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Physical Attraction To The Opposite Sex

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I would be surprised indeed if she said that. I would believe that she was ttracted to him because of her immense amount of integration, not in spite of it. I doubt whatever statement she made on the subject has been interpreted correctly by you.

Roark's actions are also because of his integration, not in spite of it, Felipe. You missed something.

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The issue at hand is about the validity of projection. You claim it is mindless, I don't. Ayn Rand didn't either, else how could she fall in love at first site, or how could Roark, an Objectivist hero, have sex with someone who he had just met.

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DPW    4
I would be surprised indeed if she said that.  I would believe that she was ttracted to him because of her immense amount of integration, not in spite of it.  I doubt whatever statement she made on the subject has been interpreted correctly by you.

Tom, I'm astonished that you would suggest I have misinterpreted Rand's statements when you admit you don't know what statements I'm referring to. But then, I've been astonished by every statement you've made in this thread.

By the way, you still haven't addressed my point that we can obviously look at a room of strangers and distinguish the physically attractive from the physically unattractive, without knowing anything about their respective characters. To deny that this is possible is absurd. To ascribe it to a mind/body dichotomy is question begging (especially when you bear in mind that the person to whom you are ascribing that dichotomy is me).

Or to add still another example to our mix, what about Ayn Rand's comments regarding her own appearance? How could a moral hero be unhappy with her looks on your premise? (I'm not implying she was neurotic about it, only that by all accounts, she did not regard herself as physically beautiful.)

Or what about someone disfigured in an accident? Is he as physically attractive as before? Or has that accident altered his moral character?

What say you?

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The issue at hand is about the validity of projection.  You claim it is mindless, I don't.  Ayn Rand didn't either, else how could she fall in love at first site, or how could Roark, an Objectivist hero, have sex with someone who he had just met.

The question actually is when is projection acceptable?

If you project value-judgements and you can't explicitly tie those judgements to valid premises, then you have a problem. In other words, if you like long, blonde hair (or short, black hair, or whatever else) but you can't explain why and connect that value-judgement to reality, then to be rational you cannot act on it. You should instead introspect on it and tie it to reality before proceeding.

If on the other hand, you can, then and only then is at acceptable for you to act on that automatic, subconscious summation.

I realize that I am suggesting introspection on things which people generally hold as being somehow intrinsic or something they were born with -- that is the whole point. Tabula rasa means just that, and that means that every value-judgement you make can and should be explitized and validated against the rest of your knowledge.

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Tom, I'm astonished that you would suggest I have misinterpreted Rand's statements when you admit you don't know what statements I'm referring to.

What I expressed was doubt, and even used the word explicitly. I claim no certainty on that topic at this point.

By the way, you still haven't addressed my point that we can obviously look at a room of strangers and distinguish the physically attractive from the physically unattractive, without knowing anything about their respective characters.
Yes, I have. You just didn't catch it. If you are doing that, then you are using some value-judgements even if you don't know what they are or their nature. Clearly those value-judgements have little or nothing to do with character, do they?

To deny that this is possible is absurd.  To ascribe it to a mind/body dichotomy is question begging (especially when you bear in mind that the person to whom you are ascribing that dichotomy is me).

I don't deny it is possible, or even that it can be done properly. It can. But to do so without validating those value-judgements being used against reality is a form of whim-worship.

Or to add still another example to our mix, what about Ayn Rand's comments regarding her own appearance?  How could a moral hero be unhappy with her looks on your premise?  (I'm not implying she was neurotic about it, only that by all accounts, she did not regard herself as physically beautiful.)
I am unaware of Ayn Rand's comments regarding her own appearance, and cannot comment.

Or what about someone disfigured in an accident?  Is he as physically attractive

as before?  Or has that accident altered his moral character?

I would ask, why are we not talking about a normative case? And even in the emergent situation; how did he get into that accident? Obviously the accident doesn't alter his moral character, but it may alter my judgement of his moral character. If he's the sort of guy to get into disfiguring accidents through his own negligence, then "negligent" was his trait before the accident.

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I think that before this discussion can go on there has to be a general definition of terms. A definition for beauty is necessary or an explanation on whether beauty is subjective. In terms of people why can someone logically be attracted to a brunnette rather than a blonde? Wide spaced eyes or close together?

In regards to nature or a sunset -what makes these things beautiful? How does beauty translate to inanimate objects?

Edited by Myself

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The question actually is when is projection acceptable

If you project value-judgements and you can't explicitly tie those judgements to valid premises, then you have a problem. 

Well then, this would make Roark non-Objectivist, since he never "explicitly tied his projected value judgements" of Dominique to "valid premises" before sleeping with her, now did he.

And who here in this thread has advocated the idea of intrinsic value?

Just to clarify. I agree with Ayn Rand that beauty derives from harmony of constituent elements, not intrinsicism as you claim. This applies to non-man-made things, and can apply to isolated human characteristics. When, however, one judges a person as beautiful, one can easily validate ostensively that this judgement necessarily carries with it a projection. The question that seems to be intermixed with the issues above is "is it valid to act upon a projection?" You claim that no, it isn't, that a person must explicitly validate the premises, in the object of the projection, the projection is based upon. And like I said, this would then make Howard Roark mindless, since he never sat down with Dominique and discussed values and principles and such before sleeping with her.

What say you about Roark?

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I think that before this discussion can go on there has to be a general definition of terms. A definition for beauty is necessary or an explanation on whether beauty is subjective.

See the Ayn Rand quote I provided in an earlier post for a definition of beauty.

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See the Ayn Rand quote I provide in an earlier post where she defines beauty.

Then isn't the interpretation of "harmonious" pretty much up to the person evaluating it? What is a good definition of harmonious? Do things just "go together"? Or does it mean that the constituents complement each other by being similar? In that case would a cliff jutting out above the sea be harmonious? I would still find it beautiful. The AR definition is a little hazy.

Edited by Myself

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Well then, this would make Roark non-Objectivist, since he never "explicitly tied his projected value judgements" of Dominique to "valid premises" before sleeping with her, now did he.

You don't really know that, do you? Just because Rand didn't write down explicitly that Roark did it doesn't mean that Roark didn't do it. It can be inferred from the rest of his character that you do know.

The question that seems to be intermixed with the issues above is "is it valid to act upon a projection?"  You claim that no, it isn't, that a person must explicitly validate the premises, in the object of the projection, the projection is based upon.
No, that is not quite what I said. What I said was that the projection is not a valid cause for action if the value-judgements used in making the projection have not been validated. If they have, then project away. Of course, you'll have the ensure after the fact that the projection was not based on any unvalidated value-judgements, which again requires a process of introspection.

So in that sense I am saying that there will never come a time in a person's life when it is OK to act on their feelings, relying totally upon them, without any thought or validation.

And like I said, this would then make Howard Roark mindless, since he never sat down with Dominique and discussed values and principles and such before sleeping with her.

Actually, it make Roark a very mindful and well-integrated character, if you know what to look for. It is not necessary to sit down and have an explicit talk about values and principles in order to properly judge an individual's sense of life.

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DPW    4
Just to clarify.  I agree with Ayn Rand that beauty derives from harmony of constituent elements, not intrinsicism as you claim.  This applies to non-man-made things, and can apply to isolated human characteristics. 

Exactly. The fact that physical attractiveness is distinct from moral virtue does not make physical attractiveness intrinsic (except in the sense that, to one degree or another, it is partially determined by genetics).

When, however, one judges a person as beautiful, one can easily validate ostensively that this judgement necessarily carries with it a projection.  The question that seems to be intermixed with the issues above is "is it valid to act upon a projection?" 

Yes, it is valid to act on a projection. The question is, what type of action is appropriate? Assuming your single, they appropriate action might be: go talk to her and find out if your projection is accurate. Or if you're in a relationship, simply enjoy the beauty for its own sake. Etc., etc.

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Um, I guess you disagree with Ayn Rand:

"Art and Cognition," RM, pb 68.

I don't see any mention of "must be based on character" in there. 

I do. Harmonious with what ?

On your account those of us who find beauty in things that are not related to character, such as sunsets on the beach, colorful fish and reef in the clear waters of the Bahamas, a dense, lightly misted forest in the fall with a fresh morning breeze flowing through a canopy of trees formed over a walking trail, the chirping of birds at sunrise, a clear open nightsky full of stars, symmetric, harmonious faces, the long sexy legs of a tall woman, etc., are being mindless.

Not at all. I am saying that they are value-judgements.

Preferences are a particular type of value-judgement -- the type that has no moral consequence in a particular context. No value-judgement is a preference in all possible contexts.

A preference for female blonde hair over black may be a preference in the context of your employment, or your friendship with your buddies, but in your own romantic life it most certainly is not a preference. It does, by definition, have a moral consequence if it influences the decisions and actions you take in living your life. And if it has a moral consequence, then it is no "preference" in that context.

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DPW    4
I don't deny it is possible, or even that it can be done properly.  It can.  But to do so without validating those value-judgements being used against reality is a form of whim-worship.

Absolutely not, so long as we hold in mind what form of action is appropriate. Suppose you are single, you walk into a room and see a strikingly beautiful girl. Automatically you project certain positive qualities about her. Do you need to validate these judgments before taking action? That would be absurd. Rather you take the appropriate action: Go talk to her. It is at that point you can judge the validity of your original estimate.

I would ask, why are we not talking about a normative case?  And even in the emergent situation; how did he get into that accident?  Obviously the accident doesn't alter his moral character, but it may alter my judgement of his moral character.  If he's the sort of guy to get into disfiguring accidents through his own negligence, then "negligent" was his trait before the accident.

This is what's called a thought experiment. I'm trying to apply your principles to an unusual case. There is nothing inappropriate about that, especially in this case where it illuminates the ridiculous implications of your principle.

Let me be clear. I'm not saying there is a sharp line between automatized value-judgments and judgments of pure physical attractiveness. They are intertwined to a great degree. What I object to is the baseless denail of the distinction between the two categories; as well as the idea that until we can cull out the reasons why we find someone attractive, it is irrational to act on that basis. (Obviously, some actions would be irrational, but not SOME action besides simply thinking.)

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Just because Rand didn't write down explicitly that Roark did it doesn't mean that Roark didn't do it.  It can be inferred from the rest of his character that you do know.

No, it actually can be inferred from the novel that he didn't "validate his projection." Perhaps even that he never intended to. From when he was leaving the quarry and Dominique:

Half an hour later Roark was on a train. When the train started moving, he remembered Dominique and that he was leaving her behind. The thought seemed distant and unimportant. He was astonished only to know that he still thought of her, even now.
Does this sound like a man that had validated his projection by "tying it down to premesis," a man that introspected about why he should sleep with her, considering thinking of her astonished him?

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I do.  Harmonious with what ?

...

You have been calling immoral the very real fact that physical characteristics can be isolated and judged beautiful as apart from character. Judging a human feature as beautiful is in fact isolating this feature and observing the harmony of the constitutive elements of this feature. There is no "character" in the judgement. Many of your other comments are based on the falsehood that physical looks can't be isolated and judged beautiful without reference to character, that to do so is to advocate a mind-body dichotomy, to advocate the concept of intrinsic value. This is an arbitrary assertion with no basis in reality. As such, my contributions with reference to your point of view end here.

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Suppose you are single, you walk into a room and see a strikingly beautiful girl.  Automatically you project certain positive qualities about her.  Do you need to validate these judgments before taking action?  That would be absurd.  Rather you take the appropriate action: Go talk to her.  It is at that point you can judge the validity of your original estimate.

That is exactly what I'm talking about, and more -- so I don't think we are as far apart on this topic as you seem to think. If your value-judgements turned out to be wrong, i.e. you found her strikingly beautiful and then found out she was a moronic buffoon, then do something about your erroneous value-judgements. You should be aiming to train your subconscious to identify by an emotional response -- the emotional response that a woman is "strikingly beautiful", for example -- the people who do posses the qualities of character you wish to seek out in others. You should want to involve your whole being in that process, not merely follow your existing subconscious summations, whatever they are, simply because you are either too lazy or too incapable of doing that level of introspection -- and then shrug off the frustration when they lead you astray, taking no corrective action, and doomed to repeat the misidentification and waste of time with the same poorly trained subconscious.

I'm not saying there is a sharp line between automatized value-judgments and judgments of pure physical attractiveness.  They are intertwined to a great degree.

They are more than merely "intertwined", they are one and the same thing. All judgements of "pure physical attractiveness" are in fact value-judgements, whether you like it or not. It is not a baseless claim; it stems from the idea of tabula rasa.

I, as well as most rational men I would imagine, have no "preferences" of a purely physical nature that cannot be connected directly to some fact of reality which holds important meaning for me. This would have unnecessarily limited my available selection of mates, for one thing. Long straight black hair is beautiful, and wavy blonde hair is beautiful as well, so long as both are worn in a feminine way. I have no preference for one over the other. There are specific physical attributes for which I do hold what you would probably call a "purely physical" preference, but I know that they are not purely physical. Unfortunately for this discussion, the concretes in this area are too personal for me to share, so I won't be doing that.

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No, it actually can be inferred from the novel that he didn't "validate his projection."  Perhaps even that he never intended to.  From when he was leaving the quarry and Dominique:

Does this sound like a man that had validated his projection by "tying it down to premesis," a man that introspected about why he should sleep with her, considering thinking of her astonished him?

It sounds like a man who has done exactly what I said -- implicitly. The fact is, he did think of her and he was astonished. Ayn Rand did not choose the word "seemed" lightly here. Certainly it was of great importance that he would be thinking of her now, or she wouldn't have written about it.

Even if I'm wrong about this, its not as if The Fountainhead is a manual describing the ideal relationship. They go years being in love without being together, Dominique marries someone else... the ways in which their lives develop is far from ideal, but this too served a purpose in the book.

And on top of it all, Roark is hardly morally perfect. John Galt is the only morally perfect character Ayn Rand created -- everyone else made some moral error or other.

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physical characteristics can be isolated and judged beautiful as apart from character.

For what purpose?

When evaluating another human being in any way, you are looking for the potential value to your own life. That is the purpose of valuation. There is no such thing as valuation for valuation's sake.

What added value to one's life is gained by looking at another human being -- an existent one can only gain value from in some sort of social or political context -- a relationship of some kind -- and identifying physical characteristics apart from the character with which one would interact in a relationship? How will this process improve the happiness in your life?

Nada.

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DPW    4
And on top of it all, Roark is hardly morally perfect.  John Galt is the only morally perfect character Ayn Rand created -- everyone else made some moral error or other.

Absolutely false. Ayn Rand was explicit on this point. Galt, Francisco, and Ragnar were all perfectly moral.

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John Galt is the only morally perfect character Ayn Rand created -- everyone else made some moral error or other.

I don't think you should be expressing with certainty what Ayn Rand did or did not do as far as her characters are concerned, considering your rationalization with regard to Roark, and your failure to understand the difference between errors of knowledge and moral wrongs. All the heroes in the novels are morally perfect, the "imperfections" you ascribe immorality to are actually errors in knowledge.

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Absolutely false.  Ayn Rand was explicit on this point.  Galt, Francisco, and Ragnar were all perfectly moral.

If that is correct, then I appreciate the correction. Note, however, that Roark is still not included in the list.

To be honest I had forgotten about Ragnar as he seemed to be a very minor, background character. Upon reflection I can imagine that Francisco did not make any errors in the novel, either.

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I don't think you should be expressing with certainty what Ayn Rand did ordid not do as far as her characters are concerned, considering your rationalization with regard to Roark, and your failure to understand the difference between errors of knowledge and moral wrongs. All the heroes in the novels are morally perfect, the rest made mistakes of knowledge.

Right back at ya, minus that last erroneous sentence.

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...minus that last erroneous sentence.

Well then, you would have to refute the following:

Learn to distinguish the difference between errors of knowledge and breaches of morality.  An error of knowledge is not a moral flaw, provided you are willing to correct it; only a mystic would judge human beings by the standard of an impossible, automatic omniscience.  But a breach of morality is the conscious choice of an action you know to be evil, or a willful evasion of knowledge, a suspension of sight and of thought.  That which you do not know, is not a moral charge against you; but that which you refuse to know, is an account of infamy growing in your soul.  Make every allowance for errors of knowledge; do not forgive or accept any breach of morality.  Give the benefit of the doubt to those who seek to know..
Based on this, I claim Eddie, Reardon, Dagny, Francisco, Galt, Ragnar, Roark, Dominique, were are morally perfect, because if they ever acted wrongly, it was because they were engaged in errors of knowledge, not immorality.

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