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Rand through a Nietzsche filter


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#1 seymourblogger

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 07:28 PM

(NOTE FROM MSK: I peeled this off from a different thread.)


I don't know if this thread is dead or not.

I pay no attention to Objectivism as a formal philosophy. It is quite different from Rand's fiction. And the two are in different orders. Her fiction is in the Order of Seduction and her non-fiction is in the Order of Production. I am taking this from the work of Jean Baudrillard.

Fountainhead is permeated with Nietzsche. Her writing style in it is aphoristic, seductive, suggestive and while not all things Nietzsche, certainly so much of him is revealed and concealed that if Fountainhead is read through Nietzsche, all the psychological drivel of the Superman/Overman vanishes. We see Roark and Wynand trying to embody the growth towards that experience of existence. Dominique has been portrayed as a psychological masochist seeking her own self-destruction. And this view has been solidified by Rand's own words which we can read in her published Journal. The context of it was that Patricia Neal was having difficulty with her portrayal of the character of dominique and Rand was explaining it for her. Well, Rand certainly had to explain within the Dominating Discourse of psychological interpretation so Dominique was doomed forever to be seen in this way.

Fountainhead was printed on wartime paper. Rand wrote it with Nietzsche at the helm. Every chapter was to be prefaced with a quote from Nietzsche and a tribute to him for the book. alas Hitler had embraced Nietzsche and doomed him for the time being. No publisher would have allowed Nietzsche to be named in print as Rand intended.

Kiss of Death!

Lest anyone blame Rand for her lack of courage even Foucault, as intellectually powerful as he was, said toward the end of his life, that he regretted not acknowledging Nietzsche earlier in his career for his great debt to him. Foucault expanded on Nietzsche's genealogical method to make the method the preferred was of thinking about human behavior. Psychology, history, language, etc. Both of these titans were wise to follow Galileo, eh.

Dominique can be read as a Nietzschean strategist, choosing the "worst" excess possible. This is the same strategy Eric Packer uses in Cosmopolis to implode the global currency market. Rand took everything to excess, to the edge of the abyss where it topples over into the chasm. This is Nietzsche folks.
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#2 Ninth Doctor

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 08:25 PM

Every chapter was to be prefaced with a quote from Nietzsche and a tribute to him for the book.

Do you have a source for this? That every chapter of The Fountainhead was to begin with a Nietzsche quote? She acknowledged in the 25th anniversary preface that she had a quote from him in mind for the beginning of the book, but this is the first I'm hearing of chapter by chapter quotes.

Are you this person?
http://www.solopassion.com/node/8868

Far as I can tell, this has nothing to do with this thread.
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#3 seymourblogger

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 09:27 PM

I believe my source was in one of the two biographies I read but can't remember which one. The Journal is crubbed of Nietzsche and so are her letters. Branden also is scrubbed out. And of course I always leave the possibility that I am wrong. But no matter. It is not really important anyway unless you are preparing a career in Trivial Pursuit. Leaves and trees and forest and woods?

Her statements about things like this were often subject to revisionism. As her excuses for the change in We the Living's later edition due to her problems with English. She had no problems in English in that first edition nor with NIetzsche. The important quotes that Merrill quotes and Sciabarra also are very adroit in the way she changes them. She simply inverts Nietzsche as she used him in the first edition and the inversion has a toning down effect.

If you want to dig out the quotes we can discuss them. As Baudriolard says about his love affair with Nietzsche, Nietzsche was in him, influencing him always, but underground, and not as any direct reference. IMO this is true for Rand also as she read Nietzsche outside of class assignments, on her own, and a friend told her that Nietzsche had taken all her ideas first and beat her to it. This is the way she felt about Nietzsche, so it seems his thinking was in the air, eh?

IMO Rand cannot be properly understood without reading her through Nietzsche. I am only, - again only - talking about her fiction.
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#4 seymourblogger

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 09:38 PM

Yes I am this person. http://www.solopassion.com/node/8868

I have been more explicit and detailed here: http://guerrillablog...dfb2336876ddb44

And at http://cosmopolisfilm2.blogspot.com as DeLillo's Cosmoolis can be read through Rand. I have some more scattered among other blogs if you want the links.

Probably this comment does not belong in this thread. I am new here and haven't learned my way around yet. Can you suggest a better thread or should I start one?
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#5 Brant Gaede

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 09:42 PM

Start one. Start over. I suggest you don't toss the whole ball of wax into the arena to begin. Find a simplicity. Michael can split this off, though, and start it for you with the subsequent posts.

--Brant

Rational Individualist, Rational self-interest, Individual Rights--limited government libertarian heavily influenced by Objectivism


#6 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 10:55 PM

Start one. Start over. I suggest you don't toss the whole ball of wax into the arena to begin. Find a simplicity. Michael can split this off, though, and start it for you with the subsequent posts.

Brant,

Good idea. I just did it.


Seymourblogger,

I chose "Rand through a Nietzsche filter" as the title. That seems apt. Please let me know if you have any objection.

And before I forget, welcome to OL.

I haven't got a handle on your message and I'm not sure I agree with some of your presuppositions, but let 'er fly. You seem to come in goodwill.

For your information, agreeing with me is not a condition. (Thank God.) But there are posting guidelines. And even then, there is some flexibility. I'm more concerned about character and keeping the preachers, trolls and spammers from spoiling the good thing we have going here. None of that seems to be your case.

I agree with Brant, though. When you try to serve up the whole meal in one bite, not many will come sit at your table.

btw - Are you crazy or do you just appear that way?

:)

(Just joking... :) )

(Or maybe not... :) )

Michael

Know thyself...


#7 Brant Gaede

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 12:04 AM

Seymour,

As just stated by you on SLOP, you think Rand's non-fiction is "Objectivist garbage"--that Objectivism was Rand's "gift" to Branden--that her real philosophy is in her fiction. Out of this context, how would you evaluate Galt's speech? As for the speech's esthetics, the only thing that seemed right by me was the length--a big long novel needed a big long speech. But the speech of The Grand Inquisitor in The Brothers Karamazov was perfect in the novel, brilliant literarily and relatively short. It was also the greatest speech I've read in world literature (--not saying much). You can see its influence in Toohey's speech to Keating after he had finished helping Keating eviscerate himself. Also, do you think Atlas was too long sans the speech?

--Brant

Rational Individualist, Rational self-interest, Individual Rights--limited government libertarian heavily influenced by Objectivism


#8 Ninth Doctor

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 11:37 AM

I believe my source was in one of the two biographies I read but can't remember which one. The Journal is crubbed of Nietzsche and so are her letters. Branden also is scrubbed out. And of course I always leave the possibility that I am wrong. But no matter. It is not really important anyway unless you are preparing a career in Trivial Pursuit. Leaves and trees and forest and woods?

You’re not building any credibility here. We know that the letters and journals were edited, but where did you read that references to Nietzsche were “scrubbed”? Here’s the relevant info:
http://www.nyu.edu/p...ays/liberty.htm
http://www.jenniferb...ers-and-diaries
Nock yes, Nietzsche no. Now, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that relevant material from Rand’s Nietzschean period was edited out, but this is simply not part of the historical record. Yet you make an unqualified declarative statement on the matter. You can salvage some credibility with a proper reference for your claim about The Fountainhead chapters. If it were true, I’m confident I’d have read about it before, and would have sought out the quotes. I’m already to the point of concluding that your attitude to facts vs. your own inventions merits a new verse to be supplied by the ghost of Cole Porter:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zJ3vqkXqRU

Her statements about things like this were often subject to revisionism. As her excuses for the change in We the Living's later edition due to her problems with English. She had no problems in English in that first edition nor with NIetzsche.

Have you read the original We the Living? I have a friend who owns an original copy that he laboriously annotated, adding brackets around each edited sentence, then noting what the changes were. When I went through it I was shocked at how bad some of the writing was.
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#9 seymourblogger

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 03:48 PM

To those who have replied:

The Missouri prof who worked on Stevenson's campaign. I loved him later and then when I sold tons of used books on the internet I found a sort of book/phamplet by him on how great the Soviet Union was when he visited there earlier in his life. With BHL I believe it was Solzhenitsyn who took the Soviet Union down. all the liberal support it had just vanished after that book. Has your prof come to terms with this? It was a blow to me. The great liberal Susan Sontag said it was humbling to realize that the Reader's Digest had been right all along.

References to Nietzsche were scrubbed out because they are simply not there. How about Barbara's anecdote that Rand told her Zarathustra was the first book she bought in English and she told Barabara that she had underlined all her favorite passages. Much as many people have done with Atlas Shrugged BTW. When you "own" a book that way, you make it yours, it invades you, your feelings, your thoughts, actions, your mind and the way you think.

Nietzsche's advice for reading him was to read each aphorism carefully, let it digest, ruminate on it. Nietzsche is not a writer that you read linearly, right straight through. If you don't know German and haven't read him in the original, then read hm in the latest translation . If you want help then read Nietzschean thought through Jean Baudrillard and Babette Babich, both Nietzschean scholars, but only Rand and Baudrillard drank him in at a very young age.

This probably doesn't help with you as you want citations. Burns is the one who talks about editing. But she did not go through that whole damn archive looking for editing. She was stumbling across the editing in the area she was working on, Rand's life. She was not focussed on Nietzsche's influence, except as an aside. She was not looking for evidence of Nietzsche being scrubbed out, but just noted some Nietzsche passages in the Journal and the Letters which she mentioned in passing. When I went looking for Nietzsche in the early parts of the Journal and Letters, I couldn't find anything. No mention of reading Zarathustra in English, and thinking about what he said, which I am sure she would have put in her Journal at that time. All Nietzsche couldn't be edited out as she had said things about him but the time of his real influence was early on, And none of that is in the J or the L. And some original pieces were lost, stolen, hidden, thrown away, etc.

I am not going to go back and cite every page and reference just to prove something to you that cannot be proved to you. You don't want to hear this. I get that. I don't want to argue with you about it in the dialectic..I have said I am only interested in her fiction, not her non-fiction, nor Objectivist dogma.

Sciabarra also was not focussed on Nietzsche except as Ron Merrill discusses Nietzsche. All Rand/Nietzsche linkage is predominently of the Superman ready-made sound-bite. Only Merrill delves a little deeper. He was correct going in the archives finding WTL first edition, but he was not enough of a NIetzsche student to go much further than he did. He was on the right road though. Too bad he stopped and got off it.

And for your information I am not trying to build credibility here. Not in the least.
I am on a new windows laptop and I hate it after my apple years. I am very frustrated with its interface but that's the way it is.

I agree Rand's writing is terrible in WTL, but it is also terrible in Atlas, but that is precisely what makes it perfct for the theme she is writing about. Later I will get into her style. No I have not personally seen the first edition of WTL just the parts Merrill quotes and Sciabarra from Merrill. Merrill did not see many changes, as he says, not me, except for the ones that were Nietzschean. And when I read the changes next to the original, what I saw was that she had turned them on their head. They still said the same, but inverted they did not have the same sting. If you are interested, then go look.

Yes, Kelley I have been called crazy many times. It seems all my life I have pushed the edges of the Dominating Discourse wherever I am. Only I did not know that that was what I was doing until I studied Foucault. Can you just imagine a first grade teacher in 1960 having fallen in love with Atlas Shrugged and determined to change her life accordingly, how that young girl sounded when she talked about Objectivism? Crazy for sure.

I am dead serious about all this. Dominique has been discussed as a self-destructive masochist for 70 fugging years! She was not. She was a Nietzschean strategist. With her life. As Rand was. And as Eric Packer is in Cosmopolis which P)attinson and the movie people and the fans are trying deny. Packer is being touted as a self-destructive multi billionaire who loses all his money in one day. I DISAGREE, and I am pushing the DeLillo society on this. I think DeLillo himself understands exactly that Rand was a Nietzschean hero and that certainoy her characters were. Toohey is straight out of Nietzsche and we all remember Rand on evil: Destroy the distinctions between good and evil and that is what is evil. Hannah Arendt: Evil is banal. Toohey is banal, only he isn't, is he? I refuse to let Eric Packer be swept up in the Dominating Discourse of the dialectic the way Wynand, Roark, Dominique, Galt, Dagny and all the rest of them have been.

Packer is the only one I have a chance with at the moment. And without knowing Cronenberg, I know he is on my side. Laughing all the way.
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#10 seymourblogger

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 03:50 PM

Sorry about the font on that last one. I don't know how to edit here so I can't change it. Help! Somebody tell me how!

(NOTE FROM MSK: I fixed it.)
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#11 seymourblogger

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 04:13 PM

Brant I think Atlas was perfect the way she wrote it. I also think Chambers was right on in his review of it: to the gas chambers go.

Baudrillard says, that when you write about something, your writing must be even more so than what you are writing about. (Nietzsche again) Baudri8llard's book on Seduction does just that. so does all of foucault's perfect prose, powerful and seductive, forcing the reader through the labyrinthe of the power/knowledge grid. His prose is always about power, and his writing is more powerful than the power he is writing about. It is a mirror.

Atlas is the mirror of excellence of Rand's subject of late capitalism. It is clunky. It doesn't work. It is long winded with denial and rationalizations. It is excessive in Galt's speech as he connects every last item to every other item. His is a philosophy of relations. Peikoff is dead on accurate about this. Everything is related to everything else. Nothing is compartmentalized.

<b>This is Nietzsche folks.</b>

Do Rand and Peikoff think it is Nietzsche? I doubt it. But Rand has so absorbed Nietzsche that she cannot think outside him. She is as interfaced with him as Eric Packer is with the speculative circulating global market. What she does in her non-fiction is to defy Nietzsche's style of writing. Aphoristic, which was her strength in Fountainhead. I think it was Burns who said Rand was edited a lot to purge the rhymes out of her writing. Shit. Are those manuscripts around with the rhymes in them? That's Nietzsche too.

Back to her style. Her style exactly matches and exceeds what she is writing about. Stubborn, obtuse, bungling, illogical, devious, self-serving bureaucrats and on and on I and you could go. It reads just like a bureaucracy except for the lyrical passages when an <b>Event</b> (Nietzsche again think 9-11) is unfolding. It tramps, it marches, it stumbles, but to the gas chambers it goes with Chambers himself. But see, she was denying Nietzsche at this time, so she didn't see that he had determined the way she wrote the book, and so was devastated by the criticism. Well, Nietzsche was too as we know, but responded by attacking the way the reader read him and counseled them on the proper way to read aphoristic writing, which is non-authoritarian. But NIetzsche was brave as Rand was brave.

Because that's where all this is going. collapse and to the gas ovens. Via confinement. Another topic another time but out of Foucault, who is your greatest ally even if he is a POMO as the solo people like to call him.
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#12 Ninth Doctor

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 04:21 PM

To those who have replied:

The Missouri prof who worked on Stevenson's campaign. I loved him later and then when I sold tons of used books on the internet I found a sort of book/phamplet by him on how great the Soviet Union was when he visited there earlier in his life. With BHL I believe it was Solzhenitsyn who took the Soviet Union down. all the liberal support it had just vanished after that book. Has your prof come to terms with this? It was a blow to me. The great liberal Susan Sontag said it was humbling to realize that the Reader's Digest had been right all along.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qw9oX-kZ_9k

I am not going to go back and cite every page and reference just to prove something to you that cannot be proved to you.

You can easily prove to me that one of Rand’s biographers states that Rand intended to place a quote from Nietzsche at the beginning of each chapter of The Fountainhead. Name the biography, and tell me which chapter this claim is in. A page number would be good too.

You don't want to hear this. I get that. I don't want to argue with you about it in the dialectic..I have said I am only interested in her fiction, not her non-fiction, nor Objectivist dogma.

I don’t want to hear what? Let me make something crystal clear for you: I don’t care that you have an ax to grind about Rand and Nietzsche. He was an influence, there is no question that there’s a connection. If you have something interesting to say about it, great. I thought Merrill’s book was very worthwhile. The trouble starts when you distort facts and invent evidence to bolster your case. Do this, and you can count on being called out on it; the regulars here know the Rand corpus cold.

BTW, I seriously doubt that anyone on this forum has read Don DeLillo’s Cosmopolis. You ought to bear that in mind before going on and on about it.
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#13 Brant Gaede

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 04:43 PM

Seymour, I don't think literary evaluation and criticism transfers to non-fiction. You like her fiction, fine. Galt's speech wasn't written for Branden even though her non-fiction (post Atlas) was? Since you know Objectivism was her "gift" to him how do you know the speech wasn't also? The NBI culture, intellectual or otherwise, struck me at the time as more of the same. Might as well call it Nietzschean, albeit jejune.

--Brant

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#14 daunce lynam

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 05:00 PM

I' m not 100% convinced this isn't Ninth playing some sort of metaphysical prank .

#15 Ninth Doctor

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 05:46 PM

I' m not 100% convinced this isn't Ninth playing some sort of metaphysical prank .

As in, you think I'm writing seymourblogger's posts? For the lulz? Sounds like a fun idea...

But I would need my own ghost writer to pull it off:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxtN0xxzfsw
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#16 daunce lynam

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 06:00 PM


I' m not 100% convinced this isn't Ninth playing some sort of metaphysical prank .

As in, you think I'm writing seymourblogger's posts? For the lulz? Sounds like a fun idea...

But I would need my own ghost writer to pull it off:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxtN0xxzfsw


Well, you could get away with it. Having a Tardis and all. Michael could never prove you and Seymour are not separate entities.

#17 Dennis Hardin

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 06:01 PM

You can easily prove to me that one of Rand’s biographers states that Rand intended to place a quote from Nietzsche at the beginning of each chapter of The Fountainhead. Name the biography, and tell me which chapter this claim is in. A page number would be good too.


No doubt he is referring to this quote from Jennifer Burns:

In the first version of the manuscript she prefaced each of the four sections with an aphorism from Beyond Good and Evil.
Jennifer Burns, Goddess of the Market, p. 87


I believe Burns cites an essay by Shoshana Milgram in Robert Mayhew’s book, Essays on Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead.

Burns also makes clear that Rand “purged the manuscript” of all references to Nietszche when she realized how far apart they were in their philosophies.

Baudrillard makes Balph Eubank seem like a paragon of luminous rationality. Then only thing I ever read of him made me want to puke. I have a similar reaction to this thread.

Emotions are not tools of cognition, though. Maybe this tripe is genius. Who am I to say? :tongue:

#18 daunce lynam

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 06:02 PM

PS What are lulz?

#19 daunce lynam

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 06:04 PM

Also ND, you would be the last person to be suspected of loving a Stevenson campaigner, later or sooner.

#20 Ninth Doctor

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 06:38 PM

PS What are lulz?


lulz: Often used to denote laughter at someone who is the victim of a prank, or a reason for performing an action.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LOL

No doubt he is referring to this quote from Jennifer Burns:


In the first version of the manuscript she prefaced each of the four sections with an aphorism from Beyond Good and Evil.
Jennifer Burns, Goddess of the Market, p. 87


I believe Burns cites an essay by Shoshana Milgram in Robert Mayhew’s book, Essays on Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead.


Well I’ll be…I must confess I dismissed the claim out of hand, since if there were chapter headings it would amount to some 50-70 quotes. It would have been a revelatory bombshell. Does anyone have these 4 section quotes to share?
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