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Post 0

Friday, September 6, 2002 - 7:02amSanction this postReply
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I have to keep this short, as I'm running the compiler, so all I'm going to say is "right on!"

I do disagree with your statement that human beings are born stupid. It sounds pedantic, but all people are born ignorant, only some are born stupid. After all, ignorance can be remedied by education. Reality itself deals with stupidity, as evidenced by the Darwin Awards. >^..^<



Post 1

Sunday, September 15, 2002 - 3:09amSanction this postReply
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When my son was a little boy he always wanted to grow up to be a scientist, so he could "discover a cure for death" so his Mom would never die. Sweet, but I have been "dead" many times in my loooong life. I call those times the black cloud of depression. Those are my static times. I always eventually come back into the sunshine and start living life again. My dynamic times. You are so right when you say life is in the living of it. I do believe though, that most people go one way or the other depending on their immediate situation. In other words, they have no choice. Yes, they can go forward and work to become dynamic again but in the meantime it's really dark in that "black cloud". (And you usually don't know your're in it till you come out the other side.) They just make themselves as comfortable as possible, and I think sometimes, fear keeps them stuck in the dark. These are your static people.



Post 2

Monday, September 16, 2002 - 11:46amSanction this postReply
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I think the answer to the question, "What is the meaning of life?" becomes crystal clear when it's rephrased to say "What is the meaning of your life?"



Post 3

Tuesday, March 22, 2005 - 2:08pmSanction this postReply
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The first is the goal. In the static view of life, you aim to avoid death. It upholds a negative as your source of values. It's all a struggle against death, which you'll eventually lose. When many people think this through, they ask questions like "what's the point of it all? I'm going to die anyway, aren't I?"

In the dynamic view of life you aim to live your life and enjoy the process of living it. Your goal isn't to prevent death, except in that death prevents you from continuing to live. You aim at the positive. The static view just can't be made to match the dynamic view. Even if you try to include elements of the dynamic view, such as your ability to grow as a person, or your mental habits you've developed, the ends are just too different. If given an opportunity to abandon all action for certain security, the static view would take it, and the dynamic view wouldn't. An example is a technological marvel that puts you on a respirator, feeds your body all the nutrients it wants, but doesn't allow you to physically act. Yes, your body would still live on. But that's not life!
To me, this was the most important point of the article. I wish I would have read this part first.



Post 4

Thursday, May 26, 2005 - 1:37pmSanction this postReply
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I work as a physician and deal with life and death on a regular basis. If life is defined as the ability to perform executive functions and not as cardiopulmonary activity, it has huge ethical ramifications.

Philosophically, I prefer the dynamic definition of life. I hope to continually learn, achieve and grow.

Medically, I wouldn't be justified in pulling the plug on someone who is alive according to your static definition.

Overall, this is a thought provoking look at how we define life.





Post 5

Thursday, May 26, 2005 - 7:31pmSanction this postReply
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Thanks Dean, to further refine your refinement:

An example is a technological marvel that puts you on a respirator, feeds your body all the nutrients it wants, but doesn't allow you to physically act. Yes, your body would still live on. But that's not life!
This reminds me of the wonderful quote about ships (paraphrased):

A ship is safe while docked in harbor--but that (harbor) is not what ships are for.

Ed




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Post 6

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 - 5:23pmSanction this postReply
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Joe; after an article like this, the only words coming out of my mouth are "THANK YOU"

Happiness is also when you are able to appreciate the good in others.





Post 7

Friday, December 30, 2005 - 7:01amSanction this postReply
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This article is a good one to tie in with that thread we had a short time ago on the issue of fearing death - it sets tha stage, so to speak, on how to approach the so-called 'problem' of finality.  The static is, essentially, quantity - the dynamic is, essentiually, quality.



Post 8

Friday, December 30, 2005 - 8:29amSanction this postReply
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  I usually make copies of Joe's articles --especially of this great essay-- and pass them to customers and friends.
CD





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Post 9

Friday, December 30, 2005 - 9:48amSanction this postReply
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I think this also ties in with the 'second-handers' that Rand wrote about. If you hold the Static view, in achieving and acquiring things, you have to be concerned with what others think. In the Dynamic view, because you are making value judgements about 'how' you are living, you are setting your own course.

Wonderful article; thanks for the reprise.

TrT



Post 10

Friday, December 30, 2005 - 3:13pmSanction this postReply
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Thanks for the comments.  Sorry I never responded to some of the older comments.

Ciro, that's great that you've been distributing copies.  Great activism!

Daniel Egan, are you saying that you wouldn't be justified in pulling the plug on someone who's brain dead?  I would think that was justified.  But physicians have their own explicit moral code that may or may not be philosophically sound, and I can see how that would differ from Objectivist ethics.  Glad you liked the article.

Dean and Ed, you latched onto the important part.  Thanks.

Robert M., I'm not sure I'd go along with the quantity vs. quality statement.  I've argued elsewhere against that kind of distinction (for instance, "quality" presupposes a standard of value).  But even if we were to use it, the dynamic sense could be considered quantity as well.  If life is a process of self-generated, self-sustaining action, then what "quantity" are you measuring?  Time?  Or self-generated, self-sustaining actions?  It seems obvious from the technological marvel example Dean and Ed quoted that the dynamic sense is quantitatively larger.

Todd, glad you liked it.  I can see a connection between second-handers and the static view.  Second-handers are looking for status.  They want to achieve some state, unconnected to a larger process of living, and then revel in their accomplishment.  So I can see second-handers ending up with a static view of life.  But I'm not sure I see a connection the other way.  It seems possible to have a static view of life and not be a second-hander.




Post 11

Friday, December 30, 2005 - 3:13pmSanction this postReply
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I think "static vs. dynamic" is a false-dichotomy. I apply my differential geometric notions of space, time and relativity to living organisms, which are of course, space-time entities.

For instance, it drops context to say happiness isn't about having, its about doing, just as it drops the context to say I'm going to a destination but need only monitor my acceleration, and not worry about my velocity or position on a map.

Rand's three questions about life are, "where am I, what should I do, how do I know".

I can reiterate them as "what are my circumstances, what actions are required to optimize my circumstance, how can I take more effective actions".

Judgements certainly require knowing the nature of the actors, their intentions, as well as circumstances and the actions that created them.

Scott



Post 12

Friday, December 30, 2005 - 3:39pmSanction this postReply
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Glad to see that some of the good, older articles are being reposted.  I hope this isn't just a holiday thing.  For example,  your anti rationalism series didn't get much discussion last time.  Maybe if you rerun it more people will read it and comment on it.

 - Jason




Post 13

Saturday, December 31, 2005 - 11:21amSanction this postReply
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I just read Tara Smith's Viable Values (thanks to the Reverend for suggesting it) and I think that the dynamism of "human" life was portrayed well. Also, Tara has a new $80 book, something like: Ayn Rand's Normative Ethics.

Ed




Post 14

Saturday, December 31, 2005 - 11:26amSanction this postReply
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Yeah - am trying to figure out how to xerox that - $80 is too much.........;-)



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