Romantic Conflict w/ 2 suitors


RTB

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In regard to Rand's essay in her 'Virtue of Selfishness' there is a clear idea given by examples where she describes the scenario where 2 men are competing for the same job in a society and necessarily one wins and one 'loses'. To me, this is simple to understand given her explanations that involve the assumption of both men being rational men. That is to say, the one that fails to attain the position understands his loss and situation and moves on to another or whatnot.

I've argued this many years ago and explained it many times to dining room tables. To me, the principle is certainly easy to grasp.

Now, I turn over to another page where she equates the romantic equivalent of this 'failure' and acceptance. The ostensible premises are the same. The logic is the same....except for the fact that there's no regard for the chooser (in this case, the woman choosing her beau) to be faced with a seemingly equal or indeterminately equal choice. Further, There's no clear function in the choices that are illustrated. Namely, there's no 'if this then that' that is in allowance.

I'd also like to express that I believe once a man (or woman in this example) is faced with such a choice it is of a different sort than that of the simple job interview scenario. Something much more important is at work here. It doesn't mean I believe it is a question that is devoid of the authority of logic but these two human events are not the same.

They cannot be the same in the order of ethics. Both of these seemingly identical scenarios following the same principle do not and cannot equate themselves properly since they involve different fundamental branches of philosophy. Namely, they correlate with epistemology and ethics both. But the last involves romantic ethics and Introspection of the dooer.

I hope I've been clear. I'll elaborate if asked.

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RTB,

Welcome to OL!

I have experienced intense jealousy some years after reading Rand and I thought at the time I should have known better. But it was so overpowering that I did not recognize myself. I knew what I felt was wrong but I could not stop myself from feeling it in that manner and often I could not stop myself from doing some very stupid things I later regretted.

Later I decided as you did, that romantic love has components that Rand did not take into account and she oversimplified it into a form she thought it should be, not as it existed (and one which bit her just as painfully as mine bit me). I also decided that there are no "wrong" emotions. Emotions are merely intense forms of consciousness with a drive to act built into them. The only time I think they are wrong is when they hog the mind and all rational thought gets obliterated. Thus it is a matter of degree and not kind.

There are few things on earth worse than feeling jealousy at the level of vehemence I did. I have no intention of ever letting that happen again.

My own inner rule now is to allow the positive emotions more room and intensity in my life than the negative ones. I still hate and get ticked, for instance. But I do that in the same spirit as I go to the bathroom. It is merely something I have to do and it can even be pleasurable at times since I have to do it anyway. But once it is over, I go back to doing something else I am far more interested in.

Like loving passionately a very wonderful, lovely and deserving woman...

Michael

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(I'm not experiencing your 'extreme jealousy'. I'm not experiencing any jealousy. LOL_)

I'm working through philosphic structural problems. I'm doing it systematically.

Thank you for your reply.

You've missed it though. You almost discovered the puzzle pieces. But not quite.

The question remains within us to fundamentally resolve the issue of logic and our emotional relationships. This still remains. I am sure that almost none of us would disagree with the fact that there is even a certain logic to illogical systems... this is not hard to dispute.

I'm looking at something a little bit deeper. I've been thinking on this for a while and I want my little mental shenanigans to be proper and absolute.

Objectivism needs a more elaborate structure allowing for it to pin point right 'there' in reality what it means. There is no other appeal for us but reality.

I'm long winded but the point I wish to reiterate is that there's a certain ethical component BECAUSE of a certain emotional component that are involved in the above premises. I'm contending that it is possible in my scenario for good men or good women to negate one or the other without moral import to the other.

Disagree with me if you want. Hell, I enjoy polemics.

I actually think it's nice that I found a place where minutiae can be debated. I'm a bit tired of the usual.

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RTB,

I suggest looking at the following article and thread (then read the JARS article).

The Wonderful Way Shmurak Faces Emotion

This has direct bearing on the issue we are discussing since it deals with the fundamental nature of emotions all the way from infancy. I never get tired of plugging Steve Shmurak. I think he did a brilliant job and his work is going to pervade what Objectivism will ultimately look like decades down the road.

There is more than ethics involved with romantic love, although ethics is a part of it in adults.

Michael

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RTB,

I suggest looking at the following article and thread (then read the JARS article).

The Wonderful Way Shmurak Faces Emotion

This has direct bearing on the issue we are discussing since it deals with the fundamental nature of emotions all the way from infancy. I never get tired of plugging Steve Shmurak. I think he did a brilliant job and his work is going to pervade what Objectivism will ultimately look like decades down the road.

There is more than ethics involved with romantic love, although ethics is a part of it in adults.

Michael

I don't think that suits me. I'm an Objectivist through and through. Your bits don't contribute to that. I adhere to logic and reason only. Really, I mean it......and I absorb the passions of emotions when it comes to music or art or polemics , or any other such thing.

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RTB,

I suggest looking at the following article and thread (then read the JARS article).

The Wonderful Way Shmurak Faces Emotion

This has direct bearing on the issue we are discussing since it deals with the fundamental nature of emotions all the way from infancy. I never get tired of plugging Steve Shmurak. I think he did a brilliant job and his work is going to pervade what Objectivism will ultimately look like decades down the road.

There is more than ethics involved with romantic love, although ethics is a part of it in adults.

Michael

I don't think that suits me. I'm an Objectivist through and through. Your bits don't contribute to that. I adhere to logic and reason only. Really, I mean it......and I absorb the passions of emotions when it comes to music or art or polemics , or any other such thing.

Perhaps fresher eyes could comment further.

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I don't think that suits me. I'm an Objectivist through and through. Your bits don't contribute to that. I adhere to logic and reason only. Really, I mean it......and I absorb the passions of emotions when it comes to music or art or polemics , or any other such thing.

RTB -- The most basic tenet of Objectivism is: Existence has a certain nature independent of our knowledge of it or our wishes that it be a certain way.

For all her achievements, Rand got only part of the story right about the nature of emotion. She did not realize that it is an inborn system with certain functions to perform for survival and well-being. Only one of these functions is her formulation that emotions tell us how we are doing in progressing toward our self-chosen values.

However that is hardly their whole nature. When you say you are an "Objectivist through and through" does that mean you believe that Rand's formulation is the complete description of the nature of emotion or that you are open to accepting all facts about emotion?

I have presented an empirically based theory of emotion (I describe it, I did not develop it -- SS Tomkins (American psychologist 1911-1991) did), that can account for all the phenomena of emotion, not just the well-behaved ones that Objectivists try to restrict themselves too (and thereby often miss a great deal of richness in the quality of their lives.)

This is no touchy-feely, subjectivist "feelings are more important than reason" diatribe. I consider myself to be an Objectivist in the best sense of the term -- I accept the facts, even when that goes against cherished beliefs. Reality always wins, whether we like it or not.

I hope you will open your mind to some new knowledge about the nature of emotion -- I think it's likely to increase your sharpness, ability to handle things, and joy in living. Of course it could also open you to feeling some things you might not want to feel -- but that is information that should be worked with.

My own life has been immeasurably enriched by integrating this knowledge into the way I live.

If this all sounds "preachy" -- my apologies -- I promote this work as a practical way to get more joy and exaltation out of life.

I must admit however, that I am frustrated that there hasn't been more interest shown in it.

Steve Shmurak

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RTB,

There is one point I think should be made clear. I do not think an emotion is a proper tool of concept formation, unless the emotion itself is the existent being integrated. Emotions are not cognitively useful even for normative abstractions. (But emotions do integrate with learning, experience and conscious thinking, so they have their own kind of integration that transforms them and creates new ones.) Emotions are another form of awareness that runs in parallel with conceptual cognition and often overlaps with it.

My problem with Rand's view of emotions is scope, not the part she got right. I think she got one aspect right, not the whole shebang. In addition to expressing a value judgment, it is possible to program emotions over time with rational thinking. That is true. But only some emotions, not ALL of them.

I often see that those who disagree with Rand make the same mistake—scope. They take the part that does not apply or that contradicts the general principle Rand made, then claim that she got NOTHING right.

I suggest you give Steve Shmurak's ideas a go, at least look at them with an open mind. You might find some answers to pieces of the puzzle that have never fit. (And I say this being an Objectivist for over 35 years.)

Here is an email I sent to another person recently (who shall remain nameless) that explains how I have seen cognition gets short-circuited in Objectivists at times. Although I was dealing with intellectual evaluations, my comments are equally applicable to romantic love.

I, too, have shared your puzzlement about what makes many Objectivists eliminate degree from an issue where black and white is obviously not all there is, then pretend that a person has proclaimed something black or white that he obviously did not. For the record, I believe that acknowledging gray where gray does and should exist does not deny that black and white exist, too.

I am still puzzling over this attitude, especially when I see it bordering on racism. I loathe the idea of Objectivism being used for the intellectual underpinning of racism.

I have come to the following conclusion. When Rand approached the total integration idea, especially eliminating the mind-body dichotomy, she presented it in a manner where emotions are states of mind controlled by reason. This is actually a point where I believe degree is in order, not black and white. And she did not present integration per se. She presented subjugation with a clever sleight-of-hand. It goes something like this: reason is superior to emotions as a survival mechanism, thus it can control emotions at all times or at least explain them in terms of consciously made value judgments. This completely ignores what comes pre-wired in man and pretends that all thinking and valuing is done according to volition.

Rand also made the is-ought problem a bit confusing so that it appears to less introspective people that an evaluation of an existent is merely another form of identifying it as a metaphysical fact.

To be clear, the proper form of dealing with anything on a conceptual level is (1) identify the existent in purely cognitive terms, (2) identify its relationship(s) with other existent(s) (including oneself), and (3) make a value judgment. After the value judgment, it is OK to become close-minded, but there is one part of the mind that must always remain open: if a new fact is encountered that bears on the existent and value judgment, the mind must remain open enough to correctly identify it and its relationships to other existents BEFORE evaluating it. How can something be rationally evaluated if one does not know what it is and how it affects other things?

I often see Objectivists invert this and start with the value judgment, imagining that the cognitive part has been integrated properly and this integration is lodged in the subconscious somewhere. They get a notion that something is good or bad and literally turn off the part of their minds that looks out to the world to understand what exists. They treat an issue as if there is nothing left to identify. The only thing needed is to "defend" the value judgment against "enemies." This posture is actually needed at times, but I see too many mis-identifications to believe that this is a simple mistake.

This also extends to induction and the formation of principles. Once a principle has been formed, checking it for correspondence to facts is a life-long undertaking since new facts are always being encountered. Even though Objectivists acknowledge that a concept is open-ended and that a principle only exists within a context of previous knowledge, I see many elevate a principle to the status of a metaphysical contextless fact so they don't have to examine it anymore.

I think people have literally learned how to think improperly (when it feels right and suits their strong beliefs). This, to me, is nothing more than faith dressed up to look respectable in rational terms. I also think that they fall into an intellectual trap of rationalizing all this with hifalutin words and arguments, so I fully believe most are honest. They just don't know they fell into a trap. However, getting them to examine this trap is quite a chore and often results in a great deal of gratuitous hostility.

I do not buy the notion of calling someone an intrinsicist or subjectivist—then imagining that all has been explained—as a valid form of reasoning. To the extent someone is willing to keep the cognitive part of his mind open to new identifications as he encounters new facts and relationships, I say he is thinking for himself. This does not preclude holding strong beliefs and values, but it does mean he admits the possibility of revising them when the facts dictate that they are incorrect or do not correspond to reality. To the extent he closes that part of his mind off because he blindly adheres to a value judgment he once made, and automatically pigeonholes new facts he encounters into notions of good and evil (or black and white) established for previous contexts, I say he is not thinking properly. What is interesting is that the degree of nastiness a person shows is often in proportion to how close to fundamental integrations this issue gets.

I believe there is a form of learning Objectivism that encourages (or at least ignores) falling into this trap. I have been mulling over how to present a form of learning the philosophy that makes this trap clear enough if people fall into it, they consciously choose to do so.

That's what I have come up with so far.

In romantic love, we do not respond only to a person's virtues, as Rand stated. But we do respond to them to some extent. We also respond to a series of factors. Some are virtues and others are pre-rational like chemistry. Once again, I see the problem of scope. Just because virtue is one important factor, that does not mean it is the only factor or even that there exists only one essential factor.

Here is an excellent example. The heartache from loving a person who becomes addicted to drugs and suddenly does a lot of despicable things is not lessened because the addict lost some virtues. The heartache in the person who cares about him comes from love. It is not easy to watch someone you love destroy himself and fear/pain of loss is part of that. If the addict recovers, the intensity of that love is not restored just because the addict found those virtues he lost. There is an enormous component of nursing him back to health, relief that the nightmare appears to be over, gaging the sincerity of his repentance and remorse, etc.

Virtue is one part of all that and I strongly believe it is a part that cannot be eliminated, not if a healthy love is to exist. But it is not the whole story by far. There are several other parts of romantic love that cannot be eliminated and some of them are not volitional.

Michael

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Lighten up.

I asked a formal question and that is all. I didn't advocate much of anything. Maybe next time I will since I seem to get the same level of service every which of a way.

I have not and will never advocate some sort of emotivism as a substitue for cognition. Don't ever put words in my mouth.

What I said was plain. It's not difficult to interpret or understand. I happened to crack open an old paperback Selfishness book when I made the post. It's a difficult issue and it's something that has struck me as having logical flaws when I read it many years ago.

Don't infer ideas from me because I asked a question or posited a topic for discussion. It's an idea that I wanted to bring up for commentary, nothing more.

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RTB,

What words were put in your mouth?

(Seriously. I am curious.)

Michael

The emotivism bits.

Can we get back on topic please?

I believe I've put forth a legitimate question. Has not even Peikoff commented on this with similar concerns? (correct me if wrong)

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RTB,

Apparently I did not understand your question. My posts were attempts to answer and get to the root of the comparison—essentially by stating that I cannot imagine romance being a value without emotion, then elaborating on what that means.

Your last post sounds like you had something else in mind. Could you please clarify what the question is?

Michael

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RTB,

Apparently I did not understand your question. My posts were attempts to answer and get to the root of the comparison—essentially by stating that I cannot imagine romance being a value without emotion, then elaborating on what that means.

Your last post sounds like you had something else in mind. Could you please clarify what the question is?

Michael

I thought I was pretty clear.

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They cannot be the same in the order of ethics. Both of these seemingly identical scenarios following the same principle do not and cannot equate themselves properly since they involve different fundamental branches of philosophy. Namely, they correlate with epistemology and ethics both. But the last involves romantic ethics and Introspection of the dooer.

I hope I've been clear. I'll elaborate if asked.

It would help me if you could post the two quotes that you have in mind. This is a puzzle, but it might be difficult for some of us (me!) to grasp the puzzle without having the actual words in view.

I extend a welcome to you, RT Brooke. Good intro to the puzzle. Some of us here (me!) are apt to jump into discussion with an intuition/guess/conclusion already formed, a key to the kingdom, or a key to the vault of certainty. Some of us (me!) wait for others to see if they make the same blunder. Usually one of the extremely intelligent Rand thinkers (not me) will find the time to post excerpts of articles in question and ask cogent questions.

At the moment, I suspect the joy and horror of this most festive/frustrated season overwhelms some of us.

Having said that, and knowing that Roger and Ellen and Dragonfly and Ba'ab are busy with other antidotes to unreason, I will leap headfirst into blunderhood:

-- what makes the two scenarios disanalogous is, as you point out, excluded aspects, or unstated aspects. Romantic ethics cannot enter the first scenario. Gender is irrelevant. Sexual compatibility is irrelevant.

In winning or losing particular means of resource acquisition, the three people in question are usually well-briefed on the particular qualifications necessary to 'win.' The irrational, illogical component of the decision-making, on the part of the employer, is presumably dealt out -- the criteria are explicit, and any statement such as "Well, Candidate B, I don't like you." will NOT be verbalized. The ethics are explicit.

In the other situation, Candidate B, Candidate A, and the Selector are engaging their emotions actively, can be said to have invested the outcome with emotion. The selector is not selecting an employee, but a potential mate. Sexuality is an issue, gonads are in play, and a rational choice cannot be explicated, as the criteria are fundamentally involved with reproduction, not resource-gathering. The investment is much much greater, and subject to the logic of love and sex. Are there accepted, standard ethics to guide the rivals for affection?

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I hope I've been clear. I'll elaborate if asked.

RTB,

I just asked because, judging from the exchange, it was not clear to me. But you changed your mind and answered:

I thought I was pretty clear.

If you change your mind again, I am still interested.

:)

Michael

I just mean that the essay has logical disconnects within it. It's something I noticed years ago. Some parrallels work easily but the essentials do not because the 2 things being compared are different in kind.

A respondent alluded to my observation earlier. As I pointed out previously I just happened to dig out a copy of 'Selfishness' and read that chapter at random and it reminded me of what I thought many years ago when reading it for the first time. I'm of an opinion that there's something flawed in the reasoning of the essay. Perhaps Rand was too hasty or too brief in her expositions. Regardless, there's much need for improvement here. The comparison of ethical choices from work affairs to romantic affairs is not whole. The logic of the essay and comparisons does not stand. They are distinct and discreet things that don't compare in the way that she proposes that they do.

Am I wrong? Tell me if so.

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RTB,

No, you are not wrong, unless we decide to start hairsplitting over what "distinct" means.

As to Rand, what is wrong with her view is not wrong per se. It is incomplete. This is the conclusion I finally came to after mulling legion. (Egad! That sounded terrible! :) )

With few exceptions, whenever I find myself disagreeing with Rand, the issue ends up being scope (or sometimes her use of two or more meanings for the same word, switching them when it suits her). In the case of scope, the only thing wrong I have found is the part where she claims that she has covered the whole shebang. That's wrong. But the rest is usually spot on. For instance, when she says her view of human nature is the whole shebang, it isn't. But the part that she got right is extremely insightful.

Getting back to the problem as you just stated it, work and romance are similar to the extent that they involve values, volition and so forth, but they are distinct because of an array of other factors. I was trying to highlight some of the differences that belong to this array in my posts above, especially as regards human nature, but I don't think I was too successful in getting my message across.

Michael

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RTB is the most intelligent and adroit troll here so far.

--Brant

Hmm. What a bizarre comment. Is that what you label those that appear in your enviornment that just don't agree with you?

What a bizarre approach..

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RTB,

After a setup like that, I just can't resist.

You're right. That is bizarre. In just a few posts, how can he tell if you are "intelligent and adroit"?

:)

(Sorry. Just joking. I couldn't contain it. Merry Christmas. :) )

Michael

Merry Christmas.

I'm so adroit I'm planning on shimmying my way down numerous chimneys tonight. It's an avocation I confess I failed to mention in my as of yet incomplete personal profile. OOOooooo

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