Thursday, January 31, 2008

Holocaust survivors, second generation (14)

Reading back the blogs I wrote under the "Holocaust Survivors, second generation" I came to realize that I have not really closed the subject yet. So here it goes.

Mid 2006 a court doctor ordered some tests because, following an accident I had September 2005, I had complained about certain cognitive functions that I felt were diminished. A few months later I learned that this test was an IQ test and that I was rated as highly gifted. Then through a friend I found out about Mensa (an organization for highly gifted people). I became a member and started to join their social meetings and conversation groups. By comparing my experiences with other Mensa members I had a revealing insight on the subject of the anti-Semitism I encountered in my youth. The majority of the supposed anti-Semites from my youth were most likely only using my sensitivity about my Jewishness as a target for their uneasiness with my being “different”. The major reason for me being “different” must have been my high IQ, but back then the only valid reason I could find and was aware of was my origin. This insight did not only make me lose my residual anger but I also became much milder towards ‘ordinary’ people I encounter because now I realize that everybody acts to their own abilities.

To the first post in the "second generation" sequence.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Objectivism and altruism

Rand defined altruism as the principle "that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the only justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, virtue, and value."

One must distinguish between altruism and helping others. Simply helping others is not altruism: altruism is the belief that you have a duty to help others, that you owe others. As Rand put it, the issue is not whether or not you should give a dime to a beggar, but rather if you "have the right to exist without giving him that dime. The issue is whether you must keep buying your life, dime by dime, from any beggar who might choose to approach you. The issue is whether the need of others is the first mortgage on your life and the moral purpose of your existence." Altruism holds that one person's need is a blank check against the lives of others. Altruism holds that self-sacrifice is the good and that self-interest is evil.

Although some would call this characterization of altruism "extreme", in fact altruism so defined pervades our culture. Ambition, greed, success: today these are viewed with suspicion at best, with downright hostility at worst. On the other hand, the New Deal, the Peace Corps, and "a thousand points of light" are upheld as great achievements or noble goals.

Although altruism claims to be based on "love" for man-kind, in practice altruism leads to suffering. On a personal level, altruism leads to unearned guilt. Personal achievement requires you to concentrate on yourself to the exclusion of others. If you accept altruism as the "good", then to the extent that you achieve, you are left with the nagging feeling that you should be doing more to help others, e.g., by working in a soup kitchen or some other such activity. On an interpersonal level, altruism leads to suspicion and ill will. Since any person's need is a blank check drawn against the lives of others, each person knows that any stranger may cash this check at any time, and conversely each person feels that every stranger owes him something.

From: Objectivism and Ayn Rand

Monday, January 28, 2008


Objectivism holds that there is mind-independent reality; that individual persons are in contact with this reality through sensory perception; that human beings gain objective knowledge from perception by measurement, and form valid concepts by measurement omission; that the proper moral purpose of one's life is the pursuit of one's own happiness or "rational self-interest"; that the only social system consistent with this morality is full respect for individual rights, embodied in pure, consensual laissez-faire capitalism; and that the role of art in human life is to transform abstract knowledge, by selective reproduction of reality, into a physical form—a work of art—that one can comprehend and respond to with the whole of one's consciousness.

From Wikipedia

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Narcissistic, me? (02)

No, I’m just very happy I found myself.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The purpose of my life.

I want to matter in the lives of those I love, care for and appreciate.
Nothing more, nothing less.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Money (01)

The biggest handicap in my daily economical struggle is me.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Existentialism is a philosophical movement which posits that individual human beings create the meaning and essence of their lives. It emerged as a movement in twentieth-century literature and philosophy, though it had forerunners in earlier centuries. Existentialism generally postulates that the absence of a transcendent force (such as God) means that the individual is entirely free, and, therefore, ultimately responsible. It is up to humans to create an ethos of personal responsibility outside of any branded belief system. That personal articulation of being is the only way to rise above humanity's absurd condition (suffering and death, and the finality of the individual).

From Wikipedia

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Digging for happiness

The beauty of life is overburden by a thick layer of responsibilities, the longer you live the thicker the layer.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Setting the tone

January 1st, 2008

Slept till I woke.
Went back to bed.
Slept till I woke.
Took a warm bath.
A whiskey at hand.
Read in Mark Epstein's "Going to pieces".
Refilled the tub.
Proclaimed silently from "Dylan Thomas' Selected Poems"
No disturbing noises.

Just me and enjoying it, and I know... this is what I want.