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Robert Campbell

Contextual Virtues: A Wee Test

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Having the courage to approach a man to begin an affair when she was of the position that men should be the aggressors.

I am not the one who has a problem with this part. James Valliant is. Part of the discourse in PARC is to prove that Nathaniel Branden was the aggressor and Rand the poor innocent victim. That, apparently, is the ARI party line.

I couldn't care less about what Valliant and ARI say. They're not part of this conversation.

Refusing to lie about it to their respective spouses and sneak around as if they were doing something shameful. (I don't think they had to go so far as to "ask permission" from their spouses, but they did have an obligation to let them know what they were doing.)

This is one part where I disagree with you. I find this neither admirable nor non-admirable. It is very contextual. I once had a girl-friend who used to say to me: "If you ever have an affair, then damn you if you tell me. I will be happy in my ignorance. If you tell me, your will silence your guilty consciouses, but you will make me miserable. So if you love me and ever have an affair, don't ever tell me. You did it. You keep your misery and don't give it to me."

Also, in my experience, some people are OK with extra-marital affairs, but most are not. If a person is not, it doesn't matter whether you lie or tell the truth. You have turned his/her world upside down just by having the affair. How would you like to be told, "I am going to kill you to your face instead of hitting you from behind. I want you to know that I am being honest with you." Would that make you feel any better about dying? Would you admire your imminent killer for being honest? ("I am being killed by a virtuous person. Boy, do I admire him!" :) ) Virtues like honesty are contextual and are only admirable within the specific context.

I see nothing honorable about the honesty you mentioned in Rand's case. On the contrary, I think she used her position to manipulate the others, make them swallow what she wanted through pressuring them, and "gave her misery to them." In Objectivist terms, she insisted on sanction of the victim from Frank and Barbara so she would not have a guilty conscious. She used her "honesty" to extract that sanction. I find that disgusting and beneath her.

Think down the road a bit. Their lives were such that they had little opportunity for privacy. They didn't go out to work, they didn't engage in outside recreation, and in short they would have had little or no opportunity to do what they wanted to do discreetly and without telling their spouses, unless they lied.

That kind of honesty is necessary to prevent the degrading sort of lies that will have to be told down the road if they were to engage in an affair "secretly". Those are the lies that would have been despicable, leading to serious breaches of trust in the marriages.

I have no easy answer to how she should have gone about it. If you want my answer about honesty, it would have been far more honest (in a Rearden kind of manner) to say to the respective spouses, "I love him, I'm going to have him and there is not anything on earth you can do about it." That is Randian honesty for a situation like that, not that manipulative bill of goods she laid down on them.

Agreed! That's exactly what I meant by saying that they had an obligation to notify their spouses, but didn't have to ask permission.

But I don't admire how she went about it, how she reacted to the deception, nor how she treated her admirers about it after it was over. And "don't admire" is merely a polite way of saying what I really think.

Agreed again. Was her ego really so fragile that she couldn't confide in her friends, years later, that there had been an affair and that it ended? Why did she feel the need to "destroy" Nathaniel? And Barbara?

I'm the first to admit that "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned", but in view of the fact that the affair was pretty much dead already when it ended, why all the storm and passion? (Actually, I suspect part of it might have been that she didn't see the opportunity for an affair with anyone else ever again; that could easily lead to desperation.) An honorable woman would have refused to act on these impulses, accepted the fact that she had been rejected, thought to herself, "He rejected me for THAT?!? Is he crazy?? Oh, well, his loss." and gotten on with her life.

I could feel like that about it, too, if it weren't for the mythologized way Ayn had to see the relationship. If she could have seen it unvarnished: She was 50, a woman on the edge of hormonal decline; he was 25, brilliant, electric with sexual potency (he crackled, I imagine, from having seen him when he was 33; he still crackled then). If she could have viewed the affair as nothing more philosophically portentous than a brief fling, a conflagration while she still had the fire, if she could have not mythologized it..."Because of the logic of who we are," and all that. IMO, what made long-run disaster nearly inevitable was their all buying into Ayn's theory of sex (though Frank least so and Barbara less than Nathaniel and Ayn).

But it WASN't a casual fling. It WAS "because of the logic of who they were." She did, at first, say that the relationship probably wouldn't continue more than two years, and later, when she asked why they shouldn't continue indefinitely, he SAID he agreed. I don't object to Rand's view of sex; I'd just add to it by saying that there's MORE to it than that, usually emotional variables that make people "fill gaps", as Rocky said to Adrian.

Do you believe that if he'd just said to her -- in essence, although more tactfully than this -- "Yes, Ayn, you're too old now, and furthermore I'm having an affair with Patrecia," she would have been capable of saying, "Oh, well, then; ok; go with my blessing and we'll just be friends"?

No. I suspect she'd say, "Are you crazy?" and think much less of him. I understand completely her attitude of, "You want to leave ME for HER?!?" She thought of him as an intellectual giant, Patrecia was no intellectual giant, and she didn't understand the "gaps-filling" concept that also plays a major role in relationships. Nathaniel was apparently willing to settle for less than brilliance in a mate, when the other aspects were there, and when he could find much to admire genuinely. To her, intellect was a god and she couldn't conceive of anyone feeling otherwise. One of her failings was an inability to imagine -- or tolerate -- her friends being substantially different from her. The honorable path would have been to lose respect for him and let it go. A big part of her devastation was realizing that Nathaniel was not the man she thought he was.

As for "too old", I don't really understand what that means. If people love each other, age is not a barrier. It wasn't a barrier when they began. She was certainly a very sexual being, regardless of age, and when we love someone, we love the package in which they come. Had he loved HER, age wouldn't have been a barrier. But he no longer loved her in that way.

Judith

Edited by Judith

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No. I suspect she'd say, "Are you crazy?" and think much less of him. I understand completely her attitude of, "You want to leave ME for HER?!?" She thought of him as an intellectual giant, Patrecia was no intellectual giant, and she didn't understand the "gaps-filling" concept that also plays a major role in relationships. Nathaniel was apparently willing to settle for less than brilliance in a mate, when the other aspects were there, and when he could find much to admire genuinely. To her, intellect was a god and she couldn't conceive of anyone feeling otherwise.

Except when it came to her choice of a husband, where intellect took a back seat to looks and "sense of life."

One of her failings was an inability to imagine -- or tolerate -- her friends being substantially different from her.

Another of her apparent failings was that she couldn't imagine or tolerate recognizing that Branden was not substantially different from her in his choices of lovers, but was remarkably similar.

The honorable path would have been to lose respect for him and let it go. A big part of her devastation was realizing that Nathaniel was not the man she thought he was.

That, and maybe she realized that with Nathaniel gone, she would be left with no one but Frank, and maybe part of her recognized that, despite falling in love with Frank at first glance because he looked like her ideal hero, he was never the man she pretended him to be.

As for "too old", I don't really understand what that means. If people love each other, age is not a barrier. It wasn't a barrier when they began. She was certainly a very sexual being, regardless of age, and when we love someone, we love the package in which they come. Had he loved HER, age wouldn't have been a barrier. But he no longer loved her in that way.

That's very unrealistic. The "packages" we come in change with age. If you don't understand the reality of a younger male no longer being sexually attracted to an older female, then I guess all I can say is that you don't know what it's like to be a younger male. Then again, maybe an extreme example could illustrate the point: can you realistically imagine a beautiful 18 year old woman craving sex with a wizened 109 year old man? (I say "craving" because as a female you may not understand the requirements of erectile functionality. Unlike a female, a male must have some "craving" - some literally uncontrollable desire. A male's sexual nature doesn't include the option of demonstrating his love for his partner by just lying there and submitting, or pretending that he is aroused or has been satisfied.)

J

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No. I suspect she'd say, "Are you crazy?" and think much less of him. I understand completely her attitude of, "You want to leave ME for HER?!?" She thought of him as an intellectual giant, Patrecia was no intellectual giant, and she didn't understand the "gaps-filling" concept that also plays a major role in relationships. Nathaniel was apparently willing to settle for less than brilliance in a mate, when the other aspects were there, and when he could find much to admire genuinely. To her, intellect was a god and she couldn't conceive of anyone feeling otherwise.

Except when it came to her choice of a husband, where intellect took a back seat to looks and "sense of life."

Ah -- but she was convinced that Frank's looks and sense of life were also indicative of a great mind. Then, when she was wrong, she insisted on refusing to admit it to herself.

The honorable path would have been to lose respect for him and let it go. A big part of her devastation was realizing that Nathaniel was not the man she thought he was.

That, and maybe she realized that with Nathaniel gone, she would be left with no one but Frank, and maybe part of her recognized that, despite falling in love with Frank at first glance because he looked like her ideal hero, he was never the man she pretended him to be.

Like I said. :) In fact, she admitted as much to Nathaniel when they began their affair.

As for "too old", I don't really understand what that means. If people love each other, age is not a barrier. It wasn't a barrier when they began. She was certainly a very sexual being, regardless of age, and when we love someone, we love the package in which they come. Had he loved HER, age wouldn't have been a barrier. But he no longer loved her in that way.

That's very unrealistic. The "packages" we come in change with age. If you don't understand the reality of a younger male no longer being sexually attracted to an older female, then I guess all I can say is that you don't know what it's like to be a younger male. Then again, maybe an extreme example could illustrate the point: can you realistically imagine a beautiful 18 year old woman craving sex with a wizened 109 year old man? (I say "craving" because as a female you may not understand the requirements of erectile functionality. Unlike a female, a male must have some "craving" - some literally uncontrollable desire. A male's sexual nature doesn't include the option of demonstrating his love for his partner by just lying there and submitting, or pretending that he is aroused or has been satisfied.)

Admittedly, I've never been a male of any age. :)

Why would the desires of a younger man be different from those of a middle-aged or old man? If what you're saying is true, marriage as a long-term concept is doomed, because we will all age to the point where we no longer find each other desirable, assuming that "young" is synonymous with "desirable". Young people may find it incomprehensible that middle-aged and old people have sex, but the fact is that they do, and that they do it happily. How come?

I've seen a number of marriages between young men and middle-aged women, and between middle-aged men and old women. I find it hard to believe that there is no sex between them. The women weren't rich or famous -- just ordinary women. They seemed to me to be happily in love -- physical with each other, romantic with each other, etc. People in wheelchairs and with other physical handicaps have sex all the time. Take a look at the wedding pictures in the paper, or go to a bridal shop some time and look at the women being fitted for gowns: some of them are downright homely. How is it that they find marriage partners?

Sex is very much in the mind. If you want someone, you want the person and you don't care much about the wrapping paper. If you aren't crazy about the person anymore, all those physical things will come to bother you, and your desire won't be there. So, yes, I can certainly conceive of a beautiful 18 year old woman craving sex with a wizened 109 year old man. What's her beauty got to do with it? She's not looking at herself in bed. If he's limited in what they can do, she settles for what they CAN do, and she does it happily for the chance to be with HIM.

I believe that many, if not most, women look at relationships this way. Most men may be different, but there are some who aren't. Do you think that Rand was an irresistible object of desire at 49? At 52? She and her partner aged at the same rate. Nathaniel is a man who insists that the spiritual is far more important than the physical to him (at, for example, his point in his book that he felt no desire whatsoever for Patrecia's twin sister Leisha). He managed to perform very well with Rand at first. What changed? I have to believe that it was far more than physical; he'd seen her at her worst, they were different enough in age that he no longer found her a compatible mental or spiritual companion; etc. When those kinds of incompatibilities arise, the physical can suddently come to the forefront and assert itself as well.

Judith

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Why would the desires of a younger man be different from those of a middle-aged or old man?

They're not completely different, but a younger man generally has a better chance of attracting more attractive, younger women who are generally much more sexually appealing.

If what you're saying is true, marriage as a long-term concept is doomed, because we will all age to the point where we no longer find each other desirable, assuming that "young" is synonymous with "desirable". Young people may find it incomprehensible that middle-aged and old people have sex, but the fact is that they do, and that they do it happily. How come?

Viagra.

That and they have sex much less frequently than younger couples do. And the ravages of age usually mean that you have to settle for what you can get. A 60 year old man is much less likely than a 21 year old man to attract a gorgeous 21 year old woman. If he could attract 21 year olds, his appetite for sex would probably be much stronger with them than it is with a 60 year old woman whom he loves dearly. And he might not even need Viagra to "respond" to gorgeous 21 year olds.

I've seen a number of marriages between young men and middle-aged women, and between middle-aged men and old women. I find it hard to believe that there is no sex between them. The women weren't rich or famous -- just ordinary women. They seemed to me to be happily in love -- physical with each other, romantic with each other, etc. People in wheelchairs and with other physical handicaps have sex all the time. Take a look at the wedding pictures in the paper, or go to a bridal shop some time and look at the women being fitted for gowns: some of them are downright homely. How is it that they find marriage partners?

Sex is very much in the mind. If you want someone, you want the person and you don't care much about the wrapping paper.

You can love a person and not be, or no longer be, attracted to them sexually. In fact, you can adore someone's intellect, personality, accomplishments, wit, etc., yet be revolted by the thought of sex with them, even though you've had sex with them many times in the past.

Let's take it to the extreme. Would it be realistic to expect that Branden should have remained attracted to Rand, and preferred her over all other women, even if she was 109, and nothing was left of her but her female bits surgically attached to her brain, which was being kept alive in a jar attached to a monitor through which she could share her amazing intellect with Branden (and tell him when she was "in the mood")? If he was truly a worthy Objectivist heterosexual male giant/genius/hero who loved HER, the "wrapping paper" shouldn't matter, and he, or any other rational, healthy male, should become instantly aroused whenever he saw Rand's bits 'n' brain? And the flirting affections of a beautiful, vivacious, young actress shouldn't even be a serious temptation in comparison?

If you aren't crazy about the person anymore, all those physical things will come to bother you, and your desire won't be there. So, yes, I can certainly conceive of a beautiful 18 year old woman craving sex with a wizened 109 year old man. What's her beauty got to do with it? She's not looking at herself in bed. If he's limited in what they can do, she settles for what they CAN do, and she does it happily for the chance to be with HIM.

I don't think that's at all realistic. There may be exceptions, just as there are people who would enjoy being with the 109 year old man after he died, but it's very rare that 18 year old hotties hook up with old geezers because they crave sex with them. Most May/December relationships are based on little more than gold digging.

What's her beauty got to do with it? Her beauty can get her any young stud who is salivating at the idea of being with her. In reality, beautiful young women prefer handsome young men to 109 year old coots. Human beings are attracted to physical beauty, and they are sexually revolted by almost-corpses, regardless of how charming the almost-corpses are.

I believe that many, if not most, women look at relationships this way. Most men may be different, but there are some who aren't. Do you think that Rand was an irresistible object of desire at 49? At 52?

Personally, I don't think that I would have ever been sexually attracted to Rand, regardless of her age, and regardless of her intellect and talents. Helen Mirren, who played Rand in the movie version of Passion, is another story. I think she has held up extremely well, and may be a good example of how quickly the switch can shift to the "off" position. Five years ago I thought that she was more sexually appealing that a lot of 30 year olds. I'm much less inclined to feel that way with each passing year.

She and her partner aged at the same rate. Nathaniel is a man who insists that the spiritual is far more important than the physical to him (at, for example, his point in his book that he felt no desire whatsoever for Patrecia's twin sister Leisha). He managed to perform very well with Rand at first. What changed? I have to believe that it was far more than physical; he'd seen her at her worst, they were different enough in age that he no longer found her a compatible mental or spiritual companion; etc. When those kinds of incompatibilities arise, the physical can suddently come to the forefront and assert itself as well.

I agree with that. I'm sure it was more than just physical issues that made Rand less appealing. And it probably also involved constant comparisons to happy, beautiful Patrecia. "Little" Corporal Nat was probably naturally eager to stand at attention, and ready to invade, whenever sweet, young Patrecia was around, where he probably wanted to go AWOL frequently and needed a lot of convincing to find much enthusiasm for rote exercises when dreary old Rand was around.

Sexual response is a complex combination of things, including, no doubt, who the partner is as a human being. But that doesn't mean that the "wrapping paper" is, or should be, irrelevant. In many cases, it's a deciding factor, and I see no reason to expect that it shouldn't be.

J

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If what you're saying is true, marriage as a long-term concept is doomed, because we will all age to the point where we no longer find each other desirable, assuming that "young" is synonymous with "desirable". Young people may find it incomprehensible that middle-aged and old people have sex, but the fact is that they do, and that they do it happily. How come?

Viagra.

That and they have sex much less frequently than younger couples do. And the ravages of age usually mean that you have to settle for what you can get. A 60 year old man is much less likely than a 21 year old man to attract a gorgeous 21 year old woman. If he could attract 21 year olds, his appetite for sex would probably be much stronger with them than it is with a 60 year old woman whom he loves dearly. And he might not even need Viagra to "respond" to gorgeous 21 year olds.

So if I understand you correctly, any woman over the age of 60, and perhaps even over the age of 50, who gets married should assume, even as a newlywed, that her mate has "settled" for her, and that, given the chance, he'd much rather be with someone else?

And if I understand you correctly, any time a couple ages together, the woman should assume that her husband would much rather be sleeping with someone their daughter's or granddaughter's age, but it's only his own lack of attractiveness and self-confidence that's preventing it?

Essentially, you're saying that no man in his right mind, of any age, would WANT to sleep with a woman over the age of 60, and that if he does, he's either "settling" or using the woman with the help of Viagra?

Christ, I'm 47. If you're really right, maybe I'd be better off just jumping off a bridge....

You can love a person and not be, or no longer be, attracted to them sexually. In fact, you can adore someone's intellect, personality, accomplishments, wit, etc., yet be revolted by the thought of sex with them, even though you've had sex with them many times in the past.

That, I do not understand. I can understand everything you say up to the point of "even though you've had sex with them many times in the past"; of course we don't want to sleep with everyone we like and admire. And I can understand feeling revulsion at the thought of sleeping with someone you've slept with before if your love or admiration for them has disappeared or morphed into something else. But putting the two together? It doesn't make sense to me; it doesn't ring true.

Let's take it to the extreme. Would it be realistic to expect that Branden should have remained attracted to Rand, and preferred her over all other women, even if she was 109, and nothing was left of her but her female bits surgically attached to her brain, which was being kept alive in a jar attached to a monitor through which she could share her amazing intellect with Branden (and tell him when she was "in the mood")? If he was truly a worthy Objectivist heterosexual male giant/genius/hero who loved HER, the "wrapping paper" shouldn't matter, and he, or any other rational, healthy male, should become instantly aroused whenever he saw Rand's bits 'n' brain? And the flirting affections of a beautiful, vivacious, young actress shouldn't even be a serious temptation in comparison?

I can only speak for myself, in saying that some funny-looking, middle-aged and older men have turned my head and made me think that I'd like to rip their clothes off, and that many conventionally-attractive young men have led me to a detached physical admiration but no desire whatsoever to act on it because what's behind the eyes leaves me cold. The "flirting affections of a beautiful, vivacious, young actor" would be no temptation to me whatsoever -- I'm simply not interested if there's a funny-looking, middle-aged or older man around in whose PERSON I am very much interested.

I don't think that's at all realistic. There may be exceptions, just as there are people who would enjoy being with the 109 year old man after he died, but it's very rare that 18 year old hotties hook up with old geezers because they crave sex with them. Most May/December relationships are based on little more than gold digging.

We're not talking about statistics here. It only takes two people to make a relationship, if they find each other. When they do, they don't much care about what others think.

What's her beauty got to do with it? Her beauty can get her any young stud who is salivating at the idea of being with her. In reality, beautiful young women prefer handsome young men to 109 year old coots. Human beings are attracted to physical beauty, and they are sexually revolted by almost-corpses, regardless of how charming the almost-corpses are.

Of course we're attracted to beauty. But if we're sensible, we don't limit the pool of potential romantic partners to the beautiful, because if we do, we're likely to miss some excellent possibilities. I've said in other posts on this board that I've never once fallen in love with a man I found physically beautiful. They were all either funny-looking or unremarkable until I fell in love with them; then, whoever or whatever they were, they were the most beautiful men in the world to me. And I wouldn't have been willing to trade them for more beautiful or younger men under any circumstances.

Sexual response is a complex combination of things, including, no doubt, who the partner is as a human being. But that doesn't mean that the "wrapping paper" is, or should be, irrelevant. In many cases, it's a deciding factor, and I see no reason to expect that it shouldn't be.

I can't disagree with this statement. There are certain physicalisms that are show-stoppers to each of us. I just don't understand someone who can go into a relationship and, part-way through, decide that the physical is a show-stopper. If it was a show-stopper, why did the relationship happen in the first place? Was it unforeseeable? Unlikely. There have been men who have left their wives after the wife was disfigured in an accident, and other men have taken those women as mates with humble gratitude for their availability, because they loved the woman and not the face. (Case in point: read Leola May Harmon's "Why Me?")

Being extremely beautiful and being extremely ugly are both handicaps, because they prevent many others from seeing the person instead of the package. Most of us are simply ordinary-looking, and it's probably a good thing.

Judith

Edited by Judith

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So if I understand you correctly, any woman over the age of 60, and perhaps even over the age of 50, who gets married should assume, even as a newlywed, that her mate has "settled" for her, and that, given the chance, he'd much rather be with someone else?

And if I understand you correctly, any time a couple ages together, the woman should assume that her husband would much rather be sleeping with someone their daughter's or granddaughter's age, but it's only his own lack of attractiveness and self-confidence that's preventing it?

Essentially, you're saying that no man in his right mind, of any age, would WANT to sleep with a woman over the age of 60, and that if he does, he's either "settling" or using the woman with the help of Viagra?

Welcome to the real world, lady.

That, I do not understand. I can understand everything you say up to the point of "even though you've had sex with them many times in the past"; of course we don't want to sleep with everyone we like and admire. And I can understand feeling revulsion at the thought of sleeping with someone you've slept with before if your love or admiration for them has disappeared or morphed into something else. But putting the two together? It doesn't make sense to me; it doesn't ring true.

Oh, but it is true. Too many wrinkles and flabbiness, and we can't rise to the occasion. It's just hardwired in our brain. Closing your eyes and thinking of someone else may help temporarily.

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So if I understand you correctly, any woman over the age of 60, and perhaps even over the age of 50, who gets married should assume, even as a newlywed, that her mate has "settled" for her, and that, given the

chance, he'd much rather be with someone else?

And if I understand you correctly, any time a couple ages together, the woman should assume that her husband would much rather be sleeping with someone their daughter's or granddaughter's age, but it's only his own lack of attractiveness and self-confidence that's preventing it?

Essentially, you're saying that no man in his right mind, of any age, would WANT to sleep with a woman over the age of 60, and that if he does, he's either "settling" or using the woman with the help of Viagra?

Welcome to the real world, lady.

That, I do not understand. I can understand everything you say up to the point of "even though you've had sex with them many times in the past"; of course we don't want to sleep with everyone we like and admire. And I can understand feeling revulsion at the thought of sleeping with someone you've slept with before if your love or admiration for them has disappeared or morphed into something else. But putting the two together? It doesn't make sense to me; it doesn't ring true.

Oh, but it is true. Too many wrinkles and flabbiness, and we can't rise to the occasion. It's just hardwired in our brain. Closing your eyes and thinking of someone else may help temporarily.

Oh, dear me, though I'm the one who raised the issue of AR's being "too old" for NB by the time she wanted to resume the affair, no, it isn't the case that "no man in his right mind, of any age, would WANT to sleep with a woman over the age of 60 [etc.]." I do have some first-hand evidence -- including my own marital partner's state of desire -- on this score.

None of which is to say that AR -- by the time she wanted to resume the affair -- would have been inticing (if she would have been, without WHO she was, earlier). Along with the age differential, which grows more significant with passing years, she didn't maintain herself in good shape; and she nagged ("Why can't you be spontaneous?" for instance.) And, and...

Ellen S.

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... Along with the age differential, which grows more significant with passing years...

The age differential grows less significant with passing years. Both parties are aging. If Person A is 15 years old and Person B is 30 years old, B is two times as old as A. Fast forward 50 years, and Person A is 65, and Person B is 80. B is 1.23 times as old as A: LESS significant.

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The problems in the Rand/Branden affair remind me a little bit of the problems suffered in the relationship between Ralph Fiennes and Francesca Annis, two really terrific people. Anyway, here's a link from a year and a half ago about that:

Ralph Fiennes and Francesca Annis

It's not an uncommon problem with these kind of age gaps and something that needs to be faced clear-eyed by both parties in a relationship.

Jim

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... Along with the age differential, which grows more significant with passing years...

The age differential grows less significant with passing years. Both parties are aging. If Person A is 15 years old and Person B is 30 years old, B is two times as old as A. Fast forward 50 years, and Person A is 65, and Person B is 80. B is 1.23 times as old as A: LESS significant.

LOL. Talk about switching the context from sexual appeal to straightforward mathematical ratios. I'll state the point this way, Laure: In general, a woman of 50 has much better chances of being sexually appealing to a man of 25 than a woman of 60 has of being sexually appealing to a man of 35.

Ellen

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Welcome to the real world, lady.

I'm beginning to wonder who is living in a fantasy world and who is looking at reality. Men SAY this kind all the time -- but look at what they DO.

I've seen older women avidly pursued by men substantially their junior, for no reason I could possibly imagine -- no looks, no personality, no money, not interested in sex -- and wondered just what it was they had.

Makes a person wonder.

The problems in the Rand/Branden affair remind me a little bit of the problems suffered in the relationship between Ralph Fiennes and Francesca Annis, two really terrific people. Anyway, here's a link from a year and a half ago about that:

Ralph Fiennes and Francesca Annis

Holy smoke. When I looked at the photo of them together, I assumed that the age gap was the other way. She looks fantastic, and he looks aging and frayed around the edges.

Judith

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Holy smoke. When I looked at the photo of them together, I assumed that the age gap was the other way. She looks fantastic, and he looks aging and frayed around the edges.

Judith

I agree, Judith. When they first got together Francesca was 50 and she was absolutely gorgeous. The press asked Ralph what it was like to be in love with an older woman. Ralph said "I'm not in love with an older woman, I'm in love with Francesca."

Jim

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So if I understand you correctly, any woman over the age of 60, and perhaps even over the age of 50, who gets married should assume, even as a newlywed, that her mate has "settled" for her, and that, given the chance, he'd much rather be with someone else?

I'm saying that older people will generally be less sexually appealing than younger ones. Pretty is usually much more tantalizing than ugly. Wrinkly and saggy is more likely to be a turn off than taut and smooth. Significantly overweight or underweight is usually more displeasing than physically fit.

I'm also saying that male sexual response can depend on these things, and that a man can have no control over it. The bone has a will of its own.

J

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I'm saying that older people will generally be less sexually appealing than younger ones. Pretty is usually much more tantalizing than ugly. Wrinkly and saggy is more likely to be a turn off than taut and smooth. Significantly overweight or underweight is usually more displeasing than physically fit.

Flesh is flesh is flesh. As long as it's warm and alive and functioning.... If an outer space alien came to Earth, it probably wouldn't be able to tell us apart. It's amazing how much importance we place on such minor differences.

I'm also saying that male sexual response can depend on these things, and that a man can have no control over it. The bone has a will of its own.

Oh, admittedly. I've heard of stallions who will cover only mares of a certain color. Funny thing is, though, in the rest of the animal kingdom age doesn't seem to be one of those factors that cause individuals to discriminate among members of the opposite sex, as far as I've seen or heard. It's only among humans.

Judith

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For the record, I can easily replace the word Objectivism with 'Islam, and I find that my answers remain the same, because the same morality applies.

1. For an Objectivist, lying to an enemy of Objectivism is

__ Morally impermissible

X Morally permissible

__ Morally obligatory

(That depends on whether I believe the other party has the right to an honest answer; and actually I would use this criterion whether the other party was an enemy or not. Assuming the enemy of Objectivism has asked a question to which I do not see that she/he is entitled an answer, I will refuse to answer or lie with a clean conscience. But if an enemy of Objectivism asks me, "Is it safe to fly on that plane?" then I would not feel justified in lying, if I knew that the plane was the target of a bombing.)

2. For an Objectivist, lying about an enemy of Objectivism is

X Morally impermissible

__ Morally permissible

__ Morally obligatory

(If I am wrong and the enemy is right, I should be ashamed to lie about him/her. If I am right and the enemy is wrong, then why would I lie about her/him? In that second case, telling the truth is PRECISELY the step to take.)

3. For an Objectivist, withholding credit for an accomplishment by an enemy of Objectivism is

X Morally impermissible

__ Morally permissible

__ Morally obligatory

(This is how Hank Rearden's enemies behaved. Should we emulate them?)

4. For an Objectivist, publishing the private communications of an enemy of Objectivism without consent is

X Morally impermissible

__ Morally permissible

__ Morally obligatory

(This sits on a border with me: Diana Hsieh has written me an E-mail in which she writes me off as being un-interested in the truth. Do I have the right to make this public? But if I did, I would feel morally obliged to make the whole truth available.)

5. For an Objectivist, rewriting history to remove an enemy of Objectivism from the narrative is

X Morally impermissible

__ Morally permissible

__ Morally obligatory

(No dilemma to decide. Rewriting history can be morally done, on the grounds that we have new evidence to show that what was written in the history books is wrong. Rewriting it to re-evaluate a person can also be morally done, assuming there is a factual basis for this which must be proven and not presumed. But even in such a case, to "remove an enemy...from the narrative" is a form of lying.)

6. For an Objectivist, taking credit for the achievement of an enemy of Objectivism is

X Morally impermissible

__ Morally permissible

__ Morally obligatory

(Again, to behave this way is to behave like an enemy of Objectivism, like Toohey or any of his spiritual brethren.)

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Remember that, to a true believer, "enemies of Objectivism" lurk everywhere.

Even members of the Leonard Peikoff Institute who side with the wrong faction may qualify as enemies of Objectivism.

Robert Campbell

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Robert: that is a valid point.

By "enemy of Objectivism" I mean "someone who actively persecutes others for holding or sharing Objectivist ideas". The man who tells me Ayn Rand was a fool is not necessarily an "enemy of Objectivism". But the man who tries to send Leonard Peikoff to jail on false charges, because of his ideas, is an enemy of Objectivism.

In fact, assuming the 2nd case were actually happening: we should all rally to Peikoff's defence. I'm not saying he deserves our help. I am only reminding us of the obvious: the man who is out to get Peikoff for Objectivism today could be coming after us tomorrow.

Edited by C. Jordan

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If Leonard Peikoff were being Nifonged (with any justice, this will become the preferred expression for "maliciously prosecuted on false charges"), of course I would come to his defense. The same would apply if he were being subjected to some kind of political persecution.

But I am not aware of any ways in which Dr. Peikoff is presently being persecuted on account of his philosophical views.

Meanwhile, Dr. Peikoff and his acolytes devote considerable effort to denouncing people who merely disagree with them as "enemies of Objectivism."

Robert Campbell

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... Along with the age differential, which grows more significant with passing years...

The age differential grows less significant with passing years. Both parties are aging. If Person A is 15 years old and Person B is 30 years old, B is two times as old as A. Fast forward 50 years, and Person A is 65, and Person B is 80. B is 1.23 times as old as A: LESS significant.

Lim (x -> infinity) ( x/x+n ) = 1

Ba'al Chatzaf

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As I read the posts and comments in this forum and in other venues I can't help but think what the fog of history will be like a few hundred years from now.  

 

Today we still have people who knew Rand firsthand, and anyone can read any number of her available materials themselves without the lens of another's mind.  Additionally we have a growing body of commentary, interpretation, compilation, and due to technology a huge and growing body of commentary on social sites which, though we may dismiss much of it now, will be found invaluable I'm sure by historians in a future age.  Despite this availability of firsthand acquaintance with the author and the availability of accurate reproduction of Rand's words...   we are already experiencing that historical fog.

How will future historians struggle to separate fact from fiction just a few generations from now?

It leads me to think that true objectivist life can be a hard taskmaster and that irrationality can be as difficult to doff as tar and feathers.

Regarding the test, except in cases where I am subject to force or fraud meant to separate me from my value(s), I find it morally impermissible to lie.  It is certainly impermissible to lie in order to gain.

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On 6/24/2007 at 6:51 PM, Judith said:

despite falling in love with Frank at first glance because he looked like her ideal hero, he was never the man she pretended him to be.

I never bought that. She needed him to stay in the US, instead of being sent back to Russia.

 

2 hours ago, Mike DeBurgh said:

How will future historians struggle to separate fact from fiction just a few generations from now?

With little interest, I should think. How carefully does anyone examine Paine today? or the private life of Rousseau? (yawn)

Future generations will be interested in living authors of their time, conversations about ethics when birth and death are no longer as we understand it. Just a guess. Rand was a child of the Romantic era, a European, enthusiastic witness to the Industrial Iron Age that ended decades ago. It's nice that we gather around the old fires, to celebrate the years of our youth, when telephones (and telegrams!) were high tech.

Certainly, there are "eternal" questions about the validity of the senses and the utility of predicate logic, but Rand's body of work is frozen in time, had nothing to say about global trade and truly astonishing entitlements. Eight years of Obama - then a TV star! A wireless telephone made in China that's 10,000x more powerful than a Univac, with a built-in camera as good as 35mm movie film. Passenger rail and newsprint all but gone.

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3 hours ago, Mike DeBurgh said:

As I read the posts and comments in this forum and in other venues I can't help but think what the fog of history will be like a few hundred years from now. 

 

Today we still have people who knew Rand firsthand, and anyone can read any number of her available materials themselves without the lens of another's mind.  Additionally we have a growing body of commentary, interpretation, compilation, and due to technology a huge and growing body of commentary on social sites which, though we may dismiss much of it now, will be found invaluable I'm sure by historians in a future age.  Despite this availability of firsthand acquaintance with the author and the availability of accurate reproduction of Rand's words...   we are already experiencing that historical fog.

How will future historians struggle to separate fact from fiction just a few generations from now?

It leads me to think that true objectivist life can be a hard taskmaster and that irrationality can be as difficult to doff as tar and feathers.

Regarding the test, except in cases where I am subject to force or fraud meant to separate me from my value(s), I find it morally impermissible to lie.  It is certainly impermissible to lie in order to gain.

You will find it so until you find it not so for reasons sufficient to you. This is morality from the inside out, not existentially imposed.

The more government gets in the way the more people lie their way around it.

I did some lying in the army. I lied my way into Special Forces. The recruiter wanted me to lie so he could get his quota. We both knew we were dealing with some bureaucratic horseshit. Two years later I was an SF Aidman on an A-Team in the Mekong Delta being shot at. The attrition rate for my MOS was 2 out of 3. That was then. Today there is much less need for lying to get things done. That's because the military needs more brains--to get things done. Brain work and lying don't go too good together. However, the basic military structure is still socialistic and runs on discipline. In the military you are up to your neck in bed with the government, the officers most of all. The government is focused on the officers and the officers are focused on the non-commissioned officers who actually make it all go. The junior enlisted men (and women) don't really understand how good they have it with all those degrees of separation. Those poor junior officers--they have to salute everybody!

The young army officer met a crusty master sergeant going the other way. He wasn't saluted. "Sergeant, why didn't you salute me?"

"Field grade and up only son."

--Brant

I saluted Westmoreland and helped take care of Eisenhower and experienced Objectivism and Rand in NYC in the 60s and 70s--Objectivism then was an entire powerful culture unto itself--until "the break" of '68, then it lived on the great inertia Rand was still capable of supporting for a few more years, especially with her Ayn Rand Letter and Ford Hall Forum appearances in Boston (I went 7 straight years, '68 to '74)

I met Rand (once)--don't want to talk about it--was a friend of Barbara Branden and friendly with Nathaniel Branden who was my psychotherapist for one year ('75-'76)

Rand was willful

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7 hours ago, Brant Gaede said:

Ford Hall Forum appearances in Boston (I went 7 straight years, '68 to '74)

I met Rand (once)--don't want to talk about it--was a friend of Barbara Branden and friendly with Nathaniel Branden who was my psychotherapist for one year ('75-'76)

 

We were in the same room   six times.

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On ‎5‎/‎29‎/‎2017 at 7:46 AM, BaalChatzaf said:

We were in the same room   six times.

Are you a stalker? joke.

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