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Never Give Yourself Away

Posted by khalling 3 months, 1 week ago to Philosophy
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someone posted in social media a Pablo Picasso quote about inheriting your gift and so therefore, it was your duty to give the gift away. Here is Ayn Rand's response: "Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision. Their goals differed, but they all had this in common: that the step was first, the road new, the vision unborrowed, and the response they received—hatred. The great creators—the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors—stood alone against the men of their time. Every great new thought was opposed. Every great new invention was denounced. The first motor was considered foolish. The airplane was considered impossible. The power loom was considered vicious. Anesthesia was considered sinful. But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered and they paid. But they won.
No creator was prompted by a desire to serve his brothers, for his brothers rejected the gift he offered and that gift destroyed the slothful routine of their lives. His truth was his only motive. His own truth, and his own work to achieve it in his own way. A symphony, a book, an engine, a philosophy, an airplane or a building—that was his goal and his life. Not those who heard, read, operated, believed, flew or inhabited the thing he had created. The creation, not its users. The creation, not the benefits others derived from it. The creation which gave form to his truth. He held his truth above all things and against all men.
His vision, his strength, his courage came from his own spirit. A man’s spirit, however, is his self. That entity which is his consciousness. To think, to feel, to judge, to act are functions of the ego.
The creators were not selfless. It is the whole secret of their power—that it was self-sufficient, self-motivated, self-generated. A first cause, a fount of energy, a life force, a Prime Mover. The creator served nothing and no one. He lived for himself.
And only by living for himself was he able to achieve the things which are the glory of mankind. Such is the nature of achievement."


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  • Posted by bsmith51 3 months, 1 week ago
    Invention is in my family (the ripcord parachute) and, to some extent, that desire to invent has trickled down to me. My motivation has come from the desire to find a better way, when tasked to do something in a way I find cumbersome. I'm not thinking of creating a better world or lifting mankind. I just want my life to be a bit easier. Call it a laziness factor.
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 months, 1 week ago
    This reminds me of Scott Adams saying people who are very successful often say it's because they're so passionate about the thing they're successful in. They feel uncomfortable, he says, saying it's because they had a natural ability in it and then they worked really had.
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    • Posted by ewv 3 months, 1 week ago
      Only because we've been taught to be uncomfortable with it. But part of the effort of success is in developing a natural ability. We are born with different, mostly broad, capacities, but no one is born with a "natural ability" all ready to go "as is" for a productive career.
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  • Posted by jdg 3 months, 1 week ago
    Sometimes, you can get worthwhile benefits by giving away your inventions. The open source software movement is built around that idea. The main reward its contributors get is that lots of other people will examine your code, and may debug or improve upon it.

    Folk songs also work that way.

    None of which is intended to denigrate anybody who invented something without giving it away. But doing so is not always an irrational choice.

    As far as the stories of inventors who felt their work was "inspired by God" or was a labor of love -- to my way of thinking these people were very lucky, to happen to really enjoy a kind of work at which they are so talented that they can make lots of money at it. I wish I had that luck, but I don't. So I found something I can earn a steady living at and can put up with doing. This is the lesson that Mike Rowe is trying to teach America. I agree with him.
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  • Posted by bsmith51 3 months, 1 week ago
    Steven Covey, in his 7 Habits book, spoke of making yourself valuable to the world, then "giving yourself away."

    We all have our different motivations. The danger is when some jackass decides that his should, through public policy, be forced on everyone else..
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 months, 1 week ago
    "The creators were not selfless."
    I Roark and Keating were real people, I suspect the average person who know of them but didn't know them would have this incorrect view: "Roark is one of those selfless artists. He did it all for humankind. Keating OTOH was a selfish jerk. He manipulated his way into running a architecture firm, not for humankind as Roark did, but to enrich himself."

    This and the Scott Adams idea on passion makes me wonder if great artists/inventors really think "I was born good at this. I enjoyed doing it and money I got from it, so I worked really hard and became great at it." The interviewer or historian writing about it thinks, "no, no that makes him sound like a jerk. I want to focus on the aspects of how he did it to serve human kind. Let me find quotes and anecdotes that support that 'positive' view of him."
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 months, 1 week ago
    Thanks for this post. I'll put my three thoughts in separate comments.
    "your duty to give the gift away"
    This has been the common interpretation of mainstream religions. It is incorrect.
    My crude thought on this is this duty-to-give-away and slavery are default state for humankind, and we develop reason to rise above our default state and step beyond what we came from.
    I have heard people reject that, saying it's bad philosophy that causes socialism, slavery, original sin/duty, etc. It seems to me, though, like lack of philosophy.
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    • Posted by ewv 3 months, 1 week ago
      It is bad philosophy. Altruism is philosophy.

      A philosophy of reason is required to rise above what you call the "default state", but that doesn't mean that people haven't followed bad philosophy. With no philosophy at all, i.e., no unifying view, no matter how limited, of man and his relation to the world, man couldn't function at all. We would still be dying young in caves as brute range of the moment animals.
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      • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 months, 1 week ago
        "We would still be dying young in caves as brute range of the moment animals."
        At what point in development does humankind go from being brutes to have a philosophy? Maybe it's "behavioral modernity." Intuitively I could imagine behaviorally modern humans lacking a philosophy, but maybe it's just a bad philosophy. This leads me to wonder at one point children go from having no philosophy to having one, and if it's always at the same point.
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        • Posted by  $  blarman 3 months, 1 week ago
          It would be very interesting to have a time machine and go back through history and watch the development of mankind, no question. Personally, I think we'd see the same things we see now: the rise and fall of civilizations through warfare and bloodshed over ideological conflicts. I really don't think man has changed (ideologically) all that much in the thousands of years we've been on this planet. We've just developed better tools and toys to enable us to move from subsistence living to trying to figure out what to do with our spare time.
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          • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 months, 1 week ago
            "the rise and fall of civilizations through warfare and bloodshed over ideological conflicts."
            The ancient world seems so brutal to me. I'm thinking of the how they purposely targeted non-combatants for no reason. They would go to war with the unapologetic goal of the spoils of war. They had weird practices like murdering conquered people and moving into their houses as the new man of the house replacing the murdered man as the husband and step-parent. When people do these things today, we see them as beyond the pale. For the most part people don't do it, and when they do, as ISIS does, it's partly to get attention because it's so beyond the pale. It seems like humankind has gotten less brutal.
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            • Posted by  $  blarman 3 months, 1 week ago
              I really don't think you have to look back to ancient history. The 20th century was the bloodiest in human existence between two world wars, several other major/minor conflicts and political cleansing from men like Mao, Pol Pot, Stalin, and Hitler. I know that we like to think of ourselves as "more civilized" in today's day and age, but are we really? I think we like to hide behind our technological advancement and equate that with moral advancement as well, but in my mind the two are very different things. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to have flush toilets and computers and personal hygiene, but I am still waiting for that day when mankind decides that business is a more profitable affair than war.
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              • Posted by term2 3 months, 1 week ago
                I am very thankful I was born in the USA and have not been involved in bloodshed (for whatever reason). The opportunities here in the USA are really awesome and we should all use them while we have them!!!
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                • Posted by ewv 3 months, 1 week ago
                  The philosophy of the Enlightenment emphasis on reason and individualism overthrowing millennia of superstition and barbarism made a spectacular difference to human life, especially in this country. The wars and stagnation elsewhere (and threatening us in the past and today) are the result of intellectual regression and primitive societies not getting the intellectual benefits at all, including their moral primitivism.
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        • Posted by ewv 3 months, 1 week ago
          Read Ayn Rand's "Philosophy and Sense of Life" in *The Romantic Manifesto". Everyone requires an overview of how he sees the world. Humans can't live range of the moment. A person's philosophy may be implicit and unacknowledged if he doesn't think about it and he may uncritically absorb it from others in contradictory pieces. Or he can systematically try to understand and integrate what he believes, which may or may not be consistent or correct. Or it could be some mixture. The more intellectually ambitious strive to understand continuously and rationally, like you are right now. Others plunge into religion or just drift.

          You can see the dominant philosophical positions explicitly taken and their influence over the last 2,000 years of western civilization in a good history of philosophy such as Leonard Peikoff's lectures. In terms of the history of the species, religion is a primitive form of philosophy attempting to provide a personal unifying outlook. The first attempt to be philosophical by seeking a unifying principle is attributed to Thales in ancient Greece. Children pick up their own philosophy of life gradually in their development just like they gradually learn anything and develop their own unique personalities.
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        • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 3 months, 1 week ago
          It was the attainment of consciousness, (self introspection) and, finally...a connection to the mind that gave fourth.. philosophy; insights into why we do a thing and why we should do a thing as opposed to another.
          Basically, the observation of not just one's own behavior but the behavior of others and nature itself.
          The bicameral brain could not connect the dots in an integrated fashion like the mind can.
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  • Posted by freetrader 2 days, 18 hours ago
    "A man’s spirit, however, is his self. That entity which is his consciousness. To think, to feel, to judge, to act are functions of the ego.
    The creators were not selfless. It is the whole secret of their power—that it was self-sufficient, self-motivated, self-generated. A first cause, a fount of energy, a life force, a Prime Mover".

    spirit (v.) 1590s, "to make more active or energetic" (of life, alcohol, etc.), ie
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  • Posted by  $  Maritimus 3 months, 1 week ago
    Hello, Khalling,
    Would it be too presumptuous to suggest adding to the series: "...a philosophy, an airplane or a building..." or a business?
    Always great to encounter you here.
    All the best to you,
    Sincerely,
    Maritimus
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  • Posted by chad 3 months, 1 week ago
    My brother had an amusing way of looking at it. He said that inventors were just lazy people looking for another way to accomplish the work instead of just grabbing a shovel and start digging! If there is no reward except feeling good some people will try to accomplish difficult goals anyway, but without reward they will probably get bored and find that they must work to earn a living.
    As far as not everyone has the talent to accomplish new things, still with practice at your work you can improve your lot or your abilities and become more valuable in the marketplace. I recall reading about a man who worked as a parking attendant, not able to improve himself beyond that. Yet the people he took care of were investing and he would save and ask for their advice. Over the years he became worth several million dollars. Then stupidly gave it all away to feel good because it was money he didn't think he needed and it should go to the poor. Giving away what you have earned to those who did not earn it is always a foolish choice that does not benefit the receivers for they come to believe that to succeed they must be derelict in their efforts to support themselves.
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  • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 3 months, 1 week ago
    True...creators are not selfless nor celfless although the results of their efforts does create value for others but the act of creation is in, of itself, the reward for the creator.
    It's amazing how a community of celfish cells in an individual can come together to create values that never before existed.

    Thank you Khalling.
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  • Posted by term2 3 months, 1 week ago
    I think we each have what I call "x-man super power(s)". It is our job in life to figure out what they are and then to use them in our own lives. Once you identify your super power, you MUST use it, or forever regret it.

    At least thats the way I see it....
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