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volco

Sanity, or The Human Evasion

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According to Ayn Rand admirer, psychologist Celia Green,

Sanity possesses a constellation of defining characteristics which are at first sight unrelated. In this it resembles other, more widely accepted, psychological syndromes... A sane person believes firmly in the uselessness of thinking about what he does not understand, and is pathologically interested in other people. These two symptoms, at first sight independent, are actually inextricably related. In fact they are merely different aspects of that peculiar reaction to reality which we shall call The Human Evasion

If I had to bluntly assign those broad characteristics to two groups in relation to Objectivism I'd describe the ones who do think about what they don't yet understand as the creators, and those pathologically interested in other people as the altruists (by def.) and the second handlers.

But that's me, what do you make of the above quote?

Edited by volco

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If I had to bluntly assign those broad characteristics to two groups in relation to Objectivism I'd describe the ones who do think about what they don't yet understand as the creators, and those pathologically interested in other people as the altruists (by def.) and the second handlers.

I think this is a typical example of bullshit caused by superficial thinking, or simply reacting without thinking at all.

Do you want to defend the position that "other people" never fall within the category of "what is not yet understood"? Seriously?

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No, I want to have a discussion (mainly obtain feedback) about Celia Green. In this occasion about her take on sanity. HER quote (from the book of the same name) is the one I wanted you to address. Do you care to?

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I don't know what Celia Green has written, but what I wrote is probably the tack she has taken. Ayn Rand herself can be taken as an example where both interests were united in the same person.

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You are misunderstanding the quote because it's brief. It's extracted from a short, concise, easily available book Celia Green wrote "The Human Evasion", not her only book, but certainly her most "popular" one.

I "introduced" her to this board a few months ago after seeing some explicit and implicit overlap with Ayn Rand's writings. Just reading some of her free online material really facilitates understanding the quote on sanity. I advice reading as much as possible from her, but not that much is needed to understand her; so,

by "think about what he doesn't understand" -yet, she means studying, exploring and eventually creating. all of it requires an interest in that which is not already understood, or more to the point, that which is not already handled to us from other people.

"pathologically interested in other people" roughly means "altruist" as Ayn Rand defined it. Either in serving or controlling other people, being preoccupied more with society than with oneself.

Ayn Rand falls squarely into the category of those who don't find it useless but unavoidable and exciting to be interested in things she didn't yet understand (which led to her understanding of some, as I'm sure her curiosity surpassed her lifespan)

Someone who invents a new motor or designs good buildings under his own value judgments is too, more fearless of the unknown than someone who rehashes designs in a permanent quest to satisfy his social sphere.

----

After the terminology or choice of words is properly understood, the point raised remains; and it doesn't need to be replied to or "concluded" hastily.

What is the nature of mental health and how does it relate to exceptional individuals - such as the heroes portrayed by Ayn Rand, and even Ayn Rand herself?

Edited by volco

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On 10/31/2011 at 12:52 AM, volco said:

"pathologically interested in other people" roughly means "altruist" as Ayn Rand defined it. Either in serving or controlling other people, being preoccupied more with society than with oneself.

Pathologically interested in other people? Interesting although too vague for my taste. One can be fascinated or focused on the powers that be (ones in control), simply to create the best life for themselves. An investor may be vigilant, sometimes overly vigilant about "the news" which is about other people. It helps with investing. Gold goes up when there is war, even if it is far away and nothing to do with oneself.

One could ask "am I too interested in others?", "is my interested in others (as a whole), a waste of time?". When I ask it about others as a whole, I find that a lot of meaning in my life comes from others. Being interested in the nature of mankind is interest in others, isn't it? Is being interested in ethics a preoccupation with others?

Altruism is about a positive valuation of oneself solely based on how much one helped others. Without helping another, one is worthless or evil. A self-interested person could help others by employing them or trading with them. Some of these self-interested people do not see any evil in altruism. They may feel like they have done their part. But they are vulnerable to being worthless with the "others" that they don't help, like "the competition". In discussions, I am noticing that altruism is interpreted as "no losers", as in no competition. To argue against altruism, I end up having to argue for competition and for the necessity of "losers". I wish it were as simple as calling altruism a pathology.
 

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