Objectivism - questions and discussion
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27-10-2011, 06:26 PM
Objectivism - questions and discussion
So I'm not very big on philosophy, but I read a long series of novels by Terry Goodkind recently, and a lot of the underlying plot has much to do with the beliefs of objectivism.

Objectivism was thought up (?) by Ayn Rand.

Rand characterized Objectivism as "a philosophy for living on earth," grounded in reality, and aimed at defining man's nature and the nature of the world in which he lives.

"My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute."
—Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged


from the wikipedia article - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Objectivism_(Ayn_Rand)


So, I don't particularly ascribe to any certain moral philosophy myself, except that which I've come up with on my own throughout the years, but I do like certain aspects of objectivism. I'm more curious what other people think about it.

I joined a group on the website Shelfari which is a book website, and I tried to discuss it there but that website or group is just dead.
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28-10-2011, 03:43 PM
 
RE: Objectivism - questions and discussion
(27-10-2011 06:26 PM)Atheist#6667 Wrote:  So, I don't particularly ascribe to any certain moral philosophy myself, except that which I've come up with on my own throughout the years, but I do like certain aspects of objectivism. I'm more curious what other people think about it.

Objectivism’s most serious fault is that it is not objective. The word ‘objective’ implies that you can step outside of yourself and look back. Obviously, you can’t do that.

In my thirties (a long time ago), I read everything Ayn Rand had written, including the “Objectivist Newletter” and all her Philosophical writings. Her attitude of wanting to build her Philosophy on fundamental principles appealed to me (being a Theoretical Physicist myself).

However, after careful study and analysis, I decided that her philosophy was based on ignoring historical reality and ignoring human reality. It boiled down to: “if only people were honest and fair and sensible, it would work”.

This can be said of ANY system humans invented. No system works because people are people.

She had some marvelous observations and some extremely silly bugaboos that she just could not let go (she praised smoking as an admirable human habit – a habit that eventually killed her).

If you read her biography (the two I have read by Barbara Branden and Nathaniel Branden), she comes across as an inconsiderate, dominating, pathetically insecure woman who ruined a few lives to get what she wanted.

Her problem was that she did not evolve – her philosophy was a ‘one-trick pony’ of worshiping human ability AND ruthlessness. She made no bones about it in many of her novels (a few of her heroins were raped by a domineering hero -- and then promptly fell in love with their rapist)– whoever doesn’t measure up will be plowed under.

After publishing “Atlas Shrugged” she stopped writing and spent her days playing solitaire, reading trashy crime fiction and listening to military marches.

As a writer she had a wonderful sense of drama and dramatic situations, interesting personal conflicts but her characters were mostly cutouts by her own cookie-cutter. Compared to contemporary literary giants like Margaret Atwood, Barbara Kingsolver, John LeCarre or Ray Bradbury, she was an amateur, however long-winded and poetic she managed to be.

Her philosophy mostly appeals to juveniles, in their early twenties, who think that they could be geniuses too, if only the world recognized their talent and did not suppress them.

In her book “The Virtue of Selfishness” she writes: “men have no conflict of interest if they don’t want the unearned”. This one statement reveals so much ignorance and/or disregard of reality that it blows your mind.

She wanted to be recognized as a Philosopher (like Aristotle, her idol) and felt bitter about never being taken seriously by the academics. The only attempt at actual philosophical writing was her “Objectivist Epistemology” that is pure Aristotle: “A” is “A” – “existence exists”.

Her political/philosophical book “Capitalism – the Unknown Ideal” was so full of holes that I was surprised that it ever got published. It wouldn’t have been – had her novels not been such best sellers.

Her total lack of compassion, even empathy, for anyone not being a rich heiress or a genius-caliber pauper, was phenomenal. Outside her exalted circle of larger-than-life heroes, you were on your own: if nobody took pity on you, you just had to disappear from the world -- her world.

All in all, in small doses, she is entertaining and even thought provoking, but you sign up as an acolyte at your own peril. Just take a look at Alan Greenspan and Ron Paul.
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28-10-2011, 04:58 PM
RE: Objectivism - questions and discussion
(27-10-2011 06:26 PM)Atheist#6667 Wrote:  So I'm not very big on philosophy, but I read a long series of novels by Terry Goodkind recently, and a lot of the underlying plot has much to do with the beliefs of objectivism.

Objectivism was thought up (?) by Ayn Rand.

Rand characterized Objectivism as "a philosophy for living on earth," grounded in reality, and aimed at defining man's nature and the nature of the world in which he lives.

"My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute."
—Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged


from the wikipedia article - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Objectivism_(Ayn_Rand)


So, I don't particularly ascribe to any certain moral philosophy myself, except that which I've come up with on my own throughout the years, but I do like certain aspects of objectivism. I'm more curious what other people think about it.

I joined a group on the website Shelfari which is a book website, and I tried to discuss it there but that website or group is just dead.

Ayn Rand's political objectivism was seriously flawed because she viewed the intrinsic nature of humanity through rose coloured glasses.

She saw the masters of society as entrepreneurial giants, who, through their capitalistic mastery, would drag lesser people to her pre determined higher domain.

Today we see the world economic system in dire straits with greedy entrepreneurs, bankers, and financiers begging for government handouts to restart their former devious practises.

Ayn had a huge cult following, even to the extent of thousands viewing her corpse and weeping buckets. She may have been well intentioned, but history indicates that her general approach was extremely biased and unrealistic.
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28-10-2011, 05:19 PM
 
RE: Objectivism - questions and discussion
Her ideas about money were so silly: based on the assumptions that it is individuals, or groups of individuals, who produce our necessities and luxuries, all by themselves, without any contribution from past and present.

She totally disregarded humanity’s organic character, how it is a living, interacting, symbiotic entity, with the parts all dependent on the whole and vice versa. She had this image of the noble predator in the jungle on its independent prowl, pouncing on the prey using nothing but its skill at the hunt.

Society isn’t like that.

Individuals are born into a human community: family, neighborhood, country, race, gender, cultural influences, educational influences, have an enormous amount of knowledge and methods handed down to them, provided with some level of health care, some level of police protection, an infrastructure that includes transportation and communication. They take full advantage of all this, while they are on their way to become “self-made-men”.

Once they have their breaks (often by sheer luck, often by a lot of help from their “inferiors”), then they can disown any debt to both individuals and society and demand everything they can squeeze out of the ‘market’.

As mdak06 said yesterday on the “Nature of Money” thread:

“As I see it, society doesn't build a car, or raise cows on a farm, or shine someone's shoes, or perform surgery, or create a computer. Individuals do - sometimes working together (as a corporation, or a business, or a charity, or whatever), but the work is done by individuals, not by society. There is no right of society to collectively decide how to distribute the wealth that one individual or a group of individuals has produced.”

No wonder I accused him of spouting Ayn Rand. Straight out of Francisco’s big speech about money in “Atlas Shrugged”

Money, as a medium that can be hoarded and accumulated, by whatever means, is the vehicle by which this decoupling between contribution and reward can be achieved. Plus the long list I made about the enormous waste of resources that goes into maintaining a monetary system.

A sane species would produce for their real needs, distribute these products according to what is needed by whom and where and live in balance and harmony.

An insane species like ours
is throwing the baby out with the bath water by spending up to 90% of their resources to create, shuffle and fight over money in order to maintain the parasitic, RELATIVE affluence of its elite.
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28-10-2011, 05:35 PM (This post was last modified: 28-10-2011 05:43 PM by Peterkin.)
RE: Objectivism - questions and discussion
(28-10-2011 04:58 PM)Mr Woof Wrote:  Ayn had a huge cult following, even to the extent of thousands viewing her corpse and weeping buckets. She may have been well intentioned, but history indicates that her general approach was extremely biased and unrealistic.

That's because she praised in America exactly those traits that America doesn't desire to correct, but of which it is a little ashamed, and for which it is most criticized: arrogance, greed, brashness, wastefulness, willful ignorance, hypocrisy, aggressiveness, narcissism, self-delusion. ("If only everybody was like I imagine myself to be, the world would be prefect.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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28-10-2011, 09:49 PM
RE: Objectivism - questions and discussion
(27-10-2011 06:26 PM)Atheist#6667 Wrote:  So I'm not very big on philosophy, but I read a long series of novels by Terry Goodkind recently, and a lot of the underlying plot has much to do with the beliefs of objectivism.

Objectivism was thought up (?) by Ayn Rand.


Yes, i know the books you are talking about (SoT), and have also research Ayn Rand after reading them Smile Objectivism is a highly criticised theory, which i personally hate because of its arrogance and contradictory nature. It also says that everybody in the world can go **** themselves because logically you should only look after the self.

As far as Terry Goodkind goes, he should write more story and reject the long, philosophical rants. A lot of the philosophy in the books are ridiculous, because "objectivism" in the series basically means that the protagonist is always right, except when he is wrong, and then he is right again. Look up "the lemmings of discord" to see people make fun of Goodkind's stupid objectivist philosophies.

But aside from that, I did like the books.
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29-10-2011, 01:48 PM
RE: Objectivism - questions and discussion
Does anyone else see similarities between some of the OWS protesters and this brand of thinking (objectivism)?

I'm just curious if I'm the only one that sees a parallel or if I'm just grasping at straws.
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29-10-2011, 02:03 PM
RE: Objectivism - questions and discussion
What parallel do you see?
To me, this protest seems the exact opposite of everything Ayn Rand approved: it's collective and common and intended to demand back some of the loot the wheelers and dealers have amassed through deregulation, fraud and chicanery.
Is there something else going on? I don't keep up with current events.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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29-10-2011, 06:41 PM
RE: Objectivism - questions and discussion
(29-10-2011 02:03 PM)Peterkin Wrote:  What parallel do you see?
To me, this protest seems the exact opposite of everything Ayn Rand approved: it's collective and common and intended to demand back some of the loot the wheelers and dealers have amassed through deregulation, fraud and chicanery.
Is there something else going on? I don't keep up with current events.

I actually posted it backwards from what I meant.
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30-10-2011, 05:18 PM
RE: Objectivism - questions and discussion
I have a somewhat different view of the Rand movement. It looks to me as if she created a kind of alternative humanism for people on the right which has started to become competitive with the mainstream sort of humanism more closely identified with liberal & leftist political beliefs.

Even more interesting to me, she did this through the sales of her novels in the market, without the institutional support from government & academia which tends to favor left-liberal humanism.

I appreciate what Rand said she wanted to do - articulate a secular, practical "philosophy for living on earth." I don't think she had the goods to pull it off, though she did stumble across a few plausible insights. For example, she helped to popularize the idea of human capital - "the power of man's mind" - around the time that mainstream economists like Robert Solow started to try to measure how much human capital contributes to GDP from empirical data. The growing importance of knowledge work in the past 50 years made her writings appeal to business men, professionals and people in technical fields who felt that she defended their contributions to society.
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