Archive for November 1, 2012

Unselfish Concern

What is the moral code of altruism? The basic principle of altruism is that man has no right to exist for his own sake; service to others is the only justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, virtue and value.  Do not confuse altruism with kindness, good will or respect for the rights of others. These are not primaries, but consequences, which, in fact, altruism makes impossible. The irreducible primary of altruism, the basic absolute, is self-sacrifice—which means; self-immolation, self-abnegation, self-denial, self-destruction—which means: the self as a standard of evil, the selfless as a standard of the good.  Do not hide behind such superficialities as whether you should or should not give a dime to a beggar. That is not the issue. The issue is whether you do or do not have the right to exist without giving him that dime. The issue is whether you must keep buying your life, dime by dime, from any beggar who might choose to approach you. The issue is whether the need of others is the first mortgage on your life and the moral purpose of your existence. The issue is whether man is to be regarded as a sacrificial animal. Any man of self-esteem will answer: “No.” Altruism says: “Yes.” 

There are two moral questions which altruism lumps together into one “package-deal”:  (1) What are values? (2) Who should be the beneficiary of values? Altruism substitutes the second for the first; it evades the task of defining a code of moral values, thus leaving man, in fact, without moral guidance.  Altruism declares that any action taken for the benefit of others is good, and any action taken for one’s own benefit is evil. Thus the beneficiary of an action is the only criterion of moral value—and so long as that beneficiary is anybody other than oneself, anything goes.  It is your mind that they want you to surrender—all those who preach the creed of sacrifice, whatever their tags or their motives, whether they demand it for the sake of your soul or of your body, whether they promise you another life in heaven or a full stomach on this earth. Those who start by saying: “It is selfish to pursue your own wishes, you must sacrifice them to the wishes of others”—end up by saying: “It is selfish to uphold your convictions; you must sacrifice them to the convictions of others.” 

Now there is one word—a single word—which can blast the morality of altruism out of existence and which it cannot withstand—the word: “Why?” Why must man live for the sake of others? Why must he be a sacrificial animal? Why is that the good? There is no earthly reason for it—and, ladies and gentlemen, in the whole history of philosophy no earthly reason has ever been given.  It is only mysticism that can permit moralists to get away with it.  It was mysticism, the unearthly, the supernatural, and the irrational that has always been called upon to justify it— or, to be exact, to escape the necessity of justification. One does not justify the irrational; one just takes it on faith. What most moralists—and few of their victims—realize is that reason and altruism are incompatible. 

Why is it moral to serve the happiness of others, but not your own? If enjoyment is a value, why is it moral when experienced by others, but immoral when experienced by you? If the sensation of eating a cake is a value, why is it an immoral indulgence in your stomach, but a moral goal for you to achieve in the stomach of others? Why is it immoral for you to desire, but moral for others to do so? Why is it immoral to produce a value and keep it, but moral to give it away? And if it is not moral for you to keep a value, why is it moral for others to accept it? If you are selfless and virtuous when you give it, are they not selfish and vicious when they take it? Does virtue consist of serving vice? Is the moral purpose of those who are good, self-immolation for the sake of those who are evil? 

The answer you evade, the monstrous answer is: No, the takers are not evil, provided they did not earn the value you gave them. It is not immoral for them to accept it, provided they are unable to produce it, unable to deserve it, unable to give you any value in return. It is not immoral for them to enjoy it, provided they do not obtain it by right.  Such is the secret core of your creed, the other half of your double standard: it is immoral to live by your own effort, but moral to live by the effort of others—it is immoral to consume your own product, but moral to consume the products of others—it is immoral to earn, but moral to mooch—it is the parasites who are the moral justification for the existence of the producers, but the existence of the parasites is an end in itself—it is evil to profit by achievement, but good to profit by sacrifice—it is evil to create your own happiness, but good to enjoy it at the price of the blood of others. 

Your code divides mankind into two castes and commands them to live by opposite rules: those who may desire anything and those who may desire nothing, the chosen and the damned, the riders and the carriers, the eaters and the eaten. What standard determines your caste? What passkey admits you to the moral elite? The passkey is lack of value.  Whatever the value involved, it is your lack of it that gives you a claim upon those who don’t lack it. It is your need that gives you a claim to rewards. If you are able to satisfy your need, your ability annuls your right to satisfy it. But a need you are unable to satisfy gives you first right to the lives of mankind.  If you succeed, any man who fails is your master; if you fail, any man who succeeds is your serf. Whether your failure is just or not, whether your wishes are rational or not, whether your misfortune is undeserved or the result of your vices; it is misfortune that gives you a right to rewards. It is pain, regardless of its nature or cause, pain as a primary absolute, that gives you a mortgage on all of existence. 

If you heal your pain by your own effort, you receive no moral credit: your code regards it scornfully as an act of self-interest. Whatever value you seek to acquire, be it wealth or food or love or rights, if you acquire it by means of your virtue, your code does not regard it as a moral acquisition: you occasion no loss to anyone, it is a trade, not alms; a payment, not a sacrifice. The deserved belongs in the selfish, commercial realm of mutual profit; it is only the undeserved that calls for that moral transaction which consists of profit to one at the price of disaster to the other. To demand rewards for your virtue is selfish and immoral; it is your lack of virtue that transforms your demand into a moral right. 

A morality that holds need as a claim, holds emptiness—non-existence—as its standard of value; it rewards an absence, a defect: weakness, inability, incompetence, suffering, disease, disaster, the lack, the fault, the flaw—the zero.  Altruism holds death as its ultimate goal and standard of value.  Since nature does not provide man with an automatic form of survival, since he has to support his life by his own effort, the doctrine that concern with one’s own interests is evil means that man’s desire to live is evil—that man’s life, as such, is evil.  No doctrine could be more evil than that.  Yet that is the meaning of altruism. 

Observe what this beneficiary-criterion of the altruist morality does to a man’s life. The first thing he learns is that morality is his enemy: he has nothing to gain from it, he can only lose; self-inflicted loss, self-inflicted pain and the gray, debilitating pall of an incomprehensible duty is all that he can expect. He may hope that others might occasionally sacrifice themselves for his benefit, as he grudgingly sacrifices himself for theirs, but he knows that the relationship will bring mutual resentment, not pleasure-and that, morally, their pursuit of values will be like an exchange of unwanted, unelected Christmas presents, which neither is morally permitted to buy for him. Apart from such times as he manages to perform some act of self-sacrifice, he possesses no moral significance: morality takes no cognizance of him and has nothing to say to him for guidance in the crucial issues of his life; it is only his own personal, private, “selfish” life and, as such, it is regarded either as evil or, at best, amoral. 

Even though altruism declares that “it is more blessed to give than to receive,” it does not work that way in practice. The givers are never blessed; the more they give, the more is demanded of them; complaints, reproaches and insults are the only response they get for practicing altruism’s virtues or for their actual virtues. Altruism cannot permit recognition of virtue; it cannot permit self-esteem or moral innocence. Guilt is altruism’s stock in trade, and the inducing of guilt is its only means of self-perpetuation. If the giver is not kept under a torrent of degrading, demeaning accusations, he might take a look around and put an end to the self-sacrificing. Altruists are concerned only with those who suffer—not with those who provide relief from suffering, not even enough to care whether they are able to survive. When no actual suffering can be found, the altruists are compelled to invent or manufacture it. 

Some unrealistic, eclectic altruists, invoking such concepts as “inalienable rights,” “personal freedom,” “private choice,” have claimed that service to others, though morally obligatory, should not be compulsory. The committed, philosophical altruists, however, are consistent: recognizing that such concepts represent an individualist approach to ethics and that this is incompatible with the altruist morality, they declare that there is nothing wrong with compulsion in a good cause—that the use of force to counteract selfishness is ethically justified—and more: that it is ethically mandatory. 

Every man, they argue, is morally the property of others—of those others it is his lifelong duty to serve; as such, he has no moral right to invest the major part of his time and energy in his own private concerns. If he attempts it, if he refuses voluntarily to make the requisite sacrifices, he is by that fact harming others, i.e., depriving them of what is morally theirs—he is violating men’s rights, i.e., the right of others to his service—he is a moral delinquent, and it is an assertion of morality if others forcibly intervene to extract from him the fulfillment of his altruist obligations, on which he is attempting to default. Justice, they conclude, “social justice,” demands the initiation of force against the non-sacrificial individual; it demands that others put a stop to his evil. Thus has moral fervor been joined to the rule of physical force, raising it from a criminal tactic to a governing principle of human relationships. 

The social system based on and consonant with the altruist morality—with the code of self-sacrifice—is socialism, in all or any of its variants: fascism, Nazism, communism. All of them treat man as a sacrificial animal to be immolated for the benefit of the group, the tribe, the society, the state. Soviet Russia is the ultimate result, the final product, the full, consistent embodiment of the altruist morality in practice; it represents the only way that that morality can ever be practiced. 

America’s inner contradiction was the altruist-collectivist ethics. Altruism is incompatible with freedom, with capitalism and with individual rights. One cannot combine the pursuit of happiness with the moral status of a sacrificial animal.  From her start, America was torn by the clash of her political system with the altruist morality. Capitalism and altruism are incompatible; they are philosophical opposites; they cannot co-exist in the same man or in the same society. Today, the conflict has reached its ultimate climax; the choice is clear-cut: either a new morality of rational self-interest, with its consequences of freedom, justice, progress and man’s happiness on earth—or the primordial morality of altruism, with its consequences of slavery, brute force, stagnant terror and sacrificial furnaces. 

It is obvious why the morality of altruism is a tribal phenomenon. Pre-historical men were physically unable to survive without clinging to a tribe for leadership and protection against other tribes. The cause of altruism’s perpetuation into civilized eras is not physical, but psycho-epistemological: the men of self-arrested, perceptual mentality are unable to survive without tribal leadership and “protection” against reality. The doctrine of self-sacrifice does not offend them: they have no sense of self or of personal value-they do not know what it is that they are asked to sacrifice—they have no firsthand inkling of such things as intellectual integrity, love of truth, personally chosen values, or a passionate dedication to an idea. When they hear injunctions against “selfishness,” they believe that what they must renounce is the brute, mindless whim-worship of a tribal lone wolf. But their leaders—the theoreticians of altruism—know better. Immanuel Kant knew it; John Dewey knew it; B. F. Skinner knows it; John Rawls knows it. Observe that it is not the mindless brute, but reason, intelligence, ability, merit, self-confidence, self-esteem that they are out to destroy. 

The advocates of mysticism are motivated not by a quest for truth, but by hatred for man’s mind; the advocates of altruism are motivated not by compassion for suffering, but by hatred for man’s life.  The psychological results of altruism may be observed in the fact that a great many people approach the subject of ethics by asking such questions as: “Should one risk one’s life to help a man who is: a) drowning, b) trapped in a fire, c) stepping in front of a speeding truck, d) hanging by his fingernails over an abyss?” Consider the implications of that approach. If a man accepts the ethics of altruism, he suffers the following consequences in proportion to the degree of his acceptance:  Lack of self-esteem: since his first concern in the realm of values is not how to live his life, but how to sacrifice it.  Since he regards mankind as a herd of doomed beggars crying for someone’s help –a nightmare view of existence—since he believes that men are trapped in a “malevolent universe” where disasters are the constant and primary concern of their lives.  In fact, a lethargic indifference to ethics, a hopelessly cynical amorality—since his questions involve situations which he is not likely ever to encounter, which bear no relation to the actual problems of his own life and thus leave him to live without any moral principles whatever. 

By elevating the issue of helping others into the central and primary issue of ethics, altruism has destroyed the concept of any authentic benevolence or good will among men. It has indoctrinated men with the idea that to value another human being is an act of selflessness, thus implying that a man can have no personal interest in others—that to value another means to sacrifice oneself—that any love, respect or admiration a man may feel for others is not and cannot be a source of his own enjoyment, but is a threat to his existence, a sacrificial blank check signed over to his loved ones.  The men who accept that dichotomy but choose its other side, the ultimate products of altruism’s dehumanizing influence, are those psychopaths who do not challenge altruism’s basic premise, but proclaim their rebellion against self-sacrifice by announcing that they are totally indifferent to anything living and would not lift a finger to help a man or a dog left mangled by a hit-and-run driver who is usually one of their own kind. 

Intellectual appeasement is an attempt to apologize for his intellectual concerns and to escape from the loneliness of a thinker by professing that his thinking is dedicated to some social-altruistic goal. It is an attempt that amounts to the wordless equivalent of the plea: “I’m not an outsider! I’m your friend! Please forgive me for using my mind—I’m using it only in order to serve you!”  Whatever remnants of personal value he may preserve after a deal of that kind, self-esteem is not one of them.  Such decisions are seldom, if ever, made consciously. They are made gradually, by subconscious emotional motivation and semi-conscious rationalization. Altruism offers an arsenal of such rationalizations: if an unformed adolescent can tell himself that his cowardice is humanitarian love, that his subservience is unselfishness, that his moral treason is spiritual nobility, he is hooked. 

The injunction “don’t judge” is the ultimate climax of the altruist morality which, today, can be seen in its naked essence. When men plead for forgiveness, for the nameless, cosmic forgiveness of an undisclosed evil, when they react with instantaneous compassion to any guilt, to the perpetrators of any atrocity, while turning away indifferently from the bleeding bodies of the victims and the innocent—one may see the actual purpose, motive and psychological appeal of the altruist code. When these same compassionate men turn with snarling hatred upon anyone who pronounces moral judgments, when they scream that the only evil is the determination to fight against evil—one may see the kind of moral blank check that the altruist morality hands out.



Beauty: Objective or Intrinsic?

Beauty is a sense of harmony.  Whether it’s an image, a human face, a body, or a sunset, take the object which you call beautiful, as a unit and ask yourself: what parts is it made up of, what are its constituent elements, and are they all harmonious? If they are, the result is beautiful. If there are contradictions and clashes, the result is marred or positively ugly. 

For instance, the simplest example would be a human face. You know what features belong in a human face. Well, if the face is lopsided, with a very indefinite jawline, very small eyes, beautiful mouth, and a long nose, you would have to say that’s not a beautiful face. But if all these features are harmoniously integrated, if they all fit your view of the importance of all these features on a human face, then that face is beautiful. 

In this respect, a good example would be the beauty of different races of people.  For instance, the black face, or an Oriental face, is built on a different standard, and therefore what would be beautiful on a white face will not be beautiful for them or vice-versa, because there is a certain racial standard of features by which you judge which features, which face, in that classification is harmonious or distorted. 

That’s in regard to human beauty.  In regard to a sunset, for instance, or a landscape, you will regard it as beautiful if all the colors complement each other, or go well together, or are dramatic together and you will call it ugly if it is a bad rainy afternoon, and the sky isn’t exactly pink nor exactly gray, but sort of “modern.” 

Now since this is an objective definition of beauty, there of course can be universal standards of beauty—provided you define the terms of what objects you are going to classify as beautiful and what you take as the ideal harmonious relationship of the elements of that particular object.  To say, “It’s in the eyes of the beholder”—that, of course, would be pure subjectivism, if taken literally. It isn’t a matter of what you, for unknown reasons, decide to regard as beautiful. It is true, of course, that if there were no evaluators, then nothing could be valued as beautiful or ugly, because values are created by the observing consciousness—but they are created by a standard based on reality. So here the issue is: values, including beauty, have to be judged as objective, not subjective or intrinsic.

Posted November 1, 2012 by dranilj1 in OBJECTIVISM

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Beautiful Flowers

Credits: Jesi

Posted November 1, 2012 by dranilj1 in Photography

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Advice from Women to Men

Imagine a young man working at the seafood counter of a grocery store.  Before he wraps a fresh fish that someone has just purchased, he pretends that it is dancing on the counter, singing “I like the night life, baby!”  This young guy, a coworker back in the days when I took any available job to get through college, was perpetually in pursuit of women.  He was not stacked or gorgeous, and he definitely wasn’t rich or he wouldn’t have been working with me.  Yet he was very successful at attracting women.  He relied on his ability to make them laugh.  That’s where the dancing fish came in.  I remember the young lady who was buying it.  She giggled, and it’s quite possible that my friend got her phone number that day.  A sense of humor seems to be something that women value in a man. 

What are the most frustrating things about men?  Before we get to what women like about men, let’s start with some of the frustrations that women shared.  One of the most common complaints concerns what one woman described as the damned silence.  Here are a few of their thoughts on men who won’t talk.  There is nothing more frustrating and painful than to feel a need to communicate with someone I love and yet not feel welcome to approach him.  I wish I understood why he retreats and clam if I’m upset.  That is when I need him the most.  But he just hides, like he’s riding out a hurricane.  It makes me feel so alone and unloved.  We aren’t mind readers.  If men don’t communicate exactly what’s going on, we will jump to conclusions.  It shouldn’t be our fault when the man gets angry about this.  Men will never truly understand how much lack of communication hurts us.  Most of the time, pushing your buttons is the only way you will respond.  How hard is it to simply tell a woman she is pretty or bring her flowers? Little things go a long way. 

A close cousin to silence, many women reported that male stoicism is frustrating and hurts a relationship.  At times, I feel that if there is anger expressed whether he is angry at me or something else, at least there’s still something going on in the relationship, but if he just retreats, it feels like there is no relationship at all, me feeling empty.  Why it is preferable to shut down rather than try to communicate and reconnect if there is an issue? Why do men hold in thoughts that are actually very important and could be useful to share?  Men ignore problems until it’s too late. By ‘too late’ I mean they wait until there is no love or affection left to rebuild on.  I blame our society for forcing young boys to ignore their emotions, so we women did it to ourselves.  How many times have we said to our boys, ‘Be a tough guy. Tough guys don’t cry.  Be strong’ when what we should really be saying is, ‘that must’ve been scary/hurtful/hard.  I’d like him to know I’m not presenting a trap when I inquire how he’s feeling.  I don’t want to judge or mock, I want to help.  I want to understand him, and I want him to understand me.  Several women also reported that there is an upside to male silence and stoicism.  There may even be advantages.  I have recently learned that emotional intimacy or open communication does not mean sharing every thought, feeling or experience I had that day.  The fact that men don’t need to talk is also a plus.  It is nice to just be together and not discuss much.  Many times I want to hash out a problem without a lot of emotion, and, in general, men are better at intellectual focus on an issue.  The positive flip side of men not being as verbose as women is that they are more likely to be direct and to the point.  They are not as likely to be manipulative or passive-aggressive.  Their moods are generally more stable. 

Most seem to be extremist for lack of a better word.  Whether it be clean or dirty, cuddly or cold shouldered, open about emotions/feeling or completely shut about anything having to deal with anything to the point of convincing themselves ’they don’t care’, a workaholic or lazy.  I think you get the picture.  I wish men understood how important conversation is for maintaining and deepening an emotional connection.  They seem to think that most conversation has no function unless it’s conveying concise information toward a specific goal. They don’t seem to understand the part about how paying attention, even to things like chatting about each other’s days, deepens bonding.  Their desire to solve things overshadows all communication attempts even when they know that’s what women want or need.  Why do they get comfortable and stop trying to impress their women? All the things she fell in love with in the beginning come to an end, making her wonder if it was all an act and there were a few things women just didn’t understand. 

For the life of me, I will never really understand the American/western “man hug.” Is that back-smacking and general lack of other bodily contact really just so people don’t think you’re gay? Or is there some sort of competitiveness to it? Like, the person who smacks harder is really the dominant one, or trying to be?  I wish I understood what’s going on in his head when he withdraws.  It’s so hard to see he’s in pain, to know he’s in pain, and to also know he’d damn near rather eat glass than admit it. 

Don’t let all those complaints and frustrations mislead you.  Overwhelmingly, the women who participated in the survey appear to like men.  Here are a few of their favorite things.  I like the serene and effortlessly sexy way they carry themselves when they feel like they’re in control.  Here are some examples: carrying a big load of groceries into the house, checking the oil of the car, arranging his fantasy football league, killing a creepy bug in the basement, opening a jar for me, or driving a stick shift.  When he’s in this relaxed state of control, all I can do is melt and admire.  What do I like most about men? Their simplicity, sex and food and men tend to be less catty than females, and often present themselves in a way closer to that which they really are.  The way their hugs feel, so strong and protective.  Once they have made up their minds, they usually stick with it.  They can be so cute and funny when they really want to be!  They’re easy going and uncomplicated.  Their boyishness, the sense of humor and play that some men have is by far what I like most.  Men are easy going and don’t sweat the small stuff.  I like that men are usually more forthright about their thoughts. I like that men can disagree with each other and that doesn’t seriously endanger their relationships. I like how men are free to express their sense of humor.  I like more than anything else, the combination of power with the inherent potential to destroy coupled with the man’s choice for tenderness.  Women like their confidence, strength, and tendency to be easy-going.  I actually love that men are doers that they want to help you fix your problems and offer solutions.  If I want to just bitch about something, I tell them that upfront, but otherwise it’s nice to have some fresh perspective about what to do.  I love that men don’t gossip like women, and they tend not to make all sorts of generally baseless judgments about everyone and their business. You wouldn’t believe how much women can tear people down about all kinds of trivial stuff.  I envy many of the abilities that seem innate to men; the ability to not internalize, they often seem to have better control of their emotions, forgive quicker and easier.  I like that men are logical thinkers. Men’s world is usually black and white.  I like that they are daredevils at times and over-protective at other times.  Women like men’s sense of humor, their masculinity and strength, straightforwardness their focus on problem-solving.  They seem to forgive and move on very easily.  Men don’t understand how very much we need them.  It is so in vogue nowadays to act like we are so independent, and have no need of men in our lives.  But it simply isn’t true.  We are lonely without men.  A few women also offered up some good advice for men.  I wish men understood that what they call nagging would simply disappear if they manned up and did their fair share around the house.  I wish men did not feel they are so responsible for our happiness.  Reassurance and a few words go a lot further than being quiet and thinking you are doing the right thing.  We women have intuition, and it can be right.  Most women do not see vulnerability as weakness and appreciate open communication.

There Is No Love without Respect

Women generally feel that "being loved" is more important than "being respected" in their marriages. In my clinical practice with couples, I have repeatedly witnessed the ways in which disrespect is at the core of many marital problems for wives as well as for husbands. To me, respect is equally critical for women as for men. They would rather feel alone and unloved than disrespected and inadequate. I want to understand more deeply what makes respect so important to the women. I want to understand whether respect or love feels more important in the larger social context outside of marriage. So, I probe further, with the question “if you had to choose between feeling alone and unloved by everyone in the world or feeling disrespected and inadequate by everyone in the world, what would you choose?” Can you comment on which situation would be worse to bear and why?” 

As a gut reaction, many pointed out the ridiculous nature of this question.  That is, how can one separate the two? How in the world is it possible to feel loved when one is treated disrespectfully and, further, in which parallel universe would anyone ever have to make such a depressing choice?  The thing is that this question is not designed to evoke the state of things in the natural world—it is designed to illuminate a theorized difference between men and women in terms of driving psychological needs.  To provide a fair sense of balance in the responses that were submitted, I will include some thoughtful responses from some of the women who would rather feel disrespected than unloved in a way that mirrors Eggerichs’ theory of gender differences. 

I would rather be disrespected and made to feel inadequate.  My biggest insecurity revolves around not being loved; particularly in a romantic fashion.  I think I could not live without love and knowing someone accepts me as I am.  I think it would be worse to be alone and unloved, unless of course the people who loved you also made you feel disrespected and inadequate.  I hope I would somehow find the strength to bear the criticism of the world, as long as I thought I was on the right path, whereas the idea that no one loved me would be horribly isolating and life would have a lot less meaning.  They'd both feel pretty awful, but I think humans really need love to survive.  Love from someone who disrespects you and believes you to be inadequate might be hard to take—I'd question whether that actually is love.  But I'd still take lack of respect over complete lack of love.  As I’ve mentioned, the majority would rather feel unloved than disrespected.  Here are some of the thoughtful responses who voiced this preference: 

Disrespected and inadequate would be worse to bear because it implies you're “useless” in the world.  But if you were feeling alone and unloved, it implies that this is due to your own interaction with others and you can still be respected for something that you might have contributed to the greater good of society. 

Worst scenario for me is feeling disrespected and inadequate by everyone in the world.  I never want to not be an asset or of assistance to another or a group, especially if I have a talent or skill to elevate the group or project.  Respect for yourself and others is key. 

My family has always valued education and independence.  So being alone isn't that scary to me.  It's not ideal, but I’d rather be alone, successful in my career, and making a difference in society than be with someone who disrespects me and makes me feel inadequate.  I have worked too long and too hard, and I am proud of my accomplishments, so no one should make me feel bad about myself! 

This is a very difficult question! I think I chose to be alone and unloved, because I assumed that at least I would love myself in that situation.  In the second scenario, there was a comment about “feeling inadequate”—I wouldn't want to have internalized others' disparagement of me.  I feel like I would choose being alone and unloved, mainly because the situation of being disrespected and made to feel inadequate by everyone but being loved by them doesn't even make sense given my understanding of love. 

In other words, alone and unloved is inherent in both of those choices.  So I'd rather be alone and unloved and respected and not made to feel inadequate so that I can love myself. 

Feeling disrespected and inadequate is much harder…especially disrespected…I have a strong personality, so that one would be much harder for me.  Though both situations are bad, I chose the first because it represents a bubble around you, which I think is easier to manage; the second situation represents a constant bursting of that bubble by people.  In the first situation—being alone and unloved—you are alienated, but the second one—being disrespected—is intrusive, aggressive and also alienating. 

The worse situation would be being disrespected and made to feel inadequate by everyone.  As a woman, I consider respect to be an extremely important characteristic.  If you don't have respect, people will always think of you as inadequate, not worthy, etc. Eventually this would impair your own sense of self-worth and self-confidence. 

That's interesting…I think I would choose to feel alone and unloved because in my heart of hearts I know it could never be true because God is omnipresent and He loves me beyond what anyone in the world could fathom. 

I don't think I could tolerate being disrespected by everyone.  Being disrespected and made to feel inadequate by everyone would be horrible.  It would affect your career and self-esteem, and you'd get no satisfaction in life. 

I don't see how these are different.  If a person is belittled, that person is not loved. And yes, I would rather be alone than be with others who made me feel like that.  If you're being disrespected and made to feel inadequate, it doesn't sound like you're being loved, either.  I don't mind being alone; it's not the best thing, but sometimes togetherness grates on me too. 

I don't think it's tolerable to be constantly belittled.  This is a silly question because each choice can't exist by itself.  Feeling unloved makes you feel inadequate.  The only way I am informed to answer is that I've felt lonely at times and it didn't kill me, so I'd say the other thing—no respect—is worse. 

I think if the people who “loved” me made me feel disrespected and inadequate, I could not call that feeling “loved.” 

These responses speak for themselves, illuminating many of the core reasons that respect is of primary importance to well-educated women.  In looking at all of the data, no matter which preference was indicated, the underlying message is clear “There is no love without respect.”

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