Friday, November 7, 2008

Deep Thoughts: A Moral Issue

I was having tea with a friend of mine and she related to me an incident that took place when she and her friends had gone out for one of those “Sex & the City” nights out on the town. They were having a drink when an acquaintance of a friend of hers said she was breaking up with a guy because he wasn’t rich enough for her. As it turns out, that’s not exactly what she said. She said she was breaking up with him because he pretended to have more money than he actually did, which is completely different. My friend, however, was shocked and horrified. To her, this is the epitome of selfishness and evil and stamps all over her very naive notions of romance and love. This comment impressed her so much in fact, that she went on to relate it to everyone she met, I’m sure with the hope of finding a sympathetic soul who would side with her in thinking that this acquaintance is indeed a Succubus. What’s surprising to me is that she found a lot of hypocritical people to agree with her.

This got me thinking - is it wrong? Is it wrong to consider the financial side of things as well as everything else when entering into a relationship? Is it wrong to be practical in that sense? It is selfishness in its worst possible form? Or is it in fact wise? Wouldn’t it be best to have love and money? To be with someone who has a promising future? Would you marry a loser because you were in love with him? Would you live in the slums and surrender to a life of beans and rice for the sake of true love? Is love enough? Is it in fact love to completely disregard everything else for the sake of what you believe to be true love? And if so, wouldn’t it be important to ask yourself what you love in that person and why you love it when he has no prospects and no future?

Was it evil for Sally (that’s what I’m calling my friend’s acquaintance) to say that she broke up with a poser? Someone who pretends to be something he’s not? Pretending to have more than he has, because to him it’s not the principle of achieving wealth through hard work and considerable effort, but just for show? Is he not the [sic] skum of the earth? Is it not important to first know what you want and who you want, regardless of whether or not it shocks another’s sensibilities and pre-conceived notions of right and wrong? Is it not the worst kind of sacrifice of one’s principles and the greatest character flaw of all to love someone who isn’t worthy of your love and to demand from them what they cannot give, and therefore live out one’s live in misery until circumstance or bravery compel you to break free of an inconvenient situation which is unhealthy and immoral in every sense of the word? Is it not immoral to pretend like money and future don’t matter when choosing a partner? Is it not imperative that the person you choose to give your affections to, and possibly be joined with forever, be the kind of person who can reflect your same goals, aspirations, values and life with? Is it not imperative that this person be someone you can respect?

We have to find someone we can share our lives with, in every sense of the word. Sally did not feel she should be wasting her time on a ridiculous shell of a man who places importance on appearance and who is in essence the personification of vanity. She would rather be with someone who knows who he is and where he wants to go, and she would like to go there with him. Is it so bad that she wants to go to a better place than the one she’s at right now? That she aspires to greater things?

Here is a quote by Ayn Rand taken from an interview she gave Playboy way back in the day:

The only man capable of experiencing a profound romantic love is the man driven by passion for his work -- because love is an expression of self-esteem, of the deepest values in a man's or a woman's character. One falls in love with the person who shares these values. If a man has no clearly defined values, and no moral character, he is not able to appreciate another person. In this respect, I would like to quote from The Fountainhead, in which the hero utters a line that has often been quoted by readers: "To say 'I love you' one must know first how to say the 'I.'"

You decide.


image: Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal in the 1949 version of "The Fountainhead"

3 comments:

someone said...

No, it's absolutely RIGHT to consider future prospects, moral concerns AND financial issues before permanently hooking up with someone!!

Going off on a tangent:
So in certain stories, a girl is convinced to reject a poor (not penniless) suitor on account of his financial prospects. The heartbroken fool then runs off and spends the next several years working with a vengeance to prove that he CAN make money (lots of it) and with it can become part of the high society which once snubbed him.
Eventually, he runs into the girl again (either deliberately or accidentally) and usually treats her with disdainful disgust.

Now, the question is, was her refusal directly responsible for spurring him on to success? Would he have been as motivated, as determined to achieve his goals if he didn't feel he had to prove himself?
Obviously, the fool was capable of greatness and had it in him all along, but would he have put in the time and effort to make his fortune if he wasn't consumed with desperation? Or would he have settled down to live a mediocre, same-old-same-old life?

Sure, he had his heart "broken" (with violins playing and all, like Flor says), but there's definitely a possibility that that is exactly what drove him to success after all.
Final conclusion: Although the fool may enjoy being angry at the girl, he should acknowledge that she did what was ultimately best for both of them in the long run.

Flower Power said...

Amen!

someone said...

P.S. The photo's very glamorous, very classy... looks like they're surrounded by bubbles :)

(Not the right characters for Roark and Dominique tho... he's too old and she's not classically beautiful enough.)