Starring: Dennis Hof, Madam Suzette, Isabella Soprano, Sunset Thomas Director: Patti Kaplan
Introduction and Context Setting A valid philosophy requires the induction of abstract principles based on a suitable number of similar concretes. When she developed Objectivism, Ayn Rand induced many such principles across all branches of philosophy. In metaphysics, Objectivism contends that we all live in one reality and that each of us ... (See the whole review)
Thanks, Bob. I appreciate the positive feedback. I still await posts from those who want to run me out on a rail for "hijacking" Objectivism and turning it into an "open system" of sexually hedonistic whim worship. How dare I even suggest that a career as a courtesan might actually work comfortably for an Objectivist with the right disposition? Ayn Rand would roll in her grave if she heard that! Evader! Evader!
I only make this joke because of the flame wars that erupted on the old SOLO HQ site years ago regarding Chris Sciabarra's series of articles that became the monograph Ayn Rand, Homosexuality, and Human Liberation.
For many years among those I used to chat with there used to be the ongoing argument of whether or not Dagney would or could have been a courtesan, that such a field was within the realm of possibilities for a rational person of high sexuality... this is just a continuation of that, it seems...... myself, always found the thought interesting, tho never took time to try to detail out the implications.... as in aesthetics, there is much work to do in fleshing [no pun intended] the notion..... (Edited by robert malcom on 10/01, 3:41pm)
The question does arise about the morality of these actions. How should a rational egoist who views sex as the highest form of expressed love evaluate these events? He might simply appeal to the authority of Objectivism's originator, Ayn Rand, and recite chapter and verse from any of her various authorized publications. Such a rationalistic approach may have some merit but also begs questions about the origins of those articulated principles.
Actually, I see no evidence in Objectivism that would positively preclude prostitution as irrational or immoral. But Objectivism would say that it pales by comparison to a true romantic relationship, if you can get it. If you can, then why would you prefer something second best, like prostitution? I think that's the argument. But there's no Kantian prohibition against alternative sexualities, if you haven't found the summum bonum.
The Objectivist theory of romantic love in its fiction depicts serial monogamy as the ideal.
Why do you say that? It depicts serial monogamy, to be sure, but not as some kind of moral absolute. I think you're reading too much into Rand's novels. She didn't include within them every possible aspect of an appropriate lifestyle. Let's not forget that there are many optional values that Rand didn't cover in her fiction or even touch on in her explicit philosophy. That doesn't mean that they're incompatible with Objectivism.
Bill, I concede that your more generous interpretation of Rand may more accurately reflect her point of view. I made my statements based on her published material. I have heard the story that Nathaniel Branden shared in his memoirs about Rand telling young Peikoff she approved the concept of "friends with benefits." But I cannot validate that story so I did not account for it in my analysis.
I did want to take aim in this submission at the most prudish and rationalistic arguments of this subject I have seen in Objectivist forums over the years. So in that respect I think we agree. Since we cannot quiz Rand herself, we will just have to do the best we can with the material available.
In any case, thank you for your kind and thoughtful comments. The civility and calmness of this thread has pleased and surprised me.
Great topic, I concur with your points, but FYI, I have also already been called a hedonist on another list. I have been in three long term romantic relationships, all of them fulfilling and lasting over several years. In between I engaged in both one-time and regular casual sexual encounters where the object of a long term relationship was not envisioned by either party.
I HAVE MOVED THE BODY OF THIS POST TO THE SCHOLASTICISM THREAD: HERE.
I had an interesting exchange here regarding this show. The escort who runs that blog had this to say:
I am not a fan of Ayn Rand. This is one more thing to reaffirm my feeling about her. From the writing it seems perfectly obvious that Ayn's view on her own sexuality was one of fear. Sex is the one act that involves a HOST of emotions not commonly experienced on a day-to-day basis. Sex is the most basic, raw and intimate physical act humans can engage in. I can understand why Ayn was so prudish. I bet if we looked at her upbringing we might uncover some skeletons or emotional baggage that Ayn never acknowledged or worked through which gave her the opinion she expressed. Just my guess. ; )
I can understand why this author might draw that conclusion, though I do not necessarily agree with it.
I also would not want to psychologize to the extent she did.
I just finished listening to the audio version of the autobiography of Dennis Hof. Hof has issues, but at least had the honesty to outline them from both his own perspective and those of others. There is definitely a dark side to this business from top to bottom.
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