Bold Standard

Conservatives' War on Birth Control

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Let's agree on the facts here, Roark did not consciously theorize about his choice to sleep with Dominique, either philosophically or psychologically.

It is not explicitly stated in the novel, no.

Roark certain did "consciously theorize about his choice to sleep with Dominique," and that is explicitly stated in the novel.

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.

They had been united in an understanding beyond the violence, beyond the deliberate obscenity of his action; had she meant less to him, he would not have taken her as he did; had he meant less to her, she would not have fought so desperately. The unrepeatable exultation was in knowing that they both understood this.

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Clearly Roark thought about Dominique, and knew that she was important to him. But I notice that his understanding (at least at that point in the story) was still unformalized, just a glimmer of something there (e.g. the use of words like "some", "unstated"). And combining it with CF's argument, or at least how I understand it, acting on these non-understood urges would have been hedonism.

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. [emphasis mine]

So, CF, would you demand that Roark understand how exactly sleeping with Dominique was what a building was to him? To consciously put into words what a building was to him? What was the quality of reaction within him? What did it give to his consciousness of existence? And would anything less have been hedonism, because he's not allowed to value the pleasure for its own sake?

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I think Ayn Rand said as much, either in her journals, in a letter reply to a fan, or both (I can't provide a citation though, sorry, it was from memory). I do remember from the journals that in earlier drafts Roark was supposed to have had cold impersonal sex with some meaningless women before meeting Dominique, but AR had eventually stricken that out as not compatible with Roark's integrity.

In The Early Ayn Rand, there are some passages that Ayn Rand removed from The Fountainhead, and one of these was an early girlfriend of Roarks named Vesta Dunning. Is this who you're thinking of? I don't remember the sex being cold and impersonal, and I don't know why Ayn Rand removed the character. Peikoff, in his introduction to that section, suggests that it might have been that the character of Vesta Dunning was redundant - that she was too much like Gail Wynand. In any case, I didn't take the removal of Vesta as evidence of Roark never having had a girlfriend before Dominique; just that the subject wasn't important enough to be put in the book. (One thing I learned from the book of essays on We the Living was that Ayn Rand was quite ruthless in editing her own work - meaning that if a scene or character didn't belong to the finished book, she removed it, even though it was very good writing.)

If you want, I can try to find it tomorrow, it's in the "Fountainhead" section of the Journals. But actually, it occurs to me that just the fact that AR had originally thought of including these incidents gives indication of what she thought about pursuing pleasure for its own sake.

Now that I'm curious about the issue, yes, I'd like to find it. No hurry though. I'll look myself in the Journals.

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I think Ayn Rand said as much, either in her journals, in a letter reply to a fan, or both (I can't provide a citation though, sorry, it was from memory). I do remember from the journals that in earlier drafts Roark was supposed to have had cold impersonal sex with some meaningless women before meeting Dominique, but AR had eventually stricken that out as not compatible with Roark's integrity.

In The Early Ayn Rand, there are some passages that Ayn Rand removed from The Fountainhead, and one of these was an early girlfriend of Roarks named Vesta Dunning. Is this who you're thinking of? I don't remember the sex being cold and impersonal ...

The passage FC has in mind has nothing to do with Vesta. In Miss Rand's quite detailed description of Howard Roark in her Journals, dated February 9, 1936 [note the early date], under the category of sex, she writes:

Until his meeting with Dominique, he has had affairs with women, perfectly cold, emotionless affairs, without the slightest pretense at love. Merely satisfying a physical need and recognized by his mistresses as such.

As to the reason this was cut from the story, unless FC can provide a statement of intent by Miss Rand, or from a thoroughly reliable secondary source, his is just a supposition, not a fact.

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QUOTE(The Journals of Ayn Rand @ p. 96)

Until his meeting with Dominique, he has had affairs with women, perfectly cold, emotionless affairs, without the slightest pretense at love. Merely satisfying a physical need and recognized by his mistresses as such.

Unquote

This is a good reminder that incentives for sex were around long before philosphy was thought of.

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Because it is the rarest one to find. So rare that a woman with integrity automatically becomes a candidate for marriage. So having sex with a woman I don't want to marry means--for me--having sex with a woman without integrity.

Remember who was the only person Kay Gonda called her "dearest one" ? Well, I'm pretty much like Kay Gonda in this respect.

I have been reading through this thread again and I see two distinct views. One, to me, makes absolute sense; I'll call it MINE. The other, which does not make sense to me, I'll call YOURS. Correct me if I'm wrong.

MINE: He saw her, came to know her, loved her, desired her, held her, selfishly enjoyed her mentally and physically. Then, knowing fully the value of her to him, he married her----in order to seal their already established relationship.

YOURS: He saw her, came to know her, loved her, married her, permitted himself to desire her, made love to her----in order to celebrate her value to him.

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This seems to assume there may be something wrong with one's values that needs correcting.
Sure. Why would one's values, as reflected in one's emotions, be automatically correct?

Not automatically correct but, for a rational person, probably correct. Just as a rational person does not doubt his conclusions until and unless he has a reason to do so, he doesn't doubt his emotions unless there is a conflict with reality or his other emotions. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Emotions may reflect subconsciously held values, which you automatized without conscious deliberation. Wouldn't you want to check their correctness before you act on them, especially if the action is about such an important matter as finding your partner in life?

Here, again, emotions are similar to conclusions. If something big is at stake, you double-check, whether it involves calculations for building a bridge or one's feelings toward someone you might marry. If it's not a big deal, do what you feel like doing.

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But I don't desire anyone whom I wouldn't want to marry. I feel repelled at the thought of having sex with a person I don't want to marry.

Most of the men I know -- including very rational ones -- report that they can become sexually aroused by the sight of a beautiful woman who may be a movie star, a model in a magazine ad, or a stranger walking down the street. The fact that she is a visually attractive female, is sufficient. That indicates to me that this is an important consideration in choosing a sexual partner (as opposed to, say, choosing a business partner).

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How about this: "I am horrified at the thought of eating these cookies, because I know they are poisoned."

Context! Context! We're not talking about poisoned cookies. We're talking about sex with someone you don't intend to marry.

If one begins with the premise that sex without the prospect of marriage is "poison," it can definitely be a major turn-off, but the resulting lack of desire or revulsion has nothing to do with whether the "poison" premise is true or false. Most of us are arguing that such sex can be a very rational and valuable experience for a variety of reasons and isn't "poison" in the slightest.

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the value that sex by itself can bring to your life.
Can you tell me what that value is, without using the word "pleasure" or something synonymous?

I can't, because my own pleasure is the whole purpose and meaning of sex.

Happiness in the sense of metaphysical pleasure, we have said, is an enduring affective leitmotif, a positive background conditioning one's daily joys and sorrows. This kind of pleasure is too vital to remain always a mere background. Sometimes, as an intense state of exultation, it itself becomes the focus of consciousness.

Sex, in Ayn Rand's identification, is "a celebration of [one]self and of existence"; it is a celebration of one's power to gain values and of the world in which one gains them. Sex, therefore, is a form of feeling happiness, but from a special perspective. Sex is the rapture of experiencing emotionally two interconnected achievements: self-esteem and the benevolent-universe conviction.

Ayn Rand regarded as an end in itself.

Joy is an end in itself. My pattern of enjoyment is: I'm good, and if this thing has given me enjoyment, then it is good.
It is by experiencing happiness that one lives one's life, in any hour, year or the whole of it. And when one experiences the kind of pure happiness that is an end in itself—the kind that makes one think: "This is worth living for"—what one is greeting and affirming in emotional terms is the metaphysical fact that life is an end in itself.
Like happiness, therefore, sex is an end in itself; it is not necessarily a means to any further end, such as procreation.
What is the common denominator of these statements [by the Pope]? It is not merely the tenet that sex as such is evil, but deeper: it is the commandment by means of which sex will become evil, the commandment which, if accepted, will divorce sex from love, will castrate man spiritually and will turn sex into a meaningless physical indulgence. That commandment is: man must not regard sex as an end in itself, but only as a means to an end.
Man is an end in himself. Romantic love—the profound, exalted, lifelong passion that unites his mind and body in the sexual act—is the living testimony to that principle.

[...]

The motive of the church's doctrine on this issue is, philosophically, much deeper than that and much worse; the goal is not metaphysical or political or biological, but psychological: if man is forbidden to regard sexual enjoyment as an end in itself, he will not regard love or his own happiness as an end in itself; if so, then he will not regard his own life as an end in itself; if so, then he will not attain self-esteem.

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Now, applying this to sex, what do you think is equivalent of "delicious" ?

:):);)

[Too personal to comment further.]

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And I even disagree that sex is a celebration of oneself. I think it is primarily a celebration of the virtues and achievements of your beloved (and only by virtue of her celebration of your virtues and achievements is it a reflection of your virtues and achievements).

But that makes sex something other than an end in itself, doesn't it?

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As to the reason this was cut from the story, unless FC can provide a statement of intent by Miss Rand, or from a thoroughly reliable secondary source, his is just a supposition, not a fact.

I thought from memory that I did read the reason, but until I can provide a specific citation it will have to remain a supposition at best.

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But why is it your purpose to maximize your achievement of your life qua man? I mean why live at all? What's in it for you?

That's like asking "Why maximize your company's bottom line? What's in it for your company?"

I have no choice about the fact that I am a living organism. Life is a goal-directed, self-generating action; the goal of a living organism is the furtherance its own life--just like the goal of a company is the maximization of its profits.

Now, if the CEO gets a bonus, that's an indicator that he has been successful at maximizing the company's profits. But the CEO can't just go to the shareholders and ask them for a bonus "just for the heck of it." First he has to achieve--in terms of the bottom line--and the achievement will earn him the bonus. The bonus is a consequence of the company's profits, not a source of profit.

Consider the following quote from Galt's speech:
By the grace of reality and the nature of life, man - every man - is an end in himself; he exists for his own sake, and the achievement of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose.

(Bold is mine.) Do you agree with the statement in bold?

I do, as the emphasis of the statement lies on the word "own." It says that the beneficiary of a moral action is oneself, not somebody else. And since happiness is a consequence of a successful life, naming happiness as your goal is synonymous with naming a successful life as your goal (just like the CEO can say "I want to maximize my bonus" as a synonym of "I want to maximize my company's profits").

But this does not change the fact that happiness is the consequence and the achievement of objective values is the cause. When the company makes an investment decision, the question to ask is "How will this affect the bottom line?" not "How will this affect the CEO's bonus?"

That's why I am asking you to tell me the benefits of uncommitted sex in terms of my "bottom line"--my life qua man--and not in terms of my "bonus" (i.e. pleasure). Because my "shareholders" (my automatic emotional reactions) will only give me a bonus if they see the bottom line first.

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CF, can you clarify something for me? Are you saying that you won't have sex with a woman until you care for her enough to marry her, or that you won't have sex with her until after you're married?

The answer should be clear from a previous post of mine:

Marriage itself is just a formality [...] The important thing is the commitment--the identification of the lady in question as the best candidate for the role of my partner-in-life. As soon as that identification has happened, I'm ready for her (but of course when she's ready for me is up to her).

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So, CF, would you demand that Roark understand how exactly sleeping with Dominique was what a building was to him? To consciously put into words what a building was to him?

You may have missed this part of my earlier post: ;)

You can have objective memories of conscious as well as subconscious observations, and likewise you can have objective emotions resulting from conscious as well as subconscious evaluations.

I think what some of the posters mistook to be my argument, and what started this branch of the discussion, could have been what they saw as my opposition to emotions based on subconscious evaluations. I am not opposed to them; they can be just as fine as memories based on subconscious observations. I am not mistrusting my subconscious; in fact, as I already pointed out in a previous post, most of my emotions I've described have been based on subconscious evaluations and I've only made them conscious now, for the purpose of explaining them to you.

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What was the quality of reaction within him? What did it give to his consciousness of existence? And would anything less have been hedonism, because he's not allowed to value the pleasure for its own sake?

I think Roark loved Dominique enough to marry her, and I have never argued against sex with people you love enough to marry.

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I have been reading through this thread again and I see two distinct views. One, to me, makes absolute sense; I'll call it MINE. The other, which does not make sense to me, I'll call YOURS. Correct me if I'm wrong.

MINE: He saw her, came to know her, loved her, desired her, held her, selfishly enjoyed her mentally and physically. Then, knowing fully the value of her to him, he married her----in order to seal their already established relationship.

YOURS: He saw her, came to know her, loved her, married her, permitted himself to desire her, made love to her----in order to celebrate her value to him.

Oooooooooooooooh no. Not at all. A desire is an automatic reaction, not something you permit yourself. You're still stuck on the idea that I secretly crave to have uncommitted sex but I "forbid" myself to admit this desire. The basis of my position is the fact that I have never experienced a desire to sleep with a woman I didn't love enough to marry (although I very much desire to sleep with a woman I do love enough to marry).

My position is actually much closer to the one you described as your own. What you wrote there under the label "MINE" is pretty much all there would be to say if it weren't for the question of relationships where the ending is not a marriage but a break-up--and the people involved know the relationship will end like that even before they begin it. As in:

NOT MINE: He saw her, came to know her, desired her, had sex with her, left her.

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Most of the men I know -- including very rational ones -- report that they can become sexually aroused by the sight of a beautiful woman who may be a movie star, a model in a magazine ad, or a stranger walking down the street. The fact that she is a visually attractive female, is sufficient. That indicates to me that this is an important consideration in choosing a sexual partner (as opposed to, say, choosing a business partner).

I agree, except that I would even prefer a pretty woman as a business partner. ;) You might laugh at this, but sometimes I spend several minutes in the supermarket looking for the checkout counter with an acceptably-looking lady in it. I place a lot of importance on good appearance in all areas of life!

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Most of us are arguing that such sex can be a very rational and valuable experience for a variety of reasons and isn't "poison" in the slightest.

I needn't be convinced about that. But I see a great distinction between sex as an expression of love for your chosen partner in life and sex with a person who doesn't deserve to be your partner in life. I think the latter is giving an unearned gift, which detracts from the value of the same gift when given to the one who deserves it. It think it is an injustice--and like all forms of injustice, it has quite a lot in common with poison.

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Now, applying this to sex, what do you think is equivalent of "delicious" ?

:):);)

[Too personal to comment further.]

Hehe, I didn't mean it that way. :)

But this is a key question and no one has answered it, so perhaps I should elaborate a bit on how I mean it.

Cookies are delicious because they benefit your life qua man. The ways in which they benefit your life are: they are nutritious; they are hygienically prepared; they have a harmonious combination of flavors; etc.

Sex is good because it benefits your life qua man. The ways in which it benefits your life are: ___________________________________________________________________________.

Can y'alls fill in that blank with existential values like the ones I named for cookies? (Don't worry, I am not doubting that sex is good and I will not sit on the bed worrying about these things on my wedding night. I know how to fill in the blank--I'm only asking to see if you know what I know.)

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And I even disagree that sex is a celebration of oneself. I think it is primarily a celebration of the virtues and achievements of your beloved (and only by virtue of her celebration of your virtues and achievements is it a reflection of your virtues and achievements).
But that makes sex something other than an end in itself, doesn't it?

Not any more than any act of justice is other than an end in itself.

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But I see a great distinction between sex as an expression of love for your chosen partner in life and sex with a person who doesn't deserve to be your partner in life.

I have a question for clarification of your position. If you meet woman X, and you decide she deserves to be your partner in life, would you want to have a sexual affair with her -- even if she had not decided whether you deserve to be her partner for the rest of her life?

In fictional terms we can all see, if you were a Hank Rearden, met Dagny Taggart, were more attracted to her than to any other woman you had met, and knew she was not committed to you forever -- would you (with no other prospects in sight) get involved sexually with her until she finds a man who is her highest aspiration?

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And since happiness is a consequence of a successful life, naming happiness as your goal is synonymous with naming a successful life as your goal (just like the CEO can say "I want to maximize my bonus" as a synonym of "I want to maximize my company's profits").
I like the taste of tomatoes, a friend of mine does not. I am repulsed by the smell of scrambled eggs, my brother is not. Why do I prefer tomatoes to scrambled eggs? I don't know. Both tomatoes and scrambled eggs measure up to the Objectivist standard of value. Both are good. Since my chosen ultimate purpose of my life is my happiness, I choose to eat tomatoes and refuse to eat scrambled eggs (*).

The concept "tomato" is an abstraction. In reality, there are only concrete tomatoes which differ from one another in taste, color, shape, etc. The Objectivist standard of value is an abstraction, too. There are so many different tomatoes to choose from, so many different kinds of food to choose from, so many different kinds of goods to choose from. Among the facts that are good according to the standard of value, I say choose those that you get the most pleasure out of.

In that sense the goal of "a successful life" and "happiness" are not synonymous. Choosing one's values exclusively by reference to the standard of value and leaving one's emotions (and feelings) out of one's decision making process (merely viewing them as nice consequences of virtue) is different from choosing happiness as one's ultimate purpose and life as one's standard of value.

But this does not change the fact that happiness is the consequence and the achievement of objective values is the cause. When the company makes an investment decision, the question to ask is "How will this affect the bottom line?" not "How will this affect the CEO's bonus?"
Assuming that the CEO's bonus is a function of the company's bottom line, I agree.
That's why I am asking you to tell me the benefits of uncommitted sex in terms of my "bottom line"--my life qua man--and not in terms of my "bonus" (i.e. pleasure). Because my "shareholders" (my automatic emotional reactions) will only give me a bonus if they see the bottom line first.
I have nothing to add to what others have already said about sex.

(*) Under normal circumstances, of course.

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There are so many different tomatoes to choose from...
Ah, there certainly are! ;)

(Sorry, couldn't let that one pass. Not in this thread, anyway... :))

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