Love and Friendships in the Modern World


Victor Pross

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Kevin, you wrote in your post above, referring to me, the following: “He implies that one can from pictures and the written word know who a person is in every meaningful respect. I find that deeply disturbing.” You find it deeply disturbing? Wow, that’s a little excessive. You further assert that Angie and I are discarding or evading reality? You at least imply this. And based on what? Because we met online? It’s as if you are making the case that it’s so much easier to lie over the net--and that it is inherent that all people must lie when dealing with others online. Is that the new axiom?

Angie and I have been charged with committing the Objectivist sin of rationalism—the habit of divorcing rationality from reality. I don’t wish to rehash that debate, but I want to share with you some of my thoughts and experiences.

Love is a response to values, values being based on knowledge. It is this Objectivist viewpoint that I agree with—love is a response to values. And, yes, this can be known and communicated at great distances. Angie and I have come to know a great deal of each other in the past two months, and it was all very honest and natural. You see, Objectivist Living is not a dating site and we did not come here looking for love—and so we didn’t put on our Sunday best or some Fake-O personality hoping to attract a mate. When we started chatting online [and then in private] it was all very natural and casual, it was simply two admirers of Ayn Rand and fellow OL’ers chewing the fat. But at some point in our email exchanges…something started to happen. We connected. There was no denying the reality of what was happening. We shared an acute sense of what Nathanial Branden might call “mirroring.” We connected very swiftly and strongly—and this took us by surprise. We weren’t looking for love. It “just happened.” That’s the point: we did fall in love. That’s the reality.

Kevin, I don't know why you think as you do. Not only because Angie and I have shouted our love from the roof tops, [why would we lie?] but also because of the fact that thousands of people year round fall in love in cyber space and go on to have happy relationships. Where is all the reality-chopping in the happiness people have found? The conditions and basis of a successful relationship is not if it was spawned by meeting in a bar, a classroom, a walk in the park, at the World’s Fair--or in cyber space. That is all so beside the point. How two people meet has nothing to do with it.

Objectivism is known to be a reality-oriented philosophy where the struggle is to identify the ‘it is’ over the ‘I wish.’ It is about respecting facts and honesty. In this spirit, Angie and I have struggled to be very truthful with each other---each allowing the other to see the good and the bad. We have been very “tough” with each other. We have put our cards on the table and said, in effect, “Look, this is what I want in a relationship at this point in my life, this is who I am—if you like it, let’s get to know more about each other—if not, then good-bye.” I’m serious.

Both Angie and I do not care to repeat the past mistakes of failed relationships or relationships that have failed to be satisfactory. THIS time, we have decided, we are getting it right. And what is “getting it right” about? The issue of self-honesty--and being truthful to your potential partner--is the central issue. Happily, Angie and I are perfectly suited for each other. And that we are both Objectivists is a nice bonus, but it is not the living core to our falling in love. It’s Objectivism’s core principles—based on our individual personalities—that has ignited a romantic love.

We all meet and come across “Objectivists” who are of the opposite sex, but we don’t fall in love with every one of them. No, there is something else about Angie and me that just works. We simply click in a very significant and deep way. It is something in our individual personalities. We are honest with ourselves and with each other—and it is this honesty that we have acknowledged having fallen in love. Even if we didn't know about Rand, we would have fallen in love. We are in love. Mind you, I agree that it would have been nice to exchange our first “I love you” face-to-face, but come on, we are doing the best we can--given the circumstances. But that doesn’t make it any less real.

Too often, Objectivists [and others] have, it is true, totally unrealistic expectations. They white-wash their partners with attributes and virtues they don’t possess. And, more often than not, these are couples who have met the "normal way” and who are in the physical presence of their partner daily! Those are the people who are to be properly charged with rationalism--not because they met via the cyber world, but because of their unrealistic fantasy. That does not make for a happy love story. It is a comic tragedy. Yes, Angie and I are looking for the happy ending and we want to walk hand-in-hand off into the sunset, but not at the expense of reality.

***

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Postscript: If I haven't said this already, I wish Victor and Angie all my best. When you know what love is, how or where you found it is irrelevant. I think both of you know how to say "I", so I have no doubt that that the "I love you"'s you express are true. I am excited about seeing, and hope we all have the opportunity to witness your love for each other unfurl here on OL. After all, would we even be here talking about this if it were not for the amazing love that developed(online) between Kat and Michael.

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All of our warning mechanisms can only be put to practice when we have a physical contact with an individual. His/her mannerism will tell us a lot about the person.

This is not possible when we meet someone on the internet. All we see are the words

They type and what they want us to believe. That said, it is also very easy to be deceived by someone in person-in fact it happens quite often. But dealing with someone in person

we stand a better chance of determining the character of the person we are meeting.

The safety of our friends, family, disappears when we are on the internet, we lose the safety provided by them who can tell us that “ so and so” is a good person or someone you would be wise to stay away from. There are many successful stories of people who have met on the internet and now love each other passionately. God bless them, but Those are rare cases and not the norm.

I personally would not feel comfortable, or would approve my daughter dating someone she meets on the internet.

I think that the internet is the best way of communication available today between people who are interested in discussing ideas , and if they use it to find a wife because they don't have better alternatives , that's fine too. But to make it look like that it is even better than when we meet someone in person because it happened to them that way is plain BS.

Ciro.

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Ciro-

I can understand your reservations. Hell, if I had a daughter I would be sceptical of anyone she met, regardless of where they met. No one here(that I've seen at least) is saying that it is "better" to meet someone online. The people who have been successful at it are simply saying that it can be done. Also, those who meet online, if their love is true, will eventually meet in person-and I can tell you from personal experience that the eventual meeting CAN confirm all that we thought about that person. Whether it is someone we met in a bar, on a blind date, or on the internet, we all have to discern whether that person is whom we think they are, and we all make further decisions based upon that conclusion. I don't understand what you mean by the "his or her mannerism" when face to face. What is this magical "mannerism" that is only evident face to face?

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I will also add that many of the nay-sayers seem to come to their conclusion based upon a great amount of paranoia. It's always doubts along the lines of "what they want you to believe."(What? Have many of you here been deluded into thinking that the 600lb man you were having cyber-sex with was actually a supermodel? That ain't love anyhow.) When I met Lydia online, fortunately, I never had the pot-smoker's paranoia that she was only saying what I wanted to hear. Just like I never had those doubts in previous relationships where we met face to face(though that situation certainly does not preclude someone being deceptive.) I have always trusted MY judgement, and I have always known what "I" means, and what MY judgement means and HOW I judge. I dont' know Victor that well, but I do know Angie, and I would never slap her in the face by saying that she could not be completely honest about herself in an online situation. I only know Angie from online, but I KNOW her well enough from this medium to know that Victor is also a damn fine person to merit her love. As I've said before, I can't wait to see the two of you bring reality to those who scream "unrealistic."

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I'd like to make it clear, before I start talking about this subject again, that I'm talking about myself and people in general, and that I am not in any way talking about Victor and Angie in particular!

I think the internet is a great way to meet people and potential partners, but as I said before, I personally would want to meet a potential partner before the relationship went too far because of the potential disorientation between the "net persona" and the "in person" persona. As I said previously, I've never had an on-line romance, but I have had two internet friendships, and it was quite disorienting to have had two years of net friendship and phone friendship behind us before we finally met in person.

All of our warning mechanisms can only be put to practice when we have a physical contact with an individual. His/her mannerism will tell us a lot about the person.

This is not possible when we meet someone on the internet. All we see are the words

They type and what they want us to believe.

I find this to be true as well, but in a more positive context. The physical is very important for me, not at all in an aesthetic context (I've never once fallen for a man I've thought was aesthetically attractive), but for what a man's mannerisms and expressions and way of moving tell me about him. I can't tell anything about someone even from a still photograph. I've got to be there in person. It makes a HUGE difference. There have been people I've found enormously attractive in person, whose e-mails would have told me next to nothing about them. Conversely, there have been people whose e-mails made them out to be quite interesting and when I met them in person there was no chemistry whatsoever. In terms of one's body, it's not what one has, but what one does with it that counts!

So -- if I were ever in the situation where I encountered someone on the internet with whom I thought I might have a budding romance, I'd do whatever I had to do to make an in-person meeting happen as soon as possible, even if it meant eating ramen noodles and Spaghetti-Os for the next three months to buy a plane ticket to wherever for a long weekend trip to find out just what was what. Better to find out now and perhaps nip things in the bud than to get up the hopes of two people over what might in fact be nothing! But, I may be different from others in the way I read people. I may not be as sensitive to voice as others, I may be hypersensitive to body language or even scent, etc.

Judith

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Judith-

With all due respect, I don't have a clue what "scent", or "body language" has to do with love. At least not beyond some superficial level. What are you saying, "I really liked him(or her) fundamentally, but that damned Polo cologne was a real deal breaker."?!?

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I think we all find the little touches of a person’s personality to be either endearing or irritating, or else we don’t regard them. But I agree that it is hardly a maker or a breaker to that which is so strong and established—that being a profound love and sexual attraction. I can say this: because of who Angie is, I’m physically attracted to her—and it matters little to me [unless I were a neurotic or shallow] if she eats her peas one-by-one or brushes her hair back using an index finger…or whatever! God, I’m getting too old for these little nothing things. I thank GOD for the luck or the circumstances that has permitted me to come across an amazing---I said AMAZING--creature that is Angie. Thank you, God!

[honey, if you are reading this, I just want to say I love you! um...you don't wear Polo cologne, do you?]

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Victor-

Angie has told me that she prefers using Old Spice, and I know that she has a tick for throwing peas, singularly, at anyone who has red hair. Just some fundamental things you might want to know.

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To be fair to parents, especially of teenagers, I think age and experience need to be considered in dealing with Internet love.

I mentioned that I had an unpleasant experience because I did fall in love once with another woman, but when I met her, she was nothing like the image she had sold to me online--starting with her age. After that shock (not so much about the age as the lie), I gave it some time to see if it would work, but the differences between us were too strong to keep the love in my heart. I literally fell in love with one person and ended up with another. The one I fell in love with back then was a damn fine woman. It is a shame she did not exist except in my mind.

(But not too much of a shame. I am far better off with Kitten, who told me exactly who she was, warts and all, as I did. There was not any deception at all in our meeting. On the contrary, she was even better than I expected.)

I understand the worry a parent has, especially with a daughter, in finding love on the Internet. She might "wake-up" too late in something like what happened to me and get into some serious trouble simply because she doesn't have much experience yet with the dark side of the human spirit. In the thralls of the emotion and the accumulated intimate communication, she might leave her brains behind and swallow the lies as if they were not important when she finally meets the guy.

(If there are any teenage daughters reading this, I think they might not like me anymore... :) )

The point is that for love, as for anything involving human interaction, the means of communication is not as important as competence in communicating and evaluating. In general, a younger person makes more mistakes than an adult and that's as it should be. We all learn by making mistakes. If we never made any mistakes, we would never have to learn.

Michael

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A further thought comes to mind: it is being argued that you can’t know a person sufficiently enough on the net to declare that you love them. Of course, I disagree. I can’t examine my mind and gut and say, “gee, Victor, all these people are so sure in their doubt, so these powerful emotions—and physical reactions—can’t be real.” Duh!

You know a person as much as you care to by evaluating them rationally, how often you interact with them, the effort and interest that is invested in this objective over a measure in time. But who decrees that love begins….okay…not yet…still not yet….okay…NOW! [?]

Really, who are these people--with their unmediated tenacity--to tell others what their feelings are [or aren’t] and under which conditions and circumstances--and by what point in time—we are allowed to say “I’m in love!” [??]

How can they even pretend to have an argument? It truly is astonishing. What's next? "Oh, you guys met...and you say you are in love? Ah, well...it was just a week, right? It might just be physical..."

Bla, bla, bla.

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I almost had to crack open a new bottle of Vicodin just to get through some of these posts....lol...(sighing) it's just all getting so :yawn: So OY and any naysayer can BITE ME as I really do not care what anyone else thinks regarding this.

Jody, thank you very much for the well wishing. It's wonderful to hear that you and Lydia are doing so well. It brings a huge smile to my face !! :) Yes, you are right. Thank you for telling Victor as I totally forgot to mention to him as I am completely evading reality that I have a really bad tick while cussing and throwing peas at anyone with red hair and I do wear Old Spice. I shave as well as I have a very very thick mustache. Man, watch out for that aftershave, some serious burns with that bad boy. Hey, did you ever tell Lydia that you used to be a 6 foot 1 aboriginal chick from a small tribe in Australia?

Victor, I love you too, honey !! Hey, the hours are dwindling away. I now have 15 hours before I have to pay up. :blush: But it ain't over till it's over and the fat lady sings. I'm still rooting, Go, Baby, Go !! :cheer: ;) Hey, those pompoms might come in handy, don't you think? :whistle: :P I love you much, honey and it will be much fun !!! Yes, all that matters is that WE know it and WE do.

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Hey, the hours are dwindling away. I now have 15 hours before I have to pay up.

This is private and is between Angie and me, so if readers are confused...don't worry, you're supposed to be. But I can say this--Angie has some real balls for touching on it out here in the open. And...Wait a mintue...did I say 'Angie has balls'? Hmm, I better get to know this person a little more. :baby:

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Let me state this once more for the record, that what I am discussing here has nothing to do with Angie and Victor, in fact I like them both, very much , and I wish them well. And you too Jody, I know that you have been very fortunate to have met an intelligent woman like the beautiful Lidya.

I just feel sorry for Kat, the poor girl, she just didn't deserve a guy like Mike. :)

Ciro

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Ciro, thank you for the well wishes and I like you also as I am sure Victor does as well. We've always been cordial and respectful towards each other. Differences of opinions but all is good. :)

Brant, oy, that is just horrible and you ARE the devil :blink::huh: :shocked: LOL

Angie

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Judith-

With all due respect, I don't have a clue what "scent", or "body language" has to do with love.

Probably more than you think. When we talk about the "chemistry" between two people, this is more than just a metaphor. I completely agree with Judith here. If she is hypersensitive to body language and scent, then so am I. And I think many other people, even if they're not aware of this. If the scent is wrong, it's over.

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Guest Damage Inc.
Bla, bla, bla.

Here's some more, Bla, Bla, Bla, from someone who has seen you face to face for the last 13 years. Victor: Why is your picture circa, 1980s ? Just curious, that's all. :afro:

Wayne Simmons

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If she is hypersensitive to body language and scent, then so am I. And I think many other people, even if they're not aware of this. If the scent is wrong, it's over.

Dragonfly, scent can play a part—just a part—in attraction, but a relationship does not depend on it. You are placing way too much stock in something such as that. The idea here is to suggest that 'love' is nothing but physical--that the mind plays no part, that values, esteem, respect, admiration--plays no part. Just a smell matters. That idea stinks.

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If she is hypersensitive to body language and scent, then so am I. And I think many other people, even if they're not aware of this. If the scent is wrong, it's over.

The idea here is to suggest that 'love' is nothing but physical--that the mind plays no part, that values, esteem, respect, admiration--plays no part. Just a smell matters. That idea stinks.

No, nowhere do I say that the mind plays no part and that only a smell matters, I just say that it is a mistake to think that in 'love' only the mind (i.e. values, esteem etc.) matters, which idea was one of Rand's most egregious errors.

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No, nowhere do I say that the mind plays no part and that only a smell matters, I just say that it is a mistake to think that in 'love' only the mind (i.e. values, esteem etc.) matters, which idea was one of Rand's most egregious errors.

What error? She didn't discount the physical. It seemed that you had everything riding on scenet. In the modern world, I'm glad Rand placed a great deal of foucs on the mind--which has been tossed to the side to things like social status, physicality, genes...must-be-a-fire fighter. :)

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