More than 50 years after Atlas Shrugged and after much years of being Objectivist, I strongly believe that some update is necessary to Rand's original approach
In fact more than an update is an extension consisting in applying Objectivism deeper to the Human Animal: Ourselves
The Aristotelian "A is A" means also that WE are what we are, and in recent years after Rand's main body of work, several science disciplines has gone much further in the research about our very own nature as "biological machines".
In an oversimplified analogy our body and specially our brain would be the "hardware", our mind the "software" and our emotional system standing between both, and functioning as some kind of "firmware" specially in our early years of life
Rand focused her wonderful insights in our mind, the software, which is of course the proper terrain for philosophy but I think now that she overlooked the strong influence of our hardware in our behavior, moods, and choices, specially our Emotional System which is shaped by our "sense of life" = values in Randian terms but also by our biology and even the particular chemistry and hormone balance inside our brains
What follow are some concepts for discussion, followed by some Conclusions at the end:
1- Modern Evolutionary Psychology and Neuroscience are progressing more and more in revealing how strong is the influence of DNA-inherited traits in our behavior and moral choices and preferences
So Aristotle-Locke's concept of "Tabula Rasa" is valid to a certain (great) extend but not absolute since we have innate tendencies acquired thru darwinian evolution
2- The (also Aristotelian) "Eudaimonia" and thus our pursuit-of-happiness are very strongly influenced by our emotional system, in fact happiness itself is an emotionally based state of mind, complex, quite different for each individual, hard to define, but emotional in nature: We feel happy as opposite to we think we are happy
3- Altruism and Religiosity, two apparently DNA-inherited traits are central to the discourse of Objectivism vs traditional organization in Society
Recent studies strongly suggest that these two tendencies found in all World's societies across all Ages, are "hardwired" in our brains and helped specie's survival
As a sample of this line of though please read Matthew Alper's book "The God part of the Brain" or this article in LA Times: http://articles.lati...theism-20110718
4- Human Society's evolution leads also to "biological weakness"?
Not to mention modern medicine hindering Natural Selection, Capitalism as the best-to-date political system is strongly linked to an evolved morality, and any regression in human history would likely diminish or eliminate Capitalism in modern Society with the subsequent possibility of returning to more savage relationships among men that in turn would also call for "less evolved" individuals in order to survive?
5- Beatles' classic "All you need is love" is an expression that probably would produce revulsion in Rand and most Objectivists BUT there is something extremely important inside the very concept of "Love" that is essential to our survival as individual and species: The DNA-inherited natural tendency of "attachment" in the Human Animal which is also emotionally driven. Attachment to our beloved ones, to our projects, to other people, even to objects or devices that become important for us, allowing to move towards needs generated by these feelings that not always have an easy or even logic explanation.
6- Ayn Rand stressed the essential importance of a John-Galt style of relationship with Nature, absolutely agreed BUT dominion of Nature is dominion of just one half of our environment, as social animals we usually live in groups so our "Reality" is compressed of Nature and People with the latter posing also multiple challenges coming from our relationship with others, personal interactions, rules and laws, rewards vs punishment, control vs freedom, etc.
A- We are what we are, A is A and it is pointless to deny our very own nature consistent with our current degree of evolution as species. Thus integrating Objectivist Philosophy into our complex "interior" (including specially our Emotional System) is a challenge that everyone has to solve in his/her own way. But to me we need adequate managing not denial, of all these DNA-inherited traits and tendencies that are more strong in some individuals than others but always present in the end.
B- Borrowing from conflict management strategies an interesting option I found is working "in the frontiers", meaning accepting that conflict is an essential part of existence and try to make our choices accordingly and as smart as possible. This is specially important in the relationship with all other people around us who usually are far more unpredictable and illogic than Nature that is much more benevolent in David Kelley's sense of the word
C- It sounds politically incorrect but I also believe that we should contemplate the need to be less overcivilized in some cases, keeping deep inside ourselves some residual "primitivism" just in case modern Society collapses and relationships among men change in some future. This applies also to the sometimes overprotective environment and education we are giving to our children?
Edited by Tonix777, 08 September 2011 - 10:16 AM.