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View Diary: Humanism Vs. Objectivism (112 comments)

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  •  self-restraint = "satiety" = "enough." (4+ / 0-)

    "Self-restraint" is the ethical value that operates in conjunction with the neurophysiology of "satiety" or "satiation."  

    Normal human brains have negative (limiting) feedback mechanisms for a wide range of activities that are otherwise intrinsically positively reinforcing.  The first slice of pizza is delicious, the second is wonderful, the third is good, and by the fourth slice you're full and don't feel like having a fifth: your brain has detected an increase in blood sugar and a full stomach,and put the brakes on.  

    So it goes for everything else that humans desire and seek to obtain: there is always a point of "enough" where the desire and the seeking-to-obtain get switched off.

    Self-restraint as an ethical value, recognizes that reality and willingly sets an even lower limit: you're on a diet so you only eat three slices of pizza rather than four, or you're aware of climate change so you cut back nonessential car trips.  

    The problem with the plutocrats is that they have a defect in their brains, and the empirical science will ultimately support this conclusion beyond any reasonable doubt: their satiety indicators are mis-calibrated, in a manner analogous to the mis-calibration of serotonin levels in people with depression or anxiety disorders.   In a very physical way, they have no grasp of what "enough" means.  

    "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

    by G2geek on Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 10:21:29 PM PDT

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    •  Capitalism is not about "enough": (3+ / 0-)

      or maybe, more precisely, it's about deforming any natural sense of satiety we might possess in order to obliterate our self-restraint, thereby liberating our money from our pockets as we rush to buy The Latest Must-Have ThingTM the plutocrats have to sell.

      Capitalism's advertising system has perfected means to induce anxiety and depression in people by fixing an advertisement's viewers' attention on something they lack or something [about them] that is "wrong." Of course, this problem can be EASILY solved just by buying The Latest Must-Have ThingTM.  "Ah, what a relief it is!" to own The Latest Must-Have ThingTM. Oh, wait, what's that over there? Oh, no, that new ad's describing me, too. Wow, I see now why I'm not as good as the happy people in the commercial, but I can fix that problem with my credit card because I know better than to "Leave Home Without It"!

      While I agree with your assessment of plutocrats' short-circuited brain chemistry, I suggest that their capitalism is designed to warp our brains, too, transforming us from humans (for whom humanism is appropriate) into "consumers," units who consume (for a price) what the producers, their betters, have produced.  This economic transformation, from human to consumer, is a form of dehumanization--alienation, if anyone wants the traditional Marxist term--that changes the producers' perceptions of the people they serve.  Since it's a perception akin to the objectivizing that, according to (heterosexist) feminism, makes complicated, real-life, three-dimensional women into sex objects, Rand's choice to call her philosophy "Objectivism" doesn't surprise.  As a brand name, it associates with the producers' elitism, as in, because they Make Things That Make the World Go Round, they have proven abilities to set and achieve  objectives. "Objective" is also Rand's way of positioning her ideas to be seen as non-ideological, disinterested, scientifically rational, and just plain TrueTM. But, sloppy thinker that she was, she didn't notice or--because Karl Marx was right--didn't want to see that the economic transformation of some humans into "consumers," this alienation that sacrifices the consumers' own productive capabilities for the benefit of other producers, is capitalism's most essential objective.

      Although it's really more complicated than this, it's still fun to say that capitalism has to make the 99% crazy to buy the stuff made by the 1%.

      No one elected Grover Norquist anything. If everyone ignored him, he would dry up and blow away.

      by vahana on Wed Aug 15, 2012 at 10:30:42 AM PDT

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