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Everything posted by splitprimary

  1. Okay I checked out your Marxism thread, which cleared up some of that. There you define emotion as: "a change in heart-rate that is embodied in a pulsation of the blood tissue, which is a part of the circulatory system regulated by the heart." And thought/mental states as: "a change in brain-activity that is embodied in an impulse of the nervous tissue, which is a part of the nervous system regulated by the brain." I think it's problematic to ignore that these systems are actually profoundly interconnected, most notably by the endocrine system (which someone in your other thread has already begun to point out), but what you seemed to be getting at with: "Once you fear losing love, you don't have love as an emotion anymore ... at the time you fear for their safety, you don't love them ...not love as experience" is a common distinction in religion, with "faith" then being the assurance or conviction you have that causes you to act on your knowledge and pursue values, even in the momentary absence of the associated emotional state. The answer to the first section of my last post then seems to be that "love" can denote the mental state or the emotion (you said "love is an emotion" and prefer to use the term that way, but told Brad he was "talking about love as valuing"). The same would probably be true of "fear". Correct? ——— Your definitions themselves don't imply any hierarchy, though you seem to have one: -"That "fear" is not an emotion but merely a mental state" -"Once you fear losing love, you don't have love as an emotion anymore. Love becomes simply a thought" -"love is an emotion, not just a thought." Although you're a physicalist ("my philosophy is physicalism, I believe that everything is physical"), and you've broken apart thought and emotion based on organ system (so that both would be physical, measurable events/experiences, taking place at specific times), for some reason emotion is being given priority; it's more important or more primary/real for you. Why is that? What makes thought- what makes a nervous system response- inferior to a cardiovascular one? You also said: "thoughts of emotions... are only deceitful representations of emotions." Why are they deceitful? How does "deceit" get introduced? ——— Still very interested in your introduction of "soul": "you can conceive of a soul as being different from mind, by focusing on soul the problem of reductionism simply goes away, and you finally become a whole person" You're not conceiving of soul as anything metaphysical or mystical, as in dualism, so how does using this language solve any problems? How is your view different than reductionism?
  2. What do you mean by "not an emotion but merely a mental state"? What is the difference? I don't see why being a mental state would make something not an emotion. And you say "that fear"- do you only mean fear as reverence is not an emotion, vs like fear as terror which would be? Maybe you're saying that reverence is not physiological? Or just that it can't be measured in the same way so wouldn't interfere with your scanner? But you also mention love as being a mental state. So if love is an emotion, then it's possible for something to be both. Confused about mind vs soul too. You must be using "values" there in a mathematical sense? It would be odd to use the word "value" for something negative. In the Objectivist use "value" is necessarily positive and something would either be a value (to an entity, for a purpose) or not. I agree of course that you cannot consider an object to be both positive and negative at the same time in the same way. dream_weaver is making a good point though that you could hate or fear x about a person and love or revere y about them. Then your emotional reaction to them at a given point in time would depend on which aspect/attribute you were focusing on.
  3. "Fear" in that sense (awe, respect, reverence) I would agree definitely can be felt along with love. Is that what you had in mind with your question? What is your interest in this topic, does it relate to your economics stuff? I am somewhat new, been around mostly in chat since last fall. I do consider myself an Objectivist, not 100% orthodox though.. I'm also very interested in religion and existentialism.
  4. "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear ... The one who fears is not made perfect in love." - 1 John 4:18
  5. I don't think this is any bigger of a problem for me than it is for any of the subjectivists here. There would still be universal principles having to do with human beings as rational animals, but they would apply differently. It would be part of having "different context". I think everyone would agree there are a lot of ways we legitimately take our own biology/psychology into account when making decisions. Only while they're saying everything is different for -individuals- ("there will always be real differences between the minds of individuals… one cannot…attempt to discover fundamental truths which apply to all men and/or women"); I'm saying there are at least trends.
  6. I agree. That has been my criticism too, she was not consistent. She says in About A Woman President that femininity: “colors her attitude toward all men" and "means that she never loses the awareness of her own sexual identity and theirs... a properly feminine woman does not treat men as if she were their pal, sister, mother—or leader”, and that no rational woman would want to be president. But the Objectivist position everywhere else seems to be that gender roles don't affect anything but sex. Peikoff said: “The distinction is entirely in sex… it’s from that point of view only that she made that distinction”. In the Playboy interview Rand stated: "What is proper for a man is proper for a woman", "There is no particular work which is specifically feminine. Women can choose their work... in the same manner as men do." And her female protagonists exhibited femininity only in relation to the heroes, in the context of their romantic relationships. Otherwise, they were no different than the men. Descriptions of Dagny say she was: -“unfeminine, as if she were unconscious of her own body and that it was a woman’s body.” -“it was astonishing to discover that the lines of her shoulder were fragile and beautiful” -“She was astonished again, when she saw Dagny dressed for the party… Mrs. Taggart had expected her to look like a preposterous contrast.” And Gail describes love as “exception-making” in The Fountainhead, saying of Dominique that the idea of her being dominated was: “the impossible, the inconceivable for [her] in [her] relations with people… the one great exception” So clearly this was not something that was carried through in the style of Rand’s ideal women more generally; they did not project femininity normally, for them it was an *exception*. It was compartmentalized and didn't affect their value systems or decisions. To me this seems tragic. If Objectivism stresses the importance of sex+romance in that it is the activity/context in which men and women most strongly experience the essence of their identity, it does not seem consistent with a benevolent sense of life to treat this as “the abnormal exception in human life”, rather than as “the constant and normal”. And if it would be "an excruciating psychological torture" requiring "a total depersonalization, an utter selflessness", and "suppress[ion] (or repress[ion])" of "every personal aspect of her own character and attitude", for a woman to have "to act as the superior, the leader, virtually the ruler of all the man she deals with", I see no reason to think this would not apply to a lesser degree to roles in which a woman had to act as a leader in relation to -most- of the men she deals with. I am with most Objectivists who say they see nothing particularly special about the presidency that makes it so different from other positions in government, or from leadership roles in a private company. I just go for consistency in the other direction. “It implies that women need to fit a whole different standard of virtue than men.” -There is a lot that's universal to all humans. The differences between men and women I think count, and do affect things, but they are minor. Recognizing differences would still leave a lot of values/virtues unaffected. It's not like all of Objectivist ethics would be out the window or anything. Good, yes I think it is either the case that she was right about femininity as such and then "an interest like this in a woman is itself evidence of psychological dysfunction", -or- that she had some kind of defect she was projecting onto others. I can verify her claims about the nature of women introspectively, but it's plausible that I simply have the same pathology. If I do, this would be an important thing to determine and address, as it concerns my own happiness; it wouldn't necessarily have anything to do with other people or a desire to feel superior. If the "standard view is bad for any person's life... it makes sex worse, compared to the alternative view presented", sticking with that would mean missing out on a more optimal sex life and making the wrong career decisions, for example- by accepting some "arbitrary" and "prefabricated viewpoint... from the culture or society". That would certainly not be "a very rational or self-serving thing to do”

. On the other hand, if Rand was right and this actually is how women are by nature, in terms of biology and psychology, then it ultimately can't be changed, and taking advice to "experiment" and going off to run a railroad or a country, could only be destructive. To some extent I think she was feminine by her own standard. There is some evidence that suggests her gender theory was in effect in her personal life, but it’s hard to tell for sure.
  7. I think that the claim about gender and psychology here is not one of content, of there being innate or determined "convictions, values, and character" (all of which would Rand would say have to be formed, volitionally, and can be chosen correctly or incorrectly, in accordance with one's nature or in opposition to it). Rather, it is exactly the deeper kind of claim about the "cognitive apparatus" itself differing (in certain respects) between men and women. Certainly this could still be wrong; you may violently disagree with such an idea, but it would put it in a different category than racism, according to her classification. Having "the desire to look up to man” was something she identified about her psychology, and things like making hero-worship an important part of her character, M/F in romance, and personal disinterest in the Presidency, would be rational conclusions that took that observation of her nature into account.
  8. I don’t think it would mean there's a different standard of virtue, and neither did Rand. In fact she specifically said otherwise. Where are you getting that men are “more virtuous” and “better at being virtuous” from? From About A Woman President: “Admiration is an emotion that can be experienced only by a person of strong character and independent value judgments… Hero-worship is a demanding virtue: a woman has to be worthy of it and of the hero she worships. Intellectually and morally, i.e., as a human being, she has to be his equal; then the object of her worship is specifically his masculinity, not any human virtue she might lack. ...Her worship is an abstract emotion for the metaphysical concept of masculinity as such." Your position is making more sense to me now too, that you agree “you can derive an ought from an is”, and aren’t against the idea that there could be “a normative theory”, but you don’t think anyone has made a case well. It’s definitely a valid criticism that Branden/Peikoff’s statements make big jumps and take for granted agreement on things that are disputed now (such as: “he talks about penetration as though it is obvious that’s what makes it sex” and “as though we should already know why it is essential”). I wouldn’t say they’re “useless”, but these descriptions definitely are bare bones, only enough to get the general idea. I wonder if anyone else has developed the theory. I haven’t run across much, and I’m not sure yet how I’d make a more complete argument. Also I do agree it’s legitimate to be able to disagree with: “sex is just one more thing they do together” on the basis bluecherry gave: that “it is the strongest source of physical pleasure”, which makes it “the ideal activity to link your highest feelings to”. That works.
  9. I see. I hadn't expected any resistance to the idea that sex and bowling were not fundamentally different. Back when we were discussing polyamory, someone here (Eioul?) linked to a blog called “the thinking asexual” which basically followed the idea of taking romance (there including both dominance and exclusivity) out of sexual relationships, to say this: “People who have sexual friendships… have a friendship exactly like any other, where they hang out for fun, trust each other, like each other as people, make each other happy, etc and the sex is just one more thing they do together, no different than playing video games or shopping or watching movies.”
  10. I didn’t say self-esteem had nothing to do with sex. Rand was making a claim about women- that it is naturally a feature of femininity to want to look up to a man. You obviously disagree with this. My point is that if she were correct, and it was by nature, there could be no self-esteem issue concerning "inferiority". It would just be a fact. "That which is outside the possibility of choice is outside the province of morality", and could have no bearing on self-esteem. Also the traditional view would necessarily be better if gender norms were not arbitrary, and it was the one that recognized reality and the identities involved correctly. ——— According to Objectivism, it’s not about “who moves more” or who is “on top”. Someone already quoted Nathaniel Branden from The Objectivist: “The difference in the male and female sexual roles proceeds from differences in man's and woman's respective anatomy and physiology. Physically, man is the bigger and stronger of the two sexes; his system produces and uses more energy; and he tends (for physiological reasons) to be physically more active. Sexually, his is the more active and dominant role; he has the greater measure of control over his own pleasure and that of his partner; it is he who penetrates and the woman who is penetrated (with everything this entails, physically and psychologically). ... Man experiences the essence of his masculinity in the act of romantic dominance; woman experiences the essence of her femininity in the act of romantic surrender.” Peikoff also explains in his Love, Sex, and Romance podcast: “The distinction is entirely in sex, because of the distinction in anatomy, which she attached great importance to, -since it was there, since this is a fact of reality. And to her the male was the initiator because his function was penetration. The woman was the one being penetrated and therefore she was inherently in a passive position. …She attached metaphysical importance to sex, in other words it was more than important to life, it was one of the most vital fundamentals making up a life. Therefore if in the climactic moment of an experience of that kind, one function was to do and the other was to be done to, that to her made an enormous metaphysical difference in the relationship. …it’s from that point of view only that she made that distinction between masculinity and femininity.” ——— And no, we’re not talking BDSM. For the same reason you find that more acceptable, I consider BDSM a pitiful and dysfunctional substitute. It’s “play”, it's based on the idea of peers agreeing to enter into some specific context that has clearly defined limits and “safe words” and such. The real, global context there is equalist, which is why dominance ends up having to be so extreme and explicit. If it wasn’t compartmentalized and concentrated, it wouldn’t become pathological. This was stated well in a couple of Sunshine Mary comments: “However we try, the sexual act cannot be made into an egalitarian pleasuring party. A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts. This is of course offensive to all egalitarians… But we cannot make gravity disappear just because we dislike it, and in the same way we find that our banished authority and submission comes back to us in pathological forms. This is what lies behind sexual bondage and submission games, along with very common rape fantasies.” “BDSM seems to be… primarily a creation of the West. Women do not need a BDSM style subculture when they are already placed in an inferior station by the mainstream culture. Only when unbound in the overall culture do they begin to express their submissive tendencies in a deviant manner. Once a cultural pathologization of submission occurs, it is expressed in a warped, twisted fashion. …Women being satisfied by their men are not likely to have this issue.”
  11. I'm agreeing with the radfems on their characterization of sex, though not their evaluation. I think that sex is inherently male-dominant no matter how you do it, so if I was against male-dominance, I would avoid it for that reason. (Therefore, I also see it as contradictory and necessarily just muddled, to be engaging in traditional sex while trying to make it as equalist as possible.) If a feeling of autonomy was what I was after, heterosexual sex would not be an effective way to obtain that. I actually don't think "autonomy" is a very appropriate description for anyone's experience in sex, whether they are male or female, or even whether they are traditional or progressive about sex- it's always still more about connection with another person. I think Peikoff has described masturbation as a "means of self-sufficiency", on the other hand, but that doesn't fall under even your definition of "sex". "I'm arguing from an "it's arbitrary" angle" - What's arbitrary? I also don't see how either view of sex affects "self-esteem, self-worth, pride". You wouldn't say that having a boss at work, in other words someone else being in charge or having more control in a specific context or a specific relationship, lowers your self-esteem, for instance.
  12. Eioul: “that doesn’t put yourself as an inferior” - do you mean gender norms put females as inferior, or anyone, something like gender norms being collectivistic? sN: “Do you mean heterosexual couples who are "against M/F" ?” - Not specifically, but I guess it’s a good point that if you were completely against masculinity/femininity you would likely be attracted to the same sex. Like there are radical feminists who are so against male-dominance that they are against traditional sex entirely (https://witchwind.wordpress.com/2013/12/15/piv-is-always-rape-ok/), and I think that is consistent. bluecherry: That’s true, that dynamic should influence everything. What sets sex apart from bowling is that it is most clearly expressed in the act of sex, and that’s where that dynamic comes from in the first place. But if you couldn't have sex for whatever reason but only ever went bowling with your significant other, I'm sure bowling would become very romantic..
  13. Eioul, not sure what mean by "putting herself in an inferior position for both pleasure and potential pleasure". I would not say "teamwork" is "a naive way to think of sex", but unappealing yes ("teamwork" being "partnership", "working together for mutual pleasure", or "synergistically", and as compared to traditional gender roles). Personally, sex in which "M/F isn't integral" is completely unappealing. Take M/F out entirely and I wouldn't see the point, I would not have any interest in sex. I am trying to understand what appeal is left though. I'm sure that people who are against M/F do get something out of their sexual experiences and that it can still be meaningful in some ways. The basic pleasurable sensation is obviously pretty much the same, there's still some amount of exclusivity (you probably don't remove all standards and become sexual with just anyone by eliminating M/F) and therefore there's still some level of intimacy. But I would think this would put sex pretty much on par with many other shared activities you could engage in, nothing special about it really.
  14. so at minimum sex is: -at least someone making genital contact -anatomical arousal of at least one partner ideally: +a potential for orgasm for at least one partner +some kind of emotional/psychological connection involved * and what's not necessary that's noteworthy is: -actual achievement of orgasm -any kind of penetration being involved -dominant/submissive psychology (which is actually universally undesirable, not a neutral option: “bad for any person's life”, “makes sex worse”, “-will- lead to dissatisfaction” -even in contexts where “females orgasm fine” from traditional intercourse). Right? ——— * What all are "the psychological aspects of sex" you're referring to if we're talking about the partnership/synergistic view of sex where there is no dominance? Would this just be, generally, like any close physical contact between people being an intimate experience?
  15. Eioul: "Does it make sense to say anymore that penetration is fundamental to anything?" "Sex can only happen if a man is erect? Okay: all lesbians are virgins then. Or: a man gives a woman oral sex, and doesn't get erect, therefore sex didn't happen." Correct. Lesbians do not have actual sex, oral sex is not sex it only simulates sex, etc. under the traditional understanding of the word “sex”. I think people who hold that view wouldn't see anything wrong with those implications. I have been meaning to ask you more about this modern one. You have said that sex = “sexual contact”. Does "sexual contact" just mean "genital contact"? If oral sex is sex, I assume only one person's equipment need be involved.. but you seem to be adding the requirement now that both partners have to at least be aroused (physically? psychologically? both?) for an interaction to be considered “sex” as well, is that right? Are there any other restrictions on what can be considered sex that have not been covered here so far? And is orgasm (for one or both party) necessary, or not at all?
  16. ah, okay, i think that's been a source of confusion. i legitimately wasn't aware that "penetration as the distinguishing aspect of sex" was no longer a thing and that "sex really just would mean sexual contact". out of the loop i guess. it definitely follows though, should have occurred to me. the term "synergistically" is a very good addition bluecherry.
  17. “Advocating it as the primary concern” is exactly what is going on in this article, although you’re right, just talking about how it works doesn’t necessarily do that. “Making sex revolve around penetration, which works best for males” is a ridiculous sentence. That’s what sex is. If there’s no penetration, it’s not sex. Is this really controversial? And this doesn’t only “work best for males”, it “works best” for reproduction. (Also note that you’re using “works” to mean: achieving orgasm. I wouldn’t).
  18. The people who are strictly focused on orgasm are the people who are taking the dominant-submissive psychological aspect out of it and not counting that toward the enjoyment of sex. I don’t understand how you’re saying that the “traditional way” makes orgasm the main good thing about sex, when the author of the article, who takes the opposite “partnership” view of sex, is the one focused strictly on orgasm, making that the main criteria for good sex. From the traditional perspective, that doesn't have to be central.
  19. The idea is absolutely that the duty feeling follows from that, that is what is asserted in the article: “For many women, sex feels like a chore when they don't achieve orgasm”. -The article starts out by taking orgasm as the main focal point. Sexual satisfaction = achieving orgasm, in the view of the author. It says that this is “rarely” possible for “most women” “from traditional intercourse alone” (which I also doubt), and that this leads to sex feeling "like a duty", "resentment", and "a sexually frustrating partnership". Thinking about sex in the traditional way (male-dominant) is supposedly leading to women not being able to enjoy sex, so the better way to look at it is more as "partners-in-sex" instead.
  20. it doesn’t follow that sex would “feel like a duty” or “a chore” to a female just because she wasn’t having orgasms. this makes it sound like that's the only thing there is to get out of sex, or at least that that's the most important part of "sexual satisfaction" for women. i don't think that's true. and if you follow the new set of points out, as long as both partners were climaxing, so that there is a “mutually pleasurable experience”, you could eliminate actual sex altogether without losing anything important. this seems like an absurd conclusion, indicating that something has to be missing from this understanding.
  21. Romantic love as an emotion is not under your direct control, it's an automatic response to seeing your values in another person, just like "admiration" or "respect". So that's amoral, and actually positive as it's always good to find value! Developing a romantic relationship is saying something more, that's active, but still can be taken just to mean intentionally developing a relationship where there also happens to be some attraction, so I don't think that's inherently immoral either (or you couldn't have attractive friends). Dagny and Francisco I'm sure maintained their friendship even though we know there was mutual attraction, and I think it's reasonable to assume they would have become friends even if they met for the first time in the Gulch once she was already with Galt. Sex is the only thing I think absolutely has to be exclusive, so I don't think it would be morally correct to begin another physical/sexual relationship when you're already involved with someone. But that's a whole different debate, and Objectivists don't all agree on that. ---- "person who matches the values you hold" is the first "value" statement I was referring to: looking for a person (concrete) who matches values you hold (abstract), who then becomes a "value" (concrete) to you.
  22. Nothing in the actual definition of Romantic love necessarily includes "the act of sex". Romantic love "is an emotion", "love and sexual desire", but whether the relationship is actually sexual is a different question. Context matters. The feelings Francisco and Dagny have for each other will always be romantic in nature. He says: "There's one expression of it that you'll always feel and want, but will not give me any longer." and "Will I want to sleep with you? Desperately. Will I envy the man who does? Sure." So even "sexual desire" can still be present. OPAR specifies: “When a man and woman do fall in love- assuming that each is romantically free and the context otherwise appropriate- sex is a necessary and proper expression of their feeling for each other." -Not that it always is in all situations. ----- It's not an act of charity that Rearden "accepts" Dagny's relationship with Galt, and she did not need his consent. He expresses it really well: "What you'll give him is not taken away from me, it's what I've never had. I can't rebel against it." The idea appears again in Galt's speech: "Like any other value, love is not a static quantity to be divided, but an unlimited response to be earned. The love for one friend is not a threat to the love for another, and neither is the love for the various members of one’s family, assuming they have earned it. The most exclusive form—romantic love—is not an issue of competition. If two men are in love with the same woman, what she feels for either of them is not determined by what she feels for the other and is not taken away from him. If she chooses one of them, the “loser” could not have had what the “winner” has earned." ----- In "His exclusive possession is the material form of her love for him”, the word "exclusive" is what addresses why lesser value relationships cannot remain sexual too. but you're right, that's defending monogamy, not establishing why there is a switch. I think the issue here is taking "values" too concretely. You say, "Once you have found that person who matches the values you hold, the competition should close. Because Integrity is loyalty to ones values." In the first half of the statement you have it right, that it's not primarily about the person, but about the values you see in them, -that's what you're really in love with, and in love with the person to the extent that they display those values. But then you say, "integrity is loyalty to values" and by "values" there you have shifted to mean the particular person, loyalty to them regardless of the values you see in anyone else. What you really have to remain loyal to above anything are your values in the abstract sense, and so when you find a person who exhibits those to a greater degree, the emotional response (and action) follows that. This is what it means when they say things like this: “Dagny, all three of us are in love— with the same thing, no matter what its forms. Don't wonder why you feel no breach among us.” “every desire is driven by the same motor—by love for a single value, for the highest potentiality...” “it won't be treason to either, because it comes from the same root” “I feel that I have committed no treason, either to you or to him." -“You haven't."
  23. It does “take away the sexual relationship”. Why you "stop making love to" the lesser-value option, is a more interesting question. That gets more to the nature of romance and sex, maybe even values more generally. These quotes are the short answer: "Sex is the preeminent form of bringing love into physical reality." (OPAR) "His exclusive possession is the material form of her love for him" (from Rand's journals, Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics)
  24. "That 'Yes' remains constant only if the object towards whom you show this emotion, remains constant" -that's true, but in these cases (from AS) the character of all the people involved did remain constant. I think "love" is still an appropriate word for what Dagny felt for Francisco and Rearden, even after meeting Galt, but even Rand uses it in different ways in different places, and "admiration" is nearly synonymous anyway. The main point is that her emotional responses to them did not diminish or disappear- they were simply eclipsed by something greater. Galt was specifically designed to be the perfect embodiment of the Objectivist ideal, so in that sense- on the literary level- it's not possible that Dagny would ever switch to someone better than him. But naturalistically yes, all relationships are at least hypothetically open to competition and susceptible to one of the people falling more deeply in love with someone else. It should be an extremely rare kind of event, and context would have a lot to do with whether or not it should be acted on.
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