Perfectionism, Possessiveness, Term Limits, and More
Webcast Q&A: 5 February 2012
I answered questions on overcoming perfectionism, false but beneficial ideas, possessiveness in romance, term limits for politicians, and more on 5 February 2012. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers was my co-host. Listen to or download this episode of Philosophy in Action Radio below.
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Segments: 5 February 2012
Question: What is the problem with and solution to perfectionism? Lately, I've realized that I might have a problem with "perfectionism" – meaning that I hold myself to unrealistically high standards in some areas of my life. For example, I feel like I should be much more productive, to the point of being unrealistic about what I can do in a day. What's the basic error of such perfectionism? And what can I do to overcome it?
Answer, In Brief: For a person to seek perfection, based on rational standards that take account of his particular context, is often good. Perfectionism, however, means doing so based on out-of-context or unrealistic standards of perfection. A person with perfectionist tendencies needs to identify them, then think and act consistently based on standards appropriate to his purpose – whether seeking perfection, good enough, or merely adequate.
Question: Should you just keep quiet when a friend's bad philosophy works for him? If someone you know pretty well believes in something mystical, such as "The Law of Attraction" (from "The Secret"), or "The Power of Prayer," and this has helped them move their outlook on life toward a benevolent universe premise, and they are more productive and happier, is it better to leave them with their faulty metaphysics and avoid the topic, or should you try to show them the error? What do you say when they start trying to convince you of the truth of their view?
Answer, In Brief: People in the grip of worse ideas are sometimes helped by less-bad ideas. If you're both willing, you can discuss even better ideas with them. However, doing so is not obligatory.
Question: Is possessiveness wrong in a romantic relationship? I have a drawback: I'm extremely possessive. I expect that the person who loves and understands me – he being the only one who understands me – should be mine and only mine. I can accept other women in his life and contain my jealousy on the condition that he reveals to me every single of them who was, is, or will be. But he should love me the most. And I expect that he should stay with me till the end and that we spend the last days together reflecting on the past and life. Am I wrong in expecting all that from my partner? If so, what can I do to change?
Answer, In Brief: To be possessive means treating your partner as an object to be controlled, rather than an independent individual who wants to share your life. For this depth of problem, therapy is the best option.
Question: Are term limits necessary and proper for good government? Many people – usually conservatives – claim that term limits are essential to liberty. They say that the Founders never intended to have career politicians, and they blame the growth of government on those career politicians and their pork projects. Do you support term limits? Are they an important restraint on the growth of government?
Answer, In Brief: Term limits might be part of the government of a free society, but they're not a panacea.
Rapid Fire Questions (1:00:48)
- Should President Obama be defeated, at any cost?
- What's wrong with going with your gut feelings?
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About Philosophy in Action
I'm Dr. Diana Brickell (formerly Diana Hsieh). I'm a philosopher, and I've long specialized in the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I completed my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. I retired from work as a public intellectual in 2015.
From September 2009 to September 2015, I produced a radio show and podcast, Philosophy in Action Radio. In the primary show, my co-host Greg Perkins and I answered questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life. We broadcast live over the internet on Sunday mornings.
My first book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, can be purchased in paperback and Kindle. The book defends the justice of moral praise and blame of persons using an Aristotelian theory of moral responsibility, thereby refuting Thomas Nagel's "problem of moral luck." My second book (and online course), Explore Atlas Shrugged, is a fantastic resource for anyone wishing to study Ayn Rand's epic novel in depth.
I can be reached via e-mail to email@example.com.