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Oh, and I like how you attempt to taint my character by calling me confused, but here is where you equate me with a Christian:

And it can in no way be taken as a response to Bryan.

Shall I make a similar attempt to taint your character by calling you confused?

I did not equate you with a Christian, I said, literally, that a procedure whereby the present changes the past could be equated with the procedure whereby one becomes a "Born Again" Christian. This is also similiar to the Mormon habit of baptising the dead so they can go to Heaven, which I ALSO find absurd.

How do you get "Inspector is a Christian" out of "this statement (which is a conclusion I drew from Inspector's comments and not even something he said) bears a superficial resemblance to a Christian belief?"

For crying out loud, Ayn Rand quoted the Bible and used the word "god" occasionally (generally in sarcasm), does that mean she was equating herself with a Christian?

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Okay people, you've been around the logical circle enough times, if you want to continue this subject of Dagny's love life, please start a new thread dealing specifically with this issue.

If you could make me mad enough to leave, you wouldn't have to deal with my defective personality anymore. Sounds like a win-win situation to ME.
Megan, do you know the definition of a troll? Google for "define: troll" if you don't. Such people are strictly forbidden from participating on this forum.

Generally you have made good insights, but if your purpose is to troll, by your own stated admission, you're better off elsewhere. And btw, I'm not taking any stances on the argument you're in.

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Okay people, you've been around the logical circle enough times, if you want to continue this subject of Dagny's love life, please start a new thread dealing specifically with this issue.

Megan, do you know the definition of a troll? Google for "define: troll" if you don't. Such people are strictly forbidden from participating on this forum.

Generally you have made good insights, but if your purpose is to troll, by your own stated admission, you're better off elsewhere. And btw, I'm not taking any stances on the argument you're in.

Eh, this might have made a better PM, but oh well. No, I don't troll, although occasionally I get disgusted with my own bad personality. Don't worry about taking a stance in the argument; I'm pretty much through with it anyway. I learned some stuff, I thought some stuff I hadn't thought before, highly beneficial. :lol:

You're right, we've been around the circle a couple of times and I'm not coming up with anything new. I'm not good enough at arguing to convince anyone, so when it stops benefiting me I wander off in search of new info.

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Inspector:

That's not the only possible immoral choice. There is, for example, if a person knows for certain that their values are not in congruence with that other person and that the relationship is doomed in the end. This would be a lie and an attempt to gain values from a lie.
I agree entirely with the fact that it is an immoral choice for someone to engage in a romantic relationship with another person who holds values antithetical to their own.

Also, in regards to this comment:

That is my whole point. Every serious and value-based relationship is based on the belief (mistaken or not) that it is at least possible that the other person is worth spending the rest of one's life with.

I agree. By the time a relationship becomes a sexual/romantic relationship, it is proper that the two people know each other well enough that they both know that their values are compatible with the others', and that they could potentially spend the rest of their life with the other person.

However, where I disagree with you is here:

If it later turns out that the two people are not as compatable as initially thought, then the basis of the relationship was a mistaken belief; thus the relationship itself was a mistake.

Sure, one can enter a relationship, thinking that the other person is compatible, and then realize that they made an error in judgement. Example: Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden. I don't think we need to discuss the fact that judging the character of other people can be an incredibly hard thing to do. In this case, the person misjudged the character of the other person.

However, one can also enter into a relationship and, while in that relationship, fall in love with another person, who is superior in some regard to the previous individual. The person is compatible with both the first and second lover, just more so with the second.

By leaving the first and entering into the second relationship, the person falling in love should not look back and think that the first relationship was a mistake. Given the knowledge available to that person - i.e. considering the context in which their decision to enter into the first relationship was made - their decision was not a mistake. This is because they judged the person correctly, became in love, saw the possibility for a life-long relationship, and acted accordingly.

To call the first relationship a mistake is to put on the Monday morning quarterback helmet, i.e. future knowledge, which could not have been foreseen, cannot be used in judging whether the action was a mistake.

It is for the reasons above that I do not think one should look back on past relationships with regret, viewing them as mistakes that should not have happened While someone may have been wrong in thinking that their past lover(s) would eventually be their life-long romantic partner, their decisions to enter into those relationships in the given context were fully moral and justified.

P.S. One tangential thing:

1. Does anyone know where in OPAR Dr. Peikoff addresses the claim from skeptics that science is arbitrary since later theories disprove past theories that were assumed true?

EDIT: Bah! I wrote and posted this while FC was telling us to take the argument elsewhere. Sorry about that! Please feel free to move this post if you feel it is necessary.

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Glad to see that we have a common ground on which to establish a discussion.

I am glad to see you accept the idea that a proper romantic couple should at least be operating on the premise that they are at least pretty sure they will be spending the rest of their lives together; i.e. that the goal of any proper romantic relationship is that it be the highest, final relationship of one's life.

Stop right there and don't even read the rest of my post if you disagree with the above.

Now, if you agree with that, then how can any relationship that does not end in that (besides one ended by, for example, an unfortunate death) be something besides a mistake? If one is looking to find the embodiment of their values in their partner; if that is the goal of the relationship, and one later discovers that the embodiment of their values is not that person, then was not that relationship a failure?

I sometimes see the attitude projected that a failed relationships are not mistakes because of the values gained. Sorry, but if the goal of the relationship was the above, and the values gained were because of the above, then what happens when it turns out that the above condition was not in fact met? Did that person have any business feeling that pleasure?

If sex is merely "a response to values," then it would seem so. But it's NOT. It's your HIGHEST POSSIBLE response to values. It's not something you do to "kill time" before meeting the love of your life; it is the proper response to that love.

A is A. If you use a fork to eat soup, it's going to turn out badly. If you fall in love with someone who does not fulfill the proper prerequisites for love, then it will turn out badly. If you have sex with someone who is not a proper partner for sex, then it will turn out badly.

To be mistaken about one's partner is a tragedy. But with the attitudes I see here - that failed relationships should not be considered mistakes (or even falures?) - is going to set people up for heading headlong - intentionally - into relationships that HAVE NO FUTURE. After all, if they're not mistakes... WHY NOT?

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EDIT: Bah!  I wrote and posted this while FC was telling us to take the argument elsewhere.  Sorry about that!  Please feel free to move this post if you feel it is necessary.

If I read him correctly, he was saying to take the part of the discussion that concerns Dagny elsewhere. Since neither you nor I have mentioned that, then I think we should continue.

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Now, if you agree with that, then how can any relationship that does not end in that (besides one ended by, for example, an unfortunate death) be something besides a mistake? If one is looking to find the embodiment of their values in their partner; if that is the goal of the relationship, and one later discovers that the embodiment of their values is not that person, then was not that relationship a failure? ....

I agree with what appears to be the Objectivist stance here. Meaning, I disagree with Inspector. A mistake in the context of a willfully entered relationship could only be described as such if there was purposeful evasion of values. That does not mean that if a relationship ends, it was not a failure. But that also does not make it a mistake.

In my previous relationship (started 8 years ago) I was very similar in values to my then-boyfriend. We had similar interests and outlooks on life. I see no mistake in pursuing a relationship with that context. However, the relationship was a failure and ultimately ended for several factors. (Personal information follows, skip ahead to the next paragraph if you don't care.) He never moved forward in realizing his goals and I "changed" my philosophy. By the end, we were almost polar opposites. Discussions, long talks and explanations... They only proved the relationship was doomed. I was fully justified in leaving to seek out someone whose values matched my own.

At the beginning of the relationship, there was no intentional or irrational mistake. Looking back on the relationship, it was not a mistake. It was however a failure. To be very clear, the *relationship* was not a mistake because it was the embodiment of my highest values. You could certainly look back and label it as a mistake if I *stayed* in the relationship, then knowingly ignoring my values. I'd even be willing to suggest that staying in such an arrangement also constitutes a failure, even if it doesn't end.

I sometimes see the attitude projected that a failed relationships are not mistakes because of the values gained.

This doesn't even sound logical. I don't understand how this could possibly fit into an Objectivist's view of life. (Correct me if I'm wrong.) This sounds more like the kind of statement that might come from someone in denial, who wished the relationship was still continuing. I certainly don't assert that I *gained* values from my previous relationship. I might be willing to suggest that I became more aware of my own values, but that doesn't sound similar. Gain would imply something you did not previously have. In the context of a relationship, that would mean it came from the other person, whom you have now dumped. No, I can't see how that would make sense.

On the other hand, entering into a sexual situation where you know there is a slim to nil chance of continuing into a full relationship seems very reckless. Sex should be cherished, but that doesn't necessarily imply monks. I don't see prostitutes fitting into the "good expression of morality" group. I think there is a large degree of difference between, "I really like this person who I've known for a month, but might possibly move in another month.. Ok, let's have sex" (a situation where you seriously consider your values and his/hers as well as the situation at hand.) and "I've just met this person and I've no clue if his/her values are similar to mine to any large degree... but I made her laugh so I'll have sex" (a situation where you ignore your (and the other person's) values, thus making the situation irrelevant.)

Personally, I'm the cautious type*. But situations may vary for each person. It would be unreasonable to set hard standards of time and degree of knowledge into some kind of manual. (This is why I agree that certain fictional characters are fully correct in pursuing relationships then later move on). Humans certainly aren't omniscient, but that doesn't mean we can't use degrees of certainty when choosing a relationship.

Also,

Caring about and improving one's appearance by make-up, clothing, hair cut, etc. is certainly rational. Beyond that, however, people of self-esteem do not spend time worrying about how they are perceived by the opposite sex. They do not feel a need to play any role in life other than the role they are actually living. They feel no need to project any particular image. They do not believe their value is a function of the number of sex partners they can seduce.

They are not Peter Keatings who focus on trying to find out what others want them to be or say, so they can proceed to fake it or say it. They are Howard Roarks and Dominiques, who, in any encounter, are focused on, "What do I think of them?", not "What do they think of me?"

I think this is said perfectly.

*One last thing. I saw in other threads and some articles that Miss Rand believed in love at first sight. When asked why this was the case, the answer I have seen is, "She saw Frank". I do not find this answer very helpful :thumbsup: What I would like to ask though, is that, if love at first sight is an accepted idea, then wouldn't that imply that a decision to sleep with someone the first day you've met him/her is perfectly justified? What I don't understand is how so much, in terms of knowing explicit values and ideas could possibly be conveyed with a single look. Wherein lies the romance?

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I don't see prostitutes fitting into the "good expression of morality" group.

In The Early Ayn Rand story "Red Pawn" the heroine prostitutes herself to a communist in order to save the man she loves. Kira also prostitutes herself to Andrei in We the Living in order to save Leo. (I'm assuming prostitution means exchanging sex for some kind of material value.)

I don't think anything can be accomplished by calling the act immoral. In OPAR Leonard Peikoff indicates that there is only one "sin" under Objectivism, initiating the use of force against another person.

Virtue lies not in avoiding a list of proscriptions, but in seeking to create values. One is not virtuous based on what one refrains from doing, but based on the goals one selects and the means one takes to achieve them.

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Thank you for the comments, Deedlebee.

I think perhaps you've focused too much on the aspect of being able to have known better. That's not the point. The point was that those values that you held at the time weren't right for you and that that boyfriend wasn't right for you.

May I ask a personal question? Please, don't answer if you aren't comfortable.

How do you feel about that relationship now? It sounds like you are not and that you regret having it (a perfectly correct attitude).

But you stop short of using the term "mistake." I seem to be hearing that the standard of judging relationships qua relationships is the congruence of the partner to one's values... but this drops the wider context of whether one's values at the time were correct or incorrect (pro-reason/pro-life anti-reason/anti-life).

Or perhaps that the term "mistake" is avoided because you can't reasonably bring yourself to believe you should have known better? That mitigates the mistake, but does not eliminate it.

To say that something was not a mistake is to say "yes, that was right! I would do it again!"

I don't think anyone here is willing to say that about any of the examples given, but yet the word "mistake" is avoided...

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:P

A cute if unusual way to start a conversation. :P :P :lol:

[*]How does a rational man approach romance?

Rationally?  :ninja: 

That's half the correct answer. The other half is: Romantically! :thumbsup:;)

[*]What makes a marriage successful? What are the pitfalls, and how can they be avoided?

I have no experience here, but I'm guessing that Honesty is key.

I have no experience either, but I think you nailed it. :) As a dishonest person is destroying his chance for a successful life, so are a dishonest couple destroying their chance for a successful relationship.

For the sake of non-Objectivist readers of this thread, let me point out an implication that may not be immediately obvious: The above means that in a rational marriage, there is no room for "white lies." For example, if Cindy asks her husband Jack if he likes her new hairstyle, Jack should tell Cindy the truth, even if it is going to disappoint Cindy. Why? Because if Cindy keeps changing her looks in ways that Jack finds unattractive, Jack will become less and less attracted to her. No matter how hard Cindy tries to stay attractive, she can only succeed if she has an accurate picture of what Jack likes.

[*]How does the ideal woman differ from the ideal man, and why?

The ideal woman talks less, the ideal man talks more. :P

I don't mind her talking, as long as she's ideal! :D

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It sounds like you are not and that you regret having it (a perfectly correct attitude).

...not what?

To say that something was not a mistake is to say "yes, that was right! I would do it again!"

I hesitate to use an analogy here, but previous posts seem to show that pointing out the ideas behind what constitutes a mistake were perhaps, not given careful consideration by the above poster.

By your definition of mistake, all of childhood is a mistake. When a child selects blueberry ice cream with gummi worms and chocolate cookies at the ice cream shop because he is making the assumption "I like all these things. I will probably like them all together", he is not ignoring any fact about himself. He is acting within the context of his knowledge. After he eats it, he may learn that the gummies freeze instantly in the ice cream, and that blueberries don't mix so well with chocolate. No, he probably won't choose that combination again. If he did, that would be a willful mistake. All he did the first time was learn.

Make the argument that children are different from adults in their scope of knowledge, but the ice cream is used to illustrate context of knowledge. I am unwilling to accept that every action I might take would be considered a mistake for fear that I don't have a full understanding of this philosophy, of knowing every single bit of information about another person because I might (never) find another who is slightly better, nor am I willing to accept that one should bind themselves to a person who is dead and stop looking till their death. These are not ideas I will accept in a life that I hope to have filled with happiness.

You cannot forget the context of knowledge with which the decision was made. It is not irrelevant to the judgment.

I don't think anything can be accomplished by calling the act immoral.

You are absolutely right. :ninja: While writing that sentence I thought to myself, "something isn't right, because I do believe that people should have the right to become prostitutes". My statement was poorly phrased. Perhaps what I should have said is, "engaging with prostitutes (or anyone you don't know well) for the sake of casual sex on a regular basis, while failing to search for someone who is an embodiment of your highest values, is perhaps an indicator of low sense of self". (How's that? I'm a bit unsure myself.)

I would certainly not lump the examples of the fictional characters in with "everyday" prostitution (or those who use the services). Those are situations where the character is under duress (I'm assuming from the examples as you phrased them. I have not read the stories) and for one reason or another cannot be said to be wholly free in those choices. In hopes of phrasing that clearly :thumbsup: I simply mean that their choices appear to be limited. Some values are worth exchanging in certain situations. I would be surprised if it turned out either of those heroines enjoyed the act and then made a habit of it however. (Note to Inspector, these are still not mistakes because they are made within a particular context.)

On marriage,

I have no experience here, but I'm guessing that Honesty is key.
I agree, but I would also add "a continuing desire to improve yourself" for both spouses. This would keep the desire level high and be a reaffirmation of love for yourself and the other person. I've seen many marriages suffer from stagnation. It's a fairly sad sight when you see two people staying together based on the memory of "what was", instead of really being passionate about the reality of "what is". (This is not a situation where people have degraded in values.)
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Thank you for the comments, Deedlebee.

I think perhaps you've focused too much on the aspect of being able to have known better. That's not the point. The point was that those values that you held at the time weren't right for you and that that boyfriend wasn't right for you.

May I ask a personal question? Please, don't answer if you aren't comfortable.

How do you feel about that relationship now? It sounds like you are not and that you regret having it (a perfectly correct attitude).

But you stop short of using the term "mistake." I seem to be hearing that the standard of judging relationships qua relationships is the congruence of the partner to one's values... but this drops the wider context of whether one's values at the time were correct or incorrect (pro-reason/pro-life anti-reason/anti-life).

Or perhaps that the term "mistake" is avoided because you can't reasonably bring yourself to believe you should have known better? That mitigates the mistake, but does not eliminate it.

To say that something was not a mistake is to say "yes, that was right! I would do it again!"

I don't think anyone here is willing to say that about any of the examples given, but yet the word "mistake" is avoided...

This post is a subtle form of guilt-mongering.

Inspector's stated view of sex varies only in details, not essentials, from the Christian one.

1. Sex has some kind of exalted purpose. (Procreation, in the Christian view, a tribute to another person, in Inspector's.)

2. If you engage in sex outside the established (arbitrary) limitations you have acted immorally. (Christians believe that immorality is okay, because if you repent, God will forgive you and you can get into the Exclusive After-death Club anyway; Inspector has stated that immorality is sort of okay, but only if you regret it and call it a mistake and agree to be forever shamed by it . . . I'll grant that he doesn't believe in a Grand Boogie that can reverse causalty and expunge sins.)

Some of my statements during this conversation may be taken to support one or the other of these points, but on later consideration I reject them completely; it is easy to fall into traps (such as the above guilt-mongering) if you agree to argue with someone on their terms.

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I would certainly not lump the examples of the fictional characters in with "everyday" prostitution (or those who use the services). Those are situations where the character is under duress (I'm assuming from the examples as you phrased them. I have not read the stories) and for one reason or another cannot be said to be wholly free in those choices.

Well, I hesitate to speak definitively either way if you haven't read the stories, but MY view was that both Kira and . . . um . . . Jane? acted of their own free will. Given, their choices were extremely limited by their circumstances, and those circumstances were caused by other people, but I don't consider that precisely the same as duress. If it were, having to eat food because you're hungry would be duress, you ought to be free to not eat or eat rocks or whatever suits you and gain the same result.

That's not a FANTASTIC analogy, but they chose the methods they did in the face of alternatives (working to change the government, or fleeing the country, for example). Even if their alternatives were extremely constrained, they still had some.

It is this view on alternatives that has me placing the second quote, from an Everclear song, in my sig.

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[...]

This post is a subtle form of guilt-mongering.

Please elaborate. Which parts of Inspector's post do you think engage in guilt-mongering? In what way do they make one feel guilty? (If something is subtle, it means that it is not readily apparent, so you have to point it out if you want others to see it.)

1. Sex has some kind of exalted purpose. (Procreation, in the Christian view, a tribute to another person, in Inspector's.)

Doesn't Christianity see sex as lowly material pleasure? Not exactly what calls the word "exalted" into mind...

Doesn't Objectivism see sex as the expression of one's love for a particular person and a celebration of one's values?

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Yes, but he learned by making an honest mistake. The word "mistake" does not imply dishonesty.

Yes, but it does imply that there was knowledge available to you at the time that might have caused you to choose differently. You cannot make a mistake based on information you could never possibly acquire before the action, i.e. based on facts that won't even exist until some future date or may never exist.

That's the basis of contention.

In theory the child from the above example could have acquired the ice-cream info before the situation (such as by asking an adult "do these go well together?"). So, it was an honest mistake, but nevertheless a mistake. However, that's the kind of thing children need to learn for themselves, especially as such matters of personal opinion vary widely from person to person. I've (gah) known children that actually like such nightmare concoctions as that. Besides, supplementing someone else's judgement for your own is ALSO a mistake. :ninja:

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May I ask a personal question? Please, don't answer if you aren't comfortable.

How do you feel about that relationship now? It sounds like you are not and that you regret having it (a perfectly correct attitude).

Right here, Capitalism Forever. First off, by asking deedlebee what she "feels" instead of "thinks", and secondly (in the disjointed second sentence) stating what he assumes she thinks and that this is correct, thus implying that, if she "feels" anything other than regret, she is wrong, and guilty for not feeling guilty. Bah. He pulled this one on me with the "But surely . . ." question earlier. I assumed it was an honest mistake, but now I'm not so sure.

Doesn't Christianity see sex as lowly material pleasure? Not exactly what calls the word "exalted" into mind...

Doesn't Objectivism see sex as the expression of one's love for a particular person and a celebration of one's values?

Yes, Christianity sees sex as a lowly material pleasure (which is why it must be proscribed) but ALSO as having an exalted purpose (namely bringing more people into the world) which is why it's allowed at ALL. I have a friend that's in training to be a priest . . . I argued this one all over the place with him.

In OPAR Leonard Peikoff states that he once asked Ayn Rand what philosophy has to say on the subject of sex. She replied, "It says that sex is good." This is approximately his entire statement on the morality of sex, apart from condemning such practices as rampant promiscuity, sadism, rape, etc. He then goes on to state that, well, no man desires everyone; the partner you choose and the practices you prefer say a lot about your character, etc.

Nowhere that I found is there an indication that sex comes along with a list of proscriptions. This reminds me of what a high school teacher mentioned about some Protestant practices; they believed that if you were born with a "good" character you would naturally engage in good deeds, and thus they attempted to "fake" a good character by engaging in good deeds.

If you are trying to pretend that you are a person of highest ideals by rigidly following what Dr. Peikoff considers ideal sexual practices then you are fooling yourself. It is even worse to imply that other people can a.) be a person of highest ideals by mindlessly following what you think Dr. Peikoff stated was proper sexual practice, or b.) implying that if they DON'T rigidly follow said proscriptions they must be some kind of "lesser" person.

I'm not going to try and convince you that this is what Inspector is doing, but that's certainly the impression I've recieved. You have to make that determination for yourself, but his blanket condemnations combined with the above mentioned intellectual dishonesty led me to think this.

Edited by JMeganSnow
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I would also say that the child with the ice cream had made a mistake. I would also say that it was an honest mistake, but a mistake nonetheless. Why? Because his goal was to eat something delicious and the concoction he created did not turn out to be delicious. He was acting to try to advance his life and that is not what was achieved. One can say that a person made a mistake without necessarily heaping condemnation on them.

Capitalism Forever, those are good questions that cut to the heart of the matter. I'll wait for the answers before I say anything more except this: is guilt-mongering necessarily a bad thing? Should not the guilty feel guilty?

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For the sake of non-Objectivist readers of this thread, let me point out an implication that may not be immediately obvious: The above means that in a rational marriage, there is no room for "white lies." For example, if Cindy asks her husband Jack if he likes her new hairstyle, Jack should tell Cindy the truth, even if it is going to disappoint Cindy. Why? Because if Cindy keeps changing her looks in ways that Jack finds unattractive, Jack will become less and less attracted to her. No matter how hard Cindy tries to stay attractive, she can only succeed if she has an accurate picture of what Jack likes.
Right. Honesty in the fullest sense of the word. This is probably the biggest barrier, because we make so many concessions, and by the time it blows up into a fight, the trail that led to the fight is so long that neither realizes what has happened. They only know "He doesn't look at me" and "She isn't the same girl I married" or something along those lines. All those little white lies adding up over time.
I don't mind her talking, as long as she's ideal! :lol:

I suppose an ideal woman would only say ideal things and an ideal man would say ideal things :ninja: Haha, of course, I am only being silly. :thumbsup:

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Inspector:

While I agree that a romantic relationship that ends due to conflicting values is a failure, I still fail to see how, given the appropriate context in which the decision was made, the choice of the individual who enters into a relationship that is doomed to fail can be called a mistake (however, I think I may have resolved this issue, as seen further below).

In regards to your statement:

To say that something was not a mistake is to say "yes, that was right! I would do it again!"
If, for example, I had entered a failed relationship, when looking back - and considering the context I made my decision in - I would say "Yes, that was the right decision. Put in the same scenario, with the same uncertainty, I would make the same decision."

However, my thoughts have somewhat changed after reading the definition of "mistake" in Dictionary.com. Here it is:

Mistake:  An error or fault resulting from defective judgment, deficient knowledge, or carelessness.
(Bold emphasis mine).

Given this definition, one could call a failed relationship a mistake because the people entering the relationship are not completely certain about the other person (although they should have some degree of certainty, as has already been discussed). The fact they do not have complete certainty, the fact that they are not omniscient and cannot predict the future (such as if the person they currently love will change for the worse in the future), implies that they are using"deficient knowledge" in the decision they are making.

So, if for example, I had found someone who I was very certain that I could spend the rest of my life with, and I have a romantic relationship with that person and eventually marry her, I would look back at my failed romantic relationships and think: "Yes, looking back, they were mistakes. If I had known they would fail, I would not have entered them. But, given the knowledge I had, I made the right decisions."

I'll continue to think about the above and your statements on the relationship between the moral development of an individual and their romantic relationships; but, unfortunately, due to time contraints, I may not be able to reply with extended posts. Thanks for your valuable insights (for the record, I do not think that you sound like a Christian at all).

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I agree, but I would also add "a continuing desire to improve yourself" for both spouses.  This would keep the desire level high and be a reaffirmation of love for yourself and the other person.  I've seen many marriages suffer from stagnation.  It's a fairly sad sight when you see two people staying together based on the memory of "what was", instead of really being passionate about the reality of "what is".  (This is not a situation where people have degraded in values.)

I suppose that would be a result of being totally honest, wouldn't it? Honest to the facts of reality. Is this a separate character trait? Like Ambition, or Good Hygene, which can be learned? Because (I don't have my lexicon handy here but...) isn't desire an emotion, which can't be maintained? Self-improvement seems to fall under some other heading, but I'm not sure which one.

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