Ayn Rand's Objectivism

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Ayn Rand's Objectivism

I've been reading some on Ayn Rand's Objectivism. I'm finding it interesting for the most part if not a little misguided, at least in my opinion. Her total rejection of altruism for instance bothers me. I think altrusim has its place in society, but find the importance of self-interest. I think the two can be balanced quite easily. Plus, her assertion that one needs a moral code to know good from evil. I think this little better than theists asserting thesim for the same reason. Simply following the Golden Rule and realizing if one's actions or choices cause mental or physical suffering, then refraining from doing those actions and making those choices. Anyway, I'm curious about everyone's opinion on Ayn Rand and her philosophy. Perhaps some links to good critizisms of her work would also be helpful. Basically I'm looking for a "other-side of the story" perspective, if you will. Thanks.

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I'm new to Ayn Rand,

I'm new to Ayn Rand, however, a member of my secular group is a hard core Ayn Rand fan. He is also against altruism and I do agree with you that altruism has a place in society.

I'm not too sure what to think about Ann Raynd, I need to buy some books and read them any suggestion on where to start with Ayn Rand?

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The little I've read of Rand

The little I've read of Rand is on Wiki and that was likely to be written by one of her advocates. Nevertheless, the writer seemed to make an interesting point about how her views on altruism are commonly misunderstood.

She didn't deny altruistic practice...
I see a distinction between Rational Selfishness and Psychological Selfishness.
Rational selfishness is doing what is best for your own interests, whatever they might be. That is, it's stupid to chose to do things that make you absolutely miserable. If someone was doing something that was depressing them then surely you would say that they should stop doing it. That is rational selfishness. I think that's what Rand was advocating.

What we normally understand as selfishness is psychological selfishness - caring purely about one's own desires and needs. You can be rationally selfish without being psychologically selfish. Infact, as humans, being psychologically selfish is likely to lead to misery so is actually irrational. The altruism we see as a virtue is the sort that brings us happiness, where psychological selflessness combines with rational selfishness.

Rand seemed only to be stating that we shouldn't be bullied into dogmatically sacrificing our happiness. That's not an argument against altruism as we understand it because we associate genuine altruism as a joyful thing...

That's the impression I got from the Wiki article anyway.
Thoughts? Smile


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Strafio wrote:

Strafio wrote:
Rand seemed only to be stating that we shouldn't be bullied into dogmatically sacrificing our happiness. That's not an argument against altruism as we understand it because we associate genuine altruism as a joyful thing...

That's the impression I got from the Wiki article anyway.
Thoughts? Smile

Yes. Rand was not above bullying people to saccrifice their happiness for the sake of remaining in her inner circle, a group who refererred to themselves as "The Collective" (keep in mind that their happiness relied on thsi inner circle as these folks adored her in mych the way the Sanyassins admired Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh). An example was her attempts to get then inner pal and anarcho-Libertarian Murray Rothbard to dump the Christian wife he loved. Insead he left the group.

A key problem I see in Rand is that the way her philosphy worked out and the way she lived it simply did not jive. I often separate the two, but don't when their life impinges on their work. For example, as Ted Haggard railed against gays, it is an obligation that his gay affair be criticized. The same holds with Rand. She bullied people into conformity in the name of individualism. Her inner circle were so individualist they even used the same cigarette holder she did. I posted a very lengthy message regarding this over on athieist forums. Perhaps I'll try to like to it (provided I can find it).

 

I was a big fan of hers until I was... say 21 or so. Then while reading "THe Virtue of Selfishness" I came across a line in which she stated that taxes should be voluntary and that people WOULD pay them voluntrily once the understand the benefits of living in a free society. I haven't read a word of hers since, and have since given away the copies of he books I owned. Anyone who thinks that lives in a world far too idealistic for my tastes...

"The obedient always think of themselves as virtuous rather than cowardly."
-- Robert Anton Wilson (1932-2007; R.I.S.)

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LeftofLarry wrote: I'm new

LeftofLarry wrote:
I'm new to Ayn Rand, however, a member of my secular group is a hard core Ayn Rand fan. He is also against altruism and I do agree with you that altruism has a place in society. I'm not too sure what to think about Ann Raynd, I need to buy some books and read them any suggestion on where to start with Ayn Rand?

 

Most anywhere, really. I started as a late teen by reading "Atlas SHrugged". But be warned. Her novels are full of deelply wooden characterization and both this one and "The Fountainhead" end with trite speaches (Galt's in "Atlas Shrugged" is somthing like 75 pages of tiny and tedious type). I tend to be of the opinion that if you've readone of her books you've essentailly read them all.

That said, I always give her writing credit. She wrote in a language that was not he mother tongue and she at least did so better than our current President would...

"The Virtue of Selfishness"  contains the volountary taxation remark to which I referred.

"The Romantic Manifesto" contains her artistic thoughts. This is nice to read because once you undertsand RANd as a person you can start wondering what her "sence of life" really was.

"Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal" (I'd love to hear Chaos Lord's thoughts on THAT one) contains an essay whose title claims that America's persecuted minority is actually large corporations. And to think, many think it's the white man...

 

I encourage you to read her stuff and seriously consider her ideas. You might like them. I don't... 

"The obedient always think of themselves as virtuous rather than cowardly."
-- Robert Anton Wilson (1932-2007; R.I.S.)

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rickcopeland648

rickcopeland648 wrote:

LeftofLarry wrote:
I'm new to Ayn Rand, however, a member of my secular group is a hard core Ayn Rand fan. He is also against altruism and I do agree with you that altruism has a place in society. I'm not too sure what to think about Ann Raynd, I need to buy some books and read them any suggestion on where to start with Ayn Rand?

 

Most anywhere, really. I started as a late teen by reading "Atlas SHrugged". But be warned. Her novels are full of deelply wooden characterization and both this one and "The Fountainhead" end with trite speaches (Galt's in "Atlas Shrugged" is somthing like 75 pages of tiny and tedious type). I tend to be of the opinion that if you've readone of her books you've essentailly read them all.

That said, I always give her writing credit. She wrote in a language that was not he mother tongue and she at least did so better than our current President would...

"The Virtue of Selfishness"  contains the volountary taxation remark to which I referred.

"The Romantic Manifesto" contains her artistic thoughts. This is nice to read because once you undertsand RANd as a person you can start wondering what her "sence of life" really was.

"Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal" (I'd love to hear Chaos Lord's thoughts on THAT one) contains an essay whose title claims that America's persecuted minority is actually large corporations. And to think, many think it's the white man...

 

I encourage you to read her stuff and seriously consider her ideas. You might like them. I don't... 

I also started out reading The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.  I think the description of 'wooden' sums up the characters nicely.  And even though I've read Atlas Shrugged a few times (I like to re-read books), I have to admit I've never gotten through the John Galt speech.

That being said, I tend to find her philosophies very interesting, though I don't necessarily agree with everything.  I was very much an Ayn Rand junky when I was younger but have since mellowed out, mainly because I understand her position more.

I would recommend reading the Virtue of Selfishness.  'We the Living' is another novel of hers and I enjoyed it, though the characters are just as stiff as her later novels.  I haven't read anything by her lately, but her views on love were interesting to me.

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pariahjane wrote:

pariahjane wrote:

I think the description of 'wooden' sums up the characters nicely. And even though I've read Atlas Shrugged a few times (I like to re-read books), I have to admit I've never gotten through the John Galt speech.

Well, they are. Still, it was not her purpose to describe characters as human beings, but as abstractions. I believe she once stated that it was to descriobe man ass he might be rather than as he is. But it does sometimes seem silly. When Dagney Taggart dumps Rearder for Galt, Readen doesn't get bummed. He decides that as Galt is the more rational between Galt and himself, Galt must be the better man. Trust me, as a guy who has been dumped, that's silly...

As far as Galt's speech... Well, don't bother. It's kind of a summation of her thought. Actually, that speech might be a good place to start. I believe it is included in "For the New Intellectual"...

pariahjane wrote:
I was very much an Ayn Rand junky when I was younger but have since mellowed out, mainly because I understand her position more.

That tends to be the case. As you have more experience in the world you see that many of he notions simply aren't so..

pariahjane wrote:
I would recommend reading the Virtue of Selfishness. 'We the Living' is another novel of hers and I enjoyed it, though the characters are just as stiff as her later novels. I haven't read anything by her lately, but her views on love were interesting to me.

 There are other non-Rand books: Barbra Branden's "The Passon of Ayn Rand" is actually rather interesting. Nathaniel Branden's "Judgement Day" is adequate. I'm not sure if either is in print.

The book "The Ayn Rand Cult" contains many of the incidents to which I referred in my Atheist Forums message. It also breaks down the lements of parts of her thoguh to reveal that the most rational person since Aristotle was actually rather derivative in many aspects.

When I was in my late tenns I found a copy of an interview she did with "Playboy". I'm not sure you'll ever find it (try "the Google), but as I recall it was kind of interesting...

 

 

"The obedient always think of themselves as virtuous rather than cowardly."
-- Robert Anton Wilson (1932-2007; R.I.S.)

"Don't fuck with the Jesus because the Jesus will fuck you up!"
-- The Jesus


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pariahjane wrote: (I like

pariahjane wrote:
(I like to re-read books), I have to admit I've never gotten through the John Galt speech.

 

There's nothing wrong with that. I go back every so often an re-read "Moby Dick" (a very deep novel). I've also done the same with "Zen and the Art of Motorcucle Maintenece"... Stop laughing at that one, goddammit! 

"The obedient always think of themselves as virtuous rather than cowardly."
-- Robert Anton Wilson (1932-2007; R.I.S.)

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rickcopeland648

rickcopeland648 wrote:

pariahjane wrote:
(I like to re-read books), I have to admit I've never gotten through the John Galt speech.

 

There's nothing wrong with that. I go back every so often an re-read "Moby Dick" (a very deep novel). I've also done the same with "Zen and the Art of Motorcucle Maintenece"... Stop laughing at that one, goddammit! 

 

I have the Ayn Rand annals (or something like that ) and it has parts of her interview with Playboy.

I've read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenence a few times as well.  I'm embarassed to admit it, but the entire point of the book went completely over my head the first time I read it and had to pointed out to me!  I still don't think I understood the second time either.  (Something about the ghost, I forget).

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pariahjane wrote:

pariahjane wrote:
I've read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenence a few times as well. I'm embarassed to admit it, but the entire point of the book went completely over my head the first time I read it and had to pointed out to me! I still don't think I understood the second time either. (Something about the ghost, I forget).

 

Sorta. It ties into Taosim and Zen thought when he gets into his whole "metaphysics of quality" thing. But when you tie into Taosim you often tie into Zen as Zen started by Buddhism migrating into southern China and intermingling with Taosim. Much the same way that Christianity interbred with the polythistic pagan religions and wound up with Catholicisms praying to parton saints. At least that's how it always seemed to me...

The Fragile: Here's the url for my Randrant: http://www.atheistforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=890&highlight=ayn+rand

It's nothing spectacular, I just didn't feel like regurgitating it...

"The obedient always think of themselves as virtuous rather than cowardly."
-- Robert Anton Wilson (1932-2007; R.I.S.)

"Don't fuck with the Jesus because the Jesus will fuck you up!"
-- The Jesus


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Everyone seems to be talking

Everyone seems to be talking about reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenaince as if it's a dirty little secret. I really liked it and thought that it was, among other things, a great introduction into many philosophical issues like what philosophy even is. I got the 25th anniversary addition that had some minor changes to make it more understandable (the 'ghost' character's words are in bold to distinguish them) and it also had an FAQ section at the end that explained some things to me.

I'll have to read it again sometime but it's waaay to early yet.
I only read it back in February.


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The_Fragile wrote:I've

The_Fragile wrote:

I've been reading some on Ayn Rand's Objectivism. I'm finding it interesting for the most part if not a little misguided, at least in my opinion. Her total rejection of altruism for instance bothers me. I think altrusim has its place in society, but find the importance of self-interest. I think the two can be balanced quite easily.

Sure. It is within my own self interest to care for others, because 1) as a human, my need for affiliation with others is a basic need in of itself and 2) I have the ability, through empathy, to consider certain others as important as me.

But none of this clashes with enlightened self interest. As already pointed out above, 'enlightened self interest' is not selfishness in the classic sense, enlightened or rational self interest does include considering the interests of others -since no man is an island.

 

Rand sees sacrifice as a great evil, I think sacrifice is only an 'evil' if one is compelled to sacrifice through external controls.

Quote:

Plus, her assertion that one needs a moral code to know good from evil.

There are objective aspects to morality that do not need to be taught. They are related to the basic human needs of food, water, physical safety, affiliation, etc.

Quote:

I think this little better than theists asserting thesim for the same reason.

This is probably why internet theists/apologists/presuppers love to assume that every atheist is a Randian - they see a kindred spirit.

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Strafio wrote: Everyone

Strafio wrote:
Everyone seems to be talking about reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenaince as if it's a dirty little secret. I really liked it and thought that it was, among other things, a great introduction into many philosophical issues like what philosophy even is. I got the 25th anniversary addition that had some minor changes to make it more understandable (the 'ghost' character's words are in bold to distinguish them) and it also had an FAQ section at the end that explained some things to me.

I'll have to read it again sometime but it's waaay to early yet.
I only read it back in February.

I think it was a very good book.  I was just mortified that I missed the entire point.  I think I should get the 25th anniversary edition then! Smiling

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Strafio wrote: What we

Strafio wrote:


What we normally understand as selfishness is psychological selfishness - caring purely about one's own desires and needs. You can be rationally selfish without being psychologically selfish. Infact, as humans, being psychologically selfish is likely to lead to misery so is actually irrational. The altruism we see as a virtue is the sort that brings us happiness, where psychological selflessness combines with rational selfishness.

Very nice. Psychological selfishness, in a very real way, is NOT considering yourself (!) because to really care for your own needs you'd have to consider the needs of significant others, since affiliation is a basic human need. Psychological selfishness is actually a failure to consider the full self, it occurs when you only think of the most basic needs: food, self stimulation (Um, I meant more than what you might be thinking,  i.e. any solo activity like video games) and fail to consider the rest of the needs a healthy human requires:  other people. 

A purely psychologically selfish human race would perish.  

 

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

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rickcopeland648 wrote:A

rickcopeland648 wrote:

A key problem I see in Rand is that the way her philosphy worked out and the way she lived it simply did not jive. I often separate the two, but don't when their life impinges on their work. For example, as Ted Haggard railed against gays, it is an obligation that his gay affair be criticized. The same holds with Rand. She bullied people into conformity in the name of individualism. Her inner circle were so individualist they even used the same cigarette holder she did.

LOL

That reminds me of Peikoff's book on Rand. In the book, amongst the 10,000 statements that begin with "Rand says..." he notes that the difference between legitimate philosphers and hacks is that the hack is can only copy, can only go around citing the works of others.... do you think Peikoff had even the slightest twinge of self awareness when he wrote that?

 

Quote:

Most anywhere, really. I started as a late teen by reading "Atlas SHrugged". But be warned. Her novels are full of deelply wooden characterization and both this one and "The Fountainhead" end with trite speaches (Galt's in "Atlas Shrugged" is somthing like 75 pages of tiny and tedious type). I tend to be of the opinion that if you've readone of her books you've essentailly read them all.

I agree with the last part, but disagree (somewhat) with the first. I wouldn't exactly say that her characters are wooden, unless by that you mean that they don't ever change or evolve ( I take wooden to be mean 'dry&#39Eye-wink. Rand's characters are what they are, from the start, and never change, because in a sense they are axioms, not people.... so a 'good guy' remains a good guy unto death, because he is rational, whereas a villian is a villian, because his first principles are irrational.

Since the characters are actually mouthpieces for philosophy, or simply axioms, I think this hurts the stories from a dramatic point of view.

But that said, there are exceptions. The wet nurse friend of Roarke, for example... who starts out serving the looters, and who asks Roarke for a 'real job' when he's facing his death. Not surprising, I found that the most dramatic piece in Atlas shrugged... and perhaps the one time I felt that a character had a real love for another.....

 

 

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todangst wrote: Strafio

todangst wrote:

Strafio wrote:


What we normally understand as selfishness is psychological selfishness - caring purely about one's own desires and needs. You can be rationally selfish without being psychologically selfish. Infact, as humans, being psychologically selfish is likely to lead to misery so is actually irrational. The altruism we see as a virtue is the sort that brings us happiness, where psychological selflessness combines with rational selfishness.

Very nice. Psychological selfishness, in a very real way, is NOT considering yourself (!) because to really care for your own needs you'd have to consider the needs of significant others, since affiliation is a basic human need. Psychological selfishness is actually a failure to consider the full self, it occurs when you only think of the most basic needs: food, self stimulation (Um, I meant more than what you might be thinking,  i.e. any solo activity like video games) and fail to consider the rest of the needs a healthy human requires:  other people. 

A purely psychologically selfish human race would perish.  

 

Ayn Rand says essentially the same thing about love.  I believe she states that to love someone is the most selfish thing of all, because you love that person because they make you happy.  And you want them to be happy because it benefits you.  I don't know if I totally butchered that or not.  That actually makes sense to me though.  I want the people I love to be happy in their lives and to be happy with me so that our lives continue to co-exist comfortably. 

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The_Fragile wrote: I'm

The_Fragile wrote:
I'm finding it interesting for the most part if not a little misguided, at least in my opinion.

 It all misguided.  All of it is idealistic, half-backed, nonsense that crumbles into incoherent on even the slightest inquiry.  If you really look at Rand's Philosophy, it is nothing more than a monotheistic religion, minus God.  Her ideas are so poorly researched, it is hard to interpret her as a good Philosopher.  Her writing is long and drawn out, almost entirely devoted to building up character JUST so they can give speeches.  Look at Roarkes build up...he was built up for hundreds of pages, JUST so he could give his speech.  There is almost no plot to her books.  Furthermore, she makes strawmen of her opponents.  Look at the socialist in The Fountianhead.  No reasonable socialist fucking acts like that.  So, she is just being intellectually dishonest.

So...Rand is a shitty philosopher, and an equally shitty author. 

 

The_Fragile wrote:
erhaps some links to good critizisms of her work would also be helpful.

Just think of her ideas for a moment.  She supports Lasse Faire Capitalism as the only morally justifiable economic system.  This CANNOT work.  History has shown this.  Sadly, it showed this less than 20 years before she wrote her books.  Lasse Faire capitalism inevitably leads to exploitation.  Not to mention her "work hard and you will get ahead" is pure idealized bullshit.  If that was the case, why don't factory workers get ahead?  I guess they don't work hard.  Yet, she claims to trump reason.  Rands Philosophy is to reason what light is to dark: its polar opposite.

I guess you figured out that I don't like her.

 

The_Fragile wrote:

In reason,

The_Fragile

I suggest not wasting anymore time with her.  The hours you spend reading her nonsense is time you could be doing better things.  Trust me, you will thank me in the end. 

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rickcopeland648

rickcopeland648 wrote:
"Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal" (I'd love to hear Chaos Lord's thoughts on THAT one)

Its an oxymoron.  Actually, I correct myself.  if explotation is an ideal, then capitalism is an ideal.  If paying people a slave wage so some rich, inevitably white business criminal, can eat shrimp as he is working on his next abomination is an "ideal."  They capitalism is great.  Capitalism NECESSARILY implies an inequality of labor, of social and political class and expotation.  Money...not people...is what is important as is what is at the bedrock of capitalism.  Since the whole socio-political structure is organized around money, it and it alone, controls society.  In a society where money is the goal, those with the most money control everything.  Look at the products we have.  Lower quality, for a higher price.  Look at American cars.  They constantly have to be fixed.  Look at a toyota.  Those are well made cars.  Strange that other countries can make dependable cars, but we can't.  Look at the education system.  Why does it suck?  Well, what do the owners of this country have to gain by a group of critical thinkers able to sit down and rationally discuss how hard they are being fucked?   Do I really need to enumerate all the bad things that result from capitalism?  No.  Think of what capitalism produces in the light of Sam Harris's "The End of Faith."  Given relion, we ought to expect religious violence...given the tenets.  Given capitalism, we ought to expect works to have as little power as possible.

What is needed, is a people center political organization...like, I donno, socialism.  Rand is just more material for the white rich owners of this country to jerk off to as they figure out how to squeeze more out their workers.  By that I mean, squeeze more work out of them will less benefits and less pay.  Think the unions popped up out of nowhere?  Unions are in place, percisly to work for workers rights.  Why?  Because the capitalist pigs definitely will not do this.

rickcopeland648 wrote:
contains an essay whose title claims that America's persecuted minority is actually large corporations. And to think, many think it's the white man...

This is so laughably false it isn't even funny.  This is like Christians claiming they are a persucuted minority in this country.  Sorry, but playing victem isn't going to wash.  Save the victem mentality for the actual victems. 

"In the high school halls, in the shopping malls, conform or be cast out" ~ Rush, from Subdivisions


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pariahjane wrote: I think

pariahjane wrote:
I think it was a very good book. I was just mortified that I missed the entire point. I think I should get the 25th anniversary edition then! Smiling

It might vindicate you in some way.
It mentioned there being 3 points to the book, a story about a motorbike trip, a philosophical investigation into quality and a story about a man coming to terms with his past...
Which point the reader focused on depended upon their interests and personality.


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pariahjane wrote: todangst

pariahjane wrote:
todangst wrote:

A purely psychologically selfish human race would perish.

 

Ayn Rand says essentially the same thing about love. I believe she states that to love someone is the most selfish thing of all, because you love that person because they make you happy. And you want them to be happy because it benefits you. I don't know if I totally butchered that or not.

Actually, that sounds like how she responded to the query on love during her famous Mike Wallace interview. Youtube has it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wsr768hdk4

 

Quote:
 

That actually makes sense to me though. I want the people I love to be happy in their lives and to be happy with me so that our lives continue to co-exist comfortably.

Yes. If you look at fairytales, that's the key message:

The evil prince/oger/villian wants to steal away the princess and force her to love him.

The good prince/hero wants to please her/win her love.

 

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todangst

todangst wrote:
Psychological selfishness is actually a failure to consider the full self, it occurs when you only think of the most basic needs: food, self stimulation (Um, I meant more than what you might be thinking, i.e. any solo activity like video games)

Yup! You found my opiate! Laughing


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pariahjane wrote:

pariahjane wrote:

Ayn Rand says essentially the same thing about love. I believe she states that to love someone is the most selfish thing of all, because you love that person because they make you happy. And you want them to be happy because it benefits you. I don't know if I totally butchered that or not. That actually makes sense to me though. I want the people I love to be happy in their lives and to be happy with me so that our lives continue to co-exist comfortably.

 

If I'm not mistaken (and I might be) she goes in to it a tad more. As I recall she views a person's love as the embodiment of their values. That is why her adoration of her husband, Frank O'Connor (a man who accomplished nothing) is so strange. This, of course, is not  to say she was faithfull to him...

"The obedient always think of themselves as virtuous rather than cowardly."
-- Robert Anton Wilson (1932-2007; R.I.S.)

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todangst wrote: That

todangst wrote:
That reminds me of Peikoff's book on Rand. In the book, amongst the 10,000 statements that begin with "Rand says..." he notes that the difference between legitimate philosphers and hacks is that the hack is can only copy, can only go around citing the works of others.... do you think Peikoff had even the slightest twinge of self awareness when he wrote that?

In essence I'm pretty much with you here. For example, if you can't express the pro-Iraq war statement "it's better tofight them there than to fight them over here" in your own words you needn't be taken seriously.

 

Peikioff wrote a book about Rand? I'm sure he broke new philospohical ground with it. He's every much the parasite she called many people. "Intellectual heir"... That's like calling my butt-hair my intellectual heir-- and I'm not even much of an intellectual... Or a butt-hair for that matter... 

"The obedient always think of themselves as virtuous rather than cowardly."
-- Robert Anton Wilson (1932-2007; R.I.S.)

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pariahjane wrote:

pariahjane wrote:

That actually makes sense to me though. I want the people I love to be happy in their lives and to be happy with me so that our lives continue to co-exist comfortably.

todangst wrote:

Yes. If you look at fairytales, that's the key message:

The evil prince/oger/villian wants to steal away the princess and force her to love him.

The good prince/hero wants to please her/win her love.

 

I think I understand what you're saying but could you please elaborate? Are you saying that in fairy tales what the ogre/evil and the prince/good are trying to do is essentially the same thing? I'm just thinking back to a thesis paper I read about the rape of Dominque in The Fountainhead and I'm not sure if that is confusing me.

[MOD EDIT - fixed quotes] 

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rickcopeland648

rickcopeland648 wrote:
pariahjane wrote:

Ayn Rand says essentially the same thing about love. I believe she states that to love someone is the most selfish thing of all, because you love that person because they make you happy. And you want them to be happy because it benefits you. I don't know if I totally butchered that or not. That actually makes sense to me though. I want the people I love to be happy in their lives and to be happy with me so that our lives continue to co-exist comfortably.

 

If I'm not mistaken (and I might be) she goes in to it a tad more. As I recall she views a person's love as the embodiment of their values. That is why her adoration of her husband, Frank O'Connor (a man who accomplished nothing) is so strange. This, of course, is not to say she was faithfull to him...

If I recall, she does go into a bit more but again, I haven't really read much of her stuff lately.  I know that she cheated on her husband and I know that she considered the fact that she had cancer as a weakness, which probably, imo, hastened her death. I did a paper on her a while ago.  Rand certainly didn't practice what she preached.  

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I guess it depends on how

I guess it depends on how they'd behave if the roles were reversed.
If she was in love with the villan and the hero tried to force her with him then he'd be just as much a jackass! Laughing


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Wow, I really didn't expect

Wow, I really didn't expect this thread to generate this many replies. As for my research of Ayn Rand, I think it will probably be limited to this book I'm reading (The Virtue of Selfishness).  As I've said before her ideas are interesting at the very least, but ultimately misguided (and now I don't think I'm alone). I apperciate everyone's input, espically yours Chaoslord, Lol. You seem to have quite a dislike for Ayn Rand. I will say I think I've gained a better understanding for altrusim and selfishness.

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rickcopeland648

rickcopeland648 wrote:

todangst wrote:
That reminds me of Peikoff's book on Rand. In the book, amongst the 10,000 statements that begin with "Rand says..." he notes that the difference between legitimate philosphers and hacks is that the hack is can only copy, can only go around citing the works of others.... do you think Peikoff had even the slightest twinge of self awareness when he wrote that?

 

Peikioff wrote a book about Rand? I'm sure he broke new philospohical ground with it. He's every much the parasite she called many people. 

LOL.... 

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pariahjane wrote:
pariahjane wrote:

That actually makes sense to me though. I want the people I love to be happy in their lives and to be happy with me so that our lives continue to co-exist comfortably.

todangst wrote:

Yes. If you look at fairytales, that's the key message:

The evil prince/oger/villian wants to steal away the princess and force her to love him.

The good prince/hero wants to please her/win her love.

 

I think I understand what you're saying but could you please elaborate? Are you saying that in fairy tales what the ogre/evil and the prince/good are trying to do is essentially the same thing?

I am distinguishing the good from evil characters by noting that the good characters treat their love 'object' as a value onto his or herself. The happiness of both people matters.

A hero would never force himself onto one he loves, if he or she did not love him or her back.

A villian would never consider such things. Only his or own happiness matters.

A good person couldn't even imagine how he or she himself/herself could even want such a relationship. 

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

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I haven't read any of her

I haven't read any of her books, and I don't plan on changing that. From what I've read about her, she isn't worth a penny of my money.

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pariahjane wrote: Rand

pariahjane wrote:
Rand certainly didn't practice what she preached.

 

 

And therein lies the heart of why I don't accept her philosophy. For being so quick to judge others, she fell very short of her own mark. As I previously said, just like Haggard's gay affair should be judged (only) because he judged so many gay people, The "cult of indiviualism" with which Rand surrounded himself (and which she cultivated) is also fair game. As is the fact that Peikoff hasn't contributed anything new to her thought...

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The_Fragile wrote: Wow, I

The_Fragile wrote:
Wow, I really didn't expect this thread to generate this many replies.

I'm not. She can be a very polarizing person. I still think her stuff is worth reading, but I just have huge problems with ideas that cannot be put into practice. 

 

The_Fragile wrote:
I apperciate everyone's input, espically yours Chaoslord, Lol. You seem to have quite a dislike for Ayn Rand. I will say I think I've gained a better understanding for altrusim and selfishness.

 

Actually, Chaos LOrd just doesn't want you to know his secret shame: THat he's a Bush-loving (I mean the President) Republican. Arent you Chaos Lo--I mean Saitou?

"The obedient always think of themselves as virtuous rather than cowardly."
-- Robert Anton Wilson (1932-2007; R.I.S.)

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todangst

todangst wrote:
The_Fragile wrote:

I've been reading some on Ayn Rand's Objectivism. I'm finding it interesting for the most part if not a little misguided, at least in my opinion. Her total rejection of altruism for instance bothers me. I think altrusim has its place in society, but find the importance of self-interest. I think the two can be balanced quite easily.

Sure. It is within my own self interest to care for others, because 1) as a human, my need for affiliation with others is a basic need in of itself and 2) I have the ability, through empathy, to consider certain others as important as me.

But none of this clashes with enlightened self interest. As already pointed out above, 'enlightened self interest' is not selfishness in the classic sense, enlightened or rational self interest does include considering the interests of others -since no man is an island.

 

Rand sees sacrifice as a great evil, I think sacrifice is only an 'evil' if one is compelled to sacrifice through external controls.

Quote:

Plus, her assertion that one needs a moral code to know good from evil.

There are objective aspects to morality that do not need to be taught. They are related to the basic human needs of food, water, physical safety, affiliation, etc.

Quote:

I think this little better than theists asserting thesim for the same reason.

This is probably why internet theists/apologists/presuppers love to assume that every atheist is a Randian - they see a kindred spirit.

 

Todangst: Would you agree that Rand tends to ignore evolutionary biology? By this I mean that she ignores the evolutionary basis of altruism by chalking everything up as external expression of values?

 

"The obedient always think of themselves as virtuous rather than cowardly."
-- Robert Anton Wilson (1932-2007; R.I.S.)

"Don't fuck with the Jesus because the Jesus will fuck you up!"
-- The Jesus


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Chaoslord2004 wrote: By

Chaoslord2004 wrote:

By that I mean, squeeze more work out of them will less benefits and less pay.

Yes. THAT is exactly what we see. Wages are not keeping up with increasing productivity or inflation

Chaoslord2004 wrote:
Think the unions popped up out of nowhere? Unions are in place, percisly to work for workers rights. Why? Because the capitalist pigs definitely will not do this.

I come from a long line of coal miners (I vivdly remember my grandfater dieing of black lung), so I'm quite sympathetic here...

Chaoslord2004 wrote:
rickcopeland648 wrote:
contains an essay whose title claims that America's persecuted minority is actually large corporations. And to think, many think it's the white man...

This is so laughably false it isn't even funny. This is like Christians claiming they are a persucuted minority in this country.

It is odd, isn't it? I mean these guys have the Presidency, the Supreme Court and the overwhelming majority of Congress. Still, all they can do is whine. David Kuo's book "Tempting Faith" (Kuo was the second-in-command of the faith based initiative and an evangelical who left the administration. It's a quick and rather interesting read, but I disagree with some of Kuo's key points) points out that while it might seem like a marketing ploy to cry "persecution", many of them really feel this way. It's the kind of logic of which Lewis Carroll would be proud.

Chaoslord2004 wrote:
Sorry, but playing victem isn't going to wash. Save the victem mentality for the actual victems.

Victims such as white men. Sorry, that mentality just cracks me up. I was talking with a co-worker (a white mormon fellow-- I live in Salt Lake, so I meet plenty of those types) and I just jokingly said "well, we all know the truly persecuted group is the white guy." "It is" he replied. I kept the joke going: "I know." Once he continued I knew that I was joking and he was not. Then he said something that really caught me: "Rick, what you want to be is a bl;ack woman with one leg. Then you get everything". It seems he felt handicapped minorities are among the nation's wealth elite (kinda like Gingrcih referring to the "media elite"-- not that being speaker of the house with his platform and exposure is elite, mind you). Such a strange thought process. I tend to agree with Chomsky when he says these people are correct in being pissed off, but it is misguided... Perhaps we should start another thread on this...

"The obedient always think of themselves as virtuous rather than cowardly."
-- Robert Anton Wilson (1932-2007; R.I.S.)

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-- The Jesus


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todangst wrote: pariahjane

todangst wrote:
pariahjane wrote:
pariahjane wrote:

That actually makes sense to me though. I want the people I love to be happy in their lives and to be happy with me so that our lives continue to co-exist comfortably.

todangst wrote:

Yes. If you look at fairytales, that's the key message:

The evil prince/oger/villian wants to steal away the princess and force her to love him.

The good prince/hero wants to please her/win her love.

 

I think I understand what you're saying but could you please elaborate? Are you saying that in fairy tales what the ogre/evil and the prince/good are trying to do is essentially the same thing?

I am distinguishing the good from evil characters by noting that the good characters treat their love 'object' as a value onto his or herself. The happiness of both people matters.

A hero would never force himself onto one he loves, if he or she did not love him or her back.

A villian would never consider such things. Only his or own happiness matters.

A good person couldn't even imagine how he or she himself/herself could even want such a relationship. 

I see.  Quite obvious, actually.  Not sure how I missed that.  Thanks!

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rickcopeland648

rickcopeland648 wrote:

 

Todangst: Would you agree that Rand tends to ignore evolutionary biology? By this I mean that she ignores the evolutionary basis of altruism by chalking everything up as external expression of values?

 

I think I would agree. She's an old school philosopher in that she seems to believe in a single-bullet theory - creator/looter, while ignoring that the real world is more complex and interactive.

That said, I can see value in reading someone who strives to make one point, and I myself can counter balance it with other readings, so I have no problem with Rand. 

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The_Fragile wrote: I

The_Fragile wrote:
I apperciate everyone's input, espically yours Chaoslord, Lol. You seem to have quite a dislike for Ayn Rand.

the hours spent reading her shit can never be given back to me... 

"In the high school halls, in the shopping malls, conform or be cast out" ~ Rush, from Subdivisions


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rickcopeland648

rickcopeland648 wrote:
Actually, Chaos LOrd just doesn't want you to know his secret shame: THat he's a Bush-loving (I mean the President) Republican. Arent you Chaos Lo--I mean Saitou?

Well, I am bush loving, but in a much sexier context... 

"In the high school halls, in the shopping malls, conform or be cast out" ~ Rush, from Subdivisions


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rickcopeland648 wrote: Yes.

rickcopeland648 wrote:
Yes. THAT is exactly what we see. Wages are not keeping up with increasing productivity or inflation

Thats what the capitalist pigs want.  More for themselves, and less for everyone else.  I think this stems from a really misguided notion:  "he who dies with the most toys wins."  Right... Except you're dead, so you didn't fucking win anything.  You, like everyone else will cease to exist one day.  So, he who dies with the most toys, doesn't win.

But, I think money is a means to an even greater end: power.  Look at politicians.  They have to be rich to get where they are.  They want power.  Money, buys alot of power.

 

rickcopeland648 wrote:
I come from a long line of coal miners (I vivdly remember my grandfater dieing of black lung), so I'm quite sympathetic here...

I love the American dream.  Partially, because it is just that...a dream.  Well, perhaps more of a carefully constucted meme the powerful people gave to the poor people to give them the illusion of hope.  "Work hard, and you will get ahead."  Bullshit, you have to be a moron to believe this.  Sleeping your way to the top, gets you to the top.  Looking good, gets you to the top.  Lieing, cheating, stealing, ect all get you to the top.  This is why, to use a few recent examples, Bill Clinton and Bush were president.  Both, almost equally, are criminal's who ought to be exicuted on the court house lawn for crimes against humanity.  Knowing politics...perhaps the best indicator of success.  Knowing how to play politics, more than everything, determines luck.  If you know the right people, you get ahead.  Sorry, but it actually is WHO you know...not what you know.  There are alot of Ph.D's driving cabs, simply for not knowing the right people.  Working hard will get 1 person in a million ahead

Luck, gets you head.  Being born in the right place, to the right people, during the right time, gets you head.  Case and point: Paris Hilton. 

rickcopeland648 wrote:
points out that while it might seem like a marketing ploy to cry "persecution"

Right.  Everything a politician does in public is the direct result of his subjective probability that it will gather votes.  Everyone likes an underdog...so, lets pretend to be the underdog.  Anything to get re-elected.

 

rickcopeland648 wrote:
Victims such as white men. Sorry, that mentality just cracks me up.

This is the general thinking around here.  White people, are now being persecuted.  Oh well, most people are morons anyway.

 

rickcopeland648 wrote:
"Rick, what you want to be is a bl;ack woman with one leg. Then you get everything"

the best thing to do is to direct him to a sociology class. 

 

rickcopeland648 wrote:
Perhaps we should start another thread on this...

na... 

"In the high school halls, in the shopping malls, conform or be cast out" ~ Rush, from Subdivisions


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Ayn Rand lol Her

Ayn Rand lol Her objectivism is nothing but ripped off and watered down Aristotle with functionalism. I went to the Ayn Rand club at my college ate them alive and got all but two people to quit. It was over for them.

She is a little like Marx in that she does a great job bashing one system and then replces it with someting even worse.

 Most moral questions are not based on reason they are based on emotion and there is nothing wrong with that. This logic vs Emotion paradigm has got to die. It is as silly as Left Vs Right. It is just not how humans work. You make the best choices by weight out both weapons.

Why shouldn't I eat glass? Because it would fucking hurt. I dont reason out how bad it would be for my health bla bla bla I dont pull a Kant and say what if everyone bla bla I just say ouch and nope I wont do that. Why help someone? Becuase it feels good. I taught a handicapped person in Japan the names of all the colors in English today. Why did I do that? Will I get rewarded? No. Will this person ever need it or use it? Probably not. Did it make tham happy yes. Did it make me happy to see him happy? Yes. Thats all the "reason" I need. You know if the reason is because of an emotion then its not purely a reason is it? That does not mean that whatever makes me happy is good. All it means is that emotions can assist my reasoning on moral choices.

 

It's like should I cheat on my girlfriend with this hot girl if I know (I'm very sure) that she will never find out. And the sex is going to make me and this other person happy and my gf will never know so no one wil get hurt so is it OK?

No it is not ok. I would feel guilty and I would do so because of my own imagined hypothetical situation with it happening to me. Now is that irrational? and If so so what does it serve a function for us as a people?

 

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I'm not familiar with Rand,

I'm not familiar with Rand, but from what I hear, I'm probably not going to be a fan. I resent that comparison with Marx though, but lets debate Marxism in a different thread.


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rickcopeland648

rickcopeland648 wrote:
pariahjane wrote:
Rand certainly didn't practice what she preached.

 

 

And therein lies the heart of why I don't accept her philosophy. For being so quick to judge others, she fell very short of her own mark. As I previously said, just like Haggard's gay affair should be judged (only) because he judged so many gay people, The "cult of indiviualism" with which Rand surrounded himself (and which she cultivated) is also fair game. As is the fact that Peikoff hasn't contributed anything new to her thought...

Ayn Rand is interesting to atheists in particular. You have to take what you can and dump the rest. But the part you can take has nothing to do with her specifically, right?

Maybe it was bad luck, but the 2 Randians (they specifically called themslves Objectivists) I've known were in sufferable. I was roommates with them in college. And one was definitely the worst. I once said to him that I think there may be a streak of irrationality in the universe. His response, and I quote, "You sound like a goddamn Nazi!" What could I say against such impenetrably precise logic?

One of his favorite pasttimes was to employ excessive decibels in asserting the objectivity of ethics. Which turned out to be ironic when I discovered that he was stealing from me every time I went home during a break.

Among others, I have a problem with Rand's assertion of the axiom of consciousness. This is supposed to be a refelxively defensible assertion about reality. It sounds important, but is it?

The axiom of talking. In order to SAY that you cannot talk you must already be able to talk.

The axiom of signing. In order to sign that you cannot sign you must already be able to use sign language.

The axiom of assholiness: In order for an asshole to interrupt you and tell you he's not an asshole, he must already be an asshole or else he couldn't have interrupted you.

What I'm getting at is that the Axiom of Consciousness sounds really important but it's really nothing more than an example among zillions of a certain syntactically reflexive structure.


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There is a thread on

There is a thread on www.atheistforums.com where I've been defending (quite well I believe) the principles and concepts of Objectivism and I want to attempt to do the same thing here.

 

Objectivism for me, as an Atheist, represented a break from the dogmatism of religion and gave me what I have reason to believe to be a philosophy that has i the past, and will again reject parts of itself that become inconsistent with living as a rational animal.  Objectivism I believe represents an attempt to unite ideas from every branch of philosophy and present them in a logically cohesive and complimentary way, and apply them today to mankind for the purpose of understanding.

I've been a student of Objectivism for almost a decade now, and the title is such for a reason. I'm not a student of Ayn Rand, and I'm not a student of her excommunications, her character, or of how consistently she applied the philosophy to her own life. I rigorously agree with most critic's of Ayn Rand's character, but I don't pretend to judge those actions because I haven't the adequate knowledge for it. There's a really good book by Jeff Walker that I've read through several times titled, "The Ayn Rand Cult." As you can suspect the subject of the book is about Ayn Rand and points out a lot of the issues many of you have mentioned.

It basically works like this for most people and in the book, Ayn Rand is a straw man. By pointing out flaws in Ayn Rand, this book and many people I know fancy themselves to have disposed of Objectivism.

You can call this a "no true scottsman fallacy" and you might find it weird that a self proclaimed student of objectivism would apply that fallacy to his own philosophy's supposed sacred cow.  My point is that it doesn't matter how Ayn Rand acted because the ideas she borrowed and expanded upon exist for each individual to comprehend independant of her example.  As Leonard Peikoff has inherited the estate he, in collaboration with Ayn Rand, has written the definitive treatise on Objectivism which reads in detail explicitly everything about the philosophy.  The other non-fiction works are sound bites, and although valuable in their own right, are not the definitive presentation of the philosophy.

 To address something I read about voluntary taxation being unrealistic.  However unrealistic you might think it is, I think that you will agree some taxes are beneficial to pay.  If that can be communicated from one person to another with respect to each tax that one may or may not choose to pay, it doesn't seem that unrealistic.  When you think about how wide-spread religion is, and how it's been swallowed whole-heartedly by the majority of the people that inhabit this planet without the slightest piece of evidence, how could you think it's "unrealistic" that a demonstrable fact like "some taxes are beneficial to pay" is so unrealistic?

It's a simple culture change, thats what everyone here at RSS is hoping to accomplish anyway amirite?  Think about the magnitude of the change we're working toward here, thousands and thousands of yeras of faith based religions saturate history and we're hoping to stamp that out by exposing how irrational it is.  A plea for rationality is the bond the two arguements share, whether it's a rejection of religion or a cry for self-governing citizens.

 The rest of this post is cut and pasted addressing some of the same points that were brought up on the www.atheistforums.com site here.... http://www.atheistforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=890&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=15

Excommunications:
I've had friends in the past that I've chosen not to associate with any longer, I'm still cordial with them, but investing emotional energy into people that you know are just going to drag you down or hurt you just isn't worth it, and all of you can think of someone you've done this with. It's part of meeting people, some you like, some you don't. In the attempt to build meaningful relationships with others you learn to screen out what you don't like, and there's nothing wrong with that.  Some you like to begin with, then as time goes on that dies off and you realize you didn't really like em anyway. I would think such is the case especially for an author/philosopher busy promoting her books and philosophy.

"I don't like Rand because she doesn't seem to write arguments, so much as she writes stories in which everyone who thinks the way she does is right. Atlas Shrugged doesn't prove anything - it's just a story book. I'd be more inclined to give her a sympathetic hearing if she'd written for peer reviewed philosophy or economics journals, instead of the fiction shelf."
Ayn Rand described herself as primarily a Novelist, and only later on after the publication of her major works inclined herself to deal with issues of philosophy. Her intention was not to debate philosophy but to depict a vision of what she thought the world could be like. Later on she only started explaining why. For a complete comprehensive presentation of what Objectivism is, I refer you to "Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand" by Leonard Peikoff. I think this book is much more significant than anything Ayn Rand wrote because it is the compilation of Objectivist arguments. If you really want to dismantle Objectivism that book is where you should start, instead of Straw Manning Ayn Rand. Deal with the philosophy, not the philosopher.

(edit: Same applies with Ted Haggard and his  homosexual relationship, it's superfluous to how full of shit Christianity is, and how wrong it is.  It's a brief reinforcement that the ancient philosophy of christianity measures human beings by standards they are incapable of meeting and thus manufactures low self-esteem and guilt, and presents god (jesus) as the answer.  Criticizing Ted haggart for any longer than a moment if ever will suffice but will ultimately not advance the arguement against christainity or for Atheism)

"Too hardheaded. I don't think it's possible to be 100% free of cooperation with others in everything you're going to do in life. Somewhere along the line, you have to blend at least a little."

Objectivism isn't anti-group work and doesn't state that great ideas are incompatible with the old "two heads are better than one" mentality. I can understand where you're coming from when you say "too hardheaded" because many Objectivists fancy themselves to understand opposing arguments before they hear them. I have tried, throughout my study of Objectivism, not to classify people in the same way I classify arguments presented from philosophers. An Individuals understanding of what argument they are presenting lies at some point on a gradient of understanding ranging from ignorance to mastery. Dealing with the argument must first consist of understanding what's being said instead of quickly dismissing all argument and discussion and classifying whoever is presenting the argument as a "Kantian" or whatever. lol you know? I see the point you're driving at there however, if I were to do that to someone it would be because I don't want to spend the time running through the argument. I think even then however there are tons of better ways to handle dismissing someone without arguing with them. I think "Objectivist Fundamentalist" would be a really applicable term to give those kinds of people who engage in the "hardheadedness" we're talking about, and I think it's on par and as equally deplorable as "Christian Fundamentalist" or "Islamic Fundamentalist."  There will always be bad apples in every bunch, I think however that if a person were being misguided but as an Objectivist Fundy they would be much more likely to be intellectually salvagable than someone we could call a Christian or Muslim Fundy.

"Ruthless self-awareness and introspection are far longer and rockier road than blame and trite rationalization. But these important differences separate the majority of people (myself included, though I try) from the truly and admirably unique: That person who is truly and unflinchingly honest; that person who values truth above their own self-image. It is a difference that shows true intellectual honesty. It is as rare as it is admirable, and like most other people-- including myself-- Rand lacked that quality. Hank Rearden would have been saddened."
That was so well put.

"They were, in effect, rationally irrational."
Or rather, rationalizing the irrational until it created the illusion of what they wanted rational to mean.

I think her life is superfluous to what Objectivism offers individuals. Rand was the originator of a compilation. For that she earned my respect, however she's farther from the worshipable heroin type than most Objectivists are willing to admit.

So within this thread, I will take it upon myself to address points presented by you guys to clarify Objectivism.  Make no mistake about this, reading the book for yourself will yeild much more understanding than I can provide short of spending years constructing the points for you here.

So I look forward to your questions. 


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kmisho wrote:

kmisho wrote:

Among others, I have a problem with Rand's assertion of the axiom of consciousness. This is supposed to be a refelxively defensible assertion about reality. It sounds important, but is it?

....

What I'm getting at is that the Axiom of Consciousness sounds really important but it's really nothing more than an example among zillions of a certain syntactically reflexive structure.

 

I'll begin here.

The Axiomatic Concepts of Objectivism do not exist independantly of one another, they imply and require one another. It would be interesting to see anyone attempt to refute them.

Taken from the Horses Mouth. http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=objectivism_pobs

Quote:
Existence and consciousness are facts implicit in every perception. They are the base of all knowledge (and the precondition of proof): knowledge presupposes something to know and someone to know it. They are absolutes which cannot be questioned or escaped: every human utterance, including the denial of these axioms, implies their use and acceptance.

The third axiom at the base of knowledgean axiom true, in Aristotle's words, of "being qua being"is the Law of Identity. This law defines the essence of existence: to be is to be something, a thing is what it is; and leads to the fundamental principle of all action, the law of causality. The law of causality states that a thing's actions are determined not by chance, but by its nature, i.e., by what it is.

It is important to observe the interrelation of these three axioms. Existence is the first axiom. The universe exists independent of consciousness. Man is able to adapt his background to his own requirements, but "Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed" (Francis Bacon). There is no mental process that can change the laws of nature or erase facts. The function of consciousness is not to create reality, but to apprehend it. "Existence is Identity, Consciousness is Identification."

So you have three axioms that cannot exist independantly of one another. Existence, Consciousness, and Identity.

So when you say that you have an issue with "the axiom of consciousness" you've refuted you're own arguement by simply speaking the words. You're ability to formulate such doubt or take issue with such axiom is evidence of how basic, how fundamental, and how axiomatic consciousness truly is.

Objectivism is a philosophy that is deeply rooted in the search for meaning FOR MANKIND and not just abstract thinking for it's own sake. To attempt to eliminate consciousness from the basics of one's own philosophy would be ignoring one's own mind from the beginning onward. Within everything that proceeds from these axioms in Objectivism, these 3 concepts must be called upon whether directly or through a chain of connection back to this fundamental.


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Quote: Todangst: Would you

Quote:
Todangst: Would you agree that Rand tends to ignore evolutionary biology? By this I mean that she ignores the evolutionary basis of altruism by chalking everything up as external expression of values?

This has become an issue because of the way religion has redefined the word Altruism.  The definition of Altruism has changed you see, just like the word Atheism has changed from Etymology into Common Usage.

The Etymological meaning of Atheism is "Without-Belief in a God or Gods" whereas the common usage definition of Atheism is a bit more restrictive "someone who doesn't believe that a god exists."

The Etymological meaning of Altruism is "Self-Sacrifice" and the common usage is a mix between generally "good works"  and "helping others to help yourself."

I was debating a poster on www.atheistforums.com about the meaning of the word Altruism.

He Wrote..

Quote:
Concern for others is the standard definition . Anway, I advocate rational atruism -helping others,but not degrading oneself in doing so. As I stated, mutual altruism is for me in my interest. She had the false dichotomy of capitalism versus communism when we now have regulated capitalism which works for all but we must make it even better for all . This is all for now that I have to state . I hope others can add to this discussion in order to evaluate better her influence . I am certainly glad she opposed God!


Well we need to clarify whether it is, merely "concern for others" or if it's basis of meaning is found in you're motivation. Is it, self-sacrifice/unselfish concern for others... or just "concern for others."

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/altruism
1. the principle or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others (opposed to egoism).
2. Animal Behavior. behavior by an animal that may be to its disadvantage but that benefits others of its kind, as a warning cry that reveals the location of the caller to a predator.

http://www.askoxford.com/results/?view=dict&freesearch=Altruism&branch=13842570&textsearchtype=exact
• noun 1 unselfish concern for others. 2 Zoology behaviour of an animal that benefits another at its own expense.
— DERIVATIVES altruist noun altruistic adjective altruistically adverb.
— ORIGIN from Italian altrui ‘somebody else’, from Latin alteri huic ‘to this other’.

So now the question is, will you accept what the definition is, or can you justify the over-simplification you've made?
Why only merely concern for others? The root of the meaning in the word is "concern for others ABOVE concern for yourself.
"

And so based on that, I made my case.

  The only thing non-sensical here is trying to blend goodwill, mutual respect, and common decency into Altruism for the sake of pretending to fall in line with an ancient religous doctrine who's memes have evolved into an accepted cultural norm while shedding themselves of what they mean for the purpose of promoting the religion and placing this moral ideal as a standard.

The Key is that the memes are evolving nonsensically.

Mutual respect is mutual respect, I treat you nicely and with respect because I want to be treated nicely and with respect, being perfect strangers, there is absolutely nothing to gain from being an asshole. I don't treat others nicely because I feel like it's my duty or because jesus said so, or because it's putting me out.

Goodwill is based on the same principle. Why give money to someone who's house has burned to the ground? (my uncle's house did last month) A deep inner desire to help someone overcome unpredictable misfortune is something we all share, it transcends religion. It would be irrational to give them all of your money (I didn't), but that would be a sacrifice because then you would have none for yourself, your bills your commitments etc... but that would be atruistic. Placing the needs of others above yourself and at your expense.

It is the doctrine of self-sacrifice. That is the common denominator of what defines Altruistic action.

My uncle is a good example, he recieved money from tons of people because misfortune is misfortune and it's uncontrollable. My uncle suffered a great loss because of no fault on his part and was undeserving. Most of the people he has relationships with wanted to help him out because they care for him, not because this was an opportunity to score points with the J man.

This meme has evolved by common (MIS)usage because Christianity is so dominant in this country. Christianity as most will agree on this forum, is not only a bullshit religion but one that human beings are incapable of practicing consistently (also implicitly recognized in the constant stream of Christian Hypocrisy we observe daily), Altruism is no different. Christians have invented a way of becoming more inline with their religion by attempting to broaden the definition of Altruism so much that it includes common everyday encounters like common decency and goodwill by implicitly reducing it's meaning into something as meaningless as "making others feel good." It's more broad now and more vague so that more people can fancy themselves to be Altruistic, thus creating a "selling point" for recruiting people into the christian religion because Altruism is one of its fundamental teachings. None of this is explicit by the way, this is all the slow evolution of cultural norms driven by this religion that is so widespread in the cultural atmosphere. Some of it is explicit, evangelicals for example will straight up say this to crowds of people. It's basically a Marketing ploy when using the terminology vaguely to encompass "goodwill" and dismissing the undesirable qualifier in the definition -self-sacrifice- that has prevented christians in the past of feeling as virtuous, devout, holy and righteous.

Observe the people that christianity turn into Saints and religous figures. Jesus sacrificed himself knowingly (according to the story) so that mankind could be saved. That is Christianity's ultimate example.
Life long Service and self-deprivation are two other keys essentials, almost as a given. The body is evil, the spirit is trapped, etc... Devaluing themselves and valueing others is the common denominator.

That is the essence of Altruism.

The only way you can strip self-sacrifice from the definition of altruism is by misusing it where mutual respect, common decency, or goodwill should have been used.

Some have a difficult time understanding that it does include those things (respect, decency etc..), but the reason we have a seperate word, the slight nuance, the difference, the qualifier that seperates it and creates the demand for a new word is the concept of self-sacrifice. That is what Altruism is, and that is why it's wrong.

Ayn Rand and indeed Objectivism, does not condemn Good Will or Mutual Respect on moral grounds because this difference exists and it is important.

What is nonsensical is going on using "Altruism" just because common usage accepts it's misusage and ignores it's fundamental qualifier.


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Read what he said again.He

Read what he said again.
He never tried to deny the truth of consciousness, he just pointed out that it was silly to make such a big deal out of it as there are plenty of other things just as necessary.


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Strafio wrote: Read what he

Strafio wrote:
Read what he said again.
He never tried to deny the truth of consciousness, he just pointed out that it was silly to make such a big deal out of it as there are plenty of other things just as necessary.

 I didn't say he was "denying the truth" of consciousness, but I was explaining to him why Objectivism asserts that it is absolutely fundamental and irreducable and why there are no "other things just as necessary."


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cheezues wrote: There is a

cheezues wrote:

There is a thread on www.atheistforums.com where I've been defending (quite well I believe) the principles and concepts of Objectivism and I want to attempt to do the same thing here.

Excellent. I have a brief entry on Rand on my philosophy page, and I'd love to add to it. I'm going to look over what you've written.

 Let me say that I don't share the anti-Rand views of the others here.... Yes, it seems to inspire dogmatism in its followers, but I think at the very least Objectivism is a good first step away from the irrationalism of theism, just as you note. There's nothing wrong with looking at what works in her system and synthesizing it with other views.

Thanks for posting!

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

Books on atheism.


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cheezues wrote: kmisho

cheezues wrote:
kmisho wrote:

Among others, I have a problem with Rand's assertion of the axiom of consciousness. This is supposed to be a refelxively defensible assertion about reality. It sounds important, but is it?

....

What I'm getting at is that the Axiom of Consciousness sounds really important but it's really nothing more than an example among zillions of a certain syntactically reflexive structure.

 

I'll begin here.

The Axiomatic Concepts of Objectivism do not exist independantly of one another, they imply and require one another. It would be interesting to see anyone attempt to refute them.

Taken from the Horses Mouth. http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=objectivism_pobs

Quote:
Existence and consciousness are facts implicit in every perception. They are the base of all knowledge (and the precondition of proof): knowledge presupposes something to know and someone to know it. They are absolutes which cannot be questioned or escaped: every human utterance, including the denial of these axioms, implies their use and acceptance.

The third axiom at the base of knowledgean axiom true, in Aristotle's words, of "being qua being"is the Law of Identity. This law defines the essence of existence: to be is to be something, a thing is what it is; and leads to the fundamental principle of all action, the law of causality. The law of causality states that a thing's actions are determined not by chance, but by its nature, i.e., by what it is.

It is important to observe the interrelation of these three axioms. Existence is the first axiom. The universe exists independent of consciousness. Man is able to adapt his background to his own requirements, but "Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed" (Francis Bacon). There is no mental process that can change the laws of nature or erase facts. The function of consciousness is not to create reality, but to apprehend it. "Existence is Identity, Consciousness is Identification."

So you have three axioms that cannot exist independantly of one another. Existence, Consciousness, and Identity.

So when you say that you have an issue with "the axiom of consciousness" you've refuted you're own arguement by simply speaking the words. You're ability to formulate such doubt or take issue with such axiom is evidence of how basic, how fundamental, and how axiomatic consciousness truly is.

Objectivism is a philosophy that is deeply rooted in the search for meaning FOR MANKIND and not just abstract thinking for it's own sake. To attempt to eliminate consciousness from the basics of one's own philosophy would be ignoring one's own mind from the beginning onward. Within everything that proceeds from these axioms in Objectivism, these 3 concepts must be called upon whether directly or through a chain of connection back to this fundamental.

If you look at the 2 examples I gave involving language, you can derive a perfectly viable cosmic axiom on a par with the axiom of consciousness: the axiom of argument. Any argument that denies the existence of argument must be false.

One area where I see this as important is in determinism. Such a confusing word, but here I take it as the absolute idea that things can only happen in one causal way. If fatalistic determinism is true then it is self contradictory to argue that it is true since (skipping a few steps) fatalism denies the existence of arguments. If I (whatever "I" could mean in a truly fatalistic superstructure) argue for fatalistic determinism then I am only doing so because, to put it colloquially, the big bang programmed me to. The same thing must be true were I to argue that deterministic fatalism is not true. Either way, I am simply playing out the machinery of the big bang. Either way, no one is actually arguing anything.

"The nature of an entity determines what it can do and, in any given set of circumstances, dictates what it will do." (The Ayn Rand Lexicon)

Now, for someone like my thieving objectivist pal who loved to yell and scream about objectivist epistemologies, this is a pretty giagantic contradiction to overlook wouldn't you say?


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I really like how Rand hids

I really like how Rand hids behind rationality, and everyone else who disagrees with her is "irrational."  Kinda shocking, since it is very easy to find blatent contradictions in her Philosophy.  In fact, at www.aynrand.org they have a tab called "volunteer."  How the fuck is that not a blatent contradiction of Rand's lasse faire capitalist nonsense?  So people should strive to make money...except when it comes to my organization. 

Rand's views on charity:

 "My views on charity are very simple. I do not consider it a major virtue and, above all, I do not consider it a moral duty."

 

Not to be out done in contradictions, here is what ARI says when asked what kind of organization they are:

"What is ARI's legal status?
ARI is recognized by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Our continued existence depends entirely on voluntary contributions. To read about ARI's founding and about our current projects, please read the About Us page. "

 

So, they promote gaining wealth as a virtue, but they are a nonprofit organization.  Are you really that fucking stupid that you can't see contradictions in your beliefs?  Furtheremore, WHY should anyone GIVE money to the ARI?  Correct me if im wrong, but doesn't Rand argue against charity?  Sell a product and people will give you money that way, you inconsistent pricks.

But wait, the place has a response to the inconsistency:

"Spreading rational ideas has rewards that are wider than a financial return."

Sorry, you can't have your cake and eat it too.  Either lasse faire capitalism is a supreme virtue or it isn't.  Practice what you preach, assholes.   

 

There you have it.  Helping your fellow human beings is not a virtue.  People honestly take he philosophy seriously?  I have heard more reasonable things in church...

 

"There is nothing wrong in helping other people, if and when they are worthy of the help"

 

And what exactly, my dear Ayn Rand, makes them worthy?  Presumably, its someone who agrees with you.  When we start judging who to help based on worth, we are in a sad situation.  Are blacks less worthy than whites?  Well, many thought so less than 50 years ago.  Many blacks were denied organ transplants.

Sorry Rand, people are worthy of help...in virtue of being human beings.  For a philosopher, you sure havn't thought your ideas through.

 

I don't know whats worse, the fact that her Philosophy can easily be knocked down, or that I managed to find these inconsistencies within the first 2 minutes of visiting her sites. 

 

"In the high school halls, in the shopping malls, conform or be cast out" ~ Rush, from Subdivisions


cheezues
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Quote: If you look at the 2

Quote:
If you look at the 2 examples I gave involving language, you can derive a perfectly viable cosmic axiom on a par with the axiom of consciousness: the axiom of argument. Any argument that denies the existence of argument must be false.

 I think you've misunderstood what the definition of an Axiomatic Concept is. Axiomatic concepts identify primary, irreducible facts of reality. As primaries these facts can not be broken down to other, more basic facts--they lie at the absolute base level, the beginning. They are not proved by reference to other facts, but are the basis of proof itself. They are the fundamentally given, directly experienced, and thus are validated in and of themselves. Peikoff puts it concisely, saying "Axioms are *perceptual self-evidencies*. There is nothing to be said in their behalf except: Look at reality." (Peikoff, 1991, p.Cool The vital epistemological task that axiomatic concepts perform is the explicit, conceptual identification of these basic facts.

Language, and arguement, both presuppose a consciousness capable of using language and forming arguements, it further presupposes an objective reality through with language can be communicated from one person to another and understood through a method of arguement.  So, while argueing for the existence of arguement is a contradiction and logically proves the existence of arguements, it's not an irreducable axiom.

Quote:
this is a pretty giagantic contradiction to overlook wouldn't you say?

It's been pointed out to me before, "Ayn Rand's views on causation contradict her views on free will."

The entire quote looks like this...

Quote:
"As far as metaphysical reality is concerned (omitting human actions from consideration, for the moment), there are no 'facts which happen to be but could have been otherwise'... Since things are what they are, since everything that exists possesses a specific identity, nothing in reality can occur causelessly or by chance. The nature of an entity determines what it can do and, in any given set of circumstances, dictates what it will do." (The Ayn Rand Lexicon, 333.)

Peikoff uses the example of a helium-filled balloon to clarify the issue: if, under the same set of circumstances, it were possible for a balloon to act in more than one way — if it could rise or fall — then the law of identity would be violated. "Such incompatible outcomes would have to derive from incompatible (contradictory) aspects of the entity's nature. But there are no contradictory aspects. A is A." (Objectivism: the Philosophy of Ayn Rand, 14-15.)

This is a metaphysical statement describing Objective reality and the expressing that things and people within it possess identity.  It's a very basic statement and almost redundant.

The type of consciousness that humans possess adds an interesting twist to this expression of the law of identity and it is that we uniquely operate on a very conceptual level.  This is where the percieved contradiction rests.

Human beings are capable of holding two contradictory ideas at the same time without really knowing it, helium filled ballons do not have the potential to fall or rise.  Comparing the two potentials of a helium balloon to two contradictory ideas within a human consciousness ignores the fact that we've already distinguished the difference in their nature, one possesses a volitional consciousness, one does not.Confusing these idea's with unchanging attributes of a gas in a balloon, or genetically programmed behavior is where the percieved contradiction rests, but it's completely different realms.  Moths do not choose to fly into lightbulbs because it looks like the moon, it's their nature to accept the moon is what it is (or something that looks like the moon to them, ie.. a lightbulb) to fly in a straight line, no choice is involved.