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Peter

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales letters

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Reading this discussion about Atlantis reminds me of my first ever comment on the internet, on that forum, on 9/11:

Kyrel,

Had you been subscribed to any of the WTL lists before 9/11?

Ellen

Ellen -- No, nor to any other Objectivist organization. I dropped out of the Objectivist Movement from about 1980 - 1998. The public libraries of New York City started to make computers available in large quantities around 1997 or so, and I finally got around to using them in about 1998, and almost immediately checked out the libertarian and Objectivist websites. I was simply STUNNED to learn about the creation of the Institute for Objectivist Studies/Atlas Society and non-cult Objectivism. Still, after such a long while, it took me some time before I got back into it. By July of 2001 I bought my first computer and "lurked" on WeTheLiving.com for a few months before posting my first internet comment on 9/11.

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Ellen wrote:

Please re-save it.

end quote

Thank you Ellen, I resaved it. But I first corrected three obvious spelling errors. I left your spellings of subscribership and unmoderated which Microsoft identified as spelling errors, as is.

Peter

Thanks for re-saving, and for correcting the (real) typos. I just corrected those in the post. :smile:

Ellen

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[....] The public libraries of New York City started to make computers available in large quantities around 1997 or so, and I finally got around to using them in about 1998, and almost immediately checked out the libertarian and Objectivist websites. I was simply STUNNED to learn about the creation of the Institute for Objectivist Studies/Atlas Society and non-cult Objectivism. Still, after such a long while, it took me some time before I got back into it. By July of 2001 I bought my first computer and "lurked" on WeTheLiving.com for a few months before posting my first internet comment on 9/11.

In fall 1999, TOC, as the organization formerly named IOS and currently named The Atlas Society was called then, held a one-day conference in New York City the title of which was "What Can Objectivism Learn from Religion?," or something similar.

Ever since you posted a photo on one of the lists, I've wondered if you attended that. My husband and I attended. There was a person sitting a couple rows behind us who I think might have been you, but I'm not sure. Were you there? (Nathaniel Branden, David Kelley, and Ed Hudgins were among the speakers, which might jog memory if the title doesn't.)

Ellen

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I decided to check about a half dozen other letters of Zan’s and I only found one thing startling. Kyrel wrote, “Objectivists today could probably benefit from a little radical "eastern philosophy" in the mix.”

Very little else might be embarrassing. Enjoy!

Peter

From: Andre Zantonavitch <zantonavitch@yahoo.com>

Reply-To: Starship_Forum@yahoogroups.com

To: Starship_Forum@yahoogroups.com

Subject: [starship_Forum] Merry Christmas!

Date: Tue, 24 Dec 2002 14:04:41 -0800 (PST)

Everyone knows, or everyone ~should~ know, that Christmas is all about worshipping Santa Claus -- not Jesus (who's he?). Christmas is focused on life, joy, and personal pleasure, not some black religious afterlife and self-sacrifice.

This holiday ~does~ feature "sharing" but as a kind of natural, normal, "cup runneth over" generosity and magnanimity which gives gifts and happiness to loved-ones mostly in order to enhance ~personal~ pleasure. Christmas does ~not~ feature a corrupt and bizarre "sharing" along the lines of religious charity and mercy to the downtrodden and defeated.

Christmas is a proud, confident Saturnalia-type holiday which occurs on the Winter solstice -- when the dark days of Winter finally start to retreat and there is the promise of renewed plant life, as well as every other kind. And all the historical evidence indicates that the birth date of Jesus was nowhere ~near~ December 25th. Those evil deviants and religious barbarians shamelessly ~stole~ the date from the civilized Romans around 400 AD.

Christmas also rather nobly worships ~justice~ with that song about "he knows if you've been bad or good, so you better be good for goodness' sake!"

Thus Christmas is --ideally, and even currently -- a 100% rational, healthy, happy, non-religious, holiday and festival in celebration of a rich, hopeful, verdant life and future. So it's flat wrong for any atheist or Objectivist to be nervous or uncertain about having a, or saying, "Merry Christmas!"

Zan'

From: Andre Zantonavitch <zantonavitch@yahoo.com>

Reply-To: Starship_Forum@yahoogroups.com

To: Starship_Forum@yahoogroups.com

Subject: [starship_Forum] Re Starship and Utopianism

Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2002 21:43:14 -0800 (PST)

So much of our universe, in my judgment, is self-created and self-contained. Thus, Utopia might not be NEARLY as unreachable and unobtainable as most people suppose. It should be interesting to see what Monart and other Aurorans come up with on this topic...

I've long thought that current Objectivism errs in focusing so intently on the outside world. This is probably the source of much of Ayn Rand's and Objectivism's destructive rage and bitterness -- and consequent unhealthy, unhappy retreat into cultism. Objectivists today could probably benefit from a little radical "eastern philosophy" in the mix. Perhaps something involving both meditation and visceral martial arts. With a good philosophy, I think we can mostly create OUR OWN utopia and high culture to exploit and enjoy.

But "Rome wasn't built in a day," and so inventing and then continuously improving this private Galt's Gulch may take a while.

Zanton

From: Andre Zantonavitch <zantonavitch@yahoo.com>

To: atlantis@wetheliving.com

Subject: ATL: Re: untoward smugness

Date: Fri, 5 Apr 2002 22:55:35 -0800 (PST)

SpacePlayer2112@aol.com eloquently wrote in part:

"....Just like RAND was half demented when she slapped Nathaniel, cursed him to impotence, and proceeded to lie and accuse him of financial untruths? The same Ayn Rand who couldn't understand how her friends could work around "depravity" (i.e. retarded children). The same self absorbed Rand who couldn't understand why her husband became an alcoholic? The same Ayn Rand who turned Barbara away during a panic attack, while sleeping with Barbara's husband, and had the AUDACITY to say "Do you think only of yourself?"...."

This is painful to read...but important to think about and understand. Ayn Rand was a great novelist, philosopher, and revolutionary. But she was a great cult-of-personality leader too.

Zan

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In fall 1999, TOC, as the organization formerly named IOS and currently named The Atlas Society was called then, held a one-day conference in New York City the title of which was "What Can Objectivism Learn from Religion?," or something similar.

Ever since you posted a photo on one of the lists, I've wondered if you attended that. My husband and I attended. There was a person sitting a couple rows behind us who I think might have been you, but I'm not sure. Were you there? (Nathaniel Branden, David Kelley, and Ed Hudgins were among the speakers, which might jog memory if the title doesn't.)

Ellen

Ellen -- I'm flattered that you would think of me, but I really don't think I was there. My first ginger foray back into the world of neoliberalism, after two long decades, was a low-pressure visit to the New York State Libertarian convention in the Summer of 1999. I met Roy Innis, a hero to me, and Robert Bidinotto, who I challenged with two tough questions regarding classical liberalism vs. Objectivism. His answers were quite good and very reassuring, altho' not brilliant or innovative. And I still have a high opinion of Bidinotto -- the first normal, healthy, rational Objectivist I ever met.

That conference you mention, however, would be right up my alley. What can Objectivism learn from religion? Be more aggressive, energetic, and hopeful? I wonder if audio or video tapes of this event are still available.

And what did you think of the conference, especially the speeches by Branden and Kelley?

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In fall 1999, TOC, as the organization formerly named IOS and currently named The Atlas Society was called then, held a one-day conference in New York City the title of which was "What Can Objectivism Learn from Religion?," or something similar.

Ever since you posted a photo on one of the lists, I've wondered if you attended that. My husband and I attended. There was a person sitting a couple rows behind us who I think might have been you, but I'm not sure. Were you there? (Nathaniel Branden, David Kelley, and Ed Hudgins were among the speakers, which might jog memory if the title doesn't.)

Ellen

Ellen -- I'm flattered that you would think of me, but I really don't think I was there. My first ginger foray back into the world of neoliberalism, after two long decades, was a low-pressure visit to the New York State Libertarian convention in the Summer of 1999. I met Roy Innis, a hero to me, and Robert Bidinotto, who I challenged with two tough questions regarding classical liberalism vs. Objectivism. His answers were quite good and very reassuring, altho' not brilliant or innovative. And I still have a high opinion of Bidinotto -- the first normal, healthy, rational Objectivist I ever met.

That conference you mention, however, would be right up my alley. What can Objectivism learn from religion? Be more aggressive, energetic, and hopeful? I wonder if audio or video tapes of this event are still available.

And what did you think of the conference, especially the speeches by Branden and Kelley?

Are healthy, rational Objectivists rare?

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Are healthy, rational Objectivists rare?

Objectivists are rare.

--Brant

go mine some; sell them to the Ayn Rand Institute

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Ellen -- I'm flattered that you would think of me, but I really don't think I was there. [....]

That conference you mention, however, would be right up my alley. What can Objectivism learn from religion? Be more aggressive, energetic, and hopeful? I wonder if audio or video tapes of this event are still available.

And what did you think of the conference, especially the speeches by Branden and Kelley?

Definitely doesn't sound as if you were the person I'm thinking of, since the reason I noticed that person was his saying loudly enough I heard him clearly from my seat two or so rows in front of him, "I hope we're still atheists." I don't remember whose speech he said this in the midst of, probably not Robert Bidinotto's or Ken Livingston's.

I'm sorry to report that, except for one sentence of Nathaniel's, the only recollection I have of either his or David Kelley's talks is of their respective styles and manners.

David tends to have a soporific effect on me. Plus, in his talks as in his writings, his use of qualifiers often leaves me unsure of his point.

Nathaniel, I was interested to observe, still had an erect stance at the podium and a quality of power - 36 years after the only two previous times I'd seen him speak in person (Chicago '63). He said to me and Larry when we were talking with him after the speeches were finished, "As soon as my hand touched the podium, I felt as if I owned the place." That's how it had seemed to me, watching. As to what he said in his talk, however, I've forgotten except that I thought it was vague and that at one point (possibly in the Q&A) he prefaced something he said with the remark that David wouldn't like his saying this or wouldn't want him saying this. Judging from David's visible effort in keeping his expression passive, Nathaniel was right.

I do remember the general topic of three other talks - Bidinotto's, Hudgins', and Livingston's.

Robert talked about dangers of environmentalist religion. At the time, I thought his alarm was overkill, but I wonder if I'd instead consider his remarks prophetic if I were to re-hear the speech today.

Ed talked about ways in which Objectivists can produce their own tailor-made ceremonies for sorts of occasions, such as marriages and funerals, traditionally marked with religious ceremonial.

And Ken talked about some methodological problems in studies supposedly demonstrating the efficacy of prayer.

AND.....

Here's a puzzlement. I went a-Googling and turned up a currently out-of-print set of tapes of the event.

Hudgins isn't listed as a participant, instead Timothy Madigan. Yet I thought that that conference was the first time I heard Ed talk. Puzzlement.

The conference name is given as "What Should We Worship? Reclaiming Spirituality from Religion."

I'll copy the Amazon blurb and give a link in a separate post.

Ellen

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http://www.amazon.com/dp/1577240391

What Should We Worship?: Reclaiming Spirituality from Religion [Audio Cassette]

David Kelley (Author), Timothy Madigan (Author), Nathaniel Branden (Author), Robert James Bidinotto (Author), Kenneth Livingston (Author)

Out of Print--Limited Availability.

Book Description

Publication Date: December 1, 1999

What Should We Worship?: Reclaiming Spirituality From Religion is a four-part series of lectures given at The Objectivist Center's 1999 Fall Conference in New York City. Lectures include: "Green Cathedrals: Modern Spiritual Poverty and the Rise of Environmentalism"; "The Psychology of Belief: Why Religion seems to Work"; What Are Our Spirtual Needs?"; and Rational Rituals, or 'Pay No Attention to that Man Behind the Curtain.'" Also contains opening and closing remarks by conference moderator Dr. David Kelley.

About the Author

Robert James Bidinotto has written extensive on environmental issues for Reader's Digest and other publications. Kenneth Livingston is a professor of psychology and cognitive science at Vassar College. Nathaniel Branden is known worldwide as the first to articulate the psychological nature and importance of self-esteem. Timothy Madigan is currently Acquisitions Editor for the University of Rochester Press. David Kelley is the founder and Executive Director of The Objectivist Center.

Ellen

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Ellen -- A shame that the audio tape of that conference, listed on Amazon, seems unavailable. The main thing neoliberals can learn from religion, in my view, is to have consistent weekly or semi-weekly meetings which are fun and upbeat: light moral instruction, mixed with lots of humor and dance music, followed by snacks, chatting, and flirting.

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A religious friend of mine invited me to watch a sermon by a well known preacher online. He was discussing a woman's roll in marriage and he was actually quite good. Now, I know that most Objectivists probably wouldn't want to be listen to preaching, but it would be nice to have weekly talks about important personal issues such as marriage. Most of the Objectivist talks that I've seen advertised, and there aren't a lot, tend to be focused on political matters, and, as someone was saying on OL recently, Objectivism needs to focus more on personal issues if it wants to attract a wider audience. Before we can change the political climate, we must change the culture.

Darrell

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[The preacher] was discussing a woman's roll in marriage and he was actually quite good.

"...a woman's roll in marriage...." That's too funny a typo in the context to let it go past.

"Roll, roll, roll in the hay. It's fun!"

-- Young Frankenstein

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[The preacher] was discussing a woman's roll in marriage and he was actually quite good.

"...a woman's roll in marriage...." That's too funny a typo in the context to let it go past.

"Roll, roll, roll in the hay. It's fun!"

-- Young Frankenstein

Next Sunday: Man's roll as the Rock in marriage.

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[The preacher] was discussing a woman's roll in marriage and he was actually quite good.

"...a woman's roll in marriage...." That's too funny a typo in the context to let it go past.

"Roll, roll, roll in the hay. It's fun!"

-- Young Frankenstein

With Terry Garr as she was then, it sure would be!

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Darrell, all kidding aside, you mention an important point that transcends religion and philosophy. I know personally that when I got married we had no ideas of defined rolls but managed to work things out to mutual satisfaction.

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talks about important personal issues such as marriage. Most of the Objectivist talks that I've seen advertised, and there aren't a lot, tend to be focused on political matters, and, as someone was saying on OL recently, Objectivism needs to focus more on personal issues if it wants to attract a wider audience.

Definitely. Pretty much everyone just uses politics to help them achieve what they want in their personal life, so, there ya go.

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A bit more than a year before the 1999 one-day TOC conference "What Shall We Worship?...," Robert Bidinotto taped a lecture called "What Objectivists Must Learn from Religion."

]http://www.amazon.com/What-Objectivists-Must-Learn-Religion/dp/1577240146

What Objectivists Must Learn from Religion [Audio CD]

Robert James Bidinotto (Author)

Out of Print--Limited Availability.

Publication Date: August 1, 1998

Is religion's appeal rooted in irrational ideas? Or does it also offer people positive values? Mr. Bidnotto argues that despite its irrational content, religion addresses valid human needs - needs that Objectivists have too long neglected. Drawing upon Ayn Rand's aesthetic theory and historic examples, this popular, path-breaking talk demonstrates that Objectivists have crucial lessons to learn from their philosophical rivals.

Ellen

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talks about important personal issues such as marriage. Most of the Objectivist talks that I've seen advertised, and there aren't a lot, tend to be focused on political matters, and, as someone was saying on OL recently, Objectivism needs to focus more on personal issues if it wants to attract a wider audience.

Definitely. Pretty much everyone just uses politics to help them achieve what they want in their personal life, so, there ya go.

This, of course, is literally a false statement, albeit one covering a similar sounding truth.

--Brant

you're trying to make me think or you haven't thought enough?

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Well, I turned the crank on the "Way Back Machine" and so far I have come up with a message by Chris Sciabarra to the Objectivism mailing list. In this post, he discusses his upcoming book about Rand's "dialectical" method.

Date: Mon, 01 Nov 1993 14:59:06 -0500 (EST)

From: SCIABRRC@ACFcluster.NYU.EDU
Subject: Rand, Marx, & Dialectics
To: objectivism@vix.com
Message-Id: <01H4SZZ0D8PE1F7BZZ@ACFcluster.NYU.EDU>
X-Vms-To: IN%"objectivism@vix.com"
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; CHARSET=US-ASCII
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7BIT
Status: R
Svein Olav asks us to consider the statement that Objectivists are the
equivalent of Marxists on the right. He also asks, "if Sciabarra is right,
don't they [Objectivists and Marxists] both have a dialectical base?
Comments?"
Obviously, I cannot resist this open invitation to comment on a topic
that is dear to me. Unfortunately, I realize that most of the participants
to this discussion group have not read a single sentence from my
forthcoming book, AYN RAND: THE RUSSIAN RADICAL. None of you will be in an
informed position to make any judgments on the ultimate validity of one of
my central theses: that Rand DID in fact, use a dialectical method of
social inquiry. To prove this contention in a brief entry would be
somewhat difficult, considering that I devote a sizable portion of the 700
+ pages of my book to this specific issue. So, let me make some
comparisons that are both "shallow" and "deep".
To say that Objectivists are "Marxists of the right" is, in my
estimation, largely correct. Both of these approaches are fully
integrated, analytical, abstract SYSTEMS of thought. They have
implications for philosophy, economics, sociology, political theory,
aesthetics, epistemology, and countless other areas of intellectual and
social discourse. They are both RADICAL approaches, in that they seek to
get to the root of social problems as a means of transcending them.
Additionally, Objectivists and Marxists share an antipathy toward all forms
of dualism; their approach to social inquiry can best be described as
profoundly dialectical. Let me explain.
There are many different usages of the word "dialectic" in the history
of social thought. My understanding of dialectics is very specific.
Dialectics is a broad method of social analysis which views the social
world as a totality in which one cannot abstract any part from the whole
and reify it as a separate thing. Dialectical thinkers refuse to separate
events from their conditions, the past from the present, the present from
the future, or social problems from one another. Each social institution,
structure, and problem constitutes and is constituted by the totality from
which it springs.
Both Marx and Rand recognized these central dialectical insights in
their method of philosophizing. Neither thinker was prone to analyze a
social event or problem as an isolated instance; each thinker attempted to
link an understanding of a specific event or problem to the larger picture.
Consequently, in their respective resolutions, both thinkers aimed for a
RADICAL transformation of the totality, not a piecemeal form of social
engineering.
Because dialectical method preserves integration at its core, it is
also an instrument by which Marx and Rand CRITICIZE other approaches to the
social sciences which tend to separate along the lines of apparent
opposition. Both thinkers attempt to reconcile these apparent oppositions
by examining their common, root premises. For instance, Objectivism and
Marxism reject such dualisms as: mind vs. body, theory vs. practice, fact
vs. value. While the content of their critique differs, the dialectical
FORM of their opposition is essentially the same. (It should be noted that
Aristotle was the father of this form of dialectical inquiry.)
In analyzing apparent opposition, both Rand and Marx either reject
both alternatives as false, or they seek to clarify the genuine, integrated
relationships that exist between spheres which are ordinarily kept separate
and distinct. As an example of the REJECTION of false alternatives, one
can observe Rand's rejection of such categories as subjectivism vs.
intrinsicism, and empiricism vs. rationalism. (In Marx, there is a similar
rejection of "vulgar" idealism and "vulgar" materialism.) Rand's
resolution attempts to preserve what is correct in each of these polar
opposites, and to reject what is false. She usually characterizes each
polarity as being "half-right" and "half-wrong."
But Marx and Rand also preserve the integration of spheres which many
mainstream thinkers view as separate and distinct. On the duality of
theory and practice, for instance, it was Marx's fighting credo that: "The
philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is
to change it." Marx saw an inseparable union of theoretical understanding
and political praxis. Rand too, fully endorsed the indissoluble link of
theory and practice; she sees her own philosophical edifice as the
fountainhead of a social and political revolution. (Another example of
Rand's attempt to integrate seemingly separate and distinct spheres is her
view of the integrated unity of reason and emotion.)
Some will see these as "shallow" comparisons, in the sense that it is
a similarity of form, but not of content. However, I think that much can
be gained by noting a similarity of form (or method), especially when
viewed from the perspective of intellectual history. My book extensively
documents the Russian intellectual roots of this dialectical method in
Rand's thought, thereby placing her philosophy of Objectivism in its proper
historical context. But we'll leave this claim for another day...
- Chris
=============================================================
Dr. Chris M. Sciabarra
Visiting Scholar, N.Y.U. Department of Politics
INTERNET: sciabrrc@acfcluster.nyu.edu
BITNET: sciabrrc@nyuacf
=============================================================

Hopefully, I'll be able to find some additional interesting contributions. (I have a bunch by people whose names are probably not widely known).

Darrell

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Well, I turned the crank on the "Way Back Machine" and so far I have come up with a message by Chris Sciabarra to the Objectivism mailing list. In this post, he discusses his upcoming book about Rand's "dialectical" method.

Date: Mon, 01 Nov 1993 14:59:06 -0500 (EST)

From: SCIABRRC@ACFcluster.NYU.EDU
Subject: Rand, Marx, & Dialectics
To: objectivism@vix.com
Message-Id: <01H4SZZ0D8PE1F7BZZ@ACFcluster.NYU.EDU>
X-Vms-To: IN%"objectivism@vix.com"
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; CHARSET=US-ASCII
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7BIT
Status: R
Svein Olav asks us to consider the statement that Objectivists are the
equivalent of Marxists on the right. He also asks, "if Sciabarra is right,
don't they [Objectivists and Marxists] both have a dialectical base?
Comments?"
Obviously, I cannot resist this open invitation to comment on a topic
that is dear to me. Unfortunately, I realize that most of the participants
to this discussion group have not read a single sentence from my
forthcoming book, AYN RAND: THE RUSSIAN RADICAL. None of you will be in an
informed position to make any judgments on the ultimate validity of one of
my central theses: that Rand DID in fact, use a dialectical method of
social inquiry. To prove this contention in a brief entry would be
somewhat difficult, considering that I devote a sizable portion of the 700
+ pages of my book to this specific issue. So, let me make some
comparisons that are both "shallow" and "deep".
To say that Objectivists are "Marxists of the right" is, in my
estimation, largely correct. Both of these approaches are fully
integrated, analytical, abstract SYSTEMS of thought. They have
implications for philosophy, economics, sociology, political theory,
aesthetics, epistemology, and countless other areas of intellectual and
social discourse. They are both RADICAL approaches, in that they seek to
get to the root of social problems as a means of transcending them.
Additionally, Objectivists and Marxists share an antipathy toward all forms
of dualism; their approach to social inquiry can best be described as
profoundly dialectical. Let me explain.
There are many different usages of the word "dialectic" in the history
of social thought. My understanding of dialectics is very specific.
Dialectics is a broad method of social analysis which views the social
world as a totality in which one cannot abstract any part from the whole
and reify it as a separate thing. Dialectical thinkers refuse to separate
events from their conditions, the past from the present, the present from
the future, or social problems from one another. Each social institution,
structure, and problem constitutes and is constituted by the totality from
which it springs.
Both Marx and Rand recognized these central dialectical insights in
their method of philosophizing. Neither thinker was prone to analyze a
social event or problem as an isolated instance; each thinker attempted to
link an understanding of a specific event or problem to the larger picture.
Consequently, in their respective resolutions, both thinkers aimed for a
RADICAL transformation of the totality, not a piecemeal form of social
engineering.
Because dialectical method preserves integration at its core, it is
also an instrument by which Marx and Rand CRITICIZE other approaches to the
social sciences which tend to separate along the lines of apparent
opposition. Both thinkers attempt to reconcile these apparent oppositions
by examining their common, root premises. For instance, Objectivism and
Marxism reject such dualisms as: mind vs. body, theory vs. practice, fact
vs. value. While the content of their critique differs, the dialectical
FORM of their opposition is essentially the same. (It should be noted that
Aristotle was the father of this form of dialectical inquiry.)
In analyzing apparent opposition, both Rand and Marx either reject
both alternatives as false, or they seek to clarify the genuine, integrated
relationships that exist between spheres which are ordinarily kept separate
and distinct. As an example of the REJECTION of false alternatives, one
can observe Rand's rejection of such categories as subjectivism vs.
intrinsicism, and empiricism vs. rationalism. (In Marx, there is a similar
rejection of "vulgar" idealism and "vulgar" materialism.) Rand's
resolution attempts to preserve what is correct in each of these polar
opposites, and to reject what is false. She usually characterizes each
polarity as being "half-right" and "half-wrong."
But Marx and Rand also preserve the integration of spheres which many
mainstream thinkers view as separate and distinct. On the duality of
theory and practice, for instance, it was Marx's fighting credo that: "The
philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is
to change it." Marx saw an inseparable union of theoretical understanding
and political praxis. Rand too, fully endorsed the indissoluble link of
theory and practice; she sees her own philosophical edifice as the
fountainhead of a social and political revolution. (Another example of
Rand's attempt to integrate seemingly separate and distinct spheres is her
view of the integrated unity of reason and emotion.)
Some will see these as "shallow" comparisons, in the sense that it is
a similarity of form, but not of content. However, I think that much can
be gained by noting a similarity of form (or method), especially when
viewed from the perspective of intellectual history. My book extensively
documents the Russian intellectual roots of this dialectical method in
Rand's thought, thereby placing her philosophy of Objectivism in its proper
historical context. But we'll leave this claim for another day...
- Chris
=============================================================
Dr. Chris M. Sciabarra
Visiting Scholar, N.Y.U. Department of Politics
INTERNET: sciabrrc@acfcluster.nyu.edu
BITNET: sciabrrc@nyuacf
=============================================================

Hopefully, I'll be able to find some additional interesting contributions. (I have a bunch by people whose names are probably not widely known).

Darrell

Thanks for posting this.

I agree with the dialectical radicalness of Objectivism, but not of Ayn Rand who expresses dualism in her fiction with its Nietzchean influence. I now suspect she got meaner in her later years not just because Branden hijacked her love life and then stopped loving her when the bridge between her fiction and philosophy fell down, stranding them in the dialectic leaving them with only "Take what you want said God--and pay for it," while Branden taught Objectivism until she kicked him out leaving her with memories, Frank and Peikoff doing his jejune, dead-end professional Branden imitation. That could be the real reason she stopped writing fiction: no more heroic fun blowing up housing projects. No putting that into any dialectica.

(This is all speculation)

So as Rand made herself a logical prisoner in her own philosophy (with Branden's great help) and demanded her acolytes do the same. (Not many of them are still around and about.)

We can take the dialectical radicalness of Objectivism as basically morally and intellectually sound, as do I, but the transliteration into social and political action is quite another matter. Look at the bloody hands of Marxism on history. The dualism between theory and action was not, but should have been, embraced by Objectivism's adherents. Why? Because "there is more in heaven and hell . . . ."

--Brant

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Here is a contribution from Eyal Moses:

Date: Tue, 24 Aug 93 10:51:53 PDT

From: Eyal Mozes <eyal@CS.Stanford.EDU>
Message-Id: <9308241751.AA16908@crane.Stanford.EDU>
To: lrul00@euler.kodak.com, objectivism@vix.com
Subject: Re: Taxation (Was: Selfishness as a virtue)
Cc: jean@il.us
Status: RO
Richard Dempsey writes:
>The first idea is that a proper government performs services which are
>valuable to me, and therefore for which I should be willing to pay. One
>of these is the enforcement of contracts. So, no contract would be enforced
>by the government unless the parties had registered the contract with the
>government and paid the appropriate fee at the time of execution. Notice
>that oral contracts cannot be registered, and therefore would not be
>enforced by the government. The guys who proposed this idea felt that it
>would easily be sufficient to support the entire civil and criminal justice
>system, police, jails, courts and all. Lawyers sold separately. :-) In
>essence, the military is not too different from the police, and so could
>logically be supported in this manner as well.
I think this is the right direction in finding voluntary ways to finance
the government.
>The other idea is the one of citizenship. One would have to meet certain
>requirements to become a citizen, one would have to pay a periodic fee
>to maintain citizenship status, and one would receive certain benefits as
>a citizen. However, one would _not_ be _required_ to be a citizen. I am
>less comfortable with this idea, unless it's used in conjunction with other
>per use fees, constitutes a relatively small part of the total government
>income, and entails a relatively small part of total government effort.
I share your discomfort with this idea. I would be more inclined to reject
any such suggestions *completely*, no matter how small a part they are.
I think it is crucial that the government, *in principle*, be dedicated to
the protection of everybody's rights. If some people are "non-citizens",
and are therefore denied some benefits from the government (and, assuming
this is a proper, limited government, the only benefit it gives its
citizens is protection of their rights, so being denied benefits means:
denied some protection for one's individual rights); then I see no way to
decide how much protection "non-citizens" should still get, or how large
the requirements of "citizenship" should be. There's no reason why
"periodic fees" should be the only requirement; you can then add
requirements for jury duty; or for compulsory military service; or
refraining from "seditious libel"; etc.. Once the idea of "citizenship"
with requirements is allowed, I see no principle by which the line can be
drawn.
Eyal Mozes

I have contributions from a number of other individuals. I probably should make a list of their names as I go through these archives. But, if there are particular names I should watch for, please let me know.

Darrell

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Oddly, the headers on this post actually say, "Moderated Discussion of Objectivist Philosophy," so I'm wondering whether the above posts actually came from a different list or if the list changed names at some point. 20 years later, it is hard for me to remember. Anyway, some people might find this interesting:


Tue, 15 Dec 92 09:06:54 CST

Date: Thu, 10 Dec 1992 14:18:06 EST
Reply-To: "Moderated Discussion of Objectivist Philosophy"
<AYN-RAND@iubvm.bitnet>
Sender: "Moderated Discussion of Objectivist Philosophy"
<AYN-RAND@iubvm.bitnet>
From: "Svein Olav G. Nyberg" <solan@math.uio.no>
Subject: Mathematics of Concept-formation
To: Multiple recipients of list AYN-RAND <AYN-RAND@iubvm.bitnet>
Status: R
Let me do a little mathematization of concept formation.
We can represent an entity as a vector of attributes, with
each place being occupied by a number, or a <NO> in case of
incommensurability for the given characteristic. Concept formation
is a mathematical process. Now, forming a concept, we group
a number of such vectors, [or rather - the subvectors that
form our observations] and check for similarities.
[For instance - Place #1: length, #2: color, #3: intelligence, #4: mass, ...]
I.e., I have the following vectors:
FlowerA = (15, 4, <NO>, 230, .... )
FlowerB = (17, 9, <NO>, 180, .... )
HumanX = (185, 0.1, 170, 80 .... )
.
.
.
[i hope the reader will excuse this simplification of characteristics
vectors. If I had not simplified, both I and the reader would have
become exhausted from this.]
Now, I form the concept "flower": In the group above, I need simply
point out <NO> intelligence, and let the other measurements range freely.
[in reality, the vectors would be bigger. See above excuse.]
---
The reader has now gotten the idea of the mathematical process of
concept formation. A mathematician would now nod his head and say
"Aaaah! So a concept is really linked to projections. If two
entities are referents to the same concept, then the projection
of their vectors according to the rule associated with the concept
must be equal. Neat! Do you see the concept as the rule itself,
the projection, or something else?"
I won't attempt to answer that mathematician, but will just point
out that this is the same process as that of seeing to different
objects as equal visually, by involving perspective. So, a concept
is associated with perspective. Both are (related to) projections.
I would appreciate feed-back on this model. Personally, I find it
to be 1-1 implied by Rand's theory of concepts.
Regards,
Solan
.__________________________________________________________________.
| |
| Svein Olav Nyberg (Solan) : Editor of "non serviam", the radical |
| electronic newletter dedicated to Stirner's philosophy of egoism |
| |
| Life means perspective - Denying perspective means denying life. |
| |
| It is 1992, Dec.10, and there are 30 days left. |
!__________________________________________________________________!

Darrell

EDIT: To answer my own question, it appears that the other Objectivism list was moderated by Paul A. Vixie. It appeared on my mail feed as just "objectivism@vix.com"

Edited by Darrell Hougen

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