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4reason

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  1. The modern IQ tests have their origins in France, when teachers found themselves overwhelmed by the range of learning abilities they were presented with after the government passed a law that made school attendance mandatory for all children. They quickly realized that the schools needed a way to objectively identify which children had special learning needs. Relying on teachers' subjective evaluations was not going to prove realiable, as struggles for certain children could merely reflect inadequate exposure to schooling, not an inability to learn or an inadequacy in terms of potential. The test then, was actually created to minimize bias. While I am not a fan of government controling any kind of educational assessments, I think it is important to note how these kinds of tests originated. They were meant to improve education by pinpointing needs, but what it has become is a way to label people with attributes and limitations, adults and children alike. The "standard" IQ test is an adaptation of the one utilized in France over a century ago; it is called the Stanford-Binet test. The "Intelligence Quotient" as I am sure you know, is simply a person's mental age divided by their chronological age ten multiplied by 100 to eliminate the decimal. The test, then, established "mental age" and the score came from plugging it into this formula (the formula originated out of Germany). What is interesting to note --an here's where I question the validity of any test you can take online-- is that most professionally administered IQ tests no longer compute an "IQ," not even the working version of the Stanford-Binet. The original quotient formula worked well with children. A smart child who could answer questions the way a typical child that was several years older than him would score higher. But did an adult who scores as well as an adult younger than them deserve to have a "low IQ," especially once you got into the older ages of adulthood, because that's what happened if you started plugging numbers into the formula. A sixty year old, then, would be numerically punished for scoring the same as a fifty year old, which seemed troublesome. Psychology's answer was to then evaluate the test-takers' performance relative only to the average of others the same age, and they do this when testing both adults and children. Current tests, I believe, still define the average score as 100. What results, then, is "a mental ability score." (they no longer like to use the word "quotient). Most people, using this age-restrictive evaluation, score between 85 and 115. I don't know where you would start defining genius... as I still believe genius lies largely in action that the test cannot quantify. Sure, it may prove one is good at manipulating forms in space and doing math, but no score can really predict with 100% accuracy what any individual will do or accomplish. I think it should be used as an indicator, at best, and still does have value for pinpointing educational needs in children. Many of the assessments that I use in a primary level Montessori environment are very similar to components of the IQ test. But the number one method of evaluation I use is observation, for it is tthe children's ability to move through a process that reveals where their struggles and their talents are. This is why I believe that IQ tests administered by someone who watches you move through the process can be more helpful as opposed to taking one online, especially if you're really looking for insight about you r thinking abilities or have a desire to know how you compare to others. How you approach a problem can be just as insightful, if not more so, than the result you arrive at. One could argue that puts you at the mercy of the administrator's subjective judgment of your process, but it really doesn't. I recently took a "cognitive evaluation" (ie, an IQ test), and found that the explanations I was provided were not judgments so much as they were explanations of how my processing compared to those of others. The administrator never said, "you did it this way, so that makes you smart." He explained it more along the lines of "you did it this way, whereas most people did it this way." That was useful information to me. That is what I walked away remembering and thinking about. I was given a score, but it didn't make me feel smart (even though it should have, considering what the average score is). What made me feel intelligent was understanding what my learning style was - visual - and how I used that to work through all sorts of different problems. There were no subjective evaluative statements involved. Just concrete and mathematical comparisons. The interpretation is really up to the individual, not the administrator, especially for someone taking the test just out of personal curiosity. If you are taking tests online, I would at least try and see if the sites explain the formula they are using. As an adult, you want to make sure they are comparing your results only to people your own age; otherwise it might produce a misleadingly low or high score. Different tests are probably using different formulas, that could be one reason why one's "score" could vary so widely from test to test.
  2. Or they are taught that emotions are more virtuous and valid than knowledge, as I was taught in my upbringing. This then causes one to use emotions to evaluate knowledge, which virtually makes knowledge impossible to gain (one's mind gets filled with nothing but floating abstractions and baseless concepts). One's emotions start to change their perceptions, and blinds them to reality because it is putting their consciousness in front of existence. That's a huge fallascious tendency to overcome, but I believe it can be done. Change has to be approached with a rational purpose first and foremost, not with an emotional one. Positive emotions will result from such a change, but I don't think they can be the driving purpose. Thinking emotionally, ironically, is the worst path to happiness... a statement that contradicts what I was always taught to believe, but completely correlates with what I now know. It leads to the opposite of where you want to be. By putting existence and reality first, however, you can get to that desired place so long as you understand that there are rational evaluations that must be made at every step along the way. Happiness, afterall, is derived from pursuit of values; it cannot stand on its own merits, especially if one does not know what their values are. If one's values are defined by emotional thinking, then all the decisions they make along the path of their life are going to be emotional, and that's disastrous. It leads to pessimism, depression, unhappy relationships, people who are unhappy in their career... we see it all around us. Maybe it's defining one's values that is the most difficult step; a step an emotional-thinker is not going to be able to take. But it is always possible to recognize the errors of one's ways. As long as one is willing and able to say that the foundations of their beliefs, actions and evaluations are erroneous (be they faith or feelings) the ability to escape from that path remains.
  3. This analogy made me smile; it made me think of all the deux-ex-machina (I hope I spelled that right) moments of the old Greek tragedies, where suddenly some great consciousness comes in and fixes everything all at once. I think the realization that "dang! my brain's been turned off" or "dang! I've been evading a lot of aspects of reality" can happen suddenly, but the process to fix such flaws is not something that one's own consciousness can even fix so quickly. I was thinking about the process of concept formation today and couldn't help but wonder if self-improvement isn't really just the formation of the concept "me." I know that identity is an axiomatic concept, but as I understand it that concept speaks only to the fact that "I exist," and doesn't delve into the more abstracted concepts of consciousness that are involved in self-perception. Just like any concept formation, aside from those tied directly to sensory perception and the axioms themselves, self-improvement is a process that involves many steps; steps that begin in honestly accepting reality and perceiving it for what it is. From there, we begin to form definitions for all the things that we do, and then that helps us to start thinking about what values we may have and why (an abstract thought process, no?). Once we understand what our values are, we can begin putting them into a meaningful hierarchy. And finally, we can begin acting in pursuit of those values. We can live by what we say. When one begins to live as they say, integrity falls into place and then one's actions begin to speak for themselves. Actions of integrity are very real to perceive, and a rational person I suspect would be able to spot them easily. But changing one's self is, as we all seem to agree, a process. Even Rand's heroes and heroines undergo this process (though I think Galt's process occured prior to where the events of the novel begin, but I think he would have had to have gone through such a process none the less). Some people are able to go through this process when they are young, some people when they are old. For some people the process is short, for some it is longer. BUt it remains a process in all instances. Every individual will be unique in regard to the length their process requires as his or her particular hierarchy of values, and admissions of flaws to overcome, may vary. It's a nice thought to think it could be fixed suddenly, but it really can't. Maybe that's where the general pessimism toward the notion of someone really changing comes from: it takes longer than most people (esp those that were skeptical to begin with) are willing to stick around to see. I think the resolution to begin the process can be thrown by a mental switch rather suddenly, but it takes continuous and consistent effort to maintain that forward motion; a motion that perhaps never ceases for a rationale person who is constantly striving to better themselves in some way. Am I wrong to think there is a great danger in thinking that living morally ever becomes automatized? It seems like you always have to keep cognition going in full gear, and constantly weigh new incoming data with previous conceptions, etc. in every situation, even in regard to self-perception. It is still a process, but it is a process where you constantly have to keep throwing that switch over and over again to make it meaningful to you, first and foremost, and to make it acknowledgeable by others as a bonus. One can believe in their ability to change, but they must CONSTANTLY act to pursue it. You can't just say, well I fixed that, let's move on. That is, as you say, just like the notion of forgiveness in religion and it's abhorable. Forgiving one's self is possible, but the cause and effect of the effect must be taken into account; the act of forgiveness, nor change, can stand on its own. It, like everything one has to learn, requires proof. More than anything it requires effort, and perhaps only the individual trying to change can understand the effort involved. That may be another reason why it's hard for others to see or to believe.
  4. I understand the automization aspect fully, but I can't help but feel like the conscious and explicit acknowledgment of those tendencies can give one control over them. I feel in control of those things that controlled me in the past. I think that part has changed. now, maybe it does take some time to let that aspect of transformation really sink in to the degree that it can help prevent you from making other, different mistakes in one's life. That too i realize. A conscious acknowledgment of that past tendency can help you from committing that particular mistake again, but it may not prevent you from doing other dumb things, like being alittle too trusting and putting yourself in dangerous situations (or letting too much of one's personal matters infiltrate one's posts...). Whatever aspect of one's self that mistakes stem from, they do seem to help us grow becuase it makes you ponder that need for integration all the time. Consciously keeping that in mind is what helps us to throw that switch in our life to simply focus. Focus,then, ultimately gives us control. That's not far fetched from Rand's perspective on the matter, is it? Her words in the Introduction to Obj. Epistemolgy rang as a clarion in my head when I recently reread them. I have full confidence in what I have helped myself finally become, and even though it would be nice if others could admit that such a change is possible, I cannot focus on what they think. The reality of one's past will always affect peoples' judgment of them, but so should the reality of their present. But it is the individual's judgment of himselfthat is the most important. I just find it interesting to note how skeptical people are about the human ability to let reason into their life, which can then enable them to set and take a new course in life. Where does the skepticism, in a broader sense-- not in regard to myself (for I know where thar comes from)-- come from? Does the broader public really hold that much doubt about the power of volition?
  5. Having encountered a lot of skepticism from a lot of people lately, I wonder if people think it is possible for others to change? One can never escape the mistakes of one's past; indeed, I think honestly admitting to them is the first ingredient to any forward motion in self-improvement. Isn't there always a "switch" of focus that the individual can choose to throw, assuming they decide to turn their brain on and think in the first place? If it is always possible for a person to think, isn't it possible for them to gain a new view of themself as well as a new perspective on life? If mistakes serve us any good in life, it's that they can make us resolve never to commit them again. Any individual who faces their faults and who tries to change has to know that others always reserve the right to judge them based on their past. I, for example, can speak to the truth behind the the tale of the boy who cried wolf myself. I don't like what my past mistakes have cost me in credibility, but even with that dislike stated, I have to accept the reality of the past proof they're making those judgments on. Others have a right to doubt me, just as I have the power to state that those doubts no longer apply to me. I can acknowledge such skepticism, but I cannot let it drag me down. So why does everyone find transformation so difficult ot believe? Where do objectivists fall on this question? I am a relative novice in profound, philosophical discsussions and this is one topic I've been trying to mesh out on my own lately. I would appreciate some insights from some more seasoned and articulate members...and there are a lot of you out there. Can a rational philosophy change someone? Would not the argument that it could not be equivalent to saying one's thought process must be inborn? Doesn't the individual have to discover their own philosophy based on the experiences of their life and the acceptance of reality? (and I say that realizing that the denial or evasion of reality can lead to one accepting a bad philosophy). I'm speaking only of the acceptance of a rational philosophy (as that as the only kind that can offer improvement in life). Can't an individual's acceptance of reason make an individual resolve to live by it?
  6. Having recently read two charming books, The Tao of Pooh and the Te of Piglet, both by Benjamin Hoff (the faults of Taoism aside) I was inspired to revisit the original Pooh tales written by A.A. Milne way back in the 1920s. I grew up watching the Disney tv version of Pooh, and find that that is the Pooh most chldren nowadays are aquainted with, unfortunately. In a world where most books for children focus on such themes as multi-culturalism, altruism, religion, unconditional tolerance, etc. it is refreshing to read stories which such interesting characters (again, putting aside the fantasy fact that they are animals acting as humans), Each character has a unique philosophy; unique as compared to the other characters. The interplay between these characters and their outlooks in every situation is absolutely charming. And the wisdom of Winnie the Pooh always wins out. I can't think of many other young children's tales where the characters consistently get the just desserts of their philosophies. Bad philosophies always seem to win out... but not in Pooh. My new personal favorite character, is Piglet, as he is the only character who undergoes any sort of change throughout the course of the original tales: he gains confidence and a new outlook on life (that, and the illustrations of him throughout the stories are adorable!). For those of you who do have young children out there, I highly recommenf the Milne stories of Winnie the Pooh. I even recommend them for all of us adults out there; reading a little Pooh can make even the worst days a little better. Just the illustrations alone will make you smile.
  7. As frustrated as I was with the police when I did speak to them, they did allude to this same idea. They said you can't just accuse someone without proof, otherwise everyone would do it. While I did have to recognize that there is some truth to that -- for there have been cases where women have made false accusations for their own purposes -- I will still tell you it is INCREDIBLY frustrating once you find yourself caught up in such a difficult issue. I know where their skepticism comes from; I used to be one of those "well, what did she do?" type thinkers, but recent events have certainly caused me to rethink that. I think it is important to approach the situation without judgment; it should be investigated from both sides. Look at what's there: what happened, what's the context... using reason to deduce the reality of it all. I feel like the police are doing the right thing by not just taking me at my word (if they did that, we wouldn't have moved very far from the Salem witch trials). But yet, I still feel like there should be some sort of attempt to look into it further. I don't know if my wanting their assistance in that matter is asking them to step outside their proper role. How do you peel apart the pieces of a situation like mine to determine what happened and what laws were violated? Are misunderstandings criminal? Do I have the right to seek legal protection simply because I'm scared? It is a very complex issue. I really don't know where to begin, or where anyone who does have to make legal decisions in these matters begins. I can sympathize with the police in a way; they probably do have a lot of cases that waste their time. But when you find yourself having to constantly look over your shoulders, you can't help but wonder if the process couldn't be improved in some way to help everyone involved, the accusers and the accused, so that we can truly identify the real victims.
  8. You know, the thought occurred to me today (while driving, of all places) that perhaps exercise is able to get rid of the urge because I have not yet experienced what I now understand the ideal sexual encounter to be. I've only been in one relationship, period, and I'll be the first to tell you my former lack of self-esteem really screwed up a chance of a lifetime. I made the mistake of getting involved that way with a great man too soon; it wouldn't have been too soon had I simply had the self-esteem that I have now back then. I took the fact that I received that exquisite experience with him as an indication of my self-worth. If I was getting that kind of attention from such a great guy, than I must be a great woman, right? Wrong. I had the potential to be great, and I suspect he knew it for all those years, but the dumb things I did trying to defend a sense of self-esteem I never even really had at the time cost me dearly. We had good times, sure - I even have a scar on my back from one such moment- but when I stop to think of what it could be like now.... no exercise could replace what I think it could (and hopefully someday, will) be. Exercise works for now because I am comparing it to past experience; but if I try and compare it to what I suspect it will be (for now I have the self-esteem to invest in the process) I don't think anything could replace that urge. I've had great sexual experiences, yes, but with this new sense of self I have I suspect that I only have GREATER experiences to come. In the meantime, as I explore possibilities, exercise still works to take off that edge because, again, I only have past experiences to compare it to.I don't think I'm being unrealistic in my expectations for a person to share that with because I've met the ideal; I screwed up my chance with him, true, but his mere existence is enough justification for me not to make any compromises. If you have that ideal in your head, why settle? Roark never compromised on his designs, and he was just as happy to starve and work in a quarry rather than have it any other way than his own. I guess I look at my pickiness in the same light; the reward will make it worth it. And it the reward doesn't come, I'd stll take comfort in the fact I didn't give the person I now understand myself to be to anyone who did not appreciate and understand me.
  9. I didn't realize I had to go into explicit detail in the forum. I was just hoping for legal definition and explanations that others had since I felt I did not get treated well by my local police. I just posted some of the details in my previous post moments ago, and that's about all the deatil I want to share. Was I naive? Yes. But I've only ever dated and been involved with one man before, so I didn't and still don't have a lot of experience to make good judgments all of the time when it comes to men and their intentions (as this incident clearly indicates). All this happened about 1.5 miles away from my house. My car was closer to me after the incident than was the restaurant, so that's where I went first. In hindsight, a public place might have been great, but that's hindsight. My fight or flight response kicked in and I just wanted to get out of there; to get as far away from him as possible. As to the restaurant Iw as at with a group after the incident, the restaurant was rounded and he was sitting about five tables behind me. I was talking with everyone at the table, so I wasn't looking over my shoulder every few minutes so I had no idea he was there until I was already walking out with someone. I didn't tell that person I was walking with because, again, I just wanted to keep walking and get out of there. Maybe that's stupid, I don't know. But I was not walking alone! And I didn't feel like explaining the whole matter and asking someone to drive 27 miles out of their way to drive me home all while that man was not that far away from me. No wonder attempted rape and anything like it is so hard to prove; everyone always wants to say the victim did something wrong. Where does that mentality come from? I tried to do everything I thought best, and am still trying to do that. That's why I wanted advice. Sorry if that sounds bitter, but I just find it really annoying. That's about all the detail I want to go into; I'll save the rest for an investigation if need be. I just felt obligated to defend myself a little; It took me 26 years to really find myself and to live 100% honestly, so I'm sorry if I take great offense.
  10. I don't think I owe him the right to apologize. Even if he did mean no harm, the fact that he made me as uncomfortable about the whole matter is enough for me to want to keep my distance. If he meant no harm than it should make no difference to him whether he's able to apologize or not because, either way, I am not interested. He can write it off to poor judgment, if indeed that is the case, and back off. But he can do that on his own. No need for me to be involved. As for the details of the incident, the details I've posted are vague, yes, but what I told the cops was not. It was the explicit truth, right down to the big scratch I got in a very uncomfortable, internal place. The cops are, in fact, the only ones I have told all the details to. I couldn't even bring myself to write it down in my journal. I don't want to go into all the details, but let it suffice to say he came up to me from behind, jammed his wrist in my mouth and pulled me back so hard I was swung sideways down to the ground. I couldn't scream because he kept his hand over my mouth. His hand was so large it also mostly covered my nose, so even when his hand did slip a little, my first thought was to take a breath in first, and by the time I had done that, the opportunity to scream was already lost again. He kept one hand on my mouth, with his elbow digging into my chest, and his weight keeping me to the ground while he got himself situated. He managed to only get me partially undressed, but undressed enough to give me a pretty good internal scrath with what must have been a jagged fingernail, I don't know. What really saved me was the fact I was wearing tight jeans that day that proved tricky for him to try an d really manipulate with one hand. That, and my knees just happened to end up in the right spot and the right time and I was able to "grind" his goods with due force between my knees as I slid them past one another. That must have hurt, because he rolled off and I ran off. As far as I am concerned, his intentions were pretty clear. One could take the Roark/Dominique scene out of context and say it sounds somewhat similar, but we all know it's not logical to pull things out of context. Besides, those characters had a mutual understanding, developed by several encounters before they actually got to that point. This guy and me, as is more than clear by now, did not have any such understanding. Even if he was trying to act like that, he skipped so many steps it could cause me nothing but confusion and fear. The cops got ALL the details, and even though they sympathized with my experience they said I had no proof. What kind of proof they need exactly, other than the rape itself being completed (which it wasn't), I'm still not sure about. Hopefully I won't have to worry about that, as I am hoping to resolve this whole matter without having to bury myself in a legal nightmare.
  11. It produces the same mental effect, in that it gets that out of my system and makes me feel good about myself and all of that. But the total effect is not the same, because it lacks that particularly wonderful combination of a mental AND physical effect. As to the best substitute, I've never found masturbation very fulfilling. The difference is WAY too tangible for it to be any fun. It's like being told eating a rice cracker and a warm chocolate cookie are the same thing. They both serve the same purpose of getting rid of that snack craving, but one is obviously much more enjoyable.
  12. Don't get me wrong; I'm not trying to say the two acts are even close to being comparable... but why is it the more I settle into lacking a romantic partner, the more exercise I find myself doing? Is it purely neurological? Are there happy little endorphines being released that help take the edge off of the thought of what I'm currently lacking in my life? Or is it psychological? Am I trying to get in shape (on more of a subconscious level) in order to attract a new partner? On a conscious level, I would say that's not the case. While I have been on some "dates" (some good, some nearly criminal) I have made it explicitly known I am not looking for that kind of relationship right now. Does that turn guys away? No. They go out with me anyway. They all seem to think THEY'LL be the one to convince me otherwise. I always laugh on the inside when I begin to sense this in their conversations... As to this whole exercise phenomenon, what's really weird is that during the one relationshp I've ever been in,whenever I felt "that way" but wasn't with my guy I would reach for a piece of chocolate. Now, whenever I have that urge (which is more often now... perhaps a statement of new self-esteem ...) I exercise: pilates, yoga, running, cross training, walking, etc. The result? I'm getting in great shape, and the exercise does seem to get rid of the craving (though it can't completely erase the thought). Does this fit with the notion that sex is a celebration of one's self and of existence? Can exercise offer the same celebration? If it doesn't, why do I feel "better" after having exercised the urge away? My recent boot from the romantic front has forced me to focus on me for the time being, and maybe that new focus is making me value that feeling of physical exertion and strength even more. These are useful feelings to exercise in the bedroom, but apparently they can make one feel better when used for personal, non-sexual purposes as well. It's almost like I don't want sex --hence why I am not pursuing anything with the guys I've been dating-- because the men who are willing in no way embody what I now consider and can explictly identify as my highest values. They want the act, but are not willing or able to comit to the proper amount of thought involved. The physical action of exercise is not without its guiding idea; just as sex should have the guidance of one's code of values. The more I think about what sex should be, the more I realize how impossible that would be to achieve with these men I meet. Sometimes, honestly, it's hard not to laugh at how horribly these men are separating cause from effect in their intentions, no matter how hard they try to hide that fault. That's the number one moment to exercise: when I get home from one of these "dates." It lets me shake off that sense of seemingly eternal sexual despondency while letting me feel invigorated at the same time. My mind begins to outright control every movement of my body, and that sense of control helps my mind feel at ease. In other words, it somehow has the ability to make my mind feel the same way it does after sex. My body feels tired, yes, but I've discovered no amount of exercise can come close to replicating that physical feeling that follows an exhasting session of lovemaking.(if anyone knows of such an exercise, please let me know and by exercise I mean something other than self-service; that's boring). So if sex is metaphysical and makes one feel exhiliarated because it is the physical celebration of one's values, how come exercise is producing the same effect? Is it simply because my esteem for myself has now, finally, taken its proper place? And because I can't celebrate it with the one man I thus far deem proper, I celebrate with myself in this way?
  13. I printed Colorado's criminal code on stalking that Rational Biker posted (thank you!), and will clip it under my windshield wiper for at least the next week. That seems like the least confrontational thing I can do right now to let him know I am NOT interested and to leave me alone. Hopefully that will work. I have had no "incidents" since Friday and am hoping this clipped note will prevent me from having any more.
  14. I just have to laugh about this now. I actually got in an argument about this whole matter on my date this afternoon. It was my third date with him, but his casual "it's no big deal" perspective disturbed me to the point that I turned down an invitation to attend Cirque de Soleil with him. CIRQUE DE SOLEIL! Maybe I am dwelling on the worst case scenarios, but even still, I feel pretty strongly about that kind of relationship not occuring in that kind of setting. I like Sophia's observation about the female teacher needing to find something about the male student to look up to (an essential ingredient to love, which is, again, in my perspective the precursor to sex). I think back to the guys I knew in high school, and even most of the guys I knew in college, and I can only think of a token few who deserved such admiration... and those were men my own age. I imagine looking at men younger than oneself, especially when they're in what I like to call "the personal growth years, would make such a find even more difficult. There is a hmuch bigger difference between two people who are say 17 and 24 (just random numbers here...) versus two people who are the same age difference at 30 and 37. I think the high school and college years are really when the enduring individual is formed (stretching into the early career years of the twenties). I, for example, am a completely differnet person than I was in high school. I'm even completely different from who I was when I graduated college. Even my recent experience of getting dumped has helped me grow and mature. In a way I am glad I was, well, ugly, back then becuase had I been more attractive I may have been in some situations I would have regretted. That's because I am willing to admit I was not completely integrated yet. Most teenagers aren't. Hey, most adults aren't. Some teenagers are mature, as indeed these forum hosts many teens who are quite mature, and indeed might merit the kind of admiration a woman could offer. But judging by the kind of women you usually see getting busted for this sort of interlude,, that kind of admiration didn't seem to be part of the equation. Most of the stories I've seen on the matter involve women who, more than anything, liked the reverence the male student gave them which does not jive well with either my personal convictions or my understanding of Objectivist views regarding proper male and female roles in a relationship. These women liked the attention. They weren't in awe of the student's philosophy or sense of life; they just liked feeling loved. It seems like these women of the news stories on this matter all had the same problem: a lack of self-esteem. As an interesting anecdote for all of this,when I was in college one of my history professors was quite fond of me. He brought me hot chocolate every day, setting it on my desk for everyone to see, and called me his "Irish beauty" ( I had strawberry blonde hair back then, and he was Irish and seemed to be attracted to that aspect of my appearance). It wasn't a secret; my peers teased me horribly for it. He never did ask me out or anything, but he always gave me more attention than he did to others. On our final exam I was one of about five people left in the room, furiously filling out the back cover of the blue exam booklet, when he came up to me, put his hand on my booklet and said, "It's okay, Allison. You don't have to finish.We both know you got an A." He took the booklet away from me before I could even offer an objection. I remember feeling flattered and disturbed at the same time. Was he even going to read my exam, or was he just going to assume I knew the answers anyway and give me an A? And was he assuming I knew the answers based on things I had said in class, or was he saying that just because he liked me. By the time I got back to my room I felt kind of sleazy even though neither of us had DONE anything. I got an A in the course, but I can't help but question where that grade came from: from merit or affection? Maybe that's another reason why I am so opposed to this whole matter,because I know what it made me think and how it made me feel when I was the student involved. I was the kind of student who strives for academic perfection, but I also wanted to know that the grade that resulted from that strive did indeed come from my efforts and not just from my personality and appearance.
  15. I am not arguing that it does make one unable to carry on in the functions of teacher and requisite evaluation. And yes, maybe there are teachers out there who do have this relationships and keep it out of the classroom, but again, the risks of it becoming a conflict of interest are, in my opinion, just too great. I am going to assume you did not intend the "passions overriding judgment" as a personal attack on me and my perspectives on romance. I assure you, after having lost the man I love due to confusion on this matter, I am very much in accord with the notion that emotions should supplement thought, and not serve as the tool of cognition in any decision. A sexual relationship starts simply with attraction...hopefully a rational attraction whereby you admire that person and their sense of life and see wisdom in the values they pursue. That person has integrity; he/she makes you smile at how their actions fulfill their words. The more you discover of that person, the more you yearn for them. You carry on with your job, you can go out in public together and appear "normal" or what have you, but somewhere inside you still love that person and you still think of them in that way. Can you think of someone sexually and still remain an objective judge of their course of action and their intellectual output? Yes, but I think one of the greatest rewards of love is the sense of admiration it instills in you for that other person. A great romantic partner is one who does make you think, whether it be about them or anything, really. They should inspire and challenge you. A student and teacher very well could have this relationship--- I'm not arguing that the relationship, even in a pure objective form, is impossible. To me it just seems that the presence of that potential conflict of interest would prevent romantic love from being what it could and ought to be. It doesn't seem like it would be very rewarding for either party involved. Combine that with what I still believe to be a violation of the integrity of the position of being an educator in the first place, and I still say the whole thing is morally ill-advised. I have very high ideals in the matters of love and sex, but even with those ideals I am still able to keep my judgment at the helm of control over my passions. You would be right to have made that accusation toward me in the past, but I am quite proud to say that no longer holds true. That's one of the great insights that Objectivism has offered me, and it is that ability that allows me to carry on in my life and work on bettering my situation even in the absence of a great love.
  16. I had not intended to slightly derail the discussion toward the topic of casual sex (Objectivists sure are fond of the topic of sex in general, aren't we ) I was just trying to think about why I may have the opinion that I do about the whole matter. To put it simply, sex = passion, so if one is having sex with someone with that in mind I would be amazed if they were able to remain completely objective toward that person in other regards. I'm not going to say it's impossible, I'm just going to say it's not likely (ungh, that sound like the agnostic argument for the possibility of God, doesn't it? I'm sure I just committed some sort of logical error). Even more simply, teacher/student sex really is, at its base, a conflict of interest. A rational person should understand the responsibilities of their job and the ethics entailed, and thus should also be able to successfully identify situations that would present just that: a conflict of interest. How is it possible for someone to know ahead of time that they can pursue such a relationship with a student and remain completely objective? What if they felt they could, and then realized the passion was so hot, they couldn't? And teenagers are tricky --- I think back to how much I hated high school and why...everybody seemed so fake and obsessed with nothing more than what other people thought of them. Who's to say the student isn't trying to get something out of it for him/herself? It just seems like an awfully big risk. It's like smoking: you know you might get lung cancer; it's not a guarantee but the risk is there. You're better off just not getting involved with the whole matter in the first place. I think every job, no matter how menial, has situations that present a conflict of interest. Even my night and weekend job as a receptionist can get uncomfortable when one of the sales managers asks me out for drinks after work. He's a nice guy ( a little older than I might otherwise prefer), and it's not like I couldn't use a social outing, but all those red flags went up in my head almost immediately. Not a good idea, even for a part time receptionist (that, and I don't drink anyway). And parents at my school are always desparate for babysitters, and it seems like I have to explain at least once a week to one of the parents from my classroom why I cannot babysit for them. I babysit for other families at the school, even for former students of mine, but never for students who I am held accountable for for their education. It just blurs my purpose, I think. And I say that in regard to just babysitting... I can't even imagine how blurred theh lines would become if sex were involved as it might be with older students. Being in the unfortunate situation of celibacy that I am at the moment, just the thoughts of sex can become highly distracting. If there was someone in the room who I was actually experiencing those things with, there is no way I couldn't think about it at least once or twice in their mere presence. How could I be objective then? If there are people out there who can be close to someone they're sleeping with, or even want to sleep with, and not think about it, I am astounded at the cognitive strength that kind of supression must take. My desire eats at me every moment of the day, and that's in absence of the man I think about. What those thoughts become even being in the same room with him are too scandolous to mention here, but let it suffice to say I wouldn't be thinking about his answer to a question, or his score on a test...
  17. Astounding... but that word only begins to serve this creation justice. I like Falco's statement, which closes the article, that it's meant to make us think we're capable of more than we realize. What a fantastic creation. Not even the creator's communal idealism could negate its beauty.
  18. I did not intend to imply that a refusal to accept a mind/body dichotomy precluded someone from being objective. But it is because they are one that one has to always exercise extensive cognition in order to arrive at and accept truth, fact and reality. Part of being objective in this matter, however, I believe is taking the reality of one's position into consideration. I also did not intend to imply that people, teachers or otherwise, were incapable of separating emotional attachments from their conclusions ans actions. It seems to me, however, that is they were capable of doing so part of making this separation would be to recognize how personal relations, most especially of the sexual sort, could compromise the educational purpose of one's profession. Most classes have a teacher's pet of some sort; usually it is for academic reasons, but let's say it is sexual. Even if that teacher is able to successfully keep their amorous feelings for that student from affecting their assessment of them, and the student is able to keep it from affecting his/her performance on a test, I can't help but think that the teacher has violated their own integrity in some way by stepping over that line. (I'm addressing this for both male and female students acting with either male or female teachers, even though I realize the topic started asking about male students with female teachers; I'm taking all scenarios into consideration here). I think that when one decides to become a teacher, one implicitly and explicitly accepts that one's purpose in the classroom and in the life of their students (while they are still their students) is to educate them. Education, especially at the higher levels, should appeal to thought first and feelings second. Your purpose and your job is to get your students thinking and to give them knowledge. If you, as the teacher, begin to have sexual realtions with a student-- even if it is outside the classroom and all parties involved are able to make all the necessary separations-- I believe you would be violating your stated purpose as a professional. I don't think you can erase the contextual fact that they are a student and you are a teacher. This,again, is not to say I think a teacher should be precluded from falling for someone just because they are a student and vice versa for the student, but I do think that the relationship of teacher/student needs to be removed first before any kind of relationship is pursued. In accepting the facts and responsibilities of one's profession, I think that would be the only logical and moral thing to do: to wait. Pursuing relations with a consenting ADULT who is your student would just seem to blur the causes and effects of the relationship, and what good is a blurred relationship? Maybe part of my confusion lies in my perspectives on sex. I, personally, am NOT an advocate of casual sex, and I wonder if that's why some people are able to argue that these sort of relationships are moral. Sex and love go hand in hand; I would never have sex with someone I was just attracted to. There has to be passion and admiration involved. It's a requisite, as far as I am concerned, though I realize that is not the perspective of all Objectivists. So when I think of two people wanting to sleep with each other, perhaps I am being too personally biased by imaging that true love is part of the equation. If true love were involved, as someone like myself imagines it would be, I can't imagine being able to remain objective in the matter then. That is probably an important factor in my thought process here. Even if the sex was just casual though, I still think the integrity of the position would be violated. But then again, I think casual sex is detestable in any situation. Those of you who disagree may throw scorn at me if you will, but it is something I am convinced of. Sex is meant to be a metephysical celebration of the unity of one's mind and body: to value the person you grasp in passion, to know why you value them, why they value you, and to celebrate that with the physical potential and ecstacies of your bodies... to find your sense of life in the living, concrete form of another person and to pound the heck of them in jubilation. I am willing to admit how my perspective on sex may be affecting my views here. But my perspective as a teacher remains the same. I intend to open my own school someday, pre-k through 12, and I will tell you right now that I intend to have all my teachers sign a contract that specifically prohibits them from relations with their students. Most teachers sign such a contract, anyways. I know I had to when I accepted my position. Any teacher who vilated that contract would be fired without question. I know some people can successfully separate their feelings from their actions, but not everybody can, and I, for one, am not willing to take that gamble. I would rather have it be understood from the start that "this" is prohibited and clearly state what the consequences would be. Did that clarify things at all?
  19. True,I it should be the tests, homework, papers, etc that are alone graded, but I honestly don't know very many teachers who don't let their personal feelings, opinions, etc about a student affect their assessments. Maybe they don't convey that opinion via grades, meaning they still give that student the grade they rightfully deserve, but maybe their opinion/feeling (affection, hatred, what have you) comes across, say, in a recommendation letter they're supposed to write for the student. Or maybe it affects what kind of attention that student gets in class, positive or negative, which then carries a negative effect for the rest of the students in the class. And this happens even when there is no sexual intercourse involved; it happens even among educators of young children. Teachers have opinions and, unfortunately, amny of them let those opinions affect their perspectives. I can't speak for all teachers, of course. I certainly don't count myself as onere of these emotionallymoved teachers. That's not to say I don't have opinions about certain students, but I really do make a concerted conscious effort (which most teachers don't do) to separate that from any academic assessment I have to do. It does, however still hold an impact; it affects how much time I may spend working with that child. I tend to stay away from the student, for example, who has physically attacked me repeatedly throughout the year. I can still assess him academically, but I don't walk into the classroom each day thinking, "I can't wait to work with that child today." But maybe it's easier for me to make this separation since I work with YOUNG children. I can see where things would get considerably more complicated among consenting adults. There are good teachers out there who don't let personal opinions and feeling affect their teaching too much, but for every good teacher I believe there are five bad ones. I know what I hear being chattered about every day; I don't like it, but it's there. I don't think age is the issue here, but, I do think the context of where that relationship is occuring is important (by context, i mean the position one person holds in the life of the other). At my school, the teachers are not even allowed to date the parents of anyone in their class let alone have anything to do with the student (my school does go through the middle school level. Teachers cannot even babysit for families in their class because my school (and I) believe that any kind of personal relationship that exists among parents/students/families affects that necessary objectivity that all good educators SHOULD have. I know the initial question was about high school students, and even though both parties may be of a consenting age, I think it openly and immorally defies the purpose of one's teaching position should you start sleeping with one of your students. It is an abuse of power, even if the vistim does nto see it as such. The teacher would become unfairly biased toward, or at the very least, give inordinate attention to that favored student, and just the impact that would have on the other students makes the situation disgusting to me. Maybe the other students wouldn't know about that relationship, but they would suffer all the same. The teacher would be failing to educate to the best of their potential at that point. In regard to that favored student, it may even cause the teacher to give them more leniencies than are helpful to that student's education. The attraction and the age of the members involved are not important, if, as you say, they are both consenting adults (for age of consent laws do have a basis in neurological and psychological studies). But the context of their relationshp must be taken into consideration. If there were such an atrraction, the moral thing to do would be for the teacher to wait until that student was no longer a student in their class. If possible, the student could also switch classes. These are possibilites, but even still I think the best thing to do would be to wait for both parties in question ... for if there truly is passion and love to be had, why not wait until you are certain that it does not, in any way, shape, or form, depend on the power of authority or one's ability to be influenced? The same rule I believe would apply to all situations where one of the persons involved is in a professional position of authority and trust in the others life, whether they recognize the power of that position or not. Teachers and students, psychologists/doctors and patients, etc. I just don't think it is possibile to not hold personal opinions and to not let them affect you in some way. The mind and the body are one. If the pleasure of the body is motivating your actions, why not wait until all moral quandaries are removed from the situation, ie, until two parties are more equal in the relationship (meaning one does not have the professional authority to influence or affect the other). Then both parties would know that they are acting on honest judgment and true affection. There would be no question about whether or not one of the ersons involved was exploiting the relationship for their own means, or acting because they felt obligated. Remove the professional context of the relationship and then see what happens, meaning unltimately, no teacher should pursue one of their students. There's nothing wrong with being attracted and having relations with a young consenting adult, but there is soemthing wrong with it if it is an adult who is also one of your students.
  20. For all the information I mistakingly gave him about me, I did not get a lot of personal info about him from our conversations; just vague allusions. I think sending a notorized note would be a great way for me to tell him definitively, clearly, and legally I do not want anything to do with him... but I am still highly suspicious he fed me a fake name. As to all this nonsense about confrontation, there's no nice way to say it, but I think that is crazy. I'm all of five feet tall and about 110 lbs, and he's got to be about twice that weight with about a foot plus to add in height. There may be some martial arts out there that would give me a chance to defend myself against someone like him, but unfortunately I do not know any martial arts. Martial arts is not a bad idea, but I'm a little too worried about the near distant future to let a long-range defense training program be my immediate solution. Pepper sprat seems like my best bet for the immediate future; I'll look into that tomorrow, as I will also look into buying a gun. It's been several years since I've even held a gun in my hand, so I'd have to start over knowledge wise there, too. I do not know for certain what his intentions really are, but I do know I am getting extremely creeped out. I also know I am not going to gamble my personal safety in some confrontation to try and figure out what his intentions are. If anyone's intentions are that unclear, you shouldn't have anything to do with that person. I just don't think it's worth the risk. I'd rather be safe and have potentially cast off a well-meaning but poorly executed attempt at love, than risk that safety only to find out the guy truly does mean me harm. And it doe ssound like I need to do some research on the legal requirements of stalking. I have two situations at my school that require constant documentation, so I'm getting quite good at that. I will start doing that for this situation as well.
  21. Today I came to realize that my local law enforcement wants me to be physically endangered and/or assualted in some way before they would attempt to help protect me from someone who I consider to be my stalker at this point. Apparently, it is MY job to prove I am in danger and the way to do that is to keep being the bait (!?!). They say there is a legal difference between an admirer and a stalker, though they failed to offer any satisfactory description of this distinction. Does anyone out there know what they're talking about? Do I have no right to seek help when I feel I am in danger? Or is it my job to be the detective? Maybe a bit of background information would help someone out there possibly help me make sense of this whole mess. A little over a month ago I was dumped by my boyfriend of several years. I was devastated but took the experience as an invitation to work on my life for a little bit. When I met for my initial consultation with my career consultant (who I decided to hire as part of this "me" process) at a fancy sandwich shop, an attractive man came up to my after my consultant had left and started up a conversation about the reading I had out: The Fountainhead (my fourth time through, now). He, too, was a Rand fan and seemed well versed in the philosophy of Objectivism. He claimed to be an engineer, was well dressed, spoke intelligently, and, well, just had a way of looking at me that was enchanting. He asked for my number, which I did not give to him. I explained I wasn't ready to date anyone right now, and didn't feel comfortable just giving out my number anyway. I say this like it makes me sound smart; here I thought I was playing it safe by not giving out any personal information, but you'll see where I screw up on this front in a moment. So he then asked if we could just meet somewhere then, for dinner or lunch over the weekend. I agreed and we ended up meeting at a restaurant for a late lunch several days later. We talked for nearly two hours, and in that conversation I talked about both my jobs and places of employment (not safe!). He seemed pleasant, but I was not looking for any kind of romance from the situation and I even bluntly explained that more than once. He said he was fine with that, which made me feel comfortable. I have always gotten along better with boys than girls, so I felt like I was gaining a new friend. We then went for a walk on the trail that runs along the river behind the restaurant. it was a beautiful day, and it's a public trail, so I felt no need to feel scared. It was a long walk, filled with more conversation, but when we were about a half mile (maybe less, I don't know) away from getting back to our cars he attacked me and very nearly raped me. It was horrifying. I was able to run away, losing my shoes in the process, but I made it back to my car and then back home with my body and dignity still intact. I was so confused. Did he really try to rape me or was he trying some sort of Howard Roark bit? He didn't chase after me (though I had hurt him badly in a vulnerable area that may have prevented that) but I just decided not to think about it. I was okay and "hadn't" given him any personal information. But then he turned up in the background at a restaurant where he knew I would be meeting with a group. I didn't notice him until I was walking out, but I was nervous as hell walking back to my car and driving the long drive home. I didn't notice him following me, and I made it home okay, so again, i started to let myself feel safe. Just a coincidence, maybe he wanted to see me again to explain himself, I don't know. I didn't stop to find out. And then the roses started showing up on my car's windshield. One red rose at a time, for a total of four now. They've shown up twice on my car while I was at work in my school, and once on my car while I was at my night job. In our conversations that we had had, he had said how he loved to surprise women with flowers when they least expect it and that red roses where his favorite. Okay, I thought. I shouldn't have told him where I worked and I started being VERY, VERY aware of my surroundings at all times. I never saw him or his car anywhere. I don't think he wanted to be seen. So he knew where I worked-- that means i knew where I had to be careful. The roses never show up at my home or anywhere else, right? Right... until today. I came out of Sears carrying a huge box with a new work bench thing I bought for my dad, and I noticed that 4th rose on my windshield almost as soon as I walked out the exit of the store. I froze in my tracks. He had no way to know I was going to be there unless he had followed me there... and how could he have followed me if he didn't know where I lived. Uh-oh. I drove straight to my local police and explained the situation and was SHOCKED when they explained there was nothing they could do. I had no proof it was him; they suggested it was my ex. I told them my reasoning behind why that couldn't be and what this new guy had said but again, they said I had no proof. Leaving roses for someone isn't a crime. Well, duh. But what about following someone!! I have a name for this man, but I have no clue how to spell it. I don't even know if that's his real name. What if he's a criminal and has a whole list of aliases. I have a description, too. But the cops said that even if that is his real name, I can't charge him for anything I don't have proof of. I can somewhat understand that they can't just go after anyone for anything simply based on someone's accusations, but couldn't they at least take me seriously. What about the fact that he tried to rape me, I said? Attempted rape is difficult to prove, they said, followed by the words, and I quote "he's probably just an admirer." !!!!!!! My tax dollars pay these men to tell me these things!!!! ahh!?! I proceeded to say a lot of angry things and walked out in disgust. I feel like they want me to be completely raped, completely assaulted or catch him on video stalking me before they will even offer me a word of advice let alone do anything. Am I right to feel extemely peeved? Or are they right to say that they can't do anything unless I have proof? Is it my burden of proof? Where does the law draw the line on this matter? I feel like the answer may hinge on the legal definition of a stalker, and I'm hoping someone can offer some clarity. I just want to feel safe. I realize I could buy a gun to help with that, but is it right for me to have to take the situation entirely into my own hands? And by hoping for the law to help me, am I stepping outside the objectivist understanding of the proper confines and responsibilities of law enforcement? Isn't my body my property?
  22. Maria Montessori, who I thank for the inspiration she gave me to do what I do now and the motivation to become who I intend to be: a great innovator in education.
  23. While there technically are ways to increase salary without privatizing the whole system (immoral ways, mind you), what privatization offers is the potential for teachers' incomes to become merit based and competitive (and by merit I mean ability, not just fancy degrees). But for this to really work we would need privatization on a massive if not complete scale. I, for example, work at a "private" Montessori school that is technically owned and operated by a board of directors (which presents a whole list of issues I won't go into here). The school where I teach is also quite expensive, and I think the parents largely suspect that the teachers are well paid-- that they're getting the best that money can buy-- but we're not. If I were teaching the same level in public schools I'd be earning more than twice as much, especially when all the cushy government benefits are factored in. So why is that? My school is "privatized, right? Yes, but all the surrounding schools are not. And Montessori is a relatively small educational community, so there aren't many of the schools around to begin with (not high quality ones, anyway). Now, if there were to be more private Montessori schools that popped up in the area, things would get a little more competitive and pay may actually have to (gasp!) start being merit based. The good news is, we have lots of schools in this country that are close together that could function as a competitive market to help make teachers get paid what their merits deserve. The bad news is, they're public schools and we just need to figure out how to overhaul the system.
  24. Epigenetic psychology is a branch of Developmental psychology that is largely based on Erikson's epigenetic system's principle. It places great emphasis on examing the interaction of genes with the environment. I would suggest searching for information under "epigenetic systems theory" in a search engine as opposed to looking under "epigenetic psychology." This, again, is probably because it is a theory in the larger field of developmental psychology, and is not always considered a separate branch.
  25. A nutritional and/or hormonal evaluation might prove useful, as it does seem like one avenue you haven't considered yet. From what I comprehend of your situation, however, and from what I can relate from my own life's experiences, I think finding that sense of reality you seek may require a little more than just better physical health. I suffered from many of these same concerns for years, and it was only identifying the myriad of causes that helped me address them and cure myself. Physiologically, at your age, you may be having some hormonal imbalances that are quite common for someone your age, especially of your gender. In college I developed the horrible physiological condition of feeling like I was having a heart attack EVERY night: my heart was bounding, my left arm was numb, I couldn't seem to stop shivering. It was very uncomfortable, and very scary. It also made it hard to get through each day, knowing what the evening would bring at the end of it. It got to the point where I could not tolerate the pain, panic and sleep deprivation any longer. I spoke to my doctor initially, and was given a prescription for an anti-anxiety medication. I thought it strange she did not refer me to a therapist of any sort first, but I guess I was desparate and went on the medication anyway. I can't say that it "cured" my anxiety, for my anxiety stemmed from my struggles to integrate contradictions between what I was told was right in the world and what I believed was right, but it did, at least allow me to fall asleep at night. Adding rest back into my life is part of what enabled me to gain philosophical perspective. Meds didn't cure me, but they helped my body settle down to such a point that my mind could begin to focus on something other than the conditions that were most likely psychosomatically imposed in the first place. It might be useful then, to make some inquires to both your medical doctor (again) about anxiety (which is, by the way, different from depression) as well as to member of your family. Is there a history of any such condition in your family? It hasn't been proven that these conditions are genetically hereditary, but even if it wasn't, if someone you knew did suffer from any sort of disorder, they could have tainted your environment in such a way to predispose you to it as well. I only took the anti-anxiety meds for two years. If you decide to take them longer than two years, it becomes pretty much a lifetime commitment (something about your body becomign too habituated to it and slowing production of its own natural hormones to address these issues on its own). I took myself off of them without any trouble, which to me, indicated that my anxiety was largely philospohical in nature, and Objectivism is largely what helped me to start curing that. Keep in mind, though, this process took me several years. I'm not saying that to scare you; I just want to give you a good grasp of what your likely to realize yourself sometime soon. My advice, then, is multi-faceted. Start with some inquiries about anxiety and depression amongst those you feel close to and trust. Look into the pros and cons of the medications that are out there. Take a few BIG steps back from psychotherapy and look into cognitive psychology a bit more seriously. And, as other have suggested, take a good look at your health habits. Your diet --especially at the pivotal stage of physical development that you are at for a young male-- may be causing some of your issues, but I seriously doubt it is causing all of them. Exercise is great, too. I find great peace in physical exercise. It is a wonderful way to make your mind focus on your body, and to eliminate distractions. It also helps regulate your sleep cycles, which can help give you more mental focus even when you're not exercising. I would also suggest having your thyroid evaluated. Thyroid disorders are quite common these days, and a malfunctioning thyroid can create a lot of these problems you're struggling with. I know for me, my hypoactive thyroid was causing me GREAT, seemingly insurmountable fatigue; and fatigue can put anyone in a weird, surreal mood. But even more important than that, I would just pause and take a look --a good, conscious, non-hypnotized look-- at your values in life. All your concerns seem to largely stem from a lack of happiness in your life: not getting pleasure from things you used to, getting love and hate mixed up, etc. I don't know how much you've read of what Ayn Rand and other Objectivists have written, but even if you have done a lot of reading, I would recommend going back and re-reading (or read for the first time) anything and everything you can find about values, the good, purpose and happiness. Maybe part of the reason you're finding the world and your reaction to it so difficult to comprehend is bacuse you lack a good conscious grasp of what you are really looking to achieve (again, here's where it is important to pursue methods other than hypnosis. Try listing your values, just to get them down on paper, and that alone might be a beginning. Put those you can come up with in hierarchical order and see if that helps give you any insight. Try to stop thinking about the present or the past, for just a moment, and ponder the possibility of the long-range future. Optimistically ponder it, I mean, even if it feels ridiculous and surreal. It can't hurt, especially if you already feel that way all the time. Might as well try feeling "surreal" for a happier purpose. I am a great skeptic of hypnosis, both philosophically and psychologically. I don't think it works; any temporary effect I believe to be more of a placebo than anything else. But as far as objectivism goes, you're not going to find happiness until you consciously and explicitly identify what it is you could pursue (ie, what values) that would bring that happiness to you. Hypnotherapists would have you believe they are helping you do this, by "bringing the subconscious to the conscious level," but I think that process has to begin on the conscious level, and not the other way around as is done in hypnosis. Also, explore Objectivists' writings (and this forum!) for the topic of self-esteem. That was the ticket for me to ultimately achieve my "cure;" I had to finally admit the level of self-doubt that had been haunting me for my entire life. The same self-doubt which I evaded the presence and influence of... it is a horrible beast. If you take my advice and try writing down your values and find that difficult it may be that your problems stem from a lack of good self-esteem. Just something else to consider. I hope this is useful information for you. Having been "in those pits of despair" myself, I know how daunting a solution can seem. I know that when you feel "out of focus" it's difficult to believe there is anything out there that can bring that focus back. I think it is dangerous to hope for a "simple" cure. The cure is in you, no doubt, but it may take identifying more than just adjusting your diet or identifying your stressors in life to find it.
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