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Safe House starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Renolds. It was good.

Edited by m_ishwar

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I watched Atlas Shrugged 1 & 2 over the weekend. What great movies imo, so much so that I am getting the book. I like Ayn Rand's philosophy (so far) and her predictions have been coming true over the last (almost) 60 years.

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What great movies imo, so much so that I am getting the book.

Be warned, although her ideas are... well.. "interesting" (cough cough). Ayn Rand is well known as an insufferably boring, terrible writer (besides being known for being a psychopath idolator, of course). So, you might not enjoy the read as much as you expect to.

I like Ayn Rand's philosophy (so far)

Personally, any economic / sociologic philosophy that predates the main developments in Game Theory and in Bayesian Probability Theory of the 80s is like pre-Darwin biology: some interesting ideas here and there, but mostly stabs in the dark with very little empirical grounds.

her predictions have been coming true over the last (almost) 60 years.

Ever heard of self-fulfilling prophecies? Advocating shameless selfishness, rejection of empathy and legitimized greed is going to be very popular with those who have the power to influence policy and public perception. Like many others after her, rationalizers of the behaviors of the power-hungry tend to make for some very popular philosophers among the powerful. Who's surprised?

I'll leave you with this quote:
"I don't think there's any need to have essays advocating selfishness among human beings; I don't know what your impression has been, but some things require no further reinforcement." -- Christopher Hitchens, talking about Ayn Rand.

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Being new to her and her stories, I cannot argue one way or the other. However, this notion of "for the greater good" has not been the best way to create policies either. I also agree with the fact that regulations beget regulations and laws beget more laws. Doing so makes it more and more difficult to for so called "honest" people to in fact stay honest.

mostly stabs in the dark with very little empirical grounds.

With controversial ideas, there is usually little empirical grounds to go by but that doesn't necessarily mean that there isn't any warrant to the ideas.

Advocating shameless selfishness, rejection of empathy and legitimized greed

Again, I cannot argue with something I am not overly familiar with but my general impression is that selfishness does not have to come at the cost of rejection of empathy. Surely one can aspire to fulfill his/her dreams and be selfish in doing so without negatively affecting others. Lets not forget the old notion that one cannot please everybody. That being said, someone will always be a hater but may hate only for the reason of hating.

Like many others after her, rationalizers of the behaviors of the power-hungry tend to make for some very popular philosophers among the powerful. Who's surprised?

I think that this statement is wrong but only because big thinkers and doers since she put this book out have dismissed her way of thinking. At least that is the impression I have gotten about her.

Over the last oh I don't know, couple thousand years (to be sure) and during the last 150 or so years we have exploited both man and environment because of greed and also for the "greater good". Empirical grounds are not winning favors in my opinion. As I see the world today there seems to be a consistent push towards Social economies where the main earners, the middle classes, are bearing the brunt of the social expenses. When there is no more money to be leeched from us, what will happen then?

At any rate, I've been feeling that things in our economic world that we live in have been off for many years. I don't know what answers are the right answers but I know that the current path we are on CAN set us up to live in a dystopic society. I'm not cool with that.

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I think that this statement is wrong but only because big thinkers and doers since she put this book out have dismissed her way of thinking. At least that is the impression I have gotten about her.

Not so much dismissed her as much as distanced themselves from her. She is very antipathic to most people and not someone that any public figure wants to be associated with. Conservatives pretty much have to distance themselves from her because she was a strong atheist, and also, the fact that she rejected pretty much everything we typically call "christian values" doesn't help either in that crowd. Just look at how much back-pedaling Paul Ryan had to do in the last election when it was find out that he had, in his youth, been a fan of her work. She is basically political poison on all sides, but the most extreme and shameless fringe of US-libertarians.

In intellectual circles, she is basically poison too, for similar reasons, but also because of her blatant disconnection from reality. The main nail in the coffin of her arguments is that of evolution. Evolution is widely understood as having the effect of optimizing the traits of a population for better survival in their environment. And all social animals (and most animals are social to some extent) have developed strong empathy and altruistic behavior. Advocating for a lack of empathy and selfishness as the best way for society to work, means you have millions of years of evolution stacked against you. These kinds of reality-checks have pretty much destroyed her philosophy, to the point ridicule in intellectual circles.

But in many ways, she is, nevertheless, the radical back-bone of US-libertarian and other "free market" or laissez-faire capitalist thought. Of course, people all around those circles are very shy to admit it. But US-libertarianism is pretty much suggest a more palatable version of Ayn Rands philosophies. And things like free-market / laissez-faire capitalism and supply-side / trickle-down economics are just a bit less radical conveyors of the same idea: let those with power and money, and the greed to acquire more of both, do whatever they want. And as long as you can formulate that premise in a way that avoids some of the political landmines, like the name "Ayn Rand", you become a very "respected" intellectual and your "ideas" make a lot of echo in the political / business class.

my general impression is that selfishness does not have to come at the cost of rejection of empathy.

Well, in any case, she strongly advocated for both. The actual nature, origin and role of empathy is a pretty complicated affair, I can't really get into it right now. And the defining of selfishness / altruism is also problematic. In either case, you need a lot of background in mathematics to delve into it with honesty and rigour, exactly the kind of honesty and rigour Ayn Rand lacked.

Surely one can aspire to fulfill his/her dreams and be selfish in doing so without negatively affecting others.

Sure, but it doesn't matter as much what we aspire to, but rather how we act. Sure, everyone has mostly "selfish" aspirations and a general desire not to trample on others. Ayn Rand pretty much advocated that the best way for all to achieve those selfish aspirations is to act in pure selfishness with complete disregard for others at all times, which is essentially the text-book definition of a psychopath, and that's why she admired them. The rest of her philosophy is just about rationalizing how that would somehow lead to a better world in every way. It's a pretty dogmatic philosophy overall. And it's pretty ruthless. And empirically, very dubious. And it contradicts all observable social behavior in the animal kingdom, the product of millions of years of social optimization.

It is only when you factor in aspects of game theory and of bayesian theory that you can link selfish aspirations to selfless acts, and explain the necessity for empathy to trigger selfless acts under partial observability (in plain english: you can't see an immediate pay off to the selfless act, but empathy compels you to act without that certainty at hand, and for all the times you are wrong (no payoff for you) you are right to act selflessly, overall). There are some fascinating arguments in this branch, you should check it out (it's more math than philosophy, though). This modern and largely empirically-confirmed view of sociology is what relegates Ayn Rand's arguments to the age of darkness, like chemistry did for alchemy. At least, that's my opinion.

How all this translates to policy is a whole other problem. ;)

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I have watched MAN OF STEEL last week. It was a great movie..

I heard it was OK movie but I can't wait to see it on DVD

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I saw Side Effects. It was a good movie.
I also saw The Hunt. That was really good.
I also saw Stoker. It was OK. Not as good as OldBoy.
I also saw Silver Linings Playbook. It was a nice movie.

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I have watched "Prema Katha Chitram" last week. It was good movie and had fun.

Edited by Shanti C: spelling mistake

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Watched John Carter. Nice movie. Worth watching once

I heard of the movie. I think you are not the only one thinks it's nice movie.

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I just saw the movie "The Last Stand".

Not bad, it's bit weird to see Arnold act in quite a while.

The movie I want to see this: MAN OF TAI CHI (2013)

I am surpise Keanu Reeves directed this movie.

I like the trailer: MAN OF TAI CHI

Edited by LastMitch

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The movie I want to see this: MAN OF TAI CHI (2013)

That movie looks really interesting. I am not finding the opening date in the U.S. though, only the release dates for China, Indonesia, and Singapore.

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I just saw "Now You See Me" and I thought it was pretty good.

I read it was OK but you know critic. I will rent it once it comes out on DVD.

That movie looks really interesting. I am not finding the opening date in the U.S. though, only the release dates for China, Indonesia, and Singapore.

You are right I don't know either when it comes out in the states. I hope it will come out this year mostly not maybe next year. You know hollywood, if it's not suitable to the audience then the films needs to be edited. This is Keenu Reeves first movie being as director and actor. I read and heard about it last year. I think he's being a villian in this movie. I like the Matrix which was a long time ago it kind remind to that movie. I don't think this movie will PG-13 it most likely be Rated-R. The fight scenes look similiar to The Raid Redemption. I'm big MMA fan.

Edited by LastMitch

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I just saw Warm Bodies.

It was surprisely good. The storyline was great.

Overall the movie was very good.

I think a friend mention to be it's kinda like chick flick but it's not really.

Edited by LastMitch

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I just watched the Expendables 2 last night. Lots of action, kind of corny with all the action hero's making quotes that other action hero's have said in their other movies. The first scene with Chuck Norris was the best, especially considering all the Chuck Norris quotables out there. I'd watch it again.

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I saw Welcome to the Punch. I think the storyline is very gritty. The issue is that the characters weren't describe more instead it's was short.

I also saw The Impossible. It was a good movie and the storyline was very good.

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i saw what dream may come today, fantastic film. Robin williams was the lead actor.

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