Dennis Hardin

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

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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

She's going to do for Rand what Baudrillard did for Foucault.

Baudrillard’s focus in the first section of this book is to introduce the concept that the world in which we live consists of images and signs that have disengaged themselves from “reality.” The new postmodern world is made up of simulations that are not based on “reality” but are devised by our imaginations. For example, he believes that in the past a map was a representation of reality itself. Today it is too difficult to distinguish between reality and the image of reality due to simulation. This blurring of what is “real” and “unreal” is what the author calls “hyperreality.”

thinking culture

Making Rand more radical? I know. Let's change "existence exists" to "hyperreality simulates." That's our new axiom. Catchy, huh?

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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

Excellent points, Ellen. In so many ways, Branden was the bridge from Rand's fiction to the real world.

Since the break, Peikoff has been playing piggy-back. Without Branden, there would be no Peikoff.

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I am curious to know what an issue of The Objectivist Newsletter or The Objectivist (pre-1968) says about who the publisher is, and my copies are in storage. I tried to find out on-line (w/o success). This site says "The newsletter was co-published by Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden". This ARI site says "Ayn Rand edited and published a series of monthly periodicals" including The Objectivist Newsletter and The Objectivist. It does not mention Branden's name, despite his being the author of many of the articles. I wonder if a copy purchased from there has every instance of Branden's name blackened out. :smile:

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... and apparently, from her own report in "To Whom It May Concern," was ambivalent about the "movement" aspects.

Ellen,

I wonder if Rand was ambivalent about the movement--or ambivalent about the movement without Nathaniel in it.

The second sounds a lot more plausible to me.

When NB was around, she seemed to like it well enough. Yeah, she might have been grumpy during Q&A's, but she sure put a lot of effort into doing her share. I just don't see her doing all the stuff she did back then in a self-sacrificing manner.

After NB, I get the impression that she didn't want to destroy what was left, but had no enthusiasm for going it without a male leader she could be in love with. Being a female leader of a philosophical movement (with a strong political subtext) was just not her. She even said a woman who wanted to be president was psychologically compromised

Michael

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I am curious to know what an issue of The Objectivist Newsletter or The Objectivist (pre-1968) says about who the publisher is, and my copies are in storage. I tried to find out on-line (w/o success). This site says "The newsletter was co-published by Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden". This ARI site says "Ayn Rand edited and published a series of monthly periodicals" including The Objectivist Newsletter and The Objectivist. It does not mention Branden's name, despite his being the author of many of the articles. I wonder if a copy purchased from there has every instance of Branden's name blackened out. :smile:

Vol. 1, No. 1 of The Objectivist Newsletter says:

Published monthly at 163 East 35th Street, New York 16, N.Y.....[subscription rates deleted]

Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden, Editors and Publishers

Barbara Branden, Managing Editor

Elayne Kalberman, Circulation Manager

I don't have copies of The Objectivist, but the pre-split issues probably say essentially the same thing.

Ghs

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The last issue of The Objectivist, prior to the split, was dated April 1968, but it was behind in its publication, and I received that issue in the mail in July, 1968. That issue lists both Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden as "edited by," on the front cover .Inside, it states,"Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden, Editors and Publishers" (which was the same descriptions used on all issues of The Objectivist Newsletter and The Objectivist, up to that time)..

The next issue (with the notorious, "To Whom It May Concern" article by Rand), was dated on the cover as May, 1968, but was mailed-out in mid-October to subscribers. On the cover, it states, "Ayn Rand, Editor". Inside it says the same.

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Oh, George--how did I miss that? LOL.

--Brant

Yeah, it was as if a big nugget of gold had been lying on the ground for several hours, in plain view, but no one noticed it.

Ghs

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Without Branden, there would be no Peikoff.

Jeez, even Rand didn't get that nasty in her attacks on Branden.

:laugh:

Ghs

As probably everybody who has been following this drama knows, Leonard Peikoff was Barbara Branden's cousin. He came down from Winnipeg, most likely at Barbara's invitation, to meet Rand.

So, technically speaknig, the statement, "without Branden, there would be no Peikoff," is correct. Without the Brandens' introducing him to Rand, it is unlikely that Leonard would have established any connection with Rand. Prior to that meeting, he was intending to go to med school and probably would be working fot the Canadian National Health Service, treating cases of frostbite in Winnipeg (or whatever).

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The author of Atlas Shrugged could write the work without having ever known Nathan. The author of The Fountainhead could get Atlas Shrugged published. I and thousands of other readers could read it and eagerly subscribe (or read in the library) any non-fiction journal Rand cared to self-publish. Beyond could to would, she certainly always had an interest in influencing political thought in the country, and she would have had an interest in setting out her philosophy of literature and her theory of concepts.

Rand could start a journal on her own just like I did. She could buy advertising just like I did. Her name was already known, and she knew it.

After Atlas too, Rand could have gotten published any non-fiction book she cared to. All that was required was that the writing be the Rand readers of Atlas had known.

It is also elementary, of course, that non-fiction in a journal or book to which Rand lent her name would not have had the very particular array of psychology doctrines Branden developed in the ’60’s if she had never discovered him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Merlin, following up on the information from George, after the split, issues of The Objectivist go this way:

Ayn Rand

Editor

Leonard Peikoff

Associate Editor

. . .

Published monthly by THE OBJECTIVIST, Inc., at 201 East 34th Street, New York, N.Y. 10016.

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The author of Atlas Shrugged could write the work without having ever known Nathan. The author of The Fountainhead could get Atlas Shrugged published. I and thousands of other readers could read it and eagerly subscribe (or read in the library) any non-fiction journal Rand cared to self-publish. Beyond could to would, she certainly always had an interest in influencing political thought in the country, and she would have had an interest in setting out her philosophy of literature and her theory of concepts.

Rand could start a journal on her own just like I did. She could buy advertising just like I did. Her name was already known, and she knew it.

After Atlas too, Rand could have gotten published any non-fiction book she cared to. All that was required was that the writing be the Rand readers of Atlas had known.

It is also elementary, of course, that non-fiction in a journal or book to which Rand lent her name would not have had the very particular array of psychology doctrines Branden developed in the ’60’s if she had never discovered him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Merlin, following up on the information from George, after the split, issues of The Objectivist go this way:

Ayn Rand

Editor

Leonard Peikoff

Associate Editor

. . .

Published monthly by THE OBJECTIVIST, Inc., at 201 East 34th Street, New York, N.Y. 10016.

There is no doubt about her finishing AS. 2/3rds was done when she and Frank moved back to NYC. She probably would have finished it a year or two sooner too for her life would have been much simpler. She served her genius even though in some respects in ran her over--and others over. Everything costs something.

--Brant

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Stephen.

Like you, I don't buy into the idea that NB was necessary for Rand to finish Atlas Shrugged or any of that line of thinking. But I certainly believe he influenced some of it.

I have a disagreement with you, though. The idea of Rand self-publishing Atlas Shrugged is beyond everything I have learned about her. She tended to shoot for the top of the game when she was shopping around for a publisher, or even looking for work as a screenwriter, as her letters prove.

She even preferred to publish Anthem overseas rather than self-publish it in the USA. She did try the low end with her play (a small production in Hollywood), but she didn't pursue that path after the first try folded. Instead, she sought out the top of the game and the rest is history.

I believe Rand's initial attitude toward NB doing the lecture series was molded more by the business savvy she learned in Hollywood than by her belief in his capacity or even any thought about a movement. It's an opinion, of course, but when I try to see the world through Rand's eyes at the time, I see the genius, but I also see the lessons from the hype-masters she spent almost all of her professional life around up to then.

I think the success of NBI brought a new reality in her life. Up to that moment, her success trajectory had been to create a work or resume, then contact key players and have them use their influence to get things rolling. Nathaniel and Barbara did NBI's success from the ground up.

I'm not shilling for the Brandens. Merely stating the facts as I see them. In fact, I even believe she considered the bootstrap success of NBI as a proper implementation of her philosophical principles.

Michael

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Michael, concerning #61, I was not suggesting at all the possibility that Rand could have self-published Atlas Shrugged. Such an idea never occurred to me. The author of The Fountainhead had no need to consider self-publishing. I think you got mixed up with what I said later about a post-Atlas non-fiction journal.

She would also have no need to consider self-publishing any non-fiction books after Atlas. That is, just as the writer with the success of Fountainhead had no need to self-publish Atlas, rather than get it published by a publishing house, so the writer with the success of those two books would have no need to self-publish any books of her non-fiction.

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Stephen,

I looked again. I see you were referring self-publishing like in the way they self-published The Objectivist Newsletter.

Sorry.

I always got the impression they did that, though, to keep full control over everything--as an outgrowth or branch-off of the activities of NBI. Not even for the sake of doing better business. I definitely do not see them having done it that way because of lack of alternatives (and I'm not suggesting this is your position).

Michael

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Somewhere in one of her essays (in The Ayn Rand Letter, I think) AR mentions "vanity publishing" - i.e. self-publishing - in passing, rather dismissively, as harmless but unworthy of a professional author. No idea whether she'd still say that with contemporary technology and practices in place.

Rand and Branden could have found an outlet at least for some political writings 50 years ago. She had contributed to Readers Digest and Human Events and wrote a column (not just about politics) in the LA Times the year The Objectivist Newsletter started up. I doubt that they could have found an outlet for such a volume of material without starting their own publication. Why a self-published periodical is OK but a book is not is beyond me.

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Human Events?!

Somewhere in one of her essays (in The Ayn Rand Letter, I think) AR mentions "vanity publishing" - i.e. self-publishing - in passing, rather dismissively, as harmless but unworthy of a professional author. No idea whether she'd still say that with contemporary technology and practices in place.

Rand and Branden could have found an outlet at least for some political writings 50 years ago. She had contributed to Readers Digest and Human Events and wrote a column (not just about politics) in the LA Times the year The Objectivist Newsletter started up. I doubt that they could have found an outlet for such a volume of material without starting their own publication. Why a self-published periodical is OK but a book is not is beyond me.

Human Events?!

--Brant

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Thanks. That's very interesting. I vaguely recall reading this many years ago. It might be because I had just moved into a household that received Human Events. I have a vaguer memory of hearing her on the radio back then, but no appreciation of whom I was listening too. It was probably the accent and her way of speaking. I didn't get any real intro to her and her stuff until I read AS in paperback in my sister's home in Flagstaff, AZ in the summer of 1963.

--Brant

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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

She's going to do for Rand what Baudrillard did for Foucault.

Baudrillard’s focus in the first section of this book is to introduce the concept that the world in which we live consists of images and signs that have disengaged themselves from “reality.” The new postmodern world is made up of simulations that are not based on “reality” but are devised by our imaginations. For example, he believes that in the past a map was a representation of reality itself. Today it is too difficult to distinguish between reality and the image of reality due to simulation. This blurring of what is “real” and “unreal” is what the author calls “hyperreality.”

thinking culture

Making Rand more radical? I know. Let's change "existence exists" to "hyperreality simulates." That's our new axiom. Catchy, huh?

Excellent! A perfect ready-made sound-bite. Existence exists is pretty sound bitey too eh.

Rand is far more radical than even you folks have dreamed. Or Peikoff. Or Branden, Or....or....or.......

Simulated hyperreality.

Hyper simulated reality.

Reality simulated hyperly.

Fun huh!

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The Kennedy piece is an interesting mixture of the dated and the prescient. Any mention of beatniks sounds quaint today. The last verified sighting had been at least three years before she wrote this, and even the sitcoms weren't using them anymore. Her inability to distinguish beetween a beatnik and a hotrodder makes her a real square in the parlance of the day. On the other hand she saw through Kennedy's fatuousness as nobody else even started to see until a decade after his death. A lot of people are still falling for the same from Obama.

If Seymourblogger got Objectivism from the Brandens I'm inclined to think that Valliant and the rest of them have a point.

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Without Branden, there would be no Peikoff.

Jeez, even Rand didn't get that nasty in her attacks on Branden.

:laugh:

Ghs

LOL! Now that is an interesting take on the history of Objectivism since 'the break'.....

1468-revenge-of-frankenstein-movie-poster-530-398.jpg

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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

You got Objectivism "through the Brandens." Which you came here first denigrating.

Am I to assume you have never had a teacher that you learned much from who was not an exceptionally intelligent person?

Remember Barbara's "35th" rate intellect?

I still think that.

How smartdo you have to be to read verbatim a prepared lecture and answer catechism questions from Rand's fiction rather than the Bible?

Do you begin to understand that you are insane?

Insane is a legal definition which means that one has to be declared insane by the state. Since that is not the case I could sue you. That is, if you had anything to get. But people with nothing to get often shoot off their mouths like hot shot adolescents in a drive by, not because there is such a thing as free speech, but because they have nothing to lose in legal action.

Be much more careful Brant. You know what you said about Foucault and AIDS and Mexican boys. You were laying low for awhile after the brutal hacking I received from objectivist lliving. I suspect you of being involved. No I don't think you have the smarts to do it yourself, but that's the way you operate.

The above is probably going to put this in the garbage pile. Never mind. I have saved a copy. You keep on with this mfkng crap and you will be sorrier than the last time. Your name, attack on Foucault, irresponsible name-calling Brant Gaede, will circulate on the internet along with hacking, hacked, hacker. Do you want to keep this up since maybe something else won't go up?

I am grateful forever that Barbara Branden came to Philadelphia every Tuesday night for 2 years to deliver the NBI Lectures. I used to have exact and well detailed notes, but no longer. A pity. Nathaniel in writing them probably had Rand at his elbow doing much of the dictating. He was not an originator of the material but a synthesizer, a condenser, the person who sifted it out of her fiction. This required enormous time and knowledge of her work. A genius? No, I think not, but so what, as Werner would say. He was the perfect person at the right time to lift Rand into a different kind of prominence. Interpreting whether he was a necessary or sufficient condition is an interesting game to play. It means nothing. He did it, and he has not been fully recognized for his achievement. Nice that he is being recognized here.

And that the NBI Lectures are authentic Rand, edited and approved by herself.

And lastly,

How can you make Rand any more than Rand made herself? Double nuts.

Watch me. LIsten and learn.

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Seymour:

Since the notion of Brant being a hacker would be far less credible to even the dumbest judge than the notion of your being insane, I think his chances of suing you would be better than yours of suing him.

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I think the success of NBI brought a new reality in her life. Up to that moment, her success trajectory had been to create a work or resume, then contact key players and have them use their influence to get things rolling. Nathaniel and Barbara did NBI's success from the ground up.

I'm not shilling for the Brandens. Merely stating the facts as I see them. In fact, I even believe she considered the bootstrap success of NBI as a proper implementation of her philosophical principles.

Michael

An excerpt from Gary Weiss in Ayn Rand Nation:

...The Atlas Society is much smaller than the ARI, judging from their IRS financial filings. . .oth are nonprofit groups, in contrast to the old Nathaniel Branden Institute, which was a profit-making operation...(p. 98)

One more bit of evidence which underscores Branden's unprecedented success at spearheading a radically new ideological movement.

Some time ago, I met the president of one of the largest lecture agencies in the country...."I'll admit quite candidly," he told me, "that if you had come come to me for advice [when you started NBI], I would have told you that what's happened is impossible. Lectures on philosophy?" He shook his head... "

Nathaniel Branden Institute and The Objectivist Newsletter are both profit-making institutions, and have been so from the start of their existence.. . .Neither organization has ever run a deficit--nor received any sort of outside financial help. Both have been entirely self-supporting.

It is notorious that organizations and journals concerned with disseminating ideas... are constantly sending out SOS's to their supporters and subscribers, pleading for money, wailing that without charitable contributions, they cannot survive.

We are proud of the fact that we can. . .

If this sounds like a boast, it is. We have earned it.

"A Report to Our Readers"

The Objectivist Newsletter, December, 1963

Dennis (The Shameless Shill) Hardin

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