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Objectivist Sexuality: Amber Pawlik's book

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Values are objective, but they can also be optional. To one author, a man with a mustache may symbolize a certain group of men, but to another they may symbolize a different group. One may say: my heroes never have mustaches, which the other may insist his do. This is an example of how both people can be objective, and even be right, while coming to different concrete conclusions.

Edited by softwareNerd

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I have no idea why you, or anyone, would want to change their sense of humor...

My point in this thread is that sexuality, like sense of humor or your personality, isn't chosen in the same way as choosing to go get a job and support yourself for a living -- the latter being an action that has more clear-cut moral implications. In fact, it's arguable that sexuality is chosen at all, and it's not really arguable that it's "chosen" when a person is not old enough to realize what's happening. It's also not disputable at this point that sexuality can be changed once you're an adult.

 

So, Amber Pawlik talking about this and that gender and sexuality trait being rational or not, ie. being moral or not, is rationalistic nonsense which tries to condemn aspects of human sexuality that either have no moral implications, or are not condemnable.

 

What point are you trying to make in this thread?

Edited by JASKN

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Even if it were, it probably wouldn't make sense to try.

Right, unless it were very easy to change somehow, so that both sexes could then potentially be enjoyed sexually. But, it would probably throw a wrench in one's personality, since so much of your identity is linked to your sexuality.

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Right, unless it were very easy to change somehow, so that both sexes could then potentially be enjoyed sexually. But, it would probably throw a wrench in one's personality, since so much of your identity is linked to your sexuality.

Easy to change, yes; that's the cost side. And, there also should be some value in doing so. Even if someone invented a pill that I could pop and become homosexual, I don't see how I would get additional value. Even if it made me bisexual, thus expanding my choices, the benefits would be more theoretical than actual.

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What point [is he] trying to make in this thread?

http://rebirthofreason.com/Articles/Firehammer/Homo_Hijackers_%281%29__Response_to_Chris_Sciabarras_In_Praise_of_Hijacking.shtml

 

"Just as our mouths and digestive tracks have a specific nature which determines how they are to be used, the genitals have a specific nature which determines how they are to be used. Just as eating is our method of nourishment but can be used, and usually is, for pleasure, the genitals are our means for procreation but can be used, and usually are, for pleasure. Because our mouths and digestive systems have a specific nature, how they may be used for pleasure is limited and determined by that nature. Pica is abnormal because it violates that nature. Because our genitals have a specific nature, how they may be used for pleasure is limited and determined by that nature. Homosexual practices are abnormal because they violate that nature."

 

Choice or not, Firehammer clearly finds homosexuality immoral - and is very simple-minded about that view.

Edited by Eiuol

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Even if it made me bisexual, thus expanding my choices, the benefits would be more theoretical than actual.

I guess the only thing I really had in mind was, "Ooo, sexy lady! Oo, sexy man!" Nothing much more than getting a little more pleasure out of the visual sight of a whole additional sex.

 

Thanks.

 

Also from that link:

The ironic thing is, many Objectivists, who are among the few who do understand the nature of their minds and take great care to insure they do not abuse or misuse them, seem to have the same kind of ignorance about their body's nature and requirements non-Objectivists have about their minds. They treat the body and it's organs as though they have no "specific identity or specific requirements," implying they therefore have, "no needs, no rules for being properly or improperly used.

 

He later lists a bunch of stats about anal cancer and the like. So, anal sex = cancer = improper use of body = homosexuality is improper.

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The good news is that Regi is not a homosexual.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On the serious side, one thing about me that seemed to be rather strongly determined was my monogamy. It was simply what was natural to me. I didn't go around preaching it or thumping my chest for being that way, and I could see that a lot of other men are not that way. It seems that there were factors deeper in my personality than I know that somehow incline me that way; presumably such factors incline other men the other way. I don't think psychology has gotten very far on this. Certainly Rand's and Branden's lines of thought on this were not entirely correct nor nearly complete.

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My point in this thread is that sexuality, like sense of humor or your personality, isn't chosen in the same way as choosing to go get a job and support yourself for a living -- the latter being an action that has more clear-cut moral implications. In fact, it's arguable that sexuality is chosen at all, and it's not really arguable that it's "chosen" when a person is not old enough to realize what's happening. It's also not disputable at this point that sexuality can be changed once you're an adult.

 

So, Amber Pawlik talking about this and that gender and sexuality trait being rational or not, ie. being moral or not, is rationalistic nonsense which tries to condemn aspects of human sexuality that either have no moral implications, or are not condemnable.

 

What point are you trying to make in this thread?

I'm not really trying to make a point. I'm only suggesting that your point is in contradiction to Rand's Objectivism.

The Journals of Ayn Rand

"13 - Notes While Writing: 1947-1952"

"His first desires are given to him by nature; they are the ones that he needs directly for his body, such as food, warmth, etc. Only these desires are provided by nature and they teach him the concept of desire. Everything else from then on proceeds from his mind, from the standards and conclusions accepted by his mind and it goes to satisfy his mind—for example, his first toys. (Perhaps sex is the one field that unites the needs of mind and body, with the mind determining the desire and the body providing the means of expressing it. But the sex act itself is only that—an expression. The essence is mental, or spiritual.)"

I am not making a judgment about which view is the correct one, but for the sake of this thread, it seems to me, Amber Pawlik's view is consistent with everything Rand said and wrote, (e.g. my quotes on the previous thread) and the majority view on this thread does not. That does not mean anyone has to agree with Rand, but if not, why is it called Objectivism?

Edited by Regi F.

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Is an unpublished journal entry by Rand the best evidence you have of homosexuality being contradictory to the core principles of her published philosophic works? Or, do you think every word written and spoken by Rand is part of her philosophic system?

Edit: The entire concepts of "masculine" and "feminine" are ripe for rationalistic interpretation, as is evident all over this forum.

Edited by JASKN

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I'm not really trying to make a point. I'm only suggesting that your point is in contradiction to Rand's Objectivism.

The Journals of Ayn Rand

"13 - Notes While Writing: 1947-1952"

"His first desires are given to him by nature; they are the ones that he needs directly for his body, such as food, warmth, etc. Only these desires are provided by nature and they teach him the concept of desire. Everything else from then on proceeds from his mind, from the standards and conclusions accepted by his mind and it goes to satisfy his mind—for example, his first toys. (Perhaps sex is the one field that unites the needs of mind and body, with the mind determining the desire and the body providing the means of expressing it. But the sex act itself is only that—an expression. The essence is mental, or spiritual.)"

I am not making a judgment about which view is the correct one, but for the sake of this thread, it seems to me, Amber Pawlik's view is consistent with everything Rand said and wrote, (e.g. my quotes on the previous thread) and the majority view on this thread does not. That does not mean anyone has to agree with Rand, but if not, why is it called Objectivism?

I don't fully agree with JASKN (i'll explain), but that paragraph you're quoting doesn't state that sexual orientation is a choice. In fact it leaves the door open to it not being a choice, and so does everything else in Rand's philosophy.

Furthermore, Rand offers no philosophical argument against homosexuality, be it chosen or otherwise. So, to answer your question, Ayn Rand's unsubstantiated views on gay people are not called Objectivism. And neither is your interpretation of the paragraph you quoted. Her philosophy, as written in her published works, is what's called Objectivism.

 

My point in this thread is that sexuality, like sense of humor or your personality, isn't chosen in the same way as choosing to go get a job and support yourself for a living -- the latter being an action that has more clear-cut moral implications. In fact, it's arguable that sexuality is chosen at all, and it's not really arguable that it's "chosen" when a person is not old enough to realize what's happening. It's also not disputable at this point that sexuality can be changed once you're an adult.

 

So, Amber Pawlik talking about this and that gender and sexuality trait being rational or not, ie. being moral or not, is rationalistic nonsense which tries to condemn aspects of human sexuality that either have no moral implications, or are not condemnable.

 

What point are you trying to make in this thread?

The question isn't whether most of the things on your list are chosen, it's merely by whom they are chosen.

Clearly, everything not determined by one's genetic makeup is chosen, by someone: parents, teachers, peers, talking heads on TV, or the individual himself. Individuals DO have the capacity to make many of those choices, or reverse choices made by others at an early age.

People (be it adults, teenagers or even older children) should not just accept that their personality, sense of humor (or lackthereof), bad sexual impulses, etc. are a given, and beyond their ability to choose. They should not be told that, and they should not believe it if told that.

Obviously, none of this has anything to do with sexual orientation. Homosexuality is not a bad sexual impulse. Whether sexual orientation is something we are born with, it is chosen for us early on, or can be chosen by us at least to some extent, doesn't change the fact that there is no rational argument against homosexuality or same sex intimacy of any kind. "it's natural" is not a valid argument. Ayn Rand's concept of identity (including her concept of masculinity and femininity) has nothing to do with the simple minded, poorly defined "it's good because it's natural, and evil because it's unnatural" argument. Ayn Rand's views on sexuality (as expressed in AS and The FH) are in fact fully compatible with both homosexuality and the concept of gender identity (which aims to differentiate gender from sex).

There is no reason to tie the question of how much choice children and teenagers have, to sexual orientation, because even if they did have the capacity to shape their sexual orientation, children should not be taught to struggle with something that's perfectly fine( from both a moral and psychological standpoint).

Edited by Nicky

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Right, I didn't mean to imply that you can't change aspects of your person. Although, for some things like personality, I think it can only be changed to a certain point -- how would you even know where to begin? Until we've got the human mind all figured out, we're at a guess-and-see stage. Rand identified some excellent things -- being productive leads to self-esteem, for example. But say I think the macabre is funny -- what to do to change that? And so many more concrete examples. And as both you and sNerd pointed out, why would you even want to change it?

 

In this thread, it has been presented as though the human mind is 100% programmable, like a computer, and furthermore that only certain kinds of programs should be run. I think it's rationalistic nonsense.

Edited by JASKN

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 I think it's rationalistic nonsense.

You are right, there is rationalization going on.

 

"[a man's] emotions are not his enemies, they are his means of enjoying life. But they are not his guide; the guide is his mind. This relationship cannot be reversed, however. If a man takes his emotions as the cause and his mind as their passive effect, if he is guided by his emotions and uses his mind only to rationalize or justify them somehow... he is condemning himself to misery, failure, defeat, and he will achieve nothing but destruction—his own and that of others."

 

Ayn Rand, "Playboy's interview with Ayn Rand," pamphlet, page 6.

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As usual, a quote alone isn't an argument.

Are you arguing that Objectivism condemns homosexuality because it is an emotion that reflects false premises which can be changed by more rational thinking?

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As usual, a quote alone isn't an argument.

Are you arguing that Objectivism condemns homosexuality because it is an emotion that reflects false premises which can be changed by more rational thinking?

A quote is evidence if what is being questioned is what someone said, in this case, what Rand said.

My original point was about your question: "When did I choose my sense of humor? Sexual preferences? Way in which I walk? Interest in music? Etc." [which I said sounds] as though you did not know the source of such things, or have any intention of discovering them. If that is the case it would seem to be in direct contradiction to Rand's views.

I had no point to make about homosexuality, only that Pawlik's views, however imperfect, seemed to reflect Rand's veiws better than those who disagreed with her.

I do not think it is likely that anyone can change anything about themselves that is a consequence of years of bad thinking or choices. Habitualized thinking and behavior is extremely difficult to change, or even to recognize. Personally, I have no interest in whether anyone changes their life in any way. How anyone lives their life is no else's business (unless a direct physical threat). I would like for everyone to live happily and successfully, but it's none of my business that most don't.

I do think Objectivism regards any belief or practice based on feelings, desires, or emotions resulting from false premises, irrationality, or evasions as self-destructive and therefore immoral? Do you think that is incorrect?

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It's not clear that homosexuality is the result of *any* thinking, much less bad thinking. Nevertheless, when I compared it to humor, I implicitly suggested that it is formed by each individual person, though not by any conscious choice, as in choosing to get a job. Even assuming that homosexuality is a choice, I asked: what choice? When, where, and how?

But, if you're only making the point that condoning homosexuality is against Rand's "views" (and Objectivism? You didn't answer that), which views are those? That using emotions *alone* is no way to live your life? How does that clash with being homosexual? And by the way, basing very narrow, unimportant decisions on mostly your emotional response is not immoral, or against Objectivism. See: what's for dinner.

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It's not clear that homosexuality is the result of *any* thinking, much less bad thinking. Nevertheless, when I compared it to humor, I implicitly suggested that it is formed by each individual person, though not by any conscious choice, as in choosing to get a job. Even assuming that homosexuality is a choice, I asked: what choice? When, where, and how?

But, if you're only making the point that condoning homosexuality is against Rand's "views" (and Objectivism? You didn't answer that), which views are those? That using emotions *alone* is no way to live your life? How does that clash with being homosexual? And by the way, basing very narrow, unimportant decisions on mostly your emotional response is not immoral, or against Objectivism. See: what's for dinner.

I have no idea why you are fixated on homosexuality.

 

I said explicitly that I had nothing to say about homosexuality. I was only interested in knowing if you thought your views agreed with Objectivism as Rand explicated it. Since you seem to want to evade a direct answer, I withdraw the question, and will draw my own conclusion.

 

As for, "what's for dinner," a person with pica is certainly making a self-destructive choice.

 

As for, "immoral,"  if you regard morality as a way of judging others (or if you expect me to so regard it), that is definitely not an Objectivist view, nor mine. Moral or ethical principles are only for the individual to determine their own choices, not to judge others. As Rand said, moral principles are to teach us how to live and enjoy our lives, period.

Edited by Regi F.

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This thread quotes and links to an article you wrote expressing your views on homosexuality -- you have nothing to say about it? I did answer you, but I guess I must do so with literal wording: my views are not inconsistent with Objectivism.

Anyway, you didn't answer anything, instead choosing to remain vague.

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This thread quotes and links to an article you wrote expressing your views on homosexuality -- you have nothing to say about it? I did answer you, but I guess I must do so with literal wording: my views are not inconsistent with Objectivism.

Anyway, you didn't answer anything, instead choosing to remain vague.

I was not my link. The "article" was to material derived from a debate with Chris Matthew Sciabarra on the now defunct SOLO site. That was in 2004, ten years ago. It has no relevance to this thread.

 

I'm sorry I did not see that you answered me. It is what I concluded, however. Thank you for verifying that.

 

I try to be explicit and precise in all I write. If it seemed vague to you, put it down to my inability to be more concise. I certainly didn't intend to be vague.

 

Thanks for the conversation.

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Mr. Firehammer -

 

Is that a picture of Socrates?  In light of what you have to say about homosexuality I wouldn't expect you to use a dirty old pederast to present yourself to us.

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I was not my link. The "article" was to material derived from a debate with Chris Matthew Sciabarra on the now defunct SOLO site. That was in 2004, ten years ago. It has no relevance to this thread.

Here's your article I mentioned, here's where Eiuol provided it in this thread, here is part of a quote of yours which Eiuol pulled: "Homosexual practices are abnormal because they violate that nature." Here are more quotes by you in that same article, apparently from your book:

 

... even when AIDS was not a factor, gay men had a significantly shorter lifespan than married heterosexual men - shorter by about three decades! ... anal sex typically causes damage ... resulting in, "acute rectal trauma, rectal incontinence, and anal cancer.... Infections such as hepatitis B, shigellosis, and Giadia lamblia infections are much more common in homosexual males.

[...]

Another study found bacterial vaginosis occurring in 33% of lesbians but only in 13% of heterosexual women, and found that: "Cervical cytology abnormalities were uncommon but only found in the lesbians.

And then:

Of course my whole point is that homosexuality, itself, is a psychological dysfunction.

 

 

You've been dishonest.

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I said explicitly that I had nothing to say about homosexuality.

I took it that your reason to post is to establish 1) that sexuality is some degree a choice, which would lead to 2) homosexuality is an unfortunate choice that is nonetheless immoral. For the record, I agree with you about 1 and not 2, but 2 seems to be what you were trying to demonstrate without saying it. I take it that you would say masculinity or femininity would reflect essential traits of gender which correspond with "proper" sexuality.

Edited by Eiuol

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"[a man's] emotions are not his enemies, they are his means of enjoying life. But they are not his guide; the guide is his mind. This relationship cannot be reversed, however. If a man takes his emotions as the cause and his mind as their passive effect, if he is guided by his emotions and uses his mind only to rationalize or justify them somehow... he is condemning himself to misery, failure, defeat, and he will achieve nothing but destruction—his own and that of others."

 

Ayn Rand, "Playboy's interview with Ayn Rand," pamphlet, page 6.

That glove fits your rationalization of your anti-gay emotions.

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Mr. Firehammer -

 

Is that a picture of Socrates?  In light of what you have to say about homosexuality I wouldn't expect you to use a dirty old pederast to present yourself to us.

I have no idea who the image is supposed to be. I didn't choose it.

 

I admit I'm old, but I do shower regularly. If I'm a pederast, are you judging me for that? Perhaps I am, but what would you care?

 

I don't care what  you are.

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