Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum
Sign in to follow this  
CuriousDude

I am a bit confused...

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

I would like to start by saying forgive my ignorance. I did not come here to fight. I am asking this question because I am sincerely curious.

I am Greek and I really like my culture. I like my traditions and I view myself as a 'continuation' of a history. I believe in moral values and I have a wish to make my family proud. I am not racist or a nationalist and I do not believe that Greeks are better than others.

I simply find that the cultural identity of a person works against a post-modernist society and nihilism. 

Is that wrong? Is it wrong to like your country, your culture, your heritage and to believe in honor and pride?

Edited by CuriousDude

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In Socratic fashion, in order to know how to normatively apply a concept, we have to know what your definition and meaning of those terms are. Socrates, being accused of impiety, asks Euthyphro "What is piety?" To which he responds (summarizing here), "That which pleases the gods," Socrates responds, "The gods disagree..." To which Euthyphro responds "That which pleases all the gods..." Socrates then says well that doesn't tell us what it is, and then gets some basic definition to work from.

Rand has this idea of hierarchy and context, that you start off with a paradigmatic case and then develop a meaning based off that, then you obserbve other problematic cases or integrate it with your other beliefs, then you go backwards and refine it as needed. Again, summarizing here.

So what facts of reality gives rise to the need for these concepts, what knowledge is already presumed by the time you get "honor," "pride," "traditions," and "cultural identity," and what context are you attending to when you apply it in the propositions like "I'm proud of my cultural identity." So we can start off with some initial meaning and then refine it from there.

My initial thoughts are that honor and pride are proper virtues when applied to individualistic human flourishing, and not the nation-state as a whole. I think one can be proud of, or take pride in one's cultural identity insofar as that identity promotes the proper values that one has formed, in the general sense of "I'm glad we're doing this right," or "our polis (so to speak) is right for living in reality and functioning properly. This is good that it exists, and I am in it, as opposed to a different city." 

The honorable man then, is one that defends his city, but only insofar as it is right and promotes human flourishing. To the extent it doesn't, I would be inclined to say the honorable man is the critic, the reformer, the protestor. 

In the same way, I think there's invalid uses of this concept. If you're on a baseball team and the other members of the team make skilled plays that facilitate winning, you'd be "proud of them" in some sense. But you're not going to say something like "we have the same color jersey on, therefore I get credit for his good plays." It doesn't make sense to claim "pride for x" when you didn't contribute to or aren't a part of x, or on the basis of some nonessential, like "he is virtuous, he is tall, I am tall, therefore I am virtuous." Likewise, just simply being born in one human community versus another isn't a source of honor or pride, since they'd have to be achieved by your own character development and discipline.

Edited by 2046

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, 2046 said:

In Socratic fashion, in order to know how to normatively apply a concept, we have to know what your definition and meaning of those terms are. Socrates, being accused of impiety, asks Euthyphro "What is piety?" To which he responds (summarizing here), "That which pleases the gods," Socrates responds, "The gods disagree..." To which Euthyphro responds "That which pleases all the gods..." Socrates then says well that doesn't tell us what it is, and then gets some basic definition to work from.

Rand has this idea of hierarchy and context, that you start off with a paradigmatic case and then develop a meaning based off that, then you obserbve other problematic cases or integrate it with your other beliefs, then you go backwards and refine it as needed. Again, summarizing here.

So what facts of reality gives rise to the need for these concepts, what knowledge is already presumed by the time you get "honor," "pride," "traditions," and "cultural identity," and what context are you attending to when you apply it in the propositions like "I'm proud of my cultural identity." So we can start off with some initial meaning and then refine it from there.

My initial thoughts are that honor and pride are proper virtues when applied to individualistic human flourishing, and not the nation-state as a whole. I think one can be proud of, or take pride in one's cultural identity insofar as that identity promotes the proper values that one has formed, in the general sense of "I'm glad we're doing this right," or "our polis (so to speak) is right for living in reality and functioning properly. This is good that it exists, and I am in it, as opposed to a different city." 

The honorable man then, is one that defends his city, but only insofar as it is right and promotes human flourishing. To the extent it doesn't, I would be inclined to say the honorable man is the critic, the reformer, the protestor. 

In the same way, I think there's invalid uses of this concept. If you're on a baseball team and the other members of the team make skilled plays that facilitate winning, you'd be "proud of them" in some sense. But you're not going to say something like "we have the same color jersey on, therefore I get credit for his good plays." It doesn't make sense to claim "pride for x" when you didn't contribute to or aren't a part of x, or on the basis of some nonessential, like "he is virtuous, he is tall, I am tall, therefore I am virtuous." Likewise, just simply being born in one human community versus another isn't a source of honor or pride, since they'd have to be achieved by your own character development and discipline.

I believe I understand what you mean and I agree with you. Thank you for taking the time to write such a long post. 

Edited by CuriousDude

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, 2046 said:

In Socratic fashion, in order to know how to normatively apply a concept, we have to know what your definition and meaning of those terms are. Socrates, being accused of impiety, asks Euthyphro "What is piety?" To which he responds (summarizing here), "That which pleases the gods," Socrates responds, "The gods disagree..." To which Euthyphro responds "That which pleases all the gods..." Socrates then says well that doesn't tell us what it is, and then gets some basic definition to work from.

Rand has this idea of hierarchy and context, that you start off with a paradigmatic case and then develop a meaning based off that, then you obserbve other problematic cases or integrate it with your other beliefs, then you go backwards and refine it as needed. Again, summarizing here.

So what facts of reality gives rise to the need for these concepts, what knowledge is already presumed by the time you get "honor," "pride," "traditions," and "cultural identity," and what context are you attending to when you apply it in the propositions like "I'm proud of my cultural identity." So we can start off with some initial meaning and then refine it from there.

My initial thoughts are that honor and pride are proper virtues when applied to individualistic human flourishing, and not the nation-state as a whole. I think one can be proud of, or take pride in one's cultural identity insofar as that identity promotes the proper values that one has formed, in the general sense of "I'm glad we're doing this right," or "our polis (so to speak) is right for living in reality and functioning properly. This is good that it exists, and I am in it, as opposed to a different city." 

The honorable man then, is one that defends his city, but only insofar as it is right and promotes human flourishing. To the extent it doesn't, I would be inclined to say the honorable man is the critic, the reformer, the protestor. 

In the same way, I think there's invalid uses of this concept. If you're on a baseball team and the other members of the team make skilled plays that facilitate winning, you'd be "proud of them" in some sense. But you're not going to say something like "we have the same color jersey on, therefore I get credit for his good plays." It doesn't make sense to claim "pride for x" when you didn't contribute to or aren't a part of x, or on the basis of some nonessential, like "he is virtuous, he is tall, I am tall, therefore I am virtuous." Likewise, just simply being born in one human community versus another isn't a source of honor or pride, since they'd have to be achieved by your own character development and discipline.

When I talk about cultural identity and pride I do not mean being proud of other people's achievements. I consider myself to be the continuation of a history and thus I want this part of history to be honourable. I want my father and grandfather to be proud me. I wish to study their teachings in order to find some truth in it. 

If we take for example the way of life or culture and the values that my great grandfather followed I am sure we can find a lot of truth in them. People of old were by no means stupid. They lived in harder situations and had experienced many things. 

I want to study my nation's history and culture to find out what worked and what didn't and thus probably predict where my country and where I am heading. 

Of course I am summarising as well. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, CuriousDude said:

When I talk about cultural identity and pride I do not mean being proud of other people's achievements. I consider myself to be the continuation of a history and thus I want this part of history to be honourable. I want my father and grandfather to be proud me. I wish to study their teachings in order to find some truth in it. 

If we take for example the way of life or culture and the values that my great grandfather followed I am sure we can find a lot of truth in them. People of old were by no means stupid. They lived in harder situations and had experienced many things. 

I want to study my nation's history and culture to find out what worked and what didn't and thus probably predict where my country and where I am heading. 

Of course I am summarising as well. 

As an amateur student of history, there are a great many achievements attributed to the Ancient Greeks, not least of which is the tradition of philosophical study. While we may give them credit as originals, the works of many of the best of those original philosophers may have need of revision. Use your own independent judgement as to the meaning of your elders advise. Without any knowledge of your goals, nor the influence your elders have on you, it would be difficult to say any more. I think 2046 stated it quite succinctly. I know from experience that family elders don't always dispense "wisdom" of any value; they might simply be parroting something told to them. And welcome to the forum.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Repairman said:

As an amateur student of history, there are a great many achievements attributed to the Ancient Greeks, not least of which is the tradition of philosophical study. While we may give them credit as originals, the works of many of the best of those original philosophers may have need of revision. Use your own independent judgement as to the meaning of your elders advise. Without any knowledge of your goals, nor the influence your elders have on you, it would be difficult to say any more. I think 2046 stated it quite succinctly. I know from experience that family elders don't always dispense "wisdom" of any value; they might simply be parroting something told to them. And welcome to the forum.

Thank you very much! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is fine to admire the achievements of various people. If they happen to be from your native country, that's fine too. It's also great to admire the achievements of people that you know personally.

But it's important to remember that this really has nothing to do with the history of your family. Whether someone is your grandfather doesn't matter, because birth family doesn't have any bearing on what makes someone admirable or not. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×