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The fundamental character traits of a rational being

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I would like to know your thoughts, if any, on the following. Be well, and Merry Christmas.

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The fundamental character traits of a rational being are Confidence and Insecurity. Why? Because these — and only these — fundamentally relate to the relationship of a consciousness that is self-aware to its values. (Realize also that anxiety is the psycho-emotional corollary of insecurity — thus we see in practice: generalized anxiety disorder.) [(from Rational Psychology (work in progress)].

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Sounds like a complete contradiction. Or are you trying to say that confidence is a rational character trait while insecurity is irrational? Either way, neither of those are fundamental character traits as they rely on other traits. Confidence is a recognition of ability, which in turn depends on reason and purpose(that's what you use to develop your abilities).

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IThe fundamental character traits of a rational being are Confidence and Insecurity. Why? Because these — and only these — fundamentally relate to the relationship of a consciousness that is self-aware to its values.

The capacity to reason is a rational being's fundamental trait.

As for character, please define it, because it's unclear what you mean by "character traits". Here's how Peikoff explained character:

“Character” means a man’s nature or identity insofar as this is shaped by the moral values he accepts and automatizes. By “moral values” I mean values which are volitionally chosen, and which are fundamental, i.e., shape the whole course of a man’s action, not merely a specialized, delimited area of his life . . . . So a man’s character is, in effect, his moral essence—his self-made identity as expressed in the principles he lives by.

Considering that definition, the choice to be rational or not be rational would be a man's most obvious fundamental character trait. (according to Rand, there are two more, purpose and self-esteem)

Edited by Jake_Ellison

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Here's how Peikoff explained character:

“Character” means a man’s nature or identity insofar as this is shaped by the moral values he accepts and automatizes. By “moral values” I mean values which are volitionally chosen, and which are fundamental, i.e., shape the whole course of a man’s action, not merely a specialized, delimited area of his life . . . . So a man’s character is, in effect, his moral essence—his self-made identity as expressed in the principles he lives by.

Considering that definition, the choice to be rational or not be rational would be a man's most obvious fundamental character trait. (according to Rand, there are two more, purpose and self-esteem)

Excellent work by Peikoff here. I would define character more briefly as: the sum of a man's qualities in a moral context.

the choice to be rational or not be rational would be a man's most obvious fundamental character trait

Not a fundamental trait of character, but a man's most fundamental choice, which fundamentally informs the nature of his character.

I really like this board. There are minds here.

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Excellent work by Peikoff here. I would define character more briefly as: the sum of a man's qualities in a moral context.

Which qualities? Qualities according to whom?

Peikoff's definition makes more sense and is more universal, because it doesn't depend on what one considers a quality, and because it can be applied to someone who has a bad character due to an irrational value hierarchy or irrational morality. Your definition of character doesn't allow for the possibility of someone having a bad character, unless you argue that that simply means someone who has zero qualities.

Edited by brian0918

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The crucial character trait of Man (the rational being) is his conceptual drive apart from some kind of emotional comfort zone or prerequisite. In contrast to a basic level of instinct or functioning largely tied to what some animal is feeling at any given moment, man is only limited by the discipline he can garner over the life he desires by his choices of the goals, to enact the causal requirements of gettin shit done, which he knows are morally valid because they'll keep him livin ..uh, the life!

Man's great potential for creation as well as destruction boils down to his capability to adhere to duty, or to rational planning ..either way it's a personal struggle but to opposing extremes. He's the opposite of that easy-going whimsical creature.

Edited by N/A

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"Confidence is a recognition of ability..."

This is not the case; the recognition of ability relates to justice.

Confidence is a form of justice--of justice to yourself for YOUR ability to think and thus deal with reality. Confidence is less a character trait than an *attitude*, though. Character traits are virtues--actions one takes to gain or keep values. So the character trait involved is actually the practice of pride, which results in self-esteem and thus confidence.

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Confidence is a form of justice--of justice to yourself for YOUR ability to think and thus deal with reality. Confidence is less a character trait than an *attitude*, though. Character traits are virtues--actions one takes to gain or keep values. So the character trait involved is actually the practice of pride, which results in self-esteem and thus confidence.

No, it is not. It is trait of character -- a sum total, if you wish, expressed in a man's identity, in relation to both consciousness, as well as to existence (the form more traditionally grasped, manifesting in behavioral calm, 'ease', if you would -- a man can be cognitively confident as well, though, given an explicit grasp of rational philosophy and of the nature of rational thought, I think).

Character traits are not actions, or virtues (which are actions in a moral context). They are primary aspects of a man's identity, and are immediately grasped.

And, disagreeing with what Rand said here, pride is not a virtue -- it is a "psycho-emotional" state (an emotional state, deriving from psychological causes) that proceeds from the grasp that one is good, in whatever context (the broad moral context of which self-esteem is an index, the source of the greatest pride, given one is indeed good (self-esteem, the personal grasp of one's own goodness)). Guilt is the contrary -- the psycho-emotional state that results from the grasp that one is evil, in whatever context (and should one, as that astonishing mind born in 1905 once wrote, ever come to an unavoidable precipice of the realization that he is irredeemably evil, he has two options before him, and no others: insanity or suicide).

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Which qualities? Qualities according to whom?

Good question. Qualities as relate to the manner of managing his consciousness, the method(s) by which he governs his mind, I would argue.

Peikoff's definition makes more sense and is more universal, because it doesn't depend on what one considers a quality, and because it can be applied to someone who has a bad character due to an irrational value hierarchy or irrational morality. Your definition of character doesn't allow for the possibility of someone having a bad character, unless you argue that that simply means someone who has zero qualities.

Disagree. "The sum of a man's qualities in a moral context" does not in any way exclude that these qualities will be of a negative nature.

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The crucial character trait of Man (the rational being) is his conceptual drive apart from some kind of emotional comfort zone or prerequisite....

(Need to improve your board username there, friend. B) Not a jab there.)

Rationality is his nature, not a trait of character. The traits of character derive from whether he chooses to live in accordance with his nature (which is/was impossible, in the absence of the grounding in rational philosophy (philosophy, the primary science; psychology, the second science, these two, foundational to securing rational consciousness in the world, in existence) provided by Aristotle and by Rand).

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Disagree. "The sum of a man's qualities in a moral context" does not in any way exclude that these qualities will be of a negative nature.

Quality may be an improper word, as it is often synonymous with, "good characteristics". You may just want to use "characteristics". At least, that is where we ran into confusion.

Edited by brian0918

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(Need to improve your board username there, friend. :) Not a jab there.)

Rationality is his nature, not a trait of character. The traits of character derive from whether he chooses to live in accordance with his nature (which is/was impossible, in the absence of the grounding in rational philosophy (philosophy, the primary science; psychology, the second science, these two, foundational to securing rational consciousness in the world, in existence) provided by Aristotle and by Rand).

Semantics? A man chooses, his nature is his faculty of volition which is also his capacity for reason. However, who this man is refers to that capacity (his nature as human), and his nature as a particular individual. His character is the expression-in-exercise of himself. It is entirely character and psychology for the individual man (since he is nothing apart from this) to affirm purpose or whim essentially.

In accordance with the serenity of fishing in some pond for the remaining 50 years, your life may be a splendid harmony of Your happiness in the world affirming the very benevolent universe premise itself. However this should be more akin to the planner's nightmare than the vision of a rewarded existence. I think (less there is a supremely offended fisher among us) that we can spare ourselves that debate. What I am saying is that the fundamentals of confidence and insecurity are metaphysically (and psychologically) meaningless in comparison to conceptually-driven vs emotionally secure. Whether you are in your own personal hell or heaven because of necessary choices means nothing to their necessity.

Edited by N/A

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The fundamental character traits of a rational being are Confidence and Insecurity.

Insecurity is not a fundamental character trait of a rational person.

Edited by ctrl y

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A realist, honest, responsible, kind, compassionate, loving. Those seemingly rational persons who do not possess these traits aren't rational in reality. All the good characteristics can belong to a rational being because being rational is the fundamental requirement of the Source. Being rational is actually being realistic. When you are realistic, you do not make emotions and feelings the basis of your decisions. So, your character traits are built on rationality, rather than emotional urge driven by irrational thought processes.  

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59 minutes ago, SharrySteve1 said:

All the good characteristics can belong to a rational being because being rational is the fundamental requirement of the Source.

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4 hours ago, SharrySteve1 said:

Those seemingly rational persons who do not possess these traits aren't rational in reality.

Who would be an example of this?

The reasons I ask is that my experience is that usually someone who is irrational also seems irrational.

Also,

Doesn't being compassionate and loving require discerning, like you don't want to be compassionate and loving toward a rattle snake. Can't be dogmatic about it, it can kill you.

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26 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

Who would be an example of this?

The reasons I ask is that my experience is that usually someone who is irrational also seems irrational.

Also,

Doesn't being compassionate and loving require discerning, like you don't want to be compassionate and loving toward a rattle snake. Can't be dogmatic about it, it can kill you.

I think being compassionate and loving is not about being unrealistic and naive. Guarding against a rattle snake will require you to be "responsible" and let's recall "responsibility" is a character trait based on rationality. You are responsible for saving your life from lurking snake. 

Edited by SharrySteve1

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9 minutes ago, SharrySteve1 said:

I think being compassionate and loving is not about being unrealistic and naive. Guarding against a rattle snake will require you to be "responsible" and let's recall "responsibility" is a character trait based on rationality. You are responsible for saving your life from lurking snake. 

Not that simple.

The common example is "tell that to the Nazi concentration camp guard".

He was being responsible and realistic, he knew Jews and others were subhuman and should be treated like that. He probably was compassionate and loving when he went home at night.

All he had that may have protected him, or illuminated him, were in fact his emotions, the gnawing feeling that something is wrong. But rationality was to ignore them.

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30 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

Not that simple.

The common example is "tell that to the Nazi concentration camp guard".

He was being responsible and realistic, he knew Jews and others were subhuman and should be treated like that. He probably was compassionate and loving when he went home at night.

All he had that may have protected him, or illuminated him, were in fact his emotions, the gnawing feeling that something is wrong. But rationality was to ignore them.

I agree that it's not that simple. 

Responsibility cannot be confused be with ruthlessness, barbarism and brutality. Jews had been living peacefully and lawfully, and the conduct exhibited by Nazis was far from being responsible, i.e rational. Nazi guard's definition about Jews being subhuman was not based on rationality or rationale. His definition (Jews being subhuman) was based on unrealistic assessment, which was not based on rational thinking or rationale

If, in self defence, a woman kills a rapist who is bent on raping her and even killing her in the process, should she be called irrational? I don't think so. She has every right to defend herself. Although she didn't want to kill that person, she was forced to do it. 

In both cases, one person (Nazi guard) is unrealistic while the other (woman) is realistic, although both of them eliminated a human. 

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1 minute ago, softwareNerd said:

Why are you linking to Islamic Dua page? 
Are you a sophisticated advertising bot?

 

Not even a bot, let alone sophisticated :☺️ 

Actually I had been reading some basic human traits lately and my research also included what main religions have to say about it. So, found this particular post that mentions a number of good character traits that I found useful. 

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1 hour ago, SharrySteve1 said:

Not even a bot, let alone sophisticated :☺️ 

:) 
Here's a list of virtues, according to Rand. it starts with the shortest summary, from Rand's short essay on Objectivist Ethics, published in "The Virtue of Selfishness":

"The three cardinal values of the Objectivist ethics ... are: Reason, Purpose, Self-esteem, with their three corresponding virtues: Rationality, Productiveness, Pride."

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