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Concerto of Atlantis

Love at first sight

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I see a problem with the whole discussion and that is the definition of what is 'love.' I am currently married and have been for the past 36 years to the same person. After all this time I do not know a good definition for love. Love seems to change from hour to hour, day to day, and year to year. Did 'love at first sight' happen to me and my wife, it might have, but I cannot honestly say it did.

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OK, definition/concretization time:

What exactly do you mean by a man "pursuing" a woman?

(This question is intended for anyone who has used the term here, or who has personal thoughts on the issue, pro or con.)

Betsy, I'm especially interested to hear what you mean by Tom Hanks' character pursuing the woman he wanted in Sleepless in Seattle. What specific actions of his did you like?

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What exactly do you mean by a man "pursuing" a woman?

To actively seek to ignite a woman's romantic interest in oneself.

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I see a problem with the whole discussion and that is the definition of what is 'love.' 

Love is the greatest degree of positive emotional response to something or someone. In the context of romantic love, it also involves a great degree of sexual desire.

I am currently married and have been for the past 36 years to the same person.  After all this time I do not know a good definition for love.
Stephen (also on this forum) and I have been married for 37 years, 3 months, and 20 days (but who's counting). I definitely know what love is. :D

Love seems to change from hour to hour, day to day, and year to year. 

I am constantly finding new and different reasons to value my husband, but his great value to me is a constant

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What exactly do you mean by a man "pursuing" a woman?

It means a man acting to gain the love of a woman.

Betsy, I'm especially interested to hear what you mean by Tom Hanks' character pursuing the woman he wanted in Sleepless in Seattle. What specific actions of his did you like?

It's been so long since I saw the film that I can't recall specific details. As I remember, he went out of his way to meet her instead of waiting for her to discover and come to him.

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Kevin Delaney: What exactly do you mean by a man "pursuing" a woman?

Besty: It means a man acting to gain the love of a woman.

OK, but what specific kinds of actions are you talking about? (And what exactly do you mean by "gain her love?")

My concern is that this issue may seem self-evident to both men and women, yet there may be vastly different ideas about what in reality it means.

Re: Sleepless in Seattle — I think you're thinking of a different movie. I just wanted to be sure, which is why I asked. But in Sleepless, Meg Ryan goes far out of her way to meet Tom Hanks, who really doesn't even know who she is for almost the entire film. (I hadn't seen it, so I rented it last night after reading your post. It was a fun, interesting movie nonetheless!)

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I see a problem with the whole discussion and that is the definition of what is 'love.'

Speaking specifically about romantic love, I would say it is at once three things:

1. A feeling

2. A process

3. A relationship

In the most basic sense, love is a feeling — a feeling of strong romantic-sexual attraction and desire for another person; the feeling of being "in love."

Love the feeling is the foundation of love the relationship. It's not the only element, of course, but it is essential: Absent the feeling of romantic love, on the part of either or both parties, there is no romantic relationship.

How a romantic relationship begins, grows and develops — and how it is sustained and continues to grow across time — is an issue of romance: the experience of love viewed from the perspective of a process. Romance is the bridge, so to speak, between the feelings of love and their concretization in the form of a successful, exciting, dynamic, romantic relationship.

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I hate to be bitter, but I have heard that said before but IME it rarely plays out. But then again, perhaps its because the women weren't rational to begin with.

Anyway my experience has been that if you act disinterested, arrogant, and have the looks and or money to back you up, you'll never be lonely on a Saturday night. If you are decent, kind, thoughtful and honest, you may very well die a virgin.

I know, very bitter.

Maybe one day I'll meet a 'rational woman' but I wont hold my breath.

At risk of stating the obvious, just where are you finding these women? I met my wife because of my enjoyment of an article she wrote on the aesthetics of the dance. Had I been reading Four Wheeler magazine, we may never had met.

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OK, but what specific kinds of actions are you talking about?

I have given whole seminars about this at Objectivist conferences, but here are a few actions I recommend:

Go to where she is.

Listen to her.

Let her know that you value her and specifically what about her you value.

Look your best.

Talk about your work and your personal values.

(And what exactly do you mean by "gain her love?")

Demonstrate that you value her and show her why she should value you.

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Speaking specifically about romantic love, I would say it is at once three things:

1. A feeling

2. A process

3. A relationship

In the most basic sense, love is a feeling — a feeling of strong romantic-sexual attraction and desire for another person; the feeling of being "in love."

Love the feeling is the foundation of love the relationship. It's not the only element, of course, but it is essential: Absent the feeling of romantic love, on the part of both parties, there is no romantic relationship.

How a romantic relationship begins, grows and develops — and how it is sustained across time — is an issue of romance: the experience of love viewed from the perspective of a process. Romance is the bridge, so to speak, between the feelings of love and their concretization in the form of a successful, exciting, dynamic, romantic relationship.

I do not mean this as being facetious, but upon what are you basing your various descriptions and conclusions? Have you yourself had a really long-term romantic relationship? Have you been extremely close to couples who have, close enough for them to share with you the intimacies of what makes their long-term relationship flourish?

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Stephen:

As a matter of policy, I don't publicly discuss my own romantic life or answer personal questions. Suffice it to say my ideas are the product of my own experience, my conversations with many men and women (both successful and unsuccessful in love), my reading, observations, and thinking.

I enjoy discussion, and I'm open to rational persuasion. If you disagree with anything I have said, please indicate such and why.

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At risk of stating the obvious, just where are you finding these women?

Everywhere from bars and nightclubs to department stores and malls to museums, libraries and graduate school classrooms. I hate to make such a sweeping statement, but I have yet to meet a noble souled American woman. (One critical qualification here: a noble souled woman with model quality looks, there are plenty of mediocre or ugly looking women that have 'hearts of gold', but unfortunately I'm not attracted to them. If I could be hypnotized like that movie 'Shallow Hal' things would be different...)

However, in Japan, I was worshiped as a god by at least a dozen adorable 20 year old Japanese girls; gaijin and all. I miss that country, allthough it sucks being considered a second class citizen.

Thanks for the interest, but I'm hopeless. I'll just resign myself to being the oft stereotyped bitter Objectivist.

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Argive99: I hate to sound like I'm making a personal diagnosis, but do you think that possibly your attitude may have something to do with your situation?

I find any trace of bitterness or hostility toward the opposite sex to be extremely unattractive. Perhaps women feel the same way.

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Argive99,

My objectivist older brother is currently rounding out his last month of a 6 month study-abroad in Japan. I am also learning japanese with the intent to go to Japan. You should perhaps start another thread discussing various cultural differences between Japan and the United States. I would be interested to know what you think.

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Kevin,

My observation of women I have come across tend to be in agreement with Argive99 on this issue. My experience however is very limited since I am only 20 and just barely begun to survey the land. I havn't and won't give up hope and I'm looking forward to your book for some guidance.

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My observation of women I have come across tend to be in agreement with Argive99 on this issue.  My experience however is very limited since I am only 20 and just barely begun to survey the land.  I havn't and won't give up hope and I'm looking forward to your book for some guidance.

Argive99, thankfully, is wrong. There are rational women left, even among non-Objectivists. Sure, most women aren't rational, be neither are most men, and it is wrong to condemn them as a group for the sins of a few. In no case, as Kevin hinted, is it better to adopt the attitude that "All women are rotten so what the hell?"

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Stephen:

As a matter of policy, I don't publicly discuss my own romantic life or answer personal questions. Suffice it to say my ideas are the product of my own experience, my conversations with many men and women (both successful and unsuccessful in love), my reading, observations, and thinking.

Kevin, I was not attempting to pry personal details about your own romantic life, but rather to get a sense of to what degree your assessments are based on actual long-term experiences of romantic love, whether your own or of others.

I enjoy discussion, and I'm open to rational persuasion. If you disagree with anything I have said, please indicate such and why.

I was not particularly interested in persuading you about anything, but more, as I said, curious about to what degree experience has played a role in your judgments. But, since you do ask, frankly I found your last commenary to be a bit trite and not really reflecting the essence of the issue.

Your number one comment was to say that love is a feeling, "a feeling of strong romantic-sexual attraction and desire for another person." Well, yes, that does state the obvious, but what seems to be missing is the essence of love. Based on my own experience and thinking, I agree with Ayn Rand that in the deepest sense it is with a person's sense of life that one falls in love. The source of that "strong romantic-sexual attraction" is a response to the soul of that person, that which embodies the values that formed the unique character to which your sense of life responds. This is the source of "love at first sight," and this is what Ayn Rand refers to as a "profound, conscious and subconscious harmony," something that goes beyond a response to conscious intellectual convictions. [*]

As to the other parts that you wrote, they seem somewhat cliched and lacking in substance. Well, yes, romantic love is a relationship based on feelings of love, and without both partners feeling romantic love there is no romantic relationship. And, yes, a romantic relationship is sustained by romance. But, frankly, hearing this does not make me feel very enlightened.

[*] Ayn Rand in "Philosophy and Sense of Life" in The Romantic Manifesto.

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Based on my own experience and thinking, I agree with Ayn Rand that in the deepest sense it is with a person's sense of life that one falls in love. The source of that "strong romantic-sexual attraction" is a response to the soul of that person, that which embodies the values that formed the unique character to which your sense of life responds. This is the source of "love at first sight," and this is what Ayn Rand refers to as a "profound, conscious and subconscious harmony," something that goes beyond a response to conscious intellectual convictions. [*]

Stephen,

I've always had trouble identifying which values Rand is speaking of in this context. You write "the values that formed the unique character to which your sense of life responds." What range of values are we talking about here? I assume it's not our most fundamental values (life, reason, etc.), nor our most superficial values (the color blue, enjoyment of curry, etc.). I suppose my question: which values form our unique character in the sense relevant to romantic love? If you don't have a full answer, any insight you have to share would be appreciated.

Thanks!

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Thanks for the interest, but I'm hopeless. I'll just resign myself to being the oft stereotyped bitter Objectivist.

I was not aware that Objectivists have been stereotyped as being bitter people, but based on things you have written in other threads I am even more surprised to hear yourself being resigned to that as your self-image. You seemed to have a much more lively and upbeat spirit.

Anyway, I still suspect that you are not looking in the right places. Do you go to Objectivist conferences? Many happy marriages came about as a result of people meeting there. Do you advertise yourself by the right sort of postings to large Objectivist lists? Have you registered yourself with my wife Betsy's Cybernet social list?

Also, I do not know where you live, but here in California I have met many beautiful and intelligent women. I am quite happily married so I just enjoy their company or interchanges, but many of these women complain about not finding many men as decent and as intelligent as me. I am not tooting my own horn here, but just letting you know that, in my opinion, if you are a good and intelligent person, a valuer with a passion for life, maybe you should try moving to California. :D

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Argive99,

My objectivist older brother is currently rounding out his last month of a 6 month study-abroad in Japan.  I am also learning japanese with the intent to go to Japan.  You should perhaps start another thread discussing various cultural differences between Japan and the United States.  I would be interested to know what you think.

I might do that, but I would need a couple of days to get my thoughts straight on the subject of Japan. Its very complicated. But just a few initial comments to wet your appetite.

Japan has a sort of obsession with the west in general and America in particular. At the same time they are perhaps the most racist group of people in the world (their superiority complex is so well known in the orient that there is a term that all other asians apply to them which translates as 'people with a black heart', even the Koreans dislike the Japanese for this and they are the second most racist people on the earth). You will find women having plastic surgery to get their eyes widened and this same woman will think all American men are dirty, aids-infected, uncouth barbarians. And mind you, this same woman will spend ten minutes helping you find the address your looking for; no matter what their prejudices, the Japanese are the most polite and courteous people in the world (from what I've seen).

Sexually, Japan is a single man's heaven. The Japanese are not a Judeo-Christian country. Despite 150 years of Christian missionaries, the Japanese have had enough common sense to reject that element of Western culture. Their own major religion, Shinto, is far less oppressive of hapiness than Christianity. As a result they are a very sexual society in their own unique way. (Some of the kinkiest and wildest girls I've met were Japanese, and boy do they love to practice their english.)

So its a seemingly contradictory mix. I have been denied access to apartments, clubs, and even restaurants (the hostess of one actually told me they had run out of food!!!). At the same time, I have been practically molested by (semi-drunk) young girls that wanted to know everything possible about America (Ropongi district at the famous American stylye bar called 'Gas Panic' is a must go for an American living in Japan; on a wild night, no American bar or disco could ever compare). There's alot going on there and a rational psychologist that is familiar with Japan would really be the best to comment on the Japanese Psyche.

But I'll end by saying this to you: as a good looking, clean cut, respectful, well-dressed, educated young man in Japan that speaks at least basic Japanese, you may very well forget that American women even exist.

In a sense, I envy you.

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Stephen,

I've always had trouble identifying which values Rand is speaking of in this context. You write "the values that formed the unique character to which your sense of life responds." What range of values are we talking about here? I assume it's not our most fundamental values (life, reason, etc.), nor our most superficial values (the color blue, enjoyment of curry, etc.). I suppose my question: which values form our unique character in the sense relevant to romantic love? If you don't have a full answer, any insight you have to share would be appreciated.

Thanks!

All Objectivists value justice, but to one person justice is a passion. To him it is a deeply seated perspective that shapes how he relates to the world on a fundamental level. The difference between him and another manifests itself in how he treats injustice wherever it occurs. If he and another Objectivist witness the same injustice -- say, the way a child is treated in a public place -- while the other Objectivist will go home and dash off a post about it to HBL, the one for whom justice is a passion will speak up when it occurs so that at least the child might gain a sense that it is was not he that was wrong, but the injustice was the way he was treated.

Permute what I said above for all values large and small, and you have all the good Objectivists you know, but each with his unique sense of life, each emphasizing some things that say about life that this is important to me. In that "profound, conscious and subconscious harmony" that Miss Rand notes, the subconscious harmony is what so strongly emotionally links you and your love. It is the sum total, from the smallest of things -- the way she brushes her hair aside -- to the largest values -- her deep concern for what is right -- that uniquely defines the total character that reflects the sense of life in your love, the same sort of sense of life that uniquely made you from the sum total of all that you value, both large and small.

I am convinced that the singlemost element for a long-term love is a sense of understanding, acknowledgement, and sharing what you both consider important in the world, the sum total of which is your sense of life. This is what it means to live in a universe that you share with your love, one that reflects the sense of life that makes you comfortable with yourselves individually, and what binds your love for each other together.

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Guest jrshep

A few days ago I received a copy of "Letters of Ayn Rand" that I purchased through Amazon. Relevant to this topic, I thought I'd mention that she has a really great letter of advice to one Mr. Gerald Loeb (p. 153) in which she addresses his "problem of how to meet a worthwhile woman." What she has to say is really revealing.

I haven't even finished this particular letter, nor any of the rest of the book beyond it. Just to give a tease, in reference to a book that he was writing, she said:

"It is wrong to wait for the woman to do the chasing--though many men do that, and many let themselves be dragged into marriage even though they didn't really want it. A great many men take their love live passively--the way one conventionally supposes women do--they take what comes along and make the best they can. That's wrong for both sexes. I would say--find what you want and go after it openly, whether you're a man or a woman. A little less openly if you're a woman. But go after it. Don't wait for the other party to make the overtures."

Prior to that, she offer Mr. Loeb some great advice on where to find the best kinds of persons:

"But the truth of the matter is that one finds worthwhile men and women among people who work. Follow me here very carefully, forgetting the cheap generalities which all our modern minds have been stuffed with. I do not mean LABOR. I do not mean people who have to earn their living. I do not mean proletarians. I do not mean tearooms. I mean what you and I understand by the term of "competent people." People who love to work, who are good at it, serious about it and concerned primarily with it. Bright, creative, productive, ambitious people. People who get money for their work, but who do not work primarily for the money--whether it's a weekly pay envelope or a thousand dollar bonus. People who are ambitious--not to climb socially, not to get wealth and title--but ambitious to do more and more work of a better and better kind. It's among such people that you'll find the woman you want, if I have understood you correctly."

And there's more. Really worth the read.

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I would highly recommend reading Letters of Ayn Rand as well. I have found her responses to people to be a very useful way to better understand O'ism in regards to living it daily.

I have gone through times where I fear that I'll never meet a man w/a sense of life to match mine - and then I remind myself that even if that were to happen I will still be able to enjoy life. However, I am not taking it passively - I found a Toastmasters group in Mesa, AZ (back in 2001) where many of the people had a lot of the same political views as I did - and it turned out that there were four or five objectivists there - a total surprise to me. I have since moved from there and haven't been as lucky, but I know that there are great people out there - I just have to get out there. Look at how AR and Frank O'Conner met - they were not even at an event or looking for someone specifically, but they ended up coming together and having a very happy marriage. I know it sounds a little trite, but keep your spirits up and eventually something will click - and even if it doesn't you can know that you have lived your life to the fullest extent that you could control.

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On the contrary, a rational woman will only have an interest in a man who has the gumption and ability to pursue her.

I first saw the "woman of my dreams" a year and a half ago, and it wasn't until a few months ago when I "fell" in love with her and couldn't stop thinking about her. I asked her out yesterday -- I finally managed to get her alone to ask her -- and she wouldn't go for it, not even a phone number. I told her I'd ask her again in a month, but how much can a man pursue without seeming f*cked up over her? I have to go into her work in order to see her, so that is the hard part of it all -- I can't pursue her too much, without freaking her out. Help!

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