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I have a friend who hasn't read Rand's works but is generally just a very objective person to begin with and he finds Objectivism fascinating so he often asks me questions about it and I was faced with a question I didn't know how to answer yesterday:

What purpose do friends serve to an Objectivist?

Now, I was able to explain that friends are most likely made based on values and virtues that people hold, much like the way one falls in love with somebody. But, what differentiates a friend from someone you love? Would it be immoral to have friends that don't hold values that are similar to yours?

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Now, I was able to explain that friends are most likely made based on values and virtues that people hold, much like the way one falls in love with somebody. But, what differentiates a friend from someone you love? Would it be immoral to have friends that don't hold values that are similar to yours?

- It would not be immoral to have friends that don't hold values similar to yourself, it would be impossible.

Basically friends are people you chose to socialise with - as opposed to colleagues and classmates, that your just stuck with.

There is always a shared interest or sense of life that started your friendship to begin with, and consequently why you keep hanging out with that person.

It does not have to be philosophical or political agreement - most of my friends are non-objectivists, but we have other hobbies in common, aswell as a common style, interests, and so on.

The purpose of friends for an Objectivist would be the same as most people - to improve your life and make your days more enjoyable.

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- It would not be immoral to have friends that don't hold values similar to yourself, it would be impossible.

Basically friends are people you chose to socialise with - as opposed to colleagues and classmates, that your just stuck with.

There is always a shared interest or sense of life that started your friendship to begin with, and consequently why you keep hanging out with that person.

It does not have to be philosophical or political agreement - most of my friends are non-objectivists, but we have other hobbies in common, aswell as a common style, interests, and so on.

The purpose of friends for an Objectivist would be the same as most people - to improve your life and make your days more enjoyable.

That is where I was confused. I wasn't sure if it would be moral or not to assosciate with non-objectivists. I mean, reasonably, there are not very many O'ist in the world so you would be pretty lonely if that were the case.

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That is where I was confused. I wasn't sure if it would be moral or not to assosciate with non-objectivists. I mean, reasonably, there are not very many O'ist in the world so you would be pretty lonely if that were the case.

- And there would probably not come any more along, if they where socially boycotted to begin with ;)

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That is where I was confused. I wasn't sure if it would be moral or not to assosciate with non-objectivists. I mean, reasonably, there are not very many O'ist in the world so you would be pretty lonely if that were the case.

Sure it is moral to associate with people who aren't "Objectivists". Remember that morality is meant to sustain and enhance your life, not impose crazy frustrating rules.

The point Lasse K. Lien was making is that you are unlikely to associate in the way that friends do if they do not share your values. If you are you may be trying the impossible for delusional reasons (like trying to make yourself gain confidence by joining a popular group you don't appreciate).

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When I first started reading Objectivist literature I at first came to a flawed conclusion that your (my) life should be me working as hard as I can to achieve my goals and that everything else was just a distraction really.

What I came to understand not long later is that you happiness can come from different sources, and that three of the central concepts of Objectivism work in synergy and can be applied to pretty much anything in your life to determine its value.

1. What is, is

2. Man's highest moral purpose is the pursuit of his own happiness

3. Rationality

Let me demonstrate:

You want to achieve goal x, presumably because you think/feel it will make you happy...

You first understand/accept that this sensation/craving is part of who you are.

Then rationally, you check that it is not just an irrational whim, and thus validate it as a worthwhile goal.

Therefore you pursue the goal, and achieve uncontradictory happiness.

...

So lets look at the situation of friends...

Firstly, depending on who you are - after all, people are necessarily different - you will either feel a need for friendship at whatever level or you wont. What is, is... You either experience the desire for friends or you don't. Either way, it "is".

So for you, you determine that having friends is/isn't part of your pursuit towards happiness.

Rationally you validate your motive for wanting (or not wanting) friends and determine whether or not your motives are rational or merely whims.

If they are rational, you pursue friendship and achieve your own uncontradictory joy.

...

Now, I was able to explain that friends are most likely made based on values and virtues that people hold, much like the way one falls in love with somebody. But, what differentiates a friend from someone you love? Would it be immoral to have friends that don't hold values that are similar to yours?

Okay, a real friendship in my opinion is necessarily a form of love. From what I've observed, the majority of healthy intimate, loving relationships develop from a friendship of mutual respect and admiration. In sexually-available friends (of reciprocal sexual orientation) intimacy is a natural consequence.

The next question which comes to mind for me, is whether or not a husband (assuming a hetrosexual relationship) can, for example, have female friends without risking the development of an affair? The answer I think is two-part:

1. To my mind, and from my interpretation of Dagny's relationships in Atlas Shrugged, a man or woman can have as many friends of the opposite sex as they like without dilemma, so long as rationally, their partner is the highest human abstraction of their values. If rationally this is not the case, then it is possible you are in a relationship with the wrong person. (Eg. Dagny with Hank compared to Dagny with Galt)

2. It is quite possible to lust after someone of the opposite sex regardless of whether you have respect etc for them, but this constitutes an "Irrational whim"

Would it be immoral to have friends that don't hold values that are similar to yours?

Here you have to be careful in your understanding of values. There is a differences between values and opinions. It is quite possible for some to hold an opinion based on flawed knowledge. You can still be friends with that person provided their values are still the same as yours.

Values, on the other hand, are something which, if contrary, will make it nearly impossible to achieve a genuine friendship. If they share your values, you will respect them. If they don't, it will be impossible for you to respect them (without compromising your own values) and thus, it will be impossible to have a genuine friendship with them.

Does that answer your question with sufficient intelligibility?

Edited by emanon
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When I first started reading Objectivist literature I at first came to a flawed conclusion that your (my) life should be me working as hard as I can to achieve my goals and that everything else was just a distraction really.

What I came to understand not long later is that you happiness can come from different sources, and that three of the central concepts of Objectivism work in synergy and can be applied to pretty much anything in your life to determine its value.

1. What is, is

2. Man's highest moral purpose is the pursuit of his own happiness

3. Rationality

Let me demonstrate:

You want to achieve goal x, presumably because you think/feel it will make you happy...

You first understand/accept that this sensation/craving is part of who you are.

Then rationally, you check that it is not just an irrational whim, and thus validate it as a worthwhile goal.

Therefore you pursue the goal, and achieve uncontradictory happiness.

...

So lets look at the situation of friends...

Firstly, depending on who you are - after all, people are necessarily different - you will either feel a need for friendship at whatever level or you wont. What is, is... You either experience the desire for friends or you don't. Either way, it "is".

So for you, you determine that having friends is/isn't part of your pursuit towards happiness.

Rationally you validate your motive for wanting (or not wanting) friends and determine whether or not your motives are rational or merely whims.

If they are rational, you pursue friendship and achieve your own uncontradictory joy.

...

Okay, a real friendship in my opinion is necessarily a form of love. From what I've observed, the majority of healthy intimate, loving relationships develop from a friendship of mutual respect and admiration. In sexually-available friends (of reciprocal sexual orientation) intimacy is a natural consequence.

The next question which comes to mind for me, is whether or not a husband (assuming a hetrosexual relationship) can, for example, have female friends without risking the development of an affair? The answer I think is two-part:

1. To my mind, and from my interpretation of Dagny's relationships in Atlas Shrugged, a man or woman can have as many friends of the opposite sex as they like without dilemma, so long as rationally, their partner is the highest human abstraction of their values. If rationally this is not the case, then it is possible you are in a relationship with the wrong person. (Eg. Dagny with Hank compared to Dagny with Galt)

2. It is quite possible to lust after someone of the opposite sex regardless of whether you have respect etc for them, but this constitutes an "Irrational whim"

Here you have to be careful in your understanding of values. There is a differences between values and opinions. It is quite possible for some to hold an opinion based on flawed knowledge. You can still be friends with that person provided their values are still the same as yours.

Values, on the other hand, are something which, if contrary, will make it nearly impossible to achieve a genuine friendship. If they share your values, you will respect them. If they don't, it will be impossible for you to respect them (without compromising your own values) and thus, it will be impossible to have a genuine friendship with them.

Does that answer your question with sufficient intelligibility?

That was a beautiful response, I don't even have secondary questions.

<3

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Firstly, depending on who you are - after all, people are necessarily different - you will either feel a need for friendship at whatever level or you wont. What is, is... You either experience the desire for friends or you don't. Either way, it "is".

- Either way it is?

What?

Im sorry, but this does not make a whole lot of sense to me.

If you have no desire to interact with other people of any sort during your free time it would appear there is simply something wrong.

The abstence of any wish to establish social relationships represents, in my oppinion, some sort of psychological flaud.

What kind? I have no idea. But there is no way that close to anyone would be happier in total isolation then in social interaction to some degree.

Okay, a real friendship in my opinion is necessarily a form of love.

- Love is romantic, friendship is just that - friendship.

You have some very good friends (that you hang out with on a regular basis), friends (people you hang out with occationaly) and aquaintances (people you say hello to if you meet them on the street, at a bar, etc.)

From what I've observed, the majority of healthy intimate, loving relationships develop from a friendship of mutual respect and admiration.

- What have you observed?

Most relationships starts with both parties having a sexual interest in eachother, usually just from the first impression.

Its much rarer to become bestfriends then move that to a relationship.

2. It is quite possible to lust after someone of the opposite sex regardless of whether you have respect etc for them, but this constitutes an "Irrational whim"

- Are we not getting a bit off-topic here?

This seems to have no relevance to the original question posed?

And if respect presumes a knowledge of their value, are you saying that you in no way find women you do not know the personal beliefs of attractive?

People on the street, celebrities, etc.

Values, on the other hand, are something which, if contrary, will make it nearly impossible to achieve a genuine friendship.

- This is not true in any way.

Obviously they have to share your sense of life, and probably you couldnt be friends with some selfdestructive environmentalist - but normal positive nice people who just dont really care that much about politics and vote the same as "everyone else" can certainly be a value as a friend to you.

If they share your values, you will respect them. If they don't, it will be impossible for you to respect them (without compromising your own values) and thus, it will be impossible to have a genuine friendship with them.

- How did you come to this conclusion? Do you have no respect for anyone that is NOT an Objectivist? None of my parents are Objectivists, and most of my friends are not - I have great respect for most of them.

Or how exactly are you defining "share your values"?

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Hi Lasse,

The Original Poster asked for ideas about the difference between FRIENDSHIP and LOVE... FROM AN OBJECTIVIST PERSPECTIVE

Have you read any of Ayn Rand's work? Pretty much everything I said is straight from her mouth.

- Either way it is?

What?

Im sorry, but this does not make a whole lot of sense to me.

If you have no desire to interact with other people of any sort during your free time it would appear there is simply something wrong.

The abstence of any wish to establish social relationships represents, in my oppinion, some sort of psychological flaud.

I was presenting both sides as a way of demonstrating that the concept applies in either situation. My point was, that you must do what YOU need to do to achieve happiness and that only you can answer that. If you honestly have no desire for friendships and you can rationally conclude that not having friendships will make you happy, then that is the right course of action for you. It is the opposite of a psychological fraud.

However, was I suggesting that even 999,999 out of 1 million might fit this category? No. I don't know how many, if any, can be categorized into that compartment, but it is conceivable that such a person has at some point existed.

And remember that:

"Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values." - Ayn Rand

- Love is romantic, friendship is just that - friendship.

You have some very good friends (that you hang out with on a regular basis), friends (people you hang out with occationaly) and aquaintances (people you say hello to if you meet them on the street, at a bar, etc.)

I use the word in the dictionary-sense of the word: "a strong positive emotion of regard and affection..."

http://www.google.com.au/search?hl=en&safe=off&defl=en&q=define:love&sa=X&ei=_248TMjwJo2uvgOs5OWKDw&ved=0CCAQkAE

Thus love is not romantic. Do you love your mother or father? Do you want to have a romantic or sexual relationship with either?

Love does not necessitate sexual attraction and when I speak of it, I do not intend for it to encompass lust, attraction or any other synonym.

- What have you observed?

Most relationships starts with both parties having a sexual interest in eachother, usually just from the first impression.

Its much rarer to become bestfriends then move that to a relationship.

Firstly, I draw your attention to "Healthy intimate, loving relationships".

Secondly, yes a LUST/ATTRACTION is generally present from start. This physical reaction, however, is not sufficient to sustain any form of "Healthy intimate, loving relationship". I return here to the word "love" as defined as "A strong positive emotion of regard and affection" which you cannot experience for someone who has conflicting values to yours. Their values would drive them to actions you would thus find repulsive.

You cannot have a good relationship with someone if you are completely ignorant of everything about them other than their physical appearance.

Also, there is an assumption that you have made about what I wrote. I never said that the friendship had to be developed prior to the initiation of courting. It is quite normal, as I believe was your point, that a couple start dating before fully knowing each other. I don't think that any normal person considers from the very first date to be in a "Healthy, intimate, loving relationship" with the person they've only just met...

Are we not getting a bit off-topic here?

This seems to have no relevance to the original question posed?

Why is it off-topic. The Original Poster asked for ideas about the difference between FRIENDSHIP and LOVE... FROM AN OBJECTIVIST PERSPECTIVE.

Is what I wrote not related to Friendship or Love in someway?

I'm certain it is...

And if respect presumes a knowledge of their value, are you saying that you in no way find women you do not know the personal beliefs of attractive? People on the street, celebrities, etc.

What on earth are you talking about? You have just stated that Respect = Physical Attraction. To this I say you are utterly incorrect. They are separate concepts. I do not pickup a copy of playboy and say "I respect these women because they have a great body." The fact that I don't pick up playboy at all is beside the point lol

- This is not true in any way.

Obviously they have to share your sense of life, and probably you couldnt be friends with some selfdestructive environmentalist - but normal positive nice people who just dont really care that much about politics and vote the same as "everyone else" can certainly be a value as a friend to you.

"It is only those values which he regards or grows to regard as “important,” those which represent his implicit view of reality, that remain in a man’s subconscious and form his sense of life." - Ayn Rand

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/sense_of_life.html

You are confusing opinions based on knowledge with values. You really need to clarify your understanding of the different terms Rand uses.

- How did you come to this conclusion? Do you have no respect for anyone that is NOT an Objectivist? None of my parents are Objectivists, and most of my friends are not - I have great respect for most of them.

Or how exactly are you defining "share your values"?

Again, you are confusing VALUES with KNOWLEDGE and consequent opinions.

"Values are the motivating power of man’s actions and a necessity of his survival, psychologically as well as physically."

Have you read any Ayn Rand at all? Your response makes me think that you haven't, or that you don't understand the objectivist philosophy at all.

- Chris

Edited by emanon
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However, was I suggesting that even 999,999 out of 1 million might fit this category? No. I don't know how many, if any, can be categorized into that compartment, but it is conceivable that such a person has at some point existed.

- When you make the example, and present them as equal alternatives, it does not leave one with the impression that you feel that option A is a million times more likely then option B. But maybe im not comprehending your intentions fully, English is not my first language.

"Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values." - Ayn Rand

- And you choose to interprit this as happyness being subjective, and whatever you feel works for you as long as you can rationalise it for yourself (such as deciding to have no contact with other human beings, as per your example) is moral? Or that there could be some absurd context where that would be the case? (Other then having some leathal highly contagious disease that nobody else has I can not see such a scenario being realistic)

Cause thats what it might seem like to some.

Thus love is not romantic. Do you love your mother or father? Do you want to have a romantic or sexual relationship with either?

Love does not necessitate sexual attraction and when I speak of it, I do not intend for it to encompass lust, attraction or any other synonym.

- Your right, I was wrong their. But loving ones mother and father does not really demand that they share your values, they can still be a value TO you. Same goes for your friends.

You still have not made it clear how you define "sharing your values". Are we talking about other Objectivists? Positive people? Other fans of Nascar, perhaps?

I do not understand what you mean by confusing knowledge with values, please elaborate. Repeating it with no explanation is not very helpful.

You cannot have a good relationship with someone if you are completely ignorant of everything about them other than their physical appearance.

- Right, but where do you set the bar?

I don't think that any normal person considers from the very first date to be in a "Healthy, intimate, loving relationship" with the person they've only just met...

- I hardly think any normal person would consider the other person a friend on their first date either.

You have just stated that Respect = Physical Attraction. To this I say you are utterly incorrect.

- You said that to respect anyone they have to share your values. I ask again to what extent they have to do so.

The fact that I don't pick up playboy at all is beside the point lol

- The articles are pretty good.. ;)

Have you read any Ayn Rand at all? Your response makes me think that you haven't, or that you don't understand the objectivist philosophy at all.

- Never even heard of her. The fact that I registered for this forum six years ago (clearly visible) and not two weeks ago might indiciate otherwise obviously, but I assure you it is merely an illusion :)

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Over the years I've become less and less hung up on who's an Objectivist and who isn't. My friendships for the most part are based on passion for life (I would say "sense of life, but I'm not sure it would be accurate to apply that term here). I have several friends who are as leftist as they come, but if they are out and doing things and living life to the fullest, that's enough for me. One friend in particular describes herself as a feminist and is philosophically different from me in other ways, but she's not sitting at home obsessing over these matters. She's excited to get up everyday, for her research, for her music, for her life. (This of course is barring activities that involve expanding the state or otherwise eroding the individual -- that I have a problem with.) On the flip side, I know some Objectivists who seem to live for little more than hanging out online and policing people in their personal lives. These people I could take or leave as potential friends.

Mind you, these people I describe are not close friends. But they're friends, nonetheless. Sure, I would rather climb a mountain or pursue another stimulating activity with a fellow Objectivist (it would make for much deeper conversation, in my opinion) -- but there are so few of us out there. But, I would take a non-Objectivist with a good sense of humor and who's out there "doing stuff" over an anxious, less passionate Objectivist any day.

Edited by Tabitha
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Over the years I've become less and less hung up on who's an Objectivist and who isn't. My friendships for the most part are based on passion for life (I would say "sense of life, but I'm not sure it would be accurate to apply that term here). I have several friends who are as leftist as they come, but if they are out and doing things and living life to the fullest, that's enough for me. One friend in particular describes herself as a feminist and is philosophically different from me in other ways, but she's not sitting at home obsessing over these matters. She's excited to get up everyday, for her research, for her music, for her life. (This of course is barring activities that involve expanding the state or otherwise eroding the individual -- that I have a problem with.) On the flip side, I know some Objectivists who seem to live for little more than hanging out online and policing people in their personal lives. These people I could take or leave as potential friends.

Mind you, these people I describe are not close friends. But they're friends, nonetheless. Sure, I would rather climb a mountain or pursue another stimulating activity with a fellow Objectivist (it would make for much deeper conversation, in my opinion) -- but there are so few of us out there. But, I would take a non-Objectivist with a good sense of humor and who's out there "doing stuff" over an anxious, less passionate Objectivist any day.

Very well said, I feel much the same way, although I have never seen it articulated explicitly. Thanks for this!

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