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I can't imagine worse advice — or a worse attitude toward romantic love — than this.

Heh, I seem to have prompted a bit of a response. I suppose at face value, my statement could be taken the way Kevin took it (which would be bad advice). What I meant to say was that this person should be shown good explicit values, and that if their sense of life does not IMMEDIATELY run and grab them for dear life, then Moose should break it off. I advised to learn Objectivism completely because if your romantic interest has that good sense of life, there are going to be questions and lots of them. Since Moose is a newbie himself, I saw the potential for them both to go on the journey of discovery together; not as teacher and child, but as partners.

I was being too optimistic. By his description, she doesn't seem to care too much about truth, values, and philosophy. And by his casual acceptence of this fact, neither does he. I can only warn him that he will reap the full punishment of his willingness to compromise his values. The example of his possible future children is a sickening hint of the possibilities...

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But until then, I have to tell the simpler and much less popular truth: To love a person means to accept them exactly as they are.

After further thought, I do have one consequential item to object to this statement as written. The word "accept". To "accept" implies that you are giving in to some disvalue, however small, in order to gain another value.

The proper word to use here, rather than "accept" is: value. Thus, To love a person means to value them exactly as they are.

Edited by TomL
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I was being too optimistic. By his description, she doesn't seem to care too much about truth, values, and philosophy. And by his casual acceptence of this fact, neither does he. I can only warn him that he will reap the full punishment of his willingness to compromise his values. The example of his possible future children is a sickening hint of the possibilities...

I'm not saying that it's done this to me, but this kind of condesenscion is what turns people off to Objectivism.

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My main question is about application. Does the same principle apply to friendships as well, ranging from casual, "brief encounters" to life-time, intense friendships? Even further, doesn't the principle apply to everyone we know?

Which principle is that? If you mean: should every acquaintence be held up to the same standards as your romantic partner, the answer is no. Your romantic partner is a special case that requires fully parallel virtues. Lesser friends you can have less common ground with. For example, I have a couple of acquaintences I have gone motorcycling with on occasion. I am certain that we would disagree on a great many things outside the realm of motorcycling, but the fact remains that we all enjoy motorcycling and are passionate about it. And to that extent, we have mutual values that can be shared.

A secondary question is: You have expressed the principle quoted above in negative terms. What name -- word or phrase -- would you give to the positive version of that admonition?

Imagine for a moment that you decided to teach Objectivism to a woman you are romantically involved with, and you are successful. In some sense, you will never feel that she is truly your partner because she didn't do it on her own, independently of you. So yes, independence is a key factor. The value systems of each person must be built independently of the other person, and then admired first-handedly by the other, in order to have a successful relationship.

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I'm not saying that it's done this to me, but this kind of condesenscion is what turns people off to Objectivism.

An understandable psychological reaction, especially for someone new to Objectivism, and I don't blame you a bit. Please keep in mind that Objectivism says nothing about psychology, and that a lot of Objectivists then tend to throw it out the window and pretend it doesn't exist. If it isn't "in" Objectivism, they don't care and are somehow absolved of all the consequenes (that is, your reaction will be said to be "your problem".. which ultimately it is, but that doesn't tell you how, or what to do about it). Objectivism does imply a particular psychological system, one which I will likely be writing about shortly.

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Here's my thing...this woman has been my best friend for five years. Yes, some of her values are not my own but, then again, what are the odds that anyone will ever find someone who shares all of the same philosophical principles? My parents have some pretty major differences, and they've been happily married for about 30 years.

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An understandable psychological reaction, especially for someone new to Objectivism, and I don't blame you a bit.  Please keep in mind that Objectivism says nothing about psychology, and that a lot of Objectivists then tend to throw it out the window and pretend it doesn't exist.  If it isn't "in" Objectivism, they don't care and are somehow absolved of all the consequenes (that is, your reaction will be said to be "your problem".. which ultimately it is, but that doesn't tell you how, or what to do about it).  Objectivism does imply a particular psychological system, one which I will likely be writing about shortly.

This is also highly condescending. Don't worry, Moose, Inspector does that to everyone. TomL just seems to be a bit pedantic, but oh well.

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I didn't really find TomL's post to be condescending. It was condescending for Inspector to say that I don't care about truth and that the idea of me having children is "sickening." I understand why people think that I have a problem...I just choose to respectfully disagree. Like I said, it's practically impossible to find someone who will share all of my principles and, even if I could, my love for Andrea's personality and my appreciation for her helping me through tough times outweighs it. As I said earlier, she's a Catholic but pretty much in name only, meaning she doesn't really follow its teachings. That's why I referred to her as an apatheist.

Edited by Moose
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I didn't really find TomL's post to be condescending. 

Nor should it be taken so, because I am addressing an issue here, abstracted from the person. Whereas, Inspector's post was a personal attack. Just because Moose says he is not an Objectivist doesn't mean he won't become one, and in fact he is still here, reading and posting.

We should be encouraging him and people like him to discover more, not bashing them for not making the entire journey in one day.

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After further thought, I do have one consequential item to object to this statement as written.  The word "accept".  To "accept" implies that you are giving in to some disvalue, however small, in order to gain another value.

I don't agree that that it necessarily means this at all. You could point to any number of uses of the term — I'm thinking in particular of AR's definition of rationality as "the recognition and acceptance of reason . . ." — to demonstrate that this is not so.

"Accept" in this context is entirely . . . acceptable.

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I'm not saying that it's done this to me, but this kind of condesenscion is what turns people off to Objectivism.

I'm sorry if it hurts, and my goal was not to hurt you. It's the plain honest truth that you will not find happiness by compromising your core values.

You said it would be next to impossible to ever find someone who shared your core values. I would urge you to check this premise. I can't stress enough that accepting this false idea is among the biggest killers of happiness that there are.

You being happy in the long run is dependant on you sharing your life with someone who shares your values. If that's Andrea, then great! Chances are, it is and you simply aren't giving her or yourself enough credit.

If not, then you shouldn't murder your happiness (and your mind!) by pretending you don't need it.

Call me condescending if you like... I'm trying to HELP YOU.

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Imagine for a moment that you decided to teach Objectivism to a woman you are romantically involved with, and you are successful.  In some sense, you will never feel that she is truly your partner because she didn't do it on her own, independently of you.  So yes, independence is a key factor.

Are you ABSOLUTELY SURE about that? What if the romance came after the woman accepted Objectivism?

Edited by Inspector
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I don't agree that that it necessarily means this at all. You could point to any number of uses of the term — I'm thinking in particular of AR's definition of rationality as "the recognition and acceptance of reason . . ." — to demonstrate that this is not so.

"Accept" in this context is entirely . . . acceptable.

OK, I agree that "accept" can be used in that sense. But I will also assert that love requires more than "acceptance". I can accept someone's idea without loving it -- the former requires only reason, the second requires that I hold the same idea, and that it is of extreme importance to me.

"Value", in this sense, is the proper term to use. "To love" is "to value", not merely "to accept".

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You said it would be next to impossible to ever find someone who shared your core values. I would urge you to check this premise. I can't stress enough that accepting this false idea is among the biggest killers of happiness that there are.

I whole-heartedly agree with Inspector here, and I am very glad for his change in tone. And to Inspector: I apologize if I was condescending to you.

I also once thought that I would never find someone who shared my core values. I even tried to find women who were already implicitly partially Objectivist, with a proper sense of life, and then tried to "fix" them. I wouldn't believe anyone telling me that it wouldn't work, I had to see for myself (I've always been like that, I have a funny anecdote about myself as evidence, if asked).

Anyway, several misguided relationships and several years of lost time later, I discovered that I would rather be alone for the rest of my life than do that to myself yet again. I had to get to that point, the point of not trying to bridge a gap. I had to go into it with the idea that "there must not be any gap for me to bridge" before I was going to find what I was looking for.

And yes, it can be done. I am happily married now, and we share not just our core values but all values. One tip to those thinking of trying this: don't limit your search too close to home. I found my wife 1,000 miles away from where I live, and she relocated (and I am very grateful for technology and the existence of the Internet!). It could take a lengthy courtship, but the rewards are worth the effort.

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Are you ABSOLUTELY SURE about that? What if the romance came after the woman accepted Objectivism?

I meant if the romantic relationship were concurrent with the "teaching". I do think that its possible to teach a woman Objectivism and then -later- become romantically involved.

Learning and subsequently integrating Objectivism necessitates a change in the identity of a person. Their premises change, their actions change, and ultimately their emotions will change. This in effect makes them a different person than they were before Objectivism, and in this way its like meeting a whole new person, one you can grow to admire and even love -- even if you weren't able to before.

But if you go into the teaching with the intent of becoming romantically involved later... that would be extremely difficult, since it is hard to predict exactly how a person will turn out after they integrate Objectivism. For that reason, one can only do such a thing with the intent of romance based on something other than the person's cognitive identity -- their physical appearance, perhaps? And in that case, the relationship may become forced and artificial. I'm not saying its undoable, but it would be -very- difficult.

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Moose said [referring to a response about his question]: "...but this kind of condesenscion is what turns people off to Objectivism".

Perhaps. I don't necessarily agree with all the posts on this topic, and I've found some -- especially new -- Objectivists occasionally sound a little preachy and rationalistic.

However, to give blame where it's due: the original post was a bit too personal and revealing not to expect the replies to border on preachy and rationalistic.

Now, I'll hazard my answer to the orginal:

I believe that we typically fall in love with a person's "sense of life". In our present culture, a person's sense of life is very rarely also expressed in explicit philosophical terms, and sometimes one's sense of life is contrary to one's professed philosophic terms.

This can be a tricky situation, because a person that can seem to passionately love life, can change over time as they reconcile a good sense of life with a bad explicit philosophy. Vice versa, too; people can change by accepting and integrating a new philosophy.

I agree with what has already been said: do not enter into a relationship expecting to change a person. On the other hand, I think it's reasonable to desire that a person's postive sense of life becomes integrated with a positive explicit philosophy over time. If it does, great. If it doesn't, also fine, as long as the sense of life remains intact. But if a bad philosophy threatens to corrupt a good sense of life, trouble can arise. This happens to a lot of people. Many bitter old codgers were once optimistic kids. This is not a problem particular to romance, but rather a problem for everybody.

Jump headlong into your romance and enjoy it. Provide an example of good ideas, when and if they're needed, as a value generously offered between equals, and not otherwise.

Edited by gnargtharst
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Moose said [referring to a response about his question]: "...but this kind of condesenscion is what turns people off to Objectivism".

Perhaps. I don't necessarily agree with all the posts on this topic, and I've found some -- especially new -- Objectivists occasionally sound a little preachy and rationalistic.

However, to give blame where it's due: the original post was a bit too personal and revealing not to expect the replies to border on preachy and rationalistic.

Now, I'll hazard my answer to the orginal:

I believe that we typically fall in love with a person's "sense of life". In our present culture, a person's sense of life is very rarely also expressed in explicit philosophical terms, and sometimes one's sense of life is contrary to one's professed philosophic terms.

This can be a tricky situation, because a person that can seem to passionately love life, can change over time as they reconcile a good sense of life with a bad explicit philosophy. Vice versa, too; people can change by accepting and integrating a new philosophy.

I agree with what has already been said: do not enter into a relationship expecting to change a person. On the other hand, I think it's reasonable to desire that a person's postive sense of life becomes integrated with a positive explicit philosophy over time. If it does, great. If it doesn't, also fine, as long as the sense of life remains intact. But if a bad philosophy threatens to corrupt a good sense of life, trouble can arise. This happens to a lot of people. Many bitter old codgers were once optimistic kids. This is not a problem particular to romance, but rather a problem for everybody.

Jump headlong into your romance and enjoy it. Provide an example of good ideas, when and if they're needed, as a value generously offered between equals, and not otherwise.

:nonexistent thumbs-up emoticon:

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I meant if the romantic relationship were concurrent with the "teaching".  I do think that its possible to teach a woman Objectivism and then -later- become romantically involved.

Well, I think maybe I phrased my question badly. Let me tell you my story.

When I first met my wife, neither of us were Objectivists. We were co-workers and there was a "spark" or two, but we were both busy people who had goals. (we had not yet dated at this point)

I then discovered Objectivism and learned it like a MACHINE. I mean, I read book after book. Atlas in a week. I was dedicated. These were the ideas I had been searching for my entire life. This was the affirmation behind everything I AM.

My future wife, of course, took notice. ;)

We went out on a couple dates, and got to know each other seriously. I, having an understanding of values, knew what questions to ask. My conclusion was that here was someone who, although not an Objectivist yet, desparately wanted to be one. (just like I did) She was, furthermore, the most beautiful woman I had ever seen.

The rest is history.

My point? It's not true to say that teaching Objectivism is something that can't ever happen with your romantic partner. I knew very well getting into it that if I was misjudging her, I would be in for a world of hurt. (a world that I see you're familiar with, TomL) So it's not something one should do unless they are SURE they know what they're doing.

My sympathies that you had some trouble in the past, TomL. (very glad to see everything worked out for you!) But that doesn't make it impossible.

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Moose:

Okay, I haven't read all the posts but I've read enough to give you my opinion.

Marriage is a huge step. There is nothing wrong with living with someone for years, or decades, loving and having sex, and not being married. Don't let the availability of legal divorce fool you. With marriage you have to be 100% sure. This is the person you are promising your entire self for the rest of your life. Plus, she's going to take half of your money if you're wrong about the marriage.

Philosophy is not a necessary condition for love. But it is sufficient. What is necessary is the sense of life. That must be the same. Over time you can persuade her to your side. My motto in this respect is "F^@k philosophy! I need a sense of life ... the rest I can teach later." Are you an integrated person, I mean, is your philosophy and your sense of life in unison. If not, I don't think you should get married. But definately live together, have lots of sex, and argue a lot.

When you know that your are whole and unbreachable, this is when you will want to celebrate with marriage.

But then I wonder about Ayn and Frank. How different were they? How much did she teach him after, or even vice versa. But yet Objectivism is widely availabe ... Rand was the Vanguard.

Her Catholicism, I guess, is what is pushing you to marriage. Wouldn't you be happier with someone who shares your sense of life AND you conscious philosophy? What, is this impossible?

My hypothesis is that there is something that you want very much from her that she won't give you without marrying her, be it spiritual or physical.

This should get you thinking. But I don't know your so obviously the application of my ideas to your future is not definitive.

Americo.

P.S. Roark only married Dominique when she had reached his unity. I think Rand was conscious of her concept of marriage when she wrote that.

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Nor should it be taken so, because I am addressing an issue here, abstracted from the person. 

You're only a little bit pedantic. Either that, or you're well-spoken and it's just jarring after wading through half-a-dozen misspelled, ungrammatical posts. :lol:

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What pushes me into marriage has nothing to do with her religion...that's just what people traditionally do in this country when they've committed to each other.

It's what people in most countries do when they're committed to each other. Marriage isn't a one-way-ticket to some godforsaken desert, it's more like deciding to go on a vacation to a faraway country. Yeah, there are some commitments involved, and if you decide at the last minute not to go or cut your vacation short you may lose some money, but what of it?

Any concerns I might have had were answered when you answered my two questions. Your happiness is not the same as anyone else's, so don't let anyone dictate the means to accomplish it.

One last bit: women tend to change over the course of their lives more then men do. (Not all women, only most) So, if you're worried about one little aspect of your future wife's character, it's probably not worth the trouble. In ten years, you won't be able to remember why you were so worked up.

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