Arkadi

has anyone met an altruist in person?

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Here: now we're even.  

I love Hitchens as much as anybody--and I understand why somebody might claim that she was highly overrated--but whether MT was pro life, travelled to Haita under odd circumstances, etc., does not address whether she helped the poor.  

She might not have helped the poor the way you would prefer from the comfort of your air-conditioned space in New Jersey, but she did help the poor.   She may not have helped the poor as efficiently as John Galt's motor may have done, but in the world we actually live in, she helped the poor

Sometimes you have to play the ball where it lies, not where you wish it landed. 

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27 minutes ago, PDS said:

Here: now we're even.  

I love Hitchens as much as anybody--and I understand why somebody might claim that she was highly overrated--but whether MT was pro life, travelled to Haita under odd circumstances, etc., does not address whether she helped the poor.  

She might not have helped the poor the way you would prefer from the comfort of your air-conditioned space in New Jersey, but she did help the poor.   She may not have helped the poor as efficiently as John Galt's motor may have done, but in the world we actually live in, she helped the poor

Sometimes you have to play the ball where it lies, not where you wish it landed. 

She helped the poor die Catholic deaths.  She did not prolong life.

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2 hours ago, BaalChatzaf said:

She helped the poor die Catholic deaths.  She did not prolong life.

Can you be more specific?

I'm not a  Catholic so I have no idea what you're talking about.  

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21 hours ago, Arkadi said:

So, do altruists really exist? What am I missing?

Have you read "Isn't Everyone Selfish" by Nathaniel Branden, found in The Virtue of Selfishness?  That's where you'll find the standard Objectivist answer to your question.

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9thdoctor: No, I haven't read  it. Thanks for giving me some glimpse of an answer. All too often I was advised to read a book in order to find an answer to a simple question, only to figure out, in the end, that it would have been enough to read one page.

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6 minutes ago, Arkadi said:

9thdoctor: No, I haven't read  it. Thanks for giving me some glimpse of an answer. All too often I was advised to read a book in order to find an answer to a simple question, only to figure out, in the end, that it would have been enough to read one page.

Looks like someone's posted it here:

https://eidmon.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/isnt-everyone-selfish-by-nathaniel-branden/

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Thanks. Now I recall that I actually did read it. Unfortunately, it confused the issue even more for me. E.g., "A genuinely selfish man knows that only reason can determine what is, in fact, to his self-interest"; and then: "If a man loves a woman so much that he does not wish to survive her death"--What has reason to do with this "not wishing to survive"??? Let's turn to his other example: "The boy accedes to his mother’s wish because he has accepted that such is his moral duty"--Now we've hit the heart of the matter. I am asking (see the topic of this thread): Has anyone actually met in person such a "boy"? In real life, I mean; not in some 19th century novel.

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Teresa spent her last 40+ years in spiritual agony, feeling abandoned by God ("I feel that God does not want me").

Google and read excerpts from her diaries, and several articles. All the saintly rubbish out of the way, she was one person who took pure altruism to its logical limits, lived it and suffered for it. THIS is the person and her pain whom and which is so extolled and venerated for her 'unselfishness'? Disgusting - as is self-sacrifice and the hypocrites who call for it. She truly lost her self, which I'll surmise she saw as her God. Poor woman. As Rand spotted, altruism makes compassion impossible.

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BTW, I personally know Orthodox Christians (including one bishop) who love to highlight m.Teresa's documented depression as a proof of her having no grace and thus no sainthood (which, of course, confirms their belief that "heretics"--R.-Catholics included--just cannot have any).

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46 minutes ago, Arkadi said:

Anthony: Isn't depression, in most cases, just hormonal? (As an aside: Even Jesus felt abandoned by God on the Cross, as the story goes. Poor Jesus.)

Exactly. The point being that 'we' continue to worship all self-sacrifice for others. (Which altruism, btw Arkadi, is going to be far more harmful to someone already in depression -- although I can't see how you can claim it was so for her). Jesus didn't discover the credo of self-sacrifice, but he and his followers firmly established it.

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48 minutes ago, Arkadi said:

Thanks. Now I recall that I actually did read it. Unfortunately, it confused the issue even more for me. E.g., "A genuinely selfish man knows that only reason can determine what is, in fact, to his self-interest"; and then: "If a man loves a woman so much that he does not wish to survive her death"--What has reason to do with this "not wishing to survive"???

You don't think someone can rationally conclude that the rest of their life will be too awful to endure?  And so choose to end it right away?  Let's leave aside the "When a Man Loves a Woman" business, how about Guy Fawkes on the scaffold, about to be hanged drawn and quartered, but he got a chance to leap off the platform, thus committing suicide (alas for his immortal soul...) and escaping the drawing and quartering bit.  Rational?  I'd say so.

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47 minutes ago, Arkadi said:

Let's turn to his other example: "The boy accedes to his mother’s wish because he has accepted that such is his moral duty"--Now we've hit the heart of the matter. I am asking (see the topic of this thread): Has anyone actually met in person such a "boy"? In real life, I mean; not in some 19th century novel.

Have I known anyone who made a wrong career choice under parental pressure.  Well, yeah.  So?

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"Have I known anyone who made a wrong career choice under parental pressure.  Well, yeah.  So?" --If you believe those choices exemplify altruism, then "yes" (+ some details) would be enough. "So?" is superfluous.

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I'm quite sure, Arkadi but so what? All I made was the observation that the two combined would be worse. Where does depression fit in this?

I am prepared to take anyone's "crisis of Faith" very literally. In the non-existence of god, it is still a crisis, though of one's knowledge and morality i.e. of self.

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Anthony: I thought you meant that T's depression is an indication that her activities were "altruistic" (which would not, in my view, be a valid inference).

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16 minutes ago, Arkadi said:

Anthony: I thought you meant that T's depression is an indication that her activities were "altruistic" (which would not, in my view, be a valid inference).

Geez. I didn't bring in "depression", you did. Teresa sacrificed her potential existential values to a supernatural non-value - and its very worst aspect, of a duty and service tending to others' suffering for 50 years. Who's surprised that at the end of that, she'd lost her ability to value and perceived hardly any value in life (and after all that, her God hadn't rewarded her)? She personified altruism alright - in all its self-destruction.

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27 minutes ago, Arkadi said:

9thdoctor: Of course I believe in the rational selfishness of euthanasia! My problem is with that particular example. 

Branden's example comes from a novel.  Have you read Atlas Shrugged?  I think Branden gave enough of the context that you don't have to have read it for it to make sense: he'll commit suicide before letting the woman he loves be tortured to death in front of him.  Knowing that he'll be killed too, before long.  It's not far off from Guy Fawkes on the scaffold.

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27 minutes ago, Arkadi said:

"Have I known anyone who made a wrong career choice under parental pressure.  Well, yeah.  So?" --If you believe those choices exemplify altruism, then "yes" (+ some details) would be enough. "So?" is superfluous.

Branden's example works well enough.  It's not his only example.  What kind of details do you want?  It's not like I'm a psychotherapist with case studies to share with the world. 

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Anthony: " I didn't bring in "depression", you did." I refer to your words: "Teresa spent her last 40+ years in spiritual agony, feeling abandoned by God." I call it depression.  "Teresa sacrificed her potential existential values"--Which ones, in particular? And how do you know that she did?

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9thdoctor: "Knowing that he'll be killed too, before long."--But this makes all the difference in the world! If Branden meant this, he should have mentioned it.

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10 minutes ago, Arkadi said:

Anthony: " I didn't bring in "depression", you did." I refer to your words: "Teresa spent her last 40+ years in spiritual agony, feeling abandoned by God." I call it depression.  "Teresa sacrificed her potential existential values"--Which ones, in particular? And how do you know that she did?

"Depression" is a prosaic explanation of her writing. Spiritual agony is closer. Besides, I thought you meant clinical depression. If you find the answer to your last question you'll have a better understanding of altruism wrt Objectivism.

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