CNA

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No pun intended Angie, but it is a pleasure to know you! lol

Actually, my friend makes beautiful beds from scratch with either a swing type device or a device that can elevate one of the individuals which can permit all sorts of openness and alleviate some of the morphological issues people are told they are supposed to have.

Geez, more people, spend more time creating walls to satisfaction either intellectual, sexual etc.

Go figure.

Glad you agree.

Adam

The pleasure is all mine!! ;) That's a whole other subject and all the little goodies they have for even the mildest of play to the more extreme. :o Being where I live, there is hardly ever a short supply. LOL Believe it or not and as I recently found out from a friend, Wal-Mart of all places sells sex toys. I couldn't hardly believe it when she told me what she found there, cock rings, ticklers, etc. Woohoo!!! new place to shop. LMAO It's interesting because the sex shops are broken up into lifestyle preferences or sexual turn ons. The milder shops don't carry the more extreme aspects. And the bondage, D/s stores don't carry products of the milder forms. Interestingly enough, the bondage and D/s shops are mostly in areas where the population is that of the homosexual community and these shops are always fun to go into and explore and sometimes you walk out with OMG, YIKES, that was funnier than hell....some way extreme practices and some quite scary and amazed that there are people that dabble in it. Serious yikes.

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Angie:

There is a good D/s club in NY City called Paddles.

Clean. Well supervised. Great ice cream bar. Lots of demos.

However, some of the kink that floats peoples libidos dumbfounds me. The saran wrap mummification and the intricate Japanese rope bondage and suspension is downright scary.

The costuming and role playing kink is weird to say the least.

Who woulda thunk - kinky play toys come to Wall-mart!

Isn't freedom fascinating.

lol.

Adam

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Angie:

There is a good D/s club in NY City called Paddles.

Clean. Well supervised. Great ice cream bar. Lots of demos.

However, some of the kink that floats peoples libidos dumbfounds me. The saran wrap mummification and the intricate Japanese rope bondage and suspension is downright scary.

The costuming and role playing kink is weird to say the least.

Who woulda thunk - kinky play toys come to Wall-mart!

Isn't freedom fascinating.

lol.

Adam

I know there's many places out in Hollywood that cater into that aspect. I hesitate and cringe to think of demos at such a club. Yikes. Eek, heavy sanitizer please, hell, dump some bleach on it while you're at it and any other chemical that you can find. I would never be interested in such a club other than to observe to further my own understanding and to talk to gain further insight.

Yeah, I know what you're saying. Some of it there's just too much risk involved. Some of the costumes I have to chuckle at. Depends on what role playing you're interested in, say for instance the whole doctor nurse thing or doctor patient deal...just sitting here thinking about it, I can't help but giggle. There would be no way I could get through it without busting a gut laughing so hard. BUT there are aspects of it, depending on who you are and what tickles your fancy, that can be rather erotic and fun...leather corsets and such. I can see the typical nurse's outfit but to actually role play and to take it seriously, just so not going to happen. And the whole guy thing dressed up in leather...OMG, just doesn't work at all. A woman, yes, I can see that. There's a movie I watched a few years ago that was so-so interesting and touched on the whole bondage, D/s deal. It's called Secretary with James Spader. http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0274812/ If you ever get a chance, watch it. It's a romance comedy type deal and not necessarily a movie for everyone.

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Angie:

I just got to see it last year. It was a more than decent treatment of the concept of submission. Quite well done. It actually had a plot!

The whole leather thing with the men is so not there to me also, but being a life long NY City boy - Greenwich Village is a walking male leather display on any weekend!

One of the role playing costumes that, frankly, grosses me out is the infantilization role with some 220 pound construction worker in a diaper with a pacifier in his mouth ...just cannot help but choking with laughter.

Adam

Edited by Selene

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Angie:

I just got to see it last year. It was a more than decent treatment of the concept of submission. Quite well done. It actually had a plot!

The whole leather thing with the men is so not there to me also, but being a life long NY City boy - Greenwich Village is a walking male leather display on any weekend!

One of the role playing costumes that, frankly, grosses me out is the infantilization role with some 220 pound construction worker in a diaper with a pacifier in his mouth ...just cannot help but choking with laughter.

Adam

Some of the aspects of the movie I didn't particularly care for too much. Main one being is that their D/s relationship spanned outside of the bedroom which I would have had some issues with. Context is everything and can be playfully done when done outside of the bedroom but there are always limits. Of course, this is dependent on the couple and to what extent they want to take it. One area of the movie that also didn't sit well for me was at the very end where she was sitting at her desk for days on end, not moving from this spot, and ultimately peed on herself. Given my personality, at times outspoken, can be abrasive, etc., the character in the movie played by James would have had his hands full with me. LOL BUT there are other aspects of the movie that I found to be very erotic. It's quite funny because sometimes when I see movie trailers; such as, one I saw with Robert Downey Jr in Sherlock Homes where he is handcuffed to the bed and a pillow strategically placed...it's like, *phew* my, oh, my, it just got kinda hot in here all of a sudden. LMAO

That visual of the 220 pound construction worker is what nightmares are made up of. YUCK. Yeah, that is just really so not right, at least for me. Wow, what words to come up with for such a situation as that. I knew a guy, not involved with him, just friends for a very long time that was heavy heavy into it. It was always interesting to talk with him. As I got to know him more, just not entirely comfortable with him and something there that I just couldn't put my finger on and identify and that I found to be truly disturbing. But some of the things he would tell me about was quite unsettling and unfortunately never got into the details as to why. I've always found it fascinating to talk with people about the most intimate aspects of their lives, areas they wouldn't tell anyone else. Something I have always been very good at and that is getting people very comfortable with me and able to discuss their secrets if you will. I'm not there to judge, although I have to admit I do, it gives me further insight and understanding of human sexuality and the individual.

My old friend that was a sex addict began to open up to me and sharing aspects of his life that he had never shared with anyone else and unfortunately I ripped him a new asshole and slammed him harder than what I probably should have in what he was sharing with me. I think I was more appalled and offended in what he was attempting to portray himself as which was as an O'ist and very familiar with Rand. We were friends for a long time before he opened up about the sex addiction. He shared aspects of his life and his desires that were disturbing beyond what I had ever imagined him to be. Upon hearing this and then all the contradictions and hypocrisy of who he was and trying so hard to portray himself as rational and the good, very well educated man, I went off on him. Words hard to find but was utterly floored and amazed. At any rate, I nailed him so hard and after that he completely shut down on me which is understandable. An allergic reaction to me no doubt. It did affect our friendship for a number of years after that. We still talk about it at times but I am very careful in broaching the subject with him. If he brings it up, I'll reiterate to him that he knows what I think about it; that I still care about him as a friend and to please be careful. That usually ends the conversation.

One of the benefits though in talking about your sexuality is that it helps others to be comfortable with who they are, what they like; that there is no shame in it. I don't mind talking about some of mine. I'm very comfortable with my sexuality, what I like, who I am, and so forth and that I honestly really don't care what others think and that they can pretty much kiss my ass if they have an issue with my sexuality, my comfort level with who I am and my being able to talk about it openly without worrying about what others think. It in turn usually makes them comfortable enough to open up about theirs and shows them that it's not so taboo as society makes it out to be. I am by no means ashamed of it and neither should they. But then again, I should also say, I've known some people that were into some of the scarier aspects of it and an eyebrow raiser and understand their secrecy or wanting to keep it behind the scenes and not so public.

Angie

Edited by CNA

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There is no question that there are Objectivists who are fanatic about the philosophy and yet they do not understand some of its most basic tenets, such as the requirement to think for yourself.

Charles,

First of all, my apologies for not replying sooner to your post. My reply post sat in my drafts file, with me adding here and there but never getting it finished.

Thank you very much for taking the time to reply in detail to my post and addressig my points and questions.

It would be a very un-Objectivist approach to simply ask "What would Ayn Rand do or think and I will do and think that."

But wasn't that what many of her followers did? Maybe you were unaffected by it, but from what I have read, many elevated her to guru status, for example started smoking because she advocated it, or hid their homosexuality because she thought of it as "disgusting".

I would never have been interested in such a philosophy at the age of 17, or even at the age of 12. The philosophy itself argues against followers, yet there are plenty of followers anyway. There are for any striking philosophy and surprising numbers are cultists. But, this is not a fault of the philosophy. It is a fault of human failing.

Imo it is both.

Isn't prescribing a "one set for all" of so-called "objective values" for "life proper to man" the very opposite of individualism? Other ideologies, be it catholicism or marxism - they too present a catalog of alleged objective values and claim to know exactly how "life proper to man" has to look like ...

Atlas Shrugged is a great novel.

It is dramatization of some major ethical and political issues with some fascinating heroic characters. I get a great joy from reading the sections on the heroes myself, though I have a busy life and I have never read the novel 40 times.

For me one time was more than enough. I found plowing through it mostly tedious, with Galt's speech sticking out like a verbose 'atheroma'.

In terms of the plot - although I was curious to find out where all these people vanished, when it turned out they had chosen the 'brave new world' of Galt's gulch, I lost every interest in it.

For that 'Pleasantville-like' place populated by Galt clones was just too surrealistic to be true.

Rearden, D'Anconia and Galt are odd birds too. Rearden obviously has problems sexually relating to women, either putting them on a pedestal or wanting to drag them down.

Rand basically rehashed the old cliché here, where women are seen either as to be worshipped or dragged down, as "madonna or whore".

'Peeping John' Galt is very weird in clandestinely stalking Dagny for twelve years, and his following her every move made me think of a voyeur.

Needless to say, Galt has no sexual relationship with any other woman during all these years, and (no surprise either) D'Anconia lives like a monk as well during all his 'playboy' years.

So, despite their obsession with the heroine, in a way, all three are strangely devoid of sexuality.

Indeed, it has now been decades since the last time I read it from start to finish. But one of the key things that many people miss about Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead is that they are very unique novels and there is no proper way to judge them except in their own terms. They are criticized for not developing moral shades of gray in the characters with the same wealth of effort that some novels do which focus on only that. But this criticism is off base given Rand's purpose.

But isn't judging a novel in its own terms actually circular reasoning?

This is what e. g. Jehova's Witnesses do when asked how they know what the Bible says is true.

They then quote a Bible scripture as alleged proof of truth. Circle closed. They can't move out of their world.

With some fervent Randites, one can observe the same phenomeneon. They quote from Galt's speech like theists quote from Jesus' Sermon on the Mountain.

A wedding couple actually decided to use Atlas Shrugged instead of the Bible at their wedding ceremony.

I also do not believe it is a central theme of either novel to prescribe effective sexual behavior for the maintenance of a marriage or even a long-term relationship.

It is not the central theme but Rand's theory of sex certainly plays a major role. The superman-like hero choosing as mate a heroine with equal "rational values", whatever Rand's idea of 'rational' was ...

John Galt, AS, p. 1022: "Happiness is possible only to a rational man, the man who desires nothing but ratioal goals, seeks nothing but but rational values, and finds joy in nothing but rational actions."

This statement implies that Rand considered considered sex as a 'rational' action.

Rearden and Lillian had a failed marriage from the beginning.

In AS it says Rearden lost sexual interest in Lilian after one week already. If memory serves, it was the merely the 'challenge of the conquest' which made him want to marry her. What chance did Lilian have in such a union? None.

Rearden and Dagny have a relationship which Dagny never looks upon as more than a loving affair. Rand liked dramatic events and dramatic characters. I enjoy these characters, but I was already much of what I wanted to be at 17 and I was hardly looking to radically reinvent myself as a Randian hero. I loved them, but I love me more. I never believed that Objectivism required me or anyone to copy Rand's heroes. They were dramatic representations of some points she wanted to make. I took them as such. For me, I am my own hero and I find other heroes in history and occasionally in life about me. A novel is not the real world, though it may try to be. Rand did not actually try to make her novels real. She dealt with real issues, but still her novel worlds were not real. I accepted that and ran with it. It is a good thing to be able to deal with complex issues both in the concretes and the abstracts. Now this is difficult for many people to do. But Rand as a novelist is actually very abstract, and in some ways very concrete. But there is a very complex interweave of the two and I think few people can sort them out.

But Rand did claim realism, despite the surrealistic elements in AS. Like another poster said it so well, AS is a non-fiction treatise disguised as novel.

Our individual sexualities are very capable of great complexity and are extremely differentiated. There is no significant likelihood that any author I might like will have a sexuality that matches mine. Rand's is clearly very different than mine, but that does not make me despise it. In fact, it is interesting, just not quite shared. It is not vanilla. Scratch that, I love vanilla ice cream! Rand's sexuality is not for everyone. Fine. Mine is not either. I do not wish to impose my sexuality on anyone else. It would not work for many, because they are not me. We must not forget the individuality of man or woman. This should be obvious to an Objectivist, but it is not to many who think of themselves as Objectivists.

I can see your point. What sexually turns people on is their own businsess. But Rand did not did not leave it at that. She had an ideological agenda, presenting her heroes as man should be, which involved their sexuality as well.

The violent sexual encounters described in AS outnumber those few encounters where violence is not present.

The degree of violence is carried to the point of bleeding, it involves things like arm-twisting, elbows deliberately knocked in the face, etc., and downright sexual assault in The Fountainhead.

Sorry, but I am not a great fan of monogamy.

The idea that jealousy is a virtue that goes with it makes no sense to me.

Where did I say that jealousy is a "virtue"? To avoid possible misunderstanding: My position is that there exist no objective values or virtues.

One look at the many moral values and virtues thought of as "objective" in former times (virginity for example), is ample illustration of that.

But, from the point of empathy, I can understand, merely by putting myself into Frank's and Barbara's shoes, that they would feel hurt, despite agreeing to it. One can agree to an arrangement and still be very unhappy about it.

Frankly, who would just sit there and have no feelings of jealousy and pain when one's partner tells them they have a lover?

In a hypothetical scenario, would you stay calm and say to your wife "I feel so happy for you?" Like Rearden and D'Anconia, who seemed to have no problem with Dagny discarding them for Galt?

I do not have a problem with Rand and Branden as lovers.

This is easily said when the situation does not involve one's own person. It sure was a problem for Barbara and Frank, who suffered a lot. Barbara B. spoke of an "ugly tangle of deceit and emotional savagery and pain" following the disastrous "arragement".

Since they wanted to hide the affair to the public, they persuaded Frank to agree to the sexual encounters taking place in his own bedroom. Don't you think of this as a very humiliating situation for Frank?

I do think Rand should have been prepared to graciously leave Branden when the time came, as it was bound to given the age difference.

While at the beginning of the affair, Rand announced that she would do just that, when the time came she seemed to have forgotten about it.

That Rand was blind enough to present her wanting a sexual affair with NB as a "rational" decision reflects the problematic of the whole Objectivist philosophy: purely emotional decisions were called 'rational', and those disagreeing were accused of having 'irrational' arguments.

But, it does not diminish the magnitude of Rand's work for me. I am very grateful for all she did, including ITOE.

Imo ITOE is a very chaotic and confusing work.

For example, Rand believed that love can be 'measured', thinking that terms like 'affection', 'tenderness' etc. had comparable objective quality as degrees have on a measuring scale. :rolleyes:

Edited by Xray

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Very simply Atlas Shrugged is plot and ideology driven--and driven right over actual human psychology and this was disastrously transliterated into real human lives. If you are going to submerge yourself into creating a novel for 13 years weird things are likely to happen to you and the consequences permanent.

--Brant

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Yes, Ms. Xray, of course you are correct, as always. Rand was an imbecile thinking that love can be measured....

Imo ITOE is a very chaotic and confusing work.

For example, Rand believed that love can be 'measured', thinking that terms like 'affection', 'tenderness' etc. had comparable objective quality as degrees have on a measuring scale. :rolleyes:

Except for the fact that you are, once again, incorrect. Nasty habit you are developing. Maybe you and Phil should elope...

subtitle.jpg

Our studies revealed highly overlapping brain regions between the two types of love. The activated regions are related to the reward system and coincided with areas rich in receptors for the neurohormones oxytocin and vasopressin, which have been shown in animals to be both necessary and sufficient to induce bonding. The hypothalamus, involved in sexual arousal, was activated only with romantic attachment, and constitutes one of several differentially activated regions with the two types of love. Finally, both studies revealed a common set of de-activated regions associated with negative emotions, social judgment and ‘mentalizing’, that is, the assessment of other people’s intentions and emotions. Human attachment seems thus to employ a push– pull mechanism activated when individuals face a loved one. This overcomes social distance by deactivating networks used for critical social assessment and negative emotions, and while it bonds individuals through the involvement of the reward circuitry, explaining the power of love to motivate and exhilarate.

http://plaisir.berkeley.edu/conference6/abstracts.htm

There are lots more too!

Adam

Pondering whether carelessness is a subjective value?

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Yes, Ms. Xray, of course you are correct, as always. Rand was an imbecile thinking that love can be measured....

Imo ITOE is a very chaotic and confusing work.

For example, Rand believed that love can be 'measured', thinking that terms like 'affection', 'tenderness' etc. had comparable objective quality as degrees have on a measuring scale. :rolleyes:

Except for the fact that you are, once again, incorrect. Nasty habit you are developing. Maybe you and Phil should elope...

subtitle.jpg

Our studies revealed highly overlapping brain regions between the two types of love. The activated regions are related to the reward system and coincided with areas rich in receptors for the neurohormones oxytocin and vasopressin, which have been shown in animals to be both necessary and sufficient to induce bonding. The hypothalamus, involved in sexual arousal, was activated only with romantic attachment, and constitutes one of several differentially activated regions with the two types of love. Finally, both studies revealed a common set of de-activated regions associated with negative emotions, social judgment and ‘mentalizing’, that is, the assessment of other people’s intentions and emotions. Human attachment seems thus to employ a push– pull mechanism activated when individuals face a loved one. This overcomes social distance by deactivating networks used for critical social assessment and negative emotions, and while it bonds individuals through the involvement of the reward circuitry, explaining the power of love to motivate and exhilarate.

http://plaisir.berkeley.edu/conference6/abstracts.htm

There are lots more too!

Adam

Pondering whether carelessness is a subjective value?

The carelessness is on your part, since you have mixed things up. For Rand was not talking about measurable neorobiological reactions like the release of hormones or an increased heartbeat rate involved when people have fallen in love.

Rand spoke about language, about words related to the topic of 'love', obviously believing that they possess an 'objective' quality comparable to degrees on a measuring scale.

She also thought that

"If one wants to measure the intensity of a particular instance of love, one does so by reference to the hierarchy of values of the person experiencing it." (Rand)

(The implication being of course that those not sharing Rand's personal set of values get the thumbs down from her).

And she, in all seriousness, stated that the term "affection" was applicable only in regard to persons. Every dog owner will get a good laugh from that. :)

Edited by Xray

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Yes, Ms. Xray, of course you are correct, as always. Rand was an imbecile thinking that love can be measured....

Imo ITOE is a very chaotic and confusing work.

For example, Rand believed that love can be 'measured', thinking that terms like 'affection', 'tenderness' etc. had comparable objective quality as degrees have on a measuring scale. :rolleyes:

Except for the fact that you are, once again, incorrect. Nasty habit you are developing. Maybe you and Phil should elope...

subtitle.jpg

Our studies revealed highly overlapping brain regions between the two types of love. The activated regions are related to the reward system and coincided with areas rich in receptors for the neurohormones oxytocin and vasopressin, which have been shown in animals to be both necessary and sufficient to induce bonding. The hypothalamus, involved in sexual arousal, was activated only with romantic attachment, and constitutes one of several differentially activated regions with the two types of love. Finally, both studies revealed a common set of de-activated regions associated with negative emotions, social judgment and ‘mentalizing’, that is, the assessment of other people’s intentions and emotions. Human attachment seems thus to employ a push– pull mechanism activated when individuals face a loved one. This overcomes social distance by deactivating networks used for critical social assessment and negative emotions, and while it bonds individuals through the involvement of the reward circuitry, explaining the power of love to motivate and exhilarate.

http://plaisir.berke...6/abstracts.htm

There are lots more too!

Adam

Pondering whether carelessness is a subjective value?

The carelessness is on your part, since you have mixed things up. For Rand was not talking about measurable neorobiological reactions like the release of hormones or an increased heartbeat rate involved when people have fallen in love.

Rand spoke about language, about words related to the topic of 'love', obviously believing that they possess an 'objective' quality comparable to degrees on a measuring scale.

She also thought that

"If one wants to measure the intensity of a particular instance of love, one does so by reference to the hierarchy of values of the person experiencing it." (Rand)

(The implication being of course that those not sharing Rand's personal set of values get the thumbs down from her).

And she, in all seriousness, stated that the term "affection" was applicable only in regard to persons. Every dog owner will get a good laugh from that. :)

As Phil would say let me "quoit" you, Ms. Xray, from your statement above...

"...Rand believed that love can be 'measured'..."

My selection indicated a lot of measurement was going on in that study. Furthermore, I was crystal clear as to the fact that I have more studies...yes.

So when I provide other studies and scientific attempts to measure love, you are going to deny that those fit your subjective mystery definition in your less than transparent communication skills.

Therefore, since you now are arguing that measurement means exactly what, as you used it in that sentence, since your fingers hit the ' ' marks around the word.

So, what did Ms. Xray mean by that particular word 'measure' as she used it in the sentence that of course said Ayn is a sick person who really had no ideas of value.

Adam

wondering if Ms. Xray is a double agent for the Catholic church...

*I highlighted the key root verb word "measure" so as to help you find it and reduce evasiveness, your three card monte technique or well gosh gee English is not my native language ploys

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As Phil would say let me "quoit" you, Ms. Xray, from your statement above...

"...Rand believed that love can be 'measured'..."

My selection indicated a lot of measurement was going on in that study. Furthermore, I was crystal clear as to the fact that I have more studies...yes.

So when I provide other studies and scientific attempts to measure love, you are going to deny that those fit your subjective mystery definition in your less than transparent communication skills.

Therefore, since you now are arguing that measurement means exactly what, as you used it in that sentence, since your fingers hit the ' ' marks around the word.

So, what did Ms. Xray mean by that particular word 'measure' as she used it in the sentence that of course said Ayn is a sick person who really had no ideas of value.

Adam

wondering if Ms. Xray is a double agent for the Catholic church...

*I highlighted the key root verb word "measure" so as to help you find it and reduce evasiveness, your three card monte technique or well gosh gee English is not my native language ploys

wondering if Ms. Xray is a double agent for the Catholic church...

Wondering if Mr. Selene reads many spy novels. :D

Selene, you can highlight 'mesasure' as much as you want, the measurements of the neurobiological reactions in the study you linked to has nothing to do with what Rand meant by 'measuring love'. For she spoke about words referring to the topic, trying to establish a hierarchy, the scale culminating in what she called "romantic love" (where the partners are of course required to share the same set of Rand-approved high values and virtues to qualify.

To think that some Objectvists, in order to measure up to Rand's 'objective' scale, may actually have tried to put her recommendations into practice ...

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The big 'charmer' on OL is clearly emerging as Selene.

First in his discourse earlier with CNA, and now with Xray, where the ladies are, there is the lady-killer, Adam.

(Um, not literally, Adam...) :mellow:

I am sure that you know this one: the first ever palindrome - it's actually in the Bible.

"Madam, I'm Adam."

(This is the LOL section, right? Geez, hope so. Pardon my weak attempt.)

Tony

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Tony:

Very good. Made me laugh for a different reason.

My conversations with Ms. Xray are generally followed by my almost crying with laughter. My only problem is that she is actually representative of what is being produced and hired in the alleged public educational system which, putting it favorably, is in a state of total collapse.

It's internal premises are just flat out false.

Adam

laugh with gusto

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Oh, BOY, my oh my!! I was going to say that this is or was or could be or whatever rather interesting....LOL...although don't think Charles will respond sooner or later or perhaps never as I know he's been really busy.

I haven't forgotten about you Adam and this thread. Perhaps some of what is going on on the home front right now may be drawing to a conclusion, freeing up some time, or hell, perhaps even a lot of freakin' time. I'll see though perhaps in the coming weeks or month or so. Justice sometimes takes the strangest of paths and forms!! ;)

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Oh, BOY, my oh my!! I was going to say that this is or was or could be or whatever rather interesting....LOL...although don't think Charles will respond sooner or later or perhaps never as I know he's been really busy.

I haven't forgotten about you Adam and this thread. Perhaps some of what is going on on the home front right now may be drawing to a conclusion, freeing up some time, or hell, perhaps even a lot of freakin' time. I'll see though perhaps in the coming weeks or month or so. Justice sometimes takes the strangest of paths and forms!! ;)

Evening Angie:

From our other discussions, it looks like things are going well for you. Enough said on that topic.

We have had an influx of folks joining. Some good discussions and of course my crazy "fights" with different folks.

Good to see you.

Adam

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This is just so creative...

More proof that television is a dead medium.

A FRENCH CONDOM COMMERCIAL

ONLY THEY CAN GET AWAY WITH THIS!

VERY INGENIOUS!

Adam

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There is no question that there are Objectivists who are fanatic about the philosophy and yet they do not understand some of its most basic tenets, such as the requirement to think for yourself.

Charles,

First of all, my apologies for not replying sooner to your post. My reply post sat in my drafts file, with me adding here and there but never getting it finished.

Thank you very much for taking the time to reply in detail to my post and addressig my points and questions.

It would be a very un-Objectivist approach to simply ask "What would Ayn Rand do or think and I will do and think that."

But wasn't that what many of her followers did? Maybe you were unaffected by it, but from what I have read, many elevated her to guru status, for example started smoking because she advocated it, or hid their homosexuality because she thought of it as "disgusting".

Your observation has some substance to it, especially among those best known because they tended to gather around her and seek her approval. But, we have to remember that most people who enjoyed her books and found value in her philosophy went about their lives and did not try to remake themselves in the image of one of her book heroes. This is not to say that their lives were uninfluenced, only that they had a sufficient appreciation for who they were that they did not necessarily try to reinvent themselves. I am sure many did find ways to improve themselves, however, due to things they thought about because Rand induced them to think about their lives somewhat differently. By the way, I have never smoked, because I always found the smell of cigarettes repugnant. As for homosexuality, there is no reason to hold it immoral or unnatural that I am aware of.

I would never have been interested in such a philosophy at the age of 17, or even at the age of 12. The philosophy itself argues against followers, yet there are plenty of followers anyway. There are for any striking philosophy and surprising numbers are cultists. But, this is not a fault of the philosophy. It is a fault of human failing.

Imo it is both.

Isn't prescribing a "one set for all" of so-called "objective values" for "life proper to man" the very opposite of individualism? Other ideologies, be it catholicism or marxism - they too present a catalog of alleged objective values and claim to know exactly how "life proper to man" has to look like ...

Rand simply tries to work out the core values she thinks man needs by virtue of the nature of life on earth for a being with the nature of man. The Catholic or the Marxist tries to do something similar, but the nature of man and the nature of earth differ dramatically. Rand examines the nature of man, while the Catholic looks to ancient texts and dogma about a god, while the Marxist imagines that history marches toward progress and man is consumed by envy and jealousy. The Marxist in particular eradicates individuality because no central planning authority can deal with the complexity of the individual. Catholicism forces man to have a relationship with a fictional god, who will simply decree to man what his values will be. Rand, on the other hand, believes man is capable of choosing his own values and of living his life competently in accordance with his self-chosen values. Yes, she has her ideas on what core values a man needs by virtue of the effort needed to survive on Earth and given the nature of man, especially his need to use his mind well to identify reality and to provide him the power to control it to give him security and joy in his life. But, she hews to the prescription that society will enforce few values. She wants a society which allows man a maximal range of choices, such as available in the free market of ideas, goods, and services provided by the Capitalist society. This society allows one to choose to be Catholic and it even, within a context, allows one to be a Marxist. Her society would surely allow 50 people to gather in New Harmony, Indiana and buy large plots of land and live in a commune. She just would not allow those same people to go out on the roads and kidnap people to put them into slavery on the commune. To be sure, she did not think highly of Catholicism, but she had no desire to burn any Catholics at the stake. She did not like Marxism, but she would not have sent those hypothetical New Harmony Marxists to the Gulag. As for Objectivism being anti-individualist, it seems to me that there are plenty of individualists at OL and there are plenty at The Atlas Society. Personally, while I admire and hold what I think are the core values of Objectivism, I have never felt any lack of elbow room with regard to choosing my own values. There are many, many to choose which are not inconsistent with Objectivism, but are right for me based on my independent thinking, my life experiences, and my unique DNA and biochemistry. I am unique, as I am pretty sure are you. There is no problem being unique and exceedingly complex within the scope of Objectivist principles as I understand them.

Atlas Shrugged is a great novel.

It is dramatization of some major ethical and political issues with some fascinating heroic characters. I get a great joy from reading the sections on the heroes myself, though I have a busy life and I have never read the novel 40 times.

For me one time was more than enough. I found plowing through it mostly tedious, with Galt's speech sticking out like a verbose 'atheroma'.

In terms of the plot - although I was curious to find out where all these people vanished, when it turned out they had chosen the 'brave new world' of Galt's gulch, I lost every interest in it.

For that 'Pleasantville-like' place populated by Galt clones was just too surrealistic to be true.

Rearden, D'Anconia and Galt are odd birds too. Rearden obviously has problems sexually relating to women, either putting them on a pedestal or wanting to drag them down.

Rand basically rehashed the old cliché here, where women are seen either as to be worshipped or dragged down, as "madonna or whore".

'Peeping John' Galt is very weird in clandestinely stalking Dagny for twelve years, and his following her every move made me think of a voyeur.

Needless to say, Galt has no sexual relationship with any other woman during all these years, and (no surprise either) D'Anconia lives like a monk as well during all his 'playboy' years.

So, despite their obsession with the heroine, in a way, all three are strangely devoid of sexuality.

I found the people of Galt's Gulch to be quite interesting and I enjoyed every moment of being in their presence. They were such a relief from the helplessness and jadedness and the dullness of so many "real" people. I do not see them as clones and it did not offend me that they were capable and thinking people who greatly enjoyed one another's company. I want friends of like them myself and such people are so rare that in one's day to day life, I almost never get that kind of one-on-one personal interaction with such friends. This is a part of the book I have read many times. I should give myself the pleasure of reading it again soon. I cannot put myself into your mind, x-ray, and see them as you see them. I once again note that the only mind I really know is the mind I can know by introspection. Other minds are always a mystery, and some such as yours are more a mystery than most.

Yes, there is no question that Rearden has problems relating to women. Guess what? Many men do. But, I admit there were times when I wanted to slug Rearden myself for being so slow in figuring out that Lillian was sad and evil and Dagny was a marvelously earthy goddess. You do not believe in God and neither do I, but when I find the best in the people I know, I do feel what I would want to feel in the presence of God, if he were as he ought to be. As for Rand seeing women as either to be worshiped or dragged down, that may be a recurring dramatic theme. Rand probably does view issues of love in more dramatic terms than I do. You seem to think this is a core Objectivist way of viewing love. I simply view it as Rand's way of viewing love. It is not uninteresting to me, but it is not so subtle as love really is. Rand was a dramatic novelist and drama was always a part of her life, by experience and by choice. Others may choose otherwise and still be Objectivists, in my opinion. Of course, this makes it clear that I do not see Objectivism as a closed philosophy. It is my job to fill the philosophy out to make it suitable for my own life. I expect other thinking people to do the same.

There is no simple relationship between sexuality and a lengthy period of abstinence that I know about. Galt's not presenting himself to Dagny early is explained by the plot. Real life would most likely be different and that difference is what you are making your judgment on. When Galt makes love to Dagny, it does not seem to me that he was asexual. Frankly, when he carried the injured Dagny to his home after her plane crash, and many other times while she is in his home, the sexuality is very hot. Again, I can only see this using my mind.

Indeed, it has now been decades since the last time I read it from start to finish. But one of the key things that many people miss about Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead is that they are very unique novels and there is no proper way to judge them except in their own terms. They are criticized for not developing moral shades of gray in the characters with the same wealth of effort that some novels do which focus on only that. But this criticism is off base given Rand's purpose.

But isn't judging a novel in its own terms actually circular reasoning?

This is what e. g. Jehova's Witnesses do when asked how they know what the Bible says is true.

They then quote a Bible scripture as alleged proof of truth. Circle closed. They can't move out of their world.

With some fervent Randites, one can observe the same phenomeneon. They quote from Galt's speech like theists quote from Jesus' Sermon on the Mountain.

A wedding couple actually decided to use Atlas Shrugged instead of the Bible at their wedding ceremony.

You do need to evaluate what Rand's purpose is and consider whether the form her novel takes is appropriate to that purpose. That evaluation should determine the value of her purpose in real life, but it is not necessary that the novel try to recreate all of real life. Dramatizations and black and white choices may be appropriate, or they may not, given the purposes being addressed. Or the themes, if you prefer. Her purpose is to help the reader understand some critical real life issues, but these are very abstract issues.

In a way you are right about the Bible. It has a purpose and its value as a book is tied to how well it achieves its purpose. Many think it a fantastic book, so it does serve its purpose pretty well. But, when I evaluate the purpose and how that relates to the issue of man's ethical choices, I see many problems.

Using Atlas Shrugged rather than a Bible for a marriage sounds fine to me. A marriage should be about sharing values and forming a partnership to pursue those shared values. A marriage is a spiritual bond. If you find that spiritual bond in Atlas Shrugged, use it. If you find it in the Bible, use it.

I also do not believe it is a central theme of either novel to prescribe effective sexual behavior for the maintenance of a marriage or even a long-term relationship.

It is not the central theme but Rand's theory of sex certainly plays a major role. The superman-like hero choosing as mate a heroine with equal "rational values", whatever Rand's idea of 'rational' was ...

John Galt, AS, p. 1022: "Happiness is possible only to a rational man, the man who desires nothing but ratioal goals, seeks nothing but but rational values, and finds joy in nothing but rational actions."

This statement implies that Rand considered considered sex as a 'rational' action.

Yes, her ideas of love and happiness do play important roles. I found her ideas interesting and agreed with her in some respects, but I also depart from her in significant respects. Where I depart, it is not so much that I think there was something wrong with her understanding or desires, as that I believe my own understanding is more appropriate for who I am and want to be. Each human being is too complex to copy the lifestyle of anyone else and to then expect to achieve happiness from it. We have to tailor our values, goals, and dreams to our unique selves. Sexuality is especially complex for each unique individual. I did not expect to find the sexuality that was right for me in Rand's works. Frankly, I am still constantly working on figuring out and developing my own sexuality. If it is complex enough that that is the case after all these decades, then there is no way I am simply going to adopt the sexuality of someone else!

In the John Galt quote above, he was talking about happiness, not sex. Huge difference. Even then, we need to note that happiness is likely to a more likely outcome to the rational man is what this is really saying. The rational man, may have an irrational moment, and if he is lucky, his life will not be ruined. But, if he makes a habit of being irrational, he will not achieve happiness. It remains possible that he will act extremely rationally and yet have an unhappy life. Suppose he his loving parents are killed by Visigoths when he is 6. He finds the woman of his dreams when he is 19, but she is killed by the Golden Horde when he is 20. Then the Turks move in and make him a galley slave for the rest of his life. Rational action and choices are the best route to happiness, but no guarantee. Now, Rand did think that one should only have sex with someone you loved. Love, she also thought, should be based on a rational evaluation of the character of the one considered for love. The rational man would then rationally choose the woman he would love and then he would rationally choose whether to have sex with her. This is not the same as saying that sex is rational. Clearly it may or may not be rational to have sex with a given person.

Rearden and Lillian had a failed marriage from the beginning.

In AS it says Rearden lost sexual interest in Lilian after one week already. If memory serves, it was the merely the 'challenge of the conquest' which made him want to marry her. What chance did Lilian have in such a union? None.

Lillian should have wanted out of the marriage as much as Rearden should have. People should not usually stay in dis-functional marriages. There may be some lifeboat cases which may be exceptions, but usually marriage is too important in our lives to be tolerated when they really do not work.

Rearden and Dagny have a relationship which Dagny never looks upon as more than a loving affair. Rand liked dramatic events and dramatic characters. I enjoy these characters, but I was already much of what I wanted to be at 17 and I was hardly looking to radically reinvent myself as a Randian hero. I loved them, but I love me more. I never believed that Objectivism required me or anyone to copy Rand's heroes. They were dramatic representations of some points she wanted to make. I took them as such. For me, I am my own hero and I find other heroes in history and occasionally in life about me. A novel is not the real world, though it may try to be. Rand did not actually try to make her novels real. She dealt with real issues, but still her novel worlds were not real. I accepted that and ran with it. It is a good thing to be able to deal with complex issues both in the concretes and the abstracts. Now this is difficult for many people to do. But Rand as a novelist is actually very abstract, and in some ways very concrete. But there is a very complex interweave of the two and I think few people can sort them out.

But Rand did claim realism, despite the surrealistic elements in AS. Like another poster said it so well, AS is a non-fiction treatise disguised as novel.

Rand is dealing with many fundamental issue of real life for man in the real world. This does not mean that she re-creates the real world as such. The issues are abstract and complex and it takes a major effort to lay them out and resolve them. She has little time to describe the pine forest that Rearden and Dagny drive past in Wisconsin when looking for the motor. Throughout the novel, she has a tight focus on critical abstract and complex issues and to do that, she ignores more peripheral issues. There are times when she deals with the details, where those concrete details give the right feeling for the scene. But, her novel is not of the real life genre, with its everyday people and small themes. She presents complex ideas about life dramatically, leaving out many shades of nuance, which she assumes the reader should be competent to think through on his own.

Our individual sexualities are very capable of great complexity and are extremely differentiated. There is no significant likelihood that any author I might like will have a sexuality that matches mine. Rand's is clearly very different than mine, but that does not make me despise it. In fact, it is interesting, just not quite shared. It is not vanilla. Scratch that, I love vanilla ice cream! Rand's sexuality is not for everyone. Fine. Mine is not either. I do not wish to impose my sexuality on anyone else. It would not work for many, because they are not me. We must not forget the individuality of man or woman. This should be obvious to an Objectivist, but it is not to many who think of themselves as Objectivists.

I can see your point. What sexually turns people on is their own businsess. But Rand did not did not leave it at that. She had an ideological agenda, presenting her heroes as man should be, which involved their sexuality as well.

The violent sexual encounters described in AS outnumber those few encounters where violence is not present.

The degree of violence is carried to the point of bleeding, it involves things like arm-twisting, elbows deliberately knocked in the face, etc., and downright sexual assault in The Fountainhead.

I doubt that you are right about the number of encounters which are violent outnumbering the number which are not. But, there are more rough encounters than I would prescribe. Some rough sex may be quite appropriate for some people and there were no cases I know of between Rand's heroes and her heroines in which the heroines objected to the sex they had. They loved it.

Sorry, but I am not a great fan of monogamy.

The idea that jealousy is a virtue that goes with it makes no sense to me.

Where did I say that jealousy is a "virtue"? To avoid possible misunderstanding: My position is that there exist no objective values or virtues.

One look at the many moral values and virtues thought of as "objective" in former times (virginity for example), is ample illustration of that.

But, from the point of empathy, I can understand, merely by putting myself into Frank's and Barbara's shoes, that they would feel hurt, despite agreeing to it. One can agree to an arrangement and still be very unhappy about it.

Frankly, who would just sit there and have no feelings of jealousy and pain when one's partner tells them they have a lover?

In a hypothetical scenario, would you stay calm and say to your wife "I feel so happy for you?" Like Rearden and D'Anconia, who seemed to have no problem with Dagny discarding them for Galt?

If you think there are no objective values, then what do you mean when you say Rearden cheated on Lillian? Or what does it matter if Rand and Nathaniel had a love affair? If Frank and Barbara were hurt, this is not necessarily sufficient to say that Rand and Nathaniel should not have been lovers. Frank and Barbara were and are good people and one should not want them to be hurt, but life does not always save us from hurt. I am neither an advocate of nor a critic of the fact that Rand and Nathaniel were lovers. I am a critic of some aspects of how they handled that love affair, but in the end, such things are too complex for me to analyze them too far from afar. Overall, I think Ayn Rand, Nathaniel Branden, Frank O'Connor, and Barbara Branden are all good people and I hope they have all had much happiness in their lives. As for my wife, I will only say that I love her and I want her to be happy. If she really did choose to leave me for a man she thought was better for her, it would hurt because I would miss her badly, but, I would handle it, probably much as Francisco and Hank did, especially if I agreed with my wife that the man she left me for was a better man for her.

I do not have a problem with Rand and Branden as lovers.

This is easily said when the situation does not involve one's own person. It sure was a problem for Barbara and Frank, who suffered a lot. Barbara B. spoke of an "ugly tangle of deceit and emotional savagery and pain" following the disastrous "arragement".

Since they wanted to hide the affair to the public, they persuaded Frank to agree to the sexual encounters taking place in his own bedroom. Don't you think of this as a very humiliating situation for Frank?

Frank never told me. I do not choose to speculate. Barbara has spoken ably for herself.

I do think Rand should have been prepared to graciously leave Branden when the time came, as it was bound to given the age difference.

While at the beginning of the affair, Rand announced that she would do just that, when the time came she seemed to have forgotten about it.

That Rand was blind enough to present her wanting a sexual affair with NB as a "rational" decision reflects the problematic of the whole Objectivist philosophy: purely emotional decisions were called 'rational', and those disagreeing were accused of having 'irrational' arguments.

The actions people take are not necessarily consistent with the philosophy of principles they have laid out. Ayn Rand's life was not the perfect example of how an Objectivist should live their life. Nonetheless, all in all, she was a remarkable woman who gave millions of people the benefit of her heroes and a very rational philosophy by which to guide their lives. You are a kind of inverse cultist. You want to make a cult of Ayn Rand and then claim that that cult is not suitable to an independent thinker or to you in particular. Well, no, an independent thinker examines the principles of Objectivism and chooses those he believes are rational and uses those to guide his life. He does not try to copy Ayn Rand in her daily living. It sure would be sad if we were all novelists! We need some doctors, bankers, farmers, steel makers, and dress makers too.

But, it does not diminish the magnitude of Rand's work for me. I am very grateful for all she did, including ITOE.

Imo ITOE is a very chaotic and confusing work.

For example, Rand believed that love can be 'measured', thinking that terms like 'affection', 'tenderness' etc. had comparable objective quality as degrees have on a measuring scale. :rolleyes:

Chaos? I do not remember that. I love four sisters and three daughters. My feelings of tenderness, for instance, towards each do vary with their character. I do not make a practice of trying to distinguish my overall love for each sister or for each daughter, but I do know that aspects of that love vary from one to another. Tenderness or affection are emotions based substantially on evaluations and shared experiences in a very complex way and it is not like laying a protractor down and measuring 25 degrees in one case and 45 degrees in the other. This, however, does not mean that there is no scale of measurement attached to each. The error bars on these emotions may be large, due to the fact that they are so complex an evaluation and matrix of shared experiences. The error bars on each may be in more dimensions than we can even visualize. Still, there is a scale attached to each and we can often make at least ordinal measurements of these emotional evaluations. For some, the input into those emotional evaluations is more rational and for others it may have little rational input. It is probably easier for someone with more rational evaluation processes to be able to have a decent sense of the scale of the emotional response to the person loved than for the largely irrational person.

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There is no question that there are Objectivists who are fanatic about the philosophy and yet they do not understand some of its most basic tenets, such as the requirement to think for yourself.

Charles,

First of all, my apologies for not replying sooner to your post. My reply post sat in my drafts file, with me adding here and there but never getting it finished.

Thank you very much for taking the time to reply in detail to my post and addressig my points and questions.

It would be a very un-Objectivist approach to simply ask "What would Ayn Rand do or think and I will do and think that."

But wasn't that what many of her followers did? Maybe you were unaffected by it, but from what I have read, many elevated her to guru status, for example started smoking because she advocated it, or hid their homosexuality because she thought of it as "disgusting".

Your observation has some substance to it, especially among those best known because they tended to gather around her and seek her approval. But, we have to remember that most people who enjoyed her books and found value in her philosophy went about their lives and did not try to remake themselves in the image of one of her book heroes. This is not to say that their lives were uninfluenced, only that they had a sufficient appreciation for who they were that they did not necessarily try to reinvent themselves. I am sure many did find ways to improve themselves, however, due to things they thought about because Rand induced them to think about their lives somewhat differently. By the way, I have never smoked, because I always found the smell of cigarettes repugnant. As for homosexuality, there is no reason to hold it immoral or unnatural that I am aware of.

I would never have been interested in such a philosophy at the age of 17, or even at the age of 12. The philosophy itself argues against followers, yet there are plenty of followers anyway. There are for any striking philosophy and surprising numbers are cultists. But, this is not a fault of the philosophy. It is a fault of human failing.

Imo it is both.

Isn't prescribing a "one set for all" of so-called "objective values" for "life proper to man" the very opposite of individualism? Other ideologies, be it catholicism or marxism - they too present a catalog of alleged objective values and claim to know exactly how "life proper to man" has to look like ...

Rand simply tries to work out the core values she thinks man needs by virtue of the nature of life on earth for a being with the nature of man. The Catholic or the Marxist tries to do something similar, but the nature of man and the nature of earth differ dramatically. Rand examines the nature of man, while the Catholic looks to ancient texts and dogma about a god, while the Marxist imagines that history marches toward progress and man is consumed by envy and jealousy. The Marxist in particular eradicates individuality because no central planning authority can deal with the complexity of the individual. Catholicism forces man to have a relationship with a fictional god, who will simply decree to man what his values will be. Rand, on the other hand, believes man is capable of choosing his own values and of living his life competently in accordance with his self-chosen values. Yes, she has her ideas on what core values a man needs by virtue of the effort needed to survive on Earth and given the nature of man, especially his need to use his mind well to identify reality and to provide him the power to control it to give him security and joy in his life. But, she hews to the prescription that society will enforce few values. She wants a society which allows man a maximal range of choices, such as available in the free market of ideas, goods, and services provided by the Capitalist society. This society allows one to choose to be Catholic and it even, within a context, allows one to be a Marxist. Her society would surely allow 50 people to gather in New Harmony, Indiana and buy large plots of land and live in a commune. She just would not allow those same people to go out on the roads and kidnap people to put them into slavery on the commune. To be sure, she did not think highly of Catholicism, but she had no desire to burn any Catholics at the stake. She did not like Marxism, but she would not have sent those hypothetical New Harmony Marxists to the Gulag. As for Objectivism being anti-individualist, it seems to me that there are plenty of individualists at OL and there are plenty at The Atlas Society. Personally, while I admire and hold what I think are the core values of Objectivism, I have never felt any lack of elbow room with regard to choosing my own values. There are many, many to choose which are not inconsistent with Objectivism, but are right for me based on my independent thinking, my life experiences, and my unique DNA and biochemistry. I am unique, as I am pretty sure are you. There is no problem being unique and exceedingly complex within the scope of Objectivist principles as I understand them.

Atlas Shrugged is a great novel.

It is dramatization of some major ethical and political issues with some fascinating heroic characters. I get a great joy from reading the sections on the heroes myself, though I have a busy life and I have never read the novel 40 times.

For me one time was more than enough. I found plowing through it mostly tedious, with Galt's speech sticking out like a verbose 'atheroma'.

In terms of the plot - although I was curious to find out where all these people vanished, when it turned out they had chosen the 'brave new world' of Galt's gulch, I lost every interest in it.

For that 'Pleasantville-like' place populated by Galt clones was just too surrealistic to be true.

Rearden, D'Anconia and Galt are odd birds too. Rearden obviously has problems sexually relating to women, either putting them on a pedestal or wanting to drag them down.

Rand basically rehashed the old cliché here, where women are seen either as to be worshipped or dragged down, as "madonna or whore".

'Peeping John' Galt is very weird in clandestinely stalking Dagny for twelve years, and his following her every move made me think of a voyeur.

Needless to say, Galt has no sexual relationship with any other woman during all these years, and (no surprise either) D'Anconia lives like a monk as well during all his 'playboy' years.

So, despite their obsession with the heroine, in a way, all three are strangely devoid of sexuality.

I found the people of Galt's Gulch to be quite interesting and I enjoyed every moment of being in their presence. They were such a relief from the helplessness and jadedness and the dullness of so many "real" people. I do not see them as clones and it did not offend me that they were capable and thinking people who greatly enjoyed one another's company. I want friends of like them myself and such people are so rare that in one's day to day life, I almost never get that kind of one-on-one personal interaction with such friends. This is a part of the book I have read many times. I should give myself the pleasure of reading it again soon. I cannot put myself into your mind, x-ray, and see them as you see them. I once again note that the only mind I really know is the mind I can know by introspection. Other minds are always a mystery, and some such as yours are more a mystery than most.

Yes, there is no question that Rearden has problems relating to women. Guess what? Many men do. But, I admit there were times when I wanted to slug Rearden myself for being so slow in figuring out that Lillian was sad and evil and Dagny was a marvelously earthy goddess. You do not believe in God and neither do I, but when I find the best in the people I know, I do feel what I would want to feel in the presence of God, if he were as he ought to be. As for Rand seeing women as either to be worshiped or dragged down, that may be a recurring dramatic theme. Rand probably does view issues of love in more dramatic terms than I do. You seem to think this is a core Objectivist way of viewing love. I simply view it as Rand's way of viewing love. It is not uninteresting to me, but it is not so subtle as love really is. Rand was a dramatic novelist and drama was always a part of her life, by experience and by choice. Others may choose otherwise and still be Objectivists, in my opinion. Of course, this makes it clear that I do not see Objectivism as a closed philosophy. It is my job to fill the philosophy out to make it suitable for my own life. I expect other thinking people to do the same.

There is no simple relationship between sexuality and a lengthy period of abstinence that I know about. Galt's not presenting himself to Dagny early is explained by the plot. Real life would most likely be different and that difference is what you are making your judgment on. When Galt makes love to Dagny, it does not seem to me that he was asexual. Frankly, when he carried the injured Dagny to his home after her plane crash, and many other times while she is in his home, the sexuality is very hot. Again, I can only see this using my mind.

Indeed, it has now been decades since the last time I read it from start to finish. But one of the key things that many people miss about Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead is that they are very unique novels and there is no proper way to judge them except in their own terms. They are criticized for not developing moral shades of gray in the characters with the same wealth of effort that some novels do which focus on only that. But this criticism is off base given Rand's purpose.

But isn't judging a novel in its own terms actually circular reasoning?

This is what e. g. Jehova's Witnesses do when asked how they know what the Bible says is true.

They then quote a Bible scripture as alleged proof of truth. Circle closed. They can't move out of their world.

With some fervent Randites, one can observe the same phenomeneon. They quote from Galt's speech like theists quote from Jesus' Sermon on the Mountain.

A wedding couple actually decided to use Atlas Shrugged instead of the Bible at their wedding ceremony.

You do need to evaluate what Rand's purpose is and consider whether the form her novel takes is appropriate to that purpose. That evaluation should determine the value of her purpose in real life, but it is not necessary that the novel try to recreate all of real life. Dramatizations and black and white choices may be appropriate, or they may not, given the purposes being addressed. Or the themes, if you prefer. Her purpose is to help the reader understand some critical real life issues, but these are very abstract issues.

In a way you are right about the Bible. It has a purpose and its value as a book is tied to how well it achieves its purpose. Many think it a fantastic book, so it does serve its purpose pretty well. But, when I evaluate the purpose and how that relates to the issue of man's ethical choices, I see many problems.

Using Atlas Shrugged rather than a Bible for a marriage sounds fine to me. A marriage should be about sharing values and forming a partnership to pursue those shared values. A marriage is a spiritual bond. If you find that spiritual bond in Atlas Shrugged, use it. If you find it in the Bible, use it.

I also do not believe it is a central theme of either novel to prescribe effective sexual behavior for the maintenance of a marriage or even a long-term relationship.

It is not the central theme but Rand's theory of sex certainly plays a major role. The superman-like hero choosing as mate a heroine with equal "rational values", whatever Rand's idea of 'rational' was ...

John Galt, AS, p. 1022: "Happiness is possible only to a rational man, the man who desires nothing but ratioal goals, seeks nothing but but rational values, and finds joy in nothing but rational actions."

This statement implies that Rand considered considered sex as a 'rational' action.

Yes, her ideas of love and happiness do play important roles. I found her ideas interesting and agreed with her in some respects, but I also depart from her in significant respects. Where I depart, it is not so much that I think there was something wrong with her understanding or desires, as that I believe my own understanding is more appropriate for who I am and want to be. Each human being is too complex to copy the lifestyle of anyone else and to then expect to achieve happiness from it. We have to tailor our values, goals, and dreams to our unique selves. Sexuality is especially complex for each unique individual. I did not expect to find the sexuality that was right for me in Rand's works. Frankly, I am still constantly working on figuring out and developing my own sexuality. If it is complex enough that that is the case after all these decades, then there is no way I am simply going to adopt the sexuality of someone else!

In the John Galt quote above, he was talking about happiness, not sex. Huge difference. Even then, we need to note that happiness is likely to a more likely outcome to the rational man is what this is really saying. The rational man, may have an irrational moment, and if he is lucky, his life will not be ruined. But, if he makes a habit of being irrational, he will not achieve happiness. It remains possible that he will act extremely rationally and yet have an unhappy life. Suppose he his loving parents are killed by Visigoths when he is 6. He finds the woman of his dreams when he is 19, but she is killed by the Golden Horde when he is 20. Then the Turks move in and make him a galley slave for the rest of his life. Rational action and choices are the best route to happiness, but no guarantee. Now, Rand did think that one should only have sex with someone you loved. Love, she also thought, should be based on a rational evaluation of the character of the one considered for love. The rational man would then rationally choose the woman he would love and then he would rationally choose whether to have sex with her. This is not the same as saying that sex is rational. Clearly it may or may not be rational to have sex with a given person.

Rearden and Lillian had a failed marriage from the beginning.

In AS it says Rearden lost sexual interest in Lilian after one week already. If memory serves, it was the merely the 'challenge of the conquest' which made him want to marry her. What chance did Lilian have in such a union? None.

Lillian should have wanted out of the marriage as much as Rearden should have. People should not usually stay in dis-functional marriages. There may be some lifeboat cases which may be exceptions, but usually marriage is too important in our lives to be tolerated when they really do not work.

Rearden and Dagny have a relationship which Dagny never looks upon as more than a loving affair. Rand liked dramatic events and dramatic characters. I enjoy these characters, but I was already much of what I wanted to be at 17 and I was hardly looking to radically reinvent myself as a Randian hero. I loved them, but I love me more. I never believed that Objectivism required me or anyone to copy Rand's heroes. They were dramatic representations of some points she wanted to make. I took them as such. For me, I am my own hero and I find other heroes in history and occasionally in life about me. A novel is not the real world, though it may try to be. Rand did not actually try to make her novels real. She dealt with real issues, but still her novel worlds were not real. I accepted that and ran with it. It is a good thing to be able to deal with complex issues both in the concretes and the abstracts. Now this is difficult for many people to do. But Rand as a novelist is actually very abstract, and in some ways very concrete. But there is a very complex interweave of the two and I think few people can sort them out.

But Rand did claim realism, despite the surrealistic elements in AS. Like another poster said it so well, AS is a non-fiction treatise disguised as novel.

Rand is dealing with many fundamental issue of real life for man in the real world. This does not mean that she re-creates the real world as such. The issues are abstract and complex and it takes a major effort to lay them out and resolve them. She has little time to describe the pine forest that Rearden and Dagny drive past in Wisconsin when looking for the motor. Throughout the novel, she has a tight focus on critical abstract and complex issues and to do that, she ignores more peripheral issues. There are times when she deals with the details, where those concrete details give the right feeling for the scene. But, her novel is not of the real life genre, with its everyday people and small themes. She presents complex ideas about life dramatically, leaving out many shades of nuance, which she assumes the reader should be competent to think through on his own.

Our individual sexualities are very capable of great complexity and are extremely differentiated. There is no significant likelihood that any author I might like will have a sexuality that matches mine. Rand's is clearly very different than mine, but that does not make me despise it. In fact, it is interesting, just not quite shared. It is not vanilla. Scratch that, I love vanilla ice cream! Rand's sexuality is not for everyone. Fine. Mine is not either. I do not wish to impose my sexuality on anyone else. It would not work for many, because they are not me. We must not forget the individuality of man or woman. This should be obvious to an Objectivist, but it is not to many who think of themselves as Objectivists.

I can see your point. What sexually turns people on is their own businsess. But Rand did not did not leave it at that. She had an ideological agenda, presenting her heroes as man should be, which involved their sexuality as well.

The violent sexual encounters described in AS outnumber those few encounters where violence is not present.

The degree of violence is carried to the point of bleeding, it involves things like arm-twisting, elbows deliberately knocked in the face, etc., and downright sexual assault in The Fountainhead.

I doubt that you are right about the number of encounters which are violent outnumbering the number which are not. But, there are more rough encounters than I would prescribe. Some rough sex may be quite appropriate for some people and there were no cases I know of between Rand's heroes and her heroines in which the heroines objected to the sex they had. They loved it.

Sorry, but I am not a great fan of monogamy.

The idea that jealousy is a virtue that goes with it makes no sense to me.

Where did I say that jealousy is a "virtue"? To avoid possible misunderstanding: My position is that there exist no objective values or virtues.

One look at the many moral values and virtues thought of as "objective" in former times (virginity for example), is ample illustration of that.

But, from the point of empathy, I can understand, merely by putting myself into Frank's and Barbara's shoes, that they would feel hurt, despite agreeing to it. One can agree to an arrangement and still be very unhappy about it.

Frankly, who would just sit there and have no feelings of jealousy and pain when one's partner tells them they have a lover?

In a hypothetical scenario, would you stay calm and say to your wife "I feel so happy for you?" Like Rearden and D'Anconia, who seemed to have no problem with Dagny discarding them for Galt?

If you think there are no objective values, then what do you mean when you say Rearden cheated on Lillian? Or what does it matter if Rand and Nathaniel had a love affair? If Frank and Barbara were hurt, this is not necessarily sufficient to say that Rand and Nathaniel should not have been lovers. Frank and Barbara were and are good people and one should not want them to be hurt, but life does not always save us from hurt. I am neither an advocate of nor a critic of the fact that Rand and Nathaniel were lovers. I am a critic of some aspects of how they handled that love affair, but in the end, such things are too complex for me to analyze them too far from afar. Overall, I think Ayn Rand, Nathaniel Branden, Frank O'Connor, and Barbara Branden are all good people and I hope they have all had much happiness in their lives. As for my wife, I will only say that I love her and I want her to be happy. If she really did choose to leave me for a man she thought was better for her, it would hurt because I would miss her badly, but, I would handle it, probably much as Francisco and Hank did, especially if I agreed with my wife that the man she left me for was a better man for her.

I do not have a problem with Rand and Branden as lovers.

This is easily said when the situation does not involve one's own person. It sure was a problem for Barbara and Frank, who suffered a lot. Barbara B. spoke of an "ugly tangle of deceit and emotional savagery and pain" following the disastrous "arragement".

Since they wanted to hide the affair to the public, they persuaded Frank to agree to the sexual encounters taking place in his own bedroom. Don't you think of this as a very humiliating situation for Frank?

Frank never told me. I do not choose to speculate. Barbara has spoken ably for herself.

I do think Rand should have been prepared to graciously leave Branden when the time came, as it was bound to given the age difference.

While at the beginning of the affair, Rand announced that she would do just that, when the time came she seemed to have forgotten about it.

That Rand was blind enough to present her wanting a sexual affair with NB as a "rational" decision reflects the problematic of the whole Objectivist philosophy: purely emotional decisions were called 'rational', and those disagreeing were accused of having 'irrational' arguments.

The actions people take are not necessarily consistent with the philosophy of principles they have laid out. Ayn Rand's life was not the perfect example of how an Objectivist should live their life. Nonetheless, all in all, she was a remarkable woman who gave millions of people the benefit of her heroes and a very rational philosophy by which to guide their lives. You are a kind of inverse cultist. You want to make a cult of Ayn Rand and then claim that that cult is not suitable to an independent thinker or to you in particular. Well, no, an independent thinker examines the principles of Objectivism and chooses those he believes are rational and uses those to guide his life. He does not try to copy Ayn Rand in her daily living. It sure would be sad if we were all novelists! We need some doctors, bankers, farmers, steel makers, and dress makers too.

But, it does not diminish the magnitude of Rand's work for me. I am very grateful for all she did, including ITOE.

Imo ITOE is a very chaotic and confusing work.

For example, Rand believed that love can be 'measured', thinking that terms like 'affection', 'tenderness' etc. had comparable objective quality as degrees have on a measuring scale. :rolleyes:

Chaos? I do not remember that. I love four sisters and three daughters. My feelings of tenderness, for instance, towards each do vary with their character. I do not make a practice of trying to distinguish my overall love for each sister or for each daughter, but I do know that aspects of that love vary from one to another. Tenderness or affection are emotions based substantially on evaluations and shared experiences in a very complex way and it is not like laying a protractor down and measuring 25 degrees in one case and 45 degrees in the other. This, however, does not mean that there is no scale of measurement attached to each. The error bars on these emotions may be large, due to the fact that they are so complex an evaluation and matrix of shared experiences. The error bars on each may be in more dimensions than we can even visualize. Still, there is a scale attached to each and we can often make at least ordinal measurements of these emotional evaluations. For some, the input into those emotional evaluations is more rational and for others it may have little rational input. It is probably easier for someone with more rational evaluation processes to be able to have a decent sense of the scale of the emotional response to the person loved than for the largely irrational person.

What?

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Well, back on topic of CNA's post - awesome. I had to spread that one around to a couple other boards I visit.

hehe mount & do.

Classic

Well, I'm happy to hear the word or joke has gotten around and will continue to get around!!!!!! LMAO Thank Charles for this one but I have many others that are sent to me through email and cell phone but not appropriate for this board, some with vids too which makes it even funnier, nothing like visuals. ROFLMAO

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