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Eponine

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Everything posted by Eponine

  1. I get what you guys are saying, but I think there's a difference between what happens in the socio-political scope and what happens in the interpersonal scope. Andrei's political beliefs are destructive, but in his personal relationship with Kira, he has always been kind and respectful to her despite their different political views. That's why I think he doesn't automatically deserve to be used by a friend because of his wrongdoings in the political scope. That said, as I said before, what I disagree with most is not Kira's action itself (I agree it's forced and all), but her apparent lack of guilt and regret. Though as Repairman pointed out, it could be an extreme response in an extreme situation. This got me thinking: What if Andrei wasn't a communist, but another Leo-like guy who somehow had a lot of money? (I know it's unlikely, but just hypothetically speaking.) Would you be more sympathetic toward him because he's more "innocent" in this case?
  2. Yeah, I did think of that possibility. After all, she said that to Andrei after Andrei arrested Leo, in a moment of extreme emotions. In the movie, Kira also said something like "Oh Andrei, what did I do to you?" which showed her regret. But I don't recall the same words in the book.
  3. **Warning: Potential We The Living Spoilers Ahead** I like the character of Kira and I can see why some people consider her the best Rand heroine, but I just can't agree with what she did to Andrei in order to save Leo. She used a friend by pretending to love him romantically. I understand that she had tried every other way in vain and Andrei was her last hope, but lying is lying, hurting someone is hurting someone. I also understand that many people might do the same in the same situation, but what really bothers me is Kira didn't feel guilty - she told Andrei she was proud of what she did. Did Andrei deserve to be used and cheated on, just because he was a communist? He was a communist, but also an individual who had feelings. Furthermore, he's not a communist like Victor; he's a person with integrity, which is why Kira loved him as a friend. And because they were friends, I find Kira's action worse than if she did it to someone she didn't care about. If I was in Andrei's place, I'd be very angry at Kira, even if I agreed with her criticism of communism. I wouldn't care she had another lover (I'm not monogamous), but I can't tolerate dishonesty. Anyone else feels the same?
  4. This. Even the Chinese constitution acknowledges Chinese citizen's freedom of speech, press, protesting, etc, but in reality everyone knows they're just empty words. If China gains more and more control over HK, the same thing may eventually happen to HK laws.
  5. Economic freedom is just part of the whole package. John may very well decide that living in country A makes him happier than living in country B, because country A's positive aspects outweigh its lack of freedom. It's just like you may love a non-Objectivist more than you love an Objectivist because of the first person's other good qualities.
  6. I can access the Miscellaneous Topics subforum (http://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?showforum=8), but there's no post inside.
  7. The Miscellaneous subforums are still there, but the topics directly under Miscellaneous seem to be gone. I can still find a Miscellaneous topic from my content, but the link doesn't work.
  8. Thanks for your answer and compliment, JASKN.
  9. I get an error message "You do not have permission to vote in this poll" every time I try to vote. I assume only certain user groups can vote, but what's the exact eligibility to vote? Like, do I need to make a certain number of posts? Also, I'm surprised to find I have 2300+ profile views after only 1.5 months and 17 posts. Not many people showed up in the "latest visitors" though (I guess you can visit people's profile anonymously, but I'm not sure). Do profile views from guests or myself count?
  10. I agree, if "bond" is defined broadly. For example, I've enjoyed free hugs; I didn't know any of the people I hugged personally, but I guess you can say we shared a bond in the sense that we both saw the beauty in sharing a simple gesture of kindness and affection. And for people who are okay with casual sex, perhaps simply seeing each other as attractive and decent people is enough of a bond. Agreed with that too.
  11. It's different from being picky. A picky person may desire sex without any specific person in mind or find many people sexually attractive, but will only have sex when there's an emotional bond/committed relationship; a demisexual doesn't desire sex or experience sexual attraction at all until an emotional bond is formed. I just don't get why sex is singled out from all the other physical contacts. One can desire a good massage or a hug independent from any mental connection (e.g. getting professional massage service or giving free hugs to strangers), and no one says that's a mind-body dichotomy, so why desiring sex just for sex is? Again, it comes back to what I said in my first reply: it depends on how you experience desire. If your desire for sex is inseparable from desire for emotional connection, then don't have sex with people you don't love; if you experience desire for the physical aspect of sex alone and are comfortable with casual sex, then casual/non-romantic sex may very well be good for your life.
  12. I don't think Rand's idea about sex is realistic. She seemed to believe a virtuous person will only be sexually attracted to people who share his values, and her heroes (Francisco, Galt, etc.) can be celibate for years because the person they love isn't available and they're not attracted to anyone else. This is kind of like demisexuality, but it's not the norm. From what I observed, most people can experience sexual desire that is independent from desire for a specific person, or be sexually attracted to people they're not romantically interested in. Now, I'm asexual so I don't experience any of that, but I'm very sex-positive in that I see (other people's) sexual desire as part of human nature that shouldn't be denied and casual sex can be good and healthy. This is against Rand's view on sex, but I think it's consistent with the basic principles of Objectivism, because sexual desire is part of the objective reality. It's better to accept it than to suppress it.
  13. Me too. If you can enjoy the more casual kind of sex, then don't deny yourself sexual pleasure just because Rand said sex without romantic love was immoral. However, it seems that some people do need to be in a long-term relationship (or at least to see the potential of it) to be comfortable with sex; physical attraction alone isn't enough to them. For people like that, I guess casual sex will indeed be a self-sacrifice as Rand claimed. It seems to be the OP's case to me, though I can't be 100% certain. Of course, there are many shades of gray between the two extremes of "not needing emotional connection at all to enjoy sex" and "absolutely needing to be in a committed relationship to enjoy sex." Is it more important to have the sexual experience itself or to have sex with someone you love? That's up to you (the OP) to answer. If you conclude that you need to be in a committed relationship to enjoy sex and there's no one suitable around you, there's still the option of trying to find someone who is right for you (by expanding your social circles, joining interest groups, online dating, etc.).
  14. I agree with your whole post so much, and the above quotes especially resonate with me, because I've been feeling the same when reading The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. I don't like the mind games Roark played on Dominique early on. I can't relate to the violent sex scenes. As a female, I've never wanted to find a romantic partner I can "look up to." I don't even feel extra feminine in front of a romantic partner. I also tend to be attracted to gender-neutral men, so my relationships are pretty much devoid of gender roles. I guess those who identify strongly with their gender are more likely to relate to the kind of gender dynamics portrayed by Rand, but gender-blind or gender-neutral people like me tend to find those ideas alien. I want to bring up a quote by Francisco: "The man who is proudly certain of his own value, will want the highest type of women he can find, the woman he admires, the strongest, the hardest to conquer..." I totally agree with the gist of this statement, but "the hardest to conquer" is what rubs me the wrong way. I'll be totally turned off by a man who wants to find a sense of achievement by conquering me. I want someone who sees me as an equal companion, not an object, a conquest, a trophy. I can sort of understand that "the hardest to conquer" basically means the best you can find, the person who matches your own excellence. I agree with that, but I'll never use words like "conquer" or "look up to." It's alien for me to think in those terms. So even if what I mean by "an equal companion" may be equivalent to what Rand or someone else meant by "someone to conquer/look up to," our different choices of wording reflect fundamentally different views on gender roles.
  15. Yes, that's exactly what I think. Love isn't a zero-sum game, so loving a new person doesn't have to mean loving the original partner any less. And if everyone is okay with polyamory, one doesn't have to leave their original partner, whom they still love, for someone else they love even more. This is just theoretically speaking though, not saying the love stories in Rand's novels should have had a poly ending. I just can't help wondering about an alternative ending, especially given that Rand was once in Dagny's position but chose to be involved with both men with their consent. That's a good explanation.
  16. Both of your answers make sense, thanks. Although I know Dominique had always loved Roark most, she obviously also started to have affection for Gail after seeing the good in him, and only decided to leave him when he gave in. So as a polyamorist I'm intrigued by the possible turn of events in an alternate universe, where Gail did stick to the end and Dominique would like to be with both men (if both of them agreed). But I suppose as Reidy said, the actual plot was more realistic given Gail's character.
  17. There's a detail near the end of The Fountainhead that made me wonder: When Dominique woke up after the Cortlandt dynamiting and learned that the Banner was taking Roark's side, she said to Wynand, "I love you, Gail. If you stick to the end..." And Wynand said, "Don't offer me any bribes. This is not between you and me. Not even between him and me." What was Dominique implying or thinking, when she said "If you stick to the end"? Would she have stayed with Wynand had he not given in eventually? And a somewhat related question: When Wynand decided to reverse his policy on the Cortlandt case to save the Banner, shouldn't he anticipate that Toohey would come back and try to take over the Banner? It seems to me that he's smart enough to know that, in which case he'd realize that he'd have to close the newspaper anyway, so he could have closed it sooner rather than give in on the Cortlandt case.
  18. I think whether friendly and romantic love are in the same category depends on how broad the category is. They belong to the same superordinate category "love," but they're different subcategories of love (at least to most people). It's just like men and women can been seen as two categories of human beings, but they're both human beings. Some people believe men and women should be treated differently because of their sex difference, whereas some people believe every man or woman should be treated as an individual first and foremost, because one's sex doesn't fully define them as a person. I'd say RA is like the second approach in the area of relationships - it's the unique connection between individuals, rather than the nature of feelings, that determines the terms and conditions of a relationship. I'd also like to add that I don't even think romantic love has to be the "most exclusive" in the sense that fewest people fit in this category, nor do I think the highest values can only be found in romantic love. True friends (those who share your deepest thoughts, not just friendly acquaintances) can be as hard to find as romantic partners. And I believe it's possible to see highest values in a person without loving them romantically, a simple example being that a straight person finding highest values in a same-sex friend. Yeah, I think it should be "sufficiently high", not "highest", just like in everything else. Sex is a grand expression of values and self-esteem for many people, but not for everyone. For some people sex is just another physical activity like having a massage or playing sports, and there's nothing wrong with that. It seems presumptuous to claim that someone who genuinely enjoys casual sex is making a "sacrifice" by not having sex with the highest valued person.
  19. This is just my interpretation, but I don't think RA prescribes any distinction between friendship and romance. The distinction (if there's any) doesn't matter to RA's. A lot of RA's like to say "love is love is love," which means essentially it's the love that matters, no matter it's romantic, friendly, or familial love. In mainstream culture, "love" often refers to romantic love by default, which implies that romantic love is the most important and profound kind of love. Whereas in RA philosophy, romantic love isn't magically different from other kinds of love and shouldn't be treated with an entirely different set of principles. I don't think it's possible to reach a universal answer to "what's the difference between friendship and romance," because individual experiences are too diverse. There are some common differences, like the intensity of feelings, jealousy, sexual desire, desire to share a life together, etc. But there are exceptions to any of these, and there are even people who can't distinguish between friendship and romance whatsoever. My understanding of RA is it doesn't try to argue there's little or no difference between friendship and romance, but it suggests that individual relationships override categories of feelings. In other words, what a relationship entails should be customized based on the unique needs of the people involved, not like "we're a romantic couple, so we should do X, Y, and Z." I totally agree. To me, Objectivist view on sex doesn't seem consistent with the basic principles of Objectivism; it's more like Rand's personal sexual morality. If I understand it correctly, something is moral according to Objectivism if it serves one's self-interest and doesn't infringe other people's rights. This doesn't mean it has to be the highest value. However, romance and sex are specifically assigned to the highest values, which is arbitrary to me. Why only romance and sex? Why not friendship or cuddles or playing video games? In the above scenario, I'll go even further to say that even sex with Rick can be moral, if the individual has a low threshold to enjoy sex so that even an 1 is good enough for his self-interest. Some people need a 9 (romance) to enjoy sex; some need a 5 (some kind of friendship); some only need an 1 (only physical attraction). None of them is wrong to pursue the kind of sex they enjoy; they're just wired differently.
  20. Yeah, that's also one reason for Chinese people's anti-Americanism. In my impression, the US's support for Taiwan seems to trigger most anti-American feelings. It's like "You have to pick a side between China and Taiwan; if you side with Taiwan, it means you don't respect China." Another reason why many Chinese people don't like the US is they think the US always tries to be the world police. Many people were happy about 9/11 because they thought the US deserved it for its interference in international politics. Very twisted mentality.
  21. Haha that's so true. My American husband was also asked to take photos together with strangers several times when he went to China for the first time (not the second time, which was this May - June, because we mainly stayed in big cities). People liked to talk to him, even if they knew little English. And their first guess about our relationship was usually "are you his tour guide?" which I found pretty strange. Indeed, white people are generally respected and treated very well in China. People love Western (mostly American) movies, TV shows, music, etc. However, when it comes to politics, many people are hostile toward the US because they believe the US hates China for gaining more power in the world. During my recent vacation in China, once my parents, my husband, and I were rejected by a patriotic taxi driver, who very righteously claimed that he refused to serve the "evil Americans." (How he knew my husband is American just by looking is a question, but to a lot of Chinese people, Westerners = Americans by default.) I'm not aware of that trend, but Starbucks is pretty much a symbol of middle class in China. Not only Starbucks, but Häagen-Dazs, Pizza Hut, Subway, etc. are also more expensive in China, at least in terms of proportions to the average income. Pizza Hut and Papa John's are not treated as fast food in China, but some kind of...fashion? I guess it's related to the worship of Western culture.
  22. Very well-written post! I know this thread is a bit old, but as someone from China I can't help replying, especially to this part: Man, that is soooo typical among Chinese people. Most of them will be upset if you suggest Taiwan is a country or use expressions like "Taiwan and China" (the "correct" way to say it is "Taiwan and the mainland"), because everyone is told from elementary school that "Taiwan has been an inseparable part of China since ancient times." High school textbooks say that Western countries' freedom and democracy are a lie and China has the real democracy. Of course, most people aren't that naive to buy "China has the real democracy," but it's common for them to believe 1) other countries aren't much better, and 2) China isn't suitable for total freedom and democracy yet, because it would cause social turmoil. I'm pretty sure that if you had talked about Tiananmen massacre with that girl, her response would have been "I've never heard of that" or "No one was killed" or "It had to be done for the sake of social stability." When I went back to Beijing not long ago, I saw a propaganda slogan, "The Communist Party is good and the people are happy." It's so blatant that it's almost funny. BTW, I wonder if you noticed Chinese drivers are terrible at obeying traffic rules (e.g. not tying seat belts, not signaling before turning) and the cars are beeping constantly. It's another common complaint from visitors to China.
  23. Thanks! I'm generally not a chat person, because the fast pace is scary to me, haha. But seeing that there are usually just a few people in the chat, I might give it a try sometime.
  24. Thanks for your replies and welcome, everyone! I'm glad to know it's okay to revive old threads here. I wasn't sure because I knew some other forums discourage it. @Reidy: Yeah, I learned that Rand admired Hugo from Wikipedia. It was a happy find.
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