Tuesday, November 06, 2012


Every single candidate I voted for, LOST.

Once again I have a perfect score!!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

About Teens, Ayn Rand Answers President Obama from Beyond the Grave

As early as 2008, President Obama had already been making passive-aggressive swipes at Ayn Rand. We remember his complaint that "we’ve made a virtue out of selfishness. There's no virtue in that! We made a virtue of irresponsibility, and need to usher in a new spirit of service and sacrifice and responsibility."

This year, President Obama has finally made that antipathy explicit. To Rolling Stone, he proclaims:
Ayn Rand is one of those things that a lot of us, when we were 17 or 18 and feeling misunderstood, we'd pick up. Then, as we get older, we realize that a world in which we're only thinking about ourselves and not thinking about anybody else, in which we're considering the entire project of developing ourselves as more important than our relationships to other people and making sure that everybody else has opportunity –- that that's a pretty narrow vision.
In short, he's repeating the old cliche that Rand is only appreciated by teenagers -- that growing up means growing out of having appreciation for her.

How ironic that the President so reputed to have inspired the idealistic youth of America to vote for him, is now dismissing this very same demographic as being somehow inherently prone to shallowness.

Fortunately, throughout her life Rand always remained appreciative of the idealism of youth. Concerning teenagers and other young people, Rand has a message from beyond the grave for our President:
There is a fundamental conviction which some people never acquire, some hold only in their youth, and a few hold to the end of their days -- the conviction that ideas matter. In one's youth that conviction is experienced as a self-evident absolute, and one is unable fully to believe that there are people who do not share it. That ideas matter means that knowledge matters, that truth matters, that one's mind matters. And the radiance of that certainty, in the process of growing up, is the best aspect of youth. . . .

It is not the particular content of a young person's ideas that is of primary importance in this issue but his attitude toward ideas as such. The best way to describe it would be to say that he takes ideas seriously -- except that "serious" is too unserious a word in this context: he takes ideas with the most profound, solemn and passionate earnestness. (Granted this attitude, his mind is always open to correct his ideas, if they are wrong or false; but nothing on earth can take precedence for him over the truth of an idea.) . . .

Young persons who hold this conviction, do not have to "throw off the leading conformity of the only society they have known." They do not conform in the first place: they judge and evaluate; if they accept any part of the prevalent social trends, it is through intellectual agreement (which may be mistaken), not through conformity. They do not need to know the different types of society in order to discover the evils, falsehoods or contradictions of the one in which they live: intellectual honesty is the only tool required.
--"The 'Inexplicable Personal Alchemy' "

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Patients With BPD Can Get Better ='-)

A study in Denmark shows that patients with Borderline Personality Disorder can indeed get better with additional treatment.  :'-)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

About Stuart K. Hayashi, The Writer

At the behest of editors and publishers, I have written a new "About the Author" essay for myself.  This is what I have so far.


Stuart K. Hayashi is a freelance journalist residing in Mililani Town, Hawaii.  His original research played a part in publicly revealing that the documentary film Fahrenheit 9/11 cited what turned out to be a doctored newspaper page.  National news outlets eventually reported on this revelation.  Mr. Hayashi’s role in the investigation is acknowledged by name in the 2005 revised paperback edition of the New York Times bestseller Michael Moore Is a Big Fat Stupid White Man (New York, NY:  HarperCollins) by David T. Hardy and Jason Clarke, pp. 139-140. 

Hayashi’s own writings have appeared in the Honolulu Advertiser and on the news analysis website Ideas in Action (formerly Tech Central Station). 

He also contributed these chapters to nonfiction anthologies:

* "Human Cloning Is Ethical,"  Genetic Engineering:  Opposing Viewpoints, ed. Louise I. Gerdes (San Diego, CA:  Greenhaven Press, 2004).

 * "Atlas Shrugging Throughout History and Modern Life," Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”:  A Philosophical and Literary Companion, ed. Edward W. Younkins, (Hampshire, England:  Ashgate, 2007).

Most recently, his essay on the philosophy of fiction has been published in Scout & Engineer, Issue No. 2.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

'Scout & Engineer': The Exciting Second Issue!

The excellent literary magazine Scout & Engineer came out with its second issue over here, here, and here. It contains an article written by me, in which I explain why high-quality fiction, far from being a form of dishonesty, should be considered a highly symbolic method of conveying deep psychological truth.

There is so much more to this issue than me, however. The main attractions are the collection of short fiction by various writers, as well as the reviews and interviews by editor-publisher Hannah Eason.

You can see my enthusiastic review of the first issue (which doesn't include anything by me) over here. :-)

This magazine also published a great anthology of short stories by Christopher Blonde, entitled Wendy Never Married.

August 11, 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Loving Someone Versus 'Possession'

"Individuals with self-respect and self-esteem do not want to possess you."

--Michael J. Hurd (source)

Someone being "possessive" of you should not be confused with love.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I Will Always Care

Wishing a happy birthday to someone I care about.  Whether this is understood or not, for you to have lasting happiness is of paramount importance.  I meant -- and mean -- everything that I have said.  :'-)

Monday, August 06, 2012

If You Know Someone Who Exhibits Suicidal Gestures, Are You a Real Friend to That Person . . . or a Sycophant?

As I've blogged before, someone having suicidal ideation does not always lead to that person attempting suicide, but it remains very dangerous.  It is dangerous both for that person who has the suicidal ideation, and those who care about him or her. That is why I have absolutely no tolerance for it. None. When I say that, I don't mean that I cast moral disapproval on those who experience suicidal ideation. What it does mean is that if someone I care about happens to display very prominent suicidal ideation, the ethical course is to intervene.

Michael Jackson Syndrome?
There is a common story about many self-sabotaging celebrities that goes something like this. The celebrity is on a very self-destructive path, which causes visible harm to him or her, as well as trauma for those who care about the celebrity's well-being. The self-destructiveness can be manifested in substance abuse, eating disorders, self-cutting, criminal behavior (or falsely accusing others of criminal behavior), or symptoms of morbid mental illness.

Even though such self-destructive behaviors do not necessarily mean that the celebrity consciously desires to commit suicide, in this particular post I will place all such self-destructive behaviors under the category of "suicidal ideation," "suicidal gestures," and "suicidal imagery." (A psychologist might dispute that as being too broad on my part.)

Because of the celebrity's socially prominent status and because the celebrity acts outwardly confident in public, most people around him or her are reluctant to address this issue. Often, these people keep silent and pretend not to notice the disturbing suicidal gestures. Such a person who refrains from confronting the celebrity is not a real friend but a sycophant. By playing along with the celebrity's self-imposed illusion that the celebrity's suicidal gestures are safe and acceptable, the suicidal gestures are normalized and tacitly encouraged. Far from being conducive to the celebrity's long-term happiness and well-being, this "accepting friend" amounts to a passive "enabler." Think of Hans Christian Andersen's famous story "The Emperor's New Clothes."

Once in a while, someone close (or who was once close) to the celebrity does try to confront the celebrity about such dangers, or urges other people in the celebrity's circle to address the issue compassionately. When this happens, the whistleblower is often marginalized, ridiculed, and devalued. That's terribly tragic, because the whistleblower has shown himself to be a real friend -- exactly what those hangers-on, who have failed to address the issue, have not been. Those real friends -- the concerned whistleblowers -- are sidelined, and the self-defeating celebrity surrounds him- or herself with "yes" men and sycophants who play along with the illusion that everything is fine and normal.They then ostracize the whistleblower as the maladjusted troublemaker.  (Again, it's like "The Emperor's New Clothes.")

A Problem for Non-Celebrities as Well
As I do not know the celebrities personally, I cannot claim omniscience about them; my interpretation of them can be mistaken. However, from what I've read of their biographies, I think the scenario I just verbalized can be largely attributed to Michael Jackson, Charlie Sheen, and Lindsay Lohan. But it doesn't just apply to famous entertainers.

For more than a year, I corresponded online with a very intelligent person whom I will call "Lucy." Lucy expressed interest in looking beautiful, and, of course, in the beginning that sounded perfectly safe. Increasingly, though, Lucy would post pictures of bony anorexic women (this is not humorous hyperbole; they were literally anorexic-looking) and labeling them as the sort of people she wanted to emulate. She posted disturbing photos of herself looking ever-thinner and frailer. She then wrote status updates complaining about really odd physical ailments, like temporary blindness. Such physical ailments are rare in someone of such a young age . . . but common among people who experience starvation and malnutrition. Frighteningly, a large number of "loyal friends" (translation: sycophants) clicked "like" on the disturbing pictures and announcements and encouraged it.

Eventually, a minority of Lucy's online friends -- people much wiser and ballsier than myself -- wrote to Lucy that they were concerned about her health. Not once did they morally criticize her or express full-blown rejection of her as a person . . . though she reacted as if she interpreted it that way. Lucy pointedly told these people that her self-starvation was none of their business.

If Your Suicidal Gestures Are Nobody Else's Business, Why Do You Post Them on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Wordpress?
The whistleblower friends thought that Lucy's response was rather inexplicable. Their thought was, "If you think that your suicidal imagery is none of my business, then why are you putting it on display in front of me and other people?"

Of course I can be wrong, but I think I know the reason. I suspect that on some level the suicidal gestures did disturb Lucy, and that is exactly why she shared images of it on Facebook. She did not want other people, however, to confirm her fear that she was placing herself in a dangerous situation. Insofar as a "cry for help" refers to the crier wanting other people to acknowledge the problem, this was not a traditional "cry for help." Rather, it was like some kind of game of "chicken" in which Lucy implicitly dared other people to comment on the dramatic and alarming change in appearance.

Insofar as people refrained from negative comment, or even complimented the disturbing images, Lucy felt vindicated that her suicidal gestures were actually safe and acceptable, and that her painful health problems were completely unrelated to her self-imposed starvation. The sycophants granted Lucy this short-term gratification, giving her "social proof" that the starvation wasn't a form of self-harm. As for the whistleblower friends who raised the issue, the sycophants reprimanded them and piously told them that they were the assholes.

I blocked Lucy on Facebook because I did not want to lend tacit support to that self-destructive tendency. I envy those who wrote to her about the issue, though, as they were the ones most helpful toward her, even though such positive effects are not obvious in the present. I have known someone who is similarly self-destructive and who similarly exhibits "hints" of the inner pain. This person has informed me that this person has a long history of self-injury and of contemplating suicide. Almost two years ago, this person started posting a lot of suicidal imagery on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Wordpress. In this case, I did confront the person.  

How to Address a Self-Destructive Person Compassionately Without Forcing an Argument
If you are in a similar situation, and you strongly care about that person -- the "Lucy" in your own life -- I urge you to address the issue. If you notice something is going on, and you say nothing, that helps normalize the suicidal ideation and self-defeating behavior. It implies that the self-destructiveness is normal and acceptable. If someone has routinely displayed suicidal gestures to you in person or online (like on LinkedIn or Facebook), then it doesn't really fly for that person to say, "This is none of your business!" When someone has, on more than one occasion, shoved his or her suicidal imagery in your face, he or she has made it your business. If he or she fully believed that the suicidal imagery was not your business, he or she would not have made it visible to you.

Often people are reluctant to confront their "Lucy" because they have this rationale: "My friend can be very scary and temperamental sometimes; even my friend's great height is physically intimidating. If I mention that I notice the suicidal imagery, it will just start a big argument. She will hold a grudge and not seek help, and nothing good will result from the confrontation. It will only make our relationship awkward."

In the past two years, I have become very familiar with that feeling -- that fear from intimidation. Quite frankly, though, if someone is exhibiting suicidal ideation and expects you not to address that, then the relationship is already awkward. More importantly, I think there is a way to address the issue compassionately without forcing an argument. I suggest that to your own "Lucy," you say something like this:
I strongly value your friendship; you mean a lot to me. When I see the [here, make a brief list of the disturbing gestures you've witnessed, such as the dead-body imagery or the defensive insistence on wearing the exact same clothes every day --S.H.], I can't help but think that you must have a lot going on. You don't have to talk about it if you don't want to. But I want to let you know that if you ever do want to talk about it, I am here for you. :'-)
I think that gesture is even more powerful when it comes from a close relative, like an uncle or aunt. If the person you care about -- your "Lucy" -- happens to respond to you in an abusive/bossy/devaluing fashion, I recommend that you ignore it and reaffirm, "I know what I know.  If you ever want to talk about it, I am here for you.  :'-) "  And if that person provides no response, or responds dismissively, that's OK; at least you showed where you stand.

Note that that approach does not force an argument, demand that the person change, or cast moral disapproval. It does, however, let the person know that you are aware of the suicidal gestures and that that is not something you condone. It conveys, through action, that you reject the suicidal gestures but still value the person qua person. Hence, it shows the person that you accept him or her while you refuse to play along with the charade of normalcy -- that you refuse to help normalize the pathology.  I concede that the person who needs help might resent it as patronizing if you take this approach.  But all in all, it's the best available alternative.

I think that everyone has a right to his or her own harmless eccentricity. That is not the same as being an idle bystander when noticing a friend's suicidal gestures. This cannot be emphasized enough:  Suicidal gestures are not a lifestyle choice.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Anne Hathaway on Doing What You Love Never Being a Sacrifice

Stuart K. Hayashi

Perhaps I'm reading too much into it.  But, as Amy Peikoff pointed out, a recent interview with Anne Hathaway seems to suggest that the actress understands an important truth about sacrifice.

In conventional language, people often speak of giving up anything as a "sacrifice."   If parents give up some leisure time they wanted for themselves in favor of spending quality time with their kids, lots of people call that a parental "sacrifice."  But, as Ayn Rand pointed out in Atlas Shrugged, it isn't.  It is not a true sacrifice in the circumstance that the parents value their children more than they value that "alone time."  They give up the "alone time," a lesser value, for their greater value, which is the well-being of their children.  Far from being a net loss to your life, this is actually a net profit in terms of long-range happiness.  When an entrepreneur gives up a unit of merchandise he values less, to gain the revenue he wants more, the net gain in value is a profit.  The same logic applies to this emotional tradeoff.

That is an important distinction, because to call that rational tradeoff a sacrifice is to conflate it with the very serious sacrifices that the collectivist leaders of our culture often demand of you.  When the advocates of collectivism call for sacrifice, they invoke some arbitrary duty of yours to abdicate your greatest values to appease some "higher good" that you actually value less.  When they demand that you give up your precious time to take care an adult relative that has shown you nothing but cruelty since childhood, for example, that is a sacrifice. You relinquish what you value more (your time) for something you value less (a cruel person with whom your sole connection is blood).

When you are expected to give up your time and possessions to that which you value less -- such as strangers or an endangered subspecies of bog critter of which you care nothing -- that is a sacrifice.    It's bad enough when people try to extract such sacrifices through social pressure.  But it's particularly grueling when the government imposes such sacrifices by the threat of physical force.  Remember that laws and taxes are ultimately enforced at gunpoint.

Naturally, people recognize that benevolent tradeoffs are necessary in life.  Sometimes you do have to give up important-but-lesser-values, like your time, to care for entities that you know yourself to value more highly, like your children.  When someone labels those necessary -- and still self-interested -- tradeoffs as sacrifices, that encourages that person to psychologically equivocate those tradeoffs with the real sacrifices: the arbitrary demand that you turn over greater values to lesser ones.  A true sacrifice requires a victim.  The very word victim comes from victima, which means sacrificial animal.

One might charge that such a distinction simply amounts to semantics.  A critic may say that the sacrifices I inveigh against are "undesirable sacrifices," whereas the benevolent tradeoffs I speak of, wherein someone spiritually profits by letting go of lesser values to gain greater ones, are "desirable sacrifices" or even "sacrifices that are profitable in the long run." I recall that religious-right conservative apologist George Gilder even states that when an entrepreneur makes an investment and pays off his business expenses -- all in the quest for future profit -- the short-term expenses amount to "sacrifice."  But that's silly; "ultimately desirable sacrifice" is a conflict in terms.  To say that an action is a "sacrifice" is to categorize it as undesirable per se.  Ayn Rand's interpretation makes more sense.

This brings us to Anne Hathaway.  Perhaps she does not agree with me, or would not approve of my interpretation.  After all, she even hosted a fundraiser for the 2012 re-election of President Obama. :'-( But I like her particular choice of words in this interview, beginning at the 37:51 mark:

Caitlin King, Associated Press, interviewer (referring to Anne Hathaway cutting off her long hair for Les Miserables):  "That's exactly what he's talking about; making sacrifices for the roles that you're passionate about.  Can you talk about those sacrifices?"

Anne Hathaway: "They don't feel like sacrifices when you're making them. I mean I love what I do for a living, and getting to transform is one of the best parts of it.  So I never think about it like that."

Incidentally, Anne Hathaway publicly praised The Fountainhead in 2005 (see here) and, despite some unspecified reservations, Atlas Shrugged as well in 2012 (here).

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Narcissus Didn't Love Himself

Narcissism -- in both the clinical and colloquial sense -- is commonly considered malignant self-love.  But today it occurred to me that the Narcissus of Greek myth doesn't really love himself; he loves his reflection, which is merely a surface image.  The image has visual traits derived from the real Narcissus, but it is far from encapsulating the whole person. 

Narcissus focuses on maintaining the image -- just as some people maintain their outward persona -- while the needs of the true self go neglected.  Narcissus was therefore self-sacrificial; he sacrificed the life and fulfillment of the true self for a much lower priority, an image.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Look Alive, Mate

This should be obvious, but you're at your strongest when you present yourself to the world as what you really are:  alive.  :'-)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Dan Brown Code

Dan Brown's novel Angels & Demons opens with an elderly researcher being brutally murdered by a shadowy assassin. Then Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon enters the scene and meets a sexy young woman related to the murder victim. Together, they use their knowledge of history to find hidden messages in Renaissance artwork, slowly uncovering a grand conspiracy involving an ancient Secret Society and its feud with the Catholic church. *SPOILER ALERT!* A character perceived to be benevolent and on Langdon's side, is actually a heinous villain!

On the other hand:

Dan Brown's novel Da Vinc Code opens with an elderly researcher being brutally murdered by a shadowy assassin. Then Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon enters the scene and meets a sexy young woman related to the murder victim. Together, they use their knowledge of history to find hidden messages in Renaissance artwork, slowly uncovering a grand conspiracy involving an ancient Secret Society and its feud with the Catholic church. *SPOILER ALERT!*  A character perceived to be benevolent and on Langdon's side, is actually a heinous villain!

Friday, March 02, 2012


I don't want you to have faith in me.  :-/

I want you to have evidence-supported confidence in me.  ^_^

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

March 1 Is Self-Injury Awareness Day

"Self-injury" refers to repeated, deliberate acts of physically harming oneself as a way to distract oneself from painful emotions. An example of self-harm is using a blade to make cuts on one's own wrists. Someone can be a self-injurer without having Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).  Moreover, someone can have BPD without being a self-injurer.  However, it should be noted that having a history of self-injury and self-harm is one of the nine main criteria for diagnosing BPD: "Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, threats or self-injuring behavior such as cutting..."  Of course, it is important to remember that even if one's self-injuring has gone into remission, that, by itself, is not proof of recovery from BPD if other self-sabotaging symptoms remain present. March 1 is Self-Injury Awareness Day. Its symbol is the orange ribbon, as shown here:

A reminder to those who have a history of self-injury: you don't have to face this alone.  There are people who -- even if they have not self-injured themselves -- understand what you have gone through, and will always care about you:

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Why So Ludicrous?

Back in the spring of 2008, I met a very smug real-estate agent who bragged about going back to university and taking philosophy classes. Then, as if no one had ever heard anything like this before, he happily recounted an inane "thought experiment" his philosophy instructor relayed to him.

The philosophy teacher said, "Imagine that I issue this threat to you: by the end of the day, you must choose someone you know in your neighborhood -- anyone but me or you -- for me to murder. If you choose no one by the end of the day, I dynamite a ferryboat full of people. Would you rather have the blood of a single person on your hands, or would you rather keep your hands clean, even though it results in more people dying?"

Then, as if explaining some grand discovery, the smug real-estate agent said, "The lesson was that if you refuse to choose the person murdered, your ethics are deontological like Kant's. But if you capitulate to the terrorist threat, you're a consequentialist in ethics."

I wanted to ask that real-estate guy exactly what sort of joker was teaching that philosophy class. A few weeks later, I went to see The Dark Knight and learned that that joker was indeed The Joker.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Persuasion and Conviction

Stuart K. Hayashi

A guy once told me, "There's a definitional difference between 'convincing' someone and 'persuading' him. To persuade someone is to influence him into taking some action he otherwise would not have taken. By contrast, to convince someone is to simply influence him into holding a certain belief in his head that he otherwise would not have held; convincing someone is not related to eliciting a certain action from him."

To this, I replied, "You have persuaded me that you are correct! I have been convinced, from this point forward, to remember that distinction."