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Those interested in the meaning of the concept of "perfect" and its connection to philosophy would most likely greatly benefit by reading Harry Binswanger's essay "The Possible Dream", in The Objectivist Forum, Feb. and April 1981.

As a teaser, here is how HB defines the term:

"The actual meaning of 'perfection' is: flawlessly complete satisfaction of a standard of value." (Feb. '81, p.3)

Personally, I found this essay to be one of the more thought-provoking in the whole Objectivist body of literature -- and that's saying a lot.

Thanks. Can't wait to read it. I don't own "..Forum" and can't find it on the CD-ROM. Any links to this essay that you know of?

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Thanks. Can't wait to read it. I don't own "..Forum" and can't find it on the CD-ROM. Any links to this essay that you know of?

No, but TOF is worth owning. It has a lot of terrific essays not reprinted elsewhere, unlike The Ayn Rand Letter, The Objectivist, and The Objectivist Newsletter, each of which have some of the best reprinted -- sometimes as abridged versions -- in CUI, ItOE, VOR, RM, etc.

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QUOTE (Betsy @ Jul 2 2004, 3:00 PM)

So, do you think that Dagny at 15 and Francisco at 16 were wrong to get sexually involved? 

Your question began with the word "so", which means you think it's my position (or you want people to think it). I said nothing about Dagny and Francisco.

That's why I asked. Dagny was 15 and Francisco was 16.

So do you think it sufficient to base a proper moral judgement on nothing but the participants' ages? That's not a fair question, now is it? I am pretty sure you don't think that.

For the record, I don't think it proper to morally judge a sexual relationship knowing only the ages of the participants. There are certainly immoral sexual relationships between people over the age of 21, and possibly moral ones among people prior to the age of 18.

I stand by my original statement:

I think a young man had better explore himself, know himself, and develop into what he wants to be before even getting into a serious relationship, much less having sex and trying to rationalize what is an appropriate standard.

This statement was primarily about rationalizing standards for what constitutes a proper sexual partner. I think that when one is ready, one feels no temptation towards rationalism: IT IS BLOODY OBVIOUS WHO IS THE RIGHT PERSON WHEN YOU MEET HER!!!

But in this context, regarding when one should engage in sex vs. when one should abstain, I also stand by my statement. I do not hold the view that "god" commanded that man abstain until 18 and marriage.

Nor do I hold the hedonist view of hey, whatever feels good.

I certainly have not met any boy--and I use this term deliberately--whom I think was anywhere NEAR ready for sex at age 16. It is not a matter of age, but of maturity--and something more than maturity. Masculinity, i.e. confidence and strength, plus knowing one's self.

I presume that Ayn Rand established this as the context for Francisco at age 16. Perhaps it was poetic license for a work of fiction, perhaps it is the present culture which does not encourage boys to become mature by age 16, or perhaps it's impossible. I can't answer that.

So, Betsy, do you think that all 15-16 yr old kids ought to jump into bed with one another? So would you encourage your 15 yr old daughter to have sex with a 16 yr old boy (if he met some sort of standard)? So do you think that Dagny and Francisco are typical of today's 15 and 16 yr old kids?

So do you think that leading questions that begin with "so" are not entirely fair?

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So do you think it sufficient to base a proper moral judgement on nothing but the participants' ages?  That's not a fair question, now is it?  I am pretty sure you don't think that.

I think it is a fair question and I'll give a fair answer.

I think sexual activity by teenagers is OK if it is based on values and if they are serious and responsible about it, taking precautions against negative physical consequences (pregnancy, disease) and prepared to cope with possible negative psychological consequences (bad choices, unrequited love).

I stand by my original statement:

"I think a young man had better explore himself, know himself, and develop into what he wants to be before even getting into a serious relationship, much less having sex and trying to rationalize what is an appropriate standard."

It seems as if you are saying that young people should be mature, fully developed adults before having a "serious relationship" or being sexual. If that is so, I don't understand why, and perhaps you can explain it.

I certainly don't think that a teenager in love who wants to fully express and experience his values is usually "rationalizing what is an appropriate standard" or necessarily doing anything wrong or dishonest. Is it your position that he is?

I certainly have not met any boy--and I use this term deliberately--whom I think was anywhere NEAR ready for sex at age 16.  It is not a matter of age, but of maturity--and something more than maturity.  Masculinity, i.e. confidence and strength, plus knowing one's self.

Again it seems that you are saying a person should be fully mature before becoming sexual. If so, I don't agree. If anything, sex is a maturing experience. Sex, like art, can give a person the here-and-now experience of his values and the objective experience of his own self-esteem.

"[H]er last thought was of the times when she had wanted to express, but found no way to do it, an instant's knowledge of a feeling greater than happiness, the feeling of one's blessing upon the whole of the earth, the feeling of being in love with the fact that one exists and in this kind of world; she thought that the act she had learned was the way one expressed it." [Atlas Shrugged ]

Good, but not necessarily mature, young people need to learn the way to express "the feeling of one's blessing upon the whole of the earth, the feeling of being in love with the fact that one exists and in this kind of world" -- and they deserve it too.

I presume that Ayn Rand established this as the context for Francisco at age 16.  Perhaps it was poetic license for a work of fiction, perhaps it is the present culture which does not encourage boys to become mature by age 16, or perhaps it's impossible.  I can't answer that.
Since I think values and responsibility, but not necessarily maturity, are needed for teenage sexuality, I don't see the issue as you state it. It seems to disvalue the actual needs and accomplishments of many good, rational, and maturing teens.

So, Betsy, do you think that all 15-16 yr old kids ought to jump into bed with one another?

Either that or celibacy? What a false alternative! There are other possibilities.

What about rational, responsible mid-teens, who honestly value each other, together experiencing and learning about one of life's greatest rewards for virtue? Don't you acknowledge this is possible and a good thing?

So would you encourage your 15 yr old daughter to have sex with a 16 yr old boy (if he met some sort of standard)?
Other than teaching proper values and responsibility long before the teen years, a teenager's love life is none of his parents' business. Ayn Rand even wrote approvingly of Dagny and Francisco concealing their relationship from others.

And besides, nobody has to encourage a teenager's interest in sex. :)

So do you think that Dagny and Francisco are typical of today's 15 and 16 yr old kids?

Some of them -- including quite a few fine young people attracted to Objectivism.

So do you think that leading questions that begin with "so" are not entirely fair?

I think they are entirely fair and you have my answers.

I have also asked a few more questions here myself and I welcome your answers too.

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