Henrik Unné

Why I admire my wife

28 posts in this topic

I have just submitted a post to the Ehics section titled "A Personal Ethical Dilemma". In that post, I expressed some mild criticism of my wife, Thi. Since I love Thi, I wish to make up for the criticism in that post, by balancing it with a post in which I explain what is good, even great, about my wife.

The best thing about my wife is that she is definitely a first hander. I want to explain what made me come to the conclusion that she is.

Thi once told me that in Vietnam, people look down on women who marry non-Vietnamese men. I asked Thi - "Then why did you decide to marry me? I am Swedish, not Vietnamese." Thi answered by telling that in Vietnam, it is very common that husbands beat their wives. And the neighbors and relatives all expect the woman to put up with it, and stay in the marriage. Thi explained to me that she did not want to be in a marriage in which her husband beat her. So therefore she had decided to marry a foreigner.

So Thi defied her society and her culture, in order to get something which she wanted, and regarded as important (and what woman in her right mind would not regard it as important *not* to be beaten by her husband?). That makes Thi a first hander in my book. So I admire her.

Incidentally, it is a strange turn of fate that Thi, who is so adament about not being beaten by her husband, should marry me. I am not a wife-beater, but I am a spankophile. I perceive spanking as being erotic. I am glad that Thi trusted my honesty so much, that she was willing to marry me, even though I told her about my fetish before I proposed to her. She trusted my honesty, when she believed my assurances that I was on the premise that erotic spanking had to be consensual, and that I would not lay a finger on her without her permission.

But we still have one problem. Thi does not like it when she comes into the room, sees the computer screen and realizes that I am viewing spanking erotica on the net. Sometimes she gets really angry when that happens. I wish that she would just accept the fact that I am just different from her. I have tried to explain to her that the spanking models in the videos and images are all adults, who are participating of their own will, either because they enjoy being spanked, or because they want the money that they are paid (I suspect that the first motive is more important to most of the spanking models), so nobody is *really* being hurt, or is really suffering. But Thi is upset by the sound of women yelling, as if they are in pain (and in a sense the spanking models *are* in pain).

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. But Thi is upset by the sound of women yelling, as if they are in pain (and in a sense the spanking models *are* in pain).

Turn the sound off.

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But we still have one problem. Thi does not like it when she comes into the room, sees the computer screen and realizes that I am viewing spanking erotica on the net. Sometimes she gets really angry when that happens...Thi is upset by the sound of women yelling, as if they are in pain (and in a sense the spanking models *are* in pain).

Perhaps you two have already discussed this, but if not, then it might be worth considering the possibility that she is angry not only because of the sound of women yelling; she may be angry at the fact that the object of your arousal is the erotica or, more broadly, something/someone other than her.

I imagine that most men and women assume their respective spouses have sexual thoughts, perhaps even fantasies, about other people from time to time. They may not like it, but it's tolerated and accepted as a normal part of life. However, watching erotica brings that fantasy to a very concrete, real level. It's not just a thought anymore. I could see where the spouse not watching the erotica might feel hurt, self-conscious, or otherwise experience a blow to his or her self-esteem. Most people want to be and feel attractive to their spouses, and be the primary source of the spouse's arousal.

Even if she knew that you like this aspect of sex before you were married and is okay with it between you two, it may still be very off-putting to her when she sees you involved with it outside of your relationship.

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Perhaps you two have already discussed this, but if not, then it might be worth considering the possibility that she is angry not only because of the sound of women yelling; she may be angry at the fact that the object of your arousal is the erotica or, more broadly, something/someone other than her.

I imagine that most men and women assume their respective spouses have sexual thoughts, perhaps even fantasies, about other people from time to time. They may not like it, but it's tolerated and accepted as a normal part of life. However, watching erotica brings that fantasy to a very concrete, real level. It's not just a thought anymore. I could see where the spouse not watching the erotica might feel hurt, self-conscious, or otherwise experience a blow to his or her self-esteem. Most people want to be and feel attractive to their spouses, and be the primary source of the spouse's arousal.

Even if she knew that you like this aspect of sex before you were married and is okay with it between you two, it may still be very off-putting to her when she sees you involved with it outside of your relationship.

I had not thought of that. But I do not think that Thi is jealous in any way. I think that she is disturbed by the idea that I might enjoy women being "hurt". Actually, I do not want anyone to be hurt. I am firmly on the premise that erotic spanking has to be consensual. I have never layed a finger on Thi, and I never will. But as for the question of the crying that goes on in the spanking videos, I know that the women being spanked there are participating in the acitivies of their own free will. And I know for a fact that many, if not all of them, like being spanked (because some of the spanking models have their own blogs on the net, where they discuss their spanking fetish). So I am not disturbed by the fact that the women are in a sort of pain. I know that it is voluntary, so I do not see it as abuse.

But Thi does not know anything about the world of spankophilia, so she probably does not realize that the women, who are crying in the videos actually like it. I have tried to explain it to her, but she needs a much larger context of knowledge to be able to understand it. I know that many, if not most people, who are not themselves spankophiles, see this fetish as being weird, or even "sick". If you are not yourself a spankophile, then you probably cannot understand the phenomenom. After all, how can be pleasurable to be "beaten" by, or to "beat" someone that you love?

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The bottom line is that if a spouse finds anything you do personally unpleasant and objects -- and it could even be something like the way you blow your nose or your wearing a torn t-shirt -- it is disrespectful to do it when they are around.

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The bottom line is that if a spouse finds anything you do personally unpleasant and objects -- and it could even be something like the way you blow your nose or your wearing a torn t-shirt -- it is disrespectful to do it when they are around.

I do try to avoid watching spanking erotica when Thi is around. A few times she has overheard the noise while she was in another room. Now I never have the volume high enough for Thi to hear.

To be fair, there are things that Thi does which irritate me, but I do not get angry with her about those things. I think that I am more tolerant of Thi´s weaknesses or flaws, than she is of mine.

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I think that I am more tolerant of Thi´s weaknesses or flaws, than she is of mine.

If you think it's a flaw then why do it at all?

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Thi explained to me that she did not want to be in a marriage in which her husband beat her. So therefore she had decided to marry a foreigner.

So Thi defied her society and her culture, in order to get something which she wanted, and regarded as important (and what woman in her right mind would not regard it as important *not* to be beaten by her husband?). That makes Thi a first hander in my book. So I admire her.

That's a start, but there is a lot more to being a 'first-hander' than avoiding being physically beaten up.

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Thi explained to me that she did not want to be in a marriage in which her husband beat her. So therefore she had decided to marry a foreigner.

So Thi defied her society and her culture, in order to get something which she wanted, and regarded as important (and what woman in her right mind would not regard it as important *not* to be beaten by her husband?). That makes Thi a first hander in my book. So I admire her.

That's a start, but there is a lot more to being a 'first-hander' than avoiding being physically beaten up.

OK, maybe Thi has only made a start. But I will try to influence her. She has already promised me that she will read the Swedish translations of Ayn Rand´s fiction (all of Ayn Rand´s fiction has been translated into Swedish, with the exception of We the Living, and the minor fiction), when she gets the time. Right now Thi does not have the time to begin reading "heavy" books like the translation of The Fountainhead, because all her time goes to improving her Swedish, so that she will be able to work in her chosen occupation, as an apothecary. That is another major virtue that Thi has. She is very hardworking, and she does very much want to work to make a living. She is "American" in her attitude towards work, as I am also.

Thi is a much better person than you might think from reading my post in the Ethics section. That post only treats *one* aspect of who Thi is (the most negative one). I would not have married Thi, if I thought that her moral status was on the same level as most of the people around me here in Sweden (I feel that most of them are disgusting). But if I held out for a perfect woman, I would probably never get married before I died. I do not think that Objectivism will spread fast enough in Sweden, for me to have much of a chance of meeting a perfect woman in Sweden, before I die.

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Thi explained to me that she did not want to be in a marriage in which her husband beat her. So therefore she had decided to marry a foreigner.

So Thi defied her society and her culture, in order to get something which she wanted, and regarded as important (and what woman in her right mind would not regard it as important *not* to be beaten by her husband?). That makes Thi a first hander in my book. So I admire her.

That's a start, but there is a lot more to being a 'first-hander' than avoiding being physically beaten up.

OK, maybe Thi has only made a start. But I will try to influence her. She has already promised me that she will read the Swedish translations of Ayn Rand´s fiction (all of Ayn Rand´s fiction has been translated into Swedish, with the exception of We the Living, and the minor fiction), when she gets the time. Right now Thi does not have the time to begin reading "heavy" books like the translation of The Fountainhead, because all her time goes to improving her Swedish, so that she will be able to work in her chosen occupation, as an apothecary. That is another major virtue that Thi has. She is very hardworking, and she does very much want to work to make a living. She is "American" in her attitude towards work, as I am also.

Thi is a much better person than you might think from reading my post in the Ethics section. That post only treats *one* aspect of who Thi is (the most negative one). I would not have married Thi, if I thought that her moral status was on the same level as most of the people around me here in Sweden (I feel that most of them are disgusting). But if I held out for a perfect woman, I would probably never get married before I died. I do not think that Objectivism will spread fast enough in Sweden, for me to have much of a chance of meeting a perfect woman in Sweden, before I die.

I understand what you are saying, and wouldn't presume to tell you who to marry or not. I am glad I do not live in Sweden, but you do have a very negative and resentful attitude towards humanity in general.

If you don't think you could find someone more of your ideal, then of course you have to make a choice whether to live alone or have some kind of valuable companionship in whatever form you can which is still tolerable or acceptable to you. But you also need to recognize that what is, is. You have what you have and shouldn't try to interpret it as something really more, and try to turn it into something else after the fact just because that is what you had wanted. If she is willing to learn and to grow more in the direction you want, on her own volition and desire, that is good, but be realistic in what is. You shouldn't marry someone with the idea of reforming her later to make it what you really wanted. You made your choice knowing what you were doing. If you try to push and "change" someone out of dissatisfaction with what you have, you can cause a lot of resentment and even more problems for yourself and her.

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That's a start, but there is a lot more to being a 'first-hander' than avoiding being physically beaten up.

Merely not wanting to be beaten up does not make anyone a first hander. But defying your whole culture, and breaking with it, by moving to an alien society, in order to get the kind of life that you want, *does* make you a first hander, as I see it. Even though Thi knows nada about Objectivism yet, I actually think that she has some important character traits in common with Ayn Rand (traits having to do with independence and "strength").

I am really glad that I have not married a doormat kind of woman. I really don´t mind that she gets angry with me every now and then. I *am* in love with Thi, and I *am* happy (happier than I have ever been since the age of 9).

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I am glad I do not live in Sweden, but you do have a very negative and resentful attitude towards humanity in general.

I feel contempt for individual men (the majority of them). But I do not feel contempt for "humanity". I do not think that men per se are morally depraved by their nature. They are not born bad. The majority of men *choose* to go bad, when they default on the responsibilty of thinking. So my view is that the majority of the members of mankind is morally depraved, not by nature, but by choice.

Yes, I am "negative". But I follow the facts wherever they lead. When I see that the evidence of my own eyes, and my own mind, indicates that the majority of men do not deserve the title of "decent human being", I do not attempt to evade that fact, and make it go away. I live with it. And honesty pays. The fact that I have come to recognize that the majority of men are morally depraved, leads me to think that the world is *not* full of injustices, as I once thought, and therefore, the world is not such a bad place as I once thought. So I feel much better now, thanks to my honesty.

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That's a start, but there is a lot more to being a 'first-hander' than avoiding being physically beaten up.

Merely not wanting to be beaten up does not make anyone a first hander. But defying your whole culture, and breaking with it, by moving to an alien society, in order to get the kind of life that you want, *does* make you a first hander, as I see it. Even though Thi knows nada about Objectivism yet, I actually think that she has some important character traits in common with Ayn Rand (traits having to do with independence and "strength").

Your initial emphasis was on leaving because she didn't want to be beaten up. You have also written that she has an "American" attitude towards hard work, and that you do, too. (That may now be more American than many Americans.) How did she wind up in Sweden, of all places?

I am really glad that I have not married a doormat kind of woman. I really don´t mind that she gets angry with me every now and then. I *am* in love with Thi, and I *am* happy (happier than I have ever been since the age of 9).

You seem to be contradicting yourself in your posts, both in your descriptions and your outlook on your personal situation.

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The fact that I have come to recognize that the majority of men are morally depraved...

Henrik,

You repeat this over and over, and many of us completely disagree, myself included. I maintain that you cannot even KNOW this. Which majority? Where? In Sweden? In North Korea? In the United States? Quite aside from recognizing general cultural traits and trends, it's a fool's exercise, I think, to lump individual men into the arbitrary bucket of 'the majority of men.' I couldn't validly claim the contrary even.

So I ask, what benefit is there in making this type of assessment? I am much happier meeting people and figuring out what they're like as individuals. Some are fantastic, some are good, some are acceptable and the rest I ignore.

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I then reason, since I am not a racist, that the members of the rest of mankind are essentially pretty much the same as the ones that live here in Sweden.

If people other than Swedes are no different, then how are places other than Sweden different?

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I then reason, since I am not a racist, that the members of the rest of mankind are essentially pretty much the same as the ones that live here in Sweden.

If people other than Swedes are no different, then how are places other than Sweden different?

Because of philosophy, of course. The better men´s use of their own volition determines the course of history. Today´s America is a better society than today´s Sweden thanks, not to the majority of the Joe Sixpacks of America, who in my view are not essentially better than the majority of the Joe Sixpacks of Sweden, but thanks to The Founding Fathers, who chose to do much better thinking than the men did who formed the intellectual and cultural environment of modern Sweden. And why are *both* the USA and Sweden much better societies than, for example, the Middle East and Latin America? It is due to the influence of such men as Aristotle, John Locke, Isaac Newton etc.

If you are under the impression that the better nations of the world are better, because some nations have essentially better citizens than others, then you should read The Ominous Parallels, or listen to Dr. Peikoff´s lecture The Role of Psychology and Philosophy in History.

I would argue that the majority of the citizens in one society are never *essentially* better than the majority of the citizens in any other. No second hander is *essentially* better than any other. Since they do not (to the extent that they are pure second handers, and of course some of them are not *pure* second handers) examine abstract ideas critically, but just passively accept whatever ideas happen to be fed to them, it is chance which determines if they become like the Joe Sixpacks of today´s America, who you might very well want to have as a friend, or if they become like the Joe Sixpacks of Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union, who would probably be the kind of persons who would slaughter Jews or report you to the secret police for an extra ranson of cooking oil. Why could you expect your neighbor in the USA, if he is a second hander, to have turned out any different than the typical citizen of Nazi Germany, if that neighbor had happened to have been born in Germany some 10 or 20 years before Hitler took over? Whatever genetic differences exist between Americans and Germans do not play any role in how they choose to use their volition. Now if you or I had had the bad luck to have been born in Germany 10 or 20 years before Hitler took over, and *if* we chose to think to the same extent that we have in our current lives, there is a very good chance, even likelihood, that we would have examined Hitler´s ideology critically, and rejected it, unlike the, as I understand it, vast majority of the second handers of Nazi Germany.

Here is why I feel such a profound contempt for most of the people around me. I realize that most of the people around me are in the habit of not thinking, whereas I am in the habit of thinking. Now, I ask myself, what implications does that have for what our likely behavior would have been, if we had not had the good luck to be born into a relatively good culture? Well, if I had been born into a dictatorship like Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union, there is a high likelihood that I would have done *something* to fight the tyranny. I cannot say that I *know* that I would have become an heroic dissident, but I think that I would have done *something*. And what about the people around me, my workmates and neighbors? Since they habitually do *not* think about abstract issues, if they had been born into Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union, it is quite likely that they would have become the kind of scum who would report *me* to the secret police for my activities directed against the tyranny, just to get an extra ranson of cooking oil.

So can you see why I feel so strongly about the moral depravity which I see in the majority of men? I think about the logical implications of the fact that they do not bother to think about abstract subjects. And those logical implications make me shudder.

I do not think that second handedness is a *minor* character flaw. I think that it is a *very* major character defect. I do not think that any second hander, to the extent that he is a *pure* second hander, and not mixed, deserves to be called a decent human being. Not even if he is a typical American. Because the typical American (assuming that he is a second hander, which most of them are) is a "nice guy", merely because he had the good luck to be born into a relatively healthy culture. And I do not think that a person should get much credit for character traits which are merely due to good luck. So I morally *condemn* any and every second hander (taking "second hander" to mean a person who does not bother to think about abstract issues, the ones that really count in a modern society). I think that second handedness per se is an abominable character trait.

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I would argue that the majority of the citizens in one society are never *essentially* better than the majority of the citizens in any other. No second hander is *essentially* better than any other. Since they do not (to the extent that they are pure second handers, and of course some of them are not *pure* second handers) examine abstract ideas critically, but just passively accept whatever ideas happen to be fed to them...
Many of the most common-sensical people I know--the kind of people who are suspicious of evil, disconnected from reality ideas that are promoted--are very much not abstract thinkers, and normal "6-pack joes" as you would characterize them. The same objectivity they flawlessly demonstrate in working as a roughneck in the oil business for example, is what keeps them from mindlessly accepting crazy ideas like Global Warming.
...it is chance which determines if they become like the Joe Sixpacks of today´s America, who you might very well want to have as a friend, or if they become like the Joe Sixpacks of Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union, who would probably be the kind of persons who would slaughter Jews or report you to the secret police for an extra ranson of cooking oil.
But it is not chance that determines the subsequent evolution and development of their life, which is something they worked at and did earn.
Why could you expect your neighbor in the USA, if he is a second hander,
A second hander is someone who gets their values second hand. This is not an accurate characterization of average "joes" in America, as many of them are the most "first handed" of any people I've ever known.

Either you don't understand what "second hander" means, or you are speculating about something which you have no real understanding of (the average citizens of America). One case is a floating abstraction, the other rationalism; both are improper ways of thinking.

...to have turned out any different than the typical citizen of Nazi Germany, if that neighbor had happened to have been born in Germany some 10 or 20 years before Hitler took over? Whatever genetic differences exist between Americans and Germans do not play any role in how they choose to use their volition. Now if you or I had had the bad luck to have been born in Germany 10 or 20 years before Hitler took over, and *if* we chose to think to the same extent that we have in our current lives, there is a very good chance, even likelihood, that we would have examined Hitler´s ideology critically, and rejected it, unlike the, as I understand it, vast majority of the second handers of Nazi Germany.
Morality is obtained by living and working in reality. It's not some quality that exists in vacuum, independent of context. Moral men in America did not arrive at morality by chance, they still had to earn it by living a proper life. Comparing them to a society where moral men who resisted dictatorship would have been shot without hesitation is invalid.
Here is why I feel such a profound contempt for most of the people around me. I realize that most of the people around me are in the habit of not thinking, whereas I am in the habit of thinking. Now, I ask myself, what implications does that have for what our likely behavior would have been, if we had not had the good luck to be born into a relatively good culture? Well, if I had been born into a dictatorship like Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union, there is a high likelihood that I would have done *something* to fight the tyranny. I cannot say that I *know* that I would have become an heroic dissident, but I think that I would have done *something*.
Then you would have been mercilessly crushed and destroyed without hesitation. Dictators don't arrive at absolute power on accident.
And what about the people around me, my workmates and neighbors? Since they habitually do *not* think about abstract issues, if they had been born into Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union, it is quite likely that they would have become the kind of scum who would report *me* to the secret police for my activities directed against the tyranny, just to get an extra ranson of cooking oil.
This kind of hypothetical re-writing of reality as a means to judge people on actions they have never contemplated, in lives they never lived, and in setting in which they never existed, is disgusting and unfair, to say the very least. Morally judging people for actions they have never committed is a contradiction in terms.
So can you see why I feel so strongly about the moral depravity which I see in the majority of men? I think about the logical implications of the fact that they do not bother to think about abstract subjects. And those logical implications make me shudder.

I do not think that second handedness is a *minor* character flaw. I think that it is a *very* major character defect. I do not think that any second hander, to the extent that he is a *pure* second hander, and not mixed, deserves to be called a decent human being. Not even if he is a typical American. Because the typical American (assuming that he is a second hander, which most of them are) is a "nice guy", merely because he had the good luck to be born into a relatively healthy culture. And I do not think that a person should get much credit for character traits which are merely due to good luck. So I morally *condemn* any and every second hander (taking "second hander" to mean a person who does not bother to think about abstract issues, the ones that really count in a modern society). I think that second handedness per se is an abominable character trait.

Let's be clear here that the way you are defining "second hander" is in stark contrast to the definition for the term as created by Ayn Rand.

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...it is chance which determines if they become like the Joe Sixpacks of today´s America, who you might very well want to have as a friend, or if they become like the Joe Sixpacks of Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union, who would probably be the kind of persons who would slaughter Jews or report you to the secret police for an extra ranson of cooking oil.

There is nothing logical about your imaginative, speculative denunciations.

A man’s moral character must be judged on the basis of his actions, his statements and his conscious convictions—not on the basis of inferences (usually, spurious) about his subconscious.
...And I do not think that a person should get much credit for character traits which are merely due to good luck.

No one's character is due to luck. Moral character is the sum total of the result of all his choices -- actual choices made wherever he lives, not what you speculate about his motives or what you imagine they would have been under different circumstances.

So I morally *condemn* any and every second hander (taking "second hander" to mean a person who does not bother to think about abstract issues, the ones that really count in a modern society). I think that second handedness per se is an abominable character trait.

... the way you are defining "second hander" is in stark contrast to the definition for the term as created by Ayn Rand.

A second-hander is someone who depends on others for his self esteem and evaluations. Level of abstract thought has nothing to do with it. Ellsworth Tooey, Peter Keating, Betram Scudder, Robert Stadler, Floyd Ferris, and many others of that ilk "bothered to think about abstract issues". So does a second-hander who is obsessed with the people around his, wantonly accusing almost everyone in sight -- and out of sight with no knowledge of them -- as being morally depraved as a basis for constantly contrasting himself on behalf of his own announced alleged superiority. Someone who is confident in his own self-worth doesn't need to obsess over and condemn other people as the cause of all his problems.

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Why could you expect your neighbor in the USA, if he is a second hander,
A second hander is someone who gets their values second hand. This is not an accurate characterization of average "joes" in America, as many of them are the most "first handed" of any people I've ever known.

Either you don't understand what "second hander" means, or you are speculating about something which you have no real understanding of (the average citizens of America). One case is a floating abstraction, the other rationalism; both are improper ways of thinking.

Let's be clear here that the way you are defining "second hander" is in stark contrast to the definition for the term as created by Ayn Rand.

No, I do not misunderstand the concept of second hander. You misunderstand me. If *many* of the "average joes" which you have known in America are the most first handed of any people which you have ever known, then my moral condemnation does *not apply to them*. I have myself worked in a factory to make a living for more than 30 years. And I am one of the most first handed persons that *I* have ever known. So I know very well that *some* "average joes", working class people for example, are *very* first handed. But in my experience, the first handers are very few and far between. And I am confident that I can assume that the first handers are as few and far between in other societies as they have proven to be in my own personal experience here in Sweden, since the choice to think or not, and therefore to be first handed or not, is not affected by genetic or environmental factors. I would have to be a racist to think that more of the average joes in America are first handed than the average joes here in Sweden.

Now what do I say to your assertion that *many* average joes which you have interacted with in your life are *very* first handed? Well, it does give me a little pause. But it contradicts my own experience. And until more evidence against me turns up, I will trust my own experience more than other people´s assertions. Since I am a first hander.

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A second-hander is someone who depends on others for his self esteem and evaluations. Level of abstract thought has nothing to do with it. Ellsworth Tooey, Peter Keating, Betram Scudder, Robert Stadler, Floyd Ferris, and many others of that ilk "bothered to think about abstract issues". So does a second-hander who is obsessed with the people around his, wantonly accusing almost everyone in sight -- and out of sight with no knowledge of them -- as being morally depraved as a basis for constantly contrasting himself on behalf of his own announced alleged superiority. Someone who is confident in his own self-worth doesn't need to obsess over and condemn other people as the cause of all his problems.

Well, anyone who does not bother to think about relevant abstract issues will wind up depending on others for his self-esteem. And my experiences with non-thinkers here in Sweden confirms it. I have many times begun to try to explain novel ideas to the unthinking kind of people who are so many here in Sweden. And their typical reaction is to attack my person in various ways. They will say, for example - "Who are you to tell me what I should think!", "How can you know anything for certain?", "How can you be so stupid as to think that?". I believe that the fact that they "argue" with ad hominems, is a sign that they have "fragile egos", i.e. they do not have much self-esteem. As soon as someone disagrees with them on abstact issues, such as moral ones, they begin to feel threatened, and they lash out. And they take the question of whether I am in fact right, or they are in fact right, as being a question of which one of us has *moral worth*. They feel that they would be humiliated if they were proven to be in fact wrong. Mike in The Fountainhead, since he was a first hander, did not feel humiliated at all when Howard Roark showed himself to be in fact right about how to pass the electric cable through the girder.

Now, you may say that people in America tend to be better than the Swedes which I have had to deal with. But I am skeptical of that. Because I know on philosophical grounds, that the choice to think or not is not affected by what kind of genes a person has, or by what kind of environment he lives in (leaving aside the possibility that a person who is penalized for thinking persistently enough, in a dictatorship, *may* lose his motivation to think at all)(but neither the USA or Sweden are dictatorships, so that possibility does not affect the question of whether Americans are more often first handed than Swedes).

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A second-hander is someone who depends on others for his self esteem and evaluations. Level of abstract thought has nothing to do with it. Ellsworth Tooey, Peter Keating, Betram Scudder, Robert Stadler, Floyd Ferris, and many others of that ilk "bothered to think about abstract issues". So does a second-hander who is obsessed with the people around his, wantonly accusing almost everyone in sight -- and out of sight with no knowledge of them -- as being morally depraved as a basis for constantly contrasting himself on behalf of his own announced alleged superiority. Someone who is confident in his own self-worth doesn't need to obsess over and condemn other people as the cause of all his problems.

Well, anyone who does not bother to think about relevant abstract issues will wind up depending on others for his self-esteem. And my experiences with non-thinkers here in Sweden confirms it. I have many times begun to try to explain novel ideas to the unthinking kind of people who are so many here in Sweden. And their typical reaction is to attack my person in various ways. They will say, for example - "Who are you to tell me what I should think!", "How can you know anything for certain?", "How can you be so stupid as to think that?". I believe that the fact that they "argue" with ad hominems, is a sign that they have "fragile egos", i.e. they do not have much self-esteem. As soon as someone disagrees with them on abstact issues, such as moral ones, they begin to feel threatened, and they lash out. And they take the question of whether I am in fact right, or they are in fact right, as being a question of which one of us has *moral worth*. They feel that they would be humiliated if they were proven to be in fact wrong. Mike in The Fountainhead, since he was a first hander, did not feel humiliated at all when Howard Roark showed himself to be in fact right about how to pass the electric cable through the girder.

Now, you may say that people in America tend to be better than the Swedes which I have had to deal with. But I am skeptical of that. Because I know on philosophical grounds, that the choice to think or not is not affected by what kind of genes a person has, or by what kind of environment he lives in (leaving aside the possibility that a person who is penalized for thinking persistently enough, in a dictatorship, *may* lose his motivation to think at all)(but neither the USA or Sweden are dictatorships, so that possibility does not affect the question of whether Americans are more often first handed than Swedes).

Another wall of text, based completely on the equivocation that "anyone who does not bother to think about relevant abstract issues" is "will wind up depending on others for his self-esteem", coupled with psychologizing about other people's intents in discussing abstract ideas with you. You are basically attempting to "interpret" Objectivism beyond what Ayn Rand actually said it to be, and using that interpretation to make deductions about reality that stand in contrast to reality. These are horrible thinking habits Henrik.

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A second-hander is someone who depends on others for his self esteem and evaluations. Level of abstract thought has nothing to do with it. Ellsworth Tooey, Peter Keating, Betram Scudder, Robert Stadler, Floyd Ferris, and many others of that ilk "bothered to think about abstract issues". So does a second-hander who is obsessed with the people around his, wantonly accusing almost everyone in sight -- and out of sight with no knowledge of them -- as being morally depraved as a basis for constantly contrasting himself on behalf of his own announced alleged superiority. Someone who is confident in his own self-worth doesn't need to obsess over and condemn other people as the cause of all his problems.

Well, anyone who does not bother to think about relevant abstract issues will wind up depending on others for his self-esteem. And my experiences with non-thinkers here in Sweden confirms it. I have many times begun to try to explain novel ideas to the unthinking kind of people who are so many here in Sweden...

You have again dodged the issue of what a 'second-hander' is and rambled on with more speculative verbiage about other people's motives and rationalization that attempts to deduce reality from what you call abstract thought.

You had better think about how often the people there reject what you say because your own explanations are not correct.

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You have again dodged the issue of what a 'second-hander' is and rambled on with more speculative verbiage about other people's motives and rationalization that attempts to deduce reality from what you call abstract thought.

You had better think about how often the people there reject what you say because your own explanations are not correct.

A person who holds unequivocal views on philosophical questions (for example - "selfishness is evil"), but who has not bothered to critically examine those views before accepting them, is a second hander, at least in the field of philosophy. He has necessarily accepted views fed to him by others, without *judging* them to be true after thinking about them (because he has not thought about them), He just *assumes* that the views in question are true, because other people say that they are true. That is of course second handed.

And as Ayn Rand herself pointed out - *every* man, without exception, has unequivocal views on philosophical questions. No man can live without having unequivocal views philosophcial questions. So, if every man has unequivocal views on philosophical questions, and the vast majority of men do not think in any serious meaning about philosophical questions, then it follows with ruthless logic, that the vast majority of men are second handed in the field of philosophy.

And, I have *not* deduced my idea that the vast majority of men are morally depraved. I did not come to this view until late in life (well after I turned 50), and had observed a very large number of concrete men. And it took me a long time to come to be able to accept this idea, which seemed *very* counterintuitive to me at first.

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You have again dodged the issue of what a 'second-hander' is and rambled on with more speculative verbiage about other people's motives and rationalization that attempts to deduce reality from what you call abstract thought.

You had better think about how often the people there reject what you say because your own explanations are not correct.

A person who holds unequivocal views on philosophical questions (for example - "selfishness is evil"), but who has not bothered to critically examine those views before accepting them, is a second hander, at least in the field of philosophy. He has necessarily accepted views fed to him by others, without *judging* them to be true after thinking about them (because he has not thought about them), He just *assumes* that the views in question are true, because other people say that they are true. That is of course second handed.

Most people do not think about philosophy at all, let alone hold "unequivocal views on philosophical questions". They do not live their lives the way you characterize them.

You said that a second-hander is a "person who does not bother to think about abstract issues". That is not true. You have no answer to that (which is not an invitation for more rationalistic rambling.)

And as Ayn Rand herself pointed out - *every* man, without exception, has unequivocal views on philosophical questions. No man can live without having unequivocal views philosophcial questions. So, if every man has unequivocal views on philosophical questions, and the vast majority of men do not think in any serious meaning about philosophical questions, then it follows with ruthless logic, that the vast majority of men are second handed in the field of philosophy.

Your premise is false, Ayn Rand did not say "every man, without exception, has unequivocal views on philosophical questions. No man can live without having unequivocal views philosophcial questions." Nor is it true at all. Go back and read "Philosophy and Sense of Life" in The Objectivist. There is nothing "ruthlessly logical" about your rationalizations. What people absorb about philosophical questions affects, for better or worse, but does not determine, how they live their lives despite their sense of life or make them "second-handers".

Hank Rearden held false philosophical premises and did not think about abstract philosophy throughout most of Atlas Shrugged. He was never a "second-hander" and was never "morally depraved".

And, I have *not* deduced my idea that the vast majority of men are morally depraved. I did not come to this view until late in life (well after I turned 50), and had observed a very large number of concrete men. And it took me a long time to come to be able to accept this idea, which seemed *very* counterintuitive to me at first.

You have observed relatively few "concrete men", in one socialist corner of the world at that. You have not observed the "morally depravity". You attribute that to people all on your own. It is rationalistic "deduction" from your own screwy idea that a second-hander is a "person who does not bother to think about abstract issues" and that people don't think at all but nevertheless somehow have "unequivocal views on philosophcial questions", all of which you use to ignore how they actually live: what they do in reality and how they think about it. If that is what you want to believe for yourself you are free to wallow in it and obsess on it, but it has nothing to do with Ayn Rand's philosophy.

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