Thursday, June 22, 2006

altruism, egoism, purpose

I have a confession to make. When I was younger, I was in some contexts terribly altruistic. Actually, it was a combination of thinking that sacrifice is right (which is altruism) and a feeling of fear of asserting my own (barely developed) will with others. And I suffered the consequences, among them mental passivity. If you don't have your own goals there isn't much to think about. It is virtually impossible to think about things that don't interest you, such as others goals. So you don't even succeed in being particularly valuable to others, instead you get pretty boring to hang out with. The most interesting people are always people who primarily act in their self-interest (even if many who act in their own self-interest of course are boring as well).

It is important for all involved to use other people for you own interest. To always have some sort of purpose with them, though it may not be any remarkable (it doesn't have to be more than "it's nice to have a cup of coffee with this person". An altruist on the other hand may agree to that coffee without even wanting it, if it is that other person's will.)

Of course, it has to be made in a moral context, as a trader. I'm actually less manipulative and "advantage-taking" than most. I don't try to get value from people without having their agreement, or without having something to offer myself. And that's how I prefer others by be also, rational egoists. So I practice what I advocate, which is more than many advocaters of altruism can say. They advocate altruism and then collect the sacrifices themselves, acting like egoists of the bad, predatory kind. Always be suspicious of people who ask you to sacrifice something.

Of course, always having a purpose in your dealings with other people is just an instance of the broader principle to always have a purpose. Purpose is a fundamental need for us humans. People who are completely adrift (and the Lord knows I've been there) is at odds with their nature and the requirements of life, and suffers accordingly. (Todays philosophical question: can't the purpose be an altruistic one? Stay tuned for the surprising answer...)

Sunday, June 11, 2006


One interesting and useful concept is stability.

What is it? It is measurement of change of conditions. The conditions can be of various kinds, psychological, societal (economical, cultural etc), relational (a stable/unstable relationship).

A few comments on psychological stability (that's always an interesting topic, no?)

What is psychological stability? I have no formal definition, but a stable person is someone who in some ways doesn't change too much or fast. Obviously I'm not talking about someone who is stagnated. It is possible to develop oneself while at the same time being stable. Someone with a firm character is stable, but that person might very well keep learning stuff and develop in various ways, though it's likely that the basic philosophy remains the same.

How is stability achieved? I think one precondition is having that stable philosophy. Is that enough? No, it is necessary but not sufficient. I'd also add specifically that it needs to be integrated deeply. And I think the need for integration goes deeper than that, not only needs the philosophy be deeply integrated, but all ideas and values. I think that's the basic psycho-epistemological principle that brings stability, being integrated.

Being disintegrated means (among other things) having lots a disconnected ideas (possibly islands of ideas - that is, ideas that are locally but not globally integrated). Not integrating ideas inevitably means holding contradictory ideas. It is almost like these people are different persons depending on which of these disconnected ideas that are operating at any given moment. Or it could be like the so called "seekers". Those who may seem stable and certain when they currently are into some new thing, but then suddenly they abandon it in favor of something else... they never really believed that earlier stuff, it just seemed that way (even to them).

Saturday, June 10, 2006


I'm growing increasingly tired of my country and have begun thinking about leaving it. That's not something I'll do in the near future, but perhaps in a couple of years or so. Maybe it's just a daydream and something that'll never happen. I don't know. Given all my fears, changing country is about the most frightening thing I can imagine doing. Next after having my eyes cut out and getting jail-raped and burning in hell and about a million other things. But right after those million other things, leaving this nation is the worst. But the thought of it also excites me. A daydream only? Only time can tell.

Since I'm not moving next week, I got plenty of time to consider different places to live in. Let's try to outline things to consider. I don't know at this time exactly want I want in each area, or the relative importance of each area (or whether I have identified all areas.)

Climate. I want the right temperature and 'precipitation' (that's how my dictionary translates it into. You know, the amount of rain and snow, if any.) Well, I like it fairly cool, but perhaps slightly warmer than here. Some rain would be nice, snow doesn't matter.

Geography. Do I want to live near the ocean? Near mountains? Forest? Stuff like that. Well, living near the ocean is nice. I think. I don't take much advantage of that here though. Do I care for forests? I don't know.

Population. Do I want it sparsely populated or more crowded? Relatively sparsely, no doubt., yet I absolutely don't want an "everyone knows everyone" type of situation. Actually, I like the population density here. Enough people so that no one knows anyone, but not so much it feels crowded (like I imagine that New York would feel, although that's a great city in other ways.)

Work. I want there to be computer-related jobs available, thanks.

Dwelling. I want to be able to get an apartment in a decent area.

Idea climate. What kind of philosophical ideas that are popular. Hey, I'm an Objectivist, so the nearer those ideas the culture is, the better. Also, I've had enough of this nation's rampant anti-Americanism (and anti-Israelism), and I want to escape that.

The people. How do I want them to be? This is going to be a tough one both to discover in myself what I want, and to discover how the people are in any given area.

High-Tech...iness. The cornerstone in my life is internet and my broadband connection. That has to be widely available so that wherever I get my apartment I'll have easy access to a cheap broadband connection.

I feel no pride at all being a citizen here. I want to live somewhere where I can feel I belong and be proud of. I've always assumed that the problem is just me and that things would feel the same wherever I live. But perhaps I feel this way partly because of where I live. I've become slightly more extrovert of late, been thinking more about how my environment affects me.

Thinking along these lines is exciting. Scary but potentially valuable. The place I have my eyes on right now is Auckland, New Zealand.

Friday, June 09, 2006


No, I'm not dead so stop celebrating. I'm here and I'm ready to terrorize you with more info from the evil side.

I have no really good reason for my absence, so I won't even try explain myself. Instead I'll just laugh evilly to distract you. Muhahaha.

But really. Writing here is high on my priority list. I just don't do it. I guess I'm weird. Perhaps I'm lying. Again with the evil laughter.
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