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Nathaniel's lectures on Basic Principles of Objectivism


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#1 Roger Bissell

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 07:38 PM

We are so fortunate that these lectures have not disappeared down the memory hole, but are being distributed in CD format by The Objectivist Center. Still, it would be wonderful to have a transcribed version of the lectures, to go along with the recordings. Far too much of our Objectivist heritage is locked up in relatively inconvenient aural form, and this needs to change!

Here is the copy for the brochure Academic Associates used in marketing Nathaniel's lectures in the early 1970s...enjoy! REB

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For ten years--from 1958 to 1968--Mr. Branden's lectures on "Basic Principles of Objectivism" were given at Nathaniel Branden Institute in New York City and, via tape transcription, to groups in over eighty cities throughout the United States and abroad. More than 35,000 students have attended these lectures. Until now, this course has never been available in any other form.

"Basic Principles of Objectivism" is a detailed, systematic exposition of the philosophy defined by Ayn Rand and introduced in her novels, Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. The lectures are devoted to a presentation of Miss Rand's philosophy--and to Mr. Branden's application of Objectivism to his own field, psychology. Special emphasis is given to the concepts of human nature, mental health and personal development.

In 1968, Mr. Branden closed NBI to devote his full time to the further development of his psychological system: Biocentric Psychology. He is now living in Los Angeles where, in addition to teaching and research activities, he is engaged in the practice of personal and vocational counseling.

Academic Associates, an educational service corporation, was fortunate in being able to arrange with Mr. Branden for the release of his lectures in recorded form--so that this monumental work may continue to be available for study. The recorded lectures are particularly suitable for playing to clubs, schools, and private gatherings of present and potential students of Objectivism.

With the exception of Lecture Six, which is given by Barbara Branden (lecturer, writer and formerly Administrative Director of NBI), all of these lectures are delivered by Nathaniel Branden. Some have been revised and re-recorded, but the course is the same as the lectures originally presented by NBI.

1. The Role of Philosophy. What is philosophy?--The historical role of reason--The bankruptcy of today's culture--Objectivism--Objectivism vs. subjectivism.

2. What is Reason? The process of abstraction and concept-formation--The subconscious--Reason and emotions.

3. Logic and Mysticism. Identity and causality--The validity of the senses--Reason vs. mysticism.

4. The Concept of God. Is the concept meaningful?--Are the arguments for the existence of God logically defensible?--The destructiveness of the concept of God.

5. Free Will. The meaning and nature of volition--The fallacy of psychological determinism--Free will as the choice to think or not to think.

6. Efficient Thinking. The nature of clear thinking--Pseudo-thinking--The nature of definitions--Common thinking errors. Guest lecture by Barbara Branden

7. Self-Esteem. Why self-esteem is man's deepest psychological need--The consequences of the failure to achieve self-esteem.

8. The Psychology of Dependence. The independent mind vs. the "socialized mind"--Social Metaphysics--The revolt against the responsibility of a volitional consciousness.

9. The Objectivist Ethics. Foundation of the Objectivist ethics--Man's life as the standard of value--Rationality as the foremost virtue--Happiness as the moral goal of life.

10. Reason and Virtue. Independence, honesty, integrity, productiveness--Their relation to survival and mental health.

11. Justice vs. Mercy. The nature of justice--The importance of passing moral judgments--The virtue of pride.

12. The Evil of Self-Sacrifice. The ethics of altruism--Altruism as anti-man and anti-life.

13. Government and the Individual. The principles of a proper political system--Individual rights--Freedom vs. compulsion.

14. The Economics of a Free Society. Basic principles of exchange--Division of labor--The mechanism of a free market--Profits and wealth--"The pyramid of ability."

15. Common Fallacies About Capitalism. Monopolies--depressions--labor unions--inherited wealth.

16. The Psychology of Sex. A person's sexual choices as the expression of his deepest values--Sex and self-esteem.

17. Romanticism, Naturalism and the Novels of Ayn Rand, Part I. Naturalism and fatalism--Romanticism and free will--The literary method of Ayn Rand.

18. Romanticism, Naturalism and the Novels of Ayn Rand, Part II.

19. The Nature of Evil. Why evil is impotent--What makes the "victory" of evil possible--"The sanction of the victim."

20. The Benevolent Sense of Life. Why many human beings repress and drive underground, not the worst within them, but the best--A benevolent vs. malevolent sense of life.
Objectivism, properly used, is a tool for living, not a weapon with which to bash those one disagrees with.

#2 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 01:54 AM

Roger,

I thoroughly agree that these lectures should be put into book form and sold.

Thank you very much for posting this table of contents.

Michael

#3 Roger Bissell

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 09:47 AM

You're welcome, Michael!

When Nathaniel and I have our lunch engagement on Jan. 25, it will be "on the table" (pardon the expression). I will be running a number of proposals by him, and I'll let you know the outcome of our discussion. It's too bad you don't live out here in SoCal -- then you could be there with me to help me pitch the proposals!

REB
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#4 Roger Bissell

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 07:49 PM

Basic Principles of Objectivism by Nathaniel Branden
reviewed by Roy A. Childs, Jr.


In his essay “The Shaking of the Foundation,” reprinted in On the Democratic Idea in America, Irving Kristol writes of the contemporary undermining of the foundations of Western Civilization:

All human societies have to respond to two fundamental questions. The first is: “Why?” The second is: “Why Not?” Why behave in such-and-such a way? Why not behave differently or contrarily? A liberal society can rely on a more or less persuasive, as against explicitly authoritative, answer to the first question. But no society can endure speechless before the second.

Kristol points out that, traditionally, religion has been the source for answers to these two questions. Today, with the authority of religion crumbling around us, there seems to be no source, and no answers. “The upshot,” writes Kristol, “is that…on an ever larger scale, ‘why not’ is ceasing to be a question at all. It is becoming a kind of answer.”

It is no secret that Western Civilization is today experiencing a crisis of grave proportions—proportions that few thinkers perhaps, have begun to grasp fully. The crisis, at root, is a crisis of values, of the gradual erosion or discrediting of traditional values, which process is leaving nothing in their place. A great many intellectuals have become increasingly concerned with this problem in the last half-dozen years, and they have wrestled with many proposed solutions. But thus far, at least, no solutions have been offered which can stand the test of rational scrutiny and which will answer to the needs of Western Civilization in this particular context.

This crisis of values has a corollary effect that more and more intellectuals are becoming concerned with: the gradual erosion of the legitimacy of bourgeois society and its institutions. Young people are rejecting not merely the reality of Western Civilization and bourgeois values, not merely the existing state of these, but their actual ideals as well. As Kristol further states, in “When Virtue Loses All Her Loveliness,” “Our young radicals are far less dismayed at America’s failure to become what it ought to be than they are contemptuous of what it thinks it ought to be. For them, as for Oscar Wilde, it is not the average American who is disgusting, it is the ideal American.”

Among the ideals being called into question are not merely the virtues furthered by bourgeois society, but the system of capitalism itself, the free-market system of exchange based on private property, the profit motive, individual freedom, and economic growth and progress.

These are being rejected not so much out of any contrived psychological motive, as out of a genuine, albeit confused, concern with justice. While capitalism was, during much of the nineteenth century, at least touted by a great many important thinkers as the epitome of justice—because, in Kristol’s words, “it replaced all arbitrary…distributions of power, privilege, and property with a distribution that was directly and intimately linked to personal merit—this latter term being inclusive of both personal abilities and personal virtues”—today it is rarely defended by intellectuals at all, and almost never from the ideal of a system of justice.

Indeed, among the twentieth century’s major defenders of capitalism, none of the most widely known—until now, that is—have been concerned with justice. Milton Friedman and the late Ludwig von Mises alike have defended capitalism predominately because of its superior efficacy as an economic system. F. A. von Hayek, whom Kristol considers “the most intelligent defender of capitalism today,” goes so far as to defend capitalism as the essence of a free society, but shies away from viewing capitalism as a just system. In fact, Hayek opposes a free society to a just society—he says they are mutually exclusive:

Since they [differentials or inequalities of wealth and income] are not the effect of anyone’s design or intentions, it is meaningless to describe the manner in which the market distributed the good things of this world among particular people as just or unjust….No test or criteria have been found by which such rules of “social justice” can be assessed….They would have to be determined by the arbitrary will of the holders of power.

This, which Kristol, one of today’s leading “neo-conservative” intellectuals, sees as perhaps “the best possible defense that can be made of a free society,” is clearly inadequate. Kristol himself makes the point:

But can men life in a free society if they have no reason to believe it is also a just society? I do not think so. My reading of history is that, in the same way as men cannot for long tolerate a sense of spiritual meaninglessness in their individual lives, so they cannot for long accept a society in which power, privilege, and property are not distributed according to some morally meaningful criteria.

Precisely so. And how have modern conservatives attempted to meet this challenge? Through a return to one of the institutions and value-systems which is itself being undermined: religion. Yet this variant of the “noble lie” is clearly not adequate, particularly during a period when people are sick of being lied to. Religion is not enough. Nonetheless, conservative thinkers still cling desperately to religion, believing that they dare not let go of it, that it is the only foundation left—or even possible. This, then, is the alternative they suppose we are faced with: religion or nihilism.

This 20-lecture course provides a different view. In a virtuoso performance, building on the thought and works of Ayn Rand—the only major defender of capitalism outside of Murray N. Rothbard who is concerned with justice—Nathaniel Branden attempts to give us, in The Basic Principles of Objectivism, an alternative code of values which, far from undermining Western Civilization, may turn out to be the best defense yet of those unnamed and undefended premises on which the best of Western Civilization has been built. Originated more than 15 years ago, the course is now available to the general public, and it is an invaluable source of arguments promoting not merely capitalism and Western Civilization, but human happiness and life itself. It is a comprehensive, well-reasoned answer to Kristol’s questions: “Why behave in such and such a way? Why not behave differently?...”

Branden’s answer is: You should act rationally, you should act to achieve your own rational self-interest, you should act to gain and keep the values of reason, purpose and self-esteem, and you should act this way in order to promote your own life, your own happiness, and your own liberty. To act contrary to these principles is to act self-destructively, to cause misery and suffering, and to destroy the best within yourself and the best of which mankind is capable. In these lectures he advances steadily toward the goal of demonstrating this; the momentum builds, the arguments snowball and interlock, until the point has been made in exhaustive, exhilarating detail.

The 20 lectures cover these general topics: The Role of Philosophy—What is Reason?—Logic and Mysticism—The Concept of God—Free Will—Efficient Thinking—Self-Esteem—The Psychology of Dependence—The Objectivist Ethics—Reason and Virtue—Justice vs. Mercy—The Evil of Self-Sacrifice—Government and the Individual—The Economics of a Free Society—Common Fallacies About Capitalism—The Psychology of Sex—Romanticism, Naturalism and the Novels of Ayn Rand—The Nature of Evil—The Benevolent Sense of Life.

Listening to these lectures now, for the first time, I am more than impressed. The ideologies of Rand and Rothbard have always seemed to me to be the completion of the philosophy of the enlightenment, the philosophy behind the American Revolution. Now I am even more sure of this.

Branden begins the lectures by discussing the role of philosophy in human life and society, and moves on to consider some of the most fundamental questions of metaphysics and the nature of axioms. Most importantly, he shows why human knowledge must rest on axioms, that these axioms are existence, consciousness and identity, and that any attempt to deny them involves the speaker in interminable self-contradictions. His discussion is much more detailed than the Objectivist discussions I have seen in print, and he makes his case solidly.

He then takes up the fundamental principles of Objectivism’s theory of knowledge, discussing the validity of the senses, the formation of concepts, the natures of reason and logic, and the fallacies involved in upholding mysticism and faith as foundations for knowledge. The Objectivist concept of reason is in the Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition but has, I think, corrected many of that tradition’s errors and confusions, resulting in a solid case for the view that reason can identify facts about reality, and the view that the only way to be practical is through thinking. Objectivism’s theory of knowledge transcends such classical dichotomies as rationalism and empiricism, and it eliminates many of the conceptual confusions which these dichotomies have produced.

Branden then considers the concept of God and the view that “the Universe is a haunted house.” This is a classic, justly famous lecture which caused a greater rate of attrition at Nathaniel Branden Institute lectures than any other. But Branden pulls no punches and refuses to compromise his logic.

He next turns to the concepts of free will and determinism, laying bare the inevitable contradictions in determinism. Branden shows that once we hold any theory to be true, we are logically committed to free will, and he goes on to show in what free will consists, how it operates, and why it does not contradict a purely “scientific” view of man and nature. Here, then, is a “naturalistic” view of free will, resting neither on a variant of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle nor on religion. Free will is seen as the choice to think or not to think—to regulate, within limits, the operations of one’s own mind—and thus to choose both theories and values and to act according to them. This is the basis of the Objectivist theory of ethics.

“Efficient Thinking” is a guest lecture by Barbara Branden, and it is a brilliant lecture indeed. Ms. Branden demonstrates the crucially important role of purpose in thinking—something that “value-free” scientists might consider—and discusses the nature and role of definitions and a great many other issues of a “how-to” variety.

“Self-Esteem” and “The Psychology of Dependence” are discussions of intellectual independence and related issues, showing the importance of self-esteem and independence to happiness and achievement.

The next four lectures are among the most important in the series: they are considerations of the foundations of the Objectivist ethics, man’s life as the standard of value, and the virtues of rationality, independence, integrity, honesty, justice, productiveness, and pride—all in much greater detail than has been done so far in print. These are crucial: they define a purely naturalistic standard of value which is not arbitrary, not unscientific, and not religious. The “Death-of-God”-people say, in effect—and religionists take them at their word—without God anything goes. Branden shows that without God one must take one’s life on earth much more seriously. Thus, while Kristol and others sense some innate conflict between the pursuit of well-being and the requirements of Western Civilization, Branden shows that it is precisely self-interest which requires taking principles seriously. The virtues which are deontological and duty-centered in most ethical systems are presented here as, again, naturalistic in the best sense: as a means to an end, to a good life. Man’s life is the standard; al which furthers and sustains man’s life is the good; all which destroys it is the evil.

And the virtues? They are philosophical derived by looking at the relationships between consciousness and existence, between the nature of reality and the nature of human life. One follows certain principles, then, in order to further one’s life and happiness on earth. Justice for example, is seen as the application of rationality to social relationships, as the recognition of facts about individual character and achievements.

The next three lectures deal with social, political, and economic arguments and issues. “Government and the Individual” is a generally excellent discussion of the benefits of living in society on conditions which are shown to logically imply a certain type of political system. Branden makes a case for limited government which is seriously flawed, in part because I was written before limited government came under comprehensive attack by libertarian anarchists. But it is still an excellent statement of an Objectivist variant on classical “constitutionalism,” answering a great many questions about political systems that are being asked in a great many quarters today without receiving adequate responses.

In any case, what is, perhaps, most important is that here Branden discusses his political principles in the critical context of Objectivist epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics. In the opening lectures, for example, he discusses the fallacy of attempting to prove a negative for which no positive exists; here he shows how this implies that a man must be considered innocent until proved guilty. This is but one case among many. In “The Economics of a Free Society,” Branden presents one of the best discussions of economics I have ever come across; his concern is not “value-free”; the real focus is precisely on the justification for the profit motive (an economic corollary of rational self-interest), for free trade for competition, for profits, and so on. This is a superb antidote to “value-free” economics and a much-needed moral defense of economic activities which are axiomatically despised by today’s lumpenintelligensia. “Common Fallacies about Capitalism” is a capsule discussion of such issues as monopoly, unemployment, and depressions, and it is a generally worthwhile summary of the work of the Austrians and others.

The next three lectures deal with Branden’s theory of sex—which I think he would now want to seriously revise—and a discussion of aesthetics, “naturalism,” “romanticism,” and the aesthetics of Rand’s novels.

The final two lectures, “The Nature of Evil” and “The Benevolent Sense of Life,” provide a superb climax for a generally excellent series of lectures. Branden shows how evil is inherently parasitical on the good and discusses why men repress and drive underground not the worst within them, but the best. This last is a dramatic tour de force and profoundly moving.

What The Basic Principles of Objectivism does not say everything, it does say a good deal, and it answers most of the objections to Objectivism that I have heard during the last ten years. I had not expected to be as impressed with the course as I am.

But most importantly, it is a necessary—but not sufficient—framework for the libertarian ideology. It requires a great deal of reading, thinking, and questioning on the part of listeners. One cannot—as many “Students of Objectivism” once attempted to do—go into the course tabula rasa and come out omniscient. Nonetheless, it is the most serious and systematic attempt so far to present a comprehensive antidote to the poisons in the intellectual cultural life destroying Western Civilization. It is an antidote, too, for the cult of boredom and despair. It is an answer to the value-free technicians of economic efficiency. It is a defense of moral values and of capitalism, of egoism and humanism, of liberty, industrialization, and economic progress. It is an answer to the questions “Why?” and “Why not?”

If Western Civilization is facing a crisis of values, if bourgeois society I under attack, if defenses of capitalism have been found wanting, then the answers to these problems which Objectivism provides should be taken seriously: for the most part, they are true notwithstanding numerous reservations which I have about the details of the philosophy. The rebuilding of the Aristotelian tradition is no mean feat, but I think that is what this course helps to accomplish. Yes, Objectivism has produced fanatics, but as Robert Hessen once wrote to me, quoting Nietzsche, “One should not judge a philosophy by the first generation of its adherents.”

Flawless? No. But indispensable it may very well be.

[This review was first published in Books for Libertarians, Vol. III, No. 8 (August 1974) and was posted to Objectivist Living on Thursday, September 14, 2006, with the permission of Andrea Millen Rich.]
Objectivism, properly used, is a tool for living, not a weapon with which to bash those one disagrees with.

#5 Jamie Clay

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 12:43 PM

BTW (and I hope it's appropriate to mention this here) I am auctioning off my father's LP collection of these lectures (and a number of the post 1968 seminars on psychology). Search on eBay, if you're interested.

I've listened to and grew up on these teachings and found it wonderful to see the CDs published - frankly I think the importance of them is so great that they should be offered as podcasts either free or for a minimal cost but that's just me wanting to spread the word.

Anyway - if this is an improper venue for this please feel free to remove this message.


Thanks,

Jamie

Edited by Jamie Clay, 20 December 2006 - 12:44 PM.


#6 Chris Grieb

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 02:15 PM

In discussing the Basic course it should be emphasised that the one being sold is an earlier version. In 1966 the course I heard had the following lecture on God was given by Peikoff. Lecture 17 on Art was giving by Ayn Rand. Lecture 18 on visual arts was given by Mary Ann Sures. The material on the recording for lecture 17 & 18 was used in Who is Ayn Rand. If you look at Objectivist Newsletter there are sometimes that there is new material being offered.

#7 Jamie Clay

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 03:33 PM

In discussing the Basic course it should be emphasised that the one being sold is an earlier version. In 1966 the course I heard had the following lecture on God was given by Peikoff. Lecture 17 on Art was giving by Ayn Rand. Lecture 18 on visual arts was given by Mary Ann Sures. The material on the recording for lecture 17 & 18 was used in Who is Ayn Rand. If you look at Objectivist Newsletter there are sometimes that there is new material being offered.


So if I understand you correctly, sometime after 1966 the LP set and subsequent CD library offered by the Objectivism Store is not the same as the original set sold in 1960? (the copyrigt date on the collection I have)

I wonder how much it changed that they felt the need to update it?

#8 Chris Grieb

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 03:44 PM

The changes I mentioned in my previous posts are the only ones I know of. I think Branden took some material out when it appeared in the Objectivist. The copyright date is the key piece of information. I think it is worth emphisizing that Miss Rand approved of all the content in the lectures.

#9 Jamie Clay

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 04:29 PM

The changes I mentioned in my previous posts are the only ones I know of. I think Branden took some material out when it appeared in the Objectivist. The copyright date is the key piece of information. I think it is worth emphisizing that Miss Rand approved of all the content in the lectures.


What I meant by change was, other than the speaker what might be the differences between the original lecture and the subsequent ones? I don't expect you to know, I just find it interesting to ponder at this point.

In listening to these again (after almost 40 years) I'm impressed at how well the lectures hold up. It's been wonderfully nostalgic and stimulating, like visiting an old neighborhood of my childhood were many fond meomories were formed.

#10 Judith

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 05:22 PM

I vehemently second Roger's position; these courses should be available in written form. I've yet to hear them. I tried borrowing the tapes once from a friend and listening to them in the car, but road noise kept me from hearing them properly, and I gave up. When I'm not in the car, I simply don't have the patience to listen to material when I can read about 20 times faster than I can listen. So I keep waiting and waiting for them to be made available. I even considered hiring a secretary to transcribe them for me....

Judith
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#11 Jamie Clay

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 06:31 PM

I vehemently second Roger's position; these courses should be available in written form. I've yet to hear them. I tried borrowing the tapes once from a friend and listening to them in the car, but road noise kept me from hearing them properly, and I gave up. When I'm not in the car, I simply don't have the patience to listen to material when I can read about 20 times faster than I can listen. So I keep waiting and waiting for them to be made available. I even considered hiring a secretary to transcribe them for me....

Judith


It is kind of surprising they haven't been transcribed, that said it's fascinating to listen to Mr. Branden speak. I listen in my morning work out. He's got such an unusual accent, must be that Canadian heritage, eh?

:)

#12 Chris Grieb

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 09:46 PM

Let me add I hope they get transcribed too. I heard rumours that someone has done that. I think it would be interesting to compare with OPAR Peikoff's Objectivism The Philosphy of AYn Rand.

#13 Judith

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 02:06 AM

Let me add I hope they get transcribed too. I heard rumours that someone has done that. I think it would be interesting to compare with OPAR Peikoff's Objectivism The Philosphy of AYn Rand.

Problem is, even if someone has done it, they can't sell the transcription without violating copyright.

On the other hand, every time I ask about making it available, whoever I ask says it's "Too much trouble". Surely someone could get those two parties together?

Judith
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#14 Chris Grieb

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 05:11 AM

Judith; That seems like a resonable idea. I wish I could who told me someone had done this.

#15 Bill P

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 10:59 PM

You're welcome, Michael!

When Nathaniel and I have our lunch engagement on Jan. 25, it will be "on the table" (pardon the expression). I will be running a number of proposals by him, and I'll let you know the outcome of our discussion. It's too bad you don't live out here in SoCal -- then you could be there with me to help me pitch the proposals!

REB



Did you get a response suggesting possible progress on having a publication of a transcript of the Basic Principles of Objectivism lectures?

Alfonso

#16 Roger Bissell

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 07:54 PM

In discussing the Basic course it should be emphasised that the one being sold is an earlier version. In 1966 the course I heard had the following lecture on God was given by Peikoff. Lecture 17 on Art was giving by Ayn Rand. Lecture 18 on visual arts was given by Mary Ann Sures. The material on the recording for lecture 17 & 18 was used in Who is Ayn Rand. If you look at Objectivist Newsletter there are sometimes that there is new material being offered.


So if I understand you correctly, sometime after 1966 the LP set and subsequent CD library offered by the Objectivism Store is not the same as the original set sold in 1960? (the copyrigt date on the collection I have)

I wonder how much it changed that they felt the need to update it?


I don't know how I missed this exchange the first time around. But it's certainly not too late to issue some corrections to the comments made above.

Chris is right that the Basic course, as offered in the mid-60s -- prior to the Split -- included lectures by Peikoff, Rand, and Sures. And it is true that the copyright date on the LPs sold by Academic Associates ~after~ the Split was given as 1960. However, this should ~not~ be taken as the date that the recordings sold by AA were made.

AA started marketing the recorded lectures about 1969. They said "Some [of the lectures] have been revised and re-recorded, but the course is the same as the lectures originally presented by Nathaniel Branden Institute."

So, I interpret this to mean that the CD lectures you bought from The Objectivism Store or Laissez-Faire Books are of approximately 1969-vintage, though certain individual lectures may date from as early as 1960--and that even the lectures in which Branden replaces the original speakers (viz., Peikoff, Rand, Sures) cover the same material, with substantially the same focus and content. It would, of course, be great to have audio copies of those previous lectures, but like so many other lost jewels of this fractured movement, they are probably unrecoverable.
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#17 Robert Campbell

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 09:17 PM

Roger,

Thank you for coming back to this thread.

I'd overlooked it when it first appeared.

The parts of the AA-derived lectures I've listened to were obviously recorded in a studio, without a live audience of any sort. Is that how the lecture tapes sounded back in the NBI days?

Also, if by 1966, Leonard Peikoff had taken over the God lecture, that means he had taken over part of the presentation of the doctrine of the arbitrary assertion. (Not all of it, though; it was introduced in the previous lecture, on Logic and Mysticism).

I will need to make a small addition to my history of the doctrine of the arbitrary to cover this.

Robert Campbell

PS. Was Nathaniel Branden amenable, nearly a year ago now, to getting the lectures transcribed and published as a book? It shouldn't be hard to do. The portions I've heard seem very literary in conception, and written out in advance--so the amount of editing required to go from raw transcription to finished book should not be extensive.

#18 Roger Bissell

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 11:40 PM

Roger,

Thank you for coming back to this thread.

I'd overlooked it when it first appeared.

The parts of the AA-derived lectures I've listened to were obviously recorded in a studio, without a live audience of any sort. Is that how the lecture tapes sounded back in the NBI days?

Also, if by 1966, Leonard Peikoff had taken over the God lecture, that means he had taken over part of the presentation of the doctrine of the arbitrary assertion. (Not all of it, though; it was introduced in the previous lecture, on Logic and Mysticism).

I will need to make a small addition to my history of the doctrine of the arbitrary to cover this.

Robert Campbell

PS. Was Nathaniel Branden amenable, nearly a year ago now, to getting the lectures transcribed and published as a book? It shouldn't be hard to do. The portions I've heard seem very literary in conception, and written out in advance--so the amount of editing required to go from raw transcription to finished book should not be extensive.


My interpretation of the material accompanying the AA-derived lectures is that at least some portions of them were recorded after the Split and without a live audience. Probably all. I can't imagine that NB originally recorded them in 1960 without an audience. These are all refurbished, to whittle the speakers down to the two (NB and BB) that were providing them to AA for marketing, and to give them a consistent background sound for the listener. (I did hear car horns &c in the background on occasion, but I don't recall hearing audience voices.)

As for transcribing and publishing the lectures in a book, I did approach NB, and he was not keen on the idea, partly because he has modified some of his thinking about Objectivism since then, and partly (I think) because he doubts whether there is a market for a book on Objectivism by him. I think he's wrong, and I will ask him again when I see him in April. It's possible that if he knew there were a transcription of the lectures -- or at least, one in progress (which there will be, once I finish my transcription of BB's lectures) -- he might become more favorable to the idea.

Check in with me again in about 3 months. Or call/write him yourself, if you like.

Best,
REB
Objectivism, properly used, is a tool for living, not a weapon with which to bash those one disagrees with.

#19 Brant Gaede

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 01:31 AM

Roger,

Thank you for coming back to this thread.

I'd overlooked it when it first appeared.

The parts of the AA-derived lectures I've listened to were obviously recorded in a studio, without a live audience of any sort. Is that how the lecture tapes sounded back in the NBI days?

Also, if by 1966, Leonard Peikoff had taken over the God lecture, that means he had taken over part of the presentation of the doctrine of the arbitrary assertion. (Not all of it, though; it was introduced in the previous lecture, on Logic and Mysticism).

I will need to make a small addition to my history of the doctrine of the arbitrary to cover this.

Robert Campbell

PS. Was Nathaniel Branden amenable, nearly a year ago now, to getting the lectures transcribed and published as a book? It shouldn't be hard to do. The portions I've heard seem very literary in conception, and written out in advance--so the amount of editing required to go from raw transcription to finished book should not be extensive.


My interpretation of the material accompanying the AA-derived lectures is that at least some portions of them were recorded after the Split and without a live audience. Probably all. I can't imagine that NB originally recorded them in 1960 without an audience. These are all refurbished, to whittle the speakers down to the two (NB and BB) that were providing them to AA for marketing, and to give them a consistent background sound for the listener. (I did hear car horns &c in the background on occasion, but I don't recall hearing audience voices.)

As for transcribing and publishing the lectures in a book, I did approach NB, and he was not keen on the idea, partly because he has modified some of his thinking about Objectivism since then, and partly (I think) because he doubts whether there is a market for a book on Objectivism by him. I think he's wrong, and I will ask him again when I see him in April. It's possible that if he knew there were a transcription of the lectures -- or at least, one in progress (which there will be, once I finish my transcription of BB's lectures) -- he might become more favorable to the idea.

Check in with me again in about 3 months. Or call/write him yourself, if you like.

Best,
REB

A transcription would be nice, not a book. The lectures were giving in a hortatory, lecturing style I can hardly stand listening to today and which Nathaniel has eschewed since 1968. Barbara's lectures on Efficient Thinking have held up much better. The problem with a book is Nathaniel would have to spend at least several years writing it, just like Peikoff did with OPAR. I can imagine Nathaniel would rather do a hundred other things, including ballet. But a transcription is material I could review in a few hours and scholars could use too. I am simply at this stage of my life unwilling to listen to anybody's lectures on anything, except Barbara's on anything. I find it intolerable generally to spend an hour listening to someone lecture when I could review a transcription in a few minutes. I also find it intolerable to read bad books; it's all a matter of time and my life is compressing toward its inevitable end in 30 or 40 years.

If you want to do real good with transcriptions, Nathaniel did a Q and A for 4 years (1969-1973) monthly for Academic Associates. Most excellent. They were released on 33 rpm vinyl. Subsequently, I think that parts were re-released on tape sold by another service.

--Brant

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


#20 Chris Grieb

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 06:02 AM

Branden sold a recorded question and answer sessions in LP record forum. I can't remember the title. Some of the q&a sessions were then put out on cassettes. I guess they are now on CD's He had done earlier with Teenager's Questions on Sex which was sold by NBI.

You can watch the recent progress of the recording industry with one person.






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