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Ayn Rand at 100

2005-02-14 16:32:36.483903+00 by Dan Lyke 4 comments

As Ziffle pointed out in the Objectivist sex thread, Ayn Rand[Wiki] was born a hundred years ago (February 2, 1905). Long before Alexander Solzhenitsyn[Wiki] was chronicling the evils of the Soviet Union, in fact, back when many in the west referred to it as "the great experiment", Rand showed the evils, in We The Living[Wiki], but then went on to show why such a system would be inherently evil.

I believe that there are places that Rand was wrong, that she twisted her philosophy to support a system she admired rathern than acknowledging that sometimes there are no pure solutions to some of the problems life poses (notably her argument in support of patents in The Objectivist Newsletter was amazingly week), but in general I prefer her utopia to the others oft proposed.

Besides which, I like long sweeping verbose utopian novels.

[ related topics: Ziffle Politics Objectivism ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2005-02-14 18:55:37.727625+00 by: petronius [edit history]

We recently ran an erudite and curiously polite thread on Plastic.com covering Ayn's centenary, and many of the same points covered by Reason were covered there, but you might enjoy it. What got me was that while most posters thought Rand and the objectivists were nuts, their arguments were well reasoned. Rand forced them to think, which may be her greatest gift.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-02-15 10:20:16.009286+00 by: ziffle

Well I am a 'true Objectivist' and lets say I did not find the arguments on plastic.com so well reasoned. I didn't feel inclined to look further at the website after that bit I have to wonder what are they thinking? Or am I being Optimistic?


#Comment Re: made: 2005-02-15 15:38:01.225031+00 by: Dan Lyke

As I read through the Plastic.com thread I didn't get the feeling that I was reading people who'd actually read her work critically, or who had read enough other philosophy to understand why her philosophy was so groundbreaking. To be fair, her epistemology shares a lot with Karl Marx[Wiki], and the notion of materialism (and Marx is clearly a materialist in the philosophical sense) was new in philosophy a century ago, but when century5 claims that her work is "predicated on a ... serious misinterpretation of Kant" I'm dubious.

I'm not quite sure what that poster is saying, but Ayn Rand[Wiki] predicates nothing on the works of Emmanuel Kant[Wiki]. She refutes a good bit of what he says, but his philosophy was largely stuck in that level of childhood development where kids cover their eyes and say "you can't see me", so I think that's just a byproduct of building a philosophy.

I don't consider myself an objectivist, big or small "O", mainly because I don't think any humans are anywhere near as rational as are necessary to support the philosophy. I do, however, think that there is a lot that the examination of our behavior in that much detail can tell us, and if I have to pick a Utopian schema, that one's closer to it than anything else.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-02-16 14:09:56.159553+00 by: ziffle

"notion of materialism " She does not share this as the notion implies there is something else but 'this' (wave your arms around); materialism implies there is something 'else'.

Objectivism: Metaphysics. Existence exists and thats it - there is no other this.

Epistemology: Reason = there is no other way to gain knowledge. A rational mind is capable of understanding reality.

Ethics = Rational Self interest - keep what you produce

Politics: Capitalism - each person does what they want, but Asking not Telling.

So basically Objectivism is not disjointed from reality, but simply a reflection of[Wiki] reality, on the metaphysical and epistemological level, and a recognition that it is right to act according to our nature, using reason.

We must learn to ask, not tell, each other what we want. We must derive a morality from the facts of existence in accordance with mans nature as a rational being.

As for being an Objectivist, its not about others but about you; There will always be thugs - do not consider them 'men' (or human for the politically correct) or deal with them, except upon a level of rationality if they can achieve it.

Being an Objectivist is very simple, just be it. What others are really does not matter, its your recognition of the facts of reality that are very simple really and become more so once you cast off the nonsense most of us acquired as we went through school church etc.

It gets clearer as you open your eyes. Finally seeing things philosophically in full focus and then having things become even clearer to me, has been one of the most satisfying parts of my life. The older I become the more satisfying it is.

Ziffle of Mayberry