I was at Waldenbooks yesterday (lest anyone think this is free publicity their Dostoevsky collection at the Meridian Mall outlet SUCKS!) and I made my selection. I decided to buy The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. Nice Rack was nice enough to give me Atlas Shrugged so I’ve already read that one but I wanted to read The Fountainhead as it is the novel that first introduced Rand’s philosophy of Rational Objectivism to the world.

I took the book to the counter and the girl started ringing it up. As she did so she began her spiel.

“That will be (blah blah blah), would you also like to add in one of these bracelets for $2? All the proceeds go to NO!!!

Actually she didn’t say the no. I said it. I just wanted to show y’all how quickly my response came. She looked kind of startled, and then she said “Okaaaaay.”

“Anyone who comes in here to buy this book” I raise it so she can see the title, “Is probably not big into acts of altruism.”

I can be a jerk but I like to cut to the chase. Plus when I buy a book that’s what I want to be sold, one book. I don’t want people tacking things on at the end like a used-car salesman who tells you price of the car up front and then starts throwing in this fee and that fee, extended warranty and BLAH! Flashback:

Me: I’ll take that one there. Ring it up so I can drive this sucker off the lot. 

Salesman: That a good choice and I’ll be happy to do that for you. But you’re probably gonna want a steering wheel to go with that car. If-”

Me: Less talking, more driving!!

Back to philosophy. One time I sat in on a philosophy lecture where the professor was trying to convince the students that reality was subjective and perhaps reality might not even be “real” after all. What is real? Can you prove it? Based on what? Your perceptions? Can you trust your eyes? What if the guy next to you perceived it differently? How can you be sure your reality is right? Maybe there are two realities!

Rational Objectivism cuts right to the chase. Reality is objectively real, the only thing subjective are peoples observations of that reality, how they process that information with varying levels of understanding and personal bias. Rational Objectivism also denies mysticism of all sorts including belief in God, asceticism, and the idea of subsuming your own mind in deference to the thought processes of another. That last part is my biggest problem with mainstream Islam. Well, that and the blowing up shit. But I digress.

Many competing schools of thought sprang up after the death of the prophet Muhammad. All these dudes got together and tried to hammer out all their differences to produce the official interpretation of Islam and they did. So much so that when they were done they declared the doors of ijtihad (religious interpretation) closed after the sacking of Baghdad in the 7th century Hijri (a long time ago). When they proclaimed these doors to be closed, that meant there were to be no new ideas on religious interpretation. Everything that could be thought of had already been settled so shut up and stop thinking. This is unacceptable.

So the Wahabbis are like the SJs of Islam. Here it is, this is the way it’s done, so do it. There is a sect called the Rationalists (Phelps should find that funny) who are described on this web page thus:

Mu’tazilites are generally seen as responsible for the incorporation of Greek philosophical thought into Islamic theology. This is particularly apparent in their belief that knowledge of God can be acquired through reason as well as revelation. 

I first read about these dudes when I was reading an Islamic book of fiqh. You know how you just be sitting around and say “Let me go on and read this Islamic book of fiqh!” One of the Mu’tazilites was purported to say:

“If someone tells you that the Divine Decree means that every action has been preordained and that man does not have free will to choose, you should stomp on his foot, punch him in the face, pull his beard, and rend his clothes. And when he asks why, say to him ‘I had no choice. It was pre-ordained.'” 

I like that guy and I would hasten to buy him a pitcher of beer.

Ok people. I’m getting tired. Here is just a sample of some random stuff that goes through my head.

16 Responses to “Philosophy”

  1. guy in the UNLV jacket says:

    you need a girlfriend….

  2. Mexigogue says:

    That long ass post I had. . . I just knew you would have a one sentence retort.

  3. Nice Rack says:

    Choice is an illusion, for those people who refuse to believe in a higher power. I believe that the “choices” we make only lead us onto the path that we were meant to take in the first place. I’m not talking choices between what type of beer to drink, or car to drive. If you could truly choose what you want out of life, I would be married, have two beautiful children with a faithful gorgeous husband, and I would be making millions of dollars without really having to work for it. People like to believe that they control their lives, but I don’t think there is any true control. It’s an illusion that’s been presented to us so that we can believe that we have a hand in the directions our lives take. Was that better than one sentence Mexi?

  4. Mexigogue says:

    That was very good. I liked both your answers.

    Back to what I wrote on the karaoke card the other day, happiness is a by product of success and it cannot be pursued directly. I spent this weekend doing only what I wanted to do when I wanted to do and it was still gloomy. I just don’t seem to have a purpose as of late. So I am free to make choices but that does not necessarily get me the desired result.

    You can choose to pursue your goals, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will be successful. Right now I’m one step behind that, I don’t even have a goal.

  5. Nice Rack says:

    Right now I’m trying to decide what my goal is. I thought it was to finish my English degree, but I’m miserable with that major and the lackluster future that lies ahead. If I’m miserable, I should probably pursue something else, even if it means transferring and losing a ton of credits. I’ve realized that I need to focus on what I truly enjoy, not just what is easiest for me. I think your goal should be to get national syndication for your blog. You need to get advertisers, and charge people to be members.

  6. Mexigogue says:

    That is the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me. Not counting the stuff I dreamed because that wasn’t real. Thanks Rack!

  7. Phelps says:

    Choice does not mean omnipotence. You can choose between A and B, but you can’t say that because you can’t have Z you have no choice. We have control, but we have to decide which one we want. You can have the millions of dollars, but you will work for them and probably give up the kids and the gorgeous husband.

  8. Mexigogue says:

    Remember when Homer described God as ‘omnivorous’? HA!

  9. guy in the UNLV jacket says:

    I always thought God was more of a carnivour. No pussy veggies for the all mighty! I’m with Phelps on the choice thing. He hit the nail right on the head!

  10. R says:

    If you could truly choose what you want out of life, I would be married, have two beautiful children with a faithful gorgeous husband, and I would be making millions of dollars without really having to work for it.

    Those aren’t choices. Those are goals. You only achieve those goals by making the appropriate decisions that will eventually land you there.

  11. guy in the UNLV Jacket says:

    This whole choice discussion reminds me of Ancient African Monkey traps. The ones where the hunter puts some bait in a hollowed out tree and the monkey has to chose whether to live or to hang on to the nuts…

  12. rae says:

    TO ME success isn’t how much money I make or what material things I have. It’s if I can go to sleep at nite knowing that I did the best I could that day and am happy with my choices and who I am as a person.

    I think a lot of times people don’t always see the many choices they have because they don’t want to. Too many people are seeing things as black and white- no Mexi that was not a racist comment!! It’s about choosing perspective. If you ever think you HAVE to choose something then you probalby don’t want to choose anything else so you refuse to look at things any differently.

  13. You want to know what I gauge success as!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Or this is what I use to gauge success on!!!!

    The size and girth of the big ass titties lying next to me in the morning after a night at the Blue Coyote!!!!

  14. Mexigogue says:

    Hey godammit. You motherfuckers need to start commenting on what I was writing about. The “D” said I lost him on the philosophical element. I know Phelps grocked it. Did any of the rest of y’all get down on what I was talking about? Nice Rack went off on a tangent and I can respect that. But what about philosophy and the whole existentialist dilemma??? What do you all THINK???

  15. Phelps says:

    Wow. D has women chewing their own titties off and leaving them in the bed to get away from him before morning.

    I’m impressed.

  16. Mexigogue says:

    Hey I’m Mexi and a drunken comment is a good idea. What I really think is (–) and dat’s dat!

    (Thank God for the delay)