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    • Michael Stuart Kelly

      Major Update to OL (please click to open)   02/09/2016

      Sorry for the inconvenience, but we had to update OL and there have been some serious changes made by IPB. The real bad news is that they had to merge User Names and Display Names. This meant that I had to choose between bad and bad. I opted to keep the log-on information the same, so you can get on OL like you always did, but now your User Name is displayed. If your User Name and Display Name were the same, you will not feel the change. If they were different, you are probably irritated right now. I will figure out how you can change this so you can revert to the Display Name you used before if you like, however this may entail a change in how you log-on. The good news is that OL is now searchable from the very beginning. This means all the old posts from the A-Team in Objectivism (and everybody else) will finally show up when you search for something. I will keep changing this announcement as we adapt to these new changes. It's a pain, I know, but after looking around the backend for a bit, I believe the benefits will far, far outweigh the current irritation. They changed things in a hamhanded way and I don't like that, but I can't do anything about it. Benefit-wise, they actually did a good job, so please bear with us. In addition to this change, many good things are coming over time. You are the reason OL exists and I am sorry you have to go through this. Think of it like birth pangs... (All right, all right, that's forcing it.  ) Michael
Dglgmut

The Currency of Love

9 posts in this topic

This thread is about altruism, but on a very subtle scale. When people speak of love, like respect, they are not always referring to an emotion, but an act. A request for love is not a request for a positive personal evaluation, because that can't be requested.

When Keating offers $50 to a financially insecure Roark, Roark accepts. When Roark realizes that Keating doesn't actually want to give him the money but is doing so because he feels that it's expected of him by society, Roark gives back the money. This interaction sends a clear message, but how can that message be applied in more complex situations?

Instead of sacrificing $50 to an altruistic cause, what if it was a simple display of affection? What if a store clerk tells you a joke as a way of being friendly, even though you're not friends? I think most people would feel they owe some unnatural affection back--a forced laugh.

Pretend love is a currency in which the recipient has no option to decline, but can choose whether or not to repay. Aimless self-sacrifice should not be encouraged or practiced, but it seems one must be extremely diligent, and devoted (willing to be cold/ruthless) to maintain a moral existence.

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I believe there is only one currency of love , and it is honesty. Not only

the day-to-day variety of honesty, but the truth a focused mind finds in another.

It's the recognition of a person's existence - their identity of virtue and character, which

one's own reach for virtue responds to.

At bottom, one is saying (like the Native American greeting) "I see you". Not for what you can do for

me, or me for you, or what you are generally perceived to be, or may even pretend to be - but rewarding one

for his/her totality of being, what they truly are. In a sense, I think, love is justice.

In love, there is reason and selfishness that can't be escaped. The most committed altruist could not

accept unrequited love for long, and faked emotions of love, bypassing rational grounds, will harm both parties.

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whYNOT wrote of romantic love:

At bottom, one is saying (like the Native American greeting) "I see you".

end quote

I like that formulation. “I see you,” entails the physical, biological and the spiritual, emotional. I think there is a biological element and an emotional component to feelings of love. I like those fMRI studies that show simple scenes, smells, and images of females can cause an immediate emotional response in a man, but it takes volitional and reciprocation to seal the deal. Without reciprocation it is worship or desire but not love.

Peter Taylor

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I think, love is justice.

Then pretend love is pretend justice. Altruism is a paradox--it is to say what you do not mean in hopes of achieving what you do not want.

I probably should have titled this thread Love as a Currency, because what I am finding a bit challenging is this idea of owing someone affection. Real, honest admiration is not a service, and so there is nothing to repay, however... well, what I think I'm having trouble with is the idea of ignoring weakness.

It is difficult to watch someone hurt themselves, in even the slightest way, but you cannot give someone self-respect. It should be considered a sin to encourage weakness... but the implications of abstaining from such encouragement is, like I said, and an adjective Rand used to proudly describe her heroes, a sort of ruthlessness. But it seems so necessary; and as hard as it is to practice, I think most people would desire a cold, just treatment if it enabled them to earn a sense of dignity.

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I think, love is justice.

Then pretend love is pretend justice. Altruism is a paradox--it is to say what you do not mean in hopes of achieving what you do not want.

I probably should have titled this thread Love as a Currency, because what I am finding a bit challenging is this idea of owing someone affection. Real, honest admiration is not a service, and so there is nothing to repay, however... well, what I think I'm having trouble with is the idea of ignoring weakness.

It is difficult to watch someone hurt themselves, in even the slightest way, but you cannot give someone self-respect. It should be considered a sin to encourage weakness... but the implications of abstaining from such encouragement is, like I said, and an adjective Rand used to proudly describe her heroes, a sort of ruthlessness. But it seems so necessary; and as hard as it is to practice, I think most people would desire a cold, just treatment if it enabled them to earn a sense of dignity.

To love and not to be loved is to be betrayed and with money comes love.

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I think, love is justice.

Then pretend love is pretend justice. Altruism is a paradox--it is to say what you do not mean in hopes of achieving what you do not want.

I probably should have titled this thread Love as a Currency, because what I am finding a bit challenging is this idea of owing someone affection. Real, honest admiration is not a service, and so there is nothing to repay, however... well, what I think I'm having trouble with is the idea of ignoring weakness.

It is difficult to watch someone hurt themselves, in even the slightest way, but you cannot give someone self-respect. It should be considered a sin to encourage weakness... but the implications of abstaining from such encouragement is, like I said, and an adjective Rand used to proudly describe her heroes, a sort of ruthlessness. But it seems so necessary; and as hard as it is to practice, I think most people would desire a cold, just treatment if it enabled them to earn a sense of dignity.

To love and not to be loved is to be betrayed and with money comes love.

To love and not to be loved is to be in a normal part of human life. As to the money, you get what you pay for.

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TANSTAAFL!

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I'd agree that love is a currency. The way in which it manifests itself depends entirely on the nature of the relationship, but there are always elements of exchange.

Perhaps the simplest is the idea that when you act in a loving or kind manner towards someone, it gives you a good feeling. It benefits you. Smiling at the clerk in the store or laughing at their bad joke isn't an obligation, but if you do it, and you hold kindness as a virtue, then you're reaffirming that value, and giving your sense of self-worth a boost as you do so. It's not pure altruism at all, it's self-interest.

The same is true, albeit on a deeper level, of loving one's friends or family. You're living out your higher values by caring for, providing for or spending time with them. Provided, of course, that it's something you have chosen to do of your own free will, and you aren't being coerced into it or acting out of some misguided sense of duty.

The trouble comes when someone says I love you and they assume that the very words are a service, which you then must pay for. "But you have to do this for me...I love you!" I have to look at situations like that in terms of contract: they've made you an offer, but if you don't accept (love unrequited, or unwanted) there's no contract there. No obligation. Then again, as a person who doesn't experience romantic love, I realize I might have a more dispassionate view than most on this.

Regarding "I see you," and not encouraging weakness - yes. I've got a supporting anecdote. Once when I was having a very hard time at work, I was getting incredibly emotional and acting off of what I see now were a bunch of false premises. Anyway, the person who helped me most wasn't the friend who told me they felt sorry for me, but the one who listened to everything I had to say and then asked, very simply: "Now what are you going to do about it?" It was what I needed to kick the rational part of my brain back into operation, realize I wasn't powerless, and find a solution to the problem. I wouldn't call them the better friend, per se, but they were the one who made the most difference.

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