RobertF

Soulmate

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Here's something I wrote for myself. Comments are welcome.

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I think a man should never settle for anything less than his ideal partner. Every time he reaffirms this decision, he says "I am worth the best, the very match to my soul. Nothing less will do." This is no different to wanting the best food, clothing, home, work, and every other value he comes across.

What is your ideal? It is your soul mate. That means that that person IS EXACTLY LIKE YOU in every way that matters. I know what my ideal is. I know what she does for a living, and why, I know her morals, and her commitment to them, I know her habits, and the reason for them, I know exactly how she is in bed, and why. I know everything about her.

If a man decides to lower his standards - if a woman comes a hair-breadth near to his idea of perfection, and he decides to settle for that - he is saying "I am not worth the very best."

Unlike food, clothing, home, work, and every other value he comes across, people who are less than his ideal are an emotional investment. Empathy is a neurosis. A person who matches your ideal does not need your empathy, and you would not offer the insult of giving it to them. You do not "give them your heart." Empathy implies that you need something from an individual - personal recognition. A fully independant man needs nothing from anyone. To the extent that you settle for less than your soulmate, you open a crack in your mind where empathy floods in. The essence of empathy is compromise. You set a little (or a great deal) of space in your mind aside, and occupying that space will be the your thoughts and predictions of the other person's wills and desires. It's what people call "feeling for" or "caring for" another person. It is psychological altruism.

Empathy is not needed when the person is your ideal. Compromise, is not needed. You will be like spiritual siamese twins who's connection to each other never arouses conflict, but only bolsters each other's movement.

If you are asking, "What if you finally meet your ideal - and she isn't interested?" then she was not your ideal. So long as your ideal is rationally chosen, and true to yourself - and so long as YOU remain true to yourself, i.e. maintain an unbreached integrity; your ideal will mate with to you as if it were a law of nature. The mate to your soul is just that. Think about it. You are a man, discovering the female counterpart to your soul. Assuming you live by all the Objectivist virtues, how can you not desire her? And if she is the female counterpart to your soul, how could she not feel exactly the same? You couldn't, and she couldn't, that would be a contradiction. If you ever found a situation where you met your "ideal" and you didn't get along, then your either your "ideal" was not rationally chosen; you misjudged/projected onto her (because you wanted to believe it - the precursor to compromise); or you were not living with integrity. And, if you cannot conceive of your ideal, then your self is lacking.

How does one find their soul-mate? You need to do two things:

1) Figure out how to be 100% happy and moral at all times as an utterly independant being, never sacrificing your mind to anything or anyone.

2) Be that person at all times in the presence of every other person you meet.

Are you now asking, is it not better to compromise in order to avoid spending a lifetime alone?

But a first hander is never alone. Think about what the word "alone" implies. That the absence of another is the absence of a person. In other words, if nobody is with you, then nobody is there. That there are souls inhabiting others' bodies, but not your own.

Your mind, is just as real as anothers'. Your words have just as much veracity, your decisions as much potency, your reason as much validity, as anyone elses' could be. You are just as real an individual as anyone else could be. So how can you say you are alone? You have yourself. There's a person there. If you don't feel this, then there is self-doubt lurking within you.

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What is your ideal? It is your soul mate. That means that that person IS EXACTLY LIKE YOU in every way that matters. I know what my ideal is. I know what she does for a living, and why [...]

So, if I were a fiction writer -- whose central purpose in life is to portray the ideal man in fiction -- then, according to your suggestion, I should look only for a soul mate who is a fiction writer whose central purpose in life is to portray the ideal man in fiction?

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So, if I were a fiction writer -- whose central purpose in life is to portray the ideal man in fiction -- then, according to your suggestion, I should look only for a soul mate who is a fiction writer whose central purpose in life is to portray the ideal man in fiction?

I said "In every way that matters". Why are you asking me what matters to you?

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Think about what the word "alone" implies. That the absence of another is the absence of a person. In other words, if nobody is with you, then nobody is there. That there are souls inhabiting others' bodies, but not your own.

You are, of course, free to attach any word to any meaning. However, if you want to communicate with other people -- as you evidently do -- wouldn't it be better, all other factors being equal, to use words as labels for ideas with conventional meanings wherever possible?

Setting aside implications for the moment, wouldn't it be better to concentrate on direct meanings? The usual meaning of the idea "alone" is: in the absence of another person. It does not mean (that is, refer to in reality): in the absence of any person.

Now, if you have inferred that "alone" implies, in the context you have named, the absence of any person, would you please explain how you arrived at your inference?

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I said "In every way that matters".

Yes, you did. Are you saying that an objective person's central purpose in life doesn't or should not matter to that person?

Why are you asking me what matters to you?

Please reread my post. You will see that I used a hypothetical. The purpose was to offer a specific example -- one that you, as an Ayn Rand fan, will easily recognize. Does having an example cause a problem?

I will repeat the question in a more general form: Are you saying that, for example, an objective person should look for a soul mate whose CPL is exactly the same?

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Now, if you have inferred that "alone" implies, in the context you have named, the absence of any person, would you please explain how you arrived at your inference?

That is what it connotes when most people use the word, in my personal experience. When someone says "I am alone" they are saying "I don't feel anybody here". That is what my paragraph was refering to. Granted, that is not the literal meaning. I was not trying to redefine the conventional meaning of the word.

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What is your ideal? It is your soul mate. That means that that person IS EXACTLY LIKE YOU in every way that matters. I know what my ideal is. I know what she does for a living, and why, I know her morals, and her commitment to them, I know her habits, and the reason for them, I know exactly how she is in bed, and why. I know everything about her.

I think it important to separate principles from concretes when thinking in terms of our ideal partner. Certain principles are essential, such as "her morals" which you mention, but why "her habits?" There exist in people a broad variety of perfectly fine habits; are these not optional? And, why would we know in advance exactly what our ideal mate "does for a living?" Why would such specificity matter, rather than the essentials of her character and sense of life? And, not the least, why in heaven would we want a life partner who is "EXACTLY LIKE YOU in every way that matters?" Unless, perhaps, you mean by "matters" something like valuing the same sense of life.

I question all this because I think it would be a shame to sacrifice a woman who could be the love of your life for an all-too-restrictive, too concretely specified, ideal.

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I think it important to separate principles from concretes when thinking in terms of our ideal partner. Certain principles are essential, such as "her morals" which you mention, but why "her habits?" There exist in people a broad variety of perfectly fine habits; are these not optional?

The habits per-se are not what are significant. It's what they betray about the person that is significant. I think a certain set of premises, a certain approach to life, will result in a certain set of habits.

And, why would we know in advance exactly what our ideal mate "does for a living?" Why would such specificity matter, rather than the essentials of her character and sense of life?

Because sense-of-life is inextricably tied in with career choice. Not in terms of fundamentals, but the optionals (sense-of-life is an all-inclusive sum). I would expect a person who shared my sense of life to have - if not the same - then similar hobbies, interests, and career.

And, not the least, why in heaven would we want a life partner who is "EXACTLY LIKE YOU in every way that matters?"

Because there couldn't be anything better than that.

I question all this because I think it would be a shame to sacrifice a woman who could be the love of your life for an all-too-restrictive, too concretely specified, ideal.

I don't think one could honestly say to himself that he is an independant man, if he were to settle for the less-than-ideal. Because if he did, he would be saying "This was necessary. I couldn't go on without you. You aren't perfect, but I'll accept you anyway."

Why would one do that? It's tantamount to saying you NEED a person. And indeed, this fits with my personal experience.

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(reposted)

Yes, you did. Are you saying that an objective person's central purpose in life doesn't or should not matter to that person?

I assume by "that person" you mean your ideal, not yourself (that would be too self-evident), and vice-versa.

I will repeat the question in a more general form: Are you saying that, for example, an objective person should look for a soul mate whose CPL is exactly the same?

*

CPL = work. Not literally the same. Same in every way that matters. That is down to the nature of the work and individual preference.

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I think it important to separate principles from concretes when thinking in terms of our ideal partner. Certain principles are essential, such as "her morals" which you mention, but why "her habits?" There exist in people a broad variety of perfectly fine habits; are these not optional?

The habits per-se are not what are significant. It's what they betray about the person that is significant. I think a certain set of premises, a certain approach to life, will result in a certain set of habits.

Well, yes, in a broad sense we expect a rational person to bathe and brush her teeth, but exactly what time of the day she bathes, or whether she uses a brush or a sponge while bathing, and whether she flosses before or after brushing her teeth, these and a million other habits are entirely optional, not determined by sharing a "certain set of premises." Also, I wonder about your use of "betray," as if differences in these personal habits reveal some moral failing, or make a person seem less in your eyes?

And, why would we know in advance exactly what our ideal mate "does for a living?" Why would such specificity matter, rather than the essentials of her character and sense of life?

Because sense-of-life is inextricably tied in with career choice. Not in terms of fundamentals, but the optionals (sense-of-life is an all-inclusive sum). I would expect a person who shared my sense of life to have - if not the same - then similar hobbies, interests, and career.

I note that you originally said that your ideal is "EXACTLY LIKE YOU in every way that matters," and that you "know what she does for a living," not something "similar" as you now say. However, regardless, a sense of life is a very broad integration, a pre-conceptual metaphysics if you will, and as such should be consistent with one's career choice, but hardly the determining factor of one's career. Do you really not think that it would be perfectly reasonable for a person with a certain sense of life to choose, based on his interest and other concerns, either a career in such different fields as, say, physics, philosophy, or art?

And, not the least, why in heaven would we want a life partner who is "EXACTLY LIKE YOU in every way that matters?"

Because there couldn't be anything better than that.

But why? Why can't you be an artist and she an engineer? In what way does that make her less than ideal?

I question all this because I think it would be a shame to sacrifice a woman who could be the love of your life for an all-too-restrictive, too concretely specified, ideal.

I don't think one could honestly say to himself that he is an independant man, if he were to settle for the less-than-ideal.

I am not saying that anyone should necessarily settle for less than his ideal, but rather I am questioning the view on which you base your ideal.

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CPL = work. Not literally the same. Same in every way that matters. That is down to the nature of the work and individual preference.

For two reasons, I don't understand what you are saying here. First, your description here, and elsewhere, is floating. If you would give an example, to concretize your description, the description might be clearer.

Most of the members of THE FORUM are familiar with the novels of Ayn Rand. Perhaps you could pick an example relationship from one of her novels as an illustration -- negative or positive -- of your point that one should wait until one has found the ideal mate, that is, someone who, for example, has the same passionately held central purpose in life.

For instance, would you say that Dagny Taggart was immoral or deficient in some other way because she didn't wait until she had found an ideal man, that is, someone who was exactly like her -- including being the vice president of operations of a railroad?

Second, you say, "Not literally the same." Is there some other kind of "same"? Further, you say the work of the two people in an ideal relationship should be the same in nature. How else would the work be the same -- if not in nature? Again, could you give examples to objectify your statement?

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RobertF,

What about the person that chooses to be a football player, a soldier, a Navy SEAL. Where is this person supposed to find their soulmate within their career field. I hope this shows the fallacy of your premise, and you can move on to choosing the best available to you without omniscient.

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Also isn't having a spouse/partner who has your exact temperment, habits, faults, etc just a bad idea?

For instance if I was a manic, hyper, scatterbrained individual would having a wife with the same habits be of any use whatsoever? It would be mayhem. I would probably end up getting along better with someone who was more ordered, but perhaps less driven. My drive might encourage her whereas the order she brings would help structure my life.

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Also isn't having a spouse/partner who has your exact temperment, habits, faults, etc just a bad idea?

For instance if I was a manic, hyper, scatterbrained individual would having a wife with the same habits be of any use whatsoever?  It would be mayhem.

I doubt that your example is a proper one for this discussion, since the context was (presumably) a rational Objectivist, not a "manic, hyper, scatterbrained individual."

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I doubt that your example is a proper one for this discussion, since the context was (presumably) a rational Objectivist, not a "manic, hyper, scatterbrained individual."

Because I doubt that any of us here are "perfect" individuals in the proper sense and that we have our own unique personalities, quirks, faults and geniuses I think my point is valid.

For instance I would consider myself a rational individual but I am also very bad at remembering dates, getting places on time and the like. When I am around people who have that same problem nothing much gets done. However having someone around who can remind me of a deadline solves the problem.

My point wasn't that your ideal spouse should be insane but simply that often different traits compliment each other where identical traits can lead to problems.

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I doubt that your example is a proper one for this discussion, since the context was (presumably) a rational Objectivist, not a "manic, hyper, scatterbrained individual."

Because I doubt that any of us here are "perfect" individuals in the proper sense ...

Excuse me, I don't mean to be rude, but please speak for yourself. I consider myself perfect "in the proper sense," the proper sense being in regard to my moral stature, with a full commitment to awareness and reason. And I personally know quite a few people here on THE FORUM to which the same would apply.

... and that we have our own unique personalities, quirks, faults and geniuses I think my point is valid.

Do you seriously consider a "manic, hyper, scatterbrained individual" to be properly characterized as one with only "quirks" and "faults?"

For instance I would consider myself a rational individual but I am also very bad at remembering dates, getting places on time and the like.  When I am around people who have that same problem nothing much gets done.  However having someone around who can remind me of a deadline solves the problem.

Well, again, I doubt that many people would characterize the above description as a "manic, hyper, scatterbrained individual."

My point wasn't that your ideal spouse should be insane but simply that often different traits compliment each other where identical traits can lead to problems.

I was not arguing against your point, which may or may not be true, but rather I was criticizing the example you used to illustrate your point. The example of a "manic, hyper, scatterbrained individual" is simply not congruent to a discussion about a rational Objectivist.

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Vladimir Berkov, it occurs to me that perhaps you were speaking rather loosely and were not aware of the precise meaning of your words when you referred to a "manic, hyper, scatterbrained individual."

The National Institutes of Health characterizes "manic" as an "exaggerated feeling of well-being, stimulation, and grandiosity in which a person can lose touch with reality," and the Oxford Dictionary of English defines a "scatter-brain" as "One who is incapable of serious connected thought; a thoughtless, giddy person."

Considering these meanings, do you see why I object to the example of a "manic, hyper, scatterbrained individual" as being a rational Objectivist?

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I think a man should never settle for anything less than his ideal partner.

An ideal is fine as long as it is not a Platonic "ideal" disconnected from the facts of reality

Every time he reaffirms this decision, he says "I am worth the best, the very match to my soul. Nothing less will do." This is no different to wanting the best food, clothing, home, work, and every other value he comes across.

That is true -- in principle -- but there are many options within that principle. For instance, one should eat uncontaminated, nutritious food, but not the same thing for every meal forever. That would get pretty boring.

What is your ideal? It is your soul mate. That means that that person IS EXACTLY LIKE YOU in every way that matters.

That would get pretty boring too. Also, if we are talking romance, most of us would prefer a mate of the opposite sex. :)

I know what my ideal is. I know what she does for a living, and why, I know her morals, and her commitment to them, I know her habits, and the reason for them, I know exactly how she is in bed, and why. I know everything about her..

What if she grows and changes as rational, productive people tend to do over time? What if she develops new interests or wants to pursue a different career? Would you get rid of her?

If a man decides to lower his standards - if a woman comes a hair-breadth near to his idea of perfection, and he decides to settle for that - he is saying "I am not worth the very best."

Unlike food, clothing, home, work, and every other value he comes across, people who are less than his ideal are an emotional investment. Empathy is a neurosis. A person who matches your ideal does not need your empathy, and you would not offer the insult of giving it to them.

In fact, empathy is one of the greatest benefits of having a soulmate. When someone shares your values, they can empathize with you, share your joys and triumphs, and help you keep the context when things are going badly for you. A good relationship IS an emotional investment, and the payoffs are tremendous.

You do not "give them your heart." Empathy implies that you need something from an individual - personal recognition.

YES! A rational man needs visibility and that is what a soulmate provides.

A fully independant man needs nothing from anyone.

Sure he does.

I can't stand people who need me."  He glanced at her. "Do you need me?"

She answered, her voice earnest, "Desperately."

He laughed. "No. Not the way I meant. You didn't say it the way they do."

"How did I say it?"

"Like a trader

That's the essence of the trade between lovers.

To the extent that you settle for less than your soulmate, you open a crack in your mind where empathy floods in. The essence of empathy is compromise. You set a little (or a great deal) of space in your mind aside, and occupying that space will be the your thoughts and predictions of the other person's wills and desires. It's what people call "feeling for" or "caring for" another person. It is psychological altruism.

The essence of empathy is TRADE -- a rational process of accommodating differences by mutual consent to mutual advantage. When you are in love, having another person in your thoughts is a happy and delightful thing and it is as selfish as can be.

Empathy is not needed when the person is your ideal. Compromise, is not needed. You will be like spiritual siamese twins who's connection to each other never arouses conflict, but only bolsters each other's movement.

I can't imagine a more confining situation where any difference, no matter how innocent or good, is a threat to the relationship. Siamese twins is a good analogy: two people so dependent on each other than they cannot survive as individuals.

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What if she grows and changes as rational, productive people tend to do over time?  What if she develops new interests or wants to pursue a different career?  Would you get rid of her?

If she was my soulmate, we would be heading in similar directions in life. It would not bring conflict.

In fact, empathy is one of the greatest benefits of having a soulmate.  When someone shares your values, they can empathize with you, share your joys and triumphs, and help you keep the context when things are going badly for you.  A good relationship IS an emotional investment, and the payoffs are tremendous.

I say that you shouldn't give them your heart because you need it to survive. An emotional investment leaves you in ruins if they don't uphold their end of the bargain. And you're willing to take risks... ignore subtle signs that things aren't quite right, because of the investment you made. I can't see Roark making an emotional investment... not one that would affect him in any great way.

I'll tell you how I arrived at my conclusions. After my last failed relationship, I envisioned my soulmate. I took every part of me that I felt was fundamental, and that I was not ashamed of, and formed a soul in my mind. An integrated whole that I could behold. No, it wasn't like frankenstein's monster, quite the opposite. When I looked at this mental entity, I suddenly felt a whole lot more real to myself. I was looking at myself, as an abstraction, which was something I'd never done before. I felt a very acute sense of being real. And then it hit me: I'd never need any person in my life again so long as I could retain this abstraction in my self at all times, and that I would only ever settle for this in another person. I wouldn't HAVE to settle for less.

Here's another excerpt that I think is relevent:

"She thought that they had not greeted each other and that it was right. This was not a reunion, but just one moment out of something that had never been interrupted. She thought how strange it would be if she ever said "Hello" to him; one did not greet oneself each morning."

YES!  A rational man needs visibility and that is what a soulmate provides.

He is invisible to himself? I'm not sure what you mean by this.

The essence of empathy is TRADE -- a rational process of accommodating differences by mutual consent to mutual advantage. When you are in love, having another person in your thoughts is a happy and delightful thing and it is as selfish as can be.

I can't imagine a more confining situation where any difference, no matter how innocent or good, is a threat to the relationship.  Siamese twins is a good analogy: two people so dependent on each other than they cannot survive as individuals.

Sure, but I don't think that's what I was suggesting.

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For instance, would you say that Dagny Taggart was immoral or deficient in some other way because she didn't wait until she had found an ideal man, that is, someone who was exactly like her -- including being the vice president of operations of a railroad?

That is a good example. Yes I do. Look what happened to those relationships. And her relationship with Galt didn't make any sense to me. :)

Second, you say, "Not literally the same." Is there some other kind of "same"? Further, you say the work of the two people in an ideal relationship should be the same in nature. How else would the work be the same -- if not in nature? Again, could you give examples to objectify your statement?

By "not literally the same" I meant "not exactly 100% the same." If the career is not the exact same career, they should be doing it for the same reason, and derive pleasure from it for the same reason. And those reasons should lead them to a similar career. I don't think an example would serve the discussion here; there are too many diverse possibilities involved. I could only tell you that I want a woman who is a computer programmer. That in itself will make it very difficult to find her, if she even exists - and you know what? I don't care. :)

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The habits per-se are not what are significant. It's what they betray about the person that is significant. I think a certain set of premises, a certain approach to life, will result in a certain set of habits.

Well, yes, in a broad sense we expect a rational person to bathe and brush her teeth, but exactly what time of the day she bathes, or whether she uses a brush or a sponge while bathing, and whether she flosses before or after brushing her teeth, these and a million other habits are entirely optional, not determined by sharing a "certain set of premises."

True.

Also, I wonder about your use of "betray," as if differences in these personal habits reveal some moral failing, or make a person seem less in your eyes?

No, but if the combination of her idiosynracies were too far apart from mine, she wouldn't meet my standards as a life partner.

I note that you originally said that your ideal is "EXACTLY LIKE YOU in every way that matters," and that you "know what she does for a living," not something "similar" as you now say.

I was talking about myself when I said "know what she does for a living". I want a woman who does exactly what I do, as a personal choice. The "similar" option was a possibility that others might find acceptable.

However, regardless, a sense of life is a very broad integration, a pre-conceptual metaphysics if you will, and as such should be consistent with one's career choice, but hardly the determining factor of one's career. Do you really not think that it would be perfectly reasonable for a person with a certain sense of life to choose, based on his interest and other concerns, either a career in such different fields as, say, physics, philosophy, or art?

I think that a person with exactly the same sense of life, will choose exactly, or nearly exactly the same career. The more different the sense of life, the more the possibilities widen - though the fundamentals can stay the same across a great deal of careers.

But why? Why can't you be an artist and she an engineer? In what way does that make her less than ideal?

Because we'd have less in common. I couldn't understand engineering the way she does; she couldn't understand art the way I do.

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That is a good example. Yes I do. Look what happened to those relationships. And her relationship with Galt didn't make any sense to me.

Which relationships in all of Ayn Rand's fiction did make sense to you?

I don't think an example would serve the discussion here; there are too many diverse possibilities involved.

Objectivity is a certain relationship between ideas in the mind and the facts of reality -- a logical relationship, that is, the ideas are drawn logically from the facts.

An idea is objective only if one can trace it to sense-perceptible reality. Offering examples is one way of testing the objectivity of an idea.

So, I am very puzzled when you say offering an example would not serve the discussion because there are too many possibilities involved. Why not simply name a few examples -- if there really are so many possibilities?

If you can't or won't offer examples of your idea, what other way would you suggest for concretizing -- and therefore testing the objectivity of -- your idea of soul mates as clones.

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I think that a person with exactly the same sense of life, will choose exactly, or nearly exactly the same career.

As a way of showing the objectivity of your proposal, could you give examples -- or even just one example -- of how, step by step, a particular sense of life leads to a particular central purpose in life or, more narrowly, a particular career? (A central purpose in life is a broad abstraction that can subsume more than one career for a given person, if he lives long enough.)

One possibility is that you might take yourself as an example. What is your sense of life -- and how does it lead only to your particular career in programming?

(Of course, programming is a field not a career, which is a sequence of steps one takes to rise in skill and responsibility in a particular field. An example is the field of medicine; and in that field one doctor might go from medschool into private practice, but another might enter clinical studies, and a third might work in hospital administration.)

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As a way of showing the objectivity of your proposal, could you give examples -- or even just one example -- of how, step by step, a particular sense of life leads to a particular central purpose in life or, more narrowly, a particular career? (A central purpose in life is a broad abstraction that can subsume more than one career for a given person, if he lives long enough.)

It follows if you just examine the definitions. Remember that Sense of Life is the sum of all your value judgements and behaviour. I didn't say that one led to the other, I said they are linked. Career choice is not narrow - the decision involves everything you are. How can it not?

One possibility is that you might take yourself as an example. What is your sense of life -- and how does it lead only to your particular career in programming?

I'm not going to anatomise my person for public display.

(Of course, programming is a field not a career, which is a sequence of steps one takes to rise in skill and responsibility in a particular field.

How about "a career in programming" then? And I have a particular sort in mind, too.

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As a way of showing the objectivity of your proposal, could you give examples -- or even just one example -- of how, step by step, a particular sense of life leads to a particular central purpose in life or, more narrowly, a particular career? (A central purpose in life is a broad abstraction that can subsume more than one career for a given person, if he lives long enough.)

It follows if you just examine the definitions. Remember that Sense of Life is the sum of all your value judgements and behaviour. I didn't say that one led to the other, I said they are linked. Career choice is not narrow - the decision involves everything you are. How can it not?

One possibility is that you might take yourself as an example. What is your sense of life -- and how does it lead only to your particular career in programming?

I'm not going to anatomise my person for public display.

(Of course, programming is a field not a career, which is a sequence of steps one takes to rise in skill and responsibility in a particular field.

How about "a career in programming" then? And I have a particular sort in mind, too.

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