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Unconditional love

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My friend recently said that he would die for anyone out of love. I tried to explain the nature of love, that it is conditional and that it means to value above all others. I tried to say that his statement was a contradiction, because if love means to value above all else, then how can you value everyone above everyone else? I tried to explain that your life is your highest value because it is the source of values. I'd prefer not to state what he said as a response. Just think of what an evil Ayn Rand character would say, mainly dangerous rationalizations. The more I tried to explain the more rationalizations he used.

Are there any arguments I haven't used? And is it even worth it to continue arguing?

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A lot of altruistic perspectives require you to de-value yourself in relation to others and to place their lives as more important than your own. Ask him what cause is served by this perspective.

Present him with this scenario: Lets say he lives in a community where everyone is 100%, irrationally selfish. They care nothing for their neighbors and will destroy all who get in their way in order to satisfy their short term, violent whims. Now, in this situation, would he not be required by his own principles to sacrifice himself immediately to one of these irrational violent whims of someone in the community in order to give them what they wanted? In this case, he would be perpetuating a violent, irrational world full of destruction, and his supposedly noble altruistic nature becomes fuel for the fire of destruction and selfishness thus supporting the very evil his self-sacrificing nature is supposed to defeat.

If -everyone- in a community was 100% self sacrificial, and never took advantage of the system, they would all be soulless animals. They'd have no desire to better their own situation because that would constitute taking something for themselves something that their neighbor could have, thus people would end up all dying. But not because they loved their neighbor, but rather because the despised themselves.

He'll probably say this isn't really the case with his mentality, as that is extreme and doesn't really reflect what he thinks. I would then add that as opposed to the community of irrationally selfish barbarians, a community full of people of rational self interest creates a place where everyone is better off both economically and spiritually. If you take care of yourself, and the people you love, that same principle is expected of others, that they take care of themselves and the ones they love. Any help from someone is never required of that person, thus any help that is given is -real-, and not artificial help with strings attached. In a rationally selfish community, people don't do each other favors with an expectation that that person will give them a favor later. The payback for helping others should be contained within the specific act of helping the, and the benefit you could receive from it.

You need to make the point that mindless self-sacrifice doesn't actually solve the problem of irrational selfishness, it perpetuates it.

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Your friend's statement is being too vague.

If you help him to focus on the meaning of what he really wants to say, you may will help him out of his irrationality.

To start with, your friend cannot love everyone or anyone.

She values people because of their characters. And not everyone is virtuous. There are many evil people out there who she hates or would hate.

There are also many people who your friend does not know. So loving them is impossible.

If your friend believes that one should love any human being just for the sake of being a human being, he/she is wrong.

Love can only arise betwen rational people acting as rational people.

One can value other human beings for many reasons, but valueing doesn't necessarily means loving. Love entails an evaluation of the way the other person seeks rational values: the way the other person acts. In other words, love entails an evaluation of the other person's character.

For example, I can go to opera and value a singer very much. But there is a difference between valueing a singer and really loving the person who is a singer.

Then, once your friend has realized that she can't love everyone, she has to realize that not all of those who she actually loves represent such a value that would make her die for them.

She would fight risking her own life for many people, up to certain degree. She would really give her life only in favour of a very limited number of people: her children, spouse, maybe someone else.

Dieing out of love for anyone really means turning into a sacrificial animal, and denying the power and beauty of love.

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You're describing indiscriminate, not unconditional love. And he obviously doesn't love everyone. For instance he doesn't love me, he's not even aware of me.

So, if he would die for me, it's not because he loves me, it's because dying for others is something he values. You should establish what method he's employing when choosing his values, and if he deliberately rejects reason as that method, that's a good time to give up on trying to convince him. You cannot. Otherwise, there is room for convincing, if you want to.

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Thank you. You've all been helpful.

I think that I have to explain to him what a logical argument actually means and entails. I always have a hard time with this because I am not well versed in philosophy. Any suggestions?

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Thank you. You've all been helpful.

I think that I have to explain to him what a logical argument actually means and entails. I always have a hard time with this because I am not well versed in philosophy. Any suggestions?

Take a logic course in school, or read a book on introductory logic.. It helped me out immensely

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