Posts

Reality

I'm an Objectivist. What does that mean? It means that my fundamental belief is in reality. It also means a lot of other things, but that's the main thing. It also means that most people on Earth disagree with me. Some people believe in reality but say a supreme being created it and could change it whenever he wishes. That means their fundamental belief is in the supreme being — not reality. Others claim it's na├»ve or dangerous to attempt to say anything about "a reality" we all share, especially that we all share it. With these people, whenever you say "reality" they feel the need to ask "Whose reality?" as if there can be no reality that is not a personal attribute. They take comfort in believing that their reality is not mine. People who disagree with me think "a reality" belongs to someone. They think that "each reality," as such, is created by its owner. That's the idea I firmly reject. Instead, I hold that reality

Truth and Bullshit

There is truth, and there is bullshit. The truth may not be easy to find, but with effort, one can distinguish it from bullshit. Honesty is the dedication to truth and the rejection of bullshit. Dishonesty is the dedication to bullshit. Dishonest people promote bullshit, and they hope others will accept it. Dishonest people fear the truth. They repel or attempt to defeat or even destroy truthful people. Dishonest people want respect for their bullshit, and they despise anyone who rejects it. Honest people can mistakenly accept bullshit. They may err, but they seek evidence for their positions and will observe contrary evidence, so they can ultimately discover and reject the bullshit they have fallen for. A dishonest person denies evidence presented against his bullshit, and he's satisfied with his position as long as he can repel, defeat or destroy anyone who disagrees with him. An honest person seeks truth and doesn't wish to harm those who disagree with him. He wants to persu

On "Malevolent" Music

Music communicates an emotional experience through sound. Sometimes that experience is happy or triumphant. Sometimes it is sad, dreadful, or angry. Just like great fiction, music has happy and sad moments. I'm not going to define "music" here, but for now, I wish to include a broad range of works of organized sound, from songs to movie music to symphonies to pure percussion works. I'm talking about sound organized (composed) by people for human consumption. Such work serves lots of purposes, but the overarching purpose is to communicate an emotional experience to the listener. One can question why the particular experience is being communicated, i.e. why the composer/producer considers the experience important enough to communicate in a given context, but I hold that the greatness of music as such lies in how effectively an experience is transmitted through the sound. Quality music is integrated for the sake of the emotional purpose at hand. Anything that distracts t

Mission Unphysical

Image
In a famous scene from the first of Tom Cruise's  Mission Impossible  movies, disavowed CIA agent Franz Krieger uses a harness, a carabiner, and four pulleys (one of them is arguably better called a "pushey") and rope to lower agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) through the ceiling of a room at CIA headquarters in order to steal something. It's a fun and suspenseful scene to watch, but here I want to talk about how silly this pulley system is. Franz is lying down in a narrow air duct above the vent through which he is lowering Ethan. The vent is near his feet, and he's slowly releasing line through a pulley (kept out of sight) that is mounted above him, and closer to the hole. From that pulley, the line comes back toward him, through a pulley that is attached with a carabiner to a harness on his chest. The line then goes back toward the hole, but up again to a different (visible) high-mounted pulley, then it descends toward the hole and over a "pushey" mounted

Wonder Woman 1984 Is A Flawed Attempt To Do Something Great. See It.

I recently watched Wonder Woman (2017), and Wonder Woman 1984 (2020), both starring Gal Gadot. I remember when these movies came out. Everybody liked Wonder Woman, and most people did not like Wonder Woman 1984. Both of these movies have their share of silliness, and I admit that the first movie, Wonder Woman, stands up better. But even though Wonder Woman 1984 has some big things going against it, including a villain who is transparently a stand-in for Donald Trump (cheap shot, Hollywood), and some anti-wealth overtones, it has one surprisingly important thing in its favor: the theme is the danger of wishful thinking. It's a metaphysical theme. What's more, it's a true theme. The movie is a morality tale that uses a physical artifact to symbolize the human temptation to long for what is not over what is. In the movie, the artifact, in granting wishes, always exacts a hidden cost. It's hard not to salute such a well-conceived device to dramatize the theme that wishing

Should You Want To Live?

Should you want to live? Read that again. Should  you want to live? It's not an obvious question. It's a fishy  question. For Ayn Rand, the purpose of morality is enjoyment, long-range, i.e. life. The whole problem of morality is that we often want to do things that are bad for that goal . Moral thinking helps us discover the ideas and the courses of action that further our interest , as opposed to our immediate pleasure or satisfaction. If you don't want to live, then, according to Objectivism, moral arguments are irrelevant, because you've given up what moral argumentation  appeals to: the desire for durable joy . The choice to live is pre-moral. Morality is about how to live. Choose to live—to pursue happiness—then we can talk about morality. Some think that because "man's life" is the standard of morality in Objectivism, bare survival is all that Objectivist morality involves. They hold that any desire for happiness above bare survival, according t

Who Is God?

 Some people go to church every week. A church is a place where people go to learn how to live. People need to learn how to live. But the church doesn't really teach you that. Instead, it teaches you how to keep God happy—to do what he likes. Who is God, and why do people want to keep him happy? It's strange, but God is an extra-strong, pretend person that someone made up long ago. People want to keep him happy because they want a strong friend. Children sometimes have imaginary friends, but give them up after a while. God, though, is an imaginary friend that lots of people don't ever give up. Instead, they forget he isn't real. How can people forget they are pretending? It's sad. It happens when they become afraid of not pretending. People like God because he is big and strong. But God isn't always nice. People say that sometimes when God gets angry, he hurts lots of people, even if only some of them have made him angry. God, the imaginary friend, is also a bul