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Akilah

Health & Evasion.

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Now, it is true - when objectively assessed - that health is a value - and that, physical beauty is thus a manifestation of health; i.e, there exists no physical beauty apart from health; that gross error would be a stolen concept. And so, when observing the common intellectuals of objectivism (I am an objectivist) such as Brook, Peikoff, Ghate, Binswanger, and perhaps Rand herself - there appears to be a complete absence of this consideration (an objective value); one can merely glimpse at the physical disposition of these men (and Rand) and observe their *seeming* carelessness about health (and consequent, beauty). Is this just some gross evasion shared among them - or, are they simply unaware?  

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What makes you think physical beauty is the manifestation of health? I mean, we could say generally beautiful people are healthy, but this doesn't mean all healthy people are beautiful. Say, certain nose shapes are more beautiful than others, but eating better or working out or all sorts of other things won't affect that. On the other hand, drug use has detrimental effects on health, which often manifests in ugliness. 

Rand probably isn't the best choice for comparison here, because she used amphetamines for a while, which are bad for your health pretty much in every way. Still lack of beauty doesn't have to reflect a carelessness about health, as perhaps they might even have a health disorder of some kind. I don't know the health history of the people you mentioned. But there are plenty of intellectuals throughout history even who went into intellectual fields because they were unhealthy from no fault of their own. For instance, Nietzsche had numerous physical health problems that were no fault of his own, and he was a person who admired physical beauty in people, and acknowledged his lack of it.

Health seems inessential. It's a factor, but not very important when we measure if someone is beautiful. I mean, bad health can screw with your body and therefore your looks. Except, the reason people are beautiful or not is their aesthetic traits. If being healthy meant being beautiful, we would use the same word and concept.

Edited by Eiuol

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16 hours ago, Akilah said:

Now, it is true - when objectively assessed - that health is a value - and that, physical beauty is thus a manifestation of health; i.e, there exists no physical beauty apart from health; that gross error would be a stolen concept. And so, when observing the common intellectuals of objectivism (I am an objectivist) such as Brook, Peikoff, Ghate, Binswanger, and perhaps Rand herself - there appears to be a complete absence of this consideration (an objective value); one can merely glimpse at the physical disposition of these men (and Rand) and observe their *seeming* carelessness about health (and consequent, beauty). Is this just some gross evasion shared among them - or, are they simply unaware?  

I'm sure there's a connection between health and human beauty. That being said, do you believe that we can tell a person's health (or their concern for their own health) from the way they appear, or their beauty? And do you believe that health is the only source of human beauty?

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18 hours ago, Akilah said:

Now, it is true - when objectively assessed - that health is a value - and that, physical beauty is thus a manifestation of health; i.e, there exists no physical beauty apart from health; that gross error would be a stolen concept. And so, when observing the common intellectuals of objectivism (I am an objectivist) such as Brook, Peikoff, Ghate, Binswanger, and perhaps Rand herself - there appears to be a complete absence of this consideration (an objective value); one can merely glimpse at the physical disposition of these men (and Rand) and observe their *seeming* carelessness about health (and consequent, beauty). 

The bolded part is overall false, although often true in practice. Beauty involves symmetry for the most part. A beautiful woman born with diabetes, for instance, would still be a beautiful woman especially in her relative youth.

As to the second part, I don't understand. Are you saying all these people are ugly, and this is somehow self-caused (overweight?)? I've never even thought of judging any of these people on the "beauty scale" fwiw, except Rand who I agree wasn't physically beautiful imo.

Edited by EC

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2 hours ago, DonAthos said:

I'm sure there's a connection between health and human beauty. That being said, do you believe that we can tell a person's health (or their concern for their own health) from the way they appear, or their beauty? And do you believe that health is the only source of human beauty?

Yes, and yes.

59 minutes ago, EC said:

The bolded part is overall false, although often true in practice. Beauty involves symmetry for the most part. A beautiful woman born with diabetes, for instance, would still be a beautiful woman especially in her relative youth.

As to the second part, I don't understand. Are you saying all these people are ugly, and this is somehow self-caused (overweight?)? I've never even thought of judging any of these people on the "beauty scale" fwiw, except Rand who I agree wasn't physically beautiful imo.

Someone who is not healthy cannot be beautiful (a contradiction in terms) - I use 'health' as defined by, the proper biological (physical) functioning of man; thus, human beauty as, the proper physical appearance of man. 

Beauty being a subset of aesthetics; i.e, a depiction of man in his proper metaphysical state (which is thus genetically dependent upon his proper biological functioning). To set beauty against health - or the reverse - is a logical error (an error in judgement; which could have serious anti-life consequences); as, there is no proper physical appearance of man if he has no proper biological functioning. 

This error can be seen in common hip-hop-rap female artists (think Minaj) who inject themselves with all kinds of synthetics and plastics at which a large portion of men then judge that as "beauty" - which it is not; its a perversion in judgement. Beauty is objective. 

I agree with Aristotle's definition of beauty (symmetry, definiteness, and proportion) as those are the precise characteristics which indicate proper biological health - forming a kind of harmony between the two. 

I must stress however, that, there is a distinction between beauty as applied to living systems as opposed to nonliving physical concretes; as, the standard of biological beauty is the proper functioning of that living system. Whereas with physical concretes, this cannot be so. 

(To say, as applied to a random sample, "she is beautiful" while she is obese, living with atherosclerosis, and has a disfigured face, perhaps, from a car accident is to err in judgement). 

Edited by Akilah

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So a woman (or a man too, I guess) can not be beautiful if she was born with something like diabetes or sickle-cell anemia, etc? This may a subject we will have to disagree on, although I think you are trying to apply a principle too wide.

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20 minutes ago, Akilah said:

Beauty being a subset of aesthetics; i.e, a depiction of man in his proper metaphysical state (which is thus genetically dependent upon his proper biological functioning). 

This is fine, or at least defensible. But it overgeneralizes since sometimes health issues have no visible physical effects or manifestations (especially psychological issues).

What does this have to do with evasion? It sounded like you were saying lack of beauty is a moral failure.

Edited by Eiuol

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1 minute ago, Eiuol said:

This is fine, or at least defensible. What does this have to do with evasion? It sounded like you were saying lack of beauty is a moral failure.

I am pretty there is some rational explanation for their lack of interest in health -I've read OPAR about 3 times now and cannot recall any discussions on physical health. It just seems there is a disregard for physical health and beauty among popular objectivists. 

And, lack of health is an evasion (to the extent that one knows, and is trying to know) - with the exception of certain genetic-dependent diseases. My primary concern is if I am thinking about health incorrectly - I see it as one of the highest values (up there with reason, purpose, and self-esteem) - thus the reason for popular objectivists lack of concern with the matter (or perhaps I just don't know). 

It reminds me of those ivory tower intellectuals who regard their abstractions as far more important than any application of those abstractions (which Peikoff devotes a whole section to in OPAR) and thus disregard their health and beauty. It parallels the man who eloquently speaks of great plans and endeavors to supreme virtue; but, then never accomplishes his tasks - there exists a kind of disconnect. 

25 minutes ago, EC said:

So a woman (or a man too, I guess) can not be beautiful if she was born with something like diabetes or sickle-cell anemia, etc? This may a subject we will have to disagree on, although I think you are trying to apply a principle too wide.

Well, no - beauty and health are measured in degrees; someone with sickle-celled anemia resulting in yellow eyes and so on is not as beautiful.., etc. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Akilah said:

I am pretty there is some rational explanation for their lack of interest in health -I've read OPAR about 3 times now and cannot recall any discussions on physical health. It just seems there is a disregard for physical health and beauty among popular objectivists. 

There's no mention of baseball either. Doesn't mean they don't care about it, it just means it's not relevant, beyond the painfully obvious: a rationally selfish person should take care of their health.

19 hours ago, Akilah said:

And so, when observing the common intellectuals of objectivism (I am an objectivist) such as Brook, Peikoff, Ghate, Binswanger, and perhaps Rand herself - there appears to be a complete absence of this consideration (an objective value)

Rand smoked, and her body type didn't really allow her to appear thin, but she was not obese either. Clearly she paid attention to her diet. I would write off the smoking to the Oist tendency to be skeptical of popular and government advice...because such advice is usually wrong. So it took her longer to buy into it than most.

And her husband was thin through his life. So are all the men you mentioned. I doubt that's just by coincidence. No indication that they drink to excess or smoke, either. Clearly, they value their health more than the average North American.

I know most about Peikoff's habits, because I listened to his podcast. He is very careful to maintain his weight, at all times, and has been for decades. But he does so without the "nihilistic" approach of denying himself food he craves. He just has less of it, or switches off fattening foods for a few weeks, when he notices any weight gain.

P.S. But by all means, e-mail prominent Objectivists and ask. You'll probably get an answer from some of them. Or show up to an even they're speaking at, and ask. I'm sure you'll get the same answer back: health is obviously a value, and we should take care of our bodies.

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4 minutes ago, Nicky said:

There's no mention of baseball either. Doesn't mean they don't care about it, it just means it's not relevant, beyond the painfully obvious: a rationally selfish person should take care of their health.

Rand smoked, and her body type didn't really allow her to appear thin, but she was not obese either. Clearly she paid attention to her diet. I would write off the smoking to the Oist tendency to be skeptical of popular and government advice...because such advice is usually wrong. So it took her longer to buy into it than most.

And her husband was thin through his life. So are all the men you mentioned. I doubt that's just by coincidence. No indication that they drink to excess or smoke, either. Clearly, they value their health more than the average North American.

I know most about Peikoff's habits, because I listened to his podcast. He is very careful to maintain his weight, at all times, and has been for decades. But he does so without the "nihilistic" approach of denying himself food he craves. He just has less of it, or switches off fattening foods for a few weeks, when he notices any weight gain.

P.S. But by all means, e-mail prominent Objectivists and ask. You'll probably get an answer from some of them. Or show up to an even they're speaking at, and ask. I'm sure you'll get the same answer back: health is obviously a value, and we should take care of our bodies.

"There's no mention of baseball either. Doesn't mean they don't care about it, it just means it's not relevant, beyond the painfully obvious: a rationally selfish person should take care of their health". 

Thanks, that clears it up. 

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1 hour ago, Akilah said:

It just seems there is a disregard for physical health and beauty among popular objectivists. 

Maybe they don't care enough about health, and maybe they do evade the importance. I don't know, and I'm not that interested. Health does matter, I agree with you there. I'm not arguing that lack of health is an evasion, I'm saying that lack of beauty is not necessarily an evasion.

But what does this have to do with being beautiful and evasion? You're trying to say something about them not being beautiful, as if it is a moral failure on their part. A lot of the time health has nothing to do with what you do, it's not actually rare to have a genetic disease because there are so many. Forget disorders even, a beautiful nose is genetic. You could talk about fashion and makeup in order to look more beautiful, but those don't have to do with health. 

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8 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Maybe they don't care enough about health, and maybe they do evade the importance. I don't know, and I'm not that interested. Health does matter, I agree with you there. I'm not arguing that lack of health is an evasion, I'm saying that lack of beauty is not necessarily an evasion.

But what does this have to do with being beautiful and evasion? You're trying to say something about them not being beautiful, as if it is a moral failure on their part. A lot of the time health has nothing to do with what you do, it's not actually rare to have a genetic disease because there are so many. Forget disorders even, a beautiful nose is genetic. You could talk about fashion and makeup in order to look more beautiful, but those don't have to do with health. 

No, the problem is within treating 'genetic' disease as self-evident (the immutable given) - i.e, unfortunate, distasteful events which Man cannot reverse with the use of his mind; that is, not thinking, limited to the concrete and specific. There is a cause of disease, just as there is a cause of a man's choice to eat junk food or refuse to study philosophy. 

It likens to the common view of life and ageing (or senescence) - the unstated and uninvestigated premise (unthinking) that ageing is the given, immutable, unchangeable fact of life; "Man is doomed to age, wither, acquire cancer, and succumb to his genetic defects of which we call ageing, its just what it is".  Instead of investigating the cause of senescence to which a man then may grant himself a state of biological non-senescence, non-aging, infinite youth (and if it is, in fact, genetic, the next step is then to particularize in the cause even further; "what genes, or what methylation processes cause this".., etc. 

Or more commonly, the notion that an individuals intelligence is 'genetic' hence immutable (why? blank out) - this same argument is then thus applied to the overweight and obese, "Its just the way it is, my hormones, my inexplicable desires and emotions, those damn thyroids, my genetics, I cant help it". Again, it is treating the concrete and specific as the self-evident and the given. 

But, again, morality is absolute, only contextually; so, I would say that, to the extent that one knows a certain action or blemish is in opposition to his beauty  (or any other value, as judged after the complex process of assessing all of ones objective values in their respective hierarchy) and continues to pursue that action (say, eating doughnuts, candy, not studying philosophy or going to the gym) constitutes and overt evasion. 

In the case of an ugly nose - I would ask, "why is it ugly?". As, the beauty of a nose is defined contextually on a persons face (another persons nose is unlikely to be beautiful on me); is it ugly because I have gained too much fat on my face? Or is it ugly because of a genetic defect of which I have identified which results in the size of my nose being far out of proportion in regards to the size of my face? And so on. If one knows the former (and is trying to know) and continues to over-eat, then he is evading.  

I just find It peculiar to observe a host of intellectuals and not one of them seem concerned with health and beauty - perhaps they are, and I just don't know. That is all. 

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9 hours ago, Akilah said:

But, again, morality is absolute, only contextually; so, I would say that, to the extent that one knows a certain action or blemish is in opposition to his beauty  (or any other value, as judged after the complex process of assessing all of ones objective values in their respective hierarchy) and continues to pursue that action (say, eating doughnuts, candy, not studying philosophy or going to the gym) constitutes and overt evasion.

Akilah, there's a lot you've said that's perhaps worth discussing here -- many issues that have been raised, or at least touched upon -- but I'd like initially to consider the above.

Leaving out the asides and preamble, we have "to the extent that one knows a certain action or blemish is in opposition to his beauty and continues to pursue that action constitutes overt evasion."

But in your preamble, you've observed that morality is contextual; and in an aside, depending on a "complex process of assessing all of one's objective values in their respective hierarchy." So is it not possible that different people place different weight on issues concerning their "beauty" (i.e. that beauty is a greater value to some, a lesser value to others) -- in reason?

The thread generally tries to link such "beauty" to "health," which I would grant is often a fairly important value for rational people (though even this is not context-free; not "universal"), but when we also mean to include such things as an "ugly nose," I'm not certain we're truly discussing "health" any longer.

9 hours ago, Akilah said:

I just find It peculiar to observe a host of intellectuals and not one of them seem concerned with health and beauty - perhaps they are, and I just don't know. That is all. 

May I ask? Why do you believe that Yaron Brook, for instance (as his is one of the names you've mentioned, I believe) is unconcerned with health and beauty? If you're referring to his appearance, what specifically is it about his appearance that leads you to your conclusion about his underlying values, or his rationality?

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19 hours ago, Akilah said:

is it ugly because I have gained too much fat on my face? Or is it ugly because of a genetic defect of which I have identified which results in the size of my nose being far out of proportion in regards to the size of my face?

Great, but sometimes a nose just doesn't match and will never match the face it is on, except with plastic surgery (which sometimes makes it worse). I think you overestimate how much of beauty is in individual control. At least, until we master gene editing.

You can show some examples if you want, it probably would make discussion easier.

Edited by Eiuol

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.

Akilah,

The tale of Beauty and the Beast or Victor Hugo’s novel The Laughing Man or the play Cyrano de Bergerac dramatize in extreme form something pervasive in real life: It is inner life, one’s soul, and inner health with its inner beauty that is the realm of moral character. That character is displayed in real life in outer life behaviors, not in outer beauty. Don’t judge people such as the four real men you mentioned to be “seemingly” lacking in concern with or effort for their health because they appear not beautiful to you. That is not sound and would be a disastrous way to proceed with your life in the social world.

If you have issues against Rand’s philosophy, go right to those, and state them directly. Don’t settle for glancing blows against the philosophy by attacking its exponents personally. That is junk. Attack the philosophy position-by-position head on. (Even if you agree with points in the philosophy, consider what arguments and evidence can be mustered against them and what you think about those counters specifically. This is philosophic understanding.) Think about the philosophy itself, and give your objections and counter-reasoning. That is the stuff worthy of smart heads.

Some examples:

Rand held that the only way of winning knowledge was by rational processes. True or false? What can be said against this view? Not against the person holding the view, but the view itself.

Rand held that every individual and their life is an end in itself. True or false? . . .

Rand held that the purpose of morality is simply to help one live and enjoy oneself. True or false? . . .

Rand held that the justification of a national defense is the protection of individual rights. Really? . . .

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11 hours ago, Boydstun said:

The tale of Beauty and the Beast

Okay, but let's note that even this highly unusual fairy tale isn't about two beasts being drawn to each other's inner beauty. It's about a physically beautiful woman being drawn to a behaviorally beautiful man...which is very different from the notion that "inner beauty is all that matters".

 

Edited by Nicky

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Beauty is something you were born with; it can be somewhat enhanced or reduced based on health, but, in general it's something that just metaphysically is. Therefore, for the most part, it's irrelevant when it comes to ethics, except maybe at the extremes, i.e., massively overeating, etc.

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