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Relaxation as productivity?

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Hazmatac
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Well, I was flipping through a book by Craig Biddle called "Loving Life" which is has a lot of basic Objectivist morality in it and found the right definition for productivity: "the process of creating material values, whether goods or services."

Therefore, relaxation is NOT being productive.

Case closed! :pimp:

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Therefore, relaxation is NOT being productive.

Case closed! :P

It's still a moot point. You can't be productive without rest, so it doesn't matter whether resting has the adjective "productive" attached to it. It's part of the same cycle.

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It's still a moot point. You can't be productive without rest, so it doesn't matter whether resting has the adjective "productive" attached to it. It's part of the same cycle.

No, rest may be vital for productivity, but it is not the same thing as productivity, by definition.

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Again, moot point. Tomayto, tomahto. Nothing at all changes because we define rest to be this or that.

No, rest here is defined as sleep. And during that time, there is no creation of material value. For you to make your argument, you would have to argue that in all instances of sleep a material value is produced. So I ask you, exactly what material value is produced by sleep?

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Why is the materiality of the values being created an essential characteristic of production?

Because the root of productivity is to bring something into existence that didn't exist prior to your intelligent actions. This goes for picture framing to poetry. If it is not put into some material form, then you haven't created anything. It might be in your mind, but it is not a productive achievement until you put it into some material form. So, while rest and relaxation is essential to being able to create, it isn't bringing anything into existence that wasn't there before the relaxation in material form.

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Straw man, I never said rest creates material value by itself. I said it's inconsequential whether or not it's productive per that standard.

I never said that you said rest creates values, I said that that's what you would have to argue to make your claim that sleeping or inactivity is productive. And if that's not the standard of it being productive, what is?

Why is the materiality of the values being created an essential characteristic of production?

Materiality is part of the definition of productivity which I have stated earlier but will restate here. As stated in "Loving Life," productivity is "the process of creating material values, whether goods or services."

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Because the root of productivity is to bring something into existence that didn't exist prior to your intelligent actions. This goes for picture framing to poetry. If it is not put into some material form, then you haven't created anything. It might be in your mind, but it is not a productive achievement until you put it into some material form. So, while rest and relaxation is essential to being able to create, it isn't bringing anything into existence that wasn't there before the relaxation in material form.

1) If relaxation and rest are essential to being able to create, then they are parts of the productive process even if not a direct part.

2) Consciously relaxing gives the subconscious a chance to get to work, as it were. Lots of people when they get stuck in their work, especially in creative work, know the best way out is to take a break and do something else.

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1) If relaxation and rest are essential to being able to create, then they are parts of the productive process even if not a direct part.

Eating, drinking and breathing are all also essential to the "Productive process". But nonproductive people do those things as well. Therefore eating, drinking, sleeping and breathing are not features differentiating productive people from nonproductive people. If they are not differentiating features then they cannot be essential. What is essential is found by applying the principle of fundamentality to the differentiating features.

Use of the word 'essential' as simply synonymous with 'necessary' is confusing. Thinking in Essentials is essential to clear thinking in a way that sleeping, eating, etc. are not.

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Materiality is part of the definition of productivity which I have stated earlier but will restate here. As stated in "Loving Life," productivity is "the process of creating material values, whether goods or services."

I know it is part of the definition you quoted, and my question was precisely: Why is it included in that definition?

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Because the root of productivity is to bring something into existence that didn't exist prior to your intelligent actions. This goes for picture framing to poetry. If it is not put into some material form, then you haven't created anything.

Looks like we have a little confusion on the meaning of "material" here. If it is meant the way you seem to use it--"a material value is one that has been put into material form"--then its inclusion in the definition is simply redundant, as to create something is a synonym of "to put it into a material form." But I took the word to mean what people usually mean when they speak of material wealth or material values: "that which can be bought and sold." Thus, a poem would be a material value (since it is copyrightable), but an idea for a rhyme is not (since you cannot copyright mere ideas). If this is the distinction made by the word "material," then I don't think it's relevant when discussing productivity as a virtue; if a poet spends Thursday gathering ideas for a poem and spends Friday actually typing the poem into his computer, I would say that he has been productive on both days.

So, while rest and relaxation is essential to being able to create, it isn't bringing anything into existence that wasn't there before the relaxation in material form.

Now that is a different distinction: The distinction between creating something novel versus RE-creating something that existed before. Clearly, the poet is creating something novel--on both days!--but if a tile breaks in my bathroom and I have it restored to its original state, then the repairman "isn't bringing anything into existence that wasn't there before," he is just re-creating something that I already had earlier but have lost. But I suppose you agree that the repairman is still being productive when he fixes my tile, right? Now, personal recreation is something very similar to that: Your body is in a certain state; then, due to wear and tear, it loses some of its capabilities--so you take action to restore it to its previous state.

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I know it is part of the definition you quoted, and my question was precisely: Why is it included in that definition?

Because material values is what is necessary for survival, not spiritual values. You can be happy, but that is not going to help you physically SURVIVE. Even if you are living as a parasite, you still need material values made by others to sustain your life. That is why it is one of the essential parts when describing the virtue of productivity.

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Because material values is what is necessary for survival, not spiritual values. You can be happy, but that is not going to help you physically SURVIVE. Even if you are living as a parasite, you still need material values made by others to sustain your life. That is why it is one of the essential parts when describing the virtue of productivity.

I think you've gone astray here in deprecating the survival value of the more spiritual virtues. All virtues are means to obtain values, and productivity is the virtue of gaining or keeping the material values. There are other virtues for other values, and all values serve the same ultimate end.

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I think you've gone astray here in deprecating the survival value of the more spiritual virtues. All virtues are means to obtain values, and productivity is the virtue of gaining or keeping the material values. There are other virtues for other values, and all values serve the same ultimate end.

Yes, I think I should have attributed more survival value to spiritual values, you're right. The virtue of pride leads to a spiritual value which is as vital as creating material values, for example.

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Thinking is a necessary step in the creation of values -- you have to formulate what you want to bring into existence before you bring it into existence regarding productivity. But if you have a great idea for something and you don't write it down even in notes about it, then you haven't produced a material value; so you haven't been productive in the sense of bringing something into existence that wasn't there before. When Hank Rearden was experimenting and trying to come up with a new metal, he was consuming his resources, not creating new ones. It wasn't until he created Rearden Metal that he actually created something that didn't exist before. If you think about what you are going to do -- such as mentally outlining a novel or a poem -- it's part of the creative process, but you haven't created the poem or the novel yet. Thinking about something is very necessary, and for me very enjoyable, but if you haven't put pen to paper (as in writing this essay) then you haven't created anything yet.

Regarding someone repairing something for you, prior to his intelligent action it didn't exist -- there was no tile there -- and it is only after he places the tile there and gets payment more than his costs that he is being productive. When I make a picture frame and put it together, I am being productive; if I think about how to do it, that is necessary, but not sufficient to say I am being productive because I haven't created anything yet.

Spiritual values, I think, must have some physical form -- such as a work of art -- in order for them to be considered to be productive. If it is just in someone's mind, then it is not yet productive, even though the artist must consider what he is going to do before doing it.

Thinking or imagining is part of the creative process, and creation wouldn't occur before the thought or the imagination, but it is not sufficient to say he is being productive if it is not brought into material form.

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Because material values is what is necessary for survival, not spiritual values.

Ah, now that's a fourth distinction! (See my previous post to Thomas with regard to the first three.) But if you take "material" to mean "not just spiritual," then a relaxed (healthy, fit, etc.) body is clearly a material value.

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Ah, now that's a fourth distinction! (See my previous post to Thomas with regard to the first three.) But if you take "material" to mean "not just spiritual," then a relaxed (healthy, fit, etc.) body is clearly a material value.

I agree with you that being healthy and fit is a material value, and regard working out at the gym as being productive, but I do not think that rest is creating a value, any more than a girl isn't being productive by "creating" a baby. It is a natural process. And remember, that all virtues are traced back to thinking.

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Thinking is a necessary step in the creation of values -- you have to formulate what you want to bring into existence before you bring it into existence regarding productivity. But if you have a great idea for something and you don't write it down even in notes about it

OK, let's consider the following scenarios:

  • A great idea for a recipe occurs to me, so I go to the kitchen and actually prepare the food.
  • A great idea for a recipe occurs to me, so I type it into the computer and publish it on my blog.
  • A great idea for a recipe occurs to me, so I type a brief draft of it into the computer.
  • A great idea for a recipe occurs to me, but I am not at home, so I speak a brief reminder of it onto my cellphone.
  • A great idea for a recipe occurs to me, but since I have an excellent memory, I simply trust my neurons to store the information for me.

Where among these would you draw the line separating productivity and the lack of it?

In my view, all scenarios involve the production of some value(s). In the first one, I produce a great idea plus a meal. In the second, I produce a great idea plus an online recipe. In the remaining ones, I produce a great idea. So there are three distinct (or at least distinguishable) values involved: idea, recipe, meal. Only the latter two are material values, yes--but the idea itself is a value too, and I would go as far as to say that it is the one whose creation is the greatest productive feat. The conversion of the idea into a recipe is a mere clerical task, and while cooking may require some considerable skill, it is still somewhat of a routine job once you know how. It is the "having a great idea" part that makes the difference between your creating a little wealth and your creating a lot of wealth. Ask yourself which individuals you consider the greatest producers in history, and your answer will probably be a list of people who had great ideas!

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I agree with you that being healthy and fit is a material value, and regard working out at the gym as being productive, but I do not think that rest is creating a value, any more than a girl isn't being productive by "creating" a baby. It is a natural process.

I agree that resting qua natural process is not a productive activity; as I wrote earlier, "it is not an activity in the first place." But then, the natural processes going on inside a nuclear power plant are not productive activities either--yet you would still consider the person who runs the plant a producer, wouldn't you? The natural processes have to be triggered and supervised, and those acts are productive activities. The case of sleep is analogous; to quote from the same earlier post of mine:

However, the decision to go to sleep, provided that you do actually need sleep, as well as any action you take to improve the quality of your sleep, are IMO productive actions.

And remember, that all virtues are traced back to thinking.

Well, to rationality. Rationality involves thinking and acting on your ideas.

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Here's an entry from The Ayn Rand Lexicon regarding production:

Every type of productive work involves a combination of mental and physical effort: of thought and of physical action to translate that thought into a material form. The proportion of these two elements varies in different types of work. At the lowest end of the scale, the mental effort required to perform unskilled manual labor is minimal. At the other end, what the patent and copyright laws acknowledge is the paramount role of mental effort in the production of material values.

Yes, you have to have the idea first; no one is questioning that, but if you do not bring it into material form -- i.e. write down the recipe or cook food based on your idea -- then you haven't created anything. If it is just in your mind as an idea and you haven't acted to bring it into material form, then you have skipped a necessary step in production.

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BTW, since you

regard working out at the gym as being productive

there isn't really a significant disagreement between us from my perspective. To quote again from that favorite "earlier post of mine," I consider the question of sleep to be a marginal issue. Stuff for hairsplitters to worry about, if you like. :)

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