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Atlas Shrugged--the movie?

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Balladeer
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125 posted 06-12-2007 03:19 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Well said, hush...

If there is the possibility for real concern for others, then egoism is incomplete

An incredible statement. If that's what you want to state then your expertise on egoism is lacking. There does not have to be a concrete wall between the two...actually the two of them can exist quite comfortably together...and what difference should it make which one is the stronger force? That point is purely philosophical.

If I go to a starving bum on the street with a ham sandwich in my hand and try to explain to him that my main reason for giving him the sandwich is that it makes me feel good as a person to do things to benefit others and it's not really him I am doing it for, but for me, he's going to say "Whatever you say, pal, just hand over the grub!!"....as it should be.

Thanks to different facets of Society, people have been indoctrinated to believe that doing for others is noble and doing for self is evil, Personal sacrifice is a virtue. There is no "i" in team (all except for Michael Jordan, who added "but there IS an "i" in win") I've see a list of the ten mosted despicable words in the English language. Which one was listed as the worst? "I". With that type of brainwashing from birth, it's little wonder that people who do things for their own enjoyment are selfish and evil and, as you alliterated to in the above phrase, incapable of feeling real concern for others. No problem. For those of you that wish to wear that yoke of self-flagellation, have fun with the self-inflicted guilt. There are many who don't - and that doesn't make them unfeeling, selfish, egoistical ogres. If my life were to depend one one singular individual, I would want it to be one of them, believe me.

Drauntz
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126 posted 06-12-2007 03:49 PM       View Profile for Drauntz   Email Drauntz   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Drauntz

Everyone has one's own comfort zones.

A tree, struck by lightning to ground, dose not make a lawn.

Grass, at the top of the mountain, still under other's feet.

Parenting, personal value, and choice. esp at gun point.
rwood
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127 posted 06-12-2007 04:22 PM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

"If there is the possibility for real concern for others, then egoism is incomplete"

I too, disagree.

Some people feel it's bad to be alone. Why? Because you're not doing anything for someone else? No one knows what you're doing when you're home alone? You're not being as productive to society by spending time with yourself? I'm not talking about shut in, but time alone. I like it. I feel you have to like yourself a whole lot before anyone else really does.

So not to worry my Momma, I visit her and the family from time to time so everyone knows I'm alive and kicking. I care about them. But  the visits also ward off numerous phone calls and messages.

I hate talking on the phone.

Stephanos
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128 posted 06-12-2007 09:15 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Most of your answers since my last post, made it sound as if egoism were not really egoism.  But I have studied egoism enough to know what it is.  (and yes, Mike, it IS purely philosophical, since in its pure form it doesn't match all the data, especially our psychology).  Egoism states quite emphatically, that ALL human motivation stems from self-interest alone ... period.  If that's not what you believe then you are not an egoist.


If genuine concern for others, and self-interest can co-exist and overlap, then fine.  I have always believed so.  Pure altruism is rare, if at all.  But egoism doesn't state their coexistence as much as their essential sameness.  Egoism says, in effect, that "concern for others" is really self-interest in disquise.  I simply don't believe that.  (though I believe that "good works" may be hypocritical ... I don't believe they must be).  It doesn't match our view of morals, nor our psychology.


From the way Mike, and others, are arguing here, it doesn't sound like you believe egoism either.  

(BTW, I am aware that egoism would not consider "good works" done for a selfish motive as hypocritical ... but rather praiseworthy, rendering the traditional form of approval within a radical reinterpretation of motives and morals.  My only complaint is that the amoralistic (or strictly rationalistic) reinterpretation doesn't really support either traditional praise or censure, nor provide a means of making distinction between "rational self-interest", and "irrational self interest".  The proof of this is, we don't usually feel that horrible deeds are only miscalculations, or mere lapses of reason.  Nor do we praise benevolent action with the same kind of praise that we would give to someone who snuffed up a good bargain at the store, or made a good investment for himself.  It's not the same thing.  And that's what egoism is missing.  


Stephen
Brad
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129 posted 06-12-2007 09:37 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I'm not sure why this thread turned into another selfish/selfless thread. Again, I put to anybody really interested, Rand's selfishness is not a bad thing. It is the very idea of valuing something over another. What happens when that is taken away from you?
serenity blaze
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130 posted 06-12-2007 09:47 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

I'm confused too Brad.

But then, I started out that way.

Great question too.

Curious though, is there a distinction made between basic surival instinct and ego-oriented self-interest?

(that's right, I'm just popping in here again, asking an innocent question and ducking!)



(and Brad? Have a hug, It's been another tough year all around, I think.)
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131 posted 06-12-2007 09:51 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
I put to anybody really interested, Rand's selfishness is not a bad thing. It is the very idea of valuing something over another.

Brad,

for me it has to do with the assumption that "value" has to relate only and ultimately to myself, rather than the ability to be outwardly concerned.  

The fact that she has taken a traditionally negative term, and sought to change it, tells me that her philosophy (which is simply a restatement of classical egoism with minor differences) seeks to eulogize a focus upon the self, rather than to admit its dangers.  The fact that self interest is sometimes healthy, and never absent, is the truth she uses to make egoism credible.  But something being always present, and something being omnipresent, as it were, are two different things.  Making it omnipresent, forces her to go outside of traditional moral categories in order to issue (or explain) praise and reproof.  But the naked rationalism that is offered as a surrogate, doesn't fit at all what we really think about St. Teresa, or Billy the Kid.


Stephen.          
Stephanos
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132 posted 06-12-2007 10:06 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
If I go to a starving bum on the street with a ham sandwich in my hand and try to explain to him that my main reason for giving him the sandwich is that it makes me feel good as a person to do things to benefit others and it's not really him I am doing it for, but for me, he's going to say "Whatever you say, pal, just hand over the grub!!"....as it should be.


Mike, I almost forgot to ask you this ...

I wonder if you might try saying something like that to your wife when you do something kind to her next time?  The point is, it IS possible to be "political" in most or all things that we do.  But we usually consider that a moral fault.  And the very fact that you would pause to say that kind of thing to your wife or your son, tells me that you agree on some level.  Why do you think people sometimes say "it's the thought that counts"?  Because, while it may not count for all, it really does count.  

One more question (this one from the poor guy) ...

Why does it make you feel good "doing things that benefit others"?


Stephen.
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133 posted 06-12-2007 10:14 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Maybe he gets thank you notes written in tears...

Drauntz
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134 posted 06-12-2007 10:31 PM       View Profile for Drauntz   Email Drauntz   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Drauntz


"The fact that she has taken a traditionally negative term, and sought to change it"

Stephanos, right to the point. Bravo!!!!
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135 posted 06-12-2007 10:43 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

http://piptalk.com/pip/Forum8/HTML/000442.html

In case anyone is interested, we've discussed the proper understanding of "self interest" versus "selfishness" before.


Stephen.
rwood
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136 posted 06-13-2007 08:04 AM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

Thank you for providing the link Stephen.

quote:
Most of your answers since my last post, made it sound as if egoism were not really egoism.  But I have studied egoism enough to know what it is.


For what reason did you study egoism and come to know it so well?

quote:
Egoism states quite emphatically, that ALL human motivation stems from self-interest alone ... period.  If that's not what you believe then you are not an egoist.


Thatís irrational, based upon the fact that nothing is set in stone throughout the continuum of life. Philosophy in and of itself is a search, an ongoing process, systems, and collections of thought and study. Egoism can have as many levels as the social stratums governing the birth of thought.

What Iíve observed and experienced is: Beyond personal reasoning lies moral justification-which muddles up everything. To each his/her own becomes To each of us you owe. Then anything we want for ourselves becomes bad. It feels like applied structuralism in the form of group-sociopathic control. What I mean is: If you ainít with the in crowd, youíre out. Which is very anti-social.

Thereís no rationality to that aside from social acceptance, and at best complacency. I want more than social acceptance and definitely more than complacency. Where do I start? With myself.

Selfless, selfish, are common moral/immoral labels. You donít have to be an Altruist or an Egoist to get pinned with one.

Egoism isnít bad, as Brad says, but I donít need him to say that. In answer to his question of :

quote:
What happens when that is taken away from you?


If youíre not able to value something over another?  Oppression? Apathy? Death? Eminent downfall of man?  I donít know because there are values within myself that no one can take away.

Since we can all agree that altruism is almost non-existent, though again I believe that depends on oneís personal perception since we are not all knowing of who is doing what and why, then whatís left?

Rational self-interest with regard to long term affects sounds most reasonable and dignified to me.

that could be an act so simple as writing this sentence because it suits me whether anyone agrees or cares.
Stephanos
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137 posted 06-13-2007 01:06 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

rwood:
quote:
For what reason did you study egoism and come to know it so well?


It was purely out of self-interest.          

No, seriously, it is simply a part of my lay-study of Western Philosophy, and a phenomenon of thought that caught my interest for several reasons.


quote:
Stephen: Egoism states quite emphatically, that ALL human motivation stems from self-interest alone ... period.

rwood:  Thatís irrational, based upon the fact that nothing is set in stone throughout the continuum of life.


The statement, "nothing is set in stone througout the continuum of life" is itself a philosophical statement (first articulated by Heraclitus?) which is often disputed, and oddly enough contains an absolute.

However I will agree with you that egoism's assertion about self-interest being the foundation for all human action, is irrational, simply because there's too much it doesn't take into account.

quote:
Philosophy in and of itself is a search, an ongoing process, systems, and collections of thought and study. Egoism can have as many levels as the social stratums governing the birth of thought.


Yes, philosophy itself is an ongoing process, and as a whole, is a jumble of disagreement.  But many of its "systems" have presented absolutes and firm answers.  Egoism is one of them, that I happen to disagree with.  

I'm not sure of what you mean when you say that egoism can have "as many levels as the social stratums governing the birth of thought".  Could you further explain?  

It seems to me that any philosophical system is somewhat self-defining, within its own premises.  And any reference to the diversity of philsophical thought in general, doesn't change the specificity of any one system.  In other words, it doesn't change what egoism says about itself.

quote:
What Iíve observed and experienced is: Beyond personal reasoning lies moral justification-which muddles up everything. To each his/her own becomes To each of us you owe. Then anything we want for ourselves becomes bad.


Oppressively imposing morals upon others for the purpose of "self interest" is not what I am suggesting.  I am talking about the ability to make an ethical decision, based upon something other than "me".  That is what egoism, by its own tenet, denies.

If misuising moral law to abuse others muddles things up, I would also suggest that eradicating moral categories also muddles things up.  Morality and rationality often overlap, but they can't be conflated without negative consequences.

quote:
Selfless, selfish, are common moral/immoral labels. You donít have to be an Altruist or an Egoist to get pinned with one.


They're not only moral "labels" but inward realities as well.  Jesus said to get the beam out of my eye before I worry about your specks.  But what he didn't say is "Just don't worry about the eye".  

In your argument, you seem to point to the abuses of traditional moral categories to make your case, such as "labeling others".  But you're not speaking of proper use.  My point is that referring to the abuse of something is not always an argument against it.  


quote:
Rational self-interest with regard to long term affects sounds most reasonable and dignified to me.


side note... Its Interesting that you used the word "dignified", an older-school word for honor nobility and the like.  

Does this mean that literally everything you do must stem from "rational self-interest"?  Or could you actually do something for the sake of someone else?  Remember, I'm not questioning whether this good deed invariably comes with benefits to self.  I'm questioning whether self has to be the sole motivation.

quote:
Since we can all agree that altruism is almost non-existent, though again I believe that depends on oneís personal perception since we are not all knowing of who is doing what and why


Is that a concession, that it is possible for action to spring from something more, or other than, self interest?

quote:
that could be an act so simple as writing this sentence because it suits me whether anyone agrees or cares.


Apply egoism to another simple act, such as giving your child something to eat.  Of course you wouldn't want to be turned in to the Department of Family Protective Services.  Of course you want them to quit crying or constantly asking you for something to munch, because it annoys you.  Of course you want to "feel" like you're being a good mother because guilty feelings are a hassle.  Of course you want them to grow up healthy and strong so they can perhaps take care of you when you're older, because being alone is no fun.  But are those reasons (the ones that have to do with self) the only reasons?


Stephen

Balladeer
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138 posted 06-13-2007 04:47 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Egoism states quite emphatically, that ALL human motivation stems from self-interest alone ... period.  - Stephanos
There are three major phases of egoism, sir.

Egoism can be a descriptive or a normative position. Psychological egoism, the most famous descriptive position, claims that each person has but one ultimate aim: her own welfare. Normative forms of egoism make claims about what one ought to do, rather than describe what one does do. Ethical egoism claims that it is necessary and sufficient for an action to be morally right that it maximize one's self-interest. Rational egoism claims that it is necessary and sufficient for an action to be rational that it maximize one's self-interest.

If you wish to read more about these three types, you can find them here: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/egoism/#  You will find nowhere where there are emphatic absolutes or demands stated. By the way, "stemming from self-interest" is not synonymous with having self-interest as the only gola or purpose.

Your stand on/against Ayn Rand confuses me. As a self-stated student of philosophy you have done a lot of reading, quoting a variety of names and quotes. You acknowledge that you have not read much or studied Ayn Rand
Okay, I admit, I haven't read alot of Ayn Rand. But I am well familiar with the claims and implications of egoism, from David Hume onward
I admit I haven't read Rand much, but I do have an understanding of egoism as articulated by philosophers much earlier than Rand.

.......and yet you will quote others as fact and dismiss her or try to point out the flaws of this person you are so unfamiliar with.
The fact that she has taken a traditionally negative term, and sought to change it, tells me that her philosophy (which is simply a restatement of classical egoism with minor differences) seeks to eulogize a focus upon the self, rather than to admit its dangers
Your negative comments on her philosophy you are not that familiar with makes one wonder why?


wonder if you might try saying something like that to your wife when you do something kind to her next time?
What have I said to my wife more times than I can count? I love you. Perhaps you have said that, too. What is the subject of that sentence?  Why, it's I!   and you are describing how you feel. There was a popular greeting card phrase a while back that went, "I love you for what you make me feel when I'm with you". Well, you would have to call that egoistical, too, wouldn't you?


Why do you think people sometimes say "it's the thought that counts"?
.....because it's a tie they hate? Because they think "You shouldn't have...." and really mean it?   Because someone really screwed  up? I'd wager a large sum that 95% of the time that someone says that it means they hate the thought or action presented. If you ever got a terrific gift from your wife and said "It's the thought that counts, dear", her reply would be...WHAT'S WRONG WITH IT???

No, Stephanos, I've never claimed to be a pure egoist or anything of the kind. I'm not into personal labels. I'm simply saying that I agree that thoughts and actions stem from self-interest and when those actions are handled rationally and morally and do not infringe on the rights of others, I find nothing wrong with it. I believe everyone is that way. I believe you have no choice in the matter - it's not something you can control. It is our nature. Interesting example......when I was in the 7th grade studying history, our teacher asked the class "If you were fighting in a war and the person next to you (your best friend) got shot, what would be your first emotion? The answers ranged from horror to shock to sadness, etc, etc, etc. The teacher said we were all wrong....the first emotion would be relief, a gladness that it hadn't been us. Man, we argued with him over that one! Years later, I acknowledged that he had been right. It may hit and pass so quickly that you don't even realize it was there, but it was. I believe it's the same way for everything, that the first instinct for action is based on self, whether or not it lasted long enough for you to be conscious of it or not.
Our "superior" teachers have, over the years,  proclaimed that egoism and selfish and self-centered is evil so many times that people come to beleive it and condemn it and, sadder still, develope a feeling of self-disgust for having it. These are people that politicians and priests love. They are so easy to control.
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139 posted 06-13-2007 06:17 PM       View Profile for Drauntz   Email Drauntz   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Drauntz

Sir Balladeer, a very good story.

I have heard more than once that when some so timid guys scared to death to fire but as soon as his buddies were down, he ducked then revenged with all his might. because the individual self-interest has evolved into self-interest of the tightly bound group (oil families, today)
Individual human can not survive as species. and that is why individual egg has to GIVE UP half of its DNA for a reproduction. so self-interest means death.
Philosophy based on that...same ending.

And I see you changed face. cute.

Sunshine
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140 posted 06-13-2007 06:31 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

quote:
I'm simply saying that I agree that thoughts and actions stem from self-interest and when those actions are handled rationally and morally and do not infringe on the rights of others, on the rights of others, I find nothing wrong with it.


I got lost in this, 'Deer.  Specifically, "...stem from self-interest."

I hold the door open for elderly ladies who have to handle different types of walking apparatus, to get from point A to point B.  Nothing in that action of mine leads to anything of self-interest.  It's a kindness, an act of compassion, overall.  But before it is even a kindness, it is a thought processed into some, that we do unto others what we would have done for and/or to us...    

quote:
Our "superior" teachers have, over the years,  proclaimed that egoism and selfish and self-centered is evil so many times that people come to beleive it and condemn it and, sadder still, develope a feeling of self-disgust for having it. These are people that politicians and priests love. They are so easy to control.


Again, being true to one's self, knowing that to give is reward in and of  itself, is better...

Wasn't that, overall, Ayn's message?


[This message has been edited by Sunshine (06-13-2007 08:00 PM).]

Stephanos
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141 posted 06-13-2007 06:41 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Mike:  
quote:
If you wish to read more about these three types, you can find them here


Thanks.  I have read quite a bit about egoism already.  I'm not unfamiliar with what you've presented.  


quote:
You will find nowhere where there are emphatic absolutes or demands stated. By the way, "stemming from self-interest" is not synonymous with having self-interest as the only gola or purpose.


self interest is the only goal or purpose = an absolute.


And as to your distinction between actions "stemming from self interest" versus "having self interest as the only goal or purpose", it is only semantical.  Mind explaining the difference to me, if you're saying there is one?  Funny I'm just as comfortable using your statement as mine, when describing egoism.

quote:
Your stand on/against Ayn Rand confuses me. As a self-stated student of philosophy you have done a lot of reading, quoting a variety of names and quotes. You acknowledge that you have not read much or studied Ayn Rand


Really the reason I haven't read much Rand, is because I haven't wanted to.  I have read enough to know that her philosophy is egoism repackaged for more contemporary people.  If it makes you feel more comfortable, you could consider that my criticisms are not against Ayn Rand, per se, but against egoism, which is the basis of her philosophy.


quote:
and yet you will quote others as fact and dismiss her or try to point out the flaws of this person you are so unfamiliar with.


If you think I've tried to point out personal flaws, rather than doubtful philosophy, then you haven't been reading very closely.

quote:
Your negative comments on her philosophy you are not that familiar with makes one wonder why?



It wouldn't be quite accurate to say I am not familiar with her philosophy if I am familiar with egoism.  But again, if it makes you feel better to consider what I say a critique of egoism (and objectivism only so far as it includes egoism) then fine.  


quote:
What have I said to my wife more times than I can count? I love you. Perhaps you have said that, too. What is the subject of that sentence?  Why, it's I!    and you are describing how  you feel.


Okay .... and?  The object of the sentence is still your wife.  And if my love is, at root, only about myself, then there's a problem.  I never said that love wasn't rewarding to self, or that self-interest is not bound up in love.  What I'm saying is that it is not ALL there is to it.

You keep pointing out (over and over) that self is an ingredient, which I've never once denied.  It's like me arguing that candy bars have chocolate AND sugar rather than chocolate alone, while you keep rebutting me with the fact that they have chocolate.  

quote:
There was a popular greeting card phrase a while back that went, "I love you for what you make me feel when I'm with you". Well, you would have to call that egoistical, too, wouldn't you?


Um, if that's all there was to it, then yes, I would.  There's also the "I love you for who you are" greeting cards.  Stands to reason then that both aspects are (or should be) present.  

quote:
.....because it's a tie they hate? Because they think "You shouldn't have...." and really mean it?   Because someone really screwed  up? I'd wager a large sum that 95% of the time that someone says that it means they hate the thought or action presented.


So which is it the thought (intention), or the action?  You just slurred these together, but really you need to make a distinction to make sense of this little saying we all sometimes say around Christmas.  


quote:
If you ever got a terrific gift from your wife and said "It's the thought that counts, dear", her reply would be...WHAT'S WRONG WITH IT???



Of course it would be.  That's why you would never say that to her.  "It's the thought that counts" is something we typically say to ourselves to check any self-absorbed disappointment.  I never said there couldn't be something wrong with the gift, or the act itself, only that motive is often as (if not more) important in our minds.  Yeah I may be disappointed that my grandmother got me that tacky shirt, but as soon as I shake off the selfish disappointment, I realize that she probably did it out of genuine love.


quote:
No, Stephanos, I've never claimed to be a pure egoist or anything of the kind.


Good.  

quote:
I'm not into personal labels.


Hey i didn't make the label.  I'm only speaking of whether the philosophy is tenable.


quote:
I'm simply saying that I agree that thoughts and actions stem from self-interest


Let me ask a clarifying question ... one you've seemed to be slipping all around but not really addressing:  


Are you saying that you agree that ALL thoughts and actions stem from self-interest ALONE?  Or, do you think that all other-directed acts have ONLY self interest as their motivation?


Before you answer, remember that I'm not asking whether self-interest is a part of all human action, so don't remind me of that.  I asked a very specific question.


quote:
and when those actions are handled rationally and morally and do not infringe on the rights of others


Of course I agree with that (not believing egoism is tenable)

But assuming egoism is true, why wouldn't "rationally" be enough?  Why include "morally"?  Egoism makes the distinction between long-term and short-sighted self-interest, but shies away from traditional views of morality altogether.  


Egoism has never answered why self-interest can't logically "infringe on the rights of others", apart from dragging along old-fashioned moral censure and approval as a foreign passenger.

quote:
The answers ranged from horror to shock to sadness, etc, etc, etc. The teacher said we were all wrong....the first emotion would be relief, a gladness that it hadn't been us. Man, we argued with him over that one! Years later, I acknowledged that he had been right. It may hit and pass so quickly that you don't even realize it was there, but it was.


I have no argument for your teacher either.  Only the egoist would tell us that the subsequent emotion (sorrow at a friend's demise) must be due Soley for what he could have done for us in the future ... just as self-centered as the first emotion.  


So I have no argument against the statement that we tend to think of self first.  I only argue against the statement that that's what we're thinking of always, only in disguised forms.


If you concede that you may have genuine sorrow for your friend's life, even some time after the initial relief for your own escape, then you are not talking about egoism.  I would call that "mutualism", the middle path between altruism and egoism.


quote:
Our "superior" teachers have, over the years,  proclaimed that egoism and selfish and self-centered is evil so many times that people come to beleive it and condemn it and, sadder still, develope a feeling of self-disgust for having it. These are people that politicians and priests love. They are so easy to control.


I've never heard a moral teacher (in religious context, or otherwise) who didn't take for granted self-interest, or self concern.  Even Jesus said "Love your neighbor as yourself" ... (though not 'when you love your neighbor you're really loving yourself)  What I typically hear in good moral instruction is that self may be given too much prominece at improper times and create what is commonly known as "selfishness".  It's not "absence" versus "presence", but "enough" versus "excess".  It's ironic you should point out corrupt politicians and religious leaders, whose main criticism in popular culture has been their selfishness, whether that means being overly concerned with power, position, money, or fame.


Stephen.

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (06-13-2007 08:32 PM).]

Brad
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142 posted 06-13-2007 07:50 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
So I have no argument against the statement that we tend to think of self first.  I only argue against the statement that that's what we're thinking of always, only in disguised forms.


And that, in a nutshell, is what's wrong with egoism at least as you describe it. It's not that it's wrong, it's that you  reduce or can reduce everything to its tenets. It's the same thing as when someone says, "Everything is about getting laid." or "Everything is about death." You can say that, but you reduce an interesting insight to the point where it is useless.

Reductionism.

But I still think that much of this argument is too abstract for what Rand's point was. Too much Rationalism, not enough Romanticism.

Rand saw the world as divided between makers and takers, producers or looters, Prime Movers and parasites (the same thing three times). To me, its obvious that part of the problem here is that division, but for anyone who has worked in a collective enterprise, you must have experienced that point where you keep throwing out ideas and others keep batting them down -- with no substitutes of their own.

Her point is that it is not bad to believe in your own ideas and to work to make them real.

It's also implicit in her writings that the experience of these forms should also be treasured. Creativity and the experience of others' creativity. Her greatest fear was that these would be taken away from her.

Her hatred was reserved for those who try. But not even that. Her greatest hatred was reserved for those who found a perverse joy in taking those away.

A form of Evil, is it not?

Local Rebel
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143 posted 06-13-2007 08:07 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

On another day, different thread maybe, I'll get into where Rand goes wrong (and cunningly right)... but for now...

If you believe in Karma -- then you're doing it for yourself?

If you 'fear' God (something Jesus said you should do since he can kill your 'soul' not just your body)-- you fear him/her on your own behalf -- your acts of Christian charity are then acts you do out of your love of neighbor because you 'fear' God.

It seems to me that any philisophical system comes full circle into a fundamental instict of self-preservation.
Stephanos
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144 posted 06-13-2007 08:28 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Brad:
quote:
Reductionism.


And I guess that, is finally what I believe egoism amounts to ... a form of reductionism.

Where Rand (and others) are insightful and brilliant, is precisely where egoism doesn't fit.  And I have, admittedly, been focused on the error of egoism in this thread.  We could talk about what is useful or beautiful in Ayn's observations.  I simply like to clear the debris before I build.  

quote:
If you 'fear' God (something Jesus said you should do since he can kill your 'soul' not just your body)-- you fear him/her on your own behalf -- your acts of Christian charity are then acts you do out of your love of neighbor because you 'fear' God.



I think scripturally, there is a balance, where self is never absent and yet never presented as the center, or the sole motivation.  


Actually, the lone desire for self-preservation could be viewed as more of a jump-start to piety, and therefore as the most underdeveloped stage of faith.  One would move from the mere fear of perdition, to a love that is willing to give all (Christ as the example).  This is somewhat different than egoism, in that there is more than one kind of motivation involved.

C.S. Lewis' description of "need love" and "gift love" in his book The Four Loves is quite a good meditation on this.


Stephen.

    
Drauntz
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145 posted 06-13-2007 09:11 PM       View Profile for Drauntz   Email Drauntz   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Drauntz

"Rand saw the world as divided between makers and takers, producers or looters, Prime Movers and parasites (the same thing three times)."

Big hug to you Brad

Those are exact views of the communists on this world. Based on this view (or philosophy),there came the revolution in Russia, east Europe, China, north Korea, Cuba.  

and children in Kindergarten I believe, now, today, in North Korea know this saying.

it is not even second hand saying. it is third handed believing.

I have no words for all the uncontaminated soul.

  

[This message has been edited by Drauntz (06-14-2007 11:35 AM).]

Brad
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146 posted 06-14-2007 04:19 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Well, no. In communism the division is between workers and owners (more specifically capitalists) through social property relations.

There is no division of people in communism except through social property relations.

But, I've been trying to show that the goals, the utopia that Rand and Marx envision are based on similar assumptions. If that's what you meant I'm in agreement, but the only similarity here is that society is divided into two.
Drauntz
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147 posted 06-14-2007 10:26 AM       View Profile for Drauntz   Email Drauntz   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Drauntz

Dear Brad,
I did not say that those were division of communism. I said that those are how communist viewed this world and started their revolution. those divisions were not from Rand.  those were what she  was taught in school. Everybody from communist country knows those divisions. But when middle class becomes the  main part of the society, this theory does not fit into the reality.

And Brad, do you notice that this kind of division, one group is great, another group needs to disappear?   Who is to be the fair judge to tell who belongs to which group? Now you might understand why the killings of Stalin, Mao, and all killings in Communist countries.  If you were judged into the ďSinĒ group, the fate is death. Those groupings   justified all the cold blooded killings happened in Communist countries. You may think that this is a marvelous theory, but millions have already pay their lives in reality.
  

why Rand is evil!!!!

[This message has been edited by Drauntz (06-14-2007 11:22 AM).]

Stephanos
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148 posted 06-14-2007 02:33 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

There's also a division in Communisim of rulers and ruled.  I just visited Beijing, where a tour guide told us that we could speak of the massacre at Tiananmen Square on the bus, but warned that it would not be wise to make mention of it anywhere else.  

(I agree however, with Brad, that Rand's philosophy and communism actually have little in common)  


Stephen.
Brad
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149 posted 06-14-2007 06:40 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
I did not say that those were division of communism. I said that those are how communist viewed this world and started their revolution. those divisions were not from Rand.  those were what she  was taught in school. Everybody from communist country knows those divisions. But when middle class becomes the  main part of the society, this theory does not fit into the reality.


I guess I didn't make myself clear enough.

My bad.

The division that is taught in communist schools is the division between those who own the means of production and those who work in  a wage labor system. That is class by definition.  The middle classes, except to mean the owners and not the aristocracy, has no existence, it is an illusion.

That is what is taught in communist schools.

Rand's division is the division between those who create and those who attempt to destroy the creation.

And then ask for more.

The Evil I was referring to was not the division but to the specific type of person that asks you to create something, tears it apart until there is nothing left, and then asks for something else.

And offers nothing but that.

I've been there.

"Atlas Shrugged", the working title was called the Strike, is about a group of creators who decided to leave, to strike, to move and live by themselves.

It is not about killing other people, it is about trying to live your life without the interference of others.

That Rand was influenced by teachings in her youth is obvious (and, I admit, interesting), but that she was controlled by those same teachings, is simply false.
 
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