Thursday, 31 January 2013

Beyond NAP: intimacy

Intimacy is the state of being close to another person: emotionally, intellectually and physically. Intimacy is a social value which is not discussed a lot in writings of libertarians and anarchists. But intimacy is at least as important as NAP. Babies who do not experience it die. Grown ups who do not experience it wither.

Intimacy is related to NAP because NAP is generally necessary for intimacy. But it is not sufficient. Non-aggression is passive and intimacy is active. Ones behaviour and language can be completely NAP, but he may have no closeness with anyone. On the other hand many people who are a bit aggressive still manage to have intimacy with someone some of the time.

Here is a table showing what people who influenced me over the years think about the Non-Aggression Principle and about intimacy. For completeness, I also added a column for rationality.

The last row is what I currently think. I have not completelly made up my mind on many detals.

Rationality (private)
Universal NAP (social)
Intimacy (social)
The pope and his crew
Good but faith is better
Good but does not apply to children. Also the need to defend some beliefs, serve in the army and help the needy triumphs non-aggression.
OK, but you should not have greater intimacy with anyone than you have with Jesus.
Murray Rothbard
Yeah, obviously, that's what intelligent people generally do.
People have a natural right to fully own themselves.
Not elaborated on other than in an (incorrect) observation that family is a small communism.
Ayn Rand
The foundation stone. Man's main tool of survival.
Good because violence negates reason and also there are no conflicts between rational men.
Admire great people and spend time with them. Have hot sex with them if they are opposite gender.
Ludwig Wittgenstein
We cannot think or articulate in any other way.
Not interesting philosophically.
Not interesting philosophically.
Stefan Molyneux
Equals thinking. No alternative available. Man's basic survival tool.
Good as the only universal ethics (universally preferable behaviour).
A great thing to achieve with your friends, lovers or family. Possible only with virtuous people.
My thinking now
We cannot articulate thoughts in any other way. Also man's main tool of survival.
1) required for intimacy
2) good amongst your social circle, people you directly interact with and people they care about


a) there are conflicts even between rational men (I disagree with Rand on this)
b) no clear reason why every individual's ethics must be universal. It would be elegant and productive and if they did but moralities of different people can also conflict, like the morality of a lion and a gazelle do (so I do not agree with Molyneux on this)
A great thing to achieve with people. Different degrees possible with different people. Also man's secondary tool of survival.

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