Monday, January 31, 2011

Ayn Rand and the Virtue of Selfishness

Ayn Rand

‎"Since there is no such entity as 'the public,' since the public is merely a number of individuals, any claimed or implied conflict of 'the public interest' with private interests means that the interests of some men are to be sacrificed to the interests and wishes of others."
“The Monument Builders,” The Virtue of Selfishness, 88.

This statement means that "public interest" is a negotiated contract with the individual in free societies. Public service as a vocation is an individual choice of value. The government should not make demands upon individuals without individual consent. Otherwise, special interests over-ride indvidual rights, and promote corrupting influence on government.

Words Have Diverse Meanings,

Words have meanings. That is understood, but humans don't always identify words to their dictionary meanings. Human experience is how children define words. And how these words are "felt" are the understood meaning. True communication means that one understands the individual's definitions, as well as the word itself.

Have you ever had a "reaction" or response to an event that went way beyond the actual event itself? Your emotions were "out of kilter"? Why do you suppose this happened? Memories that are recorded in the brain are "revived" by some "image" that parallels the present experience. One can have physical reactions to such experiences, whether good or bad. And such emotional responses have a lot to do with religious feeling.

How do you suppose that such "recordings" or "brain images" are transformed?

Children need nuture, not harsh discipline to grow to a fruitful maturity. Discipline should be age appropriate, and not demanding or overwhelming to the child. Childish fears should be respected, not by dismissing childish fears, but giving the child a means of self-responsibility. A flashlight that can be turned on if the "monster" invades his/her room, or a special "fairy wand" that makes a "magic space of protection, where the "monster" cannot see the child.

The religious child is trained to "pray to God" for protection and help. And the child's belief in "God's help" is really the parent's representation of "god" to the child. Good parenting should give the child a means to transferring his dependence on "god" (parental image) to "self".

Childish beliefs must be challenged, and children need to grow up to own their life, where fear doesn't inhibit healthy self-identity. Without self identity, the child will never grow to become and make a difference. He will be crippled and left to his childish imaginations where "monsters" (the Devil) invade his "world" and make bad things happen, or "God" invades his world and makes "good things happen".

Words have meanings and true communication means that individuals seek to understand the meanings, images, messages of the words that are used, so that understanding and true communication can happen.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

It"s All About Theories and the "Mind"...

I think how one views life and all that is, is really about theories, and how one's mind engages theories and experiences.......

Think of the many types of theories in the different diciplines; literary theory, political theory, pscyhological theory, educational theory, etc...all of these theories help to formulate how a person "comes out" in their commitments in life, as to behavior and understanding.

I think this might defy a uniformity as to how adult individuals understand, internalize/criticize or incorporate/resist their environments.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Prejuidice, Law and Group Behavior

I just heard news that Scotland Yard investigated a group for "prejuidice".. A "humanist" group called Muslims, "Homophobic", and they got charged with being "Islamaphobic". What is Scotland Yard going to do with the "Homophobics"?

All groups have identifiers and must be prejuidiced if these identifiers hold any value whatsoever. Groups define themselves on some basis. This is to be accepted and understood. It is only when we "idealize" group behavior and expect that diverse groups can co-exist apart from any prejuidice, disagreement, or sometimes, even violence. It is too simplistic to think that groups that hold to their values, and understadings of themselves as important, will not be resistant to change. Change would dissolve the importance of the group itself.

My belief, is that co-existance in peace is an ideal, but is not a pragmatic solution to the world's problems. The world is just too complex and there are just too many differences.

An Ayn Rand Quote on Productivity

Ayn Rand

‎"Morally, the promise of an impossible 'right' to economic security is an infamous attempt to abrogate the concept of rights. It can and does mean only one thing: a promise to enslave the men who produce, for the benefit of those who don’t."
“A Preview,” The Ayn Rand Letter, I, 22, 2

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Warning From Gert Wilders

Geert Wilders, Chairman, Party for Freedom, the Netherlands, at the Four Seasons, New York, introducing an Alliance of Patriots and announcing the Facing Jihad Conference in Jerusalem warned about the Islamization of Europe. He argues that Islam is not a religion, but a political ideology! And he states that America and Israel are the last bastions against Islamization in the West!.

One Cannot Objectify Anything, Other Than Liberty

Men are born free. Some believe that liberty should be limited, because man is innately evil. Others believe that men are not innately "evil" but uninformed, or ignorant. What is necessary for society is to "order" or structure society, so that society functions. Such "order" is delegating "roles" for individuals to "perform".

"Irrational believers" that maintain that men are innately "evil" because of a "fall" from "God", or 'grace", are prone to think that one must be "saved", but from what? Some believe that one must be saved from "hell", as God will judge those that have not accepted his "way of salvation" which cleanses from "sin".Others believe that one must be saved from onself, because men are basically selfish. These think that paternalistic "patronizing" leadership is what is needful.

While it it true that children must learn to "live in society", there does come a time when adults must take ownership of thier life. Ownership means that one purposes their own goals, and lives independently giving back to society. in whatever area one desires. We wouldn't want to continue to support adults living as "children", in dependence on governmnet,or "God", as passivity is not ownership. And such dependent societies are not prosporous, or fulfilling to the individual within them.

Becoming an adult does not mean that one is independent from being human, from having "common need" of  survival, emotional support, encouragement, or help. But, it does mean that one has become self-directed and self-governed as to how and why one chooses to live their life, as they choose to do.

What one chooses has; everything to do with one's values, desires, and goals, and these are negotiable 'parallel universes" that one must navigate. So, one cannot objectify another's life, except to "dismiss it". We must all come to the conclusion that no one can live without "reasonable biases" in thier life commitments.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Man's Reason Is the Reason for Good Government

Good government is based on its limitations upon itself and others, so that the individual can have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The individual's reason alone is to be responsible for the values that are to be held most dear. And these values are formed within the contexts of the individual's life, not the tribe, or State. Both the State and the tribe err as to authority. The tribe errs on the mystical, religious, while the State errs on another's reasoned "program", "Production" or Purpose". The individual himself is the ultimate end, not the State, the community, the tribe, or society. The individual's life is his own.

Without good government that allows freedom of thought and freedom of action, then there is no development of reason. Reason is stymied, suppressed, or subverted. Students must not be spoon fed, but be given a good dose of academic freedom to pursue interests that might prove to be a "life calling". Otherwise, students are "formed" or "shaped" into whatever the propaganda delegates as the necessary "need" for/of the moment. The intellectual elites are those that have such agendas. And those so duped to follow mindlessly into the trap of alturism, are being sacrificial "lambs" on the altar of a liberal agenda.

Good government is like good leadership; less is better.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Is the Necessary Element to Good Government Applicable to "God" and Parenting?

In ethics there is a question that is posed about whether something is moral just because God commands it, or because it is objectively moral, irrespective of "God". This is called the "Euthyphro dilemma". Those that believe that "God" is somehow "above the law" are subverting "good judgment. These believe that whatever God demands is a necessary "evil" for his ultimate purposes.

The Divine Command Theory is nothing less than authoritarian governance. It is a demand to obey, without question, because "faith" sanctions such obedience and piety demands it. But is authoritarian government the best form of government? Not unless, one believes that a dictator is the best leader.

Christians will argue that humans cannot see or know the best because they are limited. God is interested in "holiness" or "character", which means, in effect, that one isn't to take ownership of thier own life, but submit in their actions and attitude to whatever "life has divied out", without question, as this is "God's will in Christ Jesus concerning you". Suffering is a means to get the "dross" out of one's life. It is a means to alleviate our lives of our "idols".

Scripture teaches that God is a Father. Does a good father dictate and demand? Or does a father seek to understand, encourage, support, and help the child?

Human rights suggests that individuals are deemed significant and of value in America. We are not a collective society. We believe that good government is limited, and does not intrude into the private lives of its citizens. Americans believe in private property. As James Madison said, ""As a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights. Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions."

-- James Madison, National Gazette essay, March 27, 1792

Good government applies to "God" as well as parenting. Therefore, what is moral is objective, not subject to arbitrary dictates of a "god",  parent or dictator.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Military and American Unity

Today, on NPR, a Princeton professor said that ROTC was to be welcomed on the Ivy League campuses. The reason given was that our culture had suffered because the elite schools are sending their graduates in to  every avenue of service; business, law, government, international relations, and, yet, they are not impacting the military, nor is the military impacting them. I applaud this attempt to unify our diversity. Because it is when we all have a unified vision that doesn't negate our Constitutional Republic that we all "win".

Intellectual development does have its bias, because of coming to terms with the philosophical complexity of "the world". One seeks to commit to a certain area of knowledge and "give back" to society in that given area. But, the unfortunate implication of the military being banned from the Ivy League schools, is that those students that are our brightest are not prone to use their gifts in service to their country. And the ideological commitments that do not value our Constitutional Republic  has brought about the culture wars of today.

I applaud and I am very happy to hear that there is openness to serving our country during her greatest need of great minds.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Is the Only Thing to Fear Is "Fear, Itself"?

One of America's Presidents encouraged our country at the beginning of the Great Depression with the statement; the "only thing to fear is fear itself". But, is the only thing to fear is" fear, itself"?I heard today that when one has "lost everything", then fear dissolves, because you have nothing to loose. The presumption was that one only fears the loss of the material. This is true for some, but it is too broad a generalization.

Fear can be ingrained in response to pain. One can fear the dentist or the doctor because of a painful experience or their high sensitivity to physical pain. Or one can fear the emotional pain of loving again after a painful loss. So, fear is a human response to stimuli, whether present situations or past experiences.

Fear can be bred, when one experiences the unexpected. Trust is the opposite of fear, in this regard. Rules of behavior, written or unwritten code of social "norms" are values that protect us from "fear of the unexpected". These "norms" are built on trust and are the basis of human relationships.

Today's "talk" posed courage as the opposite of fear. This is true, as courage is about fearlessness, but courage that is baseless irrationality, which disregards past experience, one's personal propensity to pain, whether physical or emotional, or the trustworthiness of one's present community, are all rational considerations in evaluating whether fear is justified. Fear is not necessarily bad. It is an emotional response to pain. It serves as a warning. So, should we always disregard such fear and act in the face of fear? Some would regard acting in the face of fear as courageous, while others would think it the height of presumption and foolishness!

Courage is built when fear is faced, acknowledged and addressed. Sometimes the fear is an entrance into "self-knowledge", while other times it is a call to courageous acts.

One cannot be too simple in understanding human emotion.

What Questions Do You Ask?

I like to ask questions. Sometimes I try to connect answers to different questions, but this is not my subject today. The subject is do you ask questions? If so, what kind of questions? Questions reveal something about how we think and what we think is important.

What questions are factual and practical questions. What happened.? What can be done? What purpose does it serve?

How questions are investigative questions. How did this happen? How do we understand this? How do we fix this?

Why questions are causal/motivational questions. Why do you think this happened? Why do you think this is important? Why are you pursuing this course of action? These questions are questions of value and they reveal sometimes how a person thinks about 'life" and its overall "frame".

A naturalist frame understands what happened as a matter of course. But, sometimes "the course" is not completely understood, yet. This is where scientists, social scientists, help us to understand. This framing's "cause' is nature (man and his environment). These subjects help man to understand what is 'fact" about nature, but it doesn't address what to do with nature. It only reveals "what nature is" or how "nature works".

But, what of the humanities? Where do these fit into the questions abuot life? They fit by helping us to understand the "human", and "life", and "value". The answers to "life" is found in literature and other artistic expression. These are valuable to enlarge man's heart, reveal man's common experience, and suggest alternative views about "life".

I almost never read novels. I much prefer philosophical, thematic themes...possibly because it helps me answer questions.
Questions are important, as they help us to formulate our understanding and help us to frame our lives with the values that are most important to us.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year! New Hope for Tomorrow

As a child many are asked what they want for Christmas. Christmas was meant for a child's "hopes and dreams". It is otherwise, called "human hope". Christmas is a suggestion that the world is in line with their heart. We all have "hearts". But, hearts are easy to bruise, if they are vulnerable to desire or love, at all. This is why there is the 'NEW YEAR"! Our disappointment with others or outselves can be "cleared away" and we can find "new hope" for tomorrow. Humans have a basic need to have hope for "new vision"..

What is hope? Hope is about dreams, and possibilities. Hope becomes diseased or bitter when it has been dashed upon the inevitable realities of life. The realities of life are starkly grey, where hope is 'black and white". Hope is where  dreams and visions are clearly seen, but not yet accomplished. Realtiy is a blur or indistinct until a human heart embraces its own "delight". Then, hope clears the grey and makes the distinction between the black and white...

Passion of heart is not bad. but it can lead to an inattentiveness to others, and their personal goals. This is important to remember if one is in leadership. Leaders are meant to lead, but they are also meant to serve. And service is first about knowing the other's heart, so leading can be with clear vision, and not undiscerning passion. Otherwise, we trample another's "human hope".