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2 hours ago, DonAthos said:

I don't mean to address, let alone take issue with, your entire thesis, but I wanted to comment on this part...

I think it's a mistake to expect that Objectivists will share the same sorts of interests. While I believe that there are some mistakes habitually made with respect to "enjoying oneself" (based on a widespread misreading/misunderstanding of "life as the standard of value"), which can potentially result in some of what you're talking about, even if we all shared the same understanding of the same fundamental standard, there would still be Objectivists who would be more or less into fitness, more or less into fashion, more or less into intellectual pursuits, etc. There would still be Objectivists that wouldn't "make sense" to you in that way (just as you would not make sense to others).

It's like: take architecture. Not really a big deal for me. Howard Roark and I may have some awkward moments at a cocktail party, searching for a topic of conversation. But that's okay: I respect his passion for that pursuit, even though I do not share it.

It's not a matter of liking health, it's a matter of it being an objective factor to your enjoyment of life. I cannot fathom how you can enjoy your life while eating yourself into obesity and thereby disease, ugliness and early death. It's not a matter of liking fashion, it's a matter of recognizing the objective reality that how you choose to present yourself in society has important and inescapable effects on your quality of life.

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6 hours ago, Nerian said:

It's not a matter of liking health, it's a matter of it being an objective factor to your enjoyment of life. I cannot fathom how you can enjoy your life while eating yourself into obesity and thereby disease, ugliness and early death. It's not a matter of liking fashion, it's a matter of recognizing the objective reality that how you choose to present yourself in society has important and inescapable effects on your quality of life.

If I were to take Peikoff literally in "Fact and Value," I'd say that everything is an objective factor to your enjoyment of life. Even if we consider that to be an overreach (or even a misinterpretation on my part), I think there's some sense to it. Everything is at least potentially an objective factor to your enjoyment of life, even those things you choose to take no notice of (and equally I mean you, personally; Nerian). Even those things of which you are utterly unaware.

Yet people are limited in many ways. We are limited in our time and money and energy, our awareness and capacity to focus, etc. The resource that Howard Roark spends on architecture is resource he does not have to spend on other things, including things that are also objective factors to his enjoyment of life, and possibly including things that have "important and inescapable effects" on his quality of life. People make choices in this regard, prioritizing one thing over another, and the calculus involved (to the chagrin of many Objectivists, for some reason) is deeply personal. (Sometimes Objectivists aggrieved by this notion will describe the result as "subjective," but I prefer "individual.")

The object of your criticism, in my opinion, are those who prioritize in different ways than you do (as against those who act out of ignorance, or knowingly against their own interests, e.g. altruistically). For after all, I'd guess that these Objectivists do not pay zero attention to health or fashion -- if that were literally true, they couldn't survive for long at all, given that human health requires constant maintenance... and then you would probably know them when they stepped out of the house, if they were naked, or wearing blankets, or what-not. Some thought is given to health, insofar some choices are being made for the purpose of longevity, or to avoid sickness, etc., and some thought is given to fashion, insofar some choices are being made as to dress, though perhaps not to the degree you would select for yourself in either area.

The stereotypical image for fashion in this regard, perhaps, is the "absent-minded professor" who cannot be bothered to match his socks, but there we can see the very thing I'm talking about: he is so focused, so absorbed in his pursuits and passions that he has nothing left for caring about what he has on his feet. (Or not quite "nothing," again, given that he has managed to put something on his feet, after all, and presumably for some purpose.) You may believe that he's making a bad choice, caring insufficiently about how he "presents himself in society" -- and maybe, if you could make the case to him, he'd even agree -- but I think it's just as likely, at the least, that he would dismiss you as not caring sufficiently for his work, or for wasting your own time on how you're dressed versus other, more important pursuits. ("More important" from his perspective, you understand.)

As for "eating oneself into obesity," it seems my destiny on this board to go to bat for the value of eating ice cream, and associated pleasures, time and again. (You and I have been involved in threads where I've already expressed some of this, I know, but here is a recent discussion touching on some of these issues.) While I wouldn't recommend "obesity," as such, it cannot be denied that there is some potential cost to a life of eating ice cream, or cheesecake, or etc. Are there people we would describe as "fat" or "obese" (which, I may be mistaken, but I believe is a medical term with objective criteria) who can lead happy, productive lives? As much as you may not be able to fathom such a thing, I think so.

At the same time, are there some results so dire and inimical to what we'd otherwise describe as "the good life" that, without knowing anything else, we may condemn them as evidence of immorality? Perhaps. The people who wind up the focus of documentaries about being 900 pounds, and unable to get out of bed, come to mind. But short of that kind of extremity, I think it's unjust and dangerous to judge the choices of others sans their personal context, especially along the sorts of lines you've suggested: those insufficiently fashion-minded, etc. That isn't judgment so much as it is judgmentalism.

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MisterSwig, isn’t it incomplete to think of the biological standard to be only health over sickness and not also reproduction of the species over its demise with the present generation? I’m serious on that. As far as basics of humans goes, isn’t reproduction (and nurturing children) part of them?

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On 12/29/2017 at 11:22 AM, DonAthos said:

As for "eating oneself into obesity," it seems my destiny on this board to go to bat for the value of eating ice cream, and associated pleasures, time and again. (You and I have been involved in threads where I've already expressed some of this, I know, but here is a recent discussion touching on some of these issues.) While I wouldn't recommend "obesity," as such, it cannot be denied that there is some potential cost to a life of eating ice cream, or cheesecake, or etc. Are there people we would describe as "fat" or "obese" (which, I may be mistaken, but I believe is a medical term with objective criteria) who can lead happy, productive lives? As much as you may not be able to fathom such a thing, I think so.

At the same time, are there some results so dire and inimical to what we'd otherwise describe as "the good life" that, without knowing anything else, we may condemn them as evidence of immorality? Perhaps. The people who wind up the focus of documentaries about being 900 pounds, and unable to get out of bed, come to mind. But short of that kind of extremity, I think it's unjust and dangerous to judge the choices of others sans their personal context, especially along the sorts of lines you've suggested: those insufficiently fashion-minded, etc. That isn't judgment so much as it is judgmentalism.

Happy, productive--but rational?

Edited by KorbenDallas

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27 minutes ago, KorbenDallas said:

Happy, productive--but rational?

Yes -- fat people can be happy, productive and rational. (For that matter, a happy, productive life is not often stumbled into by whim, or on accident...) And the larger point is that, in prioritizing values according to individual interests and context (including time spent exercising, for instance), we should not expect rational people to value the same things, or even where commonalities exist, not necessarily to the same degree.

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1 hour ago, DonAthos said:

Yes -- fat people can be happy, productive and rational. (For that matter, a happy, productive life is not often stumbled into by whim, or on accident...) And the larger point is that, in prioritizing values according to individual interests and context (including time spent exercising, for instance), we should not expect rational people to value the same things, or even where commonalities exist, not necessarily to the same degree.

Sure, rational in some areas then and perhaps not others, their body health.  Later in life you're mind might be healthy but your body won't, so you'll be introducing a mind/body dichotomy, whereas if you thought it through you could have taken care of your body now, and not had problems later.  There is a mountain of facts out there to show that people who are overweight or obese are more likely to have health problems earlier in life than someone who took care of themselves, and those who have health problems earlier in life shorten their lifespan.  So if someone is an athiest they recognize that this life is the only one they have, why would they shorten their life when there is a mountain of facts out there?  Evasion?  A choice?

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19 minutes ago, KorbenDallas said:

Sure, rational in some areas then and perhaps not others, their body health.  Later in life you're mind might be healthy but your body won't, so you'll be introducing a mind/body dichotomy...

Ill-health is not the "introduction of a mind/body dichotomy."

19 minutes ago, KorbenDallas said:

...whereas if you thought it through you could have taken care of your body now, and not had problems later.  There is a mountain of facts out there to show that people who are overweight or obese are more likely to have health problems earlier in life than someone who took care of themselves, and those who have health problems earlier in life shorten their lifespan.  So if someone is an athiest they recognize that this life is the only one they have, why would they shorten their life when there is a mountain of facts out there?  Evasion?  A choice?

It could be evasion, which is not recommended.

It could also be a choice -- to shorten one's lifespan (or to risk such a shortening, at the very least) for the gain of values along the way. I'm not going to argue the morality of such a choice here and now, but I've argued it elsewhere, many times, including the thread I'd already linked in an earlier post. Suffice it to say that some people are willing to experience a shorter life, if, in their opinion, it is a richer/better life. Whatever sort of choice that is, and whether you agree or disagree with it, it is not evasion.

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1 hour ago, DonAthos said:

Ill-health is not the "introduction of a mind/body dichotomy."

"Ill-health" is more generally stated than what I said.  I stated ill-health due to bad lifestyle choices.

1 hour ago, DonAthos said:

It could be evasion, which is not recommended.

It could also be a choice -- to shorten one's lifespan (or to risk such a shortening, at the very least) for the gain of values along the way. I'm not going to argue the morality of such a choice here and now, but I've argued it elsewhere, many times, including the thread I'd already linked in an earlier post. Suffice it to say that some people are willing to experience a shorter life, if, in their opinion, it is a richer/better life. Whatever sort of choice that is, and whether you agree or disagree with it, it is not evasion.

This is well said.  I could say more on the topic, but we can agree to disagree, I have no problem with that.  I think I found a post closest to our discussion:

 

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On 12/30/2017 at 8:36 AM, Boydstun said:

MisterSwig, isn’t it incomplete to think of the biological standard to be only health over sickness and not also reproduction of the species over its demise with the present generation? I’m serious on that. As far as basics of humans goes, isn’t reproduction (and nurturing children) part of them?

How would you incorporate reproduction into the biological standard for an individual human being? My life does not require children of my own. Human society requires reproduction, but that would be a collective standard, right?

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On 12/28/2017 at 9:06 AM, Nerian said:

I always identified those three aspects of man you mentioned a bit different. I identified them as spiritual, mental and physical. Spiritual (pleasure/happiness/joy), mental (mental health, character, mindsets, knowledge, skills), physical (corporeal health, fitness)

I believe joy is the emotional reward for achieving or maintaining a certain moral standard, and pleasure is the bodily sensation experienced through certain physical actions like eating, drinking, stretching, washing, grooming, hugging and copulating. So, I'm not sure what you mean by the "spiritual" aspect. Spiritual, for me, basically means the same thing as the Mental aspect, since I'm not religious.

Other than that I think we agree on much of the rest, though I would categorize corporeal health with the Biological aspect. Biological relates to our nature as a living organism, whereas Physical relates to our nature as a material organism.

As a thing of matter, I must satisfy the needs of my body. I must make sure I gain values that help my body exist in a proper state. Nature helps me by making it pleasurable to gain certain things I need to avoid a state of intolerable pain.

Regarding the Biological, as a living thing, I must satisfy the needs of my life process. The distinction between body and life is essentially the distinction between identity applied to physical things and identity applied to the actions of physical things. In order to act, I must gain values that keep me strong enough to act physically. Without health, I will be too weak to sustain the activity necessary for my life to continue.

So my physical nature has two basic aspects: the fact that I am made of matter (the Physical), and the fact that I am made of matter that moves itself (the Biological). Both aspects must have a standard, but those standards should be unified in their ultimate purpose. Pleasure should be healthy, and health should be pleasurable, which leads to an integrated healthy, pleasurable life.

Of course there is also the Mental aspect, which needs to be integrated, but I think we basically agree on that one, so I won't go into it now.

Edited by MisterSwig

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MiSw, one’s life required that one have parents and adults who nurtured one. It required that others became parents and nurtured in order for one now to have potential producers with whom to trade or to be friends or lovers. That an enormous population will be sustained without one’s participation in reproduction and raising children is a highly secure proposition. Some have thought, however, that just as we have a psychological need and rewards for making things, arising from our human way of survival, we have also a psychological need and rewards for participating in generating and nurturing children, arising also from our biological nature.

By the time I finished high school, I knew that I did not want to have children. (I did not yet know I was gay or anyway that I had that potential.) I wanted to devote myself to my brain-children. And of course plenty of others were taking care of making and nurturing babies. However, I do have a concern and hope for the continuation of human kind beyond me and all my loved ones. Perhaps that is an outgrowth of biological constitution. It is a personal, individual concern, although clearly others share it, forming altogether a collective aim. Although, different people assess differently what are the threats to human continuation out beyond say the grandchildren-generation. So you find me stressing we do all we can against nuclear-weapons proliferation, but others would stress our actions for those future generations against other perceived threats.

I did end up with a family after all, as in 1996 I met my present husband and became part of his family. He had two sons and soon a grandson. It has been a marvelous thing about our life together.

A view contrasting yours and Rand’s concerning the nature of life and human life, with implications for right morality (from an old paper of mine):

~~~~

For Guyau the deepest laws of life are that it is nutritive and self-preservative and that it is fecundity (S 70, 75, 79, 209–10). Beyond nutrition and appropriation necessary for self-maintenance, there may accumulate superabundance capable of the expansion of life that is reproduction. This is a good for humans, as it is for all other life forms. Generation is an elevated intensity of life. Without sexual reproduction, the good that is man, with family and society, would not exist (82–83). “Individual life is expansive for others because it is fruitful, and it is fruitful by the very reason that it is life” (209–10).

[S – A Sketch of Morality without Obligation or Sanction – Jean Guyau 1885]

~~~~

Guyau 1

Guyau 2 (Scroll down past References to the Appendix)

Edited by Boydstun

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6 hours ago, Boydstun said:

However, I do have a concern and hope for the continuation of human kind beyond me and all my loved ones. Perhaps that is an outgrowth of biological constitution. It is a personal, individual concern, although clearly others share it, forming altogether a collective aim.

I understand caring about the continuation of loved ones after you die, but not all of human kind. There are some pretty bad, disgusting human beings in the world. Some countries are full of them. I would be happy if they fell over dead tomorrow. Concern for loved ones in particular, however, is different than concern for humanity in general. Loved ones represents specific individuals that you have evaluated as worthy of your love. Humanity represents a mix of people that you love, people that you hate, and people that you've never met. It's the difference between treating life individually, as it actually exists, or treating life collectively, as it exists only in your mind.

7 hours ago, Boydstun said:

Beyond nutrition and appropriation necessary for self-maintenance, there may accumulate superabundance capable of the expansion of life that is reproduction. This is a good for humans, as it is for all other life forms. Generation is an elevated intensity of life. Without sexual reproduction, the good that is man, with family and society, would not exist (82–83).

Here I think life is being treated as intrinsically good: more life equals more good. But what if your society is full of people who want to throw your family into ghettos and gas chambers? Does more of their life equal more good for you? Life must be evaluated on an individual basis. Some people are good, and some people are evil. If society in general is evil, like in Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, or in Rand's novella Anthem, it might be preferable to run away into self-exile or flee to a better society. But society qua society is not good or bad. A society is good or bad because it contains generally good or bad individuals.

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On 12/29/2017 at 1:53 AM, Nerian said:

It's not a matter of liking health, it's a matter of it being an objective factor to your enjoyment of life. I cannot fathom how you can enjoy your life while eating yourself into obesity and thereby disease, ugliness and early death. It's not a matter of liking fashion, it's a matter of recognizing the objective reality that how you choose to present yourself in society has important and inescapable effects on your quality of life.

Good point, but where does "liking" fit it? I see no way around "liking". If "an objective factor" is to guide your life, then you "like"  an objective factor guiding your life, or you would not be pursuing it.

Instead of "liking", the word "attracted" is less subjective.

Also, the problem of obesity is not a problem of "eating", or attraction to ice cream. It is a problem of not knowing what is enough.
 

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On 1/3/2018 at 5:03 PM, Easy Truth said:

Good point, but where does "liking" fit it? I see no way around "liking". If "an objective factor" is to guide your life, then you "like"  an objective factor guiding your life, or you would not be pursuing it.

Instead of "liking", the word "attracted" is less subjective.

Also, the problem of obesity is not a problem of "eating", or attraction to ice cream. It is a problem of not knowing what is enough.
 

I think everyone knows what is enough. It's really a problem of not caring.

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1 hour ago, Nerian said:

I think everyone knows what is enough. It's really a problem of not caring.

True (philosophically speaking), but (psychologically) the way that one does not care is by not "knowing" the higher value of an alternative. This is a psychological perspective in that consciousness has different levels. In Philosophy you either know or don't, you are "conscious of" or you are NOT "conscious of". In psychology, you have a continuum of consciousness, from "sort of" knowing to "fully knowing". As in sleeping (unconscious) to fully awake.

When an alcoholic takes the first drink, he loses the ability to know what is enough. A non-alcoholic "knows".

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