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A Meandering Theory About Love And Ethics

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The idea I'm presenting was conceived by me in after analyzing a particular Rand novel relationship/potential relationship, my own experiences, and discussions in some other topics here. Tell me what you think, I have some interesting things I've derived from this. Of course I can't expect anyone to fully evaluate this until they know the context I plan to use it in, but give me a general idea what you think, and I'll take it from there.

When you wish to establish a relationship with someone, failure is always a possibility. It doesn't matter whether that relationship is friendship, bf/gf, marriage, or some other form of alliance. You might be rejected.

And why? Well, I've thought of it as there being three possible reasons why:

1) misunderstanding

This one's the simplest. In these cases, the value of the wooee (what?) is not realized by the wooer (at least that's a word.) That is, the person being tempted incorrectly believes the entreater to have a certain undesirable characteristic/value/insert word here.

2) differing values

Also pretty basic. The suitor's values are just different from the other party (critical, i.e. in a way important enough to influence the yes/no decision) so the enticed chooses to decline the relationship. The person seeking the relationship isn't good in the eyes of the other person.

3) insufficiency

This would be cases in which the entreating party's qualities are the right ones, but the quantity of the values don't meet the standard of the desired party. In other words, someone's good, but not good enough.

These aren't exclusive; a rejection could be one, or a combination of the reasons.

Let me know what you think :dough:

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Wha? No response? Impatience has to be a vice. I'll apply my theory a bit.

What # would Eddie's relationship to Dagny be, and what's the significance of defining that rejection in the first place?

Dagny knew Eddie didn't possess her critical attributes, she wasn't misunderstanding him. So not #1. #2 or #3? Eddie in reference to Dagny, I'd group him in that #3 category. Whether he realized it or not (he did IMO, but that's immaterial,) he wasn't what Dagny was looking for, didn't make the Dagny cut.

I've heard people refer to Eddie as being wrong for not professing his love to Dagny, or at least making some sort of move on her. If all my ideas are the case, Eddie wasn't wrong in not pursuing Dagny. If anything, pursuing her would have been wrong, as he couldn't attain her in the first place!

Disclaimer :dough: The extent to which Eddie could change this "insufficiency" changes the thought of whether he could have, eventually, pursued or not. That is, if you believe that Willers could have, through hard work, become worthy of Dagny (in at least a gf sense,) then the eventual possibility of pursuit would still exist. If Willers couldn't have ever become worthy of Dagny, then trying to make moves on her would be disingenuous at best, immoral at worst. In any case, he didn't change, so...

Original? I'd doubt all of it is, but hopefully something here is novel, or lead to some new ideas. I'll post more later.

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They are also not exhaustive: ugliness could be another reason.

Well that's what I need you all for :dough: I need to find out what tweaks and changes need to be made to the theory.

As far as ugliness goes, if it needed rating, that'd be #3 - insufficiency. Beauty (or what degree of) would be the characteristic/value/whatever here. As everyone has some amount of beauty, it would be a matter of whether that beauty was satisfactory or not. This of course is if beauty were a critical attribute.

...I see my unusual post has not intrigued most people :dough: Let's use a more interesting example, then. I'll assume no one has an objection to my Willers characterization for the moment.

d'Anconia, my man :ninja: Dagny choosing Galt over Francisco is partly what this whole idea derived from. Why would Dagny choose Galt over Francisco? While Francisco possibly misunderstood Dagny's desires, I don't think she misunderstood his characteristics. Throw out #1.

Is this a case of #2, or #3 (or something I haven't thought of?) This is a bit difficult for me to sort out, but I have some ideas.

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As everyone has some amount of beauty, it would be a matter of whether that beauty was satisfactory or not. This of course is if beauty were a critical attribute.
Whether beauty is critical depends on the kind of relationship. I certainly wouldn't want to have a romantic relationship with a roman I don't find sexually attractive.

d'Anconia, my man :) Dagny choosing Galt over Francisco is partly what this whole idea derived from. Why would Dagny choose Galt over Francisco? While Francisco possibly misunderstood Dagny's desires, I don't think she misunderstood his characteristics.
May I ask why this question is important to you?
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Whether beauty is critical depends on the kind of relationship. I certainly wouldn't want to have a romantic relationship with a roman I don't find sexually attractive.

I agree. The person who determines what's "critical" is the person being sought. And I agree that the necessary degree of this "critical" attribute might change depending on the type of relationship sought. I'm not saying that beauty, or any attribute, is held by everyone to be "critical," but for those that do, to whatever degree they hold it "critical," I think my ideas apply.

May I ask why this question is important to you?

Ah ah, it's not nice to answer a question with a question! :) Would my answer affect yours?

Nonetheless, I'll let you shoot first. Why is this important? Well, some say Galt is "better" than Francisco. Personally, I can't agree with that, but another's opinion is another's opinion. However, I not only don't agree but find it flat-out wrong, to say that Galt is objectively better.

Galt is better than Francisco in some ways, sure. And vice versa. But to me, this only amounts to saying Dostoevsky is objectively better than Hugo. These two characters, as these two authors, aren't objectively preferentially weighable.

This belief of mine affects my thoughts on John, Dagny, and d'Anconia (though not in a detrimental way to any of them.)

Now, you've missed a lot of interesting things on the way, but that's the answer to your question. Fortunately, I have a lot more :)

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Nonetheless, I'll let you shoot first. Why is this important? Well, some say Galt is "better" than Francisco. Personally, I can't agree with that, but another's opinion is another's opinion. However, I not only don't agree but find it flat-out wrong, to say that Galt is objectively better.

Dagny chooses John over Francisco because it's a book and her choice has definite story implications.

How does this issue pertain to ethics? It seems like you have simply outlined how rejection works. What broader moral issue does this pertain to?

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Dagny chooses John over Francisco because it's a book and her choice has definite story implications.

How does this issue pertain to ethics?  It seems like you have simply outlined how rejection works.  What broader moral issue does this pertain to?

Good question.

The short answer: Would you take offense if Dominique ran off with (married) the sculptor at the end of The Fountainhead? I'd find that immoral. To anyone who wouldn't mind that ending, my point doesn't have any relevance.

If Dagny had chosen Galt over d'Anconia simply because, say, she preferred blondes, I wouldn't respect her. I'd find that immoral.

What kind of woman would d'Anconia want for a wife (i.e. has Dagny's decision affected Francisco's?) This part's not a moral issue; it's just a development of my theory that he would rationally want a woman different from Dagny after her knowing her choice.

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Wha? All's quiet on the Objectivist front?

*does Gladiator impression*

hunterrose: Are you not entertained? Are you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?

Crowd: Spaniard, Spaniard, Spaniard...

*sigh*

One last summation :)

If A chooses B over C for marriage, C's response can/should only objectively be 1) realizing A is not good enough for marriage with C or 2) C must change C's attributes. Not doing at least one of these under the situations would be immoral.

By everything I know, this is objectively right. Is this conclusion wrong, or not applicable to all contexts?

Edited by hunterrose
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It may be that you're not getting responses because the people reading this thread find your idea to be common sensical.

Then someone could at least have said that the idea was correct. All I got was 2 digressions, a question of my motives, a (granted) request for elaboration, and a response that the idea was a part of that undefinable fount of knowledge known as "common sense."

I suppose the answers to my questions were also "common sensical," as I received not an answer.

My ideas would lead to saying that Galt wasn't the ideal man. If that's "common sensical," then common sense runs contrary to the thoughts of Rand on this matter. I have to take that to be true within the context of my knowledge and the elucidation of my peers.

But I get your point nonetheless, Cole. Whether Galt is the ideal, a person's choices have any moral significance, or I think this topic is relevant, is irrelevant. There are more important things to discuss. I'll go find the Katrina topic, or post in the 0.999... = 1 topic.

86

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't think the post is irrelevant, and I have an idea about why Dagny chose John over Francisco. I believe that Dagny realized that Francisco's values didn't match with hers, and that John's did.

When John galt left society, did he destroy his machine? No. He simply realized that nobody would know what to do with it. He recognized that it wouldn't be of value to the looters. This is, essentially, the conclusion that Dagny came to.

Francisco, on the other hand, couldn't bear the idea that the looters would somehow benefit from his family's and his own creation. He set about destroying it. He could have came to the conclusion that it wasn't worth the trouble, and attempt to convince Dagny to come away to Atlantis (that's what John Galt did).

If Dagny assumed that their values differed, she would be right. If their values matched, then Dagny would also have the same desire to see Taggart Transcontinental completely ruined before going off to Galt's Gulch. She was not interested in denying the enemy succor. She simply wanted to live her life, and let the death of the railroad run it's course naturally, just like Galt's generator. Maybe she felt betrayed by Francisco because she thought he was betraying himself?

Edited by FeatherFall
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Galt less than ideal?

Galt was the first to apply those principles to his life and not only recognize the problem, but find a solution to it. It was he who told F.D. what the their mutual beliefs should entail their actions be, not the other way around. Galt had to convince HIM.

No matter how drastically blatant the evidence, convincing another that drastic action is needed and possible is quite difficult. What is more difficult, however, is being the first to know it. To know the truth for what it is, IS to accept all that its knowledge can cost you and know that it is worth it.

If you doubt in any way his importance and that he represented a true paradigm shift consider this.- America today is worse than than at the start of A.S. yet no one among us, it seems, is willing to face that at some point, there will be no rational reason left to save her.

If you think he was less than ideal, imagine what he would have to be to do what he did, today.

I find it more difficult to see how dagny was worthy of him than the other way around.

I find your theory quite decent but I can't see how it could lead to thinking galt was less than ideal.

I would like to contribute this to your theory- they all boil down to #3. In #1 the insufficiency is perceptiveness of at least one party. If someone isn't capable of seeing the value of someone (given enough evidence) they don't deserve them. Also, if someone isn't capable of presenting enough evidence they don't deserve their objective. In #2 The insufficiency isn't of perceptiveness but what perceptiveness was meant to perceive - Value.

Values are what it boils down to, and "sufficient" may not even be the right word to describe their relationship to the involved parties. Some one must BE a value - not just a disvalue. I suppose you must have a sufficient definition of sufficient. :confused:

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Well, color me surprised :D

How? Is this link (between your ideas and that conclusion) something you have not yet presented in this thread?

Yes. The point about Galt wasn't my purpose behind the theory, but since I said that part, it would be a bit disingenuous to not explain. Here's the gist of that point.

Francisco wasn't declined because of #1?

(1) Why didn't d'Anconia aspire to attributes he felt were "ideal?" or (2) why would d'Anconia expect Dagny to love something other than the ideal?

if (1) then Galt attributes/values weren't ideal to Cisco? -> maybe they weren't ideal in the first place; if (2) then they weren't ideal to Dagny? -> ...

That's the rough idea of my argument, and (1) and (2) are easily refuted... as I'm sure someone will :D It would have been better for me to not have said that Galt wasn't the ideal man, but that Cisco, Ragnar, and John all epitomized the ideal man.

I believe that Dagny realized that Francisco's values didn't match with hers, and that John's did.

[Galt] recognized that [his machine] wouldn't be of value to the looters. This is, essentially, the conclusion that Dagny came to.

Francisco, on the other hand, couldn't bear the idea that the looters would somehow benefit from his family's and his own creation.

[Dagny] was not interested in denying the enemy succor. She simply wanted to live her life, and let the death of the railroad run it's course naturally, just like Galt's generator. Maybe she felt betrayed by Francisco because she thought he was betraying himself?

...you make some good points :D Thanks. I had never considered that Dagny might disapprove of Francisco's actions even after she knew everything.

I'd make one comment on that:

The motor couldn't have been of long-term value (only minds could) to the moochers, but it definitely could have extended the lifespan of their irrationality. It's possible that someone with the know-how might have figured how to make it work. While Dagny (might have) faulted Cisco for not following Galt's lead, I'd have to agree with d'Anconia. Leaving anything for them to loot just meant that much longer being confined to the Gulch, as opposed to their rightful places wherever they wanted on the globe. It's quite possible that Francisco's and Ragnar's actions were the difference between returning to the world in their lifetime and returning to the world in their descendants' lifetimes. I doubt that the "ideal" difference between Francisco and John was over their actions toward their properties.

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Galt less than ideal?

Galt was the first to apply those principles to his life and not only recognize the problem, but find a solution to it. It was he who told F.D. what the their mutual beliefs should entail their actions be, not the other way around. Galt had to convince HIM.

No matter how drastically blatant the evidence, convincing another that drastic action is needed and possible is quite difficult. What is more difficult, however, is being the first to know it. To know the truth for what it is, IS to accept all that its knowledge can cost you and know that it is worth it.

True, but that amounts to Galt was more "ideal" than d'Anconia because he was smarter/ a better philosopher. Those are very good qualities, but not enough to distinguish "idealness" IMO.

If you doubt in any way his importance and that he represented a true paradigm shift consider this.- America today is worse than than at the start of A.S. yet no one among us, it seems, is willing to face that at some point, there will be no rational reason left to save her.

If you think he was less than ideal, imagine what he would have to be to do what he did, today.

Good points. I recognize John's importance; I just question the idea that he's exactly what a man should be. But of course, I'm a d'Anconia fanboy :D And while I could discuss what exactly the "strike conditions" are all day, I suppose I'd better leave that to another topic. I will keep it in mind, though!

I find it more difficult to see how dagny was worthy of him than the other way around.

I'm not sure I get you on this, would you elaborate?

I would like to contribute this to your theory- they all boil down to #3.

I suppose you must have a sufficient definition of sufficient.

Probably not :D

Thanks, my primary concern was vetting my idea out (regardless of whether it is "important.")

There's plenty of room for "justified" #1s, though. Dominique attempting to break Howard, Dagny's anger at Cisco, and Dagny's hatred of Galt were all cases of #1 IMO, though they were all eventually resolved.

I have in mind the difference between #2 and #3, but I never explained it adequately. #2s are cases in which you lack an attribute to a degree e.g. you're 6 months from graduation with a 3.0 GPA, she wants a graduate, or perhaps a 1.0 mate. #3s are cases in which you lack an attribute in the first place e.g. you're 6 months from graduation, she wants a Nobel-prize physicist, or maybe a brain-damaged mate. My idea was that #3s involve taking on a new value or attribute, whereas #2s involve merely improving or changing an existing atrribute (or value.)

As far as I was concerned, I tried not to use "value" because I'm aware of its Objectivist meaning, and didn't want to cause confusion. It might still be accurate, but I wasn't sure, especially should arguments go toward whether hair color and height were "values."

I think human romantic interactions are too complex to boil down to a theory.

I strongly agree. I wasn't trying to concoct a universal theory of relationships, or anything, I was just putting forth something that I wanted feedback on, and thought might be interesting to others. Nonetheless, that doesn't mean that everything about relationships can't be legitimately analyzed in a similar manner.

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I recognize John's importance; I just question the idea that he's exactly what a man should be.

I believe this point was addressed in Ayn Rand's Journals in the 'To Lorne Dieterling' notes section. She points out that John Galt, Francisco d'Anconia, Hank Rearden, and Howard Roark were all variants on an ideal man. Their differences were either things that they could not control (i.e. Galt was arguably the most intelligent of the four) or they were simply optional personality variations.

However, when Dagny opts for Galt as opposed to Francisco or Rearden, this was because, while Jon Galt was morally identical to the other two, he was better in uncontrollable ways (his intelligence, if that point is conceeded). Similarly, one could rationally choose a better looking partner in favor of a less attractive one (all more important things being equal), or a more intelligent one in favor of a less intelligent one (provided that they both have the same sense of life).

I think human romantic interactions are too complex to boil down to a theory.

If this means that the theory won't apply 100% of the time or that one will have to still have to use one's mind to apply it, then I agree. Was this what you meant (as opposed to 'relationships aren't causal and can't be generalized?')?

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I believe this point was addressed in Ayn Rand's Journals in the 'To Lorne Dieterling' notes section. She points out that John Galt, Francisco d'Anconia, Hank Rearden, and Howard Roark were all variants on an ideal man.

Hey, thanks for the Journals info! I wasn't aware Rand had any addressed this :D

I'm glad you told me that, as it alleviates much of my concerns.

Galt was possibly more intelligent than d'Anconia, but if he was, it wasn't by much IMO. Remember that Mr. "I can do it" independently discovered differential equations as a child. And did it as a sidenote to a child's pursuits. That's gotta be a 400 IQ!

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When John galt left society, did he destroy his machine? No. He simply realized that nobody would know what to do with it. He recognized that it wouldn't be of value to the looters. This is, essentially, the conclusion that Dagny came to.

Francisco, on the other hand, couldn't bear the idea that the looters would somehow benefit from his family's and his own creation. He set about destroying it. He could have came to the conclusion that it wasn't worth the trouble, and attempt to convince Dagny to come away to Atlantis (that's what John Galt did).

If Dagny assumed that their values differed, she would be right. If their values matched, then Dagny would also have the same desire to see Taggart Transcontinental completely ruined before going off to Galt's Gulch. She was not interested in denying the enemy succor. She simply wanted to live her life, and let the death of the railroad run it's course naturally, just like Galt's generator. Maybe she felt betrayed by Francisco because she thought he was betraying himself?

I disagree. Both Galt's and Dagny's "machine" would be of little or no value without them. d'Anconia Copper, on the other hand, could last for a long time before being run into the ground by the looters. That is why he had to destroy it. Remember the other strikers- some, like Ellis Wyatt, destroyed their companies. Others, like Ken Dagganar (sp?) simply left a note saying they had left.

It had nothing to do with differing values, it had to do with the complexity of the individual's "machine".

Zak

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I disagree. Both Galt's and Dagny's "machine" would be of little or no value without them. d'Anconia Copper, on the other hand, could last for a long time before being run into the ground by the looters. That is why he had to destroy it. Remember the other strikers- some, like Ellis Wyatt, destroyed their companies. Others, like Ken Dagganar (sp?) simply left a note saying they had left.

It had nothing to do with differing values; it had to do with the complexity of the individual's "machine".

You do raise an interesting point. D'Anconia Copper may have had value in Francisco's absence. But would negating this value have had anything to do with the San Sebastian mine?

Francisco was also unique in the fact that he had inherited value to keep from the looters, in addition to his own created value. My original position was that it was a difference of values that kept Dagny from choosing Francisco. Perhaps I was wrong, and it was simply a matter of degree.

A previous post seems to support the degree of value theory (I have not read the journals of Ayn Rand). But, what is the explanation for the San Sebastian mine? This may be a question of every "striker's" values.

Assuming the values were the same, what was the practical justification for the San Sebastian endeavor? Did they really think that it was important make the looters lose money on an investment? Was it simply a way to stick it to the People's State of Mexico, or an attempt to make them see the error of their ways? Was it a way to accelerate Dagny's decision? It could have been all three, or one I haven't come up with.

Ultimately, the reason may have been non-essential. It simply could have been a plot device to propel the rest of the story. I suppose these questions have deviated from the intent of this thread.

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Galt was possibly more intelligent than d'Anconia, but if he was, it wasn't by much IMO. Remember that Mr. "I can do it" independently discovered differential equations as a child. And did it as a sidenote to a child's pursuits. That's gotta be a 400 IQ!

Oh yes, if a person had done this in the actual world, he would have been its greatest genius ever, I'm sure. It took one of history's greatest thinkers (Newton) to discover differential equations as an adult. So with respect to the actual world, it's tough to say that anyone is Francisco's superior.

The reasons that I regard Galt as superior are that Galt's invention of the engine was the greatest productive achievement in the book, and Galt was the first one to realize that they (the creators) were being choked out by the mindless mob, and, more importantly, how to win (strike)!

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