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Ayn Rand 100 years!

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  • Ayn Rand 100 years!

    Man... People everywhere in Sweden are going on and on about this philosopher of objektivism.
    I know u guys have already talked about this before.
    But i missed out on the debate.

    What do you guys think of her philosophy et al.

    "Men have been taught that the ego is the synonym of evil, and selflessness the ideal of virtue. But the creator is the egoist in the absolute sense, and the selfless man is the one who does not think, feel, judge or act. These are function of the self."

    I've met many people who act with a selfless attitude.
    Who don't even want any grattitude recieved for it either.
    I think she was REALLY biased, in her view, because of her childhood in russia during the revolution.
    I think it's a very childish philosophy, if it is to be called a philosophy?

    Good night! ZZzzzZZZzz

  • #2
    I can't believe Swedes are taking this woman seriously. She's crap. Third rate reasoning, dreadful cardboard characters in her fiction. She started a cult a few years ago which had some of the characteristics of Scientology...

    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
    The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
    Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds

    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
    The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
    Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses


    • #3
      What philosophers do you admire if not Ayn Rand MM?

      I am going to refrain from entering into conversation on Ayn Rand specifically as I find most people misunderstand her. The degree to which they do is usually to the same degree they hold to the existance of God. The only thing I will say is that she is not "crap", and that her reasoning is the basis of a philosophy that centers on the freedom of the self. A view one should hardly condemn to third rate without some form of explanation. IMO, no offence meant.

      The above link is for those who wish to learn more about her before they enter into mudslinging. After which, sling at will, but at least look.


      • #4
        And her protagonists -- pompous, rock-jawed, rugged individualistic capitalist heros who strut around as if they've got ramrods jammed up their nether aperatures.

        Think neo-capitalist Superman (the comic book, not the Nietzschean concept of the أœbermann). Calling this "objectivist" is a clear case of false advertising, as well as an attempt to redefine political rhetoric.

        Not to be taken seriously as philosophy or literature. Great if you're stranded on a desert island without toilet paper. (There are a lot of pages in The Fountainhead and Atlas Farted.) Doubtless inferior to the goose suggested by Rabelais in Gargantua, of course. :lol:



        • #5
          Sorry, but I don't see Ayn Rand as a 'philosopher' exactly. I'd argue that only in America would she be dignified with that description. By and large most of my favourite philosophers appear in the Multiverse comic I did a few years ago... I came upon her without any notion of who she was many years ago and couldn't believe that it was actually published by a commercial publisher! It reminds me of the young man I met at an
          American university a few years ago who offered me his theory of government. After a little while I had to tell him that there was a well-established name for what he was proposing -- Fascism.
          By and large this idea was no longer given much credence in the cultural mainstream.

          Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
          The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
          Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds

          Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
          The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
          Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses


          • #6
            In her own words...

            My philosophy, Objectivism, holds that:

            1. Reality exists as an objective absolute—facts are facts, independent of man's feelings, wishes, hopes or fears.

            2. Reason (the faculty which identifies and integrates the material provided by man's senses) is man's only means of perceiving reality, his only source of knowledge, his only guide to action, and his basic means of survival.

            3. Man—every man—is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.

            4. The ideal political-economic system is laissez-faire capitalism. It is a system where men deal with one another, not as victims and executioners, nor as masters and slaves, but as traders, by free, voluntary exchange to mutual benefit. It is a system where no man may obtain any values from others by resorting to physical force, and no man may initiate the use of physical force against others. The government acts only as a policeman that protects man's rights; it uses physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use, such as criminals or foreign invaders. In a system of full capitalism, there should be (but, historically, has not yet been) a complete separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church.

            More simply put...

            1. Metaphysics: Objective Reality
            2. Epistemology: Reason
            3. Ethics: Self-interest
            4. Politics: Capitalism


            • #7

              Etymology: Italian fascismo, from fascio bundle, fasces, group, from Latin fascis bundle & fasces fasces
              1 often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
              2 : a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control <early instances of army fascism and brutality -- J. W. Aldridge>

              How does this definition compare to number 4 above? She fought Fascism and Communism in her philosophy. So much for refraining.


              • #8
                I didn't say she was a fascist. I was demonstrating the lack of political eduction in the US, which is why her ideas are taken seriously here whereas they don't tend to be taken seriously elsewhere. She certainly wouldn't accept Communism, I'll grant you. And she probably wouldn't go for the corporate state, either. But the idea of concentrating power into the hands of a plutocracy as opposed to allowing the free rein of populist democracy isn't a huge step from supporting dictatorship. What other philosophers do you find attractive ? Say from Hume onwards ?

                Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds

                Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses


                • #9
                  I read your above comments as, the view of the young man "reminded" you of Rand's thinking, and that you viewed this perspective as Fascism. That is all, I just felt a comparison between Fascism and Objectivism was relavent as you had said in an earlier thread that you viewed her writing as being written by, about and for fascists. [broken link]

                  I don't think Rand had in mind that the "control" of government would be in the hands of the rich. Rather it would be contorolled by the rule of law as dictated by the people, written with full understanding of what it means to be a free society of individuals. The economy (industry) on the other hand would indeed be in the hands of the those who actually produced and invented. The government however would still safeguard the rights of the individual in regards to how far individual companies could go in terms of their pursuit of their goals. I.e., no nuclear waste dumping in my backyard.

                  I will admit to having the least knowledge about how Rand's philosophy could realistically be applied politically. It is in her Metaphysics, Epistemology and Ethics which I find it easiest to apply her thinking to every day life. But I understand her principles in regard to government and agree with the foundation they prepose, individual freedom. That is the crux of the problem with implementing such philosophy politically, most people don't know how to be free. They feel that sacrifice is noble, and require it as well for their own existance. A free man rejects this as a means of survival and seeks his own self reliance. He does not reject voluntary and honest trade with others though, and in doing so benefits society at large by holding to the principle that ALL men are free and must be respected as such.

                  My philosphical reading is not vast by any means. I have read Aristotle, Socrates, Nietzche, Rand, Joseph Campbell, The Christian Bible, Buddhist and eastern philosphy in pieces. My own philosophy however is not a direct derivitive of only Rand's thinking. I am not a dyed in the wool Objectivist. I have been influenced by many sources outside the specific realm of philosophical writing (as I think all of us could say). I just feel their is genuine merit to some of the foundation of what Rand has to say and therefor feel it appropriate to defend her in in the face of those that would make light of some of her principles.

                  Again, no offence meant. I enjoy philosophical debates and hope to approach this one with reason and restraint.
                  Last edited by Rothgo; 04-09-2010, 12:11 PM.


                  • #10
                    There is a good example of the different levels of achievment man may reach in The Fountainhead and still be on equal footing as men. Howard Roarke is an architect, a man of great intellect and ability to achieve. There is also a man (name eludes me) that is "merely" a construction worker. They both are "rich" in that they live their lives according to their own pursuit of happiness. Happiness and success is not measured in dollars but in freedom and happiness.

                    Their is also a sculpter that Roarke "supports" through his efforts. Not through self sacrifice, but through realizing the inherent worth of the man. He sees him as being shackled by misconception of his place in life and strives to see his genius emerge from it. This is not self sacrificing charity though, Roarke needs the man's artistic efforts for his buildings, but he wants what the man truly has in him to achieve. So he "helps" him through a period of self doubt and sacrifice which in the end results in his achieving truly masterful works of sculpture.

                    Using "the masses" as a barometer of goodness is unwise. What is good for all men is freedom. Ones man's pursuit of happiness may differ from anothers, but the underlying principle of freedom is what they should share. If one man's inclination is to pursue his happiness to the detrement of another, or group of others though, that is where the rule of law steps in and restrains him. "Productive achievment" need not be seen as a means to seperate the classes, but rather as a means to unite them under one ethic of self interest. The nobility of a man earning 25,000 dollars a year need not be less than one earning 1,000,000. That is if they both hold to the principle that their own freedom and all others is vital to their own survival and that is how they interact with each other.

                    Reason definitely plays a role in "helping" others. It is not merely a pure emotional response. More often than not it is a concept of unfairness that drives most to help others. A misfortune not of the recipients making. It is wise and "self serving" to aid those who are unjustly dealt a bad hand. It builds a larger source of free people to exist with. It is those who we can clearly indentify as leaches on others efforts who do not deserve or merit assistance. The children of these leaches fall under the "dealt a bad hand" idea. Assitance to them through their parents is a undesirable but necessary means of supporting them. It is the concept of "forced" charity that Rand disagrees with, not private thinking mens understanding that their are many in life that deserve and need help.


                    • #11
                      So in Rand's mind, the ideal man shouldn't give a crap about anybody or anything apart from himself?

                      Well, thank God I don't subscribe to her 'philosophies.'


                      • #12
                        The European male has produced more stuff than any being on Earth.
                        Erm, that statement isn't accurate, not by a long shot...if 'producing' translates into physicaly manufacturing a product (from start to finish) that is especially not true. Stop and think about who built the computer monitor you are looking at . 'Success' requires many a 'looser's' head to stand on'...robbing other people's ideas (like Edison) and exploiting their resources and labor hardly constitutes my idea of 'free' enterprise...


                        By Professor Gloria Emeagwali

                        Several strategies have been used to reinforce the myth that regions outside Europe contributed nothing to the development of science and technology either in terms of hardware or software- the view that historically the majority of the world have been passive recipients of a so-called Western science and technology. Here are some of the strategies used by a long line of deceptive scholars.

                        Selective Omission of Information

                        Silence reigns with respect to non-European predecessors of significant inventions.Thales is declared the Father of Science but the partial Asian parentage of Thales whose mother was Phoenician ( Lebanese), or Pythagoras, possibly of similar parentage, is hardly ever mentioned. The constant interaction of the Ancient Greeks with their African counterparts is ignored, even when the Greeeks themselves gratefully acknowledge this interaction.

                        Euphemisms and Circumlocutions

                        Neckam's magnetic compass is represented as being" similar to the Chinese one," in a well-known text. There is no attempt to acknowledge the fact of prior invention by the Chinese.

                        The Conferment of Honorary Western Nationality

                        Westernization of the names of outstanding scientists and their devices; and the Europeanization of scientific documents and processes are frequently done. These ploys are used to undermine equal and fair assessment of the global multiregional history of science and technology.The Egyptian Claudius Ptolemeaus and the Algerian/Tunisian Constantine assume European identity in some of the texts, whilst West Asian (Middle Eastern )scholars such as Ibn Sina (Avicenna), al-Kindi (Alkindius), Ibn Rush'd (Averroes) and al-Ghazali (Algazel) become indistinguishable from their European counterparts.The ancient Egyptian arithmetical and medicinal documents become known as the Rhind, Ebers and Edwin Smith papyri, and the comet identified by the Chinese as early as 2,500 years ago is attributed to Haley.

                        Blind Citation of Greco-Roman References

                        European progenitors are created where they do not really exist. That the Greek alphabet is largely of Syrian/Lebanese origin and that there is a proliferation of loan words in both languages is hardly ever explained. The African and Asian origin of many linguistic terms and concepts associated with the Greco-Roman cultural zone, is concealed from the unsuspecting layman.

                        In a brief article titled "Africa, Cradle of Writing" and published in the Africana Bulletin, African Studies Center, No.42. December 1998/January 1999 Boston University, Konrad Tuchsherer points out that "over 5,000 years ago in Egypt, Africans developed their system of hieroglyphic writing, the world's earliest known script. Scholars have traditionally asserted that the earliest writing systems emerged at the end of the fourth millennium BC in Mesopotamia and that the idea of writing was borrowed in Egypt around 3100BC at the onset of the First Egyptian Dynasty. New evidence uncovered by archeologists in Egypt, however,has revealed that Africans employed their hieroglyphic system at least 150 years earlier than the Sumerian in Mesopotamia, around 3250BC." Not only was the Egyptian system the source for the development of Tifinagh and Ethiopic but it also inspired the Hebrew and Arabic scripts and indirectly the Greek, Roman and Cyrillic scripts, according to Tuchsherer.

                        Double Standards of Assessment

                        Most of the technological creations of Africa are assigned to artistic designations. Africans find some of their scientific and technological achievements confined to fine art museums. The scientific and technical processes underlying the creation of various inventions are deliberately trivialized.

                        Rumors and Innuendo

                        Africa is assailed for not inventing the wheel as if (to imply that) it were a European invention. The fact remains, though, that Greek and Roman wheeled vehicles and chariots are the directs heirs of Mesopotamian ingenuity. Moreover, African Saharan rock paintings reveal chariots and wheeled vehicles of great antiquity.

                        Manipulation of Dates

                        The birth of modern science is often associated with the 17th century, admittedly a period of intensified intellectual activity on the part of European scholars. But it may be that Modern Science predates such eurocentric boundaries.It is as difficult to conceive of mathematics without the Hindu-Arabic numerals, the concept zero and algebraic notations as it is to think of optics without al-Haitham and al-Kindi. It is difficult to conceive of Galileo without the pendulum.The Hindu-Arabic numeral system revolutionized mathematical thought by facilitating the use of decimals and the solution of complex equations. See Islamic Science

                        Of Chinese origin are numerous inventions, including the following:



                        the compass

                        paper money

                        the mechanical clock

                        helicoptor tops

                        the parachute

                        deep drilling

                        The stirrup, the sternpost rudder, the lateen sail, the abacus, the pendulum, the game of chess the axle, the bow drill, the chisel, and the wedge are all of non-European origin. The latter did for building technology what the Mesopotamian and African sailboat, barge, freight and wheeled vehicle did for navigation and communication.Add to these the Persian (Iranian) windmill, and watermill, the predecessors of the modern water turbine, and we have an array of devices which constitute important landmarks in the history of power generation. Glass, cement, enamel and porcelain; the nail and saw; the printed book and the compass, all join this list.The check (cheque) is not of European origin. Arab traders pioneered this important commercial device.

                        Inventors such as Ibn Yunus the Egyptian and Pi Cheng, identified with printing from movable type, are very seldom acknowledged. It is interesting to note that the first printed text on record dates back to 868AD. It was found in the Gobi Desert in Northern China . It was vertically printed and was apparently one of numerous mass-printed texts sent to various Buddhist temples.

                        In the orthodox eurocentric accounts the proverbial engineers are the Romans but what of Persian, Mesopotamian and African expertise in that field? The first underwater tunnel was constructed in ancient Iraq, a feat as noteworthy as the Egyptian embankment across the Garawi valley 850 years earlier. The stone wall terraces of Gwoza in Northeast Nigeria are significant evidence of engineering skill and so, too, are the fortifications of Benin, which cover over 2,500 square miles and consist of more than 500 interconnected enclosures. These remain major engineering feats not only of West Africa but of the world. The enclosures of Zimbabwe, the Lalibela churches of Ethiopia, Axumite obelisks and sphinxes, as well as Sudanese (Nubian) and Egyptian pyramids, of Ancient Southern and Northeast Africa, are no less impressive. For more on Africa view some of these.

                        Scholars such as Gerbert of Aurillac formed part of a long line of European pioneers of technology transfer, including such distinguished seekers of knowledge as Adelard of Bath, John of Seville, Leonardo of Pisa and Albert the Great. Leonardo of Pisa's exposure to mathematical scholarship in Algiers, North Africa, facilitated the introduction into Europe of one of the most significant innovations in the history of mathematics, namely, the Hindu-Arabic numeral system cited earlier. These scholars added to the diffusion of skills and techniques by pilgrims, trading columns, migrant craftsmen, professional spies and diplomatic missions, and indirectly injected greater precision and accuracy in the works of engineers, technologists, and artisans.

                        Northeast African battleships, Mesopotamian armor and Chinese gunpowder became integrated in much of the conventional warfare of early Europe.It is seldom mentioned that the industrial revolution developed largely on the basis of Asian- derived techniques and a complex system of import substitution and protectionism on the part of British producers. South Asian cotton fabrics were imitated and copied by the British who tried to reverse the historical manufacturing capabilities of that region to turn India into a mass exporter of raw cotton. For more on India go to South Asian History.

                        Halsall's Sourcebook on India

                        Native Americans gave the world a major portion of the crops now in cultivation including:


                        b. the cacao bean

                        c. varieties of beans

                        d. strawberries

                        e. corn

                        f. sunflowers

                        g. tomatoes

                        h. cassava

                        Their agricultural expertise is often neglected and seldom acknowledged.
                        and the list goes on...Technology is where it is now because of the discoveries made by humans belonging to various cultures. It is not the crowning achievement of only one group in particular. Though you are right that ignoring that fact is a characteristic of people with a Nazi-like mentality...


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
                          I can't believe Swedes are taking this woman seriously. She's crap. Third rate reasoning, dreadful cardboard characters in her fiction. She started a cult a few years ago which had some of the characteristics of Scientology...
                          I think it's mostly because of a socio-cultural change that swept the nation after the stockmarket crash of '89. A reform of education, in which to conceal unemployment rates, the jobmarket is infested with consultants with high education and little empathy towards the wellfare system of the
                          government. Seeing it as form of government greed (which is not entirely unjustified). I always keep wondering where our high-cost tax money goes when i see poor people and read about mentally ill people roaming the streets killing people (and high government officials) screaming for help with their problems. I think people mimic their leadership (maybe unconciously so). I read a paper study on "japanese leadership" for the government to analyze from the early 90's. Seems they've taken it to heart of the government body to control the state because of it's effectiveness to cut costs.

                          (Neo) Liberalism is spreading within the major cities,
                          A new form of "People do not have equal worth" mentality,
                          and a new "Blind-me generation" is growing up as a result of this.
                          I might be wrong and jumping to conclusions, but the signs are everywhere.

                          Our prime minister stated yesterday (i think) that he wanted to shut down 'The Swedish Trade Union Confederation' or a part of it. But there's alot more tension between the two nowadays.

                          What Ayn Rand fails to see is how harmony works.. Money doesn't create harmony. It creates 'greed'. Because money is power.
                          One has to let go of the self, at different stages, in order to create harmonal balance.


                          • #14
                            Mostly, I'll just agree with LSN's lyrical take on Rand.

                            However, since I've commented before, I'll comment again...

                            Rand's claims are untenable next to nearly all social psychological and sociological theory. Moreover, my interactions with her "followers" lead me to believe that she encourages people to focus on only themselves, often to the point of denying the limits and influences of the objective world she presupposes. Finally, relative to mature philosophies like humanism and existentialism, her arguments seem paper thin. If you want philosophy through literature, read Sartre.


                            • #15
                              Yeah, read Sartre and invest in Rand, mainly Krugerrand!
                              Google ergo sum