Sometimes It’s Rational to Move to New York

by on January 17, 2008 · 2 comments

Valley rumormonger Valleywag mongs the rumor that PayPal founder and VC/hedge fund manager Peter Thiel is moving to New York to be closer to his current beau. Now read carefully:

An acquaintance of Thiel scoffs at the idea that Thiel would do anything for romantic reasons. Thiel, he says, is an utterly rational thinker. But the heart is capable of its own rationalizations. The mere possibilty that Thiel might maximize happiness, rather than profit, is a comforting thought.

You see thinking of this type again and again in our culture and society – doing things for love is irrational; self-interest is greed – as if there is some wall separating the things we do for ourselves and the things we do for others.

A rational thinker has to fool himself into doing something for love. You really have to be altruistic – irrationally disinterested in yourself – to be a good person. Au contraire. Doing things for love is part of the rational pursuit of self-interest, and it’s good.

Go ahead, Adam. Say something homophobic. Or lovophobic.

  • DMM

    Doing something for happiness and emotional stability can be completely rational. The problem is that the payoff is not always apparent to others. Money and wealth are indicators which everyone can understand. Personal satisfaction and an overall sense of well-being are not.

    I speak from experience, having recently relocated from the west coast, where I’ve lived my entire life, to the east coast to be closer to the one I love. For me, there was little pleasure in loving someone and only spending one weekend once a month, during which we had personal contact and were able to express our love for each other. Yet, the pleasure gained from the time spent together far outweighed remaining separated by a great distance, or the other alternative, destroying the relationship. The logical thing, then, was to transplant myself, since I was fully capable of doing so without doing much damage to my own career. Of course, such a transition may present certain difficulties, but if the foreseeable difficulties are manageable, then doing something for love is completely rational.

  • DMM

    Doing something for happiness and emotional stability can be completely rational. The problem is that the payoff is not always apparent to others. Money and wealth are indicators which everyone can understand. Personal satisfaction and an overall sense of well-being are not.

    I speak from experience, having recently relocated from the west coast, where I’ve lived my entire life, to the east coast to be closer to the one I love. For me, there was little pleasure in loving someone and only spending one weekend once a month, during which we had personal contact and were able to express our love for each other. Yet, the pleasure gained from the time spent together far outweighed remaining separated by a great distance, or the other alternative, destroying the relationship. The logical thing, then, was to transplant myself, since I was fully capable of doing so without doing much damage to my own career. Of course, such a transition may present certain difficulties, but if the foreseeable difficulties are manageable, then doing something for love is completely rational.

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