Men and women make for strange bed fellows.


Victor Pross

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In short, I hate when women do not remind me of Dagny Taggart! I WANT A DAGNY!

As Objectivists or at least admirers of Rand's work we hear that sort of thing often. But I always have to ask, are you a Dagny (or Galt as the case may be) as well? Remember it was only Galt that got Dagny in the end, I think a very fulfilling relationship could be built with a Cheryl Taggart (sans suicidal tendancies of course). A Dominique would be annoying. We should always hold ourselves to the same standards we hold our significant others, and vice versa.

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I'm not sure that I'd want a John Galt. I'm not sure that my needs for intimacy and connection would be met with him. For example, Galt and Dagny have just made love for the first time and he talks about philosophy...

That kind of thing would really bug me after a while.

The closest relationsips and friendships I have are with those people with whom we both openly express what needs of ours are being met / not being met in the moment. Aided by a listening ear on both sides and knowing that neither of us are responsible for the how another person is feeling (I can trigger feelings in a person, but I don't make someone feel a certain way).

I've just started reading a book called 'Don't Be Nice Be Real' by Kelly Bryson, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist. A real eye-opener so far. He talks about how people suppress their own needs in order to try and please other people. As a result we become: 'nice dead people'. The cure is never to do anything for anybody else unless it meets your needs to do so (i.e. can do it with the same energy as a small child feeding the hungry ducks); doing something out of coercion, means you'll only try and make them pay for it later.

I'm going to rave about another book that I'm loving at the moment: 'Learned Optimism' by Martin Seligman, one of the positive psychology gurus. Just as it says on the tin; pessimists can learn how to be optimists. People who have learned helplessness can learn that their actions can make a difference. It's relevance to this post is: optimists enjoy more satisfying relationships than pessimists.

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I'm not sure that I'd want a John Galt. I'm not sure that my needs for intimacy and connection would be met with him. For example, Galt and Dagny have just made love for the first time and he talks about philosophy...

I don't care for Galt myself. Nathaniel Branden also made that accusation, though, and I've never understood it. I read that passage, and what you and he see as "talking about philosophy" I see as talking about his innermost self. What could possibly be more intimate?

I'm going to rave about another book that I'm loving at the moment: 'Learned Optimism' by Martin Seligman, one of the positive psychology gurus. Just as it says on the tin; pessimists can learn how to be optimists. People who have learned helplessness can learn that their actions can make a difference. It's relevance to this post is: optimists enjoy more satisfying relationships than pessimists.

Seligman's books are great. "Learned Helplessness" was more of an eye-opener for me, although it's a more depressing book! The books certainly get one to "check one's premises" regarding what is and is not changeable in one's life and can lead to life-changing realizations.

Judith

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But I always have to ask, are you a Dagny (or Galt as the case may be) as well?

Actually Im more of a Howard Roark myself. But I certainly think that people of rational values will realize my heroism (due to my incredible level of mental independence).

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In short, I hate when women do not remind me of Dagny Taggart! I WANT A DAGNY!

Well, of course you do. Dagny is by far the most attractive of Rand's characters. All the men want her, and all the women want to be like her. I'd love to have a female friend like her.

If she ever really existed, we'd all tear her apart because everyone would want a piece of her. :laugh:

Judith

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All the men want [Dagny], and all the women want to be like her.

Interjecting a serious note: There is at least one female person here who has never felt any desire to be like Dagny. My basic reaction to Dagny was along the lines of that expressed by her father in his sad comment "There will always be a Taggart to run the railroad." Her life seemed to me so cheerless. She had the railroad, the music of Richard Halley, the pain of wondering why Francisco had become what to her view looked like a wastrel. Even after the John Galt ride, and the start of her affair with Hank Rearden -- the sequence which to me remains the emotional high point of the book -- she faced a world falling apart and a grim prospect (until the final page). I felt sad for her, not any wish to emulate her.

Ellen

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All the men want [Dagny], and all the women want to be like her.

Interjecting a serious note: There is at least one female person here who has never felt any desire to be like Dagny. My basic reaction to Dagny was along the lines of that expressed by her father in his sad comment "There will always be a Taggart to run the railroad." Her life seemed to me so cheerless. She had the railroad, the music of Richard Halley, the pain of wondering why Francisco had become what to her view looked like a wastrel. Even after the John Galt ride, and the start of her affair with Hank Rearden -- the sequence which to me remains the emotional high point of the book -- she faced a world falling apart and a grim prospect (until the final page). I felt sad for her, not any wish to emulate her.

Ellen

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The society--the world of AS--was in the midst of a long grind down. Of course her life was so cheerless. Same thing for everyone else except Francisco. And for him it was all self generated. These people couldn't have been real. Francisco give up Dagny to save the world?! Unbelievable. But so what? The novel still works on its own terms even though it has arthritis.

--Brant

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Jump on your soapbox? Dont mind if I do! :laugh:

Heh, I remain a virgin in all connotations of the word. I have never kissed a girl, had a girlfriend, or even been close to one. To many I am considered a loner, but in reality, Im just picky :)

I dont particularly care how the opposite sex thinks generally or how they act, simply because there is no huge difference. A man can have feminine characteristics and a woman can have masculine characteristics. It isnt about the differences between the sexes, it is about what compliments you the best.

The woman of my dreams is someone like Dagny Taggart, but not as naive (yes I called her naive--shame on me). I want a woman who is unimaginably strong, self aware, and able to produce. Notice intelligence is not one of my top priorities. I believe that as long as she is strong willed, and aware of herself in all senses of the word, then I believe I would be fine.

I want her to be strong because I want someone to lean on. I want someone to encourage me without saying a word. As competitive as I am, the stronger she is, the more motivated I will be to outsmart her, and show off. However, my motivation would be solely her, and everything I would do I would do for her. I'd want her to be so strong that a role reversal were possible. You know that stereotypical image of a man holding a woman in a superior form (her head in his chest), and how she feels safe? Well, Id love for that to be her holding me, simply because at times I feel weak as well. I wouldnt want the stereotypical emotional support that women generally give; I would want her to be the one to protect me :)

I want her to be self aware, simply because as long as she knows herself and knows what she wants, is capable of, and values, then I would be happy. I dont care if she is a genius or not, or if I am smarter than she is. As long as she knows herself and works to her fullest ability I will be happy.

I want her to be able to produce. Now this can mean many things, and I havent narrowed down what I want most. She could be the mother who is productive through her teaching of the children we will have, or she could be the woman who is CEO of a major company. I dont know and I particularly dont care as of now, but I want her to be a leader and a producer, not a looter.

Anyways, that sums it up to some degree. I could be much more specific but you have better things to do than read a book :)

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All the men want [Dagny], and all the women want to be like her.

Interjecting a serious note: There is at least one female person here who has never felt any desire to be like Dagny. My basic reaction to Dagny was along the lines of that expressed by her father in his sad comment "There will always be a Taggart to run the railroad." Her life seemed to me so cheerless. She had the railroad, the music of Richard Halley, the pain of wondering why Francisco had become what to her view looked like a wastrel. Even after the John Galt ride, and the start of her affair with Hank Rearden -- the sequence which to me remains the emotional high point of the book -- she faced a world falling apart and a grim prospect (until the final page). I felt sad for her, not any wish to emulate her.

I always saw that as attributable to the circumstances in the novel, not any characteristics of her. I keep thinking of Rand's comment something to the effect that "She woke up, and it was morning, and it was another day in HER life!" She was fundamentally a very joyous character. And I found her self-possession under pressure quite admirable as well.

WWDD? :laugh:

Judith

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Yeah, yeah, re Brant's and Judith's replies re Dagny. The fact remains: Contra the generalization that all the women want to be like Dagny, I never had any desire to be like Dagny. I found my own circumstances so much better. Way it was and remains.

Ellen

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The woman of my dreams is someone like Dagny Taggart, but not as naive (yes I called her naive--shame on me).

Not at all. I've always thought of her as naive. Her ignorance about the realities of sex going into the forest glade scene seemed to me odd -- given the way she ran around poking into railroad yards, etc. -- and I found her naive about psychology in general as the novel progressed. Oh, sure, there are things I responded to in her characterization and found admirable but not in the sense of seeing her as exemplary.

Ellen

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The woman of my dreams is someone like Dagny Taggart, but not as naive.

Interesting. The quality that you consider "naive" I call "purity" -- seeing the world but remaining untouched by it -- and I consider it admirable in the extreme.

Judith

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Any comments pertaining to my actual description and NOT about Dagny?

:)

Dodger,

I very much agree that what it's about is what best suits your particular being. And I very much applaud your having the attitude of looking for what's right for you. On specifics, however, I don't want to comment, since I'm in no position to say what sort of person really would or would not be the right choice for you individually.

Ellen

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I would love to have someone like Dagny as a friend (and I believe I do in a few cases).

I would not want her, as presented in AS, as a woman. I mean it.

I take the issue of personal loyalty seriously. It is not everything, just like the same philosophical values are not everything, nor chemistry, nor physical attraction, nor rhythm, nor career choice, nor many factors. There is a big mix with everything taking part.

When 2 people are in love and they start building a life together, there is a lot of value constructed. Still, many things can kill a relationship, especially bickering and belittlement of the other. But if negative things are not present in any meaningful and destructive way, a relationship is supposed to grow. This is the farmer in me talking, but that is the way life works. I don't appreciate putting all my effort, reason, heart and soul into a long-term relationship only to be told that someone more suitable showed up—so goodbye.

That is not my conception of my highest value in a woman.

Michael

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I would love to have someone like Dagny as a friend (and I believe I do in a few cases).

I would not want her, as presented in AS, as a woman. I mean it.

I take the issue of personal loyalty seriously. It is not everything, just like the same philosophical values are not everything, nor chemistry, nor physical attraction, nor rhythm, nor career choice, nor many factors. There is a big mix with everything taking part.

When 2 people are in love and they start building a life together, there is a lot of value constructed. Still, many things can kill a relationship, especially bickering and belittlement of the other. But if negative things are not present in any meaningful and destructive way, a relationship is supposed to grow. This is the farmer in me talking, but that is the way life works. I don't appreciate putting all my effort, reason, heart and soul into a long-term relationship only to be told that someone more suitable showed up—so goodbye.

That is not my conception of my highest value in a woman.

Michael

The problem is the almost God-like status of John Galt. "Highest value" trumps loyalty in the world of Ayn Rand, I guess--or, loyalty is to highest value just as soon as it's discovered. So Dagny goes for Galt and Francisco and Rearden accept that. In real life this would mean that there was no love being given up.

The only real love story in Atlas, for the heroes, is when Rearden kisses the Wet Nurse. All the rest is artificial, contrived, arbitrary and forced. The best sex, of course, was after the first run of The John Galt Line between Dagny and Hank.

"Atlas Shrugged" is a great place to visit, but you'd be foolish to actually try to live there. This doesn't mean that one shouldn't live a life of virtue and integrity, only that one should live in the real world.

--Brant

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Brant,

I agree. As symbols for specific things (especially particular virtues or types of evil), her characters work and work well. As full human beings, they lack some fundamental parts.

They are really like the Greek gods of antiquity in many respects, except even those gods had fits of jealousy and other emotions.

Speaking of emotions, the full spectrum of all the types of emotions might be lacking in Rand's fiction, but the ones she did explore, she did so with extreme mastery. She cut deep and I believe this is part of her universal appeal. The emotional content of her fiction would make a very interesting study.

Michael

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The best sex, of course, was after the first run of The John Galt Line between Dagny and Hank.

That scene's a winner, including the whole build-up while they're still on the train ride: the part with Dagny going into the enclosed space where the motors are -- I can imagine the sound and the vibrations, the physical presence of the motion and power -- and she turns and sees Hank standing at the entranceway looking at her.

I also thrill to the scene where Dagny walks into a tunnel under the Taggart Building, the visual image and her thought "He will follow me." Time and again, during the year when I lived in New Rochelle and commuted to my job in central Manhattan via Grand Central (the model for the Taggart Building, concourse, and maze of underlying train lines), I would have images of that scene as the tunnel openings flashed by, especially on the ride away from the station when the train was picking up speed.

Rand's imagery in the sex-in-a-tunnel scene hits millenia-old archetypal paydirt.

Ellen

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A drop dead gorgeous woman walks into the room and every man in the room notices her as well as some of the women. You look at your guy and you see him watching her. Later on you ask him the question he dreads, "Did you see that girl tonight?" or "Do you think she was pretty?" He either does whatever he can to avoid the question and answering it, denies it, or straight out lies to you about it by saying something such as, "Oh, no, she wasn't pretty at all" or "I didn't notice any girl tonight." You point out and make it as clear as day who you are talking about and you noticed that he was watching her just as everyone else was or what have you and he still goes into the whole denial drill or lying deal. This is irritating.

Sometimes my wife suspects me of noticing a particular woman. So sometimes I point out just WHICH women I have NOT noticed. "I didn't notice THAT woman, over there." Then of course she doesn't suspect me of having noticed that particular woman. -- Mike Hardy

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Men tend to have this horrible fear of conflict with women. They tend to be terrified of saying the wrong thing because they think it will blow up into a big argument for the rest of the night and then no sex for a week.

Judith

I'd say many men are afraid of a woman's anger. Like rejection, a woman's anger is mistaken as a hit on their worth, their experience of themselves as being lovable.

Men tend to pull most of their self-esteem out of career and from a sense of identity built on abilities and skills. They are more vulnerable in the side of self-esteem where they experience a sense of worth and the feeling they are desirable.

Men are socialized to believe they generate self-worth by accomplishments and that is their implicit offer to their love, in exchange for her love. But if it seems rejected their very worth feels threatened.

As I've written this, it is an exaggeration of the underlying feelings and a generalization. On average it would be more accurate to say a man feels a discomfort rather than is afraid. And it is not being passed on to newer generations as strongly as it was earlier generations.

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When 2 people are in love and they start building a life together, there is a lot of value constructed. Still, many things can kill a relationship, especially bickering and belittlement of the other. But if negative things are not present in any meaningful and destructive way, a relationship is supposed to grow. This is the farmer in me talking, but that is the way life works. I don't appreciate putting all my effort, reason, heart and soul into a long-term relationship only to be told that someone more suitable showed up—so goodbye.

Ah -- but that's not what happened in "Atlas".

Francisco abandoned Dagny in a way far more cruel than any physical abandonment could possibly be. He practically told her not to wait for him. She can certainly be excused for finding a more mature love later in life, whether one consider that love to be Rearden or Galt or both.

Rearden was an affair, not a long-term love, and both of them knew it. When Rearden comes to Dagny after her radio speech in which she speaks of their affair in the past tense, he says that only then does he realize her true value to him, when it's too late. Again, she can certainly be excused for finding a more permanent love when the only love in her life is a temporary affair with a married man who shows no signs of divorcing his wife.

Judith

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Judith,

I agree with you about Francisco. I don't agree about Rearden, especially after those bedroom speeches. I also detected nothing by Dagny in holding reservations about the limitations you mentioned. I got the complete opposite impression—that both of them were shooting for the read deal.

Michael

I agree with Michael here. It really felt that Dagny and Hank were trying their hardest to be together.

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This could also go in "Romance killers" but what the hell, it's suited here as well.

Here’s my definition of romance: It’s defined by the woman you are romancing.

Take the time to find out what she likes, what’s important to her, her values, what turns her on, and act accordingly to be that considerate guy that was actually listening. There you go---a women romanced! :turned:

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