Posts

Open and Closed Objectivism

People remain confused regarding whether or not Objectivism is an "open system" of philosophy. Many people completely miss the issue at hand (hint: it has nothing to do with copyright). Perhaps the confusion is because people on both sides of the issue represent the issue differently.  The people on the "open" side represent the issue as regarding the freedom to innovate and integrate ideas. They hold that to close Objectivism means that any hidden errors in it should be preserved and adhered to; that closing Objectivism means stopping or at least impeding philosophic progress within Objectivism.  The people on the "closed" side represent the issue as regarding both the integrity and the identity of Objectivism. They hold that opening Objectivism means that Ayn Rand's ideas may be undermined by philosophic inflation—the introduction of counterfeit Objectivism. They also claim that those who want to open Objectivism wish, ultimately, to increase the sta

Regarding Addiction

In November of 2013 I watched an interesting movie called “My Name is Bill W.” It’s a movie about the man who founded Alcoholics Anonymous.  Before watching the movie, I expected to have two concerns with it:  “They’re going to call alcoholism a disease (i.e. an excuse).”  “They’re going to emphasize the ‘higher power’ or God thing.”  I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, they did mention both of these things, but they did not dwell on them. And the result is that I came away from this movie with a better understanding of addiction than I did going in. As well, I’m now able to recognize the borderline addictive behavior which I exhibit in my own life.  With that context, I wish now to tell you my understanding of addictive behavior, and my new take on the above two bullet points.  Addictive behavior is a challenge we all have the potential for. Addictive behavior, as I’ll define it, is to make the same bad decision over and over. This bad decision is generally to engage in some pleasurable

Some Hard Facts About Love

One thing I cannot abide in my life is people who morally condemn me for not loving them.  Love, genuine love, is not born of obligation, moral or otherwise. Love is, instead, a terribly personal desire to associate and affiliate. It grows out of one's own private observations and judgments of another person. And if it does not grow, no degree of admonishment, threat, or moralizing will cause it to grow.  Those who expect you to love them because they say you should, are trying to get you to substitute their judgment for your own. And to get you to comply, they almost always appeal to a mystical authority like God or "karma".  Rather than being someone you'd actually love, they instead try to get you to feel a fear of not loving the people you supposedly should. Let us be clear. Love is a personal choice, and it exists or does not exist, completely independent of whether any person is a member of your family. Family members do not get, or deserve, automatic love from

Abortion Is Every Woman's Right

The abortion of a pregnancy is every woman’s right. Rights are not "God-given" nor "nature given". "Natural right" is a mistaken idea. Rights, instead, are moral principles which are identified and recognized by means of rational thought. Thinking is where moral principles come from, including rights. A right (meaning an individual right, which means a right of an individual) is a moral principle entitling an individual to act in a particular way in the presence of other people. Rights concern what individuals must be allowed, by others, to do, morally speaking. When I say "I have a right to do X", I mean "If you try to stop me from doing X, I will do what I must do to physically stop you, and I am morally entitled to assistance from the government in doing so." With that in mind, in the context of a woman being pregnant, how might individual rights apply? A woman, before she becomes pregnant, is an individual. Does becoming pregnant

The Mission To Eradicate Stupid

Have you ever gotten yourself dead set on a mission? A case where you find it near impossible to give up doing something? I know I have. It generally involves a disagreement with a number of people on the Internet, people who seem to all be making the same error. And I take it upon myself to correct them all. To stamp out the error. After a while, though, I realize I may be embarrassing myself. I start to feel like a fish on a hook, and all the stupid  or erroneous  is just drawing me in. I end up a sucker. The solution, ultimately, is to admit I can't win. It's also to admit that I've been fixated  on a particular goal, and I've stopped paying sufficient attention to other things which require attention. I'm reminded, here, believe it or not, of Dr. Death. As portrayed in the NBC series, Dr. Christopher Duntsch is a man who lives by committing to missions. His first mission (as a young man) is to succeed in football. But he's terrible at it. He confuses his lef

How Evil Operates: Review of "Dr. Death"

In order to understand human nature fully, we need accurate portrayals of unexcused human evil. Today, all too frequently, we see dramatic antagonists motivated by a malevolence explained by early-life circumstances. What we don't see nearly as often are villains explained by nothing other than their own errors of thought, and their unwavering, unyielding commitment to those errors despite nearly overwhelming evidence. The evil man's mantra is: "There is no way I'm wrong about this." The evil man cannot (without great personal cost) admit his own error. The degree of evil is the importance of the uncorrected error. Self-deception is the act of accepting a false belief which serves to flatter one's own image or situation. It can be as minor as "I'll call him back tomorrow" when one actually has no such intention, or as major as "He deserved to die" after committing a murder. It can be as modest as "I have more important things to do

Three Portable LED Lights

Here I review three portable LED lights. They are the  Slonik 1000-lumen headlamp , the  Anker Bolder LC90 flashlight  and the  Nicron N9 flashlight . I purchased all of these. All three are quite good, but there are differences which might make you prefer each over the others. All three emit white light only, and all make a constant, flicker-free beam, in addition to "strobe" and SOS patterns. Each of these uses a single 18650 lithium-ion battery. These batteries make very bright light possible compared to AA batteries. The Anker and Slonik both allow you to charge the battery in-unit with a micro-USB cable. The Nicron does not — you'll need an external charger. The Anker and Slonik both include a battery. The Nicron does not. The build quality on all three units is excellent. These are solid products. Slonik Headlamp The Slonik is a headlamp. It fits comfortably on the head with an elastic strap. It's easily adjustable to point from straight up to straight down, and