Guest ElizabethLee

femininity vs heroine worship

299 posts in this topic

Yes, letting a man take charge requires that she trust him completely, and value him very, very highly.  But I still think calling this "worship" seems not quite right.

Perhaps that has to do with just how you hold the notion of "worship" in your mind. Is there anything in life that you do worship?

If this is the highest she has to give, shouldn't it be an extreme value to him, if he values her?  It seems odd to me that such an intense emotion (worship) on a woman's part invokes so little response in a man.

Worship, in those women who experience it, is what a woman feels as a psychological orientation, not what she gives. The highest that she gives is herself, in sexual surrender. Her man values her actions and deeds, and it is these that invoke his response.

At best, his response is mild amusement or indulgence (looking at Galt and Roark), almost as if she was a child.

This does not reflect my view of and response to the woman I love, and I find such an all-embracing statement to be personally insulting. I also find your distortion of Galt's and Roark's character to be insulting to Ayn Rand and to those of us who understand and value her and them. As moderator I ask that you keep such distortions to yourself. There are proper ways to bring up issues that you do not understand, but not with a default assumption that is insulting.

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A woman, who IS the value sought and gives her body and soul, might expect that it should be that way for a man, but it's not.  The woman he loves is a very high value to a man, but it is still just another value he seeks. 

Here is a description of a man introspecting on his highest romantic value:

Roark awakened in the morning and thought that last night had been like a point reached, like a stop in the movement of his life. He was moving forward for the sake of such stops; like the moments when he had walked through the half-finished Heller house; like last night. In some unstated way, last night had been what building was to him; in some quality of reaction within him, in what it gave to his consciousness of existence.

I am not sure that Roark's reaction after his first night with Dominique was intended to be representative of how a man should feel about achieving his highest romantic value. At this point, Roark does not know whether he will have further contact with Dominique. It is, indeed, a stop in the movement of his life, which is followed by drawbacks like Dominique's marriage to Keating and later to Wynand. The final achievement of his highest romantic value is when Dominique leaves Wynand and is ready to join Roark openly for the rest of her life.

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P.S. Perhaps this is why Roark's first night with Dominique is compared to a HALF-FINISHED building: "like the moments when he had walked through the half-finished Heller house."

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But the Heller house is already complete in Roark's mind and, after his first night with Dominique, the rest is follow-through, not higher romantic value.

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I think that for the man most worthy of feminine worship, it is not an issue. He neither plays at nor is uncomfortable with worship; he's too busy being a man, and enjoys the consequences.

What do you mean when you say that a man doesn't "play at" worship?

David

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Perhaps that has to do with just how you hold the notion of "worship" in your mind. Is there anything in life that you do worship?

What is your notion of worship? More particularly, what is your precise definition? And is there anything in life that you worship? Is it the same kind of worship you say a woman has? Do you have several definitions of worship?

Worship, in those women who experience it, is what a woman feels as a psychological orientation, not what she gives. The highest that she gives is herself, in sexual surrender. Her man values her actions and deeds, and it is these that invoke his response.

Worship is a "psychological orientation"? And it comprises her highest giving, that of herself? Would you mind explaining exactly how that works -- psychologically or otherwise? Do you believe that worship is/can be related to virtue? i.e. Can one worship Thomas Jefferson as a man of great integrity, insight and eloquence?

David

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Paul, could you rephrase what you're saying here? I don't really know what you mean. What virtues does someone have to perform to have a line of a neck that is extremely appealing to a guy, but not to most other people (or something else about her that he finds particularly attractive)?

Also, could you explain what you meant by this:

:)

I think your question results from not addressing my first question: to whom are these things of value? Are you observing “the delicate lines of her neck” and placing a value on that? The woman in question may not have to do anything to have delicate lines that are simply features of her anatomy. If that is the case, why would SHE value it? There may be no action that she has to take to acquire or keep those lines.

From the context of the discussion, it seemed like you were separating values from virtues. I was trying to show that the reason there is no virtue required on the woman’s part is because there is no value, to her. On the other hand, if an observer values delicate lines in a woman’s neck, then he would have to enact certain virtues to acquire that value, specifically to become friendly or an acquaintance of that woman.

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Worship means to regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, or devotion. Perhaps there is some misunderstanding because of the religious association that the term worship is associated with. Objectivism removes the concept from that association. There is also a distinction between worshipping someone romantically and outside of the romantic context.

For a woman to worship a man, romantically, means that she recognizes his achievements and value to her. It also requires that she be a person worthy of the man she worships. Which means that she had to pursue values making herself worthy.

Absolutely, Jefferson should be worshiped by everyone!! (that type of worship is outside the context of romantic involvement)

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What does "engulging" mean?  :)  I tried looking it up, but could not find a definition.

Oh, that's a typo. I meant "engulfing." Hopefully using an actual word from the English language makes things a bit clearer. :D

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I think your question results from not addressing my first question: to whom are these things of value?  Are you observing “the delicate lines of her neck” and placing a value on that?  The woman in question may not have to do anything to have delicate lines that are simply features of her anatomy.  If that is the case, why would SHE value it?  There may be no action that she has to take to acquire or keep those lines. 

From the context of the discussion, it seemed like you were separating values from virtues.  I was trying to show that the reason there is no virtue required on the woman’s part is because there is no value, to her.  On the other hand, if an observer values delicate lines in a woman’s neck, then he would have to enact certain virtues to acquire that value, specifically to become friendly or an acquaintance of that woman.

Paul, I think I see what you're saying now, but I don't see how it ties in with the reply I had written to yandarn.

yandarn started this point of discussion by stating, originally, that

we cannot have normative evaluations of the metaphysical, per se. We can have evaluations of how certain things are important to us -- such as masculinity and femininity. But these are values. We cannot esteem values -- only virtues.

This was objected to by elizabethlee, who said,

Nothing is so insignificant as not to have a valuation. [...]Perhaps you are thinking that one can only -judge- virtues.

and yandarn challenged her on that point, saying,

Perhaps you could give me three examples of values that you esteem that do not pertain to virtues. Thanks.

And it is at this point that I entered the discussion, saying that there are many things one can love about a person that do not directly pertain to their virtues, for example a particular beautiful thing they do that you like but other people don't see; another thing of value without virtues attached to it might be the complementary characters and tempers, as Betsy clearly showed, which only acquire value to one of the people in the context of the other being so opposite. Et cetera. There are many more aspects about a person that can be appreciated, than can be directly tied down to concrete virtues (and likewise, there can be many things about a person that are not likable, but that do not imply vice in any real sense).

Now, within the context of that discussion, would you mind rephrasing what you said? I honestly don't see how it ties into what we were talking about. I may esteem a particular way a woman may look and move, without there necessarily being any virtues on her part that contribute to that. Or, to put it another way, even if the virtues are be present there, that enable her to move gracefully and in a way that is appealing, those virtues will usually be non-evident, and so it will be the grace itself that will attract attention, not some virtue it may (or may not) be ultimately traced down to.

And all of this ultimately goes back to yandarn, and addresses his argument that only virtues in another person can be of value (that, in fact, many other things can).

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As a wife of 38 years and as a mother (emeritus), my reaction to this is "Yuck!"

A woman's relationship with a man is the essential part of femininity and everything else is optional.  It is possible to place the locus of femininity elsewhere, just as it is possible to fill the need for self-esteem by pursuing various defense values instead, but it is a poor substitute for the real thing. 

I have met man-hating females who consider themselves "real women" because they are devoted mothers, or good cooks, or have a great fashion sense, or know how to decorate, but I don't buy it.  If she doesn't respect and enjoy men, she's not feminine.

I am uncomfortable with the word "proper" in this context for the same reason I don't like to hear people talk about a "proper" sense of life. Masculinity and femininity are consequences of many other more basic issues and not directly volitional. Therefore, they should not be evaluated as "proper" or "improper."

Hi Betsy,

Sorry for my slow response this is interesting and important to me.

I’m sure there are differences in the essences of men and women and I think we are close to the answer in these discussions. Your responses to me and others and your essays you sent me on this subject have left me with some more questions. I know you have been going over and over these questions for a long time so if these additional questions have already been addressed maybe you or someone else could point the way.

With well deserved respect, Betsy, my questions earlier were prompted by your strong and certain language about the essences of masculinity and femininity. It didn’t sound like you were just saying, this is the essence of femininity for you personally or this is the essence of masculinity noted in your husband. Your comments made me think that you were suggesting that this was how it should be. It seemed to me, correct me if I am wrong, that you were saying this was the ideal or rational view of the essence of masculinity and femininity. This is also what prompted my questions on homosexual relationships. But, given your above comments what word would you use rather than “proper”?

Also, since I think what we are considering here is the ideal or rational essence of masculinity and femininity, can you explain what is, in particular, the biology that would support his essence as the “valuer” and hers as the “value” or his the hero and hers the hero-worshipper? I think you said that this was true just in the romantic realm. Is it the physical rape option, for the man, that is the only biological fact that supports this idea? I think you mentioned that you or women can’t help this characteristic of “surrender” to a man they trust/respect/admire and also since rational men would not consider their physical ability to rape as a value or an option in a relationship are you talking about an evolutional or primitive or is it an intrinsic characteristic in men and women that supports this rather than the ideal?

I was also struck by your comment of “Yuck!” to my question, “Could a woman feel feminine nurturing a child?”, to Elizabeth’s comment about a woman not being able to feel feminine without a man. I was talking about femininity per se not just “romantic” femininity and mentioned that I might be changing the subject. Are you saying that femininity as such is just “romantic” or only associated with a man? In my experience, most women have a strong desire to have and raise children. Is the “ticking clock” syndrome that I’ve often heard associated with women and not men just a physical concern? How about the playing with dolls that is so common with girls and rarely with boys? Are these not qualities of femininity? These are probably not as strong as the romantic desire for a man but in my experience strong nonetheless. Rather than the man-hating females as you used in your example, are you saying that even man-loving females who want to have/nurture children is not part of being feminine?

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Paul, I think I see what you're saying now, but I don't see how it ties in with the reply I had written to yandarn.

yandarn started this point of discussion by stating, originally, that

This was objected to by elizabethlee, who said,

and yandarn challenged her on that point, saying,

And it is at this point that I entered the discussion, saying that there are many things one can love about a person that do not directly pertain to their virtues, for example a particular beautiful thing they do that you like but other people don't see; another thing of value without virtues attached to it might be the complementary characters and tempers, as Betsy clearly showed, which only acquire value to one of the people in the context of the other being so opposite. Et cetera. There are many more aspects about a person that can be appreciated, than can be directly tied down to concrete virtues (and likewise, there can be many things about a person that are not likable, but that do not imply vice in any real sense).

Now, within the context of that discussion, would you mind rephrasing what you said? I honestly don't see how it ties into what we were talking about. I may esteem a particular way a woman may look and move, without there necessarily being any virtues on her part that contribute to that. Or, to put it another way, even if the virtues are be present there, that enable her to move gracefully and in a way that is appealing, those virtues will usually be non-evident, and so it will be the grace itself that will attract attention, not some virtue it may (or may not) be ultimately traced down to.

And all of this ultimately goes back to yandarn, and addresses his argument that only virtues in another person can be of value (that, in fact, many other things can).

I think you've proven to me that I shouldn't jump into the middle of a discussion without reading the pertinent points that went on before I jumped in. Since this has been quite a long thread, I'll just leave it at this point.

:)

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With well deserved respect, Betsy, my questions earlier were prompted by your strong and certain language about the essences of masculinity and femininity.  It didn’t sound like you were just saying, this is the essence of femininity for you personally or this is the essence of masculinity noted in your husband.  Your comments made me think that you were suggesting that this was how it should be.  It seemed to me, correct me if I am wrong, that you were saying this was the ideal or rational view of the essence of masculinity and femininity. This is also what prompted my questions on homosexual relationships.  But, given your above comments what word would you use rather than “proper”? 

I would consider my view on masculinity/femininity to be a DEscription rather than a PREscription. It is a description of basic, baseline, "vanilla" sexual differences that evolved from that of lower animals and serves as the biological foundation for human sexual differences.

This is merely a foundation. Given the human conceptual faculty and free will, many different optional activities and ways of relating to one's partner can be built on the basic foundation, but the foundation can't be ignored or dispensed with.

Also, since I think what we are considering here is the ideal or rational essence of masculinity and femininity, can you explain what is, in particular, the biology that would support his essence as the “valuer” and hers as the “value” or his the hero and hers the hero-worshipper?  I think you said that this was true just in the romantic realm.  Is it the physical rape option, for the man, that is the only biological fact that supports this idea?  I think you mentioned that you or women can’t help this characteristic of “surrender” to a man they trust/respect/admire and also since rational men would not consider their physical ability to rape as a value or an option in a relationship are you talking about an evolutional or primitive or is it an intrinsic characteristic in men and women that supports this rather than the ideal?

The fact that rape or force is possible is a consideration, especially when it comes to issues of the trust that makes surrender possible, but that isn't the basic reason.

The basic reason is that sex is ultimately the man's choice. If a man doesn't want (value) a woman sufficiently, nothing happens. He is the valuer and she is the value.

I was also struck by your comment of “Yuck!” to my question, “Could a woman feel feminine nurturing a child?”, to Elizabeth’s comment about a woman not being able to feel feminine without a man.  I was talking about femininity per se not just “romantic” femininity and mentioned that I might be changing the subject.  Are you saying that femininity as such is just “romantic” or only associated with a man? 

That is what I am saying. "Feminine" doesn't mean "what women do." It means the essence of sexual identity. When it comes to wanting to bear and raise children, a more accurate word is "maternal."

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And all of this ultimately goes back to yandarn, and addresses his argument that only virtues in another person can be of value (that, in fact, many other things can).

Go back and read my posts, FC. I didn't say that only virtues can be of value. I said that only virtues (and their concomitant manifestations in a person) can be worshiped (highly respected or revered).

My wife has many traits (and quirks) that I value, as well as many of her values that are my values, so I value that, too. I just don't worship her values and quirks. I enjoy many of them immensely, but values are things that we act to gain or keep -- so it's the acting that she does that makes me respect her. I'm grateful that she loves Jane Austen and Alexander Dumas, but I revere her for her honesty and integrity and intellect that she built so that she may love those great writers. Virtues.

I don't revere Thomas Jefferson because he had a huge library or was an incredible tinkerer or loved the Greeks or deeply loved botany. I revere him because he was a profoundly honest and integrated man, because he worked studiously hard at the things he loved, because he stayed true to his love of life and freedom to such an extent that he created possibly the most magnificent document in human history. Virtues.

As I've said, you can't revere values. You can only revere virtues.

Btw, the way a woman (or man) walks and moves is largely the result of virtues. You are your volition and rationality -- with some biology thrown in to make the full sense of life.

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Go back and read my posts, FC. I didn't say that only virtues can be of value. I said that only virtues (and their concomitant manifestations in a person) can be worshiped (highly respected or revered).

My wife has many traits (and quirks) that I value, as well as many of her values that are my values, so I value that, too. I just don't worship her values and quirks. I enjoy many of them immensely, but values are things that we act to gain or keep -- so it's the acting that she does that makes me respect her. I'm grateful that she loves Jane Austen and Alexander Dumas, but I revere her for her honesty and integrity and intellect that she built so that she may love those great writers. Virtues.

I don't revere Thomas Jefferson because he had a huge library or was an incredible tinkerer or loved the Greeks or deeply loved botany. I revere him because he was a profoundly honest and integrated man, because he worked studiously hard at the things he loved, because he stayed true to his love of life and freedom to such an extent that he created possibly the most magnificent document in human history. Virtues.

As I've said, you can't revere values. You can only revere virtues.

Btw, the way a woman (or man) walks and moves is largely the result of virtues. You are your volition and rationality -- with some biology thrown in to make the full sense of life.

If I may interject my opinion, I fail to see the distinction you're making here. Virtues can be values, too. The virtues you admire in Jefferson for are indeed values from your perspective. If someone is honest, then honesty is a virtue for that person, but it is a value to you and you esteem that person because of that value. You state that you don't revere Jefferson because of his huge library. Well, suppose it could be shown that the reason he was able to study hard at the things he loved, or that he was able to create the magnificent document, was because he was so well read and the books in the library enabled him to become an intelligent and well-read person. I would think that that might be a good reason for revering him because of his library.

I think that you need to put the values you mention in a hierarchy. And that reverence should be aimed at the person for attaining the highest values. There may have been many people who loved life and freedom as much as Jefferson, but he wrote the Declaration of Independence.

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That is what I am saying.  "Feminine" doesn't mean "what women do."  It means the essence of sexual identity.  When it comes to wanting to bear and raise children, a more accurate word is "maternal."

Then, I disagree. Femininity is not the just essence of female sexual identity, it is all of the qualities and characteristics attributed to the female sex, which would include surrender and maternal qualities. Maternal is the feminine quality that is the essence of good mothers.

But, but let me go back to the essences of femininity and masculinity.

The basic reason is that sex is ultimately the man's choice.  If a man doesn't want (value) a woman sufficiently, nothing happens.  He is the valuer and she is the value.

I can see how man is a primary in a sexual relationship in that he has to want the woman before sex happens whereas even if a woman wants a man sexually it is not sufficient until he wants her. But that fact doesn’t support your exclusive distinction that the male is the valuer and the woman the value and all that that would imply, it only supports that his choice is primary. Moreover, his choice for her is moot/ irrelevant if she doesn’t choose him. Nor does his ability to rape have any role in a civilized, rational, value based relationship.

Your premise also seems to be at odds with Ayn Rand’s definition which implies to me that ideally, femininity’s essence is an extreme valuer - from “About A Woman President”; “For a woman qua woman, the essence of femininity is hero worship—the desire to look up to man. "To look up" does not mean dependence, obedience, or anything implying inferiority. It means an intense kind of admiration; and admiration is an emotion that can be experienced only by a person of strong character and independent value judgments.”

Her concept also seems to be a universal ideal applied - to children and from men to men and from men to themselves;

“A small child is mildly curious about, but not greatly interested in, other children of his own age. In daily association, they merely bewilder him. He is not seeking equals, but cognitive superiors, people who know. Observe that young children prefer the company of older children or of adults, that they hero-worship and try to emulate an older brother or sister. A child needs to reach a certain development, a sense of his own identity, before he can enjoy the company of his "peers." THE COMPRACHICO’S

“One of the unique features of her mature hero-worship, by contrast, is her explicit benevolence towards the honest average man (as represented by Mike in The Fountainhead and Eddie Willers in Atlas Shrugged).” L. Peikoff – FORWARD, JAR

“Wynand is actually in love with Roark. It is love in every sense but the physical; its base is not in homosexuality; Wynand has never had any tendency in that direction. It is more hero-worship than love, and more religion than hero-worship. Actually, it is Wynand's tribute to his own unrealized greatness”. JAR – “Notes While Writing The Fountainhead”

"Well, sit down. Listen. I understand. And it's very nice of you. But you don't know. I thought a few days here would be enough to take the hero worship out of you. I see it wasn't. Here you are, saying to yourself how grand old Cameron is, a noble fighter, a martyr to a lost cause, and you'd just love to die on the barricades with me and to eat in dime lunch-wagons with me for the rest of your life.

Cameron to Roark – TF-pg.64

But, Ayn Rand’s strongly stated arguments in “About A Woman President” still leave me perplexed about the romantic essences of man and woman. I don’t understand why President, but not CEO should be dismissed as a goal for any rational woman. I don’t look at the President “a ruler”, his authority is limited. He doesn’t control Congress or the courts nor individual citizens as protected by the Constitution. And even if his power is over all men, it’s a temporary position which I wouldn’t think should scar a rational woman’s view of masculinity. Nor do I think it would it affect my view of her femininity.

I can’t see a dichotomy with her concept hero-worship and Presidency. But, she obviously thinks and strongly that leading all men would cut to the core of a woman’s femininity but not a man’s masculinity. There seems to be a difference, which isn’t explicit, in the way she uses hero-worship with men and other men vs. with women and men. That's probably what you're addressing Betsy, I just don't think valuer v value is it.

Nor do I have an answer, yet, but I truly do appreciate your prompting me to think about it. Comments from anyone would be appreciated.

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Maternal is the feminine quality that is the essence of good mothers.

Sam, what particular maternal characteristics do you have in mind that are uniquely attached to the feminine rather than the masculine quality?

To answer for myself, in advance, aside from physical aspects such as breast feeding, the sense of femininity that a mother imparts to a child is primarily by the child seeing how the mother relates to the father.

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But the Heller house is already complete in Roark's mind and, after his first night with Dominique, the rest is follow-through, not higher romantic value.

Yes, but completing the Heller's house is up to Roark alone. Following-through with his romantic relationship with Dominique is up to him and to Dominique. And she takes a course of action that goes against it, for seven years.

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I can see how man is a primary in a sexual relationship in that he has to want the woman before sex happens whereas even if a woman wants a man sexually it is not sufficient until he wants her.

That is a very important distinction. It explains why a man initiates and sustains a romantic relationship. It explains a woman's dependency on a man's desire to fulfill HER desires.

But that fact doesn’t support your exclusive distinction that the male is the valuer and the woman the value and all that that would imply, it only supports that his choice is primary. 

While both a man and a woman are valuers, in the narrow respect that the man is the primary chooser and the woman is the chosen, that makes HIM the one gaining and keeping something and that something is HER. In that respect, he is the valuer -- of her -- and she is the value he seeks. She may desire him too, but basically, his desire is what counts if there is to be a sexual relationship.

Moreover, his choice for her is moot/ irrelevant if she doesn’t choose him.  Nor does his ability to rape have any role in a civilized, rational, value based relationship.

Civilized, rational, value based relationships are rare even today and have been non-existent through almost all of human history. All that time women were considered property and, in many parts of the world, still are. Considering how universal that has been until fairly recently, ask yourself what fact(s) of reality gave rise to it.

Your premise also seems to be at odds with Ayn Rand’s definition which implies to me that ideally, femininity’s essence is an extreme valuer - from “About A Woman President”; “For a woman qua woman, the essence of femininity is hero worship—the desire to look up to man. "To look up" does not mean dependence, obedience, or anything implying inferiority. It means an intense kind of admiration; and admiration is an emotion that can be experienced only by a person of strong character and independent value judgments.”

Very true. A rational sexual relationship is based on great values for both partners and that is, in fact, is the basis for feminine "hero worship" that I have been describing.

The difference between men and women is the way intense valuing manifests itself romantically. A man seeks a woman AS a value. A woman alters her usual value-pursuing mind set, surrenders control to him, and allows herself to become HIS value.

Her concept also seems to be a universal ideal applied - to children and from men to men and from men to themselves;  ... [various examples]

Observe that in all the examples given, the hero worshipped has greater control over things, and makes the "worshipper" feel relatively helpless in his presence. This is true of the small child with respect to to his elders, Ayn Rand, as a woman, to men (including Mike and Eddie Willers), Wynand in the presence of Roark (representing his own unrealized greatness), or Roark, like a child, to the elder and more accomplished Cameron.

"Hero-worship," with regard to what a woman feels for her man, is similar and is a metaphor for an overwhelming feeling of admiration. That feeling turns her from a valuer into a value, from someone in control to someone helplessly, joyfully controlled by her man, into someone willing to offer her whole being up as an almost religious offering to him.

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Go back and read my posts, FC. I didn't say that only virtues can be of value. I said that only virtues (and their concomitant manifestations in a person) can be worshiped (highly respected or revered).

Well, technically what you said was that only virtues can be esteemed. And to esteem something is another way of saying to value something. But ok, while that is still true, let's grant the change you made in your argument.

You also say,

My wife has many traits (and quirks) that I value, as well as many of her values that are my values, so I value that, too. I just don't worship her values and quirks. I enjoy many of them immensely, but values are things that we act to gain or keep -- so it's the acting that she does that makes me respect her. I'm grateful that she loves Jane Austen and Alexander Dumas, but I revere her for her honesty and integrity and intellect that she built so that she may love those great writers. Virtues.

I don't revere Thomas Jefferson because he had a huge library or was an incredible tinkerer or loved the Greeks or deeply loved botany. I revere him because he was a profoundly honest and integrated man, because he worked studiously hard at the things he loved, because he stayed true to his love of life and freedom to such an extent that he created possibly the most magnificent document in human history. Virtues.

I think you're trivializing values here, as all of them being merely quirks and meaningless little things. Not all of them, by any measure, are merely that. While virtues in someone are certainly worthy of admiration, they are not the only thing worthy of doing so, which was your entire argument. For example, look at what Betsy is saying -- what is it that she finds admirable in men? The capacity for action that initiates and sustains a relationship. What was it that Ayn Rand found admirable in men? The capacity to fix reality with their own hands, in accordance with what they wanted. That is not virtue, per se, but merely the source for virtues to follow. The original fundamental capacity is not ethical but metaphysical -- and the answer is not something anesthetic such as "a rational mind", although that's certainly a part of it. It is also strong hands, a competent, virile body, a powerful will -- in a metaphysical rather than ethical sense.

The word virtue comes from the Latin word "virtus", which comes from the Latin word "vir", man (hence words like virility). The Greek word for virtue, "arete", comes from the word "aren", the Greek word for man. This has less to do with the implications upon virtue in women (Romans especially were keen towards virtuous women), and more to do with there being something to that identification which is fundamental. What would we men do without our wonderful virtuous women! But nevertheless, the etymological aspect here is important, just as what Betsy said about the place of women throughout history being important, even if we certainly may not agree with all of its particular manifestations. The ancients can be funny sometimes, and say it how it really is without squirming about it, in contrast to what we might be inclined to say today after all of the sensitivity training we've encountered to that effect.

There is a danger here of trying to have culture replace nature. The nature then becomes trivialized, and culture therefore ends up without a foundation and results in becoming effete. The Victorians have tried this epistemology, and it really hasn't been good. That's why you can't really look for masculine men in the Victorian culture, and pretty much ever since then. Let's look at ourselves inductively, and make arguments only once that base founded in reality has been established. That is indeed yet another wonderful aspect about Ayn Rand -- she too could say things how they really were without squirming about it, in sex as much as in philosophy.

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Just to clarify, for those who are still squirming at my post :)

It is not superiority I am talking about here, but the capacity which men exemplify. That is the metaphysical vs. the ethical point which I was referring to earlier, and that is why I brought up the roots of the ancient definitions of virtue. The ancients were not afraid to say it; Ayn Rand wasn't; neither should we.

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I think you're trivializing values here, as all of them being merely quirks and meaningless little things.

Not sure where you got that. Remember Dumas and Austen? As I said, values in those we care about can also be our values.

While virtues in somebody are certainly worthy of admiration, they are not the only thing worthy of doing so, which was your entire argument.

Still is.

For example, look at what Betsy is saying -- what is it that she finds admirable in men? The capacity for action that initiates and sustains a relationship. What was it that Ayn Rand found admirable in men? The capacity to fix reality with their own hands, in accordance with what they wanted.

Those are not virtues, as you go on to say, and so they are simply metaphysical traits of men. In other words, they are things whose existence men have absolutely no control over. So the traits cannot be esteemed. They can be valued -- even highly -- because of their significance to women or other men. But to esteem means to give credit where credit is due, and such cannot be the case with the metaphysical.

(Men's capacities are) not virtue, per se, but merely the source for virtues to follow.

The source of virtues is volition, which men and women equally have. Men may use a virile body in the execution of their virtues (and pursuit of their values), but it is the virtues that deserve our esteem, not the virility.

David

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hi everyone, thank you for endless entertainments :)

hi FreeCap!

thank you for aiding my answer re virtues vs values.

you can't really look for masculine men in the Victorian culture, and pretty much ever since then.

I'm not sure if I buy this. It would be hard to quantify I suppose. But from my view, as Betsy pointed out, it's only since recently, which I term as since the rise of meaningful chivalry, that women have risen to higher esteem in the culture. That's a good thing. It's great that rape and slavery is less of an issue for women now than it used to be in many cultures.

I agree that we don't want effete men, but I think a generally high consideration of women is extremely important. It's healthier for all. It aids the formation of the highest types of romances. And if/when women were habitually disvalued, I'd think it would be only the exceptional men who wouldn't include chauvinism in their masculinity.

My historical take is:

Greece, Rome; 1% good marriages; most contaminated by ideas of slavery

Middle Ages; 0.005% good marriages; those capable of thinking were ecclesiastical

Renaissance; 1%

Victorian Age; 3%, higher than ever, because -individual- love was actually considered; people married for love not chattel for the first time

Post-1960's; 0.01% at first, for the "free love" movement people who disvalued the long term generally and felt actions no longer had so many consequences

Now; 5%, because some of the better male/female ideas are coming back, and we have AR :D

Your thoughts?

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the way a woman (or man) walks and moves is largely the result of virtues.

David, do you see how your view, in reverse, has been used by some to support the view: "fat people are evil, because they chose to eat too much."

Can we agree that "fat" is an ugly, vicious term for a person, and that overweight people are NOT evil? I hope we can agree that this prejudice ought be banned from civilized society.

Separately, please comment on my elephant/zebra metaphor. If you were a zebra, wouldn't you find it a value that you could live in an elephant world? Wouldn't that be a -value- to you, despite the fact that no particular moral virtue of the elephants caused it? It's the elephants' size, shape, nature to form elephant-worlds.

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There is a danger here of trying to have culture replace nature.

Imho, culture should stylize nature. Do you agree? Take the very very best, discard the rest; then emphasize!

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