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Friday, December 3, 2004 - 1:46amSanction this postReply
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Great piece Joseph!  I can relate to the section about value identification and how I have found myself analysing my friends values . Changing your own reactions to events is hard enough without telling others how they should see things your way!
  I am often challenged in my own thinking about events in personal and public life and objectivism is a great tool for interpreting these situations. However,the idea of "converting to objectivism" is not really accurate,it is more a gradual assimilation of tools in a kit,each building on the usefulness of the others.




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Friday, December 3, 2004 - 1:51amSanction this postReply
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Very powerful, Joe, especially the last paragraph. It's *so* important for folk to realise that the process of "transitioning" is *never* going to be quick & easy - & *not* to feel guilty about the fact, or hesitate to seek support. As a former communist, I shudder to think how many years it took for my emotions to catch up with my new convictions. I know it was many.

The main thing is to be gentle with oneself - it's one's first time, after all!

Shit. I'm starting to sound like Sciabarra.

Linz



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Friday, December 3, 2004 - 2:42amSanction this postReply
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Thanks David.  I think your last sentence is right on.

And thank you, Mr. Perigo.  Your comments are eerily gentle...careful, you might develop a reputation!




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Post 3

Friday, December 3, 2004 - 7:16amSanction this postReply
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Well done, Joe.  I'm so glad you addressed process, particularly the emotional aspects of changing one's world view.  I think a lot of Objectivists get stuck there (I know I did for a long time).  I think this quote captures it best:

If you reject emotions, you're choosing to battle against them forever.


It does take time to realign one's emotions with one's rational process, and it is often easier to just shut them off for a while.  Unfortunately, such a step usually removes one from the human realm and puts him in the "robotic" one, if even temporarily.

It's a pleasure to feel human again.  :)




Post 4

Friday, December 3, 2004 - 7:28amSanction this postReply
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Joe,

What an important article!  You said:
In countless ways your emotions may be tied to your previous standards of value.  It takes time to sort these out, and not having direct control over your emotions can make the process difficult. 

In fact, sorting out your emotions is a skill you have to learn with the new philosophy.  A more conventional belief is that you don't have control over your emotions, as if they have a life of their own.  Only when you understand the connection between reason and emotion can you hope to try to align the two. 
This is such a crucial idea, I don't think it can be overemphasized.  Thanks.

Glenn




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Friday, December 3, 2004 - 8:11amSanction this postReply
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Wow, Joe, reading your article I feel like that you are trying to do surgery to people's mind. The transitioning between value systems is more like physical rehabilitation than surgery, right?

A person's worldview or value system can be learnt or acquired, but can it truly be taught?




Post 6

Friday, December 3, 2004 - 8:17amSanction this postReply
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Joe.

This article is excellent.

Long ago, there was this one girl who I introduced to objectivism. She pretty much did the overnight conversion thing. Which didn't work out too well-- Her emotions would constantly lean toward other philosophic evaluations, and I was hard pressed to think of a better answer than "ignore them". She was the kind of girl who would, say, extol rational self interest, but was an altruist at heart, felt guilty about some of the things she was saying, that sort of thing. She never came out with "horror stories" about objectivism, but simply decided that it wasn't for her, and gave up on it. Had this article been written about 3 years ago, she might be an objectivist today.

(And if anyone's wondering, no, I did not excommunicate her or anything similarly stupid-- she moved)



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Post 7

Friday, December 3, 2004 - 12:33pmSanction this postReply
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Linz wrote: 

Very powerful, Joe, especially the last paragraph. It's *so* important for folk to realise that the process of "transitioning" is *never* going to be quick & easy - & *not* to feel guilty about the fact, or hesitate to seek support. As a former communist, I shudder to think how many years it took for my emotions to catch up with my new convictions. I know it was many.
The main thing is to be gentle with oneself - it's one's first time, after all!
Shit. I'm starting to sound like Sciabarra.
Linz

As long as you don't start saying "turn your scars into stars" like the Rev. Robert Schuller, we'll survive this momentary lapse of gentility.  heh




Post 8

Friday, December 3, 2004 - 1:33pmSanction this postReply
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C.M. Hegel strikes again!

Good counter punch Chris, remember to keep that left up! Linz is a straight ahead fighter, Mike Tyson style (ear biting and all). You have to stick and move!

HA




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Post 9

Friday, December 3, 2004 - 1:55pmSanction this postReply
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JOSEPH wrote: "A common horror story from Objectivists is how they lost friends or loved ones at the beginning of their new philosophically based lives simply because they didn't see the whole picture."

My first exposure to Objectivism was as a sophomore in college. A music school friend and I got into a conversation about philosophy, in which I posited something like: "Life doesn't have any meaning if there is no afterlife." You know, the typical argument of the religionists' attempt to corner the market on life's "meaning." My friend looked at me coolly and said, "I know someone who doesn't think that way." I said, "Who?" And she said, "Ayn Rand" and left it at that. She left the room and I never talked with her again.
At one time, this woman was, how shall I say, spirited and fun. Once she discovered Rand, she turned into a cool customer indeed, very unemotional and detached from her friends, including me.
I fear this is the case with many who discover Objectivism. I have seen such people use their enlightenment as a rebel's excuse to demean others, to play the part of the pariah, and to purposely cast themselves as deep thinkers and social outsiders -- the "fashionable nonconformity" from a previous thread on this Web site. Part can be excused as youthful hubris, but like any belief system, Objectivism does attract its share of true believers and true posers.
Afterward, I researched Objectivism on my own (and even wrote my senior thesis on how Rand was pretty much persecuted by the media). I saw nothing in Objectivism that would warrant or even tolerate the maltreatment of others; in fact, I gleaned from it a wonderful new tolerance for others -- for their gifts, for their minds, for their life forces.
And I also came to a sort of realization that, in many ways, a great majority of people in this country are unknowing Objectivist sympathizers -- that the libertarian root is strong in this country, and that most people live a kind of duplicitous life of competing philosophies, but that in the end, heroism, money and accomplishment beat Jesus to the bank.
I don't know if all this qualifies me to be an "Objectivist" and I'm not sure I would accept the honor anyway. I don't like big letters sewn on my threads. But I love my heroes, I love my friends for their virtues, I love my secular, guilt-free life, and I do always strive to treat others with respect -- even if they somehow fall short of the big "O."

(Edited by Jamie Kelly on 12/03, 2:11pm)




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Friday, December 3, 2004 - 4:13pmSanction this postReply
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Sir George wrote:

"C.M. Hegel strikes again! Good counter punch Chris, remember to keep that left up! Linz is a straight ahead fighter, Mike Tyson style (ear biting and all). You have to stick and move!"

You miss the dynamic here. Diabolical actually *prefers* it when my punches land! The rougher I get, the more I encourage him. The ear-biting is his favourite part. :-)

Jamie - very nice post, above.

Linz





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Post 11

Friday, December 3, 2004 - 4:57pmSanction this postReply
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To Sir George (aka "Doubting Thomas") and Lord Linz who says:  "You miss the dynamic here. Diabolical actually *prefers* it when my punches land! The rougher I get, the more I encourage him. The ear-biting is his favourite part. :-)"

Ah, yes.  I think I learned early on that there is something very stimulating from all that ... rough play.  I must have read one too many Ayn Rand novels.  heh




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Post 12

Friday, December 3, 2004 - 5:06pmSanction this postReply
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Rand, huh?

We'd better excommunicate the bitch.



Post 13

Friday, December 3, 2004 - 5:25pmSanction this postReply
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ROFL

Wonderful exchange!

George




Post 14

Saturday, December 4, 2004 - 6:41amSanction this postReply
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Yes, the emotional aspect is very time-to-change..... when first agreeing with Rand, in her position as an atheist, while the mind grasped it immediately, I remember for the longest time being in conflict emotionally over the issue - especially since had presbitarian father and methodist mother, determinism and hell-fire in one package....
but now, thanks actually to that, have greater understanding and tolerance to others in their efforts to overcoming their indoctrination of long standing...




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Post 15

Saturday, December 4, 2004 - 10:26amSanction this postReply
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Excellent article. Changing a worldview isnít the same as assenting to a proposition. A worldview permeates oneís character and habitual ways of thinking, feeling, and living. I can understand the frustration when one realizes one had it wrong and is eager to change. But I agree with Joe, it takes time and practice for a transformation. I understand the eagerness and I understand it can be frustrating. I think some of us need to be reminded (as I did): donít be so tough on yourself and donít try to fake it. Understanding the ramifications of any new worldview or fundamental premise is a considerable task. Remember, growth is a process Ė it is life itself. Enjoy the process and each step forward.




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Post 16

Saturday, August 27, 2011 - 6:28amSanction this postReply
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I think there come times when the "ostracism" of old friends and family members arises legitimately from the realization that they were basically Ellsworth Toohey types rather than genuine loved ones. The bond proved itself parasitic rather than mutually beneficial. Parasites seldom like having their hosts show self-assertiveness, nor will they acknowledge their own parasitic nature. So I give credit rather than blame to Objectivism when newcomers finally find words to articulate the latent rage they feel at these kinds of people and the courage finally to terminate their codependency with them.

References

Setzer, Luke (2005). "Houseguests from Hell"



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Post 17

Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - 2:13amSanction this postReply
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I agree Luke.  Objectivism does give people the words and strength to make changes to their lives, most especially by letting them recognize that relationships should be voluntary.

The problem that I was thinking of was the new Objectivists who are so excited about their new ideas, and find people no only not interested, but also saying the opposite.  The first reaction is to sever ties and never speak to them again.  The relationship might have been mutually valuable before that point, and they're throwing it away so easily.

It is possible to have mutually beneficial relationships with people that you have significant philosophical differences with.  Yes, that might affect your relationship with them, but it doesn't need to end it.  This approach of "excommunicating" anyone who disagrees is all too common in Objectivist circles.

That being said, there are plenty of people I've stopped talking to and have never looked back!  So I definitely recognize and agree with your point!




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Sunday, September 22 - 2:26pmSanction this postReply
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Great article. I've been looking for info on the transition process, because nobody just overnights to living selfishly. There are a lot of habitual processes to overcome. So, I've been looking for some info on other people transitioning, since I am currently struggling with it. Anyway, I believe the process it totally worth it, rather than wasting your life being some sort of altruistic martyr..thanks again!



Post 19

Sunday, September 22 - 5:43pmSanction this postReply
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Joseph,

I can give you a couple of aids that can be very powerful helpers in that transition.

The first is an extraordinary book by Harry Browne: "How I found Freedom in an Unfree World." You can go to the Amazon.com link and click on the "Look Inside" icon to read some of the book to get an idea of what he is putting forth. He is addressing those emotions, and what he calls "Intellectual Traps" that cause us to struggle needlessly where instead we should be able to make the changes in our lives, and how we live them, that matches our Objectivist principles. This is not a philosophy book, or a book on political principles. It is about getting free of old mental patterns that hold one like a fly in a spider's web.

The second is a book that I have recommended often. Before I retired, I was a psychotherapist and worked with people to help them find ways to shift old emotional responses to meet the new way they wanted to live. The best book for identifying subtle but unwanted ties to past beliefs or their emotional residue is Nathaniel Branden's book: "The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem." In here pay particular attention to the sentence-stem technology he introduced, especially in the chapters on Self-Acceptance, and on Self-Assertiveness. Deeper levels of self-acceptance ease the adustment to a new value system in many ways, and they make it easier to accept others (and that's important since one of the early symptoms of newly acquired Objectivist principles is the ease with which ones sees the flaws in others :-) The other side of self-acceptance is assertiveness. Greater comfort in expressing, and living from your new viewpoint makes it less of a struggle (and will result in less conflict with others, surprisingly enough).

Welcome to RoR.

Have Fun!

(Edited by Steve Wolfer on 9/22, 5:44pm)




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