Ayn Rand Quote of the Day

“When I disagree with a rational man, I let reality be our final arbiter; if I am right, he will learn; if I am wrong, I will; one of us will win, but both will profit.”
-- Ayn Rand

 Whenever we argue with each other, for some reason we seem to have a desperate need to be right. I suppose that on the surface, this is a right and natural inclination. In any contest, we naturally seek to be the winner. We also don't like our actions questioned by those who would criticize us.

But being right, winning, or existing in a world free from criticism are not things that anyone deserves by natural right. These are things which must be earned. To win a contest, you must achieve or perform better than all others. To be free from criticism, you must convince others to favor your actions, i.e. you must win over their opinions through rational persuasion. In order to be right, your position must be the correct one.

Why do I mention "natural right?" I think it has an impact on one's perspective. If you feel that you have a right to be right, then anyone who questions you will basically be your enemy. Anyone who questions you is not just a fellow truth-seeker, but rather an enemy to your natural rights. Maybe using the language of natural rights is objectionably obtuse or extreme, but I think it illustrates an important perspective.

Disagreement need not involve objectionable feelings at all. This is what Rand was addressing with this quote. If we deal with each other fairly, in search of the truth, we will always mutually benefit - even if we are wrong. Learning the truth, learning what is right makes us better off. It allows us to deal with our world more completely, more wisely. 

Searching for the objective truth in all disagreements allows your companion to feel that you value his/her perspective, that you want to know how they feel, and that you are willing to make things work out according to their rationality if it proves to be correct. When they convey the same to you, there will be nothing stopping you from walking away from the situation with a resolution and with feelings of mutual respect.

It is somewhat disheartening that I felt inclined to blog about this. I feel that as time goes on, people begin to lose sight of all this. I really do feel that people believe that being right is their right. It leads to a great many problems. 


Bangla Word of the Day

Sharombor - [SHAH-rohm-bohr] n. Pompous

Abishkar - [AH-beesh-kar] n. Discovery, invention


A Little Disappointing Hypocrisy

From recent coverage on Prince in The Mirror:
Just when it couldn't get any more bizarre, Prince clambers behind video equipment under the stairs and starts screening 1970s clips from the US TV show Soul Train of his music heroes such as Marvin Gaye and Barry White.
You remember Prince. He's the guy who sues anyone and everyone for unauthorized use of his performances. Perhaps his ideology doesn't apply here since Gaye and White are dead. Regardless, such a staunch advocate of intellectual property rights would do well to clarify his position to the rest of us.

Myself, I've slowly been journeying toward a position that is hostile to intellectual property rights. However, I continue to find the views of Stephan Kinsella extremely wanting. It should not be necessary to invoke desert island imaginary constucts to make a point about property rights. Kinsella's argument hinges on acceptance of the "source" of property rights as expressed by... Kinsella. Quoting himself is a common tactic in his arguments. Eventually his entire reasoning becomes circular. If you disagree with it, he simplly refers you to something else he said, and so on and so forth. It's virtually Marxian.

There are better arguments against intellectual property. But I'm still undecided on the issue. Just leaning towards "anti."


The Odor of the Aged

SK, an old person, smells old.

It’s not really a bad thing, it’s just a fact. Much as the sky is blue or paper makes a swishy sound if you move it across a table top. A smell is a smell.

Furthermore, that smell has always fascinated me. I remember the day I noticed my aunt’s apartment suddenly had that smell. It was as though after a certain amount of time, a person simply embraces the inevitability of it. Maybe what happens is that the olfactory senses diminish over time.

When musicians lose their hearing over the years, you will find that they gravitate toward progressively shriller tones. Guitarists, in particular, will keep increasing treble frequencies to compensate for the frequencies they are no longer physically capable of hearing.

Perhaps old people go through something similar. They can no longer smell a certain part of the olfactory spectrum, and so they start to overcompensate with things that have more of *that* smell. Eventually, as their senses degenerate, they are completely surrounded by it. It slowly encloses them in a cloud of wafty old-person-smell until finally the only other thing they care about is lawn.

I think I’m onto something.