Re: Subjective experience, Objective reality, and isms

Mark Grant (
Sat, 13 Sep 1997 10:40:31 +0000

On Fri, 12 Sep 1997 wrote:

> What I am interested in is not bragging that I "know" everything there is
> to
> know about the motives that cause this kind of thinking... we have our
> opinions, sure... and some very valid theory about why that stuff is
> destructive.

What's the problem? Someone has an experience they don't understand and
comes up with a subjective explanation, others support them because it's
fun, because they can make money out of it, because they can acquire
power, because it fits their belief system, or because they're loons. This
has always been the way with religions; what's so new about UFOs and
circles? Every year or two I read alt.alien.visitors for a few weeks, but
nothing ever changes; everyone who comes in looking for objective evidence
is insulted by the believers and soon leaves.

> Answers are not always the answer. ; )

They are if you're more interested in achieving things than living in a
fantasy world. Sadly, 90%+ of the Western population seem to prefer
watching soap operas or 'X-Files' than wondering why we can't see any
aliens out there, even though the answer to that question may be vital to
our long-term survival. But, hey, at least they know who shot JR...

> This is the problem with original Randian objectivism, it tries to negate
> that rather than change people's "subjective" experience. No wonder it is
> unpopular, only a small percentage of the population wants to live without
> that!

Who brought Rand into this discussion? I found 'Atlas Shrugged' highly
amusing, but much preferred 'Illuminatus' as a work of philosophy. The
only thing I really gained from Rand was her emphasis on consistent belief
systems (at least to the extent that Godel allows them).

> Also, IMO, it condones and rationalizes an outrageous amount of meaness
> and enforces a stubborn passive message: " I cannot, will not, change,
> emotionally".

Objectivists are passive?!?!?! This is sure news to me (and so much for
'communication beginning with listening and empathizing', huh?)

You're right that a lot of assholes seem to use Rand's writing as a
justification for their behaviour, but far more assholes use 'compassion'
as a justification for pushing socialist programs to control those who
disagree with them. Which is worse: an 'objectivist' asshole who screws up
the lives of a handful of people or a 'compassionate' asshole who screws
up the lives of millions?

> It is not colored with the richness
> of life's most precious gifts.

Which are, exactly? Most lists of 'life's most precious gifts' seem to be
attempts to rationalize people's failure.

> Perhaps it is nothing but a dangerous and costly mental game, a
> self-righteous way to explain and exalt a sad lack of empathy and emotional
> depth.

ROTFL. The 'dangerous and costly mental game' of 'compassionate' socialism
has destroyed more lives than objectivism ever could; I despise it
precisely because I can empathise with the people who've suffered in the
name of 'compassion'. Socialism has given it a real bad name.

> Studies show that empathy and an ability to deeply identify with
> other's suffering (compassion) is a "hardwired" human trait, but some
> people seem to be born without it, or lose it because of neglect or abuse.
> However it is an emotional skill that can be developed with practice.

I'm not even going to comment on this.

> It's
> guru suggests we don't need it, that we are above it. How pathetic an
> example
> of this theory she presents by her life example.

Yeah, right on! She should have been a good member of society just like
everyone else and worked compassionately for the good of society rather
than writing one of the best-selling novels this century. While 'Atlas
Shrugged' is probably the worst great novel ever written, it certainly
*is* a great novel because it deals with questions that few other people
will even ask.

Rand may have been an idiot in many ways, but she achieved far more than
those who prefer to 'watch TV, have sex and smoke dope' ever will. From
what I know of her life most of her problems came from *not* following her
philosophy (e.g. ignoring the objective evidence that smoking might well
kill her). She compassionately sacrificed herself to test her philosophy,
and we learnt from her mistakes. You'd condemn her for that?


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