaving freedom for the sake of human life, which, in the end, destroys human life.

blah blah...again, it's loose; i'm sure you get the idea/concept; and, i'm interested to see where we end up taking this...

peace,

sean12/27/2005 03:30:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Semperviva|W|P|word pasha, word! ;) "deeply engaged in water-cooler banter" HAHAHAAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAAHA

LOL it just hit me... thats funny! :D don't we all love jerry?12/27/2005 09:53:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|I suggest going to the TOC site... "The Objectivist Center"... while I don't like taking any sides between the Peikovian and Kelley-ist schools (because I have found much reason to integrate the best of both sides)... I would still prefer the general tone and approach of TOC over the ARI.

Having said that, Peikoff and other ARI scholars are amazingly robust in their logic and argumentation. I admire that.12/27/2005 09:54:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|P.S. Read "The Logical Structure of Objectivism" by David Kelly. It's available for free on the internet... you would need to have Adobe Reader for it, though. It's a whole book.12/22/2005 11:26:00 AM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P|This is so funny! This morning, while I was deeply engaged in some water-cooler office banter (hmm... well, not really a "water-cooler") with some of the rare cutie's at my job - in the midst of discussing and critiqueing our numerous christmas trees rooted around various corners - we ended up talking about New York! Ofcourse, all conversations ultimately end up being about New York - I mean, how can one avoid NEW YORK in any conversation?!? It's the only thing worth talking about around here... Anyway, I digress drastically... The point is, I was made aware, during our chatter about New York, of this awesomely funny site called "Overheard in New York" -- and as the name suggests, it has daily postings of some of the most random, funny, inane conversations overheard around New York by fellow Yorkers! It's so cool. I wonder if there's something like that about Chicago. Hmmm...... Here as a sample of today's conversation:
Meet Saul and Jesus
Businessguy #1: If I were gay I would change my name to Paul. Businessguy #2: Why Paul? I would go with something more Latin. --A train Overheard by: Cory Agid|W|P|113527281369239566|W|P|Overheard in New York, Here in Chicago|W|P|12/22/2005 11:41:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Semperviva|W|P|haha i love it.. yeh new york is the best city to be near... i should take advantage and go in more considering its like 30 minutes away12/21/2005 08:37:00 PM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P|Due to increasing public pressure (i.e. from Rubicunt et al.) I have decided to very briefly post my responses in skeletal form to the article on Relativism. I think the following could serve as guideposts for your own attempt (if you so fancy doing) at fleshing out a full and coherent argument against Relativism as a philosophy. First off, notice how the author, Dr. Partridge sticks to a very narrow definition of “moral” in his presumably comprehensive defense of relativism as the most progressively moral philosophy. "Moral", according to the author, is defined as the actual conduct or the “practice”. This is his first disastrous mistake. Morals are not merely actions or practices. Morals are primarily guiding principles that we depend upon in helping us assess a situation or certain actions. An act can be a moral act. But it is moral not intrinsically (like religious people believe charity is). It becomes a moral act because it remains consistent with a moral principle that endorses that act in the course of our human assessments. Calling “acts” or “situations” moral is akin to calling it virtuous or beneficial or advantageous – it is purely a semantic usage. The actual concept of “morality” refers to the ethical realm of principles – the abstract guideposts that dictate whether or not a certain act based upon a certain principle will in fact be virtuous or in violation. Thus, relativism argues that since morals are acts and situations, it can never be objective because behavior and situations change over time. Hence, there are certain "good" acts and there are certain "evil" acts. However, the difference is in the mistaken premise of accepting what the concept of “moral” refers to. The question you must ask is, how can I know if my act is "good" or if the situation is "evil"? The question then necessitates an anwer that requires guiding principles. Morals are those guiding principles that are based in objective reality, not on whim or intrinsicism. Relativism is intellectually vapid precisely because it gives no philosophical foundations to any allegedly moral or immoral judgements. For a relativist, nothing can be defended as being either good or bad. Their functioning premise is that, "there are no aboslute truths" - and yet they ascribe to that premise the very thing they are attempting to deny, i.e. it is an absolute truth that there are no abolute truths. If the foundational premise itself is mired in vicious circularity, then what legitimacy can there be for any relativist arguments based on such a premise!? Anyway, moving on. Then pretty much for the rest of the article, the author goes around debunking so-called “absolutist” commandments and thereby “proving” that morality is relativistic. The big problem here is he uses “absolutist” commandments that are based on lousy and false ideology like religion, dogmatism, intrinsicism, etc. For example, he uses the commandment of the “Sabbath” day and the commandment against “idolatory” – well, ofcourse they are wrong! They are religious beliefs! They have no basis in objective reality. Abortion – if I accept that abortion is not immoral then his argument simply falls. Same thing with euthanasia. He talks about how the Catholic Church denounces divorce; that divorce is an objective immorality. Well, what if one believes that divorce is not immoral at all? He tries to debunk arguments that merely carry the label of “absolutism” or “objective morals” – clearly his examples from religion and whims are anything but that. In one example, he cites an idiot who claims that God absolutely forbids lying, who then later gets stumped trying to get out of a hypothetical scenario of an ethical conflict. Clearly, what the author debunks then is not the concept of objective morals, but that of basing morality in God and religion. Then somewhere towards the middle or end of this poor work of argumentation is a challenge! Dr. Partridge asks the reader to “state an ethical rule for which it is impossible to imagine some particular emergency that would morally require you violate it”. If the reader can’t, then he is a moral relativist. My response to that is two-fold: first, the more simpler response is that a human being is primarily differentiated from other species as a rational being, and hence rationality is a virtue, and hence choosing to use one’s faculty of reason is always a moral and virtuous act. Intentionally and willfully refusing to use your mind and capacity to think in the face of any given situation is an immorality regardless of the situation. In willfully refusing to use your mind, you are desiring to be less than human. There does not exist any situation that would flip the princple of morality on its head here and require that irrationality, nonsense, and whim be the morally virtuous act. The second part of my response is a little more complicated. This response attacks the author’s question itself. If the author claims that there can always be a conceivable emergency that would require you to violate any given moral principle, then the author has clearly lost all sense of what gives rise to morals and morality. By the very definition of morals, there needs to be out of necessary logic, a range of choices and options of behaviors open to a volitional and free being. Morality is the principle that guides you to choose one action over another – presuming there are choices. Morality also presumes that you have the capacity to choose willfully – coerced choices are a contradiction of concepts. If you are forced to pick a form of action – that is not your choice. If you have not chosen your actions, you cannot bear responsibility for the virtue or the vice/evil of that action. [On a side note, this is where the insanity plea comes from – you legal people reading this. Insanity is the loss in capacity to make sentient choices. Instinctual, psychological and behavioral disorders trump one’s capacity to make moral assessments. Hence, severely retarded people for example, cannot be legally punished if they go burn someone’s house. Their caretakers could be punished, however. Same principle applies with very young children and infants.] Anyway, my point is this: an act is virtuous only if it is willfully chosen, based on some moral principle that competed with opposing choices, and was chosen by someone who is free and able to make those choices and perform those actions. Emergency situations, by definition, lack one or all of those above requirements. An emergency situation, for example is like a man pointing a gun to my head demanding that I kill my sister. In this case, my freedom and volition is robbed. I am incapacitated to make a moral choice. I can make a choice – but whatever that ends up being, I cannot be held morally responsible for it because I had a gun to my head. Emergency situations break down all moral and ethical concepts. Another example, if I am required without any other choice to give all my money to the first beggar on the street – then my act is not virtuous or moral or charitable, because I had no choice in the matter. This is the micro-scale example of socialism and communism. In this example, morality is sucked out of the situation because no competing choices are given to me. I have to give my money to the beggar – I am not permitted to do anything else with my money. My “giving” then is not virtuous – it is the only act I am permitted to perform. So, my response to Dr. Partridge's challenge is that discussions of morality have no business in contexts of emergencies. Emergency situations do nothing to invalidate the objectivity of morals - they are in a wholly different category of their own.|W|P|113521988521895986|W|P|My Response to Relativism|W|P|12/21/2005 12:25:00 PM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P|Okay, so here are the facts: I know I am not blazingly intelligent, nor do I have any extraordinary intellectual acheivements to show - that means I cannot command any intellectual authority in places that matter - like think-tanks, media, academic societies or journals, etc. My opinions, while it may sometimes be right and useful, does not necessarily hold any/much sway among influentials and decision-makers. In so many ways, I have come to realize that being non-American, being an immigrant, being a non-native speaker of English, being gay, being an atheist, being of marginal educational qualifications, being young and being poor are incredible indicators of how inconsequential my voice and opinion can be among the milieu of other sounds. Typically, I would not even bother or care about that. Primarly, I hold that my purpose is to not to be influential or popular. I care less than little about what people think about my ideas and opinions. If my beliefs are true, I will hold on to them regardless. The possibility that I may or may not have influence over people or that I may or may not be popular are mostly insignificant in the decisions I make.
Yet, everytime I am moved and/or stirred by some decidedly evil and criminal acts in society - I am compelled to do something. Mostly, I just end up blogging about it. However, that is clearly so insufficient. I don't like feeling helpless about situations because it is a false sense of reality. Helplessness is not a matter of fact -- it is a matter of perspective.
Hence, I have been trying desperately to shift my perspective and take cognizance of my situation. Where am I now, where am I headed in life, and how can I change the direction of my life so that I can consequently affect change in the society I live in? I understand that this desire in me is not to make the society better for other people or for coming generations -- that is of no concern to me. If they wanted those changes, they should work to bring it about themselves. I have a desire to change any and some aspects of the society I live in because it's where I live, and I want to live fully, in the way I choose to live my life. In view of that, I realize that the most crucial societal policy affecting the direction of my life and many other consequent factors, is the issue of this world's immigration policies. Where I live and where I am permitted to live means greatly to what I do and how I go about doing it. I take issue specifically with America's immigration policies because this country claims to be founded upon liberty and individual rights. Yet, the glaring contradiction of its immigration policies with that of its "official" ideals are flatly immoral - to say the least. Many other countries flatly deny any individual rights and liberty, or if they do accept those principles, they never stay consistent even in their most fundamental applications - like in the media, economy, etc. America, to some extent, does stay true to its concepts of rights and liberty. Americans do have a sense of what private property and free market economies mean, and they support it - though not wholly. The problem with immigration policies of America then, is that it fundamentally violates the basic human right to own property. The right to own property implies a consequent right to seek legitimate means to own property. Often, those legitimate means go beyond production and trade, and might require movement and mobility. Now, understand that these rights are not "American" rights, but Human rights -- thus, applicable to all human beings. Thus, the right to own property should also permit the legitimate means to gain access to property through a free market system consisting of individuals exchanging value for value. If the very means of gaining access to such a market, or of restricting the movement of traders is enacted as official immigration policy, then that state has just violated the fundamental right that permits such activities. This is why, I believe change is urgently required in this country's immigration policies. Something needs to be done. What have I decided to do about it? Nothing, for now. I have decided to focus my efforts at doing earnestly whatever it is that I am currently doing. I believe that as I progress in my career and earn higher incomes, I will eventually have the ability to direct my monetary contributions in a meaningful manner. Money is certainly a veritable means of wielding power. In my own small way, I can fund and/or contribute to organizations and media outlets that are aligned with my vision of change. Certainly, advancing in education is another one of my plans. For some reason, it seems that having higher educational credentialing will validate my efforts for others - and I suppose one has to play by those rules to be able to do anything else. So, I will.|W|P|113519370028865932|W|P|Doing My Part to Make Changes Happen|W|P|12/21/2005 02:02:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Semperviva|W|P|heeeeeeey man! so we talked for about 3 hours. its basically over for now... i feel sad about it and also content at the same time... is that weird oh well we can talk later... have a good day at work!12/21/2005 02:25:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Gazoo|W|P|When you refer to ownining property as a human right do you mean land as well as personal items? I've never considered owning property a human right so this interests me.12/21/2005 02:31:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|I don't know how you differentiate "property" from "personal items"... because the implication of "personal" means "of or belonging to someone".

Property is anything that is owned or achieved legitimately, i.e. through trade, production, invention, etc.12/21/2005 02:48:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Gazoo|W|P|Well, there is a difference. Property means land or a home or both, personal property refers to things such as your clothes, shoes, silverware, etc. One is blackacre, one is chattel. You own them all by virtue of having obtained them, usually through financial transactions. The reason I ask what you mean by property though is that when you say it is a human right you are basically saying we are all entitled to it. So you mean to say we are all entitled to land and personal items? And if that be the case, because it is a human right, we are entitled to them no matter our ability or inability to obtain them.

For clarification, would you please tell me if you mean property is a human right and therefore we are all entitled to it no matter our ability to obtain it or it is a human right in that ownership is guaranteed once it is obtained.12/21/2005 02:49:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Rubicund Y. Logorrhea|W|P|Ergoober:
He may be getting at the legal dichotomy of personalty vs. realty. Some of the doctrines are the same at law, but interesting differences exist.12/21/2005 02:53:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Rubicund Y. Logorrhea|W|P|And speaking of land, think of all the cultures/societies/legal traditions that believe land cannot be owned, or that it cannot be owned outright, or that it cannot be owned by anyone who is not a member of the chosen family, or... whatever.

Our own legal tradition has developed to a point where one cannot actually own land outright and free of restriction. Think of the rule against perpetuities, and all the circumlitigation we use in an attept to get around it.12/21/2005 03:05:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Gazoo|W|P|Rubicund makes a good point. Following Ergo's logic, property being a human right, you could make a strong argument that since we're all entitled to it nobody can truly own it. The notion of property as a human right creates so many difficulties I don't think Ergo, from what I know of his background, would necessarily approve.12/21/2005 03:21:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Rubicund Y. Logorrhea|W|P|Where's MY land, dammit!12/21/2005 04:36:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|The right is to OWN property. Not to the specific properties itself.

I have the right to procure specifics through legitimate means, and then they belong to ME. That is the meaning of the human right to OWN property.

Sorry guys, I've had a busy day at work... will keep up with the discussion as much as I can.12/21/2005 04:38:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|It is true that once property - the specifics itself - is claimed as a right, then we get into a communist, Proudhan-ish concept of property.
Ofcourse, as you correctly understand, I repudiate those concepts vehemently.

There is only a right to own property. That, however, implies access, means, and methods to allow you to own property.12/21/2005 04:42:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|In other words, I have the right to own a car. I do not have the right TO a car. That I have to achieve in some way.
Also, indefinitely infinite rights do not exist... rights arise out of contexts, not in a vacuum.
So, yes, Rubicunt... I also reject ownership to perpetuities...
Then the legal specifications thereof are not upto principle thinkers like me... but upto legal professionals like you and others.12/21/2005 04:53:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Oh.. another point. The "right to own property" is a metaphysical principle. It is not commenting about anyone's specific right to own specific things.

I have an article regaring gun-ownership in which I try to lay the nuance of difference between the metaphysical principle and the actual.

However, this does not mean I am advocating a dichotomy between the two -- that would be Platonism - I don't do that. If any of you are really interested, I might sometime explain in detail the dialectic approach I use in applying the principle of ownership to guns.12/21/2005 05:23:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Oh.. another point. The "right to own property" is a metaphysical principle. It is not commenting about anyone's specific right to own specific things.

I have an article regaring gun-ownership in which I try to lay the nuance of difference between the metaphysical principle and the actual.

However, this does not mean I am advocating a dichotomy between the two -- that would be Platonism - I don't do that. If any of you are really interested, I might sometime explain in detail the dialectic approach I use in applying the principle of ownership to guns.12/20/2005 04:56:00 PM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P|Jardin did not answer. He did not have an answer. Everything Pasha said made sense - rational sense. But Jardin could not shake off the instinctual feeling that life is not always rational, and things do not always make sense. Humans are not unfeeling, unemotional robots, he thought. “Right now I feel horrible, and it is only rational for me to want to end it – whatever way I can.” He could not bring himself to say those words. Jardin raised the fork of salad over to his mouth – and a pang of guilt pierced him. His consciousness could not handle the massive contradiction before him: His body acting in self-preservation while his mind contemplating and desiring non-existence. Pasha picked up on that momentary hesitation, and knew what Jardin had realized. Both of them knew nothing more was needed to be said – the choice had been made.|W|P|113511944165726151|W|P|Pasha et Jardin, contd-|W|P|12/20/2005 07:10:00 PM|W|P|Anonymous Anonymous|W|P|Oh Pasha...12/20/2005 04:23:00 PM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P|Yay!! The best news I've read in a loooong while! That serves them right!|W|P|113511750076354250|W|P|Court Fines NYC Transit Strikers!!|W|P|12/21/2005 10:21:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Gazoo|W|P|Is it really?12/21/2005 10:37:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Well, maybe not THE BEST news... but certainly, a very welcome news... after all that I've been reading lately about Tookie's innocence, the riots in Australia, invasion of privacy by the White House, etc. etc.

Reading about this court slapping a million dollar a day fine on those union strikers is great news! I personally think it should be more than just a million -- the very financial backbone of those Unions should be broken such that they cannot stand up again anymore for another strike.

The workers are the one's caught in the middle. Those workers who do not wish to strike, who are happy with their jobs (or atleast content), they have no voice... they are forced to be members of a Union -- forced to pay Union member dues... forced to participate in the strike... forced now by the court and the employer to pay the FINE for striking... and if they did NOT strike, they would be fined by their Union leaders. Honestly, this whole state of affairs is disgusting!12/21/2005 01:25:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Rubicund Y. Logorrhea|W|P|What ergo says is certainly true, but what irks me most is the average salary of a unionized employee - most of whom are unskilled. I am not one of those who went to law school to earn more money, but I'm frankly devastated by the fact that I have a $170,000 education, and if I ever get a real job I'm almost guaranteed to make no more than $45k. We're talking about auto workers earning upwards ok $70-$80k, with good hours, and comfortable working conditions. We're talking about a guy who can barely string a sentence together who plays with knobs in a small room at the front of an undergroud train. Unions were very necessary at one point in our country's history, and brought about great advances; now they are simply crippling whole industries. It is time really to subject these unionized employees to the free, real market and have them earn what they're worth. We don't want the US to become Europe without the fine culture and history (though on the other hand, we certainly don't want wages Wal-mart-icized!).12/21/2005 01:45:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|In one of the rare instances here, I agree with Rubicunt... the UAW's recently had their wages "slashed" from upwards of 100k to around 89k.
Yea, right.. that's certainly a "slash".
There was a recent editorial in a Detriot press that lamented the "hard" times that have come upon these UAW workers who have million dollar homes, and now cannot afford their mortgage.

Well??
That's what you get for screwing around with an organic market system, and inflating your value falsely in the job market.12/21/2005 01:58:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Rubicund Y. Logorrhea|W|P|In the words of Dave Chappelle, playing Prince: "Bitches."12/20/2005 11:02:00 AM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P|It was in a moment’s instance that all the chatter of their surroundings dissipated. A giant chasm suddenly ripped their table apart from the rest of the world; everyone else rapidly sank into the descending mud, while Pasha and Jardin rested solidly on a narrow pillar of ground. It seemed like the only sentient purpose of the booth they sat in was to protect the lonely intimacy of these lovers. In sadness he spoke. His whispers echoed through space like a prophecy come true on judgment day. Jardin felt an odd distance from his words, like as if they were not his. Like as if he were not capable of uttering such emotions.Pasha made no attempt to mitigate the sadness in Jardin’s voice. The greatest insult one could hurl at another in such a situation would be to descend into an elaborate pretense at empathy, and utter the greatest lie of all: everything will be okay. That is the surest sign of the fact that the person cares a damn about you. Jardin clutched the napkin in his hands, holding on to it like it would slip away. The plain, white napkin was marred with faint blotches of red sauce. He looked down at his food, thinking how strange it was that he was eating - feeding his body - to what end? “I cannot go on living this life that I find so disappointing. Shouldn’t I want to demand the best, and only that? How can I live and hate my life at the same time? Isn’t that a particularly repulsive kind of dishonesty?” “You can only demand that which you should deserve, Jardin. Demanding the best life is a demand that you make upon yourself. Fulfilling that demand is infact the process of living.” “But it’s not worth it” “Should your life be worth anything more than itself?”|W|P|113509855406648976|W|P|Pasha et Jardin - Revised|W|P|12/20/2005 11:12:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Hmmm... I hate writing dialogues.
I keep trying to think, how would I speak with someone in a situation... and I try to replicate that...
And strangely enough, how I speak is the way I have written it down for these characters... but, when written in words, it all reads so corny -- and pretentious!
Damn.12/20/2005 01:16:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Semperviva|W|P|haha what? it seems pretentious? i wonder why...12/20/2005 01:19:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|I mean, it clearly does seem that way... though it can't be pretentious if that's infact how I speak... or say things. Hmmm... maybe I forget that I'm writing fiction -- and it's not supposed to be biographical... so I should assume a fictional "voice", not of my own.12/21/2005 02:08:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Rubicund Y. Logorrhea|W|P|100% pure fiction is a very very difficult thing to produce, and dialogue that isn't your head talking to yourself is the hardest part.

Poets have it easy; they always get to use their own voice.12/22/2005 11:39:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|That's true. Clearly, if I'm incapable of writing fictional dialogue, why even bother anymore?
I'm so in love with myself, I can only hear my own voice... even in others!

I don't mind that, actually. ;)12/19/2005 02:32:00 PM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P|*sigh* I'm 23 years old! Ugh! So old, so fast... and what have I done in my life?? Achieved anything noteworthy yet? Ugh. I was reading this article about extreme genuises feeling like "outsiders" among society, and I thought to myself -- well, it's true that I feel like an "outsider".. or more like, I feel glad to be an "outsider" among the society that currently exists around me... and it's also true that school and college, they all seem so trivial to me... and the things they taught me there were so banal for the most part. Hmmm, so the question is... do I fit the category of "extreme geniuses"? Ha! Most definitely not! (Oh. Well, can't be too sure of that though... I'm only 23). But then again, there apparently was this genuis kid who the author talks about in the article, who graduated cum laude from Harvard at 16 years of age. Clearly, I've lived far longer and achieved grostesquely little! I think I seem to appreciate what Aldous Huxley said about people, apparently in relation to Isaac Newton (quoted from the linked article):
"Perhaps men of genius are the only true men. In all the history of the race there have been only a few thousand real men. And the rest of us--what are we? Teachable animals. Without the help of the real man, we should have found out almost nothing at all. Almost all the ideas with which we are familiar could never have occurred to minds like ours. Plant the seeds there and they will grow; but our minds could never spontaneously have generated them"
|W|P|113502492781093945|W|P|Geniuses, and Me|W|P|12/20/2005 12:00:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Semperviva|W|P|interesting12/20/2005 12:02:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Semperviva|W|P|i think the people who are geniuses are probably the ones least likely to think themselves geniuses because they recognize just how much they don't know12/20/2005 12:18:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|I love the Aldous Huxley quote because it is bold and honest about the power of the very few geniuses who drive the world.

Interestingly, Rand also theorized the "pyramid of ability" where she describes the intellectual power of geniuses very similarly to what Aldous Huxley stated -- though, I presume, unaware of his words.12/19/2005 10:31:00 AM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P|Recently, I read a ridiculously amateur article that attempted to philosophically defend Relativism, written by an ethics lecturer with a PhD, no less! Interestingly, Dr. Partridge, the author, chooses to poise Relativism as a "moral philosophy for progressives" - thereby stealing the concept of "progressive" and implying that those who do not accept Relativism are somehow not progressive -- backward or stagnant in their thinking. I have linked the article for those of you (if any) reading this who would like to tackle the arguments Dr. Partridge brings up and debunk them. It shouldn't been difficult at all. I refuse to link to his own site. Besides Relativism, he also subcribes to the philosophically invalid position of Skepticism. I'm not going to get into a discussion here of why and how Skepticism is an invalid philosophical position. Anyway, as a teaser: Dr. Partridge challenges the reader to "state an ethical rule for which it is impossible to imagine some particular emergency that would morally require you violate it. If you can’t, then you are a moral relativist." I can think of more than one without even having to really "think".|W|P|113501064777691822|W|P|A Defense of Relativism|W|P|12/20/2005 09:49:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Rubicund Y. Logorrhea|W|P|Glad to see you corrected the earlier "duality"... while this is an intereting topic, it doesn't deserve double billing. Hardy har har.12/20/2005 10:29:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Yea.. I noticed that too... I didn't know how that happened. Anyway, I fixed it.

So, do you think I should post my response to this Relativism article? Or do you think it's a waste of my time, since it's so trivial?12/20/2005 10:41:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Rubicund Y. Logorrhea|W|P|Trivial, indeed, but without a response, how will we ever know your coherent thoughts on the topic? You can't expect us to read your entire blog and piece it together, now can you?

Hardy har har.

Looking forward to the explication,

lpludh12/21/2005 10:40:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Oh alright... the popular pressure is overwhelming! I shall succumb, and shall write a very brief explication of falsities of this Relativist's article.

That is forthcoming.12/23/2005 02:18:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Link to "My Response to Relativism"12/16/2005 02:41:00 PM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P|I think the recent spurt of economic growth in India that started over 12 years ago and that precipitated ever since is due to an undercurrent of capitalist and individualist philosophy gaining influence in the minds of the Indian people. I have been reading a spade of articles recently in Indian newspaper editorials that are criticizing public sector economics and pushing for more privatization of Indian assets. A more direct evidence of this shift in paradigm is the prominence of Ayn Rand’s philosophy in the popular culture. Those Indians who can speak and read English fluently (typically, the affluent, educated, and younger generation Indians) have been devouring Ayn Rand books and discussing her ideas openly. I recently read an editorial online by an Indian Administrative Services officer – the equivalent of a top-level employee of the Federal executive branch bureaucracy – who pitted Ayn Rand’s ideas favorably against the collectivist/communist ideas of our first Indian prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. As an Indian myself, I perceive discussions like these astonishing because personalities like Nehru have mostly been revered among the Indian masses, and to even imply in the public media that he might have been wrong – and devastatingly wrong – for the entire country its economy, is a radical concept, and certainly an act of some courage. I think India is finally rising from the oppression of its communist/socialist policies that plagued the Indian eco-political system for more than 50 years. Finally, I believe that the intellectuals who wield the requisite power and influence in Indian society are propelling a rapid growth in the modern Indian economy with increased privatization and capitalism. And I am very happy to discover that the Indian intellectuals – unlike their American counterparts – are increasingly getting their ideas from the “Fountainhead” of reason – Ayn Rand.|W|P|113476637826003011|W|P|A Shift In the Indian Paradigm|W|P|12/16/2005 02:55:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Gazoo|W|P|Do you really attribute India's move toward's capitalism and individualism to Ayn Rand?12/16/2005 03:02:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|No... not to Ayn Rand fully and completely... but certainly to the gaining ground of capitalist ideas.
However, you would be surprised at how many Indians and South Asians in general (both, here in America, and in their home countries) are familiar with Rand's works, and agree with her philosophy.12/16/2005 03:04:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|P.S. Rand is mentioned more in the India media than here in the American media - which is sadly ironic, because Rand argued so vociferously for the American ideals, which seem to have gained a larger adherence in a socialist/communist country.12/16/2005 11:37:00 AM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P|So, today was my Account Management department party! It was so super fun! We had P.F. Changs for catering... and there was a gift exchange -- well, it wasn't really a gift exchange... more like a gift stealing and fighting! ;) It was all cool though... I managed to snatch a very beautiful 3 pillar San Miguel candle lamp. Anyway, it was lots of fun... I'm very full with all the chinese... and I think the department on the whole had a good time to get to know each other. Well, so there's another party coming up... the company-wide New Year party. Apparently, it's going to be held at Le Passage. And it's a buffet and cocktail evening, entirely free for all company employees! I'm excitedly looking forward to that evening!|W|P|113476233160015485|W|P|Party Party Party!|W|P|12/19/2005 03:16:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Gazoo|W|P|I really resent the suggestion that 23 is "so old." Show some respect to your elders young man!12/19/2005 03:54:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Oh. Hmmm... I wonder why you decided to post that comment to this blogpost!?

haha! Don't wish to reveal your age! ;)

Anyway, well... I'm not really saying 23 is "old" as in "old"... I just seem it think that it's an awfully LOOOOONG time to stay alive... and not have anything noteworthy to show for it. I mean, don't you think!??? TWENTY THREE YEARS!! I mean, it takes longer than a second to even say it! Living it really feels looooong!12/20/2005 09:32:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Gazoo|W|P|I am, gulp, 27 years old.1/16/2006 08:56:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Aethlos|W|P|23? 27? you are all INFANTS... nay, LARVA.
oy.12/15/2005 03:46:00 PM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P| Upon thinking further about this issue, I realized that the approach Kant used to describe our experience of reality – or what he called our experience of phenomena – is so opposed to the actual evidence of the senses and the function of our faculty of reason. Kant took the Platonic premises of ideal forms and argued that having direct experience of those forms is impossible to perception because our consciousness always filters all data through the a priori structures of space and time. Thus, causality, according to Kant did not exist in the objective reality, per se. The object or its identity did not cause effects and actions, but we observed that phenomenon as causality due to the structure of our consciousness. The question that one must quite obviously ask then is, how did Kant figure that out? How does he know that it is true? If according to Kant, all a priori concepts like space and time limit our senses from experiencing noumena such that we only can experience and observe phenomena, then in vicious circularity, it might also be the case that Kant’s own theory of metaphysics might be borne out of his misperception of the appearance of reality with the true mechanics of it. Okay, to clarify in other words: If Kant cannot trust his consciousness to grasp actual reality (noumena) then how can he trust his proposition that he cannot trust his consciousness? - Because after all, even that very proposition has to be grasped and recognized consciously! This is where Rand comes in with her heavyweight emphasis on the power of reason to grasp reality by integrating the evidence of the senses with a contextual body of knowledge. Rand bases her epistemology on the axiomatic laws of existence, consciousness, and identity. According to the law of identity, then, the entity can only act in consistency with its own nature. Thus, causality is the relationship between an entity’s identity and the nature of its actions. This is why Rand rejected all Kantian concepts of a priorism. Rand argued that since to exist means to exist as something, all activities of the entities arise fundamentally from and in relation to its identities – not as merely appearances to our consciousness. No wonder Rand believed that Kant’s philosophy was among the most destructive influences in the history of philosophy. Kant created the greatest chasm between our grasp of reality and reality itself.|W|P|113468470756916473|W|P|Identity and Causality, contd.|W|P|12/16/2005 01:17:00 PM|W|P|Blogger S.R. Deardorff|W|P|YO! Bro!

i can't escape the feeling that we are in agreement on 99% of what has been said; i also can't escape the feeling that your intense passion and desire for betterment are causing you to unnecessarily nit-pick my language and arguments (does it really matter whether or not i refer to nature as "it" or "she" or "him?")...

i read your recommended posts and found myself nodding my head up and down with that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you're content with another fellow's exposition...ja' know whud i mean?

--------------

those things considered; in an effort to briefly modify my point and reach an agreeable conclusion, allow me to nit-pick your language:

i could consider only one system of morality objective (from my perspective, no doubt, which, by my nature and identity, seeks to converge both extremes):

that system of morality must be based on freedom, and not human life; human life as the basis for objective morality automatically implies that there will ALWAYS be subjective perceptions of morality;

whereas,

when freedom is the basis for morality, it automatically INCLUDES human life as a morally valued thing within' that system...

and,

i do believe,

if we were all to accept the idea of freedom as the basis for all existence, not just morality,

we would all eventually accept and conform, rather naturally, to an objective system of morality...

correct me if i'm wrong; but, it seems to me that you, also, are attempting to converge the polarities into one coherent conclusion (i.e. atheism/theism) that allows ALL humans the same basic moral rights--->

==========

either way, as i alluded to before, i think our conversations will inherently help the both of us to better our arguments and perceptions, and, if we're lucky, the world as a whole!

peace out n take care,

sean

p.s. i linked to your blog on mine; if you have any objections, let me know! : )12/16/2005 03:17:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Sean,

Thank you for your compliments and for your understanding of my position. I appreciate you linking to my site... no problem there.

I will accept your word when you say that we are almost in full agreement on many things.

However, I must point out that freedom ontologically cannot be substantiated as the basis for objective morality.

Human life comes ontologically prior to all other concepts of values and morality. Freedom is a concept of value. All values require a valuer. Hence, you - as a sentient being, must exist first inorder to value freedom. Hence, the most fundamental of all values should be that of the existence of human beings, i.e. human life -- because only humans can make consequent assessments of values and morals.

Using human life as the most fundamental value and as the standard of morality does not imply a subjective construction. Subjectivity comes from the conscious processes of Human beings - not from the fact of their existence.
Hence, accepting the value of human life is an objective fact... once that is established, we can proceed to identifying a moral code that sustains and furthers that ultimate value -- it is at this stage that subjectivism, intrincism, and relativism can creep in.

Objectivity is in striking the balance between intrincism and subjectivism. The former recognizes the dogma of existents and/or authority (religions, for eg.) and the latter stresses the variations of individual perceivers.
Objectivism unites the two without any dichotomy.12/14/2005 06:50:00 PM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P| I think I may have struck upon a very important implication of the laws of identity and causality. As I was reading The Russian Radical, I realized how brilliantly insightful Rand's exposition of metaphysics was. She tackled some of the very complicated questions of philosophy. With clarity and luminence, Rand unraveled some of the mistakes, false dichotomies, and inaccurate premises of traditional philosophers. Here is an example of Rand's razor sharp intellect at work. In The Russian Radical, Rand argued that the concept of causality does not refer to our observation of disembodied actions and reactions, but rather to the relationship between entities and their actions. Rand emphazised the axiom of existence and the axiom of identity. According to her, to exist is to have identity, i.e. that something exists is the same thing as that something exists. Hence, causality is the relationship between the identity or nature of an entity and its necessary actions. These, she called efficacious actions. Self-evidently inherent in human identity is the concept of volition. The law of causality says that the nature of the action will and does depend on the nature of the entity. Thus, causality as applicable to humans is the relationship between our inherent nature (the fact that we have volition) and hence we can choose or will not choose. Rand was once asked the question that how can one define the concept of fragility that is inherent in glass without involving another object in relation to glass (concrete, for example) to demonstrate the relational nature of that concept? Wouldn't this be violating the law of identity that requires all entities to be particulars and finite? Rand's argument in response was that characterizing the question this way was an example of the false dichotomy created by traditional philosophy. Rand emphasized the nature and structure of an entity as inseperable in grasping its identity. Once the identity has been established, the consequential action and expression can be determined. According to Rand, "identity implies causality". It is in the inherent nature, structure, and character of glass that gives rise the concept of fragility -- fragility is the action implied by the nature and identity of glass. The potential of glass to act in a particular way, i.e. be fragile, is inherent in its structure, composition, and its physical and chemical properties. Those are the very things that also describe the identity of glass. Hence, there is no dichotomy, according to Rand. Fragility does not require a relational understanding with another entity like concrete. "To be is to be something. And to be something is to act accordingly" Now, the implications of that law to human life is only now becoming increasingly apparent to me. To be a human, one must grasp what it means to be human. In other words, what is the identity of human beings? Once our identity is grasped and understood, we realize that we humans, unlike inanimate objects, have inherent in our identities the capacity to act according to our fundamental natures or against our natures. Inanimate and instinctive entities like plants and dogs do not have volition as a constituent of their identities. That means those entities can only and simply act consistent to their nature, without any choice in the matter. Humans have the faculty to choose. Hence, that creates the entire moral implication for the kind of choices we make. This is where our identities and our nature can guide and help us in assessing moral choices. That presumes however, that we have correctly identified who we are. The most fundamental differentia of human beings as from other entities is our faculty of reason. Thus, humans are primarily rational beings -- we have the capacity and the tools to reason that is only unique to us as entities. Hence, living according to our identities would be living in accordance with reason. Reason is the faculty of perception and integration in a consistent, coherent, and non-contradictory fashion. Integrity is the insistence of recognizing reality using reason. I can only now see the entire and full scope of the philosophy of Reason in being the moral and practical way of living. It's a wonderful sight!|W|P|113461337641455651|W|P|Identity and Causality|W|P|12/14/2005 04:08:00 PM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P|Oh... tomorrow, Thursday night, I've marked my calendar to watch Oprah.... she's going to have this cutie gay boy on her show who thinks he is butt-ugly. I think it'll be interesting! Y'all should check it out too! :)|W|P|113459815274799378|W|P|Oprah Tomorrow|W|P|12/16/2005 11:34:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|OKay.. so, now my post-show comments about that gay boi who considered himself butt-ugly, I think the root of the issue is not a chemical imbalance in the brain that caused Body Dismorphic Disorder (according to the psychologist)... but I think a sustained and prolonged psychological need for validation, attention, and recognition that may have been lacking in this boi's childhood is probably what resulted in a distorted self-image... and when that distortion of the self became an addiction -- a chronic addiction -- like all other things, that distortion got hard-wired into the brain over the years (since he says he has been afflicted since he was 5 yrs.. which escalated by the time he was 15 yrs, he was at the show, 22 yrs old)...
I think, the cycle of self-feeding influence then began -- his hard-wired, distorted self-image required the physical and chemical alliance of the brain, which fed further into his distored self-image... and on and on...

Poor thing.12/14/2005 02:35:00 PM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P| The more I read and understand Rand’s technical philosophy, the more amazed I am at her unique insight on philosophical issues that, upon hindsight, seem like it should have been intuitive! Take this for example: from Chris Sciabarra’s book The Russian Radical: Rand was tackling her response to a very prevalent question among philosophers, theologians, and thinkers alike. Who created the Universe? In other words, what was the First Cause, the cause of the Universe? Rand argues that this question presumes a contradiction and a vicious circularity. It assumes the something existed that brought existence into existence. It attempts to question “who” or “what” was that, that brought existence into existence, which invariably leads to an infinite regress of causality. The questioner is making an attempt, according to Rand, to stand at an omniscient point looking at and into existence, while being in some way “outside of existence”, which must mean “non-existent” – a position that the questioner has no business being in, and is an impossibility. In Rand’s view, the questioner regards non-existence as a thing that is metaphysically equal to existence. Rand explains that “nothing” is a concept without validity if it is separated from its relation to “existence”. "Nothing" derives its meaning only in the negation of something. Rand argues that there is no “pure negation”. Thus, every question that seeks to contemplate the beginning of existence, tries to place the primacy of epistemology (knowledge) over metaphysics (existence) and ontology. To know, there must be a knower.|W|P|113459266129053926|W|P|Rand on Ontology|W|P|12/14/2005 03:37:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Gazoo|W|P|This actually makes sense to me; though I couldn't tell you why.12/14/2005 03:50:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|:)

It makes such profound sense to me. It's beautiful.12/14/2005 10:08:00 AM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P|I love these figure skater's names..... and actually, I love figure skating itself - watching it, I mean. Boitano ; Oksana Bayul ; Alexei Yagudin ; David Pelletier I guess if I ever had kids -- which is highly unlikely -- I would name them something fun and unique like this. I would give them names that would make people ask them "Oh, are you Russian?" or "Oh, is your family french?" I think the concept of culture-specific names is very strange... and passe, in my opinion. I enjoy the idea of having an Indian named Andrei Kiraskulov, as an example... or a country-American farm boy named Jardin Bornierre. :) Ha! So fun!|W|P|113457694758770634|W|P|Cool Names|W|P|12/14/2005 10:24:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Gazoo|W|P|I agree, I would like to have my children named both Aztec names like Cuahetemoc or Tenoch as well as Hebrew names like Shiloh or Asher or an Irish name like Finnian.12/14/2005 10:46:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Woah! Those names! I can't even begin to pronounce them!
It's like... I look at it, and my brain so "beeeeeeeeep" ;)12/14/2005 01:58:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Gazoo|W|P|Yeah, I guess I should consider my kids would probably hate me forever for giving them such names.12/16/2005 10:35:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Rubicund Y. Logorrhea|W|P|Lovely names, all. I can just imagine, Gazoo... Cuahetemoc Shiloh Gutierrez. Rolls trippingly off the tongue, eh? And ergo, how about Sergei Pamplemousse Patel?12/16/2005 01:52:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Oooo! I LIKE Sergei Patel! Now that's cool... Though, not for an Indian... that would be, again, too culture specific for my liking. So Sergei Patel for a Swede, yea?12/13/2005 03:10:00 PM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P|Every concept of knowledge is interrelated. Therefore, consistency and coherence is the key in analyzing any proposition. They should all fit well together and build upon each other.|W|P|113450826419512351|W|P|Note to Self:|W|P|12/13/2005 10:15:00 AM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P|What I watched on BBC last night enraged me to no end. The vile, racist and indiscriminate attacks of Australian white youth against people of middle-eastern origin – watching those ignorant creatures rioting, waving their Australian flag, proclaiming “Aussie White Pride” everywhere – there is no better way to describe those creatures than calling them sub-human specimens utterly not worthy of existing. Ignorant dunces who cannot see past a person’s skin color to make their assessment of the person cannot possibly bear the burden of thinking, producing, and living. They are parasites on the productive capacities of a moral society and should be disposed. There is no need and no reason to defend the sustenance of brutes who are capable of nothing more than attacking human beings on the basis of their race or ethnicity. This is the vilest manifestation of collectivist zombies who have no self-identity above that of their stupid concept of race. All those drunken fools – Lebanese, Australian, and whoever else – that attacked and rioted indiscriminately in response to no personal or individual attack are functioning on the collectivist premise. An attack on any white person is considered an attack on the entire white blob. A counter-attack on any middle-eastern person is considered an attack on the entire middle-eastern splotch. They do not want to exist within the integrity of their own minds and bodies. They wish cower and hide in among the masses and launch cowardly attacks from among the safety of their collectivist leeches.Society should not find any need or obligation to recognize any modicum of humanity in these creatures. They are mindless animals and should be treated as such.|W|P|113449067151974908|W|P|Zombies Riot in Australia|W|P|12/13/2005 10:37:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Semperviva|W|P|nah aah!
that was the first time so :P this is me sticking my tongue out at you!12/13/2005 10:56:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Gazoo|W|P|Ergo,

Seeing some of the pictures from Australia really shocked me. I don't think there is anything more scary than a crazed, mindless mob.12/13/2005 11:33:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Gazoo... I don't know if you saw the video footage... but if you did, I think that would shock you more.. at the astonishingly brutish behavior of mass-mentality. There were throngs of young men and women, blatantly in broad daylight proclaiming their racist superiority... and simply enjoying in all the plundering and rioting.

It so really seemed like a throwback to the black-slave era.

I can't say express my disgust enough for those idiots.12/13/2005 04:24:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Rubicund Y. Logorrhea|W|P|It's a mess. The biggest problem is that both sides are to blame, as each is intolerant of the other, the (as the CBC put it) "Men of Middle Eastern Appearence" (MOMEA) intolerant of the beach hedonists, and vice versa.

A huge fucking mess.12/12/2005 06:30:00 PM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P|They come and take our jobs away, they lower the wage rates for employment, they crowd the cities and stretch public resources, there are fewer resources and an increasing number of players competing for those resources. "Our jobs"? Is anybody entitled to a job? If there is any entitlement, shouldn't that be based on meritocracy? If I own a business with jobs to give away, I will certainly want the best that I can buy with the lowest amount of wages I can give out. It's a labor market just like any other consumer market. Should jobs go defacto to Americans by virtue of their citizenship, even if they are not as good as the immigrant with a better work ethic, more qualifications, higher suitability, fewer demands? Yes because this is America. These are American jobs. It's the ownership rights of citizens to demand that their American businessman counterparts choose Americans first over non-Americans. But does that make good business and economic sense? Why does Microsoft employ a majority of their workforce from abroad? Should patriotism, or collective ownership rights take primacy over individual capabilities, merits, differences? What's the difference between Communism and the concept of collective ownership of American assets? Merely a logical extension? Or a real and practical imitation? "They lower wages for employment". Low costs of production mean higher profits for businessmen and companies -- who, we oftentimes forget -- are consumers themselves, also investors, risk-takers, etc. Companies, stockholders, CEO's get richer with higher profits. Consequently, their spending margins increase on a variety of things. Typically, the more one earns, the more one begins to spend. Profit-making is a right of every business -- that is the sole purpose for which they exist. The effects of higher profits and higher spending should invariably ripple across the entire market at some point. Wages for employment should be based organically on such market forces -- not on some perceived entitlement demanded by Unions and other idiots. Case in eg.: Union of Auto Makers trying to fight to hold on to their "entitlement" wages of $115,000 annually, which have now been brought down to about $89,000 annually. Apparently, this major slash in their wages as auto-makers are forcing them to live "meager" lives! Ofcourse, the ripple effect of such entitlement mentality -- GM is on its way to bankruptcy. Detriot is a ghosttown with the only industry keeping it afloat (the automotive industry) now caught up in heckling with Unions. They crowd the cities and stretch thin public resources. That is a cyclical argument. That is the very result of the inhumane and immoral immigration policies. Those laws themselves have created the situation where the new immigrants cannot find cover, comfort and solace unless they are surrounded by clans of their own members -- in ghettos, nonetheless. The one's that wish to leave, that wish to move up in education and careers, cannot because they do not have the legal and societal permissibilities like an SSN, or recourse to citizen aid, driver's licenses, etc. They visit ER's because they cannot get legitimate health insurance under current laws. This entire argument is cyclical... there's no need for me to delve into them anymore. Increasing number of players competing for resources You're living in a fools land if you expect to not compete for resources that always have been limited and are steadily decreasing. The only rational and intelligent solution is to accelerate human acheivement in technology and production, to produce and create new resources or new and efficient methods of gaining/using/spending them. Trying to adopt some kind of population control simply reduces your chances of getting more brains to work on social challenges. Also, population control clearly does NOTHING to produce or create anything new. It may merely slow down the rate at which resources deplete, but it does not change the status quo. Moreover, increased competition for resources also helps to reveal inefficient systems. They help identify and eliminate waste, unwanted loads, unharmonious systems... the "flowchart" gets streamlined when the pressure to minimize waste is high.|W|P|113443621230146584|W|P|Immigration, contd.|W|P|12/13/2005 09:11:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Semperviva|W|P|thanks for calling we should talk tonight... love, soph12/13/2005 09:24:00 AM|W|P|Blogger S.R. Deardorff|W|P|i like yer style man-g...

the question i have is this:

how are we going to make our american system more efficient so it doesn't cause its own demise?

do you think we'll be bright enough to change before we fall, or shall history repeat itself here as well?

peace n whatnot,

sean12/13/2005 10:20:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Sasca! Apparently you are an ALCOHOLIC! You are so damp drunk EVERY single night! That's crazy.12/13/2005 10:35:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Semperviva|W|P|no i'm not that was the first time ever literally12/13/2005 01:09:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|The most efficacious way to make the american system more efficient is to get the State out of the picture. We should mimick the natural, organic, and efficient system of things. Let there be no more artificial licensings, permits, regulations, censures, price-controls, etc.
Let individuals be autonomous, self-determined, self-governed, and let the market forces dictate behavior.
The sole purpose of the government should be to own the monopoly of just force and arbitration.

This is not the anarchical position that many mistake it to be... borders will still remain and be protected, government will still retain the responsibility to maintain law and order through the protection of human rights and the prosecution of those who violate them.

Ultimately, whether or not anything will succeed depends on each individual.12/12/2005 04:28:00 PM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P|Need to throw these thoughts out... for further analysis: Private property - arising out of self-autonomy - fundamental in nature Private property implies a method or means of gaining and owning such property... the method or means have to be legitimate inorder to fit the definition of property -- property is that which is rightfully owned -- what is the legal definition of property? If the means and method of gaining property is itself illegitimate, then the property owned through the use of that method is also illegitimate. In other words, if I kill a man who I know will outbid me at an auction so that I can be the highest bidder, then that which I have rightfully owned by bidding becomes illegal property because I committed illegal activities to get it. (Right? I don't know. Maybe. Are there any caveats?) So, if an immigrant enter illegally and then owns property in gainful employment, would all of that property then also be illegal and subject to seizure by the state? No. It can't be. There must be a separation between means and ends. Production is not the same thing as the product, and a cause is not on the same moral, ethical platform as the effect. Illegal immigration is illegal only because of a whimsical fiat by the most populous voices. It was not illegal for the early puritan immigrants to enter American, since there were no such laws. Can laws be randomly made to dictate anything based upon the whim and fancy of the contemporary society? Clearly no. However, today America as a collective group of citizens own "America" the land. Hence, illegal immigration could be a violation of the property rights of the citizens as a collective whole, who own America. Any illegitimate movement would be encroaching upon the private property of Americans. Right? No. It can't be. How does one become American? The overwhelming majority of the first "Americans" were not born here... they moved here. Hence, American citizenship is open to some immigrants -- or atleast was open to some of them at one time. If collective ownership requires one to be American, then.... ugh, I'm getting muddled. Owning "America" the land as a collective whole cannot be possible. Why not? There's something wrong. The collective whole needs to have legitimate right to claim that status. Citizenship. But immigrants also can and have become citizens. So, they can claim that ownership too. But, collectivist talks and perspectives just don't work... because they typically collapse in disagreement and in the suppression of minority voices.|W|P|113442768155397158|W|P|Immigration: Private Property or Freedom of Movement|W|P|12/12/2005 04:51:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Ugh.12/09/2005 05:07:00 PM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P|OH MY GOD!!! THE BUILDING IS ON FIRE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and strangely enough, I have the time to blog about it.|W|P|113416968426148256|W|P||W|P|12/09/2005 06:02:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Semperviva|W|P|ARE YOU KIDDING????? no way r u alive lol ok how funny but not would it be if you died from the fire while posting that the building was on fire haha sorry that wasen't funny12/12/2005 01:55:00 AM|W|P|Blogger innommable|W|P|omg! that was so funny! Both the post AND Sempreviva asking "ok how funny but not would it be if you died from the fire while posting that the building was on fire? haha"

You can't make up things like that!12/12/2005 09:46:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Everything is fine, people! The building was NOT on fire... there was merely smoke rising up through the elevators because the machine downstairs burned up.

Nothing went awry, things are fine. Just chill out, everybody! Damn!12/12/2005 11:48:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Rubicund Y. Logorrhea|W|P|Wow.12/12/2005 03:13:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Semperviva|W|P|we werent really all that upset LOL jk of course we were ;)1/19/2006 10:44:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Aethlos|W|P|at least you had your priorities in order. BURNIN TO BLOG!!!! i'm impressed.12/09/2005 10:46:00 AM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P|There is a kind of redemption In the frolic of happy flakes In their softest yet persistent fall In how they blanket everything A new layer of wonderful white Burying deep the coarseness of life They seem to know their way around For they settle so smoothly Into the crevices of our hearts They print patterns so beautiful On the fabric of our souls A radiant vision of a bright, new life Begins in the sky And falls down on us In tiny pearls of hope|W|P|113414858435817923|W|P|Snow-white Redemption|W|P|12/09/2005 11:18:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Bleebo|W|P|Hey, great blog page. Definitely worth bookmarking for a return visit.

If you want an excellent laugh, read www.horacefinkle.blogspot.com - it's a killer and getting extremely popular. Check it out!12/09/2005 11:28:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Oh, look at that! A teenager in limbo! Dude, you're soon sure to be evicted from there... all the limbo-residents are gonna be homeless once the pope decides to anihilate your city/town/or whatever.
If you don't know what I'm talking about, read "Abolish Limbo", a few blogs down.12/09/2005 06:04:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Semperviva|W|P|bla bla bla

so i think maybe u should start bashing OTHER religious leaders


"just for an exercise in objectivity"

HA

HA


HA




HAAAAAAAAAA


:D
yes i am a smart ass but you had it comin bashin my papa12/12/2005 09:48:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Other religious "leaders" -- I don't even KNOW who other "leaders" are! I mean... they are all so scattered and just little straw men... there's no fun in that!
The pope is the best target... cuz he's the only leader of the only largest cohesive organization in the world -- with over 3 billion members!!12/08/2005 07:21:00 PM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P|What's up with the majority these young genuises being of Asian and/or Indian decent? Is there a pattern here? Are the majority of smart people defacto non-American? Immigrant geniuses like these... is this an example of Intelligent Design among humans? Should we see this pattern and recognize that an Intelligent Designer wanted it that way? So does that mean that the Asian and East Indian cultures are intellectually superior to other cultures? Hmmm... food for thought.|W|P|113409148457577159|W|P|Intelligent Design: Immigrant Genuises|W|P|12/09/2005 09:54:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Oh my god. So, I just read this post as I came into work this morning, and for a moment I thought, "what a dunce! Who would write something like this?!"
And a split-second later, I realized this is MY blog, I wrote it!
Anyway, so... I guess a disclaimer is certainly warranted here. The above post is dripping with sarcasm... incase you didn't notice.12/09/2005 04:11:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Rubicund Y. Logorrhea|W|P|Yes, and a drop of that sarcasm fell on my tongue and yes, I tasted it and yes, oh yes, it was sweet, and I said yes...12/09/2005 06:00:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Semperviva|W|P|of course we noticed the sarcasm however arguing is too fun to resist-
to your last question no. haha!

american born kids have everything handed to them. immigrants don't. they (it would seem, must) work harder and hence achieve more when this work ethic is applied. their cultures (from my experience babysitting both asian and indian children) still values things this generation of americans don't.12/12/2005 09:53:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Good point. I'm glad you saw that. I was merely pointing out the apparent tendency of humans to see patterns and designs in anything and everything! Sometimes the pattern is indeed an attribute of the observed phenomona, but sometimes it is not.
The only way one can really figure out when it is, and when it is not, is through repeated empirical tests. (incidentally, faith allows you to accept any pattern any design anytime on anything... like the face of the Virgin mary on that turkey sandwich or something, being sold on ebay).12/08/2005 06:29:00 PM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P|I cannot see beyond the flakes of white snow Singing their soft blues outside my office window My yearning eyes shielded by the porous art Searching… gleaning… a lonely lover’s heart. Down below, you sell your sorry plight You lose your joy, your passion and delight Melancholy sojourner, your head dips lower than the setting sun Your feet are heavy and yet you try to run If you could only make an upward glance And lose yourself in the movements of the trance If you could stop your steps and spread your arms Then raise your head and sing a heartfelt Psalm From up here on the thirteenth floor The ominous number of many a lore I would swallow the songs of your rising voice And add to the chorus of snow’s mirthful noise Together and apart, separated and joined Our souls would balance on a delicate point Between you below, and me above Embraced by the valiant sunset of love We can dance to the tune of our own rhythm Smother their shrieks of any Christmas hymn You can let yourself soar high and take flight Come up here and let’s waltz under the city lights.|W|P|113408822173499289|W|P|Come Up Here With Me|W|P|12/08/2005 06:44:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Hahahahahhaa!! It's so funny that I wrote a poem with a rhyming scheme!!! Ha! So elementary... it seems... yet, it was SOOO difficult to successfully write one that atleast seemed moderately "artistic".
But I'm happy... and proud with what I wrote. It's quite an exciting thing to have accomplished this! I thought I was utterly incapable of writing rhyming poetry!12/08/2005 06:57:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Semperviva|W|P|i always thought i was too but then again i havent tried since 4th grade12/09/2005 06:03:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Tyrel|W|P|This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.12/09/2005 06:05:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Semperviva|W|P|what i love about snow is that quiet feeling and then you stand in it and look up and it feelos like you are going up... ever notice that?12/12/2005 03:09:00 AM|W|P|Blogger innommable|W|P|Oh! What a lovely little poem... but, hmmm... elementary, as you said.

aabb, ddcc, eeff, gghh, iijj, kkll... That's not such a difficult rhyme scheme. I fail to see the point of using one at all in this case. I mean, what is the rhetorical point? Also, you used different kinds of rhymes, too... dactylic, perfect, imperfect... That's cool though. It's cute.

Try writing a sonnet in iambic pentameter while actually saying something of substance, like Alexander Pope! There's a real challenge for you!12/12/2005 09:39:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Umm... Innommable, I have not used the "aabb, ddcc, eeff, gghh, iijj, kkll.." rhyming scheme. I doubt that there is even anything like that.

I think what you're trying to describe is the "aa bb" rhyme, which I have used.

As far as a "rhetorical" point -- I fail to see how a poem about snow could be construed as implying some rhetoric that you are trying to uncover. Nonethless, you are free to interpret it as you like.

The sole purpose of using rhyme in this poem is for its own sake -- for its artistic sake. It is a license I have used because this poem is mine. Ofcourse, I could have chosen to write it in free verse. But I didn't. Just like Alexander Pope could have written short, pithy, free verse poetry, but didn't. Whatever choices an artist makes, it should purely be for the sake of the art - primarily.

Hence, the answer to your question? There is no purpose for my use of rhyme, beyond the simple fact that I used that as a tool to express an artistic point.

Also, using different types and kinds of rhyming schemes in ONE poem is typically a disaster, unless it is in the most skilled hands. If you read the majority of rhyming poetry -- written by the greats and by the not-so-famous, you will notice mostly only one consistent rhyming scheme.

I think I have pulled off a rhyming scheme with moderate variation in its rhythm pretty smoothly.

Writing a sonnet in iambic pentameter -- that's the juvenile stuff of nursery's! Ofcourse, that doesn't mean it's easy. It just doesn't attract my interest. Typically, I can't seem to fit my expressions -- poetic or otherwise -- in a pithy version, like sonnets or precis, (note the length of this comment as evidence).12/12/2005 09:44:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Sasca, yea.. I think I have done that... looking up at the falling snow... but I don't think I ever noticed, or experienced that feeling of rising up...
Now that I imagine it, I think it would be cool... but I've never actually experienced that.12/12/2005 04:42:00 PM|W|P|Blogger innommable|W|P|Ergo, the scheme I was describing was taken from how you constructed it in the poem. None of the couplets rhyme with any of the other couplets. Therefore, I assigned a different letter to each couplet. The first being a, the second b, the third c, etc.

When I read a poem, I look for cohesion in its substance and formal qualities. The formal qualities, in many ways, complement and are informed by the substance of a poem. I always think of the formal qualities (and lots of other things) when I construct my free verse poems.

But do you see what I mean? I'm not trying to uncover some rhetoric about snow, I am trying to understand what the rhyme scheme has anything to do with this poem about snow falling, etc. Like why use that rhetorical device if it's not informed by the poem... hmmm... now that I think of it, Rhyme isn't really a rhetorical device, is it? It's more of a formal device... whatever, I think you know what I mean. I mean Rhyme as a Device.

Anyway, I never meant to imply that you were not free to use whatever tools you want as an artist. I do think, however, that in order to write a good poem one should carefully consider all the aspects of the poem one constructs. Thus my questioning of the rhyme. But if you say there's no purpose to it, Ok. It is your poem after all.

You know, it's too bad that most of my experiences with the snow falling happened from inside a bubble! Otherwise, the snow would probably have inspired me to write something, too!

Oh! I did see a man get run over by a truck because the truck driver didn't notice he had fallen in a pile of snow... Geez that was a scary!12/12/2005 04:58:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|"Like why use that rhetorical device if it's not informed by the poem... hmmm... now that I think of it, Rhyme isn't really a rhetorical device, is it? It's more of a formal device... whatever, I think you know what I mean. I mean Rhyme as a Device."

I actually, don't know what you mean.
I don't know what you are asking.. or hoping to find out, by using the word "rhetorical"... I certainly was not conscious of using any "rhetorical" devices while writing this poem.
So, again, if you have found some hint of rhetoric or a device as such, feel free to explore it. It is art, it has been created, now it is out in the world -- to be plundered, if need be.

Why did I use a rhyming scheme? Just purely for the sake of it! For the sake of my poem - the artistic medium I chose - I used the tools I deemed best to express my metaphysical value-judgment of an evening of snowfall... and my abstractions of the emotions I felt with it.

All this should suffice. Typically, an artist never speaks much about his art... not as much as I have done.12/12/2005 05:05:00 PM|W|P|Blogger innommable|W|P|Well, I like to listen to the interior ruminations of an artist about his art.12/12/2005 05:29:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|You should get into the field of Psychology, as your major in school. Seems like you love delving into the deep, dark, murkiness of people's minds.12/07/2005 09:01:00 PM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P|I have lately been thinking about this issue and trying to clarify it in my head. I think there is a certain relationship between individualism as a philosophy of the self and its effect on the perception of beauty and self-esteem. There have been many times when I have made a comment like, "oh, he's ugly", to which I sometimes get a response from whoever is next to me, "well, you ain't that hot looking either! So, don't be talkin' bad about others!" Well, does it matter? All that is making me now think: Typically, when a person admires another human being for their physical characteristics, one is said to be admiring their beauty. But here's a question: inside the psyche of the viewer, does the person inadvertently begin to compare themselves with the person they are admiring? In other words, if I were to look at a man passing by and comment upon how strikingly harmonius his features are, and that he is beautiful, does that also mean that subconsciously I am thinking about my own physicality and placing it in comparison to his? Do I believe he is very attractive because I believe I am less attractive than he? Another question: if I were to assess another man passing by me as attractive but not too much... am I assessing him on some external objective standard criteria? Or am I comparing him to me and making that judgment that he is attractive but not too much because in comparison to myself, I happen to think I am more attractive than he is? Another question: if I were to assess a man passing by me as simply ugly, or completely unattractive , am I still using myself as a standard of comparison, or have I now SHIFTED to some kind of objective criteria for beauty and ugliness that I am using? Now, let's forget about a live human being. Let's suppose I saw three life-sized statues/sculptures of men (nude or clothed, that's for your imagination to decide) standing before me. I look at these sculptures and I come upon to decide that one of them is decidedly very attractive, one could be perceived as reasonably attractive, and the last final one is decidedly unattractive or ugly. Here, I am referring to the same physical and superficial characteristics of the statue's figure... I am not referring here to the skill or craftsmanship of the artist -- I am not concerned with how skilfully the artist made the ugly statue look convincingly "ugly". So now, in this case... do we still place ourselves in comparison to the three statues every time we assess its beauty? If we consider statues as works of art, do we always or usually place ourselves in comparison to such artistic sculptures of the human form and other works of art? I think can safely say that the answer here is no, we don't compare ourselves to works of art. (You could challenge me on that). However, I believe that most people generally do infact, subconsciously or not, place themselves in comparison with other real people they see. I think this is evidenced by how people look at others on the street and get their cues on fashion, or on what's hip, or on what is considered "outlandish", "wierd", "cool", "in", etc. Also, if people were not constantly assessing others' beauty by placing themselves in the field of comparison, then why are celebrities worshipped and emulated? Why do some people find that their self-image is borrowed from how they perceive their personal celebrity? Clearly, it seems to me that one's assessment of another person gives cues as to what is "hot" and what is "not" to many people. Also, the desire to emulate and be like the person one admires, shows that some people assess themselves simultaneously while they are assessing someone else. So, it seems, that people have this tendency to look at artistic works of the human form and admire/despise it externally without simultaneously making any conscious or subconscious assessment of themselves... however, when it comes to watching other real people, immediately the focus becomes not a matter of admiring/despising those people independently, but of actually placing oneself right along-side that other person. And this behavior, whether subconscious or deliberate, I believe is fundamentally because of a philosophical outlook. So, when someone tells me that I should not make an assessment of a person as being "ugly" because I am not that "hot-looking" either, I think to myself, "does it matter that I am not "hot-looking" either? And WHY should it matter?" Incidentally, I've never heard anyone say to me "don't say the other guy is very attractive! You ain't that bad yourself!" I think the fundamental philosophical context is one of individualism versus collectivsim. In a collectivist mentality, one perceives their own existence as being in a relation to another. A collectivist mentality always has the "other" not the "self" as the basic standard. Every assessment, judgment, etc. is filtered through the lens of the other-oriented context. Hence, every assessment is made through the lens of "them in comparison to me". There is no "me" beyond and outside of comparison, needless of comparison. Their whole idea of the self, their self-image, and their self-esteem is derived from the people around them - "what do others think of me, am I dressed better than him, does he find me more attractive than that other kid, am I smarter than that other boy, do you like me because I'm better than your ex?" There is empirical evidence for that phenomena. Studies have shown that Japanese people are more likely to describes themselvse as "mother, husband, friend, lover", etc. -- which are all other-oriented descriptions of the self. Americans and Australians, on the other hand, have typically described themselves as being a "businessman, philosopher, human, intelligent, rockstar, actor, sex-worker, whore, the President," etc. -- notice how they are mostly independent assessment of selves. This collectivist mentality renders the person incapable of self-assessment on objective criteria and standards that stand outside of other people. So, beauty is what people in general decide it is. Or "hip" is what my friends think it is. The person's sense of self-esteem is also handicapped because it requires the existence of other persons around to give them an assessment of themselves. Note, how this does not carry over to their assessment of inanimate objects like human sculptures and works of art. An individualist philosophy however, gives ample psychological and emotional strength to perceive one's self as honestly as possible. Hence, when I look at a beautiful human being, I am not saying that he is more beautiful than I am (though that could be true and presumed in many cases)... what I am saying is, I see beauty in him that should be admired.... it works the same way as if I saw a beautiful work of art and I commented likewise. I am not stating anything of a relationship between the artwork's beauty and my own. Infact, I would go so far as to say that beautiful people are beautiful Art! And as such they can and should be assessed objectively. It is easy for me to look at an unattractive person and comment about it because to me it is like a matter of fact. It is true, so I recognize it. It has nothing to do with me, hence why should I feel "guilty" of making such a comment as if I am obligated to be UGLIER than the other person inorder to say that he is ugly! To feel guilty for admitting a fact of reality is actually a desire to evade that reality. Similarly, to say that someone is more attractive than I am is not to say that "oh I feel like shit now. I am so ugly, I am not good enough. I just lost all my self-esteem." No, it simply means that I admire that person's beauty, that he is certainly attractive, and it is because I view him and myself as two separate, distinct, individuals that do not require to be placed under any unnecessary or unwarranted comparisons. Oh, I bet the arguments I make in this post will be highly controversial, to say the least! |W|P|113401447484128305|W|P|You are beautiful. He is Ugly.|W|P|12/08/2005 11:10:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Oh... and I think I want to make it very clear that all of this was just rampant speculation on my part. Kinda like forming a hypothesis... now, all I need is any/some social scientist to test that hypothesis out for me.

I guess the operational definitions are pretty clear for the variables: Beauty, i.e. attractiveness, harmony of all elements of one's physical features...
Individualism: primacy of the self over others
Collectivism: primacy of others over the self and in intrinsic relation to the self.

A sample hypothesis could be: Individualists are less likely to assess another's beauty in relation to themselves.12/05/2005 04:43:00 PM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P|Look at what I found on the internet! Some guy making a quite surprising claim about Sam Walton. Now, I'm very undecided on this controversial Wal-mart issue -- whether it is doing more harm than good to this country and the market. I've heard arguments that Wal-mart has lower-priced consumer goods, but we end up paying for much of its employees' healthcare costs because of the low pay and mediocre health insurance benefits. I don't know all the facts yet. However, given what I know, I am unconvinced that Wal-mart is doing more harm to this country than any other large discount retailer is. Infact, I think this country and the global economy benefits extensively by the effects of Wal-mart's business practices. Anyway, this article is unique. I've never read anything like this about Wal-mart or Sam Walton before. Picking On Wal-Mart Union Critics Just Wasting Their Time Assailing Retailer November 28, 2005 Ron Galloway In Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged," the productive, inventive minds of the world are constantly belittled and attacked by the envious and agenda-driven in a society whose squeaky wheel gets the most grease. Sound familiar?Wal-Mart, hate it or love it, will always be the subject of controversy. I set out on my own to find out what makes the retail giant and employer of more than 1 million Americans tick, and I made a film about Wal-Mart, called "Why Wal-Mart Works, and Why that Drives Some People Crazy." Why does Wal-Mart make some people crazy? Because it started selling groceries in California, that's why. A certain union got unhinged and funded a staff of 35 at WalmartWatch.com to do nothing but use member dues to pester Wal-Mart. Is it a prudent use of union dues to pick on a store most of their dues-paying members enjoy shopping at?Unions and assorted special interests (the National Petroleum Marketers Association, hmm) are comically obsessing on a store 138 million people voluntarily shop at every week. It's just a store. The anti-Wal-Mart campaign is the biggest waste of time and resources since the last three "Star Wars" movies. Speaking of Hollywood, why are they picking on Wal-Mart? Wal-Mart is Hollywood's biggest customer, responsible for nearly 40 percent of DVD sales. Except for my film's DVD, which they won't carry. Check out the Screen Actors Guild website - Wal-Mart is a guild signatory. Did Robert Greenwald's anti-Wal-Mart film use union crews and pay guild wages? Just asking. Has Wal-Mart lost the life savings of investors, as WorldCom did? Did Wal-Mart just fire 30,000 workers, many of them union, as GM just did? Does Wal-Mart stiff its workers on their pensions, as the airlines are doing?No, no and no. Wal-Mart saves families nearly $2,000 a year on average, Wal-Mart is hiring, and even part-timers at Wal-Mart get an employer match in their 401(k). I firmly believe no special interest group in this nation benefits the poor and blue-collar as much as Wal-Mart does. Ask a single mom where she shops. Money is freedom, and by saving families money, as is its mission ("Always Low Prices"), Wal-Mart provides their customers more freedom in their daily lives.Wal-Mart's detractors are focused and well organized in their media assault on the company. I think that Wal-Mart believes that by doing its best to fulfill its responsibilities to its associates and customers, the need to defend its success and innovations should be an afterthought. In today's world, it's not. In "Atlas Shrugged," John Galt is a fabulous businessman and inventor, yet is constantly criticized for benefiting society as a whole through his innovation and success. In the book, the question is famously asked, "Who is John Galt?" Sam Walton is John Galt. Ron Galloway is the producer and co-director of the film "Why Wal-Mart Works & Why That Makes Some People Crazy." This article was distributed by HuffingtonPost.com.|W|P|113382294274493512|W|P|Wal-mart Controversy|W|P|12/10/2005 08:23:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Jeff|W|P|came across your blog today and have to strongly disagree that you are even considering looking at walmart as a non-threat tot the world economy. Pleas check out http://www.walmartmovie.com/ and trust me you will be convinced.12/12/2005 09:59:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Hi Jeff. Yes, I'm aware of the movie... and some community members were having a free screening of it in my neighborhood. I had tried very hard to make sure I remembered to watch it on that free screening day. Alas, I forgot!

But, I hear there's another COUNTER-movie that also came out... apparently exposing the flaws and mischaracterizations in this movie that you refer to. So, I suppose to be fair and open-minded, I'd have to watch both of them and judge for myself.
Yet, I still think I lack all the necessary and pertinent information to make a real assessment of this issue.
Because this problem does not render itself to speculation based on any philosophical principles, I am reluctant to say where I stand... my leanings are clear, however.12/05/2005 03:51:00 PM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P|So, there’s a fundamental difference in my own work ethic and others’ at my office. Just a few moments ago, I had this cutie new hire gay boy who works in our graphics department come up to me and say he can’t do the project I asked him to do by the specified date because he is currently swamped right now, and needs to prioritize. Well, then. I said, try to prioritize it as well as you can, and let me know how late beyond the due date you can complete it, because I need to respond to my customer accordingly to inform them of the delay. But in my mind I thought: Well, no shit! Get your ass here at night and sit through it to finish it on time! See, when I get someone giving me a deadline, I feel it is now wholly my responsibility to meet it in however way I can. And that is what I have always done; in every job I’ve held. I’ll stay as long as it takes; do whatever it takes to get the work done in time. I do not want anyone else having to take responsibility for the delay that is mine. Like now, I have to answer to the customer and take responsibility for this delay because the customer could not care any less who is really the one making all the delay here. The fact that I may be swamped with many things to do is my own business; it is not the responsibility of someone else to worry about and consider my list of priorities so they have to change theirs. Of course, I do understand that consideration should be given to a reasonable amount of workload. But I work under the assumption that due dates are specified precisely because that is the date out of necessity that it needs to be done – not out of some spite or arbitrary whim to simply make my workload miserable, but because the deadline is indeed a requirement that has to be met. So, if someone gives me a deadline, I work under the assumption that there is very good reason why there is a date when this job needs to be completed, and I give myself the instruction to complete it in any way I can. In fact, I am so careful about such things that when I place a request for project to be completed, I never put a due date unless I absolutely need it to be completed by any certain date. It seems like the ethic of this boy at my job is quite different. The fact that I specified a deadline makes no difference to him. I have to tailor my deadlines to meet his at a project that I gave him to do! Anyway. So this is annoying, to say the least.|W|P|113381952724947104|W|P|Difference in Work Ethic|W|P|12/07/2005 11:10:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Gazoo|W|P|Just a thought... I guess you rationalize writing this post while on company time by saying that the work gets finished. Nonetheless, some would consider even this a serious lack of work ethic. Any thoughts?

Gazoo12/07/2005 04:02:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Umm... no. Work ethic works on common sense... not on a robotic sense.

Common sense tells me that if there isn't anything "work-related" that needs to be done, I can use my time to do other things... for example, writing on this blog.

Robotic sense would tell me that 8:30am - 5:00pm is work time and therefore I must only do work-related things... and in the event that I have nothing work-related to do, I must sit idle and do nothing else until I get something work-related to do.

Now, common sense also tells me that if I have something work-related to do... that work should obviously take priority over any and every other miscellaneous activity.

Now, common sense also tells me that if I have some work to do that is high priority, or that comes with a deadline... I must take it as my responsibility to meet that deadline and get it done.

How does that sound? Good question, though. :)12/07/2005 05:48:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Gazoo|W|P|Sounds good to me... you never let me down.

Gazoo12/05/2005 12:36:00 PM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P|It was in a moment’s instance that all the chatter of their surroundings dissipated. A giant chasm suddenly ripped their table apart from the rest of the world; everyone else rapidly sank into the descending mud, while Pasha and Jardin rested solidly on a narrow pillar of ground. It seemed like the only sentient purpose of that booth they sat in was to protect the lonely intimacy of these lovers. In sadness he spoke. His whispers echoed through space like a prophecy come true on judgment day. Jardin felt an odd distance from his words, like as if they were not his. Like as if he were not capable of uttering such emotions. Pasha made no attempt to mitigate the sadness in Jardin’s voice. The greatest insult one could hurl at another in such a situation would be to descend into an elaborately constructed pretense at empathy and utter the greatest lie of all: everything will be okay. That is the surest sign of the fact that the person cares a damn about you.|W|P|113380782935819345|W|P|Pasha et Jardin, contd-|W|P|12/05/2005 12:39:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Hmmm... awkward sentence structure: "The greatest insult......."blah blah blah...

I think I could re-phrase that and come up with something better... not sure yet how though.

I'm just have a moment of anxidrpn. :(12/05/2005 01:10:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Rubicund Y. Logorrhea|W|P|Anxidrpn is a bother, to be sure. Phizer is now marketing Mgeghlg to take care of that... Check it out!12/05/2005 01:23:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Hmm... I should. Thanks for advice, Rubicunt. I also need to discard my bottle of Zoloft for some highly potent Zbfmora -- from Eli Lily.
I wonder why these drug companies come up with such hard to pronounce Egyptian names?!12/05/2005 02:23:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Semperviva|W|P|okay something about the first paragraph diden't flow for me but i really like it once it all comes together... i'll try and pinpoint it later on...mmkay love.. ciao12/02/2005 01:35:00 PM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P|I'm not sure if I'm getting fat or not... Here's the deal. This morning as I was getting ready for work... and rummaging through my numerous piles of clothes strewn all over my apartment... I happened to mine a longlost shirt. Hmmmm.. I thought. I wonder if I can fit into that shirt now... you see, this shirt is an awfully tight, bodyfit, shirt... it's tailored that way to hug your torso (mine, in this case). So, now, the background of the story is that at one point in my life was able to squeeze into that shirt... then came a phase in my life when I couldn't do that anymore... so I retired that shirt from any more stretching exercises. Now, this morning as I stared at the shirt in contemplation... I decided, it was worth one more try to demonstrate to myself if infact I have become fat, lost wieght, or stayed the same. And lo and behold! The shirt fit! Quite smoothly too!! Infact, I'm wearing it right now! So, now I have EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE! I guess I'm NOT fat. Or maybe even better... i might have infact LOST some weight!|W|P|113355250622349802|W|P||W|P|12/02/2005 04:10:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Rubicund Y. Logorrhea|W|P|Or here, perhaps, a more beautiful idea. Perhaps the shirt, longing to fulfill once more its function, decided to fit your form, and sheathe both in happiness.

Who knows.12/02/2005 04:14:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Perhaps. Possible. Sure.12/03/2005 01:27:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Rubicund Y. Logorrhea|W|P|Good.12/05/2005 12:29:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Semperviva|W|P|wow. hey babe. how are you? lets talk again soon... pax et bonuum etc etc :D12/01/2005 02:35:00 PM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P| People keep asking me that. So, I'll just post these links on here that anyone can go read to understand how I explain my basis for morality. Ofcourse, if you want a more detailed and indepth analysis of those ideas, you might as well go study the source of many ideas that I subscribe to: The Philosophy of Objectivism. God's Life Must be Boring Morality of an Atheist God's Limitations Hmmm.. I also understand that none of my posts really and thoroughly explain the foundation of morals as objective. Well, I guess I never found that necessary to do because I already knew what that foundation is, and it's a waste of my time to repeat that which has already so powerfully and lucidly been explained by the philosophy of Objectivism. I have nothing new to add to it. Nonetheless, I did mount my own attempts of a defence of the Objectivist morality on some other debate forums of Catholics who were presumably unaware of such ideas. They (those on that forum) believed quite lazily that if one has no God then one cannot have morals. So, for their sake, in that context, I explained my ideas. I've copy/pasted them here below. It's long. Read it if you like... scan through it if you want. Despite it's length, it's not exhaustive, it's not robust, it's not anywhere even close to an air-tight argument. For those things, you'll have to read books on philosophy that I am quite frankly incapable of writing for anyone. So here goes: Why do we need morals? Because we humans are volitional beings and we make choices at every point in our lives. We are the only ones responsible for our own actions, and as such we must accept the blame or win the rewards of our actions appropriately. Some actions might lead to very positive and desired consequences, while some others might be detrimental or at least undesired. We need a system of knowledge to guide us into making the right choices that will enhance the condition of our rational lives.How do we decide what's right or wrong? Only through the use of our faculty of reason.Objective morality is possible and can only be achieved through reason and logic. Follow this train of thought: Logic, by its very nature, is strict, conservative, disciplined, and absolute. In other words, logic has a set path on which it follows based on necessity of reason. Every correctly logical argument can be recreated over and over again by anybody who practices and applies the laws of logic appropriately. Logic is non-contradictory. Thus, logic rejects subjectivism and relativism. There cannot be two entirely and essentially opposed statements that can be both logically correct at the same time.Reason and logic will only permit you to arrive at objective conclusions. A moral system can be fully built upon a logically strong and consistent foundation that is objective, so that it is applicable to all people at all times.In order to begin a discussion of morality, we need to understand what can be used as a universally accepted standard of morality, from which we can construct a value-system of good and bad:Human life is, can, and should be that universal standard. One's value for having life and living it. One's quality of being worthy of living. One's consciousness of all the necessary tools required for living. These are values that are objective. We can build a moral system on these things. To lead a moral life, you need to first understand why you need to lead a moral life? Because you want to live in a certain way. Why do you want to live in a certain way? So that you can protect your own life and the lives of those dear to you and enhance the condition of your lives. So what do you do to achieve those values or protection and enhancement of lives? You identify universal rights that are necessary for a rational life. If you recognize that those are universal rights, then you also understand that others have those same rights as you do, and therefore they wish to live rational lives like you do too. If they do not wish to live rational lives, that is their choice... however, it is NEVER your prerogative to decide that for others. A brutish existence functions on the premise of decay, irrationality, impracticality – an immoral life is primarily an impractical lifestyle. Reality exists as is. Our actions and behaviors and thoughts and ideas are all responses to the reality that we perceive and integrate within ourselves. The realm of MORALITY consists in the "HOW" and "WHY" of things... not in the "WHAT" or "WHERE" of things. “Morals” are not things-in-and-of-themselves. They are attributes of facts, existence, and consciousness. Morals are the "how" and "why" of reality and our responses, actions, behaviors, thoughts, and ideas in relation the actuality of existence. Just as there can be no dichotomy between mind and body, so there can be none between reality and morality. Morality should be properly seen as an attribute of reality itself. Thus, MORALITY is not created or given to us by anyone. Morality is the rational application of our rights in the fact of living. Reality and existence — along with our conscious decision to remain in it, i.e., to stay alive — dictates and demands a specific code and method of action. Humans do not pursue the proper values to stay alive automatically; we must discover and choose them. The character and behavior of humans are facts existing in reality, which have effects on one's own well-being or on their decay.If you function on the standard of death, that is what you will get.If you function on the standard of life, and deem human life important and worth living, and seek the rational (REASONED, MINDFUL, LOGICAL) protection and enhancement of your life... then you will get a source of rights and morality to live by. This ground is a universal ground for all people who accept that "human life" is a universal value.Those who don't accept "human life" as a universal value, ofcourse will not be able function under the construction of those morals.|W|P|113347555657058746|W|P|How Can Atheists Have Morals?|W|P|12/01/2005 11:29:00 AM|W|P|Ergo Sum|W|P|Limbo -- the place where the Catholic Church teaches that babies go if they die before being baptized -- may have its days numbered. How convenient. Oh, and while we're at it, might as well abolish hell... and, purgatory too... why not? Being the pope in the Catholic Church is so cool -- he gets to create his own reality for "souls" of dead people... upon his wishes there was a limbo... and now upon the wishes of the new pope... there might not be one anymore. I feel sad for the souls who will be evicted from the limbo -- where will they go? Oh, the tortured state of such homeless souls, even in death they can't find rest. Pope John Paul asked the commission to come up with "a more coherent and enlightened way" of describing the fate of such innocents. So, according to whatever new description they come up with for the fate of these "innocent" souls, there will indeed exist such a place that will fit the description that they attempt to create. That's quite amazing powers that the pope has! (Interestingly, if the Church is already assuming that these souls are innocent, then why aren't they in heaven by default? Doesn't innocent mean in some manner, pure, sinless, holy, naive? Is it not enough that one is devoid of sin to be in heaven? Does the soul REQUIRE to have done "good deeds" while alive inorder to be admitted to heaven? I though God was all-loving and all-merciful. It's strange that God has such reservations on letting the souls of babies into heaven. Apparently, His love and mercy does not extend to the souls of babies who have not "wilfully" chosen HIM -- because they simply, physiologically cannot do that yet. However, God's ego -- being so bloated that it is -- requires even from babies that stringent criteria that they must have chosen God and good deeds inorder to be admitted to heaven -- if not, they have to go to this place called "limbo" -- which, incidentally, might not exist anymore if the pope decides so. Oh, all the CRAP people believe!!)|W|P|113345885481814549|W|P|Abolish Limbo|W|P|12/01/2005 11:45:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Eddie James|W|P|You think the Catholic Church has a grip on people's minds? Look at the news story and read through the wordplay. They paint it as a game. You have internet at your fingertips. Search Vatican archives, something, anything. But come on now, the Catholic Church isn't stupid. It's only the basis for all Christian religion. Only been around for 2000 years. Use your noggin, not your emotional response to some negative Yahoo! news.12/01/2005 12:09:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|*only* been around for 2000 years!?!? Damn, it's the oldest church around today!
It's the basis for *all* christian religions?? On what grounds? I bet a gazillion non-catholic christians will disagree with you.

I ain't saying the Catholic Church is stupid at all! Infact, if you read through some of my blogposts you will realize that I understand the Catholic church is very intellectual... as a collective entity. Infact, it's intellectual rationalizations are almost insidiously smart/evil.

That is not to say that Protestants are any less pernicious. I'm an atheist. My default position is that faith in any mysticism is ignorance at best, dangerously evil at worst.12/01/2005 01:16:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Semperviva|W|P|just FYI limbo is not a catholic teaching- its a theorization of some Catholic theologians...12/01/2005 01:40:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Semperviva|W|P|Augustine thought unbaptized children went to Hell. This idea is ultimetely rejected by the Church because they have NO personal sin, no guilt and can therefore NOT be damned.12/01/2005 01:46:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|No personal sin, no guilt, and therefore cannot be damned. But apparently, they're not good enough to get to heaven either, cuz the Pope feels that he needs to come up with a new description for their eventual fate... the assumption being, a new description is required because they do not go to heaven like other good souls, hence the "heaven" description of state does not apply to these "innocent souls"

Also, limbo HAS to be Catholic doctrine because the very INSTITUTION of Catholicism, i.e. the Pope and the rest of the Vatican guys are struggling to deal with their doctrine... change it in some way.

If you define "Catholic doctrine" in some other way that precludes atleast in some instances the authority of the legitimate Catholic body, i.e. the Vatican and the Pope, then you are obviously being heretical, and you have no business calling those opinions "Catholic".
Official Catholicism is exactly what the Official Church and the Pope says it is.12/01/2005 02:28:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Eddie James|W|P|"Only" was sarcastic...hehe.

Of course Protestant churches will say they aren't from Catholics. But no matter, that is the case of things. The entirety of Protestant faith is from Catholicism. Every single thing they believe is either taken directly from Catholic doctrine or is a deviation from it.

Christianity is Catholicism and then everything else that springs out. Nooo, that's not me being ostentatious or anything. My father is a theologian with 6 degrees so I hear quite a bit about this and the rationlization for it. Nooo, I'm not bragging about my father. But he does offer me a wealth of information.

Yeah, I didn't really go through all your blog posts. When I've got the time maybe ;-).

I must ask you as an atheist: what is evil if their is no God? Evil is an opposite of good morality. You cannot have morality without a God. So what is evil then? I'm very interested as to hwo atheists would approach that.

I'll hunker down to the rest of your blog soon enough...

Cheers!12/01/2005 02:34:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Oh. Here we go again. How can an atheist have morals without a god. Hmmm... I'll just post a few links to my other blogposts that tackle that issue... it'll make it easier for you and me.12/01/2005 04:08:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Tyrel|W|P|Ha! It is an endless battle for you!

To all of you out there, I have only one thing to say to you -

Pshjx.

(I decided to jump on that bandwagon too!)12/01/2005 04:25:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|The Bandwagon is our favorite kind of wagon... so it seems! :)

Btw, Vdhiubn has a great blog out there that y'all should check out. I agree with everything he says there.

Peace.12/01/2005 09:52:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Rubicund Y. Logorrhea|W|P|Oh, Ergo, such shameless self-promotion. Even inveterate band-wagoneers can see through such shams.

Yours,

Eisnmm12/02/2005 10:39:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|Oh whatever... you're such a knntt.

:-P12/02/2005 10:40:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Ergo Sum|W|P|I swear that was really my word verification! How appropriately timely, don't you think?!

Very zvrwv. It's uncanny.-->