Leitmotif

Reason as the Leading Motive

Leitmotif


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Who is Ergo Sum?

MeObjectivist, atheist, free-thinker, chaotically organized, creative, analytical, introvert (this point is debated), generally satisfied, usually calm, ambitious, proud. “Pretentious personalities are good for mannequins on storefront windows, not in my life.”

My Interests:

Movies, Music, Philosophy, Reading, Walking, Discussing ideas, Talking, Poetry, Art & Architecture, Making short videos, Traveling, Exploring new places, News, Politics, History, Advertising.

My Favorite Movies:

300, Apocalypto, The Hours, Kinsey, Bad Education, The Phantom of the Opera, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, A Home at the End of the World, Mysterious Skin, Billy Elliot, Good Will Hunting, American Beauty, The Motorcycle Diaries, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Como Agua Para Chocolate (Spanish; Like Water for Chocolate), Gattacca, American History X, Days (Italian), Amadeus, Closer, The Matrix series, Sixth Sense.

My Favorite Music:

Spanish, Flamenco, Tango, Greek/Mediterranean, Arabic, Indo-western fusion, Jazz, Hans Zimmer, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Lila Downs, Sonique, Jamiroquai, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Coldplay, Maroon 5, Lifehouse, Darren Hayes, Mozart, Philip Glass, Andrew Lloyd Weber, A. R. Rehman, Himesh Reshammiya.

My Occupation:

Editor

My Religion:

“You see, I’m an atheist. And I have only one religion; the sublime in human nature. There is nothing to approach the sanctity of the highest man possible, and there is nothing that gives me the same reverent feeling, the feeling when one’s spirit wants to kneel bareheaded… do not call it hero-worship, because it is more than that. It is a kind of strange and improbable white heat, where admiration becomes religion and religion becomes philosophy and philosophy, the whole of one’s life.” – Ayn Rand

People (and/or their works) I Admire:

Aristotle, Ayn Rand, Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Kurt Godel, Descartes, H.L. Mencken, John Searle

Michaelangelo, Giovanni Bernini, Carravaggio, Dali, Beethoven, Hans Zimmer, Yanni, Pedro Almodovar, Michael Cunningham, Philip Glass, Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Laxmi Mittal, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Santiago Calatrava, Zaha Hadid, Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe

Gael Garcia Bernal, Matt Damon, Anderson Cooper

Why Leitmotif?

The validity and efficacy of ideas are most evident in the actions they generate. The dominant idea or theme that motivates one’s actions and dictates one’s choices becomes the Leitmotif–the leading motive–of one’s behavior.

One’s motive implicates the kind of choices one will make, and thereby, reveals the nature of one’s moral code. Faith, whim, power-lust, emotion, reason–these are types of leading motives of one’s life.

I choose Reason. I intend to have all my actions, as much as is under my conscious and immediate control, to be motived by a committment to reason and rationality. This is my Leitmotif.

Email Me:

jjdoub AT the yahoo! company

87 Responses to “Leitmotif”

  1. Did you ever meet Tara or Govind Malkani at whose house we used to meet – as Ayn Rand Readers’ Club in the 1970’s?

  2. Ergo said

    lol! Narayanan, I wasn’t even born in that decade! So, no… I have not met the people you named.🙂

  3. nosugrefneb said

    Good Will Hunting is my favorite movie ever.

  4. Jerry said

    🙂 good to know anothet Jerry, with the same tastes. I havent met many people with this name. 3 So far in my life.

    malayali aanalle😉 happy to know that.

    Part of my life was at Kerala and Dubai.. and now Bangalore, slogging with an IT company (i dont want to mention the name, coz i ‘m close to being kicked out)

  5. Cenk said

    I am not atheist

  6. Cenk From Kayseri said

    and I have never been understood one Who Atheist

  7. Cenk From Kayseri in Turkey said

    I can change your feeling about religions.

  8. Ergo said

    Cenk,

    To save you from expending your efforts here at attempting to “change [my] feelings about religions,” I suggest that you simply pray for me. God almighty should be able to take care of the rest (if he exists, ofcourse).

  9. nosugrefneb said

    Yes, I’d appreciate some prayers too; my heartburn has been acting up recently.
    Also, Cenk, any thoughts on why I haven’t been stoned to death yet? I’ve been decidedly atheist for a while now, and no one has come to my place to stone me. What’s up with that? And I even have a Christmas tree!

    • Anirudh said

      What? I get stoned everyday. By the way, I love getting stoned.

  10. Lusidvicel said

    Hello, i love ergosum.wordpress.com! Let me in, please🙂

  11. Ergo said

    Lusidvicel,

    You’re most welcome to read and post comments on ergosum.wordpress.com!🙂

  12. Ergo said

    The above comment is spam and will be deleted shortly.

  13. Paro said

    Sssshoot… I had it up on my Favorites list to later download the program…😦

  14. Tyrel said

    It’s been half a year since your last poem. ?? Immortalize me with your words! : )

  15. The Smuggler said

    This message is for Narayan. You know who I am🙂 ardalon@att.net

  16. The Smuggler said

    This one’s for “Ergo”…………you can’t be “messy and choatically organized” and be an Objectivist, so clean up your act. Yeah, and I’m from the era when you were still in liquid form.

  17. Ergo said

    Smuggler, I’m not sure what to make of your comment, whether it’s meant in jest or in seriousness. If the latter is the case, then your comment is utter rubbish.

    However, if you meant it as a joke and I have been unable to perceive that with certainty (given the nature of such communication), ignore my comment.

  18. Antibush said

    Bush goes ballistic about other countries being evil and dangerous, because they have weapons of mass destruction. But, he insists on building up even a more deadly supply of nuclear arms right here in the US. What do you think? Is killing thousands of innocent civilians okay when you are doing a little government makeover?
    Our country is in debt until forever, we don’t have jobs, and we live in fear. We have invaded a country and been responsible for thousands of deaths.
    The more people that the government puts in jails, the safer we are told to think we are. The real terrorists are wherever they are, but they aren’t living in a country with bars on the windows. We are.

  19. Ergo said

    “Is killing thousands of innocent civilians okay when you are doing a little government makeover?”

    Certainly not. Bush has been the worst president for the United States at least with regard to its foreign policy and image. I agree with your point that the liberties of the American people have been slowly eroding in fear of security concerns. The role of a government is to ensure that its people live with all security and safety without sacrificing any of its liberties and rights. The only way to achieve both is to ensure that any and all credible threat is met at the outset with full and overwhelming force and that force is only used in retaliation or when the threat is imminent.

  20. Rob Heusdens said

    Hello (cogito) Ergo Sum

    Just drop you a hello, and to compliment with your wordpress weblog!

    There are some nice topics on this weblog, I have already placed some comments on some posts, and hope to go into some deeper debate on some topics later on.

    I am a rational thinker myself, although I acknowledge to the fact that abstract thought and formal logic has it’s limitations.

    [ for example the abstract formal rule of logic, the law of identity, while applicable in abstract reasoning and formal thought, is limited in dealing with the real world of change and motion, since if something would always only be equal to itself, it would not change at all! ]

    The most important source of knowledge therefore is empirical.

    My interests are Philosophy, Science (esp. physics) & Politics.

    My philosophical background is materialism (matter is primary and consciousness is secondary) and dialectics (being and nonbeing are both absolutely distinct and the same, and both taken seperately are only nothing; their truth/reality is in their higher movement which is becoming).

    Communism is not a [i]state of affairs[/i] to which the real world has to adjust itself, but is the real/objective movement of human history.

  21. Ergo said

    Rob,

    You’re more than welcome to post comments on my blog. However, I’d ask that your comments are relevant atleast to some degree to the topic of the post. I ask this only so that it becomes easier to follow a train of thought in the discussion and address all points raised.

    I assume you’re not very familiar with Objectivist philosophy, given what I have read from your comments around my various posts. Your concepts still take their roots in traditional philosophy, and the nonsense of Hegel clearly has some grip over your thoughts.

    The Law of Identity as you explain it is correct from the traditional philosophical perspective. Objectivism–given the radical (in the proper sense of the word) philosophy that it is–views the law of Identity as more than a tautology. When A is A, A also *acts* in all ways consistent with its own IDENTITY as A. Thus, the Law of Identity also implies causality. Causality implies change and becoming. However, existence is not a state of flux, nor is it static (and these are not the only two positions, as you are taught to believe). A thing is what it is, and acts/changes/becomes according to what its nature permits. THat is the Law of Identity. For example, A rock is a rock and will act in all manners consistent with its nature as a rock; it will not act as a glass would.

    With regard to non-existence, there is no such thing by definition. The concept is man’s creation merely for methodological purposes. I quote myself from other posts:

    “The only sensible manner of speaking about nothingness is in its relation to something. One can only speak of nothing as being bounded by something. Thus, it is purely for methodological purposes that we use the concept of “nothingness.” Nothing such as nothingness exists as such.”

    Also, read Epistemic Urges-II

    Anyway, I would strongly request you refrain (on my blog) from attributing your mistaken understanding of Objectivism to the philosophy itself. Please state only your *own* views, your philosophical perspectives, your Hegelianism, and your dialecticism. Please refrain from stating what you *think* Objectivism advocates or propounds–atleast until you do infact have a thorough and proper understanding of what Objectivism *really states*. I hope you will agree that this is only fair in a discourse between different philosophical perspectives and would expect the same from me when it comes to Hegelianism.

  22. tyharris said

    ergo- you really are an intersting fellow, and interacting with serious thinkers online has made my recent entry into the blogosphere worth the effort. In everyday life, trying to engage in any kind of deep debate or discussion about anything, seems to wind up boiling down to both sides throwing out a few “sound-bytes” and a few ad homenim attacks to support their side of things. It’s very unfulfilling, and reading well-thought out ideas like yours- even if i dont agree with them all- is nice. What especially caught my eye was that you have Ralph Waldo Emerson listed as one of your favorite authors. Emerson and Rand both shared a yearning and a seeking for the ideal in man. It’s ironic that one was a christian, and the other an atheist, which proves that goodness can exist in both, despite the venom that gets hurled back and forth between the two groups. When I was 16, I spent the summer on the beach on South Padre Island Texas camping on the beach and reading emerson. His essays on “Heroism” and “Spiritual Laws” absolutely changed my life. His demand for intellectual honesty, and to ” above all else, to thine own self be true” have guided me through life. Intellectual objectivism can lead you to some interesting places both physically, and philisophically. My own intellectual objectivism has lead me to a theory called “Intelligent Design”, which is kind of an intellectual switzerland between Evolution and Creationism. It acknowledges the probabilistic and logical shortfalls of random chance as an explanation for human origins purely on an objective basis, without attempting to ascribe specific religious or God-Creator traits to the implied designer. Accordingly, I take shots from the christians on the one hand for my lack of faith, and from the atheists, because the idea that science may be pointing towards a designer-creator, isnt one they want to hear. I seem to fit in nowhere, but to me, that just increases the liklihood that I am on the right track- as emerson said- ” When you have chosen your part, abide by it, and do not weakly try to reconcile yourself with the world. The heroic cannot be the common, nor the common the heroic.” I have attempted to interact with some atheists online, and instead of getting some reasoned debate, all I have gotten are hurled insults, which is depressing me. Based on what I have read in your blog so far, you seem to be a pretty smart guy with well-thought out opinions even if we disagree on some matters. I recently posted a pretty extensive essay on the philisophical and scientific underpinnings of Intelligent Design, and I have been specifically trying to get some reasonable and rational input on my arguments, from some atheists, but as I said, all I am getting is attacks. Would you be willing to stop by my blog and put in your two cents worth? An intelligent and unemotional atheist perspective would contribute to the discussion.
    http://tyharris.wordpress.com

  23. Ergo said

    Tyharris,

    I’ll be glad to read through your essay on intelligent design. While my atheism is certainly rigorous and well-thought out, I am no expert at evolutionary theories, and I do not claim to have all the answers in that scientific field. However, to me, it appears paradoxical to conceive of an intelligent design theory without ascribing intelligence or “God-creator traits” to the designer. Nonetheless, I’ll read what you have to say and comment on your blog. And thank you for visiting Leitmotif.

  24. Luis said

    Oh! So you DID quit your job! Oy vey!

    Well, stop faffing about, and get to work on getting back to North America, honaye! I miss you!

  25. tyharris said

    ergo- I will amend my claim regarding “god-creator” traits to say “religious” traits. It was pointed out to me, correctly, at another blog ( link included at the end of this comment ), that even a non-godlike designer would be more complex than we are, and therefore also subject to having been designed by an even MORE complex designer. It all does lead back to a being so complex that we cant comprehend it/him/her, and that being can be reasonably called “God”. So I will concede that point. However, for constitutional, legal, and seperation of church and state reasons, I think that the line between proposing an intelligent designer ( based only on statistics, logic, and math ), and a religious or bible-based “God” with specific religious traits has to be observed at least in public schools. If Intelligent design is to get a fair chance to present scientific ideas in a secular setting, it must eschew religious justifications for it’s claims. Science may point to a God or other designer,if thats what the facts ultimately do point to, but it can never point to religion.

  26. tyharris said

    oops- that link is:
    http://evolutionspace.wordpress.com/2007/03/28/the-banana-atheists-nightmare/
    my site is tyharris.wordpress.com

  27. Ergo said

    Tyharris,

    By just briefly skimming through your long essay (which, frankly, needn’t be *that* long), I realized that you are positing essentially the same argument that I just recently refuted in my “Atheist Methodology” post. Your argument is that if human evolution occurred by random chance mutations, then how is it that humans experience purpose, direction, goal, emotions, love, etc.; you rightly claim that we are not random creatures but purposeful human beings. However, you find it contradicting the evolitionary view of random mutation. I responded to this criticism by pointing out that it commits the fallacy of composition, of indiscriminately attributing to a whole system the properties of its constituent parts. Read my post carefully for more on this view, specifically, with regard to freedom and randomness and determinism. None of these three properties are contradictory.

    Another point I often come across (including in your post) is that the statistical chances of our human existence is so miniscule, that surely this is a work of precision guided by an intelligent creator. In response, I say, consider situations when people randomly just run into someone else out of a pure chance and end up becoming lovers, getting married, and having children. One can quite arguably say that the existence of the children was a consequence of a freak occurance wherein the two people just happened to be at the right place at the right time (say, the man missed his usual bus and whilst waiting for the second one, saw his wife-to-be come walking by). You could attribute this freak encounter to a precisely guided plan of Cupid, or God, or nothing at all. You pick.

    Again, let me remind you that merely being confounded, awed, confused, or ignorant of an issue is not enough reason to inject the hypothesis of god’s existence to explain away that issue. I may stare with awe at the skies and the mountains, but that does not give me the legitimacy to postulate that some superhuman, supernatural being created them, or that the Earth lies on the shell of a turtle, or that the skies are held up by huge pillars.

    Given our entire body of existing knowledge and the structures of reason (i.e., logic) that apply to existence, we can say without a doubt that a supernatural creator of existence does not exist, by definition. Therefore, having disposed of with the hypothesis of a god, we must look toward science to explain the matters that currently remain unknown to us or those which we find bewildering and confounding. There is no need to postulate further ludicrous hypotheses (like the mormons or the scientologists do). While it is true that we do not have all the answers today to explain our world as it we currently know of it, we know this much with all certainty, any creature such as postulated by a God-concept cannot exist. Existence has primacy over any consciousness, be it intelligent or otherwise.

  28. Charlotte said

    Jerr, for the thousandth time, you are NOT introverted. Now be a good boy and kindly edit you “Who is Ergo Sum?” thing:) Big hug.

  29. Ergo said

    But I Am! I am introverted… reeally! Oh, let me be, will ya!

  30. HelloWorld said

    Peace people
    We love you

  31. Dear friend of Objectivism,

    The Undercurrent would appreciate your help promoting its upcoming issue. We respect your time, so thanks in advance just for this email. If you are so inclined, please consider doing one or more of the following. Thanks Kindly!

    (1) Blog the announcement from the Undercurrent (attached below).

    (2) Read and comment on any of our latest articles. In particular, you may find interesting the interview with Onkar Ghate on free speech.

    (3) If you think the Undercurrent is doing good work, consider adding us to your blogroll.

    (4) If you feel strongly about the value of the Undercurrent, encourage your readers to get involved with the paper, whether as distributors, officers, or donors.

    (5) If you feel strongly about the disvalue of distributing a campus paper (or the Undercurrent in particular), consider blogging your thoughts and starting a discussion. We suspect that there are Objectivists who do not think that the Undercurrent is an effective tool for promoting Objectivism. If so, we’d like to hear why. Does it have something to do with TU’s content in particular? Is it more a general issue of the effectiveness of a campus paper as a medium for spreading Objectivism? Or is it the whole activity of campus activism in general that these Objectivists view as ineffective? Whether or not you personally hold any of these views, by starting a discussion on this issue, you can help bring out such arguments, and help us figure out the best possible way to promote Objectivism on college campuses.

    (6) Even if you do not have the time or inclination to blog about the Undercurrent, send us a quick private email of your overall impression of our efforts. Are you generally impressed, indifferent, too busy to notice, or disappointed? We are very open to criticism, and sincerely want to hear your thoughts. [Private emails can be sent to mail@the-undercurrent.com]

    Thank you again for your time,

    Student of Objectivism
    http://studentofobjectivism.blogspot.com/
    Distribution Officer
    The Undercurrent

    Mass email below:

    Dear friend of Objectivism,

    The Undercurrent is now welcoming orders for its upcoming issue. The issue will be mailed out at the end of April, and is intended for distribution from May through September. Orders can be placed at http://www.the-undercurrent.com/?s=distribute.

    The issue will feature a penetrating interview on freedom of speech with Onkar Ghate, the Dean of the Objectivist Academic Center. The interview discusses, in depth, the nature and philosophic justification for the right to free speech.

    In addition, the issue will include a campus commentary (by Kelly Cadenas) on recent free speech violations, an article arguing that capitalism is not only practical but moral, Peter Schwartz’s excellent ARI op-ed, “In Defense of Income Inequality”, and our regular ad for the Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest. Please visit our website to preview this content.

    Remember, distributing the Undercurrent is not a major time commitment. All you need to do is take a few minutes once or twice a week to drop off the paper at a campus newsstand or coffee shop. If cost is an issue, let us know and we will work with you to find a sponsor in your area to pay for your copies.

    Because May is exam period at most schools, it is a time when students are spending more time on campus, studying, meeting professors, waiting before and after exams. For this reason, it is a time when they are more likely than ever to pick up and peruse a paper like the Undercurrent. Please help us maximize this opportunity.

    Please help us bring Ayn Rand’s ideas to your campus,

    -The Undercurrent

  32. Tim Wikiriwhi said

    Re your old article on Blogspot…”Christians against free speech”

    Excellent letter in opposition to those statist Catholics!
    I posted a reply and then saw that you have moved here.
    I thought you were a Christian so my repy reflected that but now I sadly see you are an Objectivist.
    But that does not change my opinion!
    Here is that reply to your excellent defense of free speech.
    P.S One day I hope you come to see the great fraud that Rand is!
    She’s a wolf that hides behind the values she stole from Christianity!
    One day I hope you see that materialism and evolution are empty vessels!

    My reply to your letter…
    Respect! Ergo Sum.
    From a Kiwi brother!
    Christianity is propagated by freedom to preach the gospel not oppression of others!
    Free speech is fundamental to the gospel and Christianity!
    St Paul forsook legalism and persecution!
    To receive Christ, and live by the teachings of his apostle Paul is a free will choice not an only alternative because opposition has been eliminated!
    Amen brother!
    “And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free!”
    Tim Wikiriwhi
    Libertarian Christian.
    Dispensationalist
    1611 KJV bible believer
    New Zealand
    twikitiwhi@yahoo.co.nz

  33. Ergo said

    Tim,

    Thanks for your support and compliment to my letter. Even though I have profound respect for Ayn Rand, she was not the reason I forsook christianity and supernaturalism in general. I discovered atheism much earlier. Rand’s works gave me a solid ethical and moral foundation to the atheism I embraced.

    I would encourage you to read some of the posts in my “Atheism” category, particularly these below:

    https://ergosum.wordpress.com/2006/09/20/my-atheism
    https://ergosum.wordpress.com/2006/06/30/first-principles-of-atheism
    https://ergosum.wordpress.com/2007/03/28/atheist-methodology

    P.S.: For reference, this is the Letter in defense of free speech against the Christians of India.

  34. Just wanted to say what a pleasure finally getting to your blog. It feels very good here. Perhaps it’s the wonderful air filled with the marvelous perfume of curried food. Perhaps it’s the chatter of active minds. Perhaps it is the subtle combination of soul and body. My long departed grandparents would, I think, feel at home here, even though they were missionaries in South India. They would sit in the corner, I think, and silently wonder at the happiness of people without God, and be tempted, I think, to join in, my grandparents being very first-hand for all their “englishness.” And they would dance. As I am.

    Tom Rowland

  35. Tyrel said

    Strangely enough, I dreamed you returned to Chicago last night. What a crazy dream! :}}}

  36. Ergo said

    Yea.. strange, cuz that ain’t happenin anytime soon. Although, I wonder what DRAMA transpired during my stay in Chicago in your dream!😉

  37. Shyam said

    Ergo,

    Have you written anything on “Right to life”. Can you lead me to an Objective standpoint on this topic?

    Regards,
    Shyam

  38. Ergo said

    Hi Shyam,
    I have written up a post in response to your question. Hope it helps.
    Bests.

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  40. From Tehran With Love said

    very interesting weblog. do you mind if i link to it in my page?

  41. Ergo said

    From Tehran With Love,

    Sure. Please feel free. Indeed, I’d love to hear your perspective on many of the issues I discuss on my blog as well. Thank you.

  42. evanescent said

    Hi Ergo, you’ve been tagged! http://ellis14.wordpress.com/2007/09/29/the-evolution-meme-has-got-me/

    Evanescent

  43. roshnai said

    Hi Ergo,

    Thought you might like this post.

    http://passionforcinema.com/roarks-not-welcome/

    Thanks,
    Shyam

  44. Ergo said

    Here’s my response to the review of the movie “Saawariya.” I posted this in the comments on that site.

    Although I liked the writing style of this review, it’s terribly unconvincing because it doesn’t defend its main thesis: that vision qua vision can be a work of art.

    A dream (or a vision) is not an artistic license. In fact, if you wish to draw comparisons with the individualism a la Roark in The Fountainhead, then you must not drop the literary style that the book is written in, i.e., romantic realism, which places equal emphasis on romanticism as well as realism.

    SLB, in Saawariya, in my opinion, went overboard in the projection of his romantic vision at the detriment of selectivity and realism. Vision–dream–qua vision is never a work of art; by that measure, you would have to grant the status of art to any dream promiscuously spilled onto an artistic medium–however grotesque or prodigious.

    Art requires ruthless selection, exclusivity, and editing.

  45. You are one of the most sensible persons i have come across on the web.I don’t have to talk to you to know how you are like.Your perceptions speak for yourself.I’ll come back here to read more of your articles.

  46. Mark S. said

    I am struggling with the objectivist stance on abortion perhaps you could illuminate the issue for me…🙂
    I am about to finish OPAR and it doesnt go deep into the issue.

  47. Ergo said

    Hi Mark S.

    I wrote a summary of the Objectivist defense of abortion as a comment on someone’s blog. It goes somewhat like as follows:

    1) Rights are moral principles that pertain *only* to action–specifically, to freedom of action. Life is a process of self-generated action; thus, right to life is the right to *act* towards self-preservation and self-sustenance.

    2) Rights are moral principles that are applicable to only individual human beings since morality is only applicable to individual human beings; further, “individual right” is a redundancy (albeit a necessary redundancy) because only individuals can have rights; half-an-individual, body parts of individuals, or collective groups of individuals can have *no* rights.

    3) One man’s rights imposes only a negative obligation on others to not violate his rights. No one’s rights can ever conflict with each other. Thus, one entity’s right to life cannot conflict with another entity’s right to life.

    4) Rights cannot exist where force exists. Thus, criminals have on the range of limited to no rights; for example, I can kill a criminal in self-defense if he threatens my life.

    5) To say that an entity has no rights is *not* to say that the entity should be slaughtered, killed, or disposed off recklessly or wantonly.

    6) Since rights pertain to actions, and some actions are beyond the abilities of young infants and children, the voluntary parent (who chooses to have children) or voluntary legal guardian is entrusted with the responsibility of administering the rightful actions of their children.

    7) As a child enters into adulthood, his relationship with existence (his reality and his surroundings) change specifically, which necessitates the need for having all the rights proper to an adult human being, such as the right to liberty (which a child does not have).

    Given all of the above, a fetus has no rights because

    1) It is not an individual but a part of its host.
    2) It lives not as an individual entity but as a part of an entity; parts of entities have no rights (e.g., hands, livers, kidneys, etc.)

    3) If a fetus were granted the right to life, it would conflict with the existing and actual rights of an actual, individual, independent, moral, entity, i.e., mother. Remember that rights among individuals do not conflict. In the face of a contradiction, one of the premises is wrong. Since it is false to deny that the mother has the right to life, the premise that the fetus has a right to life must be false.

    4) If a fetus had the right to life, then it would create an *active* obligation on the mother to sustain the life of the fetus inside her and administer legal obligations on behalf of the fetus *against* her own wishes, i.e., by force and not voluntary choice. The proper concept of rights cannot exist under force and does not create *active* or positive obligations or duties on people. This is another conflict arising due to faulty premises.

    Finally, to say that a fetus has no rights is not to permit wanton and reckless slaughter or abortion of fetuses due to the parents careless and negligent indulgence–-that would be immoral albeit *not* illegal (since no rights have been violated–the fetus has no rights).

    To state an analogous case, it should not be illegal to kill and eat animals (it should not be illegal to be a non-vegetarian) or to conduct animal fights as a sport, although it is *immoral* and pathologically depraved to find *pleasure* in the *wanton* killing of animals for its own sake or enjoying the bloody sport for all its brutality. All criminal acts must be legally punished; all immoral acts must be vociferously condemned and not tolerated. Aborting a fetus is not a criminal act (although, if done due to recklessness and repeatedly, it becomes grounds for stern moral condemnation).

  48. Mark S. said

    thank you for your response ergo, it did clear things up a bit.

  49. Mark S. said

    At what point is a fetus developed enough to be considered an individual?
    I have found your blog and all your comment responses very helpful in understanding objectivism and want to thank you ahead of time, since it is not your “duty” to do so😉
    Again this issue is something that I’m struggling with because of Christian/Muslim ideology that I accepted while searching for well… the philosophy of Objectivism.

  50. sum ergo said

    how do your feelings temper your objectivity? do you seperate existance from consciousness?

  51. sum ergo said

    i would like to submit babbette’s feast for your movie going pleasure.

  52. Ergo said

    Sum,

    It’s easier said than done, but I tend to have my feelings guided and directed by rationality; it’s not exclusive of each other, however. Often, rational thought is itself guided by one’s emotional responses–perhaps because one’s subconscious is a much faster integrator of principles, ideas, and behavior than one’s conscious mind is, and/or because one is so rationally habituated in a normal course of life such that one’s emotions are generally rational and reliable guides.

    I looked up Babbette’s feast. Sounds intriguing. I’d like to watch it sometime, if I can get a hold of the movie from somewhere. Thanks for the recommendation.🙂

  53. sum ergo said

    we need to explore the differences between emotions and feelings and how they relate to or source from consciousness.
    i would lend you my copy of babbetts feast if you promise to return it.

  54. sum ergo said

    i seem to have brought the discussion to a screaming halt. maybe a deletion is appropriate so objectivists may continue a relevant thought-form similar to a “play through” in golf. i will continue to putter my way to the green while you all finish the course and head off to the club for drinks. [:-{)>
    ps have you seen babbette’s feast yet?

  55. Ergo said

    Sum,

    I’m not sure what you wish to dicuss. I don’t believe I left anything hanging unanswered in our brief comment thread. Besides, if there is any topic in particular that you wish to share your thoughts about, then either find the relevant post on my blog to start a discussion or e-mail me in private. I am usually prompt and detailed in my e-mail responses.

    About Babbette’s Feast, I haven’t seen it yet; I don’t know you well enough to agree to meet with you–even if it is only to borrow a movie; and sending the movie by postmail seems too much of a hassle when I could look for other more convenient sources around me (if indeed this movie justifies such efforts).

    Finally, I did not like your statement that I had to promise to return your movie if I borrowed it; you made an unwarranted presumption that I am the kind of man who needs to make such a promise.

  56. Upandhi said

    It’s nice to read and comment on the posts of a fellow atheist. I sometimes wonder why it is so hard for people to admit the obvious, that they don’t believe in the existence of God. So many people pretend to be bound to a faith or a creed but their actual behavior speaks otherwise. Why the pretense–it only speaks of ignorance.

    Atheism is an expression of honesty, humanism an expression of love.

    I also found Apacolypto a great film. It didn’t get the recognition it deserved. How often can we sit down and take in a movie that presents to us a virtually unknown language and a long forgotten culture? It was beautifully human in the strength and character of the protagonist while incredibly savage as portrayed in the depravity of the dominant culture. Whether historically accurate or not there was plenty of food for thought and thrilling entertainment to boot. I had walked into the cinema hall without a clue as to what to expect. Immediately I was transported into an incredibly vivid and totally foreign world, yet the lead character and others in the story were immediately identifiable as characters to whom I could relate and care about. Apacalypto and The Passion–two incredible movies.

  57. K. M. said

    I have been reading and enjoying your blog for some time now. I would like to invite you visit my blog and comment on it if you have the time.

  58. evanescent said

    Upandhi, I think atheism is honest in terms of it being a correct position factually, but it don’t believe one can infer anything about a person’s character just by their opinion on one particular arbitrary belief.

    I have encountered many atheists and humanists who are riddled with irrational contradictory and even dishonest positions on ethical and political matters.

    A good gauge of a person’s character (and honesty) is their commitment to reason.

  59. Upandhi said

    Fair enough. Actually, my statement was intended more to be poetic than a postulation. I would agree with your last statement. Well put.

  60. nrsl said

    Impressive.. Glad to be here..🙂

  61. Ergo said

    Yes, I am still alive. I’m just separated from the virtual world for the meantime. (In case anyone was worried.)

  62. evanescent said

    I was worried!🙂

  63. Ergo said

    Hehehe. I’m sure you were, Tim.😉

  64. Ergo,

    Have you been associated with the Centre for Civil Society, India?

  65. Ergo said

    Hi Alex.

    No, I’ve never been associated with the Center for Civil Society.

  66. Ergo,

    I think you should look up the CCS website. They share quite a lot of your views, and some of mine as well.

  67. Ergo said

    Hi alex, I checked up their site. With CCS, I share only similar economic-political views, although even at that we are not entirely in agreement.

  68. Shanu said

    I am glad to know that you are a mallu.I had sent a mail to you.I hope you had read that.

  69. Ergo said

    Shanu,

    I can’t seem to remember a mail from you. Can you refresh my memory?

  70. Shanu said

    My mail was on your post “Government Stimulus during Recession” in which I explained the disastrous consequences of government interfering during an economic depression.It seems my mail got lost in the spam.

  71. Arnav said

    I am an objectivist too… actually in my own right… may I add you to my blogroll?? If you would add me to yours that is..😀

  72. Ergo:

    I am female and Indian. I do not profess objectivism, rationalism or, for that matter, any ‘ism’. I have few convictions. (Love is one of them.) And, I like your blog. Specifically the writing – clean, clear, stark and uncluttered. Beautiful. The poems, specially, move me. Inexplicably. Adding you to my ‘daily reading’ list although I may disagree with some of what you say. A contrarian viewpoint always forces you to re-examine your own, doesn’t it?

  73. Ergo said

    Hello Smoke Screen, thank you for your kind words. I am rather neglectful of my blog in recent weeks mostly because of my work. However, I would enjoy a rationally persuasive contrarian viewpoint to my thoughts, if you can construct one.🙂

  74. gerry said

    That’s pretty good! [i]in re[/i] https://ergosum.wordpress.com/2006/06/30/first-principles-of-atheism/

    about Anton’s arguments pro his atheism.

    Now tell me, should you not have to mention if it does cross your mind that all man’s knowledge is transcendentally limited and good only for our limited world where we exist and think and operate, outside of the confines of our limited world and brain, there is more than what meets our senses and our consciousness?

    So is it or it is not intelligent to not rule out beings in all senses of the word we are capable of imagining or thinking whatever and however existing beyond our world and our grasp with our senses and our brain?

    gerry

  75. Hi… added you in the blogroll on my site.
    check up the post on India’s independence. talked a bit about freedom there.

  76. Existentialist said

    Weak of you ergo…I thought you would be man enough to reply…not so sure of yourself anymore?

  77. Melanie Stefine said

    In the Spring of 2006 God sent a message. The message is about the meaning of First is Last and Last is First. The message is this:

    In the morning I go to Heaven. In the afternoon I live my life. In the evening I die, death.

    What does this mean? It means that Birth is Last and Last is Birth. God also gives an example so that you can understand this better. Example: Mike Douglas died on his birthday. (Note: Mike Douglas and Michael Douglas are two different people.)

  78. Melanie Stefine said

    In 2007 God had this to say:
    We each die in succession, then we are born on the same day.

  79. Melanie Stefine said

    False prophets have deceived many. God disagrees with a number of verses in the Bible. First, God says that Good Atheists go to Heaven and Bad Christians/Muzlims can go to Hell. God does not pick on any one Church or any one Religion. He disagrees with all of them. Many false prophets have come and gone, all of you have been deceived.

  80. Tim R said

    Melanie, are you actually serious?
    If so, I genuinely find that very sad.

  81. yet_another_hindu_infidel said

    *burp*

  82. …and the whole of one’s life becomes zero.

    Stay on groovin’ safari,
    Tor Hershman

  83. bnihal.com said

    you website have great content!

  84. KNEE GERR said

    ‘ZUP, NIGGER?

  85. Ahmad said

    [b][i]Upandhi says: “Atheism is an expression of honesty..”[/b][/i]

    Cool!

    Based on concepts such as I can disprove through material reasoning what cannot be proved through it.

    Is this honest?

    Murder of knowledge!

  86. […] Leitmotif […]

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