Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

The Meaning Of Romance

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

I'm going to try and capture in writing my own mental state, here, so I'd appreciate it if people wouldn't make moral evaluations of it. It's a derivative, not a primary, and as my conscious ideas change, it may change, but I can't affect it directly so criticizing me for the mental state (not for conscious ideas) is kind of like napalm on wildflowers. Anyway.

An open-ended question always requries that you explain your answer as well as your method of arriving at it, of course.

When someone asks me for the meaning of something, I generally think of the answer in terms of: "What purpose does it serve?" "What do you get out of it?" Romance is a very broad abstraction. Here I'm thinking more in terms of a romantic relationship.

Romance has a largely emotional benefit for me. A romantic relationship colors all other events in my life, making everything seem more enjoyable, more worthwhile . . . it elevates ordinary events by granting them the status of a setting for a grand drama. It's very hard to see yourself as an unusual phenomenon: to you, you are the most ordinary, humdrum, boring thing in your life because you're there in every minute of it! But in the presence of someone who has evaluated you against the sum of humanity and judged you worthwhile, you remember that you are the star of this show! It crystallizes the universe into a transparent glass through which you can see without distortion.

Pardon the poeticism, but there's really no other way to describe it. Can you get along without it? Sure. Do you want to, if this is possible? No.

Why should another person make you feel that way? Well, from my thinking, it's because you can't really be human without loving humanity. I don't mean that in the sappy way that "humanitarians" do, I mean that you think being human is the best thing that there is. You wouldn't trade it for anything. That you'd hold up humanity as the model of sheer unstoppable ability. Other humans, to you, become this fantastic thing, full of reckless possibilities. When they're good, it's wonderful . . . and when they're bad it's personally painful to you. I've met people that wish to be something other than human and I find that incredibly bizarre, almost unthinkable. Humans are great!

So, why someone of the opposite sex? I like being female. I wouldn't want to be male. But the thing is, by being female I have certain metaphysical traits . . . almost like constraints. Men don't have those traits (they have different ones, of course, but that's not the point.), they don't have the same limitations that I do, so by reference they become better examples of humanity by being able to do things that I can't. :D So, of course, I look to men to help me find that sense of reference I need to remember how wonderful I am.

Heh. I swear someone is going to read this and decide that I'm crazy, but that's the best that I can describe it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

A successful romantic relationship, to me, is a testament to my clarity of judgment, and therefore, to my significant other's. "To say 'I love you' one must know first how to say the 'I.'"(Ayn Rand, Playboy Interview)

I define a successful romantic relationship as one in which there is no need to compromise. Both persons in the relationship have clearly defined values, which they share. Neither defaulted on their beliefs, but instead both stuck it out until they found the answer to their highest moral values. This speaks volumes about their strength of personality, and their selfishness.

I believe that a successful romantic relationship requires equality. If the Christians will admit that it is wrong to be "unequally yoked", should we not hold our beliefs just as high? A romantic relationship should be based on reason and reality, because any depart from either is a denial of fact and is intrinsically immoral.

To be able to share a romantic relationship with another implies strength of character and a very intense sense of individuality. People are not "parts that make a whole", but are many, individual wholes. Your partner should not complete your life, but enhance it.

The most beautiful quality about romance is that it is unnecessary. Love is a surplus, love is a reward, love is an intensely selfish emotion. To love something is to desire it for no other reason than one's own pleasure, and to be loved back is to have earned and deserved the utmost respect and utterly selfish indulgence of another.

" Love is not self-sacrifice, but the most profound assertion of your own needs and values. It is for your own happiness that you need the person you love, and that is the greatest compliment, the greatest tribute you can pay to that person." (Ayn Rand, Playboy Interview)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...
Here's an extremely open-ended question, one which I'd love to hear women respond to (though I suppose I can't stop guys from answering, too):

What is the meaning of romance in your life?

Kevin,

I am one of those guys that you can’t stop from offering an opinion. I’m hot on the subject of romance now that I have finally met my true love—a cyber world spawned romance. Her name is Angie.

An ideal ROMANCTIC relationship consists of two individualists. That is, two separate sovereign people who have developed the ideal of intellectual independence, who have achieved a healthy level of self esteem, who are confident in their person and who are prepared to celebrate these accomplishments in the person of another human being, a person who reflects their own achievements back at them.

Individualism encourages personal autonomy. Both of us find this “hot.” We respect each other’s person; our autonomy does not pose a "threat" to the other. Our autonomy is a welcomed trait. We don’t douse our relationship with jealousy or prohibitions on the other’s actions. We don’t “police” each other as if one partner where a prisoner and the other the guard---with the roles reversing according to circumstances. All of this type of behavior stems from emotional immaturity and possessiveness and this lack of over all trust can tarnish the vitality of a romantic relationship. Common sense dictates this---and yet so very few people explicitly understand it. And while some mistakenly believe that “individualism” discourages the development of relationships, Angie and I realize that it is its lifeblood!

Some people believe that relationships must consist of something 'other' than sovereign individuals pursuing their own self-interests. But how can a valuable relationship be based on anything else? For example, too many people conceive of relationships as "social" rather than personal. And this, of course, this would be contrary to Angie and me. We are in the relationship for the selfish enjoyment of the each other’s person. While others believe that the purpose of a relationship is to serve a “social function”----social status or the fulfillment of social expectations or family obligations or financial gain or “just because” or whatever---Angie and I realize that the relationship would serve no other purpose other than what the other puts in it and what is derived from it. That’s right, I’m speaking of selfishness. This is the heart of romance.

-Victor

Edited by Victor
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 7 months later...
I'm going to try and capture in writing my own mental state, here, so I'd appreciate it if people wouldn't make moral evaluations of it. It's a derivative, not a primary, and as my conscious ideas change, it may change, but I can't affect it directly so criticizing me for the mental state (not for conscious ideas) is kind of like napalm on wildflowers. Anyway.

An open-ended question always requries that you explain your answer as well as your method of arriving at it, of course.

When someone asks me for the meaning of something, I generally think of the answer in terms of: "What purpose does it serve?" "What do you get out of it?" Romance is a very broad abstraction. Here I'm thinking more in terms of a romantic relationship.

Romance has a largely emotional benefit for me. A romantic relationship colors all other events in my life, making everything seem more enjoyable, more worthwhile . . . it elevates ordinary events by granting them the status of a setting for a grand drama. It's very hard to see yourself as an unusual phenomenon: to you, you are the most ordinary, humdrum, boring thing in your life because you're there in every minute of it! But in the presence of someone who has evaluated you against the sum of humanity and judged you worthwhile, you remember that you are the star of this show! It crystallizes the universe into a transparent glass through which you can see without distortion.

Pardon the poeticism, but there's really no other way to describe it. Can you get along without it? Sure. Do you want to, if this is possible? No.

Why should another person make you feel that way? Well, from my thinking, it's because you can't really be human without loving humanity. I don't mean that in the sappy way that "humanitarians" do, I mean that you think being human is the best thing that there is. You wouldn't trade it for anything. That you'd hold up humanity as the model of sheer unstoppable ability. Other humans, to you, become this fantastic thing, full of reckless possibilities. When they're good, it's wonderful . . . and when they're bad it's personally painful to you. I've met people that wish to be something other than human and I find that incredibly bizarre, almost unthinkable. Humans are great!

So, why someone of the opposite sex? I like being female. I wouldn't want to be male. But the thing is, by being female I have certain metaphysical traits . . . almost like constraints. Men don't have those traits (they have different ones, of course, but that's not the point.), they don't have the same limitations that I do, so by reference they become better examples of humanity by being able to do things that I can't. :P So, of course, I look to men to help me find that sense of reference I need to remember how wonderful I am.

Heh. I swear someone is going to read this and decide that I'm crazy, but that's the best that I can describe it.

I don't think your crazy at all, but that you have a great understanding of it!!! ;)

Edited by softwareNerd
Removed duplicated text
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
So, why someone of the opposite sex? I like being female. I wouldn't want to be male. But the thing is, by being female I have certain metaphysical traits . . . almost like constraints. Men don't have those traits (they have different ones, of course, but that's not the point.), they don't have the same limitations that I do, so by reference they become better examples of humanity by being able to do things that I can't. ;) So, of course, I look to men to help me find that sense of reference I need to remember how wonderful I am.

I'm curious what are these metaphysical traits(almost like constraints) that you speak of?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
Romance is a very broad abstraction. Here I'm thinking more in terms of a romantic relationship.

Romance has a largely emotional benefit for me. A romantic relationship colors all other events in my life, making everything seem more enjoyable, more worthwhile . . . it elevates ordinary events by granting them the status of a setting for a grand drama. It's very hard to see yourself as an unusual phenomenon: to you, you are the most ordinary, humdrum, boring thing in your life because you're there in every minute of it! But in the presence of someone who has evaluated you against the sum of humanity and judged you worthwhile, you remember that you are the star of this show! It crystallizes the universe into a transparent glass through which you can see without distortion.

Pardon the poeticism, but there's really no other way to describe it. Can you get along without it? Sure. Do you want to, if this is possible? No.

Heh. I swear someone is going to read this and decide that I'm crazy, but that's the best that I can describe it.

I rather enjoy your poeticism; it makes me smile and not in any sort of mocking manner. I smile because I concur. I would certainly have to agree that romance is a very broad abstraction; one that I would even argue some people never fully arrive at due to conceptual roadblocks that they may have erected for whatever reason, be it poor self-esteem, trauma, etc.

But for those of us out there who have found romance in our lives, this poeticism of yours speaks the truth. In my life, romance is what makes me relish that first conscious breath of air I take in the morning when I wake up beside my beloved. It is that sensual joy of not having to reach more than your arm's length to find the body of another who wants to always remain at no greater distance from you -- to be within reach, at all possible moments. Romance does indeed elevate the everyday events of life to an almost unimaginable level of joy; it inspires you to transform mundane tasks into new adventures; my personal favorite in this regard is cooking. I love cooking and love sharing that "everyday task" with someone who can bring the same level of passion to the table. It is the ability to completely captivate someone's attention; to catch them staring at you at the most unexpected moments or to savor the joy of them asking you to do the most ordinary task in the most unordinary manner. Romance is a conceptual force, of sorts, upon my conscience; I never cease to be amazed by my ability to always have my love on my mind while successfully conducting all the tasks of my day.

Romance is, above all else I believe, a celebration: of life itself. It stems from sharing mutual values and expressing those values in all the wonderful explicit ways that human beings can, be it embarking on a new adventure (like trying snowboarding for the first time) or never quite getting out of bed on the weekend... When you have romance in your life, as I have the good fortune to understand, you simply feel alive. Is it possible to feel alive while alone and set in values, absolutely. But having someone in your life who can not only spot that quality in you but who also LOVES you for it brings a level of vigor to my life that no words can explain. You can indeed get along just fine without it.... but life is so much more enjoyable with it. Romance is not an essential in my life, but it certainly has great meaning. THere's no greater feeling in the world that someone whispering your name in the most romantic of moments simply because there are no words to truly communicate what they want to say. Romance is most powerful when the words "I love you" seem woefully insufficient to convey your passions for one another.

In short, romance is not necessarily a compass in my life... but it is an experience that makes the journey of life that much more enjoyable and makes every moment that much more memorable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I rather enjoy your poeticism; it makes me smile and not in any sort of mocking manner. I smile because I concur. I would certainly have to agree that romance is a very broad abstraction; one that I would even argue some people never fully arrive at due to conceptual roadblocks that they may have erected for whatever reason, be it poor self-esteem, trauma, etc.

But for those of us out there who have found romance in our lives, this poeticism of yours speaks the truth. In my life, romance is what makes me relish that first conscious breath of air I take in the morning when I wake up beside my beloved. It is that sensual joy of not having to reach more than your arm's length to find the body of another who wants to always remain at no greater distance from you -- to be within reach, at all possible moments. Romance does indeed elevate the everyday events of life to an almost unimaginable level of joy; it inspires you to transform mundane tasks into new adventures; my personal favorite in this regard is cooking. I love cooking and love sharing that "everyday task" with someone who can bring the same level of passion to the table. It is the ability to completely captivate someone's attention; to catch them staring at you at the most unexpected moments or to savor the joy of them asking you to do the most ordinary task in the most unordinary manner. Romance is a conceptual force, of sorts, upon my conscience; I never cease to be amazed by my ability to always have my love on my mind while successfully conducting all the tasks of my day.

Romance is, above all else I believe, a celebration: of life itself. It stems from sharing mutual values and expressing those values in all the wonderful explicit ways that human beings can, be it embarking on a new adventure (like trying snowboarding for the first time) or never quite getting out of bed on the weekend... When you have romance in your life, as I have the good fortune to understand, you simply feel alive. Is it possible to feel alive while alone and set in values, absolutely. But having someone in your life who can not only spot that quality in you but who also LOVES you for it brings a level of vigor to my life that no words can explain. You can indeed get along just fine without it.... but life is so much more enjoyable with it. Romance is not an essential in my life, but it certainly has great meaning. THere's no greater feeling in the world that someone whispering your name in the most romantic of moments simply because there are no words to truly communicate what they want to say. Romance is most powerful when the words "I love you" seem woefully insufficient to convey your passions for one another.

In short, romance is not necessarily a compass in my life... but it is an experience that makes the journey of life that much more enjoyable and makes every moment that much more memorable.

Are you all married? I'm not but this seems to me to be romance in its early stages, although I'm not saying that it cannot flame up every once in awhile when it has gotten older. I think the best part about romance or marriage in it's later stages, is the groundedness of it, the sense of belonging, the safeness, the companionship, and the routines. People aren't going to be all lovey dovey all the time expecially if you are with them 24/7. If you are with a person for so long though your love for them can't help but to grow but if you expect what you all are typing all the time you all will most certainly go astray...

Also you all are some great creative writers. I wish I could type like that.

Edited by shyboy
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are you all married? I'm not but this seems to me to be romance in its early stages, although I'm not saying that it cannot flame up every once in awhile when it has gotten older. I think the best part about romance or marriage in it's later stages, is the groundedness of it, the sense of belonging, the safeness, the companionship, and the routines. People aren't going to be all lovey dovey all the time expecially if you are with them 24/7. If you are with a person for so long though your love for them can't help but to grow but if you expect what you all are typing all the time you all will most certainly go astray...

Also you all are some great creative writers. I wish I could type like that.

Hm, I don't know. I'm at a sort of in-between phase in my relationship in terms of where we stand. We've been together for nearly seven years total, but only have lived together and seen each other all the time for about four months now. We seem to have a mix of both sides of what you're describing. On the one hand, we do have that total and complete comfort with each other, having known each other so long. I think my guy has something very close to my absolute trust, and I know I have his. We do delight in each other's company and the little things are definitely magnified. When I come home from work and there's dinner on the table, I love him for it so much and I'm so thankful, every time, even though he does it every night. I'm excited to see him, I can't wait until he gets home even though it'll only be an hour or so, but I'm not totally obsessed with him every second like I was when we first got together. It's not that the intensity has diminished, it's just not constant like it used to be. But I wouldn't really say that's a bad thing. It's like the flame isn't burning as high or as brightly, but it glows hotter. We both know what we have is a lifetime bond if we let it be. He's pledged to follow me anywhere and I've pledged to always do well by him when he does. And, of course, there's conflict as there always is, but our fights are never lasting. No one's going to be angry two days later, or often even five minutes later. We bitch and moan and poke at each other, but it's all superficial jabbing. At base we know nothing can touch what we have, because we protect it and take care of each other. I concur with an above poster who says this kind of love is not necessary for a happy, complete life. At this point I like to consider it a life-affirming value of which I refuse to allow myself to be deprived. I can live without my fellow, but why would I want to? I don't, and I won't.

Oh yes, and I don't mean to rain on anyone's parade, but I'm really not seeing any metaphysical differences between men and women. Particular and contingent differences, perhaps, but metaphysical? I'm not buying it. My guy and I are way more alike than we are different, and our personality differences are hardly attributable to our genders.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are you all married? I'm not but this seems to me to be romance in its early stages, although I'm not saying that it cannot flame up every once in awhile when it has gotten older. I think the best part about romance or marriage in it's later stages, is the groundedness of it, the sense of belonging, the safeness, the companionship, and the routines. People aren't going to be all lovey dovey all the time expecially if you are with them 24/7. If you are with a person for so long though your love for them can't help but to grow but if you expect what you all are typing all the time you all will most certainly go astray...

Also you all are some great creative writers. I wish I could type like that.

No, not married but I like to think that marriage is no excuse for romance to go away. I've been in a long term relationshp before and took comfort in all the routines and such you've mentioned above, but when it came down to it the romance did go away, and because of that the relationship suffered and ultimately met its demise. I am in the early stages of a newrelationship and it is great; it's everything "new love" is supposed to be. And while I am not naive enough to expect this level of romance to continue forever, I won't be dumb enough not to enjoy it while it is! The key, I suspect, to making romance endure, is having a companion who constantly challenges you; someone you can always try new things with. And it's important to challenge one another in more than one regard. Intellectual stimulation is fun, sure, but is not enough on its own to keep the flame of romance alive. But if you can both contribute novel intellectual, physical, and recreational pursuits, why, I do believe you have enough to keep things interesting and passionate for a very long time. That's the approach I am taking now and believe me life just gets better every day. Seeing someone you love try something new makes you love them all over again; trying something new with them gives you a new perspective on what your relationship is capable of.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The key, I suspect, to making romance endure, is having a companion who constantly challenges you; someone you can always try new things with. And it's important to challenge one another in more than one regard. Intellectual stimulation is fun, sure, but is not enough on its own to keep the flame of romance alive.

While being challenged and encouraged to be better is a great asset to have in a relationship or friendship even, I would argue that the real "key" to sustained romance is honest, open communication. Without allowing yourself to be vulnerable in front of another, it is impossible to to be seen for what you really are. That psychological visability; the real you being seen, accepted, and adored, is what makes for passionate romance. The rest is just details.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While being challenged and encouraged to be better is a great asset to have in a relationship or friendship even, I would argue that the real "key" to sustained romance is honest, open communication. Without allowing yourself to be vulnerable in front of another, it is impossible to to be seen for what you really are. That psychological visability; the real you being seen, accepted, and adored, is what makes for passionate romance. The rest is just details.

I would ceratinly agree with this. One of the benefits of honest communication and letting your vulnerability show, though, is that this allows you to have all these new experiences; it lets the other person know what you love and what you would be willing to try. Love and romance are, without a doubt, grounding in honesty. Telling someone that you love them when you harbor doubts can lead them to misunderstand the relationship, and that certainly will not help keep romance alive. Romance in its early stages is always passionate and a lot of romantic words are often exchanged; words that make you fall in love with each other. These early words can and do make you feel adored, accepted and all of those wonderful things. You listen to your love's words with ardent interest; you love that they are sharing all those details of their thoughts with you and you feel safe sharing yours with them. This is a fantastic process; one of the great perks of human romance. It can, however, backfire if one or both parties lacks complete understanding of themselves (and I'm not saying this to you personally, I'm speaking broadly). If one person has a little lack of self-confidence, for whatever reason, and reveals this vulnerability , they feel relieved when that person, nevertheless, tells them that they love them and is willing to accept their potential. This is recipe for disaster in romance, because it builds a long trail of questions and unequal expectations that must be juggled.

So, yes, honesty is important. You know I believe that and that I understand why. To all those that don't know, I've been that dumb girl; the girl who holds back what she really thinks and what she really wants as a method of self-protection. Experience has taught me the error of that kind of action, and objectivism helps give me the philosophical grounding to justify why I will never let myself be that person again.

People can grow, but one should be more or less complete when they pursue a realtionship. That is what allows the honesty to work... and that is what enables both parties to contribute everything they can to the person they value most in their life.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

People can grow, but one should be more or less complete when they pursue a realtionship. That is what allows the honesty to work... and that is what enables both parties to contribute everything they can to the person they value most in their life.

Value most??? More than yourself???? More than your kids??????

Edited by dadmonson
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Value most??? More than yourself???? More than your kids??????

I would assume from the phrasing that she meant: person who is not me. And of course you should value your partner more than your children... I dare say that anyone who doesn't, has a very sucky romantic relationship.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Value most??? More than yourself???? More than your kids??????

Of course one values one's self most of all; we're all objectivists here, aren't we? As for kids, I don't have any yet, so when I am speaking of romance and people I value in my life, kids don't play into that conversation just yet.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...

Am I the only one who realizes Megan never defines romance as the topic asks? The closest she comes is when she says "romance is a largely emotional benefit for me."

Also I disagree with the statement for the most part. I know this is not a right or wrong issue, but I just think that if you see yourself as "humdrum" and you need romance to eleviate that, that's a character flaw. For me, yes romance is of great emotional benefit, but perhaps because I've not had it for so long it has become unnecessary. Or perhaps it is the solidity in myself that makes it so. To me it is a small part of the self-actualization section of mazlow's higherarchy. If you can't stand alone, can you really ever stand? To me kinship is much more important than romance. Romance would be a nice addition (haha I almost typed addiction. freudian slip?) but is unnecessary for happiness. I'm happy now, without romance, however I'm hardly content. I actively seek romance, but I make no compromises of the self to get it. To me, that's the only real way to ever achieve it for real.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ChimeraBlack, read the first and second posts again. He wasn't asking for a definition of romance. He was asking what is the meaning of romance in your life. Her post did answer that question. You also misinterpreted her statements regarding romance as an emotional benefit. She was not describing herself as 'humdrum' but instead saying in effect that it is hard for a person to see themselves as being unique since one's own omnipresence in one's own life makes it easy to take oneself for granted as the normal and the everyday.

It's very hard to see yourself as an unusual phenomenon: to you, you are the most ordinary, humdrum, boring thing in your life because you're there in every minute of it!- J. Megan Snow

Your interpretation of this as some sort of character flaw is unsubstantiated. What proof do you have—and I don't mean your ridiculous misinterpretation of the above statement— of any actions or ideas of hers that indicate such a character flaw?

You also go on to say:

If you can't stand alone, can you really ever stand? To me kinship is much more important than romance. Romance would be a nice addition (haha I almost typed addiction. freudian slip?) but is unnecessary for happiness. I'm happy now, without romance, however I'm hardly content. I actively seek romance, but I make no compromises of the self to get it. To me, that's the only real way to ever achieve it for real.

What in Megan's posts anywhere on this forum indicate that she cannot stand alone, or that she would compromise herself in order to have romance? To make the kinds of judgements that can only be made from interacting personally with someone from the reading of one forum posting indicates that not only was your post rude, but that you do not respect the amount of effort that must be given to making a psychological and moral evaluation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To me it is a small part of the self-actualization section of mazlow's higherarchy.

But that is your hierarchy of values. It is not improper to place romance higher than you do.

If you can't stand alone, can you really ever stand?

It is a mistake to think that if romance is a very important value for someone then that necessarily means that they can't stand alone. In fact importance for a rational person would also mean selectivity which can mean standing alone for a long time.

Edited by ~Sophia~
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...