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  • Print publication year: 2004
  • Online publication date: September 2009

6 - Is it worth it?


Happy people plan actions, they don't plan results.

Dennis Wholey

The nature of human activities is of great relevance in our quest to understand romantic relationships. This chapter distinguishes major types of activities and indicates their relevance to the characterization of work, leisure, love, sex, and happiness. The implications of these distinctions for online affairs are discussed. It is claimed that, from many aspects, online affairs are valuable, but they are not sufficiently complete to replace offline relationships.

Extrinsically and intrinsically valuable activities

Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult.

Charlotte Whittond

Aristotle distinguishes between extrinsically and intrinsically valuable activities. An extrinsically valuable activity is a means to an external goal; its value lies in achieving that goal. This goal-oriented activity is always incomplete: as long as the external goal has not been achieved, the activity is incomplete, and the moment the goal has been achieved, the activity is over. The major criterion for evaluating such activities is efficiency –that is, the ratio of benefits to costs. Time is one of the resources that we try to save when engaging in extrinsically valuable actions. Examples of extrinsically valuable activities are building a house, paying bills, cleaning the house, attending job interviews, and so forth.