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Masturbation is entirely moral; Ayn Rand once said something to the effect that masturbation was your means of survival in a world where you hadn't found a worthy lover.

Is my analogy that casual sex is a form of mutual masturbation an apt one? If not, why?

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Is my analogy that casual sex is a form of mutual masturbation an apt one?  If not, why?

Masterbation is just a way to satisfy your sexual desires. For your analogy, I would say that it depends on the context of the casual sex. If it a situation with a prostitute or a "friend with benefits" then I could see it possibly as a form of mutual masterbation. But in some situations, people are attempting to derive value from casual sex and there is something more than just the satisfaction of a natural desire.

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In trying to get some more insight on the current argument between Inspector and JMeaganSnow, I pulled the old Ayn Rand Lexicon off of the shelf and looked up "Sex."

One quote that I found was from Ayn Rand's interview with Playboy, and I think it is especially relevant to the main argument in this thread.

Ayn Rand says:

[sex should]involve ... a very serious relationship.  Whether that relationship should or should not become a marriage is a question which depends on the circumstances and the context of the two persons' lives.  I consider marriage a very important institution, but it is important when and if two people have found the person with whom they wish to spend the rest of their lives - a question of which no man or woman can be automatically certain.  When one is certain that one's choice is final, then marriage is, of course, a desirable state.  But that does not mean that any relationship based on less that total certainty is improper.  I think the question of an affair or a marriage depends on the knowledge and the position of the two persons involved and should be left up to them.  Either is moral, provided only that both parties take the relationship seriously and that it is based on values.
(Bold emphasis mine).

A person may find someone that, given their context, they fall in love with. In that context, it makes complete sense and is 100% moral for them to have a sexual relationship with their partner. This decision is not a "mistake," i.e. an error in decision; to call it one would be to ignore the context in which the decision was made.

Based on the facts available at the time, the only decision that would not make sense and that would be immoral would be for the person to suppress their love and desire for the other person because they beleive that someone else out there in the world who might not even exist may be of more value to them.

Edit: Corrected typing mistake

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Based on the facts available at the time, the only decision that would not make sense and that would be immoral would be for the person to suppress their love and desire for the other person because they beleive that someone else out there in the world who might not even exist may be of more value to them.

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. 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.

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.

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To clarify, Miss Rand stated that it would be "moral" to pursue such a relationship. You will note that I am not claiming that a moral error need to have taken place; often it is just an error of knowledge.

You are stating once again that you don't know what an error is.

An error in knowledge is just as bad as an error in morality. They have the same results. The ONE AND ONLY difference lies in evaluating what an outsider's reaction to the comission of the error should be.

If it is an error of knowledge a generous person may go as far as to forgive the individual committing the error. This is by no means required nor can it be assumed, just like any other kind of generosity. In fact, one shouldn't even be THIS generous unless the erroneous person makes an immediate effort to rectify the situation AND gain the knowledge necessary to prevent further instances of this error.

An error in morality, i.e. a malicious error, requires swift, strict, and absolute negative judgement. Once an error of this kind has been committed no generosity can be allowed, all one can do is remove the malicious person from one's life as swiftly as possible.

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How am I doing that? Define an error of knowledge and then show how the way I am using the term is not congruent.

The crux of the disagreement here is if ignorance constitutes an error in knowledge. As long as there is no evasion involved (refusing to know), I say that ignorance is not an error.

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Being cocky and funny is not immoral -- provided it is not faked or forced.

  How do you define role playing? 

If it is an attempt to project a personality, an intellect or a sense-of-life that differs from one's own, it is clearly dishonest.  If the "role" projects one's actual character, it is not a role.

Looking and acting confident is not wrong provided one has earned it, i.e. provided one actually is confident. 

What do you  mean by "carry yourself"? 

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?"

If you would take the time to look at the origin of DPWs ideas you would see that the book recomemnds improving your "inner self" before you move on to fixing your "outer self". But DPW was expressing his ideas in the context of Objectivism.

Objectivist already ARE trying to improve or have improved their lives by internalizing Objectivist Ideas.

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:P

So I thought I would start a generic thread about questions like:
  • How does a rational man approach romance?
Rationally? :lol:

  • 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. As long as one is honest with themselves, and honest with a partner, all individual issues remain that and can be dealt with in their isolated instances, but if a person brings the element of dishonesty into a relationship, they undermine the very value that brought them together in the first place, and that would do irreperable harm. In my opinion, a person shouldn't even enter a partnership such as marriage until they are satisfied that they deal with themselves in a brutally honest and direct manner and are looking to pair with someone who does the same.

  • How does the ideal woman differ from the ideal man, and why?
  • The ideal woman talks less, the ideal man talks more. :P

  • What is wrong with the feminists' sense of life?
  • It is dishonest. It ignores the facts of reality, it is subjectively based on the desires of a group of whim worshippers who seek to strip man of his identity and replace it with woman. Whereby woman loses it's identity also, since by irrationally acquiring an identity which is not in their nature, they seek to erase the nature of woman, and of *man* in general.

    If it is an error of knowledge a generous person may go as far as to forgive the individual committing the error. This is by no means required nor can it be assumed, just like any other kind of generosity. In fact, one shouldn't even be THIS generous unless the erroneous person makes an immediate effort to rectify the situation AND gain the knowledge necessary to prevent further instances of this error.

    An error in morality, i.e. a malicious error, requires swift, strict, and absolute negative judgement. Once an error of this kind has been committed no generosity can be allowed, all one can do is remove the malicious person from one's life as swiftly as possible.

    I don't agree with your use of "generous" in this manner. I understand a person making judgements about another's actions, but I see it as being done in order to define the "judge's" values, and I don't see how "generous" comes into play. If I was "generous" in this sense-wouldn't I be decieving myself by leniency on the "judged"? How does genorosity apply to justice?

    More to the point, why is it generous to forgive an error of knowledge-and why would you need to forgive the individual instead of the error? How did the person harm you by not having the right info? Wouldn't they have harmed themselves more? Wouldn't the judgement be based not on what level of intelligence they have acquired but whether it was willful and whether *as a person* they are ignorant or whether they were just mis/un-informed?

    (Edited to make it clear where I was kidding and also to fix some spelling/grammer)

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    The crux of the disagreement here is if ignorance constitutes an error in knowledge.  As long as there is no evasion involved (refusing to know), I say that ignorance is not an error.

    No Bryan, ignorance and lack of knowledge are identical terms. Ignorance in and of itself does not constitute an error. This would be tantamount to indicting the whole of mankind for Original Sin, but instead of the supposed Biblical sin of acquiring knowledge, we would be accusing people for not being born with perfect knowledge.

    I will now explain how Inspector is misapplying the concept of "error". He asserts that Dagny's relationships (or any woman's . . . I'm assuming men are included also) prior to meeting THE ONE were "errors of ignorance," I.e. errors based on lack of knowledge.

    Dictionary.com has the following entries for "error":

    1. An act, assertion, or belief that unintentionally deviates from what is correct, right, or true.

    2. The condition of having incorrect or false knowledge.

    3. The act or an instance of deviating from an accepted code of behavior.

    4. A mistake.

    The first three are not being applied here, the first because we are debating what IS correct, right, and true in this matter. Thus we cannot make any assumptions based on the conclusion we suspect we will reach because we would be engaging in circular reasoning.

    The second doesn't apply because we are speaking of a lack of knowledge, not the presence of incorrect or false knowledge.

    The third also doesn't apply because we are not worrying about any subjective "accepted" code of behavior, we are attempting to determine the conditions whereby one can establish said code.

    This leaves the fourth definition, which requires:

    Dictionary.com entries for "mistake"

    1. An error or fault resulting from defective judgment, deficient knowledge, or carelessness.

    2. A misconception or misunderstanding.

    The second doesn't apply, here, because we aren't talking about having some information then applying it incorrectly, we are speaking of having no information. Knowing Dagny's character, we can assume both that her judgement is not "defective" or that she would simply be careless, so we must assume that, to have committed an error, she was operating from deficient knowledge.

    and for "deficient"

    1. Lacking an essential quality or element

    2. Inadequate in amount or degree; insufficient

    The second definition there is the important one.

    So: In order for Dagny's relationships to be an "error", specifically an error of ignorance (since we know she would not act maliciously) we must prove that she was operating from an inadequate or insufficient amount of knowledge.

    In order to make this determination, we must know what would constitute an adequate and sufficient amount of knowledge. Inspector asserts that only a perfect and absolute knowledge of every possible future event (specifically foreknowledge of meeting John Galt) constitutes an adequate and sufficient amount of knowledge.

    However, this assertion is false because this situation could never pertain. Humans are not capable of knowing the future. The use of the term "error" is incorrect.

    He attempts to correct this situation by saying that it only "becomes" an error after she meets John Galt, but this would mean that the present changes the past which is ALSO clearly a falsehood. It is, in fact, similar to the procedure for becoming a "Born Again" Christian, where all previous "sins" mystically cease to exist, but in this case (as in the Original Sin comparison above) good actions are mystically converted into sins.

    If we were to apply Inspector's use of "error" to matters other than romance, we would be forced to conclude that inventing the wheel-and-axle becomes an "error" after the high-performance sports suspension is invented and that the invention of arithmetic becomes an "error" after Newton develops the calculus.

    Positives are not mystically converted to negatives by the introduction/creation of new and better positives. You cannot base any conclusions about humans (in romance or elsewhere) based on knowledge they could not possibly acquire.

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    I will now explain how Inspector is misapplying the concept of "error".  He asserts that Dagny's relationships (or any woman's . . . I'm assuming men are included also) prior to meeting THE ONE were "errors of ignorance," I.e. errors based on lack of knowledge.

    You beat me to making the point that I was going to make :lol: Granted, you articulated it A LOT better than I would have.

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    My language parsing above completely ignores any discussion of the relation of errors to one's rational self-interest (they act against and destroy it, actions that cannot be against one's rational self-interest cannot be errors) and whether having multiple relationships inherently acts against one's rational self interest (it does not). Frankly I'm getting sick of arguing with Inspector: he does not reason, he attempts to combine two completely isolated discussions in midstream (the Dagny's "error" discussion and the "one-night-stand" discussion) and then declares that I'm somehow "confused".

    Whatever.

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    Masterbation is just a way to satisfy your sexual desires.  For your analogy, I would say that it depends on the context of the casual sex.  If it a situation with a prostitute or a "friend with benefits" then I could see it possibly as a form of mutual masterbation.  But in some situations, people are attempting to derive value from casual sex and there is something more than just the satisfaction of a natural desire.

    Mm, I would say rather that "if the involved parties are seeking some false value from casual sex" it is wrong, however if masturbation is not immoral and my analogy is apt, I fail to see how engaging in mutual masturbation (so long as both parties understand that this is what's going on, i.e. no one is defaulting on honesty) could be immoral.

    WARNING: THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH CONTAINS MEDICAL TERMINOLOGY

    Does one gain a value from masturbation? I would say there is a small one: release from sexual tension that might otherwise have a harmful effect on one in a physiological or psychological sense. As an odd aside; men that have long intervals between ejaculations can develop prostate problems. I also read about study in TIME magazine that indicates chances of developing endometriosis (an extremely painful condition for women) can be decreased if the woman has orgasms during menstruation.

    If this clinical stuff is bothering anyone let me know: I make my living off cut-up dead people and it takes a LOT to disgust me.

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    I wouldn't know where to begin responding to your post, JMeganSnow, from the point where you start calling me some kind of Christian.

    I do not accept that there can properly be "stepping stones" on the path to one's true love. Every time a proper person is in love, they are under the belief that they have found their true, romantic love. People can be mistaken about this, even proper people. But it is improper to knowingly, willfully, engage in a sexual relationship with someone who you KNOW is not your true, romantic love.

    I don't see as to how Dagny ever did that. Correct me if I am wrong.

    In order to illustrate my point, I present a man named Joe.

    In Joe's youth, he was a communist. He falls in love with a girl who is also a communist and they have a love affair. That girl is the absolute EMBODIMENT of his values at the time.

    Later in life, Joe realizes the error of communism and becomes an Objectivist. He meets an Objectivist girl and they fall in love and get married. He realizes that he was mistaken about the values of his youth, and as a result, about his choice of lover.

    Now, Dagny's situation is different not in kind, but in degree. Her initial values and her final values are not nearly as far apart as Joe's. But both of them would properly consider their former lovers errors of some kind. (ignoring, for the moment, just what sort of error)

    I notice, JMeganSnow, that you say "Knowing Dagny's character, we can assume both that her judgement is not "defective."" Meaning that if Dagny did something in AS, then it was necessarily proper. Not so. Dagny made many, many mistakes in AS and did not reach the full realization of her values until near the end of the book.

    Even Galt made an error: The error of having sex with Dagny before she properly joins the strike. He admits that this is an error, if you recall, and knows that it will cost him.

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    I'm not calling you a Christian, I'm drawing parallels between your fallacies and some of the more viscious and therefore familiar ones of Christianity. In point of fact, my original analogy was directed at Bryan's comment. Does this mean that I think that you are Bryan? If you cannot make that simple distinction I fail to see why you even bother with this discussion.

    You are still drawing conclusions based on this bizarre "one true love" idea you have, and you have still not explained what that means.

    Your entire stand boils down to this: "It is immoral to have sex with more than one person in your entire lifetime. If, by a failure to read the future, you pick the wrong person the first time, you can go ahead and find someone else, but you are forever diminished by your first encounter, which was an ignorant mistake." Occasionally you substitute "improper" for "immoral" without drawing any distinction between propriety and morality.

    This is entirely contrary to anything Ayn Rand said on the matter, and thus contrary to Objectivism. Other friendly people on this thread have even provided you with quotes, and yet you persist.

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    I don't agree with your use of "generous" in this manner. I understand a person making judgements about another's actions, but I see it as being done in order to define the "judge's" values, and I don't see how "generous" comes into play. If I was "generous" in this sense-wouldn't I be decieving myself by leniency on the "judged"?  How does genorosity apply to justice?

    You don't make judgements on another person's actions in order to define your own values, you make judgements on them in order to determine their value to you, or, more specifically, their potential value. Generosity comes into play when you judge that someone is committing errors from ignorance and may yet gain (via fixing the ignorance) some value to you, in which case you may choose to give them the benefit of the doubt.

    More to the point, why is it generous to forgive an error of knowledge-and why would you need to forgive the individual instead of the error? How did the person harm you by not having the right info? Wouldn't they have harmed themselves more? Wouldn't the judgement be based not on what level of intelligence they have acquired but whether it was willful and whether *as a person* they are ignorant or whether they were just mis/un-informed?

    (Edited to make it clear where I was kidding and also to fix some spelling/grammer)

    If someone waves a knife around in the air while being unaware that I'm standing behind them and stabs me, it's a bit useless to forgive the stab wound; it won't even notice. I may forgive the creator of the stab wound (after a suitable interval spent cussing) especially if they do things like rush to get bandages, drive me to urgent care, etc. Prudence dictates that I keep a fair distance from this crazed knife-wielding maniac whenever he has a knife in his hand at least until I've ascertained that he's learned not to wave it around any more. However, I would be fully justified in refusing to ever have anything to do with knife-boy again. This is where generosity comes in.

    However, if my judgement leads me to the conclusion that he stabbed me intentionally for whatever reason, I may not in conscience forgive him, to do so would be sanctioning the stabbing and actively encouraging him to do it again.

    This assumes an adult who is aware that stabbing someone with a knife hurts them; you could also, say, forgive a small child (and should!) that intentionally stabbed you not properly understanding that it would hurt you or that hurting you was a bad thing. However, an interest in your own self-preservation would dictate that you instruct said child soonest in these facts, and keep knives out of her reach until she has grasped the lesson.

    I'm not sure where I indicated that a person's intelligence was a factor. Let me re-read and I'll do another post if I can figure out where.

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    I have responded to the quotes. I have responded to what Ayn Rand said. What I am saying is not contrary to Objectivism; what YOU are saying is contrary to Objectivism.

    I have often noticed that I seem to be attacked when I identify some minor point in which a person is being immoral. I get strong reactions from people, like I have here. Why? What is so hard to digest about the idea that an action is immoral?

    You picked Dagny because she is an example of the smallest amplitude of this error that you could think of. As if by showing something so far from a major error, it would wipe out the fact that it was an error. Sorry, no.

    I'm not a Christian and I don't advocate Christian views or commit Christian fallacies. The straw men that you set up do, apparantly.

    The error I point out has nothing to do with the failure to read the future. It has everything to do with not realizing fully rational, selfish values or picking a partner who does not. As I said, it is not about omniscience and I'm sorry we went so far down the tangent of what an error of knowledge is. It's not central to what I'm saying at all.

    I notice that you did not answer my analogy. Why? What was wrong with it?

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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:

    He attempts to correct this situation by saying that it only "becomes" an error after she meets John Galt, but this would mean that the present changes the past which is ALSO clearly a falsehood. It is, in fact, similar to the procedure for becoming a "Born Again" Christian, where all previous "sins" mystically cease to exist, but in this case (as in the Original Sin comparison above) good actions are mystically converted into sins.

    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?

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    Wait a minute!!!!!

    Masturbation = sexually pleasuring oneself.

    Sexual intercourse = engaging in sexual activity with someone else.

    But going by those definitions, isn't "mutual" masturbation just a contradiction of terms. You're either having sexual relations with someone else or you're not.

    :lol:

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    Wait a minute!!!!!

    Masturbation = sexually pleasuring oneself.

    Sexual intercourse = engaging in sexual activity with someone else.

    But going by those definitions, isn't "mutual" masturbation just a contradiction of terms.  You're either having sexual relations with someone else or you're not.

    :lol:

    I think it means masturbating in each other's company, where each other's presence increases arousal. If that's what is meant then it seems no different to having sex, in any way that is essential to the argument.

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