Friday, August 19, 2011

In response...

To this:

(This is another reply which grew too long for a comment.  I tend towards these.)

Hubris always seems to be involved in tragedies, but sometimes I suspect it's because the kind of people who write tragedies have never tried it out.

This post gives me something to talk to my girlfriend about, because a lot of this rings familiar in her own attitudes and questions.  (She's point-blanked asked, on more than one occasion, why I love her.  Which is a very difficult question to answer, even for somebody like me, who believes love should derive from virtue; even believing that, naming virtues seems crude, and slightly dishonest, just because I could never name them all, and I -wouldn't- love somebody who merely had the virtues I could list.)

I can't speak for Laramy, nor what emotionally healthy is, but personally, I don't generally worry about my girlfriend wanting the relationship to end because if she does, the relationship doesn't work.  I am who I am - I want to be who I am.  If she's not happy with that, we won't work together.  I worry that she's happy within the constraints of what and who I am willing and able to be, and I have to be honest with myself about who I am and who I can be.  Beyond that, no.

Will it hurt if she does make that decision?  Like a motherfucker.  It will hurt if -I- make that decision.  But it's a worthwhile pain in pursuit of life, and not wasted - and I won't shy away from life because it might be unpleasant sometimes.  You cannot run from misery, you can only fail to run towards happiness.

Which is to say, I don't want to feel that pain.  But I do want to be in a position where that pain is possible.

On the flip side of that, on insecurity - I think insecurity about yourself to some extent misses the point.  It asks the question "Am I good enough," but omits asking the question "For what?"

People can't be expressed as a series of sliding scales of quality; as a series of dimensioned quantity, I guess you sort of could, but quality, no.  There's the simple concept that different people value different things, but even that misses a lot of conceptual depth.

Expressed in terms of fate, Hitler was perfect; he did exactly what he was fated to do, had exactly the qualities necessary for him to do what he was fated to do.  In terms of fate, we're all perfect; or, expressed another way, in terms of fate, concepts of quality are meaningless.

To a great extent the same is true in relationships.  The only variable with any quality whatsoever is compatibility.  I've known more than one couple who were totally dysfunctional as individuals - drug addicts, for example - who worked very well as a couple.  It's not that as individuals they couldn't get a better mate by societal standards - it's that a more responsible person would not have worked in that relationship, for either party.

There is no "Marrying up" or "Dating up" - it's notable that these concepts tend to be limited to unidimensional considerations like "How attractive does the average person find you" or "How much money do you make/how much money did your parents make."  That's not to say people don't think in those terms - I don't disclose my personal income on dating sites because some people -do- - but rather that they're incorrect to.

It's not that I don't share a formulaic view of love - my view of love is that it derives from one's virtues, after all - but rather that, even as an Objectivist who believes in objective virtue, I recognize that recognition of virtue is inherently -subjective-.  I don't value humility, only honest self-evaluation.  (Some would argue that humility -is- honest evaluation, as some would argue that arrogance and hubris mean a dishonest self evaluation - and while these could be technically correct, the use of these words in that fashion ignores their connotations to society at large.  I describe myself as arrogant because I recognize my own genius, without regard for that that genius is honestly recognized.)  Others value humility of the dishonest sort; meekness as a virtue, particularly in women.  (I value mostly the traditionally masculine virtues, and judge men and women alike by them.)  The value of a relationship is how it adds to -your- life, not how it would add to the life of some fictitious average; you should aim to be the Hitler of snuggling in your relationships, substituting your own values, and accepting that your partner wants you, not because of how you would add to the life of a fictitious average, but because of how you add to their life, the way they want their life to be.  And that "want" there is important, because "need" is irrelevant; you cannot base a relationship on the idea that it is the kind of relationship you need; that is putting off present happiness for some theoretical future happiness that will never be achieved because you never achieved the kind of present happiness necessary to love.  It's a cold and clinical relationship.

There isn't good enough, only compatible enough.

(But I suspect this entire response is irrelevant, and that a reminder that low thyroid hormones tend to result in irrationally self-deprecating thought patterns might be more helpful.  "Fuck you body, cut that shit out, you're mine, do what I say" can sometimes be a helpfully inspirational train of thought.)

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