Leitmotif

Reason as the Leading Motive

Archive for the ‘Favorite Quotes’ Category

The Weather Today

Posted by Jerry on January 15, 2008

Metereologist and founder of The Weather Channel, John Coleman, has this to say about global weather:

image[Global warming] is the greatest scam in history. I am amazed, appalled and highly offended by it. Global Warming; It is a SCAM. Some dastardly scientists with environmental and political motives manipulated long term scientific data to create an illusion of rapid global warming. Other scientists of the same environmental whacko type jumped into the circle to support and broaden the “research” to further enhance the totally slanted, bogus global warming claims. Their friends in government steered huge research grants their way to keep the movement going. Soon they claimed to be a consensus.

[HT: John Stossel’s article in The Atlasphere.]

Posted in Culture, Environmentalism, Favorite Quotes, On Collectivism, Political Issues, Religion, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Family

Posted by Jerry on January 7, 2008

The other night, just as I lay my head on my pillow to sleep, this thought formed in my mind, obviously for some reasons:

In India, a family refers to a group of people related by blood, who are so closely bound to each other–often against their will–that the only kind of glances they can manage among themselves is through the squint of their eye.

Posted in Culture, Favorite Quotes, India, Mumbai, My Theories and Ideas, Personal, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Yo Mama

Posted by Jerry on August 7, 2007

We all know those “your mama” insults we hurled at each other back in the days–well, and still do, in some cases–sometimes the Hindi version of it, “teri maa ki…

Well, Kim’s Play Place links to a truly hilarious set of “yo mama” taunts as would be said by philosophers! It’s really craaazy! (p.s. some familiarity with the major ideas of these thinkers might help.)

Descartes: I asked your daddy if your mama was good looking, and he said, “I think not.” And he disappeared! So you don’t even have a daddy. But everybody’s had your mama.

Freud: Tell me about your mama.

Nietzsche: Your mama is dead.

Jefferson: That we are endowed with life, liberty and the pursuit of your mama.

Hume: She is ugly; therefore she is your mama.

Kant: She is your mama; therefore, she is ugly.

Hegel: Your mama is so fat she broke the dialectical cycle.

Plato: Your mama is so fat that when she sits around the cave, she eats the shadows.

HAahaaaHAHA! LOL! Gawd! I just can’t stop laughing here at work! Oh, here’s one of my favs:

Ayn Rand: Man – all of mankind – is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. But your mama is so fat, this means she never ends.

Daaayyaam! See more here.

Posted in Favorite Quotes, General Work/Life, Humor, Personal, Philosophy, Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

The Times of the Atlases

Posted by Jerry on August 2, 2007

Just try and imagine the intellectual climate of the world at the time when the following statements were first uttered:

And therefore, the Earth is not flat.

It is not the Sun that moves around the Earth, but the Earth that moves around the Sun and even spins around its own axis.

We have a common ancestor in the apes.

Every man is endowed with the inalienable to right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction.

Now imagine the stature of the men who uttered them.

Posted in Culture, Favorite Quotes, General Work/Life, Personal, Philosophy, The Best of Leitmotif, Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Objectivist Proust?

Posted by Jerry on July 17, 2007

This one is quite a story:

John Enright blogs about a misattribution to Marcel Proust of a famous Ayn Rand quote on her definition of art.

Art is a selective re-creation of reality according to an artist’s metaphysical value-judgments.

What makes this story quite shocking is that the misattribution is not some one-off incident by some writer who was sloppy in fact-checking. A google search shows that Rand’s definition of art is unmistakably and more than just accidentally attributed to Proust.

John had this to say:

Proust has become Objectivist in his theory of art, in retrospect.

I suspect someone credited Proust
To give the quotation a boost.

Posted in Ayn Rand, Favorite Quotes, General Work/Life, Objectivism, Philosophy of Art, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Bold Atheists Quotes

Posted by Jerry on June 26, 2007

Taken from this article, here are some powerful atheist quotes to rile up the religious believers out there and give ammunition to atheists. Enjoy!

Aristotle: “Men create the gods after their own images.”

Arthur Schopenhauer: “Religions are like glow-worms. They need darkness in order to shine.” 

Santayana: “Fear first created the gods.”

Blaise Pascal: “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.”

Napoleon: “Religion keeps the poor from murdering the rich.”

Issac Asimov: “The Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.”

Thomas Paine describes the Bible as “a book of lies and contradictions, the work of a demon” more than “the word of God,” and denounced its “obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries . . . the unrelenting vindictiveness.”

Voltaire: The Bible is “what fools have written, what imbeciles command, what rogues teach.”

Robert Ingersoll: The Bible presents a “God who upholds slavery, commands soldiers to kill women and babies, supports polygamy, persecutes people for their opinions, and punishes unbelievers forever.”

Victor Hugo: “Every step that the intelligence of Europe has taken has been in spite of the clerical party.”

Samuel Butler: “[If] God wants us to do a thing, he should make his wishes sufficiently clear. Sensible people will wait till he has done this before paying much attention to him.” 

Émile Zola: “Civilization will not attain to its perfection until the last stone from the last church falls on the last priest!”

Nobel Prize winner Steven Weinberg: “Anything we scientists can do to weaken the hold of religion should be done and may in the end be our greatest contribution to civilization.”

===

I have the greatest respect for the brave Enlightenment thinkers such as Voltaire, Paine, and Hugo, who made such bold claims and conducted groundbreaking works in their respective fields, which were instrumental in having Europe emerge from the dark ages. In contrast to their time, we live today in an incredibly advanced age of technology and philosophical thought that offer formidable reasons to eliminate our dependence on the psychological crutch of a supernatural being; and yet, we are witnesses to a rise in religious fervor and fundamentalism instead of a decline.

Posted in Atheism, Culture, Favorite Quotes, General Work/Life, Philosophy, Uncategorized | 8 Comments »

Smokestacks on Zee Mooon!

Posted by Jerry on April 23, 2007

Being that yesterday, April 22, was Earth Day, I came across this funny tidbit on Ayn Rand appearing on a TV show to speak about Earth Day sometime in the 1970s. I cannot vouch for the truth of this episode, or of Rand’s message on that day, but Charles Petzold seems to remember the incident as such:

Seeing Ayn Rand speak on the subject of Earth Day was, however, unforgettable. She indicated how pollution was the sign of a healthy industrical economy, and how Earth Day was a threat to capitalism because it wanted to remove those belching smokestacks from the landscape of American free enterprise. Most memorable was her concluding sentence, which she sounded out proudly in a glorious Russian accent that still haunts my nightmares:

    Vee vill build smokestacks to zee moon!

Could that have been it? Surely Ms. Rand would have then moderated her views by noting how foolish it was to ruthlessly exploit the very planet that supports this economy, and how this economy might someday suffer as a result.

🙂 I can almost hear Rand saying something like the above–so radically opposed to common sense and mainstream thought–in her thick but endearing Russian accent.

Surely, smokestacks on the moon wouldn’t be a bad idea if we can find a way to set up all our polluting industries up there and beam (or transmit) the power and other resources generated from the moon back to the Earth in some manner; that way we’d have a green Earth, global cooling, happy environmentalists, and plenty of energy! Indeed, a brilliant idea, no?

 I don’t see any valid reason for environmentalists to cry foul on this idea: note, there aint’ no green vegetation or trees or animals living in their “natural habitat”–or even any humans–on the moon to be adversely affected by the pollution. It’s just an empty, vast, brutal wasteland; a giant piece of rock. Are we saying that this giant piece of rock is in itself intrinsically valuable now?

Posted in Ayn Rand, Environmentalism, Favorite Quotes, General Work/Life, My Theories and Ideas, Personal | 7 Comments »

Demands

Posted by Jerry on January 11, 2007

“You cannot achieve anything just by demanding it–neither self-esteem nor a lover. Both have to be earned.”

“You can only demand that which you should deserve. Demanding the best in life is a demand that you make upon yourself. Fulfilling that demand is, in fact, the process of living.” — Pasha, Ergo Sum

Posted in Favorite Quotes, General Work/Life, Love and Romance, My Theories and Ideas, Pasha - A Vignette, Rights and Morality | 1 Comment »

Those Scary Corporations « 31fps

Posted by Jerry on December 16, 2006

At You must read this: « 31fps

World’s richest 1% own 40% of all wealth, UN report discovers

Now read this quote from Atlas Shrugged:

“We’ve heard it shouted that the industrialist is a parasite, that his workers support him, create his wealth, make his luxury possible – and what would happen to him if they walked out? Very well. I propose to show to the world who depends on whom, who supports whom, who is the source of wealth, who makes whose livelihood possible and what happens to whom when who walks out.”

And I will laugh in the face of anybody that can refute that.

Posted in Ayn Rand, Favorite Quotes, Political Issues | 2 Comments »

True Loneliness

Posted by Jerry on December 16, 2006

At work, I was talking with a colleague about my travels and how I prefer–nay, love–traveling alone, by myself, unless I can travel with my lover. She couldn’t quite understand my position on this matter because, according to her, how could I ever have fun on a trip all alone. She said she does not like being alone, and likes having friends around.

Her words reminded me of a quote I read somewhere at some time. It says:

The man who does not like his own company is truly alone.

I said the same thing to her; I asked her, does she mean to say that she does not like her own company!? That, to me, is as confounding a position as mine is to her.

Posted in Favorite Quotes, General Work/Life, Personal | 3 Comments »

Tower of Values

Posted by Jerry on September 11, 2006

daytalltowers.jpg

A skyscraper is the concrete embodiment of the three fundamental values that Rand identified: Reason, purpose, and self-esteem. It takes men of great ego who use their calculating reason and have a purposeful goal to construct towers like shrines to their values.

No such structure is built without someone’s committment to reason, someone’s sense of purpose, and someone’s assessment of themself as being worthy of embarking on such a project. Even the likes of Peter Keating can build skyscrapers by mooching off of a mind committed to reason, purpose, and self-esteem.

However, without those values–mooched or otherwise–such achievements are impossible.

An attack on a skyscraper is tantamount to an attack on these values–to eliminate and destroy these values in man and in structure. The destroyers who attacked the World Trade Center towers have an intense hatred toward these values; they profess mysticism, whim, revelation, and faith; not reason. They wallow in mediocrity, hopelessness, resignation, malevolence, escapism, and a mindless existence; not one of focused and directed purpose. They bear a hatred for their life on this earth and a deep sense of self-loathing; not of proud, egoistic self-esteem.

“Pasha smiled back.
He smiled at the men who built this city. He smiled at their pride and their spirit – to the testament of their power. For this one moment, Pasha wished there were a God in heaven, for He would have lowered His head in quiet homage to Man.” — Pasha, Ergo Sum

“The skyline of New York is a monument of a splendour that no pyramids or palaces will ever equal or approach.”

“I can say – not as a patriotic bromide, but with full knowledge of the necessary metaphysical, epistemological, ethical, political, and aesthetic roots – that the United States of America is the greatest, the noblest and, in its original founding principles, the only moral country in the history of the world.”

“America’s abundance was created not by public sacrifices to the common good, but by the productive genius of free men who pursued their own personal interests and the making of their own private fortunes. They did not starve the people to pay for America’s industrialization. They gave the people better jobs, higher wages, and cheaper goods with every new machine they invented, with every scientific discovery or technological advance- and thus the whole country was moving forward and profiting, not suffering, every step of the way.”

nighttowers.jpg “An Asian peasant who labors through all of his waking hours, with tools created in Biblical times—a South American aborigine who is devoured by piranha in a jungle stream—an African who is bitten by the tsetse fly—an Arab whose teeth are green with decay in his mouth—these do live with their ‘natural environment,’ but are scarcely able to appreciate its beauty. Try to tell a Chinese mother, whose child is dying of cholera: ‘Should one do everything one can? Of course not.’ Try to tell a Russian housewife, who trudges miles on foot in sub-zero weather in order to spend hours standing in line at a state store dispensing food rations, that America is defiled by shopping centers, expressways and family cars.”

“I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York’s skyline. Particularly when one can’t see the details. Just the shapes. The shapes and the thought that made them. The sky over New York and the will of man made visible. What other religion do we need? And then people tell me about pilgrimages to some dank pesthole in a jungle where they go to do homage to a crumbling temple, to a leering stone monster with a pot belly, created by some leprous savage. Is it beauty and genius they want to see? Do they seek a sense of the sublime? Let them come to New York, stand on the shore of the Hudson, look and kneel. When I see the city from my window – no, I don’t feel how small I am – but I feel that if a war came to threaten this, I would throw myself into space, over the city, and protect these buildings with my body.”

[All quotes by Ayn Rand; pictures, courtesy of Xavier Sala-i-Martin]

Posted in Favorite Quotes, General Work/Life, Personal | Leave a Comment »

Mencken the Great

Posted by Jerry on August 24, 2006

“God is the immemorial refuge of the incompetent, the helpless, the miserable. They find not only sanctuary in His arms, but also a kind of superiority, soothing to their macerated egos; He will set them above their betters.” — H.L. Mencken

“The ideal government of all reflective men, from Aristotle onward, is one which lets the individual alone.” — H.L. Mencken

“Communism, like any other revealed religion, is largely made up of prophecies.” — H.L. Mencken

Posted in Favorite Quotes | 2 Comments »

Apathy and Evasion

Posted by Jerry on June 20, 2006

Ayn Rand said:

Observe how many people evade, rationalize and drive their minds into a state of blind stupor, in dread of discovering that those they deal with–their "loved ones" or friends or business associates or political rulers–are not merely mistaken, but evil. Observe that this dread leads them to sanction, to help and to spread the very evil whose existence they fear to acknowledge (VOS 85).

Her statement is so true! I'm realizing its truth so much more accutely now that I'm here living among family members, friends, and colleagues — I do find myself consciously indulging in evasion so as to avoid having to face the fact that many things they say, do, believe, and practice is truly evil and antithetical to my own values, and my life.

I've heard insults and condemnation being hurled at America, at one's right to freedom, at individualism, at "selfishness" [as they understand it], at atheism, at sexual expression, etc. My response has mostly been to wince quietly, think to myself, "Ugh, there's so way that I'm going to dive into an exposition of their errors by pointing out their fallacies, stating their premises, and revealing their metaphysical or epistemological starting points."

I simply evade even the option of condemning their views as evil and offensive to me! I've become apathetic. I see it as the only way to maintain my sanity and composure–to ignore them and their views; to become numb to their empty platitudes.

But I see how wrong my behavior is. By sanctioning the evil, I am permitting my own values to be sacrificed, condemnded, and destroyed. Values are, afterall, what makes life worth living for a human being. Life itself being the most fundamental value without which none other is possible. If I allow my values to be attacked so wilfully, in a way, I am being instrumental in the repression of my own life–lived without the enjoyment of my values possible to me.

As Leonard Peikoff states in Fact and Value,

The most eloquent badge of the authentic Objectivist, who does understand Ayn Rand's philosophy, is his attitude toward values (which follows from his acceptance of reason). An Objectivist is not primarily an academician or a political activist (though he may well devote his professional life to either or both pursuits). In his soul, he is essentially a moralist–or, in broader terms, what Ayn Rand herself called "a valuer."

A valuer, in her sense, is a man who evaluates extensively and intensively. That is: he judges every fact within his sphere of action–and he does it passionately, because his value-judgments, being objective, are integrated in his mind into a consistent whole, which to him has the feel, the power and the absolutism of a direct perception of reality. Any other approach to life comes from and pertains to another philosophy, not to Objectivism.

[Quotes via <http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog/>]

Updated:

It is VERY easy to misinterpret Ayn Rand's ideas, especially when you take her out of context. Objectivism is firmly grounded in reality and the context within which man's consciousness interacts with reality. Thus, ignoring the context can lead to drastically inaccurate interpretations of Objectivism.

I committed that very fallacy of dropping the context when I wrote the above post earlier. However, just a few hours later, upon thinking about the apparent contradiction between protection of life and protection of values that arose due to my faulty misunderstanding of Rand, I was convinced that I started out on a wrong premise. I remembered another principle of Objectivism: there are no contradictions in life. If you believe you are faced with one, check your premises.

Clearly, living a virtuous and moral life is only possible to free men in a free society!

"Rand emphasized that none of [the] virtues is intrinsically absolute… Each is contextual… Each constitutes an objective relation between the faculty of consciousness and reality." [Sciabarra: Ayn Rand, The Russian Radical; emphasis in original]

"Practicing honesty, independence, and integrity in one's life requires existential conditions that make such practices efficacious. Indeed, the practice of these virtues without regard to context can prove fatal" [Sciabarra: Ayn Rand, The Russian Radical; emphasis mine]

So, Jason, you are indeed correct.

Posted in Ayn Rand, Favorite Quotes, India, Objectivism | 6 Comments »

Hidden Gems Unearthed

Posted by Jerry on June 13, 2006

I was just going through my old “Pasha” posts in order to categorize them under “Pasha – A Vignette,” and I realized what true gems of insight I had buried in there! They certainly deserve highlighting and a re-focusing of attention. So, here I’m isolating certain quotes and excerpts from my short story:

“When Pasha walked his innocent gait, the twinkling lights of the city danced down the streets with him; each the harbinger of a happy day, singing a glorious surrender to the youth of his gait, a joyful laughter at the inspiration in his eyes.

Pasha smiled back.
He smiled at the men who built this city. He smiled at their pride and their spirit – to the testament of their power. For this one moment, Pasha wished there were a God in heaven, for He would have lowered His head in quiet homage to Man.”

 And,

“You can only demand that which you should deserve, Jardin. Demanding the best life is a demand that you make upon yourself. Fulfilling that demand is infact the process of living.”

Some more,

“it was in the perfect trade of unspoken words that they had discovered each other. When they met in person for the first time, the words they had exchanged became the faces they beheld.”

Now, if these excerpts have whet your appetite for more “Pasha,” go on ahead and click on the category link to read all of “Pasha – A Vignette.”

Posted in Favorite Quotes, Pasha - A Vignette, The Best of Leitmotif | 1 Comment »

Indian Randian

Posted by Jerry on April 29, 2006

I was quite delighted to come across this Indian blogger’s website, Yazadjal.com, who shares a positive interest in Ayn Rand and Objectivism. I don’t know how developed and accurate his understanding of Objectivism is, but I enjoyed reading some of his posts.

This one post onYazadjal.com reminded me of another favorite article I read a long time ago at the Von Mises Institute website. Here’s a particularly lovely quote from that article:

“[Rand] was a master at what one of my colleagues calls reductio ad claritatem, “reduction to clarity”— i.e., the method of refuting a position by stating it clearly—as when she wrote that “if some men are entitled by right to the products of the work of others, it means that those others are deprived of rights and condemned to slave labor,” or when she summarized the view that human perception is unreliable because limited by the nature of our sensory organs as: “man is blind, because he has eyes—deaf, because he has ears.””

Posted in Ayn Rand, Favorite Quotes, General Work/Life, India, Indian Blogs, Mumbai, Objectivism, Philosophy, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

A Quote to Inspire

Posted by Jerry on March 10, 2006

“…only a true atheist can fully marvel at the miracle called “life” and the incredible job our lives have done with this world.” — Ergo, from Sept. 19, 2005: Thought of the Day

Posted in Favorite Quotes | Leave a Comment »

A Quote for a Lifetime

Posted by Jerry on March 5, 2006

"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

Posted in Atheism, Ayn Rand, Favorite Quotes | Leave a Comment »

People-Watching

Posted by Jerry on February 27, 2006

Some interesting psychological observations:

Some people like to be asked so they can have the satisfaction of refusing (I noticed this being used by Rand in her fiction)

Some people like to avoid others so their absence is conspicuous – it is a way of making their presence felt.

Some people have an urgent need to be liked and loved by all, and so they go around claiming they like and love everyone else too.

Some people like holding novel, avant garde, minority positions because they feel they are expressing their uniqueness. Many of them have no clue or legitimate reason for holding such ideas.

Some people like going against the mainstream – it gives them a sense of direction in their life. Without the mainstream to oppose, they would be lost.

Some people try to garner sympathy (or praise) for themselves by showering it upon another person. Similarly, the other person feels obligated to return the “favor”, i.e. praise, even when there is nothing worth praising.

Some people escape the guilt of lying by cloaking it as euphemistic criticisms.

Some people own things so that they can despise them. Others despise things that they do not own.

Dishonest people share a unique comraderie amongst themselves – they are all “in” on the secret.

People who are steadfast in holding consistent truths are dismissed as obstinate little minds who simply need to grow up and appreciate the complexity of this world – and complexity almost always means contradictions and confusions.

Posted in Culture, Favorite Quotes, General Work/Life, My Theories and Ideas, Personal, The Best of Leitmotif, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Godel and Reason

Posted by Jerry on February 14, 2006

Something that Godel said may well have been said by Rand, and it would be no different:

“Every error is due to extraneous factors (such as emotion and education); reason itself does not err.”
– 1972

It might seem strange on the surface that Godel makes a claim about the infallibility of Reason when infact he is most famous for a proof that many have considered a huge contradiction at the very core of mathematical and logical systems (the exemplars of Reason at its purest).

Ofcourse, Godel is equating Reason in this context with the purely logical and deductive. Rand did not have such a narrow understanding of Reason, and she further accepted the feedback of one’s emotions to the loop of cognition and decision making.

Posted in Ayn Rand, Favorite Quotes | Leave a Comment »

Living Like Gods

Posted by Jerry on January 9, 2006

Morning searing
Of tea-table talk
Eyes jabbing
My delicate heart
My soul itches
In rapid flashes of motion
A silent sip
Of brewing emotion

His naked thighs move
Mountains of air
The bath water yearning
In steamy despair
Seconds pass in moments
Of time
My quivering lips lusting
Divine

Tasting the pungent
Warm vial of life
Drinking like wine
The dark opium of night

My twisted tongue
His succulent spine
My burning palms
Our legs entwined

This morning waits
Its jealous turn
To see, to sin,
To lust, to yearn
His flesh-laden secret
Between those thighs
Drenched in decadent bath’s
Violent cries

The love is too large
For the walls of this home
He must ascend to the heavens
And demand God’s throne

Posted in Favorite Quotes, My Poems | 8 Comments »

 
%d bloggers like this: