Author Russell Hasan's Blog

Books and Blog Posts -- See the Sidebar for My List of Books!

Monday, August 15, 2022

Randianism

Consider this list of philosophies:

Rationalism,

Empiricism,

Analytic philosophy,

Existentialism,

Phenomenology,

German Idealism,

Socialism,

Anarcho-Socialism,

State-Communism,

Libertarianism,

Moral Realism,

Solipsism.

Next, consider this list of philosophies:

Platonism,

Kantianism,

Hegelianism,

The philosophy of Nietzsche,

The philosophy of Sartre,

Aristotelianism,

The philosophy of Wittgenstein,

Marxism,

The philosophy of John Locke.

Each of these things are what ordinary people would call a "philosophy." But these are not one thing, these are two types of things, the first set of which, from the first list, is what I call a systematic philosophy, and the second set of which, from the second list set forth above, I would call an individual's philosophy. A systematic philosophy is a philosophical system comprised of a set of philosophical views, while an individual's philosophy is the philosophy of one individual philosopher. Note, however, that each systematic philosophy is formed by importing a set of ideas and views from a set of individual's philosophies, or else one individual's philosophy could form its own entire one systematic philosophy. For example, the philosophy of John Locke contributed views to Empiricism, and Marxism contributed views to socialism. Multiple individual's philosophies can contribute to the same systematic philosophy. For example, the philosophy of Nietzsche and the philosophy of Sartre both contributed to Existentialism. One systematic philosophy can also have multiple systematic philosophies which are variations or sub-parts of it as a whole. For example, Anarcho-Socialism and State-Communism are both coherent systematic philosophies in their own right, but each is also a sub-part of the broader systematic philosophy of Socialism.

Now, the question is: What is Objectivism? Is it a systemic philosophy? Or is it an individual's philosophy?

Within the Objectivist movement, there is a great debate and conflict between the open-system and closed-system Objectivists. Closed-system people believe that Objectivism is limited to the philosophy created by Ayn Rand, and it ended with her death. Open-system people believe that Objectivism can be added to and expanded by other people and is not only limited to Ayn Rand's ideas.

I have come to believe that the conflict arises from linguistic imprecision, that the closed-system people understand Objectivism to be an individual's philosophy, merely another name for Randianism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand, while the open-system people believe that Objectivism is a systematic philosophy, a set of philosophical views united around the theme of a common worldview in philosophy, and therefore obviously it could be added to by anyone, although at its time of original creation, 100% of the ideas in systematic Objectivism came from having been imported from the individual's philosophy of Ayn Rand, Randianism.

The two sides in the debate do not understand each other and cannot understand what the other side is saying, because they are using two different definitions of the same word, "philosophy," so it is impossible for the two sides to communicate, and neither side understands what the other side means. If Objectivism is an individual's philosophy, then it is the philosophy of Ayn Rand, and obviously the closed-system side is correct. If Objectivism is a systematic philosophy, then it is defined by a set of philosophical views, and anyone who holds those views while adding ideas could add to it, and then obviously the open-system side is correct. The two sides mean different things and so can't see eye to eye to resolve their dispute.

I propose to solve this confusion by creating a new word, "Randianism," to describe Ayn Rand's individual's philosophy, which is defined as the philosophy of Ayn Rand, while keeping "Objectivism" as the name for the systematic philosophy, the philosophical system defined by that certain set of views about objectivity, reality, reason, rational selfishness in ethics, free-market capitalism and the moral defense of capitalism in economics, individual rights in politics, etc. At its inception, Objectivism was formed 100% from Randianism, but the two are analytically distinct, based on the understanding which I have provided.

Some critics might say that, as I have defined it, only an individual's philosophy is a "real" philosophy, and what I call a systematic philosophy is merely a historical category, or a worldview, or a philosophical view, or set of views. But that is not, in fact, how ordinary people use the term "philosophy." Each of those systematic philosophies is, in fact, a philosophy.

Friday, August 12, 2022

What is Reasoning?

Reasoning works by means of thinking along a line of reasoning. A line of reasoning is a line where each point in the line is a reason-computation that takes the conclusions from the previous point as that point’s premises, reasons what must be true if all those premises are true, forms conclusions, and then hands off those conclusions to the next point in the line to be the premises for the next point. Lines of reasoning prove things, but lines of reasoning must have their premises checked, especially if the conclusion turns out to be false or to resolve to a contradiction.
To check a line of reasoning, you start at the conclusion and work your way back up to the start, confirming that each premise which was reasoned from was correct, and a key task is to look for hidden premises, things which were assumed for the analysis without awareness or without conscious thought and deliberation choosing to accept those premises before they were adopted. Assumptions, or what you take for granted but which turns out to be not true, for examples.
To check a premise, you can assert its truth and see if it collapses to or reduces to an absurdity if it was true, and if it does then it is false; you can test it against empirical experience and evidence and observation, to see if it is false; or you can ask “why? Why would this be true?” and, if the reason behind it is incorrect or does not make sense, try again without it.
Reasoning from only true premises, if the reasoning is valid and sound and rational, produces conclusions which must be true, because the truth of the premises will cause the truth of the conclusion, because the conclusion is that which must be true if all the premises are true according to logic, but if there is at least one or more false premises, the conclusion will be false, and, if there is a premise or premises whose actual truth or falsehood you do not know, then the line of reasoning is in the condition of being able to be true or false, and you won’t know which it is.
Reason from 100% true premises is pure reason. Reasoning from false or dubious premises is corrupted reason. Pure reason produces knowledge of the truth. Note that a premise, as I see it, can be anything that is reasoned from: a perception or observation, a concrete thing, an abstraction or essence of being, a fact, a principle, a belief, an opinion, knowledge, etc. If your reasoning resolves to a contradiction or a conclusion you know must be false, take Ayn Rand’s advice: Check your premises!

The Moral Defense of Capitalism

Thesis: A moral defense of capitalism.
Premises:
1. Each thing is a thing. A thing is something, a thing is itself, and a thing is what it is. A thing is a thing in itself, a thing as such. Each thing has a nature, as what it is. The nature of a thing is the set of principles which explain how and why it is what it is and how and why it behaves as it does. Every thing has a nature, although the specific nature of a thing is subject to the specific domain to which it belongs, for example, science, math, history, philosophy, politics, psychology, etc. This understanding of the general nature of things is metaphysics. A thing’s nature can be studied and analyzed and known by reason and logic. The human mind observes things, and infers general principles from those things, and then applies those principles to other things, and, because knowledge is general and abstract and not limited to specifics, it covers cases outside of the immediate awareness or perception of the one who knows. This is epistemology.
2. Objective ethics is ethics that is based on objective facts about what things are and about what exists. If a belief is objectively true, then acting in accordance with and pursuant to that belief is the objectively right way to act. This is ethics.
3. Capitalism is the economic system where a person owns the results of their actions and of their choices as private property, and each person has the freedom to act as they choose, and to make their own decisions and to then act out those decisions, within the realm of economics and in the sense of economic action, which is generally concerned with material objects in the physical world. This is economics.
Deduction:
4. A human is a type of thing.
5. Humans have a human nature. Humans are humans.
6. Because humans are humans, humans have free will.
7. Because humans have free will, humans are personally responsible for themselves.
8. Because humans are personally responsible for themselves, each person should do the work to make the money to support themselves and live their lives.
9. Because each human should do the work to make the money to support themselves to live their lives, that is a component of the successful life, and is therefore a component of the good life, of the ethical life.
10. Because making money to support one’s life is a component of an ethical life, it follows that rational self-interest, as a desire to make enough money to live an ethical or moral life, is itself ethical and moral.
11. Money is made by doing work, thinking and reasoning and intelligence about how best to get work done, and making decisions for which one takes personal responsibility against the indecisiveness or outright stupidity that might prevent work from getting done. As such, the human mind, and the human ego, are the means of making money.
12. Capitalism is the economic system that best enables a person to make the money to support themselves to live their lives, by giving them the freedom to work, and the freedom to think, and the freedom to reap the rewards of their hard work and of their intellectual thought.
13. This is true because in capitalism the individual owns private property. Private property results from a person’s actions to do work and think thoughts, to create and trade and buy and sell economic value, which manifests itself as privately owned money or private property. Property results from actions, and actions result from choices, so private property is the means by which a person can reap the rewards or obtain the failures of their choices, their actions, and their free will.
14. Capitalism is also the only economic system that gives a person the freedom to make decisions as an individual, which decisions control that individual’s own life and actions, by granting individual freedom of choice and of action in the economic realm instead of government’s or society’s control over the individual.
15. Thus, in capitalism, a person can use their free will to make choices, have the freedom to act out those choices, and then take ownership of those choices as private property. Private property and economic profits or losses are the material physical manifestations of personal accountability and self-responsibility for one’s own actions. Capitalism represents the morality of getting what you deserve and of earning what you own. Therefore, if it is fair and just to get what you deserve, or to own what you earned, then capitalism is moral.
16. Capitalism enables an ethics where making good choices gets good results, for an individual, and be rewarded by economic profit, or making bad choices causes bad results, for which that individual, alone, will be held accountable by financial loss.
17. Therefore, capitalism aligns with the most ethical human mode of life.
18. Therefore, capitalism has moral integrity to the conditions of life under which it is possible for a person to live a life which has moral integrity to their human nature, to what they are. Capitalism operates in accordance with and pursuant to human nature, and to the nature of the ethical life.
19. Therefore, capitalism has moral integrity.
20. Therefore, capitalism is moral and ethical.
Conclusion:
21. Capitalism is the best economic system for humans because of human nature, and is therefore ethical for humans, and this was proved by reason and logic, which is based on the nature of objective reality. Indeed, capitalism, democracy, and freedom, as a political and economic system, can be seen as a reflection of the metaphysical fact that humans have free will and are therefore self-responsible for their actions and choices. A system that enables humans to be humans, and which provides for humans to live life as humans, is good, for humans, not merely in a practical sense, but good as ethics and morality and virtue. Capitalism, democracy, and freedom, is a politics and economics which reflects the ethics of human free will and is pursuant to and in accordance with human nature, and therefore accords with the principle that a thing is itself, and, therefore, that humans are humans, because it is only for humans, as humans, that the question exists of what economic system should we choose. This is good and ethical and virtuous, because, as moral agents with free will, we deserve to own the rewards, or reap the punishments, of our choices and actions, and that is justice and fairness, and capitalism is virtuous for being fair and just.
22. Capitalism is morally defensible and ethically justified.
Counterarguments:
23. This argument has been attacked in several areas: that individuals are not, in fact, personally individually responsible for everything that happens to them. But, to say this, reduces to the claim that the individual does not truly have free will. Objectivism says that each person has free will.
24. It has also been attacked by saying that groups, not individuals, make money, and that economic production is a social activity, not an individual activity, or is done by muscle and sweat and labor and brute force, not by refined thinking and intelligence and reason.
25. Brute force, without reason, could only accomplish what a caveman or a primitive civilization could accomplish; it could build pyramids by an army of slaves, but it could never land a rocket on the moon, or find ways to treat diseases. Science and technology come from reason and logic, and the role that these play in business, is an example of the extent to which reason and logic magnify the effort of brute strength, for purposes of making money. Analytically, a human has no other tools that his body, hands, and brain, with which to do work, and work gets done, so these must have been the tools which got the work done.
26. To say that economic production is social, not individual, proves nothing, because when action is done by a group, it is done by a group of individuals acting as a group, so, even if the group achieved something, each individual would have earned a share in proportion to what they contributed to the group effort. A person has free will, a person makes choices, so, to the extent that an economic actor is a moral actor or an ethical actor, that ethical and moral agent is the individual.
27. There is the argument that objective ethics does not exist, and ethics is inherently irrational and subjective, or that objective reality does not exist, and objective truth does not exist. This position collapses into an absurdity, because, if that were true, then anything goes, and no one could ever know which economic system was better or worse, or what was right or wrong, so ethics would not exist and economics would not exist, and the question of the need for a moral defense of capitalism would not exist.

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Faith, Skepticism, Knowledge, Rationality

Definitions:
Faith: The absence of doubts and questions, or the condition in which doubts and questions are not allowed.
Skepticism: The condition in which doubts and questions and critical thinking are allowed, or the process by which a position is subjected to questions or doubts, but this is also the name of the belief that knowledge is impossible, as such.
Knowledge: a position or belief which is held with the belief that it cannot be wrong or that its truth is the one and only possibility.
Faith-based knowledge: knowledge that is held without doubt, without question, without testing, without evidence.
Rational knowledge: knowledge that is held, and which is asserted or claimed to be known, but which is, or can be, doubted, questioned, tested, while still maintaining its status as knowledge, or knowledge which exists in a condition where doubts and questions and critical thinking are allowed.
The tradition position holds that you must choose between faith-based knowledge or rational skepticism, but you cannot have rational knowledge. Now the question is: Is rational knowledge possible? If so, how, and under what conditions?
Consider this: Claim, or assert, that you know that X is true. Logic, or science, or math, or history, or whatever, shows that, if X is true, then experience Y will be observed. You can test or question or doubt X by looking for Y in your observations or experience.
Now, you test for Y or not Y, and run an experiment to see if Y is true, or you question or doubt Y and Y withstands the critical scrutiny and proves true, once, and you see that Y is true. Does that mean that you rationally know X?
Consider this: You test X and/or Y an infinite number of times, and X and/or Y is proven true, against doubt and question and test and experiment and experience, an infinite number of times.
Would this, then, be rational knowledge? You know that X is true because X and/or Y withstood doubt and question and critical inquiry and critical thinking, but, for N number of times which X and/or Y did so, X and/or Y might fail a test at the N+1 experiment or test or doubt or question. So you can never rationally know philosophical truth.
Yes. But the problem is: how can you possibly test X and/or Y an infinite number of times?
Consider this: If X is such that if X is true then Y will be observed, and if X is a metaphysical or philosophical principle that is universal and infinite in scope, then (and here is the important part): if X is true, then Y will prove true an infinite number of times, if doubted and questioned an infinite number of times. Y will prove true an infinite number of times, because X is true.
And, if X is true, then the application of logic and reason to thinking about X, will produce knowledge of X.
So it isn't that you rationally know X because X was proven true by an infinite number of doubts and questions being withstood with X's truth intact. Instead, you rationally know X because X is true, and X would prove true in an infinite number of questions and doubts, if such were to exist, because X is true.
But how does one gain rational knowledge that X is true, other than by the satisfaction of an infinite series of doubts of X and/or Y? By means of logic.
What matters for rational knowledge is not whether you know it, what matters is whether or not it is really true. If it is true, then you will come to know it, provided that you use reason and logic.
Contrast this position with the faith-skepticism dichotomy: the claim that knowledge must be based on faith, because reason always allows doubts, and knowledge is that which is known to always be true, so rational knowledge could only come by means of a process of an infinite series of doubts being satisfied, because, if you assert or claim that your knowledge is rational, either you or someone else is always, at any or every point in the future, entitled to question or doubt or test that position which you claim to know, and no position can satisfy every doubt and every question because there could be an infinite series of such leading into the future, so only faith, as the absence of all doubts and questions, or as a condition where you are not allowed to doubt or to question, could make knowledge possible, so you must choose either faith and knowledge, or reason and skepticism, but you can't choose reason and knowledge, you are not allowed to choose to believe that rational knowledge is possible in a practical way in reality for humans.
Objectivism rejects the faith-skepticism dichotomy. The belief that rational knowledge is possible is a core element of the philosophy of Objectivism.
The truth has nothing to fear from skepticism. Indeed, rationality is skeptical knowledge, in a sense. If someone suppresses or avoids being questioned, and seeks to censor doubts, that is the surest sign that they are hiding something, that they fear rational inquiry or critical thinking, that they want you to believe their assertions when what they say is false, and they know it is false, or they themselves don’t know but they fear it is false, in their hearts, so they attack the skeptic who questions and doubts to insulate their own doubts from irritating their guilty conscience, because your doubts become a symbol of their own doubts in their subconscious minds, and they hide from themselves. As Ayn Rand said, “to name the unnamed,” to openly state the doubt or the question or the need for a test, to openly ask why and to call the belief into question, is the surest antidote to this type of fear. When someone has no answers, they seek to avoid the questions, but if they have answers, then they do not fear, or need not fear, skepticism.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

The Seven Rules of Dating in Emotional Capitalism

The two metaphors of emotional capitalism:
1. Forgiveness as moral bankruptcy: that to forgive someone is to forgive the moral debts that they owe to you, and to forgive yourself works the same way.
2. Trust and love before it has been earned or before you know that someone deserves it, in other words, faith, as a loan of emotional capital: that, to begin a relationship, you give someone a loan, without knowing whether they deserve it, without knowing whether they will ever pay it back, but in the hope that you will be rewarded for it long-term, and this loan is made of emotions, love, trust, hope, friendship, spending time with the other person, talking to them, etc.
Definitions:
Emotional capital: love, trust, respect, politeness, being nice and friendly and cheerful and loving
A loan: to give something to someone not knowing if or when you will ever be paid back for it, in the hopes that the loan might mature into something worth having, which is then repayment with interest.
Forgiveness: that, if you do something wrong, you owe a debt for having failed, to self or others, to whomever you wronged. Forgiveness is moral bankruptcy, to write off the debt, to wipe the debt off the books.
Rule 1: Give him a loan.
Rule 2: Ask him to give you a loan.
Rule 3: Forgive him.
Rule 4: Ask him to forgive you.
Rule 5: Forgive yourself.
Rule 6: Give yourself a loan (as self-confidence that you can do this).
Rule 7: Give the relationship itself a loan.
These rules make a lot more sense if you have read any of these essays of mine: “On Forgiveness,” “On Moral Psychology and Moral Philosophy,” “To Be Loved, Love,” or “The Math and Logic of Psychology.”

On Love and Romance

Romance as Sex plus Love (an Emotional Connection): 
Platonic Love as an Emotional Connection without Sex, 
Hookups and Friends with Benefits and Being with people who are not your partner while in an open relationship as Sex without Love. 
Level of lust and being horny as intensity of sexual desire, level of loneliness and desire for a partner and best friend and to fall in love as romantic desire, desire for romance as a function of sexual desire times romantic desire. 
If you have one, or the other, or none, but not both, then you do not have romance, instead you have either sex without love, or love without sex, or neither sex nor love. Something can be either disgusting or nice. Sex is disgusting, love is nice, romance is nice. It’s like body, soul, and soul in body. Body is disgusting, soul is nice, soul in body is nice. 
And in love, there is a great belief, a misconception, dating back to Plato himself, that you can either choose someone who makes you horny and for whom you feel sexual desire and are physically attracted to, or choose someone because you love them and have feelings for them or they make you laugh or they’re fun to hang out with, but, in fact, you can choose both. The first is sex, the second is love, the third is romance. Romance includes both sex and love, and this is how I have defined it, as a thing that has those two properties, romance equals sex plus love. You can choose sex, or you can choose love, or you can choose romance, but the odds don’t change any which way, because it is all just random chance if you meet someone who matches the criteria that you’re looking for. In modern times, people tend to look either for sex, or for love, but not both, and they assume that it is impossible to have both, to have true romance, but this is because they assume and accept the premise of Platonic love, that sex and love are opposed and in conflict, that dichotomy, of soul against body, whereas Objectivism says that soul and body should live in harmony, so sex and love can go together, as romance. 
Should you seek romance? You should seek either romance, sex, or love, based upon your own personal preferences and what you want and what would be best for you. If you find that perfect person for whom you feel both lust and love, and you like them and they like you, that’s perfect, but if, for example, you feel love for one person and lust for another, and you feel like you are being pulled in two different directions, that doesn’t prove that soul and body are in conflict, instead it merely proves that being human sometimes requires you to make tough choices, and to make a decision about whom you prefer, whom you would rather be with, to decide what you want in life. 
Then, on top of that, there is more to a relationship than merely being in love, or feeling lust and sexual desire, you have to “make the relationship work,” so to speak, and be compatible, and be able to see each other when you want, and enjoy spending time together, and have shared interests so that you have hobbies or events that you can do together to bond, or enjoy the same restaurants or clubs or bars to go on dates, and be compatible in emotions and psychology, and be the same or accepting or not caring about each other’s religious or philosophical or political beliefs, etc. 
But this is why, since so much has to go right, you probably never find a perfect person, you just find someone you love, and/or think is sexy, and you try to make it work, and forgive as much as you can, and then, if you can’t forgive any more, you walk away, and leave one imperfect person for the next imperfect person. If you’re looking for a soul mate, or the perfect match, on the theory that there is one special person for whom you would be perfect, the logistics of dating and marriage and romance indicate that this theory is not going to be true, you have to find a real person, with some flaws, and love them, you will not find a special snowflake who is the love of your life: the love of your life isn’t a quality that someone has, rather it is something that you create when you have a great relationship and fall in love with someone, but the other person is human, not an angel. 
However, there are things that people want, and people want what they want, so you can, and should, define a baseline level of what you’re looking for, and then reject everyone who doesn’t have what you want, and only look for people who have what you want. And I don’t believe that, when it comes to sex and love and romance, I don’t believe that what you want is something you decide, instead it is based on who you are and what you are, so, in a sense, yes, you are born that way, and you can’t change it, not because it couldn’t be different, but because you would not be the person whom you are if it was different, so it can’t be different because you are you, a thing is itself, “A is A.” 
Such things include, for example, being gay or straight or bi or pan, being into cis or trans or NBs or all, being a top or a bottom or verse, being sub or dom or both, what sort of things you are sexually attracted to like beauty or handsomeness or muscles or tattoos and piercings etc., or qualities of personality, like being nerdy and geeky or being smart or being normal or having a sense of humor or being sarcastic or being simple and sincere or being humble or being audacious and courageous or being religious or being philosophical or being on the Left or on the Right. 
In LGBTQ theory, right now, and recently, there is a big movement for defining sexuality as different from romance, so that a person could be asexual, or aromantic, but these are two different things, and a person could be, for example, bisexual but gay romantic, and want to have sex with men and women but only want to date men, or a person could be straight romantic but gay sexual, and want to date the opposite gender as them but only have sex with the same gender as they are. And those are merely a few examples of the general principle of the attempt to sever sex from love. But, the theory of romance as a combination of sex and love, contradicts this, that, if you are considering sex, and love, separately, you could define your sexual attractions differently than you love interests, but, if what you seek is romance, that will be what you are sexually attracted to plus what you are attracted to for love, and that will be one thing, which is a combination of the sets of both properties, because I have defined romance as sex plus love. 
Historically, it was assumed that romance was the description of a long-term sexual relationship, and that, if you were having sex with someone on a regular basis, the moral and ethical behavior was to love them and be romantic with them. It is only modern times which has sought to separate love from sex, such as with the Friends With Benefits (FWB) relationship type, of a long-term friendship that includes sex, or the Poly, Polyamorous, Open Relationship type, where you are in a long-term open romantic relationship with one person or one set of people (the Polycule) but you then also have sex with other random lovers outside of your primary partner or primary relationships, in order to increase sexual liberation and set people free to have sex without love, or, in reverse, to set people, if they want to, to be free to engage in what they call romantic love but without sexual desire and without lust, as Platonic love. The FWB and Poly, I believe, evolved as a way to have a relationship but also be sexually satisfied, because, in modern times, it was understood that a horny person might want more than one lover in order to stay fully sexually satisfied, which they could never get with romance from one person, but they also wanted the ethical and moral aspect of romance with one person, so Poly (and, to a lesser extent, FWB) evolved as modern evolutions of how to balance the desire for sex with the desire for love. 
But I assert my hypothesis, that, if you find true romance, if you find love with someone to whom you are deeply and intensely sexually attracted and who makes you horny, you could (for a period of time, at least) be sexually satisfied entirely by the one person you are dating, and so these are the set of conditions under which monogamous romance is possible. If you wanted romance, but you don’t care about sex, if you just want to marry your best friend and be married to your best friend and partner in life for 40 years and until such time as both of you are too old to have a libido or care about sex, for example, that, to me, is Platonic love, that is not romance. I have to admit that I think of Platonic love as friendship, not romance, although it an open question what the definition of friendship is, or what it means to be a best friend, and whether being a friend is a lesser included element of dating, such that romance includes friendship, or whether friendship exists in contrast to romance where friendship is love without sex and romance is love with sex. 
What is the difference between friendship without sex and Platonic love without sex? I do not necessarily see any difference, myself. But someone else might say: The friendship is just a friend, but the Platonic love includes romance without sex. But here, “romance” probably refers to a set of acts, like buying someone flowers or chocolates on Valentine’s Day, which, in practical reality, are designed to seduce someone into sex or marriage or into a romance that includes both sex and love. Or someone else might say: the friendship is based on hanging out and having fun and doing things together, but the romance includes a deeper emotional connection, or, perhaps, a willingness to make sacrifices for the other person, in return for them making sacrifices for you in the future, or the hope that they will do so. 
What is love? How do you define love? The meanings and definitions change throughout history, so you should make up your own mind about what to believe, and there are different things you can believe, but if you define sex as a physical connection and you define love as an emotional connection, then I define romance as sex plus love.

Friday, July 29, 2022

My Evolving Position on Abortion

Although abortion has been much in the news lately, I have decided to stop making arguments about it, and to not argue further about whether a fetus is a human life, or whether abortion is murder, or whether a woman has the right to have an abortion, because I have reached the conclusion that both the pro-abortion and anti-abortion movements are motivated 100% by psychological and emotional factors, and 0% by reason and logic, such that reason and logic and argument have absolute zero ability to change anyone's minds on this issue. The anti-abortion people feel the emotional biological impulse, hard-wired by evolution into our animal brains, which is called "the maternal instinct" or "the paternal instinct," to protect the young from threats and dangers, and they feel this towards the fetuses in other women's wombs. Logic and reason would not change such people's minds, because their minds were never decided by logic or reason to begin with.

Then, among men, there is the psychology of men's insecurity in masculinity and challenges to their manhood and feelings of not being manly enough, and of men's hatred and resentment of sex and hatred of women for being the objects of men's lust, for men who blame their lust on women, for which men compensate by attacking women and seeking to rule women and subjugate women to assert the superiority of the masculine over the feminine, which includes ruling over women's bodies and trampling women's rights. Forcing women to bear unwanted pregnancies against their will is a convenient and easy way for men to assert their control over women's bodies. And such men are so stupid that they do not understand that, when a man feels lust for a woman, that lust is an attribute of the man who feels it, not of the woman for whom it is felt, so the man is to blame for the man's own lust, and, if it is a sin, it is the man who sins, not the woman, and it is the man for whom punishment would be deserved. Of course, I have written elsewhere, when analyzed by logic and reason, sex is not a sin, but most (stupid) men have the feeling and the emotion and the sense that it is dirty and wrong and disgusting, so they feel that it is, and they blame women for it, instead of blaming themselves. The men want to make the women feel bad about having had sex, to blame women for the men's sin of having sex with the women, by forcing them to have their babies instead of letting them escape from feeling bad about it by having an abortion so that it would be as though the sex never happened, and the woman would then not feel bad (ashamed, guilty) about it and the unwanted consequence of being stuck with a child to raise that it caused, which the man wants to hang around the woman's neck as a symbol of her sinfulness and wickedness for sex. Nothing symbolizes sex (when sex is between a cis man and a cis woman) better than pregnancy itself, in psychological symbolism and imagery and meaning.

Then, on the other side, the pro-abortion people, either emotionally identify with women, or feel something emotionally right and just and virtuous about freedom for women, or else they are people who emotionally connect with trashy and dirty behavior, and they want women to engage in as much dirty trashy sex as possible, and get pregnant, without consequences, so they see being pro-abortion as a way to promote dirt and trash in the face of the cleanliness which they feel, at an emotional level, is their enemy. They emotionally connect their own moral failures, to the unwanted pregnancies of other women, and believe that neither one should be held accountable or face consequences, so, for them, being pro-abortion is about removing responsibility from people's lives. And some pro-abortion activists know, or feel, that, if this was a man's issue, men would certainly be allowed to have abortions, but men want women to be limited to or defined by their role as mother and wife, so it is an issue of equality, and ties into the social justice and equality narrative that has become the meaning of these people's lives, so they would feel that their own lives are meaningless and worthless if they don't support the pro-abortion position. So it isn't about abortion, it is about their own self-esteem as social justice warriors.

It is pointless to make any arguments using reason or logic or proof or deduction here, despite the fact that I have the ability to make such arguments, because there is no one there to listen, everyone's mind is made up on the basis of emotions and psychology, no one is going to just listen to a rational debate and choose a position based on neutral, unbiased, emotionless reason and logic in this area. There is the Libertarian argument that a woman owns her body, because she makes her body, she keeps her body alive by her own effort of living her life, and so she has the right to an abortion under private property rights, because she owns her own womb and can do with it as she will, but no one will care about that argument, because it is a logical argument. There is the Libertarian argument, called "Evictionism," that a woman having an abortion is not murder, even if a fetus is a human life with full human rights, because it is no different than a landlord evicting a tenant, when that tenant is certain to become homeless and die on the street, or a hospital removing life support from a patient in a coma, who is then certain to die, and the landlord or the hospital would have the absolute right to do this, because the landlord owns the apartment and the hospital owns the equipment, even if they had invited the tenant, or the patient, in to begin with, even if the landlord had initially invited the tenant to rent the apartment, or even if the hospital had initially voluntarily offered free life support to the patient, so the fact that a woman chose to have sex, and even if she intentionally chose to become pregnant, would not be grounds to justify denying her the right to an abortion, because it is her body and she has the right to evict the fetus from it and let the fetus live or die on its own without her help or interference. This was always the logic of the position that abortion should only be legal before the fetus is viable outside the womb, but not after, that, prior to that point, terminating the fetus in the womb is the moral equivalent of evicting the fetus out of the womb, but afterwards, it is not the moral equivalent, because the fetus could survive outside the womb and is therefore not life-dependent upon the woman.

But no one will care about such arguments, despite their strong logic. Abortion has to do with pregnancy, which has to do with sex, which has to do with gender, which has to do with men and women, and sex and gender and being a man or being a woman are areas that the human brain gets so emotional and psychological about, that no room for reason and logic exists. And people have debates, and make arguments, but those are merely for people looking for a pretext and justification for positions they have already chosen to believe in.

Bertrand Russell's Paradox, and Set Theory

In my book "Everything is Something," I set about to accomplish many things, one of which was to refute Bertrand Russell's Paradox. After finishing the book, and publishing it, I realize that I could have phrased my account of his paradox differently, and more accurately. In the book, I describe his paradox as "a set that is not a member of itself." In retrospect, it would have been more accurate for me to have described it as "the set of all sets that are not members of themselves." His logic actually makes far more sense in the second description, than in the first, which I had said. However, in "Everything is Something," I prove, and demonstrate using logic, that every set is a member of itself. A set is the set of all of its members, therefore the set is equal to the set of all of its members, therefore the set is equal to all of its members, and all of its members are within the set, therefore the set is within the set, therefore the set is a member of itself, and this is true of all sets, because it is true of a set as such, of the essential set, because of the essence of a set, and is deduced without reference to any specifics that might differentiate this set from any possible set, which is the methodology of essential logic. The fact that every set is a member of itself refutes both formulations of Bertrand Russell's Paradox, so my error was only in my statement of his paradox, there was no error in my statement of my proof of my refutation of his paradox. The only set which is not a member of itself is the set with no members, which is the null set, the empty set, but, because it has no members, the null set does not exist, it is equal to zero, because it contains zero members, it contains nothing. It can be thought about and conceptualized, but it does not, and can never, exist, in the sense of being a real thing, in reality.

More broadly, regarding set theory, which I discuss at length in "Everything is Something," I later realized this, also: Bertrand Russell (and the early Ludwig Wittgenstein) sought to derive math from set theory, and to prove math using set theory. But math is set theory, math and set theory are identical, so their effort, their quest, their work, was doomed to failure from the very beginning. For example, what is the difference between "a set of ten things," as such, and "the number ten," as such? What is the difference between "a set of one thing," "a thing," and "the number one"? In my opinion, there is no difference. So, the attempt to derive math from set theory, and to prove math using set theory, reduces to the attempt to derive math from math, and to prove math using math, which adds nothing substantive to math itself, as an academic discipline. Philosophy can say how we gain knowledge of math, and what role math plays in the world, and what math is useful for, but math is math, and philosophy does not, fundamentally, add anything to the statement "math is math," for one does math by doing math, not by analyzing math by means of philosophy, although philosophy can add to the understanding of math, to our wisdom with respect to math, so to speak, for example by saying whether numbers exist in the physical world or exist in a separate spiritual or intellectual world or do not really exist at all, which is within the province of philosophy.

And I argue that numbers do physically exist, and there is no need to refer to or rely upon another dimension or an intellectual or spiritual world where numbers exist, and it is also obviously not true to say that numbers do not exist or they are merely our way of speaking about things but they themselves are not real, because we can see that numbers are real, if we look out the window and see a flock of ten robins then we can see with our own eyes, and know beyond doubt, that the number ten is real, because a thing is a set of properties, and an essence is one property or set of properties isolated out of a thing or things and then analyzed using logic, and a number is the essence of a group of things as being a certain particular number or amount or quantity of things, so, if groups physically exist, if, for example, there is a group of ten squirrels living in my back yard, and they are real, then the number ten physically exists, because the group of ten squirrels is a thing that has a property of being the number ten, and a property of being a group of squirrels, and a property of being in my back yard, and the property of being alive today, and so on, for example, and "the number ten" simply uses essential logic to isolate the property of being ten, from a real physical group of ten things, or from many such groups, which is abstraction and induction, and then uses the number ten in math to prove things in math, which is deduction and logic. For another example, if there are three boxes on my shelf, those boxes are the number three, plus many other properties such as being boxes and being on my shelf, and the number three physically exists as those three boxes, because that real thing has the property of being three. And there is no difference between that number ten, as a group of ten things, and that number three, as a group of three things, on the one hand, and the numbers ten and three of abstract theoretical mathematics, in intellectual math, on the other hand.

Our knowledge of math does come from the physical world, and this is why math, and math used in science, can describe the physical world, and is useful for technology in physical reality. As I have also written elsewhere, I believe that math works in science, and math describes the physical world, because I do not believe that there is any real difference between the theoretical abstract space and time of math, on the one hand, and our actual real physical space-time, on the other hand, the only difference is that the first space-time is thought about in some mathematician's mind, and the second space-time is one which exists objectively, outside of our minds, and which we experience as the physical world, but the actual math is exactly the same for both. So, when mathematicians think of an intellectual or spiritual world where math is real, it is actually our own physical reality that they are thinking about. Science, and the scientific world, is essentially the manifestation of the abstract mathematics of space-time into the concrete experiences that you have as a person observing and experiencing the little slice of space-time in reality that your point of view is privileged to experience. Science is really just how all the math fits together to form reality, and to form our experience of reality.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Capitalism is Good, Neo-Corporatism as Neo-Feudalism is Evil

Neo-Corporatism as Neo-Feudalism: Consider this metaphor for contemporary politics in America and around the world: The Corporation as Lord and Knight, the Government as King, The Employee or Worker as Peasant Serf, The Job or Employment as Lot of Land to Till for Life, Your Lot in Life, to which You are Chained, to Farm for Crops, to Pay Taxes to the Lord, who Pays Tithe and Swears Fealty to the King.
Capitalism is Good, and Capitalism Sets People Free. Neo-Corporatism is Evil, It Enslaves People, and to rebel against Neo-Corporatism does not require you to rebel against Capitalism, the two are not one, although many people on both Right and Left are confused and equate the two. The Lord collects the taxes from the peasant serfs, the Lord pays the tithe to the King, (as taxes and regulatory fines and obedience to regulators and obedience to politicians), and the Lord rules in the name of the King (the belief that Government, acting in the name of the public good, has given its approval to the Corporation, as agent of selfish greed, authorizing the Corporation to rule over the Workers in the name of the Government that will protect them and make the system work for them).
And the King’s sword, and the Lords’ Knights, keep the serfs and peasants in their place, and put them down, and chain them to their lot in life, where they make money, which the Knights and Lords steal from, and from which a steady stream of loot goes, from peasant serf to the Lord, who takes his cut, and then back up to the King, as tithe. And, of course, there is an open, revolving door between the corporate class and the political class, so they all, together, form the King and his Lords and Knights, who rule over the peasant serfs, the people, the employees and workers. The serfs are not merely the working class; today, they include the middle class, even the upper-middle class, while it is only the true elite who rule and conquer.
The difference between Capitalism and Neo-Corporatism, is that, in Capitalism, there are only individual humans as legal entities, so there exists a fair and just level playing field in which to do business or buy and sell labor, but, in Neo-Corporatism, there is the legal fiction that the Corporation is a natural person, so the agents of the Corporation can hide behind the Corporation as a legal liability shield and face no legal liability while at the same time dumping all the legal liability onto the individual persons, and drowning individual people in an avalanche of legal liability. This is why the person as individual in contemporary America is "over-lawyered." If the Corporation is Lord and Knight, the lawyers who serve them, and who inflict legal liability upon the Corporation's enemies and upon the Corporation's competitors, are truly the Squires of the Knights, they are Esquire. Lawyers are the swords and shields and daggers and suits of armor and battering rams wielded in battle by the Corporation as Knight, and the wars are fought in courtrooms, not in the old fields of battle, to conquer the enemy's castle, all ultimately under the control of the legal system of the Government, of the King, a King who oversees and supervises his Lords, and even pits one of his Lords against another of his Lords, intentionally, just to watch them fight while he rules over them all.
And the legal liability shield, is the divine right to rule, which the King gives to his Lords, which the Government gives to the Corporations, in return for the Lords managing and collecting taxes from the Serfs, in return for the Corporations managing the employment of the employees and working them to death and seeing to it that they pay their taxes to the Government (and, for what it’s worth, the most meaningful taxes are those collected by the employer, not what people pay directly to the IRS on Tax Day). It’s Neo-Corporatism as Neo-Feudalism.
And the Socialists and Far Left says that Socialism, either Government-Socialism or Anarcho-Socialism, is the solution to Neo-Corporatism. But, in reality, Neo-Corporatism is not, in fact, a form of Neo-Capitalism, it is instead a form of Neo-Feudalism, and we should not blame Capitalism for its sins. Capitalism has done nothing wrong; it is a King and his Lords and his Knights and their Squires who have wronged us. Capitalism has not failed us, because pure Capitalism has never been tried. This system we live in, in the USA, in the Contemporary Era, is something which some call Capitalism, but it is not Capitalism, and don’t be fooled by either the Neo-Corporatists or the Far Left, they want to pretend like they are the two options and it is a war between them, they neither one of them ever want to see Libertarian and Objectivist Capitalism emerge as a viable third option, vastly preferable over the first two.
The serf’s lot in life, his plot of land that he is chained to, is the worker’s job working for the Corporation, which he can never leave, because he would lose his labor union membership and employment benefits and government benefits and health insurance and unvested stock options and whatever money he or his family invested into the training or education to qualify him for the university degree legally required to do his job or to qualify him for the licensing exam to get the license legally required to do his job and the license or university degree itself, too, and if he lost that job he would instantly be under water on credit card debt and/or the student loan debt that he assumed to get the degree and/or license to obtain the job and also be highly unable to get any other job with a comparable suite of salary and government and employer and union benefits with which to pay off that debt, and go bankrupt and fall into poverty, so he cannot leave his job, his job is his lot in life, which is what establishes the worker as a serf, and not as a free man, in this Neo-Corporatist as Neo-Feudal system. The King's law, by decree of the King, states that if the serf peasant abandons his lot of land, which he was destined to farm for his Lord for all eternity, and runs away, the penalty is death.
And, when one of the poor peasants is starving to death, and he steals bread from his Lord to survive, you don’t root for the Lord, you root for the peasant, (assuming that the audience for this drama is ethical and moral and human and “has a heart,” so to speak), and so the whole Robin Hood narrative of Socialism as the antidote to Capitalism becomes plausible, but, in reality, Robin Hood only counters Neo-Feudalism and its King and his Lords, Robin Hood is not an answer to pure Capitalism, because, if Capitalism existed, the peasant serf would not be chained to his job as his lot in life, he would have a thousand paths to earning his loaf of bread instead of having to steal it or starve and see his family starve, and he would be free, and his life would be a lot better, and no need for the Robin Hood story (as a justification for Socialism, in ideology) would exist. In Capitalism, there are no licenses or degrees that the law says you have to have; if you can do the job, if you have the ability, then you do the job, and there would be a private market for health insurance and benefits, so that you could take any job and then buy benefits in a free market with the money you earned, you would not be a slave to your employer and/or your labor union for benefits.
In Neo-Feudalism, a job is something that you own. In Capitalism, a job is something that you do. And you are free to do any job, if someone will hire you and pay you for it. Capitalism is liberating. It would throw off the chains of Neo-Feudalism, if we were to try pure, unregulated, unrestricted, free market Capitalism. Capitalism is freedom. Capitalism would set us free.
Government as Socialism offers itself as the solution to Government as King, and so Government, as the King, becomes a problem that can never be defeated, because the only attempt to defeat it, restores it, as you replace the Neo-Corporatist Government with a Socialist Government, and then the Socialist Government becomes King, and then there is still a King, and then this new King will build a Neo-Feudalist Neo-Corporate structure around him, as he must, because every King requires Knights, Lords, and Squires, in order to administer his Kingdom. Much as, when the Communist rebels of the USSR toppled the Czar, they had dreams of freedom, which were quickly replaced by a cruel, repressive Communist regime, which functioned, in essence, as King of Russia, just exactly as the Czar of Russia had before it. You do not solve Neo-Feudalism by replacing one King with another King (just ask the French about the French Revolution, and what followed it), you solve it with American Capitalist Democracy (as the USA’s Founders did to the British King). It’s sort of like the TV drama “Game of Thrones,” in a weird way: nothing changes if one King dies and another new King ascends the throne, but things change if you change the system from Neo-Feudalism Neo-Corporatism to Capitalist Democracy and Freedom.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Individual Identity is Chosen, Not Inherited

As Ayn Rand wrote, the question isn’t: Who will let me? The question is: Who will stop me? And how can anyone stop me? 

You Can Choose to Accept or Reject Any Racial, Cultural, Religious, or Social Identity that You are Born Into. 

I was born the son of a white Jewish mother and a brown Muslim father, so I was essentially given a choice, choose to be Jewish and white, or choose to be Muslim and a person of color. And I chose: neither. I chose to be an Objectivist and a Libertarian and LGBTQ, and to embrace those cultures, those works of literature, that music, instead of either of the two cultures I was born into. And perhaps it was easier for me, because, as someone who could have belonged to both, I fully belonged to neither, but I firmly believe that anyone can do this. People just blindly accept the culture they are born into, because their family is that and their community is that and everyone they know is that and they told that is what they are and they have no choice about it, and they accept, and obey, when, in reality, they had a choice, only they never knew that they had a choice, and they never figured that out on their own, so they never made a conscious choice, they just accepted what everyone had handed them to begin with. As Rush sang, “if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.” 

And then the counterargument against me is, a white person can choose to embrace Black culture, but a Black person is not allowed to embrace white culture, because the white racists won’t let them, they will decline to recognize them as one of their own. But culture is more than just being hired for a job or being welcomed by your neighbors on one street. Other people do not control what books you read, what music you listen to, what religion or church or temple or services you attend, what plays you see, what TV shows and movies you watch, what type of clothes you wear, what type of social events you attend. Those things are freely chosen. But they define your culture, and your identity, often in ways that denote social, economic, religious and racial identity. 

All of those things are chosen. And the beliefs, and values, and culture, from those things, then, is chosen. And other people can’t control that. That sort of control would require total 100% government state censorship, and, yes, some nations have that, but we in the USA do not yet have that, we have freedom, and, because you have freedom, which you inherited from the Founders through the American Revolution, you have the freedom to choose. You can use that freedom, or decline that freedom, but the freedom still exists, regardless of what you do and whether you choose to believe that you are free or not. 

Throughout history, there were people from foreign nations, who came to America, because they felt they really belonged in America, and they were really Americans, not members of those foreign cultures, and, likewise, there have been people who did not want to be Americans, and who left. As for national culture, so, too, for ethnic culture, religious culture, social culture: you can stay, or leave, and anyone can, if they find a way to get out, or to get in. A person is born with a set of physical traits and attributes, like DNA, but most of the attributes that form the set of attributes which we call identity, are not inherited attributes, instead, they are the meanings that people assign to those attributes. 

For example, being brown-skinned is, in itself, meaningless, it only means something because of the meanings that have accumulated over centuries of history, which meaning everyone assigns to that inherited attribute, so people just assume that the meaning is inherited, but no, it isn't, and that physical attribute could have had any meaning that people had chosen to assign to it. What I inherited, being the son of a white parent and a brown parent, can have many meanings assigned to it: mongrel, Mulatto, mixed race, biracial, and a person could assign good or bad or neutral as a value to it. 

People do not choose their inherited attributes, but they do choose the meaning that they assign to those attributes, and they choose whether they accept, or reject and decline, the meaning that other people have assigned to their set of inherited attributes. It is well established that being a man or a woman is a meaning that is assigned to bodies, it is not, in itself, inherited or defined at birth, although the physical genitals that you are born owning are assigned at birth and are inherited. I argue that this is true, too, of racial identity, and cultural identity, and of any identity. And then some people will call you a traitor if you try to leave your culture because you choose a different one, but it is your privilege, as someone who has freedom, to be free to choose.

Monday, July 25, 2022

On Empirical Logic

Here is a point that I have tried to get at in my previous essays, but I don't think I phrased it in quite the right way, so I attempt to here: Data is counterintuitive. This is the reason why empirical logic is preferrable to spiritual intuition. Oftentimes, a surprisingly high number of times, in fact, you will make an assumption, and hold a belief, that you know is right, and you hold this belief for days, for months, for years, or maybe even for decades, but then, when you actually look at the research, and see the data, and see what the science says, you find out that you were wrong, and the data said something completely other than what you and your intuitions had assumed, even though your assumption seems like it was likely to be right, and what the data says is counterintuitive and unexpected, maybe even strange and odd and unlikely. And it can be embarrassing, to be honest, that you were convinced you were right, and then someone else, or maybe even your own research, points to the data, and proves you were wrong. But, if you believe that data comes from the external world, and that your intuition comes from your own internal mind, and if you believe that the external world is objective reality, then, if your data and your intuition conflict, trust the data, do not trust your intuition, and throw your assumptions out the window and embrace the data. And one should never hide from the shame or embarrassment of having made assumptions that turned out to be wrong, by clinging to them and refusing to abandon them in the face of the data; instead, be intellectually honest, admit you were wrong, and move forward on the basis of what the data shows. There's nothing wrong with making an assumption, but there is something wrong with refusing to abandon it in the face of data that contradicts it. However, I say this only with this one caveat, that raw data says nothing, it only says something to you after you use your logic and reason and your reasoning mind, independently, to analyze the data.

So, to sum, in a pithy motto: You are what the data says you are, and you should do what the data says you should do. (There is also a capitalist version of this motto: You are what the market says you are, and you should do what the market says you should do.) Also, as I have written before: True knowledge comes only from experience.

Also note that in recent politics there have been efforts to politicize science, and the purpose of this short essay was not to have anything to do with that. This short essay is not intended to be political at all, it deals only with epistemology, logic, and the philosophy of science, in a neutral and unbiased way, which is how all data-driven science should be.

How Objectivism Has Helped Me Be a Better Person as an LGBTQ with Autism

Objectivism helped me cope with many of the major challenges I faced in life. Here's how:

(1) Coming out as LGBTQ: My family, and my friends, and my community, were either very negative and hurtful and hateful, or else simply offered no emotional support whatsoever, when I first tried to come out, and I went through the whole thing where my parents got very angry and my mother cried and my father tried to bully me into staying in the closet and I was afraid that all my friends at school would abandon me and reject me, and my school did not have any support groups for LGBTQ youth at that time, and, as a result, I really messed it up when I did attempt to come out, in college, and I had all sorts of shame and guilt and embarrassment and humiliation and low self-esteem because I was LGBTQ, and all the other openly LGBTQ people at my college had come out in high school, and they were out and proud and loud and self-confident and experienced, and I was the only virgin and the only one to come out in college, and their level of comfort and confidence was light-years above my timidity and self-doubt, and I felt embarrassed and humiliated, and it was a definitive moment in my life. And so I went back into the closet, right after college, and then came out as LGBTQ again, a second time, two decades later, but with a bunch of horrors in my life, including addiction issues, mental health problems, and extreme poverty, having happened in the interim, all of which Objectivism helped me cope with and deal with (as this essay explains below). But this story has a happy ending, because I came out, with pride, and I use the philosophy of Objectivism to manage my life, in many different ways (this essay explains that, too. In fact, that's the topic at hand).

What helped me cope with this issue, with coming out of the closet, specifically, was the Objectivist virtue of Honesty. If you're in the closet, and you tell people you're straight, when you're really LGBTQ, that is living a lie, that is telling lies. You can't fake reality. You can't hide from the truth. One day, people will find out, so you should be 100% honest from day one. And, yes, live and let live, and it's none of their business, but you can't use that as an excuse to be dishonest, otherwise that's dishonesty. Be yourself. If your friends or your family or your community can't accept you for who you are, the solution is not to pretend to be someone else, it's to have the courage to be yourself. And there's nothing wrong with being LGBTQ. There's nothing wrong with you. You never begin life as a bad person, and, if you live life with ethics and morality, then you are a good person, no matter what.

(2) Drug addiction and alcoholism: What led me to this was hiding from reality, hiding from the truth, especially hiding from the pain of being LGBTQ and not being out. What helped me cope with this was the Objectivist virtue of Free will. Choice, and individual responsibility, and the power that comes with having free will. You are personally responsible for your choices and for your actions. And, when the day finally came when I quit 420/cannabis and hard drugs, when I quit cigarettes, and when I quit drinking alcohol (these were three different calendar days, not the same one day, although it was all the same decade), I quit cold turkey. I made up my mind that that was it, and that was it. And I have been stone cold sober for over a decade, as of the time of this writing. If you quit, and you really mean it, and you will it to be true by means of your free will, then you will stay quit. You can do it! But you have to mean it. You have to insist on it. And, in a way, my drugs and alcohol phase was a phase where all my friends drank alcohol and did drugs and smoked 420 and I was just trying to impress them, and fit in and belong, and Objectivism says that you should never care about what other people think of you, and never try to impress other people, and never live for the sake of other people, and never live for the sake of what other people think of you; instead, always live for your own sake, and always value only your own opinion. You can want to be nice to others, and look as good-looking as possible for others, and be polite to others, for purely practical reasons, because your social skills might require such, but, in terms of ethics and morality, only you matter, and you should be yourself, and be the person whom you esteem yourself to be. And I am a naturally sober person; I feel at my best when I am sober. And, not coincidentally, I discovered Objectivism in high school, but I had abandoned Objectivism while I was an addict, during my drugs and alcohol phase, and I returned to Objectivism while in recovery and after I had sobered up.

(3) Mental health and mental disorders: What led me to this was drugs and alcoholism. There was a time when I smoked so much 420 and drank so much alcohol that I went nuts and developed mental health issues. What helped me cope with this was the Objectivist virtue of Logic, reason, knowledge, and rationality. The best antidote to mental illness is a firm grasp of reality. Drugs and alcohol alter your brain so that you do not experience objective reality, instead you experience a mind-altered distortion, and that distortion is not real, only objective reality is real. It's as though, when you are drunk, you see the world through a mud-stained dirty pair of glasses, but if you were to take those glasses off, you would see things clearly, and see what things really look like, which means, see the things as they really exist in reality. Reality is real. Existence exists objectively. Being able to tell the difference between reality and illusion is crucial both to mental health and sanity, and to philosophical epistemology, and, somewhat remarkably, I have found that the same set of principles can be used for both uses. In general, if one has a belief, and if what one sees in empirical experience is not what one would have expected to see if that belief was true, then the belief is refuted. I call that the Philosophical Scientific Method, to run an experiment to see if a belief is true. Most insane ideas will fail the test, but sane ideas will pass the test.

I have, or might have, or used to have, or have some symptoms of: Autism Spectrum Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Manic-Depressive Disorder, Depression, Substance Use Disorder, ADHD, Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder, and Atypical Episodic Psychosis, and, although these aren’t mental health issues, they are risk factors: I am LGBTQ (cis gay), and I had emotionally abusive, manipulative, neglectful parents, from a family with severe issues and dysfunction, and I am an only child, and I am mixed race and one of my parents was a person of color. And the amazing thing is, not merely that I survived, but that, to be honest, other than being involuntarily single and finding Mr. Right and getting a boyfriend, I have pretty much everything under control, I am managing my issues. It isn’t easy, and it sucks, but I stay alive. And Objectivism has been like a light of hope in my life, giving me advice and wisdom about what to do and what choices to make. When there is so much wrong in life, you need something to hold onto, and philosophy has been my rock. And I don’t believe it is a coincidence that it was during my period of drug addiction, alcoholism, depression, and psychotic episodes, that I had abandoned Objectivism, after first finding it in high school, and my road to recovery coincided with my return to Objectivism.

(4) Autism Spectrum Disorder and Social Anxiety Disorder: In social situations, because of my ASD, I tend to make mistakes and say the wrong thing, and then, because of my SAD, I tend to feel intense shame and humiliation for having done so. So of course, being social and having a social life was always difficult, and it hurt, too, because I naturally enjoy company and like to be social. But I was born this way. What helped me cope with this, was the Objectivist virtue of Self-esteem. You are a good person, and you deserve to be loved, even if you don't always feel like it. The other Objectivist virtue that has helped me here is the Objectivist virtue of Forgiveness: Not religious forgiveness and not spiritual forgiveness for sins, but human forgiveness, self-forgiveness, that you forgive yourself (and others), and, if you feel embarrassed, or you feel like you made a mistake, or you feel like you failed, you can forgive yourself, pick yourself up, and try again. If at first you don't succeed, try again, but self-forgiveness is what enables you to try and fail many times, and yet continue to try again, with sincere optimism and hope for success each time.

And, over time, I accepted the fact that, in part due to my ASD and SAD and the fact that I spent a lot of time by myself in quiet contemplation and deep thought, because I had no friends to hang out with and no boyfriend to go on dates with, I tend to be smarter than the average person, although my social skills are quite noticeably worse than the average person. I'm also noticeably just flat-out stranger and weirder than a normal person. And there are a lot of people who say that they are strange and weird, but being strange and weird has certain common, conventional ways of being done, that most strange, weird people follow, but for me, the ways in which I am strange and weird are unique. So, one might say that I am the freak among freaks, I am the king freak. And that's just the way I am. That is how God made me. This is the person God wanted me to be. God wanted me to be me. (And when I speak of God, I do so in the metaphorical sense, except when I speak literally.) And I'm okay with that. I'm okay with being me. I wasn't, at first, but, after decades of coping, I am.

I was a normal little kid until around the age of 8 or 9, when I had my first Autism regression, and lost most of my language skills and social skills. At that time, as a tween and early teen, my Autistic obsession became reading science fiction and fantasy novels; I would stay alone in my bedroom reading for hours every day; and I can honestly say that by the time I finished high school I had read over 300 science fiction and fantasy novels. I was shy, alone, withdraw, and mostly unable to talk or socially interact, until I was 15 years old, and what happened when I was 15 was that I read “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged” for the first time, and “Ayn Rand awoke me from my Autistic slumber,” which I say to mock Kant’s famous quote about Hume, that Kant said after reading Hume’s Treatise, “David Hume awoke me from my dogmatic slumber.” Rand’s novels filled me with optimism and hope and youthful idealism and confidence that I lived in a “benevolent universe” and that therefore I would find ways to make friends, and so I did.

After that, I was socially normal, sort of, until age 21, in college, when I did lots of drugs and alcohol because I was depressed, because I wasn’t getting laid and couldn’t get a boyfriend, and I went crazy from doing too much drugs and alcohol, and went through a phase for a few years where I had psychotic episodes, and then had a second Autism regression, where I lost my voice and ability to speak, mostly, and suffered severe social skills degradation, until my 30s. I finished college and slowly recovered my mental health and sobered up in my late 20s, the crowning achievement of which was going to law school and becoming a lawyer; I had just enough verbal skills to navigate going to law school, but that was it. I never spoke in class and had no friends in law school; I was cum laude on the strength of my written exams and papers alone.

As a young man I had undiagnosed Autism; in my 30s I first learned that I was Autistic (and also in my 30s I first learned what Autism was, and heard of Autism, for the first time), and, in my 30s, I learned ways to cope with Autism, which also coincided with the return of my intense interest in the philosophy of Objectivism. (During this period of time, I also went from being very proud and insecure, to trying to be more humble and modest and confident in who I was, which I see as, not a contradiction, but an extension of rationality and Objectivism.) I regained my voice and my ability to speak.

As the culmination of my efforts to regain communication skills and social skills, I had my first kiss, and my first LGBTQ sexual experience, in the same encounter (a random hookup through a dating app) in my late 30s, at age 38, after having felt unrequited lust and longing and intense unsated desire my entire life. The funny, somewhat ironic thing, is that it happened Christmas Day, on Christmas morning, so I sort of like to think of it as the best Christmas Present ever, so I must have been a good person.

By the way, it is definitely Autism, and not something else. I have several other symptoms: I did not babble as a baby and went from total silence to speaking in fully formed sentences at age 3; I have sensory oversensitivity; I have Autism meltdowns from time to time; and I lack basic social instincts that neuro-typical normal people have. My Autism is, and always has been, at its worst with respect to dating and romance and flirting, which is somewhat bitterly ironic because the desire for love and sex is a defining trait of my personality; I have great difficulty flirting with someone else, or knowing if someone else is flirting with me, my brain just doesn’t read flirt signals correctly. I always have had this, and probably always will.

Also, to be honest, I suspect that I am oversensitive to ugliness and to beauty, and I think this comes from my sensory oversensitivity, which comes from my Autism; and I believe that my oversensitivity to ugliness and to beauty is the reason for my obsession with good looks and masculine beauty in a potential lover or boyfriend, and for my inability and lack of desire to date or have sex with men who are ugly or unattractive or even with anyone who is not breathtakingly hot and male-beautiful. I also have a narrow interest with which I am obsessed, namely, philosophy; and, when it comes to philosophy, I have a hint of the Savant Syndrome; I also have the trait, which is Autistic in some ways, that, while I enjoy thinking about philosophy and writing about philosophy, I do not enjoy speaking or talking about philosophy. However, the one good luck I have is there is one textbook symptom of Autism that I never had: inability to make eye contact. I have always been able to make and maintain eye contact and to look a person in the eye.

Social anxiety disorder used to cause me to have such extreme shame and embarrassment and humiliation that I lived in fear of social situations, and avoided them, as a result. And what cured me of this was my theory of emotional self-forgiveness and moral psychology, which I have presented and explained in several of my books and essays. And it cured me. I really honestly believe that philosophy affects what you believe, and what you believe affects how you think, and how you think affects how your brain works, and that can affect and/or change your behavior. What really helped me learn to cope with that mental disorder was philosophy.

(5) Financial problems (The Great Recession): There were some bad people in my life who did their best to ruin my life and sabotage my career, but, in the end, my own mistakes caused me to have these problems, and I can't make excuses or blame other people. What helped me cope with this was the Objectivist virtue of Rational self-interest. You don't control the bad luck life gives you, but you control whether you choose the most rational, most profitable option, the best option, from among the list of available choices, and that means never giving up, and always putting up a fight. (And note that, while some blame the Great Recession on Wall Street inflating the housing bubble which then burst, the facts show that the government was manipulating the home loans and causing the bubble, and government was to blame, and it was the free market, and capitalism, especially fracking technology that made the price of oil and natural gas much cheaper, which ended the Great Recession, and ended my poverty nightmare.)

(6) Day-to-day struggles in life: After a while, when your life is full of mistakes, each day becomes a grind, and it's tough enough just to survive. What helped me cope with this was the Objectivist virtue of Self-reliance. Don't count on other people to clean up your mess. If you want something done, you have to do it yourself. Hold yourself accountable. It's the only way to make it through the mess and reach the other side, where the problems get solved and things get better.

(7) LGBTQ Romantic desires: What led to this being a problem was my initial struggles with coming out, and it took me decades before I finally fully came out, with pride. What helped me cope with this was the Objectivist virtue of Selfishness, and the Objectivist virtue of Freedom: Do what you want. Be rationally selfish, and act to maximize your happiness. That means going after your goals, doing what you want, and living your dreams, regardless of the disapproval or stigma or disrespect of other people, of society, or of everyone else in the world. Their opinions are of no concern. It is only your own opinion that matters, because it's your life. Hold true to the moral integrity of what you believe, even if large numbers of other people tell you you're wrong and do their best to sabotage your efforts. Never give up. Live life for your own sake, not for the sake of others.

For me, I have an issue, over and above merely being LGBTQ, which is that, because I failed to have sex or date as a young man, and I never had the experiences of dating hot young men, that every normal person has, in high school or college, and so my level of sexual and romantic development got stunted and held back at the level of a college kid's, I find that now, as an older man (I just recently turned 40, so I am now in my 40s), I am sexually and romantically attracted only to younger men (especially slim, fit, thin, muscular, handsome young men in their 20s), and therefore, on top of the stigma of being a man attracted to men, I suffer from a second stigma, which is prevalent even among the LGBTQ community, that you should only date around your own age, and an older man should not date younger men. It is not unheard of for an older man to "hook up" with younger men, but to actually want to date them, and be romantic and serious with them, is almost unheard of, and the thought of this deeply offends many people. (There is a name for it, it’s called “age gap dating,” and there is a very, very, very small community of people who do it openly. A lot of hate gets directed towards them.) And the people who condemn me can themselves go to Hell, for all I care, and there is nothing wrong with my desires, it is not pedo, it is just older for younger.

The difference between pedo and older for younger/age gap dating is that pedophiles like little kids, while older for younger people like younger men (or younger women), but not little kids. Pedo is evil and is a one-way ticket to Hell (obviously), while older for younger is ethically neutral, older for younger is good or evil depending on whether your sexual and romantic practices are ethical or unethical for other reasons, older for younger does not in itself say whether you are good or evil. Age gap dating presumes that your boyfriend is physically, emotionally and mentally mature enough to handle a real serious romantic relationship, because the purpose is not just sex, the goal is romance and love. The very thought of pedo is disgusting and repulsive, but age gap dating, as I envision it, would be nice and respectful and loving, it would just be a particular type of fetish or unorthodox sexual practice, it would not be evil. My sexuality is good, and nice, and ethical, my sexuality is not evil.

To be honest, I probably wouldn’t go below 23 or 24 years old – one time I hooked up with a guy from a dating app and he said he was 21 and to be frank I felt bad about it afterwards and then I looked him up on social media later out of curiosity and it turns out he was lying about his age and he was really 24 and it made me feel better about it somehow, in a weird way. And that was how I learned how I really felt about it. And that's the youngest person I've ever been with.

There are also social values against me that say my sexual desires are shallow, and unethical for being shallow, because I care about a man's appearance, I value being physically attractive and young-looking, and for me that is more important than personality and sense of humor and shared interests, and some dating ethicists believe that is evil, and also that I am a hypocrite, because I only like men who are young and thin and muscular, while I myself am older and chubby. There's the whole romance narrative, told in countless crappy --I mean, sappy-- romance novels, about a man like me, who then one day finds that special, older, ugly, chubby, nice, friendly, funny, pleasant man, who charms me and wins my heart, and we fall in love and live happily ever after, and some people get angry when they realize that, no, that's not what I'm looking for, I want someone young and beautiful, and I mean it, I only like men who are younger and good-looking, that is the only type of person I want to date or have a serious romance with, and that just makes some people really angry at me. They judge me and they condemn me.

In your beliefs about what is right or wrong, trust only your own reasoning mind. Do not trust society's judgment, and do not trust your own intuition or instinct, or the instinct and intuition of others; instead, consciously reason what is the truth, by means of objective unbiased neutral reason and logic, and, if you have proven that something is true, then you should know that it is true, and you should know that you know that it is true, you should have knowledge, and knowledge of knowledge, and only trust others if they can prove to you that what they say is correct using logic. And this applies to moral and ethical truth, as well as factual and scientific truth. A moral or ethical truth is a statement about right and wrong, about what you should, or should not, do, which statement can be true or false. But you are the one who must decide, on the basis of your independent thought, what moral truths to believe.

You do not need the moral approval of others or to fear the disapproval of others, in general, and their shame and stigma and condemnation are of no concern, so long as you know you're right, although if there are specific individuals whom you respect then you should pay heed to those particular individuals' opinions. So, if society says that being LGBTQ is evil, or that my desires are evil, and if society tries to shame me, or if it says that my specific romantic and sexual tastes and preferences and desires are evil, then society can go to Hell, and I will just do what I want, and I will find a way to do it. If others tell you that you cannot do something, or if they demand that you obey them, and they would get in the way of you doing what you want, then disobey, and find a way to achieve your goals and overcome their obstacles.

I have observed that, as with the Catholic Church spreading the teaching that sex is a sin, and thereby attacking LGBTQ sexuality and romance, so, too, the socialists and the Far Left preach that money is a sin, and thereby attack capitalism, and they are unified by a central principle, that most humans naturally have a desire for sex and for money, and they say that this desire is wrong, is a sin, and they try to prevent people from achieving their desires and thereby being happy, and they put obstacles in our way, in the way of us living our natural human lives. The Church and the State both traffic in guilt: they create guilt, buy guilt, sell guilt, and consume guilt. When you convince a person that they are a sinner, and make them feel guilty, and you scam and con them into believing that they are evil, then you break them, and then you can control them, so the socialists try to guilt-trip the businesspeople who make money, into letting the socialists steal their money as taxes or steal their work and their businesses by claiming private property for the public good, and the Catholic Church likes to break people into obedience by guilt-tripping them about their sexual desires, for a return to the style of rule of the Dark Ages, where the Church ruled and the individual people were under its control. As the villain in Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead" observes, if a person feels guilty about their existence and their life, then you don't need to whip them, instead, they will bring you the whip and ask to be whipped. You don't need to actively conquer them, because they will surrender of their own accord, and seek to be ruled. But, if a person knows that they are a good person, and if their own reason and logic say that their behavior is ethical, and if they trust their own reason and logic, then they will not obey you, and you cannot control them.

So, as Nietzsche and Rand both separately observed, the tradition of Western Judeo-Christian ethics is a morality designed to produce obedience and power, while Objectivism is an ethics designed to achieve freedom and happiness. The villain in Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead" also says, as his strategy for how to break people's spirits, "Offer poison as food, and poison as antidote." If you get poisoned by the Catholic Church, they'll offer you the Far Left and socialism with which to rebel against the Church as an antidote, and poison you again. If you get poisoned by socialism and the Far Left, they'll offer you the Catholic Church as an antidote, and poison you with guilt a second time. They'll get you coming and going.

Catholic Christianity and Far Left socialism are two sides of the same coin, saying that sex and/or money is evil, and we Objectivists believe that sex, and money, are good, ethical, virtuous, and clean, and honorable, when used in a healthy way, with desires held in reasonable moderation, and that sex and money (like food, and knowledge and education, and health, and a home, and a job, and friendship and love) are among some of the ingredients for living a happy life, and that a person should value mind, body, and soul. We believe that the interests of the soul and the interests of the body are aligned, and there is no conflict of interests between body and soul, although the Catholics say that the soul is tempted by the body's sex, which is dirty lust, and that sex is evil, and the socialists and Far Leftists say that the soul is tempted by the body's capacity for making money, which is selfish greed, and that money is evil. Objectivism has re-conceptualized sex and money in ethics and morality, and created a new moral code, according to which sex and money are good, not evil, are clean, not dirty, but only if they are used as tools to live a healthy, happy, ethical life.

As I have written elsewhere, I call this the Head, Hand and Heart model of ethics, that the soul, the Heart, has desires, which is a person's "why," and which is the meaning of a person's life; the reasoning mind, the Head, figures out a plan for how to achieve those desires, which is a person's "how," and how they live life; and the body, the Hand, acts out and executes the plan, which is a person's "what," and is that person's life; such that mind, body, and soul, are united in the quest for happiness. Most religions and philosophies say that true happiness comes from renouncing desire, but Objectivism says that true happiness actually comes from achieving, and having, the things that you desire, in objective reality. That is not necessarily shallow, because it is only as shallow, or as deep, as the shallowness or depth of your desires are. Obviously, there could be a person who uses sex in a dirty or trashy way, or who uses money in a stupid or criminal way, and Objectivism would condemn those behaviors, but we say that there is such a thing as ethical sex, and ethical money, which makes Far Left socialism and Catholic Christianity equally the enemies of Objectivism. Ethics and morality are about control, power, and freedom: this was the thesis of Nietzsche's theory of the Slave Morality and Master Morality, and this is the central idea in Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" and the philosophy of Objectivism.

By the way, I do not want to be accused of writing that is discriminatory against Catholic Christians. The Catholics have a saying: "Don't hate the sinner, hate the sin." I would turn their own saying against them: I write against Catholicism, not against the Catholics. While I am firmly opposed to the church theology and beliefs of Catholicism, I have nothing against individual Catholic Christians themselves. There is actually a branch of my father's side of the family, from which I am a distant descendent, which was Catholic Christian. The same can be said of the Far Left: I don't hate or dislike Leftists; in fact, some of my best friends are Leftists; but I disagree, at a fundamental level, with the Far Left as a political theory.

For what it's worth, it is also worth considering and incorporating the analysis from my essay "The Right is Masculine, The Left is Feminine, Libertarian is Non-Binary," into this narrative: The Catholic Church, being on the political Right, is male dominated, so they assert that sexuality is a sin, in order to discount women's power over men by means of the woman's beauty and the man's desire for sex with the woman, such that, as men, their assertion that sex is a sin, is really meant to say that women are sinful, because they see women as sexual (and these men are too stupid to understand that the men, not the women, are the sexual ones, are the ones who feel lust, in their theoretical model of sex), so the Catholic teaching is merely an attack on women, designed to make it easier for men to rule, and to deny women any power over men that men might deem legitimate or rightful. There is a certain type of "average" man who can be controlled by a beautiful woman, so the Catholic teaching of sex as sin becomes the man's revenge against the woman. When they say that sex is dirty and trashy and evil and sinful, by "sex," they mean women.

And the socialist Far Left is the equal but opposite: being on the Left, they are more feminine in their political gender, and so they watch and look on helplessly, while combative, assertive men win in business, and make money, and the Left feels envy and jealousy and anger towards the rich men, so they say that money is a sin, in order to deny and attack the moral victory of men who make money, and to say that money is a sin, is these people's revenge against the successful people, the people who get a job and do work and make money and live a solid middle class or upper class life. If you look at the data for the USA, roughly half of people are poor, half are middle class, and less than one percent are super-rich, so the socialist Far Left's assertion that money is evil is the poor's revenge against the middle class and revenge against the rich, where they hate men but have no other tools at their disposal with which to spite men other than ethics and morality. All of the Left's theories are mere empty rhetoric and propaganda and ideology, the impetus, the motivation, is psychological, one of envy and hatred, not theoretical or doctrinal, not a belief that capitalism has failed, and socialism would work better. When they say money is evil, they mean men are evil, and especially that the men who win their battles in the economy and make money and run businesses with success, by means of the masculine virtues of assertiveness and combativeness and toughness and strength, are evil. By "money," they mean men, and masculinity.

But when you let go of the belief that sex and money are sinful, then, and only then, you can believe that to be a human being, who has a natural desire for sex and a natural desire for money, is okay, there is nothing wrong with it, and there is nothing wrong with being weird or unique or different, and it is normal to be better than everyone else in some ways and worse than everyone else in other ways and that doesn't entitle you to either arrogance and pride or to shame and guilt and self-effacement, and then you can live life in a more relaxed way, without worrying about a moral code that it is impossible for real humans to obey (to never have sex, to never make or spend money, to never even think a lustful thought or feel any desire for sex or for money, ever) and not beat yourself up with guilt, and accept yourself for who and what you are, and live with confidence and conviction, and live life with the moral integrity of knowing that you have done nothing wrong and human nature is not evil by nature, humans are not naturally evil. Human nature is good, and to live life as a human in a natural way in accordance with your human nature is good, and "good" here means ethical and moral and virtuous and clean and pure and true. A human should behave like a human, and a person should behave like who they are: that is what "be yourself" means, which I have referred to in other essays as moral alignment and moral harmony, that you, with yourself and what you are, are at one. And that is not evil. That is good. And, if you maintain your moral integrity, then you hold onto the power to put up a fight, and to live your dreams.

There is the argument that humans are a soul, a mind, and a body, and body is the human as animal, soul is the human as personality, and mind is the human as thinker. I agree with that. But this analysis then goes on to say that sex and money belong to the animal, body aspect of ourselves, which is our lowest, basest nature, and that ethics and morality belong to the soul, which is our highest nature, and which seeks to set the soul free from material corruption and the dirty, gross, horrible world of the body, and that body exists in time and decays and dies and is of death, but soul is eternal and immortal and timeless and is of eternal life. And Objectivism says that is bullshit, that is wrong, that is not true. We say that a healthy person has mind, body, and soul, as one, with integrity, and you are a human, with three properties, of mind, body, and soul, not three separate things, a mind, a body, and a soul, each in conflict with the others. And human life is a living body guided by a living mind and motivated by a living soul.

Here one should remember Aristotle's essay "On the Parts of the Animals," where he says that we humans should not get grossed out and weirded out by animal bits and pieces, despite how disgusting they are, they are a part of the natural world, and we too are a part of the natural world. He says you should not fake reality, not even to hide from the animal body parts aspect of reality, despite how disgusting, dirty and gross it might be. There is a difference between being physically dirty, and being ethically and morally dirty, so, while sex (and, sometimes, money) might be physically dirty and filthy, that does not prove, in logic, that it is not clean in the ethical sense. "Clean" in the ethical or moral sense merely means pure, unstained, uncorrupted, good, so, if one uses sex and/or money in an ethical and healthy way, that would be clean, despite that the physical acts could be dirty or muddy or foul-smelling or stained. It was Ayn Rand who said that a soul without a body is a ghost, and a body without a soul is a zombie, while a person is a body with a soul (to paraphrase). You would want body and soul in harmony, as one.

Something can be ethically pure but be physically dirty and/or disgusting. In general, being healthy is ethical, and, in general, keeping clean is necessary to stay healthy, which is why cleanliness is generally regarded as ethical and virtuous, and this has been understood by humans for so many centuries that it has become ingrained in us as an emotional reaction and feeling about right and wrong, but the rule that cleanliness equals ethical virtue is a rule which has exceptions, one of which is sex. Other exceptions include, for example, cleaning your house or cleaning your bathroom, which is a dirty behavior but which is ethical and virtuous, or undergoing surgery or a medical treatment which might be physically disgusting but which might save your life. I maintain that, as a general rule, sex is good, not evil, and sex is akin to love, and is an aspect of love and romance, which are good, and which, in fact, are elements of a healthy human life.

One could infer this analysis about guilt and power and morality from the philosophy of Objectivism, from “Atlas Shrugged” and some of Rand's nonfiction writings, but this analysis is, perhaps, even more evident, in Nietzsche's theory of the Slave Morality and Master Morality, which he explained in several of his essays.