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Right. Like mrocktor said: " if you have a clear, objective, rational set of values you emotions should "fall in line" effortlessly". So first of all, do you agree that Dan's essay can only be used to give advice to those whose emotions are NOT in line with their set of values, and not to those whose emotions are in line?

I disagree with this assessment. I think it implies too broad a category. What percentage fo the general population do you think you're talking about here? If it is 1 in 100 then Dan's essay is FAR more useful, and far more applicable and this particular debate is to be counted amonst the "exceptions for highly specific contexts".

I don't remember the particular reference, but I recall that when Rand was asked about multiple relationships, that she indicated that she thought that this was really something that only "giants" would be fit for. In fact, wouldn't the context be even more narrow than you indicate, such as a relationship where:

a. person A has fully integrated emotions

b. person B has fully integrated emotions

c. person A knows this of person B and vice versa, i.e. there is knowledge and confidence and trust.

This strikes me (especially the combination of a, and B) as a highly unlikely senario, especially the for age at which most people make initial decisions to take partners in acts such as marriage. Hell, I consider myself a pretty darn rational person, pretty darn integrated, and I am still surprised by what my emotions do, especially in new situations. Considering the time and effort it would take to establish a relationship where this context would even be applicable I would think it would only happen a few times in someone's life, and as such, it could always be considered to be a fairly "new" situation. Even in this case, Dan's advice serves as a "caution" if not an outright prudent restriction on certain behavior.

In principle I'm not convinced that there arent' very specific senarios where multiple partners might be a reasonable thing, but that those senarios are so rare as to make their broad advocacy pointless. Basically, such views always come with the disclaimer that "this is only for very well integrated persons and the average person should not attempt such acts." As such, pooh, poohing Dan's essay is really misguided.

As for me, the level of integration I think this requires, and the added value to be obtained form a second partner (given the amount of work that even one relatiosnhips requires) makes such acts pointless.

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It is not very polite to make assumptions about others in discussions such as these. Also, these assumptions are frequently incorrect, which is more important.

This is a bit like accusing the ideas to have a christian basis.

I'll state it a different way. In my experience I find that very few people actually understood in total the demands of long term relationship without having worked through the issues. This is not to say that one cannot conceptually conceive correctly of such a thing without experiencing it, I just find that most people do not.

I can recall that when I was not yet involved thusly I too thought that this sort of rule of thumb was restrictive. That is didn't have to be so or that I was capable of having relationships like this while others might not be. Having learned a bit since then, I'm convinced of its propriety in all but the most unique cases.

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This is a bit like accusing the ideas to have a christian basis.

No it isn't. This is the "you don't understand because you don't know real love" argument thinly veiled. This from someone who has no way to determine what kind of experience the person he is directing this comment to has or does not have.

The other is "you are assuming too much, I think you are not going through the trouble of validating some of your conclusions because everyone else agrees". While Inspector did make very valid criticism of the second, it is in no way like the first. The first is a claim that you can't know. The second only a conjecture about why you don't know.

I'll state it a different way. (...)

You persist in the error I called Inspector's attention to: assuming that the people debating you don't have the prerrequisite experience (I'll grant that such experience is necessary for the moment, though for a principled discussion I think it is not a given that it should be).

That said, you seem to agree with me on principle - i.e. non-exclusive romantic relationships can be moral. To whom or how many is not really something I think is important. That is for each individual to decide.

Edited by mrocktor
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No it isn't. This is the "you don't understand because you don't know real love" argument thinly veiled. This from someone who has no way to determine what kind of experience the person he is directing this comment to has or does not have.

The other is "you are assuming too much, I think you are not going through the trouble of validating some of your conclusions because everyone else agrees". While Inspector did make very valid criticism of the second, it is in no way like the first. The first is a claim that you can't know. The second only a conjecture about why you don't know.

I buy this to a point. I think it is valid to make this statement as a general statement and ask for evidence of a different set of experiences that one might have. I think that in principle the issue comes down to one of understanding of degree of difficulty for what one claims on principle.

That said, you seem to agree with me on principle - i.e. non-exclusive romantic relationships can be moral. To whom or how many is not really something I think is important. That is for each individual to decide.

The second is where I fundamentally disagree as it goes to whether or not Dan's post is valid or not. In context, which means in principle, Dan's advice is viable and valid for 99% of the people in the world. The exception might be dealt with even in an aside or not at all and Dan would be helpful in writing it as is. The context "in the case of someone who is supremely integrated" is rare and as such, need not be qualified or stated to be fully correct.

I think this was the same issue with our discussion regarding "rational retaliation". The fact that retalitation is so often not rational and decidedly so makes its curbing justified. This is also one fo the reasons that so many people ahve trouble with The Fountainhead rape scene, becaus ethe context is so one in a million that most people can't discern the specifics of it, and so it ends up bothering them. It is an "advanced" topic as is multi-reliationships. Stating its possiblity with out a clear statement of the context where it would be valid or broadcasting it to an audience, 99% of whom it doens't apply to, strikes me as laying oneself open to a significant amount of misinterpretation of your fundamental position. That is because people are prone to hear the idea and neglect the qualifications.

For this reason, I'd admit a very contextual and remote possiblity of agreement with your position, but defend Dan's essay as eminently more helpful and correct for most people.

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I think this was the same issue with our discussion regarding "rational retaliation".

In more ways that just that.

In this case, either you are in a healthy, valuable, honest relationship and thus nothing can touch it - because it would be an obvious disvalue - or you are in a less healthy, less valuable (if not necessarily less honest) relationship which could be "at risk" should you find someone "better".

In the first case, Dan's essay is moot. You don't need it. In the second case, all Dan's policy does is preventing you from figuring out what exactly it is that is missing for you to reach the first case. The fact that you cover your eyes and ears and scream really loud does not make your relationship better, it only makes you ignorant of its deficiencies. One way or the other, in my opinion, it is case closed.

In the second case, rational retaliation is a personal risk in itself and a secondary personal risk which is probably even greater of being incapable of proving the legitimacy of your acts. A rational person would only choose this course of action in extreme circumstances. Allowing the government to use force in your stead will almost always be the best choice in a moral country.

So in a moral country all the "would degenerate into anarchy" concerns are moot. In any country, sticking to "banishing force" as if it were the principle instead of self-defense (or banishing the initiation of force) only opens you up to attack from the anarchists.

In one case and in the other it is the fundamental principles that are compromised when you bring considerations of how many people would act in a certain way or why. These principles, respectively, are:

In relationships, as in everything else, denying yourself value is bad.

The individual has a right to defend his life and property by force.

Edited by mrocktor
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It is not very polite to make assumptions about others in discussions such as these. Also, these assumptions are frequently incorrect, which is more important.

You've mistaken my purpose - I'm not accusing anyone or saying that "you can't get this unless you live it." I'm simply saying, "You don't seem to understand this - perhaps it might help to 'think outside the box' if you haven't tried that already?"

I mean it strictly in the trying-to-help sense and not the accusatory.

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In the second case, all Dan's policy does is preventing you from figuring out what exactly it is that is missing for you to reach the first case. The fact that you cover your eyes and ears and scream really loud does not make your relationship better, it only makes you ignorant of its deficiencies. One way or the other, in my opinion, it is case closed.

Ah, because the only way to learn about yourself and to discover the truth about your relationship is to go out and initiate intimate relationships with women you attracted to. Just as the only way to learn to skydive is to grab a pack and jump out of an airplane. Maybe what Dan is suggesting is that if one is not fully integrated it would be prudent not to engage in such activities, and that advice is quite relevant and contextual in principle (since principles are contextual) for the majority of people. He also just provided a follow up essay that actually highlights very nicely other ways to employ your emotions to better ends.

Why mrocktor I do believe you've made a straw man out of pure empiricism. Case closed? Hardly.

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I don't have time in following 2-3 days, but I'll reply to one point meanwhile:

I disagree with this assessment. I think it implies too broad a category. What percentage of the general population do you think you're talking about here?

I was not talking about any population at all. I was talking about human beings' psychology which applies for every man (a generalization). You seem to be mixing two separate things: How many people would have the temptation to develop an intimate relationship outside of the relationship they consciously committed themselves to, and "what is the psychological state of someone who has the temptation of developing intimate relationships outside of the relationship they consciously committed themselves to".

You cannot use numbers (percentage of population that exhibits behavior X) to answer the question of why (psychologically) they act X ?

And my statement was answering the "why" and not the "how many".

So while many of your arguments (that I've read in the other thread on same topic) rely on percentage of population, I don't see any relevance to the points I was making, which were about man's psychology.

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I don't have time in following 2-3 days, but I'll reply to one point meanwhile:

I disagree with this assessment. I think it implies too broad a category. What percentage of the general population do you think you're talking about here?

I was not talking about any population at all. I was talking about human beings' psychology which applies for every man (a generalization). You seem to be mixing two separate things: How many people would have the temptation to develop an intimate relationship outside of the relationship they consciously committed themselves to, and "what is the psychological state of someone who has the temptation of developing intimate relationships outside of the relationship they consciously committed themselves to".

You cannot use numbers (percentage of population that exhibits behavior X) to answer the question of why (psychologically) they act X ?

And my statement was answering the "why" and not the "how many".

So while many of your arguments (that I've read in the other thread on same topic) rely on percentage of population, I don't see any relevance to the points I was making, which were about man's psychology.

uh, no, you made a statement of what Dan's advice could "only" be used to do. If your conditional is in fact only a few people who meet this criteria, then "only" is an odd way to phrase it. In fact, Dan's advice is good for most people, and the stellar exceptions are the infrequent ones. The generalization has to also include the caveat that the "if" is very rare. Most people's psychology have the potential to reach this state, but the actual fact is that most people's pscyhology is not there (also a generalization about the nature of psychology - integration is difficult to learn and do consistently) and as such, Dan's advice works quite well for most people.

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Ah, because the only way to learn about yourself and to discover the truth about your relationship is to go out and initiate intimate relationships with women you attracted to.

No, I didn't say that. What I actually said is that to deprive yourself of the values you could attain by having close relationships (romantic or not) with all the people who deserve them (opposite sex or not) hinders learning by eliminating experience. I never said you should initiate intimate relationships with everyone left and right (and implying that I did so is just AAAPMSPTIMBAH), I am limiting myself to countering Dan's assertion that it is in his best interest to purposefuly avoid people he might be attracted to.

Dan's advice works quite well for most people.

I don't think it is good advice for anyone. The less integrated the person the worse the advice is - because the person is betting all his chips on a relationship when he has less means to determine its true value.

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I disagree. My own experience shows that the more I do something unpleasant - the more I hate it. No amount of time spent into it can make me love it. Investing time into something can bring me pleasure if I like that thing - and more pleasure the more time I invest - but it does not make me love it more.

I find this a little hard to believe because I have never seen or heard of in others nor experienced introspectively myself, a circumstance in which a vested interest did not bare on evaluations of values. Do I understand you correctly, that investing in anything does not in any way increase the degree to which you value it?

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I disagree. My own experience shows that the more I do something unpleasant - the more I hate it. No amount of time spent into it can make me love it. Investing time into something can bring me pleasure if I like that thing - and more pleasure the more time I invest - but it does not make me love it more.

I did not mean that you will start valuing the activity necessarily (although that can also happen - maybe because you start being good at it) or in your example the discomfort associated with it but rather the outcome. It maybe staying sober, excercise regimen, being further on a path toward a degree, longer in a romantic relationship. The amount of effort put into something makes you value the outcome more. Of course there is always context but that is generally true of people. If the outcome is not a value then I don't know why you would be doing it in a first place.

When it comes to relationships a great relationship at a one month mark has a different value (lower) than a great relationship at a one year mark or a five year mark. In time, you have experienced more together, build more, invested more.

How do you get over a romantic crush? You stop investing - which can mean many different things: emotionally, in terms of your focus, thoughts, hopes. In time it will fade (which is a great evidence to the fact that another's value (who they are) is not the only variable in love, that this relationship between value and affection is not deterministic).

If you change or diffuse your focus, split your time and effort while in a relationship that will have an effect on that relationship. (few here are arguing that the relationship between cause and effect is somehow suspended in such case but really...reality indicates otherwise). Just in terms of time. If someone wants to sleep with another person aside from me obviously he won't be sleeping with me every night. It takes away RIGHT there. (not sure how more blunt I can be).

Now, if the next suggestion is for me to also take another lover (personally, I can't imagine me being able to do this while in love every time I have been in love I had no desire for another but I can entratain that idea for the sake of the argument) then not all of my experiences, intimate moments, moments of joy or triumph or sadness, will be shared with one person but instead those moments will be divided between two people therefore each will get less of me overall. My time is limited; my experiences are finit.

It is possible that someone may prefer that scenario but they would have to value variety over intimacy. It is a difference in values.

Emotions are indicatives of who we are, our values and ideas.

I choose who I am. I choose my values and actions. If my emotions do not follow my mind then I don't act on them and work on changing my emotional responses. Emotions are not necessarily indicative of who I am.

Also emotions are influenced by hormones. When I am feeling down due to that reason that is certainly not who I am as I am an optimist at heart.

Just by controlling your actions and therefore reducing the amount of emotions you feel - you will not change who you are.

First, I am already that. I just have to re-program my subconscious and one of the ways to do that is precisely through conditioning via control of your actions. You chose your actions to be in-sync with your values - then you stick with it and if you do that long enough consistently you will re-program your subconscious and your emotions will follow. Try it.

That can only be changed by understanding your subconscious ideas through introspection.

No amount of introspection by itself will give you an insight to your subconscious ideas. The only window to your subconscious are emotions. You can then try to understand their source. You may be right or you may be wrong. Sometimes it is obvious, other times you don't know to what specifically you have responded to. The only thing you know is that you did.

Edited by ~Sophia~
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Do I understand you correctly, that investing in anything does not in any way increase the degree to which you value it?

Yes. The time you spend investing in something allows for other things which may increase the value of the objet/person/activity. But it is not the actual action of investing time, nor the time itself which increase the value.

This is why the more you spend time doing something you dislike the more you start to hate it, and the more you get to know someone you admire, and discover more good things about them - the more you value them. In the first example the time you spent on something you dislike has taken increasingly more of your energy, it has caused an increasing feeling of dissatisfaction and more negative memories are associated with that thing. In the second example - time allowed you to gain more knowledge of the person - knowledge that the person is better than you initially thought - knowledge of more things you like about them - which increased their value. Had it been that with time you discovered bad things about them - the value and emotions would decrease.

So I think this proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that amount of time spent into something does not cause increased positive emotions towards something (not as a direct cause, and not as a general principle).

OK, so now I'll move on to Sophia's post.

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The amount of effort put into something makes you value the outcome more. Of course there is always context but that is generally true of people. If the outcome is not a value then I don't know why you would be doing it in a first place.

I disagree that the amount of effort I put into something makes me value it more. The amount of effort I put is a reflection of its value to me.

In the case of pursuing a degree - it makes the degree easier to achieve after 2 years have gone by, but the value of the degree doesn't change: only the amount of effort you need to invest. In my case - I value my degree now much less than when I started it, 3.5 years ago (won't go into the reasons 'why'). But there is still some value to it, and now I only have 5 months to graduation - so it becomes easier to obtain it. See? So your example crumbles to dust :D

When it comes to relationships a great relationship at a one month mark has a different value (lower) than a great relationship at a one year mark or a five year mark. In time, you have experienced more together, build more, invested more.

It could be that way, but it doesn't have to be that way, and the way you put it it sounds like a general principle - which is why I disagree.

Time in a relationship allows to get to know the other person much better. The value of the relationship (to me) is determined by my evaluation of the person. If I decide that someone lacks some fundamental trait which I require, all the amount of fun past experiences cannot change my evaluation of his value to my life. It is only if the person is perfect for me, that the positive experiences, memories, personal jokes etc' increase the fun that can be had from the relationship - which means it increases the value of the relationship. But it is not a rule that if you spent 50 years with someone that he/she is necessarily a higher value for you than all other possible mates.

Personally speaking, if I spent a long time with someone, and then discovered someone else which I thought was better for me, I would not be able to stay with the lesser one in a romantic relationship. The presence of the other person would reflect a part of me which is not fulfilled in the current relationship and would make it very difficult to stay in it.

All the amount of good memories, and mutual thoughts exchanged, experiences, etc' would not be able to balance the joy that can be had with the better match.

In fact, I don't think it is ever possible to balance the joy you can have with someone who fits you better with the enjoyment of being with someone you know well and vice versa, but which is less of a match for you.

And because of this, I could not bare staying with someone for which I am a second-best match. The fact that my boyfriend chooses me makes me proud. The fact I can bring him joy makes me proud. This pride will be lost if his emotions would not match his choice. If he preferred spending time with someone else, but chose to be with me despite that it would suck. I would not see it as a token of love or devotion - but of a sacrifice.

Which bring me back to Dan's article. The point of even giving such advice (about developing intimacy with opposite sex friend) is only relevant if someone already has some desire to do so. If not - then such question would never be raised in the first place. So in what cases is this advice applicable at all? Only in those cases when someone is thinking "Hmm... going to Suzie's today for an intimate conversation could be fun. More fun than spending this afternoon with my wife. What should I do?". So in this case, following the advice means that a person acts against their emotions, and perhaps even against their judgement (in case the person has reason to believe Suzie is a better match).

Acting against your emotions could be fine, if you know the emotion is a result of a problem you have. But making this action a rule as a method of solving the problem is bad (psychologically bad). The only thing it would achieve is an ability to avoid facing your own emotions and subconscious values. It would certainly not make your wife a higher value - your actions should be a result of how you value your wife, they cannot be the cause of her value to you.

OK, this is long enough. I'll split my reply to another post.

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I disagree that the amount of effort I put into something makes me value it more. The amount of effort I put is a reflection of its value to me.

It can be both. People tend to value a thing less if it came easy because it did not "cost" them much. If you have to spend a lot to get something generally you will feel the value of it more. It is because your time and effort are limited and once spend usually unrecoverable. You can observe this even in children.

The value of the relationship (to me) is determined by my evaluation of the person.

That is a part of it but there are other (no less important) components to relationships as well. Are you meeting each others's needs eventhough you are both changing (in motion - learning new things, experiencing new things ect)? Are you moving in the same direction? All of those are significant. It is not only who you both are but also how well your lives fit together. Also, you are not only learning things about the other person but also about yourself in that situation.

But it is not a rule that if you spent 50 years with someone that he/she is necessarily a higher value for you than all other possible mates.

It is not just time as a factor - I said good relationship (satisfactory). It is both the quality and quantity. The longer compatibility is experienced, the more quality two people shared the stronger the bond. I was comparing the same relationship at different time marks. If it is working very well.. in time its value increases.

Personally speaking, if I spent a long time with someone, and then discovered someone else which I thought was better for me, I would not be able to stay with the lesser one in a romantic relationship.

All the amount of good memories, and mutual thoughts exchanged, experiences, etc' would not be able to balance the joy that can be had with the better match.

Of course but that is not what we are talking about. We are not talking about a match which is lacking something of significant value. (also long time for you may mean something different than long time for me. You are very young and not married. When you spend 10 years with someone with whom you are greatly compatible you may change your mind about the value of a new potential mate about whom (and mutual long term compatiblity) you know little of in comparison)

Which bring me back to Dan's article. The point of even giving such advice (about developing intimacy with opposite sex friend) is only relevant if someone already has some desire to do so.

Not necessarily. You do not control your emotions directly and actions do have a strong influence on emotions.

More fun than spending this afternoon with my wife.

This is also not the issue. If that is the case the problem is totally different.

You are making assumptions which were not given as a part of this scenario and I think those are making you see things in a different light. Dan has decided that this is the best woman for him, made a commitment and now is taking the necessary steps to make sure that he will build the best possible life long relationship with her. It does require a certain kind of action. It is thinking: I met my Dagny now how do I NOT screw this up? (how wise of him!)

Acting against your emotions could be fine, if you know the emotion is a result of a problem you have. But making this action a rule as a method of solving the problem is bad (psychologically bad).

Notice that I wrote if your emotions do not follow what you think is right (such thing can only come after some evaluation). I did not say do not pay attention to your emotions as a rule.

Edited by ~Sophia~
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There is no way I can possibly unravel all that's going on here but, factually speaking, I'm just going to add that Sophia's point about sunk costs is a well-demonstrated trend in human psychology. We do necessarily place more value on something that has a high sunk cost and, conversely, this can cause us to overvalue something and not realize that sunk costs are just that, sunk. This is one reason fraternity hazing continues to be so brutal and that houses with the toughest pledge periods have the "strongest" brotherhoods: what the boys went through is so tough that their psychological response is to place immense value on what they supposedly worked so hard to earn. So if Sophia is making the argument that we tend to value that which we have invested more in, whether or not it objectively has more value, that argument is empirically supported.

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You are very young and not married. When you spend 10 years with someone with whom you are greatly compatible you may change your mind about the value of a new potential mate about whom (and mutual long term compatiblity) you know little of in comparison)

This is strike 3.

actions do have a strong influence on emotions

What Ifat is trying to make you understand is: no, they don't.

Actions have no influence on emotions, the values that underly those actions do. She already went into sufficient detail so I'll just point to that.

I met my Dagny now how do I NOT screw this up?

You are still not addressing the contradiction: if your match is so perfect, how can you possibly fall for someone else?

EDIT:

So if Sophia is making the argument that we tend to value that which we have invested more in, whether or not it objectively has more value, that argument is empirically supported.

This is basically assuming we are irrational, incapable of objective valuation.

Edited by mrocktor
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What Ifat is trying to make you understand is: no, they don't.

Actions have no influence on emotions, the values that underly those actions do. She already went into sufficient detail so I'll just point to that.

Values are the starting point but your emotions do not change instantenously at the moment you accept (with full understanding) a new value as true. If that was true integration would have been fast an easy to achieve. That is simply not the case. You control your actions directly but not your emotions in that way.

You are still not addressing the contradiction: if your match is so perfect, how can you possibly fall for someone else?

This has already been explained by me and others so I won't go into a long explanation again. When it comes to maintaining in love even with your great match - compatibility by itself is not enough to maintain it. It needs nurishment - certain kind of actions. It is not something which once you reach it with this person - it will aways be there. It will be there if you take care of it.

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This is basically assuming we are irrational, incapable of objective valuation.

No, this assumes, and rightly so that complete integration of mind, body, and action is a difficult thing to accomplish, consistently, in the long run.

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What Ifat is trying to make you understand is: no, they don't.

Actions have no influence on emotions, the values that underly those actions do. She already went into sufficient detail so I'll just point to that.

You and Ifat are completely wrong on this point, both philosophically and scientifically. Empirically, habitualizing behavior DOES in fact alter emotional responses, I can provide studies which prove this if you seriously doubt it, but they can be found with only a little googling. Keep in mind I need only provide one single study showing an emotional response can be altered by chosen behavior.

Additionally, human behavior is only figuratively a 'blank slate', it is realistically a very complex interaction of chance, genetic predisposition, social indoctrination, and fully informed examined volitional choice, just as emotions are, and this is very well proven empirically as well, where the last over rides each of the former, but only with intentional effort.

Even if your values are fully integrated, a remnant genetic predisposition or subtle social indoctrination might give you the inclination to feel something particular, say an attraction to a stranger, but whether you choose to ACT on that impulse is purely volitional. And continually choosing not to act on that impulse will in fact alter your emotional reaction. That attraction may be from the recognition of one's deepest values, but it may be from a genetic or social influence, introspection will determine it's source and one's behavior should act ccordingly.

This is basically assuming we are irrational, incapable of objective valuation.

It is important not to confuse mere time spent (sunk costs) with real values and bonds that develop from specific proper actions during that time. While it is true we value 'time spent' irrationally in many areas, we are not talking about the mere mechanical presence of one person in the general vicinity of another, but specific actions, intimate interactions, quality in depth discussions, learning experiences, situations which are intellectually, physically, emotionally stimulating and challenging in a positive way, etc. It appears I can not be explicit enough about the difference between these things, the tendancy seems to be to charachterize my position (and seemingly Sophia's) as though we think that just because we hung out with someone for many years we might want to stay with them. Anyone who has lived with an annoying roomate and extends a little repsectful courtesy in trying to understand this position should know that is not what we are talking about.

Edited by Matus1976
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Additionally, human behavior is only figuratively a 'blank slate', it is realistically a very complex interaction of chance, genetic predisposition, social indoctrination, and fully informed examined volitional choice, just as emotions are, and this is very well proven empirically as well, where the last over rides each of the former, but only with intentional effort.

And so free will "realistically" goes out of window.

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Dan has decided that this is the best woman for him, made a commitment and now is taking the necessary steps to make sure that he will build the best possible life long relationship with her. It does require a certain kind of action. It is thinking: I met my Dagny now how do I NOT screw this up? (how wise of him!)
(Underline is mine.)

Decided? Do you mean 'found' or 'decided' ? Can I tell myself to like person A as opposed to person B when I have a choice?

One does not decide whom to love. Instead, one should introspect and find out if the person is the one or not. Any 'deciding' is really only an arbitrary enforcement in order to overcome pains of building long term relationships (while facing choices) as said here:

You are very young and not married. When you spend 10 years with someone with whom you are greatly compatible you may change your mind about the value of a new potential mate about whom (and mutual long term compatiblity) you know little of in comparison).

Exactly how one would change one's mind? What experiences would change one's mind?

All I see here is "Relationships are hard, kid. Grow up, and you will understand all the problems later. Until then, you are too young to judge."

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(Underline is mine.)

Decided? Do you mean 'found' or 'decided' ? Can I tell myself to like person A as opposed to person B when I have a choice?

Such judgment requires evaluation. He evaluated the facts as he discovered them and responded accordingly. That is how like starts but when you are making a decision about life commitment - a lot more goes into that analysis. It is a decision based on an existing like but it involves more. You may love someone who may be not be good fit for you as a life long partner. For example, you may want different things out of life. Happens all the time.

One does not decide whom to love.

Love is not something which strickes you like a lightening without your control. It is a volitonal act like any other. You absolutely can chose NOT to fall in love with someone who is great. I actually have done it (I had a good reason for it - still don't regreat my decision). Sometimes it is a matter not just whether it is the right person but also whether the timing is right (which was not in my case).

Exactly how one would change one's mind? What experiences would change one's mind?

All I see here is "Relationships are hard, kid. Grow up, and you will understand all the problems later. Until then, you are too young to judge.

Experiences are important. For example, if you have never been in love, never felt it, would I be able to prove it to you that it exist?

Btw, I don't think of anyone here as not grown up - I certainly don't think that people here are too young to judge. But if you have not experienced something at 20 - it does not mean that it does not exist - especially if others are reporting its existance.

Edited by ~Sophia~
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And so free will "realistically" goes out of window.

All human behavior is ultimately over ridden by free will, so no it does not 'realistically' go out the window, it is still very real. So do what you want with free will, but empirically it is very clear that genetics influences behavior, social conditioning influences behavior, environmental factors (chemicals, etc) influence behavior. If you think Rand meant human pyschology is *literally* a complete and total blank slate, any rudimentary understanding of evolutionary pyschology and even general pyschology proves that utterly wrong, and I doubt Rand even meant that because even Aristotle suggested this in the Nichomacean Ethics which he explicitly opines that human behavior is the result of a myriad of things.

The vehement reaction to statements like mine come from the false dichotomy presented that all human behavior is EITHER the result of free will OR the result of genetic/environmental conditioning (actually the debate is usually just between genetic and environmental conditioning and doesnt even pretend free will exists) The reality is that if someone makes the conscious choice to live an examined life, more and more of their behavior is the result of volitional actions. If they do not choose to live an examined life, more of their behavior is from social / genetic conditioning.

Edited by Matus1976
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