Re: PHIL: Egoism (Was ART: What Art Is)

From: Technotranscendence (
Date: Tue May 30 2000 - 06:23:37 MDT

On Monday, May 29, 2000 9:46 PM Emlyn wrote:
> > Given Mother Theresa openly _professed_ views on human suffering --
> > its necessity; i.e., the necessity of it in the form of the stifling
> poverty
> > and rampant disease in Third World countries and not in the sense of,
> > needing a little adversity to make us stronger -- I'd think there's a
> > cost associated with even one Mother Theresa. If ever there was a
> character
> > that seems almost out of a Rand novel, it is her.
> I'm not sure I understand this point. Could you expand on it? Type slowly,
> have trouble keeping up...


I recall this being stated elsewhere on TV news several years ago, though
approvingly. I've checked some of the Mother Theresa web sites, but have
not found the exact quote.

There are also several other sites critical of her.

> > Since Gates has yet to use or advocate murder and mayhem or even to show
> > bias toward such, I disagree. (This is not to put Gates on a pedestal.)
> I'm talking economically here; rather than actually physically killing
> other, 100 Bill Gates could be expected to spend a lot of effort trying to
> economically dominate each other, using (not exclusively) extremely
> destructive competitive practices, in an attempt to gain a monopoly
> position.

I'm not sure if this would be the case. After all, Gates is finite and he's
really only trying to be on top in one industry. Would they all decide to
stick to the same industry? If so, would 100 Mother Theresa's all compete
to help the same beggar and not divide their efforts?

Also, trying to be the best usually winds up making people do better things

> Another point of view is that most of the value of both Bill Gates and
> Mother Theresa is as icons; they symbolise particular sets of values to
> great amounts of people. From this point of view, 100 of either is only
> marginally more useful than one; those instances occuring after the first
> not carrying any extra symbolic value.

As icons, I gather Emlyn is right -- if we assume everyone can agree and
believe in the same set of icons.

This is a good angle to examine Mother Theresa from, since most people
consider her morally perfect and above reproach. She appeared to do lots of
things for PR and a lot of things she did -- supporting Duvalier -- and said
which went uncriticized, but if others had did or said them -- let's say,
Bill Gates had said them would not be praised at all.

In a way, it reminds me of McCain's campaign to become the GOP Presidential
candidate. As a senator he never met a lobbyist he didn't like, but as a
candidate for the Presidential ticket he took every chance he could get for
photo ops to make him look like the common man, unconnected to the
Washington set. And the hagiography continues!


Daniel Ust

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