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Everything posted by secondhander

  1. schase I wish I had seen this when you posted it. I don't know if you come back to read the forum or will ever come back. Nevertheless, I want to offer you some gold, for free, that will save yourself a lot of trouble and headache and heartache later in life if you understand it and begin to let some of these ideas graft themselves into your own understanding of the world. It's up to you what you'll do with the truth I'm about to smack you upside the head with. You've accepted backward ideas about relationships and sex, and you've acted like an idiot with some of the ways you've treated Sara. I say that with complete compassion and no malice, because we are all idiots, particularly when it comes to relationships; particularly when we are younger. And most people continue to be idiots with regard to relationships and sex, etc, for the rest of their lives. So let me suggest to you that you need a radical reformation of your view of relationships and sex; that some of your fundamental suppositions are tremendously flawed, and this is the reason why you don't understand Sara's reaction. I'm going to offer a few brief comments/insights, and they might not sink in, and you might resist them and think it's all bunk. I'd honestly love to chat with you in real time over the phone or on Skype or something, because that's the best way I could start to explain where your thinking went wrong. You could also talk to my GF (I'm 35, she's 24), and she could help you understand some things from a woman's perspective. I just don't have enough time to convey all that I'd like to convey in this post here. So if you read this and want to, send me a private message and I'll get you my Skype info or something. Anyway, on to the synopsis of where you thinking is flawed (and it's just your fault, because the widely accepted conventions of relationships and sex are flawed, and it's so easy to just accept them uncritically). 1. Your idea of objectivist principles on sex is flawed. Ok. I love Ayn Rand. I think she's right with about 95 to 99% of what she taught. But this is one area where she was off, and so are a lot of other objectivists who follow in her steps about this topic. The idea that sex is so important that you just can't do it with anyone except the person you want to marry and spend the rest of your life ... is bunk. The basic idea was right: People have good values and bad values, and you don't want to associate too much with people with low values. Therefore, it's not very smart (for many reasons) to have sex with someone with low values or no values. For example, they might be a moocher and start wanting and expecting you to take care of them financially, or they might be emotionally unhealthy and imbalanced, and it's not to your benefit to bring crazy people into your life. So it's smart, and a good value, to only associate with people who have high enough values, and even more so to only have sex with those kinds of people. But this idea that they must be THE ONE person who you think has the highest values ever above anyone else, and that's the only person you should ever have sex with, is ridiculous. The motivation for that kind of thinking doesn't really come from objectivist ethics (Ayn rolls over in her grave, I can feel it); it comes from social conventions of our time, influenced by Western religious views of relationships. So Sara thought this girl was pretty and wanted to bang her. Good. She should go for it. The only advice I'd give her from an objectivist perspective is: Make sure you practice safe sex; make sure you don't get anyone pregnant if you don't want to (they're girls, so no problem there); and make sure her values are high enough. Yeah, don't bang people with really low values, because that will come back to haunt you possibly. But that doesn't mean you have to be romantically in love with someone in order to have sex. That's a social convention, and it's a broken concept. As far as I'm concerned in my situation, if a girl has certain values that I need to see, and she's hot and turns me on, then I'm all for having fun and great sex, and she has the assurance that our friendship and relationship WILL NOT CHANGE, except for possibly getting better. But she won't need to worry about me forming romantic attachments just because we play and have sex -- and I assure you, that's a HUGE relief and benefit for most women, because they don't usually get that from guys. It's guys who put themselves in the "friends' zone" and burn bridges with otherwise great friendships, like you did in grand fashion with Sara. And this is because ... 2. Sex and love are two different things. Well, they're not completely two different things. Like I said, you need to "love" the values in a person enough to want to have sex with them, but this does not mean that they have to be romantically in love with you, and you with them, to have sex. This is why a lot of girls don't want to have sex with their guy friends, even though they enjoy them and enjoy their values and would otherwise have a good time. But they know that most guys start to "fall" in love with women as soon as they have sex with them. It's that whole "I've planted my flag and now I want to claim her before any other guy does" thing. And because women don't want to risk losing a good friendship, they won't risk it. 3. You don't "fall" in love with people; you grow in love with people. I don't know the extent to which you are making, or have made, this mistake with Sara. You can't love someone you don't know well. You can't know someone well until you've spent a significant time with them. So the idea that some person (not necessarily you) would "fall" in love with someone at first sight, or after knowing them for a week, or even after a month, is ridiculous. Guys tend to create some perfect image in their head of a girl they have "fallen" for, and just don't know her well enough to even see any of her faults and shortcomings. Until you know all the good and the bad, you can't really say you can love someone. Once you have known someone for a long time, then you might find yourself growing in love with them, and them with you. So, this is further reason not to shortchange sex with someone whom you don't love but whom you do value as a friend and are attracted to. You might grow to love each other down the road, or you might remain great friends without any kind of romantic love. Don't worry about it, and don't think that you have to fall in love with every woman you are sexually attracted to and like enough to be friends with. This is probably the cause behind why you think you can't "move on" from her. The cure for your ONE-itis (the disease where you think there's just one person you could ever love, and no one else) is to go out and form healthy friendships with lots of other people, girls included, and sexual relationships, too. 4. What part of "I am a lesbian and like girls" don't you understand? From the description you've given of your friendship with Sara, this is what I gathered. She told you she was a lesbian. You wanted to hope that she still liked guys, too. She slept with girls, giving you proof she likes them more than she likes you. You still held out hope she would want you sexually some day. You got jealous. She viewed you as a good friend. Maybe, finally, she found a guy who was ok with just being her friend and didn't want to get into her pants. What a great thing! But nope. You still refused to accept she was a lesbian and likes girls, NOT guys. You got jealous. And like a doofus (yeah, you need to accept that and learn and move forward), you destroyed the friendship by offering her a ridiculous ultimatum, a false dichotomy, of "either you LOVE me, or we can't ever be friends and I have to shut you out of my life and never talk to you." What a ridiculous notion. Do you know, that of all my former playmates and play partners, some of whom have gone on to find their own romantic relationships and boyfriends and fiances, that I'm still great friends with all of them? No burned bridges. Even the ones who decided they had fun with me but weren't interested in sex with me anymore as part of our relationship, they are still great friends with me, and I with them. Why? Because I don't issue demands like that, I don't try to treat people like robots, and I give people the freedom to choose what and who they spend time with, with "no strings attached" to the quality or nature of our friendship. Again: Sex and friendship/love/romance are not identical realms. If I were you, I'd go to her and sincerely say: "I'm sorry I was a complete idiot. I understand we are friends and there is no sexual attraction, and I don't want to toss away that friendship." 5. Get rid of jealousy Oh so much I could say about this, and I don't have time right now. But in my view, jealousy is something that is antithetical to objectivist ethics. Jealousy is essentially saying: "I want you to love me, regardless if you actually DO love me; I want to own you, even if it's not your free choice to be with me." A robot can't love you. Neither can a slave. If she is with you by choice, then she's not a slave (although if she wants to be tied up and treated like one some night for fun, that's another story). Jealousy is a disgusting, disgusting emotion. It also makes you unattractive, and ruins any chance of real love (the growing-in-love kind). It's also a very difficult emotion to purge, but it can, and must, be done, or else you will always be somewhat unhealthy and emotionally imbalanced when it comes to relationships. Again, if you want to actually talk, and you can also get a woman's perspective from my GF or other friends of mine if you want, then send me a private and I'd be happy to do that. Good luck.
  2. They definitely gave their consent. If they did so without wanting to do so, then I'd say it was them who were being unethical to themselves by doing something contrary to their desires. In any case, you are suggestion that non-monogamous relationships are immoral (and then also trying to say you aren't making a moral claim about them, though it's obvious that you are). So, if a couple did willingly and "cheerfully" consent to non-monogamy, then would you still consider it immoral in any way? You've been asked several times what your standard for moral value is, and I haven't seen you explain that yet. That would clarify possibly your stance, and the principles you are basing ethical judgments on.
  3. I think that typically when people use the phrase "having an affair" (the term you first used) or the word "adultery," they mean by them that someone has cheated on her spouse whom they have a monogamous relationship with. If people have a non-monogamous relationship and there is no cheating or lying about the fact, and it's all in the open, then it is typically not called "having an affair" or "adultery." You had said: The implication of your question is that her "best friend" didn't know or approve of her sleeping with Branden, and that Rand did something untoward and unethical to Barbara Branden. So, now if you say that you don't consider it immoral, then I'm curious why you used the term "having an affair" and why you asked the question the way you did.
  4. First off, she didn't have an affair. Her relationship with Branden was consensual and known by all parties involved. Second, by what standard of morality do you judge sexual relationships? Sounds like you are using some sort of religious moral standard, possibly subconsciously, in your judgments.
  5. Yes! How am I going to know she's the right kind of person to spend an intimate dinner together if I don't know that we can have fun together otherwise? First things first. On a more serious note, I think the traditional dating convention is broken in many ways, and I don't go on "dates." What's that supposed to mean, anyway? I spend time with people. So if I were to go lather someone up in suntan oil and jump in a shower or bed with them, then it's someone I know already from spending time together. It might be sooner or later, who knows, and who cares as long as the person has the qualities and values you want and admire.
  6. Only trying to do my part, claire Gotta save some poor souls from making a few regrettable mistakes.
  7. Why do all (or at least many) of your relationship advice posts seem like you're preoccupied with trying to do whatever you can do to tell guys to try to impress women? But ARE you her fantasy man? You ... the true you, the way you are, right now? Are you exciting, unusual, different (in a good way) for her? Or are you trying to act like it? Ok. Fine enough, if that's your sense of humor and way of being fun and lighthearted naturally. No problems there. But the way you're suggesting these things, it sounds like try-hard-ism and gimmickry. If that silly, offbeat sense of humor isn't really you, naturally, then please, please save yourself the embarrassment and don't try to fake it. But are you? If you are, then why does someone have to tell you to "demonstrate" it to her? "Thinking outside the box" sounds like another way to say "try to be something you're actually not." Sounds like a recipe for fakery and a general regret later, on her part, for being fooled into thinking you're all these things you had portrayed yourself to be, but when she got to know you better, you didn't have a quirky and offbeat personality, you didn't think outside of the box, and you weren't her fantasy man, and all you did was waste her time, and yours as well. I think you're better off telling guys to find out whom they are and what they believe in, and giving themselves full self-approval to be that unapologetically and unfearfully, rather than trying to tell guys to "think outside the box" and try to be some woman's "fantasy man."
  8. Lather each other up with suntan oil, lie out by the pool, then get into the shower together and have sex like rabid gerbils. I love you Diana, but your ideas for first dates are awful. I like mine better. No surprise, but I extremely strongly suggest doing exactly that.
  9. Thanks! In my earlier years, when I was a good seminary student and graduate, I gave a lot of thought to predestination (in terms of Reformed Theology) and how a person could be predestined and yet still have moral culpability for their actions. Long story short, I'm no longer religious but some of those same questions and thoughts have helped me in my understanding of this same issue in terms of natural predestination (if you will) and personal culpability.
  10. Yes. In my view you can have a worldview that is in alignment with reality, but can still be wrong about things because you may have misapplied logic, or you may have misinterpreted empirical data. Being mentally imbalanced means that your worldview is fundamentally at odds with the facts of reality. It is more than a simple mistake in or misapplication of the process of logic. And I think that all of us are mentally imbalanced to the degree that experience reality but do not want to accept it.
  11. From my understanding of O'ism and application of logic. Tell me where I have gone wrong, if you think I have. (I don't say that as a challenge. I mean it sincerely. I may be wrong and welcome thoughts, corrections.) O'ism holds that values are objectively grounded in the axiom of life. The "to whom" and "for what" of a value of a certain mental state of mind is "to" a man and "for" living in a real world. To say that one mental state is "good" and another mental state is "bad" is to give a value judgment on mental states. So, every fact of the universe "to" a man derives its value "for" the purpose of living, and living in a real world. Therefore, you can only say a mental state of mind is good if it maintains life or helps life flourish for a man. you can only say a mental state of mind is bad if it destroys life by any degree. Outside of this objective standard of value, there would be no basis to categorize a mental state as good or bad. It would be all subjective. If life is not an axiom, and if there are no objective values, then there is no basis to call one mental state "healthy" and another "unhealthy." They're all just different, subjective mental states. As O'ists, we know that the grounding of value is life, and the judge of value is reality. Now, what about the popular understanding in the West of mental disorders? Look at this proposed definition of "mental disorder" by the National Institutes of Health: I think criterions A and B match, or is closer to, what I'd argue is the O'ist understanding. But in Criteria C, we see the influence of subjective values in the idea that a mental disorder cannot be "a culturally sanctioned response to a particular event (for example, trance states in religious rituals)." Here is the NIH's comments on Criteria C: In the NIH conclusion, they put an emphasis on what is considered normal and abnormal, and how that can shift over time in cultures. Again this shows the influence of subjective valuation. One must again ask by what standard are they making value judgments to begin with? By what standard could they could call anything good or bad? It's my conclusion that while you may differentiate mental states by those that are voluntarily held vs. those that are involuntarily held, you cannot say anything about whether those mental states are "good" or "bad" without an objective moral value. So whether you apply the term "mental disorder" to the belief that (for example) you will never die and live a new life in a spiritual world after physical death, or whether you apply some other term to that belief, the basic truth is that you can only make a value judgment on any belief (a judgment of whether it's healthy or not healthy to believe such things) based on whether the belief corresponds to reality and sustains or promotes your real, physical life. Here is a statement from “The Psychology of ‘Psychologizing’,” The Objectivist, Oct. 1968, 6:
  12. Yeah, I think Harrison was responding to me, not to you. Thanks for your input (both of you), and I can't say I disagree. I think the issue may just be a terminology issue. I think a distinction can be drawn between mental disease (an involuntary chemical imbalance of the brain, or some other problem in the functioning of the brain), and mental imbalance, whereby I am defining the term to mean a mental state of belief where perceptions of reality are not in alignment (or are not on equal balance) with the reality of the world. Under this definition, mental disease would be a subset of mental imbalance, where mental disease is an involuntary dysfunction of the brain, but other subsets of mental imbalance (like belief in the supernatural) may not be. The main point I wanted to try to make was that all mental worldview distortions, whether involuntary disease or voluntary mental imbalances, are essentially problems with a misalignment between reality and mental perception of reality. Perhaps my choice to use language that is normally defined differently than I am using it is a mistake and doesn't serve my purpose. However, my first point above I think may have some merit. You have to do more than say that mental disease is a non-voluntary state of mind. You have to also say that it's a non-voluntary disconnect from reality. So, while religious people may not like the term "mental imbalance" applied to their worldview, the same fundamental problem (not cause) that underlies involuntary mental disease is the same fundamental problem that underlies a voluntary supernatural worldview: A disconnect from reality. Whether you use to term "mental imbalance" or some other term, the problem is the same, and the results can be every bit as damaging to them as involuntary mental disease can be to a person (as well as damaging to other people if that mental state leads the afflicted to commit acts of aggression).
  13. New topic, new thread: http://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?showtopic=25536
  14. In another thread there was a discussion about the nature of mental disease and mental imbalance generally, and as it relates to religious belief specifically. I made the following statement: Dante objected: I responded: dream_weaver chimed in and asked: So, with that background, here's my answer to dream_weaver: The problem is how you're defining mental illness.You could do what you are doing and define mental illness as mental states that are non-voluntary. But does that really say anything or define mental illness? There are all kinds of states of mind that may not be voluntary, but might not be considered mental illness. What if someone's state of mind is that they are very outgoing and social. The really enjoy being around other people, and dislike being alone. Or, what if someone is the opposite and prefers their own space and time. Maybe they can be social, but prefers to stay in and watch movies or read books alone? Those may be states of mind that are regulated by brain chemistry to some degree, and non-voluntary. But are they mental illness or mental imbalance? So you need something more to be able to define what mental illness and mental imbalance are. Universally, mental health is characterized by a person who's perceptions are aligned with reality of the world around him. Conversely, mental imbalance is characterized by a person who's perceptions are in discord with the reality of the world around him. No matter what mental disease or mental imbalance you name, they all boil down to this truth. This is the Objectivist understanding of mental disorders, which is the correct understanding. The popular and false understanding of mental disorders in the West is a subjective understanding. It says: Mental disorders are psychological patterns that result in behaviors that are not considered part of normal development in a person's culture. By that definition, it is impossible for a behavior to be considered a mental disorder if enough people have the behavior. If everyone in the culture believes that they are immortal and impervious to poison, then it's not a mental disorder, by that view. The Objectivist position says that health is rational living. When you say that a belief is imbalanced, what do you suppose the belief is to be balanced with? The subjective position answers: Cultural norms. The Objectivist position answers: Reality. If you have multiple personality disorder, the problem is not that you are out of step with the norm of the majority of society; the problem is that you are not multiple people. You are one person, as reality dictates. If you have anorexia and believe that you are not skinny enough and never are, the problem is not that you are out of step with society's dietary habits of the day; the problem is that your self-perception doesn't match reality. Now, these perception/reality problems fall on a range of volition. Some problems are not generally under the volition of the person. A person's chronic depression, for example, may not be a choice as much as it is a physical chemical imbalance in the brain. On the other hand, someone's belief that they are the only being in existence on the planet (solipsism) may have been a thought-out, voluntary worldview. Regardless of how they fall on the scale of volition, all beliefs and behaviors are imbalanced to the degree that they are out of alignment with reality. The imbalance of mental-imbalance, is an imbalance on the scale of perception to reality.
  15. Do you think, then, that Hsieh is wrong to say that Objectivism doesn't endorse metaphysical materialism? Or, for that matter, do you think Rand and Peikoff were wrong (or not clear and precise enough) in saying that Objectivism rejects materialism? (I'll try to find citations). These are excerpt's from Diana Hsieh's "Mind in Objectivism: A Survey of Objectivist Commentary on Philosophy of Mind." Found here: http://www.philosophyinaction.com/docs/mio.pdf Hsieh has said that that paper is "outdated in some ways," but doesn't specify which ways. The citations of Piekoff and Rand, then, are secondary, not primary. But I don't have OPAR and haven't read it yet. Does he mean that Idealism and Materialism both reject basic axioms, and therefore are false? Does he mean that the philosophy of materialism is false because it is viewed as one half of a false dichotomy between science and consciousness? If so, is it proper to say that materialism holds that consciousness doesn't actually exist? Or is it that some types of materialism hold that position, and that Peikoff was over-generalizing by speaking of materialism as a whole? Does this mean that materialism must hold to monism, or is it possible that materialism can affirm the kind of non-monism/non-dualism approach that Peikoff says Objectivism holds? And how is Objectivism not monist, but also not dualist? There is more that Hsieh cites and discusses, but I think that's a starting point.
  16. In a little while I'll start another thread so we can discuss it, unless you can get to it first.
  17. Hi, Grames. I read a lot of various but not very detailed articles about their views. Here's a place to start. http://www.philosophyinaction.com/blog/?p=559 I have been unable to find much in the way of primary sourcing from Rand or Peikoff, other than them being quoted. But the quotes I've seen so far by them aren't very detailed, and I suspect there's more in Peikoff's OPAR in Chapter One, but I haven't been able to read it yet.
  18. It is not that religion is a cause of mental imbalance; you have it backward. It is that religion is a symptom of mental imbalance. We are all mentally imbalanced to the degree that our beliefs are out of line with reality. This is true for all mental illness and mental imbalance. And while some mental illness is due to chemical imbalances, the underlying flaw is a discord between perception and reality. Whether you think that you are five different people in one body; or whether you think voices are telling you that demons are possessing the bodies of people around you and are out to kill you; or whether you think a mystical force caused a virgin to give birth to god in human form, and that we will all be judged in a life after death; all of these things are symptoms of mental imbalance -- that perception is not matching up to reality. The question that I think you have is, can it still be considered mental imbalance if it's a belief that the society at large (or a large segment of society) has accepted as true? People might be more inclined to accept worldviews that do not match up to reality when they feel the peer pressure of cultural acceptance, but I still would consider it mental imbalance, and the results will still be damaging to one's own life and the lives of others.
  19. Both say that Objectivism isn't metaphysical materialism. Peikoff says that materialism is a good theory of physics, but not a good theory of metaphysics. Can someone explain why Objectivism can't be a philosophy of materialism? I understand that the reason is because they are drawing a distinction concerning consciousness, and are saying that the conscious mind is something more than the physical brain. But is this really against materialism? Insights please.
  20. I think Harrison may very well be absolutely justified in the content and tone of his response, for what it's worth. I do think it's important to take the high road of calm reasoning and rationality even when your opposition refuses to, but let's not forget that with religious people we're dealing with some level of imbalance in terms of psychological health whereby they embrace mystical ideas over the reality of the world, even to the extent of killing other people in the name of god. Yes, literally, historically, killing other people, as in it has happened in the real world and can and will again. I think strong words are what's needed at times. I don't see a whole lot of moral difference between a person who defends that kind of worldview vs. someone who defends Hitler's Nazism. In one it's the decree of a dictator trying to give the moral permission for murder; in another it's mysticism and the superiority and ruling decree of a god trying to give the moral permission for murder. But they are both just as evil and immoral in their results. Ask Red if he would murder someone if he felt 100 percent sure that the true spirit of God commanded him to. His answer I think would show the nature of his lack of mental health, and show that sometimes religious people do need to hear harsh words, or simply be rebuked and called out for the evil that they defend and advocate. Having said that, fortunately a lot of religious people are better than their worldview is or has been in the past. I'm sure Red has no intention of murdering people; let's just hope he doesn't start hearing the voice of god in his head. I don't know if this was the time or if Red is the person who needs those strong words, but I have a hard time faulting those kinds of words. When I see a man advocating a belief that says it's morally acceptable to kill whole nations of people if a mystical god tells you to, and it has happened -- real people have been murdered -- and then I see another man strongly rebuking that kind of thought and calling out the dangerous worldview that is being advocated, then all I can say is, "hear, hear."
  21. Awesome. Congratulations! I'll be a new listener pretty soon. I'm a somewhat new reader to your blogs, and plan to listen to your podcasts soonish.
  22. It seems to me, from a very casual glance at the arguments made (I'm sorry for that, I'll try to find time to read them more thoroughly later), that the main mistake made is to tacitly presuppose that a man is something different than his attributes. Yes, you can look at my brain and "predict" what choice I am going to make. But my brain IS me, or part of what is me. So all you're really saying is that you are looking at what I am choosing to do and then saying it's not really me choosing it, just my brain, and therefore I don't really have free will, as though my brain isn't me. If anything, the science referenced merely shows that when you break down what makes up a person, and then what makes up a brain, and what makes up the chemistry that makes up a brain, then you can say that we essentially do that which is in the chemical makeup of our brain chemistry to do. And the real underlying premise that is trying to be defended is an idea that we don't actually have any culpability for our actions, because after-all, we couldn't actually make a real decision -- we only did what was in our brain chemistry, which we have no control over. But again this makes the mistake of thinking that we are something other than our brain chemistry, and because we can open the black box and see how the parts work together, that somehow culpability (and in fact personhood) disappears. But it also makes the mistake to assume that moral value is subjective, and that's simply not true. At the end of the day, reality is our judge and arbiter of moral value, and if you want to live you have to use your rational mind to do the correct actions that give you continued life. You can't look at impending death of starvation (when you could have hunted or gathered) and say, "But you shouldn't judge me, Reality! I couldn't help it, I only did what was in my brain chemistry, and my brain chemistry was to be lazy!" Because Reality will answer back, "Tough, that's life."
  23. Anyway, I have an idea. I don't know anything about the philosophy of Gottlob Frege, but I disagree with him. I don't have the time to read about him, but anyone want to start a thread with me so I can show you why he is wrong?
  24. I'm wondering when, or if, Lex will catch on to the point you're making. But whether he does catch on or doesn't, then he has still caught on, and is still correct with all the wrong statements that he makes.
  25. So let me get this right. You are genuinely interested in learning what Rand's position was, but you are unwilling to to read what she wrote, but you are willing to read a bunch of strangers' summaries of her philosophy? If money is an issue, you can find her writings online for free. You could start here: http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ari_ayn_rand_the_objectivist_ethics Or, here's a better format, and you get the whole (short) book. http://www.e-reading-lib.org/bookreader.php/137212/Rand_-_The_Virtue_of_Selfishness.pdf (The Objectivist Ethics is not terribly long, maybe a chapter's length, if you are legitimately and honestly trying to understand her).
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