Feb 072014

On Thursday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I answered questions on feeling unproductive, the value of horror movies, and more. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

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Whole Podcast: 6 February 2014

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Podcast Segments: 6 February 2014

You can download or listen to my answers to individual questions from this episode below.


My News of the Week: I’ve been very busy training horses in Aiken, South Carolina, including a jumping lesson today with Olympian Will Coleman. Remember, live broadcasts will be on Thursday evenings for the rest of February!

Question 1: Feeling Unproductive

Question: How can I overcome feeling like a slacker? I am a very productive person, with multiple projects going on simultaneously, both personal and professional. Generally, I handle juggling things pretty well, and accomplish quite a bit. I can usually attain most of my goals, and I like that about myself. (I’m also a pretty ambitious person so I have many big goals.) However, I also often feel like a complete slacker. I can see all of the things I accomplish, but I often feel like I could be doing more – one more thing, one more project. Sometimes, when I look at the things I’ve accomplished, all I can see are the things I wasn’t able to do and it can be easy to feel defeated and negative about that. How can I reconcile the gap here? How can I get better at feeling the sense of accomplishment I think I should – and deserve – to feel? Do you have any ideas for getting rid of this mantle of slackerness I’ve saddled myself with – unfairly, I think? I’ve been making some changes that have helped, such as writing down my accomplishments each day, but I’m looking for more ideas.

My Answer, In Brief: If you’re the kind of person who unjustly thinks himself a slacker, you should (1) arm yourself with the facts by collecting data, (2) be realistic about what you can reasonably do, (3) introspect and monitor yourself to find ways to be more efficient, (4) beware of overcommitment, and (5) be kind to yourself!

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To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

Question 2: The Value of Horror Movies

Question: Do horror movies or books have any redeeming value? In The Romantic Manifesto, Ayn Rand argued that horror was the worst genre of art, “belonging more to psychopathology than to esthetics.” Is that right? Might a rational person find some value in a horror film or book? Don’t some horror movies have heroic characters – such as Arnold Schwarzenegger in Predator?

My Answer, In Brief: Horror movies aim to arouse intense feelings of fear via unknown and unmanageable dangers. Many are malevolent and unbounded, but not all. Some people might enjoy them to experience and overcome fear, or simply as a background for good plot and characters.

Listen or Download:


To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

Rapid Fire Questions


  • What would you say to the idea that the desire to pray is a form of obsessive compulsive syndrome? So, a person basically thinks, “I must do this irrational thing x (in this case praying) otherwise I will see bad consequence y.”
  • Is it a sign of collectivism that people use words like “we” when talking about history to refer to their racial or national ancestors? (e.g. “We really helped out the French in World War I.”)
  • Is it a breach of a child’s privacy for a parent to disclose their names on social media? What is the best way to go about protecting a child’s future interests while having a life on social media?

Listen or Download:

  • Start Time: 53:45
  • Duration: 7:51
  • Download: MP3 Segment

To comment on these questions or my answers, visit its comment thread.


Be sure to check out the topics scheduled for upcoming episodes! Don’t forget to submit and vote on questions for future episodes too!

  • Start Time: 1:01:36

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Philosophy in Action Radio focuses on the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. It broadcasts live on most Sunday mornings and many Thursday evenings over the internet. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

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