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The Currency of Love


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#1 Dglgmut

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 08:28 AM

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.

#2 whYNOT

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 09:34 AM

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.
"To know that we know what we know, and to know that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge". Nicolaus Copernicus (An original objectivist) 1473-1543 ***No man may be smaller than his philosophy...***

#3 Peter Taylor

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 11:32 AM

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
Semper cogitans fidele,
Independent Objectivist,
Peter Taylor

#4 Dglgmut

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 08:29 PM

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.

#5 anamous Cares

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 05:43 PM

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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#6 daunce lynam

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 05:48 PM


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.

#7 Selene

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 05:51 PM

TANSTAAFL!
"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice..and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

#8 anamous Cares

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 06:07 PM

TANSTAAFL!

Yes but it is true
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#9 Revah

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 09:44 AM

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.
"See, Leisha -- this tree made this flower. Because it can. Only this tree can make this kind of wonderful flower. That plant hanging up there can't, and those can't either. Only this tree. Therefore the most important thing in the world for this tree to do is grow this flower. The flower is the tree's individuality -- that means just it, and nothing else -- made manifest. Nothing else matters." ~ Beggars In Spain, by Nancy Kress




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