Cafe Philo - Thursday, Nov 14th. Topic: Self Love

Join us for two hours of "cafe-style" philosophizing over dinner.

Hosted by Bernard Roy, founder, 15th year of hosting "cafe-style" philosophy conversations.

Moderated by Jack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • Nick A.

    As I understand it, self love refers to our opinion of ourselves. A person could have either a good or bad opinion of themselves and both would be expressions of either self love or the absence of self love. Self love is related to self esteem.

    Love of self in contrast refers to a person's attraction to the potential of their "being." It is what inspires the love of wisdom for example in contrast to the need for self justifiction. The potential for human being has nothing to do with our opinions but rather is the truth from which our opinions have devolved.

    November 7, 2013

    • Herb K.

      Self-love, to me, self-love is more functional and incremental than self-esteem in dealing with one's ongoing actions and reactions in life. It is more like self-understanding and self-forgiveness, the kinds of qualities we want to provide to others. Self-esteem doesn't connect with those mechanisms at all, in reference to others. It is neutral to other people. You are defining "self-love" to be self-admiration and "love of self" as something different, close to my definition of self-love (self-understanding) but more abstract. But the two phrases are so semantically similar that one expects the same definition.

      1 · November 8, 2013

    • Herb K.

      To clarify self-understanding and self-forgiveness, what I have in mind as a prototype is the experience of early feeding in the infant (nursing) and youngster (serving). Both the caregiver and the young person need to get cues from each other to carry on the activity successfully and with satisfaction -- this takes place initially with the possibility of many miscues, mistakes, and frustrations, but can eventually become refined and go smoothly -- from imperfection to completeness. I see this as the prototype of self-love, and it works for me to understand my interactions with the world.

      1 · November 15, 2013

  • Andy m

    Great meet, great subject, great conversation and great people. Love you all and maybe my self ;)

    1 · November 15, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Fantastically educational!

    1 · November 14, 2013

  • Johan

    I am sorry, cannot make it. This meeting is taking much longer than anticipated. Enjoy the conversations!

    November 14, 2013

  • Raju

    Running late will be there in a few.

    November 14, 2013

  • Jack K.

    Another interesting case study for self-love: Lou Reed.

    See the NY Times:

    Lou Reed’s New York Was Hell or Heaven
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/14/arts/music/lou-reeds-new-york-was-hell-or-heaven.html
    ...
    In the volume’s final song, written in 2008 and clearly addressed to Ms. Anderson, Reed wrote about finding a balm for the negativity that had once hobbled him — his propensity to think about the past instead of “what could be,” the rain instead of the sun.

    The magic ability of love to help us transcend loss and self-doubt is the fulfillment of a wistful hope, sketched decades ago, in one of his early and loveliest songs, “I’ll Be Your Mirror”:

    “I’ll be your mirror, reflect what you are
    In case you don’t know
    I’ll be the wind, the rain, and the sunset
    The light on your door
    To show that you’re home.”

    1 · November 14, 2013

    • Frank De C.

      I believe the word enthusiasm derives from those imbued with theism: EN -THUSE! Amy Winehouse is one of those. These lost souls who are encumbered with the weight of the world on their frail shoulders;, they are the emotionally disenfranchised who can't entertain illusions of self-love and refuse to compromise. Artists do NOT love themselves; they get a reprieve while working, but as most analysts know, the motivation for art is reparation of loss from the damage done to internalized objects. Artists need to create another world to compensate for the one they're living in: Whether it's conceptual or abstract.

      1 · November 14, 2013

  • Nick A.

    If the self of self love is an artificial creation, what is self love worth other than as a means for adjusting to society sustained by imagination? The call to wisdom is the call to reality rather than justifying a socially acceptable creature of reaction.

    Another way of looking at it is that humanity lives by imagination with the potential for sustained conscious attention. Imagination and conscious attention are mutually exclusive. The benefits of love of self as opposed to self love can only come through gradually becoming capable of conscious attention. But only a few are willing to admit its benefits so everything remains as it is following the natural earthly cyles described in Ecclesiastes 3 including war and peace.

    1 · November 14, 2013

  • Jack K.

    Hmmm... What evaluations of self-love might be offered for:

    - The Unabomber
    - Genghis Khan
    - Adolf Hitler
    - O J Simpson
    - Jodi Arias
    - Osama bin Laden
    - Add your own favorite bad guy (or pop celebrity!)

    Does their badness serve as a strong indicator of what their self-love must be, or is their self-love independent of their social behavior?

    November 14, 2013

    • Frank De C.

      All of the people herein named I can't associate with self-love. Well I think it begs the question. What is self-love? I intuitively think that hateful or criminal people do not love themselves. They may fortify themselves against loss or hurt, but precisely so, they do not love themselves.

      1 · November 14, 2013

    • Jack K.

      Ahh... so, is hate itself in fate a solid indicator of weak or nonexistent self-love?

      1 · November 14, 2013

  • Frank De C.

    As I said previously, NARCISSISM, in the pathological sense, is a fixation on grandiose ideas from an archaic self that has been reactivated because of faulty upbringing. Rather than being mediated through reality testing and replacing archaic self-concepts with social skills and reasonable achievements, the archaic self is mobilized against inadequacies. That probably obtains in many cases. Maybe Hitler had a narcissistic personality disorder which is also called borderline psychosis. OJ - out of due respect for our system of justice - I can't address since his only criminal conviction was for stealing back his own trophies. Apparently stealing trophies merits more penalties in America than felonious assault. Jodi Arias probably had very low self-esteem and depended on a man's love to compensate.

    1 · November 14, 2013

  • Jack K.

    Can self-love be derived purely from contemplating imagination, or is action required? Or, does action merely reinforce that which is imagined?

    This gets back to the question of whether self-love is inherited genetically, or is developed (socially?).

    November 14, 2013

  • Jack K.

    How closely are self-confidence and self-esteem (and self-love) related? Can one have strong self-confidence without strong self-love, and vice versa, or is self-confidence an effect of self-love?

    Or, is self-love derived, at least in part, from self-confidence?

    November 14, 2013

  • Jack K.

    From Psychology Today:

    "self-love is not simply a state of feeling good. Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth. Self-love is dynamic; it grows by actions that mature us. When we act in ways that expand self-love in us, we begin to accept much better our weaknesses as well as our strengths, have less need to explain away our short-comings, have compassion for ourselves as human beings struggling to find personal meaning, are more centered in our life purpose and values, and expect living fulfillment through our own efforts."

    See:
    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/get-hardy/201203/seven-step-prescription-self-love

    1 · November 14, 2013

  • Frank De C.

    In any case, I did not apologize(for having reasoned opinions do not require apologies). I simply tried to clarify that finding satisfaction and self-esteem in the exercise of mind does not gainsay the contributions of those who give selflessly of themselves to others. I wouldn't nominate Beethoven for a humanitarian award or the Noble Peace Prize. But it doesn't make Beethoven a pariah for being misanthropic or preclude him from finding solace in composing music. And it doesn't hurt to play the Ninth Symphony on special occasions at the UN.

    1 · November 13, 2013

  • Frank De C.

    In this regard, I've found that people who are deeply religious are more generously tolerant of opposing views than those who give religion lip service. No one does charity for self-esteem. They almost certainly do it from a strong sense of self-esteem firstly and secondly from a sense of obligation to their fellow man.I certainly feel more apt to give when I feel good about myself than when I feel I need to bolster self-esteem, although giving does increase self-esteem. I think the logic has to do with the fact that we disengage from the self and become part of the Universal fabric, as Aurelius has it. We lose the self as Jesus said to GAIN it (the IT being a greater self connected identified with others).

    1 · November 13, 2013

  • Frank De C.

    I still go with Shakespeare's "The rarer action is in virtue than in vengeance." Jack I thought Nick's statement referred to what he thought was my compromising the value of charity. I who take off my hat to the Sean Penns of this world. Here is a man who gives so much of himself helping the disenfranchised when he could be cavorting selfishly in Capri. Ditto to Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. Furthermore it's precisely these altruists who ironically enough (to the extent that they DO IN FACT Act from SELFLESSNESS) are least offended by people's opinions of them. If I'm doing charitable work it would offend my sense of altruism to seek any praise or be averse to censure.

    1 · November 13, 2013

  • Nick A.

    Many here are primarily concerned with social philosophy. It's concern is for what is believed to be the societal good. For some reason discussions easily become arguments Those like me are concerned with philosophy as the love of wisdom. From our perspective subjective ideas of right and wrong are not the issue. The issue is to become capable of seeing things as they are. The idea is to reveal the human condition from a higher perspective closer to the source of wisdom.

    Self love is an attribute of the human condition that sustains itself through slavery to imagination. Lovers of wisdom are concerned with understanding its nature and why it denies opening to wisdom. Arguments over the different ways self love affects society is a concern for social philosophy. For example, Simone Weil's explanation of "force" as the hero of the Iliad opens one to the human condition but is irrelevant in arguments over social philosophy.

    http://www.cpfphila.org/NL0602/NL0602%205.html

    November 13, 2013

  • Jack K.

    And what is the relation between self-sacrifice and self-love?

    Can true self-sacrifice occur without true self-love? Might self-sacrifice be a measure of the depth of one's self-love? I mean. can an individual with more intense self-love afford a greater degree of self-sacrifice?

    IOW, does self-love enable self-sacrifice?

    1 · November 12, 2013

    • Jack K.

      Frank, I'm not sure precisely what Nick was saying, but I wouldn't over-parse his comments to suggest that you or anybody else here was insulting somebody. I believe his reference was to anything or anybody who, in the abstract, might be somehow considered a threat to self-love, and how the self, in abstract, might object in extreme to any threat to its self-love. Not that a reaction to such a perceived threat might be fully justified, but simply that it might be expected or predictable. Or something vaguely like that.

      November 13, 2013

    • Nick A.

      Frank, I used the word "you" in a more general form since I am guilty of the same. Sacrifice is easier when our ego profits from it. I remember reading an account of a truly great spiritual teacher's meeting with a students mother. She was an influential person and had a reputation for being charitable. She spoke for a long time on how difficult it was having her responsibilities. He then sighed and said that he understood the trials of responsibility. After all he had 82 wives. She became insulted and soon left. She returned the next day with a smile. It dawned on her that her charity was primarily for her benefit and not those who received help. He just smiled with her. The point is that when self love is the motive, it is as easy to kill as it is to cure. It is enlightening when I see how much it governs my life

      November 13, 2013

  • Frank De C.

    To clarify my comment, I in no way meant to say that charity was a lesser endeavor than creativity or just raising kids. And I'm offended at the implication that I did. Of course I could easily have said that the charitable person would never have advanced the cause of justice or adding a wing to a hospital if he were home writing symphonies. Then, of course, it would imply that one could not find self-love from creativity or knitting sweaters for one's grandchildren. Perhaps a musician would be charging me with demeaning his profession; or a grandmother for questioning the value of her hobby. . But this is what sometimes happens on these public chat sites. Words taken out of context are misinterpreted - sometimes. But since I have too much on my plate to explain what I meant to say when my words are not only questioned (which is understandable and reasonable) but impugned, I will post no further comments on this site. Thanks

    November 13, 2013

    • Jack K.

      Frank, your apology is accepted!

      November 13, 2013

  • Jack K.

    How does self-love relate to or contrast with Maslow's hierarchy of needs? Does it match up with self-actualization? How about the second level of self-esteem? Where in the hierarchy would it start and where would it end?

    November 13, 2013

  • Nick A.

    Unfortunately I have to work tonight so cannit attend

    November 13, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Let me join the conversation if I may...'self love' is the happiness/fulfillment we experience when we are
    at our best, when we embody wisdom, courage, temperance and Justice in our every day actions. Hence true self love is
    not envious and self serving...it is a source of moral growth to others; it is the desire to love our fellow man!

    1 · November 12, 2013

  • Nick A.

    Jack, I agree. For everyone content with life in Plato's cave and its pragmatic responses, concern for absolute truth is irrelevant. It is hard enough getting through the day.

    We cannot experience absolute truth but some are drawn in the direction from where pragmatic opinions have devolved. These are seekers of wisdom which is meaningless for cave life. For these rare ones, humility replaces self love. They appreciate their nothingness in relation to the conscious source of opinions and universal laws. For them, humility replaces self love

    "Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble." Albert Einstein

    November 11, 2013

    • Jack K.

      Sure, one could consciously agree to be a slave to imagination (one's own or that expressed by others), but that voluntary act is no different whether we are talking about imagination or reality. And, yes, the world is filled with zealots who follow expressions of imagination. But, nonetheless

      November 12, 2013

    • Jack K.

      ... But, nonetheless, we remain free to choose whether so follow only that which is visibility before us or that which we believe might be beyond our view.

      November 12, 2013

  • Frank De C.

    "The rarer action is In virtue than in vengeance." Just thought I'd put this here to give the Bard his due. As to the Simone Weil quote, the idea of opening to truth is baffling. What is Truth in relation to whom and to what? Ponius Pilate said it succinctly. "What is TRUTH?" There is contextual truth but no Absolute Truth, as I see it.

    1 · November 9, 2013

    • Nick A.

      Frank, if man on earth becomes extinct, will the universe continue to function? If it does, this functioning is an expression of truth. The universal laws that create and sustain the universe science is partially aware of are true.

      The source of this functioning universe Plato called the "Good." What then gives meaning to truth? Plato said “Man is a being in search of meaning.” For most the human condition has made it so that humanity finds sufficient meaning through imagination promoted by society or the "beast" This is insufficient for a minority who "feel" human meaning and its associated purpose as a greater reality outside the scope of society. Where self love is related to values (meaning) established inside the cave, the love of self reflects the potential to feel the good originating from above of the truth of human meaning as opposed to our normal conditioned meaning. Some call it (awakening.)

      November 10, 2013

    • Jack K.

      Lucky for us human beings, who are "creatures of context", there is no need for so-called absolute truth - in our daily lives we only need that which is true for our context, and woe be unto those who refuse to acknowledge their context. I mean, technically any true statement must embed, imply, or be prefixed by a specification of its context.

      1 · November 11, 2013

  • Jack K.

    Is self-love essential for human beings and human society? If so, which specific human or social qualities are dependent on self-love, and how?

    How might self-love have evolved? I mean, does it have a more rudimentary form in early man and other primates?

    Or... is so-called "self-love" really just a purely social construct that doesn't really have any genetic basis at all?

    November 11, 2013

  • Frank De C.

    In any case, Paul Zweig equates the early Christian idea of individuality through grace in opposition to the imprisoning codifed laws of the roman empire, only to cede to spiritual law. Organization sure took the ginger out of the early church! The Gnostics believed the drunken spark of God was asleep in each human soul - hence the pursuit of individuality and the foundation of self-love. "Even God became enamored of his own form" as Poimandres an early Gnostic text has it. If God is love, he needs an object to love that is equal to himself. Hence love of man in His image is self-love, which man in trying to emulate ends up loving what is less than the divine spark that created him.Thus, one can say that self-love is at once a divine quest and heresy!

    November 9, 2013

  • Nick A.

    I've just read a lot of thoughtful observtions on self love. But what if Simone Weil is right when she wrote:

    “Imagination is always the fabric of social life and the dynamic of history. The influence of real needs and compulsions, of real interests and materials, is indirect because the crowd is never conscious of it.” ~ Simone Weil “Imagination and fiction make up more than three-quarters of our real life” ~ Simone Weil

    What objective value can self love have if it is a result of subjective imagination? Those in need of "truth" would have to be willing to open to it rather than finding meaning through defending imagination. Such people ae very rare amd called to philosophy as the love of wisdom rather than the struggle for self justification.

    1 · November 9, 2013

  • Frank De C.

    Well, the higher virtue lies in seeing yourself in others. That does not preclude self-love, it just extends the self to include others. As Marcus Aurelius says, why rent the fabric of the universal harmony with anger or wilfulness. One can be totally "self" without being ego. Jung would have a lot to say here.

    1 · November 9, 2013

  • Jack K.

    How does selfishness relate to self-love? Is it always "bad", just sometime bad, just a little bad, or does it depend of degree, etc.?

    And how about selflessness, where does it fit in with self-love?

    November 9, 2013

  • Frank De C.

    I recall Debbie Thomas (bless her) black (preferred I believe to African-American!) figure skater who put her medical college over her very good odds of winning the Olympic gold! What character! Nothing bad with winning gold, but nothing bad either with scholastic persistence. In any case, if you don't have a strong sense of self-love, your assets and your deficiencies could haunt you. We all know the beautiful women who treat others with total contempt and the physically or mentally challenged who take their revenge out on the world. Then we have the Sonny Bonos and Angelina Jolies who feel no more privileged than the rest of us and give much more of themselves than required. Or FDR who did more as an aristocratic victim of polio than many able-bodied self-promoters.

    November 9, 2013

  • Frank De C.

    Jack writes "Is there some threshold level of self-love that is "good",... that less ...is clearly dysfunctional? ... would a deficiency be manifested. Would it be analogous to low self-esteem?" Yes, the appropriate level of self-love would be a realistic appraisal. I.e., 'I don't injure others. I'm reasonably attractive, and even if pretty, that's not a character trait, and I shouldn't dwell on it.'- I recall this girl I met who with perfect modesty when a guy called her pretty said to me, "I know I'm pretty. It's no big deal." Adorable!) A deficiency would be manifested in pathological compensation such as a sense of superiority, grandiose illusions, etc. Some of these actresses who self-destruct may actually put all their eggs in the beauty basket and were never raised to have esteem for their more abstract virtues, such as intelligence, scholastic skills, etc.

    November 9, 2013

  • Frank De C.

    Do animals exhibit self-love? Have you ever seen cats? They're doing us a favor by letting us stroke them. Was there ever Noblesse oblige on such a level of narcissism. That's why we love cats. They preserve some of the same narcissism we're forced to surrender.

    November 9, 2013

  • Frank De C.

    Of course self-love can be culturally conditioned. I imagine it must be very difficult growing up as a racial or religious minority in a bigoted society. I remember (vaguely) a twilight zone episode where this beautiful woman feels terribly inferior to the point of suicide. The clincher is that the end of the episode reveals her to be an abomination in a strange planet where people all have grotesque physiognomies! Different cultures have different standards of beauty. Whether it's the Masai or Senegalese in Africa, the French, the Italians or the Swedes, I'm sure each have their predilections as to what constitutes beauty. And these prejudices when they involve character traits can shape behaviors.

    November 9, 2013

  • Frank De C.

    Self-love is a positive, ego-syntonic (that isreality tested. integrated) appraisal of an individual regarding himself.The "opposite" of self-love is (in a psychoanalytic sense) 'narcissism'. Of course, self-love is good. Freud mentions that a person who feels loved by his mother is well-armored for the world (my phraseology). Reality tested self-love is of course what we strive for. When the ego feels inferior(or has not been phase-appropriately anchored to reality by doting parents) he resorts to the "archaic self' with its sense of omnipotence. These are the narcissistic personalities with delusions of omnipotence. Some narcissistic personalities can channel their sense of omnipotence into being great leaders, executives. etc. Some become pathological.

    November 9, 2013

  • Jack K.

    To what extent is or can self-love be culturally conditioned?

    Can self-love develop independent of the cultural context?

    November 9, 2013

  • Jack K.

    Self-love - what good is it? What would we be without it - specifically?

    November 9, 2013

  • Jack K.

    Is self-love learned or developed, or is it instinctive?

    Is self-love conscious or fully integrated into all levels of the mind, conscious and subconscious.

    Do animals exhibit self-love, or is there something distinctively human about it.

    November 9, 2013

  • Jack K.

    Is there some threshold level of self-love that is "good", such that less than that minimum is clearly dysfunctional? If so, how is would a deficiency be manifested. Would it be analogous to low self-esteem?

    Similarly, if there some maximum level of self-self such that more than that would be dysfunctional? Would that dysfunction be like narcissism or something else?

    What feature(s) of the brain or mind moderate maintaining a reasonable degree of self-love? Can it be controlled using the conscious mind? Can others control or influence it?

    November 9, 2013

  • Jack K.

    Is self-love a matter of qualities or can it be quantified as well, such as the "degree" of self-love. I mean, is self-love an all or nothing matter, or can you have weak self-love vs. strong self-love? And, can self-love be weakened or strengthened?

    November 9, 2013

  • Jack K.

    Is self-love simply love applied to the self, or is it something distinct? For example, does love normally require an "other"? If so, what is the "other" in self-love?

    November 9, 2013

  • Nick A.

    Love of self is the awareness of a potential for self we are called to but do not understand since it isn't a product of what has created our understanding. This quality of "self" exists outside the confines of Plato's cave. Love of self requires abandoning reliance on opinions of ourselves in favor of opening to the experiential conscious truths emotional impartiality offers. Since the self of cave life demands condditioned emotional partiality, it isn't easy to do since our pride is created by it. Who can admit what Socrates did when he said "I know nothing?" Yet those capable of the love of self may be able to acquire what I call a conscious human perspective as opposed to an unconscious conditioned cave perspective.

    1 · November 8, 2013

  • Nick A.

    Herb, the distinction I am making between self love and love of self is hard to explain and I've been thinking of how to do it. Let me try in terms of Plato's Cave.

    Self love as I understand it refers to our opinion of ourselves as acquired through our reactions during life within the boundaries created by the shadows on the wall. Society lives in Plato's cave and self love is either created or denied through cave experiences. What we call "self" is created by our reactions within the cave and become expressed as habitual reactions.

    continued

    November 8, 2013

  • Jack K.

    One last initial question: Should we judge or evaluate self-love from the perspective of within the self (reflection) or the view from outside. I mean, is self-love purely about beliefs and intentions, or is it about actions and how one's life is lived?

    November 5, 2013

  • Jack K.

    Is self-love primarily for the self or primarily for society? I mean, did self-love mean the same thing to Adam before and after Eve came along?

    November 5, 2013

  • Jack K.

    Another question: How are self-love and trust connected... or not? I mean, can one have trust without self love and vice versa?

    November 5, 2013

  • Jack K.

    A first question: How are self-love, self-respect, and self-esteem similar or distinct? I mean, are they 100% synonyms or not?

    November 5, 2013

  • Frank De C.

    I'm confused. The attachment in the new e-mail has a start time for the next Cafe Philo as 7:30 and an end time of 10 PM. The wonders of technology that there can be this confusion, if indeed it is in error. Please advise.

    November 1, 2013

    • Jack K.

      Rest assured, the start time is still 6:30 PM. The advertised end time is 9 PM, but we will try to finish around 8:30 PM - and always tend to run a little later.

      November 1, 2013

    • Yen

      @Frank, I don't know why your email says 7:30 pm start...the meetup.com page still says 6:30 pm as intended.

      November 1, 2013

  • Frank De C.

    Be yourself, everyone else is taken.

    Oscar Wilde

    October 31, 2013

  • Yen

    This announcement was inadvertently sent out prematurely.

    October 18, 2013

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