Marcus

The Problem With Objectivism is That it's Not Sexy Enough

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Watching this youtube lecture you can see, Yaron Brook, foremost communicator of Objectivism, in a valiant, but it ultimately dull performance. It probably evokes at most, a loud, wailing yawn. Looking around the room, the level of boredom is almost felt palpably. Blanks stares throughout, as if they are watching not a real man in front of them but his holographic projection.

It has only 1,246 views and counting. The Ayn Rand Institute, a 40 year old organization with millions of dollars in endowment, has only just over 12,000 subscribers on Youtube. A sad, sad state of affairs and pitiful in this age of million+ views for cat and dog chasing videos.

Compare this with TED talks which routinely posts videos that get millions of views. As you can see, good presentation doesn't just make a difference, it makes a HUGE difference. And the issue is not that people don't engage intellectual ideas, they don't engage boring ones.

Not all of the blame for this can be cast upon the public. At least part of the blame is because ARI is simply too boring for it's own good. Nobody was ever won to a noble cause by boredom. Especially not young people.

As I highlighted in a previous thread (among others) Donald Trump gets this. I disagree that movements somehow "must" take several generations to come to full bloom. You can speed up the process. This requires a talented communicator.

Presentation, charisma, delivery and ease of talk. All that + infectious enthusiasm = more followers to the cause. IMO Objectivism would be better off hiring a TV pitchman at this point. Really anyone with half-decent sales skills and/or acting chops.

We need to bring sexy back. How can we do it? That's what this thread is about.

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Excellent thread idea.

My major criticism of Objectivism as it was born in the '60's was the total absence of orators.

This has never been corrected.

In my Aristotelian rhetorical analysis of the Objectivist movement that was one of my major critiques of it's potential impact.

Additionally, the total lack of political acumen and coupling the orators with electoral power was completely absent.

Sadly, it remains true through today.

A...

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I agree the PR image of "Objectivism" as Institutional entity looks unsexy. (ARI tries hard to dispel this, I feel, TAS not much).

In modern rejection and suspicion of dogma, unlike many Europeans back then who used to get excited by philosophers like Kant and Nietzsche and their contrary ideas, very few people I know think Philosophy is sexy.

Then there's a dearth of 'sexy' superficials, like the old stories, ritual and custom of Belief systems which have been at it for a long time and know how to pull a crowd.

The biggest one, I think, is that the truth isn't sexy for many people. In this climate, subterfuge, deceit and hypocrisy is 'cool'.

Being open and truthful, ain't.

What I think should be remembered is that Objectivism is not suited to cowards, followers and creeps, it's bold radicals who respond - but above all, in individualism and freedom, the person makes his own life 'sexy', not an organization.

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I agree the PR image of "Objectivism" as Institutional entity looks unsexy. (ARI tries hard to dispel this, I feel, TAS not much).

In modern rejection and suspicion of dogma, unlike many Europeans back then who used to get excited by philosophers like Kant and Nietzsche and their ideas, very few people I know think Philosophy is sexy.

Then there's a dearth of 'sexy' superficials, like the old stories, ritual and custom of Belief systems which have been at it for a long time and know how to pull a crowd.

The biggest one, I think, is that truth isn't sexy for many people. In this climate, subterfuge, deceit and dishonesty is 'cool'.

Being open and truthful, ain't.

What I think should be remembered is that Objectivism is not for cowards, followers and creeps, it's for bold radicals - and above all, in individualism and freedom, the person makes his own life 'sexy', not an organization.

And those folks are going to find their way to it and sell themselves.

However, and denial does not work in mass communications, therefore, being a great orator and being truthful go hand in hand and sells very well.

A...

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I think it's fair to say that the Objectivist Movement is a spent force.

Lack of charisma may correlate with that outcome, but it is not the cause of that outcome.

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I think it's fair to say that the Objectivist Movement is a spent force.

Lack of charisma may correlate with that outcome, but it is not the cause of that outcome.

I think we might agree.

To what do you attribute the cause(s)?

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I agree the PR image of "Objectivism" as Institutional entity looks unsexy. (ARI tries hard to dispel this, I feel, TAS not much).

In modern rejection and suspicion of dogma, unlike many Europeans back then who used to get excited by philosophers like Kant and Nietzsche and their ideas, very few people I know think Philosophy is sexy.

Then there's a dearth of 'sexy' superficials, like the old stories, ritual and custom of Belief systems which have been at it for a long time and know how to pull a crowd.

The biggest one, I think, is that truth isn't sexy for many people. In this climate, subterfuge, deceit and dishonesty is 'cool'.

Being open and truthful, ain't.

What I think should be remembered is that Objectivism is not for cowards, followers and creeps, it's for bold radicals - and above all, in individualism and freedom, the person makes his own life 'sexy', not an organization.

And those folks are going to find their way to it and sell themselves.

However, and denial does not work in mass communications, therefore, being a great orator and being truthful go hand in hand and sells very well.

A...

Adam, at one time I thought the way ahead was bottom up, with some top-down organisation. Now I'm leaning to the conclusion that Objectivism and power will never go well together. The future of Objectivism and by its very nature, is with individuals, least in political organisation and large numbers. The numbers will rise gradually but not exponentially. The real effectiveness will be in independent scholars subtlely influencing many aspects of society by their writing (and Rand's core literature). I imagine them to be in the wings of the stage, but uninvolved. As you see, from farflung places (i.e. Sweden) there are single youngsters who know something isn't right, are becoming adept at reason and have realised that's it's their lives that matter most. With all the other horses, they may know where the water is and be thirsty, but not many are going to drink.

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I agree the PR image of "Objectivism" as Institutional entity looks unsexy. (ARI tries hard to dispel this, I feel, TAS not much).

In modern rejection and suspicion of dogma, unlike many Europeans back then who used to get excited by philosophers like Kant and Nietzsche and their ideas, very few people I know think Philosophy is sexy.

Then there's a dearth of 'sexy' superficials, like the old stories, ritual and custom of Belief systems which have been at it for a long time and know how to pull a crowd.

The biggest one, I think, is that truth isn't sexy for many people. In this climate, subterfuge, deceit and dishonesty is 'cool'.

Being open and truthful, ain't.

What I think should be remembered is that Objectivism is not for cowards, followers and creeps, it's for bold radicals - and above all, in individualism and freedom, the person makes his own life 'sexy', not an organization.

And those folks are going to find their way to it and sell themselves.

However, and denial does not work in mass communications, therefore, being a great orator and being truthful go hand in hand and sells very well.

A...

Adam, at one time I thought the way ahead was bottom up with top down organisation. Now I'm leaning to the conclusion that Objectivism and power will never go well together. The future of Objectivism is with individuals not in political organisation and huge numbers. The numbers will rise gradually but not exponentially. The real effectiveness will be in independent scholars subtlely influencing many aspects of society by their writing (and Rand's core literature). I imagine them to be in the wings of the stage, but uninvolved. As you see, from farflung places (i.e. Sweden) there are single youngsters who know something isn't right, are becoming adept at reason and have realised that's it's their lives that matter most. With all the other horses, they may know where the water is and be thirsty, but not many are going to drink.

Tony, we are not in disagreement at all.

I am recruiting two (2) people this week.

I make the same deal that I have been making with folks for the last five (5) decades.

I buy them a copy of Atlas and get a commitment that they will read to page 200.

If, by that point, they have no interest, they return the book to me.

If not, and they finish it, and they agree with the concepts and how they can be incorporated into their life/profession, then they will do the same deal with Atlas with two others that they wish to share it with.

My personal way of spreading her ideas and it has worked quite well for me.

However, there is another responsibility that I chose to take on and that was in the political realm.

My choice and certainly not for everyone.

Ayn gave over psychology to Nathanial because it was a sewer.

Well politics is what happens before it even hits the sewer treatment plants.

A...

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Person to person? That stays, of course. However one elects to do it.

"The Objectivist Movement" is what I'm on about.

[i like your reading method]

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I think it's fair to say that the Objectivist Movement is a spent force.

Lack of charisma may correlate with that outcome, but it is not the cause of that outcome.

I think we might agree.

To what do you attribute the cause(s)?

My take is that Rand was an artist who created exciting novels. She appealed to the emotions as well as the intellect. She made the complex and moral sensuous. She was aesthetic. Stimulating.

Her acolytes are anesthetic. Boring. Sleep-inducing. Dull. Tedious. Not to mention that Yawon Bwook is seen by the genewaw pubwic as a wascawwy wabbit whose speech impediment is a majow distwaction.

Rand's official little helpers don't have talent or originality. So they do what mediocrities do. They pretend and pose. They wholly depend on the subsidy of Rand's success and reputation. They hide from potent criticism rather than heroically seek it out. They pretty much stick to the boundaries of their own turf and ban dissent on it. They don't engage the culture, but act as if they're above it. They pose as if they're winning when they haven't even entered the arena.

J

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I think it's fair to say that the Objectivist Movement is a spent force.

Lack of charisma may correlate with that outcome, but it is not the cause of that outcome.

I think we might agree.

To what do you attribute the cause(s)?

My take is that Rand was an artist who created exciting novels. She appealed to the emotions as well as the intellect. She made the complex and moral sensuous. She was aesthetic. Stimulating.

Her acolytes are anesthetic. Boring. Sleep-inducing. Dull. Tedious. Not to mention that Yawon Bwook is seen by the genewaw pubwic as a wascawwy wabbit whose speech impediment is a majow distwaction.

Rand's official little helpers don't have talent or originality. So they do what mediocrities do. They pretend and pose. They wholly depend on the subsidy of Rand's success and reputation. They hide from potent criticism rather than heroically seek it out. They pretty much stick to the boundaries of their own turf and ban dissent on it. They don't engage the culture, but act as if they're above it. They pose as if they're winning when they haven't even entered the arena.

J

Yep J.

And the most despicable aspect of it all is the fact that these Second Handers whom Ayn despised, are writing her posthumous messaging.

If Jesus had these clowns at the last supper we would all be celebrating the Festival of Lights, a Pagan ritual, or, some Islamic holiday at this time of year.

A...

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Interesting subject, Marcus!

The numbers were in as AR realized, reeling from the post publishing reception to AS.

Her greatest success was her mother paying for a 1st class ticket out of hell. Her second was writing fiction. Her greatest achievement was capturing the imagination of N Branden, who brought it to the masses. No one since had more success communicating those ideas. That ended somewhat in what, 1968?

The West Point address to cadets could be a template for communicating her ideas. But when I think of eager minds of engineering students inculcated with loyalty to duty, honor and country and upon graduation hearing the mature wisdom from an originator, its hard to imagine the how of anyone attempting to stand in her shoes and the when of finding an audience ready and willing to actively listen.

Mostly though I figure people embrace philosophically heady ideas for the basis of their survival or for academic success. There are ample ways to survive without an articulated philosophy. Who really needs philosophy?? ;)

Apart from the idea of sexiness, its a tantalizing prospect but it takes more than one element to reach a mind. Sure, TEDs metrics are impressive. No one is rating the numbers of people convinced the ideas have permanence in their lives. I also think the ARI views dont convey an accurate measure of the numbers positively affected by AR's influence. Ive watched few, and remember fewer, probably for the reasons you cite.

And I wouldnt attribute much of anything to Trumps communication skills other than the use of simple messages to find common agreement.

A fleshed out philosophy cant compete with simple general messages and the difficulty finding agreement on specifics ranging over how one lives their life is exponentially greater than the uh huh, me too's, we see.

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Ironically, Ayn Rand's philosophy is characterized in mainstream media as this:

Bertram Cooper could easily be a villain in a Rand novel. He is portrayed as lazy, stupid, and greedy.

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Ironically, Ayn Rand's philosophy is characterized in mainstream media as this:

Bertram Cooper could easily be a villain in a Rand novel. He is portrayed as lazy, stupid, and greedy.

That clip is less offensive to Rand than I expected.

I found the fact that the boss didn't wear shoes interesting and the fact that he trimmed the Bonsai bush even more interesting.

In the martials arts, shoes are not generally worn, and the pursuit of "The Way" often includes not just learning the particular martial skill/art, but learning at least one other art as well, such as flower arranging, watercolor painting, archery, etc. Tending to Bonsai bush would fall right in with this notion.

The play on that theme (if intentional) would be a very flattering nod to the idea that those appreciate Rand are also following "The Way".

But alas, perhaps I am too much the optimist.

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Ironically, Ayn Rand's philosophy is characterized in mainstream media as this:

Bertram Cooper could easily be a villain in a Rand novel. He is portrayed as lazy, stupid, and greedy.

Cooper could also be seen as a Radian hero, albeit an already accomplished and retiring one.

He could be seen as being to Don Draper what Henry Cameron was to Howard Roark (though Draper would be something more of a mix of Roark, Rearden and Frisco rather than just Roark).

J

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Agreed.

The trimming of the Bonsai was an excellent touch.

I am also overly optimistic about seeing Ayn in places.

A...

The Incredibles was more than clear...

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Comment of the Day (On Donald Trump and Politicians in general):

Donald Trump is full of bull $h!+ ... in a good way. All good politicians are good entertainers. No matter how smart, how wise or how right a pol is, he's gotta be a good salesman ... a good entertainer. In politics, thanks to a brain dead and uninformed electorate, even common sense has to be marketed. Unfortunately, bad pols selling good ideas have to compete with good and bad pols selling bull $h!+ ideas.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2015/12/16/trump_im_just_an_entertainer_thats_a_lot_of_bullshit.html#comment-2413574529

This guy gets it.

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What I think should be remembered is that Objectivism is not suited to cowards, followers and creeps, it's bold radicals who respond - but above all, in individualism and freedom, the person makes his own life 'sexy', not an organization.

It doesn't have to be. It's not about just the "hardcore" element but basic principles and beliefs. Just a basic respect and understanding of the philosophy is enough. Folk philosophy is enough for most people. Most people are not total "creeps" or "cowards". Objectivism is suited to the vast majority of people (because it's largely common sense), but it needs to be presented well. Just like how most people by now understand that capitalism works and socialism doesn't.

I think it's fair to say that the Objectivist Movement is a spent force.

Lack of charisma may correlate with that outcome, but it is not the cause of that outcome.

Exactly how is it a "spent force" in your opinion? How can it be re-ignited?

Mostly though I figure people embrace philosophically heady ideas for the basis of their survival or for academic success. There are ample ways to survive without an articulated philosophy. Who really needs philosophy?? ;)

Apart from the idea of sexiness, its a tantalizing prospect but it takes more than one element to reach a mind. Sure, TEDs metrics are impressive. No one is rating the numbers of people convinced the ideas have permanence in their lives. I also think the ARI views dont convey an accurate measure of the numbers positively affected by AR's influence. Ive watched few, and remember fewer, probably for the reasons you cite.

And I wouldnt attribute much of anything to Trumps communication skills other than the use of simple messages to find common agreement.

A fleshed out philosophy cant compete with simple general messages and the difficulty finding agreement on specifics ranging over how one lives their life is exponentially greater than the uh huh, me too's, we see.

Who needs philosophy? Good question. Philosophy, as I understand it, maximizes your chances of success because it (good philosophy) is fully consistent with reality. Though it is possible to survive without an explicit philosophy, you are always implicitly under the influence of certain basic beliefs, thus you are already practicing some kind of philosophy at any given point.

I liken it to driving, your driving skills become "In the background" after you have learned how to drive and go beneath conscious awareness. The act of driving is not "explicit" to most people, the set of skills you learn by driving become second nature. These same skills will keep you alive on the road.

And sexiness is not just "one element" it is one among many a talented communicator brings to an organization. My point was that TED is better at presenting it's ideas that ARI is. Orders of magnitude better. That makes a significant difference in how many people it can reach, even with one video. This is not insignificant and should not be ignored by Objectivism.

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Ironically, Ayn Rand's philosophy is characterized in mainstream media as this:

Bertram Cooper could easily be a villain in a Rand novel. He is portrayed as lazy, stupid, and greedy.

That clip is less offensive to Rand than I expected.

I found the fact that the boss didn't wear shoes interesting and the fact that he trimmed the Bonsai bush even more interesting.

In the martials arts, shoes are not generally worn, and the pursuit of "The Way" often includes not just learning the particular martial skill/art, but learning at least one other art as well, such as flower arranging, watercolor painting, archery, etc. Tending to Bonsai bush would fall right in with this notion.

The play on that theme (if intentional) would be a very flattering nod to the idea that those appreciate Rand are also following "The Way".

But alas, perhaps I am too much the optimist.

That clip does not illustrate the character entirely, but it is the scene where he introduces his influence by Rand. The writer of the show is clearly ignorant of Rand's philosophy and did not realize how contradictory it is to have this character also invested in Japanese culture and new age spirituality... I believe she used these to show how greedy business men simply want comfort and pleasure (no morals).

"Philanthropy is the gateway to power." Would a Randian hero say that?

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"Philanthropy is the gateway to power." Would a Randian hero say that?

Yes, depending on the context.

A...

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"Philanthropy is the gateway to power." Would a Randian hero say that?

Yes, depending on the context.

A...

You're right, but not in the context of the scene. Very good of you to point that out, though... valuable insight as usual.

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"Philanthropy is the gateway to power." Would a Randian hero say that?

Yes, depending on the context.

A...

The power of a Randian hero is always implicit. Gail Wynand sought another kind of power so he was a fatally flawed hero. Rand would never have her heroes use "power" in this way. But she might give the line to a villain.

--Brant

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"Philanthropy is the gateway to power." Would a Randian hero say that?

Yes, depending on the context.

A...

The power of a Randian hero is always implicit. Gail Wynand sought another kind of power so he was a fatally flawed hero. Rand would never have her heroes use "power" in this way. But she might give the line to a villain.

--Brant

Dr. Stadler for instance?

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"Philanthropy is the gateway to power." Would a Randian hero say that?

Yes, depending on the context.

A...

The power of a Randian hero is always implicit. Gail Wynand sought another kind of power so he was a fatally flawed hero. Rand would never have her heroes use "power" in this way. But she might give the line to a villain.

--Brant

Dr. Stadler for instance?

Nope. She didn't write the novel.

--Brant

but maybe an Orren Boyle

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The power of a Randian hero is always implicit. Gail Wynand sought another kind of power so he was a fatally flawed hero. Rand would never have her heroes use "power" in this way. But she might give the line to a villain.

--Brant

Dr. Stadler for instance?

Nope. She didn't write the novel.

--Brant

but maybe an Orren Boyle

"She didn't write the novel" <<<<< smileys-confused-630530.gif

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