Rebirth of Reason

Post to this threadMark all messages in this thread as readMark all messages in this thread as unreadBack one pagePage 0Page 1Page 2Page 3

Post 60

Friday, August 20, 2004 - 8:30amSanction this postReply
What did the Buddhist say to the hot dog vendor?
Answer: Make me one with everything.

Did you hear about the invisible man who married an invisible woman?

The kids were nothing to look at either.


Post 61

Friday, August 20, 2004 - 2:16pmSanction this postReply
I think another good thing about ethnic jokes is that they're often a way of mocking racists themselves. My friends and I sometimes crack sexist or racist jokes that we would never air in the company of an unfamiliar minority who was the butt of the joke. But we don't do it in order to share racist sentiments, we're just highlighting the absurdity of racism. And by treating it as something quirky and ridiculous--something not to be feared but to be mocked--I think we also undermine the PC guiltmongers' absurd notions of "hidden biases," which suggest that racism is some kind of irresistible white male urge that must be studiously quashed and suppressed.

Post 62

Friday, August 20, 2004 - 2:53pmSanction this postReply
George writes:

"If your thesis were indeed true (which it may be), none of it would imply laughing at things that must not be laughed at. Above all, we must recall Rand's urging, in Anthem, to retain a 'temple of the spirit' within oneself, an ego which is kept entirely pure and sacrosanct, which admits no mockery of itself or of the things dear to it."

I was just reading something on line that I thought was an appropriate response:

"In the Middle Ages censorship of art both visual and literary - was continued. This is evident in Umberto Eco's book The Name of the Rose in which Brother Jorge's fear that comedy would subvert the authority of the Church feeds a tale of censorship, murder and the burning of a great library, the collected wisdom of the ages. And, during the same epoch, all over continental Europe, 'wise women' were burnt as witches - some estimate the death toll at nearly 6 million, a veritable feminine holocaust! No witches, however, were burnt in England but many were put to 'the question'."

Joe aka Spaceplayer
"The Music Listens to You."

Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Post 63

Friday, August 20, 2004 - 3:27pmSanction this postReply
George S. wrote:

 "(This is, by the way, why I seldom, if ever, smile on fotografs. Unless someone tries to be witty in front of me during the timeframe of the fotograf's production, or if I am truly elated at something, I am in a fairly neutral emotional state when my picture is taken. I will not deceive anyone as to this fact.)"

And David B. posted, next to his happy smile:

"After sending my post No. 20, on a hunch, I clicked on the "People" page http://www.solohq.com/People/ of solohq.
Just look at those photos, and you can just "feel" people's sense of life. I particularly like the photos of Cameron Pritchard, Michael Newberry, Fred Seddon, Christy Little, Kay Dover (to pick just a few). They SHINE with personality, happiness, warmth. Those are people who I know by just seeing their photos that I could laugh with or enjoy a drink with.
Give me their unrestrained happiness ANY DAY! "

My question to the SOLO group is, is this possibly an issue of said subjects being introverts and extroverts?

Well, I think David B. may be simplifying things a bit, but it is an interesting observation, especially when you compare some of the pictures to George S.. My own pic is somewhat stoic, or downright mean in some people's eyes, but I would not say that this is the whole me. But on reflection, I do have to admit to being a bit of a serious asshole at times (my ex's words :P). Then I think back to many of the groups pictures of Ayn Rand's "collective" with their very serious stares. (Here I have to note that Barbara B. shared in those stares, yet her pic on the solo pages is very happy.)
I was reading a book called THE INTROVERT ADVANTAGE (theintrovertadvantage.com) which claims that introverts tend to have a serious facial expression, usually because they are deep in thought. The book also points out that many introverts are perceived as being angry by others who do not understand introversion. As an introvert myself, I can attest to that being the case. But I wonder if part of my attraction to Objectivism is due to what I believe is the introverted character of Ayn Rand herself? ( I never met Rand, and hesitate to make that claim, but from what I have read about her she appears to be introverted in her ideas, her inability to make small talk, her difficulties with practical matters such as driving or cooking, etc.) I can relate to George's quote above, because I do not smile as a rule for no reason, unless something makes me laugh, whether internal or external. But I do not share his valuation of that; often I wish I could smile more spontaneously! Having said that, when I hear something I find funny, I am more than capable of smiling, and I have heard many times from acquaintances that they like me better that way, and wish they saw that from me more often. (Insert your own social metaphysical joke here!)

Any thoughts?

Post 64

Friday, August 20, 2004 - 6:01pmSanction this postReply

Ha ha!  Very good...  Love the invisible jokes.

Here's another one whose answer you'll have to find on the internet, 'cause the answer isn't fit to post in this forum:

How many militant feminists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

Sanction: 15, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 15, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 15, No Sanction: 0
Post 65

Friday, August 20, 2004 - 6:07pmSanction this postReply
Great article, Lindsay.

I think my biggest belly-laugh had to have been one fine morning in NZ, while I was trying to sleep on the fold-out couch.  Lindsay asked "Are you awake yet?" which I replied that I was.  He then said "I don't remember last night very well.  Should I be afraid to read my email and look at SOLOHQ?"

He spent the rest of the morning sending out apologies.

This topic of laughter is an important one, and the fact that there were anti-laughter responses shows how timely it is.  I considered writing one myself, but I'm glad Lindsay got to it first.

For me, there are two issues.  The first is that Objectivism is a philosophy for living, with happiness as the goal.  Too many "Objectivists" are filled with hatred of the world, loathing of the people around them, and a general position that life sucks.  I think it's due to seeing all of the irrationality in the world, and especially the horrible acts of government.  I went to Parliament while in NZ, and I got a first hand account of how creepy the whole thing is.  Childish adults screaming at each other, trying to blame problems (some of which didn't exist) on the other people.  And each in turn solving problems they should have nothing to do with using a big hammer.  One party was attacking another party for "labor shortages", for instance.  Fortunately the other was smart enough to say "that just means unemployment is low...that's a good thing!".  These petty people are running the country!

So it's not hard to see why people, when they first start seeing things clearly, might get a little upset with the world.  But you have to figure out how to push that aside and see the good in life.  There are a lot of bad things, but there are a lot of good things too.  Knowing the bad things in life is good so you can avoid them, and maybe work to correct them.  But the focus has to be on the positive parts of life.  Good food, friends, adventure, excitement, achievement, passion, and glory.  Having a good time.  And yes, that means being able to have a little fun and laugh.

The second issue is that Objectivism, even though it specifically rejects accepting its ideas on faith, is often treated as dogma.  People treat Objectivism as a duty, and not as a tool for living.  They're obsessed with making sure they don't do anything wrong, and they miss the whole point about doing things right.  Some are more concerned with not being "immoral" than they are with trying to improve their lives.  Some are more concerned with being "rational" than they are with getting out their and living.  And some are more concerned with being "right" than they are with being happy.  It's not surprising people sometimes refer to Objectivism as a cult.  The one thing dogmatists have in common is that they have no sense of humor.  Everything has to be serious, and they despise those people who can relax a little.

Which is the "phanatic" here?  The people who can relax and laugh it up with friends, or the ones that need to write a philosophical treatise to explore whether humor in this particular case is objectively permissible?

Taking life seriously is not the same as always being serious.  Taking life seriously means thirsting for fun and excitement, for friendship and achievement.  Those people too busy trying not to laugh miss the whole point.

SOLO is a remedy for this screwed up culture of Objectivism.  We want a world that we can enjoy, and that means being able to have some fun.

Post 66

Friday, August 20, 2004 - 6:33pmSanction this postReply
Well spoken, young Joseph. The only thing I would amend is, every time you say "a little" as in "a little fun," etc., I'd change it to "lotsa"!

I'm not often a fan of colloquialisms, but the currently oft-used "Lighten up," or "Get a life" are ones the anal-retentive pseudo-Objectivists should heed. The idea that Objectivism should "permit" only the "occasional," "non-humorous"(!!!!!!) laugh, after one has written a treatise justifying it, is absurd on its miserable face!! :-)


Post 67

Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 5:41pmSanction this postReply
Some people wonder why Objectivism is full of "anal-retentives" when it is supposed to be a philosophy of joy. Here's one possible explanation:

I was looking for a video to rent, and came across Kenneth Anger's LUCIFER RISING (featuring Anton Lavey of the CHURCH OF SATAN, who freely borrowed some of Rand's ideas.) This was the description on the case:
"Lucifer Rising (1970-1980) The ascension of Lucifer (Horus), Bringer of Light, invoked by Isis, Osiris, Lucifer's Adept, Lilith and the Magus (played by Anger himself). "A film about the love generation - the birthday party of the Aquarian Age showing actual ceremonies to make Lucifer rise. Lucifer is the Light god, not the devil - the Rebel Angel behind what's happening in the world today. His message is that the key of joy is disobedience."

Anger equates joy with disobedience and rebellion. I looked at the etymology of joy, which turned up nothing, but while reading James Hillman's THE DREAM AND THE UNDERWORLD, I came across this passage:
"Now we come to several kinds of revelry (music, carnival, circus, clown). We should bear in mind throughout that the theme as a whole is characterized by the word revelry itself: riotous rebellion (revel/rebel), discord, upset, the revolt of mirth and breakdown of laughter."

If this is the case, then is it possible that the reason for the anal retentiveness (an appropriate term in this case) is the Objectivist's desire to obey? To stay true to the beliefs, to not break the rules? This would be ironic, as Rand herself was fond of turning "antisocial" villains into heroes, shocking the reader with plot twists and inversions, and generally going against tradition and accepted social mores and boundaries. Is this the source of Rand's idea of "joy"? It was, after all, Howard Roark who laughed, not Peter Keating. (And Conradt Viedt, also.)

(Edited by Joe Maurone on 8/22, 6:36pm)

Post 68

Monday, August 23, 2004 - 12:06amSanction this postReply
and did the movie express these things?

Post 69

Monday, August 23, 2004 - 6:01amSanction this postReply
My question to the SOLO group is, is this possibly an issue of said subjects being introverts and extroverts?
Nope...I'm pretty much as introverted as a person can be without being silent all the time.  The only time I really talk freely is when I'm with my wife or with my best friend (but not both, though they are the only 2 people I can be around and still talk more than once every five minutes).  When I'm around more than 1 person, my mind locks up, and can't think of anything to talk about, which tends to make me self-conscious, bored, and more than willing to leave the room.

But, I'm still overly joyous about my life as a whole.

Post 70

Monday, August 23, 2004 - 6:52amSanction this postReply
Did the movie express theses things? Dunno, didn't rent it! Just caught my eye, but actually I was looking for something more surreal, Like FANTASTIC PLANET.

Post 71

Saturday, October 9, 2004 - 10:01pmSanction this postReply
Oh dear... wonderful article.  Thanks everyone; it's too late to save this Pagan, but everything here is everything I didn't see in Objectivism that made me look elsewhere.  Too bas life is good out here is Wacky Feminist land, but <smooch> <smooch> <smooch> back over my shoulder.

But I have one serious, important question:

As a femme transgender girl, belly laughing just isn't compatable with my sense of self-identity.

However, I do *giggle* incessantly; really, I sound like a 13 year-old in a crush.  Oh, *dear!*  Particularly when I am in my non-courtesanish professional persona.  Particularly when I am being touched all over.

Now, may I ask the good philosophers here: is giggling appropriate for a rational individualist woman?

Or, am I philosophically obligated to make more noise?

I would love to hear your responses.


P.S.  Oh dear, all of this escort-writing is making me want to call up one of my nonprofessional admirers who have been hitting on me.  I just need to figure out which hand is craving a firm touch more.

Must run... appointment tonight....

Post 72

Sunday, October 10, 2004 - 7:10amSanction this postReply
Jeanine, it's interesting that you bring up the subject of giggling, as I just had this conversation with someone.  I had always considered it a virtue that I was not a "giggler."  I'm technically more of a "chuckler," or a flat-out belly laugher.  There is even a special, unique noise I make when I really get going, and it can be frightening to the uninitiated.

I have now come to the opinion that giggling can be appropriate in certain cases -- as long as it isn't empty-headed.  My friend indicated that punctuating the end of every sentence with a giggle could be indicative of an insecurity complex -- that the person does not wish to be taken too seriously.  

Now, since you are clearly not empty-headed, and seem quite secure, I wonder from whence the incessant giggling stems.  Do your clients find it charming, perhaps? 


Post 73

Sunday, October 10, 2004 - 4:03amSanction this postReply
Oh, one other quick point.

On anal-retentiveness.

The vast majority of people in this culture carry an immense amount of habitual tension in their hineys, which is both unhealthy and an unconscious source of chronic discomfort. 

Although health work does not interest me much, I find it interesting that the person who taught me how to do male genital massage (that would be "45 minute hand job" for you crude belly laughers... my first notes are on music and ambient temperature) was not a sex worker, but a nurse-technician who worked with enlarged prostates.  She had suggested to the doctors in authority that massaging the prostate through manual stimulation would alleviate the situation, but she was scoffed at for this 'unprofessional', 'touchy-feely' notion inapropraite to Western, civilized, medicine... so she ended up working with prostitutes to find someone to help solve her medical problem.  She now teaches prostitutes on various sexual techniques while making her living in holistic health care... massaging enlarged prostates.

Similar techniques are advocated in manuals put out by the pro-sex feminist Good Vibrations.  I use Anal Pleasure and Health, which is one of the few books of my small professional library (yes, we 'escorts' have our own trade literature, don't you know?)

Anyway, might I suggest that all those anal-retentive Objectivists purchase a good flanged silicone dildo and jelly-rubber (semi-flexible) vibrator?  There are good books out there to help deal with the anal retentiveness issues.  Oh, you will also need some latex gloves, condoms, and a large supply of lubricant (Astroglide is recommended, but check your own sensitivities).

Anal retentiveness is a serious problem in the Objectivist community.  You need professional help.

Jeanine Ring
sorry, no credit cards

P.S.  I'm not surprised that Diderot was called the "laughing philosopher".  He also happened to be a pornographer.

Sanction: 3, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 3, No Sanction: 0
Post 74

Sunday, October 10, 2004 - 9:19amSanction this postReply
Giggling, snorting, laughing, with the odd fart thrown in for good measure, this is my own unself-conscious escape from the "I am an intellectual" mindset. Too bad it doesn't happen more often.

Post 75

Tuesday, October 12, 2004 - 6:39amSanction this postReply
>Jeanine, it's interesting that you bring up the subject of giggling, >as I just had this conversation with someone.  I had always >considered it a virtue that I was not a "giggler."  I'm technically >more of a "chuckler," or a flat-out belly laugher.  There is even a >special, unique noise I make when I really get going, and it can be >frightening to the uninitiated.

As I am irrevocably initiated, may this curious (L., curia) woman inquire about your special, unique noise?  Or is that mysterious?  I assure you I'm not likely to be frightened.  ;o

>I have now come to the opinion that giggling can be appropriate >in certain cases -- as long as it isn't empty-headed.  My >friend indicated that punctuating the end of every sentence with a >giggle could be indicative of an insecurity complex -- that the >person does not wish to be taken too seriously.  

>Now, since you are clearly not empty-headed, and seem quite >secure, I wonder from whence the incessant giggling stems.  Do >your clients find it charming, perhaps?

~ A Defense of Giggling ~

Oh dear.. my clients do tend to enjoy me giggling.  But this isn't the reason- beyond simple dialectic, I don't put on emotions for clients' sake; rather my work gives me a forum to exist as a certain kind of person I can express.

But actually, it's very hard for me to express why this ruthless capitalist giggles (and bats eye lashes and hides beneath her hair and such) without explaining a bit more of my life as it has become.. for it is related to my work, if not that way.

Really, my giggling is a complex matter of three related things; 1) an ugly history of being repressed in all non-masculine emotions and having my own public presentation of intellectual competence always equated with the assumption of masculine responsibility which tortures my experience of life, 2) a Straussian, and not Randian conviction that society's cohesiveness is necessarily founded on false myths hostile to open philosophy, which practically means a strong sense of personal self-confidence does not imply that social self-confidence follows from one's self-knowledge of value, and 3) my use of what I have called ars personae, the conscious shaping of a style of character as a concretized abstraction; coupled with the above considerations, this means that while I will not bend any value nor pretend to feel what I do not feel for client's or society's sake, I have no shame in developing in personae those aspects of my aesthetic feelings that are socially rewarded rather than tormented.  I'm a somewhat giggling girl by nature as an exultation in the lighter aspects of emotions which I previously could experience only in the most sublimated forms, and I am fortunate to be able to have social choices which allow their expression.  But to the degree we live in a society whose essential workings I am far colder to than most Objectivists, I see nothing wrong is consciously (and tacitly) developing those giggling aspects more than I would otherwise.

For most transgender girls is it prohibitively costly in emotional terms to try to fight it out in the masculine spheres of life; the same forces that make many genetic females feel desexualized utterly degenderize a transgender girl who has paid blood beneath the eye of a state for a new life... yes, I know exceptions (many of them libertarians), but they are people willing to take life tough-as-nails in aesthetic and would rather embody than admire, which this poetry freak is not.  But the feminine spheres of life have never provided much sustenance for the individualist and the educated. 

Thankfully, when I confronted this I had a 13 year-old's body over a 25 year-old's frame, a good if tall female (working on details...) body when thin, and most importantly, a classical education and a Randian new intellectual's ability to translate ideas and emotions and back again with minimal conflict.  That saved my life and my soul- the standard options for transgenders are losing your gender making a living on masculine terms, losing everything in playing the traditional wife, and losing your seriousness in left-transgender culture.  Actually, there is one other common option that fits a long-repressed femme transgender perfectly, for a full one-third of all transgender females work in the sex industry.  I know my history, my feminist theory, and my Leo Strauss, and made an intelligent choice.  One that truly greatly surprised me in beauty and passion and artistry, and one shook my conception of the world with the experiences it opened up. 

I recently watched Dangerous Beauty.  Portraying the courtesanship in the 16th century as it might, I was utterly struck by how much Veronica Franco's emotions and experiences matched my own.  And the peculiar philosophy is in all essentials the same... I was shocked to see a Hollywood exposition of the courtesan's art make (quietly) precisely the same points involving erotic theory that I have made in Objectivist forums.  What Veronica said, that she resisted the Life at first but found passion and strength within it, but damned the social conditions that framed her choices, is a more tragic, but I believe more complex and accurate view of even today's society than the Lockean playground of off-road open roads that many libertarians and Objectivists prefer to believe in.  It is certainly how I view my life; I love my life but not the world in which it occurs in.

Sliding into giggling rather easily is no distortion to my life, but it is specialization that has changed me irrevocably.  It is simply part of the Price one pays for this life, which is no fiction.  In my particular case, giggling is part of my strange personality formed half in reading Rand and half in Tolkien. After transitioning the girl who emerged is a strange combination of battle-ready philosopher and a tavern wench.

Besides... (giggle) you should see me as miss shiris.  She can't truly come out on line, as she is far to much as organic person to type on the computer.  She can giggle endlessly... and has plenty of other special  noises of her own.  ;o  (no she isn't a brainless slut, just a very organic as opposed to instrumental person)

Oh well,I really wanted to explain how this could make sense... while I am at it (grin),let me confess, the worst part of being an escort is *food*.  Everything you've written about the relation of sexual subtlety and lush appreciation fro cuisine.  Unfortunately,the better I get the more the smell of restaurants drives me mad... and the more I have to attend to my waistline!  Especially as I get invited to lots of nice restaurants where I may choose what I like... and have to dine carefully and artfully instead of grabbing for the variety platter.  Oh, the torments of this Life!   One things I've noticed among matrons who have found someplace after their run is that they all have terrible weight gain problems!

Apologies, but I thought you might appreciate the last as empirical validation of your own words, which I have been reading with interest.

I thank you,

miss Jeanie Ring {))(*)((}

Post 76

Monday, April 18, 2005 - 9:52amSanction this postReply
This comment is just to bring this article back to the forefront. One of Lindsay's best, in my opinion.


Post 77

Saturday, July 19, 2008 - 7:09amSanction this postReply

I love Lindsay's wit and wordsmanship. 


If we aren't laughing, smiling and getting lots of belly laughs, we aren't doing life right.  Children, one study said, laugh about 400 times a day while adults average about 40.  That's bad - we should be smiling and laughing more not less!


As a group Objectivist do seem less open to humor (some to an almost funny degree :-) and there are lots of reasons for that – each of which should be questioned and dealt with (given that our goal is to be happy).   


But there are parameters that need to be looked at.  Humor is sometimes intended to hurt a person in a kind of sneak attack, and the victim is ridiculed or teased if they complain, "What's the matter, can't you take a joke."  "Hey, I was just kidding."  "Lighten up!"  That's a cowardly sneak attack and dishonest.  Let’s be clear – some people have malicious intentions and mask them with humor.


Humor can be a great tool in persuasion.  But, when I see humor (especially ridicule or sarcasm) used in an argument, I go back and see if it there was also some logic backing their position (soon as I stop laughing), or was the humor used to let them skinny past making a sound argument.  Humor can be a mask for hiding a lack of argument.


As Objectivists, we are concerned with values and we advocate using our own minds to judge the intellectual content put before us.  That includes jokes.  And a joke can not only be maliciously intended, but it can also be malevolent in content no matter how it was intended.  "How many Jews does it take to screw in a light bulb?  None, they were all made into lamp shades."  That's NOT funny, it's UGLY and an unforgivable expression of hatred - it is monstrous in both intent and in values.  Some people have a dark and twisted sense of life, for them humor can be a cowardly way to express ugly views.


If some bit of humor can bring us a laugh, even just a smile, it starts out with a bunch of points in my book - but they get taken away if its purpose is to attack someone or its nature is demean an important value.   


Then there is taste or style - which is almost like a subcategory of values but it varies from person to person, culture to culture and generation to generation.  There is a distinct difference between a sexual act done in private and doing the same thing on a very public park bench, naked as one of the squirrels!  Same thing with bathroom humor - something that gets tickled in our psyche's shadow, somehow as a result of the toilet-training years, can make the silliest thing funny.  Sometimes delicately blurring that line between what's okay privately, but not publicly, is funny.  Sometimes we laugh at what embarresses us - like being caught in a child-like state.


But one person's funny story can leave another person feeling like they've been taken to look into a stranger’s unflushed toilet, or taken into the bedroom while they are doing it!  The way in which certain four-letter words are used also changes with time - What would have been in poor taste to me 20 years ago, might be funny now.  Some people love it that language can shock people - they probably giggled over the idea of mooning people when they were younger. 


Barbara Branden mentioned in a post above, where she referred to Koestler's Act of Creation, that there is a mechanism in a joke - a mechanism where part of the release of happy energy we call laughter has to do with making a strange connection between the joke's lead in and it's punch line - we have to create that connection on the fly.  This is the reason that a joke of questionable character sometimes starts us laughing (our response to grasping that funny connection - the joke's structure); but then the laughter dies down a little because the negative value raises its head.


I know I became all academic and poked my nose into parsing humor, but I assure you, my family and friends alike are all belly laughers - so caveats aside, I liked Lindsays article and wish us all more laughs.  His theme is a good one, this has just been an aside


(I was going to say something funny about Lindsay, but then I chickened out – Jesus, who in their right mind would get into a pissing contest, of that kind, with him?)

Post 78

Saturday, July 19, 2008 - 1:52pmSanction this postReply

This is why I haven't read The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics. Even though it's not meant as a joke, (it's actually a fraud) I can't stop laughing.

Post to this threadBack one pagePage 0Page 1Page 2Page 3

User ID Password or create a free account.