Matus1976 Blog - Philosophy, Science, Politics, Invention
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"Plato is dear to me, but dearer still is the truth"
Aristotle was a student of Plato's and greatly admired his teacher. However as his own philosophical inquiries progressed he began to question the wisdom of his teacher, wrestling with this and eventually coming to terms with it, he wrote "Plato is dear to me, but dearer still is the truth"
For centuries after the age of the classical philosophers most of western civilization had embraced Aristotle's ideas about reality entirely uncritically, while embracing most of Plato's ideas about knowledge and religion. The Dark ages were characterized by an uncritical acceptance of the teachings of the ancients, where for nearly 1500 years virtually no advancements were made and all questions about reality were directed toward the ancient texts.
Aristotle would have never welcomed this, his own writings are full of deep sense of inquiry and his own opinions changed on many topics as he investigated them further. Aristotle's deeply inquisitive nature is evidenced by his love for collecting and analyzing animals, attributing characteristics to them and classifying them - the entire science of Taxonomy was primarily founded by Aristotle, as well as the rules for describing nature accurately in the what we today refer to as Aristotlean logic. But on some matters his speculations were wrong, and the uncritical acceptance of these for centuries hindered further progress.
The Roman doctor Galen, who did in fact proclaim to have figured everything out in medicine, was also uncritically accepted throughout the Dark Ages, he is the origin of blood letting and disease coming from an imbalance in the various 'humours' (fluids in the body) today some words are historical descendants of his medical quackery, such as being sanguine.
The middle ages did cultivate an atmosphere of inquiry and questioning, but it was entirely focused on theological matters that had little relevance to material progress on earth, and it was only when that questioning attitude was shifted toward descriptions of reality that the renaissance and scientific revolutions would begin. One great admirer of Aristotle was Isaac Newton. And one incorrect teaching of Aristotle's was that objects need to be perpetually pushed in order to keep moving, but Newton's understanding of nature was making it obvious to him that some things keep moving - even forever - without slowing down and in fact something else has to push on them to slow them. This today is his first law of motion and the notion we readily recognize as inertia, but the fact that he was proposing something that contradicted Aristotle greatly disturbed him.
Wrestling with this, he finally came to terms with it from Aristotle's own famous quote about Plato. Paraphrasing Aristotle and illustrating both his admiration for Aristotle and accepting that he had moved beyond Aristotle's teaching, Isaac Newton wrote in the margin of one of his notebooks "Aristotle is dear to me, but dearer still is the truth"
Anti-Nuclear Power Hysteria and it’s Significant Contribution to Global Warming
The decline of nuclear power has had a significant effect on global carbon emissions and subsequently any anthropogenic global warming effect. To see the extent of this influence, let us first take a look at total U.S. carbon emissions since 1900.
According to the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, from 1900 to 2006, US carbon emissions rose from 181 MMT (million metric tons) to 1,569 MMT.
Taking a look at US electricity generation by type, according to the Energy Information Administration, the U.S. generates 51% of its power from coal, and cumulatively about 71% of its power from fossil fuel sources.
Comparing the energy source to Carbon emissions, the burning of coal to generate electricity alone emits more CO2 than any other single source, about one-third of the total.
As the US Electrical Generation by Type figure shows, about 20% of the U.S. electrical supply comes from nuclear power. Let us now imagine that the U.S. never built any nuclear power plants, but instead built more coal plants to generate the electricity those nuclear plants would have generated.
According to the Energy Information Administration, since 1971, 18.6 billion MW•h (Megawatt hour) of electrical power have been generated by nuclear sources (1). According to the US Department of Energy, every kW•h (kilowatt hour) of electricity generated by coal produces 2.095 lbs of CO2 (2).
As the calculations in the table above show, every MW•h of electricity generated by coal generates 2,095 pounds of carbon dioxide. For 18.6 billion MW•h at 2,095 pounds of CO2 per MW•h, this amounts to 39.0 trillion additional lbs of CO2, or 17.7 billion metric tons. Finally, converting the 17.7 billion metric tons of CO2 to carbon results in 4.842 billion, or 4,842 million metric tons of carbon.
What all this shows is that had this power been generated by coal plants, an additional 4,842 million metric tons of carbon would have been released into the atmosphere. Breaking this calculation down by year, what would this have made our carbon emissions record look like?
Again in blue we see the real world US carbon emissions, but in green we see what the carbon emissions would have been if all the electricity generated by our nuclear infrastructure had instead been generated by coal power plants.
In all, carbon emissions would have been 14.6% higher, with 1,782 MMT of carbon released without nuclear power plants, while only 1,552 MMT are released with our current nuclear infrastructure. This is why many leading environmentalists, such as James Lovelock (author of the Gaia Hypothesis) are vocal supporters of nuclear power.
But this chart is not entirely fair to nuclear power, because the growth of nuclear power was severely derailed by environmentalist hyperbole and outright scaremongering. Because of the attacks by environmentalists on nuclear power, many planned power plants were cancelled, and many existing plants licenses were not renewed. The result, according to Al Gore himself in "Our Choice” was:
"Of the 253 nuclear power reactors originally ordered in the United States from 1953 to 2008, 48 percent were canceled, 11 percent were prematurely shut down, 14 percent experienced at least a one-year-or-more outage…Thus, only about one-fourth of those ordered, or about half of those completed, are still operating." (3)
Let us take a look then at U.S. carbon emissions if the U.S. had simply built and operated the power plants that were originally planned.
Yup, that’s right people: if the US had simply built and operated the nuclear power plants it had planned and licensed, it would today be producing not only less carbon emissions than it did in 1972, but would in fact be emitting almost half the carbon emissions it is now.
But let’s not forget that the very planning and licensing of nuclear power plants was drastically affected by the anti-scientific opposition. Looking again at the Energy Information Administrations figures, the average sustained growth for nuclear generating capacity was increasing by about 28.8 million Megawatt hours for a 20 year period from 1971 to 1989
Here we see a chart taken from the EIA data which shows the growth of real nuclear generating capacity in blue, and the projected growth in red, had the growth of the previous 20 year period been sustained (remember, this is still only about one-fourth of the intended capacity). In this graph, any year which produced less than the average of the previous 20 years was increased to that average of 28.8 million MW•h.
Now let’s take this projected growth and imagine the U.S. had actually built a nuclear infrastructure at this level. What would our carbon emissions look like?
Incredibly, U.S. carbon emissions today would be almost one-fourth of what they are currently. These numbers are estimated by taking the average yearly increase from 1971 to 1989 in nuclear generating capacity and projecting it to the current day, and since these numbers are only one-fourth of the original planned capacity, the result is multiplied by four. In case you think my numbers are fanciful, let’s see if there are any countries out there that did not get entirely persuaded by the anti-nuclear hysteria, and how that affected their carbon emissions.
After the energy crisis of the 70s, France, which was highly dependent on imported oil for electricity production, decided to divest themselves of Middle Eastern oil dependence. Lacking significant fossil fuel deposits, they opted for a nuclear infrastructure. Today nuclear power generates about 78% of France’s electrical power supply, and it is today the world’s largest exporter of electrical energy. France alone accounts for 47% of Western Europe’s nuclear generated electricity (3).
While we do not see the production in France dropping to half of its 1970s levels as we would have in the U.S. had it continued the transition to a nuclear infrastructure, nevertheless the 40% reductions are close and tremendously significant.
Consider from the presented information what the total potential nuclear generating capacity for the US would be if it sustained the high level growth and achieved its planned capacity.
By the year 2000, the US nuclear infrastructure could have been generating 100% of the domestic electrical supply. This is not an extraordinary claim considering, again, that France generates 78% of electrical energy from nuclear power.
Extrapolating this to the global climate, let’s take a look at the global carbon emissions levels and compare them against a world where the U.S. sustained the first two decades of its nuclear infrastructure growth perpetually and ultimately achieved the original planned capacity.
In green, we see the existing global carbon emissions levels and in purple is the U.S. carbon emission levels if it continued to adopt a nuclear infrastructure. In red then, as a result, we see the global carbon levels would have been almost 15% lower than current levels.
I invite readers to extrapolate then where the total global carbon emissions would be if all the post-industrialized nations had adopted nuclear power – as their natural technological progressions would have dictated – if it were not for the hijacking of this process by anti-scientific hyperbole by scaremongering environmental activists. Many organizations – such as Green Peace, still ardently oppose nuclear power. And these levels, mind you, are only about one-tenth of what the Atomic Energy Commission was projecting based on demand during the 60s, where at its height 25 new nuclear power plants were being built every year, and the AEC anticipated that by the year 2000 over 1,000 nuclear power plants would be in operation in the U.S.. Today only 104 operate.
Let us project an educated guess as to what the resulting reduction in carbon emissions would have been had the European Union (which in 2005 generated 15% of their electricity with nuclear) Japan (34.5% nuclear) and finally, going into the future China and India as they fully industrialize.
All of these facts lead to one conclusion: if manmade global warming is a real problem, then it was in fact caused by environmental alarmism. That is not to say that some environmentalism has not been good, but this atrocious abandonment of reason hangs as an ominous cloud over everything environmentalists advocate. Rational environmentalists, such as James Lovelock, who want a high standard of living for humans and a clean planet are quick to change their minds about nuclear power. Irrational environmentalists who actually do not desire wealthy, comfortable lives for all people on the planet--as well as a clean planet--actively oppose nuclear power. Nuclear power is a litmus test for integrity within the environmentalist community.
If you want to spur the economy, stop global warming, and undermine the oil-fueled, terrorist-breeding, murderous theocracies of the world, the solution is simple: build nuclear power plants.
- Sources -
Energy Information Administration - http://www.eia.doe.gov/
US Electrical Generation Sources by Type - http://www.clean-coal.info/drupal/node/164
Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC) - http://cdiac.ornl.gov/
CDIAC US Carbon Emissions - http://cdiac.ornl.gov/ftp/trends/emissions/usa.dat
CDIAC France Carbon Emissions - http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/emis/fra.html
(1) - "18.6 billion MW•h (Megawatt hours) of electrical power have been generated by nuclear sources" – Energy Information Administration - http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/mer/pdf/pages/sec8_3.pdf
(2) – "every kW•h of electricity generated by coal produces 2.095 lbs of CO2” – US Department of Energy "Carbon Dioxide Emissions from the Generation of Electrical Power in the United States” - http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/FTPROOT/environment/co2emiss00.pdf
(3) - Al Gore (2009). Our Choice, Bloomsbury, p. 157.
(4) - "France alone accounts for 47% of western Europe’s nuclear generated electricity” - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 2008 World Nuclear Industry Status Report, http://www.thebulletin.org/web-edition/reports/2008-world-nuclear-industry-status-report/2008-world-nuclear-industry-status-re-1
Four months of swine flu deaths finally equal 1 seasonal flu day. See: http://bit.ly/v1fB6
Matus1976 Podcast Update - Episode 10
Matus1976 Podcast Update - E10 - Comments on Love with excerpts from the Novel – “A Ship Made of Paper” http://tinyurl.com/kremjf
Author Neil Gaiman's nihilistic take on romantic Love
A friend of mine posted this.
"Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses. You build up a whole armor, for years, so nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life... You give them a piece of you. They didn't ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn't your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like 'maybe we should be just friends' or 'how very perceptive' turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It's a soul-hurt, a body-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. Nothing should be able to do that. Especially not love. I hate love."
My comments -
I think that's a sad and very nihilistic sentiment, and not a surprising one from someone like Gaiman who makes his living focusing on angst and suffering. Love (good love), even when unrequited, is a beautiful and amazing thing. It is the embodiment of all the greatest essences of humanity: the recognition of values, a cherishing of ones own existence and of happiness, striving for a life of flourishing, and the use of reason in the recognition of values. 'True love' or, the best kind of love, is not dependant on reciprocation but is instead based on an intrinsic recognition, appreciation, and deep admiration of a persons qualities. Lives may lead people on different paths, but their essence, that which we love, remains the same. If you love someone, you love 'them' as a person, as an identity. Part of them may choose a different course in life, but this is no reason to not love. Being hurt by someone choosing a different course in life is a testament that Gaiman thinks reality and everyone else's dreams, passions, and desires ought to change entirely to satisfy each of our own whims. To scorn love so as to never be hurt by it is nihilistic Buddhism to its core - advocating never valuing anything because it's loss might cause you to suffer. Why stop at love? Why not eradicate joy and happiness as well, but the only way to do this is to never care about anything. Is this the life Gaiman advocates? Would this be a good life to live? To love a person includes wanting what is best for them for their own sake, not for yours. A flourishing fulfilling healthy relationship exists where two people who love each other and admire each other for their intrinsic qualities travel and grow together on the same course in life.
I have started up a podcast to discuss topics of interest to me. It is avaiable on iTunes and standard podcast sources or can be directly downloaded.
Discussion of Philosophy (primary Aristotle / Eudaemonism and Ayn Rand / Objectivism) Politics (Objectivism, Libertarianism, anti-communism) Science (skepticism, atheism,technology) and Art (romantic realism)
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I encourage anyone who finds values in my posts to check out the podcast and also if you have something you want to say or share your understanding of, to star your own! Its quick and easy through TalkShoe.com and you can make a little extra money at it as well.
Sing Muse of the wrath of Achilles
A little bit of etymology
The first line of Homer's Iliad reads "Sing Muse of the Wrath of Achilles" The ancient Greeks had nine muses, and these muses were thought to serve as the inspiration for thought or skilled practice, and so Homer was appealing to the muses to inspire him to write of Achilles. What is someone doing when they "muse" Muse is a Greek word, and it means you are thinking about something. In Greek, the prefix "a" means 'not' or 'without' as in an "a-theist", which is someone who is without theism. Thus, "a-muse" means without thinking, an adequate description of laughing, joyful, "amusing" behavior. Ancient Greeks used the word mouseion to refer to a place or temple dedicated to the Muses, thus today a "Museum" then is a place of the products of thought or inspiration. "Music" holds the same origin in the word muse, but since antiquity has narrowed the idea of directed thought or inspiration to only one arena, that of sound.
"Liberty and Freedom, you can make a distinction between them. Liberty perhaps being political rights, freedom; not being enslaved. The ancient Athenian had only one word "Eleuthera" …and to him it was the noblest and defining character of his nation. To be free." – J. Rufus Fears – “The History of Freedom” Lecture series.
Pop culture is often a reflection of predominant philosophical themes. By the widespread use of an idea or phrasing we can often discern some of the philosophical attitudes of people that partake in these particular cultural expressions. They are of course never 100% accurate, and sometimes poor philosophical ideas are obfuscated and intentionally hidden to be presented to the mainstream culture. But in this general regard, there is a popular song by 3 Doors Down which contains the line “So you call this your free country, Tell me why it costs so much to live” and it reflects, I believe, a popular cultural sentiment. This line and sentiment infuriates me for a variety of reasons, the most important being that it wantonly confuses contradictory definitions of the word “Freedom”.
Freedom obviously has many different uses, for the purposes of this essay I will discuss the four predominant ones in English. To start with, one definition is being free from oppression (that is, no threat of having people force you to do something against your will) and another is Free as in ‘without cost’. Different languages use entirely different words to say these different concepts, it is only the fact that the English language uses this same word to mean a couple different things that this line is possible, and consequently that is even has a chance of trying to make the point it tries to make (that it should cost nothing to live) and that perhaps this language quirk is a major reason why this cultural sentiment exists at all, since it is superficially ‘clever’.
To illustrate why this is a fallacious way of thinking, let me use that exact same reversal of definitions of the word “Freedom” in a different context to illustrate how completely egregious it is to mix those two definitions conceptually. Consider the following statement.
“Of course I think black men should be free, everyone ought to have one”
Such is the betrayal of freedom (from oppression) that is permitted by mixing those definitions.
Being free from oppression is absolutely not the same thing as being free from cost, and ironically insisting that something be free from cost actually destroys freedom from oppression. Life, and existing, does have a cost, and it always will. That cost is food and water primarily, shelter secondarily, and health and medical care lastly. When we are hungry, we can not make food fall from the sky and into our mouths just by wishing it to. That food must be grown or killed, collected, processed, transported to us, and prepared for consumption. Every step of this process is complex and consumes a great deal of effort and time which other people have to put in. Whenever someone demands free (from cost) food, they are demanding that all of people, the farmers, packagers, truckers, train operators and tractor builders, fuel processors, grocery stores, etc, work for them without pay in order to provide that food free from cost.
We can not wish a heated home with running water into existence; such a thing requires the material and intellectual effort of literally thousands of people. Should everyone be provided with a heated home with running water for free (without cost)? To insist such a thing means that the thousands of laborers, builders, designers, carpenters, plumbers, contractors, etc do this work without pay.
Similarly, when we insist on free medical care, we are advocating every single medical practitioner, researcher, innovator, nurse and health aide to work for us to provide us these things for free without paying them anything.
Now let me be clear, I think as many people as possible ought to have the best health care, education, shelter and food possible. But under absolutely no circumstances is it right to advocate forced enslavement of people to provide these things. Each and every one of us has a right, fundamentally, to our own life, is it ours to live freely as we choose. No one else has any right to dictate to us or enslave us, and similarly we have no right to do that to anyone else. No one has a right to tell a farmer forcibly what he should charge for his food when it was his own mind, effort, and labor which produced it. No one has a right to tell a doctor what to charge for his services, his abilities are the product of his own effort and mind and they are not owned by anyone but himself. To force him, implicitly at the end of a gun, to charge no more than a certain amount for his services, is to tell him everyone but himself is the actual owner of his abilities; and as such his life. He is enslaved to everyone. He is a slave who is the property of “the people”
In fact, demanding a *right* to anything that is the result of someone else’s labor or mind means that the people who make those things have no rights. There can be NO RIGHTS in a society which demands the enslavement of all the producers and providers. No one EVER has a right to enslave. A right can not be just when it comes from the enslavement of everyone else, or even one single person. If you have a right to free from cost medical care, enforced by your government, it means you have a right to enslave the providers of medical care. If you have a right to education, it means you have a right to enslave the providers and producers of education. If you have a right to food, it means you have a right to enslave the producers and distributors of that food. This right to enslave is a founding element of socialism and communism, and no free from oppression society can be founded with the right to enslave embedded into its framework.
When we talk then about being free from cost, we are talking about a particular kind of freedom, which I will call material freedom. Material freedom is the acquisition of material goods with no cost to the person who has acquired them. Contrast this then to what I will call Political Freedom. Political Freedom is freedom from being forced to do something against your will by another person. These are the two types of freedom that are confused in the lyrics mentioned previously and in the popular cultural sentiment as well.
That life has a cost; the actions and efforts to sustain it, and thus could never be free (unless technology like nanotechnology literally renders food and shelter as cheap as dirt) conjures up the implicit idea from mixing these definitions of freedom; that the cost of living is similar to political oppression. That needing to work to live to provide yourself food and shelter in order to survive is no different than being forced by a captor as a slave laborer under the threat of torture and death. There is a tremendous distinction between these. Needing to partake in physical labor in order to acquire the material needs for survival is a consequence of physical reality and the laws of physics. We can not continue to exist merely by wishing to. We must act. All life requires a particular series of actions to be sustained, and every single person on this planet lives by only one of two means; providing that material existence for themselves, or looting or stealing the material means of survival from someone else. Needing to get permission from a dictator to live is a far different thing than working to grow food or build housing, or working to freely trade with someone to acquire those things. Blurring the distinction between the two in any way serves to perpetuate dictatorial rule, as it then can be hidden behind the guise of the ‘natural’ difficulties inherent in life. If the cost of living is similar to political oppression, than the fact that life requires action and effort means that political oppression must also be a part of life and dodging a dictators noose is as natural a component of survival as toiling in a field is. Who is it then that benefits most from convincing you that the lack of material freedom is the same as the lack of political freedom? Well those who seek to politically enslave you of course, or that seek to ally with you to enslave someone else under the banner of ‘rights’
The idea that needing to provide yourself the material necessities of life is a violation of freedom brings up a third common definition for freedom. I call this freedom Metaphysical Freedom. Metaphysical freedom is literal freedom of volition, it is the ability to do anything you want instantly with no effort just by wishing it, whether that is transporting yourself instantly to another continent or planet, or insisting that you do not need food to live.
Metaphysical freedom has limitations placed on it as well, and just like Material Freedom being confused with Political freedom, Metaphysical freedom is also often confused with Political Freedom. In fact the lack of Material Freedom is a consequence of the limitations forced onto us in regards to our Metaphysical Freedoms. Those limitations are, of course, the laws of physics. Life requires energy to sustain it, it requires action and effort to acquire the fuel for the energy and a perpetual and directed course of action intended to further that life. The laws of physics do not allow us to survive without eating, to work forever without rest or food, or to get a better life merely by wishing it. No one has Metaphysical Freedom, and probably no one ever will, though advances in technology will get us closer and closer to a pure metaphysical like freedom, we will likely always still require energy and effort to survive. Insisting though, that life should have no cost to it, that cost being food, shelter, and medicine, is an affront to the restrictions placed by the universe on our metaphysical freedoms. It is screaming to nature in frustration that you must follow her rules. It is screaming because your car wont start, or your investment failed, or you lover no longer loves you back. It is throwing a childish tantrum at reality, it is unproductive, useless, and nothing less than ignorant savagery. When you fail at a task or something happens to make your life more difficult, you have not been frustrated by a malevolent universe out to perpetuate human suffering and misery, you have instead corrected a misconception you held about the nature of the universe. Nature and reality exist and function in particular ways, to prosper as physical beings in a material world requires us to understand and follow the rules of material existence, not whine and wail when things do not go the way of our whims and conjur up flawed philosophical notions of metaphysical freedom.
The restrictions placed on our metaphysical freedoms by the laws of nature lead us to our final definition of freedom which I will discuss in this essay, Physical Freedom. Physical Freedom is the literal freedom of action, to move about, to speak, to do things, to work, to act on the physical world. Yet again this additional definition of freedom is frequently confused with the political freedom from oppression and the freedom from cost of materials. You might hear in conversations with anarchists that Physical Freedom ought to be identical to Political Freedom. That is, everything you are physically able to do you should be allowed to do, this includes physically brutalizing and oppressing another person. After all, if the police prevent you from oppressing someone they are in fact restricting your freedoms, but in this case they are restricting your Physical Freedoms, they are not restricting your Political Freedoms. Is it any wonder than whose interest is served by blurring the distinction between Political Freedom and Physical Freedom? Again if infringing on your ‘right’ to assault someone is an assault on freedom, than it is only those who advocate dictatorial or tyrannical rule who seek to call a system where anyone can do anything to anyone else as long as he is physically able to do it, Free. This is not Freedom in any meaningful political sense of the term.
The lack of distinction of Physical Freedom from Political Freedom often leads hardcore egalitarians and socialists to proclaim that the laws of physics themselves are a form of oppression, which of course is the only logical implication of any statement that derides the fact that it costs effort to live by providing food, and to have to deal with the physical realities of nature is a form of cruel oppression, and the people able to understand and overcome nature owe it to the people who are not able or willing, and owe it to them specifically because they are not able or willing, to shield them from the difficulties of physical existence. To make the world soft, coddling, padded, welcoming and free from anything remotely damaging to the fragile egos of these solipsists.
To summarize then, the four types of Freedom are:
Material Freedom – free from cost, cost as labor or effort or money
Physical Freedom – a literal freedom of action and movement, constrained only by the laws of physics
Metaphysical Freedom – literal volitional freedom unrestrained by the laws of physics, being able to do absolutely anything you wish instantly without effort. Includes being free from being forced to do something against your will by the laws of nature. Metaphysical freedom is a philosophical impossibility.
Political Freedom – Freedom from being forced to do something against your will by someone else.
Because of the nature of Material Freedom (that of being free from any cost or effort at acquiring the material necessities for life) any advancement in Material Freedom, when provided by government decree, necessarily bears a zero sum relationship with Political Freedom, You can not have a right to your own life if everyone else does. Any material good that is provided, that the government says everyone has a *right* to must come from the material products and effort of other people, and as such those others must be forced to work, i.e. enslaved, to provide those goods and services. If you say “I have a right to education” you are saying you have a right to force others to provide you with education, a right to enslave them. Thus, political figures like Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Robert Mugabe, etc, operating under the guise of freedom are in fact seeking to forcibly enslave the majority of the population.
Is it no wonder then that every single communist nation in existence has always forbidden leaving the country? Is this not the ultimate expression of not having a right to your own life? People are not politically free in these nations, they are merely a physical tool whose only purpose is to attempt to provide equal material freedom to everyone else. Nations which do not allow people to freely leave them do not even deserve the respect of being called nations, and instead should be referred to as they truly are, prisons. Dictators and rulers of these nations, the worst of which are North Korea, Cuba, Laos, Vietnam; are in fact literal hostage takers. These nations operate under the flawed idealistic premise of material freedom as the end goal, and as a consequence have absolutely no political freedoms and are brutally oppressive, poor, and painful to live in.
Conversely, any advances in Political Freedom (including both economic and civil, which really should not be distinguished) lead directly to advances in Material Freedom, that is allowing people to rule their own lives and to discover and invent of their own accord, leads to the greatest advancements possible to man and thus the greatest reduction in the effort required to survive, implicitly speeding toward Material Freedom, though never quite completely reaching it.
I am a strong proponent of Political Freedom, that is, A life without oppression from other people. I am a strong advocate of Physical Freedom but only when it does not lead to restrictions on Political Freedom; anyone can do anything they want as long as they do not assault person or property of others. I am adamantly against Material freedom when it comes from the enslavement of the material production of those able to produce useful things, but completely for it when the free and voluntary exchange of these useful things results in people making the world an easier and more pleasant place for them to exist.
Thus, a just government would defend at all costs Political freedom both civil and economic, allow Physical Freedoms where they do not conflict with Political Freedoms, and necessarily progress more toward Material Freedom than any controlled or centralized government because of the advances made from innovators and producers which reduce the material cost of everything man needs to survive. Such a government should include a constitutional separation of church and state *as well as* a constitutional separation of business and state. While an initial incarnation of it might require taxation to sustain itself in order to provide basic infrastructure, national self defense, protect civil liberties, enforce rule of law, and final arbitration in matters of dispute, eventually a streamlined system could work on voluntary fee based system alone. Laws would allow individuals to do virtually anything they wanted as long as it did not infringe on someone else’s rights, or assault them physically or economically. Prisons would contain only violent criminals. The society would be wealthy, politically free, physically free, continually approach material freedom providing for wonderful, long, healthy lives for its inhabitants.
But when we confuse the meanings of Freedoms we open ourselves up to promulgating dictatorial rule in the name of an abstract and harmful ideal of ‘freedom’ which is in fact a literal enslavement of the vast majority of the population. Words are the only means by which we can convey ideas and as such are extremely powerful tools, we must always choose our words wisely and there is no more important area to be aware of the meanings of words than when it is in regards to the freedom (political and physical) of sentient beings.
The Great Chinese Famine
They pretend an object is not what it really is.
In the hopes it will not be that which it always is.
Imagination, it seems to them, is meant to be absurd.
They use a gun instead of reason to make their voices heard.
They won't come to ever see how their morals shape reality, the only end they care to see is violent: forced equality.
They pretend your mind is something that belongs to them.
It's only meant to serve all those whose needs are still not met.
Self-destruction is, to them, a means that serves an end.
Self sacrifice and immolation make the best of men.
They won't come to ever see starvation comes from equity, if equal men are made by force, they turn the best into the worst.
They pretend that you'll provide under the yoke of force.
Their need the right to claim all you have made and force out more.
They pretend that they won't starve without a working mind.
And they wont see where they end up is where they wished to find.
They won't come to ever see their morals shape reality, the only end they care to see is violent: forced equality
– Thosquanta lyrics
In the late 50's as Chairman Mao Ze Dong solidified power in "Revolutionary China" he sought to increase the standing of China on the international scene. To do this, China had to sell it's primary domestic product; food. Of course in China most people producing food consumed the food they were producing. The communist party of China issued new orders and directives, every bit of food produced by the population would be 'given' to the government, who would then re-distribute it according to who needed it, or rather, according to what would benefit the oppressive rulers the most. Mao's ruling part of China began a campaign to become one of the world's largest agricultural exporters. Farmers were forced to hand over at gun point the food they were growing while they were starving. Where they were producing more than enough food for themselves and others, now there was not even enough food to feed the population of China. People were literally working themselves to death growing and collecting their own food, and being forced to give it away. Millions and millions of people starved to death. In all, historians estimate, about 35 million Chinese peasants starved to death during this period in the absolute worst human famine to have ever occurred, yet few today know about it.
This famine was not cause by droughts or freezes, but instead by a controlled economy in the hands of a murderous dictator, in fact all of the famines experienced in the 20th century were at the hands of controlled economies
Additionally Communist party members were fans of an "alternative" science, brought about by philosophical Dialectical materialism, which asserts all growth comes from conflict, among other bad ideas, and also abandons the mechanism of heredity, genetics, in favor of a deadly Marxist pseudoscience, Lysenkoism. Lysenko and his poor science caused the famines in the Soviet Union which killed tens of millions of people, and many of these policies, despite these spectacular failures, were adopted in China promulgating Mao's famine. Later, when adopted in Cambodia, Ethiopio, and North Korea, all produced still more man-made famines. The lysenko ideas including 'conditioning' seeds to grow in cold weather by dunking them in cold water, forcing peasants to bury seedlings much deeper, and forcing peasants to cover fields with 5 times as many seeds as a field could support, on the theory that similar plants do not compete with each other for resources.
You can read more on these dreadful policies here
Beyond that, Communist party members sought to make China a world player on the industrial scene in the world and desired to capitalize on their greatest resource; manpower from physical labor. Tens of millions of farmers and peasants were ordered to leave their productive farms and build small communal "steel refractories" these refractories resembled termite mounds more than steel production furnaces and produced steel that looked more like animal droppings earning it a nickname in kind.
The single major change which ended this dreadful famine was when farmers were again allowed to produce food as they saw fit, and while they still had to provide a large quota to the government, they were allowed to keep any excess they grew and sell it. Within 5 years agricultural output in China, from 1960 – 1965, almost tripled. Production continued to climb until Chairman Mao regained much of the power he lost and instituted a "cultural revolution" where anyone eductated in the ways of the west was executed, again agriculture production plummeted as the people responsible for the radical increase were sent to prison camps or outright executed as "counter revolutionaries" Millions of educated Chinese fled the country, and chances are if you are in a western country and have some Chinese friends, their parents most likely fled the cultural revolution.
Read more here is as well
Many people in western nations have a hard time believing such statistics, assuming by de-facto that governments tend to operate well and for the benefit of the people. But government encroachment into markets does not bring about equality, increased standards of living, or a general betterment of society, it always plummets toward ineptitude, corruption, and inefficiencies. . No bureaucrat can ever respond quickly enough to rapidly changing climate and markets to get the food where it is needed, only the independent and rapid decisions of the millions of producers and distributors are capable of adjusting with lighting rapidity to great strains on products. Any politician who controls immense swaths of the economy is immediately open to corruption, where the currency de jour is not product superiority but instead influence and bribery. To the extent at which governments interfere in markets is the extent to which people in those nations suffer harder, shorter, more painful lives, and to the extent to which nations let free people make free decisions and produce the goods they desire of their own accord, and trade with each other of their own free will, is the extent to which a nation and it's people prosper and live longer, healthier, happier lives as a whole.
Galaxies, Pyramid Building, and Solar System
Beautiful image from Argentina - 3 galaxies and a comet
French Architect proposes mechanism for construction of Egyptian pyramids.
Solar System planet size comparison
Great comparison of the size of all objects in our solar system larger than 200 miles in diameter, gives a conceptual understanding of the size of the sun and large gas planets compared to earth and other smaller bodies. Visually stunning.
50,000 galaxies, killer asteroids, and beat again
Some quick news items
Somebody beat me to it =( Still, mine will be better, but too slow on the draw again...
Check out this amazing Hubble image, 50,000 galaxies, be sure to load the zoomed version and explore the galaxies, 50,000 of them!
On existential threats: NASA lacks funds to find killer asteroids
"They are a threat even if they don't hit Earth because if they explode while close enough -- an event caused by heating in both the rock and the atmosphere -- the devastation from the shockwaves is still immense. The explosion alone could have with the power of 100 million tons of dynamite, enough to devastate an entire state, such as Maryland, they said."
Humanity Needs an Insurance Policy
Check out my updated essay "Humanity Needs an Insurance Policy" on AssociatedContent.com
Humanity Needs an Insurance Policy
Is Self Destruction from the Rapid Growth of Technology the Answer to the Fermi Paradox?
Damascus Blades and Inventors changing the world
Damascus Blades contained carbon nanotubes!
Damascus Blades are legendary in both the history of weaponry and metallurgy. These blades were not only significantly stronger, sharper, and more flexible than any steel in blades at the time, and even now, but were aesthetically fascinating, the forming process created beautiful wood grain like patterns in the steel. Stories from the middle ages suggested that a Damascus blade could slice straight through a regular steel 2” mace ball head without a nick. Like Japanese sword making, the process for making Damascus blades were rigorous and refined over the course of centuries. The ceremonies for making them were so precise that they became essentially religious practices. One of my material books tells a horrifying part of forming a Damascus sword which required quenching the red hot blade with the blood of a living slave. First they were stabbed through ‘the fleshy part of the thigh, then through the other leg’s thigh, and then through the gut’. Ouch.
Whether or not this was part of the actual process, large scale manufacturing today still can not match the quality of these hand crafted blades of antiquity. Damascus blades helped lead the Muslim’s to victory thought he crusades, but hundreds of years ago the delicate and specific recipe for creating them was lost. It was only a mere 10 years ago that modern metallurgists were able to replicate in a lab the quality of Damascus steel. Though pattern welding has been around for a while, it only replicated the look of the blades and not their incredible structural superiority.
This interesting news reported in the New York Times science column
shows that some researchers in Germany, after analyzing true Damascus blades, found they contained carbon nanotubes! Nanotubes were not even identified until the late 1980’s, these tubes are made of sphere of carbon molecules, forming a pattern of interlocking pentagons and hexagons, and then with extra rings added in the middle.
Their manufacture is expensive and complex, the longest tubes to date are around 10 cm, but these fascinating carbon tubes represent the strongest material known to man, over 100 times stronger than steel. A macroscopic length of these tubes, formed into a rope, could be invisible to the naked eye yet support well over a ton of weight. Such levels of strength are still conceptually alien to us. Amazingly, the complex and delicate process used to create Damascus blades caused carbon nanotubes to form within these blades, obviously a major contributor to the strength, flexibility, and sharpness of those blades.
Damascus Steel, if it could reproduced and then mass produced would be to steel what steel was to wrought iron. Rearden Metal anyone?
Great Scientific American article on Damascus http://www.mines.edu/Academic/met/pe/faculty/eberhart/classes/down_loads/damascus.pdf
Damascus Steel images
Wikiepedia entry on Damascus
Inventors make the biggest difference in the world.
Every year hundreds of millions of people die from drinking contaminated water. Technologies for cleaning and purifying water are relatively expensive, complex, and require electricity, forbidding their use in most of these countries. Global altruists push for building massive industrial infrastructure to get clean water to these people, but usually end up just funneling money into the corrupt people who are responsible for the cultural and technological stagnation of these areas in the first place. Their do-good efforts often cause more harm than good. Enter the independent, motivated, intelligent inventor. All the great advances of humanity, the things that have truly alleviated the cause of suffering, as opposed to providing only palliative care, have come not from selfless altruists trying to feel good about their contributions to the world, but from motivated intelligent optimistic people conquering nature through the use of technology and their intransigent minds. The Lifestraw is one such simple, elegant, and beautiful device. This inexpensive straw provides clean safe drinking water for up to 1 year for 1 person per straw. Manufactured at a cost of ~$2 USD, these devices could save hundreds of millions of lives per year, and do far more good for the people of the world than all the concerts, special promotions, and celebrity public service announcements combined.
GizMag article on the LifeStraw
Some other interesting things…
Largest Superconductor ever built
Slow motion of Bunker Buster bomb penetrating reinforced hanger and destroying the aircraft inside
Test firing video of a phalanx
What is Love
What is Love
Love, and emotion for that matter (in a healthy brain) is our response to our highest values. Love is the emotional price you pay for *valuing* something and seeing it expressed in another human being. All of our emotions are responses to the things we value most being expressed. When we value the health and well being of ourselves and our loved ones, we are happy to see things perpetuate those values. If you value honesty, sincerity, kindness, integrity, productiveness, etc, deeply, and you see that expressed in another person, your emotions respond properly.
Our mind, logic and reason, do not operate in conflict with our emotions, our emotions are the logical extensions of our deepest convictions. Proper relationships of love are based on admiration and respect for a person, an individual. Not a robot or a social automaton. If you value fashion and trendyness the most, you will love someone that embodies those things. If you value money and prestige the most, you will love someone that embodies those things, but in both of those cases it is very easy to find another person with more money, fame, wealth, prestige, or as is the most common case, hotter. So your emotions become fickle and easily swayed. It is any wonder than that people go from an initial high in a relationship to feeling like they are going through the mundane routines? If you are truly inspired by someone, and you admire and cherish them, and they feel the same about you, will you ever really become bored of them?
A proper loving relationship, when one values proper things and integrates them into their own self fully (e.g. valuing honesty, one must become honest, valuing rational independence, one must not be co-dependant) will blossom into an amazing and easily life long relationship full of complete admiration and respect. A proper loving relationship, since to say "I love you" one must have a clear concept of "I" and a clear concept of "you" can not come from two people who fear being alone, who don't like spending time with themselves, who perpetually seek to be distracted from dealing with their own innate boringness, it must come from two independent intelligent people sure of themselves both doing what they most want to do. A proper loving relationship comes from where the individual rational self interest of two people meet, no one giving up any part of themselves for the sake of a 'relationship' but both of them forming a profound and amazing relationship based on the thing most important to each of them.
Such relationships are rare, I have since I came to this opinion only had one of this nature in my life, and it was the most amazing by far of all the relationships I have ever had. I fully believe that the vast majority of people are in extremely unhealthy relationships, they do not hold their partners to any standards and they don't base their affection on any solid ground, while they cheat on each other, lie steal and manipulate, they chant to themselves 'but I love him! (or her)' After obfuscating the source of their original emotion, they demote love to something they are just supposed to feel and elevate feeling it for someone who does not deserve it to a status of a moral virtue!
In many cases, a significant other will spend most of their time berating their partner, in order to psychological demoralize them. It amazes me how prevalent this can be, the ‘you are not pretty, no one would want you, you are a loser, you are pathetic’ etc. Things like that stem from basing one's self esteem on other people's assessments of you. A person who does this knows what kind of control it gives them over some one, even if they don’t explicitly know it, they are aware of it at some level because it is how control is established over them. So if you don't like them, it is in fact insulting to him, so they have to insult you to compensate. They must beat you to the psychological punch before they lose their self esteem to you.
When people have a healthy basis for their own self esteem they don't need affection from other people to sustain it, since in essence needing someone else’s appraise is enslaving one's self them, just as lying to them and manipulating them is. When you know who you are and have a healthy basis for your own assessment of yourself, then when someone likes you (for the right reasons of course) then it is more a reflection of them and their qualities than it is of you and yours. You know who you are. You know what quality of a person you are if you have integrity. It becomes a scenario that when people like you, they will rise in your estimate of them. You’ll think more highly of them because they value what you value, and recognize it in you. But it's only when they like you for the things that you most like about yourself and when those things are proper. You must like about yourself your integrity, honesty, commitment to what is right and just, love of your life, your fundamental outlook on life, and they must like the same in you. If someone likes you just because you are hot or rich, well that doesn’t say too many good things about them. It’s good to be someone who can financially support themselves and to be attractive of course, but to base a relationship and affection solely on those is terrible. If someone likes you because they’d be bored otherwise, or because they’d feel lonely, well again that doesn’t say much of them. You become two parasites sucking each others life force working toward a common confusing cloudy mess.
So set yourself some standards. Look for a decent, stable person who has their own hopes and dreams and desires. Look for dreams and goals that do not create conflict with yours. Have ones of your own. Look for integrity (that is, being internally consistent) Look for honesty and sincerity. (Integrity is also being honest to ones values) Then you learn the problem with having standards, and why so many people end up compromising them. You realize quickly how few people stand up to even rudimentary ones. Why is that? Well, that’s the topic of another post, but I would blame a terrible influence of the preomdinat cultural – philosophical attitudes. Once I started really thinking about these things and really being ‘picky’ about these standards, it started to look like I will be alone for some time. Alone is not how I would prefer to be, but I would certainly dislike to a much greater extent being dishonest to myself and my highest values, and subsequently being with some psycho manipulative narcissistic nihilist.
It never ceases to surprise me that being honest and sincere and rational are things so alien to most people. Usually people think it’s ok to be dishonest as long as you can ‘get away with it’ or that no one is physically injured in the process. When I last ate at my friends restaurant, I pointed out to the waitress she missed one of my items I ordered on my bill. She acted surprised, “Wow, you’re so honest!” It’s surprising, or at least it ought to be, that she was surprised by honesty. Well, first of all I wouldn’t consciously steel from my near life long friend, but additionally there is little reason not to be honest. Not only is honesty is far more spiritually rewarding (in appropriate contexts) but it is far more pragmatically rewarding. Honesty cultivates sincere, deep, long lasting friendships and relationships that are mutually beneficial and enlightening, including business and working relationships.
So don’t sell out, too many people do. We have only one life and it is ours to enjoy, not to bow down and apologize and cave in to every jerk who wants to force us to live for them.
Compared to many modern ‘enlightened’ people who yap about how we are ‘not meant to be monogamous’ and such things the old fashioned ways are far more rational in many ways. They came about for good reasons and helped humanity survive for a long time. That’s not to say it’s all good and it couldn’t be when it’s philosophical basis was corrupt (that is, it was based on duty and obligation, not reverence to ones self and one’s deepest values) But the secular materialistic nihilistic interpretation of love, that of corrupting social trickery to keep people in check and monogamy as obligations handed down by pious tyrants is far more destructive, and both that and the old ways are much more unhealthy than the truth of the matter; that love is our response to our highest values and monogamy is not an obligation or duty that flies in the face of our ‘genetic tendencies’ toward polygamy, but instead is the highest and most profound tribute we can pay to one another. Religious indoctrinations of monogamy sought to acquire the cause of monogamy (the overwhelming desire to dedicate oneself to one person) by going through the motions of the effect, yet every wedding I have been to included both men and women present bemoaning and whining about being with the same person for the rest of their life and acting as though a wedding was a sorrowful moment of the final loss of freedom in a person’s life. Such is the only logical consequence possible when one removes the cause of an action, and goes only through the motions of it. If one feels disheartened at the prospect of perpetual monogamy and intimacy with only one person for the rest of their life, than they ought not be getting married in the first place. Pre wedding parties ought to be magnificent celebrations, not a spiritual funerals mourning the loss of single hood.
A lot of people wish for their prince charming or (what is the female equivalent, princess submissive?) to be loaded. Money, in it’s purest form, is a means to acquire values. In absence of values money has no worth. When people forget the purpose of their money, they often end up actually hurting the things they value in pursuit of more money, as they eventually associate money with a source of value and not a means to further values. The father who works long hours to buy a 4500 sq ft house and 3 SUV’s and white picket fence and Jacuzzi on the porch, if lucky, one day realizes why he never sees his wife or children. If unlucky, he just continues to live miserably perpetually wondering why the more he gets the less he feels. His pursuit of money got in the way of his pursuit of values.
When on the market for a relationship, you should always pick someone that embodies your deepest values. But look at the conceptual basis, not the particulars. Maybe they dress differently, or like a different kind of music, or have a different political viewpoint, but it is why they like those things that is important. It is the motivating principles behind their actions. Their overall outlook on the world. Someone may not have read as much or studied as much or went to school as long as you or have as much in the bank as you’d like. But they may have well been raising a family, or taking care of a sick relative, or just enjoying living, which is perfectly fine as we have no ‘debt’ to pay to the world for being alive (the last major secular remnant of original sin) Even if their political ideologies are a polar opposite, that is better than someone having no political opinions, at least the former actually cares about the world they live in the way you do, and tries to form an opinion on what makes it best; very stable solid ground for you to work from. The latter you can have no connection with. If a person of the former persuasion is intelligent, passionate, and rational, and you are as well, you will work out your differences of opinions and you will have no conflicts of interest.
Oddly, people almost always use the word love properly in every context but it’s most important one. Every time someone says “I love this car” or “I love this movie” or “I love this city” they recognize that those things are manifestations of their highest values, even if they don’t understand it explicitly. But when it comes to a person they love, forget it, most couldn’t name any of those qualities they admire or cherish. Go ahead and ask the person who loves you why they do, and ask yourself that of the person you love as well. People will spend hours complaining about their significant other, but when someone objects “well why don’t you break up with her” and they always quip, as if reflexively, “because I love her!” Yeah, but what do you mean by that? Why do you love her? Do you really love her (or him), or is it just that you don’t want to be alone and end up saying ‘eh, you’ll do’ at some point.
It is often fashionable to extol the virtues of unconditional love. Proper love, enlightening love, spiritually enlivening love, is inherently *very* conditional. Consider that if someone goes around and sleeps with everyone in sight (and what is sex after all but in it’s best the physical expression of your deepest admiration and respect for someone) people denigrate them to no end, calling them whores and gigolos and what not, yet we elevate to a moral virtue the idea of giving out love to everyone and everything, not matter what they do. Such an attitude takes any and all value it had away. To give love to anyone, to love all of humanity, means love has no meaning. Replace love with the brilliant or Olympic athlete and it becomes clear how equalizing diminishes value. If it is so wrong to give sex out unconditionally that why is it good to give love out unconditionally?
And in that theme, replace the word love with hate, which is always used in proper context, and the point is further demonstrated. If one insisted that they hated everyone for no reason we might lock them up in a mental institution. Usually people hate someone for a particular reason, that they hurt them or someone they cared about, or are just intrinsically terrible people. But we think loving anyone and everyone for no reason is morally healthy? In reality, the only people that benefit from this altruistic love are those who are least deserving of respect and admiration, and everyone else is hurt by it.
Consider then, conversely, the person who seeks sexual only relationships. Sex is inherently an intimate act. Trying to remove Sex of it’s intimacy is an absurdity. When having sex you are going through all the physical motions of deeply caring about someone, you are touching and caressing them in ways not appropriate in all other social contexts. If you find yourself sleeping with someone, and then wake up with them asking yourself “hmm, is it ok to spoon with them or is that weird?” “Hmm, can I hold hands?” Well, you just engaged in the ultimate extension of physical intimacy! And now you are skittish about holding hands and lying with your bodies close to each others! If such thoughts surface in your mind, then you know intrinsically that you weren’t at the point of sharing the deepest of all physically intimate acts with them.
So why did you sleep with them? Why do men (more often) and women seek sexual conquest? They want to feel better about themselves, returning back to the concept of basing your self value on other people’s reaction to you. The people that seek this tell themselves they just like the physical pleasure of the act, yet if that was the case masturbation would suffice. They tell themselves they just like sex, but if that was the case than prostitutes would suffice, and would willing women really have any troubles finding any random man to sleep with them? Hardly.
So clearly it is something more than the physical feeling of it and the company of a member of the opposite sex (or same, given your orientation) It is, in fact, the elevated sense of self worth that one hopes to acquire by engaging in the ultimate expression of physical intimacy. After all, the proper reason for doing such a thing is literally from mutual admiration and deep and profound respect. Seeking that from the physical expression of admiration is the ultimate form of the philosophical self deception of going through the motions of the effect to try to acquire the cause. Men seek woman who they think are morally pure and demanding, who portray an elevated sense of self respect, and who they fool themselves into thinking have made a great exception for their case. Women seek the same, spiritually, a man who will give them an elevated sense of self respect because of the status or the position of the man, what else could be the primary compulsion of women who flock to celebrities like cats in heat? The women the men seek to conquer have value because they allegedly reserve sex only for those specially unique and deserving people, thus allowing the man to convince himself that he actually is of a higher deserving stature. Both are no different than savages building runways out of bamboo poles and making radio sounds through their mouths, or society forcing monogamy on a relationships desiring of it, or someone buying a sports car that is way outside his means in order to impress his friends. They are all examples of, in Ayn Rand’s words, “going through the motions of the effect to try to acquire that which should have been the cause.”
In reality, in a healthy proper loving sexual relationship, both should be confined to only the rare instances and people that truly deserve it. To the people that express your deepest values. Love is the emotional price we pay for having values. The great thing about that kind of love, the kind of love that is based on respect and admiration, is that it is not required that it be requited. And if you think about it, should any ideal form of love require that to sustain it? If sex is the physical expression of love, then love can be sustained without it, even when your respective values drive you apart, the love is not diminished because that respect and admiration for the person remains. It does not require physical expression as sustenance, although that is an incredibly great addition. Jealousy, suspicion, paranoia, it all goes out the window. After all, would you ever want someone to be with you who didn’t actually want to be with you? Would you want someone to pretend to be your friend who didn’t really want to be? Would you really want someone you respect and admire and even cherish to sacrifice themselves, their identity, their sense of self, just so you wouldn’t be lonely? You would condemn someone you allegedly care about to self imprisonment. I don’t want friendship and especially love to be based on charity, that is insulting beyond measure.
I feel so many people are in unhealthy relationships that I hope I might get them to think a little longer and deeper about who they are and what they are doing. Remember, think about your values and integrate them fully into your life. Hold yourself up to your highest standards, and hold your significant other up to those standards as well. Do not put up with insults, manipulation, and deceit of any form or degree. Saying “no one is perfect” does not excuse people from even bothering to try. Love is our response to our highest values, love is the physiological response our bodies have toward the perception of that which we value most manifested in another person. Think about the values you base your relationships on. Convenience? Scared of being alone? Basing your self esteem on what your significant other thinks of you? Do you ever find yourself saying “you’ll do” or “well, sure he’s psycho but at least I am not alone” or “at least she hasn’t cheated on me” then you are very probably suffering from unhealthy relationship.
Consider last in all these cases who benefits from these twisted conceptions of love. Who benefits from insisting that one ought to love all fellow men? The people least deserving of it. Who suffers? Those most deserving of admiration and respect. Who benefits from insisting that love is something we have no control over? Those who don’t deserve it, those we would not love if we had any standards. We do have control over it because we have control over ourselves, our values and our integrity. The emotional response of love is a reflection of those. Who benefits from insisting that love is mysterious and magical? Again, those who don’t deserve it. Who benefits from the idea that love needs to be worked out? That relationships are hard and difficult? That marriage is work, that love is tough? The people who cause the conflicts that need to be worked out. The people who make relationships difficult by not respecting you and your individuality. Proper love is full of admiration and a deep and profound respect and cherishing, it is based on proper self esteem, self respect, and most importantly rational selfishness. I say the last because love can not be based on the absence of self, as is intrinsic behind the principles of self-less-ness. Without a self, without being able to say “I” you can not love someone. You can not have deep values and convictions and can not respond to them with emotions. To the extent that you abandon your ‘self’ is the extent at which you confuse and muddle love. Love is intrinsically and properly selfish. The proper relationship, the greatest kind of relationship, the most fulfilling, desirable and long lasting, comes from the meeting of the mutual desires of two intelligent, passionate, rational individuals with deep convictions and standards for themselves and others, not from people who abandon their passions and convictions.
The most important aspect about these comments on love and the nature of emotions, however, is that they are *right* Physical experiments prove the nature of emotions, that they are logical extensions of our deepest convictions (in healthy minds, severe physiological differences or chemical imbalances can very obviously alter the proper functioning of a system of perception, recognition and reaction that is based on physical bodies, minds, and molecules) They are not disconnected from our rational faculties, but are instead the ultimate logical extension of them. They are lighting quick calculators that assess the situation you are in and compare it to your values, thus invoking feelings of pleasure or pain. Brian scans and psychological experiments have proved as such over and over again, yet the idea remains completely outside the predominate cultural and philosophical interpretations of love. Why is that? Well that is a topic worthy of an even longer essay.
If you have found any value in these ideas on love and emotions, they come mostly from philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand and the great Aristotle, with minor contributions and extrapolations from myself and the many people I have discussed this topic with on different forums devoted to the ideas of both of these amazing people. Rand’s contributions on the nature and purpose of emotions are no doubt one of the most important contributions she made and some of the most important ideas for spiritual health of humanity.