Bold Standard

Conservatives' War on Birth Control

192 posts in this topic

CF, if you told me "...to jump off a skyscraper to see if it really feels bad..." I wouldn't have to, because I already know what pain a short fall can cause. (This seems so obvious I am at a loss to know why you didn't think of it.)

Oh my Gosh. The reason you wouldn't jump off a skyscraper is because you felt bad when you had a short fall, and you expect to feel even worse if you have a huge fall? I really don't mean to insult you, but this is not the way a rational animal's consciousness operates.

As a rational animal, you know that if you fall off a skyscraper, you will feel nothing after you've hit the ground--because you'll be dead. And it is this knowledge that gives rise to your emotional reaction to the thought of jumping off the skyscraper. Even if you never had a short fall before--or didn't find it particularly painful--you'll be psychologically unable to jump into the abyss because reason lets you mentally project the consequence (death) and that consequence is so much at odds with your value hierarchy that your emotional reaction to it is too overwhelmingly negative.

Thus, as a supporting argument for your knowing what a sexual experience is just by imagining it, it carries no weight.

It was a supporting argument for why I am psychologically unable to have uncommitted sex. It is so much at odds with my value hierarchy that there is no way I can force myself to do it.

And I hadn't argued that I knew "what a sexual experience is just by imagining it." I had argued something entirely different: that I had a negative emotional reaction to imagining sex with a woman I didn't want to marry. Since this was something I had already done, I was speaking from experience when I said my emotional reaction to it was negative. (That is, imagining sex with Miss Wontmarryher is what I had already done and experienced a negative emotional reaction to.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
No, not at all. What I'm asking is do you think it's important to find out before marriage if you and your partner enjoy sex with each other?

I suppose that we will enjoy it; I am curious to find out about what you think are the potential factors that may prevent us from enjoying it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Given that you include Betsy's remark as something you're arguing against ...

OPAR @ p. 346:

The subject of sex is complex and belongs largely to the science of psychology. I asked Ayn Rand once what philosophy specifically has to say on the subject. She answered: "It says that sex is good."

Are you saying that Ayn Rand wasn't using reason when she made that statement? Check your premises.

I read OPAR, and I didn't forget that memorable quote. In fact, I'm sure Betsy had that exact quote in mind when she wrote, "sex is good, period!"

What I am arguing against is the "period." After all, the section on sex in OPAR consists of much more than just that quote; Dr. Peikoff gives a detailed explanation of why sex is good, and he also comments on what kind of woman a rational man will desire. And notice what he writes three paragraphs before your quote:

The fact that a man's sex life is shaped by his conclusions and value-judgments is evident in every aspect. It is evident in the setting he prefers, the state of dress, the caresses, positions, and practices

See, these are not "options" that are outside the province of reason. They reflect one's conclusions and value-judgments.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Why do we need to seek other values, specifically and exclusively cognitive values, before appreciating something?

We don't need to seek other values. And we don't need to be consciously aware of the existential facts that make us appreciate something. But the existential facts are there nonetheless. Delicious cookies have a nature that makes them delicious for man; the deliciousness is not "in the cookie" nor "in the mouth of the ingestor" but in the contribution of the cookie to the quality of the ingestor's life.

Why do the values of sensation, and emotion, seem to be so exhaustively excluded from your entire value structure?

Because my value structure is a hierarchy whose root is my life. I can only work well for one boss, and I've chosen my one boss to be myself. My sensations and emotions are great employees, but I don't let them boss me around.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Delicious cookies have a nature that makes them delicious for man; the deliciousness is not "in the cookie" nor "in the mouth of the ingestor" but in the contribution of the cookie to the quality of the ingestor's life.

So all medicine tasts delicious?

Because my value structure is a hierarchy whose root is my life. I can only work well for one boss, and I've chosen my one boss to be myself. My sensations and emotions are great employees, but I don't let them boss me around.

The way I see it, is that the end purpose is pleasure in life, not just life itself. All our actions are to ensure that we gain as much pleasure from life as is possible (a contented happiness the result). I speak of the long term of a life span here, not short term bursts of pleasure, later paid for with anguish. We are rational in order to be happy. The pleasure of sex is an end in itself, not a means to an end.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, what can I say in response to the above ... other than that this is exactly what I'm arguing against! To declare that "something is good, period," to pursue emotions for the sake of emotions,

Like the pursuit of happiness? I'm all for that. So was Ayn Rand.

The basic social principle of the Objectivist ethics is that just as life is an end in itself, so every living human being is an end in himself, not the means to the ends or the welfare of others—and, therefore, that man must live for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. To live for his own sake means that the achievement of his own happiness is man's highest moral purpose.
to put a choice outside the realm of reason--

That doesn't follow at all. In fact, human nature is such that the only way a man can pursue happiness and feel good is by being rational and making choices in accordance with his nature.

these are all potential excuses to do something because you feel like doing it, even if you know or subconsciously suspect that there may be a better alternative. I would call them "rationalizations," except that rationalizations serve to give an appearance of using reason, while your above statements are encouragements to flatly refuse to pursue even an appearance of reason in a given area of life.

Why? I don't know -- nor do I have any reason to suspect -- that there is anything irrational about what I want nor about enthusiastically pursuing my happiness. Since I know that happiness, like any value, requires the full and honest use of my mind, I do so -- as a means, not as an end.

My own happiness, pleasure, and joy is my end.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I suppose that we will enjoy it; I am curious to find out about what you think are the potential factors that may prevent us from enjoying it.
Not knowing what sex is like with the woman you eventually will choose to sleep with, I couldn't say what those factors are. Even if I did, the factors which would matter between me and that woman might not come into play in your relationship with her. I hope your supposition proves to be true, because the sexual element of a romantic relationship is at least as important as any other.

Based on everything I've seen, I'll stop here by noting that I disagree very strongly with your view.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Because my value structure is a hierarchy whose root is my life. I can only work well for one boss, and I've chosen my one boss to be myself. My sensations and emotions are great employees, but I don't let them boss me around.

But what is the ultimate PRODUCT and what is the measure of PROFIT?

Here is what Ayn Rand had to say:

Your emotions are estimates of that which furthers your life or threatens it, lightning calculators giving you a sum of your profit or loss.

and

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

If happiness -- an emotional state -- is not the PURPOSE and ULTIMATE END of being moral and doing the right thing, WHAT IS?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If happiness -- an emotional state -- is not the PURPOSE and ULTIMATE END of being moral and doing the right thing, WHAT IS?
Although I do not agree with CF's view on sex (to the extent that I understood it), I believe that the most recent discussion suffers from a misunderstanding. In order to confirm this belief, I would like to challenge everyone who asserts that joy can, strictly speaking, be a value to prove this assertion. Personally, I don't think this assertion can be proven. My ultimate purpose is happiness and I think one normally should choose to have sex for no reason other than one's own pleasure and joy (and thus happiness). But does this mean that I have to choose joy as a value, strictly speaking?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...But does this mean that I have to choose joy as a value, strictly speaking?

Joy comes through a succesful state of being in other words happiness. If you are happy you are full of joy, you are full of joy because you have achieved your goals or obtained your values.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In order to confirm this belief, I would like to challenge everyone who asserts that joy can, strictly speaking, be a value to prove this assertion. Personally, I don't think this assertion can be proven. My ultimate purpose is happiness and I think one normally should choose to have sex for no reason other than one's own pleasure and joy (and thus happiness). But does this mean that I have to choose joy as a value, strictly speaking?

Actually, you don't choose joy as a value but, instead, you value because of joy. Our first awareness of "value" is based on the experience of pleasure and pain.

Now in what manner does a human being discover the concept of "value"? By what means does he first become aware of the issue of "good or evil" in its simplest form? By means of the physical sensations of pleasure or pain. Just as sensations are the first step of the development of a human consciousness in the realm of cognition, so they are its first step in the realm of evaluation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Joy comes through a succesful state of being in other words happiness. If you are happy you are full of joy, you are full of joy because you have achieved your goals or obtained your values.
Sounds irresistible ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Actually, you don't choose joy as a value but, instead, you value because of joy. Our first awareness of "value" is based on the experience of pleasure and pain.
Both Ray's and your response confirm my belief that there is a misunderstanding. Here are two relevant quotes:
The "business" would be your pleasure and happiness, two joys that I presume you value.
Pleasure and happiness are emotional reactions; they are results and indicators of the achievement of my values. To make them part of my value hierarchy would amount to making emotions the basis of my ideas--which would, if consistently acted on, be a sure way to keep pleasure and happiness out of my life!
and
Why do the values of sensation, and emotion, seem to be so exhaustively excluded from your entire value structure?
Because my value structure is a hierarchy whose root is my life. I can only work well for one boss, and I've chosen my one boss to be myself. My sensations and emotions are great employees, but I don't let them boss me around.
CF basically argued against using emotions as one's standard of value, a position nobody here actually advocated (although it sometimes seemed to be that way looking at the above two quotes).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recently read a post Stephen made in another thread that I think deserves to be quoted in its entirety because of its relevance to this thread:

As a man who has been married for thirty-eight years to the same woman -- a woman who reflects my sense of life, my highest values, my soul -- of course I am not denying Miss Rand's view of sex, Alex. What I am responding to is a somewhat Puritan attitude towards sex that has been expressed here. Promiscuity seems to have been equated here with having a sexual relationship with anyone who does not embody one's highest values. I think it moralistic to condemn someone who has not yet found his one great love for having sex with a lesser one, even one for which there is no expectation of a long-term relationship. Helen was condemned for this right here. I would hate to see young people feeling guilty for indulging in something that can give them such pleasure.

I am not suggesting that single people jump into bed with whatever moves first. But they are mind and body, and the pleasure that can be derived from exercising both need not be denied unless they consider their partner as their soul mate. I brought up the Roark and Dominique encounter because they did not date for months and have long philosophical discussions; they each had a physical attraction and the extent of their conversations was mostly sexual innuendo. I do not deny that there was a basis for that physical attraction, but the attraction was acted on before it was fully confirmed. I certainly would not suggest that single people in real life take that approach, but I offered it as an example to contrast with what I read from some posters as a Puritan and moralistic approach to sex.

I wish all can find the ideal that I have found, but I'll be damned if I am going to go around and morally condemn single people for finding pleasure in life while they are waiting for that ideal. (In addition, I want to note that I see a certain parallel here with the condemnation of homosexuality by some.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

CF basically argued against using emotions as one's standard of value, a position nobody here actually advocated (although it sometimes seemed to be that way looking at the above two quotes).

The quotes that you mentioned could be assumed in the manner that CF thought if taken out of context. But, I think that everyone that was fighting for the opposite idea knows that the standard of life is life and that which enhances one's life is the good, that which one values. If emotions are an automatic response to one's values then the thinking and integrating of one's values has already been done (the hierarchies have already been set). I would then already know if a certain possible sexaul partner would be enhancing my life before having sex with them. There is no contradiction in having sex with a person for the enhancement or to add pleasure to one's life.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
CF basically argued against using emotions as one's standard of value, a position nobody here actually advocated (although it sometimes seemed to be that way looking at the above two quotes).

Right!

To clarify:

My ultimate GOAL and ULTIMATE END is HAPPINESS.

My STANDARD is the requirements of HUMAN LIFE.

My MEANS is RATIONALITY.

To make happiness the standard (hedonism) is wrong. To make rationality or the requirements of life the ultimate goal is wrong too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:D:D:)

[Too personal to comment further.]

LOL!

I must say, every one of your posts on this topic has been outstanding, but this is the one that not only had me laughing, but for me, sums up the totality of everything you've said in only five words.

Excellent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites