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Ayn Rand And The End Of Love

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As an added thought to the above, public disclosure of the affair did not really damage the legend Rand created out of her life. In fact, I think it reinforced the legend, but probably not in the sense she would have approved.

The storyline of her created legend includes her overcoming great odds to write her works. Lots of people now think she wrote great books despite some personal shortcomings--that is, in addition to the vicious enemies out there in heartless society, Rand's inner demons were further obstacles she overcame. 

Rand was such a good story creator, the disclosure of a gigantic hidden truth that would have marred the evaluation and reputation of many a celebrity with shame got absorbed into her legend. Instead of reality destroying the legend, the legend gobbled up the reality and spit out the bones.

The legend is still out there in the culture. As to Rand's reality, not enough people know about it for it to be culturally relevant. And when people bite at the legend, read her books, then start digging into her life and learn of the affair, more of them get amazed and amused in the sense of "Ayn Rand was one hell of an interesting woman" than turned off as in "Rand was a hypocrite." 

Like in the old adage of what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, what doesn't kill a legend makes it stronger.

:) 

Michael

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Hi Mike & Wolf.  Speaking of the end of love, I watched Yaron last night. He slammed David Kelly accusing him of being a fraud and fake intellectual. That, to me, seems over the top because:

Quote

Since Rand hid her affair with Nathaniel during the time it was happening--and after the split--the affair itself was not part of the legend she was creating. Monogamy and publicly holding Frank up to be a kind of Randian hero were parts of the legend.

Apropos, Frank seems to have been a wonderful person, but not a world-maker-and-shaker. According to the bios, Rand would excuse his modest achievements and ambition to people who managed to probe about it without getting their heads bit off by saying he was "on strike." I even think this is on tape...

Yaron knows this. Is he applying a double standard in giving Ayn Rand a pass on her use of herself as a medium for an artsy selective recreation of reality to what can and should be instead of standing firm for the virtues Galt broadcast to the radio audience in AS? Why does Yaron sear David Kelly? What's his beef? Is he bent out of shape because David disagrees on some minor points? Or is it something of which I'm blissfully unaware that approaches criminal activity?

-----------------------------------------

edit: This message brought to you by Equality 7-2521 Corp. thanks to the application of an artsy selective recreation of reality to what it could be given the Everett interpretation of quantum mechanics. I'm, perhaps in another universe, Equality 7-2521, and I approve this message. (No not really, but IFF the Wave Function of the Universe collapsed as seems to be self-evident. Existence Exists: waves arms about and says "I mean this stuff.")

Food has this effect on me. When I eat, my blood sugar goes up, and I get happy. Thus I throw out a joke once in a while in celebration of my joke life so unlike that of a Randian Ideal Hero unless Eddie Willers qualifies 

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Their affair? I lost something when I heard about it, and the loss of luster was from her and Nathan. On a personal level, it is easy to make judgements about others because she did it all the time . . . and she taught me. I get it that an older spouse may not satisfy a sexual or romantic craving, but I don't think Ayn and Frank's "understanding" was consensual at all, for him. It would have been more moral and just to divorce him first before cheating on him. To her big fans' memories she walks around with a glow, but if you knew her in person, long enough for the "celebrity status" to wear off, I don't know if you would associate with her. She was a Grinch.     

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1 hour ago, Peter said:

 . . . and she taught me. ....  She was a Grinch.     

Hi Pete. How goes the battle? I'm delighted to be able to communicate with you. (Insert suitable exclamation!) I was unaware you had met and studied with Ayn Rand. How interesting. (Mike's description of the difference between her public persona and branding vs her private identity helped me understand why Rothbard wroter her off so that libertarians reject O-ism. )  What prompted my question and excursion into a bit of comedy was the Yaron Brook Youtube podcast last night. He railed against David Kelly, and I did not understand why. My apparently incorrect understanding is that the differences between ARI's presentation of O-ism and that of the Atlas Society were trivial fine points of epistemology and perhaps the way in which Oist ethics allows one to discover moral egoism. I thought that on the bigger foundation questions ARI and AS agreed. Brook's vehement condemnation of Atlas Society and David Kelly, however, gave me pause to question what I thought I knew. What's up with David Kelly, now retired, and why does Brook feel comfortable hammering his reputation?  

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Robert, Have you the link, please? This I've gotta hear. And from Brook, too.

I don't understand, either - to continue the fight unto the next generation.

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Robert Bumbalough wrote: I was unaware you had met and studied with Ayn Rand. How interesting. (Mike's description of the difference between her public persona and branding vs her private identity helped me understand why Rothbard wrote her off so that libertarians reject O-ism. ) end quote

Sorry Robert. I did not intend to imply that I knew her. I only saw her on TV. She taught me because at one point in my life I thought about her all the time. I was a 16 year old “navy brat” when another “navy brat” Miss Sammie Pringle introduced me to “Anthem.” We dated for about a year. Then I became friends with another navy brat, a sometimes correspondent here on OL, a Mister Peter Reidy and he was rereading Atlas Shrugged. As he finished about 50 pages, he would rip them out of the paperback and hand them to me.   

If I remember correctly, I meant to state a hypothetical scenario with Rand comprised of “what if you interacted with her,” beyond reading her philosophical publications like The Objectivist Newsletter?  It was exciting just waiting for the next issue. 

Peter

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Robert wrote: What prompted my question and excursion into a bit of comedy was the Yaron Brook Youtube podcast last night. He railed against David Kelly, and I did not understand why. My apparently incorrect understanding is that the differences between ARI's presentation of O-ism and that of the Atlas Society were trivial fine points of epistemology . . . . end quote

You may be correct. He may be making a mountain out of a mole hill . . . They are rivals, and the rivalries go way back. When Barbara and Nathaniel Brandon were erased from Ayn Rand’s best friends list it was the same thing. When Rand was alive I accepted the “shunning” but no longer.

Objectivism deserves to be a philosophical movement and not remain a ‘closed system.” Some refer to this stupid question as “Big O Objectivism” for the time Rand was alive vs. “Little o” for all of the rest of eternity. "Mind in Objectivism, A Survey of Objectivist Commentary on Philosophy of Mind" by Diana Mertz Hsieh is an interesting look at several different little and big O authors.

Peter

A cut and paste. Diana Mertz Hsieh wrote:

Rand's most important commentary on philosophy of mind is very likely her praise for Aristotle's basic view of consciousness in a review of Herman Randall's book Aristotle published in The Objectivist Newsletter of May 1963 (Rand 1963, 18-9). Although Randall only briefly touches upon Aristotle's views on life and mind in that book, he does clearly highlight Aristotle's rejection of both the mysticism of dualism and the mechanism of materialism (Randall 1960, 59-72).  He summarizes Aristotle's conception of psyche (“power of living and knowing”) as “not an additional 'thing' besides the living body, but the body's power to do what the living body does, its function (ergon), its operation (energia), its culminating end (entelechia)” (Randall 1960, 64).  Rand approvingly echoes these sentiments in her review:

For Aristotle, life is not an inexplicable, supernatural mystery, but a fact of nature. And consciousness is a natural attribute of certain living entities, their natural power, their specific mode of action—not an unaccountable element in a mechanistic universe, to be explained away somehow in terms of inanimate matter, nor a mystic miracle incompatible with physical reality, to be attributed to some occult source in another dimension. For Aristotle, “living” and “knowing” are facts of reality; man's mind is neither unnatural nor supernatural, but natural—and this is the root of Aristotle's greatness, of the immeasurable distance that separates him from other thinkers (Rand 1963, 19). 

Such positive (albeit general) regard for Aristotle's view of consciousness is a common theme in Objectivist commentaries on the mind, such as Peikoff’s Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand and Branden's Psychology of Self-Esteem (Peikoff 1991, 34; Branden 2001, 10).  (I was delighted to discover this review just a short time after finishing a paper entitled “The Soul of Aristotle” sympathetic to Aristotle's philosophy of mind (Hsieh 2002a).)

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1 hour ago, Robert_Bumbalough said:

Hi Pete. How goes the battle? I'm delighted to be able to communicate with you. (Insert suitable exclamation!) I was unaware you had met and studied with Ayn Rand. How interesting. (Mike's description of the difference between her public persona and branding vs her private identity helped me understand why Rothbard wroter her off so that libertarians reject O-ism. )  What prompted my question and excursion into a bit of comedy was the Yaron Brook Youtube podcast last night. He railed against David Kelly, and I did not understand why. My apparently incorrect understanding is that the differences between ARI's presentation of O-ism and that of the Atlas Society were trivial fine points of epistemology and perhaps the way in which Oist ethics allows one to discover moral egoism. I thought that on the bigger foundation questions ARI and AS agreed. Brook's vehement condemnation of Atlas Society and David Kelly, however, gave me pause to question what I thought I knew. What's up with David Kelly, now retired, and why does Brook feel comfortable hammering his reputation?  

Here is another cut and paste. You can find this by searching on the net, perhaps.

Peter

‘Objectivism and Rage” by Barbara Branden. A lecture presented at the TAS 2006 Summer Seminar, July 4, 2006, Chapman University, Orange, CA.

One cannot avoid recognizing that we live in a very angry age. At one time, people spoke to “My worthy opponent” when addressing someone who disagreed with their views. That attitude of respecting differences has long disappeared. Today, in discussions of politics, of religion, of environmentalism, of war and peace, of abortion—of all the issues that concern and often divide us—we hear little but raised voices and enraged insults coming from all sides of every issue. Speak to an opponent of the Iraq war and suggest that it might have been a good idea—and a torrent of abuse washes over you. Say that Israel is morally superior to the Palestinians—and statistics about Israel’s supposed “atrocities” of the last 2,000 years fly furiously at your head. Say a kind word about George W. Bush—and you had better take to the hills at once.

Objectivists are by no means immune to this rage. On the contrary, I find it to be increasingly prevalent among Objectivists. We see everywhere—particularly on the Internet—the spectacle of supposed supporters of reason and free inquiry erupting in fury at the least provocation and hurling abuse at anyone who opposes—even questions—their convictions.

But what I call “Objectivist Rage” has a peculiar twist to it, unlikely to be found anywhere else except, paradoxically, in religion. It is almost always morally tinged. Those who question our ideas and those who oppose them, we are told, are not merely unintelligent, ignorant, uninformed; they are evil, they are moral monsters to be cast out and forever damned.

And that is what I want to discuss today: the immensely presumptuous moralizing, the wildly unjust condemnations, and the towering anger and outrage exhibited by so many Objectivists. I want to explain, as best I can identify it, why this happens—that is, what are the mistaken philosophical ideas that lead to it, and what appears to be the psychology of many of its practitioners. If we are to defend ourselves against it and prevent it from contaminating our own dealings with others, our first requirement is to understand it.

Let me say that I have found The Objectivist Center [now The Atlas Society] to be a significant exception to Objectivist rage, certainly an exception as regards its official policy. Although I have also found that by no means are all TOC members immune to it. And I am certain that many, perhaps most of you, have at one time or another had this sort of injustice very painfully directed against you. I am especially concerned with young people, new to Objectivism, who find themselves angrily accused of heresy, of evasion, of being “enemies of Objectivism” and therefore “evil” because they do not understand certain Objectivist ideas and/or because they disagree with them. Terrible damage is done to young people by this means. I have seen so many instances in which newcomers to Objectivism become rigid, fearful true believers in order to escape censure—or else they are driven away to lick their wounds in hurt and bewilderment. And sadly, often the victims in their turn become victimizers—spewing the poison that sickened them onto the next young Objectivist they encounter, having learned to treat even the most polite and reasoned disagreements with contempt and insult and morally-outraged fury.

Let me give you an example, from a letter I recently received, of the damage this venom does; it's one of many such letters written to me over the years.

"I was interested in the books and philosophy of Ayn Rand, but my few brushes with organized Objectivism have left not only a bitter aftertaste but also some emotional and social damage in my life.

"I guess I should introduce myself a little more. I am university student, in my final year studying biomedical sciences. . . I turned 21 last October. I started reading Ayn Rand's works when I was 20. I have read Anthem, Atlas Shrugged and watched The Fountainhead movie. I attended one meeting of my school's Objectivist club (and decided not to go back after that) . . . I also corresponded with the owner of an Objectivist web site. . . .

"Although my involvement with objectivism is relatively mild compared with some of the other horror stories I hear about, I still do believe it had a significant negative impact on me. It had a bad effect on my emotional and social life, made me rigid, humorless and judgmental, slowly lose friends and nearly precipitated a bitter split from my boyfriend of 3 years, whom I loved dearly . . ."

This young woman now refers to herself as "a recovering Objectivist." . . . . 

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One more quote I find interesting concerning how O’ism can change your life. I will cease after this . . . for now. Peter

From: "William Dwyer" To: <atlantis Subject: ATL: Objectivism's values and virtues. Date: Sun, 29 Jun 2003 16:11:18 -0700. Very little if any mention is ever made on this list of Objectivism’s values and virtues, so I thought they might be worth a brief discussion for those who are not especially familiar with them.  There are three cardinal values and seven cardinal virtues in the Objectivist ethics. The values are: reason (as one's only means of knowledge), purpose (as the choice to pursue happiness), and self-esteem, (as the belief that one is able to achieve happiness and worthy of achieving it). The virtues are understood as the principled _means_ of gaining and keeping these values.  As Rand puts it, "'Value' is that which one acts to gain and keep, 'virtue' is the action by which one gains and keeps it."  [FNI, 147' pb 121]  "Virtue," she says, "is not an end in itself. Virtue is not its own reward... [Rather] _Life_ is the reward of virtue -- and happiness is the goal and the reward of life."  [FNI, 156, pb 128]

For Rand, virtues involve a relationship between existence and consciousness and therefore entail the recognition of certain facts. Accordingly, Objectivism's virtues are:

1) Rationality, which is the recognition that existence exists and that nothing can take precedence over the act of perceiving it;

2) Independence, which is the recognition that you must think independently and not subordinate your judgment to that of others;

3) Integrity, which is the recognition that you must remain true to your convictions;

4) Honesty, which is the recognition that the real is (and the) unreal can have no value and, moreover, that respect for truth is not a social duty but a selfish virtue.

5) Justice, which is the recognition that you must judge other people as conscientiously as you judge inanimate objects, condemning their vices and praising their virtues;

6) Productiveness, which is the recognition that productive work is the process by which your consciousness controls your existence, and that you must choose a line of work that is commensurate with your abilities;

and

7) Pride, which is the recognition that you are your own highest value, that a virtuous character has to be earned, and that the result of earning it is self-esteem.

The difference between pride and self-esteem may not always be clear and is admittedly a subtle one, but for Objectivism, pride consists of recognizing the importance of a good character and what it takes to earn it.  When someone says, "Take pride in your job," he is saying, consider it important enough to do well.  By the same token, when someone says, "Take pride in yourself or in your character," he is saying, consider a good character important enough to be worth acquiring.  Self-esteem, on the other hand, is the _consequence_ of earning a good character; it is the experience of efficacy and self-worth that comes from having earned it.

Of course, these virtues offer a very general guide for living one's life; they don't give a detailed blue-print, but they do provide an indispensable foundation for "gaining and keeping" Objectivism's cardinal values of reason, of purpose (defined as one's own happiness) and of self-esteem (defined as a sense of personal efficacy and self-worth). It should be noted that Rand gives a more elaborate definition of these virtues in _For the New Intellectual_, starting on page 157; pb, p. 128). -- Bill

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1 hour ago, anthony said:

Robert, Have you the link, please? This I've gotta hear. And from Brook, too.

I don't understand, either - to continue the fight unto the next generation.

Hi Tony. Yaron discussed why he disapproves of the Atlas Society and Jennifer, the lady who now runs the show over there, and I get that he has a legitimate reason for strong disapproval given benefit of the doubt about who ever is posting on behalf of AS in their Facebook page. Yaron says that person is posting quotes of the villians from Rand's stories and attributing them as if they were part of Objectivism. Regarding David Kelly, I didn't get why he calls him a fraud who does bad scholarly work  on the first viewing. He states that Kelly's position that Objectivism is an open system allowing addition of any other ideas contradicts what Ayn Rand thought and so constitutes fraud.  Discussion starts at 1:09:24

Link.  

 

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54 minutes ago, Peter said:

One more quote I find interesting concerning how O’ism can change your life. I will cease after this . . . for now. Peter

 

 

From: "William Dwyer" To: <atlantis Subject: ATL: Objectivism's values and virtues. Date: Sun, 29 Jun 2003 16:11:18 -0700. Very little if any mention is ever made on this list of Objectivism’s values and virtues, so I thought they might be worth a brief discussion for those who are not especially familiar with them.  There are three cardinal values and seven cardinal virtues in the Objectivist ethics. The values are: reason (as one's only means of knowledge), purpose (as the choice to pursue happiness), and self-esteem, (as the belief that one is able to achieve happiness and worthy of achieving it). The virtues are understood as the principled _means_ of gaining and keeping these values.  As Rand puts it, "'Value' is that which one acts to gain and keep, 'virtue' is the action by which one gains and keeps it."  [FNI, 147' pb 121]  "Virtue," she says, "is not an end in itself. Virtue is not its own reward... [Rather] _Life_ is the reward of virtue -- and happiness is the goal and the reward of life."  [FNI, 156, pb 128]

 

 

For Rand, virtues involve a relationship between existence and consciousness and therefore entail the recognition of certain facts. Accordingly, Objectivism's virtues are:

 

 

1) Rationality, which is the recognition that existence exists and that nothing can take precedence over the act of perceiving it;

 

 

2) Independence, which is the recognition that you must think independently and not subordinate your judgment to that of others;

 

 

3) Integrity, which is the recognition that you must remain true to your convictions;

 

 

4) Honesty, which is the recognition that the real is (and the) unreal can have no value and, moreover, that respect for truth is not a social duty but a selfish virtue.

 

 

5) Justice, which is the recognition that you must judge other people as conscientiously as you judge inanimate objects, condemning their vices and praising their virtues;

 

 

6) Productiveness, which is the recognition that productive work is the process by which your consciousness controls your existence, and that you must choose a line of work that is commensurate with your abilities;

 

 

and

 

 

7) Pride, which is the recognition that you are your own highest value, that a virtuous character has to be earned, and that the result of earning it is self-esteem.

 

 

The difference between pride and self-esteem may not always be clear and is admittedly a subtle one, but for Objectivism, pride consists of recognizing the importance of a good character and what it takes to earn it.  When someone says, "Take pride in your job," he is saying, consider it important enough to do well.  By the same token, when someone says, "Take pride in yourself or in your character," he is saying, consider a good character important enough to be worth acquiring.  Self-esteem, on the other hand, is the _consequence_ of earning a good character; it is the experience of efficacy and self-worth that comes from having earned it.

 

 

Of course, these virtues offer a very general guide for living one's life; they don't give a detailed blue-print, but they do provide an indispensable foundation for "gaining and keeping" Objectivism's cardinal values of reason, of purpose (defined as one's own happiness) and of self-esteem (defined as a sense of personal efficacy and self-worth). It should be noted that Rand gives a more elaborate definition of these virtues in _For the New Intellectual_, starting on page 157; pb, p. 128). -- Bill

Hi Pete, Thanks. Really good stuff. :)

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6 hours ago, Robert_Bumbalough said:

Why does Yaron sear David Kelly? What's his beef? Is he bent out of shape because David disagrees on some minor points? Or is it something of which I'm blissfully unaware that approaches criminal activity?

Robert,

I've left the battlefield where people fight over the split. Ever since then, I've been able to see clearly that it generally boils down to money, sex and power with humans, including Objectivists. :) 

On another thread, Neil Parille just stated that ARI lost a major donor: Ayn Rand Institute Having Financial Problems. In the past, major donors have migrated from ARI to TAS, so maybe this is what is happening. Maybe Brook is pissed ARI lost a lot of money to TAS. So there's the money angle.

TAS has hired a new set of faces for the organization and, from what I've seen so far, they are far more media-savvy than the ARI folks. The fact that some are pretty women like Alexandra York and Jennifer Grossman helps, too. :) It's not PC to say things like that anymore, but I don't care. Adding pretty faces to a message has enhanced its marketing appeal since the dawn of capitalism. That's a fact that is, was and always will be.

I imagine the success of TAS galls the ARI folks, who consider themselves to be a superior life form. More elitism. which is the power angle. TAS has its own issues with elitism (snobs are everywhere and TAS is no exception), too, but they are not nearly as severe as those of ARI.

There's also a toxic personal vanity thing re relationships. The entire ARI-TAS kerfuffle stems from Rand excommunicating the Brandens for feeling they rejected her. So she rejected them.

Peikoff never knew of Rand's affair with NB while she was alive. When he discovered proof in her papers after she passed away (he was her legal heir), he had a heart attack. Literally. It almost killed him for real. Although he has never said so, this is a form of rejection and I imagine it screwed with his emotions bigtime. Like or dislike Peikoff, a brush with death is an impactful event in the life of anyone. Also, both Barbara and Nathaniel never hid their low opinion of him--they always called him some variation of crazy, so with the discovery of the affair and the terror of almost dying over it, I think his hatred of them went into white-hot mode and has burned steadily ever since.

Notice that almost all major sins of the principals in O-Land in this split boil down to people refusing to hate the Brandens. In other words, the issue is not ideological. They all say it is, but it isn't. It's about relationships and rejection at root. If it were ideas only, the disagreements would be more civil and rational. You don't see a deep level of hatred of communism in their demeanor, for example, even though all self-respecting Randians consider communism to be evil. But notice how people involved in this inter-subcommunity fight get overly-emotional, mischaracterize the work of each other, etc. That comes from something other than ideas. From the way I figure, it comes from rejection by a loved one, and for the followers of that person, feelings of protection of someone who has suffered such rejection. People fight and the seed produces its toxic fruit. Thus, taking sides has become a precondition to making friends and this has nothing to do with the issues dealt with in Objectivist thought.

Also, there are variations on this theme shot all through O-Land. For example, there's a site, Solo Passion, that bashes the crap out of Brook, but blames everything wrong in the world on the Brandens. :)  See this post as an example. Why would that be? Well, I was part of the history of this one, so I know from seeing it up close. Perigo and Barbara Branden used to be tight. And Perigo always dreamed of being an Objectivist leader. With her endorsement, he was part way there. They ended up falling out (mostly vanity issues) and she ultimately rejected him. When a book critical of the Brandens came out, he embraced it and has been on a crusade against the Brandens ever since. Oddly enough, this guy supports Trump like I do. But I don't want President Trump to wipe every last vestige of the Brandens off the face of the earth and I imagine he does. :) (That's a quip and I make that qualification for the idiots reading this. :) )

Also, Brook agreed to debate Perigo recently about immigration. Brook bowed out when it became clear Perigo would insult him to his face in public. So Brook rejected him and he has been on a nonstop rant against Brook ever since. From what I have read (and I don't read a lot of this stuff), some of the reasoning is justified. (I could go into it, but that's not the point of this post.) But much of it is just emotional hate-baiting based on being rejected.

In the end, all this rejection stuff is about power. Public rejection and waging war over it is a power-play. War is all about power, right?

I wish there were some intellectual depth to all this, but there is very little, mostly none. The ARI folks demand that Objectism be only what Rand wrote and, I agree, it is reasonable to make a classification of what she wrote as being what it is. But they want to erect an establishment out of this where they can control the speech and thought of others. They feel threatened when someone who doesn't think like they do calls himself or herself an Objectivist. Ultimately, they don't trust individuals to do good thinking on their own. That's the main reasoning behind ARI's current hostility. (Although I believe the driver is money, sex and power, but not all that much sex. They need to get laid more. :) )

People who disagree with this think they have the right to absorb Rand's vision and do things with it filtered through their own life, their experiences, reading and thinking. They claim the right to call themselves Objectivists and still have disagreements with Rand, ARI, whoever. Should they be able to do this?

Let's look at it.

The intellectual part of the issue boils down to a dictionary, believe it or not. Open any dictionary and you will see that almost every word in it has more than one meaning. When ARI folks use the word "Objectivism," them mean only what Rand wrote and don't want there to be a second definition. They claim they have the right to demand this. When others use the word "Objectivism," they mean using what Rand wrote as a starting point for their thinking as they go off in their individual directions. (So, yes, Virginia, there  can be two meanings for the same word and people have a right to use words :) .)

I belong to this second group, although I rarely refer to myself as an Objectivist these days. It's not because I want to avoid unpleasantness with the fundies (fundamentalists :) ). And they do ladle on unpleasantness if you get close to them. But I'm not competing with them so we generally stay distant.

It's because I don't want the general public to confuse me with the fundies. I think it's embarrassing to demand other people use the language in one meaning only. Human language constantly morphs. It morphs slowly, but has done so since humans began to speak. Also, I disagree with the worshipful rigidity of the fundies and, ultimately, don't think a society of people like that was what Rand was after at all. I know I don't want to be that--I don't want to be a fanatic or disciple within a closed-off tribe.

I'm my own man. However, my philosophical foundation was formed by reading Rand's works over a lifetime. I can't undo that even if I wanted to. Nowadays I disagree with Rand on some things (mostly scope), but that doesn't mean I disavow what I do agree with. And it doesn't mean that what I do agree with isn't foundational in my thinking. It is. Like all humans during all of human history, I need a label for something important, a label others can understand that doesn't require long explanations everytime I use it. This is just simple communication. Outside of the fundies, most people get what I mean when I say I follow Rand's thinking without being a fanatic. In that sense, I'm an Objectivist.

Michael

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Ah, it's quite depressing. Thanks, Robert. Yaron Brook considers he has the authority to put Kelley and TAS down and deter anyone from visiting or contributing to them. And keep alive the feud. Is this second-handedness - or fear of trusting other thinkers'  judgments? For what Brook is good at (I gather, generally, an energetic outreach for capitalism and against statism and, I hear, a pretty fine co-authored book, Equality is Unfair) he isn't the intellectual Kelley is and even I know that. As far as I know, the "legacy" of AR, not her best idea I think, stopped with Leonard Peikoff - who is highly intellectual, whatever else he's considered. Or does the legacy just get handed on, way into the future? I think it's past time to stop trying to keep alive the pure soul of Objectivism within any Institution with a self-proclaimed monopoly. Laissez-nous faire. Objectivism is out there in individual minds, people, and can't be controlled or dictated to any longer. I predict a necessary splintering into many, many O'ist philosophy websites and blogs owned by individual scholars and students who publish their works there. The future Objectivist can peruse and debate all, and that's what this is all about - him/her, and an independent mind using O'ism for their ends - not a 'body' that says what goes, and doesn't.

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1 hour ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

I'm my own man. However, my philosophical foundation was formed by reading Rand's works over a lifetime. I can't undo that even if I wanted to. Nowadays I disagree with Rand on some things (mostly scope), but that doesn't mean I disavow what I do agree with. And it doesn't mean that what I do agree with isn't foundational in my thinking. It is. Like all humans during all of human history, I need a label for something important, a label others can understand that doesn't require long explanations everytime I use it. This is just simple communication. Outside of the fundies, most people get what I mean when I say I follow Rand's thinking without being a fanatic. In that sense, I'm an Objectivist.

Profound thinking my friend.

---------------------------

// I've left the battlefield where people fight over the split. Ever since then, I've been able to see clearly that it generally boils down to money, sex and power with humans, including Objectivists.  //

One can't build a successful profitable business by pissing off their customers. Pollution Control Products jumps through hoops to keep their furnaces up and running for their clients. Market power comes from providing worthiness valued by those willing and able to pay which brings in the money that enables the wherewithal necessary to be the person exemplifying virtue. If one is such, then they'll be subjected to hero worship and maybe score while greasy and dirty.

// Jennifer Grossman  // Oh my, what a cutey.

// The entire ARI-TAS kerfuffle stems from Rand excommunicating the Brandens for feeling they rejected her. So she rejected them. //

If O-ism fans spend their time improving their products, sales and customer service skills, they'll make more money and live happier lives. I won't bring this topic up again. I was curious about Yaron's display, and your answer satisfies me. Now I know.

// Also, both Barbara and Nathaniel never hid their low opinion of him--they always called him some variation of crazy,// 

It might have been the Mullet. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlJD0i_WwdQ&t=13s

// Peikoff never knew of Rand's affair with NB while she was alive. When he discovered proof in her papers after she passed away (he was her legal heir), he had a heart attack. Literally. It almost killed him for real. Although he has never said so, this is a form of rejection and I imagine it screwed with his emotions bigtime. Like or dislike Peikoff, a brush with death is an impactful event in the life of anyone. // 

Did Peikoff want to bed Ayn Rand? I thought their relationship was more like teacher and student or Wise Master and Grasshopper.

// Also, both Barbara and Nathaniel never hid their low opinion of him--they always called him some variation of crazy, so with the discovery of the affair and the terror of almost dying over it, I think his hatred of them went into white-hot mode and has burned steadily ever since. // Leonard has outlived the four of them, Frank Ayn Nathaniel and Barbara, so perhaps he's happy to get the last laugh. Lucky for the Brandens he isn't a lesser man, for if he was we might well have seen another murder-suicide story on the news.

// Notice that almost all major sins of the principals in O-Land in this split boil down to people refusing to hate the Brandens. In other words, the issue is not ideological. They all say it is, but it isn't. It's about relationships and rejection at root. If it were ideas only, the disagreements would be more civil and rational. You don't see a deep level of hatred of communism in their demeanor, for example, even though all self-respecting Randians consider communism to be evil. But notice how people involved in this inter-subcommunity fight get overly-emotional, mischaracterize the work of each other, etc. That comes from something other than ideas. From the way I figure, it comes from rejection by a loved one, and for the followers of that person, feelings of protection of someone who has suffered such rejection. People fight and the seed produces its toxic fruit. Thus, taking sides has become a precondition to making friends and this has nothing to do with the issues dealt with in Objectivist thought. //

I want to think that I'm above that sort of thing. All O-ism fans are my friends because I can do business with them because I can respect them. Frank, Ayn, Nathaniel, Barbara are all dead and Leonard will be pushing up daisies before too many years go by, so it'll all fade. Only the ideas will remain and those who can use the ideas to leverage a competitive advantage will be more like the Hank Rearden and the Strikers and will thus make more money and have happier lives. 

// See this post as an example. Why would that be? Well, I was part of the history of this one, so I know from seeing it up close. Perigo and Barbara Branden used to be tight. And Perigo always dreamed of being an Objectivist leader. With her endorsement, he was part way there. They ended up falling out (mostly vanity issues) and she ultimately rejected him. When a book critical of the Brandens came out, he embraced it and has been on a crusade against the Brandens ever since. //

This is like a daytime character drama soap opera. Gee, you could write a script that would sell. There are plenty of marketing companies that need good writers for product success story white papers and placement videos. Mike, you rock; I hope you're making plenty of money. 

// Also, Brook agreed to debate Perigo recently about immigration. Brook bowed out when it became clear Perigo would insult him to his face in public. So Brook rejected him and he has been on a nonstop rant against Brook ever since. From what I have read (and I don't read a lot of this stuff), some of the reasoning is justified. (I could go into it, but that's not the point of this post.) But much of it is just emotional hate-baiting based on being rejected. // 

Yeah, I got the same impression from Lindsay's posts.

// I wish there were some intellectual depth to all this, but there is very little, mostly none. // 

Stephen Boydstun's stuff works good for satisfying one's intellectual hunger. But then again, concepts are open to subsumming new integrations, so long as the new facts don't contradict those previously integrated, so even guys like us can add to the sum of knowledge thanks to its hierarchical nature.

//The ARI folks demand that Objectism be only what Rand wrote and, I agree, it is reasonable to make a classification of what she wrote as being what it is.// 

Okay. There's no profit in hurting their little fee-fees, so call whatever new stuff discovered that can be integrated without contradiction an addendum or something.

// But they want to erect an establishment out of this where they can control the speech and thought of others. They feel threatened when someone who doesn't think like they do calls himself or herself an Objectivist. Ultimately, they don't trust individuals to do good thinking on their own. That's the main reasoning behind ARI's current hostility.//

I love this bit from the AS part 1 movie. https://youtu.be/etzke3JW8O8?t=2m20s

// (Although I believe the driver is money, sex and power, but not all that much sex. They need to get laid more.) //

I think you're probably onto the right track. 

// The intellectual part of the issue boils down to a dictionary, believe it or not. Open any dictionary and you will see that almost every word in it has more than one meaning. When ARI folks use the word "Objectivism," them mean only what Rand wrote and don't want there to be a second definition. They claim they have the right to demand this. //

Hey no wonder they experience so much rejection.

// Also, I disagree with the worshipful rigidity of the fundies and, ultimately, don't think a society of people like that was what Rand was after at all. I know I don't want to be that--I don't want to be a fanatic or disciple within a closed-off tribe. //

How about this as a theme for short story. In a distopian future a descendant cult of Rand worshipers are at their wits ends living in a post nuclear apocalyptic landscape; they are stalked by a group of equally bad off Church of Elvis worshipers some of whom are afflicted with a zombie disease. A war is averted by a Romeo and Juliet romance between a Randian woman and a sequined body suit wearing Elvis warrior. Their love ushers in a Renaissance by a collaborative discovery of an ancient buried library discovered after a brutal battle against a horde of brain sucking zombies. By teaching themselves to read using Atlas Shrugged and Elvis's biography they come to understand the two factions have more in common and a basis for rationality. So they work together in a division of labor manner to start rebuilding civilization. It'd take some work to flesh out the idea. The place to start would be describing characters. But it'd be fun.


 

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16 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

The affair with Nathaniel was part of Rand's all-too-human reality.

It's all so ordinary and dull, if we call them Nathan and Alice.

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29 minutes ago, Wolf DeVoon said:

It's all so ordinary and dull, if we call them Nathan and Alice.

This argument is so stupid. No wonder people blow off O-ism as silly crap. So what if the cougar lady scored with a hot young stud. Poor Frank had to have known. Why on earth he didn't divorce Ayn and go do the Frank Loyd Wright unique architecture thingy is beyond me. If my wife did me that way, I'd walk. I'd be better off living in a flop house motel eating potato chips, Twinkies, and Diet Coke than to walk around like a zombie cuck. 

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2 hours ago, Robert_Bumbalough said:

If my wife did me that way, I'd walk.

This loops back to Page 1, the initial post, where Randy argued that sex is appropriate only between lifelong monogamous partners, kicking off a discussion of how men and women are sexually different (forgive me, much condensed). I liked MSK's observation that Rand was true to herself artistically and personally. My own way of explaining it is that Rand the seeker was an immoral anarchist to the very roots of her hair, top and bottom. WRT to the quoted fragment by Bumbalough (can I use that as a fictional character name, please?) it was not the case that Dagny "bed hopped" in fiction nor Alice in her personal life. Not sure I want to discuss this in detail. The major premise is that lifelong monogamy is more a religious notion than a rational idea, sort of equivalent to not coveting your neighbor lady's ass.

Ayn Rand smashed the rule of received wisdom, uniquely so, in the modern context. She liked Mickey Spillane and Ian Fleming for a reason. The idea of an alpha male was important to Ayn Rand, central to everything she wrote.

It became thematic in my own work.

41byJ3aYrqL.jpg

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22 hours ago, Robert_Bumbalough said:

Discussion starts at 1:09:24

Link.  

 

Robert,

It's odd that I just started a thread on Scott Adams and did it with a video he made about cognitive dissonance and you came up with such a good example.

See here: Scott Adams on Persuasion, the video in the opening post.

In the section of the Yaron Brook video above starting at 1:09:24, you can see Brook go through several of the bubbles on Scott's diagram, especially when he starts getting wound up.

He really gets wound up when talking about a meme TAS posted on its Facebook page. I believe the meme is the following:

06.03.2018-13.50.png

(Later note: I had embedded a TAS post from their Facebook account, but apparently someone at TAS changed the privacy settings or they deleted the thing. This left a big gaping hole in this post. The meme (posted above) is still up on their Twitter feed, though, see here. I'm not embedding this tweet because they might delete it and leave a hole in this post again.)

The quote, "The more you learn, the more you know that you know nothing" is from Atlas Shrugged, but is said by Dr. Floyd Ferris in his book "Why Do You Think You Think?" He's a villain and the meme makes his quote look like something Rand believed to be good and true. Several of the posters on Facebook noticed this, too.

My own reaction when I first saw it was: WTF? :) 

I don't know why they posted it. This is a classic screw-up if they are promoting Rand's beliefs, and it's even a screw-up if they knew it was off, but were trying to cause cognitive dissonance to get people talking. (This kind of persuasion thinking is all the rage right now for social media.) Well, they did get people talking, so that part worked, but at the expense of looking foolish and careless. If that's what they were doing, in my opinion, it was not a good trade-off.

But it sure as hell caused cognitive dissonance in Yaron Brook. :) He took this as proof positive and definitive the TAS people are frauds.

The rational thing to do is ask what the hell happened--and then judge after finding out something. Otherwise, chalk it up to an oddity or screw-up since other TAS memes are in line with Rand's beliefs. Everybody knows TAS does weird things at times. (They suffer from the ills of academia, a higher-education-like bureaucracy, which is the model they chose right from the beginning.)

But Brook is so fully in the throes of cognitive dissonance with this, he shows cognitive dissonance about other things and goes on an emotional rant. I even think he's flabbergasted that the world is not aligning itself with Rand's ideas in the way he understands them.

He certainly doesn't understand why President Trump got elected. He leans toward the globalist/elitist mindset, so the mental outlook of a normal working person who hates being looked down on and further hates being screwed despite all the gobbledygook globalists serve up to explain it is foreign to him. The best he will ever come up with is that the people who elected Trump follow a corrupt philosophy. But, believe me, it's hard to mumble stuff about the evils of altruism, then point to President Trump as an example. That doesn't convince anyone. :) 

I like Yaron Brook and I don't like him, depending on what he says. Some of the things he says are spot on and others make me distrust him. And still others I disagree with. Besides, I never fail to marvel at how a person can point to the Gaza people who were killed trying to illegally cross the border in Israel when the US Embassy opened in Jerusalem with the mantra he always uses (I paraphrase), "they are the ones morally responsible for any and all deaths of innocents because they initiated the use of force,"  yet claim the USA should have lax borders. 

In other words, to Brook, Israel should have strong borders, the USA not. I guess that makes sense to him, but it doesn't to me.

So I guess he's human after all and screws up while representing Ayn Rand just like some hapless soul who makes a turkey of a meme. :) 

Michael

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9 hours ago, Wolf DeVoon said:

This loops back to Page 1, the initial post, where Randy argued that sex is appropriate only between lifelong monogamous partners, kicking off a discussion of how men and women are sexually different (forgive me, much condensed). I liked MSK's observation that Rand was true to herself artistically and personally. My own way of explaining it is that Rand the seeker was an immoral anarchist to the very roots of her hair, top and bottom. WRT to the quoted fragment by Bumbalough (can I use that as a fictional character name, please?) it was not the case that Dagny "bed hopped" in fiction nor Alice in her personal life. Not sure I want to discuss this in detail. The major premise is that lifelong monogamy is more a religious notion than a rational idea, sort of equivalent to not coveting your neighbor lady's ass.

Ayn Rand smashed the rule of received wisdom, uniquely so, in the modern context. She liked Mickey Spillane and Ian Fleming for a reason. The idea of an alpha male was important to Ayn Rand, central to everything she wrote.

It became thematic in my own work.

41byJ3aYrqL.jpg

Good points Wolf. A lifetime of crap thinking from a bunch of stuff from crap culture has left a me with a crap philosophical outlook. Having been raised as a child in a religious culture and having lived a life surrounded by those who accepted believed and practiced bogus associated ideas has inculcated a bunch of crap into my thinking. 

 

Nice work. Charity looks like a fun read. Thanks for the clue, and you can use my family name as a character, why not. There has to be a guy named Chris Cable somewhere. Almost everyone loves the sound of alliteration. 

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7 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

In other words, to Brook, Israel should have strong borders, the USA not. I guess that makes sense to him, but it doesn't to me.

Double standards drive people batty. I wish it could be blamed on water fluoridation so I could post a clip from Dr Stangelove where General Ripper is telling Lt. Mandrake about it's evils because Kubrick's mocking was an early manifestation of cognitive dissonance by Dunning-Kruger. Personally, I'd like the USG to make it policy to lean on Mexico and the Central American govs to permit Laissez Faire and to disallow illegals to get any kind of welfare or subsidy. But the powers that be don't care about what anyone thinks unless it gets them more power. Sadly the contrary path leads to empowering religious conservatives who also trust in altruism.

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18 hours ago, Peter said:

‘Objectivism and Rage” by Barbara Branden. A lecture presented at the TAS 2006 Summer Seminar, July 4, 2006, Chapman University, Orange, CA.

Full text: Rage and Objectivism (published at the Atlas Society). Also available with copious commentary here at Objectivist Living.

 

This part sticks out, you evul sociopath:

On 8/5/2006 at 12:55 AM, Barbara Branden said:

But what I call “Objectivist Rage” has a peculiar twist to it, unlikely to be found anywhere else except, paradoxically, in religion. It is almost always morally tinged. Those who question our ideas and those who oppose them, we are told, are not merely unintelligent, ignorant, uninformed; they are evil, they are moral monsters to be cast out and forever damned.

 

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5 hours ago, Robert_Bumbalough said:

Double standards drive people batty. I wish it could be blamed on water fluoridation so I could post a clip from Dr Stangelove where General Ripper is telling Lt. Mandrake about it's evils because Kubrick's mocking was an early manifestation of cognitive dissonance by Dunning-Kruger. Personally, I'd like the USG to make it policy to lean on Mexico and the Central American govs to permit Laissez Faire and to disallow illegals to get any kind of welfare or subsidy. But the powers that be don't care about what anyone thinks unless it gets them more power. Sadly the contrary path leads to empowering religious conservatives who also trust in altruism.

Ach, the hazards of orthodoxy. Smikro is author George H. Smith. Sandra was interesting. As usual I tried to delete the links. Peter

From: SANDRAMEND To: smikro at atlantis Subject: Re: ATL: Re: 1959: *Nathan and Barbara are...most likely to be irrational in an e... Date: Sun, 14 Oct 2001 14:29:43 EDT in a message dated 10/14/01 9:40:44 AM, smikro writes: George:<< If, as you claim, "Nathaniel Branden did me more harm than any individual I've ever met," then you must have lived a very sheltered life. And the kind of "harm" you refer to is impossible unless the "victim" willingly participates in the undesirable relationship in question.>>

Sandra: My choice was to forego lectures with Ayn on writing, Nathaniel on psychology and the psychology of sex (listeners to the original Psychology of Sex  tapes told me it sounded like a dialogue. i was the other part of that dialogue) Leonard on History of Philosophy and Logic, Barbara on Psycho-epistemology, Alan Greenspan on Economics and Mary Ann Rukavina on aesthetics if I chose not to see Nathaniel as a psychologist.

George: If we must assign blame in such circumstances, then it should be applied evenly to both sides. Indeed, more often than not, we are the architects of our own problems; and if those problems had not manifested themselves in one situation, they would have arisen somewhere else. Perhaps you expected Nathaniel to be something more than a human being, complete with the foibles and flaws that we all have. This was a common expectation among early students of Objectivism, who sometimes had trouble distinguishing real people from the characters in *Atlas Shrugged.*

Sandra: No, actually it was the reverse. I was never a *hero-worshipper where he was concerned. I thought his persona weird: a combination of Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer and a much more interesting Austrian psychiatrist, complete with accent. It was the bounce between the two that first baffled and then amused me. Of course, since you were SUPPOSED to find such a great hero terribly sexy, Nathaniel thought less of me for not being attracted to him. Reread his Psychology of Self- Esteem and you'll get why.

Nathaniel in Ayn had a *my heir, the genius* relationship. His mother had a *my son, the genius* attitude. Years later, I saw Nathaniel on TV say something and wait for applause which didn't come.

I gave up reading his books when my friend, a psychology major, ordinarily very non-judgmental, picked up a book of Nathaniel's and went through it naming psychologist after psychologist (I remember only the name Piaget coming up) whose ideas he'd reframed for Objectivists. I never saw the great leap forward psychologically in changing the term *secondhander* to *social objectivist*

Obviously, on the subject of Nathaniel Branden, I have very negative views, and, other than an angry defense from a very good friend and former wife of his, have seen little reason to change my mind.  Subject closed. Unless reopened by others.

However, I think that given what Nathaniel Branden did to spread Objectivism, I think it was spiteful of Ayn Rand not to leave him a large chunk of her fortune in her will. She owed him. Big time. Sandra

F

rom: "George H. Smith" To: "*Atlantis" Subject: Re: LOGIC:  The Straw Man Fallacy (Was: Re: ATL: Re: Shooting  and Looting: It's what warriors do. Date: Wed, 14 Nov 2001 22:39:31 -0600

Sandra wrote: "What I learned from Barbara's principles of efficient thinking was not to deal in floating abstractions -- a lesson not always learned by members of this group -- and to *think outside the square* which panics the orthodox in this group because sometimes they can't find what Ayn Rand thought on an issue and that seems to make them feel anxious. Once they find something in the Ayn Rand literature they can connect my principle to, they relax and then attack me for daring to disagree with Rand.  It does get boring."

Who has attacked you for "daring to disagree with Rand"?

I think you are being unfair to the vast majority of Atlantis list members, who do not adhere to the Eastern Orthodox Church of Objectivism, but to the Western Reformed branch of heretics.

I, for one, have never even called myself an "Objectivist," primarily because I think my anarchism puts me too fundamentally at odds with Rand's perspective. Moreover, my disagreements with certain features of Rand's philosophy, such as the criticism of her contextual theory of knowledge that appeared in my last book (*Why Atheism?*), are a matter of public record.

Over the years I have subscribed to a number of philosophy e-groups, and I regard Atlantis as the best by far. There have been very detailed, thoughtful, and sometimes heated debates over philosophical issues like free will, rights, and egoism. A number of the more prominent posters, such as Bill Dwyer, are "soft determinists" who have no trouble expressing serious disagreements with Rand. Such cases are the rule rather than the exception.

Atlantis is not a haven for Randroids, as you seem to think. Believe me, no one around here (with a few possible exceptions) cares in the least whether you disagree with Rand. What unites Atlanteans is not an orthodox credo, but the conviction that Ayn Rand was a serious thinker whose ideas are worthy of serious consideration. Even Kirez Korgan, the founder and owner of Atlantis, has recently said that he does not regard himself as an "Objectivist," however sympathetic he is to many of Rand's ideas.

In fairness, I think you should give your critics the benefit of the doubt and not assume that their disagreements with you have anything intrinsically to do with your disagreements with Rand. It is not a matter of thinking "outside the square." Around here we construct our own squares. Meanwhile, our high regard for Ayn Rand, whether we agree with her or not, gives us a common basis for discussion -- a shared community of ideas, so to speak, that serves as a foundation for dialogue and debate. Ghs

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6 hours ago, Robert_Bumbalough said:
14 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

In other words, to Brook, Israel should have strong borders, the USA not. I guess that makes sense to him, but it doesn't to me.

Double standards drive people batty. I wish it could be blamed on water fluoridation so I could post a clip from Dr Stangelove where General Ripper is telling Lt. Mandrake about it's evils because Kubrick's mocking was an early manifestation of cognitive dissonance by Dunning-Kruger.

Here's a snip I found on Youtube:

"What would Mr Thompson do?"

After reading James Valliant's book slagging TheBrandens™ I was much more sympathetic to Ayn Rand, human, than I was before -- regarding The Affair.  Her deeply personal diary/journal excerpts showed her battling cognitive dissonance, suffering for it. It also made TheBrandens™ much more sympathetic for me.  Only knowing as much as one can first-hand from each person (leaving Frank out, obviously), from TheBrandens™ memoir and biography, the private Rand journals (such as they were cribbed from), from the two subsequent biographies covering it ... should one even attempt to be a Moral Arbiter over the relationships of the principals. 

Branden was a deceiver, but not evul sociopath or whatever epithet Valliant went all histrionic with, which epithet destroyed any pretension to sobriety in his scholarship.

I mention Rand 'suffering' for cognitive dissonance, meaning it in the sense of emotional discomfort. I think -- despite Scott Adam's dollar-store retailing -- dissonance is conflict, and it is uncomfortable. Holding two contrasting/opposed thoughts in one's head at once, each thought 'battling' for the chance to dismiss the other, is it something you just pass over by instant dismissal after an intuitive "nonsense" ID -- or is it more something that jams up the cognition, which sets up bodily-felt flags to the extent it is an important contradiction.  I mean according to personal values and perceptions, especially self-perceptions.  Ayn Rand struggled to believe her 'stomach feelings' about the magical man she had fallen in love with.  Hero worship turned to disgust ...

Or at least that's my expert opinion on cognitive dissonance and the pain all around that came from The Affair.  

It's not that there is one single lesson to learn from the conflicts, but that we have to give everyone a break in the same way: they are human beings caught in their fates.

Their fates meaning the consequences of their actions, choices, and beliefs.

Edited by william.scherk
Valliant assayed him, correct me if I am wrong, as having the "soul of a rapist."
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2 hours ago, Peter said:

Smikro is author George H. Smith. Sandra was interesting.

Peter,

I typed the following into Google:

SANDRAMEND Branden

... and got some interesting things in Google Groups, including her real name, Sandra Mendoza.

She sounds like a very interesting hotheaded Latina troublemaker who did not bow easily to authority. She once dated Leonard Peikoff. Here's a cute quote (from here:

Quote

I never claimed to have been part of the *inner* circle. However, Vivian Greczka, who dated Alan Greenspan, was. She was my best friend and neighbor. I lived on the fifth floor of a walkup, she in the ground level apartment. It was she who told me about the apartment and it was soon after I moved in that Alan turned his back on her as did her other Objectivist friends for being so irrational as to have a photographic memory and not being able to think in concepts. It was as if the poor kid had deliberately tricked them into thinking she was something great and deceived them somehow.

I went out on one date with Leonard Peikoff and disgraced myself totally by giving a wrong answer to the question: If you were made dictator of the US what would you do? I hadn't read ATLAS SHRUGGED in galleys as he had, and didn't know the philosophically acceptable answer, so I thought of what I would abolish first. Wrong answer. Contempt curled around his lips. Last date he ever took me on.

:) 

Michael

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