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"Love is not self-sacrifice, but the most profound assertion of your own needs and values." - Ayn Rand

Posted by GaltsGulch 3 months, 1 week ago to The Gulch: General
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"Love is not self-sacrifice, but the most profound assertion of your own needs and values. It is for your own happiness that you need the person you love, and that is the greatest compliment, the greatest tribute you can pay to that person." - Ayn Rand


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  • Posted by Ed75 3 months, 1 week ago
    It is not easy to understand for most folks but the word sacrifice simply means; the giving up of something you value for something of lesser value. It is perhaps one of the misused terms in our language, other than "trust me".
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    • Posted by  $  blarman 3 months, 1 week ago
      Actually, I would argue that it is precisely the opposite. The only reason a logical person would forego something now for something later is if the perceived value of the something later is higher than the something now + interest. It is actually the opposite of sacrifice (selfishness, though not in Rand's terms) that leads one to spend what one has now on something rather than waiting to spend it later on something better.
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      • Posted by mgarbizo1 3 months, 1 week ago
        blarman, I would advise to check your premise, all of your statements are about self interest and not one thing you said is in regards to the definition of sacrfice. If someone foregoes something now for something later, where the something later is perceived as having more value, then it is in the person's self interest to do so. If they forego something now for something later and that something later is perceived as a lesser value by the person, then that is sacrificing one's values of the self. Whether one chooses to "spend" on something now or something later does not make the action selfish or a sacrifice because it can be easily argued that the person sees the something now as a benefit to their self, while another may see the benefit of spending on something later depending on their point of view.
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        • Posted by  $  blarman 3 months, 1 week ago
          If you read my statement carefully, you will find that we are in agreement. The apparent contradiction lies in Objectivists' definition of sacrifice to mean precisely opposite what others use it to mean. Objectivists use of the word sacrifice is equivalent to "waste" in the common vernacular. It is the same with the word "selfishness" - Objectivists use the word in precisely the opposite fashion as the rest of humanity, causing some confusion among those not familiar with the terminology.

          AJAshinoff's example above of parenting is what I would consider a quintessential example: parenting is sacrifice (again in common - not Objectivist terms). Why do people do it then? Because they want the joy that comes with parenting, even though it may mean fighting through pain, sleepless nights, dirty diapers, endless loads of laundry, stepping on legos in the middle of the night, etc. That joy is only available to parents but they must forego (sacrifice) means and current pleasures to obtain it.

          But the real determination of whether or not something is merely wasted or invested ultimately comes down to an individual perception of value. And my caution would be not to attempt to value someone else's decision according to your prejudices. All matters of value are ultimately subjective and in the eyes of the beholder. It is this pursuit of value (or as the Founders put it "Happiness") that is protected as an inalienable natural right.
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          • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 months, 1 week ago
            "parenting is sacrifice (again in common - not Objectivist terms)."
            I love this comment.

            I try to clarify when people use the non-Objectivist definitions.
            Non-Ayn Rand fan:"He was being selfish, just blatantly putting his own needs ahead of the employees, when he told them they would keep their jobs if they worked hard and sacrificed."
            Ayn Ran fan: "The problem, though, was that the employer lied. Those employees didn't want to keep their jobs because someone took pity on them. They wanted a situation where their employer put his needs first meant keeping them on the job. They weren't sacrificing because they felt sorry for the employer. They were doing it in exchange for something they wanted. It's unfortunate the employer didn't keep his end of the bargain."
            I hear this type of thing all the time. I let it go unless I it's easy to point out. When someone says "put her own needs ahead of others" as if it's a bad thing, I can't resist rephrasing it.
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            • Posted by lrshultis 3 months, 1 week ago
              If I recall right, Rand indicated that when you and the others are both rationally selfish, both you and they can gain without sacrifice or there is no reason to act. Don't get depressed if your social animal nature from evolution happens to step in in an emergency as a specific course of action emerges until the danger is over. No need for any envy or pity, just just rational cooperation, trade, or rational living.
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              • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 months, 1 week ago
                I agree completely. I didn't understand the "social animal nature, part but I agree people making free selfish trades and forms of slavery and manipulation are the only two choices.
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  • Posted by  $  AJAshinoff 3 months, 1 week ago
    In a variety of ways I would sacrifice myself - time, wants and life - for my children's well being. That is love. That is the core of being a father.
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    • Posted by  $  Dobrien 3 months, 1 week ago
      Been there, still there , and will be there for the rest of my life. Have said many times to my golfing buddies the only person you want to beat you at golf is your child.
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    • Posted by LibertyBelle 3 months, 1 week ago
      If your children are your value, then it is not a sac-
      rifice. A "sacrifice" would be letting your own
      children die in order to save others' children.
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      • Posted by  $  AJAshinoff 3 months, 1 week ago
        Twisted logic.

        I would die and/or suffer to save my children and/or wife. I would sacrifice SELF, my life, for their benefit, their continued well being and/or existence. I would be acting selflessly; this IS sacrifice regardless of the Rand rubicon.
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        • Posted by  $  AJAshinoff 3 months, 1 week ago
          I would add as a Veteran I would have died for this nation, you.

          Objectivism has their own terms for things but it in no way corners the market on meaning.
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          • Posted by sdesapio 3 months, 1 week ago
            RE: "Objectivism has their own terms"
            Not true AJ. This is actually the opposite of what Objecitivism stands for.

            So we start on an even playing field, let's begin with some dictionary definitions...

            Self-sacrifice: "the giving up of one's own interests or wishes in order to help others..." ( https://www.google.com/search?q=defin... )
            Selfish: "...concerned primarily with one's own interests..." ( http://www.dictionary.com/browse/self... )

            On to the meat...

            If your children's lives are your highest value, we can say they are your "own interest." Using the self-sacrifice dictionary provided definition above, replace the phrase "one's own interest or wishes" with "my children's lives" and read aloud, "the giving up of my children's lives in order to help others..." - in your case, that would be self-sacrifice.

            If you value the nation's welfare above your own, we can say the nation's welfare is your "own interest." In the dictionary provided definition above, replace the phrase "one's own interest or wishes" with "my nation's welfare" and read aloud, "the giving up of my nation's welfare in order to help others..." - in your case, that would be self-sacrifice.

            The giving up of something of lesser value (your life), to that which you consider a higher value (your children's lives), is not "self-sacrifice." It is living in accordance with your personal value system. And, there is nothing wrong with valuing something like your children's lives above your own. That is your choice and it is yours to make.

            Let's go simpler...

            Giving up higher value to lower value = self-sacrifice
            Giving up lower value to higher value = not self-sacrifice.

            "higher value" = "your child's life"
            "lower value" = "your life"

            Giving up "your child's life" to "your life" = self-sacrifice
            Giving up "your life" to "your child's life" = not self-sacrifice.

            If your child's lives are your #1 priority, you giving up your life for theirs is in no way a selfless act. It is, however, as every dictionary clearly states, an entirely selfish act.

            Is this starting to click a little?
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            • Posted by  $  AJAshinoff 3 months, 1 week ago
              Hello Scott long time.

              More than once I've come to head with folks here over the difference in meaning of key words. Sometimes I can resolve the difference, sometimes I can't. Of course I can't think of them off hand.

              I am a selfish person.I fully admit that and am quite adamantly proud of it (much to my wife's chagrin). My family, my businesses, my commentary, my radio stint, my novels, my game project are all things I do/have done because I wish to.

              We each only have one life.
              We may make more lives (kids) but that doesn't in any way diminish the worth (value) on the single consciousness we are each given.
              It is selfish to do for my family because its what I wish to do. I get it.
              Still, spending my 50 year old life to preserve the lives of my 20 & 22 year old kids is self-sacrifice in the sense that my one chance to exist would be forfeit. But spending my life for them would also be selfish because I wouldn't be giving them the opportunity to stop me if they could, I place their continued existence over my own. I do get it, it is the hierarchy of my personal values.

              I suppose the strict interpretation justifies how muslims can martyr their children.

              If so, I prefer to be inconsistent.
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  • Posted by mgarbizo1 3 months, 1 week ago
    Definitely one of the biggest issues I had trouble with regarding my understanding of objective philosophy and developing the concepts (chewing). It forced me to confront the altruist tendencies that society jams down my throat. Thanks for the post
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  • Posted by  $  Zenphamy 3 months, 1 week ago
    From what I've read from the commenters on this Post, it's no wonder this supposed Objectivist site has gone to Hell.

    Rather than reply to individual comments, let me simply say--it appears Objectivism and Ayn Rand, reason, and rational understanding of a common language are foreign concepts to many people on this site.

    The actual and historical definitions of simple words such as sacrifice, altruism, and selfishness (self-interest) and the AR statements of the need to establish common definitions as essential priorities to conversation and discussion seems to have escaped their consciousness, or the site is being trolled by anti-Objectivist and/or typical double-speakers trying to confuse those new to Objectivism and advance some type of progressive/statist/collectivist nonsense.
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  • Posted by jdg 3 months, 1 week ago
    I am yet to be convinced that either love or altruism truly exists, or is desirable. "The Selfish Gene" is probably the best explanation of why such impulses exist, and it does not suggest that the behaviors described are rational.

    I find Rand's own writings about love, especially in AS, confused.
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  • Posted by giallopudding 3 months, 1 week ago
    I think Ayn Rand gets a bum rap from many intellectuals because rather than accept reciprocity (altruism) as an innate reflex in humans, she thinks such actions should be rationally considered. So "being nice for the sake of being nice" would seem a self-sacrificial and self-defeating to Rand. Reciprocity is a better way of describing so called altruistic actions. Are there cases in nature of self-sacrifice to the point of giving a life to save another? As Dawkins points out in The Selfish Gene, yes...bees sting and die to protect the hive, lone birds and gazelles will draw attention to themselves to lure predators away from the flocks and herds. These actions can be explained not as group selection, but as social reciprocity, for which most animals, including us, seem hardwired, and which is occasionally taken to lethal levels of consequence. Reciprocity is never a dead even 50-50 proposition in nature...only in theory.
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    • Posted by LibertyBelle 3 months, 1 week ago
      You seem to fail to understand that in AS, Galt
      expresses his clear intention to die to save Dagny,
      if necessary.
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      • Posted by giallopudding 3 months, 1 week ago
        Good point. To which I would surmise that Ayn Rand's emotional side (she was after all a passionate female), and flair for melodrama was revealing itself. I would also suspect that as she matured, she'd be less inclined to suggest self abnegation for the sake of a lover, if even through the dialogue of a literary creation. That's just my cumulative impression of her work after reading a good amount of it years ago, and from my personal observations of human behavior over time, as hormone levels diminish.
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        • Posted by LibertyBelle 3 months, 1 week ago
          You still seem to miss the distinction between
          sacrifice and submitting to hard trades. There are
          other instances; dying rather than being willing to
          live as a slave, or rather than betray one's principles.
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