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Everything posted by 4reason

  1. So I toyed with the idea of where to post this topic for a while... I was hoping to find a "psycho-epistemology" category, but no such luck. I did consider posting this in the epistemology section, but I think the thoughts I am seeking fall more in the category of psychology, so here goes. I have been working with an objectivist-minded career consultant for nearly two weeks now and, as a result, have already experienced many great insights. The process began with a Myers-Briggs personality assessment, which I have taken before, but my list of surprises started with the fact that I came out as a a "different personality' (there are 16 possible types) than I did when I took the test right out of college. Before I even handed my consultant my test answers, he said he was already wuite certain what I was. Not only was he certain of the type, he also ventured to make an estimate of the number my results would fall on (I can explain the format of the test and the charts of its results, if anyone's interested, but it's not really pertinent to my initial thoughts... so I will largely glaze over it for now). I laughed... until we put my numbers together and he was 100% right about type and only off by a few points as to where I fell numerically on the chart. I have always questioned any type of personality test; it seems strange to claim you can say so much about a person after asking them only 126 weird questions. Isn't that sort of what "psychic's" do?... Nevertheless, I questioned the results, asking how I could all the sudden be a different type. While the test has a high coefficiency for results (meaning people consistly test the same most of the time, even when years pass inbetween tests) he suggested I look at the context of when I Last took the test... when I still had a lot of self-doubt and tended to answer any and all questions in a manner I felt would be most acceptable and righteous in the eyes of others. My life is different now. I took the test knowing I had no one to impress and no one's approval to gain. I was taking it for me now, thus I haven't changed, then, so much as I've grown. Anyway, in the long conversation that ensued about what to do with that information, he suggested I go for a "cognitive evaluation" with a professional psychologist which I did this afternoon. Has anyone else ever gone through such a thing? I'm not sure how well IQ tests and all those sort of things fit into a proper epistemology, but they sure are fun to take. There were concretes to manipulate, puzzles to solve, and tests to write. I finally found out what my IQ is (whatever purpose that will serve me, I don't know but it is slightly entertaining) but what I really gained was an explicit identification of my preferred learning style. I had always suspected I relied upon a combination of visual and tactile as taking copious notes (what, me, a copious writer... never!) has always been the best way for me to remember anything. I have always known I don't do well learning auditorily. If I am told something without having the opportunity to write it down, I will tend to forget it, unless it is something directly pertinent to my life. But when the tests were "done," the psychologist was chatting with me in the hall, and he asked, out of the blue, what was the title of the book in the upper left-most corner of the bookcase, and without even having to think about it I told him the answer. I did not realize the significance of his question until I realized how strange it was that I even noticed that at all, and the fact that I remembered without hesitation was even stranger. I didn't remember looking at the bookcase, and certainly not in such great detail. He asked about ten more such questions before I interrupted him and said, "I'm not a tactile learner at all, am I?" (Meaning it's not my dominant learning style; not that i don't ever use it to learn). He said, simply "I think the visual part of your brain is probably always running at 100 miles per hour. I don't know if you can turn it off." My need to take notes to learn when I am studying new subjects then, is not my way of reinforcing knowledge by using two senses, but is more likely my adaptive way of forcing visual isolation: my eyes going back and forth from book/chalkboard to my notes. That keeps them so busy I don't get as easily distracted (consciously, anyway) by all the other visua "stuff" out there in my direct surroundings. While I certainly don't disagree that individuals all have their own preferred way of learning, be it auditory, tactile, or visual, ( I see it among my young students everyday) I cannot really get it to mesh completely with my philosophical understanding of conceptual learning. If the subconscious serves to integrate the connections that man's mind is making consciously for the purpose of making the connections automatic, how or does volition control the process? Can I truly not turn off my visual thinking brain? or is my adaptive behavior of taking copious notes to keep my eyes "focused" prrof that i can volitionally override the process. I don't think the children I work with have the volitional ability to control the "way" by which they are learning, but a conscious, reflective adult should, right? shoot, this is starting to sound like more of an epistemological quandary, isn't it? Let me know if I need to redirect this, and, if so, how to do that... I still do have an important query about all this in regard to psychology, though: Do these tests serve a purpose? In knowing what "personality" combination you are, are you really learning more about yourself from knowing that, or does the wisdom come from the process you undertook to get there? The descriptions of the types go into great detail about the types and are quite alluring, but I wonder if I'm not just being misled. Regardless of the tests' accuracy, though, I do think they are useful, or at least I think they will prove to have been so for me. it was, at the very least, an explictly guided examination of my thinking processes that called upon my conscious thinking more so than my own efforts have in the past. Now all I need is the ability to really integrate those insights with my philosophical understanding of the whole matter. Anyone have any thoughts? Has anyone else ever done anything useful with the knowledge of what "personality" they are? And how does the apparent fact of different learning styles mesh with the conceptual learning process, especially if man's capacity for thinking conceptually is part of who he is.
  2. I suspect it's often meant as a compliment. The confusion lies in the fact that adults almost always offer the statements "you have such tiny lips and big eyes" to go with it. Might as well be describing a bug... I guess I'd say I look like I should have been alive in ancient Greek or Victorian times, which is to say I like the way I look (now, finally). Eh, but why worry what other people think. I look like me, that's all I know and the beauty lies in my comprehension of that. PS: I'm working on the personal photo (camera issues), not that that matters, but I like seeing faces that go with names so I'm working on offering that same benefit to others in regard to myself.
  3. I don't think you're guilty of evasion if you're hoping for things to improve, nor do I think your current pessimism toward romantic prospects make you guilty of this either. You obviously have a good grasp of what it is about yourself that troubles you and why, which is quite the opposite of evasion. Now, going on to make the declaration that "I can't overcome this" is a bit problematic. I think as long as your mind has its power of volition turned on -- and the fact that you are explicitly and consciously working to sort this issue out clearly indicates that you mind is indeed "on"-- you possess the power to change your circumstances. This is EXCELLENT advice and I second everything Sophia has to tell you here. I wish someone had offered me these words when I was struggling with all these same issues in my school-days. You have a good grasp of what the reality of your situation is, at least the part about what it is about you that troubles you. I lacked self-esteem for, well, most of my life. The severity of it wavered from time to time, but it really wasn't until a little over a month ago that I was really able to shake it ( a result of a devastating romantic loss). It seems strange to say that something great like self-esteem could finally emerge out of the rubble of an emotional disaster in my life, but that's what happened. That's the reality of my situation. Sophia is absolutely right to say that many people go through similar struggles. I am one of those people. While I don't necessarily have a facial deformity, I have a very childish face. People always tell me I look just like a doll, and sometimes I can't figure if they mean that as a compliment or an insult. At least the children I work with think I'm pretty; I have always had a natural ability to connect with them --I'm always the teacher that's able to reach that "shy" kid and make them feel safe as a starting point in their journey toward self-esteem. One of my co-workers offered the thought that it's precisely because I look more like a child that children relate to me better. In that regard, it's a good thing. But I also have asymetrical eyes; one eyelid naturally rests a little lower than the other and that is still the first things I notice about myself in pictures. I also didn't shed my facial baby fat until college. In elementary school, I was called all sorts of horrible things: troll, ET, turtle, etc. Things did not get any better in middle or high school, either. I gained a lot of weight fast when puberty hit, and have only recently found a healthy balance these last few years. I let my lack of self-esteem cause me to do a lot of stupid thing, and I say let because it truly was a choice even though I was not able to see these decisions as such at the time they were made. I struggled with abusing diet pills for several years and even briefly tried them again months ago when I was told I was fat in a joke I obviously did not take too well. For a while, yes, I was 98 pounds and skinny. I had a rush of boys interested in me in college, or so I thought. My female friends were always jealous I had all these great looking guys hanging out with me all the time, but the truth was that I just became that smart girl they could go to to get help with their course work. They pretended to like me and I fell for it at first, but quickly figured out what the reality was. Changing my appearance didn't change the lack of self-esteem I was still truly failing to identify. All it did was change who was willing to identify it on their own and exploit it for their own purposes. I possessed the attention of a great man for nearly five years and because I had his affections I became guilty of taking his love as the driving indicator of my self-worth. I thought, wow, if HE loves ME then I must be greatest woman alive. But the truth is, that self-doubt was still there. My self-doubt was a little more complex than just a general dislike of my appearance; it involved a lot of not feeling good enough about my intelligence or any of my abilities as well (thanks, mom, by the way for laying the foundation for that burden...). I, then, did commit evasion. I told myself I was happy with everything about myself-- because I had the love of this man who, in retrospect, saw more potential in me than I did during our relationship-- when inside that doubt was still there. How am I certain it was still there? Because I nursed a lie I told him for two years. I did not have the courage to confess my lie until I was confronted by him on it for the third time. If I truly did love him, I would have told him on my own, and he was 100% right to tell me what I did is not something you do to someone you love. You shouldn't evven do that to your worst enemy. So when he left me I couldn't be angry, because he was right. I did not love him because I had not yet found love for myself. Losing that person who I had been guilty of proping my self-acceptance up on was an awakening moment. I can't explain the feeling except to say that it felt surreal. I felt like I was sitting in a void, and it took me nearly a week to really realize that it wasn't a void at all. It was the beginning of my self-esteem with all the burden of guilt and everybody else's approval and opinions swept aside at last. I was left, and that was not a pit of despair at all; it was a great treasure to be recognized and built upon. You say there's only one person you see yourself wanting to be with. With that, as you can tell, I sympathize. The man my lack of self-esteem cost me is the one man on this earth (besides myself!) who I can say that I love because, for the first time in my life I understand who I am and I love it. This comprehension has opened a thousand doors all at once for me; I understand Dominique's rebirth via Cortlandt completely. To consciously identify that burden that's been upon one's shoulders (though her burden and mine were quite different) at that moment you are freed of it... it's positively invigorating. I love that man with a passion no words could describe, and am quite puzzled at the fact that everyone thinks I am crazy to say that I love a man even more after he let me go. He hurt you, they say. I just smile at their ignorance: I hurt myself ( and he's probably the only other person, besides myself, that can see that aspect of reality) and it is precisely because I see that now that I can HONESTLY say I love him. Identifying that self-doubt allowed me to shed it, and when I was the only thing left, with nothing or no one to prop myself up on any longer, I realized who he is as well. I only wish I could have shown him, at last, who I am: to prove that he was right to suspect that glory in me all along. I had a choice. I could have wallowed in that pitty everyone was so eager to give me or I could rise from the ashes with a new sense of self-esteem, a fresh acceptance of reality, and a vitality I can't even describe. I chose the latter. I'm not telling you all this because I see our situations as identical. They're not, but the fact that you are already able to put your finger upon the cause of your concerns, I can tell you, puts you one step closer to overcoming it. And the fact that you're on that track prior to entering into any serious romantic relationship gives you a great advantage. True happiness, after all, lies not in putting an end to your pessismism, but rather it lies in knowing that you are worthy enough to never feel that way again. You're close to that, and I feel I can say that with good confidence because I have been there, and very recently at that. And if you follow Sophia's advice, and focus on the good in you that you already know is there, you'll get past this pessimism soon enough.
  4. Yes, thank you! This is useful information to me... I am new to the site and have only thus far made personal acquaintance with three of the members who I did not know before. Knowing the statistics regarding the marital status of members does help, as it certainly affects everyone's opinions and reasons. I am fascinated by Objectivist relationships (social, filial, professional and romantic) and was just trying to get a grasp on a trend I thought I had noticed. Obviously, it was an initial thought and I am pondering it all and how I could have phrased things a little better to get at the information I was hoping for. I think there's something bigger I am trying to get at, and I haven't quite put my finger on it. When I do, I'll probably put up a closely related topic that has a more definite direction from the get-go!
  5. Thank you for your clarity on this. I suspected the same myself -- that people who take their decisions seriously are less likely to dive into anything and thus, more likely to be attracted to Objectivism--- and that's really what I was hoping my question would address. I was hoping to hear people explain their own reasons, but I see now that my original post may have made it seem liked I was looking for an explanation of something I was already "convinced" of. The group of Objectivists I have personal interaction with, I realize, is too small to make any grand declarations, just as the total population of Objectivists may be too small as well. I am curious about why people decide to have children among all populations; I was just hoping to hear some reasons from people whose reason I have confidence in. There is nothing wrong with making plans for a decision as profound as having a child; some of my best students have been the product of "older"parents who waited, planned and wanted that child/children very much. They knew the responsibility that would be involved and willingly took it on. This is, I believe,how most Objectivists approach life: seeing that long-range, ultimate goal (whatever it may be), identifying what it needed to get there, and taking those tasks on no matter how daunting. This is definitely a great approach to problem-solving that would help any parent, and it is one I rely on daily as an educator. Would Objectivists stand a better chance of wisely making all these considerations before hand? I believe so, but, as I can speak for no one but myself and am not attempting to make any assertions, so could a lot of people who are not Objectivists, for whatever reason. I realize I realize I went off topic a bit in some of my posts in defense of Montessori, and even though I love that topic, it's not what I meant this topic to address. Someday, after I am done working with my recently hired career-consultant and working all the extra hours to pay for his wisdom, I will launch that as a separate topic. Education, is, after all, a great passion of mine.
  6. I am familiar with ther school as well as the article. I am a Montessori teacher, yes, but that does not mean I accept and/or implement the method in its pure form. No Montessori teacher does. We all make our own adjustments, and, yes, our individual values can and do seep into the curriculum in implicit and explicit ways. There are all sorts of Montessori teachers, from what I call "the crunchy granola hippy types" all the way to your hard-core scientists. I lean more toward the latter of these two extremes, though I do like to think my nurturing ways give me a great advantage over someone in the position who is purely interested in the experiment of it all (young children simply are not attracted to teachers who lack a friendly disposition). It is also important to note that I teach at the Primary level, working with three to six year olds in one classroom. It is the age group that possesses the most thoroughly developed curriculum by Maria Montessori, for she did not really start designing education for older and younger children until much later in her life. Her method for those age groups, is, in my opinion, incomplete. She did not have as many years of observation, trial and error with the elementary and high-school age groups as she did with the 3-6 year olds, so there are more kinks in it than I prefer. (How she ended up starting with the 3-6 year olds was really an accident of governmental policy, but I won't go into the history of her method here). From what I have read about VanDamme's school and approach, her method is superior for ages beyond six and seems like something Montessori elementary and upper education could have become had Montessori lived longer to experiment. But I do seem to remember VanDamme advocating the benefits of the PRIMARY level Montessori approach. Am I correct in that recollection? I have seen some excellent Montessori elementary programs, but to be fair I have also seen some horrible ones as well, both in philosophy and approach. "Montessori," it is important to note, is not trademarked. Maria Montessori chose not to do so because she wanted it to continue to grow and improve, for teaching to continually "follow the child." She felt that if she trademarked it, the mthod would remain frozen as it was. What I think she failed to foresee was the possibility of people abusing their freedom to use the phrase. There are lots of Montessori schools out there which are nothing more than daycare centers. I have seen schools that do not have ONE Montessori work (in fact, they lack individual works altogether) nor do the "teachers" have any training or certification. A good Montessori school does not necessarily have to be accredited (accredidation can be expensive for small schools, which is what most Montessori schools are) but I do think it is important that the teachers are credentialed. For anyone interested in having children out there (and I now know there are Objectivists out there with this hope as well) I would recommend reading Montessori's writings, though even I will forewarn you she can get a bit spiritual about it at time. What is fascinating, though, is to read about how the pieces of her approach came into being. The children were truly the ones who created the method, for they were the ones who showed her the validity or the error in all of her hypotheses. That's why I admire her as greatly as I do. Like an Objectivist, she understood the role of the senses in education; as a necessary step toward meaningful conceptual thought (and this was truly revolutionary in an age where children were traditionally sat in bolted down desks all day, and dictated to from a lectern or chalkboard). She always based her next step off of her observations of the children, and never relied on what other people told her proper education was supposed to be. She let the children show her what worked and what didn't, not some detached theorist. As a result, her method has the potential to be more effective than the traditional approach, assuming of course, the teacher at the healm is competent enough. Okay, maybe i went a bit off topic there but I think it was worth noting my feelings about Montessori because it helps explain why I think Objectivists would make such great parents (and great teachers, as well). I am continually frustrated by most parents' inability to see the steps involved in education. Everybody wants results. But Montessori, VanDamme, and probably all Objectivists know better. There is a cause behind every effect, and you have to understand that sequence in order to give a child the greatest chance of discovering the wisdom of reason; the value of understanding reality first, and the benefit of having knowledge not just for knowledge's sake, but to pursue one's own values. This is the key to happiness, and there is nothing that any parent wants more for their child (and I for my students). Maybe I'm just disappointed there aren't more rational parents out there.
  7. Perhaps create wasn't the right word. I was trying to be funny by using the phrase "little objectivists" but I realize now that that kind of humor is hard to convey via the written word. I, too, believe in creating a baby, not an "objectivist." As a teacher, I am a full advocate of not forcing my beliefs on any child, and certainly not upon my own if I ever have any. They should have the ir own volition; don't mistake me there. But I do believe in giving a child proper grounds to learn to think for themselves, and one of the best ways to do this is by setting a good example yourself. Objectivists know their values and they pursue them; they strive for happiness and fulfillment and will take all necessary steps to achieve that. Just as you can inspire a child to want to learn to read by letting them see you enjoy reading, I think that by making reason a part of your life, and letting them see the happiness it brings you, that will help inspire them to someday (when conceptually ready) to examine and hopefully exercise it themselves. I am glad that you understand that it is a combination of parenting skills and knowledge that can help create a rational person. You would not believe how many of the parents I work with are unable to see that. They want me to simply tell their child what to know -- the knowledge they believe they need to succeed-- while I put more emphasis in teaching how to think. That's difficult to explain to someone who simply wants their child to read by age four and cares little for the motivation that should lie behind it. Maybe that's the Montessori part of me talking there, and I realize the age group I work with is not able to think about their education that way yet, but by simply teaching them that they can begin to comprehend the world around them through a process of self-initiated thought I believe I am offering them great wisdom. I am not certain if Objectivists are any more or less likely than the average person to have children. I again, apologize, if my initial post gave that impression. I cannot speak for the general statistics. All I can say with certainty is that among the objectivists I have met, there are only a token few with children and one other who hopes to have any. I am new to this forum, after all, and I meant for this topic to help me ascertain as to whether the trend I've noticed among the Objectivists I know holds true for other Objectivists out there. Maybe there are a lot of them with children, which would mean my personal sphere of Objectivists is abnormal in this regard compared to the greater Objectivist population. That's what I am trying to find out.
  8. I am relatively new to the site, and have searched through many forums, but I have yet to find one that really answers a curiosity of mine: why do so few objectivists have children? I am assuming there are all sorts of answers: many objectivists are career-driven, it's hard to find an objectivist partner, you don't want to have kids unless you know you can offer them the best, etc. I really am curious what the reasons are because, in my current career working with young children (and having to deal with many of their non-rational parents...) it seems to me that objectivists would make the BEST parents because our philosophy gives children exactly what they need to succeed as future rational members of society: consistency and education via reality. Objectivists would not confuse their children with mysticism like many parents do, nor would they mix ups the necessary steps of conceptual learning. I dream of having children someday and am baffled that none of the objectivists I know are interested in doing the same, male or female. In fact, I only know one male objectivist who would also like to create little objectivists. Not only do I dream of having children myself, but the thought of establishing a school that would attract a parent community of like-minded people makes me salivate. I would appreciate insights both from those among you who have decided not pursue parenthood, and from those who have had children (and I know there are some of you out there...) What were your hesitations? How did you overcome them?... etc.
  9. I think this is a nice, concise answer to that question I seemed to leave unanswered in my last post. Perhaps if people weren't so overtaxed as it is, we could all afford to make better plans for college, there would be more payment plans available and the overall price of upper education might actually have to adjust itself to free-market demands (gasp!) without all that government money heading their way. If it weren't so easy to get government money and have all those dollars heading into upper-education, school might become more affordable and there would (I would like to think) a sudden growth of private lenders willing to finance you. I suppose technically I did have a choice, but in regard to my undergrad education I did not have the option to take out private loans. Why? I was not earning a real income (just working part time at the time), my family did not earn enough, and I had no collateral. I did not qualify for any private loans until AFTER I had my undergrad and was pursuing my Montessori credentials. Then I at least had a little income history to show them. So my choice was not federal or private loans ( thoughI hope that does become the choice for ALL entering students someday...); my choice was college now or college many years later. Morally, I guess I could have waited to apply for private loans, but it is hard to work low-paying jobs for the "prize" of a higher rate loan to go to college someday. I know there are people out there who have been able to do that to keep their slates morally clean, but I am not one of those types. My dreams are too big to put on hold, especially when I consider what those loans will end up costing me in the end. Did I benefit? Yes, I got a degree which is helping me pursue my current teaching career, and better yet, I have the education to make myself eligible to receive more scholarships and private loans when I hopefully return to school to pursue a PhD. I have a little more choice now than I did then, so I will, of course, pursue private loans when possible.
  10. I myself did take out Federal loans to fill in what my scholarships would not cover for my undergraduate degree. While I cannot absolutely say "it is proper" to take out these loans (or that it is proper for the government to offer the program in the first place), I can say that I do not feel too guilty for having done so. There is no way I could have attended a university without the loans. I was always a top-noth student in school, and applied for many scholarships, but didn't receive any of the big ones. One scholarship office even told me, outright, that I would have gotten the scholarship without question had I not been white. My non-causcasian friend from high school did win that same "academic"scholarship... even though academically I was miles ahead of her. But enough of my tantrum regarding forced-diversity in upper education. The point is I had all the grades, and was more likely to succeed in college than most, but I could not find the money to pay for it without loans. And the federal loans just happened to have the best offer, with the least requirements. There are private lenders out there, but naturally (as they should be) they're a little more restrictive about who they give money to and at what rate. Now that I am out of college (and paying back all that money with interest) I do wonder if I somehow perpetuated the whole system of big government by accepting these loans. I cringe everytime I look at how much of my paychecks are going toward Federal programs with "compassionate" interests, and I hope I see the day that that sort of taxation ends in my lifetime. But even if I don't see the end, I still do not feel too guilty for having accepted the loans. I've only been working in the career-world for four years now, and I've already paid in taxes more than twice the loan amount I took out. In a way then, I'm sort of getting back some of my money. And while I hope to see the end of all tax-sponsored government programs, I can find some moral comfort in the fact that I do have to pay the money back, with interest, which is more than the recipients of nearly all other government benefits can say. It is not free money, in any way shape or from -- neither in source nor reception. So how, then, will programs like this go away if people like me (and Rand, apparently) cannot say that it is unethical to benefit from them? If the program never existed in the first place, I have no doubt that there would be more free-market lenders out there who would compete to such a degree that one probably could receive approximately the same rates and terms that one presently gets from Federal loans. Had I had the choice, I would have certainly taken a competitive private loan anyday over one that comes out the taxpayers' pockets ( and I did do just that when I needed to take out additional loans for my Montessori certification). But the federal program is there, and because it is there the variety of private lenders that could be available simply are not. Yes, I did "use" someone else's (and my own eventual) tax dollars for my own benefit but unlike welfare or other such programs, there was a productive, educational purpose involved. I used that money to educate myself in order to become a more productive member of society; not to sit on my butt and live off of other people's effort. My effort earns my paychecks now, and my taxes have paid back those loans already and then some. I make my payments on time and look forward to the day when I no longer have that little bit of government on my back. In the end, between what I now pay in taxes as a single, young, educated member of society, plus the formal payments, they'll get back what they (or, you an I, the taxpayers) lent me more than 5x over. It's probably the only government program that actually earns a profit! They will get "their" money back and then some, but you will get the educated anti-big government teacher that they do not yet realize they helped to create. Ha!
  11. I used to think that gender and sexual preferences were enitrely psychological, ie, a a product of one's environment. But the more I read on the matter, and the more time I spend amongst the company of young children, the more I have realized that there must be some sort of biological factor. I have met quite a few young children, as young as three, in fact, who send up all sorts of flags in my thinking on what kind of relationshp they'll want to pursue when they're at the point to conceptually handle such a pursuit. And all of the homosexual people I have personally known in my life all claim to have "known" from a very young age. I'm not completely sold on either the nature or the nurture approach on this one; I'm afraid I'll have to fall back on the the old "it's a combination of the two" argument. But speaking of biological influence, one particularly interesting line of research going on out there in gender science is how prenatal stress hormone's may contribute to a an increased disposition for bi- and homosexuality. I don't have my source on that readily available at the location I am writing from, but if I find it, I will be glad to post it (or try to, assuming I can figure out how to post links and/or attachments). As to all this talk of masculinty, worship, relationships, I thank you all for your insights. I, for one, am a heterosexual female and could not possibly conceive of being anything else. I've heard all the arguments, here and elsewhere, that love is about someone who shares your values and it shouldn't matter what gender they are, but when I reflect on my own sense of being "feminine," being worthy enough to deserve the conquest of someone I consider strong, confident, and, well, equipped in that complimentary way plays a huge role in making me feel like a woman. But strength is not the only appeal. I recently went through a break up, and with a lively spirit of curiosity, I accepted the offer of a date with a guy who noticed me reading Ayn Rand at a sandwich shop. We struck up a conversation, and he was quite interesting: attractive, intellectual, well versed in objectivism, ie, physically and intrllectually strong. But then on the second date, he nearly raped me, and not in the sexy Fountainhead sort of way (for I was not thinking like Dominique at the moment...). Was he masculine? Yes, in many ways, but his attempt to take the effect of sex with my body without earning the cause of my admiration for him clearly indicates that stregth is not the only appealing aspect of masculinty. He has to be moral, and moral in the rational sense. That is the type of man who would earn my interest. The kind of man who you can almost predict what he'll do and what he'll say because he's just that integrated. That's the kind of man I want to be ravished by. That's the only kind of man who deserves the conquest. He won't get the cheap thrill of bruising up my body like some would-be rapist; he will instead get the ecstasy of my appreciation for him, his values and myself expressed in its most purely sensual form. Could I have that experience with a female? I don't think I could. I have never been attracted to any woman. I notice admirable and beautiful women, sure, but usually what I notice in them are things I admire about myself (it's nice to not have to look in the mirror all the time and to know there are other graceful, intelligent women out there!). Grace, wit, beauty, determination. Those are admirable traits for a woman, and I have those. But what I believe a man has to offer in return -- the physical capacity to conquer you, to take your energy and breathe away simply because he sees those traits, acknowledges their worth and wants nothing more than to deny you of them for just a little while. That's an incredibly sexy thought to me. Being conquered by a strong butch gal capable of the same physical feat, not so much. Is it because I biologically desire to have children and am thus programmed in some way to seek the physical affection of men only? Maybe, but I have conceptually thought about sex and attraction enough at my young age to know that my mind has the capacity to add so much more to the biological element of the whole thing. I have only had "relations" with one man in my life, but knowing what I know now about sex and myself and my values, I can't wait to return to that experience with my new sense of life to breathe into the whole scenario (a breath of life I also can't wait to have taken away from me for just a moment...). But I also know enough to not waste what I have to offer. Will it happen again? i don't know, but I can at least say with certainty it won't be with a woman.
  12. Yes, I once suffered from anxiety and/or depression. I never met with a psychiatrist, but my doctor had put me on prescription anti-depressants, mostly to help me sleep because my anxiety was so bad it was physiologically making me feel like I was having a heart attack every night. And then a wonderful human being turned me on to Objectivism by giving me the gift of Atlas Shrugged. I read it right after I graduated college, and it immiediately gave me a sense of hope and resolution. It made me believe that what I believed was not only right, but possible to implement in this world as all. In retrospect, I think my anxiety largely stemmed from my inability to integrate my true beliefs with the liberal ones everyone in my life expected me to have (every other belief was, and still is, regarded by absurd by these people). Needless to say, I lost the need to take the prescription shortly thereafter. It wasn't a quick fix. Atlas gave me a sense of possibility, and the more I read of objectivism over the next few years, the more it made me think. But it wasn't until I suffered a severe loss in my personal life that the truth of all finally sank in. I think, and correct me if I'm wrong, most people have come to objectivism through some sort of crisis or at some pivotal moment in their life (unless you were lucky enough to have objectivist parents... are there any of you out there?). Some people suffer years of abuse and their endurance gave them the self-confidence that made this philosophy logical to them. Others, like me, tended to have everything given to them in life, but were nonetheless surrounded by people who set a horrible philosophical example. I, therefore, had to gain comprehension of my self-esteem by enduring a crisis I never would have imagined I could. When you're left standing in the rubble of what your philosophical errors have cost you, you have two choices: you can wallow in "if only's" or you can look forward to the "what if's." I have chosen the later. Ayn Rand taught me to do that. I don't know that I could recommend any specific book or writings; I think that depends on what exactly the individual who needs the guidance is suffering from. I was suffering from a heavy burden of doubt, bestowed upon me by my mother. Doubt of self as well as doubt of others. For me, then, Atlas Shrugged worked perfectly to give me that initial inspiration. But unfortunately the source of my mistakes --my lack of self-esteem-- was so entreched it took more than just objectivism to help me kill that beast. I had to loose a value and admit the loss was my fault. But what objectivism did do was to help me honestly confront why this effect had come about, and what it was in my character that had been the cause. By guiding me through this process, it helped me find me... and that was just the cure I needed: honesty and confidence. And with these new attributes I was able to gain a sense of integrity, which has infused me with an entirely new sense of life. The experiences helped, but the philosophy made the defeat of "my monster" significant.
  13. A similar question I would ask, based on my own experience, is what does someone do after they have met "John Galt" and lost him? I can certainly sympathize with your pining affection, for my experience in love has left me asking many of the same questions. I was in a relationship for several years with the man who introduced me to objectivism, but due to an act of evasion on my part --which stemmed purely from a lack of self-esteem on my part, not any malisciousness toward him-- he recently let me go. It hurt at first, but the more I was left think about it the more I realized it had to be done. I had not been in the relationship because I was not yet confident in who I was; I also created little lies to cover up what I considered to be my inadequacies with him and with others and had done so for most of my life. Where that lack of self-esteem came from exactly, I don't know, but my best guess would be that it had to do with my mother passing on her own sense of failure and inadequacy onto me so she would no longer have to be the only one suffering (loving, huh?). I always understood his heroic qualities from the beginning,but my failure to understand myself lead me to reverse cause and effect in the realtionship: I started to value myself because I thought "wow,if someone like him says he loves me, I must be a great person." Wrong, wrong, and wrong. I am guilty of having wanted the effect of the relationship -love, passion, children, all of that-- without having realized what the necessary preconditions were to achieve that. Namely, two people who are certain of who they are, what they want, and what they would be willing to offer to whom for what purpose. I, unfortunately, came to realize all of this too late. It took me my entire life, over two decades, to cast off this philosophical sinful tendency of self-doubt I inherited from my mother, and the one person I want to celebrate that victory with is no longer my to have. I dragged him through part of my struggle, and know how I hurt him, but having survived all of this has made me finally love him. I can say it honestly now, with the "I" included because I have finally figured out who I am and what I want, which is helping my philosophy fall in place at last. I am at last that girl he always suspected I could be, but my lie hurt him to badly to be able to see that... for who can blame him for not trusting me? I hate the fact he doesn't belong to me. I guess he never did, really, because I was never "I" before, but finally seeing who he is from MY perspective makes me admit that I love him completely, totally, and absolutely. I can sympathize with how Dominique hated the thought of Roark walking the streets, that he belonged to the world, in a sense, because that is exactly how I feel about my lost love now. Everywhere he goes he walks past people that do not realize what and who he is, and I hate that. He belongs to everybody but me now, and as much as I hate admitting that, the fact that I am now capable of knowing just what greatness he possesses is in itself enough to make me happy. I could be happier, sure, but I can't erase what I did. I can only take what I've learned and apply it to my own life and keep on living. You can guess that my mother thinks this is an absolutely senseless asd selfless decision, to keep loving him, an accusation to which I smiled and said "This is the most selfish thing I've ever done" (selfish in the moral sense, of course). Everyone thinks I'm nuts, but nuts to them. I know a lot of nice people, but no one else who thinks philospohically in the way he does or understands the significance of having philosophical integration in one's life the way I do now. I don't find myself able to be attracted to even the most attractive men, and the thought of sharing myself with anyone but the man I had makes me physically ill. Maybe it is futile to love him, but I don't think it's futile to worship a great man. Even if he cannot accept me as a romantic possibility in his life, just knowing he exists is enough to set my heart on fire. I don't know that I will ever look for another; it's hard to say. I suspect not, though, because if there's anything I have taken from this experience it's that I now know exactly what I want, and value myself too much to make any compromises. If that means I live out the rest of my life without romantic fulfillment, I can handle that. At least I'll be able to say I never settled for anything less than I deserved. I am not, however, encouraging you to take this same path, but it does sound like grappling with this issue is causing you to also discover what it is that you want from a relationship. Take that knowledge, and use it to help you find that love that you seek.
  14. I think this is a pivotal point. If, as we all seem to agree, happiness lies in the pursuit and/or achievement of values, we have to remember that before we can decide what is a "value" to us we have to ask, in a broader sense, who is it a value to and for what purpose? The answer to the former question is "oneself," that's obvious, but I am having some difficulty pinning down the exact answer (in a nice succinct manner, anyway) to the latter question. Is the purpose self-preservation/life on a broad level or living as man should, to fulfill his proper identity? I could use some help on that point. I am, afterall, a novice at philosophical discussions. As to how I know I'm happy, I am at that point in my life where I am more in the process of acting to achieve my values than having already achieved them. That sounds pessimistic, but it's actually quite the opposite. I am inspired by my pursuit, and confident in my abilities. Here's where pride and self-esteem are essential. Without having pride in who you are you cannot confidently identify those values you feel it is right to expend the effort to pursue. Moreover, they won't have the impact they could when you achieve them because a lack of self-esteem could lead you to forget that second question: what is the purpose of the value. If you cannot say it is to better your life, well... perhaps that's a topic for a separate forum. I feel happy when I feel efficacious; when I can confidently say "that was a step in the right direction." I suppose the individual himself is the only one who can say with certainty when he is happy (for many people are quite good at faking it), but if one were to look at me and wonder the giveaway would be my singing. When I am happy, I find cause to sing all the time, whether it's humming what I affectionately call my own personal soundtrack (think about the sounds that animate your older variety of cartoons; that's the kind of stuff I often hum), or singing at the top of my lungs while driving in my car. No, I am not a very talented singer, and yes I realize people close to the outside of my car can hear me, but who cares? Some people do these things as well, but not everyone. I suspect there's always some sort of visible (or audible...) indicator of one's happiness, though. When you have that sense of content and vitality that comes from happiness, you find yourself more comfortable in every setting, facing every challenge and in relating to others. Some people exhibit happiness with a smile, others stare confidently at what they've achieved without any outward indicator beyond the pride conveyed in their posture (ala Howard Roark). At this point in my life, I'm getting my climbing gear on at the base of a metaphorical mountain, but the thought of what the view will be like at the summit makes me happy. I actually like the thought that the view will make more summits visible; it help give me purpose. It makes me realize how my mind and body will work together to conquer the challenge. The ascent may be slow, or it may be fast, but either way, the value is achieved in the end and my happiness will only continue to grow.
  15. I can relate to your struggles, and it sounds like Objectivism is coming to you the same way it came to me... slowly. But I assure you, every issue you are asking is helping you integrate who you are, whether you're able to see it yet or not. You are fortunate to be asking these questions at your age, at the cusp of independence (or at least that's how American culture traditionally views that age). I did not start examing philosophy seriously until after I graduated from college when an extremely wise man gave me Atlas Shrugged as a gift. It was the first writing of Rand's that I read and I will honestly tell you that it cured me of my clinical anxiety that I had once had to take medication for. But it hasn't been a quick fix for me. I think the person who gave me the book gave it to me because he understood that contradiction in me that I could not yet put my finger on (and I did not even do that until just months ago), in that I worshipped all these great heroes -- great rational thinkers in history -- and yet instead of striving to understand their values and trying to use that comprehension to improve myself, I just wallowed in the frustration of "gee, their thinking's nice, but that would never work anymore. Not in this world." I was miserable, and every night I physiologically struggled with my overactive mind and persistant, haunting sense of doom and hopelessness. What Atlas did for me was to initiate the process of what I like to consider my rebirth. It seemed to say not only is that kind of thinking possible, it's also right and inarguably moral. Anything is possible if you believe in the power of reason to initiate change, whether on a personal or global level. So, as I said, Objectivism came to me slowly. The first thing I got from it, from Atlas, was that sense of possibllity, which at least helped me escape the despair that was physiologically dragging me down. I was able to take myself of the anti-depressants, and have never had a relapse because I started to pursue the philosophy further. But that does not mean I was "cured" right away, for there was a deeper, darker philosophically sinful element of my conscience that continued to loom over me for years and I have only just recently cast it off. I will confess it, and bear the castigation it will bring from other Objectivists, because I believe the confession is what helped me finally shake off all elements of self-doubt. The sin? I was guilty of evasion, namely of trying to reverse cause and effect. Sometimes I even failed to see that a cause was necessary for a desired effect to occur; an action which violates pretty much all of the axiomatic concepts. Inspite of all my philosophical sins, I carried that sense of hope in the power of reason within me (though my actions clearly indicate I didn't have that concept fully integrated...yet). My misdeeds, ultimately wrecked a potentially fantastic relationship simply because I did not have confidence in who I was. My lack of confidence caused me to lie, to make myself into someone I wasn't; to "have" accolades without having ever earned them (or actually having them in reality). I thought the relationship was great at the time, but I was blind in so many ways, mostly toward myself. The man? Fantastic. The irony? Understanding yourself at the end of the realtionship instead of at the beginning. Here's where reason and objectivism have helped me: when I finally had to face myself in the mirror and admit all of my errors one by one, it was HORRIBLE but necessary. I came to the conclusion that I was living my life based on how others perceived it, not for myself. I was substituting their judgments for my own, and all that did was rack up a whole stack of philosophical contradictions I have just now sorted out. That's also where all the lies came from, most especially how I lied to myself and stiffled myself for so long. I had lived like Keating, and even though I have read the Fountainhead three times that admission did not hit me until I had to confess the one particular lie that cost me that romance; a romance I did not understand how much I wanted until the moment I lost it. While I wasn't necessarily living for others I was living according to them. Maybe that's the same thing... Anyway, realizingthe detrimental consequence of letting others' perceptions of you dictate your course of action in life, and love, was my awakening. Objectivism was always interesting to me, but now it is necessary and its validity has finally soaked in. That, to me, sounds like what you are the cusp of: shaking off other's perceptions and embracing your own. Don't let other people tell you you're dumb in a left-handed manner; be who you are and at this point don't feel like you have to explain that to anybody but yourself (especially to irrational people). Focusing on understanding yourself for your sake and your sake alone will bring the resolution you seek. It did for me. Best wishes - and be patient. Think things through and avoid making deicions on a whim at all costs. Find what your long-range goals are, and cast off your short-range doubts. You'll get there. Anyone who embraces reason in full inevitably will.
  16. But if you're striving for those things doesn't that mean you're making decisions that add to your life? I understand that different people want different things in terms of goals, lifestyle, concretes, etc. , but the diversity of those desired values does not erase the fact that you are still pursuing them on the basis that they will contribute to it? I understand you're disagreement with my statement, though, and thanks for making it because it helped me understand how I miscommunicated what I was trying to say. I still contend that all decisions are ultimately for or against your life, but I can see how one's sense of life is based on so much more than a simple acknowledgment that life should be your ultimate value. Sense of life, especially for a conceptually thinking adult, comes from the integration of all of one's value, not just the primary one. Life as man's only value wouldn't make him much better than an animal; what makes man so great is that he has the volition to consciously form his own values that add further value to his life than simply staying alive.
  17. I am the most computer/technology illiterate person on the planet, as well as a "newbie" to the site so I am just hoping I am quoting posts correctly since I do think it will be helpful (for me, anyways) to respond to direct statements. (How does everyone get those fabulous blue boxes around other quotes?) With those apologies offered, l will say simply that I, too, initially struggled with the notion of viewing the world in absolutes, but in what I like to consider my philosophical rebirth of late, I have discovered the wisdom of this view. There are in fact only two senses of life, and if life is truly your ultimate guiding value (as well it should be), and your sense of life affects EVERYTHING, the key is to consciously admit it. Every decision you make is, ultimately for your life or acts against it; it either adds to your life or takes something away. What's important to remember in any discussion about one's sense of life is how long are you looking ahead? Are you thinking long or short range. This is important because it helps reveal the futility and irrationality of being "somewhere in between." I don't think anyone can be in the middle on this issue. Lots of people out there may appear to have a good sense of life, but what is they are just really good at pretending? And by pretending, they're not honestly identifying their values. Without values, how can they have a positive sense of life. Seemingly happy people, with a seeming good sense of life commit actions against their life all the time. If you're looking at that person solely in the short range context of the moment what you will fail to see is how those decisions--- decisions that seem to have a positive impact and offer a positive perspective at first--- will ultimately add nothing to anyone's life because they weren't honest with themselves in the first place. To move past this (and here's where I haven't figured out how to post a second quote within a reply just yet...) it is, like Sophia said, essential to think about it conceptually. To think conceptually requires rationality, and to think rationally requires the acceptance of every decision either working to make your life better or working to make it worse. What I've noticed a lot of people struggling with ---or maybe I am just more capable of spotting it as I went through this process myself--- is understanding how long range thinking must guide current action. If I just think short-term, than it is all too easy to make lots of mistakes and be guided by all the wrong excuses. But if you think long-term, your values will contribute to a growing, benevolent sense of the universe everyday. I've made a lot of decisions that have acted against my life, but by escaping the confines of short-range thinking, the benevolent universe theory literally invigorated me like an explosion. Finding the perfect partner isn't easy, but I suspect that mostly has to do with most people's inability to admit thhe ways in which they're unhappy. It's frustrating, I know, but I understand it well because I was once one of those people pretending I was happy when I wasn't... for a long time. But accepting the notion that actions wither work for or against one's life has helped me become who I am, and tantalizes my mind with the thought of the success I will continue to be. Understanding that implication has given me my sense of life because it has given me the sense of control I had sought for years. And having that sense of control has awakened me to the endless possibilities open to me in this benevolent universe in which we inhabit.
  18. I will begin by saying I have not seen the movie you are speaking of, but unfortunately I am experienced in that kind of relationship. There is a profound difference between needing someone in your life and wanting someone in your life. This applies to all human relationships, but most especially to love. That said, there is definitely something wrong with a relationship where one person needs the other to fill in some void of self-doubt, or to help them set their priorities. If he truly needs her in his life to keep him linked to "the way life was before," it sounds to me like he does not have a good grasp of what his values are in life. Romance, as it should be, is based on shared values, but if he is in so much turmoil regarding his job, purpose, etc. does he really know what it is he wants to pursue? And if he is having doubts about the values he is pursuing, and the priority rating he's placed on them, what does he have to offer her in terms of romance? Is her perception of him based on only a partial understanding of who he is? While two people may seem to function well, and can benefit from the presence of others, that kind of relationship does not constitute what a romantic relationship should be. Shared values are key, and with that, a shared sense of life is pivotal. If being connected to that kind of life is what makes him happy, he needs to pursue it himself and not let her function as some sort of philosophical patch.
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