Paul's Here

Teen girl finishes round-the-world sail in Sydney

75 posts in this topic

What this girl accomplished requires great strength in many areas, physical and psychological. If one can do that at 16 - one can do anything. She is one amazing young woman!

Agreed. The sight of an achievement, as Miss Rand pointed out, is a thing of tremendous value. This young lady is an inspiration.

People on this forum sometimes amaze me.

I was the one who originally stated that what she did was heroic and my statements were denounced. Then when I state that she was not productive in an Objective sense (as I did not know what rtg24 brought to my attention as I thought she was just enjoying a recreational activity) I am again denounced for that.

Sophia, do you not think that I have read Atlas Shrugged and know what it is that you bring attention to? As a matter of fact I have brought up that subject before on this forum and stood on the side of the parent that does just what you state.

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Sophia, do you not think that I have read Atlas Shrugged and know what it is that you bring attention to? As a matter of fact I have brought up that subject before on this forum and stood on the side of the parent that does just what you state.

I was responding to your above statement " for one to be productive they must engage in the process of creating material values."

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She did not produce the income that it takes to buy the sailboat and stock it full of the goods that are demanded to take a trip that last 2/3s of a year.

As I said, the boat wasn't going to sail itself. It having been given to her, and the food having been purchased on her behalf, does not negate the very real work she did over those months. She was certainly more productive and achieved more than her peers taking orders at fast food joints.

I am not negating the effort that she put forth, but that does not make that effort into productivity.

"Productive work is the central purpose of a rational man’s life, the central value that integrates and determines the hierarchy of all his other values. Reason is the source, the precondition of his productive work—pride is the result." [Ayn Rand, “The Objectivist Ethics,” The Virtue of Selfishness, 25.]

In other words, for one to be productive they must engage in the process of creating material values. So, unless she is going to make sailing her central purpose in life, she was doing nothing more than performing a recreational activity just like a recreational fisherman does.

To say that productive work is the central purpose of your life does not mean that everything that you do, in order to be productive, must be confined to a single central purpose across your whole life. Productive work as the central purpose does not even mean that a specific type of action (such as career choice) must be maintained throughout your whole life; the productivity in achieving values, not the particular form of it, is what is central. She was in fact very productive in planning for and carrying out her feat, whether or not sailing ever becomes her central purpose in life. The material value she created consisted of sustained actions in material reality; she didn't just think or dream about it.

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Sophia, do you not think that I have read Atlas Shrugged and know what it is that you bring attention to? As a matter of fact I have brought up that subject before on this forum and stood on the side of the parent that does just what you state.

I was responding to your above statement " for one to be productive they must engage in the process of creating material values."

I know, but even if the mother does what you state she has to have someone (most likely her spouse) that is carrying the financial responsibility as one cannot sustain their life without financial resources. So a trade of values for values is still going on.

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The material value she created consisted of sustained actions in material reality; she didn't just think or dream about it.
I have a reply, but will do it later when I have the time.

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"Turning now to a different aspect of the present virtue, productiveness is not only a necessary element of the good life, it is the good life's central purpose. In developing this point, I must begin by considering an issue broader than productiveness, the second of the "supreme and ruling values": purpose.

The need of purpose is inherent in every cardinal aspect of human nature; it is inherent in life, in reason, in volition. Life is a process of goal-directed action. Reason requires a state of focus, i.e., of purposeful alertness. Volition, once one is in focus, can be exercised only within the context of values; one can choose among higher-level alternatives only by reference to some end one seeks to atain." [Leonard Peikoff, OPAR, "Virtue", p298.]

The virtue of productiveness is supposed to be applied toward one's purpose in life, their central purpose. A central prupose is that long-range goal that constitutes the primary claimant on one's time, energy and resources. And it was this type of perspective on productiveness that Objectivist hold and what I meant when I stated in an earlier post, that she was not productive in the sense Objectivist hold.

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I was responding to your above statement " for one to be productive they must engage in the process of creating material values."

I know, but even if the mother does what you state she has to have someone (most likely her spouse) that is carrying the financial responsibility as one cannot sustain their life without financial resources. So a trade of values for values is still going on.

What must be recognized is the material value of spiritual values.

The artist takes less than $10 worth of pigment and canvas and creates a painting worth thousands of dollars. He added only spiritual values. Was he being productive. You bet!

Likewise, I expect that Jessica will turn her spiritual achievement into book and movie deals, advertising endorsement contracts, etc. worth millions.

Sure beats working 8 months at McDonalds.

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"Turning now to a different aspect of the present virtue, productiveness is not only a necessary element of the good life, it is the good life's central purpose. In developing this point, I must begin by considering an issue broader than productiveness, the second of the "supreme and ruling values": purpose.

The need of purpose is inherent in every cardinal aspect of human nature; it is inherent in life, in reason, in volition. Life is a process of goal-directed action. Reason requires a state of focus, i.e., of purposeful alertness. Volition, once one is in focus, can be exercised only within the context of values; one can choose among higher-level alternatives only by reference to some end one seeks to atain." [Leonard Peikoff, OPAR, "Virtue", p298.]

The virtue of productiveness is supposed to be applied toward one's purpose in life, their central purpose. A central prupose is that long-range goal that constitutes the primary claimant on one's time, energy and resources. And it was this type of perspective on productiveness that Objectivist hold and what I meant when I stated in an earlier post, that she was not productive in the sense Objectivist hold.

What you draw from the quote does not follow. This speaks of one of many applications and it does not mean that it defines productiveness. The quote does not support what you wrongly stated in your previous post.

EWV was absolutely correct stating:

To say that productive work is the central purpose of your life does not mean that everything that you do, in order to be productive, must be confined to a single central purpose across your whole life.

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I was responding to your above statement " for one to be productive they must engage in the process of creating material values."

I know, but even if the mother does what you state she has to have someone (most likely her spouse) that is carrying the financial responsibility as one cannot sustain their life without financial resources. So a trade of values for values is still going on.

What must be recognized is the material value of spiritual values.

The artist takes less than $10 worth of pigment and canvas and creates a painting worth thousands of dollars. He added only spiritual values. Was he being productive. You bet!

Likewise, I expect that Jessica will turn her spiritual achievement into book and movie deals, advertising endorsement contracts, etc. worth millions.

Sure beats working 8 months at McDonalds.

Very true, Betsy. I would add the spiritual value of self esteem having to achieve this - all due to her own effort and so early in life. The possible life long pay out (including future material values) is almost unmeasurable.

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What you draw from the quote does not follow. This speaks of one of many applications and it does not mean that it defines productiveness. The quote does not support what you wrongly stated in your previous post.

EWV was absolutely correct stating:

To say that productive work is the central purpose of your life does not mean that everything that you do, in order to be productive, must be confined to a single central purpose across your whole life.

I disagree. But I am willing to await your definition of what you think being productive means and how it relates to one's purpose.

"Productive work is the central purpose of a rational man’s life, the central value that integrates and determines the hierarchy of all his other values. Reason is the source, the precondition of his productive work—pride is the result." [Ayn Rand, “The Objectivist Ethics,” The Virtue of Selfishness, 25.]

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I was responding to your above statement " for one to be productive they must engage in the process of creating material values."

I know, but even if the mother does what you state she has to have someone (most likely her spouse) that is carrying the financial responsibility as one cannot sustain their life without financial resources. So a trade of values for values is still going on.

What must be recognized is the material value of spiritual values.

The artist takes less than $10 worth of pigment and canvas and creates a painting worth thousands of dollars. He added only spiritual values. Was he being productive. You bet!

Likewise, I expect that Jessica will turn her spiritual achievement into book and movie deals, advertising endorsement contracts, etc. worth millions.

Sure beats working 8 months at McDonalds.

Very true, Betsy. I would add the spiritual value of self esteem having to achieve this - all due to her own effort and so early in life. The possible life long pay out (including future material values) is almost unmeasurable.

This is only true for someone that chooses the above mentioned items as their purpose. For the person that chooses to run their own McDonalds someday, then painting something on a canvas will probably be of little value to them. But to know that and to know what direction one should choose, they would have to have a purpose to guide them in the choices that fill a person's life.

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Ray raised the issue of accepting vs. rejecting the accolades of others to the extent that she was denying her actions as heroic. I'm not sure that's what she was doing. She was just stating that she does not experience her actions as those of a hero.

"My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute."

Although Jessica Watson was not being productive in an Objectivist sense she was achieving her own happienss and most emphatically used her rational faculty to overcome the difficulties that arose while she was at sea. I do acknowledge that she probably holds a different perspective on what being a hero entails and hence why she might have denied her actions as being heroic. My primary condemnation was not of her statements, but of the general situation of people denying their efforts as not worthy of praise or in other words, acting with humility.

With that I can agree. Too many times, we soldiers or others who do clearly great things but deny others accolades towards them. A simply "thank you" would be appropriate.

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Productiveness" is the process of creating material values, whether goods or services. Such creation is a necessity of human survival in any age, whether the values take the form of bearskins, clubs, a pot full of meat, and paintings on the walls of caves; or of skyscrapers, ballet, brain surgery, and a gourmet meal aboard a computerized spaceship; or of the unimaginable luxuries and splendors yet to come.
(my bold)

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I was responding to your above statement " for one to be productive they must engage in the process of creating material values."

I know, but even if the mother does what you state she has to have someone (most likely her spouse) that is carrying the financial responsibility as one cannot sustain their life without financial resources. So a trade of values for values is still going on.

What must be recognized is the material value of spiritual values.

Only to the extent that the spiritual values actually create material values. Of what material value is the spiritual value if the painting gets destroyed in a fire?

The artist takes less than $10 worth of pigment and canvas and creates a painting worth thousands of dollars. He added only spiritual values. Was he being productive. You bet!

To the extent that a material value was created.

Likewise, I expect that Jessica will turn her spiritual achievement into book and movie deals, advertising endorsement contracts, etc. worth millions.

Sure beats working 8 months at McDonalds.

Will have to wait and see on that.

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What you draw from the quote does not follow. This speaks of one of many applications and it does not mean that it defines productiveness. The quote does not support what you wrongly stated in your previous post.

EWV was absolutely correct stating:

To say that productive work is the central purpose of your life does not mean that everything that you do, in order to be productive, must be confined to a single central purpose across your whole life.

I disagree. But I am willing to await your definition of what you think being productive means and how it relates to one's purpose.

"Productive work is the central purpose of a rational man’s life, the central value that integrates and determines the hierarchy of all his other values. Reason is the source, the precondition of his productive work—pride is the result." [Ayn Rand, “The Objectivist Ethics,” The Virtue of Selfishness, 25.]

Perhaps it all does, in the end, relate to creation of material values but it may not be directly. I have to think about it.

The ultimate purpose is life happiness and productiveness is how one achieves it. Productiveness is a creation of positive values of which the pursuit of material values is the major, central type but it is not the only component. That is why being a mother can be an example of productive activity even though it is not a direct creation of material values. It is spiritual values that I get out of being a parent and they are a considerable component of my life happiness.

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Only to the extent that the spiritual values actually create material values.

Why? Both the material and spiritual values are the means to achieving the ultimate goal which is a spiritual value of happiness.

Of what material value is the spiritual value if the painting gets destroyed in a fire?

It is a value to the creator. Other people need not to be involved for something to be a value. Roark destroyed Cortland for the purpose of his spiritual values.

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The ultimate purpose is life happiness and productiveness is how one achieves it. Productiveness is a creation of positive values of which the pursuit of material values is the major, central type but it is not the only component. That is why being a mother can be an example of productive activity even though it is not a direct creation of material values. It is spiritual values that I get out of being a parent and they are a considerable component of my life happiness.

Production must result in some concrete form. A productive thinker does not just muse, he comes to conclusions and write them down or communicates them in some physical way. Being a mother does result in material values -- your child is a creature in physical reality, with attributes that your efforts make possible. You don't just dream about it, it takes hard work in physical reality! The 'spiritual values' you describe that you get from being a parent are the motive and the result of what you do. Productivity results in material values, but it is not the only virtue. Material values are not the only values, and the virtue of productivity does not mean that your rationality was not required for your productivity or that the happiness resulting from what you do is irrelevant.

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Material values are not the only values, and the virtue of productivity does not mean that your rationality was not required for your productivity or that the happiness resulting from what you do is irrelevant.

And I am not saying that they are the only values. But whether or not one's activites are guided by a central purpose and or integrated into a proper hierarchy will determine whether or not a person is wasting time or moving forward. A young person that states they want to become a medical doctor, but instead goes on a bicycle trip around Europe is not being productive (according to my understanding of Objectivits Ethics) even though they have to put thought an effort into the activity.

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These quotes should go with my statements from the post above.

"Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values." [Ayn Rand, Galt’s Speech, For the New Intellectual, 123.]

"Happiness is not to be achieved at the command of emotional whims. Happiness is not the satisfaction of whatever irrational wishes you might blindly attempt to indulge. Happiness is a state of non-contradictory joy—a joy without penalty or guilt, a joy that does not clash with any of your values and does not work for your own destruction, not the joy of escaping from your mind, but of using your mind’s fullest power, not the joy of faking reality, but of achieving values that are real, not the joy of a drunkard, but of a producer. Happiness is possible only to a rational man, the man who desires nothing but rational goals, seeks nothing but rational values and finds his joy in nothing but rational actions." [Ayn Rand, Galt’s Speech, For the New Intellectual, 132]

I added the emphasis.

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Material values are not the only values, and the virtue of productivity does not mean that your rationality was not required for your productivity or that the happiness resulting from what you do is irrelevant.

And I am not saying that they are the only values. But whether or not one's activites are guided by a central purpose and or integrated into a proper hierarchy will determine whether or not a person is wasting time or moving forward. A young person that states they want to become a medical doctor, but instead goes on a bicycle trip around Europe is not being productive (according to my understanding of Objectivits Ethics) even though they have to put thought an effort into the activity.

Your "but" has nothing to do with my response supporting Sophia.

Whether or not a young person who wants to be a doctor ought to take an adventurous and memorable vacation depends on a variety of factors. One can have a career and several other serious interests throughout life. Some talented and intelligent professionals have successful 'second' careers in an entirely different area, such as music. Others happily change careers after many years. Not everyone can do that, but those who can are doing nothing wrong in pursuing multiple interests. There is no moral injunction requiring everything one does has to be for one purpose throughout his entire life. That is not what productivity means.

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The ultimate purpose is life happiness and productiveness is how one achieves it. Productiveness is a creation of positive values of which the pursuit of material values is the major, central type but it is not the only component. That is why being a mother can be an example of productive activity even though it is not a direct creation of material values. It is spiritual values that I get out of being a parent and they are a considerable component of my life happiness.

Production must result in some concrete form. A productive thinker does not just muse, he comes to conclusions and write them down or communicates them in some physical way. Being a mother does result in material values -- your child is a creature in physical reality, with attributes that your efforts make possible. You don't just dream about it, it takes hard work in physical reality! The 'spiritual values' you describe that you get from being a parent are the motive and the result of what you do. Productivity results in material values, but it is not the only virtue. Material values are not the only values, and the virtue of productivity does not mean that your rationality was not required for your productivity or that the happiness resulting from what you do is irrelevant.

I don't disagree with this. Spiritual values, like self esteem, are obtained by successful manipulation something in reality.

Reaching that mountain peak can be an example of a productive activity. It does have the spiritual value of successfully facing that challenge (which requires many virtues - like determination and self discipline, for example) and the material value of a stronger body but it does not have a monetary value. The reinforcement of the spiritual values and the practice of virtues usually influence other aspects of one's life, like their work. So the effect is compounding. In that context, it is an example of a productive activity for that individual.

That is why I consider the virtue of productivity to be a continuous creation of positive values for oneself (and you have to manipulate reality for that) of which the most important aspect is one's work but it is not exclusively. Non productivity is non creating.

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These quotes should go with my statements from the post above.

"Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values." [Ayn Rand, Galt’s Speech, For the New Intellectual, 123.]

"Happiness is not to be achieved at the command of emotional whims. Happiness is not the satisfaction of whatever irrational wishes you might blindly attempt to indulge. Happiness is a state of non-contradictory joy—a joy without penalty or guilt, a joy that does not clash with any of your values and does not work for your own destruction, not the joy of escaping from your mind, but of using your mind’s fullest power, not the joy of faking reality, but of achieving values that are real, not the joy of a drunkard, but of a producer. Happiness is possible only to a rational man, the man who desires nothing but rational goals, seeks nothing but rational values and finds his joy in nothing but rational actions." [Ayn Rand, Galt’s Speech, For the New Intellectual, 132]

I added the emphasis.

I don't disagree with any of this. Everything I said lies within that context.

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Material values are not the only values, and the virtue of productivity does not mean that your rationality was not required for your productivity or that the happiness resulting from what you do is irrelevant.

And I am not saying that they are the only values. But whether or not one's activites are guided by a central purpose and or integrated into a proper hierarchy will determine whether or not a person is wasting time or moving forward. A young person that states they want to become a medical doctor, but instead goes on a bicycle trip around Europe is not being productive (according to my understanding of Objectivits Ethics) even though they have to put thought an effort into the activity.

Your "but" has nothing to do with my response supporting Sophia.

Whether or not a young person who wants to be a doctor ought to take an adventurous and memorable vacation depends on a variety of factors. One can have a career and several other serious interests throughout life. Some talented and intelligent professionals have successful 'second' careers in an entirely different area, such as music. Others happily change careers after many years. Not everyone can do that, but those who can are doing nothing wrong in pursuing multiple interests. There is no moral injunction requiring everything one does has to be for one purpose throughout his entire life. That is not what productivity means.

Yes it does. I have not stated that one cannot have multiple purposes in their life nor that they cannot change their purpose. But how will one know which road to follow without choosing one purpose as their central/primary purpose? If we may use the doctor example again. If a doctor loves to mountain climb as this produces an immense amount of spriritual happiness and he sets much of his time aside for this one activity/value even to the point of setting a date to climb Mt. Everest. He also values his profession very much as it not only allows him to achieve that spiritual happiness, but also the material happiness that comes from his efforts. A month before he is supposed to leave on his climbing expedition he is informed that his supervisor has been fired and is offered the position which starts right away and that if he accepts he should probably not take any leave within the first six months. What is it that you think will guide his choice if he does not have a central purpose to guide that choice?

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"Productive work is the central purpose of a rational man’s life, the central value that integrates and determines the hierarchy of all his other values."

That is true, at any point in time, but it doesn't necessarily hold true over a lifetime. For a period of Ayn Rand's life, her purpose was writing fiction and that determined many thing about her life such as how she ordered her day, where she lived, how she spent her money, etc. Later her purpose was writing philosophical essays and articles and public speaking.

Another example is my husband Stephen who went from software company executive to engineering student to research scientist to full-time parent to research scientist to internet forum administrator. He was very purposeful in each of these, but the only thing that connected them to each other was the fact that it was what he most wanted to do at the time.

Thus, it is very common and quite rational for a person to have several different "central purposes" in life, In the case of a young girl like Jessica, it is rare to have any central purpose at all. I know I didn't at her age.

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Betsy, I have no disagreement with what you have stated and have personally gone through something similar to what you mention about Stephen.

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