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The Truth About Ayn Rand: Origins of Objectivism

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Stephen, thanks for #49, which suggests an important distinction -- faking reality to oneself versus faking reality to others. The Objectivist ethics, per Peikoff, permits P1 lying to P2 to protect P2 from harming, or threatening to harm, P1 or P3. But the uninvolved readers of 'To Whom It May Concern' were not a threat to Rand.

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Merlin, as I recall, from my notes to Peikoff’s lectures of ’76, Peikoff and Rand (in Q&A) did not hold the situation you mention in #53 as the only sort in which it was proper to lie (by not telling the whole truth) under Rand’s ethical theory. They also thought it was fine to lie in protection of one’s privacy. I concur that both of those are correct and that they both follow from Rand’s basic ethics. I concur also with Rand in many of the virtues of selfishness she brought to ethics, although I have long rejected and still do reject her theory of ethical egoism. That is the theory that all moral virtues are justifiable ultimately in term of only one’s own self-interest. I don’t reject only Rand’s version of such a theory, of course, but all such theories. Rand’s “faking reality” element in her arguments to the virtue of honesty is implausible and stands as a red flag that her version of ethical egoism, like all of them, is unstable.

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I disagree about her knowing that the accusations weren't true.

I think that she knew that they weren't true. She was super pissed that Branden preferred another woman to her, and then she went out and spun various lies, and allowed others to spin them, so as to falsely portray Branden as something he was not. She was knowingly and intentionally sticking it to him.

Also with the implication that all of the charges were false. The authority-flaunting charge against Nathaniel, I think was very true, and that the authority-flaunting had been going on much longer than Ayn realized. I saw an example myself in late 1963, and I've heard reports of many other examples.

Yes, he was flaunting his authority, but I think that Rand was completely aware of it, and even encouraging of it. They both loved to flaunt authority over their little circle, and to judge others and publicly "psychologize" them. They both liked exercising power over their acolytes. I think that when people reported to Rand that Nathaniel was abusive to them in her absence, she saw it as an opportunity to pretend that she wasn't aware of it and hadn't herself partaken in the same thing. Just one more way to stick it to him.

As to the irrationality of the document Nathaniel gave to Ayn, that's something we can't judge, not having access to the document. She, however, might have honestly judged it differently from another reader's judgment. As to the financial exploitation, I think that she believed the charge at the time, but I think that she should have corrected it later.

Well, she had several years to publicly correct the false charges, but didn't do so.

Regarding, the "real reason" for the break, I assume you mean Ayn's discovery that Nathaniel was having an affair with Patrecia. That's what I used to think was the real reason, but my view has been modified by the contents of Ayn's diaries. Nathaniel didn't reveal in his memoir - and possibly Barbara didn't know - that Nathaniel was telling Ayn for several years that he was impotent while in fact he was engaged in an affair, and that he told Ayn repeatedly that he had no romantic feeling for Patrecia.

Nathaniel was dropping clues and testing the waters and trying to find a way to handle the situation without causing Rand to explode. And she was still programming him, and telling him what was morally and psychologically acceptable. Then he'd try to find a way to conform to her requirements. He was told to consider having an affair with a meaningless nobody to jumpstart his appetite. Solution: Patrecia was a meaningless nobody. No? Patrecia is a threat? Anyone but Patrecia? Ayn gets to pick or have veto power over who will be Nathaniel's fuckbuddy, and somehow it's Nathaniel's fault that he tried to show how Patrecia fit Rand's requirements?

Remember that his entire philosophy and view of romantic love had come from her. He was still under the spell. He was still accepting her false judgments of his morality and his romantic preferences. He was still being guided by her. He was still accepting her double standards.

As for his claims of impotence, we don't know that that's not true, at least when it came to responding sexually to Rand. He may have indeed been impotent when confronted with the idea of having to have sex with her again. He may have still believed her bullshit that any heroic man should find her to be the ultimate woman, and therefore totally bonerific, and that any man who didn't sexually crave her must have something seriously wrong with him.

I've come to think that outrage at being persistently lied to was the biggest factor in Ayn's explosion. She'd had very strong reactions to being lied to ever since she was a child, and he knew that.

I disagree. He was dropping hints left and right. She was well aware of his trying to subtlely get her permission to fuck Patrecia. She was angry, not because he lied, but because he took what she explicitly forbade. He was not allowed to have Patrecia, and only Patrecia. She was the only one that Rand sensed to be a true rival.

About Ayn's faking reality in regard to Frank, I think that there's a fine line between willful blindness and outright faking, and that she might have been more on the willfully blind side of the line. I think that she loved him, one way or the other, and that her romanticizing him was something she needed to do in an effort to stay motivated to write.

When I have more time, I plan on looking for some of the things that Rand said about Frank publicly.

J

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On the basis that one appreciates that every person searches for and lives by an objective reality - 'out there' - as one does: an objective reality which claims one's first priority of honor. Next level priority, that it is right now and ultimately, rationally selfish to value honesty with self, as the hallmark of honoring that truth; third, that in justice to all others (assuming no noticeable threat from them) one should never deliberately mislead their personal search for truth - through one's deception and dishonesty ... on that basis, rational egoism and benevolent honesty with others have a direct correlation, I think.

In practice, things aren't always so clear. In engaging with others, it's not always certain that they too, place importance in objective truths and honesty, and could be subjective and deceitful for their immoral purpose. An honest man is -at least momentarily- at a huge disadvantage: Exchanging his honesty for nothing but their deceit. It's for that reason, self-preservation from predators (material or psychological) that rational egoism has to be always front and centre. So egoism and others' sometime perfidy, share a corollary too, in my mind.

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I post the following for whatever it's worth. It was not written by Ayn Rand, but by Tara Smith in Ayn Rand's Normative Ethics.

Rand understands honesty as the refusal to fake reality. As such, honesty does not primarily concern how a person interacts with others, but how he deals with everything he encounters. The honest person does not pretend that things are other than they are, either to others or to himself. (p. 8, my bold)

"Faking" does not carry any peculiar or technical meaning as Rand used it. "Faking" refers to familiar forms of pretending that things are other than they are, such as deliberating omitting pertinent information about a subject, covering something up, or twisting one's account of a situation to foster misleading impressions. An actor portraying a fictional character on stage would not be faking in the relevant sense, since it is understood that he is acting and that the audience is witnessing a play. (p. 76)

Covering up and twisting one's account to foster misleading impressions are at least primarily about faking reality to others.

I found these quickly using Amazon's "Look Inside" feature.

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Merlin, as I recall, from my notes to Peikoff’s lectures of ’76, Peikoff and Rand (in Q&A) did not hold the situation you mention in #53 as the only sort in which it was proper to lie (by not telling the whole truth) under Rand’s ethical theory. They also thought it was fine to lie in protection of one’s privacy. I concur that both of those are correct and that they both follow from Rand’s basic ethics. I concur also with Rand in many of the virtues of selfishness she brought to ethics, although I have long rejected and still do reject her theory of ethical egoism. That is the theory that all moral virtues are justifiable ultimately in term of only one’s own self-interest. I don’t reject only Rand’s version of such a theory, of course, but all such theories. Rand’s “faking reality” element in her arguments to the virtue of honesty is implausible and stands as a red flag that her version of ethical egoism, like all of them, is unstable.

I think you can define "self interest" in such a way you'd lose your objection, at least insofar as I understand it. I don't know if that would then remain congruent either with Rand's position or remain a theory of ethical egoism as you understand it, for you're rejecting all such called.

The basic problem to me as I read you seems to be the atomistic nature of egoism while people are not just thinking beings--where it would naturally enough apply--but social beings with social needs. Even Rand's jejune and dictionary phony definition of selfishness--"concern with one's own interests" (VOS)--doesn't go there. (I'm not saying, though, that she didn't go there elsewhere.)

If this isn't what you are thinking about, please inform.

--Brant

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Jonathan,

I just don't see the things you do. (And God knows I am no adherent of a PARC-like view of Frank.)

I don't see it, especially since Rand usually said Frank was on strike when asked about his lack of great achievements.

Yes, when confronted with the reality that Frank did not measure up to her stated standards (and her judgments of others) Rand claimed that Frank was on strike . She offered no proof, and she presented no evidence that he had ever accomplished or produced anything that was in demand and would therefore be worth depriving anyone of via a strike.

In claiming that Frank was "on strike," she was referring to the characters in her novel, and therefore equating him with them, and with their importance to the survival of society. She was saying that he was the equivalent of industrial giants and scientific innovators, of artistic and philosophical geniuses, and of globe-straddling business titans. She wasn't saying that he was a Hollywood extra whom no one would notice was "on strike." She was trying to make that bit of reality go away. She was faking reality so as not to have her husband judged by her own standards.

She was aware he had not done anything great. In fact, I didn't see anything in your post where you indicated that she did claim he had performed such accomplishments.

Do you have any quotes where she claimed he revolutionized the world in some manner?

But maybe I'm faking reality.

:smile:

Michael

I'll post her comments when I find them.

J

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Merlin, as I recall, from my notes to Peikoff’s lectures of ’76, Peikoff and Rand (in Q&A) did not hold the situation you mention in #53 as the only sort in which it was proper to lie (by not telling the whole truth) under Rand’s ethical theory. They also thought it was fine to lie in protection of one’s privacy. I concur that both of those are correct and that they both follow from Rand’s basic ethics. I concur also with Rand in many of the virtues of selfishness she brought to ethics, although I have long rejected and still do reject her theory of ethical egoism. That is the theory that all moral virtues are justifiable ultimately in term of only one’s own self-interest. I don’t reject only Rand’s version of such a theory, of course, but all such theories. Rand’s “faking reality” element in her arguments to the virtue of honesty is implausible and stands as a red flag that her version of ethical egoism, like all of them, is unstable.

I would like to see proof that Rand believed that "privacy lies" are morally acceptable. I've heard a lot of people making that claim, but none have yet backed it up with any evidence.

And I disagree that "privacy lies" follow from Rand's ethics. Lying to protect oneself from the judgment of others is most definitely not Objectivist. Concerning oneself with others' opinions above concerning oneself with truth and reality is very anti-Objectivist.

Anyway, for the sake of argument, let's say that Rand did accept the idea of "privacy lies." I'd like to know, then, why Branden was not allowed to exercise his right to use privacy lies against Rand. Why would he not be considered to be perfectly moral in lying to her as a means of shutting down her prying into his private sexual life with others? After all, he was not married to her, he did not have a contract of exclusivity with her. What he did or did not do outside of her bedroom with other women was none of her business, and therefore he was behaving morally in keeping the truth from her, no?

J

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What Boydstun tells us about privacy lying in #52 (that Rand approved of it when Peikoff lectured on the topic in 1976) is interesting in that NB's Basic Principles course had insisted some years earlier that honesty precludes the practice and in that Rand had endorsed these lectures. The difference may be that by the later date she was doing this herself.

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What Boydstun tells us about privacy lying in #52 (that Rand approved of it when Peikoff lectured on the topic in 1976) is interesting in that NB's Basic Principles course had insisted some years earlier that honesty precludes the practice and in that Rand had endorsed these lectures. The difference may be that by the later date she was doing this herself.

Let's wait to see proof that Rand held or endorsed Peikoff's position on privacy lies. Until such proof arrives, I think that, rather than speculating about Rand's possibly having changed her mind from the position advocated in the Basic Principles course, the claim that Rand accepted privacy lies as moral should be treated as an arbitrary assertion.

J

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Someone will have purchased the tapes of the ’76 lecture series The Philosophy of Objectivism. Prof. Campbell has them, although I don’t know if the ones that went for sale included all that was distributed for the class listening. I attended this tape lecture series in the fall of ’77 at Northwestern University. Here is what I have in my notes. Peikoff’s remarks are in Lecture 8 “Virtue, Practicality, and Happiness.”

A. Independence . . .

B. Integrity . . .

C. Honesty

Refusal to fake reality; only existence exists, so commitment only to reality.

Selfishness is reliance on one’s own mind, and honesty is aspect of this. From GS, deceived others placed above reality and self.

“White lies” immoral on this view.

Virtues are contextual: “Thou shalt not lie, absolutely” is incorrect.

Deception to protect own values is consistent with not gaining values by deception.

In the Q&A that same evening, Peikoff responded to some question (not in my notes) with:

Not volunteering entire truth is not a lie.

E.g., “How do you like my suit?” “It’s ugly.”

Rand then interjected:

But in situation where agree to discuss fully and then don’t tell whole truth, vicious.

Yes, Miss Rand, I should now say: you had some glimpses of the circumstance that your purely egoist rationale for generally telling the truth could not contain all our genuine base for it. Vicious---yes, that's getting on the right track to the missing.

7/20/2006

Rand thought that the justification for the virtue of honesty was only that it is in one's rational self-interest to be honest. That is false and psychologically inauthentic. When I tell someone the truth, it is not typically only because it is in my rational self-interest to do so. It is first and foremost because lying to someone is prima facie a rotten way to treat a person. Moreover, my concern for another's self-interest (e.g., not filling their mind with falsehoods) is not firstly a matter of being concerned for my rational self-interest, but of being concerned for theirs.

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

PS

In the Q&A after the following lecture, #9, someone must have asked another question about honesty. Peikoff responded (according to my notes):

Telling truth and reaping immediate unhappiness may be in self-interest. Don’t obtain values by lies; might protect values by lies.

Right after that in my notes, Peikoff addressed right to privacy [contra Rothbard and pals, to be sure]:

Legally enforceable right to privacy is right if one can show material damage.

He may have written about these topics somewhere.* Also Rand may have written about some of these points in Ayn Rand Letter, which I do not have. All of these notes, remember, are incomplete and are from lectures, and some of the views may have never become settled enough in mind to put them to print by Rand or her associates.

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I can privacy lie. I have. Almost everyone does it. Is there some moral theory floating around that says, "No!"? These lies are usually to protect yourself from other people trying to stick their noses into your business where they have no business. This is not the same thing as living a lie, which is what the Rand-Branden affair was all about. Branden described Rand as much more conventional in her personal life than in her radical philosophy which was in her writing. I think she was also trying to protect AS which she was finishing up. And maybe, in a queer way, Frank. (Look at all the fooling arounds in her novels.)

--Brant

of the four knowing principals, Frank deserved what happened, at the time and long term, the least, by my understanding

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I can privacy lie. I have. Almost everyone does it. Is there some moral theory floating around that says, "No!"? These lies are usually to protect yourself from other people trying to stick their noses into your business where they have no business. This is not the same thing as living a lie, which is what the Rand-Branden affair was all about. Branden described Rand as much more conventional in her personal life than in her radical philosophy which was in her writing. I think she was also trying to protect AS which she was finishing up. And maybe, in a queer way, Frank. (Look at all the fooling arounds in her novels.)

--Brant

of the four knowing principals, Frank deserved what happened, at the time and long term, the least, by my understanding

The preposterous idea of me sanctioning my wife's affair would never, ever occur. I'd throw the bitch out.

Frank should have gotten up the balls to leave Ayn. He was weak. Perhaps he relied on her income to stay afloat.

How could Ayn state Frank was her highest value...then knowingly proceed to inflict such pain on him, with the affair?

Didn't she write "You can avoid reality, but you can not avoid the consequences of avoiding reality"

IMO she was a cougar in heat. That trumped the consequences.

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I can privacy lie. I have. Almost everyone does it. Is there some moral theory floating around that says, "No!"? These lies are usually to protect yourself from other people trying to stick their noses into your business where they have no business. This is not the same thing as living a lie, which is what the Rand-Branden affair was all about. Branden described Rand as much more conventional in her personal life than in her radical philosophy which was in her writing. I think she was also trying to protect AS which she was finishing up. And maybe, in a queer way, Frank. (Look at all the fooling arounds in her novels.)

--Brant

of the four knowing principals, Frank deserved what happened, at the time and long term, the least, by my understanding

The preposterous idea of me sanctioning my wife's affair would never, ever occur. I'd throw the bitch out.

Frank should have gotten up the balls to leave Ayn. He was weak. Perhaps he relied on her income to stay afloat.

How could Ayn state Frank was her highest value...then knowingly proceed to inflict such pain on him, with the affair?

Didn't she write "You can avoid reality, but you can not avoid the consequences of avoiding reality"

IMO she was a cougar in heat. That trumped the consequences.

Since you're not contradicting me . . .

In a way you're describing the whole Objectivist movement from "The Collective" starting in the 1950s until NBI blew up in 1968. Everyone, including Nathaniel Branden, was under Rand's thumb and no one more so than Rand herself. The grotesquerie was Peikoff trying to continue this.

--Brant

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Ellen, thanks for your comments in post 45, but I believe you could answer Jonathan's questions more fully. Did Ayn Rand "fake reality" to the readers of 'To Whom It May Concern' with not even a vague mention of her affair with N. Branden and trumped-up charges against both Brandens?

Jonathan's questions mostly seem to me the type of stream-of-questions-caricaturing-a-situation which he does and which leaves me with a headache trying to get some coherent message from the stream.

But as to whether Rand faked reality to the readers of "To Whom It May Concern," yes, as I could tell reading the statement while it was being typeset. I've told the story on this list and on RoR. I wouldn't expect anyone who's been on lists I've been on for years to be in any doubt regarding my disapproval of that statement. I think she was very foolish to publish it, that she practically announced to the world that the root issue was a romantic one, and that, in publishing the statement, she made her private relationship with Nathaniel Branden public business.

Nevertheless, to repeat:

I disagree about her knowing that the accusations weren't true. Also with the implication that all of the charges were false.

That isn't a new opinion, btw. I thought then that she believed the accusations and that some of what she said about Nathaniel was truer than she realized. I thought that she shouldn't have given him the status he had. In fact, when I first heard the news - from the receptionist at the NBI offices not long after my moving to the NYC area from the Midwest - my first thought was, "Oh, good, she's seen through him." I was subsequently in the awkward position of having to play devil's advocate in various circumstances because of the way she'd handled the situation. I didn't and don't think that Nathaniel was Mr. Innocent Party - and today, having read her diaries, I think he was even more culpable than I thought he was then. Furthermore, he faked reality too in his reply. Which doesn't exonerate her.

I have more sympathy for her than I have for him. I realize that he was in a very conflicted and difficult situation, but I think that if he believed that she'd close NBI if he told her the truth about his relationship with Patrecia, then he should have risked that consequence.

Ellen

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I took Rand's side in 1968. Reading Branden's first Reason interview blew me out of that situation, but it was sometime later that I figured out in doing so I hadn't taken his side respecting the "break," but essentially where he had gone to post-break as a psychologist and person, not the leader of a cult he had been--that is, I had actually taken my own side. The whole thing by me was messy and I only claim credit for extracting myself from the Ayn Rand matrix, something I found was still continuing from that point. Ellen in the late sixties and early seventies was way ahead of me in her psycho-intellectual development. A lot of that may have had to do with different interests as I wasn't into psychology so much as politics, economics, war, political philosophy, ethics--all the Objectivist strong points. Branden provided a doorway for me into my own psychological development and getting rid of some real problems. (Mid 1970s then 1977 to early 1980s with his Intensives.) I got him in what I regard as the sweet spot of his classic period as a psychotherapist after he got rid of the early, post-break bumps in developing his use of sentence completion. Someday scholars will be able to listen to the tape recordings of most of my work with him, but with only a possible few exceptions they haven't been born yet. I hasten to add that while I consider him a genius in this kind of work back then it's genius for me for what kind of person I am. I cannot generalize to other clients he worked with as to the effectiveness of it all to them and I don't think he ever evaluated his own work except mostly by what was happening at the time it was done. If I were a psychotherapist I'd do things differently. I'd have fewer clients and make clear I wasn't just interested in helping them with the problems in their heads but the problems in their lives. Or, I'd expect them to get off their butts and do things. There would be follow up plus follow up of a kind, likely through standardized questionnaires, so I could better understand how effective I was really being reduced to numbers.

--Brant

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Merlin, as I recall, from my notes to Peikoff’s lectures of ’76, Peikoff and Rand (in Q&A) did not hold the situation you mention in #53 as the only sort in which it was proper to lie (by not telling the whole truth) under Rand’s ethical theory. They also thought it was fine to lie in protection of one’s privacy. I concur that both of those are correct and that they both follow from Rand’s basic ethics. I concur also with Rand in many of the virtues of selfishness she brought to ethics, although I have long rejected and still do reject her theory of ethical egoism. That is the theory that all moral virtues are justifiable ultimately in term of only one’s own self-interest. I don’t reject only Rand’s version of such a theory, of course, but all such theories. Rand’s “faking reality” element in her arguments to the virtue of honesty is implausible and stands as a red flag that her version of ethical egoism, like all of them, is unstable.

I think you can define "self interest" in such a way you'd lose your objection, at least insofar as I understand it. I don't know if that would then remain congruent either with Rand's position or remain a theory of ethical egoism as you understand it, for you're rejecting all such called.

The basic problem to me as I read you seems to be the atomistic nature of egoism while people are not just thinking beings--where it would naturally enough apply--but social beings with social needs. Even Rand's jejune and dictionary phony definition of selfishness--"concern with one's own interests" (VOS)--doesn't go there. (I'm not saying, though, that she didn't go there elsewhere.)

If this isn't what you are thinking about, please inform.

--Brant

Brant,

My book in progress makes a systematic case against Rand’s ethical egoism and for an ethical theory to replace it, a replacement that does not throw out the insights Rand truly won either in ethical theory or in fundamental metaphysics and epistemology. In making my case against Rand’s pure egoism, I shall be taking care not to distort her view into an “atomic egoism” or “atomic individualism.” I include in her view all she wrote on good will and benevolence and the joys and existential benefits of engagements with one’s productive and good-willed fellows. And I include in her view the respect for others as ends in themselves. And I include in her view all that Branden wrote in his essay in The Objectivist on the visibility principle (and the precursors to it in her literature).

For all that, I shall argue, she seriously underestimated the depth of social character concerning the biological function of mind and concerning the individual psyche. Some of the case rests on more recent neurological and cognitive developmental psychological data, not only on corrective philosophical analysis. But the philosophical arguments—from first philosophy to biocentric value theory to ethical theory—are the big deal. All of it is run with history of philosophy, from nook and cranny, but especially (for good or bad) from Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, Nietzsche, and Peirce.

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

PS

I should mention that that large arc in the book is not the largest of it. It sets out a whole systematic philosophy from axiomatic frame to theory of mathematical truth and scientific truth to value theory, renovating and adding to Rand's axioms, and extending her leads in epistemology as part of the package.

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I love your use of "atomic," Stephen. So you're going to set off a bomb, are you?

Are you to layer up this onion or peel it down? I'm really intrigued by your last paragraph. Is it how we think per se that is of the "biological function of mind" or does the biology concern the focus preceding the thinking? The latter seems obvious enough but you can't leave out the obvious just because it's obvious. Also, everything of a person is in and out of biology, but nobody's been talking about that--that is that "everything"--though Branden once did 40 years ago when he was still putting a label on his work ("Biocentric Psychology"). He pretty much stuck to psychology, though, and you're going to integrate psychology and philosophy (and morality) in a theory or just going to pile on the data?

I can state categorically that Objectivism is more amenable to your approach than any libertarianism I've ever heard of.

--Brant

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Atomic is a good image, of swirling electrons round the nucleus, orbiting in hierarchical levels. As we swirl around other 'nuclei', in turn. It will be an absorbing book. It is fine that Rand left room for such advancement.

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Brant, to your last sentence, I say “You betcha.” Eventually, it occurred to me, also, that this book should be of interest not only to thinkers sympathetic to Rand’s philosophy, but to thoughtful people opposed to her philosophy (in ways beyond the political, which I cannot include in the scope of this book).

The book consists of three parts. In the first there is a gradual, here-and-there, peeling down (criticism and hints of criticisms to come) even while Rand’s philosophy is being layered up, largely following the course of its development across her four novels. I do that sort of development tracing seriously, that is, without reading later work into earlier work. (That means using first editions of We the Living and Anthem and considering them in their own self-standing text.) Relationships to other philosophers are also given heavy attention, which sets Rand’s work and mine in the tradition and in the contemporary milieu.

Part II then sets out my own metaphysics and epistemological developments. This is layer-up, with further compare and contrast with Rand (and others) along the way. Part III does the same for value theory.

To the third question in your second paragraph, I can say “definitely integration, no mere piling on data allowed.” To your second question of that paragraph, I’ll say only I’ll keep it in mind as I continue and that aspects of it now done have to remain secret until the book issues. Thanks for the thinking.

Tony, delighted.

Stephen

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I didn't and don't think that Nathaniel was Mr. Innocent Party - and today, having read her diaries, I think he was even more culpable than I thought he was then. Furthermore, he faked reality too in his reply. Which doesn't exonerate her.

I've said previously that I see the two of them as "The Ghost" and "The Darkness." They fed off of each other's aggression. I think that Rand adored and encouraged Branden's abusiveness and his posing and faking of reality. She stoked it when she believed that she'd be its sole beneficiary and never its victim.

Neither of them had any interest in examining their own behavior and how it caused their pain. Neither was interested in asking "what have I done to contribute to this mess?"

I have more sympathy for her than I have for him. I realize that he was in a very conflicted and difficult situation, but I think that if he believed that she'd close NBI if he told her the truth about his relationship with Patrecia, then he should have risked that consequence.

I don't have much sympathy for either in regard to the affair and its fallout. I would say that I blame her more than him. I think that she was guilty of more -- stupid decisions, contradictory statements and behavior, cold indifference to the effects that her choices would have on the husband that she claimed to love with all of her heart, double standards, placing her libido/fragile female ego above all else, etc.

J

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I've read Branden read The Fountainhead 40 times as a teenager. He has reported it was the constant companion of his adolescence, which jibes with that. That novel, his familiarity with it, his unseasoned youth and his great intelligence locked him into his relationship with Rand as per no contradictory accounts of those years. If you apply standard ideas of morality, even Ojectivist morality, to that novel then Howard Roark gets hauled off to the metaphorical if not real jail, contemned and condemned. His morality, as disclosed, is his absolute integrity to his own vision, his own work, though there's a huge outlier for story and dramatic reasons in his relationship to Peter Keating--that is, it was okay if Peter traduced his work insofar as it was put into Peter's work. None of what he did for Peter was from scratch except the housing project. So to be consistent beyond that point Rand had to have him blow it up. All necessary for a great climax. Morality here is wrapped up in the primacy of will and it's not until Atlas Shrugged, especially in Galt's speech and further along with the teaching of Objectivism, is will sublimated to right and gross moralizing as Rand's self-seen primary reason for being virtue. So here we have two people entering into a romantic-sexual adulterous relationship acceptable in one Rand iteration from one novel to a heavy handed transition in the next novel with Rand thinking she's locked into the relationship she wants so she closes The Fountainhead door with her Objectivism gift to Branden, but Branden kept going off the original base and the contradiction ground it all up. Rand had her more, but Branden didn't; he wanted more, something different. The huge difference between Roark and Branden would be the lying, but, Boy!, Rand was not a character in that novel. That would have upset the Roark applecart (assuming it wasn't an impossible writing job).

--Brant

this is all speculation

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