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Repressed Objectivists

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I don't know that I really qualify as repressed; I think I may actually have a chemical disorder (a mild one, thank goodness) that results in peculiar mood swings. 

If those swings always occur about once a month, its normal. Don't bother trying to analyze it, just wait for it to blow over in a day or so. :)

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I'd like to suggest a two-part solution --

1. Learn how to be a good judge of people.

2. Learn just how weak evil really is.

Judging people accurately is a personal goal I set for myself at age seven and I have spent a lifetime acquiring, expanding, and refining my knowledge.  It has helped me make good choices in friends, a romantic partner, clients, employees, investments, and all my interactions with other people.  I learned a lot of it the hard way, but now I have good simple working principles I can apply fairly easily and also show to others so they don't have to go through all that I did.

I have also learned that bad people can't really hurt me if I don't let them.  They need me and I don't need them, so I have the upper hand.  I can ignore them and walk away from them and I usually do.  My life is way too full of good people I wish I could spend more time with, so I don't waste time with anything less than the best.

I'm glad you replied with this. On an abstract level (I think?) this tells me exactly what I need to do. The difficult part is the first step, being a good judge of people.

Something else I'll point out is that since I've discovered Objectivism, I'm even more dismissive of people and more easily antagonised. This is not a stab at O'ism, just how I apply it. It has made it easier for me to find (more) faults in people but hasn't made it any easier for me to find the good in people (mainly because the things O'ism holds as the good, I find almost impossible to find in anyone, or is completely outshadowed by the negative. But this may be an incorrect perception).

Example: if someone supports nationalized healthcare, before, I wouldn't have batted an eyelid, whereas now I'd get very angry about it. I'd also lack the confidence to say anything about it, or if I did say something, I'd get very emotional and lose my composture and not be able to argue from a rational standpoint. This is entirely my fault, not of O'ism. I've acted like this before with other things I feel strongly about, O'ism has only given me more to feel strongly about.

I also find it very hard to judge when a fault is critical to my relating with someone, and when it is something I can just set aside and not worry over too much.

I also don't meet/talk with people very often, and haven't much oppertunity to do it. This makes my learning all that much harder.

So I think I'm stuck.

(p.s. Is it acceptable to abbreviate Objectivism as O'ism? I've seen others do it and I find it convenient, but people get riled when the word "Objectivism" isn't capitalized so I wondered if this was unacceptable as well.)

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Something else I'll point out is that since I've discovered Objectivism, I'm even more dismissive of people and more easily antagonised.

Instead of being antagonized, actively seek out and go where the good people are. Hang out on Objectivist forums and e-mail lists. Attend Objectivist conferences and ARI events. Start a community or campus club.

This is not a stab at O'ism, just how I apply it. It has made it easier for me to find (more) faults in people but hasn't made it any easier for me to find the good in people (mainly because the things O'ism holds as the good, I find almost impossible to find in anyone, or is completely outshadowed by the negative. But this may be an incorrect perception).
It is.

Example: if someone supports nationalized healthcare, before, I wouldn't have batted an eyelid, whereas now I'd get very angry about it.

A person's political views -- and even his stated ethical and religious views -- are very non-essential in judging his rational potential. (Think of yourself and where YOU were pre-Ayn Rand.)

Instead, look for how well-attached to reality and how clear-thinking a person is in his career and day to day life and, most importantly, whether he has important personal values. If he does, he is what I call Good Objectivist Material regardless of where he happens to be philosophically and politically right now.

I also don't meet/talk with people very often, and haven't much opportunity to do it.

Even if you live on a desert island, you have an internet connection and nowadays that's all you need. Make the most of it. Lurk and listen. If you encounter someone you like, tell them so. That's how you make friends worth having.

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Instead of being antagonized, actively seek out and go where the good people are.  Hang out on Objectivist forums and e-mail lists.  Attend Objectivist conferences and ARI events.  Start a community or campus club.

Well I'm already doing the former. I'd love to do the latter but I live in the wrong place for it.

A person's political views -- and even his stated ethical and religious views -- are very non-essential in judging his rational potential.  (Think of yourself and where YOU were pre-Ayn Rand.)
That definitely helps. So is it only the rational potential that matters? And what if they never fulfill what I perceived to be their rational potential? Did I misjudge them? Should I severe contact with them?

Instead, look for how well-attached to reality and how clear-thinking a person is in his career and day to day life and, most importantly, whether he has important personal values.

This is something worth addressing. I've seen you say elsewhere (along with your husband) on this forum that being a valuing person is very important. This worries me on a personal level because I don't have many personal values! Those things I am at all passionate about seem to have very limited potential for conversation.

If he does, he is what I call Good Objectivist Material regardless of where he happens to be philosophically and politically right now.
What if someone is politically/philosophically OPPOSITE or close to being opposite, of Objectivist? Is it possible/correct/moral to try and establish relation with such an individual? Should I ignore these negative traits, and if not, how do I take them into account?

Even if you live on a desert island, you have an internet connection and nowadays that's all you need.  Make the most of it.  Lurk and listen.  If you encounter someone you like, tell them so.  That's how you make friends worth having.

Most people i've spoken to, and even myself to some extent, thought that my problem is that I don't meet people in real life. But when you said "make the most of it" it occured to me that I really haven't been doing that. I've been shy about telling someone I like them or really showing any interest in talking to them. I had this backwards logic going on that if they really wanted to talk to me, they already would have... I think I might make more of an effort in future since the worst that can happen is they don't want to. :)

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Free Capitalist suggested that I come here to continue discussion of this topic. I've already posted a couple of thoughts here and I really don't know what else I can say. Clearly I'm doing something wrong.

My policy has been to rationally evaluate my emotions, to ask questions like "why am I angry?" so I can decide whether my emotions are a result of good ideas or bad and act accordingly. The result of throwing my rational faculties into gear like this has always been that the emotion dried up and disappeared. Always. I suppose this led me to believe that my emotions were always wrong; I'm not sure on this count.

The end result is that I can only feel things if I'm not thinking about them; the minute someone calls my attention to an emotion (positive or negative) it shuts off like I flipped a switch.

I've completely lost touch with anything that's going on. I can only guess, which is why I keep changing my mind.

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My policy has been to rationally evaluate my emotions, to ask questions like "why am I angry?" so I can decide whether my emotions are a result of good ideas or bad and act accordingly. The result of throwing my rational faculties into gear like this has always been that the emotion dried up and disappeared. Always. I suppose this led me to believe that my emotions were always wrong; I'm not sure on this count.
Rationally trying to understand one's emotions is actually precisely the right course. What I noted in that thread you linked to, was that you made comments like, "I'm bad for feeling angry during a time when I don't see any rational reason for anger. I must be irrational." Be careful, that's not a happy road to go down to!
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  • 3 weeks later...

I used to have those "mood swings" also. My doctor put me on medication for it. Now, after having discovered Objectivism, I know there is no such thing as an imbalance. I just needed to root out my contradictions and introspect.

I have a question. Why does the issue of repression keep coming up among Objectivists? I mean I've even found in myself that I've been hardening towards people. I know that is wrong because I think that is a form of generalizing, but I do know most people deserve it. I've been keeping a close eye on myself, and have noticed that when I'm at peace with myself, or focussing intently on my goals, or just brimming with joy at being alive, it's like people don't even affect me at all. Right now I'm focussing on trying to be in that state constantly.

This Objectivist Psychologist Edith Packer talks about "core evaluations" aka. core premises about yourself, reality and other people. Now I think that these evaluations are somehow interrelated. From my experience, when things are going great in my life, I feel confident about myself, my view of people changes to be benevolent. I focus on all the great things about the Human species and remind myself that even thought there is a lot of irrationality out there, man is still fundamentally a rational animal.

It's kinda funny, in my experience, I've learned that if you have a certain idea in your head that you believe is possible, your brain will look for instances to validate that idea, so if you have the idea that people suck and are not worthy of your time or effort you react to that physically ( you tense up, you don't smile, you aren't relaxed) and psychologically you can become bitter, irritable, unhappy.

I think that the antidote is to strengthen your values and fall passionatley in love with them and the experience of being alive, enjoy people for what they DO have to offer and learn, learn, learn!!!

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Now, after having discovered Objectivism, I know there is no such thing as an imbalance.  I just needed to root out my contradictions and introspect.

I am a layman as regards phychology and psychiatry, so please consider the following comments in that light?

Do you know for sure that there is no such thing as a chemical imbalance"? As a layman, I have always assumed scientists have observed such imbalances and that a chemical imbalance is the proximate cause of emotions. That does not negate the underlying causes.

Similarly, if I hit someone with a hammer and he screams, I would be right in saying: "The electric signals going up your nerves are causing you pain". That's the truth, not the whole truth.

Continuing the analogy, suppose I go to the doctor with a fish-hook in my side. The doctor might take the hook out and also prescribe a pain-killer. Imagine if the doctor said he'd simply leave the hook in, but precribes a 3-month course of powerful of pain killers.

I suspect that is what many doctors are tempted to do with emotional problems. Instead of fixing the source of the problem, they intervene physically.

Again, this is simply my layman's understanding, and I have never had cause to investigate further.

I'd love to hear from someone who knows the science behind this.

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  • 1 year later...
I am a layman as regards phychology and psychiatry, so please consider the following comments in that light?

Do you know for sure that there is no such thing as a chemical imbalance"? As a layman, I have always assumed scientists have observed such imbalances and that a chemical imbalance is the proximate cause of emotions. That does not negate the underlying causes.

Similarly, if I hit someone with a hammer and he screams, I would be right in saying: "The electric signals going up your nerves are causing you pain". That's the truth, not the whole truth.

Continuing the analogy, suppose I go to the doctor with a fish-hook in my side. The doctor might take the hook out and also prescribe a pain-killer. Imagine if the doctor said he'd simply leave the hook in, but precribes a 3-month course of powerful of pain killers.

I suspect that is what many doctors are tempted to do with emotional problems. Instead of fixing the source of the problem, they intervene physically.

Again, this is simply my layman's understanding, and I have never had cause to investigate further.

I'd love to hear from someone who knows the science behind this.

Yeah, me too. *Bump*

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