I've always found this to be a huge gaping hole in Objectivism. What exactly IS my interest. What exactly IS the standard. How exactly do I deal with the particulars of being a man? Maybe it was obvious to Rand but it's not to me.
I always identified those three aspects of man you mentioned a bit different. I identified them as spiritual, mental and physical. Spiritual (pleasure/happiness/joy), mental (mental health, character, mindsets, knowledge, skills), physical (corporeal health, fitness)
I like where you are going with this line of thought and it reminds me of some thoughts I've had myself. I postulated complex happiness and complex well-being, even using the term complex, in the naming spirit of complex numbers.
I've felt at odds with Objectivists who only focus on one thing about man. Many types of Objectivists make no sense to me. Objectivists who don't care for their health and fitness. Objectivists who pay no attention to their appearance or dress. Objectivists who don't care about actually enjoying themselves. Objectivists who think they have to be serious intellectual types.
I've been trying to come up with a practical guide to living beyond ethics. What are the actual things we want? What does living well mean concretely? What are the concrete values of life?
I'm trying to integrate scientific knowledge about man's nature and his needs into a more robust and practical conception of self interest. Your self interest could be stated as your flourishing comprising of well-being and life satisfaction. (Scientific Knowledge such as Positive Psychology, Maslow's Hierachy of Needs, Nutrition, Evolutionary Psychology, 16 Basic Desires Theory)
My working thesis is as follows:
Flourishing → Well-Being (Subjective and Objective) and Life Satisfaction → Joy1(Mental and Spiritual values), Health (Psycho-physical functioning), Wealth (Material values)
1 - the psychological state, not in the sense flourishing. Not just the specific emotion of joy, but joy in living, all types of enjoyment. I use the term joy to avoid confusion with the word happiness.
There's a lot packed in there because I know what I mean by the terms. The words are distillations but the parenthesis give some idea of what I mean.
Joy, or happiness or better called joy in living: Mental values means virtuous character, mental strength, self-esteem, mental powers. Spiritual values means all sources of enjoyment of life in all its forms physical and mental, active and passive, leisure and work. The day to day, month to month, year to year life as experienced, concrete meat and potatoes. In my conception, health and wealth are only instruments to joy in living, but joy in living is the point (although their attainment can contain enjoyment, the endorphin after a run or the rush of making a million dollars.). However, flourishing cannot be simply joy in living, since a person can experience short term joy in living, while their actual state with respect to reality is declining, such as their finances draining and their health deteriorating. This will also cause a long term drop in joy in living.
Health is mental and physical and has to do with the functioning of the mind and body. Psycho-physical functioning means psychological functioning and physical functioning. You want your body to function right. You want your mind to function right. Mental and physical health essentially. In order to have physical health you must meet certain needs of your body. In order to be psychologically healthy, you need to meet certain psychological needs. Some examples of psychological needs are a feeling of autonomy, relatedness and competence.
Wealth is your access to material values in the world, including but not limited to goods and services. In the modern world, your access to goods and services is mainly determined by how much money you have, but it's the things in themselves that you want that constitutes the wealth. Some wealth is free such as books from a library, playgrounds, parks, wifi, etc. Furthermore, some people need to work for money. Some people don't. What you really want is access to goods and services, and our base physiological needs are all physical, such as food and water, shelter. The Bottom of Maslow's Hierachy.
You can flesh out some of the concretes but the list is often personal. What one person likes, another might not. Here are a few I thought of. The list is non-exhaustive.
Examples of Actual Joy in Living→
"Positive Experiences", Self Esteem, Competence, Growth, Accomplishment, Relationships, Engagement, Meaning, Contented, Connection (Friendship), Romance (Love, Sex),
Positive Experiences → Basic Desire Satisfaction, Pride, Fun, Engagement/Flow, Curiosity, Laughter, Corporeal Pleasures, Joy, Love, Beauty, Lifestyle, Self Actualization, Personal Power, Sense of Adventure,
You can integrate PERMA (Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, Accomplishment) into this but I wanted to be more concrete.
I think that a part of happiness is experimenting with yourself. Figuring out what kind of life makes you happy, and what kind of things you like to do and experience. Listening to your heart. Perhaps this is what Branden meant by following your bliss. You can't just sit there and figure out what constitutes joy in living for you. Everyone's wired up in their own way. You discover it through doing.
Other values such as a job or career are subservient to happiness, health, wealth, as far as I can tell. A job that makes money is just to attain wealth. A career is really something else. It really aims to serve joy, health and wealth.
Happiness, health and wealth can all feed back on each other. A gain in peace of mind (spiritual value) mind through meditation might improve your ability to handle stress and thereby increase your work capacity improving your work and further improving your self esteem (spiritual value) and your income (material value).
It can be an upward spiral.
Love, in my conception, is a value because of how it makes you feel, and so it's part of 'joy in living' (spiritual value)
These are just working ideas. I don't suggest that this is how it really works. And it's just outline.
Ultimately it'd be really cool to create a Dao of Flourishing. Something you can read through everyday to keep your mind on what matters. A compilation of wisdom and practical tools for living. 10 Commandments. Various maxims, pithy one liners included. How do you set up a new habit? What habits should you set up? How do you follow a routine? Stoicism offers a lot of great mindsets too. THROW IT ALL IN