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Post 0

Saturday, August 21, 2004 - 5:36amSanction this postReply
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My fellow Floridian,

Outstanding! Far and away a better format than the 'War and Peace' version I viewed previously. Well written and clear - and more importantly concise.  I am looking forward to the follow-up articles.

George W. Cordero

(Edited by George W. Cordero on 8/21, 5:39am)




Post 1

Saturday, August 21, 2004 - 8:40pmSanction this postReply
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I'd like to see more on this from you and others. I've long believed that one of the best ways for O'ism to become more pervasive in society is through a Franklin Covey model or a Tony Robbins model -- making the philosophy relevent to more people, popularizing it -- thats why it had such great success initially -- why is Ayn Rand better known amoung the general public than her great rival Rothbard? She wrote fiction people couldn't put down and the average joe could get and care about...



Post 2

Saturday, April 29, 2006 - 6:29amSanction this postReply
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Hi Luke,

Nigh onto two years ago you thought,  "Human organisms possess conceptual and volitional values acquired intellectually for preserving and advancing their lives."

In light of subsequent investigations by Harry Prosen       http://radio.cbc.ca/programs/thismorning/sites/science/primates_001201.html         would you be inclined to consider inserting   and an innate instinct for empathy  into that sentence? 

 I have a vested interest in discovering a serious Objectivist opinion on the importance of empathy. I would appreciate hearing any thoughts you may have, on the importance of empathy in being able to discover one's flourishing sense of life.

regards
Sharon



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Post 3

Saturday, April 29, 2006 - 7:45amSanction this postReply
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Sharon, I am working on an article called "Objectivism and the Five Loves" so your post is quite timely.  If by "empathy" you mean that humans have a need to bond emotionally with other humans, then I agree with you.  A recent National Geographic article about romance and raging hormones hypothesizes that we all seek to return to those feelings of total security we had as infants.

In any case, when I say "the five loves" I mean the four traditional loves plus the fifth and most important love that is part of the Objectivist ethics:
  1. Agape or unconditional love (e.g., love of parent for infant or love of God for man)
  2. Storge or family love (e.g., love between siblings, cousins, etc.)
  3. Philia or friendship love
  4. Eros or romantic love
  5. Self-Esteem or love of self
I need to research this more because I think my definitions may skew a bit from traditional ones.

If someone knows an ancient Greek word for love of self, please post it here.




Post 4

Saturday, April 29, 2006 - 9:06amSanction this postReply
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Thank you Luke,

I do indeed mean, as you revealed, " that humans have a need to bond emotionally with other humans...and seek to return to those feelings of total  security we had  infants."

Please go immediately and give your wife a big warm hug, and when she returns it, pretend it's from me.

I also mean more; but I'm happy today, for any small achievements.  The first step on the journey of a thousand miles

I await your new article.     a big satisfying sigh

As Joe Maurone used to say,

Shine on, Luke








Post 5

Saturday, April 29, 2006 - 9:29amSanction this postReply
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                                                                                           Could it be narcissism?



Post 6

Saturday, April 29, 2006 - 11:29amSanction this postReply
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Sharon, narcissism crossed my mind, but its neurotically self-absorbed connotations do not capture the Objectivist concept of self-esteem.

Besides, it originated from Latin, not Greek.

A Google search has not proven helpful.  Perhaps the new and radical nature of Objectivism explains this.




Post 7

Saturday, April 29, 2006 - 7:52pmSanction this postReply
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If someone knows an ancient Greek word for love of self, please post it here.
...
Sharon, narcissism crossed my mind, but its neurotically self-absorbed connotations do not capture the Objectivist concept of self-esteem.

Besides, it originated from Latin, not Greek.

A Google search has not proven helpful. Perhaps the new and radical nature of Objectivism explains this.


How about Aristotle (and Rands?) concept of "happiness"?

I would define the basis for love pleasurable stimulation, the happiness derived from others. Love is habitual and volitional. After enough abuse, even a pet dog will flee the person that reared it, as will children, siblings and lovers.

Now isn't wise (in contrast to narcissistic delusion) happiness a consequence of a value-judgement regarding being ourselves? And this judgement (Rand's sense-of-life) a consequence of our character, habits, actions, excise of volition in accordance with principles of objective virtue?

I find Rand's three existential questions (where are we, what to do, how to know) fit in with a physics metaphor - How about circumstance as displacement, emotions velocity, volition force and acceleration, habits momentum, and our principles our gyroscope?

Most assume happiness is a state, in contrast to Rand's and Aristotle's view it is the 3rd derivative - a (complex vector) acceleration.

http://www.constitution.org/ari/ethic_01.htm#1.4
If activities are, as we said, what gives life its character, no happy man can become miserable; for he will never do the acts that are hateful and mean. For the man who is truly good and wise, we think, bears all the chances life becomingly and always makes the best of circumstances...the happy man can never become miserable; though he will not reach blessedness, if he meet with fortunes like those of Priam.


Nor, again, is he many-coloured and changeable; for neither will he be moved from his happy state easily or by any ordinary misadventures, but only by many great ones, nor, if he has had many great misadventures, will he recover his happiness in a short time, but if at all, only in a long and complete one in which he has attained many splendid successes.


When then should we not say that he is happy who is active in accordance with complete virtu
...
Certainly the future is obscure to us, while happiness, we claim, is an end and something in every way final. If so, we shall call happy those among living men in whom these conditions are, and are to be, fulfilled -- but happy men. So much for these questions.


Rand thought highly of Aristotle. Rand spoke of hurt that "only goes so deep". Her favorite poem was Kipplings "If", which also epitomizes Aristotle's view. (http://www.jfkmontreal.com/if.htm)

"...If you can meet with triumph and disaster.
And treat those two impostors just the same.
...
If neither foe nor loving friend can hurt you.
If all men count with you ... but none too much."

Of course, most people, ancient as well as now, are only "happy" when self-sacrificing, because, if only out of habit, that's what we're trained, rewarded and punished for from childhood.

When a family or culture becomes so dysfunctional or evil it demands the individual hate themselves to be accepted, the individual will choose either self and flee, or suicide.

I suspect Rand's "selfishness" was less popular then than now, according to the little I know of the ancients. Being very tribal, collectivist, and having a fatalistic sense they were toys of the gods, its likely "selfishness" was discouraged. IIRC, Rand quoted Acton as saying 'freedom is that which has only existed in the last part of the 18th century in America', that is, freedom to pursue your own happiness.

Plato in Republic assumes, as most people today, selfishness is necessarily evil:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_of_Gyges
In The Republic, Plato ... argues that morality is a social construction, whose source is the desire to maintain one's reputation for virtue and honesty; when that sanction is removed, moral character would evaporate
...
And this we may truly affirm to be a great proof that a man is just, not willingly or because he thinks that justice is any good to him individually, but of necessity, for wherever any one thinks that he can safely be unjust, there he is unjust. For all men believe in their hearts that injustice is far more profitable to the individual than justice


How about that Alcibiades of the Peloponnesian war?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcibiades
He comes across as a kind of Bennedict Arnold and Bill Clinton, hopping sides and living it up?

Scott



Post 8

Monday, May 8, 2006 - 10:00amSanction this postReply
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I contacted a professor fluent in ancient Greek and he offered me this helpful analysis:

To take Aristotle as the best example, when he wants to refer to self-love or love of self or their cognates, he uses either two words philos/philia/philein (adj./noun/verb) + the word for self (autos), or he uses a one word version: philautos, ton philauton. The best place to look is Aristotle, NICOMACHEAN ETHICS IX 8.

Incidentally, in re the other four love-terms: the important distinction is between philia (which covers any form of affection but does not refer to the erotic) and eros (which is erotic desire). There are cases in which two people can feel philia for each other and eros, but they are still very different concepts. Further, do not assume that "agape" always means unconditional love. That may be so in the New Testament, but it isn't (so far as I know) in the classical period. Finally, stergo (verb) and its cognates are, I believe, often simply synonyms for philia, etc., so don't assume there's always the strict division you suggest in your list. But I've never given this a special study.


He was too swamped to say more, but I may contact him later as I work on the article I mentioned earlier in this thread.

If anyone has more insight into these distinctions and their words, please post.




Post 9

Tuesday, May 9, 2006 - 12:31amSanction this postReply
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Luke,

For what it's worth, I only take philia and self-esteem to be real loves. The others are merely anti-concepts that take-away from that which love actually is.


How Agape isn't "love" ...
=============
Agape (m-w.com + links) = unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another

Real love is not unselfish (thought it IS a loyal and benevolent concern).
=============


How Storge isn't "love" ...
=============
Storge (ie. instinctual) love is a misnomer. You can't "love" -- yes; "love" IS a verb! -- instinctually. Real love is that which is beyond the instinctual, beyond the pre-programmed. Animals, caring for their young, don't "love" them (though they "care" immensely, often to the point of risking their own lives).

Real love is about more than caring. You can care, immensely, about your Ferrari -- but you can't "love" your Ferrari (because your Ferrari is incapable of personal growth -- ie. THAT value WHICH real love aims at).
=============


How Eros isn't "love" ...
=============
Eros (m-w.com) = the sum of life-preserving instincts that are manifested as impulses to gratify basic needs, as sublimated impulses ...

Again, to the extent that Eros is instinctual, it is NOT real love (ie. you can have an object of desire -- such as a traded, SouthEast Asian, sex slave -- without giving a wit about that "object's" feelings).
=============

Real love is -- always -- aimed at growth (either one's own, or another's). Real love changes the acting agents involved (ie. it makes them grow). Where there is no change -- there is no love. Real love is often arduous -- though always satisfying. Where there is no satisfaction -- there is no love. In short, real love rocks (and facsimilies, though often attractive at "some" level, pale in comparison).

Ed
[the more you love someone, the less they need you]

(Edited by Ed Thompson on 5/09, 12:33am)




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Post 10

Tuesday, May 9, 2006 - 7:41amSanction this postReply
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Ed, I have an interest in how the loving and caring response developed as a behavior evolutionarily and then evolved over time into an emotion that rational humans experience.  For instance, mammals behave in a way that observers would call "loving and caring" when they raise their helpless young into capable offspring.  Since they have no formal language and act on instincts, we cannot say they "reason" about their responses to their young.  They just do it automatically.

At some point, humans made the transition from automatic to volitional behavior.  This opened a whole new world of experience to them, including how they treated each other.  They no longer just acted automatically to care -- or not -- for others.  They could choose to do this.

I have an interest in tracing the evolutionary development of this most profound emotion in the big areas of human transaction: parent to child, kin to kin, friend to friend, lover to lover, stranger to stranger.  Basically, it comes down to how much value people place on these relationships.

I have read your abstracts of studies of primates and they shed some light on this subject.  Perhaps you have your own ideas on this transition from primate experience to human experience that you could share.




Post 11

Tuesday, May 9, 2006 - 9:45amSanction this postReply
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Luke,

================
I have an interest in how the loving and caring response developed as a behavior evolutionarily and then evolved over time into an emotion that rational humans experience. 
================

First of all, real love is not a 'mere' emotion (you can't 'love' from an armchair -- ie. by introspecting on your 'feelings'). Also, if you look to the 'behavior' of nature -- what do you find?

Agape?
No, not at all in advanced life forms -- only in insects (e.g. 'suicide bugs' that blow themselves up -- along with the enemy -- when losing in a battle).

Storge?
Yes, the selfish gene is at play throughout all of nature. When a male lion kills a new mate's cubs (cubs from another male) -- he's increasing the chances of survival for his own genetic offspring.

Philia?
Not in the Aristotelean sense. Though young animals 'play' with 'friends' -- adult animals don't.

Eros?
Sure, if you can count rape as Eros (a small -- but substantial -- proportion of animal copulation would qualify as a rape).

Self-Esteem?
I've never seen an animal with low self-esteem (they just don't beat themselves up about things). And, correspondingly, I've never seen a proud animal. Have you? If so, please provide an example.

Ed




Post 12

Tuesday, May 9, 2006 - 12:31pmSanction this postReply
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Ed wrote:

Self-Esteem?
I've never seen an animal with low self-esteem (they just don't beat themselves up about things). And, correspondingly, I've never seen a proud animal. Have you? If so, please provide an example.


Any spoiled house cat!  Come on, cat lovers, corroborate my statements!

First of all, real love is not a 'mere' emotion (you can't 'love' from an armchair -- ie. by introspecting on your 'feelings').

What about attraction?  I am sure that would qualify as a "sensation" like hunger but not an "emotion."  Yet plays like Romeo and Juliet conflate the sensation with the emotion.  So do many people.

(Edited by Luke Setzer on 5/09, 12:34pm)




Post 13

Tuesday, May 9, 2006 - 1:17pmSanction this postReply
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Luke,

Ed:
I've never seen a proud animal. Have you? If so, please provide an example.

Luke:
Any spoiled house cat!  Come on, cat lovers, corroborate my statements!

If a house cat slips off of something high, only to do that twisting-spinning thing in order to land -- perfectly -- on 'all fours' (outperforming the best of human gymnasts), it doesn't go around holding it's head up about it, thinking to itself ("dayam, am I ever good at righting myself from awkward falling positions!").

But to be fair, I am saying all this without direct evidence of the thought-cascade of a house cat (I can't read their minds).

What about attraction?  I am sure that would qualify as a "sensation" like hunger but not an "emotion."
I break it (all of the mental stuff in existence) down to 4 things: will, intellect, desire, and a pleasure-pain continuum. If it exists and is mental, it's one of these 4 things. I'd chalk up attraction as a desire, but hunger as a pain -- so I'm currently in some disagreement with your argument, as stated.

For me, 'emotions' are combinations (mental 'marriages') of the pleasure-pain continuum with various desires.

Ed




Post 14

Tuesday, May 9, 2006 - 2:01pmSanction this postReply
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For me, 'emotions' are combinations (mental 'marriages') of the pleasure-pain continuum with various desires.
  




Of course they are - diversified amplifications for the extention of survivability to increasingly complex organisms...




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Post 15

Sunday, May 27, 2007 - 8:08pmSanction this postReply
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Ed,

You said you only considered 2 types of love to be valid:
"agape = unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another
Real love is not unselfish (thought it IS a loyal and benevolent concern).

 >>>What about the unselfish love a parent has for a child? How they would accept and still love that child after actions that would cause them to stop loving a lover or a friend? How do you differentiate between the two?


Eros = the sum of life-preserving instincts that are manifested as impulses to gratify basic needs, as sublimated impulses ...
Again, to the extent that Eros is instinctual, it is NOT real love (ie. you can have an object of desire -- such as a traded, SouthEast Asian, sex slave -- without giving a wit about that "object's" feelings).
>>>You are talking about sex here, not love, no? Wouldn't Eros be the one type of singular romantic love that you would have for a lover or mate? Again, without acknowledging the existence of Eros, how would one differentiate between a lover they want to spend time with and a hot long-haired biker that walks by that sparks an urge?
 
I agree with you about Storge; you can't "love" an inanimate object.
 
Eileen
 
p.s. I don't believe humans have instincts.





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