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Everything posted by mrocktor

  1. Or, if you make it impossible to find such a person. Capisce?
  2. I did not intend that implication. Personal relationships are never "steady states" because people themselves are constantly changing. I think a monogamous relationship can be a tribute if it is, for both the people involved, the option that maximizes the value in their life. I think it is not such a tribute when either or both the people involved give up a greater value for the sake of monogamy itself. In other words, monogamy is a consequence of two people being so ideal for each other that any other involvement would necessarily be a loss. This is essentially a matter of time and space limitations as well as the commonality of interests. If both people love doing all the same things to the point where they want to spend all of their time together, no time is left for anything else and consequently the matter of other involvements will never even rise. Some people here think the previous state of affairs is how it should be, or in other words, that a relationship where the people involved have diverse interests and have reason not to spend all of their time together and thus have the possibility of sharing different parts of their lives with different people is necessarily a lesser value. I don't think that it is necessarily so. Where monogamy is right, it does not have to be forced and it is not based on a "contract". It is the natural consequence of the context. And there is no basis to hold this state of affairs as inherently better than another in which the people involved are equally fulfilled (and no basis to argue that they can't be equally fulfilled without monogamy). I disagree. Exclusivity does not add anything to a relationship in itself. As Ifat said before, you are reversing cause and consequence. This is not math. And the "as intimate as possible" standard is questionable in itself. Perhaps someone may value two "7" relationships more than a "10". There is just no basis to hold up exclusivity as the ideal, and much less as an end in itself.
  3. Not again. Yes it does. No they don't. A part of one another's lives yes, immensely. They remain individuals though. But if you actually met a woman that made that question pertinent, would you face the question or close your eyes? The policy of closing your eyes preventively is only an extension of this choice. Exactly. This is the fundamental contradiction that folks here are refusing to face. Emotions are not some wild animal that has to be tamed. They have a nature, and that nature is to react automatically based on your values. If you are "madly in love" you won't fall in love with a lesser person. And even if you do find an equal or greater person, this does not mean that giving up the relationship you have built over the years is a greater value. Even if you do fall in love with this new person, you will not want to give up what you have if it is a greater value (i.e. falling in love with the new person does not mean you "fall out of love" with your current partner and have to restart your life anew). EDIT: Precisely!
  4. I don't know about Bolivia, but here in Brazil when they say "privatization" they mean "private companies operating government concessions under governmental rules and scrutiny". It works a lot better than full state run companies here, though.
  5. It is certainly possible. In fact, it does happen to people who dont lock themselves in a box. It is not, however, a recipe for hedonism. While the number of "to the death" relationships might be smaller under this principle, the ones that don't last "to the death" are exactly the ones that should not last "to the death" because they nor longer have a basis in reality for one or both of the people involved. No, I don't think it has to disappear. While time and space constraints will certainly change the outcome of this investment, I don't think it has to be an "all or nothing" deal. The idea that all is lost when a relationship is "demoted" is derivate from the same error that leads you to think avoiding good people is a good idea. Actually, that is the straw man. You are annoyed by the idea that each individual should live his or her life to the fullest, and maintain or change his or her relationships based exclusively on his best judgment of what is a highest value for him in the context of his life. You are not annoyed by replacing this with the "principle" that people should stick to their current relationships no matter what after they promise to. Because that seems like a good idea for most people. Our annoyance circuits operate on reversed polarity. No one said that the value of a past spent with someone is worthless. Again. No one said that the value of a past spent with someone is worthless. Once more, just to be sure. No one said that the value of a past spent with someone is worthless. I am saying the past spent with someone has to be constantly valuated and constantly judged in the context of your life. Your decisions have to be made based on this valuation and in the values available to you in other people. My personal opinion is that healthy, honest relationships are stable - though not guaranteed to last forever. Either your values are integrated and the lesser other person presents absolutely no risk to your current relationship or to your emotions, or your values are not integrated and you have bigger problems to deal with. Emotions don't have a mind of their own - they have your mind at their root.
  6. No, I didn't say that. What I actually said is that to deprive yourself of the values you could attain by having close relationships (romantic or not) with all the people who deserve them (opposite sex or not) hinders learning by eliminating experience. I never said you should initiate intimate relationships with everyone left and right (and implying that I did so is just AAAPMSPTIMBAH), I am limiting myself to countering Dan's assertion that it is in his best interest to purposefuly avoid people he might be attracted to. I don't think it is good advice for anyone. The less integrated the person the worse the advice is - because the person is betting all his chips on a relationship when he has less means to determine its true value.
  7. In more ways that just that. In this case, either you are in a healthy, valuable, honest relationship and thus nothing can touch it - because it would be an obvious disvalue - or you are in a less healthy, less valuable (if not necessarily less honest) relationship which could be "at risk" should you find someone "better". In the first case, Dan's essay is moot. You don't need it. In the second case, all Dan's policy does is preventing you from figuring out what exactly it is that is missing for you to reach the first case. The fact that you cover your eyes and ears and scream really loud does not make your relationship better, it only makes you ignorant of its deficiencies. One way or the other, in my opinion, it is case closed. In the second case, rational retaliation is a personal risk in itself and a secondary personal risk which is probably even greater of being incapable of proving the legitimacy of your acts. A rational person would only choose this course of action in extreme circumstances. Allowing the government to use force in your stead will almost always be the best choice in a moral country. So in a moral country all the "would degenerate into anarchy" concerns are moot. In any country, sticking to "banishing force" as if it were the principle instead of self-defense (or banishing the initiation of force) only opens you up to attack from the anarchists. In one case and in the other it is the fundamental principles that are compromised when you bring considerations of how many people would act in a certain way or why. These principles, respectively, are: In relationships, as in everything else, denying yourself value is bad. The individual has a right to defend his life and property by force.
  8. Now a positive comment. You hit on an important fact here, though perhaps not intentionally. The amount of time you spend with someone is an essential component in how well you know that person. Let us assume two people of "equal character", if that even exists. One of them is your partner of 20 years and the other someone you just met. There is no way you can know the new person is as good as your partner. The depth of knowledge required for the comparison takes a lot of time. Supposing you simply run into the second person, you would probably think "oh, she's nice" and have no particular reason to pursue it further. In that sense, lasting honest relationships are stable, in that they are self reinforcing.
  9. You are pretty much begging the question. You assume that romantic love is exclusive, which is exactly the point in question. Finding someone who you value more does not decrease the value of the first person. Even if you stay strictly monogamous and leave the first person for the second, this does not mean you love the first any less. That said, I would abhor being in a relationship with someone who sticks with me because she made a promise to. I want to know that each and every day she stays in a relationship with me that is the best possible thing she could do. And for as long as the relationship lasts, be it a lifetime or not, be it exclusive or not, she will know that being in a relationship with her is the best possible thing I could have done. I frankly don't know how it can be otherwise for rational people. Or, to put it at the level you used in the quote above, "I'll stay with you even if to do so I have to give up another person who is actually better for me" is no basis to build a healthy relationship on. For such a relationship to be successful, it is essential to not meet that other person. And thus Dan's essay is more vindication of what I (and Michael, and Ifat) have been arguing around here for a long time than anything else.
  10. Hi Brandon, One fundamental difference you might want to give thought to is in Epistemology, which is the "bridge" between Metaphysics and Ethics. While Kant proposes ethical commandments based on the imagined consequences of those commandments, no more than a thought experiment, Objectivism derives ethical principles from the nature of man - objective facts of reality. While Kant's ethical arguments are of the form "thou shall not X because if everyone did X the following bad things would happen", Objectivist principles are of the form "man's nature requires doing Y, if he does not-Y he dies, thus man should do Y if he wants to live".
  11. No it isn't. This is the "you don't understand because you don't know real love" argument thinly veiled. This from someone who has no way to determine what kind of experience the person he is directing this comment to has or does not have. The other is "you are assuming too much, I think you are not going through the trouble of validating some of your conclusions because everyone else agrees". While Inspector did make very valid criticism of the second, it is in no way like the first. The first is a claim that you can't know. The second only a conjecture about why you don't know. You persist in the error I called Inspector's attention to: assuming that the people debating you don't have the prerrequisite experience (I'll grant that such experience is necessary for the moment, though for a principled discussion I think it is not a given that it should be). That said, you seem to agree with me on principle - i.e. non-exclusive romantic relationships can be moral. To whom or how many is not really something I think is important. That is for each individual to decide.
  12. Rights are freedoms of action. You certainly have a right to perform every rights respecting action you can think of that would prevent someone from learning some information you want to keep secret. But you do not have a right to your secret, only a right to act to preserve it. If, without violating your rights to life, property and liberty, someone discovers your secret, you have absolutely no claim against them, nor any grounds to prevent them from spreading the information. On the other hand, if your property is invaded, a contract is breached or the information is extracted from you via threats to your life or property - those means of discovering your secret are crimes.
  13. It is not very polite to make assumptions about others in discussions such as these. Also, these assumptions are frequently incorrect, which is more important.
  14. Excellent post Ifat! This internal contradiction has bothered me for a long time (before this thread even) but I never put my finger on it as well as you did. Fundamentally, if you have a clear, objective, rational set of values you emotions should "fall in line" effortlessly. The simple fact that you have to "program" your emotions indicates that there is a contradiction between explicit and implicit valuations. It is effortless to not murder people. It is effortless to not steal. It should be effortless to not fall in love with another person if that were truly a disvalue. This is at the root of the provocation I made in my first reply to Dan's article. An integrated individual need not fear that his emotions will contradict his values. I also think that it is more honest to deal with the emotions and their causes than to cut yourself off from a huge part of life to avoid finding out something about yourself that may contradict your explicit values (oh no, maybe my wife/husband/partner is not "enough" for me? Is he/she "not good enough"? Am I a terrible person? etc).
  15. This certainly is food for thought. Perhaps the fact that christians defend this idea mindlessly has lead me to guilt others by association. I still don't agree with you, Inspector, but I will probably look at "your" side of the argument in a diferent (more objective) light. Also, I have to take back this:
  16. You are correct. I should not say that Diana shares christian priciples, what I actually wanted to say is that she may have assumed these widely disseminated christian conclusions without submitting them to the proper rational validation - because they are "standard" in western culture. She certainly did not bother to validate them in the original post in this topic. Your criticism is accepted, I will be more careful in the future to avoid this error. Thanks for pointing it out.
  17. No it isn't, but I think I may have been unclear. Please read "are premises held by christians" instead of "are christian premises". I am not implying that holding these premises makes someone a christian, only stating that christians hold them. That said, this discussion, unfortunately, is once more a waste of time. The important points with regard to the incompleteness/inadequacy of the original post have been stated, my "work" here is done.
  18. You still assume that "that kind of intimacy" is impossible without exclusivity (all arguments I've seen in support of this boil down to "exclusivity is impossible without exclusivity"). But if the folks here were arguing that "most people consider an exclusive relationship to be a greater value" I would not even care to debate. There is a world of difference between that and "monogamy is the highest possible value in relationships".
  19. Inspector, I didn't mean to AAAPLHTMMBAC Diana (ha, I made it a verb), and didn't. This, however is false: The assumption that exclusivity in romantic relationship and particularly in sex are the right way to live are chrisitan premises. This does not mean Diana holds them because she is a Christian (she isn't, and I didn't say she was). I simply observed that the fact that she takes these assumptions for granted is consistent with living immersed in a culture that takes them for granted. The fact that others hold these principles on faith does not mean she does not have a good reason to hold them - but she didn't provide her reasoning. Also, as a return request, please stop the use of "Anyone Advocating Any Position More Sexually Permissive Than Mine Must Be A Hedonist", or AAAPMSPTMBAH. For the very same reasons.
  20. I have discussed this and related issues extensively on several topics on these boards, so I'm sticking to a simple identification of the issues in Diana's text. Also, since she does not seem post here, they are formulated as observations and not discussion points. Love is an emotional response to virtue. Replacing the concept's meaning in the phrase demonstrates that it is a non-sequitur. The emotional response to a person's virtues does not depend on he or she making you the most important person in his/her life. This statement smuggles in the idea that exclusivity is inherent to romantic love. Granted, Diana may have considered no one would argue this implicit assumption which would explain why she didn't trouble herself to validate it. This is the real issue with multiple intimate relationships (romantic or not). Namely, our time and resources are limited. It is obvious that it is impossible to have intimate friendships with 100 people, but this is not an argument in favor of exclusivity of intimate relationships (romantic or not). There is no math that can be applied to the issue. Devoting 100% of your time and energy to a single relationship does not necessarily make it better (by the "value provided to your life" standard) than splitting your time between a couple or a few good friends. Each individual can only judge for himself, and not all answers will be the same. This is not true. Many times the aftermath of the discussion with one person will provide insight that makes a subsequent discussion of the same issue even deeper. Also, the possibility that all the people involved may be intimate friends and discuss things together is ignored. Except for the time and energy factor, there is no merit to this point. Again there is an implicit assumption of exclusivity (in this case, sexual). No explanation of why things have to be that way. I find it interesting how easy it is for so many to accept self denial as a moral ideal when it comes to sex, despite the fact that it is so alien to Objectivism. Again, there is a hidden assumption that intimacy is a zero sum game, that being intimate with one person necessarily excludes being intimate with another. Aside from the time and energy issue, this is false. The fact is that most people expect exclusivity (sexual and otherwise) and make it part of their commitment when they enter romantic relationships. I believe this to be due to the deep influence of christianity on western culture. In that context, intimate friendships (with people of the opposite and even the same sex) are a threat. It does not mean that things should be that way for everyone.
  21. Except the right to own property is not derived from whether other people think you need it or not. To be perfectly clear: the government does not get to decide what people need or don't need. The only thing the government can do is determine whether someone is violating other people's rights. No, it is a terrible argument since it uses a needs based theory of property in place of the proper rights based theory of property. You are, of course. The fact that you have a right to own a huge flying missile does not mean you are exempt from the consequences of acting foolishly. The criminals, of course. This argument, if granted, could be used to forbid anything. "What if someone takes your car and runs over old ladies on the sidewalk? Forbid cars!" "What if someome takes your matchbox and sets fire to a children's hospital? Forbid matches!" "What if someone takes your toast and force feeds it to a gluten intolerant person? Forbid bread!"
  22. I think it is worth noting that all of the "problems" you cite do not follow from what I am advocating. One by one: 1. Torture for extraction of confessions The private individual may torture the criminal who attacked him. Whatever information he extracts is obviously inadmissible in court. When the government tries the original attacker, he will have to be convicted on independent evidence. If that evidence does not exist, the man is found innocent and the vigilante is convicted of assault. If independent evidence is found and the original attacker is found guilty, the vigilante's action may still be judged criminal if the level of force permitted by the law in retribution for the original attacker's offense is less than that which he used. No problem here. 2. Chain of custody The principle still applies. To the government. Obviously any evidence the vigilante has access to will be considered suspect from the start. If the vigilante invalidates the evidence that would demonstrate the legitimacy of his act - that is his problem. No problem here either. 3. Search warrants Still applies. To government. An individual who does a search on his own will be either found guilty of trespass and possibly theft or found to have broken and entered into the guilty party's property and thus acted legitimately. Once again, he runs the risk of corrupting the very evidence that would legitimate him. No problem here either. Note that you equivocate freely between allowing individuals to act and then answer to the government for their acts with releasing government agents (police in particular) from their procedural requirements. Yes, a policeman may act in his individual capacity and flout procedure - but he gets to stand trial for his actions. And his contract as a policeman may state that any such act is grounds for dismissal - I see no problem with that either. Since he chooses to become a policeman, it is fair to require him to give up his right to retaliate except in emergency situations.
  23. Procedural protections of rights exist to protect you from the government, since it is accountable only to itself (i.e. to the procedural law). Individuals who exercise retaliation should be held up to the standards these procedures defend, not to the procedures themselves. Some procedures exist to guarantee the government acts against the right person, including standards of evidence and the process used to obtain it. If, after the fact, an individual is found to have acted against the right person, even if he did not follow the procedures mandated to government, the fact that he did act against the right person is what matters. Some procedures exist to guarantee the government does not cause "collateral damage" to innocents. If, after the fact, an individual is found to not have caused "collateral damage" to innocents, even if he did not follow the procedures mandated to government, the fact that he violated no one's rights is what matters. You don't need to suspect anything. I have stated explicitly, more than once, that "procedure law" is a limitation on government and not on the individual. The individual is held accountable by the government, the government only to itself. Thus the conceptual disconnect I mentioned in the post above remains.
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