Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Measure of a Man

My boyfriend asked me today why I love him. I said it was because he is intelligent and good looking. But he didn't seem totally satisfied with that answer, because what if one day I decide he isn't those qualities any more.

This isn't directly to do with Objectivism I guess, but I'm sure you can find a way to relate it to Objectivism (see this post) -- and anyway Rand had plenty to say about relationships and "senses of life", although she didn't always walk the talk in her own life, though that's a story for another day, and she also had a lot to say about how to judge a person's worth.

Qualities like intelligence, good looks and capitalistic, productive ability are relative, as in there'll always be someone better looking, smarter, more productive than him, or than me for that matter. And one day, physical and mental strength and beauty will fade and eventually die. So it got me thinking there's got to be another reason and foundation to build a relationship beyond mutual admiration of each other's assets.

Secondly, a little housekeeping. I have been getting some clearly incendiary and mean-spirited comments. I do not appreciate this (obviously). Maybe I should make the point of this blog a bit more clear. This blog is not meant to be an in-depth philosophical critique or debate of Objectivism. The purpose of this blog is primarily to report on and poke fun at Objectivism and Objectivists, and sometimes to discuss interesting concepts and ideas. But only if they are interesting and to the extent they are interesting - which would be my call.

The way I see it is that I do not actively promote this blog on pro-Objectivist websites, so I am not soliciting your invective. If you want to continue to leave me nasty comments, go ahead, I am not going to block anyone, but I will ignore you. Maybe someday I can compile all the crazy shit people have said and marvel at it. The only effect you will have is to make me feel bad (I'm not above saying that unkind words do affect me). If the existence of websites and blogs that portray Objectivism in a negative light distresses you so greatly, unfortunately they probably won't be going away any time soon. It takes all types to make a world, etc etc, and there will always exist people who disagree with you. You are encouraged to leave my blog immediately if you feel it has nothing to offer you. Also, I'm not interested in becoming Objectivist, or a follower of any other political or philosophical system for that matter, I think I've already experienced enough of that. Which bring me to...

The extent of my Rand-cred, as some were wondering, includes having read Anthem, parts of The Fountainhead, most of Atlas, parts of Best of Ayn Rand's Q&A, her Marginalia, and some of her essays. I used interested Objectivism as well as free market capitalism and libertarianism, and felt like I agreed (and still do) with many of Rand's central tenets. I also crashed a Objectivist meeting once when I was an undergrad. I believe I have a fairly good, although far from exhaustive, understanding of the Objectivist movement and its philosophy.

17 comments:

JayCross said...

So it got me thinking there's got to be another reason and foundation to build a relationship beyond mutual admiration of each other's assets.

I've actually been thinking about this a lot in the past few months. It seems like there is and will always be something intangible about passionate romance. Like you said, the identifiable qualities can always be outdone by someone else, but when you love someone those things aren't what keeps you with them. I've dated girls who, on paper, were the "perfect" girl for me. And yet, I did not love them, and I could not articulate why.

The best I can describe what makes love..love, is that you feel completely in your element around that person. Words flow out of you as naturally as if you were thinking them to yourself. But precisely what causes that connection, I really don't know. I think philosophy can set the baselines, but I doubt if it can offer a "formula" for real, lasting love.

Red Grant said...

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The best I can describe what makes love..love, is that you feel completely in your element around that person. - jay
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Could be imprudent.




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Words flow out of you as naturally as if you were thinking them to yourself. - jay
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Could be even more imprudent.


Viking Proverb, "A man is a prisoner of his words."





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But precisely what causes that connection, I really don't know. - jay
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Would you still feel that connection even if she had the belly and legs of a frog, and brownish moles the size of a grape around her mouth, arms with loose chicken skin and a turkey neck?




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I think philosophy can set the baselines,.... - jay
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Excuse me?!?!?!




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...,but I doubt if it can offer a "formula" for real, lasting love. - jay
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Have you ever asked your mother about that?

Jay said...

I think philosophy can set the baselines

In other words, a philosophy can tell you that being with an abusive person will never lead to love, and that you should seek out qualities you admire in others. It can describe certain features and requirements of a loving relationship. What I don't think philosophy can do is prescribe an exact step-by-step formula that leads to love.

Would you still feel that connection even if she had the belly and legs of a frog, and brownish moles the size of a grape around her mouth, arms with loose chicken skin and a turkey neck?

No, probably not. There is no denying the importance of physical attraction in a serious romantic relationship. At the same time, the most outwardly gorgeous people can be irritating to the core and I wouldn't feel a connection with them, either. Seems like both physical and emotional/intellectual attraction must be present.

Red Grant said...

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I think philosophy can set the baselines. - jay

In other wors, a philosophy can tell you that being with an abusive person will never lead to love,... - jay
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Didn't someone say, "Loves makes people blind."?




Wasn't there a research where people being love had the similar brainwave pattern as people with mental illness?




Are people with mental illness(whatever and however they happen to be defined at the moment) capable of practicing philosophy?





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...and that you should seek out qualities you admire in others. - jay

In other words, the philosophy can tell you being with abusive person will never lead to love, - jay

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What if a person admires the qualities in abusive person that makes the abusive person abusive toward the admirer?




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Seems like both physical and emotional/intellectural attraction must be present. - jay
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Good luck in finding one!

I gave up that search a long time ago.

Now I compartmentalize what I'm looking for.

Jay said...

What if a person admires the qualities in abusive person that makes the abusive person abusive toward the admirer?

That person probably has a psychological problem that they need to think through or get some help with. Clearly, admiring abusive behavior is not healthy and doesn't lead to what any of us would consider love.

Now I compartmentalize what I'm looking for.

Can you elaborate on this?

Red Grant said...

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What if a person admires the qualities in abusive person that makes the abusive person abusive towar the admirer? - Red Grant

That person probably has a pyschological problem that they need to think through or get some help with. - Jay
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Who decides what is abusive behavior?





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Now I compartmentalize what I'm looking for. - Red Grant

Can you elaborate on this? - Jay
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Easy. I look for a woman with certain physical charateristics who is willing to fulfill my sexual whimsy, but who is not capable of any intellectual debate with me.




I also engage women who can hold her own in intellectual conversations, but don't engage in physical acts with them.

JayCross said...

So you have completely given up on finding a sexually attractive, intellectually stimulating woman?

Also, abuse means different things in different contexts. Sexual abuse could mean forcing someone into an unwanted act. Verbal abuse can take many forms: demeaning someone, racist statements, name calling, etc. The common thread is unnecessarily negative behavior or actions. The word "abuse" literally comes from "abnormal use."

Red Grant said...

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So you have completely given up on finding a sexually attractive, intellectually stimulating woman? - jay
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Acutally more than that. I don't want her.




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The common thread is unnecessarily negative behavior or actions. - jay
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Who decides what is unnecessarily negative bheavior or actions?





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The word "abuse" literally comes from "abnormal use." - jay
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Who decides what is "abnormal"?

Jay said...

Why don't you want her? That's a very unusual position to take.

Who decides what is "abnormal"?

The act that you are engaging in. If you bought a new sports car, it would be "abnormal" for you to take a baseball bat to it and bash out all the windows. If you moved into a new house, it would be "abnormal" for you to let stray animals wander in and destroy the place. And if you get into a relationship under the premise of shared feelings of admiration, it would be "abnormal" for you to call that person names and physically hurt them.

Red Grant said...

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Why don't you want her? - jay
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Easy....because


I


don't want to.




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That's a very unusual position to take. - jay
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Do you expect all individuals to do the "usual"(whatever that happens to defined by whomever at a given moment) thing?



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Who decides what is "abnormal"? - Red Grant

The act that you are engaging in. - jay
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I've asked "Who decides what is "abnormal?".

Are you saying the act that one engages in itself decides what is "abnormal"?

Does the homosexual activity itself decide whether it[the homosexual activity] is "abnormal" or "normal"?

Or

Does the society (that is, public at large) at a given moment when the homsexual activity takes place decide whether it is "abnormal" or "normal"?



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And if you get into a relationsip under the premise of shared feelings of admiration, it would be "abnormal" for you to call that person names and physically hurt them. - jay
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Was it "normal" or "abnormal" during Ching Dynasty to bind(no matter how much pain and disability it caused) women's feet to make it small?


Was it "normal" or "abnormal" for women to become scientists pre-20th century?



Had it been "normal" or "abnormal" for men to insert their hard penis to each other's anus for sexual pleasure (in the U.S.) before APA changed its status?



Was it "normal" or "abnormal" for adult males to insert their hard penis into a teenage boy(for whom the adult male had been the desginated mentor)'s anus for sexual pleasure during the Classical age of Ancient Greek civilization?



Would it have been "normal" or "abnormal" for your mother to divorce her husband during 1930's?



Was it "normal" or "abnormal" for women to get abortion before Roe vs. Wade?

JayCross said...

Does the society (that is, public at large) at a given moment when the homsexual activity takes place decide whether it is "abnormal" or "normal"?

Yes. Abnormal is a statistical term. Something is "normal" if that is what a statistical majority does or does not do.

Red Grant said...

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Who decides what is "abnormal"? - Red Grant

The act that you are engaging in. - Jay

Does the homosexual activity itself decide whether it[the homosexual activity] is "abnormal" or "normal"?

Or

Does the society (that is, public at large) at a given moment when the homosexual activity takes place decide whether it is "abnormal" or "normal"? - Red Grant

Yes, Abnormal is a statistical term. Something is "normal" if that is what a statistical majority does or does not do. - Jay
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Then why had you stated earlier that the act itself decide what is "normal" or "abnormal"?

In the end, if it's the society where and when the activity takes place decides what is "normal" or "abnormal", then how can the act itself decide whether it[the act] is "normal" or "abnormal"?


Does this mean then you regard the homosexuality as an "abnormal" act...today?

Does this mean then you regard the act of those Germans who risked their lives to help the Jews escape the Holocaust as "abnormal" acts?

Does this mean then you regard Howard Roark as an "abnormal" man?

Jay said...

Then why had you stated earlier that the act itself decide what is "normal" or "abnormal"?

It was a poor way of expressing what I was trying to say.

And yes, I do believe Howard Roark would be an "abnormal man."

JayCross said...

In my mind I was blurring two concepts together, basically trying to tie good to normal and bad to abnormal. In fact there is no necessary correlation between those things because normality or abnormality are just statistical terms. Something can be good (Roark's independence) but not very common in men (thus, abnormal.) I needed to straighten out my thinking.

Red Grant said...

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It was a poor way of expressing what I was trying to say. - jay
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And let me complement you;

You have just shown more class than virtually most people that I have dealt with in my life and than I did when I was around your age. (I was a sore loser.)




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In my mind I was blurring two concepts together, basically trying to tie good to normal and bad to abnormal. In fact there is no necessary correlation between those things because normality or abnormality are just statistical terms. - Jay
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Indeed, that was why I have been asking numerous questions despite Kelly's protest.




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Something can be good(Roark's independence) but not very common in men(thus, abnormal.) I need to straighten out my thinking. - Jay
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You just have shown more intellectual and emotional maturity than most "normal" people I've come to know.

JayCross said...

Thanks for the kind words.

Russell Catlin said...

You are worth reading.