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I said to someone "To love is to value". He asked me: "So if I value money, then does that mean I love it?" Then it hit me. Is it possible to take the statement "To love is to value" outside the context of romantic love and apply it to anything that we may value such as a child, money, or even a fantastic cup of tea?

asked Jul 08 '12 at 14:27

Humbug's gravatar image


edited Jul 08 '12 at 15:33

Pro Tip: Please don't post different questions in one question posting -- it tends to reduce the quality of answers you'll get, as well as muddle the information structure of the site overall. It becomes hard for searchers to hone in on particular questions and the excellent answers for them because the questions aren't distinct and the answers may be for one or multiple questions simultaneously. Thanks -- Greg

(Jul 08 '12 at 15:17) Greg Perkins ♦♦ Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

First, a logical issue: If I say "to walk is to locomote," I'm not also saying that "to locomote is to walk". What about running?

Statements of the form "A is B" generally imply that A is one class of B, and that there might be instances of B which are not A. You can't just reverse "A is B" to "B is A". "Is" doesn't mean "equals".

So, "to love is to value" doesn't necessarily indicate that all valuing is loving. Valuing is a more general idea, especially given that "love" is generally used in the context of interpersonal relationships.

When Ayn Rand says: "to love is to value" she's trying to disabuse people of the notion that love is selfless. Values, as such, are personal. "Love", however, is a term which has been often been given the meaning "selfless service to others", as in "love your fellow man."

She's saying effectively, that when you love someone or something, it's because you want them or it. She's saying that love is selfish: that love is a personal motivation for a personal end, which is one's own happiness.

answered Jul 09 '12 at 08:47

John%20Paquette's gravatar image

John Paquette ♦

There is some significant context missing from this question.

1) The question doesn't explain why the questioner would expect others unfamiliar with Objectivism to understand the meaning of Ayn Rand's statement, if the questioner himself doesn't understand it and is only using it as an empty slogan somehow meant to make someone "feel good." That literally is what the questioner said about Ayn Rand's statement in another recent posting on this website (link):

I have a "feeling" that this statement [about focusing] is supposed to give me some sort of epiphany like the statement "To love is to value". However, it took me 3 months to eventually truly grasp what that means. I had to understand what is meant by value, judgment, etc. However, at least with that statement I had a lot of resources to lean on.

2) The present question doesn't explain how the questioner learned of Ayn Rand's statement, and what effort, if any, he made to retrace those steps to their original source, to clear up any points of confusion about it, although the excerpt cited above (from a different question) provides an indication.

To learn about the Objectivist identification of the nature of love, one can find four full pages of very illuminating excerpts in The Ayn Rand Lexicon under the topic of "Love." The excerpts include two different excerpts in which the statement, "To love is to value," appear. One excerpt comes from Galt's Speech and discusses love and valuing in relation to the altruist view of love as a disembodied emotional response, and the altruist injunction to "love your fellow man" (indiscriminantly). The term "value" is italicized in that passage, emphasizing the role of values and valuing underlying the phenomenon of love. The other Lexicon excerpt containing Ayn Rand's statement comes from VOS (Chap. 1) and discusses love and valuing in relation to self-esteem (self-love) and the altruist injunction to "love all except self."

In the statement, "To love is to value," Ayn Rand is simply expressing the connection between loving and valuing, which she then applies to alternative viewpoints. The relation is one of subdivision within a wider concept, love as a type of valuing. Loving something (or someone) means valuing it (or him) very highly or intensely. (Mathematicians may recognize the subset-superset relationship here, i.e., valuing as a larger "set" that completely subsumes "love" as a smaller "set" of states of consciousness within the larger "set.")

I see no philosophical problem with loving a good cup of tea, other than to point out that the love is likely to be sharply different in regard to tea than in regard to another person, such as a child or a romantic partner. Also, as John noted, merely valuing something doesn't necessarily mean that one loves it. Loving is the highest, most intense form or degree of valuing, and love itself has varying degrees depending greatly on the object of one's love.

One can love money, too, and Objectivism denies that such love (or the money itself) is "the root of all evil." (Refer to Francisco's Money Speech in Atlas Shrugged, reprinted in FNI.)

answered Jul 09 '12 at 15:08

Ideas%20for%20Life's gravatar image

Ideas for Life ♦

edited Jul 09 '12 at 15:21

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Asked: Jul 08 '12 at 14:27

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Last updated: Jul 09 '12 at 15:21