Software Nerd

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Integration of Values, Integration of values and Action

A character in Atlas Shrugged says, “Tell me what a man finds sexually attractive and I will tell you his entire philosophy of life”?

As I wrote on OO.net, I think the quote should be read primarily as a philosophical statement, about the inter-connectedness of values. In particular, it is an explicit philosophical rejection of the ideas that sexual values have nothing to do with other values.

OTOH, I'd caution reading this as a statement about applied psychology. In particular, I'd caution against thinking that it is really simple: one observes a woman and from that one will actually infer the philosophy of her boyfriend. Without knowing a lot of detail about their relationship and his motivation, one will likely be jumping to conclusions.

To take an analogy, consider a statement like this: tell me the nature of the billiard ball, the nature of the table and room, and the nature of your shot, and I will tell you the exact course the ball will take when you hit it.

The "why" of certain sexual values can be pretty hard to figure out. So, while it might be true that one can tell a lot if one questions the man about his sexual values and about why he finds a particular woman attractive, gleaning such facts from casual observation can lead to hasty judgement.

Today, I read something similar that Warren Buffett said: "Tell me your heroes, I’ll tell you how you’ll turn out". It's similar to the quote from Atlas Shrugged in that they are both saying: your philosophy and basic values determine what you admire, be they in heroes or people of the opposite sex. [Again, this should not be taken too literally as a simple way to predict how someone will turn out.]

1 Comments:

  • Since you're the software nerd, I'm curious what if anything you have to say about IE7.

    By Anonymous Christopher, at 1:02 PM  

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