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Friends and Friendships: Are they important?

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I don't know how to make more than one quote.  I can only make one at the top and write below it.

Just add quote tags like this:

[*quote]

whatever you want to quote goes in here.

[*/quote]

But don't put the * in front of the word quote, I had to do that so it wouldn't actually appear as a quote.

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""Longing for" others is not the same as valuing others. The latter does not imply the former."

Could you elaborate this and tell me everything that is implied, so that I will not be confused?

And let me ask you a personal question: Do you long for others like yourself? For Objectivists, for that matter? Does ‘longing’ for them imply that that you are searching for them?

--Let’s say you are in a completely controlled society where happiness is not possible, since there is no freedom. Wouldn’t you long for your values? Your happiness, freedom, and everything that is subsequent are of value. Is this situation completely different in regards to human interaction?

"Would you want just anyone there on the island with you or someone whom you value as a friend or loved one? Would social contact, for the sake of social contact, with a lying thief be of any value to you on a desert island? I think not."

I understand, and I agree. But my point is that I think a human being needs interaction...that one could not be happy being stranded on a desert island.

“The best way I can think of to put this, and it applies to your other questions as well, is that Roark's values are self-contained. Note that he does not eschew friendships altogether. In fact he carries on several friendships: with Austen Heller, Mike the Electrician, Steven Mallory and Gail Wynand. He enjoys these kind of friendships because they are like himself (possessed of a "self-sufficient ego" in Roark's words,) but he doesn't seek out people like himself; he doesn't make finding them his purpose. He is his own purpose. Such a purpose doesn't involve others in any way whatever.”

Howard Roark couldn’t have had friends based on this quote: “"He is in conflict with the world in every possible way...And his chief difference from the rest of the world is that he was born without the ability to consider others. As a matter of form and necessity on the way, as one meets fellow travelers - yes. As a matter of basic, primary consideration - no."

A friend is a matter of basic, primary consideration, as I see it. I hope that the “a matter of basic, primary consideration” part was meant to talk about the people that Roark was in conflict with; not the people that he was not in conflict with. If he doesn’t consider his friends, I would find that immoral. If he doesn’t consider his enemies that he is in conflict with, I would find that moral. But, if Rand were only referring to the enemies of Roark, why would she say that he was in conflict with the world in EVERY possible way? And that he was born without the ability to consider others? I don’t think that could refer to the people that he values. Is it possible that Roark could not care if Mike the Electrician were hit by a bus on his way out of the pub? Because we established that Roark was indifferent to pain, and that he does not have the ability to consider others. Remember: “"...[T]here is no danger of suffering. He does not suffer, because he does not believe in suffering. Defeat or disappointment are merely a part of the battle [!]. Nothing can really touch him. He is concerned only with what he does. Not how he feels...The world becomes merely a place to act in. But not to feel in." Mike’s death (or anyone else’s for that matter) would be a disappointment. It says that nothing could really touch him, as well. He is not concerned with how he feels, because he sees the world as a place not to feel in, only to act. But then again, Rand’s quotes would seem contradictory because Howard Roark said he would risk his life in order to save Gail Wynand because he values him. Am I missing something?

Also, you said that Howard Roark was his own purpose. I can understand that he is not supposed to have any purposes for anyone else, be it God or some other human being. You said his purpose does not involve others in any way whatever. But what if he creates his own purpose to value other human beings like himself? Or, if something tragic were about to happen to someone he values, he could say, “At this moment I am making it my purpose to try and save you.” This would involve others

(By the way, during every second I write my posts I am scared to death that you or anyone else will think that I am trying to attack Rand or Objectivism – which I am not. I have merely noticed these things from Rand’s quotes and became confused, so I am hoping to get them clarified)

"Again, the relationship between Roark and Dominique never made much sense to me. In a general sense, I doubt very much that Rand meant to suggest that the loss of a valued friend or loved-one should be met with indifference. I believe Rand once said in an interview that if her husband died she would commit suicide. (She didn't, but she died only three years later.) Why she said this about Roark, I do not know."

"If he could not have her, it would not break him or affect him very deeply. He might suffer - in his own indifferent way[!]..."

If Rand could not have her husband it would affect her very deeply – as you said, she said that she would commit suicide were her husband to die. But why is it that Roark could not be affected deeply if he could not have Dominique? If it is because of Dominique’s psychology and not necessarily what Roark would feel for any lover, then I don’t know how it can be seen as the ideal. You admitted that you did not know why Roark would feel this way, so I wonder if there’s anyone else out there that knows the answer to this?

"If by "have an interest in what your friends think of you" you mean that one is willing to change to suit their opinions, then it is absolutely immoral. That's the essence of Peter Keating: be everything to everybody at the price of abandoning one's self. If your friendship is based on mutually shared, rational values, then you won't have to worry about being independent. Your friends will respect you precisely for that reason, among others."

True.

P.S. could any administrator or monitor delete the two posts before this one that discuss how to quote? They are compeltely unnecessary and inconvenient. One was made by myself, and the other by Bryan.

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"...[H]e can no longer be hurt. The world has no painful surprise for him...Indifference and an infinite, calm contempt is all he feels for the world and for other men who are not like him...Being thoroughly a 'reason unto himself,' he does not long for other of his kind [!], for companionship and understanding."

...but he doesn't seek out people like himself; he doesn't make finding them his purpose. He is his own purpose. Such a purpose doesn't involve others in any way whatever.

Tell me what is wrong with seeking out people that are like one’s self. I think to do so would not even contradict that one is one’s own purpose. It would only be wrong if you cause yourself serious problems along the way. To me it is a perfectly natural pursuit, as well as trying to reach out to others who are NOT like me.

In fact, allow me to quote Ayn Rand from the Ayn Rand Lexicon: “The thinking child is not antisocial (he is, in fact, the only type of child fit for social relationships). When he develops his first values and conscious convictions, particularly as he approaches adolescence, he feels an intense desire to share them with a friend who would understand him; if frustrated, he feels an acute sense of loneliness. (Loneliness is specifically the experience of this type of child – or adult; it is the experience of those who have something to offer. The emotion that drives conformists to “belong,” is not loneliness, but fear – that fear of intellectual independence and responsibility. The thinking child seeks equals; the conformist seeks protectors.)”

Here, one’s ‘purpose’ is to find people like one’s self. I believe Rand is right in the Lexicon, but I do not see how it psychologically possible for Roark not to long for others of his own kind, for companionship and understanding.

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Tell me what is wrong with seeking out people that are like one’s self.  I think to do so would not even contradict that one is one’s own purpose.  It would only be wrong if you cause yourself serious problems along the way.  To me it is a perfectly natural pursuit, as well as trying to reach out to others who are NOT like me.

In fact, allow me to quote Ayn Rand from the Ayn Rand Lexicon...

Here, one’s ‘purpose’ is to find people like one’s self.  I believe Rand is right in the Lexicon, but I do not see how it psychologically possible for Roark not to long for others of his own kind, for companionship and understanding.

I think Don already answered this question in his post earlier in this thread. If you don't think that answer is satisfactory, why not?

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Could you elaborate this and tell me everything that is implied, so that I will not be confused?

No, I can't enumerate everything that's implied in "valuing others."

I think where your confusion is arising, or perhaps mine, is the use of "friendships as primary." When I see that phrase, it means "as an end in themselves," rather than as means to an end. Each person is an end in themselves, and they engage in relationships with others as means to those ends. The realtionship can not become an end in itself. If that happens, one has become Peter Keating.

And let me ask you a personal question: Do you long for others like yourself? For Objectivists, for that matter?  Does ‘longing’ for them imply that that you are searching for them?
From Merriam-Webster Online: longing: a strong desire especially for something unattainable. (Yes, I'm aware that quoting the dictionary in a philosophical discussion is treading on dangerous ground.) I suspect this is not the meaning you intend when you use the term "longing".

--Let’s say you are in a completely controlled society where happiness is not possible, since there is no freedom.  Wouldn’t you long for your values?  Your happiness, freedom, and everything that is subsequent are of value.  Is this situation completely different in regards to human interaction?

To value the unattainable, or that which is beyond one's power to attain, is irrational. Recall Rand's conccept of value: "Where no alternative exists, no values are possible."

But my point is that I think a human being needs interaction...that one could not be happy being stranded on a desert island.
We benefit greatly from interaction with others. So does Roark. But is the "need" for interaction a basic need, like food or shelter, or is it a means to supplying other, more basic needs? (I'll admit I don't fully know the answer to this question, but I suspect it is the latter.)

Howard Roark couldn’t have had friends based on this quote: “"He is in conflict with the world in every possible way...And his chief difference from the rest of the world is that he was born without the ability to consider others.  As a matter of form and necessity on the way, as one meets fellow travelers - yes.  As a matter of basic, primary consideration - no."

A friend is a matter of basic, primary consideration, as I see it.  I hope that the “a matter of basic, primary consideration” part was meant to talk about the people that Roark was in conflict with; not the people that he was not in conflict with.  If he doesn’t consider his friends, I would find that immoral.  If he doesn’t consider his enemies that he is in conflict with, I would find that moral.  But, if Rand were only referring to the enemies of Roark, why would she say that he was in conflict with the world in EVERY possible way? And that he was born without the ability to consider others?  I don’t think that could refer to the people that he values.  Is it possible that Roark could not care if Mike the Electrician were hit by a bus on his way out of the pub?  Because we established that Roark was indifferent to pain, and that he does not have the ability to consider others.  Remember:  “"...[T]here is no danger of suffering. He does not suffer, because he does not believe in suffering. Defeat or disappointment are merely a part of the battle [!]. Nothing can really touch him. He is concerned only with what he does. Not how he feels...The world becomes merely a place to act in. But not to feel in."  Mike’s death (or anyone else’s for that matter) would be a disappointment.  It says that nothing could really touch him, as well. He is not concerned with how he feels, because he sees the world as a place not to feel in, only to act.  But then again, Rand’s quotes would seem contradictory because Howard Roark said he would risk his life in order to save Gail Wynand because he values him.  Am I missing something?

The very quote you offer from Rand notes undercuts the interpretation you seem to want to give to "in every possible way" as absolute. Roark does value others "as a matter of form and necessity on the way, as one meets fellow travelers." As far as his concern for the lives of others, Rand never argued that independence means disregarding the lives of others, but in fact the opposite. To value one's own life requires a respect and value for the lives of others, to the extent that they earn such respect. As an example, take Hank Rearden risking his life to save Francisco D'Anconia in AS.

Also, you said that Howard Roark was his own purpose.  I can understand that he is not supposed to have any purposes for anyone else, be it God or some other human being.  You said his purpose does not involve others in any way whatever.  But what if he creates his own purpose to value other human beings like himself?  Or, if something tragic were about to happen to someone he values, he could say, “At this moment I am making it my purpose to try and save you.”  This would involve others
Again, if by "purpose" you mean "as an end in itself" then I can't agree with you. To have as one's "purpose" finding others of like mind makes one Peter Keating. I think I've addressed the issue of saving another's life.

(By the way, during every second I write my posts I am scared to death that you or anyone else will think that I am trying to attack Rand or Objectivism – which I am not.  I have merely noticed these things from Rand’s quotes and became confused, so I am hoping to get them clarified)

I can't speak for others, but I've never taken anything you've said that way. i hope I haven't given the impression that I did.

Tell me what is wrong with seeking out people that are like one’s self. I think to do so would not even contradict that one is one’s own purpose. It would only be wrong if you cause yourself serious problems along the way. To me it is a perfectly natural pursuit, as well as trying to reach out to others who are NOT like me.

In fact, allow me to quote Ayn Rand from the Ayn Rand Lexicon: “The thinking child is not antisocial (he is, in fact, the only type of child fit for social relationships). When he develops his first values and conscious convictions, particularly as he approaches adolescence, he feels an intense desire to share them with a friend who would understand him; if frustrated, he feels an acute sense of loneliness. (Loneliness is specifically the experience of this type of child – or adult; it is the experience of those who have something to offer. The emotion that drives conformists to “belong,” is not loneliness, but fear – that fear of intellectual independence and responsibility. The thinking child seeks equals; the conformist seeks protectors.)”

Here, one’s ‘purpose’ is to find people like one’s self. I believe Rand is right in the Lexicon, but I do not see how it psychologically possible for Roark not to long for others of his own kind, for companionship and understanding.

Again, I think it's important to distinguish between "one's purpose" and "purposeful action," i.e. the pursuit of values. The quote you cite above does not claim that finding others should ever be one's purpose. To value others is perfectly acceptable, but only insofar as such relationships serve one's own purposes, as they ought to serve the purposes of those others involved as well.

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