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Physical Attraction To The Opposite Sex

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If I were Asian and I found out you liked me merely because I was Asian, I would be offended and disgusted by you.

That's a little harsh. If a guy is attracted to blondes is that disgusting? It's just a sexual preference. I don't think their is any racist intent there.

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Values and rewarding reletionship is the first criteria, then the second, however admittetly eccentric is Asian.

Why is it eccentric? Doesn't seem any more eccentric than saying that you like white girls or black girls.

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I can't disagree more. This is explicitly a manifestation of mind/body dichotomy, giving primacy to the body. In a properly integrated subconscious, there should be no estimate of "physical beauty" prior to the discovery of the person's character.

 

This is one of the parts of objectivist thought that I disagree with. This view on sex, love and physical beauty, I honestly find a little absurd. I think it stems from two things. Objectivism seems to disregard biology and facts known about evolution. It does not accept man is a biological entity. In my view, one must understand man's metaphysical essence not only philosophically but allow for the expansion of that understanding with scientific discovery.

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This is one of the parts of objectivist thought that I disagree with. This view on sex, love and physical beauty, I honestly find a little absurd. I think it stems from two things. Objectivism seems to disregard biology and facts known about evolution. It does not accept man is a biological entity. In my view, one must understand man's metaphysical essence not only philosophically but allow for the expansion of that understanding with scientific discovery.

That is not Objectivist thought.

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Serendipitously, I noticed at the bottom of the page a quote I've always liked: "Any good, practical philosophy must start out with the recognition of our having a body". [Lin Yutang]

Edited by whYNOT

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As far as I can recall, Rand and the people around her didn't have much to say about physical beauty, quite apart from puzzles over what counts or not as Objectivist thought.

 

As for the rest of #103 I'd like to hear more about your objections.

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Which parts specifically, and why not?

"In a properly integrated subconscious, there should be no estimate of "physical beauty" prior to the discovery of the person's character."

 

He's saying that it's wrong to judge someone's physical beauty without knowledge of their character. Is it not obvious that this is ridiculous? 

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It is obvious... that is ridiculous -- I don't see how judging someone's physical beauty before knowing anything about their character is an example of the "mind-body dichotomy" and an example of an "improperly integrated subconscious." Maybe you can explain *how* it is.

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It is obvious... that is ridiculous -- I don't see how judging someone's physical beauty before knowing anything about their character is an example of the "mind-body dichotomy" and an example of an "improperly integrated subconscious." Maybe you can explain *how* it is.

The trouble is what we mean by physical beauty. In a very basic way, you can evaluate a person's physical appearance apart from attraction. You can look at a person and say they are physically attractive in the sense of an appreciation of a person's body and some relevant qualities. Often, I think of bodies this way, without at all noting a genuine sexual or romantic attraction. I prefer to treat beauty in this way. Then there's a reaction like "she's attractive, so I'd totally love to date her, as long as she's not too dumb" or anything where appearance is a major factor of pursuing someone. That's a mind/body dichotomy to the degree that mind and body are treated as distinct factors of attraction. We can talk about mind and body separately, but evaluating your attraction past mere appreciation in such a distinct way keeps that all unintegrated.

 

So, no, it's not obvious. At least, in a discussion, nothing is obvious.

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...Then there's a reaction like "she's attractive, so I'd totally love to date her, as long as she's not too dumb" or anything where appearance is a major factor of pursuing someone. That's a mind/body dichotomy to the degree that mind and body are treated as distinct factors of attraction. We can talk about mind and body separately, but evaluating your attraction past mere appreciation in such a distinct way keeps that all unintegrated.

So, no, it's not obvious. At least, in a discussion, nothing is obvious.

That is an entirely different topic. The "mind/body" comment was not about pursuing or weighing physical attraction or beauty in the context of a relationship.

His comment was in response to this statement: "But you can quite obviously find physical beauty where the character of the person is unknown."

Edit: [see page 1]

That is when the poster said this is an example of the mind/body dichotomy, which it quite obviously is not.

Sorry for the format of this post, I am on my phone.

Edited by thenelli01

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He's saying that it's wrong to judge someone's physical beauty without knowledge of their character.

I thought you were disagreeing with the text you quoted, not the text quoted by that text. :P

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TomL's argument, and its derivatives, are a failure to identify A as A. That is, a failure to identify our nature. 

 

It also seems many people here have also confused Objectivism (and generally, the domain of Philosophy) with categories of knowledge (obtained through the process of Reasoning) like Evolutionary Biology and Evolutionary Psychology. As such, a quick read through these subjects would clear up exactly what is a metaphysically absolute (e.g. our need to breath, need to reproduce and their resulting behaviour) and what is not. 

 

Briefly, I will present the conclusions of those who've directed the exercise of their reasoning to gain a wealth of information about our nature as man (see the categories of knowledge mentioned above for more information):

 

  • we are vessels programmed to carry and propagate our genetic material into the next generation of vessels (i.e. survive and replicate)
     
  • we come 'hardwired' with certain gender-neutral and gender-specific values that aids the above

 

Examples of certain 'hardwired' gender-neutral values are oxygen, food and water (to sustain our survival) and sex with an opposite member of our species (to replicate). 

 

And to aid replication, we have a further set of "hardwired" gender-specific values that indicate other values that would lead to successful replication. For example facial symmetry indirectly indicates the presence of genetic fitness (see Natural Selection and Sexual Selection) which leads to successful replication. Thus we've come to value facial symmetry.

 

By the same process but of gender-specific values: men have come to value youth, full lips, a specific waist-to-hip ratio; women have come to value musculature, height, a specific waist-to-shoulder ratio. Further, more so than a man's, women's gender-specific values also extend to behaviour: particular body language, wit, humour. 

 

Whenever we perceive these attributes in a potential mate, our "hardwired" values are triggered, consequent emotions are evoked and bubble through to the realm of conscious thought as "I must f**k him/her". This is what we call "physical attraction", "physical beauty" or "physical attraction". 

 

These responses are no more under our conscious control than our ability to control the functioning of our kidneys. To use objectivist philosophy, these are the metaphysically absolute and by extension are Objective -- we cannot choose not to need to eat or procreate. 

Edited by Regalt

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If you find physical beauty where you do not find beauty of character, then you have a poorly integrated subconscious summation of the components of physical beauty. This is extremely common because in the course of one's life, this particular subconscious integration is made before explicit philosophic premise selection, and because our current culture bombards the pubescent with misinformation on the subject which one can't help but add in to one's subconsciousness.

...

 

Physical beauty exists independent of character. 

 

Further, what you are confusing here is "physical attraction" and "romantic love". "Romantic love", as coined by Locke and Kenner, is the combination of physical attraction and the harmonious match of virtues.   

 

As an aside, an insidious reason I see most people deny physical attraction as being independent of character is that it would be disastrous to their self-esteem should they take an objective view of their physical attractiveness or their physical desirability as a short-term mate. It is more comforting to reject physical attraction and work on traits/virtues one can control and develop. Yes, one may not have won the 'genetic lottery' in terms of physical appeal, however one must do the best with the cards they've been dealt if they are to be rational. 

Edited by Regalt

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As far as I can recall, Rand and the people around her didn't have much to say about physical beauty, quite apart from puzzles over what counts or not as Objectivist thought.

 

As for the rest of #103 I'd like to hear more about your objections.

 

Rand didn't have much to say about physical beauty just as she didn't have much to say about the anatomy of flowers, or the perception of color, or the behaviour of electromagnetic waves. 

 

It's our job to apply reasoning to figure this out, Rand's was to formulate why we should use reason. 

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