virus: RE: Is Objectivism a Meme? per Rosdeitcher (long)

David Rosdeitcher (
03 Mar 97 03:02:13 EST

James Wright wrote:
> I'm not sure I would
>characterize David's objectivism as a religion, however; I think it's
>closer to a "filter" from another poster's work, where information is
>viewed from within a frame of reference, and judged accordingly.

I don't think it is a "filter". However, I sometimes use the terminology of
others who put in the time to put into words something that could be expressed
an infinite amount of ways. So, it might seem like I am a "follower" of say,
Ayn Rand.

>I would have a question for David, however:
>as a child, I probably believed in both Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny,
>because I was told of them by those I trusted and empirical results
>(presents and candy) flowed to reinforce the illusion. Now that I am
>older and must provide the presents and candy, I no longer believe (hold
>the illusion). I understand differently than I did as a child.

Objectivism holds that knowledge is contextual. If you were presented "evidence"
of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, it might be contextually correct to assume
these illusions were real. But, to deal better with reality, you would have to
go through a process of understanding that what you believed was an illusion.
Parents often present these illusions, which is unnecessary work for kids to
decipher later on, and these illusions can even can cause problems with
thinking, if too many other illusions are accepted.

>Richard seems to be holding forth that there are understandings (Level 3
>and beyond?) which either exist independently or separately from the
>tenets of Objectivism.

I'd say the Santa Claus myth is a good metaphor for Level 3 and beyond in the
sense that it is purposefully propagated. But while parents can take the costume
off to admit it is an illusion, Level 3 is a speculation without evidence based
on contradictory concepts. I think a better analogy for Level 3 was presented in
a recent post by Tad that explained how, in Poland, people were told that
Socialism was better than Capitalism, but it must be experienced to be
understood. And that Communism was beyond Socialism, which also must be
experienced. Another analogy is Zen masters implying a state of nirvana.

> He seems to have no problem with Objectivism
>existing, although it's explanations of certain phenomena (propagation of
>memes) have gaps or inaccuracies in them from his point of view.

My impression is that Richard is presenting a position that many models,
including objectivism, can be held by the mind at one time and that objectivism,
like other models, may be "useful". So, it appears that he is benevolently
tolerant of objectivism, while I may appear to be fanatically intolerant of that
which is not objectivism since I say that Objectivism cannot be discarded by any
valid model, (which I explain below). What does Richard mean by Objectivism's
"explanations of certain phenomena (propagation of memes) have gaps or
inaccuracies in them"?

>My question for you, David, is : do you allow for the possibility of
>understandings that exist either independently or separately from
>Objectivism, that may have equal validity for describing objective

No! Objectivism is based on the notions of 1)existence, exists, 2)I am
consciously aware of it, and 3) A is A or things have their own identity. If you
start with the idea that existence does not exist, then there would be nothing
to understand. If you start with an idea that we are not conscious of existence,
then there would be no understandings possible. All subsequent positions from
non-Objectivist premises would be self-refuting.

>Or is Objectivism the only possible model / method / philosophy
>/ approach to validly perceive objective reality?
>Your answer will tell us quite a bit.

Yes, but within that basic acceptance of existence, consciousness, and identity,
an infinite number of models are acceptable. Objectivism realizes that the "map
is not the territory" and that we as humans do not know everything. Some models
may be useful in some cases, other models useful in other cases. For example,
Hertz discovered radio waves with the model of light as a wave travelling
through an aether, while Einstein used the model of light as a particle moving
through a vacuum to make many discoveries. Depending on the context, various
models can be used. Even philosophies that are believed to be non-objective can
sometimes be used as models, within a limited context. For instance, General
Eisenhower saw astrology as non-Objective, but he objectively used astrology to
predict what Hitler would do, since Hitler used astrology. But, no knowledge is
outside the boundaries of the basic axiomatic principles mentioned. This
includes memetics. BTW, a terrific objective article on memetics, about how it
is not the transmission of memes that is important, but the effects of the
transmission of those memes, was in the recent post entitled "Replication and
Fitness in memes" by Lee Daniel Crocker.