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Re: A Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Problem

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  • Ofir Carny
    ... To many for me to point to right now, but as an example for factual - AFAIK, non same religion couples can be wed in Israel, only same religion couples may
    Message 1 of 17 , Nov 18, 2004
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      On Wed, 17 Nov 2004 18:01:38 +0200, Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> wrote:
      >
      > On Wednesday 17 November 2004 16:25, Ofir Carny wrote:
      > > Many factual and logical errors,
      >
      > Can you point them?
      To many for me to point to right now, but as an example for factual -
      AFAIK, non same religion couples can be wed in Israel, only same
      religion couples may have a problem (e.g. Psuley Hitun).
      Another, more subtle one is grouping soldiers and settelers together.

      Examples for logical errors abound, but are dwarfed by the next point.

      >
      > > plus failing to state the premises
      > > and definitions (e.g. 'facts'),
      >
      > Why?
      Because they are not stated, saying something is a fact does not make
      it so, without proving it, it is left as a premise or definition,
      making the whole foundation shaky.
      Because your definitions and premises are not standard (outside Rand's
      cult that is), the foundation cannot stand.

      >
      > > plus ignoring all problems that would
      > > result from said plan,
      >
      > Which problems?
      The problems are many, I'll leave the result of arming all
      palestinians and settelers, then moving the army out as an exercise
      for the reader. You may not see the result as negative but that
      depends on the next point - namely, your goal.

      >
      > > plus the aim of the actual plan is nowhere to
      > > be found.
      >
      > The aim of the plan is to solve the Israeli-Palestinian Problem and it is said
      > so at the beginning.
      Two words: Define solve.
      Solution does not mean getting to a quasi static state, not does it
      mean taking action which is desireable by some critiria, it means a
      way to get to a desirable state. If you accept this definition, define
      the desireable state, and show how your plan would achieve it,
      otherwise, as I said, define solve.

      >
      > > The plan seems to be the end and not the means.
      >
      > It is not.
      I'll take your word on it, but that is not self evident from the
      document, and that's what important.

      >
      > Your message perplexes me. Please be more verbose. You make many claims, yet
      > you do not support them or explain why you think so.
      >
      > Regards,
      >
      > Shlomi Fish
      >
      >
      >
      > >
      > > On Wed, 17 Nov 2004 16:13:13 +0200, Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> wrote:
      > > > Check:
      > > >
      > > > http://www.shlomifish.org/philosophy/israel-pales/isr-pales-conflict-solu
      > > >tion/
      > > >
      > > > for an essay I wrote with a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Problem.
      > > >
      > > > Comments are welcome.
      > > >
      > > > Regards,
      > > >
      > > > Shlomi Fish
      > > > --
      > > >
      > > > ---------------------------------------------------------------------
      > > > Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
      > > > Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/
      > > >
      > > > Knuth is not God! It took him two days to build the Roman Empire.
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > Yahoo! Groups Links
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > Yahoo! Groups Links
      > >
      > >
      > >
      >
      > --
      >
      > ---------------------------------------------------------------------
      >
      >
      > Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
      > Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/
      >
      > Knuth is not God! It took him two days to build the Roman Empire.
      >
      >
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
    • Nadav Har'El
      ... This is a good point. One possible way to define a solution is to minimize the number of people killed. In that sense, the current situation is probably
      Message 2 of 17 , Nov 18, 2004
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        On Thu, Nov 18, 2004, Ofir Carny wrote about "Re: A Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Problem":
        > Two words: Define solve.
        > Solution does not mean getting to a quasi static state, not does it
        > mean taking action which is desireable by some critiria, it means a
        > way to get to a desirable state. If you accept this definition, define
        > the desireable state, and show how your plan would achieve it,
        > otherwise, as I said, define solve.

        This is a good point.

        One possible way to define a "solution" is to minimize the number of people
        killed. In that sense, the current situation is probably much better than
        your "solution" of arming everyone, sitting back, and watching the fun (or,
        more likely, the bloodbath).

        The way you seem to define a "solution" is to maximize the total amount
        of freedom that everyone enjoys. But most people disagree with you that
        this should be called a "solution". Do you also think "a solution" to the
        car-accident problem is to let everyone drive more freely without rules,
        "a solution" to the bad education is to let children not come to school if
        they want, and so on? Most people will disagree.

        A more sensible way to define "a solution", if you still want to go with a
        utilitarian definition (i.e., maximizing something over the whole society),
        is not to maximize freedom, but rather to maximize something like "happiness"
        or "wellbeing". Being free to pick up a weapon and enter a bloodbath is
        freedom, but doesn't do much for your wellbeing. With this definition, a
        bloodbath is a bad solution. The current situation is also a bad solution,
        because many people are suffering. A solution of this type would require few
        people to be left suffering, and you done nothing in your document to explain
        why that should happen. Remember, in the "suffering" you should also count
        the people who die and their relatives - don't be fooled by the rhetorics
        like "My son wanted to die, he's a martyr now!" - these relatives are still
        suffering.

        I probably mentioned this already in this group, but being free to do
        whatever you want is not equalent to being happy, or even to getting what
        you really want. The Existancialist philosophers talked a lot about this,
        Sartre talked about the "Nausea" that too much freedom means, and perhaps
        Kirkegaard put it most elequently, when he explained how, when you define
        rules for yourself and follow them, you are actually more free, than if you
        just do whatever you want all the time. (if there is interest, and I didn't
        already mention this, I can expend on this).

        --
        Nadav Har'El | Thursday, Nov 18 2004, 5 Kislev 5765
        nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
        Phone +972-523-790466, ICQ 13349191 |You do not need a parachute to skydive.
        http://nadav.harel.org.il |You only need one to skydive twice.
      • Ofir Carny
        On Thu, 18 Nov 2004 16:22:26 +0200, Nadav Har El ... There is interest.
        Message 3 of 17 , Nov 18, 2004
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          On Thu, 18 Nov 2004 16:22:26 +0200, Nadav Har'El
          <nyh@...> wrote:
          > I probably mentioned this already in this group, but being free to do
          > whatever you want is not equalent to being happy, or even to getting what
          > you really want. The Existancialist philosophers talked a lot about this,
          > Sartre talked about the "Nausea" that too much freedom means, and perhaps
          > Kirkegaard put it most elequently, when he explained how, when you define
          > rules for yourself and follow them, you are actually more free, than if you
          > just do whatever you want all the time. (if there is interest, and I didn't
          > already mention this, I can expend on this).

          There is interest.
        • Nadav Har'El
          ... Here is a quote from something I wrote on linux-il a little over a year ago: (quoting saves me a lot of typing :)). ... The issue in question is: Should I
          Message 4 of 17 , Nov 18, 2004
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            On Thu, Nov 18, 2004, Ofir Carny wrote about "Re: A Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Problem":
            > > I probably mentioned this already in this group, but being free to do
            > > whatever you want is not equalent to being happy, or even to getting what
            > > you really want. The Existancialist philosophers talked a lot about this,
            > > Sartre talked about the "Nausea" that too much freedom means, and perhaps
            > > Kirkegaard put it most elequently, when he explained how, when you define
            > > rules for yourself and follow them, you are actually more free, than if you
            > > just do whatever you want all the time. (if there is interest, and I didn't
            > > already mention this, I can expend on this).
            >
            > There is interest.

            Here is a quote from something I wrote on linux-il a little over a year ago:
            (quoting saves me a lot of typing :)).

            -----------------
            The issue in question is: Should I do whatever is fun for me now, or should
            I choose principles and stick with them for longer periods? Either method
            gives you choice, but which gives you more freedom? Kierkegaard (the Danish
            philosopher, probably the first existentialist) argued that surprisingly,
            the latter - adhering to principles you choose - gives you more freedom.
            Later existentialist philosophers described the constant need to decide
            what to do now because it's fun or useful now as "Nausea".

            If the above paragraph strikes you odd or even absurd, let me give you
            a parable (mashal): Imagine you are sitting in a tiny rowboat far from
            shore. The ocean waves near you change direction often and strike your boat
            all around you, moving your little boat randomly in the ocean. There are
            two courses of action you can take right now:

            1. Enjoy yourself: when the waves make it easy to go south, you go
            south. When the waves make it easier to go west, you go west. Rowing
            is easy and fun, and you bask in the sun (until you die of thirst?)

            2. Choose a path in advance: decide that you want to go south and steadily
            row in that direction. Sometimes rowing will be easy, sometimes you'll
            be fighting against the directions of the waves. But after a while
            you'll arrive at your destination and be saved.

            On first glance, method #1 might seem like it gives you more freedom,
            because every minute you get to make a decision to relax and have fun.
            But this is false freedom - using method #1 has only one unavoidable (and
            dire) consequence. It never actually gives you choice - you simply accept
            the choices made by outside elements without questioning their wisdom.
            Method #2, on the other hand, let's you make just one choice, in advance
            (the choice of a path to take), but it let's you take that choice to its
            successful ending.


            --
            Nadav Har'El | Thursday, Nov 18 2004, 5 Kislev 5765
            nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
            Phone +972-523-790466, ICQ 13349191 |If Windows is the answer, you didn't
            http://nadav.harel.org.il |understand the question.
          • Shlomi Fish
            ... No, they cannot. If a Jew wishes to marry a non-Jew, no Rav will allow that. And you said, AFAIK. I know of a few Jewish guys who wanted to marry a Russian
            Message 5 of 17 , Nov 18, 2004
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              On Thursday 18 November 2004 15:44, Ofir Carny wrote:
              > On Wed, 17 Nov 2004 18:01:38 +0200, Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> wrote:
              > > On Wednesday 17 November 2004 16:25, Ofir Carny wrote:
              > > > Many factual and logical errors,
              > >
              > > Can you point them?
              >
              > To many for me to point to right now, but as an example for factual -
              > AFAIK, non same religion couples can be wed in Israel, only same
              > religion couples may have a problem (e.g. Psuley Hitun).

              No, they cannot. If a Jew wishes to marry a non-Jew, no Rav will allow that.
              And you said, AFAIK. I know of a few Jewish guys who wanted to marry a
              Russian immigrant who wasn't technically a Jewess, and she had to convert to
              Judaism.

              > Another, more subtle one is grouping soldiers and settelers together.
              >

              Where exactly did I group soldiers and settlers? I never did that.

              > Examples for logical errors abound, but are dwarfed by the next point.
              >

              Please enlist them all.

              > > > plus failing to state the premises
              > > > and definitions (e.g. 'facts'),
              > >
              > > Why?
              >
              > Because they are not stated, saying something is a fact does not make
              > it so, without proving it, it is left as a premise or definition,
              > making the whole foundation shaky.
              > Because your definitions and premises are not standard (outside Rand's
              > cult that is), the foundation cannot stand.
              >

              First of all, Objectivism is not a cult. It's an idea system. And I explain
              why they hold. I said that for example a person has no right to force another
              person to protect himself, because you are forcing a person to do something
              pro-active against his will. Why isn't it true?

              > > > plus ignoring all problems that would
              > > > result from said plan,
              > >
              > > Which problems?
              >
              > The problems are many, I'll leave the result of arming all
              > palestinians and settelers, then moving the army out as an exercise
              > for the reader.

              I never said we should pro-actively arm the palestinians. But if they wish to
              arm themselves so be it. What I said, is that soldiers who do not wish to
              protect the settlements should be allowed to relocate to somewhere else. I
              don't care if settlers stay there and get killed. Their blood would be in
              their head in that case.

              > You may not see the result as negative but that
              > depends on the next point - namely, your goal.
              >
              > > > plus the aim of the actual plan is nowhere to
              > > > be found.
              > >
              > > The aim of the plan is to solve the Israeli-Palestinian Problem and it is
              > > said so at the beginning.
              >
              > Two words: Define solve.
              > Solution does not mean getting to a quasi static state, not does it
              > mean taking action which is desireable by some critiria, it means a
              > way to get to a desirable state. If you accept this definition, define
              > the desireable state, and show how your plan would achieve it,
              > otherwise, as I said, define solve.
              >

              Fine, I'll give some words of the state:

              1. Israel will be able to protect itself effectively.

              2. The settlements will no longer be an issue.

              3. It will not need to support the Palestinians any longer.

              4. Arabs will have less and less reasons to criticize Israel and to actively
              hate it.

              Regards,

              Shlomi Fish

              ---------------------------------------------------------------------
              Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
              Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/

              Knuth is not God! It took him two days to build the Roman Empire.
            • Shlomi Fish
              ... That s not how I define a solution. I define the solution as to minimize the number of people who are innocent who suffer from this. ... Where exactly do I
              Message 6 of 17 , Nov 18, 2004
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                On Thursday 18 November 2004 16:22, Nadav Har'El wrote:
                > On Thu, Nov 18, 2004, Ofir Carny wrote about "Re: A Solution to the
                Israeli-Palestinian Problem":
                > > Two words: Define solve.
                > > Solution does not mean getting to a quasi static state, not does it
                > > mean taking action which is desireable by some critiria, it means a
                > > way to get to a desirable state. If you accept this definition, define
                > > the desireable state, and show how your plan would achieve it,
                > > otherwise, as I said, define solve.
                >
                > This is a good point.
                >
                > One possible way to define a "solution" is to minimize the number of people
                > killed.

                That's not how I define a solution. I define the solution as to minimize the
                number of people who are innocent who suffer from this.

                > In that sense, the current situation is probably much better than
                > your "solution" of arming everyone, sitting back, and watching the fun (or,
                > more likely, the bloodbath).
                >

                Where exactly do I say that one needs to arm anyone?

                > The way you seem to define a "solution" is to maximize the total amount
                > of freedom that everyone enjoys. But most people disagree with you that
                > this should be called a "solution". Do you also think "a solution" to the
                > car-accident problem is to let everyone drive more freely without rules,
                > "a solution" to the bad education is to let children not come to school if
                > they want, and so on? Most people will disagree.
                >

                Listen, Nadav. I stated a few individual rights, and demonstrated why they are
                true. If you drive without rules, you can potentially harm someone else, and
                so you are violating his life. That's why you need these rules when you
                drive. On the other hand, a soldier who is protecting the territories is
                doing so against his will. And so he is forced to do so. And where exactly
                did I say that my intentiond was to maximize "freedom".

                > A more sensible way to define "a solution", if you still want to go with a
                > utilitarian definition (i.e., maximizing something over the whole society),
                > is not to maximize freedom, but rather to maximize something like
                > "happiness" or "wellbeing". Being free to pick up a weapon and enter a
                > bloodbath is freedom,

                It's not. By entering a bloodbath, you are harming others. And freedom
                involves not exercising initiatory force, threat of force or fraud against
                someone's life or property. It's not freedom from oppression. It's freedom
                from responsibilities.

                > but doesn't do much for your wellbeing. With this
                > definition, a bloodbath is a bad solution. The current situation is also a
                > bad solution, because many people are suffering. A solution of this type
                > would require few people to be left suffering, and you done nothing in your
                > document to explain why that should happen. Remember, in the "suffering"
                > you should also count the people who die and their relatives - don't be
                > fooled by the rhetorics like "My son wanted to die, he's a martyr now!" -
                > these relatives are still suffering.
                >
                > I probably mentioned this already in this group, but being free to do
                > whatever you want is not equalent to being happy, or even to getting what
                > you really want.

                A person who is free from oppression, can engineer his life in a way that will
                maximize his happiness and well-being. But, if he is oppressed somehow, being
                told that he has to sacrifice his life, time or resources for some "higher
                cause", then he has a far lesser chance of becoming happy. If all righteous
                people were free from oppression, then they would all be happy.

                > The Existancialist philosophers talked a lot about this,
                > Sartre talked about the "Nausea" that too much freedom means, and perhaps
                > Kirkegaard put it most elequently, when he explained how, when you define
                > rules for yourself and follow them,

                _You_ define rules for yourself. Not _others_ define rules for you. You should
                not consume drugs. You should pay Income Tax. You should serve in the army.
                You may not bear arms. Etc.

                > you are actually more free, than if you
                > just do whatever you want all the time. (if there is interest, and I didn't
                > already mention this, I can expend on this).

                I do set rules for myself. I don't initiate force, coersion or fraud against
                another person or his property. Otherwise, I also try to keep myself healthy.
                But otherwise, I just do what maximizes my happiness and well-being. What
                rules did Krikegaard want me to have? And why should a different person tell
                me what rules these should be?

                Regards,

                Shlomi Fish

                ---------------------------------------------------------------------
                Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/

                Knuth is not God! It took him two days to build the Roman Empire.
              • Shlomi Fish
                ... Nadav, you should choose whether you wish to maximize freedom or well-being/happiness . Regards, Shlomi Fish ... Shlomi Fish shlomif@iglu.org.il
                Message 7 of 17 , Nov 18, 2004
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                  On Thursday 18 November 2004 17:14, Nadav Har'El wrote:
                  > On Thu, Nov 18, 2004, Ofir Carny wrote about "Re: A Solution to the
                  Israeli-Palestinian Problem":
                  > > > I probably mentioned this already in this group, but being free to do
                  > > > whatever you want is not equalent to being happy, or even to getting
                  > > > what you really want. The Existancialist philosophers talked a lot
                  > > > about this, Sartre talked about the "Nausea" that too much freedom
                  > > > means, and perhaps Kirkegaard put it most elequently, when he explained
                  > > > how, when you define rules for yourself and follow them, you are
                  > > > actually more free, than if you just do whatever you want all the time.
                  > > > (if there is interest, and I didn't already mention this, I can expend
                  > > > on this).
                  > >
                  > > There is interest.
                  >
                  > Here is a quote from something I wrote on linux-il a little over a year
                  > ago: (quoting saves me a lot of typing :)).
                  >
                  > -----------------
                  > The issue in question is: Should I do whatever is fun for me now, or should
                  > I choose principles and stick with them for longer periods? Either method
                  > gives you choice, but which gives you more freedom?

                  Nadav, you should choose whether you wish to maximize "freedom" or
                  "well-being/happiness".

                  Regards,

                  Shlomi Fish

                  ---------------------------------------------------------------------
                  Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                  Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/

                  Knuth is not God! It took him two days to build the Roman Empire.
                • Nadav Har'El
                  ... But I didn t see in your text a proof, or even explanation, why your solution solves the problem in this sense. How does the stopping of the suffering
                  Message 8 of 17 , Nov 19, 2004
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                    On Thu, Nov 18, 2004, Shlomi Fish wrote about "Re: A Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Problem":
                    > That's not how I define a solution. I define the solution as to minimize the
                    > number of people who are innocent who suffer from this.

                    But I didn't see in your text a proof, or even explanation, why your
                    "solution" solves the problem in this sense. How does the stopping of the
                    "suffering" of a soldier who gets sent to protect a settlement compare to
                    the new "suffering" of the settlers who get left unguarded? Or the suffering
                    of both palestenians and settlers who start shooting at each other, or even
                    at themselves (if internal struggles begin)?

                    > Where exactly do I say that one needs to arm anyone?

                    This is what I understood from your talking about the freedom to bare arms.
                    Did you hear of the phrase "arms race"? When countries (or in this case,
                    individuals) are allowed to arm themselves without limit, nobody can stay
                    behind in that race. If 50% of your neighbors, including all the neighborhood
                    bullies and bad elements, have guns, can you afford not to have one?
                    You also suggest that settlers won't need the army because they'll have
                    guns, or that Palestenians will also feel safe because they'll have guns.
                    In short, you do assume everyone (or at least most people) will get armed.

                    > > The Existancialist philosophers talked a lot about this,
                    > > Sartre talked about the "Nausea" that too much freedom means, and perhaps
                    > > Kirkegaard put it most elequently, when he explained how, when you define
                    > > rules for yourself and follow them,
                    >
                    > _You_ define rules for yourself. Not _others_ define rules for you. You should
                    > not consume drugs. You should pay Income Tax. You should serve in the army.
                    > You may not bear arms. Etc.

                    No, your emphasis on "*you* define rules for yourself" is not shared by
                    Kierkegaard. He is actually a more complex philosopher than I portrayed him
                    in my previous message. Maybe I was unfair to him. Let me explain.

                    Kierkegaard thought that when you define rules and follow them you're at
                    a "higher level" than a person who just does whatever he wants at each minute.
                    This is because you are free to set goals to yourself, and follow them
                    through to the successful ending, rather than just doing short-term stuff
                    that in the long term doesn't get you where you really want. This idea
                    has been often mention by others, including the old "grasshopper and the
                    ant" parable (the grasshopper enjoys himself, but then has no food for
                    winter) and pinochio (the children are free to do what they want in the short
                    term, but in the long term become donkeys).

                    But Kieregaard thinks there are even higher levels of human existance.
                    [note: I'm writing this from memory, so maybe I'm not 100% accurate, please
                    forgive me if I'm not]
                    The next level is not just making up your own rules, but rather accepting
                    a set of rules accepted by your society. This idea agrees with many previous
                    thinkers, such as Kant's Categorical Imperative, or our very own "Al Ta`ase
                    lechavercha ma she-sanu alecha". You can think about it in practical terms
                    this way: if you go against your society's values, you can be satisfied for
                    the short term, but you will not be able to achieve any of your longer term
                    goals or long term wellbeing. Not going to the army might be a choice you
                    want to make, but if it goes against the values of your society this could
                    cause your becoming an outcast, or (if everyone does what you did) the
                    breakdown of your society; In either case you will not be able to achieve
                    what you want to achieve in life.

                    Kierkegaard, being a *religious* philosopher, continued with another, higher
                    level of human existance: the *religious* person, who accepts a god and
                    the devine set of rules that come with that god, and follows these rules.
                    Obviously, this idea is much more controversial than his other ideas,
                    and personally I dispute it.

                    Maybe one day you should find the time to read more philosophy books than
                    just Ayan Rand's. There are many more great ideas and thinkers out there.
                    I think you'll be especially interested in Existentialism, which talk about
                    individualism and individual freedoms. Existentialist philosophers often
                    tried to explore the *consequences* of freedom, rather than just the need
                    for freedom (which most modern thinkers take for granted).


                    --
                    Nadav Har'El | Friday, Nov 19 2004, 6 Kislev 5765
                    nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
                    Phone +972-523-790466, ICQ 13349191 |I have an open mind - it's just closed
                    http://nadav.harel.org.il |for repairs.
                  • Ofir Carny
                    ... I never said it s not true (it isn t, why is a question for long essays, which contain phrases like tragedy of the commons and social contract ). I
                    Message 9 of 17 , Nov 22, 2004
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                      > First of all, Objectivism is not a cult. It's an idea system. And I explain
                      > why they hold. I said that for example a person has no right to force another
                      > person to protect himself, because you are forcing a person to do something
                      > pro-active against his will. Why isn't it true?

                      I never said it's not true (it isn't, why is a question for long
                      essays, which contain phrases like 'tragedy of the commons' and
                      'social contract').
                      I merely stated that you never proved it, your proactive argument
                      merely suggest you might decrease the level of the soldier's freedom.

                      >
                      > Fine, I'll give some words of the state:
                      >
                      > 1. Israel will be able to protect itself effectively.
                      Maybe, probably not, because it will not have an army.

                      >
                      > 2. The settlements will no longer be an issue.
                      Maybe, (you never showed how) but that would still leave the issue of
                      the settlers.

                      >
                      > 3. It will not need to support the Palestinians any longer.
                      Yes, but ignores concequence of no longer supporting them (e.g. contradicts 4).

                      >
                      > 4. Arabs will have less and less reasons to criticize Israel and to actively
                      > hate it.
                      That is extremely optimistic thinking, without basis (you did unleash
                      the settlers on them and stopped supporting them)..
                    • Shlomi Fish
                      ... There s a difference between setting goals and defining rules. For example, one of my current goals has been to work on my HTML Navigation Menu module, up
                      Message 10 of 17 , Dec 16, 2004
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                        > > > The Existancialist philosophers talked a lot about this,
                        > > > Sartre talked about the "Nausea" that too much freedom means, and
                        > > > perhaps Kirkegaard put it most elequently, when he explained how, when
                        > > > you define rules for yourself and follow them,
                        > >
                        > > _You_ define rules for yourself. Not _others_ define rules for you. You
                        > > should not consume drugs. You should pay Income Tax. You should serve in
                        > > the army. You may not bear arms. Etc.
                        >
                        > No, your emphasis on "*you* define rules for yourself" is not shared by
                        > Kierkegaard. He is actually a more complex philosopher than I portrayed him
                        > in my previous message. Maybe I was unfair to him. Let me explain.
                        >
                        > Kierkegaard thought that when you define rules and follow them you're at
                        > a "higher level" than a person who just does whatever he wants at each
                        > minute. This is because you are free to set goals to yourself, and follow
                        > them through to the successful ending, rather than just doing short-term
                        > stuff that in the long term doesn't get you where you really want.

                        There's a difference between setting goals and defining rules. For example,
                        one of my current goals has been to work on my HTML Navigation Menu module,
                        up to a point where it would be usable by others. And indeed I have invested
                        a lot of time on it. But it wasn't a "rule". I did not say to myself: "I have
                        to work at least 1/2/3/4... hours a day the nav-menu module". For example,
                        yesterday I spent a lot of time helping my sister with one of her Technion's
                        computer exercises. (while I was in Tel-Aviv and she was in the Technion). As
                        a result, I was unable to do other things, including working on the nav-menu
                        module.

                        I think it is a good idea for a person to set goals for himself. However, you
                        don't really need well-defined "rules" to follow these goals. Did Kierkegaard
                        talk about rules or about goals?

                        > This
                        > idea has been often mention by others, including the old "grasshopper and
                        > the ant" parable (the grasshopper enjoys himself, but then has no food for
                        > winter) and


                        > pinochio (the children are free to do what they want in the
                        > short term, but in the long term become donkeys).
                        >

                        I don't know how the Pinocchio story of the children there, can be inferred as
                        a proof to what Kierkegaard said. It's just a story.

                        > But Kieregaard thinks there are even higher levels of human existance.
                        > [note: I'm writing this from memory, so maybe I'm not 100% accurate, please
                        > forgive me if I'm not]
                        > The next level is not just making up your own rules, but rather accepting
                        > a set of rules accepted by your society. This idea agrees with many
                        > previous thinkers, such as Kant's Categorical Imperative, or our very own
                        > "Al Ta`ase lechavercha ma she-sanu alecha".

                        I don't see how "You shouldn't do to your friend, what you
                        dislike" (translating of the Hebrew original), has to do with accepting the
                        set of rules accepted by society. In fact it's the opposite. If I dislike
                        that people do something to me, then I should have enough integrity not to do
                        it for others as well. It has nothing to do with accepting rules set by
                        society.

                        > You can think about it in
                        > practical terms this way: if you go against your society's values, you can
                        > be satisfied for the short term,

                        "values" or "rules". There's a huge difference between these two terms. Make
                        up your mind.

                        > but you will not be able to achieve any of
                        > your longer term goals or long term wellbeing.

                        Why not? Some of the greatest advancements in history happened due to
                        individuals going against the rules of society. As a result, the acceptable
                        rules by society changed, often for the better.

                        > Not going to the army might
                        > be a choice you want to make, but if it goes against the values of your
                        > society this could cause your becoming an outcast, or (if everyone does
                        > what you did) the breakdown of your society; In either case you will not be
                        > able to achieve what you want to achieve in life.

                        I see. Should I fear becoming an outcast? Galileo was possibly an outcast
                        because he broke the rules of society. Yet, he was one of the greatest, most
                        influential men in human history. Was he doing the wrong thing according to
                        Kierkegaard?

                        Now there are two options regarding army service:

                        1. The society _forces_ everyone to go to army, regardless if they want to or
                        not.

                        2. The society has a voluntary army service, but there's a general consensus
                        that people should serve in the army, and as a result, a large percentage of
                        the individuals serve in the army.

                        Now if #1 holds, then I would be breaking the law by not going to the army. I
                        may get imprisoned or worse. Furthermore, the society is doing something
                        which is damn right objectively harmful by forcing people to serve in the
                        army against their will. Fighting to change that (regardless if you serve in
                        the army or not) is something every member of the society should do.

                        If #2 holds, then perhaps Kierkegaard has a point. If I have a good enough
                        reason not to serve in the army, (like am afraid of blood and gore), then I
                        may have a justifiable reason to avoid it.

                        Now, what kind of society-based rules does Kierkegaard approve of accepting?

                        Does he approve of accepting:

                        1. Moral Rules - things that prevent the initiation of force, threat of force,
                        or fraud against a different individual or his property. Very well, I agree
                        with Kierkegaard that you should accept such rules. (You should generally do
                        your best not to do anything immoral, regardless of what your society has to
                        say about it.)

                        2. Amoral Rules - Should I not drive on Saturday? Or eat milk along with meat?
                        Or not wear pants if I'm female? In a religious Jewish society these are part
                        of the social rules. Yet, they are amoral - one isn't harmed by practicing
                        them, but he doesn't benefit from practicing them, either.

                        How will accepting such rules benefit me as an individual?

                        3. Rules that are Harmful to Oneself - in some countries in Europe it is
                        commonly accepted for people to hang in pubs and consume large quantities of
                        Alcoholic Beverages. Let's assume for the moment that consuming Alcohol (at
                        least in such quantities) is indeed harmful to oneself, as far as his health
                        is concerned. If I choose to not follow this rule, and preserve my health,
                        why am I not doing the right thing?

                        4. Rules that are Harmful to Others - many times in History, several countries
                        or societies set out rules or norms that involved physical harm, theft,
                        verbal "violence", or otherwise against certain members. Let's take for
                        example the Israeli War of Lebanon. It was positively harmful to many
                        individuals (both Israeli and Lebanese), and did not do any good. Yet, it was
                        the society norm at the time for young men of 18 at the time, to join the
                        army, and serve in Lebanon, actively causing or helping cause the harm.

                        People who refused to serve in Lebanon were considered as "Mishtamtim", and
                        refusing to serve there could lead you to jail. But I digress.

                        Does Kierkegaard support following society's rules if they contradict
                        Objective Ethics and inflict force, coercion or fraud against other
                        individuals or their property?

                        ---------------

                        My view of all of this is a simple. A person should strive to perform only
                        moral and amoral actions. (where amoral actions are better reduced to a
                        minimum). A moral action is such that "helps fullfill human biological needs"
                        and immoral actions (that should be avoided) "deprive people of their
                        biological needs".

                        A person is acting morally if he does that, regardless of what society's norms
                        dictate in that matter. A person can set moral goals to himself and try to
                        follow them if he wishes his efforts to amount to something substantial.

                        Note that sometimes the conventions of societies have to be followed. Walking
                        around naked is not immoral[1], but on the other hand, will be frowned upon
                        by the people around you, and make them uncomfortable, so it probably should
                        be avoided.

                        Accepting arbitrary rules (and I don't mean "goals", there's a huge difference
                        between goals and rules), whether of society or self-imposed, is not
                        something I can agree to. Cognitive Psychology has demonstrated that "should
                        statements." ("I should do X", "I must not do Y", etc.) are harmful to one's
                        self-esteem, and may actually cause depressions or anxieties. This is just
                        one reason you should avoid imposing such arbitrary rules on yourself.

                        >
                        > Kierkegaard, being a *religious* philosopher, continued with another,
                        > higher level of human existance: the *religious* person, who accepts a god
                        > and the devine set of rules that come with that god, and follows these
                        > rules. Obviously, this idea is much more controversial than his other
                        > ideas, and personally I dispute it.

                        Perhaps it can be understood as accepting such rules of Objective Ethics,
                        Science, or Objective Fact. I.e: something that can be deduced from Logic and
                        from a small indisputable facts about our existence.

                        >
                        > Maybe one day you should find the time to read more philosophy books than
                        > just Ayan Rand's.

                        To keep the record straight, I have read Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead" and
                        "Atlas Shrugged", which, while reflecting her philosophy and containing some
                        purely-philosophical portions, are not part of her philosophical books (as
                        are "To the New Intellectual", "The Virtue of Selfishness", "The New
                        Romanticist", etc.). My introduction to Objectivist Philosophy came from a
                        different book called "The Neo-Tech Cosmic Power", which I have almost fully
                        read. Neo-Tech is derived from Objectivism, but has made some extensions and
                        re-organizations of it.

                        > There are many more great ideas and thinkers out there.

                        Possibly. However, as intelligent these thinkers are some of them have
                        deliberately defaulted on the logical process, and presented or mis-deduced
                        claims that are simply false, misleading, and often harmful. If I have two
                        claims - one of them A and the other not-A, then one of them must be false. A
                        lot of the claims made by different philosophers contradict each other, so
                        obviously some of them must be false.

                        I heard many of the claims made by Kant, and I could prove all of them (or at
                        least all but one) to be wrong, using more basic facts. I, with my limited
                        philosophical tools! And yet many people seem to accept his claims as valid.
                        Now if his conclusions are wrong, then obviously his deduction is wrong.
                        Reading what he wrote may be a useful exercise, but I will keep looking for
                        the places where he abuses logic and the human language, in order to "prove"
                        his false conclusions.

                        You seem to have been impressed with Kierkegaard, yet as I have shown now, his
                        philosophy leaves a lot to be desired. I may have misunderstood what you
                        wrote, or you may have mis-represented Kierkegaard. (you seem to have
                        confused "goals", "rules" and "values", for once.)

                        > I think you'll be especially interested in Existentialism, which talk about
                        > individualism and individual freedoms. Existentialist philosophers often
                        > tried to explore the *consequences* of freedom, rather than just the need
                        > for freedom (which most modern thinkers take for granted).

                        If we agree that there's a need for freedom, what difference do its
                        consequences make?

                        Regards,

                        Shlomi Fish

                        [1] - Unless it's cold outside. ;-)

                        --

                        ---------------------------------------------------------------------
                        Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                        Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/

                        Knuth is not God! It took him two days to build the Roman Empire.
                      • Nadav Har'El
                        ... The difference is not as great as you might think. The goal I want to move the boat to the coast, over there on the east is not that different than a
                        Message 11 of 17 , Dec 16, 2004
                        • 0 Attachment
                          On Thu, Dec 16, 2004, Shlomi Fish wrote about "Kierkegaard [was Re: A Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Problem]":
                          > There's a difference between setting goals and defining rules. For example,

                          The difference is not as great as you might think.

                          The goal "I want to move the boat to the coast, over there on the east"
                          is not that different than a rule "I should row eastward without stopping".
                          Some people have both the goal and rule in mind, and some people just do
                          one and after some time forget the other. Moreover, you can't achieve the
                          "goal" without following the "rule" (or another equivalent rule). If you
                          forget that it's important that you row eastward all the time, you may not
                          achieve the goal.

                          For example, why am I a Mathematician, or a scientist? Was it a "goal" I
                          set to myself ("I want to be a Mathematician, so I need to go to study in
                          the Technion"), or more basic rules of life that I developed to myself,
                          causing me to prefer logical explanations and find beauty in science, and
                          that in turn caused me to choose my profession over other professions?

                          Do people that become Rabbis or priests or whatever choose that as a goal,
                          or does it happen naturally by their enthusiam with following God's rules
                          and wanting to share them with others?

                          > I think it is a good idea for a person to set goals for himself. However, you
                          > don't really need well-defined "rules" to follow these goals. Did Kierkegaard
                          > talk about rules or about goals?

                          Since I am not a Kierkegaard scholar, I think I better stop representing him
                          here. There are plenty of other philosophers, with different opinions on these
                          issues. None of these philosophers were idiots like you seem to think they
                          were. Because philosophy is not a science, they may actually say contradicting
                          things without any of them being "wrong" and the other "right".

                          > I don't know how the Pinocchio story of the children there, can be inferred as
                          > a proof to what Kierkegaard said. It's just a story.

                          A story is not a proof. It's a way to think about a certain issue, one which
                          you may not have thought about. Colodi (spelling?) didn't write a random
                          story, he wrote a story about the values he believed in, and tried to instill
                          those values in his generation's children. Maybe there's still something to
                          be learned from his story.

                          > Why not? Some of the greatest advancements in history happened due to
                          > individuals going against the rules of society. As a result, the acceptable
                          > rules by society changed, often for the better.

                          Yes, but the person himself suffered (e.g., Galileo). Existentialists talk
                          about an individual's existance, not about progress of society as a whole.
                          So do you, by the way.

                          > > I think you'll be especially interested in Existentialism, which talk about
                          > > individualism and individual freedoms. Existentialist philosophers often
                          > > tried to explore the *consequences* of freedom, rather than just the need
                          > > for freedom (which most modern thinkers take for granted).
                          >
                          > If we agree that there's a need for freedom, what difference do its
                          > consequences make?

                          Oh, it's very important! Here a quote from something I wrote last year
                          on linux-il (yes, MosheZ, I know that quoting myself doesn't make it right!)

                          A common misconception is that freedom requires absolute freedom, with no
                          concequences to your choices. This is wrong.
                          Freedom always comes with responsibility, to use your freedom properly.
                          The fact that you have freedom of speech does not mean that shouting at
                          people on the street (or spamming on the net) is nice. The fact that you
                          are free to program does not mean that writing computer viruses is good.
                          The fact that we have a free market does not make abusing your employees
                          a commendable action. The fact that your are free to use your youth to tan
                          on the beach instead of studying, doesn't make that a wise move. The
                          fact that smoking is perfectly legal doesn't make you live longer if you
                          chose to pick up that habit.


                          --
                          Nadav Har'El | Thursday, Dec 16 2004, 5 Tevet 5765
                          nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
                          Phone +972-523-790466, ICQ 13349191 |It's fortunate I have bad luck - without
                          http://nadav.harel.org.il |it I would have no luck at all!
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