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Are intoxication and cosmetics evasion thus evil?

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Are they not both escape from reality? Doesn't intoxication both hinder the ability to think and distort perception? Isn't the application of cosmetics a blank-out of one's true nature?

Can an Objectivist ever engage in behavior that involves evasion? Should what is gained through such behavior be called happiness?

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I'll leave the intoxication to somebody else. :P As for the cosmetics thing, poppycock! Poppycock I say! What do you mean by "one's true nature"? I see it as little different than painting your wooden chair or putting a patch on a hole in clothing. Neither you nor anybody else is going to believe the wood of the chair just so happens to have been naturally blue, it is obviously recognizable as painted, so not evading here. The chair is still a chair too, that hasn't changed at all. The painted chair is just that - a painted chair, before it was a plain chair, now it is a painted one. Same thing applies if it is blue eye shadow one somebody's face. If the makeup is something used in a way that doesn't look unnatural, like covering up a scar for example, then it is just like a repair job in my eyes. It isn't a permanent repair, yes, but that doesn't mean it isn't a repair while it is there. Try to be careful not to fall into a naturalistic fallacy where choosing to change something is an assault on its nature as it is or that anything that isn't permanent doesn't really "count" for anything. :)

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It sounds like what you are saying is what makes cosmetics not evasion is the fact that observers recognize the presence of the cosmetics and are not deceived, because they know that a blue chair has been painted, and that someone wearing eye shadow has applied eye shadow. Does that mean that in cases where the observer is deceived, the wearer of cosmetics has committed evasion? Is hiding a scar not such a case? What about a person with hair dyed a different but naturally-occurring color which observers don't know is artificial?

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" Does that mean that in cases where the observer is deceived, the wearer of cosmetics has committed evasion? Is hiding a scar not such a case? What about a person with hair dyed a different but naturally-occurring color which observers don't know is artificial? "

This is the kind of thing I meant with the repairing and scar covering thing. I don't see these as denials of what something is but changes to what they are, even if only temporarily. As long as you don't actually lie about this - like outright claiming you were born blonde when you were not and just dye your hair that color - then all is well. There's no moral obligation though to walk around wearing a sign announcing that you dyed your hair. People don't have some kind of right just for their existing in this world to be told every single darn thing about your history, like that maybe you were not always blonde.

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Evasion is the act of willfully hiding realty from yourself - Or to put it another way, it is denial. Intoxication qualifies if you are drinking to evade realty, which in the case of alcohol is to escape knowledge or responsibility. Frequently that is how alcoholics get started or the reason someone “gets smashed”. But there are other reasons one could be having a beverage: Social drinking over an excellent dinner, romantic interlude, or a brilliant evening with friends. For myself, I occasionally enjoy some premium liquor while taking a kayaking color tour or enjoying an evening at home listening to some old vinyls. Like everything in life, it’s about context since principles are about application.

Intoxication to hide from life = bad

Intoxication to enjoy life = good

The same principle would apply to cosmetics or any other issue.

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Are they not both escape from reality? Doesn't intoxication both hinder the ability to think and distort perception? Isn't the application of cosmetics a blank-out of one's true nature?

Human nature is an abstract concept. It isn't the concrete "my nature", "your nature", etc. It is a concept that comprises the essential characteristics of human beings, in the context of an Ethics applicable to all.

With that in mind, we can get rid of hair color altogether. It's not an essential characteristic, it makes no difference what color you die your hair in this context.

Intoxication is not as simple. Thinking is an essential human characteristic, and drinking to the point of being unable to think is therefor necessarily immoral. Mood, on the other hand, is not an essential characteristic, and taking any mood altering drug (including alcohol, in moderation), is not necessarily immoral.

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"Are intoxication and cosmetics evasion thus evil" ~ OP

Good and evil are expressions of intent. Having a glass of red wine to relax tension is good; doping a glass of red wine to commit rape is evil.

Are they not both escape from reality?

One cannot escape from reality in any case. In terms of altering the perception of reality, again it comes back to intent.

Doesn't intoxication both hinder the ability to think and distort perception?

Yep *hic*

Isn't the application of cosmetics a blank-out of one's true nature?

To blank out something means to deny the existence of it, so no; cosmetics aren't expressions of denial.

Can an Objectivist ever engage in behavior that involves evasion?

A random sampling of threads in this and other Objectivist forums suggests this is true at times...

Should what is gained through such behavior be called happiness?

Individual behavior is validated by the result of their actions. When the pursuit of happiness, results in happiness, why would you call it anything else?

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