Cbaoth

Clarification on Second-Handedness

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Hi All,

I have been pondering something lately that I am seeking clarification on. Supposedly a very large portion of the population has a huge fear of public speaking. The answers as to why usually lie in the fact that people fear embarassment in front of there peers. To me this seems to be a trait of second handedness, ie. People place their self esteem in the hands of others, so when spotlighted the chance of rejection is much higher and so their second hand self esteem may be reduced.

Is the above correct or am I incorrectly interpreting the nature of a second hander?

- David

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For anyone not familiar with the idea of "second-hander," be sure to read the many excerpts in "Second-Handers," The Ayn Rand Lexicon, pp. 438-441. Here, as often is the case, The Ayn Rand Lexicon is a valuable starting-point for the study of Ayn Rand's philosophy.

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Hi All,

I have been pondering something lately that I am seeking clarification on. Supposedly a very large portion of the population has a huge fear of public speaking. The answers as to why usually lie in the fact that people fear embarassment in front of there peers. To me this seems to be a trait of second handedness, ie. People place their self esteem in the hands of others, so when spotlighted the chance of rejection is much higher and so their second hand self esteem may be reduced.

Is the above correct or am I incorrectly interpreting the nature of a second hander?

- David

I would disagree. I can't speak for the population, but public speaking is a skill that needs to be learned. It requires training and experience, which most people don't get. Also, it requires more detailed knowledge of the subject when giving a presentation as opposed to a more general knowledge that most people have about a subject. I "know" physics, but I would never give a public presentation about the subject. It has nothing to do with my self-esteem, but with the extent of my knowledge.

If trained and guided properly, public speaking is not that difficult to learn.

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Hi Paul,

I definately agree with you that public speaking is a skill that can be trained. I was more looking at why the fear of public speaking regularly ranks as the number one fear in many surveys. The reason usually offered is that people are scared of making fools of themselves in front of others.

I think I may be on the wrong track with my assumptions hence why I posted this question, I have re-read the section Burgess hilighted quite a few times now and would like to relate this to a practical example as above.

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I was more looking at why the fear of public speaking regularly ranks as the number one fear in many surveys. The reason usually offered is that people are scared of making fools of themselves in front of others.

PROBLEM 1

You placed your question in the forum for the science of psychology. So, your question is a scientific not a philosohical question, correct?

You are wondering whether the majority of individuals living today who fear public speaking do so because of one factor only: second-handedness (lack of independent judgment).

I don't know how anyone can answer the question except to interview many individuals and observe their behavior. That requires specific methods and measures -- in other words, specialized science.

Perhaps another way to approach the issue is to review why this issue is important to you. What is your purpose in wrestling with this issue?

PROBLEM 2

From your post 1: "The answers as to why usually lie in the fact that people fear embarassment in front of there peers. To me this seems to be a trait of second handedness, ie. People place their self esteem in the hands of others, [...]"

Does fear of embarrassment prove lack of independent judgment? Can there be objective reasons for avoiding embarrassment? I am asking these questions because I wonder if you are making an unjustified leap from fear of embarrassment to second-handedness.

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PROBLEM 1

You placed your question in the forum for the science of psychology. So, your question is a scientific not a philosohical question, correct?

Actually, I moved this thread to the psychology forum because I thought it more appropriate for Cboath's question. He originally posted it in the Metaphysics & Epistemology forum.

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Burgess,

In answer to Problem 1 as to why this is important to me:

This issue is not one of a personal nature, rather I was looking for practical examples of second handers after reading the quotes in The Ayn Rand Lexicon on this issue. Like you said, a case by case review would be needed to really determine why public speaking is such a common fear.

So in summary to Problem 1, I am trying to better understand and educate myself on one of the concepts in The Ayn Rand Lexicon.

As to Problem 2,

There could definately be valid objective reasons for fearing embarassment. Maybe you are giving a presentation that could seal a business deal and you fear making a fool of yourself could effect this deal. In this case it would be incorrect to make the assumption that the person is displaying second hander traits.

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There could definately be valid objective reasons for fearing embarassment. Maybe you are giving a presentation that could seal a business deal and you fear making a fool of yourself could effect this deal. In this case it would be incorrect to make the assumption that the person is displaying second hander traits.

Yes. Specifically, protecting one's reputation among objective individuals is a valid interest. The reason is that a good reputation facilitates trade with others in society. Trade, in one form or another, is the only justification I see for living in society.

Of course, the way to become good at public speaking is to study the proper techniques and practice -- in particular, to practice first in low-stakes situations (such as Toastmasters or local neighborhood meetings) and then graduate to more high-stakes situations. None of this involves a primary concern for the opinion of others and a willingness to abandon one's independent judgment, which is what second-handedness is.

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I don't know how anyone can answer the question except to interview many individuals and observe their behavior.

The reasons are mixed. You will find that some people are objectively concerned that they will not be able to effectively convey what they want to, while others are literally mostly concerned with what others think of them, or some combination.

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