Ifat Glassman

A problem dealing with people who act nice

80 posts in this topic

Greeting someone I don't know should never rationally warrant a large positive emotion creating a large smile. It is done often, and regularly by people (at least from my experience). That is enough to address this topic.

I wasnt arguing that either, but I do disagree with you here. Why should it never warrant a large positive emotion, creating a large smile? What if the person simply just likes what he/she sees?

Because people should be selective in their values.

On what basis do you claim that they are not being selective in their values? What evidence do you have as to what is going on in their mind?

This is a rather heavy skeptical suggestion.

Are you saying that unless you have a direct evidence from somebody's mind, you cannot decide that they are not being selective about their values?

Or is this an even larger claim? Something like "since none of us has a direct view into another person's mind, we can never claim that they were thinking of"?

In other words, I can never decide that another person is being agnostic towards his values, and just smiles at everybody without any regards to their value to him?

If so, then we get into serious issues with making any moral claims about other people. :wacko:

How did you ever came to conclusion that people have different values IF you never had direct evidence for that?

Or (taking from RayK) how did you ever learn that people fake stuff IF you never had direct evidence for that?

How did you learn that other people are conscious IF you never had direct evidence for that?

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I think you've misunderstood and jumped to several conclusions. I only asked questions for evidence. The original claim was that a smile led to the conclusion that the smiler was not being value selective. That is a broad conclusion to make based upon a smile, no matter how many times one has seen it.

So, I was not making a 'suggestion' at all, just asking for evidence of the lack of selectivity. I don't quite get where you arrive at all of your questions about my question. I certainly implied none of what you state I might be implying.

The assumption that I was questioning was that smiling can only indicate a positive emotion, specifically enjoyment; and that anyone could make a conclusion like that from that kind of evidence. I've given examples from Rand's fictional writing where that is not the case. I suppose if I stopped to introspect for a while, I could come up with many examples where I smile for additional reasons. But I'll wait to see if anyone provides evidence that smiling is only from enjoyment.

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I would not say that you are hiding anything as you have already told your manager's boss. At this point you act accordingly by either acting in a civil manner that allows you to do your job, with the manager still above you. Or, you decide that you cannot work under this manager any longer and leave the company. In the military there is no moving around just because you do not like someone, so military members have to deal with this type of situation quite often. Also, in the military one is required to give a person of superior rank the appropriate greeting everytime you see them. Good morning, good afternoon, good evening is given in accordance to the time of day. So, it is moral to say, "Good morning Captain Smith, what is on the agenda for today?" It is also moral to say, "Good morning John, what is on the agenda for today?" There is no hiding or lying going on here as the person is acting in a civil manner, whether in the military or in a civilian job.
I think I agree with this. Though I don't say, "good morning," to my manager. I do however say, "what is on the agenda for today?" if its warranted. I don't consider myself rude to him, and if he takes any of it as being rude, he probably puts it off as, "oh, that's just Greg."
That's where etiquette comes in. I once heard Ayn Rand say (and I can't find it in her written works) that "Good manners is rationality applied to human relationships." There are certain courtesies we owe people we "trade" with -- bosses, employees, servants, family, etc. -- and that is as it should be.
I agree by my meaning of those words. We might disagree on what is considered "good manners" but that might warrant another thread entirely! :wacko:
How do you know it is fake? The teller may really enjoy his work, like his customers, be glad they are there to make his job possible, and want to communicate how much he values them.

It is a mistake -- an epistemological error -- to jump to conclusions about a stranger's motivation based on nothing more than a few seconds' observation.

There are certain signs one can pick up on that are obvious. I would be able to tell when a Wesley Mooch fake smiled at me.
There's nothing wrong with feelings of any kind. Morality only applies to the chosen and emotions are automatic, not chosen. We shouldn't try to "undo" them or correct them. Instead, we should work to understand the premises causing the emotions we don't understand and to evaluate whether the premises are true or false.
Have you listened to Peikoff's, "The Art of Thinking"? The reason I ask this, is because of how I used his lecture as an example in my first post. Peikoff explained, (quite funnily of course :P,) that the approach one should take isn't to suppress the emotions until one understands the bad premises behind it. I know the premises however; and now it is just a matter of disintegrating the bad premises from my subconscious. If I make a conscious effort to act correctly, and not to dwell on it, then eventually it will be disintegrated from my emotions. That was the point of my saying:
As Peikoff talked about in The Art of Thinking, sometimes it requires one's conscious volition to force focus away from the issue. So in other words, when this happens, I say to myself, "No, don't smile, you don't really care for them that much, and don't dwell on it afterward."
In the case of the bank teller, I would question whether the premise that a certain kind of smile is always fake and that, if it is fake, that it threatens my own values. If I discover it is not necessarily fake and that, even if it is, someone else's neurotic needs are his problem, it will not affect me negatively at all.
I'm not going to go up to the teller and smack with with Atlas Shrugged and call him immoral. My goal is not to respond against how I actually feel. In terms of judging him, a big smile to a customer he has never seen before (if I think it is fake) is enough for me to not get to know him any better though.
Identifying the underlying premises and their truth is the way to do it.
I say, it is only the first step. In any problem of this sort, identifying the underlying bad premise is only the beginning. Once you do this, you can get to the equally hard or harder part of disintegrating it. Of course it depends on the scale of the issue.

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I would be able to tell when a Wesley Mooch fake smiled at me.

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But that is exactly the point that I've been focusing on. If you already have sufficient knowledge about a person to classify him as a "Mouch" type, then the faked smile is not the only thing your are considering. You already know the person's value structure. You are judging the smile within the context of all of your previous knowledge. And this last point is the one that has not been referred to if you simply claim that you can know a person's values, or lack of selectivity, based upon his smile.

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But that is exactly the point that I've been focusing on. If you already have sufficient knowledge about a person to classify him as a "Mouch" type, then the faked smile is not the only thing your are considering. You already know the person's value structure. You are judging the smile within the context of all of your previous knowledge. And this last point is the one that has not been referred to if you simply claim that you can know a person's values, or lack of selectivity, based upon his smile.
Let me rephrase: I would be able to tell when a Mouch type fake smiled at me without knowing he was a Mouch type.

I might not know he is a Mouch type, but I would be able to say, "That is conscious control of his muscles and not based on an actual feeling."

I have seen exaggerations so bad (and they were seriously doing it) that the person would either be faking it or have something seriously psychologically wrong with them. And I _know_ people at my work enough to know that a lot of them aren't smiling based on an emotion they feel for me.

Furthermore, I know that I used to do the same. I can see the difference in my own face.

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I'm not going to go up to the teller and smack with with Atlas Shrugged and call him immoral. My goal is not to respond against how I actually feel. In terms of judging him, a big smile to a customer he has never seen before (if I think it is fake) is enough for me to not get to know him any better though.

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Two points. If you think it is not proper for the teller to smile at you if she has never seen you before, on what basis is it proper for you to conclude that you think her smile is fake after only one sight of her smile?

Secondly, and this is where epistemology comes in, she has seen you before: you are a customer. As a unit of that concept, you are just like every other individual whom she serves. She has met 'you' qua customer many times. When you walk out of the street and into the bank, you join a wider concept: you go from individual to customer. And that is how she sees you and thinks about you.

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But that is exactly the point that I've been focusing on. If you already have sufficient knowledge about a person to classify him as a "Mouch" type, then the faked smile is not the only thing your are considering. You already know the person's value structure. You are judging the smile within the context of all of your previous knowledge. And this last point is the one that has not been referred to if you simply claim that you can know a person's values, or lack of selectivity, based upon his smile.
Let me rephrase: I would be able to tell when a Mouch type fake smiled at me without knowing he was a Mouch type.

Undoubtedly. But other than saying, "that looks like a fake smile to me" to what other conclusion are you justified?

I might not know he is a Mouch type, but I would be able to say, "That is conscious control of his muscles and not based on an actual feeling."

What evidence do you have for knowing the feelings of the other person, besides the smile? Not to mention that he has conscious control over it and wasn't distracted by other thoughts at the time of the smile?

I have seen exaggerations so bad (and they were seriously doing it) that the person would either be faking it or have something seriously psychologically wrong with them. And I _know_ people at my work enough to know that a lot of them aren't smiling based on an emotion they feel for me.

Furthermore, I know that I used to do the same. I can see the difference in my own face.

In these examples, you have knowledge of those people, including yourself, and a context on which to base a conclusion of their values, not just a smile.

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To get back to the topic:

The issue of this topic is not "Is person X faking?" The issue is "Once you know the person X is faking, what do you do?"

To the degree that a person is rational, justice is a psychological need. With that in mind, I think the root cause for many people who struggle dealing with fake nice-ness is inability to find and act the proper response that fake nice-ness requires from you.

I had this problem well before Objectivism, and introspectively my implicit reasoning was: "There is something very wrong about fake nice-ness. I really don't like it. Every time I face it, my desire is to act according to what it deserves." When I faced this problem, I didn't have Objectivism to help me, which took the struggle much worse and longer for me than it should have been.

A decently rational person often is capable of developing a proper benevolent view of the world. This can properly be done through induction. From one side, that helps the person be at ease with the world. From another side, it makes any bad part strike you in your face, if you have not resolved how such a bad part is possible and if you don't know yet how to deal with it. It can be a serious "downer." I think this is exactly what Dagny Taggart felt after her first party.

She saw all the fake-ness in the room: the people were attempting to gain something they didn't have by coming to the part and being surrounded by bright lights.

:wacko: Btw, how did she make such a conclusion? How was she able to state such a moral judgment without having a direct evidence to others' minds?

Fake nice-ness is really only small concrete from that scene. The issue here is NOT how do you deal with salesmen who smiles at you. The issue here is how to deal with going to a party where all you can see is a fake smile staring at you from everybody you see there. I claim that such a case is very hard to handle. It's understandably easy to lose the full context and imagine the whole world of fake smiles directed at you. And then you look at yourself and your own mind and see that you want something benevolent. The question easily arises: "Is it even possible for my benevolent world to exist? What if it's not possible b/c of the sea of fake smiles around me?"

It took Dagny a tennis match with Francisco to regain her own benevolent sense of life. One could claim that if it wasn't for that match, then perhaps Dagny would have lost her spark over time, and would not become the great person she was later in her life. It would certainly be tragic. And this is why the issue of this topic is important. It can have serious psychological effects on the person.

It has been suggested in this thread that one should just tell yourself "Benevolent universe premise" a few times and somehow calm your mind down by doing that.

First of all, this is wrong epistemologically. If one has arrived to a conclusion that people fake smiles through induction - by seeing over and over again fake smiles everyday at one's work, buses, shops, work meeting, salesmen, car shops, parties - the one cannot be satisfied by a general abstract statement that "one ought to be benevolent to people" due to benevolent premise or that "this is part of an etiquette that we owe other people." It is simply not convincing.

Consider what it would mean for an individual. On the one hand, he has a large inductive integration about fake smiles. On the other hand, he hears an abstract statement about benevolence and etiquettes. I cannot imagine how somebody would rationally choose an abstract statement which has no basis (as yet) in his mind over the large inductive conclusion. Even if one tries to consider, the person would only need to turn a corner and see yet another fake smile, and whatever abstract rule he had tried to hold would fall apart in an instance, and he would be back to square one. This is not a solution.

I am NOT saying that there is no such thing as a benevolent view of the world. But it has to be inductively reached, otherwise it's useless for the individual. Deducing the proper behavior from "benevolent view of the world" is impossible without resorting to floating abstractions. For example, consider this passage:

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/benevolentuniverse.html

But reality is “benevolent” in the sense that if you do adapt to it—i.e., if you do think, value, and act rationally, then you can (and barring accidents you will) achieve your values. You will, because those values are based on reality.

There is nothing in the definition of "benevolent premise" that deduces into "smile at others, just in case."

I'm highly interested in an inductive chain of thought and perceptual/conceptual concretes that leads to an inductive conclusion that the universe is relevant. I'm aware that Ayn Rand and Peikoff wrote on this issue. For example, here: http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/benevolentuniverse.html

However, what I've seen (and I've read all fiction and non-fiction, not just the link above) is only a summary of a final inductive conclusion. I have not seen how one would go about reaching such conclusion inductively by starting with directly perceivable and moving up the chain of concretes into the final statement. (I'm sure somebody here has done this. I would be glad to see it. I'll attempt to work on this myself later.)

I think that only the correct inductive approach can resolve the issue people have with dealing with fake nice-ness.

Secondly, there is a psychological problem here as well. Justice is a psychological need. You cannot expect a person to just let go of his conclusion that he sees something wrong. The person will not to be convinced by an abstract description when he is facing a strong psychological desire to be just.

When I had this problem before Objectivism, I had actually tried to tell myself that be less judgmental and express less disgust and open statements about fake smiles. That did me no good at all, because I would literally have to fight myself every time I see another example of fake-ness. Eventually, I would feel completely exhausted and refuse to be quiet. (At that time I was in college, so I was confronted by a great many examples - this is not a case of some quiet work office.)

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Two points. If you think it is not proper for the teller to smile at you if she has never seen you before, on what basis is it proper for you to conclude that you think her smile is fake after only one sight of her smile?
No, it is not, "Teller A doesn't know me. Teller A smiles at me. Teller A is faking." I don't think that is what we have been saying at all. First and foremost I have been saying, "Teller A smiles at me. I don't know Teller A. I don't want to smile at Teller A if I don't feel an emotion that warrants it." Or if I do feel an emotion for smiling, but I don't like the premise it is based on, I will suppress it and not dwell on it; in an attempt to disintegrate it from my subconscious.

So now there seems to be 2 other topics here that have come from this main one:

1. Can one know if another is faking being 'nice' by nothing more than meeting them for the first time

2. Should one smile at people they don't know for the sake of that person, and because they are a person. (not for things like good looks, funny shirt, used-car salesman in a funny costume, etc)

For 1:

I would say yes and no. I think I can safely say they are faking niceness or not-- not in regard to putting moral judgment on their character--but in regard to what I like and don't like about the person. If the person later said some conversation starter to me, I would be less likely to follow up on it.

Not liking someone is very different from thinking them immoral. In fact, I am extremely selective with my own friends but that doesn't mean that I think all others are immoral, but just that others are boring to me.

For 2:

I think one should take their standard "look" (which is going to be based on their over all mood and some other things) and then show no more than that to strangers unless they actually feel something towards them for a rational reason. The reason for being honest to others in this regard is selfish and for the reasons in my examples in my first post.

Secondly, and this is where epistemology comes in, she has seen you before: you are a customer. As a unit of that concept, you are just like every other individual whom she serves. She has met 'you' qua customer many times. When you walk out of the street and into the bank, you join a wider concept: you go from individual to customer. And that is how she sees you and thinks about you.
I either don't understand the point of this in relation to what we have been talking about, or I don't understand it on some more fundamental level.

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Secondly, and this is where epistemology comes in, she has seen you before: you are a customer. As a unit of that concept, you are just like every other individual whom she serves. She has met 'you' qua customer many times. When you walk out of the street and into the bank, you join a wider concept: you go from individual to customer. And that is how she sees you and thinks about you.
I either don't understand the point of this in relation to what we have been talking about, or I don't understand it on some more fundamental level.

You stated that the teller gave "a big smile to a customer he has never seen before." I was pointing out that you are a member of a wider class of entities and that she had seen many customers during the day/week/year. As a member of that wider class, you are similar to all the others, so she had seen you before.

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You stated that the teller gave "a big smile to a customer he has never seen before." I was pointing out that you are a member of a wider class of entities and that she had seen many customers during the day/week/year. As a member of that wider class, you are similar to all the others, so she had seen you before.
I see what you are saying now. I think my later post answers it with:
No, it is not, "Teller A doesn't know me. Teller A smiles at me. Teller A is faking."
I'm not meaning what you think I'm meaning.

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Two points. If you think it is not proper for the teller to smile at you if she has never seen you before, on what basis is it proper for you to conclude that you think her smile is fake after only one sight of her smile?
No, it is not, "Teller A doesn't know me. Teller A smiles at me. Teller A is faking." I don't think that is what we have been saying at all. First and foremost I have been saying, "Teller A smiles at me. I don't know Teller A. I don't want to smile at Teller A if I don't feel an emotion that warrants it." Or if I do feel an emotion for smiling, but I don't like the premise it is based on, I will suppress it and not dwell on it; in an attempt to disintegrate it from my subconscious.

If that is the problem that you are positing, then in order to solve a psychological problem, one must correctly identify the premises involved. Which is what I've been try to do: to make sure that the conclusion you draw from your observations is justified. Which point do you think is more important to resolve first? Your belief that Teller A should not smile at you because you think the smile is fake, or you are uncomfortable with someone smiling at you if you don't want to return the smile but feel forced to smile? If the former, then my comments are appropriate. If the latter, then a lot of introspection is required to determine what premise is inhibiting you from expressing your feelings. That is outside of my expertise for recommendation to others as it requires extensive knowledge which I don't possess. Perhaps others can recommend you something specific.

So now there seems to be 2 other topics here that have come from this main one:

1. Can one know if another is faking being 'nice' by nothing more than meeting them for the first time

2. Should one smile at people they don't know for the sake of that person, and because they are a person. (not for things like good looks, funny shirt, used-car salesman in a funny costume, etc)

For 1:

I would say yes and no. I think I can safely say they are faking niceness or not-- not in regard to putting moral judgment on their character--but in regard to what I like and don't like about the person. If the person later said some conversation starter to me, I would be less likely to follow up on it.

Not liking someone is very different from thinking them immoral. In fact, I am extremely selective with my own friends but that doesn't mean that I think all others are immoral, but just that others are boring to me.

I would agree with what you state here, but I wouldn't be so quick to judge someone too negatively until I got to know the person better than whether I liked his smile. That initial observation and reaction is just one fact to take into account.

For 2:

I think one should take their standard "look" (which is going to be based on their over all mood and some other things) and then show no more than that to strangers unless they actually feel something towards them for a rational reason. The reason for being honest to others in this regard is selfish and for the reasons in my examples in my first post.

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This depends upon the context under which one is meeting new people. One certainly doesn't have to smile at everyone or anyone, just being pleasant should be enough. I think it would be entirely improper to present an expressionless, stone-cold face to a stranger on the grounds that you will not reveal any emotion about yourself until that person demonstrates some value to you.

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However, what I've seen (and I've read all fiction and non-fiction, not just the link above) is only a summary of a final inductive conclusion. I have not seen how one would go about reaching such conclusion inductively by starting with directly perceivable and moving up the chain of concretes into the final statement. (I'm sure somebody here has done this. I would be glad to see it. I'll attempt to work on this myself later.)

I think that only the correct inductive approach can resolve the issue people have with dealing with fake nice-ness.

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Could you expound more on what you mean here? What facts are you taking into consideration in your inductive approach? Are you only using the fact that many people whom you've met fake smiling to reach your generalization? Of course, if one meets hundreds of people who do that and none who offer honesty, then one could get overwhelmed. But the fact that must also be taken into account in this approach is that people have volition, and not everyone, especially oneself, has to act that way.

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There's nothing wrong with feelings of any kind. Morality only applies to the chosen and emotions are automatic, not chosen. We shouldn't try to "undo" them or correct them. Instead, we should work to understand the premises causing the emotions we don't understand and to evaluate whether the premises are true or false.
Have you listened to Peikoff's, "The Art of Thinking"?

Yes. I was sitting in the front row when gave it.

The reason I ask this, is because of how I used his lecture as an example in my first post. Peikoff explained, (quite funnily of course :wacko:,) that the approach one should take isn't to suppress the emotions until one understands the bad premises behind it.

I seriously doubt that is put it that way because the proper process of dealing with emotions -- or any fact of reality -- is perception (Feeling the emotion), identification ("What am I feeling?"), causal investigation ("What premise caused this emotion?"), and then evaluation ("Is this premise true? If it is true then it is good for me. If it is false, it isn't." ).

It is a big mistake to assume that one has "bad premises" before going through the entire process because it often happens that an emotion we don't understand isn't due to "bad premises" after all. For instance, Rearden was ashamed of his attraction to Dagny thinking it was the sign of something he should feel guilty about. It wasn't.

I know the premises however; and now it is just a matter of disintegrating the bad premises from my subconscious.

[...]

Identifying the underlying premises and their truth is the way to do it.
I say, it is only the first step. In any problem of this sort, identifying the underlying bad premise is only the beginning. Once you do this, you can get to the equally hard or harder part of disintegrating it.

If a person has accurately identified the premises and really knows which are true and which are false, that usually resolves the problem rather easily. Rearden after hearing Francisco's sex speech is a good example. If it doesn't resolve the problem completely, it usually means additional introspecting and thinking are required -- not suppressing the emotion.

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Fake nice-ness is really only small concrete from that scene. The issue here is NOT how do you deal with salesmen who smiles at you. The issue here is how to deal with going to a party where all you can see is a fake smile staring at you from everybody you see there.

It seems like there are different issues for different people here, as far as I understand what has been said by others.

I claim that such a case is very hard to handle.

I agree.

It's understandably easy to lose the full context and imagine the whole world of fake smiles directed at you. And then you look at yourself and your own mind and see that you want something benevolent. The question easily arises: "Is it even possible for my benevolent world to exist? What if it's not possible b/c of the sea of fake smiles around me?"

That is one of the purposes of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged: to provide a world where benevolence exists.

It took Dagny a tennis match with Francisco to regain her own benevolent sense of life. One could claim that if it wasn't for that match, then perhaps Dagny would have lost her spark over time, and would not become the great person she was later in her life. It would certainly be tragic. And this is why the issue of this topic is important. It can have serious psychological effects on the person.

It has been suggested in this thread that one should just tell yourself "Benevolent universe premise" a few times and somehow calm your mind down by doing that.

First of all, this is wrong epistemologically. If one has arrived to a conclusion that people fake smiles through induction - by seeing over and over again fake smiles everyday at one's work, buses, shops, work meeting, salesmen, car shops, parties - the one cannot be satisfied by a general abstract statement that "one ought to be benevolent to people" due to benevolent premise or that "this is part of an etiquette that we owe other people." It is simply not convincing.

I agree.

Consider what it would mean for an individual. On the one hand, he has a large inductive integration about fake smiles. On the other hand, he hears an abstract statement about benevolence and etiquettes. I cannot imagine how somebody would rationally choose an abstract statement which has no basis (as yet) in his mind over the large inductive conclusion. Even if one tries to consider, the person would only need to turn a corner and see yet another fake smile, and whatever abstract rule he had tried to hold would fall apart in an instance, and he would be back to square one. This is not a solution.

But this brings up the point that I was making: how do you know that every face you see around every corner is giving a fake smile? Are you not assuming things about others that should not be assumed, as I've argued elsewhere in this thread? The main question should be, why is one so focused on what others appear to be doing? Why are 'others' the focus of one's awareness?

I am NOT saying that there is no such thing as a benevolent view of the world. But it has to be inductively reached, otherwise it's useless for the individual. Deducing the proper behavior from "benevolent view of the world" is impossible without resorting to floating abstractions. For example, consider this passage:

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/benevolentuniverse.html

But reality is “benevolent” in the sense that if you do adapt to it—i.e., if you do think, value, and act rationally, then you can (and barring accidents you will) achieve your values. You will, because those values are based on reality.

There is nothing in the definition of "benevolent premise" that deduces into "smile at others, just in case."

I'm highly interested in an inductive chain of thought and perceptual/conceptual concretes that leads to an inductive conclusion that the universe is relevant. I'm aware that Ayn Rand and Peikoff wrote on this issue. For example, here: http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/benevolentuniverse.html

However, what I've seen (and I've read all fiction and non-fiction, not just the link above) is only a summary of a final inductive conclusion. I have not seen how one would go about reaching such conclusion inductively by starting with directly perceivable and moving up the chain of concretes into the final statement. (I'm sure somebody here has done this. I would be glad to see it. I'll attempt to work on this myself later.)

I think that only the correct inductive approach can resolve the issue people have with dealing with fake nice-ness.

One inductive way to approach the issue is to ask oneself, what type of character do I want to develop? What type of values do I need to acquire to achieve the type of person I want to be? Finding the answers and acquiring the values of character needed to achieve one's goal is an inductive approach that will lead to overcoming fear of others.

Secondly, there is a psychological problem here as well. Justice is a psychological need. You cannot expect a person to just let go of his conclusion that he sees something wrong. The person will not to be convinced by an abstract description when he is facing a strong psychological desire to be just.

When I had this problem before Objectivism, I had actually tried to tell myself that be less judgmental and express less disgust and open statements about fake smiles. That did me no good at all, because I would literally have to fight myself every time I see another example of fake-ness. Eventually, I would feel completely exhausted and refuse to be quiet. (At that time I was in college, so I was confronted by a great many examples - this is not a case of some quiet work office.)

Have things changed since you are aware of Objectivism now?

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If that is the problem that you are positing, then in order to solve a psychological problem, one must correctly identify the premises involved. Which is what I've been try to do: to make sure that the conclusion you draw from your observations is justified. Which point do you think is more important to resolve first? Your belief that Teller A should not smile at you because you think the smile is fake, or you are uncomfortable with someone smiling at you if you don't want to return the smile but feel forced to smile? If the former, then my comments are appropriate. If the latter, then a lot of introspection is required to determine what premise is inhibiting you from expressing your feelings. That is outside of my expertise for recommendation to others as it requires extensive knowledge which I don't possess. Perhaps others can recommend you something specific.
To tell you the truth, I'm not asking for help on this. I understand the premise behind the irrational emotion enough already. I feel like I must smile back as a way of saying, "I must acknowledge them and make them think they are important to me so they like me." This leads to unfortunate results.
This depends upon the context under which one is meeting new people. One certainly doesn't have to smile at everyone or anyone, just being pleasant should be enough. I think it would be entirely improper to present an expressionless, stone-cold face to a stranger on the grounds that you will not reveal any emotion about yourself until that person demonstrates some value to you.
That totally depends on what you consider, "being pleasant."

Also, the reason I said one should take their standard everyday look first, is to show that I DON'T mean the stone-cold face thing. However, if a person's everyday look happens to be the stone-cold type expression, then I see no problem with showing that face at a party until you have a feeling that makes you smile. At a first pass, I'd simply think, "that person is probably the serious type, at least until he gets to know someone," which is a fine type to be.

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-----------------

I seriously doubt that is put it that way because the proper process of dealing with emotions -- or any fact of reality -- is perception (Feeling the emotion), identification ("What am I feeling?"), causal investigation ("What premise caused this emotion?"), and then evaluation ("Is this premise true? If it is true then it is good for me. If it is false, it isn't." ).

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If it doesn't resolve the problem completely, it usually means additional introspecting and thinking are required -- not suppressing the emotion.

I would like to thank Betsy for putting this in the most succinct manner I have ever seen. THIS is the process of psychological freedom that I used to challenge so many bad premises when I was younger and studying Objectivism and integrating it into my character. In some cases, the issue would go away as soon as I named the premise. In others, it would take years to reach the basic premise. But it was worth the struggle. :wacko: (real, honest smile)

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Yes. I was sitting in the front row when gave it.
Very nice. Olex actually told me that it was humorous that I asked you that, but I didn't know. If I did, I would of phrased it as, "Remember when Peikoff talked about such-in-such in The Art of Thinking" :wacko:
I seriously doubt that is put it that way because the proper process of dealing with emotions -- or any fact of reality -- is perception (Feeling the emotion), identification ("What am I feeling?"), causal investigation ("What premise caused this emotion?"), and then evaluation ("Is this premise true? If it is true then it is good for me. If it is false, it isn't." ).

It is a big mistake to assume that one has "bad premises" before going through the entire process because it often happens that an emotion we don't understand isn't due to "bad premises" after all. For instance, Rearden was ashamed of his attraction to Dagny thinking it was the sign of something he should feel guilty about. It wasn't.

I agree with this. When I say, "find the bad premise," I was assuming the entire process of identifying it, considering it, and deciding whether it is rational or not. I still say this is the first step, and that most people aren't Henry Rearden in this regard. But even Rearden probably felt the lingering emotion at some points over the short time afterward, and had to tell himself, "this feeling isn't right."
If a person has accurately identified the premises and really knows which are true and which are false, that usually resolves the problem rather easily. Rearden after hearing Francisco's sex speech is a good example. If it doesn't resolve the problem completely, it usually means additional introspecting and thinking are required -- not suppressing the emotion.
While I wish this was true, I don't think it is, at least for me. If this was true, it wouldn't of taken Peikoff 10 years to get over Pragmatism and longer to get rid of rationalism. It isn't the case that all one has to do is find the underlying problem with their subconscious and BAM! they no longer have the wrong feelings.

Depending on the problem and how long one has had it, it can take much longer to disintegrate it from one's subconscious.

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I think this is exactly what Dagny Taggart felt after her first party. She saw all the fake-ness in the room: the people were attempting to gain something they didn't have by coming to the part and being surrounded by bright lights.

:wacko: Btw, how did she make such a conclusion? How was she able to state such a moral judgment without having a direct evidence to others' minds?

But she did. She talked with those people.

Fake nice-ness is really only small concrete from that scene. The issue here is NOT how do you deal with salesmen who smiles at you. The issue here is how to deal with going to a party where all you can see is a fake smile staring at you from everybody you see there.

What I do is look for at least one person worth talking to and spending time with. That's what Dagny did by seeking out Rearden at Lillian's anniversary party. If I can't find anybody I enjoy being with, I leave early.

I claim that such a case is very hard to handle.

What's so hard about doing what I just described?

It's understandably easy to lose the full context and imagine the whole world of fake smiles directed at you. And then you look at yourself and your own mind and see that you want something benevolent. The question easily arises: "Is it even possible for my benevolent world to exist? What if it's not possible b/c of the sea of fake smiles around me?"

I know too many wonderful people (including me!) to even seriously entertain such an idea.

It took Dagny a tennis match with Francisco to regain her own benevolent sense of life. One could claim that if it wasn't for that match, then perhaps Dagny would have lost her spark over time, and would not become the great person she was later in her life.

I very seriously doubt that.

It has been suggested in this thread that one should just tell yourself "Benevolent universe premise" a few times and somehow calm your mind down by doing that.

Who ever suggested such a thing? That just wouldn't work.

First of all, this is wrong epistemologically. If one has arrived to a conclusion that people fake smiles through induction - by seeing over and over again fake smiles everyday at one's work, buses, shops, work meeting, salesmen, car shops, parties - the one cannot be satisfied by a general abstract statement that "one ought to be benevolent to people" due to benevolent premise or that "this is part of an etiquette that we owe other people." It is simply not convincing.

I agree. It is not that most people are worth one's time or concern -- they aren't -- but there is the real chance that someone you don't yet know just might be a rare and uniquely valuable person. Even most people who are not consistently real, are of value in some respects despite their mixed premises.

There is nothing in the definition of "benevolent premise" that deduces into "smile at others, just in case."

Nor is there any reason not to hope for the best and regard it as the real possibility it really is. Why not? What have you got to lose?

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While I wish this was true, I don't think it is, at least for me. If this was true, it wouldn't of taken Peikoff 10 years to get over Pragmatism and longer to get rid of rationalism. It isn't the case that all one has to do is find the underlying problem with their subconscious and BAM! they no longer have the wrong feelings.

Depending on the problem and how long one has had it, it can take much longer to disintegrate it from one's subconscious.

I don't think disintegration is the right way to go, one should rather integrate the new ideas. This can be very difficult to do with abstract concepts because to do so one cannot just do so by accepting the logic behind them, to fully integrate the idea one needs to fully understand how it relates to reality in a both abstract and concrete way. That "BAM!" can only come when you find the last pieces to the "puzzle", the other pieces being what you have gathered so far through your experience, and suddenly the whole picture becomes clear. Many times though we can see the validity of the idea but there are many pieces missing to get the full picture. That's why it's sometimes so difficult and takes such a long time to correct ones thinking and integrating it to ones life.

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So now there seems to be 2 other topics here that have come from this main one:

1. Can one know if another is faking being 'nice' by nothing more than meeting them for the first time

I usually can't. I'm a very good judge of people, but I can't read minds and I don't form judgments until I have enough evidence.

2. Should one smile at people they don't know for the sake of that person, and because they are a person. (not for things like good looks, funny shirt, used-car salesman in a funny costume, etc)

"Should" has nothing to do with it. If I feel like smiling, I usually smile. If I want to know why I feel like smiling, I introspect. Under no circumstances do I condemn or censor my feelings.

For 1:

I would say yes and no. I think I can safely say they are faking niceness or not-- not in regard to putting moral judgment on their character--but in regard to what I like and don't like about the person. If the person later said some conversation starter to me, I would be less likely to follow up on it.

Not liking someone is very different from thinking them immoral. In fact, I am extremely selective with my own friends but that doesn't mean that I think all others are immoral, but just that others are boring to me.

As you describe it, I don't see how there is enough evidence to "safely say they are faking niceness or not" but only evidence of one's own likes and dislikes. To go from that alone to conclusions about whether or not someone is faking would be using emotions as tools of cognition -- I feel they are faking, so they are.

It is much more productive to introspect and identify what you have observed about them that makes you like or dislike them. You may discover very interesting things about them and about yourself.

For 2:

I think one should take their standard "look" (which is going to be based on their over all mood and some other things) and then show no more than that to strangers unless they actually feel something towards them for a rational reason. The reason for being honest to others in this regard is selfish and for the reasons in my examples in my first post.

Is their "overall mood" something you have enough evidence to judge in this situation?

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If that is the problem that you are positing, then in order to solve a psychological problem, one must correctly identify the premises involved. Which is what I've been try to do: to make sure that the conclusion you draw from your observations is justified. Which point do you think is more important to resolve first? Your belief that Teller A should not smile at you because you think the smile is fake, or you are uncomfortable with someone smiling at you if you don't want to return the smile but feel forced to smile? If the former, then my comments are appropriate. If the latter, then a lot of introspection is required to determine what premise is inhibiting you from expressing your feelings. That is outside of my expertise for recommendation to others as it requires extensive knowledge which I don't possess. Perhaps others can recommend you something specific.
To tell you the truth, I'm not asking for help on this. I understand the premise behind the irrational emotion enough already.

Then you should understand that emotions are not irrational. Just as reason is volitional, so is irrationality. Emotions are not volitional. They are automatic responses. The premises supporting the emotion may be judged as irrational or not.

I feel like I must smile back as a way of saying, "I must acknowledge them and make them think they are important to me so they like me." This leads to unfortunate results.
This depends upon the context under which one is meeting new people. One certainly doesn't have to smile at everyone or anyone, just being pleasant should be enough. I think it would be entirely improper to present an expressionless, stone-cold face to a stranger on the grounds that you will not reveal any emotion about yourself until that person demonstrates some value to you.
That totally depends on what you consider, "being pleasant."
No, it depends upon what you consider being pleasant means.
Also, the reason I said one should take their standard everyday look first, is to show that I DON'T mean the stone-cold face thing. However, if a person's everyday look happens to be the stone-cold type expression, then I see no problem with showing that face at a party until you have a feeling that makes you smile. At a first pass, I'd simply think, "that person is probably the serious type, at least until he gets to know someone," which is a fine type to be.

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I don't think disintegration is the right way to go, one should rather integrate the new ideas. This can be very difficult to do with abstract concepts because to do so one cannot just do so by accepting the logic behind them, to fully integrate the idea one needs to fully understand how it relates to reality in a both abstract and concrete way. That "BAM!" can only come when you find the last pieces to the "puzzle", the other pieces being what you have gathered so far through your experience, and suddenly the whole picture becomes clear. Many times though we can see the validity of the idea but there are many pieces missing to get the full picture. That's why it's sometimes so difficult and takes such a long time to correct ones thinking and integrating it to ones life.
I think it is both. You have to let the old ideas die off. As Peikoff said, when he started to get into the Pragmatist mindset, he would have to tell himself something like, "No! Existence Exist!" Then he would force his focus elsewhere, perhaps on Objectivism, but would not even think about Pragmatism for a while.

I used to have this problem with freewill (just like Peikoff gives an example of). I'd say, "Yes, I choose to do such-n-such, but WHY did I choose it? What made me think of the reasons!" I could carry that argument on forever. It is only by cutting those line of questions off, ignoring the horrible feeling of, "but I want the answer!", and thinking about something else. After awhile, as long as you understand what is correct, the feeling of, "but I just need to be certain!" will turn in to, "wow, that was silly of me to think that!"

But note that this only ONLY AFTER knowing what is right intellectually. First one has to go through what Betsy said about subconscious premises earlier.

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I wonder if they have fake meanness in some countries. Like a fake frown. I mean, in North Korea is meanness such a part of life that some people fake it to fit in? We haven't addressed that issue. Does anyone have any jpeg image examples?

Let's throw this open for discussion. :wacko:

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Then you should understand that emotions are not irrational. Just as reason is volitional, so is irrationality. Emotions are not volitional. They are automatic responses. The premises supporting the emotion may be judged as irrational or not.
Did I say something that made you think that I think emotions are irrational? Heh, if I thought that, then I'd think all things I love were irrational. :wacko: Almost everyone (except maybe Freud and some psychology professors) have at least some amount of rational emotions.
No, it depends upon what you consider being pleasant means.
Now I'm confused. Its subjective? Or contextual according to how I am somehow?

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If a person has accurately identified the premises and really knows which are true and which are false, that usually resolves the problem rather easily. Rearden after hearing Francisco's sex speech is a good example. If it doesn't resolve the problem completely, it usually means additional introspecting and thinking are required -- not suppressing the emotion.
While I wish this was true, I don't think it is, at least for me. If this was true, it wouldn't of taken Peikoff 10 years to get over Pragmatism and longer to get rid of rationalism. It isn't the case that all one has to do is find the underlying problem with their subconscious and BAM! they no longer have the wrong feelings.

I think what I wrote is true about emotional problems. Psycho-epistemological problems like rationalism are another story.

Because they are not merely an issue of true or false, like premises are, but involve fundamental methods that are automatized, they are extremely resistant to change -- even when a person is honest and extremely motivated to change.

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