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Changing vs. Adapting

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I had this discussion with my friend lately. She declared that I should adapt to my enviroment in order to be understood, have friends, etc. I replied that I am a human, so I change the enviroment to suit myself. Does the rule Ayn Rand stated applies to social life, that while animals adapt to their enviroment, humans change the enviroment to suit the humans?

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I had this discussion with my friend lately. She declared that I should adapt to my enviroment in order to be understood, have friends, etc. I replied that I am a human, so I change the enviroment to suit myself. Does the rule Ayn Rand stated applies to social life, that while animals adapt to their enviroment, humans change the enviroment to suit the humans?

I would say that it applies to your social life as well.

If you don't like your surroundings and your friends, you can just change it. Simple.

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Either, or both, depending on the undesirability of your "friends" or your surroundings. For example, if your "friends" are of the mooching/freeloading variety, you would do well to cut them out of your life.

Exactly. I know you're not old enough to move right now, and I doubt you feel the emergency to do so. And it's easier to just find new friends anyway.

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She declared that I should adapt to my enviroment in order to be understood, have friends, etc. I replied that I am a human, so I change the enviroment to suit myself.

Changing yourself solely for the sake of others betrays yourself. If you decide that there is a valid reason for changing yourself that would make you happier, than you should certainly change. However your happiness should never depend on the approval of others.

Edited by JMeganSnow
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Changing yourself solely for the sake of others betrays yourself. If you decide that there is a valid reason for changing yourself that would make you happier, than you should certainly change. However your happiness should never depend on the approval of others.

That's why I told her it's a bad idea.

Edited by JMeganSnow
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Changing yourself solely for the sake of others betrays yourself. If you decide that there is a valid reason for changing yourself that would make you happier, than you should certainly change. However your happiness should never depend on the approval of others.

I would agree with the first statement, not necessarily the second. It is not just if you decide but if there is actually an objectively valid reason for doing so. Deciding to change in the absence of such a reason, and not deciding to in the presence of such a reason are both poor decisions.

It's very context dependant, but I find that many Objectivists, hide behind the ideas of "independance" and "2nd-handedness" to justify really terrible social skills.

Edited by JMeganSnow
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I would agree with the first statement, not necessarily the second. It is not just if you decide but if there is actually an objectively valid reason for doing so. Deciding to change in the absence of such a reason, and not deciding to in the presence of such a reason are both poor decisions.

It's very context dependant, but I find that many Objectivists, hide behind the ideas of "independance" and "2nd-handedness" to justify really terrible social skills.

Some might, but I doubt if my social skills were that terrible. It's just that some people around me are rather terrible.

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  • 3 weeks later...

As a human child who will need to function on various social levels in order to achieve your goals throughout life, it is in your rational best interest to develop certain social graces which, to this point, seem to have been lacking. The concept of adapting your mannerisms and tempering your speech so as not to be offensive or otherwise chase off potential friendly acquaintances does not assume that you must abandon your ideals or morals, or even alter your personality on any appreciable level. It's just a matter of being friendly. I think you'll find that friends will simply happen if you, again acting in your own self interest, show yourself to be a friendly individual. Which doesn't mean anything like changing yourself. You are only compelled to be friendly in as much as you believe it will serve you well in your day to day life.

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Juxtys -- I became a loner at a young age because I did not agree with my peers. It was not fun really, I liked to be with people. But eventually I returned from my self imposed absence. I had changed a lot, they had not, but I did socialize and avoided talking about the issues that were creating friction, like religion and general world views. I had not discovered Rand yet as you have, but I headed toward it. To be with these peers was still fun because I discovered a very valuable tool: looking at people in aspects. There is nothing wrong with socializing to learn skills to deal with other people, a very important part later in the business world.

What that means is identifying what values you have in common and then interact only in those areas. If discussions should arise in the areas of disagreement tread gently. Now and then it is possible to win a person over to your views, but if there is a fundamental difference, like being an atheist or a devout believer in a supernatural being, there is very little hope.

Enjoy being with those people within this context of aspects, overlapping fields where you agree. You can even become friends with a person on a limited basis such as this.

I had my share of being with people and again have withdrawn now. I have too little to gain from relationships of limited agreement. I still use the aspect thing to find a way to enjoy a party or a gathering, although there is no deep involvement with any of them. But I have lived for quite a while now and my social skills are established. I found that I do not care too much being with people other than my husband.

PS. My father was born in Klaipeda, back then known as Memel :)

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