Dennis Hardin

Branden’s "Vision of Ayn Rand" as “Official Objectivism”

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In view of the dire situation you described, I thought you might find this video helpful. It explains how Jack Daniels can help you get a better perspective on things. :cool:

LOL. I saw a similar video a while ago in which the same point was made by using pennies instead of shots. It was actually more effective because of the number of pennies involved.

I fell asleep around midnight and woke up at 5 a.m., so I am now in that What the hell was I thinking? phase. I dozed off with the television on, and I awoke to an interview by Gretchen Carlson on Fox News. She was interviewing a bartender who has just published a book titled The Drunk Diet. Hmmm....

Ghs

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I can't imagine George writing something he would later regret, as his writing is ruthlessly honest, but maybe we can get him to write about stuff he would not normally write about.

Have I ever explained my theory about why it is good to be an on-again, off-again Objectivist?

Ghs

Dodging bullets?

--Brant

I no longer attempt to dodge bullets. I just let them hit me and then hope I can recover one more time.

Years ago I thought about writing an article titled The Occasional Objectivist, but I figured it would piss off too many people. 8-)

Ghs

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... Ayn Rand repeatedly banished Peikoff to ‘Objectivist Siberia’ for making statements that she found utterly contemptible and contrary to Objectivism.

Can anyone flesh that out?

What was Siberia, how many times, what were the statements? -- and how do you know?

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This strikes me as an unwarranted extrapolation from the data available. Branden has stated (in his 1971 Reason interview and perhaps elsewhere) that Peikoff was "put on probation." Some have inferred that his time in Denver was a case in point, but I doubt this. Academic jobs are hard to find, and one takes what one can get. As far as I know, that's it.

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... Ayn Rand repeatedly banished Peikoff to ‘Objectivist Siberia’ for making statements that she found utterly contemptible and contrary to Objectivism.

Can anyone flesh that out?

What was Siberia, how many times, what were the statements? -- and how do you know?

Mark:

Bottom of page 267 in Heller's book, cont'd onto the top of page 268:

As a result, he was often chastised by both Rand and Branden, and once was harshly rebuked
and banished for two years - to teach in Denver. But he always returned to Rand's side.

Adam

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(groan)...in addition to the reference in Heller's bio on Rand, it may also be mentioned in the following (I don't have these sources in front of me, so I am mentioning them only as possible sources that discuss this incident):

N. Branden, Judgment Day and his revision My Life With Ayn Rand (which contains references to Peikoff not in Judgment Day);

Jennifer Burns, Goddess of the Market (Burns is the only researcher that had access to the Ayn Rand Archives, so she likely knows more about the incident in question. Try her website, www.jenniferburns.org);

Jeff Walker, The Cult of Ayn Rand (a collection of every unflattering behavior, incident, or gossip about Rand, the Brandens, Peikoff, Greenspan, etc. up to the date of the book's publication, so the, er, "reassignment" of Peikoff to teach in Denver is probably covered in his chapter on Peikoff. The author clearly has a grudge against any and all Objectivists, so he lists everything negative that he could find without bothering to do any real fact-checking of much of the material that he included);

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1) I think that this whole discussion of what is, and is not, "official" Objectivism is only necessary because of the unforunate efforts of some ARIans to attempt to rewrite the history of the development of this philosophy. This is an endeavor that will be a source of continual embarassment, because the ruse is easily discovered by anyone willing to investigate, and has already been exposed both here on OL, by Sciabarra's Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical, and in the two recent biographies of Rand.

2) Outside of that, why does anyone care about what has, or does not have, Peikoff's imprimatur? This is very odd behavior for exponents of a philosophy that emphasizes reason, independence, self-esteem, integrity, individualism. .

One more comment on the question of "why does anyone care?"

There are two very separate concerns here. From the standpoint of my personal perspective on what does or does not constitute Objectivism, I agree that this whole business about “official” Objectivism is a load of steaming crap. However, there is a fairly sizable contingent of people representing themselves as spokesmen for Objectivism—I won’t say who, but their initials are ARI-- who are trying to sell the public a totally bogus view of Objectivism and Objectivist history. They are trying to marginalize or erase the crucially important contributions made by others they don’t happen to like—and I want to do my part to help insure that they don’t get away with it.

I believe it is a question not only of scholarship and academic integrity, but of honoring a great man whom I happen to admire--a man who has made an invaluable contribution to my life and happiness.

And beyond that very important consideration, there is also the enormous satisfaction of hoisting the perpetrators of this unmitigated fraud on their own petard. Petard.jpg

Dennis,

I could not agree more. The rewriting of the development of Objectivism by ARI-affiliated people is appalling, and will only reinforce the negative appraisal that most of the academic community has toward Rand.

I was disappointed to hear a video of Yaron Brook from OCON-2011, where, in his talk on the history and status of Objectivism, he found it necessary to insert a gratuitous the assault on the reputation of the Brandens. No facts, just condemnation. Apparently, this is what it takes to continue obeisance to Peikoff and his sycophants at ARI.

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1) I think that this whole discussion of what is, and is not, "official" Objectivism is only necessary because of the unforunate efforts of some ARIans to attempt to rewrite the history of the development of this philosophy. . . .

No. Rand wanted her philosophy displayed exactly for the philosophy she saw it to be. She did not want it corrupted or co-opted. Her journals such as the The Objectivist and her endorsement of lectures on Objectivism by NBI and by certain individuals after the end of NBI to the end of her life were to that objective and to the objective of spreading correct understanding of her philosophy. (This remark overlaps some of what Janet said in #21.) Peikoff and Kelley have both tried to carry on Rand’s quest for her philosophy in that respect. They hold themselves forth as expert, reliable expositors of what is Rand’s philosophy Objectivism.

I am not persuaded that “there could never have been Objectivism without Branden and NBI,” as Janet put it. Branden could have been killed in an auto accident before the founding of NBI, Rand could have continued her publications, and Objectivism as a philosophy and as a “movement” would have continued much the same as it did. I had read all those publications up to the time of the split between Rand and Branden. I had never heard any tapes of NBI. That institution was irrelevant to the understanding of Objectivism that Rand had instilled in me and in my associates.

Books count. Essays count. Rhetorical question: Why did Branden, with Rand, not publish his lectures in book form? Rand could have published anything she wished. Could it be that they were not yet fully ripe for that? (That is why Boydstun has not yet published a book.) We have seen here at OL at least one point on which Rand had changed her mind between Branden’s lectures and the ’76 Peikoff lectures. I have not read all of The Vision of Ayn Rand containing those lectures, but full reading and comparison may well uncover other changes, including advances, in Rand’s thought during those years. (Not changes in real basics.)

There were things still being distilled during Peikoff’s ’76 lecture series. I recall one lecture he opened by correcting something misleading he had said in the preceding lecture. He wanted to retract his earlier statement that all one’s knowledge was implicit in one’s sensory experience.

Shortly after the split, Branden pulled together The Psychology of Self-Esteem. This was material ripe for print in his judgment. Much of it had appeared in print in the Rand-Branden journals, but in the book, these ideas reached a much larger audience.

. . .

As you may know, I've never been able to get excited about the open/closed debate. It is of interest to historians who want to know what Rand thought about certain issues, just as historians might want to know what John Locke or Herbert Spencer thought about certain issues, but the controversy has never made sense to me as a philosophical issue. People should take from Rand whatever they consider to be of value, just as they would from any other philosopher.

Ghs

Exactly so.

I’ve seen this debate described as “The Struggle for the Soul of Objectivism.” Salesmen will be salesmen will be poets. Regardless of which side thinkers have taken in the (highly equivocal) open/closed issue, if they have sufficient learning in philosophy and its history more generally, they continue to create fresh, informative work uncovering ramifications of Rand’s philosophy, setting it in ever-greater contrast and connection with other philosophies. Then they say what they have produced is under the open conception or under the closed conception. Most scholars of Objectivism, however, do as I do. They tend to the grain and ignore that hyped chaff. Back to the grain for me.

Previously: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H

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... Ayn Rand repeatedly banished Peikoff to ‘Objectivist Siberia’ for making statements that she found utterly contemptible and contrary to Objectivism.

Can anyone flesh that out?

What was Siberia, how many times, what were the statements? -- and how do you know?

From an interview in the early 70s. . .

Branden: Well, let’s see. I remember that Leonard Peikoff had two or three “temporary” excommunications across the years. I don’t remember why and I don’t recall the exact number. He was, in effect, placed on probation. I’m sorry I can’t recall the details. But his worship of Ayn Rand was unfailing, and he was always readmitted.

Break Free: An Interview with Nathaniel Branden

Reason magazine, Oct, 1971

In his own words. . .

. . .Ayn Rand not infrequently became angry at me over some philosophical statement I made that seemed for the moment to ally me with one of the intellectual movements she was fighting.. .Since her mind immediately integrated a remark to the fundamentals it presupposes, she would project at once, almost automatically, the full, horrendous meaning of what I had uttered, and then she would be shocked at me…

“My Thirty Years with Ayn Rand”

He doesn’t mention the ‘excommunications,’ of course, for obvious reasons.

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I fell asleep around midnight and woke up at 5 a.m., so I am now in that What the hell was I thinking? phase. I dozed off with the television on, and I awoke to an interview by Gretchen Carlson on Fox News. She was interviewing a bartender who has just published a book titled The Drunk Diet. Hmmm.... Ghs

That's a recurring fantasy of mine--waking up to see Gretchen Carlson. :tongue:

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I fell asleep around midnight and woke up at 5 a.m., so I am now in that What the hell was I thinking? phase. I dozed off with the television on, and I awoke to an interview by Gretchen Carlson on Fox News. She was interviewing a bartender who has just published a book titled The Drunk Diet. Hmmm.... Ghs
That's a recurring fantasy of mine--waking up to see Gretchen Carlson. :tongue:

Carlson, a former Miss America (1989), is an accomplished violinist. It is gratifying to see that you value her talent so highly. :cool:

Ghs

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That's a recurring fantasy of mine--waking up to see Gretchen Carlson. :tongue:

Carlson, a former Miss America (1989), is an accomplished violinist. It is gratifying to see that you value her talent so highly. :cool:

Ghs

Yes, indeed. She had a real talent for the accordian, too, but she had to give that up. :lol:

.violin.jpg?2

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Books count. Essays count. Rhetorical question: Why did Branden, with Rand, not publish his lectures in book form? Rand could have published anything she wished. Could it be that they were not yet fully ripe for that? (That is why Boydstun has not yet published a book.)

I'm curious about your use of illeism here, Stephen. Any particular reason why you phrased your statement that way? Just wondering.

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Maybe this was simple economics. A book of lectures, with Rand's endorsement, would have sold well in those days for around $5 hardbound and less than a dollar in paperback. Who Is Ayn Rand was $3.95 for the hardbound when it first came out. The paperback of Atlas Shrugged was $.95 at the time. On the other hand, the NBI basic course was $70 live and $35 taped. It sold fewer units but probably brought in higher revenues. A non-fiction book of theory doesn't have the entertainment value of a novel.

R.W. Bradford wondered about this, too, in his Liberty review of Judgement Day. He said that a lecture is more useful than a book for shaping a movement, which Rand and Branden wanted to do. People have to make an effort to show up. They're in the company of people who agree with them. A reader can stop and puzzle things over, make notes, spell out arguments and go back over earlier material. A listener can't do any of this.

Finally, Branden is, in my observation, the kind of guy who likes an audience.

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Interesting points, and certainly more germane to this thread than illeism. (I'm still curious, though.)

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Finally, Branden is, in my observation, the kind of guy who likes an audience.

Nothing necessarily wrong with that. The real money in those years, though, was in the taped lectures.

--Brant

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Dennis asked about the illeism of my statement “That is why Boydstun has not yet published a book” in #23.

I think I switched to third person at that point because recently I have been asked again why I don't write a book, given all I have written. I have been urged by others in the past to write books. I think the switch was natural because of those external inputs and viewpoints.

I do hope to write some books (topics and titles secret till then). Time will tell.

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I believe I have the right to not just request but demand a book from Stephen, whether he engages in random acts of illeism or not.

From each according to his ability, to each according to his need, etc. etc.

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I believe I have the right to not just request but demand a book from Stephen, whether he engages in random acts of illeism or not.

From each according to his ability, to each according to his need, etc. etc.

Demand all you want...it hasn't worked for Kelley and Thomas's Logical Structure of Objectivism (languishing in "beta" [?!!] format limbo on the IOS/TOC/TAS website for over ten years) :o ; it hadn't worked with Leonard, despite pleas requests, beggings, demands, that he publish in book format his last ten or so courses over the last 40 + years (e.g., Ancient and Modern Philosophy, Logic; Thinking; Grammar (never mind that one), Objectivism By Induction)... Sole exception being Understanding Objectivism, (just released after a mere 29 years, in an edited version by Michael Berliner),

So now you are demanding this of Stephan? Well, maybe try the "Berliner tactic": ask Stephan for some of his unpublished manuscripts, with the promise that you will do all the editing of them for publication. And tell him that he need not worry, he won't have to even look at your editing results prior to publication!.....

hey, it worked for Berliner! (but don't ask me,...I can't even get the damn "smiies" to work right!)

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1) I think that this whole discussion of what is, and is not, "official" Objectivism is only necessary because of the unforunate efforts of some ARIans to attempt to rewrite the history of the development of this philosophy. . . .

No. Rand wanted her philosophy displayed exactly for the philosophy she saw it to be.

Correct.

Peikoff and Kelley have both tried to carry on Rand’s quest for her philosophy in that respect. They hold themselves forth as expert, reliable expositors of what is Rand’s philosophy Objectivism.

It is stated above that two individuals hold themselves forth as expert, reliable expositors of what is Rand's philosophy Objectivism.

But these individuals disagree on an essential issue (closed versus open system). The result is a contradiction.

The Objectivist approach to contradictions is that they are the result of at least one false premise.

What could be the false premise (or premises) here?

I am not persuaded that “there could never have been Objectivism without Branden and NBI,” as Janet put it. Branden could have been killed in an auto accident before the founding of NBI, Rand could have continued her publications, and Objectivism as a philosophy and as a “movement” would have continued much the same as it did. I had read all those publications up to the time of the split between Rand and Branden. I had never heard any tapes of NBI. That institution was irrelevant to the understanding of Objectivism that Rand had instilled in me and in my associates.

Stephen,

Both you and Janet are speculating; but do you really believe that without Branden and the NBI, Objectivism would have become a widespread movement?

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1) I think that this whole discussion of what is, and is not, "official" Objectivism is only necessary because of the unforunate efforts of some ARIans to attempt to rewrite the history of the development of this philosophy. . . .

No. Rand wanted her philosophy displayed exactly for the philosophy she saw it to be.

Correct.

Peikoff and Kelley have both tried to carry on Rand’s quest for her philosophy in that respect. They hold themselves forth as expert, reliable expositors of what is Rand’s philosophy Objectivism.

It is stated above that two individuals hold themselves forth as expert, reliable expositors of what is Rand's philosophy Objectivism.

But these individuals disagree on an essential issue (closed versus open system). The result is a contradiction.

The Objectivist approach to contradictions is that they are the result of at least one false premise.

What could be the false premise (or premises) here?

I am not persuaded that “there could never have been Objectivism without Branden and NBI,” as Janet put it. Branden could have been killed in an auto accident before the founding of NBI, Rand could have continued her publications, and Objectivism as a philosophy and as a “movement” would have continued much the same as it did. I had read all those publications up to the time of the split between Rand and Branden. I had never heard any tapes of NBI. That institution was irrelevant to the understanding of Objectivism that Rand had instilled in me and in my associates.

Stephen,

Both you and Janet are speculating; but do you really believe that without Branden and the NBI, Objectivism would have become a widespread movement?

Absolutely it would not without NBI. It reached enough people that when the tapes came out there were those ready to listen. I went to Delaware in 62 to grad school. Again.

I think I saw on the bulletin board somewhere that someone was advertising for anyone who wanted to do the tapes. I called the person, talked to her and she and a young man came tomy apartment. They wanted to do the tapes with me because I had done the lectures for 2 years, doing the Basic Principles twice. I knew it cold. I had it memorized by heart. I lived it to the minute. I was in grad school in the behavioral sciences thrown in with really smart psychology majors and I didn't know shit. I had burned all my bridges in public school teaching behind me. I didn't feel I had a choice but to study all the time and really learn the stuff. It was the very first time in my life that I couldn't con my way through courses and do OK.

I couldn't. I was terrified. The only thing holding me together was objectivism. The only thing. You do not get that from reading Rand's fiction. If you read Nathaniel's book, he had endless personal tutoring from Rand about all his questions. discussions through the night. It never stopped for him. He went to Mew York with Barbara and Rand followed him. It is important to register the fact that she went from her beautiful home in California, the home O'Conner loved and his garden. If you have never had a garden that you loved you can't understand what she did to him, and what he gave up. Heller sees this in her biography when she quotes someone being so sad because here Frank was painting flowers instead of tending them and growing them and arranging them. and he was arranging windows for display. So sad.

I think Rand knew she was never going to finish Atlas without him, and so she sacrificed everything else to be near him. He was her muse pure and simple.

I don't think I was the only one so serious about objectivism. There had to have been others. And a handful is really all you need. Jesus only had 12 was it. Loyola only had 12 to start the Jesuits.

The world happens by Events. Things do not develop linearly. They appear to because of our perceptual illusions but linearity is just an illusion. LIke those booklets that when you flutter the pages like a deck of cards the figures appear to be walking or running or....

NBI was an Event on the scene, unexpected, coming from elsewhere, unpredicted, unplanned, just a little 2 x 3 inch rectangle in the entertainment section of the Sunday Inquirer. And my mother who read every single death and birth notice saw it. I was reading Atlas at that exact time and I was enthralled. I was also quitting smoking on a deconditioning program I read about while I was reading Atlas. Think of the irony of that!

Three Events that intersected in my life. Destiny. The moment of kairos as the Greeks said. Without that, no grad school, no thousands of things it enabled me to do because it was a particular push. Her fiction would never have done that for me.

The only thing since I can compare it to was reading Foucault for the first time and feeling the light bulb go on, feeling all that I knew being ordered in a different way. A feeling of complete calm that I was where I should be in life at that exact time.

Kairos.

I owe the Brandens my life, even more so than Rand. I received a great gift from Rand through the Brandens. Now it is time for the Counter-gift. I intend to make Rand more radical than she ever dreamed of being. Just as Baudrillard made Foucault more radical than Foucault ever dreamed of being. Such is the counter-gift.

I am out of my 5 posts for today and the way this software is I may not be able to post this either. So in that case I will do it tomorrow.

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1) I think that this whole discussion of what is, and is not, "official" Objectivism is only necessary because of the unforunate efforts of some ARIans to attempt to rewrite the history of the development of this philosophy. . . .

No. Rand wanted her philosophy displayed exactly for the philosophy she saw it to be.

Correct.

Peikoff and Kelley have both tried to carry on Rand’s quest for her philosophy in that respect. They hold themselves forth as expert, reliable expositors of what is Rand’s philosophy Objectivism.

It is stated above that two individuals hold themselves forth as expert, reliable expositors of what is Rand's philosophy Objectivism.

But these individuals disagree on an essential issue (closed versus open system). The result is a contradiction.

The Objectivist approach to contradictions is that they are the result of at least one false premise.

What could be the false premise (or premises) here?

I am not persuaded that “there could never have been Objectivism without Branden and NBI,” as Janet put it. Branden could have been killed in an auto accident before the founding of NBI, Rand could have continued her publications, and Objectivism as a philosophy and as a “movement” would have continued much the same as it did. I had read all those publications up to the time of the split between Rand and Branden. I had never heard any tapes of NBI. That institution was irrelevant to the understanding of Objectivism that Rand had instilled in me and in my associates.

Stephen,

Both you and Janet are speculating; but do you really believe that without Branden and the NBI, Objectivism would have become a widespread movement?

Absolutely it would not without NBI. It reached enough people that when the tapes came out there were those ready to listen. I went to Delaware in 62 to grad school. Again.

I think I saw on the bulletin board somewhere that someone was advertising for anyone who wanted to do the tapes. I called the person, talked to her and she and a young man came tomy apartment. They wanted to do the tapes with me because I had done the lectures for 2 years, doing the Basic Principles twice. I knew it cold. I had it memorized by heart. I lived it to the minute. I was in grad school in the behavioral sciences thrown in with really smart psychology majors and I didn't know shit. I had burned all my bridges in public school teaching behind me. I didn't feel I had a choice but to study all the time and really learn the stuff. It was the very first time in my life that I couldn't con my way through courses and do OK.

I couldn't. I was terrified. The only thing holding me together was objectivism. The only thing. You do not get that from reading Rand's fiction. If you read Nathaniel's book, he had endless personal tutoring from Rand about all his questions. discussions through the night. It never stopped for him. He went to Mew York with Barbara and Rand followed him. It is important to register the fact that she went from her beautiful home in California, the home O'Conner loved and his garden. If you have never had a garden that you loved you can't understand what she did to him, and what he gave up. Heller sees this in her biography when she quotes someone being so sad because here Frank was painting flowers instead of tending them and growing them and arranging them. and he was arranging windows for display. So sad.

I think Rand knew she was never going to finish Atlas without him, and so she sacrificed everything else to be near him. He was her muse pure and simple.

I don't think I was the only one so serious about objectivism. There had to have been others. And a handful is really all you need. Jesus only had 12 was it. Loyola only had 12 to start the Jesuits.

The world happens by Events. Things do not develop linearly. They appear to because of our perceptual illusions but linearity is just an illusion. LIke those booklets that when you flutter the pages like a deck of cards the figures appear to be walking or running or....

NBI was an Event on the scene, unexpected, coming from elsewhere, unpredicted, unplanned, just a little 2 x 3 inch rectangle in the entertainment section of the Sunday Inquirer. And my mother who read every single death and birth notice saw it. I was reading Atlas at that exact time and I was enthralled. I was also quitting smoking on a deconditioning program I read about while I was reading Atlas. Think of the irony of that!

Three Events that intersected in my life. Destiny. The moment of kairos as the Greeks said. Without that, no grad school, no thousands of things it enabled me to do because it was a particular push. Her fiction would never have done that for me.

The only thing since I can compare it to was reading Foucault for the first time and feeling the light bulb go on, feeling all that I knew being ordered in a different way. A feeling of complete calm that I was where I should be in life at that exact time.

Kairos.

I owe the Brandens my life, even more so than Rand. I received a great gift from Rand through the Brandens. Now it is time for the Counter-gift. I intend to make Rand more radical than she ever dreamed of being. Just as Baudrillard made Foucault more radical than Foucault ever dreamed of being. Such is the counter-gift.

I am out of my 5 posts for today and the way this software is I may not be able to post this either. So in that case I will do it tomorrow.

You got Objectivism "through the Brandens." Which you came here first denigrating. Her "gift" to Nathaniel. Do you begin to understand how mixed up you are? Remember Barbara's "35th" rate intellect? Do you begin to understand that you are insane? How can you make Rand any more than Rand made herself? Double nuts.

--Brant

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I am not persuaded that “there could never have been Objectivism without Branden and NBI,” as Janet put it. Branden could have been killed in an auto accident before the founding of NBI, Rand could have continued her publications, and Objectivism as a philosophy and as a “movement” would have continued much the same as it did. I had read all those publications up to the time of the split between Rand and Branden. I had never heard any tapes of NBI. That institution was irrelevant to the understanding of Objectivism that Rand had instilled in me and in my associates.

Where would Rand have published? Why would she have published?

There are so many details of the history of Rand's post-Atlas writing which resulted from the existence of her relationship with Nathaniel and his founding an organization to teach her philosophy. Even prior to that, her choosing Random House as her publisher was significant to the subsequent history of Objectivism (not yet named that at the time) and might not have happened -- certainly the relationship with Bennett Cerf wouldn't have developed as it did -- if she hadn't moved to New York City (following Nathaniel there) before finishing Atlas.

As to a "movement," she couldn't have spearheaded such a thing on her own, didn't have the temperament and skills for attempting to organize a "movement" -- and apparently, from her own report in "To Whom It May Concern," was ambivalent about the "movement" aspects.

Ellen

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