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Ayn Rand posted 15 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionAyn Rand by Sovin Nai, Site Administrator

I know very little about AR's philosophy, but I have read the Fountainhead and can certainly say that I really enjoyed it. I believe her idea is one of being true to yourself regardless of others, but like I said I'n not really sure. view post


Ayn Rand posted 15 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionAyn Rand by Replay, Auditor

And just what is being true to yourself? view post


Ayn Rand posted 15 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionAyn Rand by Grantaire, Moderator

Like Replay said, what is being true to yourself? view post


Ayn Rand posted 16 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionAyn Rand by Sovin Nai, Site Administrator

Again, as I understand it, it is doing what you feel is the thing to do, whatever that may be, and so long as you do you will succeed. For example, in the book Howard Roark is a modern architect in a traditional era. He refuses to build colonial buildings because that is not who he is.

I'm not very knowledgeable. I know Scott knows about it. view post


Ayn Rand posted 16 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionAyn Rand by Replay, Auditor

Well the problem of being true to oneself is that you can end up basing a lot of decisions on the delusion that there really is such a thing as a fixed self that never changes. It's like when someone is pulled up about a certain action (such as making someone else angry for very little reason) and they reply "Well that is who I am, I can't change that", not realizing that they are telling one of the biggest lies there is. Human beings can do nothing else but change. It is impossible not to.

To give a clearer example, just how much of your personality is the same to when you were five, perhaps even ten years old? Very little I expect. You are now a totally different person to whoever that was back then, because you cannot help but change.

Perhaps the common answer here would be "Well perhaps I do change, but I have to be true to who I am now." But is this really so? If it is, then that means it would be fine for anyone to do anything, no matter who wrong, because they are "just being true to themselves".

Im not saying we shouldn't act in the way we feel is best due to our previous experiences (which I get the impression you may have meant), as that is often all we can really do. It is just that when you do so, you should do it with an open a mind - a mind that is receptive to the possibility that your action may not be the best one, and are willing to learn and change in accordance if this turns out to be so. If on the other hand you approach everything with the idea of being true to oneself, then you are basically closing off a part of your mind. You are dividing the world into what is you, and what isn't, and you are basically saying that you have nothing else to learn because you think there is no need for you to change anymore. But if you do try and hold onto some fixed idea of self, then all you are really going to get for your troubles is a lot of struggle. And that is a shame because we are given so many opportunities to learn new things and perhaps change into something better. It really would be such a waste to spend this wonderous thing we called life on such a fools errand. view post


Ayn Rand posted 16 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionAyn Rand by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

It's no coincidence that you'll find so many versions of 'be true to yourself' in so many commercial taglines - it's a central component of consumer ideology, what we celebrate as 'individualism.'

Two of the more illustrative examples, I think, are:

"Everything you need, comes from within." (Nike?)

and:

"Obey your thirst." (Coca Cola)

The first is an obvious falsehood (and yet one the vast majority take as gospel). We have never, in the history of humanity, depended so much on so many others, and yet we spend most of our time (in popular culture at least) congratulating ourselves on our 'self-sufficiency.' Likewise, we have never, in the history of humanity, needed an appreciation of communal interdependancy more.

The second, which amounts to 'be true to your appetite,' is simply the mantra of consumerism: 'consume now, worry later.' Advertising is propaganda, which is to say, a form of mass communication that systematically distorts the truth for the purpose of inciting action - in this case, frivolous consumption. Advertising is, in fact, the single greatest propaganda enterprise in history - it simply doesn't seem that way both because it's decentralized and because it's been so damn successful.

The next time you find yourself watching TV, try to imagine what an alien anthropologist would see.

The slogan should be, 'Know yourself.' This requires critically engaging all the things that 'feel true,' which are in the end, the product of a long process of socialization - in many cases corporate administered and motivated, thanks to the good old boob tube! Since this socialization constitutes our frame of reference, it simply seems 'natural and true,' when in fact it's every bit as peculiar as those you see on the National Geographic channel.

Ayn Rand is a classic apologist (and a very bad one at that - those looking for more robust apologia would be much better off reading Strauss or Nozick). Her intuitionist stance is simply a recipe for the continuance of a very problematic status quo. If you don't think it's problematic, consider these two FACTS:

We live in a society where a largely hereditary elite commands and enjoys the surplus labour of the masses.

We are becoming the largest extinction event the earth has witnessed since the Cretaceous, and thing are getting worse faster.

Or consider the following argument:

(1) The biosphere is a system.
(2) The atmosphere is a fundamental component of the biosphere.
(3) Transformations of fundamental components of a system generate transformations in that system.
(4) Murphy's Law (There's a million more way for things to go wrong than go right).
(5) The burning of carbon fuels has increased atmospheric CO2 levels by 30%.
(6) This rate is increasing at a greater and greater pace.
(7) There are no market viable alternatives to carbon fuels. (People are always surprised by this, but it's true, and it has to due with the sheer power fossil fuels in particular provide. If I remember correctly, you would have to cover an area the size of the state of Delaware to match the energy output of a mere 100 Exxon stations.)
/ 8: Odds are we're screwed.

And this is only ONE facet of the problem. We live in a system which not only encourages increasing rates of consumption (Remember Bush's patriotic reminder to Americans in the wake of 9/11? Go to the mall!), it fundamentally depends upon it. At the same time, it lionizes the pseudo-individual, rendering directed collective action 'uncool' (think about how many movies you've seen where the only way the hero can get things done is 'outside the law' or the institution he or she happens to belong to). Meanwhile we elect politicians who cry 'less government' (which is public, collective, and therefore uncool), thinking that 'private enterprise' (which through advertising has aligned itself with the 'individual') is better. Less government equals more corporation, and I don't know about you, but I've yet to elect a CEO.

To quote the man, 'You live in a dream world, Neo.' view post


Ayn Rand posted 16 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionAyn Rand by Atanvarno, Peralogue

It's frustrating when you read something like that: it sums up your own opinion of the state of the world in far more succinct and eloquent terms than you could.

I do hope three years at university studying philosophy ("what on earth can you do with a philosophy degree?!") changes me from a person in a crowd shouting "me too!" and being frustrated about it, to one who is able to finally show to world what they're on about...

Anyway, feel free to ignore this post, it's something of an aside. view post


Ayn Rand posted 16 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionAyn Rand by Replay, Auditor

Nice post Scott, and you reminded me of something else I was going to mention - that of catchy slogans/quotes.

When you first see something such as "Be true to yourself", the first impression can often be "Hey, that sounds good and seems to make sense". And on the surface, perhaps it does. But when you stop for a moment and really look at it, you often find the opposite to be true.

It's why I tend to be especially wary of any quotes I read these days--no matter how good they first appear--because it is incredibly easy to accept them just on surface impressions. view post


Ayn Rand posted 17 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionAyn Rand by Atanvarno, Peralogue

It's why I tend to be especially wary of any quotes I read these days--no matter how good they first appear--because it is incredibly easy to accept them just on surface impressions.
That leads, of course, to the question of what role do you ascribe to axioms in ethics? Kant had his categorical imperatives, axioms like "do not kill" that he considered to be unrealisable, which he considered to be the basis for all ethics (which for him was centred around duty).

But I think Kant was a contrary git, personally. view post


Ayn Rand posted 17 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionAyn Rand by Replay, Auditor

That leads, of course, to the question of what role do you ascribe to axioms in ethics? Kant had his categorical imperatives, axioms like "do not kill" that he considered to be unrealisable, which he considered to be the basis for all ethics (which for him was centred around duty).


I think they can be important, as long as you realise that they are more guidelines to living a better life than anything else and not rules carved in stone. view post


Ayn Rand posted 17 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionAyn Rand by drosdelnoch, Subdidact

Personally I feel that the being true to yourself philosophy means just that. As long as you live your life so that everytime you look in the mirror you can be happy with what you see then your doing it right.

Probably simplified the whole thing but thats the way I look at it. view post


Ayn Rand posted 19 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionAyn Rand by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

As long as you live your life so that everytime you look in the mirror you can be happy with what you see then your doing it right


But why is that, drosdelnoch? More than a few Nazi's slept like babies, don't you think? The yardstick can't be one's own conscience - especially once you realize how inclined we humans are to dupe ourselves.

But then I suspect that's the whole point of what we call 'individualism.' view post


Ayn Rand posted 21 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionAyn Rand by drosdelnoch, Subdidact

But the nazi's that you refered to had the ideology that hitler implanted into the country. Above all else he was a great politician, how else could such a guy build up a nation from nothing and pass the blame for their failure onto the generals of the first world war. What needs to be looked at here is that after the first world war Germany was more than knackered, he gave a large number of people a dream that each man, woman and child had a chance to help build, when goals were reached the people could see what they had achieved which gave a large number the faith in thier society.

I dont agree with the way in which it was done just pointing out that the people were cleverly manipulated into following an ideology. view post


Ayn Rand posted 22 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionAyn Rand by Aldarion, Sorcerer-of-Rank

Don't let Daniel Goldhagen hear you saying that, because he'll try to convince you that the Germans were willing volunteers in Hitler's policies, including the Final Solution.

Needless to say, I disagree quite a bit with this. I don't have the time to go into much detail (maybe later - I did concentrate my grad studies on the Nazi era and Hitler's religious beliefs), but there's quite a bit of evidence that hints at general wariness of Nazification than previous research had indicated.

But I digress. But more later, if I have the time. view post


Ayn Rand posted 22 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionAyn Rand by drosdelnoch, Subdidact

I know what you mean Aldarion, Ive had to do quite a bit of research on them as well, read everything from the Nazification of Art through to having to research things about the war units, there was even a British SS unit which few will admit to.

Its even a little known fact that captured British troops were advised to join the SS programme by thier commanding officers. Now before people wonder why and bollo*ks, it was due to the fact that if you went onto the "reeducation" programme, before your true sympathsies were revealed you were well fed, so gave them the chance to build up some much needed nutrition.

Incidently the British SS unit was wiped out after capture by the allies through hanging. Funny the weird info that you pick up. view post


Ayn Rand posted 22 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionAyn Rand by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

I dont agree with the way in which it was done just pointing out that the people were cleverly manipulated into following an ideology.


I guess I'm not sure how your response would differ from the response of a Nazi at the time. Isn't it always the other guy who's manipulated? And if that's the case, doesn't that mean we should be 'skeptical of ourselves' rather than 'true'?

Our 'common sense,' after all, is the product of how we were socialized, so if this process of socialization is, as I'm suggesting, problematic in the extreme, then our 'gut instincts' simply can't be trusted.

Let me put it to you another way: If every society in history has developed a belief system that reinforces and rationalizes the hierarchies within it, why should we think our society is the lone exception?

Tell me if you agree with the following:

Our society is the systematic sum of our collective actions. As a system, it requires the continued repetition of those actions. (This is what a job is: a place where you continuously repeat actions that facilitate the systematic whole.) Since desire and belief are the bases of all our actions, our society requires a specific belief and desire set from it's members in order to persist in its present form (recall Bush telling Americans to shop after 9/11).

Individualism, with all its talk about being true to oneself, is a major component of that desire and belief set. view post


Ayn Rand posted 22 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionAyn Rand by Aldarion, Sorcerer-of-Rank

Needless to say, I do agree with most everything you said above. I will add, however, an approach toward understanding our society and those of the past: Discourse. Dirty word, I know, for some, but I think there's something valid about that approach toward examining societies.

Then again, so speaks the very tired night shift worker who read Parts 1&amp;2 of Foucault's The History of Sexuality last night <!-- s;) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=";)" title="Wink" /><!-- s;) --> view post


Ayn Rand posted 06 August 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionAyn Rand by smithwigglesworth, Commoner

Hey, I thought y'all were discussing Ayn Rand in this thread.

Fountainhead was good, for a bit of Randian brevity. Her story, Anthem, is better brevity in action and is an entertaining exposition of her core ideal, the Self.

If you liked Howard Roark, you'll love John Galt.

Who is John Galt, you ask? He's the hero of Atlas Shrugged. Yeah, I know its long but if you really want to know what Ayn's all about from her own hand this is where you'll want to start.

Atlas Shrugged pursues the same line of thought as Fountainhead but Rand (and her merry band of acolytes, who included Alan Greenspan) (but you knew that already) felt that AS was her Magnum Opie (did I spell that right? <!-- s;) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=";)" title="Wink" /><!-- s;) --> ). Her goal, which she believed she'd acheived, was to express her philosophy in an entirely new form of literary expression, one that would revolutionize writing, books, and human thinking.

High hopes? Indeed. If you ask Ayn (via her writings on the subject) or her followers (see the Objectivist websites) they'll agree: it was an incredible success.

Incredible? Yes. My reading of Fountainhead, Anthem, and Atlas Shrugged (more times than I care to admit) has led me to the conclusion that Ayn was fascinated by S&amp;M and, in particular, masculine power. Also, as a writer, she sucks.

Nonetheless, Joe Bob says: "check it out." view post


Ayn Rand posted 28 August 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionAyn Rand by tellner, Peralogue

I liked Ayn Rand at 15. I despise her at 40.

Her appeal lies in a number of things, all of which are very human but none of which is very flattering on closer examination.

We all like stories in which we are what (was it Norman Spinrad?) called "The Emperor of Everything", the Ubermensch. Rand delivers it in spades. Her heroes (and there are only heroes and villains) are smart, sexy (in a weird and kinda twisted way), self reliant, rich, strong etc. etc. etc. The reader is invited to identify with and become that character. Combined with this is the complement. If people as cool and superior as we do not succeed it is because we held back by the inferior masses.

She supplies simplistic answers to everything. There is no room for ambiguity, no conflicting demands of, say, duty and affection or profit and ethics. Everything follows, we are told, from a consistent, complete, mathematical axiomatic system. A small prize will be awarded to the first person who comes up with the classic 20th century response to that.

I won't get too far into Ojbectivism. Suffice it to say that her radically selfish and personally atomic view of the world is an artifact of the conditions of the time she lived in. In most times and places in human history such a way of life would have been considered aberrent or pathological. Throughout most of history peoples' lives depended on their personal relations and connections with others. Ties of family, clan, tribe, and nation were very important. It is really only industrial society that makes her way of thinking and life possible.

We note also that she never had children. Neither do her heroes. Raising a child is an exercise in putting another's interests ahead of one's own preferences.

I also have contempt for her inconsistencies. She preached the virtue of total individualism. But her behavior towards her followers had more in common with a Soviet cult of personality. She made much of her philosophy's superior logic and ethics. But she forbade her worshippers from debating others. view post


Ayn Rand posted 29 August 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionAyn Rand by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

My appraisal exactly. It's one reason why I think her position is so pernicious: it caters directly to our cognitive shortcomings - our hardwired yen for flattery, simplicity, and certainty.

She's THE apologist for the pseudo-individualism that has become our dominant ideology. view post


Ayn Rand posted 16 December 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionAyn Rand by Gable, Candidate

..........
Took the words right out of my mouth.
My other, really, really smart mouth.
<!-- s:shock: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_eek.gif" alt=":shock:" title="Shocked" /><!-- s:shock: --> view post


Ayn Rand posted 28 February 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionAyn Rand by Anonymous, Subdidact

I'm not much of a fan of Ayn Rand though I agree with some of the ideas that she advances. Still yet, after reading the posts in this thread, I have to ask a few questions...

If individualism is a bad thing, then what is good?

Someone implied earlier that less government is a bad thing. Why? view post


Ayn Rand posted 28 February 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionAyn Rand by Anonymous, Subdidact

Quote: &quot;tellner&quot;:15bt4tkv

She supplies simplistic answers to everything. There is no room for ambiguity, no conflicting demands of, say, duty and affection or profit and ethics. [/quote:15bt4tkv]

Gotta ask this...

What is bad about simplistic answers? Why SHOULD we provide room for ambiguity?

Conflicting demands? I really have no conflicting demands upon MY life because I DO follow a simple formula. Whatever is most important to me is what wins out. It's as simple as that. My choice between duty and affection? Depends on what duty vs. what affection, but there will always be a clear winner. Between profit and ethics? Same thing.

I see myself as clear-headed enough to place some sort of value on things and the decisions approached thusly are all simple ones.

What is wrong with that outlook? view post


Ayn Rand posted 28 February 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionAyn Rand by tellner, Peralogue

Quote: &quot;amadah&quot;:373l9xpe
I'm not much of a fan of Ayn Rand though I agree with some of the ideas that she advances. Still yet, after reading the posts in this thread, I have to ask a few questions...

If individualism is a bad thing, then what is good?

Someone implied earlier that less government is a bad thing. Why?[/quote:373l9xpe]
This is what we call a straw man. Nobody here said that individualism is a bad thing. Rather, Rand's total disregard for anything except the individual is a bad thing. It is an extreme position that is just a few steps from madness, and I'm not completely sure in which direction those steps would be.

It subordinates every concern, every feeling, every value, every human relation and the good of anyone and everyone else to the dictates of the ego and pure self interest. The figleaf of eschewing "coercion", robbery and fraud leaves much of the pathology naked to view. As I alluded to earlier, it is only twentieth century technology and the rise of a certain sort of urban culture with labor specialization which makes this peculiar philosophy viable. It is only because collective structures and social organization allow us to buy our food and rent our homes that we can pretend we are independent.

One of the most fascinating and wonderful things about human beings is that we are partly individual, partly social, capable of great independence and interdependence at the same time. Randism, which is as much a religion as the crudest "G-d said it, we believe it, that settles it" form of backwoods Know Nothingism, is nothing more than a denial of half of human nature. It relies on the individual shackling himself to the myth of the heroic Randite hero/prophet and believing with all his heart that he is the same sort of fictional character. view post


Ayn Rand posted 28 February 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionAyn Rand by tellner, Peralogue

Quote: &quot;amadah&quot;:1xfuakga
Quote: &quot;tellner&quot;:1xfuakga

She supplies simplistic answers to everything. There is no room for ambiguity, no conflicting demands of, say, duty and affection or profit and ethics. [/quote:1xfuakga]

Gotta ask this...

What is bad about simplistic answers? Why SHOULD we provide room for ambiguity?

Conflicting demands? I really have no conflicting demands upon MY life because I DO follow a simple formula. Whatever is most important to me is what wins out. It's as simple as that. My choice between duty and affection? Depends on what duty vs. what affection, but there will always be a clear winner. Between profit and ethics? Same thing.

I see myself as clear-headed enough to place some sort of value on things and the decisions approached thusly are all simple ones.

What is wrong with that outlook?[/quote:1xfuakga]
I am still a little weak from medical treatments and can not give your letter a complete response.

Suffice it to say that there is a difference between "simple" and "simplistic". A simple answer is one which gets to the fundamentals without needless complication. A simplistic one denies and ignores anything - especially facts - which might contradict the True Believer's views. Rand is consistently guilty of this form of intellectual dishonesty.

Consider the name she gives her new religion, Objectivism. By implication, she is objective and faces facts, Everyone else is subjective and denies them. This is a cheap and extremely transparent rhetorical trick of the sort that any college junior will be able to avoid. But by accepting it the believer implicitly denies that anyone else can possibly have anything factual or true to contribute to human understanding.

Your own views, stated here, betray this. There can be no conflicting desires. There can be no time when two important things are at odds with one another. There is only one value, one truth, one possible answer to any question.

I put it to you that the real world doesn't always work that way. There are times when a contract, freely entered into, is at odds with, say, a personal sense of honesty or honor. If you have a spouse, children or even pets there are times when your duty to them is at odds with what is good for you personally. But because you value the relationship or out of a sense of obligation entered into by marriage, parenthood, or having taken responsibility for a dumb animal which can not understand your sophistry love, duty, or loyalty require you to act in ways which aren't to your advantage.

The conflict is very real.

You will, no doubt, bring up the whole idea of sacrifice at this point and contrast that weak, evil concept with the Randite idea of moral gain. It doesn't wash.

There are times when ethics really does lead you to a place where you are damaged by doing the ethical or moral thing. When a soldier walks point, a police officer makes a dangerous arrest or a mother gives birth each of them is risking a terrible and painful personal death on behalf of something or someone else. There is no possible sin worse for a Randite. But the power of the oath or the very primal, fundamental demands of parenthood make the action follow inescapably. I'd go further. Shrinking from the unpleasant consequences of the act makes a person less than human.

Sacrifice doesn't mean to give up something needlessly. It means to make sacred. Someone who has been there will understand. Someone to whom personal profit is the only good can not understand, and I do not know how to bridge that gap from the outside. All I can say is that if the time comes when I have to choose between saving my life and that of my wife or child I pray that I will be able to choose the latter joyfully, bravely and without hesitation. To do otherwise is to fail the final test of being a man. view post


Ayn Rand posted 01 March 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionAyn Rand by Anonymous, Subdidact

Nobody here said that individualism is a bad thing.


That is actually the implication...and the rest of your post seems to prove out that you believe that individualism is actually a quality of an ignorant and somehow lesser person. That the enlightened individual (there's that word...and it's YOU by implication since you seem to be preaching) should realize that they are NOT an individual...?

Rather, Rand's total disregard for anything except the individual is a bad thing. It is an extreme position that is just a few steps from madness, and I'm not completely sure in which direction those steps would be.


Rand DOES go too far. She lacks a critical understanding of the individual and the place of the individual.

It subordinates every concern, every feeling, every value, every human relation and the good of anyone and everyone else to the dictates of the ego and pure self interest. The figleaf of eschewing "coercion", robbery and fraud leaves much of the pathology naked to view. As I alluded to earlier, it is only twentieth century technology and the rise of a certain sort of urban culture with labor specialization which makes this peculiar philosophy viable. It is only because collective structures and social organization allow us to buy our food and rent our homes that we can pretend we are independent.


It actually seems to me that you, too, are missing the mark. In your denial of "all things Rand", you seem to swing as far away as her. If you want to break things down far enough, NOTHING and NO ONE is independent but neither are they totally DEPENDENT. It's a subjective matter, not an OBJECTIVE one...!

One of the most fascinating and wonderful things about human beings is that we are partly individual, partly social, capable of great independence and interdependence at the same time. Randism, which is as much a religion as the crudest "G-d said it, we believe it, that settles it" form of backwoods Know Nothingism, is nothing more than a denial of half of human nature. It relies on the individual shackling himself to the myth of the heroic Randite hero/prophet and believing with all his heart that he is the same sort of fictional character.


A person's religion is their own. Should I trust that "tellner said it, I should believe it, that settles it"...? THAT would be a form of backwoods Know Nothingism, would it not? view post


Ayn Rand posted 01 March 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionAyn Rand by Anonymous, Subdidact


Consider the name she gives her new religion, Objectivism. By implication, she is objective and faces facts, Everyone else is subjective and denies them. This is a cheap and extremely transparent rhetorical trick of the sort that any college junior will be able to avoid. But by accepting it the believer implicitly denies that anyone else can possibly have anything factual or true to contribute to human understanding.


Untrue. It isn't about "human understanding" at all...it's about the understanding of a particular individual. It might be easiest to say that objectivism is actually subjective in that it relates only to an individual's reality. Rand is guilty of not realizing this, too, I think. There can be nothing truly objective because one cannot possibly take all facts into account.

Your own views, stated here, betray this. There can be no conflicting desires. There can be no time when two important things are at odds with one another. There is only one value, one truth, one possible answer to any question.

I put it to you that the real world doesn't always work that way. There are times when a contract, freely entered into, is at odds with, say, a personal sense of honesty or honor. If you have a spouse, children or even pets there are times when your duty to them is at odds with what is good for you personally. But because you value the relationship or out of a sense of obligation entered into by marriage, parenthood, or having taken responsibility for a dumb animal which can not understand your sophistry love, duty, or loyalty require you to act in ways which aren't to your advantage.


The real world works that way when you think in the manner that I described. There is always something marginally "better" than the alternative so you make that "better" choice. It may be something that you agonize over later when you realize that you didn't take everything into consideration but, if you take the most important facts that are known at the time of the choice into consideration and leave it at that, then it is VERY simple.

The conflict is very real.


Not really.

You will, no doubt, bring up the whole idea of sacrifice at this point and contrast that weak, evil concept with the Randite idea of moral gain. It doesn't wash.


And why would I "bring up the whole idea of sacrifice at this point"...?

There are times when ethics really does lead you to a place where you are damaged by doing the ethical or moral thing. When a soldier walks point, a police officer makes a dangerous arrest or a mother gives birth each of them is risking a terrible and painful personal death on behalf of something or someone else. There is no possible sin worse for a Randite. But the power of the oath or the very primal, fundamental demands of parenthood make the action follow inescapably. I'd go further. Shrinking from the unpleasant consequences of the act makes a person less than human.


You're definitely wandering away from anything that I've said or to which I've alluded.

Sacrifice doesn't mean to give up something needlessly. It means to make sacred. Someone who has been there will understand. Someone to whom personal profit is the only good can not understand, and I do not know how to bridge that gap from the outside. All I can say is that if the time comes when I have to choose between saving my life and that of my wife or child I pray that I will be able to choose the latter joyfully, bravely and without hesitation. To do otherwise is to fail the final test of being a man.


I'm attempting to be nice about this debate, but you seem to be REALLY talking down to me. Why would I think that sacrifice means giving up something needlessly?

BTW...personal profit in the situation that you state DOES exist. You would be "joyfully, bravely and without hesitation" giving your life to save the wife or child and thusly pass "the final test of being a man".

I'll end with this thought...EVERYTHING that one does is self-fulfilling in one way or another. We do NOTHING that is NOT selfish in nature. view post


Ayn Rand posted 29 July 2006 in Philosophy DiscussionAyn Rand by Iago, Candidate

Quote: &quot;Sovin Nai&quot;:e8qo6lq1
I know very little about AR's philosophy, but I have read the Fountainhead and can certainly say that I really enjoyed it. I believe her idea is one of being true to yourself regardless of others, but like I said I'n not really sure.[/quote:e8qo6lq1]

If you enjoyed it, try picking up Atlas Shrugged. In her own words, Atlas Shrugged was her masterpiece that mostly fully expressed her philosophy, objectivism. It's a lengthy read, and once you get the idea that Ayn is just writing a bed-hopping rape fantasy, it gets increasingly difficult to turn each page. My suggestion is to just flip ahead to the section where John Galt makes his radio speech and be done with it, or better yet, in the 35th anniversary edition you can just flip to the end and read the tenents of objectivism as spelled out by one of her adoring toadies. That way, you won't have to make statements like, &quot;I know very little about AR's philosophy&quot; and then suffer though people attempting to explain their version of &quot;being true to yourself regardless of others&quot; (which is a good way to think, providing you don't get caught &quot;being true to yourself&quot; or held responsible for whatever you did &quot;regardless of others&quot;). De Sade might have mentioned something about laws: never using them as a brake, but only as a shield, but I can't remember. close enough. Anyway, read Atlas Shrugged, take what you like out of it and disgard the rest (as in all things).

hope that helped! view post


Ayn Rand posted 05 January 2007 in Philosophy DiscussionAyn Rand by avatar_of_existence, Peralogue

I've read both the Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged and would like to point out that Ayn Rand is a very angry woman. And no wonder, the heroes of all her books are men, she probably spent hours writing about people she hates (long sections of both books dwell on the antagonists drugdgery), and she is a moral absolutist! (like the Bush administration). This being said, I did read all 900 something pages of Atlas Shrugged and the Fountainhead, but sometimes the books would make me so angry I wouldn't be able to sleep later! I've been to an objectivist conference, and the primary speaker was literally frothing at the mouth! Any moral philosophy that allows you to judge those around you while making yourself into the paragon of morality is likely a philisophical dead end. view post


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