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  #11  
Old 02-11-2011, 11:47 AM
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Interesting. I recently removed a self-described Ubermensch from my life, although he only really concentrated on the selfishness and personal mastery part.... horrible human being. That is the type of person that I am convinced the gods put me on this earth to wreck.

I'm intrigued by the *actual* definition of the term. He always equated it in our conversations to being a super-predator....
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Old 02-21-2011, 09:23 AM
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Guy in my class quoted Nietzche, and my prof said "Sorry, we only talk about philosophers here," and everyone put on their pursed lip face. Twas a joke, yes.
I find his works to be beautiful, yet elitist. The elitism is what throws me off and turns me off to the beauty of it. Granted yes, the whole being vs. seeming "rule" of sorts does apply and has been accessed- yet the only cynic I hold on a mental pedestal of sorts is Diogenes.
I find that Sartre, Nietzche, and existentialism as a whole are what seems appealing and true when first introduced to philosophy, but only after having your mind thoroughly unraveled and fucked over and over do you really find what is real for "you" so to speak.
What I have to be beautiful and true to my existence thus far usually correlates with Socrates/Plato and some Kierkegaard. What was above the door of the Oracle of Delphi was "Know Thyself"- so I hold that to be "dear". Only by knowing yourself can you really grow as a person to the extent in which you are able to humble yourself and perceive life from the perspective of another. That is another internal snag I have with Nietzche- if you're alone and selfish all the time only challenging yourself- you do grow, yes but one should be humble enough to accept that they do not know everything and if only alone you cannot learn that which others know...if that makes sense yet this can weave into the duality of knowing thyself and the only truth that matters is what is true to you (oh balls).
I will stop here before I go on and on. I resonate much with what River said.
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Old 02-22-2011, 12:23 AM
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Quote:
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"The Fountainhead" by Ann Rand may help with some further insights about the rejection of the ethics of altruism and the acknowledgment of selfishness as a purer expression of the ego.
Rand is anathema to all of my literate friends, so -- there being millions of books to read and not enough time -- I've never read any Rand. Charlie, are you suggesting there is good reason to put aside my inherited (and unexamined), third hand, distaste?

I'm a great big fan of altruism, actually, and I have seen a Rand title, "The Virtue of Selfishness" (which would seem to go against my sense of virtue). Am I missing something? Can it be boiled down?
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Old 02-22-2011, 01:16 AM
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Rand is anathema to all of my literate friends . . . I'm a great big fan of altruism, actually, and I have seen a Rand title, "The Virtue of Selfishness" (which would seem to go against my sense of virtue). Am I missing something? Can it be boiled down?
I'm only a little familiar with Rand's ideas, and haven't ever been able to finish one of her books, but I know a few people who've explained it to me. "The Virtue of Selfishness" is from Rand's Objectivist philosophy. Unfortunately, I don't think I can explain it at all, so I'm turning to Wikipedia for a few main points:
Rand's explanation of values presents the view that an individual's primary moral obligation is to achieve his or her own well-being—it is for his or her life and self-interest that an individual ought to adhere to a moral code. Egoism is a corollary of setting man's life as the moral standard. A corollary to Rand's endorsement of self-interest is her rejection of the ethical doctrine of altruism—which she defined in the sense of Auguste Comte's altruism (he coined the term), as a moral obligation to live for the sake of others. Rand did not use the term "selfishness" with the negative connotations that it usually has, but to refer to a form of rational egoism: "To live, man must hold three things as the supreme and ruling values of his life: Reason, Purpose, Self-esteem."

. . .

Objectivism is a philosophy defined by the Russian-American philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand (1905–1982). Objectivism holds that reality exists independent of consciousness, that human beings have direct contact with reality through sense perception, that one can attain objective knowledge from perception through the process of concept formation and inductive and deductive logic, that the proper moral purpose of one's life is the pursuit of one's own happiness or rational self-interest, that the only social system consistent with this morality is full respect for individual rights, embodied in laissez faire capitalism, and that the role of art in human life is to transform man's widest metaphysical ideas, by selective reproduction of reality, into a physical form—a work of art—that he can comprehend and to which he can respond emotionally.

Rand originally expressed her philosophical ideas in her novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and other works. She further elaborated on them in her magazines "The Objectivist Newsletter," "The Objectivist," and "The Ayn Rand Letter," and in non-fiction books such as Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology and The Virtue of Selfishness.

The name "Objectivism" derives from the principle that human knowledge and values are objective: they are not created by the thoughts one has, but are determined by the nature of reality, to be discovered by man's mind. Rand stated that she chose the name because her preferred term for a philosophy based on the primacy of existence—"existentialism"—had already been taken.
Hopefully, the above will give you a glimpse into what her writings are about. Wikipedia has entries for "Virtue of Selfishness" and "Objectivism," as well as her books.
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  #15  
Old 02-22-2011, 04:44 PM
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.... A corollary to Rand's endorsement of self-interest is her rejection of the ethical doctrine of altruism—which she defined in the sense of Auguste Comte's altruism (he coined the term), as a moral obligation to live for the sake of others. ....
There are likely to be several to many particular usage variants of the term "altruism". Apparently, Rand's "altruism" was conceived in opposition to Compte's, which centered on "moral obligation". Although I do believe the concept of "moral obligation" is sometimes necessary or useful, it can also stand in the way of the sense of "altruism" I had in mind when I said I liked it.

What I had in mind was not centered on obligation, but on empathy and compassion. The experience of empathy and compassion isn't centered on duty or obligation, but on wishing others to be happy, healthy, well, and free of suffering. Empathy and compassion lead one to serve the needs and interests of others because ... well, because they have such needs and interests, and because, well, we're all in this together. Not out of obligation or duty--which are fine motivators, I suppose, for those who haven't grown up yet.
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Old 02-22-2011, 04:52 PM
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[INDENT]Rand's explanation of values presents the view that an individual's primary moral obligation is to achieve his or her own well-being—it is for his or her life and self-interest that an individual ought to adhere to a moral code.
Sheesh. Rand wasn't so inventive, was she? She's still playing the same old OBLIGATION game as her sparring partner, Compte.

What people do who feel extrinsically obligated and intrinsically unmotivated? They lie, cheat, steal, abuse, destroy.... In secret, in hiding. That's the whole freaking modern world! We sweep reality under a carpet and play Make Believe about "ethics".
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Old 02-22-2011, 11:50 PM
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In regards to the cultural paradigm of moral obligation, as Rand lays out in The Fountainhead, if the pinnacle of the self in "service" or "duty" to one's fellow humans is the alleviation of suffering, then we in turn must desire that there continue to be suffering. Should suffering cease altogether, then we have undermined the very thing that permits us to achieve a state of social, moral, spiritual grace.

This can be described as a satisfaction of the moral ego, one where we endeavor to stand before our fellows and say, "Look how much suffering I have saved people from!" Selflessness becomes a badge we wear to gauge our dedication to society.

Selfishness, in contrast, can be determined to be the giving, fully and uncompromisingly, of one's purest state to society. In art, for example,it would be the unflinching conviction to make the thing that is in one's heart as it appears there and not censor it for the sake of not offending or upsetting the status quo.

I'm sure I missed many things, but I'm no literary critic, and ya'll can read the book.

It certainly has some polyamorous characters in it....
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Old 02-23-2011, 02:14 AM
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In regards to the cultural paradigm of moral obligation, as Rand lays out in The Fountainhead, if the pinnacle of the self in "service" or "duty" to one's fellow humans is the alleviation of suffering, then we in turn must desire that there continue to be suffering. Should suffering cease altogether, then we have undermined the very thing that permits us to achieve a state of social, moral, spiritual grace.
No doubt there are people with heads (and hearts) stuffed so full of bovine feces that this will seem like a reasonable contribution to a discussion on the relevant matters, but that's no reason to conclude that everyone is thus infected. It is true that some people are attached to suffering ... bla, bla, blah.... Must I really spell it out?

Quote:
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This can be described as a satisfaction of the moral ego, one where we endeavor to stand before our fellows and say, "Look how much suffering I have saved people from!" Selflessness becomes a badge we wear to gauge our dedication to society.
It is true that some people are attached to suffering ... bla, bla, blah.... Must I really spell it out? I mean, really, are we supposed to buy into and then argue against this cheap trick, this slight of hand rhetorical garbage?

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Selfishness, in contrast, can be determined to be the giving, fully and uncompromisingly, of one's purest state to society. In art, for example, it would be the unflinching conviction to make the thing that is in one's heart as it appears there and not censor it for the sake of not offending or upsetting the status quo.
No doubt egoistic selfishness has at times motivated individuals to take risks and do great things, even to offer their best (in art, or...), but always? Hardly. (Think of such flawed greats as MLK, Gandhi...) I would not advocate a sort of "altruism" which is fully "selfless" (in the sense of sacrificing the self entirely in the interest of "society" or "service"). That, too, is a conception rooted in malarkey (sp?). Who says our genuine self interest is in competition or at odds with the needs of "society" or others? People who draw the lines that way and argue for one vs the other "side" are fools.
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Old 02-23-2011, 02:31 AM
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In regards to the cultural paradigm of moral obligation, as Rand lays out in The Fountainhead, if the pinnacle of the self in "service" or "duty" to one's fellow humans is the alleviation of suffering, then we in turn must desire that there continue to be suffering. Should suffering cease altogether, then we have undermined the very thing that permits us to achieve a state of social, moral, spiritual grace.
This is how this sort of "reasoning" hits my ears. I'd compare it to...

Firefighters are arsonists at heart because they get their pictures taken and plastered all over newspapers, where they can be held up as heros.

How can you reason with people who say shit like that?
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Old 02-23-2011, 04:45 PM
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Ladies and Gentlemen,

Mr. Howard Roark...http://nasonart.com/personal/lifeles...ntainhead.html
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