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I am wondering how objectivism can be compatible with romance.

Romance is a construct of the psyche, a surge of energy entirely driven by irrational feelings. Since romantic love implies the desire to be loved it also open the door to potential jealousy, possessive attitudes, all affecting the capacity of the mind to focus and to follow logical consistency.

Unconditional love seem to me like a much more reliable way to stay focused and intact between pair of opposites. When you have no expectations nothing can really impact on you. I am not saying I love everyone because it would be a lie. I am just saying that expectations induces a dangerous potential chain reaction and that does not only applies to romance.

Edited by hokken
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Since when was romance "driven by irrational feelings?"

Why is it absolutely necessary that romance has jealousy, possessiveness, et cetera? Don't those things exist outside of love? And why would those things necessarily mess with being logically consistent?

What is unconditional love? How do you decide to love someone unconditionally, if there are no conditions?

No wonder you can't connect romance and Objectivism. Seems like you don't even know what you mean by romance.

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Since when was romance "driven by irrational feelings?"

Why is it absolutely necessary that romance has jealousy, possessiveness, et cetera? Don't those things exist outside of love? And why would those things necessarily mess with being logically consistent?

What is unconditional love? How do you decide to love someone unconditionally, if there are no conditions?

No wonder you can't connect romance and Objectivism. Seems like you don't even know what you mean by romance.

Please can you elaborate with arguments that romance is driven by reason, Mr "imsogoodateverything", I understand that avoiding to look at potential flaws of objectivism can be a bit upsetting for you but that doesn't mean you need to kick around immediately.

Edited by hokken
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I am wondering how objectivism can be compatible with romance.

Romance is a construct of the psyche, a surge of energy entirely driven by irrational feelings. Since romantic love implies the desire to be loved it also open the door to potential jealousy, possessive attitudes, all affecting the capacity of the mind to focus and to follow logical consistency.

Unconditional love seem to me like a much more reliable way to stay focused and intact between pair of opposites. When you have no expectations nothing can really impact on you. I am not saying I love everyone because it would be a lie. I am just saying that expectations induces a dangerous potential chain reaction and that does not only applies to romance.

You've already read 'Virtue of Selfishness', and are back for more. That was quick. The Amazon.com delivery system in France needs to be replicated here in the U.S.

Your 'irrational feelings' along with 'irrational abstraction' suggests a failure to grasp definitions as being an identification of the crucial differences.

Allowing one's feelings to drive one's intellectual evalutaion of reality, and the relationships that consciousness observes from it still raises the aroma of a 'primacy of consciousness' or the desire of a 'wish or whim' to over-ride reality. Your statements do not align with someone seeking to understand Objectivism, rather they suggest someone who desires to toss out unwarrented conclusions and undigested slogans in an attempt to 'muddy the waters'.

As to 'avoiding the potential flaws' of Objectivism, you have yet to state any. Then again, you do not appear familiar enough with its tenents to speak to them. Your use of concepts and that of a parrots ability to mimic human language seem to bear a lot in common.

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Objectivists don't seem to be very concerned with wisdom and as I said they seem to me to be more obsessed with the tool than with the job. I was looking for something that is not there. I am a pragmatic indeed and I have passed the age of intellectual masturbation this being said best wishes in your quest.

Edited by hokken
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Please can you elaborate with arguments that romance is driven by reason, Mr "imsogoodateverything", I understand that avoiding to look at potential flaws of objectivism can be a bit upsetting for you but that doesn't mean you need to kick around immediately.

Hokken, I don't know what your intention was in posting this thread. I assumed that your intention was that you wanted to understand how Objectivism and romance work.

When you made your post, you made a number of arbitrary assertions about love. I quickly identified that those assertions were at least a good part of why you couldn't connect Objectivism and romance, so I asked you why you believed those things. You have made no effort to answer why, and it seems you don't care to think about why. I cannot help or answer you if you don't want to even question your assertions.

Before you claim there are "potential flaws in Objectivism," you might want to look at flaws in your own definitions of things, which is exactly what I tried to make you look at by asking those questions. You never explained why romance is driven by irrational feelings, or how it opens the doors to those feelings, or how they contradict logic, or how unconditional love works. I asked you in order that you might see that the problems stem from your definitions, and not from Objectivism.

If you're here to get questions answered, I'd suggest you listen to and answer the people who are helping you, rather than insulting them and being sarcastic. None of us in this thread have yet insulted you or acted sarcastically, and I made a genuine attempt to help.

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“Please can you elaborate with arguments that romance is driven by reason, Mr "imsogoodateverything".”

His name is Sean. It may do you well to remember that and actually read what he said before attempting to insult him; especially considering you have yet to address any of his points in the process of doing so.

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Objectivists don't seem to be very concerned with wisdom and as I said they seem to me to be more obsessed with the tool than with the job. I was looking for something that is not there. I am a pragmatic indeed and I have passed the age of intellectual masturbation this being said best wishes in your quest.

Between your posts in this topic as well as this one you began earlier here: The 3 fundamentals axioms of objectivism , as Summer aptly pointed out, you appear to be more interested in feeble attempts at insulting, than acquiring anything this forum has to offer.

Objectivism actually identifies three fundemental choices.

  1. Focus
  2. Non-Focus
  3. Evasion

So far we have discussed two basic choices: switching the mental machinery on or leaving it passive and stagnant. There is a third possibility, the aberration of evasion.

"Evasion," in Ayn Rand's words, is

the act of blanking out, the willful suspension of one's consciousness, the refusal to think—not blindness, but the refusal to see; not ignorance, but the refusal to know. It is the act of unfocussing your mind and inducing an inner fog to escape the responsibility of judgment—on the unstated premise that a thing will not exist if only you refuse to identify it, that A will not be A so long as you do not pronounce the verdict "It is."

If you are trying to enroll others into this quest here,

best wishes in your quest.
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How is it romantic to be suddenly and inexplicably seized by some irrational, uncontrollable passion that you cannot analyze or control? That sounds hellish--like a cat suddenly coming into heat. If that's how you define "romance", then no, Objectivism has absolutely no connection with it whatsoever.

Objectivist romance is a chosen, developed passion for something or someone which meets your highest standards and grants you the greatest joys. Is there something irrational or inexplicable about loving someone who embodies everything you believe makes life good and who chooses to share their precious time with you? You REALLY can't comprehend ANY source for that behavior or come up with ANY explanation for it?

Objectivists embrace precisely this sort of passion as the best thing in life--passion for ones work, one's romantic partner, one's friends, one's home, each to the degree of importance to your life and happiness. Objectivists are dedicated valuers who bring this zest even to such tiny activities as trimming a rose bush for esthetic appeal or selecting fruit at the store because even those small things add to life.

Ultimately, Objectivism IS the philosophy of romance. (Not for nothing did Ayn Rand title her book on esthetics "The Romantic Manifesto".)

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Objectivists are dedicated valuers who bring this zest even to such tiny activities as trimming a rose bush for esthetic appeal or selecting fruit at the store because even those small things add to life.

This is great! Too often is Objectivism dismissed as "cold" and "calculating" (steeped in reason and selfishness as it is) by those who don't understand it. Your statement shows the lighter and more loving side of Objectivism that we Objectivists have no trouble realizing.

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  • 3 months later...

How is it romantic to be suddenly and inexplicably seized by some irrational, uncontrollable passion that you cannot analyze or control? That sounds hellish--like a cat suddenly coming into heat.

I think, in fact, that it is extremely romantic to be suddenly, and--let me say surprisingly--seized by an uncontrolable passion, and that passion cannot be controlled. That leaves a lot out of your statement, of course. What I think is worth writing a response to are the implications that passion is chosen, controlled, reasoned out.

You write, "Objectivist romance is a chosen, developed passion..." I disagree. I am taking "developed" as parallel to "chosen," as that is its context. That means that the passion is actively developed, rather than it develops on its own.

Emotions, interests, attitudes, etc., are not decided upon, chosen, or developed. They are responses to things as we know of and understand them. Passions, as the strongest emotional attachments, involve the depth of one's values. They are experienced as reflecting oneself. Since knowing about a thing/person, and coming to understand it/them may take time, passion may develop (on its own) over time, yes. It is not the case, though, that one makes a purely intellectual evaluation of a thing/person, and decides that it/they qualify for a passionate response, and then makes that passionate response.

Rand makes it clear that "every thought is an emotion, every emotion a thought," but that just says that fact and value can't be divorced. What emotions we feel, how strongly, etc., are a matter of our knowledge and values, which is to say, our knowledge in the broadest sense. Knowledge is the cause, emotion is the effect. That doesn't mean emotions are on a leash. They are the least controllable aspect of the self.

I suspect the OP was accustomed to speaking of emotion as "irrational" just as a matter of course. Many people do. He didn't understand how emotions relate to thought and knowledge. It is an unpleasant simile, but I would choose your cat-in-heat scenario as the more accurate description of passion.

Mindy

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I first heard about Ayn Rand from RealSocialDynamics - which is a company who teaches self development, pickup and social dynamics.

Besides from their teachings, They recommand 2 sources.

1. Eastren philosophy based concepts, Especially Ekhart Tolle.

2. Ayn Rand.

Ekhart Tolle talks about going beyond the mind. He speaks about the ego, the identification with it, roleplaying and some other stuff.

Ayn Rand talks about building a good ego-Or in other words, Using your mind the right way.

Now how does that applay to "romance"?

If you take Ayn Rand's principles you will know what you deserve, how people should treat you and what people you want around you. You will have standarts, a strong reality and a clear way of thinking and looking the world.

You will have a clear morality, values and certainty about yourself.

But there is a downside to it. And that is- Your emotional system is based on your mind ego and thought.

So if you are completlty identified with your mind and ego- You will think that this character you are presenting is who you are- you will react emotionly, get inside your head and start to analize the situation mentally.

While this way of being-objectivizem/egoisem can make you extreamlly sucsessfull in other areas of your life, In romance & social dynamics thinking logically is extreamlly counterproductive-'cause there are emotions envolved.

93% of communications is not verbal. There are TONS of subcomunications and microbehaviors that you will never be able to logically understand and see, but they are still there.

When you are just trying to chat and bond with a girl sitting there looking into her eyes, you should not be comparing interpreting or judging her words logically. "What does it say about my ego and status? what will my friends think? Is she good at math & english liturature? Is she good at making money?"

You are not in a buisness meeting. Just chill, drop the ego and chat- long story short. ;)

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In romance & social dynamics thinking logically is extreamlly counterproductive-'cause there are emotions envolved.

93% of communications is not verbal. There are TONS of subcomunications and microbehaviors that you will never be able to logically understand and see, but they are still there.

Yes, when you do not understand something, it can seem pretty mysterious. Having the pilots die on the jet you are riding could leave you in front of a rather mysterious set of controls. Just put it on autopilot and cross your fingers and don't worry, be happy.

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...

Ekhart Tolle talks about going beyond the mind. He speaks about the ego, the identification with it, roleplaying and some other stuff.

Ayn Rand talks about building a good ego-Or in other words, Using your mind the right way.

...

Tolle is just a lot of vague gibberish, which doesn't bother people who don't think, which is of course what Tolle advocates: not thinking.

For Tolle, thinking is the source of all the pain and suffering in the world, and the ego, which is charachter, personality, values, etc., is an evil illusion which causes negative emotions. For Tolle, "going beyond the ego" means going beyond valueing, thinking and judging, which also means going beyond things like logic and identity.

I think Tolle is evil. He's like Yoda telling Anakin not to value Padme so he won't care about her death (which I think makes him turn to the dark side).

Being emotionally steady, having an appropriate emotional reaction, having confidence and self-esteem, are not the result of "going beyond the mind"; just the opposite. They're the result of good thinking.

It is of course possible that someone is insecure, cares too much about his status or what his family thinks, has a trauma, a victim-mentality, whatever--something Tolle calls a "painbody"--but that should be solved by introspection, rational thinking and judging, and taking action to fix it--not by not thinking, not valueing, and being illogical.

Now, chilling out is of course very important when chatting to a girl, but you don't have to go transcending your ego for that. I think you should know your own value by a rational standard (which includes your personal identity, your judgement about it, what you think you deserve, what kind of person you will spend your time wtih, not having an irrational standard for your performence...), and then talk to the girl.

...

I got angry because now Ecky Tolle is mentioned in two threats. Tolle is my painbody.

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The OP, and some responses to him, seem to accept a thought-emotion disconnect that isn't natural to Objectivism.

Objectivism does not tell you to repress your emotions, nor to ignore them, regard them with suspicion, etc. It says emotions do not provide cognitive guidance. Just because you feel scared, it doesn't follow that there is in fact anything to feel scared of.

The problem emotions present is that they reveal the inconsistencies in our beliefs and knowledge. As the effects of past thinking, they can't be assessed, immediately, as being accurate or inaccurate evaluations. That is why the rule is to rely on your thinking when your emotions conflict with it.

Assuming you are a consistent thinker and reasonable, your emotions will make sense to you, and seem right and valid. (What a good feeling that is.) So, in romantic situations, unleash your emotions, and be yourself entirely. There is no proper, useful, or effective way to suppress your emotions while you think, emergencies aside.

Mindy

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I don't necessarily agree with the opening post (not sure I even fully understand it), but lately I've been thinking that Objectivism does not adequately address romance and love. According to Objectivism, career is supposed to come first, love second, family or friends a distant third, if at all. I've tried to live this way for much of my adult life, and I just don't think it works. When I start to fall in love with someone, career is usually the last topic of discussion. Unless they were a military dictator or something, I wouldn't really care what they did for a living. Career success ends up being so far down the list for me when I spend time with a lover. Getting along with each other, sharing interests outside of work, making each other laugh - it's simple things like this that are much more important in a relationship. I'm not really going to care if they hate their job and it's just a paycheck, or if they love it and are passionate about it. As long as we can focus on each other when we are together, career is irrelevant.

Lately, this issue has caused me to reconsider thinking of myself as an Objectivist. I still think there is a lot of good in the philosophy, but I just can't apply it to all areas of my life anymore.

Edited by Ragnar69
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I don't necessarily agree with the opening post (not sure I even fully understand it), but lately I've been thinking that Objectivism does not adequately address romance and love. According to Objectivism, career is supposed to come first, love second, family or friends a distant third, if at all.

Where did you get that impression? As far as love and friendship is concerned, love (I assume you mean the romantic kind) is by definition above friendship and unchosen family.

I've never heard it suggested in any of Rand's writing that career should come *first*, above love. A career is a central and integrated set of goals relating to the productive work you do. That does not mean it comes first in a hierarchy of value, other values can be equally important. I agree that it really doesn't matter what career the other person has, still, wouldn't career goals that coincide only further increase the level of shared value? To use a fictional example, Dagny and Hank had differing careers, though success in their respective careers only benefited the other. Dagny provided the trains and railroad system, Hank provided the metal for the rails so the railroad could run trains at higher speed. Such a trade of value only further enhanced the love the two felt for each other. Neither career nor love is thought of as more important, the two values can be equally important and beneficial.

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Ragnar69, on 19 August 2010 - 11:20 AM, said:

I don't necessarily agree with the opening post (not sure I even fully understand it), but lately I've been thinking that Objectivism does not adequately address romance and love. According to Objectivism, career is supposed to come first, love second, family or friends a distant third, if at all.

"Where did you get that impression? As far as love and friendship is concerned, love (I assume you mean the romantic kind) is by definition above friendship and unchosen family. "

???

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This is from the Playboy interview. Rand pretty clearly puts work above love. I've always been extremely uncomfortable with the sentences I bolded, and lately have decided that this outlook on life is pretty much bullshit. That's why I can't consider myself an Objectivist anymore.

PLAYBOY: According to your philosophy, work and achievement are the highest goals of life. Do you regard as immoral those who find greater fulfillment in the warmth of friendship and family ties?

RAND: If they place such things as friendship and family ties above their own productive work, yes, then they are immoral. Friendship, family life and human relationships are not primary in a man's life. A man who places others first, above his own creative work, is an emotional parasite; whereas, if he places his work first, there is no conflict between his work and his enjoyment of human relationships.

PLAYBOY: Where, would you say, should romantic love fit into the life of a rational person whose single driving passion is work?

RAND: It is his greatest reward. The only man capable of experiencing a profound romantic love is the man driven by passion for his work -- because love is an expression of self-esteem, of the deepest values in a man's or a woman's character. One falls in love with the person who shares these values. If a man has no clearly defined values, and no moral character, he is not able to appreciate another person. In this respect, I would like to quote from The Fountainhead, in which the hero utters a line that has often been quoted by readers: "To say 'I love you' one must know first how to say the 'I.'"

Where did you get that impression?

I've never heard it suggested in any of Rand's writing that career should come *first*, above love. A career is a central and integrated set of goals relating to the productive work you do. That does not mean it comes first in a hierarchy of value, other values can be equally important. I agree that it really doesn't matter what career the other person has, still, wouldn't career goals that coincide only further increase the level of shared value? To use a fictional example, Dagny and Hank had differing careers, though success in their respective careers only benefited the other. Dagny provided the trains and railroad system, Hank provided the metal for the rails so the railroad could run trains at higher speed. Such a trade of value only further enhanced the love the two felt for each other. Neither career nor love is thought of as more important, the two values can be equally important and beneficial.

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RAND: If they place such things as friendship and family ties above their own productive work, yes, then they are immoral. Friendship, family life and human relationships are not primary in a man's life. A man who places others first, above his own creative work, is an emotional parasite; whereas, if he places his work first, there is no conflict between his work and his enjoyment of human relationships.

Human relationships aren't a *primary*, your own life is. The usage of "first" here is more about how your own work and your own goals are not less important than putting another person's work and goals first.

RAND: It is his greatest reward. The only man capable of experiencing a profound romantic love is the man driven by passion for his work

That's because you are then capable of a high degree of self-esteem. I mean, this is specifically saying that one reward for a person whose driving passion is their work is the ability to feel profound romantic love.

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Human relationships aren't a *primary*, your own life is. The usage of "first" here is more about how your own work and your own goals are not less important than putting another person's work and goals first.

This is just doublespeak, and possibly not even correct English. The quote is pretty clear, Rand put work above love. Perhaps you should examine your own motivations for trying to twist it around. Either agree with Rand, or admit that she is wrong about love.

That's because you are then capable of a high degree of self-esteem. I mean, this is specifically saying that one reward for a person whose driving passion is their work is the ability to feel profound romantic love.

This is exactly what I disagree with. My point is that anyone can feel profound romantic love, not just those that have a driving passion for their work.

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This is just doublespeak, and possibly not even correct English. The quote is pretty clear, Rand put work above love. Perhaps you should examine your own motivations for trying to twist it around. Either agree with Rand, or admit that she is wrong about love.

Your own life comes first and the valuing of other people only has to do with what sort of value they provide you. That doesn't mean things like a career or romantic love could not be equal in value.

This is exactly what I disagree with. My point is that anyone can feel profound romantic love, not just those that have a driving passion for their work.

The idea still remains that the ability to feel profound love is strongly connected to self-esteem, and self-esteem can only be realized through productive work. Do you disagree with anything in post #20?

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