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Snarky rebuttal to altruism on House, M.D.

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Categorizing him a second hander is an analysis of his character, not an offhand opinion about something minor. You presented this judgement as certain and so I was asking how did you arrive at that conclusion.

Sigh... "certain"?, "a complete denouncement"? Look Ifat, you may try to put words in my mouth, however, none of these is a correct assessment of what I said. I know you'll probably chase me around this thread insinuating that I am somehow evading your argument. So let's put this to rest.

Here is what I said.

The guy's general sense of malevolence. I always spotted him for one of those guys who desperately needs you to know that he doesn't care about you. Otherwise there is simply no need to treat people the way he does.

It was an offhand comment. "always spotted him for" means "he reminds me of", "he seems like." It is not a detailed analysis or characterization. His general demeanor of unnecessarily berating his team and his patients is the basis for this.

I then went on to clearly explain what I meant by this comment in the very next post.

I personally have met a lot of people like House. None of them do I admire. Most of the people that I've met that are that bitter cannot sustain the motivation for a lifetime of productive acheivement that his character would seem to imply he's accomplished. When it comes to supposed brilliance like that, I go with Edison, true brilliance is 1% inspiration, and 99% perspiration. One cannot have a sense of purpose to be truly accomplished over time with that sort of mentality.

This is not an analysis of House's character, but rather a statement about why I would find the character of House implausible. His character flaws are not "insignificant." They would have repercussions that would affect him significantly. Maybe these are the issues that Rory refers to that you seem not to want to address.

In any case, characterizing my position as a complete dismissal is hardly being honest to the facts. I've clearly said, if someone thinks House is a good character as a "great but flawed variety" I would have to agree completely. I've agreed that he shows a high degree of rationaltiy in his work. It is only the people who hold him up as a paragon of Objectivist virtue, and who call his flaws "insignificant" that I take issue with. That is hardly a complete dismissal.

Also, if your explanation is the ONLY thing that can explain House's behavior, how would you explain Francisco's bluntness to those he disrespected?

This is a common mischaracterization. All of Rand's hero's are clearly blunt. However, none are mean spirited. Cameron is mean-spirited. He is the closest thing to House one could point to in any of her novels. He is not a hero. And of course it is no accident that he ends up dying a drunk. This is what I suggested to you above. One cannot hold such a contradiction and continue to be a paragon of rationality. Your bitterness and your need to express it to others will always catch up to you.

But then this is the issue with the show. If his personal issues are indeed catching up with him in later seasons (as some are suggesting), then I would find him plausible. But then, he could not be or never have been a paragon of virtue, with "insignificant" flaws. If however, later seasons don't have this happening, then I find him implausible.

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You mean you found House to be a second hander?

And I'll specifically reply to this.

This comment was out of line and unfair to Sophia. Especially since in her very next sentence she clearly articulated the specific context in which she agreed with me.

Getting things done does not require repeatedly acting like a jerk.

If you want to chase me around insinuating that I've said something that I didn't, fine. Don't then chase other people around doing the same thing.

That statement by itself tells me you're not worth my time. Nice to have you back, as "House-like" as ever. Don't bother with a response. I've said all I'm going to say to you.

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"If you don't think your life is worth more than someone else's, sign your donor card and kill yourself." - Gregory House, M.D.

I just had to share that.

I thought that was one of the best lines ever from the cranky doc. It's darn close to being sig-worthy.

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This is a common mischaracterization. All of Rand's hero's are clearly blunt. However, none are mean spirited. Cameron is mean-spirited. He is the closest thing to House one could point to in any of her novels. He is not a hero. And of course it is no accident that he ends up dying a drunk. This is what I suggested to you above. One cannot hold such a contradiction and continue to be a paragon of rationality. Your bitterness and your need to express it to others will always catch up to you.

But then this is the issue with the show. If his personal issues are indeed catching up with him in later seasons (as some are suggesting), then I would find him plausible. But then, he could not be or never have been a paragon of virtue, with "insignificant" flaws. If however, later seasons don't have this happening, then I find him implausible.

I think this is important. I think many Objectivists - myself included, and I'm working to correct this - equate being rational with dumping on everyone else - that is, they think it's insulting people, being rude, assuming that other people are incompetent, is the same thing as 'not caring what everyone else thinks and only caring about the truth'.

People often read Rand's characters as these cold, harsh people, when in fact, they're incredibly benevolent. It's the Henry Camerons and Gail Wynands that try to act like ones emotional contact with other people does not matter.

Now, actually, in consideration, Kendall, I think you might have a point there with which the show may be improving. House is not merely acting irrationally - people are actually calling him on it, and he's actually agreeing with them (on some level). Who knows - my hope, at the turn of Season 3,

when House's leg healed for a few episodes, and he started acting more 'cheeky' than outright bitter

, that House will actually start to fix what's been haunting him his whole life, will actually come true.

Edited by Tenure

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People often read Rand's characters as these cold, harsh people, when in fact, they're incredibly benevolent.

I was certainly guilty of this a decade ago. Upon my 4th reading of TF, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Roark really is one of the most benevolent people in the book. Happy, benevolent, curious, sometimes frustrated, but never really bitter in any way.

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I think we're talking about two different incarnations of the same character. I stopped watching in the fourth season because Gregory House and the show had changed for the worse. It was becoming everything you said it is now. It's important to point out though, that the first two seasons were excellent and that the third was watchable at least.

When judging the overall legacy of a show, you can either start from the bottom or start from the top. I choose the top.

I agree, with slight modification: Up until the last episode of season 5, House was everything I was talking about. The last episode, with the patient who demanded diagnosis under the threat of a gun - destroyed the character's essence. But since we are talking about the character and not about a single episode, my analysis rests on all the rest of the episodes.

Roark, by comparison to Cameron, knew that what he wanted was achievable, and there was no contradiction between his values and his achievement of them. Do not equate Roark's social demeanor with that of House's. Roark sometimes is cold, but only because he does not consider the irrational. House, on the other hand, thrives on it. He is always looking to make comments about everyone, to analyse them, to pronounce them as being driven by the memory of their dead husband, or by a fatal genetic disease or the want of a child. He belittles all their values and never sees any value in what he does himself. He achieves what he sets out to do... so why is he so miserable?

First of all, I don't think he is so miserable as you present him. But I already addressed that point.

As for your claim that House thrives on irrationality - I don't see any evidence for that. I see evidence for the contrary - he encourages his team to stand on their own, oppose him and argue with House if they think they are right. A person who thrives on irrationality does not seek that in others.

As for speaking his mind and commenting about everything - there is nothing about this that suggests that he thrives on irrationality. He has a talkative character combined with interest in human psychology, great perception and uninhibited tongue. There is nothing about this that suggests a second hander. The connection you are trying to make: Talks badly to people ergo second hander is not logical.

As for "to analyse them, to pronounce them as being driven by the memory of their dead husband, or by a fatal genetic disease" those things do not mean belittling their values or showing them disrespect - no more than diagnosing someone with physical illness is disrespect. Confronting someone with the truth about themselves is the best help you can offer them. Being "nice" and avoiding the bad things (when you do understand them) is not a sign of respect.

As for the quote, why does it matter to him that he's right? What is so important about being 'right'? Because it gives him a chance to show that he's right, and that's all that matters, despite being such an outcast.

Read your own quotes. BEING right is all that mattered. Not - SHOWING that he was right is all that mattered.

And why is the Japanese guy such an outcast? He's outcast from birth, because of his parents. House on the other hand - his father was highly respected. House's life is a credit to his own ability. He chooses to be an outcast who then has to be accepted because he makes the right call. There is no reason he has to be an outcast, has to keep showing a complete lack of respect to everyone.

What shows you that he has lack of respect for everyone?

House inflicts all the pain he suffers upon himself, by refusing to see any value in the work he does. It's just something he does, to do it right - like his father, who was obsessed with everything being perfect and good but never with it actually being of value to him (hence the fact that House hates him: his father made sure House was raised right, but never actually loved him). That same dedication to doing things right, but emotionally divorcing oneself from any meaning, gets carried over to House from his father.

That's the explanation the script writers/producers gave to explain House's character. "Why else would someone act the way House does? Hmm, well, because he's screwed up and because his father didn't love him". But when you look at the way the character is played through many episodes, you do not see a man trying to please his father, being afraid to mess things up. The contrary - you see a man with loads of passion for solving cases who derives tremendous enjoyment from the process.

These guys just have no idea what they have created or why. Passion for thinking? Hmm... no, no way this is a normal human function. It must mean his father abused him.

Look, I know you like House. I like House. He's entertaining, to a degree. But this is the same thing as that thread on '24'. I protested that it be considered Romantic. You want to see some heroes in art, so you're rationalising that House is this great guy, when really, he is an incredibly mixed case, who at times, shows actual humanity, but most of the time, just goofs off, hurting himself and others. He is not outcast by society; he chooses to outcast himself!

Funny that you mention rationalizing. That's exactly what I think you and Kendal are doing when you try to pass House as a second hander.

It was an offhand comment. "always spotted him for" means "he reminds me of", "he seems like." It is not a detailed analysis or characterization.

You said that the ONLY explanation for a behavior like House's is (essentially) being a second hander. You also said that his brilliance is chance and that he is profoundly bitter. That's a full scale analysis of a character - whether you do it off hand or with serious thought. But I'm not going to argue with you about House if you claim that your analysis of him is off-hand and at the same time refuse to explain the logic of how you arrived to your conclusions. If your analysis is off-hand and does not deserve logical analysis, then it doesn't deserve much respect as a serious argument either.

I think this is important. I think many Objectivists - myself included, and I'm working to correct this - equate being rational with dumping on everyone else - that is, they think it's insulting people, being rude, assuming that other people are incompetent, is the same thing as 'not caring what everyone else thinks and only caring about the truth'.

Well, I'm sorry to hear you're struggling with such an issue. But for me, who is not, and yet does not see a value in being nice to people, and does not even like most people - the idea that only a nice behavior is a sign of rationality is an annoying rationalization. "Hmm, I want to have friends and live in a happy universe. To have friends, I need to be nice. Hmm, is it good that I want to be nice? Sure, every rational person has to be nice. Whoever is not nice, is therefor not rational. Case closed, self esteem regained."

People often read Rand's characters as these cold, harsh people, when in fact, they're incredibly benevolent. It's the Henry Camerons and Gail Wynands that try to act like ones emotional contact with other people does not matter.

Here we go again, with this "try to act like". These characters obviously did not get a positive value out of interacting with everyone they met. They did not 'act like' there is no value - for them there was none. Someone can be incredibly benevolent and still act cold toward most people.

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House is a pragmatist, but I really do enjoy his show and I genuinely do like the character. I am kind of wondering what others on this forum think of him though.

The dichotomy of House is a peculiar one. In his professional career, he is pretty close to being the ideal human being. In his personal life, he is a wreck. Personally, I think it is awful that the creators did this to such a great character.

If he applied his rationality of his professional career to his personal career, I think it would be the best show on T.V. I like the show despite House's flaws, but mainly because of the fact that he is such a great doctor.

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You said that the ONLY explanation for a behavior like House's is (essentially) being a second hander. You also said that his brilliance is chance and that he is profoundly bitter.

I said no such thing. Quote me.

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But for me, who is not, and yet does not see a value in being nice to people, and does not even like most people - the idea that only a nice behavior is a sign of rationality is an annoying rationalization. "Hmm, I want to have friends and live in a happy universe. To have friends, I need to be nice. Hmm, is it good that I want to be nice? Sure, every rational person has to be nice. Whoever is not nice, is therefor not rational. Case closed, self esteem regained."

This is not a correct summary. Perhaps I was not explicit enough.

Malevolence is a product of emotionalism and not rationality. Truly rational, integrated, of high self esteem, and psychologically healthy person will necessarily be, no matter what corruption one observes (which for many is the source of their emotional malevolent judgment), a person who will treat others with benevolence as a default in most cases (not in all cases but certainly predominantly). This person understands (via their untainted reason) that corruption, falsehood, irrationality, injustice are not metaphysically right/given - and thus not normal, not permanent, not the essence of human life.

It is the achievement of values that IS the norm of human existence and thus this is the background and the assumption with which a rational person approaches others. Recognizing the true real essence of human life and treating others accordingly is JUSTICE.

So being "nice" is not necessarily a sign of rationality but being mostly nasty is a sign of irrationality (driven by emotionalism).

There is a context in which being cold/uncaring/untouched is proper but that is not the normal, usual - because other human life is not predominantly a dis-value.

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I said no such thing. Quote me.

OK.

The guy's general sense of malevolence. I always spotted him for one of those guys who desperately needs you to know that he doesn't care about you. Otherwise there is simply no need to treat people the way he does.

To which I replied with:

Is that the only reason you can think of, or is that the only reason there is and could be (for someone to treat people the way House does)?

As for bitter and brilliance being chance:

I personally have met a lot of people like House. None of them do I admire. Most of the people that I've met that are that bitter cannot sustain the motivation for a lifetime of productive acheivement that his character would seem to imply he's accomplished. When it comes to supposed brilliance like that, I go with Edison, true brilliance is 1% inspiration, and 99% perspiration. One cannot have a sense of purpose to be truly accomplished over time with that sort of mentality.

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This is not a correct summary. Perhaps I was not explicit enough.

Malevolence is a product of emotionalism and not rationality.

Who said anything about malevolence? Are you assuming the only way someone will not want to be nice to people is if he has a malevolent view toward them? Are you assuming I have a malevolent view because of some bad past experience? In my case, I look at people's faces and eyes and I simply do not find interest in them. In most cases the eyes are not direct and curious - they are matt and dull. To the extent that they have something that I like, I have a positive response to that. But in most cases I do not feel any desire to be nice to people (beyond politeness). In cases when someone is really lame, I express my dislike of that. It has nothing to do with malevolence.

Truly rational, integrated, of high self esteem, and psychologically healthy person will necessarily be, no matter what corruption one observes (which for many is the source of their emotional malevolent judgment), a person who will treat others with benevolence as a default in most cases (not in all cases but certainly predominantly).

I'm not sure what you mean by "treat with benevolence". If you mean, not step on their feet or slam a door in their face - sure. But if you mean, offer them help, give them the time, smile and ask them how they're doing - then definitely I disagree. Someone can simply have no interest in any of these things (because most people are not a value for him as individuals) and still be integrated, have high self esteem and psychological health. Example: Roark from TF.

Someone can also be interested in psychology, talkative and forced to treat patient with boring cases and, express negative evaluations related to them - and still have high self esteem and all the rest. (The fact that House does not have psychological health does not retract from this argument).

This person understands (via their untainted reason) that corruption, falsehood, irrationality, injustice are not metaphysically right/given - and thus not normal, not permanent, not the essence of human life.

"Human existence" and people - are two different things. Being bored by/ disliking most people does not necessitate that someone has a bad view of human nature.

It is the achievement of values that IS the norm of human existence and thus this is the background and the assumption with which a rational person approaches others. Recognizing the true real essence of human life and treating others accordingly is JUSTICE.

You have some abstraction of "human existence" which you use to determine how one should act toward real, individual people.

Humans need to achieve values to survive, but just the fact that someone has a job is not enough for me to want to be nice to him. If he is lame, that matters more to my emotional reaction than the fact that he has a job. The virtue of justice is not without relation to one's personal values. If someone bores you, or is obnoxious, yet he holds a job, the virtue of justice does not require you treat him with respect because he has a job. You treat him according to the value that he is for you.

So being "nice" is not necessarily a sign of rationality but being mostly nasty is a sign of irrationality (driven by emotionalism).

Nope. I disagree, and I think I showed well that your analysis was based on false premises. You start by saying; if someone is not nice, he must have a malevolent view - that is not true.

There is a context in which being cold/uncaring/untouched is proper but that is not the normal, usual - because other human life is not predominantly a dis-value.

I don't see where you got "dis-value" from. Do you consider the character of House to be treating people as a "dis-values"?

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Are you assuming I have a malevolent view because of some bad past experience? In my case, I look at people's faces and eyes and I simply do not find interest in them. In most cases the eyes are not direct and curious - they are matt and dull. To the extent that they have something that I like, I have a positive response to that. But in most cases I do not feel any desire to be nice to people (beyond politeness).

Because Kendall's like or dislike of a TV show character is definitely ALL about YOU, and House is just the EPITOME of detached politeness.

House goes out of his way, on principle, to be as annoying and abrasive as he can be to *everyone* he meets. It's been theorized by characters on the show that he does this for a number of reasons, which is the reason why I watch and enjoy the show. I like the ongoing psychological exposition and exploration. I didn't like it much in the first season or so because I was trying to identify with/like the characters, which really doesn't work--they're not likeable! Every good quality of every character is canceled out by a corresponding bad quality.

House is not a realistic character, for sure. No one becomes a brilliant diagnostician by being this weird, off-the-wall, anti-authoritarian type. What time does he spend reading medical journals and attending presentations? His entire office should be wall-to-wall books and diagrams and lecture notes. He's a hospitalist, too, not a specialist, and a number of the diagnoses he makes are so specialized as to verge on fantasy.

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Who said anything about malevolence? Are you assuming the only way someone will not want to be nice to people is if he has a malevolent view toward them?

I am assuming health and rationality otherwise. If someone is being unfriendly/acting like a jerk to others as their default reaction and not as a result of actually knowing for a fact something negative about them in particular - then there is ideological reason for that attitude. That reason, from my experience, is based on their mistaken (based on emotion and not reason) negative general view of other human beings at large.

Acting with an attitude of friendliness toward others (giving them the benefit of the doubt if you will) takes no more effort than acting like a jerk does. If a person has time and use their energy to do the second they equally have the time to act the opposite. This is not a matter of interest and we are not talking here about making friends or additional significant expenditure of one's time or effort, we are not talking here about going out of your way, not about being more talkative than you are. I am talking about someone's general attitude with which they approach others which translates in how they behave towards them even if the interactions are kept to the absolute minimum. Even with your body language you can show respect or it's lack.

A person may not see a personal value in pursuing relationships with many others or even anyone for that matter. One may rationally decide to live a very solitary life - fine. However, if they are still interacting with others, even on very limited bases, if they are fully rational, they will act according to the correct view of human existence. There are not two right answers to this. Acting like a jerk to almost everyone around you is not rational.

I look at people's faces and eyes and I simply do not find interest in them. In most cases the eyes are not direct and curious - they are matt and dull.

And you are basing someone's worth based on that?

Example: Roark from TF.

Rand's fiction is not a manual for proper behavior in real life. It is art which is created in a specific context for a specific purpose and it has limitations - of length of text for example. Her characters are not meant for literal imitation but for inspiration based on the essentials (which are brought to your focus).

"Human existence" and people - are two different things. Being bored by/ disliking most people does not necessitate that someone has a bad view of human nature.

I don't understand the distinction which you are making. Either someone judges generally most humans as rotten/non value/dis-value or not. We are not speaking of those you choose to pursue relationships with even casual once.

You have some abstraction of "human existence" which you use to determine how one should act toward real, individual people.

I am speaking of that general default attitude. I am not advocating granting someone your kindness if you know for a fact (and not your psycholgizing based on their facial expression or a glace in their eye) that they don't deserve it. What will determine that general default attitude, however, is based on someone's view of the essence of humanity at large.

If he is lame, that matters more to my emotional reaction than the fact that he has a job.

And your emotional reaction is a source of knowledge about their moral worth based on which you then decide how to treat them?

The virtue of justice is not without relation to one's personal values. If someone bores you, or is obnoxious, yet he holds a job, the virtue of justice does not require you treat him with respect because he has a job. You treat him according to the value that he is for you.

Bores you? Correct judgment, and thus what a person would deserve at a minimum from you if you interact with them, is based on the standard of objective morality (the cardinal values not the optional values) and not in relation to how entertaining they happen to be for you.

Do you consider the character of House to be treating people as a "dis-values"?

At the least non-values. If he considers others a value his behavior does not reflect his judgment.

Edited by ~Sophia~

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Because Kendall's like or dislike of a TV show character is definitely ALL about YOU

"it's always YOU. YOU YOU YOU. YOUR hair, YOUR feelings, YOUR desires. Well, it's time to pay bitch, time to attend to MY emotions. DIE!!!!!" Haha.

But seriously now, what do you mean by "it's all about me"? And what is the problem with that?

House goes out of his way, on principle, to be as annoying and abrasive as he can be to *everyone* he meets. It's been theorized by characters on the show that he does this for a number of reasons, which is the reason why I watch and enjoy the show.

I don't see any "going out of his way to annoy". I see a person who does not care about patient's emotions and just says what he thinks. That he happens not to like them, makes what he says annoying, but does not by itself a sufficient reason to conclude that annoyance is his purpose.

The character is not integrated though - there has been episodes when House was plain cruel (by telling jokes where they serve no purpose and do appear as going out of his way to hurt) but there were not many of them. Now if this was a real person, such examples would have been significant. But since we are talking about a fictional creation which is the sum of 14 script writers, 2 producers (I think) and an actor, the only way I can summarize him as a character is by looking at the things that are consistent throughout the episodes. So I was not talking about those cases in my evaluation above.

(If you want one such case, it would be that he/she patient-model who had cancer in her testicles. The way he broke the news was pretty appalling, and it was an exception to the normal kind of communication).

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You want to see some heroes in art, so you're rationalising that House is this great guy, when really, he is an incredibly mixed case, who at times, shows actual humanity, but most of the time, just goofs off, hurting himself and others. He is not outcast by society; he chooses to outcast himself!

Psycologizing House for the purposes of this thread, cool. Psycologizing other posters reasons for their arguments, not so cool.

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Benevolent default attitude (or the opposite) does not mean that one is acting without any this context evidence. Once you start the interaction with another person you have something to go on. A person maybe hostile or they may act with good will towards you. A grocery clerk may smile and offer to bag your groceries or they may spit on your shoes and pretend it was an accident.

Problem with House is that he acts like a jerk toward others regardless of who they are or how they treat him. His students, his friends, his patients treat him with respect he deserves and good will yet he does not respond in kind.

Edited by ~Sophia~

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I think producers made Gregory House miserable because that is the only way perfection (and directness) can be tolerated by most people. It eases their pain of hating house and being threatened by the good things that he is.

It is not factual that most people hate those of ability. Certainly, that is even less true of Americans.

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I suppose that House is a kind of make-believe character who couldn't exist in real life. But he sure is funny! In the recent hostage episode, he rigged Cutty's desk so her drawer bottomed out, being a jerk to show his affinity for her. And she liked it! Ridiculous but hilarious!

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I said no such thing. Quote me.

OK.

To which I replied with:

Ah, OK. The basic fact is that you've simply misread what I said (but then I should come to expect that). If I thought being like House was essential, then I'd suggest to you that you ought to go look up the word "need" in the dictionary (as in necessary vs. sufficient) since you seem to have missed that on vocabulary day.

However, I don't think that is necessary so I'll simply say that you've misinterpreted the statement. I didn't say that there might not be a reason, I simply said that whatever they are, they are not necessary to being rational. Not only does House not have to (as in need to, as in necessary) act that way, acting that way in real life will get in the way of his being rational.

As for bitter and brilliance being chance:

Yes, well I am almost stunned at how anyone gets bitter and brilliant being chance from that statement. That is simply not what it says. Maybe you could elaborate on the torturous, psychologizing path you take to get from point A to B.

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I suppose that House is a kind of make-believe character who couldn't exist in real life. But he sure is funny! In the recent hostage episode, he rigged Cutty's desk so her drawer bottomed out, being a jerk to show his affinity for her. And she liked it! Ridiculous but hilarious!

Yes, but the episode was sooooo bad. It destroyed the character for me by taking away the one thing that mattered the most about House - his approach to his work. This episode reduced his dedication to some weird intellectual obsession, with no regard to human life as a value or to moral judgement (which he seems to pronounce so well in the rest of the series).

My enjoyment of the character survived the hookers, but I'm not sure it can survive this. Also the next episode shows him as whiny and weak. I don't know how they managed to wipe out so much in only 3 episodes, but they have. The show is going downhill fast.

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It is not factual that most people hate those of ability. Certainly, that is even less true of Americans.

His perfection was not based on his ability. It was based on him being independent, not in need for other people's opinion or approval for his self esteem - all of that backed up by a rational mind. That is what makes him a threat (and a perfection). On top of that, he did what he did well and with confidence.

I don't think most people hate those of ability, I think the opposite is true. Series that show ability are very popular.

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I am assuming health and rationality otherwise.

But that is exactly the assumption I was challenging, that the choice is rational and nice or malevolent and not-nice. I am saying there is no basis for such an assumption that if someone is not nice then necessarily they have a malevolent view toward humanity.

If someone is being unfriendly/acting like a jerk to others as their default reaction and not as a result of actually knowing for a fact something negative about them in particular - then there is ideological reason for that attitude.

Not necessarily - it could be a result of a generalization, either true or false. But I was actually discussing someone responding to people one sees (when I was talking about myself).

Also, unfriendly is not the same as a jerk. I see a jerk as someone who deliberately tries to humiliate people, and this is, of course, not the behavior I am defending.

Can you explain what you mean by a jerk? If you consider House to be a jerk, I would say you consider anyone who says things that hurt others as a jerk. (please correct me on this or confirm)

Acting with an attitude of friendliness toward others (giving them the benefit of the doubt if you will) takes no more effort than acting like a jerk does.

The question is not how much effort it takes, but what is the personal value that it gives the one who acts in this or that way, and how well their behavior expresses their personal values. If someone is bored by most people one meets, there is no reason on earth why one should congratulate them with smiles and "how are you doing" greetings. What do you think?

A person may not see a personal value in pursuing relationships with many others or even anyone for that matter. One may rationally decide to live a very solitary life - fine. However, if they are still interacting with others, even on very limited bases, if they are fully rational, they will act according to the correct view of human existence.

What is "the correct view of human existence" [in the context of being a value] anyway? People have different value for different people according to who they are. Someone more intelligent, for example, may find much less value in most people then someone with less intelligent (to throw an example). There is no single way one should value human beings. For you, the fact that they have a job (or whatever other values) is more important than other things. For me, their approach to thinking and dealing with the truth is what is most important.

I see a face like this -

post-3106-1228420137_thumb.jpg

And I am sick to my stomach. I don't care if this guy also has a job, a wife, kids he likes. With that kind of face (and the lack of thinking this face reveals) all other good things are insignificant to my hierarchy of values.

Maybe you have a different hierarchy of values, and you have a genuine reason to be nice to such a guy. But not for me, and it doesn't make me any less rational than you.

And you are basing someone's worth based on that?

For purposes of fast interaction based on first impression - their face determines my evaluation of how they relate to my values (or their worth to me), and as a result, if I would want to be nice or to avoid conversation, or to be un-nice.

Rand's fiction is not a manual for proper behavior in real life. It is art which is created in a specific context for a specific purpose and it has limitations - of length of text for example. Her characters are not meant for literal imitation but for inspiration based on the essentials (which are brought to your focus).

Thanks for taking my example out of its context and assuming something like this about my psychology. Not everyone who is not nice (or even un-nice) necessarily takes such approach.

I am speaking of that general default attitude. I am not advocating granting someone your kindness if you know for a fact (and not your psycholgizing based on their facial expression or a glace in their eye) that they don't deserve it.

Why should I not trust my impression from their face? You make it sound like a sin to think badly of someone, unless you have done a full scale investigation. That's a false approach. A person should act based on what they feel toward people. On the long-term, they should validate that their emotions are an appropriate reaction to their values, but on the short-term, there is no reason why someone would not act on their emotions.

Bores you? Correct judgment, and thus what a person would deserve at a minimum from you if you interact with them, is based on the standard of objective morality (the cardinal values not the optional values) and not in relation to how entertaining they happen to be for you.

I am not a robot to serve the "standard of objective morality". I am a person, and I will act toward people with reflection of the value that they are to me. I think this is the proper application of Objectivist ethics, and not what you propose.

Addition after editting: My answer is not a confirmation that "the value that people are to me" means: how entertaining they happen to be for me. I hope I made clear enough in the rest of the post what I mean by the "value that people are to someone", and that you can see that I do not mean some random entertainment.

I have not replied to everything - I tried to keep it down to essentials. I hope it will not grow out of proportions again. The most important part is valuing human beings according to one's personal hierarchy of values. Second is some clarification as to what you mean by "jerk" and by "nice".

Edited by ifatart

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His perfection was not based on his ability. It was based on him being independent, not in need for other people's opinion or approval for his self esteem - all of that backed up by a rational mind. That is what makes him a threat (and a perfection). On top of that, he did what he did well and with confidence.

It was you who brought up his extraordinary ability as a justification for why he was made so flawed in other aspects of his life.

I am assuming you are explaning here what made him admirable in your eyes (because this character's perfection is what is being disputed here).

Truly independent people (since we are speaking of perfection) do not feel the need to make such a point about their independence. They do not feel the need to rub it in/make it known all the time that they don't need other's approval. If they appear as a rebel, in some context, it is a result and not the cause, not the goal for it's own sake of rebelion.

House is not an Objectivist or even close (not that you said so - but you did call him perfect). He is a rebel for a rebel sake - and thus a nihilist. He is against authority or standards but not actually FOR anything. He constantly belittles others and acts from a position of superiority even if it actually does not serve any purpose - even when it is actually counterproductive. It must serve him some psychological benefit to continously behave this way. Such is not a sign of a true first hander.

I don't think most people hate those of ability, I think the opposite is true. Series that show ability are very popular.

And so are shows about loosers.

You wrote this:

I think producers made Gregory House miserable because that is the only way perfection (and directness) can be tolerated by most people. It eases their pain of hating house and being threatened by the good things that he is.

I can only go by what you actually write.

Edited by ~Sophia~

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It was you who brought up his extraordinary ability as a justification for why he was made so flawed in other aspects of his life.

I am assuming you are explaining here what made him admirable in your eyes (because this character's perfection is what is being disputed here).

No, and no. I did not bring up his ability as reason for perfection, and I did not say House is perfect. I said that scripters added things that make him non-perfect because perfection cannot be tolerated.

Anyway, I am much more interested in discussing the idea of niceness<-->rationality. More specifically, how something must be wrong with someone who is not nice to most people.

you did not reply to my previous post which was an attempt to discuss that.

Truly independent people (since we are speaking of perfection) do not feel the need to make such a point about their independence. They do not feel the need to rub it in/make it known all the time that they don't need other's approval.

Someone could choose to communicate that aspect of themselves often as a way to find like-minded people, or out of interest in seeing how others respond to that aspect of them.

Another option is that they want to encourage other people around them to "grow a spine". To illustrate what I mean by the last, House was playing pranks on Wilson and yet at the same time encouraged Wilson to "fight back". Wilson is normally a pleaser kind of guy, who takes whatever crap necessary from people to "smoothen things over". But with house, he fights back. House releases a more true, selfish side of Wilson. So House's emphasis of "independence" (it was worse than that, but never mind the exact description now) actually served a very selfish purpose for House. And even if producers are going to destroy the character completely (which looks like they are doing), it still holds true as a potentiality.

For someone who insists of making sure you make the right judgement about people before deciding the worse about them, you sure exclude people who are not nice from that category. If they are not nice, you assume, it immediately means they are not rational, malevolent, second handers, Roark-imitators, or whatever other bad idea that could be out there.

House is not an Objectivist or even close (not that you said so - but you did call him perfect). He is a rebel for a rebel sake - and thus a nihilist.

Well, if you put everything together from the show and try to integrate the character as if he was a real person, I can see how you would come to that conclusion. He is definitely not perfect. I was judging the character in a different way (only those things which were consistent and could be integrated). Anyway, I am more interested in the discussion about niceness<-->rationality. House for me, in this current discussion, is a tool to concretize some aspects of the subject.

He is against authority or standards but not actually FOR anything.

He is for reason, primarily. Also for human life (however this is another thing that cannot be integrated). If house just wanted a diagnosis so bad, he could have let the patients die and wait for dissection to confirm the cause of death. Instead, he risks his career, steps outside of a courtroom (risking jail) to save a patient's life. When he knew that a patient had a deadly tick, nobody, not the parents nor House's boss or anyone else allowed House to do a search. He could have waited for the kid to die, not risking a law-suit, and get his proof or a tick later. And this is not the only case when House has made such a choice. He consistently acts to save lives, not JUST to confirm his diagnosis.

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But that is exactly the assumption I was challenging, that the choice is rational and nice or malevolent and not-nice. I am saying there is no basis for such an assumption that if someone is not nice then necessarily they have a malevolent view toward humanity.

You are not correctly summarizing my argument here. There ARE other possible reasons for such behavior. For example: self esteem issues or mistakenly considering other's as a threat. I have not said otherwise. I was just limiting our discussion to the issue at hand. You have made a claim that acting like a jerk toward most others can be rational and that (correct me if I am wrong) practicing individuality leads to it. That having commitment to the truth leads to it (and on regular bases since House is doing exactly that on regular bases and you think he is an example of perfection). Not only that is false - it does not necessarily lead to it but also my argument was that acting like a jerk is not rational at all.

I have brought to focus human potential and thus potential value (when I mentioned the essence of human life) but it is not only a potential - the actual other human life in it's unperfect form (because most people are a mix of rational and irrational), as it is mostly encountered today, is an objective value. Others rationality and to that degree their value creation is an objective value (Do I really need to defend that?) - I am speaking in the context of our reality: living in a division of labor society (not some other hypothetical context of living on a deserted island - obviously I don't think this is an intrinsic value - but it is not an optional value in our context). Rational person, can separate their personal feelings of disappoitment from their judgment and thus stay objective about their overall judgment.

Recognizing that other people are a value (as explained above) - treating others justly, meaning how they deserve to be treated (based on the degree of that value creation which is tied to the degree of their rationality) is in our self interest. Acting like a jerk to most others contradicts this; it is not in your long term best interest; it is irrational.

Edited by ~Sophia~

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