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Thread: Society of Rapture (Fan Musings)

  1. #1
    New Member
    Registered: May 2006

    Society of Rapture (Fan Musings)

    Asked this on the Bioshock Nation forums, but they're kind of dead so I'll post here as well.
    Okay, another thing I am curious about is the underwater city of Rapture itself. While we know it is underwater, sprouting as many holes as the Titanic, and the brainchild of some capitalist dude by the name of Ryan, we don't know much more then that.
    Ryan obviously wanted it to be a capitalistic utopia, Levin said as much in his interviews. But what kind of capitalism? Did he try to get a free-market society with perfect competition and the "American Dream" philosphy that lead to the mom and pop stores (might be fitting considering the Nuclear Age vibe he has going elsewhere) or is he a greedy monopolist who wanted everything to be owned by one company that had him as CEO, CFO, and the entire board of investors?
    Depending on which way he went, the layout of the city would change dramatically (large factories and shopping mall-like complexes verses a maze of small workshops and corner stores.)
    Personally I am very interested in this idea as a writer, I have read and played in a few other utopian societies, but none of them involved in capitalism.

  2. #2
    Previously Important
    Registered: Nov 1999
    Location: Caer Weasel, Uelekevu
    Much of the inspiration for Rapture seems to have come from Ayn Rand, particularly Atlas Shrugged.

  3. #3
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: Yangon, Burma
    If you've never read Atlas Shrugged, the few-sentences synopsis of it (I don't think this is really spoiling, but so you know...) is a society in which a few major corporations (or pretty much one union of major corporations) run an oligarchy, charging monopoly prices and putting them in such a power strangle-hold that they rule the whole government and society and forbid anyone to have their own business to threaten them, and one guy with a few bright ideas about efficiency, innovation, etc, brings the whole thing crashing down by (illegally) outcompeting them right under their noses, their powerbase crumbles beneath them, and he returns power and freedom to the people.

    For those kind of capitalist-idealists into innovation and efficiency (free market, antitrust, etc, Cato Institute people), it's an intoxicating read. You talk to them about it, and they can hardly stop shaking and salivating when they talk about the book they get so excited ... seriously, there's no mistaking when you meet one of them: one guy can change the world with a few good ideas and perfect competition to let them do their thing (a la Bill Gates)!

    I think about those kind of guys, then I think about this Ryan character taking his fanatacism to the extreme, and I can just feel that this is going to be good...

    And to answer your question, my guess is the first, "American Dream" type of perfect competition, where even America would be considered as way too socialist for its own good. As some Cato guy tried to dramatize it for me once: "You mean I have to get a license to cut hair in the US!? But I'm Vidal Sasoon, and the style your license expects us to dish-out sucks, and people want to buy my style with or without your stupid license." Carry the reasoning out: "You mean I have to have a license to wire a building...", "to build a glass dome...", "to conduct surgery...", "biological experiments...", heh, you can see where this is going.

    By the way, the reviews from the E3 demo and a few other places say that the society is definately stratified, with haves and have-nots ... so it's definately got a distopian edge to it of a few monopolists squandaring the wealth. My thinking is, the "American dream" part really is a dream that this Ryan guy still thinks can work in its "perfect" form, despite it obviously collapsing all around him. It's just the ideal.
    Last edited by demagogue; 11th May 2006 at 17:25.

  4. #4
    New Member
    Registered: May 2006
    *Adds Atlas Shrugged to his reading list* Thank you, I am definitely looking forward to see how this world is shaped now.

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Quote Originally Posted by Psion View Post
    Okay, another thing I am curious about is the underwater city of Rapture itself. While we know it is underwater, sprouting as many holes as the Titanic, and the brainchild of some capitalist dude by the name of Ryan, we don't know much more then that.
    Ryan obviously wanted it to be a capitalistic utopia, Levin said as much in his interviews. But what kind of capitalism?
    "Capitalism" is something that needs to be defined properly. Most people do not understand that "Capitalism" (the word) was invented by Karl Marx, and that most definitions of "Capitalism" are influenced by the ideologies of the definers. i.e. almost every definition of "Capitalism" you have heard is manipulated.

    Properly speaking, there are no 'kinds of Capitalism.' To a Marxist, any system that allows at least some private property over capital goods (the means of making other goods) is 'Capitalist.' This means that, by this definition, Nazi Germany (which had price controls, wage controls, central economic planning, but had a nominal right of private property) was Capitalist. However, the Nazis were socialists (Nazi stands for National Socialist).

    "Capitalism" is really just the economic position of Liberalism (known as Libertarianism in the US, it was also the ideology of the US Founding Fathers). Liberalism states that every person is free to do as they please, as long as they do not prevent others from enjoying the same rights. This translates into "Do whatever you want, as long as you do not START the use of violence, fraud, or threats, against other people."

    This also implies a radical position on non-economic liberties as well: for example under Liberalism (again, I state, this means classical Liberalism, not the so-called 'liberals' of the so-called 'democrats'), you are able to do drugs, gay people may marry privately by contract and have equal state recognition as per a church marriage, and you are able to enjoy whatever obscene filth on television you can find with no censorship.


    Personally I am very interested in this idea as a writer, I have read and played in a few other utopian societies, but none of them involved in capitalism
    Again, be careful what many people mean by 'Capitalism.' Many people use the term to refer to the current US Economy, which is really Corporatist-Keynesian rather than Capitalist. Capitalism does not imply big, monopolistic business, because big business loves big government over small government. If you keep this in mind, you may find that many utopian societies are capitalist de facto, if not in name. Generally speaking, if a societies' economics are carried out VOLUNTARILY (at least for the vast majority of the time) rather than by central coercion, then its a capitalist society.

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2004
    Location: U of I, Urbana-Champaign
    Andy, you're late to the party. Necromancy is often frowned upon here, and the people who posted in the thread have likely forgotten it existed.

    People have mentioned social stratification on the forums, but I've never heard anyone from Irrational discuss this. Rapture is supposed to be an elites-only place, which makes stratification seem less likely. One question I haven't heard answered is if the inhabitants were able to leave. They might have all bought into the vision to such an extent and got caught up in the promise of Adam that despite all the fighting it still seemed like the right choice was to stay.

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Quote Originally Posted by TheGreatGodPan View Post
    Andy, you're late to the party. Necromancy is often frowned upon here, and the people who posted in the thread have likely forgotten it existed.
    By "Necromancy" I take it you mean 'raising a 'dead' thread'? Im sorry about this, but Ill tell you the basics: Im both a fan of System Shock 2 AND an Objectivist. I subscribe to the philosophy of Ayn Rand (certainly the essentials of the philosophy. Im not a word-for-word Randroid Fundamentalist). Since Bioshock's plotline is somewhat inspired by this philosophy, Im watching over it to make sure that Objectivism is treated fairly and not strawmanned.

    People have mentioned social stratification on the forums, but I've never heard anyone from Irrational discuss this. Rapture is supposed to be an elites-only place, which makes stratification seem less likely.
    Rapture is supposed to be elites-only, but WHAT KIND OF ELITE? Rapture's citizens were, basically, the most intelligent and productive of human beings. This does not mean that they were all ECONOMICALLY elite (i.e. rich).

    In a market economy, there are tons of investment opportunities, and not all of them will pay off the same. Those that give people what they want more will pay off more. Hence, different levels of economic achievement are inevitable. But this does NOT imply that some people have the right to rule over other people (i.e. use violence against them). Money is not the same as power, and in a society with hardly any government (like Rapture) then there are no crooked politicians to buy power from.

    In Rapture, as in Objectivist theory, people are equal in a certain respect: They are all granted equal liberties, and they are all entitled to treat themselves as moral ends-in-themselves. No one lives for other people, and no one demands others live for them.

    As another brilliant philosopher of modern individualism, Frederich von Hayek, stated, "inequality does not mean 'better' or 'worse', it simply means 'different'". Humans are not numerical quantities, they differ from eachother in many ways, hence in most respects they are unequal. However, they are equal in one respect: they are all humans, and hence they have equal liberties.

    Will Irrational take notice of this or will they strawman Individualism and claim that Objectivism supports an Aristocracy of money? Personally, I hope that the former occurs.

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    It's not really a strawman when human nature intervenes to make the filling of power vacuums essentially inevitable. It's really no different than the main objections to communism; the problem isn't the system, the problem is that society is made up of people, many of whom will break the system.

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Quote Originally Posted by Pyrian View Post
    It's not really a strawman when human nature intervenes to make the filling of power vacuums essentially inevitable. It's really no different than the main objections to communism; the problem isn't the system, the problem is that society is made up of people, many of whom will break the system.
    "Human Nature" is in no way a settled topic. Your allegation is that human nature is inherently power-lustful, in the sense of "all humans naturally desire power over other humans."

    We will discuss that later. But first, onto the idea that the Communist system is fine, its humans that are the problem. This is a mistake. Communism and Liberalism are all political systems, the question is "what makes a good political system?" Your conception of a 'good' system seems to use 'good' in an absolute, abstract sense, as in 'good in itself'. However, there is no such thing as 'good in itself'. All values presuppose VALUERS, something cannot be good unless it is good FOR SOMEONE. In the case of a political system, a system that defies human nature cannot be good for humans, and hence it cannot be a good political system!

    For example, if you were running a zoo, a 'good' elephant habitat is one that works with the nature of elephants. Same principle here. A good political system is one that works with human nature. Hence, since Communism is incompatible with human nature, it must be a bad system.

    On to your allegation about human nature. Again, human nature has not been pinned down, its still hotly debated. But the Objectivist perspective holds that humans have a volitionally-operating rational faculty (i.e. we are rational but have free will over our usage of rationality, we can focus or unfocus) which they need to choose to operate in order to survive, since we have no abstract knowlege of our environment at birth (i.e. we are born tabula rasa, we may have some cognitive mechanisms and some biological mechanisms to assist our own guaging of wellbeing, but none of this is abstract knowlege, we are conceptually tabula rasa). Valuing power over other people (which is a prerequisite for desiring it) is not in the brain at birth. Further, this rational faculty is severely impaired by coercion: if we are threatened with imminent destruction, we will revert to a flight-or-fight state and we cannot perform the feats of cognition required for our survival. Man survives by using reason to understand and manipulate the environment. Coercion hobbles reason's operations. If people were naturally hardwired to desire power over others (i.e. to coerce them), we would all be dead!
    Last edited by Andy_X69; 12th Sep 2006 at 20:04. Reason: adding more paragraphs

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2004
    Location: U of I, Urbana-Champaign
    Andy, you are not in any sort of position to ensure that Rand is treated fairly. I've never read any Rand and I cannot agree with various portions of Objectivism (subjectivism is one of the reasons I am such a die-hard capitalist, and I'm an "irrational" Christian to boot). Mr. Levine seems to have a lot of respect for Rand and her writings, but is of a rather moderate nature (I would guess that he is substantially more libertarian than the average american, but compared to Rand or a more extreme example such as myself he would be a moderate). His problem is not with the Randian philosophy per se, but merely it's extremeness. I suppose there might be some specific objections he has to it, but I have not heard them. If he didn't expect other readers of Rand's writings to be on the look out for deviations from their obviously correct reasoning that no thinking person could avoid he's much more foolish than I assumed. I guess all I'm trying to say is chill out, everything should turn out okay. Whether the game will be any good is up in the air though.

    Speaking of crooked politicians, you might like this Dalrymple column on the benefits of corruption. Don't mistake the symptom for the disease.

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2003
    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_X69 View Post
    "Human Nature" is in no way a settled topic. Your allegation is that human nature is inherently power-lustful, in the sense of "all humans naturally desire power over other humans." plus more stuff I felt was too big for this post.
    Don't you have a welfare line to join along with the rest of the philosophy majors

    Normally I would encourage this kind of conversation amongst my friends, but they tend to not give a fuck, so maybe my hunger for such discussions has faded a little. Either way, you raised dead thread seemingly so you could rant on about stuff the vast majority of people don't care about.

    The setting of rapture is just that, a setting. Someone read some Rand and thought "Hmm that'd be a good setting". I doubt they spent that long a time debating what you are trying to.

    And in response to the quote. I think the "Your allegation is that human nature is inherently power-lustful" is a bit too much. I think he meant that someone will always try to take the position of leader. That is human nature, there will always be that type of person who wants to control all that is possible. Not all of us are like that as I'm sure you understand.

    I do envy your ability to get what's in your head onto a thread. This post prolly seems very hostile, and I apologise for my inept mind.

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Quote Originally Posted by TheGreatGodPan View Post
    Andy, you are not in any sort of position to ensure that Rand is treated fairly.
    In terms of advising Irrational personally, correct. However, I know they read these forums from time to time, and hence they will probably see my posts and be aware that there is some Objectivist interest in the game. I will also be reviewing BioShock for The Objectivist Center, when the game is released.

    I've never read any Rand and I cannot agree with various portions of Objectivism (subjectivism is one of the reasons I am such a die-hard capitalist, and I'm an "irrational" Christian to boot).
    If you have not read any Rand, then unfortunately you may be working on false impressions of Rand. Yes, she rejected Christianity. However, her distinction between 'objective' and 'subjective' is much more complex than most people think.

    Most people understand the terms as following, and Id suspect you use these definitions:
    "Objective": Something that is absolutely independent from the mind, inflexible for contexts, it is this way wether you like it or not.
    "Subjective": Something that varies from individual to individual.

    Standard Issue philosophy uses the following definitions:
    "Objective": Something that is absolutely independent from the mind, inflexible for contexts, it is this way wether you like it or not.
    "Subjective": Something that is mind-dependent in whole or part.

    Ayn Rand rejected this as a false dilemma. Her theory of concepts is not a dichotomy between subjective and objective, rather it is a TRIchotomy.
    "Intrinsic": See the above definition of "Objective." Reality unrelated to consciousness
    "Subjective": Based on metaphysical subjectivism, or the idea that consciousness creates, rather than percieves, reality. Consciousness unrelated to reality.
    "Objective": Consciousness related to reality. An actively perceiving consciousness integrating its data logically.

    Rand considered concrete reality to be a given fact. You arent going to turn an apple into an orange by staring at it and using magic juju. Concepts, however, are not "intrinsic" in the sense of existing outside the mind (like Plato alleged) like a concrete object, nor are they "subjective" in the sense of being arbitrary names we assign to arbitrary classes in an arbitrary fashion. Concepts are man-made cognitive tools assigned to classes of entities on the basis of the concrete similarities of these entities.

    Because of this, people can use different conceptual frameworks and both be objectively correct (assuming both of their concepts are logically sound). Further, Rand acknowleged that since we all learn from experience (she was, in the strictest sense of the word, an empiricist), we may have very different experiences and hence we may disagree on a point and both be objectively correct: lets assume someone, throughout their entire lives, has only seen or experienced black swans. They dont even know that there are swans of other colors. He is not 'wrong,' within the context of his own experience, to say 'all swans are black.' However, if he sees non-black swans, he will have to adjust his concept of 'swan' accordingly. Truth is Objective, but it is not some monolithic, intrinsic, unchanging, acontextual decree.

    The same applies to her theory of value (which is a concept like any other). Two people can value the same thing differently and both be correct!

    The above is what Objectivism says. Given this definition of "Objectivity" rather than the intrinsic definition of the term, it is hard to see Objectivism as some fundamentalist unchanging monolithic cult (for the cult-like 'Objectivists' you want the Ayn Rand Institute, NOT The Objectivist Center).

    Mr. Levine seems to have a lot of respect for Rand and her writings, but is of a rather moderate nature (I would guess that he is substantially more libertarian than the average american, but compared to Rand or a more extreme example such as myself he would be a moderate). His problem is not with the Randian philosophy per se, but merely it's extremeness.
    So, Stalin was not evil because he killed twenty-five million, he was evil because he believed his ideas to be universally valid (which is what I assume you mean by 'extremeness')? The problem with Stalin's ideas was NOT that they were logically consistent with eachother and that they followed their premises to their conclusions, the problem with his ideas was that they are WRONG!

    Now, I dont consider moderate Libertarianism to be evil or cowardly. Personally, I think the most practical model for a minimal state is that proposed by Frederich von Hayek (i.e. Nightwatchman state + absolutely essential minimal welfare (replacing all social services and perks)). I dont think its the best possible outcome (I think anarcho-capitalism is the best possible outcome, but it would only work under certain conditions), but I think its the best outcome possible under current conditions.

    Yes, Objectivism emphasizes logical consistency. However, when properly understood, its not fanatical or absolutely enslaved to Ayn Rand. Ayn Rand was not fully consistent with her own philosophy you know?

    I suppose there might be some specific objections he has to it, but I have not heard them.
    Even I have specific objections to Ayn Rand. However, the bits I disagree with are not the essentials of Objectivism (indeed I'd allege they contradict the essentials of Objectivism). Agreeing with everything Ayn Rand says does not make one an Objectivist.

    If he didn't expect other readers of Rand's writings to be on the look out for deviations from their obviously correct reasoning that no thinking person could avoid he's much more foolish than I assumed.
    It sounds to me like you have had some bad experiences with the ARI type of Objectivist (cultists that believe anyone that disagrees with them is immoral). As I said, that is the face of Objectivism no one should be forced to see. The Objectivist Center offers the more benevolent and the more rational alternative (shameless plug, www.objectivistcenter.com).

    I guess all I'm trying to say is chill out, everything should turn out okay. Whether the game will be any good is up in the air though.
    Irrational Games have been wonderful in the past. Its not like Im going to use bomb threats to get pro-Objectivist subliminal messages implanted in the game. Indeed, BioShock looks incredibly promising... I LOVE the Art-Deco look Rapture has (works so well with the Randian themes), and after my experiences with System Shock 2 (best game ever), I doubt Irrational will deliver a trashy game. I just dont want to play a game thats full of collectivist propaganda.

    Speaking of crooked politicians, you might like this Dalrymple column on the benefits of corruption. Don't mistake the symptom for the disease.
    Thanks for the link!

  13. #13
    Irrational Games
    Registered: Oct 2004
    Andy, I saw your mail a while back and have not ignored it, just been trying to find the time to answer it. I've avoided getting too deep into Rand in interviews, because PC Gamer isn't exactly the best forum for an Objectivist discussion...

    But here at TTLG, well that's a horse of a different color.

    Let me say this first:

    I'm no scholar of Rand. (or much for that matter).

    I've read a bunch of her writing, and I find her to be a powerful and fearless thinker.

    My own leanings trend libertarian, though for some reason (perhaps you can explain this to me), Rand had nothing but contempt for libertarians. Perhaps it's akin to the way I feel about people who like Genesis after Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett left the band.

    If I had to choose between SHODAN and the Many, I'd take SHODAN any day. I think the most appealing part of Rand to me is the celebration of the self and her daring challenge to altruism. Talk about swimming upstream in a Judeo-Christian society.

    But SHODAN (and perhaps Ryan, but I'm not gonna talk too much about BioShock story just yet) doesn't honor or respect greatness in others. And she needs others to recognize her glory. These seem to be two pretty large sins in Rand land. SHODAN also believes in violence in cases where she is not threatened with violence. Rand would hand this a thumbs down too.

    Lastly, SHODAN views herself as a God. Not a God of her own work, of her own realm, but a God because others should grant her fealty. Not something you'd expect to hear from Roark.

    You mention that: "she was, in the strictest sense of the word, an empiricist". It is where Rand is not an empiricist is where she starts to lose me. In the book of interviews with Rand (http://www.amazon.com/Ayn-Rand-Answe...e=UTF8&s=books) , when any facts contradict her philosophy (the treatment by western expansionist of native americans, for example) she dismisses some pretty empirical facts as "leftist propaganda". It's when she abandons logic for slavish and unquestioning adherence to ideology is when I remember why Galt was a fictional character and Ayn Rand was flesh and blood.

    But as I witness the rise of the state and in the last five years in my country, and the burgeoning of fundamentalism both here and abroad, I become more and more of an objectivist: invidual liberties, govt. staying out of business and religion, and non-interventionist.

    Which, quite perversely, has become much more of the position of the left.

    These changes have given me the impression that it's not any philosophy that's the danger. It's the extremes. The Stalins, the Bin Ladens, the neocons, the theocons, the Leninites, the Maoists. What have they ever really offered anyone of value? Is there a Galt among there number? Is there even an Andrew Ryan?

  14. #14
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Las Vegas
    My own leanings trend libertarian, though for some reason (perhaps you can explain this to me), Rand had nothing but contempt for libertarians. Perhaps it's akin to the way I feel about people who like Genesis after Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett left the band.
    I take it this means you're a fan of Genesis? It makes happy to know I'm not the only one here who even knows who Steve Hackett is, and that there was a Genesis before 80's pop.

    A very well written and throught provocing post as well. It's nice to know that a lot of deep thinking goes into such characters, which I guess would explain why they have such an impact.

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Mr Levine,

    Sincerest thanks for your reply. Indeed, your reply gives me much more confidence that the material will be respected. I completely understand the fact you are extremely busy working on the new game and indeed Im delighted that you replied.

    Quote Originally Posted by Irrationallevine View Post
    My own leanings trend libertarian, though for some reason (perhaps you can explain this to me), Rand had nothing but contempt for libertarians.
    Rand's own dislike of the libertarian movement was due to the fact she considered libertarians to be indifferent to philosophy. They want their liberty but they refuse to acknowlege the fact that you have to justify liberty. Rand also despised the anarcho-capitalists like Murray Rothbard that were instrumental in the founding of modern libertarianism (or more correctly, the revival of Classical Liberalism (which Im sure you know was the original name of Libertarianism before the American Left hijacked it)). I think Rand was awfully judgmental in this instance, and the fact is that liberty can be justified by many different philosophies. Robert Nozick uses Kantianism (Kant being, according to Rand, the "most evil man in history"(!)), the Classical Liberals used Empiricism and Utilitarianism, some use Christianity, indeed libertarianism is a broad Church. Rand just was not fond of people that disagreed with her, even on the slightest details.

    This is not a good attitude obviously, and The Objectivist Center goes a long way towards ending the stifling intellectual isolationism Rand and the orthodox Objectivists practice.

    If I had to choose between SHODAN and the Many, I'd take SHODAN any day. I think the most appealing part of Rand to me is the celebration of the self and her daring challenge to altruism. Talk about swimming upstream in a Judeo-Christian society.
    I agree. Rand's ethics are without precedent in their explicit and total rejection of altruism and they are incredibly thrilling to read. I credit her philosophy with ressurrecting my self-esteem, but that is another story.

    But SHODAN (and perhaps Ryan, but I'm not gonna talk too much about BioShock story just yet) doesn't honor or respect greatness in others. And she needs others to recognize her glory. These seem to be two pretty large sins in Rand land. SHODAN also believes in violence in cases where she is not threatened with violence. Rand would hand this a thumbs down too.
    Completely correct on all three counts Mr Levine. The first; a refusal to honor the good in others, is to lack the virtue of justice. The second; a need for the grovelling and subordination of others, is a form of psychological vampirism referred to as 'second-handing' (which is the opposite of the virtue of Independence). And the third is the classic initiation of force that all libertarians including Rand despise.

    Lastly, SHODAN views herself as a God. Not a God of her own work, of her own realm, but a God because others should grant her fealty. Not something you'd expect to hear from Roark.
    Exactly. That would be second-hander psychological dependence on others; predatorial vampirism; something that Roark would never lower himself to.

    You mention that: "she was, in the strictest sense of the word, an empiricist". It is where Rand is not an empiricist is where she starts to lose me. In the book of interviews with Rand (http://www.amazon.com/Ayn-Rand-Answe...e=UTF8&s=books) , when any facts contradict her philosophy (the treatment by western expansionist of native americans, for example) she dismisses some pretty empirical facts as "leftist propaganda". It's when she abandons logic for slavish and unquestioning adherence to ideology is when I remember why Galt was a fictional character and Ayn Rand was flesh and blood.
    Ayn Rand was fallible, I do not deny that. Again, the open-system Objectivist scholarship is something that is much more rational and totally devoid of the dogmatism that Rand unfortunately fell in to.

    But as I witness the rise of the state and in the last five years in my country, and the burgeoning of fundamentalism both here and abroad, I become more and more of an objectivist: invidual liberties, govt. staying out of business and religion, and non-interventionist.

    Which, quite perversely, has become much more of the position of the left.

    These changes have given me the impression that it's not any philosophy that's the danger. It's the extremes. The Stalins, the Bin Ladens, the neocons, the theocons, the Leninites, the Maoists. What have they ever really offered anyone of value? Is there a Galt among there number? Is there even an Andrew Ryan?
    All the ideologies you name are truly disgusting and are horrid dangers to the rights of humanity. Among their number, you will find SHODANS and Many's constantly; power-crazed vampires and collectivist brutes. The two go together very well. They are certainly extremes of sorts, in the sense that they are extremely consistent in holding to their ideas. However, it is not that they are consistent practicioners of their philosophy that is where their evil comes from, their evil stems from the fact that their philosophies are wrong.

    If one is consistently correct (i.e. extremely correct) then that is not evil. Rand is not flawless, but certainly I find no other philosopher whose basic, fundamental ideas are as robust and consistent as hers.

    If I were to do an Objectivist analysis of System Shock 2, I would explain the conflict of The Many versus SHODAN in terms of Rand's moral trichotomy: the standard false dichotomy of morality sees one having to choose to sacrifice yourself to others (The Many) versus having to sacrifice others to yourself (SHODAN). In System Shock 2, you reject both. Unfortunately, many people, especially those demanding more power to the state, cannot comprehend a third alternative, and declare SHODAN to embody 'individualism.' Hence, individualism is declared to be the sacrifice of others to self.

    I am sure the fallacies of this are easily apparent to you. You may not be a Rand scholar but you certainly have an understanding of Rand that indicates you will not be strawmanning individualism. So as a result, I am most relieved and will be reporting the good news to The Objectivist Center. And of course I will be queing up on the release date to purchase the game.

    Sincerest gratitude and best of luck with BioShock!

    -Andrew

  16. #16
    New Member
    Registered: Jun 2003
    Location: VA USA
    The main root of Libertarianism is the non-aggression principle. And since the people in the city have started killing each other they obviously aren't 'extreme' enough in their beliefs. Saying extremes are bad is just a coup-out.

  17. #17
    New Member
    Registered: Sep 2006

    For the Record

    The so-called "Objectivist" Center does not represent Objectivism. They have created a new philosophy, based on Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism, but it is not the same. They claim that Ayn Rand made some "errors" and they have "corrected" these in their own philosophy.

    Ayn Rand named Dr. Leonard Peikoff her heir, both financially and philosophically. (In fact, Ayn Rand endorsed and sanctioned Dr. Peikoff's lecture series work as an authority on Objectivism, which was later used as the basis for his book "Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand". Dr. Kelley never received such a sanction.) Dr. Peikoff is now aligned with and supports the Ayn Rand Institute, and rejects the flawed ideas of The "Objectivist" Center.

    No one, including Dr. Peikoff, can define or redefine Objectivism, in part or in whole. Objectivism is the philosophy of Ayn Rand, which can only be read in Ayn Rand's own works. This includes the fiction as well as the non-fiction works such as "The Virtue of Selfishness" and "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology".

    I am not interested in arguing, only in making those reading this thread aware that Dr. David Kelley and his "Objectivist" Center followers are not considered truly Objectivist by Dr. Peikoff or anyone aligned with Ayn Rand Institute. For the real Objectivists, see www.aynrand.org.

    In my opinion, "extremism" means to take a stand on a principle. The lack of "extremism" is also known as "agnosticism", which in principle is a belief in nothing at all.

    For example, in mathematics, would I be called an "extremist" if I fought for the idea that 1+1 = 2, rather than 1.9 or 2.1? If someone disagreed with me and insisted that 1+1=3, wouldn't it be best to "compromise" and settle on 1+1 = 2.5? Wouldn't everybody get what they wanted, then?

    Philosophically, principles regarding human nature, ethics, politics and even esthetics are just as black & white. These principles are based in reality on graspable concepts that are created in the minds of men, just as numbers and math are. And precisely the same logic rules apply to both math and philosophic conclusion.

    To be extremely RIGHT, means to be right. Anything else is just wrong. I'll take correctness over the toleration of ill ideas any day.
    Last edited by TomL; 29th Sep 2006 at 16:13.

  18. #18
    New Member
    Registered: Sep 2006

    Contradictions Galore

    Quote Originally Posted by Irrationallevine View Post
    I'm no scholar of Rand. (or much for that matter).
    In the book of interviews with Rand (http://www.amazon.com/Ayn-Rand-Answe...e=UTF8&s=books) , when any facts contradict her philosophy (the treatment by western expansionist of native americans, for example) she dismisses some pretty empirical facts as "leftist propaganda". It's when she abandons logic for slavish and unquestioning adherence to ideology is when I remember why Galt was a fictional character and Ayn Rand was flesh and blood.
    Contradiction: You're not a scholar of Rand, and yet you study Rand's works. Which is it?

    Contradiction: "Adherence" to idealogy (Yes, I spelled it correctly) or to
    anything else can only be done by using logic, not by abandoning it. To "adhere" means to remain consistent with, which means to apply the logic that a correct conclusion is correct. One cannot "adhere" to anything but illogic and irrationality by abandoning logic.

    The idea that Rand adheres to idealogy in an "unquestioning" manner does show some lack of knowledge about Objectivism. Objectivism completely and explicitly rejects all forms of dogma, including being a "dogmatic Objectivist", if such a thing could possibly exist (it can't). You must grasp the underlying reasons for each premise yourself, not accept them as a laundry list of things you must do.

    Contradiction: Your nick includes "irrational", but you try to use reason. Which is it?

    I would also point out that any fallibility of Ayn Rand (a person) is not necessarily a fallibility of Objectivism (a philosophy consisting of principles). Ayn Rand may or may not have made errors in her personal life, but I haven't read anything written or heard anything spoken by her that suggests the slightest contradiction in the philosophy.

    If you'd like to quote your "empirical" data regarding western "expansionists" and the Ayn Rand statements where she "abandons logic" regarding that data, I'd be happy to explain.
    Last edited by TomL; 29th Sep 2006 at 16:15.

  19. #19
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Wow, that was a remarkable batch of stupid.

    No one, including Dr. Peikoff, can define or redefine Objectivism, in part or in whole. Objectivism is the philosophy of Ayn Rand, which can only be read in Ayn Rand's own works.
    This sort of fundamentalism interests me. It so strongly resembles what goes on in religious circles - although Catholics don't usually try to claim that Protestants actually aren't Christian anymore.

    I am not interested in arguing...
    As you might say, contradiction: you have obviously come here for no other reason than to argue, since that is all you have done.

    For example, in mathematics, would I be called an "extremist" if I fought for the idea that 1+1 = 2, rather than 1.9 or 2.1?
    I think a better example would be if you were arguing for 1+1=3. Ideologues are widely noted in history for being wrong. The complexity of reality does an excellent job of snubbing attempts at finding final underlying principles. (Approximations are another matter.)

    Philosophically, principles regarding human nature, ethics, politics and even esthetics are just as black & white.
    Only because you've defined them as such by qualifying the statement as being philosophical. Reality itself is messier - only the most blunt principles can be proven, and even then the proofs tend to rely on shaky assumptions. Heck, the most basic laws of physics are still unknown, and the best known approximations involve indeterminacy.

    To be extremely RIGHT, means to be right. Anything else is just wrong.
    Okay, that's not just wrong, that's dangerously wrong. That's precisely the logic of mass murder. There is no certainty in life. Logic may be infallible, but no logician is infallible. Everyone is wrong. It's just a question of degree. To be extreme is to be extremely wrong - inevitably. There is no completely right - that's not a logical possibility, in fact it's a basic empirical impossibility.

    One can only approximate right, and any failure to acknowledge the uncertainty is essentially a lie.

    Contradiction: You're not a scholar of Rand, and yet you study Rand's works. Which is it?
    That's a clear abuse of his use of the term "scholar". By making that statement he claimed that he was not particularly learned, rather than completely unread on the subject, as you're claiming.

    Contradiction: "Adherence" to idealogy (Yes, I spelled it correctly) or to anything else can only be done by using logic, not by abandoning it.
    Nonsense. Adherence to an ideology in the face of contradictory proof is illogical.

    One cannot "adhere" to anything but illogic and irrationality by abandoning logic.
    Yes, but an ideology can be (and indeed, usually is) illogical and irrational.

    Contradiction: Your nick includes "irrational", but you try to use reason. Which is it?
    It's just a name, and not even his, but his company's. My name is Michael, but I don't claim to be "like unto God", as that word is sometimes translated.

  20. #20
    New Member
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Quote Originally Posted by Pyrian View Post
    As you might say, contradiction: you have obviously come here for no other reason than to argue, since that is all you have done.
    To "argue" is two-sided. To "explain" is one-sided. That is the essential difference. Watch me not argue by not replying to you point-by-point, which I could do. My only intent here is to plant the seed that there is another view, and that the name of Objectivism is being soiled. Those who wish to discover how and why will do so, those who don't, won't. I care not to convince, only to make known that the option is there and may be taken for those who choose it.

    I am in full recognition of (and will defend to the death) your right to disagree with me and everything I say, and to choose another path (not that you'd be right. It's your life, you're free to ruin it if you choose). That is how to live by Objectivism. It is not accomplished by blanket acceptance, but by recognition. One of the things I recognize (and not try to fight) is that people have volition. Embrace it and use it.

    Anyone who wishes to reach me for more interactive explanations of any questions they have can do so in IRC, on DALNet #Objectivist. There is a web interface to the chat at www.objectivistchat.com. Please note that I am not looking for an argument, but I will offer explanations. I will not entertain those seeking to convince me of anything; that is my choice and my right.
    Last edited by TomL; 29th Sep 2006 at 18:11.

  21. #21
    New Member
    Registered: Sep 2006

    I can't resist

    I said I wouldn't argue, but I can't resist this one thing. Not for the author's benefit, but for those teetering, who sense something but can't take a stand. I want to explain one thing for them, to help nudge their judgement, and I'm done.

    One can only approximate right, and any failure to acknowledge the uncertainty is essentially a lie.
    There is inherent hypocrisy in that statement, because it is an "extreme" view of what's right in itself.

    If it's right that one can only approximate right, then the statement must only be an approximation itself. The circular nature of the result is laughable.

    "Any" is certainly the word of an "extreme" idealogical view. If it weren't an extreme idealogical view, it would only be "some" or "many" failures, not "any".

    In reality, if one could only approximate right, then 1+1 could only be approximately 2, which is exactly what I was saying before. A non-mathematical example: Eating food is right. Eating poison is wrong. Are either of these statements only "approximately" right? Is it ever "right" to eat poison? It is ever "wrong" to take in the nourishment one's body needs for survival? (Please don't cook up emergency situations. Men do not live in a constant state of emergency, so that is context-dropping. We're talking normative life here).

    I also want to state for the record, without going into argument over it, that mass murder (and any kind of murder) is wrong. Just because someone declares that they "believe" its right and act on it, doesn't make it so. So with Objectivism. The principles of Objectivism are not random assertions cooked up from the mind of some psycho, they are based in the facts of reality. My statement about "being extremely right means being right" does not apply to anything one might declare to be right, it has to actually be right with respect to reality.

  22. #22
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: LTSI


    Sorry, took me a while to find this thread. O>

  23. #23
    New Member
    Registered: Jun 2003
    Location: VA USA
    Quote Originally Posted by Pyrian View Post
    Okay, that's not just wrong, that's dangerously wrong. That's precisely the logic of mass murder. There is no certainty in life. Logic may be infallible, but no logician is infallible. Everyone is wrong. It's just a question of degree. To be extreme is to be extremely wrong - inevitably. There is no completely right - that's not a logical possibility, in fact it's a basic empirical impossibility.

    One can only approximate right, and any failure to acknowledge the uncertainty is essentially a lie.
    So then mass murder should only be approximately wrong, since there is no certainty in life, no completely wrong, correct? Or are you an extremist against unjust murder, because I am.

    Logic wouldn't exist without people, if a logician's logic is sound then his argument in turn is sound. If everyone is wrong, then wouldn't your statement of "everyone is wrong" be itself wrong, what if you are wrong?

  24. #24
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    So then mass murder should only be approximately wrong, since there is no certainty in life, no completely wrong, correct?
    Murder is wrong by definition - that's what murder means, killing that is wrong. Mass killing which saves lives, rights, etc., well, it's a grey area at best of course (that being the point), but I think it's had its place in history.

    Or are you an extremist against unjust murder, because I am.
    Of course, but that doesn't actually MEAN anything, it's a redundant statement. "I am against things I am against."

    ...if a logician's logic is sound then his argument in turn is sound.
    Nonsense. Ironclad logic based on a faulty premise is still wrong.

    If everyone is wrong, then wouldn't your statement of "everyone is wrong" be itself wrong, what if you are wrong?
    That's a common complaint about empiricism. The answer is, of course, yes, I am fallible. That is a necessary acknowledgement before any assertions can be meaningfully examined and tested - I believe. You can safely append "IMO" to everything I say - it's not only obvious, it's fundamental to how I look at the world.

  25. #25
    is Best Pony
    Registered: Nov 2002
    Location: Drowning in my Steam Library
    Quote Originally Posted by TomL View Post
    I want to explain one thing for them ... and I'm done.
    Thank heavens for that. Just so you know, your argument lost credibility with me when you decided to rail on an employee of Irrational Games for putting his company name in his username.

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