Do I qualify to be an Objectivist

Posted by rlewellen 6 years, 4 months ago to Philosophy
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I joined this site because I shared a thought process with Ayn Rand. long before I read Atlas Shrugged I was quite aware of the lack of logic that was raining down in our society. Logically I wondered how do people come to such opposing views of the world around them? The conclusion is there are people that use their emotions as their guide more than logic.. Do all people have the ability to look at every subject without emotion? No. What is the purpose of our emotional side? I suppose it aids in the survival of our species because without it we would drifting through life alone focused only on our own survival. Our spouses would only serve to satisfy a momentary purpose. Our children would be a drain on our resources. Our parents would eventually become useless to us so we could leave them if they were injured or ill.
I believe in God and if I debate you on this matter I will point to many emotional as well as logical reasons. Does this mean I am not an Objecitivist? I was an Objectivist long before I knew anything about Atlas Shrugged I was looking at the world and evaluating it based on logical conclusions for a long time. Was I supposed to take the Oath before I slapped down my $4.00 a month? I wouldn’t because I have a child that may depends on me for the rest of his/her life or mine. Everyone does not reach the same conclusion about every topic discussed on this site are they supposed to? Do they have to reach all of the same conclusions as Ayn Rand?
God. I paid my $4.00. to engage in Objective debate not subjective debate. Two people can reach very different conclusions on the same


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  • Posted by dbhalling 6 years, 4 months ago
    From the Ayn Rand Lexicon
    An emotion is an automatic response, an automatic effect of man’s value premises. An effect, not a cause. There is no necessary clash, no dichotomy between man’s reason and his emotions—provided he observes their proper relationship. A rational man knows—or makes it a point to discover—the source of his emotions, the basic premises from which they come; if his premises are wrong, he corrects them. He never acts on emotions for which he cannot account, the meaning of which he does not understand.
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    • Posted by Rozar 6 years, 4 months ago
      I have felt bad about things I knew I shouldn't before. I continue to do so till this day.

      What about a man who does act on his emotions, the ones he does understand, regardless of the irrationality?

      She is wrong to say a rational man doesn't act on his emotions, unless of course she was speaking of a man who doesn't exist.
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      • Posted by dbhalling 6 years, 4 months ago
        Acting is different than feeling. She also did not say you don't act on your emotions, she said you don't act on emotions that you have not examined and know where they come from. I am sure that no one lives up to the ideal. When we are tired or sick we snap without examining our emotions and hurt the one's we love.
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        • Posted by 6 years, 4 months ago
          That's it living to the ideal. Who does in everything? I have seen the birds, trees, flowers, people the universe I know they exist though I can't see where they came from. The big bang, time, energy, all point to a beginning somewhere that resulted in mass that resulted in life this magnificent combination. I know they got there. That is logic but my conclusion is different.
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    • Posted by Hiraghm 6 years, 4 months ago
      "He never acts on emotions for which he cannot account, the meaning of which he does not understand"

      In the words of... me...

      "Bulllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll... (shit)."
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    • Posted by xthinker88 6 years, 4 months ago
      "An emotion is an automatic response, an automatic effect of man’s value premises. An effect, not a cause."

      That is just not true. Ayn Rand unfortunately did not know a lot about psychology. Emotions may or may not have anything whatever at all to do with your value premises. Because of this, it is very easy to have a clash between your emotions and your reason.
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      • Posted by dbhalling 6 years, 4 months ago
        I am not an expert on psychology, but to say the least I am skeptical. Most people I know have emotional responses that are a result of one of their value premises. However, many people have contradictory value premises, so that can make it difficult to discern.
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        • Posted by xthinker88 6 years, 3 months ago
          I'm not an expert in that field either but I've had discussions about this with psychologists and have read about it and would respectfully disagree.

          While one could have emotional responses concerning the value premises one has accepted and/or chosen, many emotional responses are not even fully about the event that triggered them but are magnified by and contain emotional content from earlier life events. It seems to me that this is clearly demonstrated in phobias. While a rational person values their life and not falling from a height, the fear of falling is present in people to various degrees (in the case of a phobia to an extreme and debilitating degree) and in some people seemingly not at all. This emotional response does not seem to correlate very well or at all to the value premise of not dying in a fall.

          I think there are probably even far better examples. In meditation for example, people often find that all sorts of emotional responses begin to come up even though there is no triggering event - merely because the mind is relaxed.
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          • Posted by dbhalling 6 years, 3 months ago
            Sure, but isn't the phobia of falling a value response to a desire to live?
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            • Posted by xthinker88 6 years, 3 months ago
              My thought is that it would seem that it ought to be but that I do not believe that it is for several reasons. Obviously I could be wrong. This is a fascinating topic though that I wish I had more time to study and explore. But clearly some people that want to live do not have a fear of falling. And in fact, their lack of this fear might even make them less likely to fall.

              Here is a quote from NB in the Benefits and Hazards article. I think that he agrees that emotions proceed from value judgments but I need to go back to his books to see what he says about it. I'm not convinced that he means exactly the same thing by that statement that AR did.

              "Now let's turn to another very important issue in the Randian philosophy: the relationship between reason and emotion. Emotions, Rand said again and again, are not tools of cognition. True enough, they are not. Emotions, she said, proceed from value judgments, conscious or subconscious, which they do in the sense that I wrote about in The Psychology of Self-Esteem and The Disowned Self. Emotions always reflect assessments of one kind or another, as others besides Rand and myself have pointed out."
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              • Posted by xthinker88 6 years, 3 months ago
                He goes on to talk about repression.

                "A clash between mind and emotions is a clash between two assessments, one of which is conscious, the other might not be. It is not invariably the case that the conscious assessment is superior to the subconscious one; that needs to be checked out. The point is not that we follow the voice of emotion or feeling blindly, it means only that we don't dismiss our feelings and emotions so quickly; we try to understand what they may be telling us; we don't simply repress, rather we try to resolve the conflict between reason and feeling. We strive for harmony, for integration. We don't simply slash away the pieces of ourselves that don't fit our notion of the good or the right or the rational."
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                • Posted by xthinker88 6 years, 3 months ago
                  I think he is clearly arguing though that it is possible for reason and emotion to conflict. And that the right answer is not to always reject emotion in favor of reason.
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      • Posted by 6 years, 4 months ago
        A very smart person once told me that most arguments start because someone's pride is hurt. I believe it's true, that doesn't mean that your pride is unimportant, though not always rational.
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        • Posted by xthinker88 6 years, 4 months ago
          You believe what is true? the above quote?

          My pride isn't hurt. The actual psychologist in the Collective has said repeatedly that AR did not understand psychology or know much about it. And he has stated that that is a potential flaw in the way her thinking is presented.

          You had emotions way before you were even capable of having a "value premise" or a premise of any sort.
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  • Posted by $ rockymountainpirate 6 years, 4 months ago
    As to not everyone reaching the same conclusion about every topic I refer you to the discussion in The Gulch when they discussed that neither Dr. Akston, Galt or d'Anconia agreed with Ragnars tactics. I'll find the exact part if you like. So do we have to agree on everything? I sure hope not. I want people to test me and call me on my stuff when necessary.
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    • Posted by khalling 6 years, 4 months ago
      yes, please find that section!
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      • Posted by $ winterwind 6 years, 4 months ago
        I went looking for that section, and found a couple of pieces of information.
        Akston says, of John, Francisco & Ragnar "I am proud of their every action, of their every goal – and of every value they’ve chosen.”

        Mulligan & Akston ask the 3 about their plans for the next year. When John says he doesn’t know if he’ll be returning to NYC, they object, plead, ask his reasons, try to convince him not to return because it’s dangerous.

        When Ragnar comes to John’s house, after Dagny’s first night in the Gulch, John is clearly concerned about what has [or hasn’t] happened to him: “ Lost any men? Lost any of your time? Lost any battles?”

        then, a few moments later, when Ragnar is telling John about his trip to the Gulch, he says to Dagny: “I’m used to objections….None of them approve of my particular method of fighting our battle. John doesn't, Dr. Akston doesn't."

        But I could not find a place in which Akston, John or Frisco THEMSELVES say they do not agree with Ragnar's methods.

        I've been consulting my dust-jacketed copy of AS so much that the dust jacket has finally torn -repairs ahead, I earned those tears and I'm keeping it!
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  • Posted by $ richrobinson 6 years, 4 months ago
    I would say yes. The one thing I feel sets objectivists apart is that we disagree and debate in a civil manner. Collectivists all agree and if one strays they are berated until they return to the collectivist thought. I don't think that your faith disqualifies you as an objectivist. Why do you question your qualifications?
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    • Posted by 6 years, 4 months ago
      i wish I could give you two points for that. I have seen quite a few comments such as well they are not Objectivists if they believe in God. I don't want to be a part of any group that behaves the way the collectivists do. I have issues with people that are Christians who prescribe to the same. I enjoy multiple points of view. That is what built this country and it's government in the past.
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      • Posted by Robbie53024 6 years, 4 months ago
        Perhaps your problem is with how the Objectivists define themselves. Most, by definition, reject the possibility of a deity.
        I, for one, count myself a Constitutional Libertarian. I share many of the same beliefs as the Objectivists, but I also believe in God.
        There are also some Objectivists on the extreme who are anarchists - I don't subscribe to that either. An organizing mechanism that provides for the common defense is essential, and I believe that the US Constitution is the best method yet devised to do so (not that it's not being bastardized daily by this current administration).
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        • Posted by khalling 6 years, 4 months ago
          Objectivists refute the notion of anarchy. that is a libertarian concept. Objectivists agree that the US Constitution is the best form of governance to date.
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          • Posted by Robbie53024 6 years, 4 months ago
            Don't know if you were on the first iteration of this board for AS2, but I had a couple of drawn out discussions with those that called themselves "True Objectivists" and they espoused that no government was moral - I would call that anarchy.
            I suspect that they were merely agitator with a lot of time on their hands as they really only seemed to provoke. I fell into responding, but quickly (maybe not quickly enough) learned to ignore them. I see one of them here, with whom I've ceased engaging.
            I enjoy having my thought process and tenets challenged - it helps me to more clearly articulate them to myself, my wife, my kids, and others whom I care for.
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      • Posted by khalling 6 years, 4 months ago
        There is a distinction between the philosophy Objectivism and being objectivist. You, personally, can lead an objectivist lifestyle but you must acknowledge that Objectivism does not accept religion or that there is a God. That's just fact. You are free to disagree. But to suggest objectivists are collectivist in following the philosophy is incorrect. The philosophy is a rational system. and, anyway, how is Christianity not collectivist? If the end goal is to serve for the glory of God? I do not mean to disrespect-but it is important to point out the contradictions. IF we blur them, aren't we changing the definition of concepts? Better to say what you accept and what you reject. There are many commonalities between objectivists and christians. I generally like to point those areas out and celebrate them. But I do not ignore where concepts clash.
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        • Posted by 6 years, 4 months ago
          Both the religion and the philosophy have a foundation of principles they use as a guide, Judgement of others is rejected in Christianity, so it is not collectivist. If you choose to call yourself a Christian and don't try to follow those principles that is on you, You follow Objectivism because it gives you the type of information you seek to survive,to get along with others, resolve disputes, improve your life, to make the world a better place that is the goal of both.
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          • Posted by m082844 6 years, 4 months ago
            I admire you for putting yourself out there. To answer your original post, it depends on what concept you mean by objectivist.

            If what you mean by objectivist is someone who agrees with most of the philosophy, then sure.

            If you mean someone that agrees and adheres to that philosophy's fundamentals consistently, then no. Christians believe and require faith (believing without observation) which contradicts a major fundamental in objectivist philosophy -- reason (belief based on observation among other things) as man's only absolute.

            Or if none of those concepts fit what you're trying to say, feel free to define what you mean when you use the term objectivist.

            For a good series of books on Objectivism's complete answer to the question of the super natural I recommend:
            1. Introduction to objectivist epistemology (as a foundation)
            2. Atheism: a case against god (as an application of #1 to the question of god's existence)
            3. First few chapters of OPAR (as a rough outlined sketch of essentials)
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          • Posted by khalling 6 years, 4 months ago
            yes, those things are true. However, the philosophy of Objectivism is logically consistent throughout. You may choose to reject some or all of the philosophy but it has axioms, corollaries, logical ends. The parts of Objectivism you appreciate come from philosophical foundations. To ignore those foundations is to ignore the logical conclusions you appreciate.
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        • Posted by Robbie53024 6 years, 4 months ago
          I don't think that rlewllen was calling Objectivists collectivists, rather that his/her observation is that they behave that way.
          "serve for the glory of God" - depends on how you define God. I don't believe that the human mind can conceptualize what God really is, thus we have tried to make him in our image, not as he truly is. This has been a failing of humankind in trying to understand that which is not understandable by humans.
          I hope that you can appreciate my thoughts in this and other recent postings. This will be the last that I espouse on this topic.
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          • Posted by xthinker88 6 years, 4 months ago
            The original Objectivists even called themselves the "Collective". It may have started in humor but the accounts I've read suggest (ok - they outright make the case - I'm being weaselly with "suggest") that the core group became very Collectivist in style if not in content.
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          • Posted by khalling 6 years, 4 months ago
            I appreciate your points. Respectfully, we will disagree on this. While we argue concepts and issues, we also appreciate what we agree on. We are posting in this site for a reason and we share many of those reasons.
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  • Posted by $ WillH 6 years, 4 months ago
    I am a bit in the situation that you are in the fact that I lead an Objectivist lifestyle, and believe with my logical mind that Ayn Rand was correct in a great many areas. I reject the creed of the looter and moocher because I am a man that earns what he gets and gets what he earns.

    Do I agree with Ayn Rand in everything she said? No, of course I do not because I am an independent free thinker. I do not blindly march to anyone’s drumbeat including hers. I am also a deeply religious person. I can see where the “religion bashing” can stress you out, but if you think about all the things done in the name of religion throughout history it is quite reasonable that unreligious people would have a bad taste in their mouths. I try to keep that in mind when I read such things. You have to be strong. People here are generally tolerant of others, but there are a few on here that will insult you and your religion. You have to be thick skinned. There are several of us here that are both Objectivists and Spiritualists, and do not feel the two are incompatible.

    A key to this is being open minded. I have always been a religious person, but when I read Atlas Shrugged it spoke to me in a major way. I have said before it was like meeting Galt himself, and it was. I was your run-of-the-mill junior executive frustrated with the issues of society, taxes, my company’s almost mandatory charity deductions, and a wife that was “bravely exploring her gay lifestyle.” I allowed AS to speak to me and ended up shrugging off that life to become a common factory worker in a different state. At no point during this process did I question my devotion to god. In fact, I feel his blessing upon my efforts and his lack of blessing when I do not make my own effort. I honestly believe that you must help yourself.

    A lot of people believe that Christianity and Objectivism are incompatible due to the “I am my brother’s keeper” attitude. I say it depends on how you interpret that in your own life. For example, I had a female coworker that had been threatened and wanted to get a gun for self-protection. I took her to Gander Mountain where she could hold various guns. Once she found what she liked I took her where she could get it cheaper. I then took her to my range and taught her how to use it. I found a CC class for her and she got her permit. She now carries all the time. I did not charge her anything. The value I got from it was my own personal satisfaction, and the knowledge that she will be better able to defend herself and her son. My personal philosophy is that being your brother’s keeper is about being willing to teach others, and be willing to learn from others. It does not include giving anything without getting in return.

    I honestly do not think the John Galt Oath has anything to do with your own children. Do not forget that there were at least two children in the Gulch. If you love your children and they love you then you are getting value for value in that relationship.

    Keep your faith in god foremost in your soul, and the logic of Objectivism as a guiding principal in your life and you won’t go wrong.
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    • Posted by xthinker88 6 years, 4 months ago
      I don't know where I am with the "God" question. That said, clearly there is room for general benevolence. NB talked about that in his hazards and benefits article. He argued that AR accepted that idea but never really let it get to the forefront in her books.

      I would argue that when the "Gulch gang" jumped on aircraft and risked their lives to rescue John Galt, they were doing so because they valued him as a friend and for his contribution. I don't think there is anything incompatible in that idea and objectivism but I think it is given scant attention in AR's works. Your example seems to be of a similar kind. If I were walking down the street, and a man was raping a woman that I did not know, and I could stop it - I would. I think even at risk to myself. Is that altruism? I don't think so. I would rather help her at risk to myself than to live in a society where a rapist got away with his crime right in front of me.

      AR I think touches this in her Philosophy: Who Needs It? speech which was to the 1974 graduating class at West Point. She honors them and says that they are not sacrificing. They are potentially risking their lives for the values they hold dear.

      Ironiically, on the religious question, CS Lewis argued vehemently that Christianity, at its heart was not about altruism. That the ultimate motive was to gain the ultimate prize for oneself. And it was that prize that made all others pale in comparison. Of course, one has to believe in that prize first but he actually went so far as to argue that Kant created the idea of altruism and self-sacrifice (that the ONLY moral action is one in which you do not personally benefit) and that it was actually contrary to Christian teaching.
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    • Posted by Robbie53024 6 years, 4 months ago
      Perhaps you didn't take my sarcasm as intended. I think you presented a very good argument, and was merely chiding other "purists" that insist that to be faithful, one must be atheist.
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      • Posted by $ WillH 6 years, 4 months ago
        No, I did not take your comment wrongly; I just did not see it when you made it. It must have arrived on one of those Email strings the board sends. LOL

        I think it depends on how someone adopts Objectivism in their lives. I think some see it as the end all philosophy, basically the truth of the entire universe. Others take pieces and parts of it and compose their own hybrid philosophy, combining it with their own religious beliefs.

        I find that the world is so full of altruism and the belief in the virtue of need that these two sects of Objectivists waste time and energy when they argue with each other. Debate is fine, and even good, but Objectivists and Religious Objectivists have far more pressing enemies than each other imo.
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    • Posted by 6 years, 4 months ago
      I'm good, God is first. I was trying to address this in a way that others might understand. I don't need to change for anyone else and i don't expect others to change for me. You know if you get into a debate about this it will go on forever, many paint with big wide brushes and do not make logical statements about religion, Thanks for your time WillH.
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  • Posted by khalling 6 years, 4 months ago
    ok, r-you're upset. there will be healthy debate on this site. The one thing we all have in common is we liked and want to support the AS movies. second, is learning more about Ayn Rand or sharing what we know about Rand and Objectivism. Our site is unique in that many differing perspectives are discussed here. On this site, in general, Rand's ideas and Objectivism are at least given weight. Secondly, the discussion is generally ruled by reason and logic. If we all reached the same conclusion on every topic, the site would not be as interesting, IMO. However, Objectivism has definitions. I start with what are are those bounds (definitions). Many on this site are not Objectivists. That is where you see the most debate, I think. Again, let's start with what's riled you up.
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    • Posted by Rozar 6 years, 4 months ago
      I dunno, I'd be pretty damn interested if I could find one person let alone a website of people who think like me :P
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      • Posted by Zenphamy 6 years, 4 months ago
        Rozar; To think as you do or in the methods you do about the topics that interest you, would mean to be you and to have experienced all that you have in the same manner and with the same results.

        For me, that doesn't sound interesting, it sounds repetitive and mirror imaging.
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        • Posted by Rozar 6 years, 4 months ago
          I think about so many things in a day, I often wish I had more time. I would benefit greatly from being able to talk to someone who thinks like me. I could also apply my thoughts to actions easier, instead of bickering about why, I could start working with someone on the how.

          Of course I didn't really mean any of that when I first made my statement. I only meant that after 23 years I haven't met anyone who thinks like me, so if I discovered them I would be pretty dam interested in how they wound up like me.

          I mean really, if you met a clone of yourself you wouldn't be interested in it?
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      • Posted by $ winterwind 6 years, 4 months ago
        I guess I'm tired here, because I don't get it.

        I've read what you have written several times, and the only things I know about how [& what] you think is you believe in God, and you say you are an objectivist. You also point out that decisions can be based on emotion or reason.
        Okaaaaay.
        On what do you base your assertion [I think} that no one on the site thinks like you do?
        and [this should be first, of course - defining the terms} do you mean "comes to the same conclusion" or "follows the same path to a conclusion which may or may not be the same"?
        Most specifically, to what do you refer in your assertion that you don't think like I do? We have not interacted, as far as I remember.
        Sorry if I'm missing the obvious, but I really do not understand your plaint, and I would like to.
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        • Posted by 6 years, 4 months ago
          I have heard alot of of religion bashing. Sometimes Objectivism sounds like a religion. I didn't say noone thought like I did. I provided examples of thought processes where Objectivism is not the only consideration in every choice I or any human makes. Even two of the most logical people can disagree on some points. We joined this site because we were craving logical debate and the movies or the book reached us all and we do want to support the movies. I have seen somethings that conflicted with my points of view ie globalism puts too much power in the hands of to few, which our constitution was written to prevent, and my religion is a personal choice.as long as I don't advocate harm or isolation of someone that doesn't agree. It doesn't take away from anyone on here.
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          • Posted by khalling 6 years, 4 months ago
            sounds like you fit right in. You will see some vigorous discussion in here including about religion. Because Objectivism rejects religion. But that does not mean you have to reject the rest of Objectivism.
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    • Posted by 6 years, 4 months ago
      I'm not upset, I 'm just evaluating. I cannot come to the same conclusions as Ayn Rand on only a couple of things. I wrote what I wrote off the cuff, Sometimes I say things straight out (bluntly). I can tone it down but then it misses the point. I wanted to hear multiple points of view and I did. I gave everyone a point.Edit 1 I read multiple threads where people said well that is not Objectivist and I can't agree with Ayn Rand on 2 to 3 points. I don't need to,
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  • Posted by Snoogoo 6 years, 4 months ago
    I think you are in the perfect place. I am an atheist, you say you believe in God. That's OK, I respect your opinions and as long as you respect mine we can have a productive discussion on any topic. If everyone had the exact same opinion on all the topics in this forum, it would be pointless and pretty boring. It is your frame of mind which you state rests in logic that is important so in my book, you are in the right place.
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  • Posted by jrberts5 6 years, 4 months ago
    The basic principle in Objectivism is that "existence exists" which dispenses with the idea of God altogether. As was stated here, the intent is to substitute emotion for logic if logic doesn't satisfy their desire. Given those things, there won't be an issue of reaching the same conclusions as Ayn Rand. Many accept irrational principles and call themselves Objectivist all the while knowing that they don't fit Ayn Rand's definition of being one. What's the point of this, just another attempt to infuse irrationality into discussion and have it accepted as valid as the rational. The hostility toward Ayn Rand in this post gives it away. In The DIM Hypothesis, Leonard Peikoff identified "rage" as the emotion characteristic of nihilism. What is the difference between rage and hostility? The person displaying hostility is embittered by the barriers that reality puts in their way and the person displaying rage believes no one or thing can stop them from doing what they want--as evidence: Barack Obama.
    I stand for reason based on reality and will for the rest of my life be grateful to Ayn Rand for what she has created. I will fight against irrationality till the day I die--or until I shrug.
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  • Posted by $ ObjectiveAnalyst 6 years, 4 months ago
    We all walk the path, but not at the same pace or to the same destination. For me it is enough that you remain civil and find value where you can. This is not an advanced Objectivism course, but a site that promotes the movies and naturally attracts people of different levels of adherence to the philosophy.
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