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Ayn Rand And The End Of Love

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19 hours ago, Robert_Bumbalough said:

Did Peikoff want to bed Ayn Rand?

Robert,

Good Lord!

:) 

I seriously doubt it. My impression is that Rand was like a mother to him, an intellectual mother, but a mother nonetheless.

So, unless you're a Freudian...

:) 

Michael

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1 hour ago, william.scherk said:

Here's a snip I found on Youtube:

 

 

 

Ayn Rand struggled to believe her 'stomach feelings' about the magical man she had fallen in love  with ..

If she called them stomach feelings, for a philosopher she wasn't much of an anatomist.

1 hour ago, william.scherk said:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, caroljane said:
3 hours ago, william.scherk said:

Ayn Rand struggled to believe her 'stomach feelings' about the magical man she had fallen in love  with ..

If she called them stomach feelings, for a philosopher she wasn't much of an anatomist.

My gut feeling is she had a profound "nervous" signal from her middle portions, a psychosomatic signal that has stalked the humans since they first learned of duplicity in love. Pre-"how could I ever have trusted you?!" and post-"You would love me if I were in a wheelchair." An anxious feeling.

Tony and I would probably agree that the stomach feelings were an emotional "alert" ...  a rationally-derived foreboding and disquiet collated and displayed in her body so to speak. I think I read somewhere some misfit making the argument that her quote stomach feelings were ironical if not comical given a caricature of Objectivist attitudes to emotion, but I found in them the stuff of tragedy. 

Too late! Too late to save the city, save the kingdom, save the prince and his queen. Too late to save love. 

The moral of the story involves deception, but I'd have a hell of a time weighing out blame in precise measure. I feel bad for Rand that she blended self-deception with her joyful early affair with Nathaniel.  His was the more demonstrably unkind and consequential deception in the end, although she built the edifice of an endless love affair in parallel to marriage.

Now, having taken off my moral-judicial robes ...

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3 minutes ago, william.scherk said:

My gut feeling is she had a profound "nervous" signal from her middle portions, a psychosomatic signal that has stalked the humans since they first learned of duplicity in love. Pre-"how could I ever have trusted you?!" and post-"You would love me if I were in a wheelchair." An anxious feeling.

Tony and I would probably agree that the stomach feelings were an emotional "alert" ...  a rationally-derived foreboding and disquiet collated and displayed in her body so to speak. I think I read somewhere some misfit making the argument that her quote stomach feelings were ironical if not comical given a caricature of Objectivist attitudes to emotion, but I found in them the stuff of tragedy. 

Too late! Too late to save the city, save the kingdom, save the prince and his queen. Too late to save love. 

The moral of the story involves deception, but I'd have a hell of a time weighing out blame in precise measure. I feel bad for Rand that she blended self-deception with her joyful early affair with Nathaniel.  His was the more demonstrably unkind and consequential deception in the end, although she built the edifice of an endless love affair in parallel to marriage.

Now, having taken off my moral-judicial robes ...

They become you. That is a profoundly true and poignant analysis, even though my reflexive jibe provoked it.  

Now please explain the coming trade war to me on the new thread.

  • Haha 1

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20 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

[Yaron Brook] screws up while representing Ayn Rand

So sad. Like I always said about Cousin Leonard, ARI minus Rand = zero.

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2 hours ago, Wolf DeVoon said:

So sad. Like I always said about Cousin Leonard, ARI minus Rand = zero.

Rand never had anything to do with ARI--set up shortly after her death. Therefore, she's not even subtractable.

Peikoff's book on Objectivism is fairly good. He does make the classic mistake of confusing by admixing Objectivism (small "o"?) with the philosophy of Ayn Rand. It's right there in the title. Rand did it, Branden did it, everybody did it. (Hence, Leonard had to study it for decades to take up the baton.)

"Objectivism" needs to be replaced by pantheism--that is, God is Reality and Reality is God (who must be obeyed to be commanded).

--Brant

worshipping is for passion

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On 6/2/2018 at 5:24 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

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.

Yeah, all of that is good, but the organization is still dull as hell. Opposite of Rand. Anesthetic.

On 6/2/2018 at 5:24 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

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. :) )

I had hoped that Yawon Bwook would have had the bwains and psychological stability to distance himself and the organization from Paranoid Peikoff's kookburger behavior, and all of the damage that it's caused. Oh, well, just continue to refuse to learn, and stay on the course of losing relevance and influence. Burn it to the ground, and hopefully a lot of the urge to own and control Rand's heritage will die in the embers.

On 6/2/2018 at 5:24 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

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.

They're what Ellen has called "church school goody goodies." Prissy, obedient, little tattle-tale types. Sniveling hall monitors. The opposite of rugged individualists like Howard Roark.

J

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"If one puts no expectation whatever, of any kind, upon any person, no matter how intimate one's association with him, the returns that one gets are marvelous." -- Albert Jay Nock.

 

Sandra Mendoza has a way of ticking people off. I don’t have anything she wrote, but the following super hero’s do quote her.

 

A few excerpts. "The half-assed evolutionary Objectivist?"

“You think this control is in "Leonard Peikoff's hot little hands"? No, it is not!”

“[Y]ou, Ellen Moore, are educated far beyond your IQ's ability to deal with abstractions, an IQ slightly below room temperature - - - in an abandoned house, in Anchorage, in February.”

end blurbs.  

Room temperature IQ. Chuckle.

Peter

From: Ellen Moore To: Atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: Sandra, "the half-assed evolutionary Objectivist" Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001 23:17:17 -0500. I have a few comments to offer in response to your post of Sat., 19:32. You offer labels; "half-assed Objectivists" - "post-Objectivist" - "Reform Objectivist"  --  as opposed to "Orthodox Objectivist" – and last, at last, you labeled yourself "the half-assed evolutionary Objectivist".

I've also heard of those who call themselves "neo-Objectivist".  All of these labels indicate that the person disagrees with fundamental premises of Objectivism, or they disagree with some personal views or tastes that Ayn Rand had expressed.  All of these labels identify that someone's purpose is to change Objectivism from the philosophical principles that Ayn Rand identified as Objectivism into something different than was identified by its only authentic author – something that will suit them personally better than Rand's ideas would or could.

Why does anyone want to do so?  And why does anyone of them think that they will be able to change what Objectivism actually is? -- after all this philosophy is the specific set of consistently integrated principles based on reason as identified by Ayn Rand. I think you and others should be able to understand that anyone else's intellectual or personal product that contradicts her set of principles at once removes itself from any credit for being labeled as "Objectivism" or "Objectivist".

You think this control is in "Leonard Peikoff's hot little hands"?  No, it is not!  There is no "official" control, and no "orthodox" control, that enables anyone to contradict or change the integrated structure that Objectivism is.  Not Peikoff, not Branden, not Kelley, not Mendoza --  and their favorite practice of labeling their disagreements as a "blah-blah-Objectivist" certainly means that they are not in control, nor have any of these groups of hangers-on earned the right to declare they are authentic "Objectivists".  They are simply abusing the concept they have not earned but have stolen from Rand.

S

ad to say, what is mostly evident so far from institutes and students alike, with a few dedicated exceptions, is their lack of knowledge, their lack of understanding, lack of applications, their disagreements, and their distorted interpretations of Rand's works.

The context of human knowledge is wide open to further identifications and discoveries.  It is wisdom to understand that Objectivist principles are as applicable in the future as they were in Rand's time, or as they are today.  Could any great thinker identify a new principle?  Yes, Rand did it and it may be done in the future.  But it will never be accomplished unless a consistently rational thinker first understands and applies the basic fundamental structure of Objectivism.  One cannot add onto that which one never understood.

Currently, we have far too many ignorant, contradictory, busybodies who think they can mess up a work of philosophical genius.  I for one would be deeply grateful for just one mind who was able to add one clearly rational, innovative idea and apply it without contradiction to the foundation of the work that Rand left us.  I view this as my own "cry in the wilderness", and my hope for the future of us all.

People like you, Sandra, are free to disagree with Objectivism and with Ayn Rand anytime, anywhere.  Just keep in mind that you are judged accordingly.  No, I am not an "Orthodox Fundamentalist little Objectivist."  I am Ellen Moore, rational individualist dedicated to living according to Objectivist principles.  I know Objectivism as well as anyone I've heard of, and I've done a damn fine job of applying it to achieve my happiness in life.

Sandra, you offer some statements based on your ignorance of facts.  You know nothing about me, so the one thing you cannot substantiate is the implication that I am in any way a second-hander.  You make the claim that your ideas are "MINE", and I certainly agree with you since I've already read and evaluated those you've expressed here.  On the same basis, you may be certain that my ideas are ~mine~ and mine are "first-handed" all the way down.

Credentials?  No, you do not have to prove them to me alone.  Just keep in mind that every word you write ~is~ being judged by members here and elsewhere.

Here's one tip-off for you -- It's not wise to insult members here until after you know and understand what they are offering on Atlantis.  Even Kirez advised you to listen, learn and think before you speak.  I think you have insulted Bill Dwyer with your ignorance of his intellectual, logical, argumentative acumen.  Bill is always a gentleman, and he is one of the most thorough practitioners of logical argument we have here, and beyond that he has the most consistent and persistent talent in presenting his case -- [even when others think he is mistaken :-)].  You could begin by treating his posts with the respect his ideas deserve rather than insulting his knowledge of the world which you know not of. It's also very likely that you failed to understand the context and content of what others are writing (e.g., Jason Alexander), and that it is your responsibility to have the patience to consider and grasp their ideas.  Just a thoughtful reminder that you should apply to more than one member here. Ellen Moore

From: "Reidy, Peter" Peter.Reidy@usa.xerox.com To: Atlantis Subject: ATL: RE: RE: A paradox in Rand's theory of volition Date: Mon, 29 Oct 2001 16:21:05 -0800

When I said that only entities are animate or not, and that this doesn't apply to matter, Dwyer and Thomas objected that we talk about inanimate matter all the time, without any problems.  We do, but not in the primary sense.  Because we have understood what a living or non-living entity is, we can understand this secondary usage.  If I say "healthy diet" or "intelligent observation" you know what I mean, even though, strictly speaking, health is a state of a living organism and intelligence is an attribute of an animal. I don't remember quite what Dwyer said to bring this up, but he homed in on a special situation where "you know what I mean" wasn't enough.

This is straightforward Aristotle; he would have said that "inanimate" applies to matter analogously, paronymously or by offshoot; "healthy diet" is one of his own stock examples of this.  Didn't Sandra Mendoza accomplish anything?

So Peikoff said that all non-human actions are strictly determined. Some Objectivist has, indeed, said this.  It's an odd statement, one more reason not to take him seriously.

Dwyer quotes Branden's statement that "determinism is the theory that all actions, including those of human beings, are necessitated by antecedent causes...According to Objectivism, 'free will' -- in the widest meaning of the term -- is the doctrine...that man is capable of making choices which are not necessitated by antecedent factors."

If that's all it means, then everybody is, trivially, a determinist (unless, perhaps, "antecedent" means "temporally antecedent", in which case the determinists or their opponents might be making an interesting claim). Peter

F

rom: "William Dwyer To: <atlantis Subject: ATL: Intelligence Quotient Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2001 21:37:27 -0800. After informing us, and then reminding us, lest we should ever forget it, that she is a member of MENSA (the high IQ society), Sandra Mendoza then proceeds to disparage, and to ridicule, Ellen Moore’s IQ.

In a recent post, Sandra wrote, “[Y]ou, Ellen Moore, are educated far beyond your IQ's ability to deal with abstractions, an IQ slightly below room temperature - - - in an abandoned house, in Anchorage, in February.”

When Ellen replied, "What do you know about my IQ?" --

Sandra responded sarcastically, "ROTFLMAO Firstly, there was your reputation and then there was the undeniable proof."

As I understand it, IQ is largely inherited, so it is not properly the subject of anyone's criticism or ridicule.  Therefore, even if Ellen possessed one, which I'm sure she doesn't, a low IQ is nothing to be ashamed of.  Nor is a high IQ (such as Sandra claims to possess) anything to be proud of, since it is not an achievement -- not something one earned.

In fact, the high IQ people I've known have often been arrogant, petty and lacking in the social skills and good judgment displayed by those of lesser intelligence.

Far more important than IQ are character, initiative and intellectual honesty.  (See, in this regard, Daniel Goleman's book _Emotional Intelligence_.  I sometimes think that inherited intelligence has the same pitfalls as inherited beauty.  The beautiful girl, who's been told all her life how pretty she is, who's had people fawning over her, can often think that she doesn't have to make an effort in other areas, since she's already got what it takes.

The same is true for someone who's exceptionally bright.  Since things come easy to her, and since she's been told how intelligent she is, she becomes lazy, self-centered and narcissistic.  She develops a contemptuous attitude toward those whom she deems of lesser ability.

I'm not saying that all high IQ people are like this, of course.  But I think there is a tendency in this direction.  Some of the MENSA people I've met have been particularly bad in this regard.  But then joining an organization like MENSA probably self-selects for people who like to think of themselves as superior, and who want an unearned respect based solely on their inherited gifts.

I can imagine Peter Keating joining MENSA.  I cannot imagine Howard Roark or Dominique Francon doing so. Bill

F

rom: "William Dwyer" 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 15:25:10 -0800

In responding to Sandra Mendoza, George Smith wrote,

"This is not a "straw man fallacy," or indeed a fallacy of any kind. Rather, it simply points to the logical implications of an adversary's position and tests the limits of her assertion, in the sense that it challenges that person either to accept the logical consequences of her own principle, however unsavory, or to qualify or repudiate that principle. (This argumentative tool is also very effective against various forms of utilitarianism, and is commonly used by philosophers.)"

Sandra replied, "Really? I don't read utilitarian’s much so I wouldn't know."

Do you read Ayn Rand?  Then perhaps you will remember her pamphlet "Textbook of Americanism," published by NBI in 1959.  You were around then, weren't you, Sandra?

In that pamphlet, Rand wrote (and yes, I'm going to quote her, so brace yourself):

"Is 'The Greatest Good For The Greatest Number' A Moral Principle?

"... What is the definition of 'the good' in this slogan?  None, except:  whatever is good for the greatest number.  Who, in any particular issue, decides what is good for the greatest number?  Why, the greatest number.

“If you consider this moral, you would have to approve of the following examples, which are exact applications of this slogan in practice:  fifty-one percent of humanity enslaving the other forty-nine; nine hungry cannibals eating the tenth one; a lynching mob murdering a man whom they consider dangerous to the community.

"There were seventy million Germans in Germany and six hundred thousand Jews.  The greatest number (the Germans) supported the Nazi government which told them that their greatest good would be served by exterminating the smaller number (the Jews) and grabbing their property. This was the horror achieved in practice by a vicious slogan accepted in theory." [pp. 10, 11]

This kind of objection to utilitarianism is very common.  Rand was neither the first nor the last to enunciate it.  If you take a beginning course in philosophy, you will undoubtedly come across it.  It's called "reductio ad absurdum," because it takes a principle and exposes its logical implications, thereby reducing it to absurdity.

A

nother example might be the following:  Suppose someone said that the state has the right to steal 10% of your income, but not 50%.  The obvious rejoinder would be:  By what PRINCIPLE can you allow it steal 10% but NOT 50%??  If it has the right to 10%, then there is no principle by which you can object to its taking more.  Of course, we have already seen the results of this in practice.

So if you said that the state has the right to steal 10% of your income, and I said, "Well, in that case, it has the right to steal 50%.  Is that what you want?!" -- it would not do to reply that I am mounting a "straw-man argument" -- that I am "exaggerating" your position.  I am simply revealing its logical implications -- just as Rand revealed the logical implications of utilitarianism.

Now do you understand the point that Victor and George were making? Bill

From: "William Dwyer To: <atlantis Subject: ATL: Is proof agent-relative? (was "Does proof require a Sandra ASS U MEd ...) Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2001 19:32:14 -0800

Sandra Mendoza wrote: "As my hero, the Emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote: *If anyone can show me, and prove to me, that I am wrong in thought or deed, I will gladly change.  I seek the truth, which never yet hurt anybody.  It is only persistence in self-delusion and ignorance which does harm."

Andrew Taranto replied, "Very interesting... because Antony Flew took pains to discuss, in _Thinking Straight_ (and the latter version, _How to Think Straight_) that one does not ~prove to~, one only proves. When someone says, 'Prove X to me,' he means to say, 'convince me of X'; but then proof doesn't necessarily play a role. (Unfortunately, my copies are at home, so I can't provide specific cites.)"

Based on Andrew's summary, I don't think that Flew's analysis does justice to the concept of "proof"; on the contrary, his analysis would appear to be self-contradictory.  If, as he says "proof" doesn't necessarily play a role in "proving" X to someone, then one ~hasn't~ "PROVED" X to him; one has simply "convinced" him of X.

One can convince someone of something by a means other than proof, e.g., by sophistry or propaganda.  If a person says, "Prove it to me," he is not simply asking to be convinced; he is asking to be convinced ~by an objectively valid justification~.

So, I think that proof does indeed require a person ~to whom~ one proves something, even if that person is only the prover himself.  In other words, proof presupposes a consciousness whose requirements of knowledge are satisfied by the fulfillment of certain epistemological criteria.

Therefore, if a person asks for proof, he is indeed asking that something be proved ~to~ him, because he is demanding that it satisfy his own understanding of the truth according to rational and objective criteria.

To put it in standard Objectivist lingo, proof is objective, but not intrinsic!  Although proof is certainly not arbitrary or subjective, it still requires a mind to receive and understand it.

The idea that proof is always proof ~to~ someone was also the position of Michael Scriven, whom I had as a professor of philosophy at U.C. Berkeley many years ago!  He was a pretty good philosopher and has written quite a good book on epistemology, which I used to own but have since lost track of. Bill

Reply-To: "George H. Smith" To: "*Atlantis" <atlantis Subject: ATL: Emerson: "A foolish consistency...." Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001 01:39:07 -0500

Richard Lawrence wrote: "However, another equally plausible interpretation is available: Emerson may be saying that all efforts at consistency are "foolish." Certainly the sentence, "With consistency a great soul has nothing to do," is not qualified in any way. Moreover, the specific example he gives of inconsistency -- denying personality to God and then ascribing it to Him -- does not involve a change of mind based on new evidence or argument. Rather, Emerson advises indulging in such inconsistency based on "devout motions of the soul." On this understanding of Emerson's meaning, Rand has not misrepresented him at all. In fact, it is those who place emphasis on the modifier "foolish" who misrepresent him, while Rand has correctly captured the essence of his meaning."

I disagree with Richard's interpretation for several reasons, not the least of which is its failure to take into account the fundamental theme of "Self-Reliance" from which the passage in question -- "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds..." -- is taken.

Let us first consider the longer passage that Richard himself quotes, which begins:

"The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word, because the eyes of others have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we are loath to disappoint them."

Emerson is clearly referring to how *others* often judge us, namely, on the basis of our past actions and words, and he significantly notes that "we are loath to disappoint them." This is consistent with what Emerson says elsewhere in his essay, e.g.:  "Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist....Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.....I ought to go upright and vital, and speak the rude truth in all  ways . . . . Few and mean as my gifts may be, I actually am, and do not need for my own assurance or the assurance of my fellows any secondary testimony....What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think."

Emerson is issuing a clarion call for intellectual independence, for exercising one's honest judgment in all matters, regardless of what others may think -- and this is the key to understanding the passage in question. After noting that "For nonconformity the world whips you with its displeasure," Emerson (in the passage I quoted previously), adds: "The other terror that scares us from SELF-TRUST is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word, because the eyes of OTHERS have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we are loath to disappoint them." (My emphasis.)

This leads into his remark about "foolish consistency." In other words, it is foolish to abandon or conceal your frank judgment because others might deem it inconsistent with what you have said in the past.

But what if  "should contradict yourself" in fact and not merely in the minds of others? Emerson asks, "What then?" Here one needs to understand Emerson's view of "reason," which he thought was capable of ascertaining the truth from many different perspectives. He thought -- and here I agree with him to a certain extent -- that abstract theories can sometimes hinder our appreciation of new truths. As he explains in another essay, our ideas can liberate us, but they can also constitute a "prison" for those who view them fixed, final, and incapable of revision and refinement. Although I think he overstated the point at times, Emerson had a fine sense of the value of spontaneous insights, which he cautioned should not be rejected automatically simply because they do not conform to our preconceived theories. Indeed, a "genius," in Emerson's view, is precisely a person who has the courage to explore the spontaneous insights of his or her own mind, without rejecting them out of hand became they don't conform to conventional patterns, whether of others or oneself.

Note how Emerson concludes his famous saying: "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines." This is essentially a critique of people who, in Emerson's view, have become so wedded to theoretical (especially metaphysical) schemes that they reject new and potentially valuable insights out of hand because they do not conform those theories.

In short, Emerson's dictum is part and parcel of his call for intellectual integrity. He believed the "self-reliant" nonconformist should express himself honestly and forthrightly, without regard for what others might think. This is essential to what one commentator has called Emerson's stress on "critical self-cultivation." Emerson believed that intellectual excellence is dynamic, not static, and that we should never reach the point where we say to ourselves, in effect, "I now know all I need to know, and my days of innovation and intellectual development are over."

There is more involved here, granted, and I should add that I have never been a fan of Transcendentalism, considered as a technical philosophy (to the extent that it can even be regarded as such). But in expositors like Emerson, Thoreau, and Parker (and this latter was the most theoretical of the three) it does have a very appealing side, namely, its stress on the value of individualism in its myriad forms.

It has often been said that Emerson writes like a sage dispensing pearls of wisdom rather than like a true philosopher. I personally don't care for this style, primarily because it typically lacks careful argumentation, and I think this style can sometimes make it easy to misunderstand what Emerson was trying to say. But, in this case least, I think his intended meaning is fairly clear. There is a reason, after all, why the essay in which this famous passage occurs is called "Self-Reliance."

Richard Lawrence wrote: "I won't argue with that assessment [by Sandra Mendoza]. And he [Ghs] did it without impugning my motives or misrepresenting my arguments. If only I could get such treatment from all my critics ...."

Perhaps I should add that Richard's (and possibly Rand's) interpretation ("Emerson may be saying that all efforts at consistency are 'foolish'") is by no means an unreasonable one, given the ambiguous meaning that Emerson assigned to "reason."

Emerson claimed that the label "Transcendentalism" had been taken from the "transcendental forms" of Immanuel Kant -- though, as Morton White has noted, "he most certainly need not have relied on Kant for that notion" (*Science and Sentiment in America: Philosophical Thought from Jonathan Edwards to John Dewey,* 99).

White says this because, by "reason," Emerson sometimes means the intuitive (as opposed to discursive) apprehension of truth, and this ability was defended even by John Locke and other empiricists, who constituted the school of thought to which Emerson was primarily opposed. (Indeed, the depiction of empiricism by the Transcendentalists was sometimes little more than a caricature.)

But Emerson used "reason" in another sense as well, viz, to refer to a feeling, or sentiment, that justifies moral truths without further argument or justification. And, as White explains, "whenever Emerson spoke of Reason as a faculty exercised in the expression of moral sentiment, he departed from Kant's absolutistic and anti-naturalistic ethics as well as from the rationalistic ethics of Locke and Reid."

White continues: "However, it is a thankless task to pursue the origins and the confused windings of Emerson's views of Reason. It is sufficient for our purposes to note that he thought that moral and religious beliefs are supported by Reason viewed as a faculty of feeling; and therefore that he represented a very influential chapter in the transformation of Lockeian Reason from a purely intellectual faculty to one which may be exercised in a person's having sentiments. For Emerson, Reason was primarily a power of the mind to feel moral and religious truth.... [H]e was primarily interested in asserting religious and moral truth without argument." (99-100)

Anyone who adopts this view of "reason" is unlikely to place a high value on the demands of formal logic, and Emerson was no exception. Hence, even though I think my earlier interpretation of the "hobgoblin" passage is correct, given the context of this remark, it is hardly surprising that it has been interpreted as a total disdain for logical consistency.

To some extent Emerson invited precisely this kind of misunderstanding, given his fondness for exalting the spontaneous and intuitive feelings of "reason" over the "understanding" (his term) of particular empirical facts. Ghs

F

rom: Ellen Moore To: Atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: Emerson - "A foolish consistency... Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2001 14:41:53 -0500

M

y view is this, While it is interesting to read George Smith offer his many interpretations of authors he has read, and it is interesting to read the comments of Richard Lawrence in respect to his own interpretations of Emerson, this is a case of Richard being correct in his first post on this topic.

As he pointed out, Ayn Rand did not quote the full statement about consistency being a hobgoblin which Emerson wrote, she offered  what Richard said was a "trite" saying that she knew one might hear from anyone who passed such a comment on the street - whether or not the speaker knew the source in Emerson's writing. Neither is there any evidence given so far that Rand "dismissed Emerson on the basis of one single quote, as Sandra opined.  In fact just the opposite view is much more likely.

Emerson was identified philosophically as a Transcendentalist which means he has been rated as a follower of Kantianism, and especially that he emphasized intuition as a means to knowledge, and the importance of the search for the divine. I can see no reason to think that Rand was totally ignorant of the writings of Emerson, any more than she was of Kant, Plato or Aristotle. In fact, because of her admiration for Aristotle, and her antipathy to Plato and Kant, it is very conceivable that when she referred to Emerson as being "a very little mind", she knew exactly what she meant.  It is also clear that she meant it as a retort in kind because of the words that Emerson had written of philosophers in general.

To repeat: Richard Lawrence was right in his assessment of Rand's position in his first comments and his last comments in his second post.  Sandra is wrong in stating her first comment about Rand, and about her response to Richard's first post.  Ellen Moore

From: Greybird of Starhaven To: Atlantis <atlantis Subject: ATL: Emigrating from the sewer Date: Sat, 06 Oct 2001 14:45:30 -0700

I have stayed largely out of the current mud-wrestling competition, since so many issues are being mixed to hopeless effect, but I have to give a few spectator's notes:

~ Bill Judson, my longtime comrade on the late, great "Nomos" magazine, has made the best unadmitted-by-most point -- that these issues largely dissolve by making the proper conversion from "public" goods into genuinely private goods. That goes for free riders (thank you, GHS, for keeping -that- meaning distinct), freeloaders (what I see some of the others actually talking about), and the dilution of the effects of racism.

~ Sandra Mendoza and Jeff Riggenbach, if you don't stay here, with your sane viewpoints (even those I don't agree with), I will be most upset!

~ Johnson and Rasmussen made SOME generalized observations, earlier in the month, about religious followers that had some value. (Including some of the excuse-making that I've seen among Objectivists for the worth of Jewish rituals. Not a pleasant thing to admit, but it's been done in my presence.)  That estimation of marginal value does NOT extend to their more recent comments, which have openly called for collectivism.

And finally, as to immigration: Hans-Hermann Hoppe made the point about a decade ago as to how genuine private property rights are the proper solvent for this conflict. The immigration controversy only arises because of the existence of a sphere of "public property" -- of the transport routes, government lands and schools, and other facilities that "we all own." To exclude its use by anyone making even indirect support of such property, through tax payments, is to be excluding someone who has a genuine moral claim to such use, however tenuous in monetary terms.

If all property within the borders (arbitrary or not) of the "USA" was genuinely private, however, the matter would devolve to whether the land and facility owners wanted to allow unlimited traffic. Commercial strips and routes would tend toward not restricting customers. Those who did want to make exclusions would need to move toward using land that had less of a highly concentrated commercial or residential value, in the sense of needing steady customers. This already happens, with some of the most exclusionary racists tending to create mountain retreats.

If private property owners only permitted on their land (or rental property, or other facilities) those who were genuinely productive, or paid out of their productivity for such use, the knot of "immigration" wouldn't make any conceptual sense. Use would be by consent. It's the "public sphere" that, of course, doesn't deal in consent for those forced to underwrite its costs. And which is used and overused, like any other commons, by immigrants.

PS. "Sewer," you ask? Well, if it's good enough for Debbie Clark to use that word to describe ATL in other precincts, guess it's good enough for me <rueful smile>

-- * SteveReed@earthling.net *

"If one puts no expectation whatever, of any kind, upon any person, no matter how intimate one's association with him, the returns that one gets are marvelous." -- Albert Jay Nock

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12 hours ago, Peter said:

“[Y]ou, Ellen Moore, are educated far beyond your IQ's ability to deal with abstractions, an IQ slightly below room temperature - - - in an abandoned house, in Anchorage, in February.”

end blurbs.  

Room temperature IQ. Chuckle.

LOLOLOL...

:)

I love it.

:) 

I hope this lady is still alive and one day I get to meet her...

Michael

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On 6/3/2018 at 12:32 PM, Peter said:

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

Hiya Pete. Been away for a week, but got some work done; still though GHS writes good stuff. His atheism book helped my shake that God superstition. Witchdoctoring aside, I and the other riders on this mornings Green train lucked out. A crazy was triggered and pulled a honking big ass large caliber revolver. The gun was in a gunny sack and the dude held it over the top strap while pointing it a the guy who dared to speak and saying loudly 'It's your lucky day that I'm not as mad at you as God. But I'm going to give it to ya. You're gonna get it. God is mad at you.' and so on for about a minute. Dude wasn't too crazy though cause he backed out at the next stop before the DART cops troubled themselves to break away from their donuts and show up. Could have been worse. Yee-haw. Now if only I had the guts to make the big bet when Bitcoin crashes next.

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On 6/3/2018 at 1:54 PM, william.scherk said:

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

 

Thanks for an insightful analysis. I just finished reading Atlas Shrugged. Now I hope Branden didn't think or feel he had something in common with the archetype illustrated by James Taggert. Fictional character, yeah, and no goons of thugs working for totalitarian police states were injured in the writing of AS; still though, I loved the scene where Taggert breaks down after Galt tells the boys how to fix the electro shock torture machine. Besides, he wasn't really interested in banging an older broad, (Holy Fuck. The sagging wrinkles. Yuck.) but doing so in service of The $ is earning it baby. Screw Valiant and the Randroids. I gotta go build stuff  for which big money wants to pay.  Hey maybe I got something in common with Rearden after all. 

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On 6/3/2018 at 3:01 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Robert,

Good Lord!

:) 

I seriously doubt it. My impression is that Rand was like a mother to him, an intellectual mother, but a mother nonetheless.

So, unless you're a Freudian...

:) 

Michael

Hiya Mike. Well, since Branden did it, I was thinking maybe Peikoff was doing the competitive anything-you-can-do-I-can-do-better thingy. 

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On 6/3/2018 at 9:54 AM, william.scherk said:

This part sticks out, you evul sociopath:

Cool. $$$$ We earned it. 

So when Dagny murdered the guard at Project F while breaking in to spring John Galt, she was justified because there ain't no such thingy as "society" and those who initiate violence deserve to get some back. Oh justice me psychopath down. Yeah Rationality.  

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On 6/9/2018 at 4:09 AM, Robert_Bumbalough said:

Cool. $$$$ We earned it. 

So when Dagny murdered the guard at Project F while breaking in to spring John Galt, she was justified because there ain't no such thingy as "society" and those who initiate violence deserve to get some back. Oh justice me psychopath down. Yeah Rationality.  

Yeah, shocking. Horrid. I get that it is unpleasant for squeamish pacifists or NAP'ers, that Rand could "kill" an innocent guard in a piece of fiction. Ha! Except, it's essential to abstract the act into a bigger picture: I.e., Everyone who even tacitly or actively supports a totalitarian regime is part-responsible for the results. A statist dictator doesn't just 'arrive', despite the people - but because of (many of) the people. Though not having read AS for over 20 years, I certainly think that illustrating this was Rand's intention. (A background the reader might infer, were the "oceans of blood" created by the Soviets and Nazis which were made possible by the "ordinary" guy who can't think and won't judge, just goes along).

So the "murdered" guard, who would whine - it's not his fault, he didn't know what was going on, he was only following orders - and so on, is culpable, too. He's on the immoral side of a moral war. He is also "a being of volitional consciousness" (the mainstay of Romantic Realism - from Rand) and each one's moral and immoral choices have consequences. But he chose to self-sacrifice his mind to others and to the Authority. And (in a fictional work), he gets his comeuppance. That infamous remark "To the gas chambers, go!" (in criticism of AS) and charges of sociopathy about AR were a total inversion of a fact: one import of Rand's novel was a searing condemnation of those dictators and 'ordinary' people who invented, built and filled concentration camps and the gas chambers. 

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13 hours ago, Robert_Bumbalough said:

Cool. $$$$ We earned it. 

So when Dagny murdered the guard at Project F while breaking in to spring John Galt, she was justified because there ain't no such thingy as "society" and those who initiate violence deserve to get some back. Oh justice me psychopath down. Yeah Rationality.  

Murder consequent to an act of war isn't murder. She killed an enemy combatant who would not submit. In real life there would be no conversation except if necessary to get close enough to kill the guard. But Rand believed in yammer, yammer, yammer.

At the end of We the Living the guard does the killing. So at the end of Rand's magnum opus it's reversed. That's no coincidence.

I do not have the slightest idea how to improve on how Rand handled Dagny's killing the guard. The whole novel is steeped in bigger-than-life artificiality. The same can be said about Galt's speech. The asseverating moralizing--lecturing--simply has to be done the way she did.it. And it has to be long.

--Brant

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Well, okay Brant. Let me put it, Rand wore two integrated caps, the novelist and the philosopher, and her novels were, simply put, the selective  'concretizing' of the other. An interesting exercise is imagining how would it be if she only produced her fiction, or, only her philosophy - not both.

At the multi-levels her novel works on, individual ambition, romance, productive work, rationality, varied moralities - or social conflict and political power, etc. - this is the inescapable fundamental for Rand, always present:

"The faculty of volition operates in regard to the two fundamental aspects of man’s life: consciousness and existence, i.e., his psychological action and his existential action, i.e., the formation of his own character and the course of action he pursues in the physical world".

“What Is Romanticism?”
The Romantic Manifesto,

IOW, we see in and take from her protagonists their volition in causing 'psychological action' and volition in 'existential action' . -What character/virtues/morals each forms and lives by, and what he chooses to do. (Volition-to-character is often missed in determinism debates, and that is mostly what the reader recalls about the 'hero' his unswerving character under duress, and in many other situations.

Above the levels, one can simply read her as a fine story and good entertainment also.

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4 hours ago, anthony said:

I get that it is unpleasant for squeamish pacifists or NAP'ers, that Rand could "kill" an innocent guard in a piece of fiction. Ha!

Tony,

I don't know if I have written about this before, but there is a throughline with Dagny that is well delineated that led her to this. It ends in her contempt and hatred for those who don't use their minds, but whose existence threatens her own and that of those she values.

I once floated this idea with Barbara Branden and she was horrified. :) But, in my enthusiasm, I probably, expressed myself poorly. Barbara's fangs used to come out when people mentioned hate. :)  She never had any trouble hating hate and never saw the inconsistency. (God, I miss her...)

Here's my idea. One of Dagny's spiritual journeys was to get to the point where she could say the oath about swearing to live for her life. But to get there, Dagny had to let go of her attachment, so to speak, to humanity in general as an innate good (meaning the unthinking and malevolent folks were included). She wouldn't let go but she had to for the oath to mean anything.

You can trace her growing dissatisfaction with this attachment from the beginning of the book all the way to her taking time off to be by herself after she went on her own brand of strike (after Directive 10-289). At this time, although on strike, she still wasn't there with her attachment. It still existed in her soul. So when Francisco showed up and almost got her to the crossover point, she learned of the tunnel disaster on the radio and fled back to normal society. But after the Taggart bridge was blown, she saw the gun on Galt at the televised dinner table as he said, "Get the hell out of my way," and then she learned they planned on torturing him, her attachment to any vestige of humanity in them was finally completely severed. She was able to call Francisco to get her out of Dodge. That's when she said the oath.

To me, there's a clear line from Dagny's love of humanity in general at the beginning to her cold dispassionate hatred and dehumanizing contempt for those who were life-sucking parasites. To be clear, at this end point she didn't hate all humanity. She divided it into us against them. "Us" deserved to live and share (or trade as she would say). "Them" were vermin and parasites. The only choice they ever made was to feed off the lifeforce and very bodies of productive people like her with only injury in return. So, like all vermin, if they got in the way, they were to be exterminated. 

As Rand did not believe in presenting an abstraction in fiction without concretizing it through an event the reader could witness, Dagny shot the vermin after giving it a chance to not be vermin. (Maybe I should have said "he" and not "it"? :) ) Her demand that the guard choose to get out of the way was her way of verifying he was vermin and not human in any way she could relate to anymore.

Galt had said, "Get out of my way." Dagny took that to heart and the guard chose to stay in the way--by not making a reality-based choice, even with a gun trained on him. So she removed him by exterminating him. She had had it with people like him when the love of her life was being tortured and he was in the way.

I find this perfectly in line with a spiritual throughline in the book (in Dagny) and perfectly in line with Rand's thinking (especially "love is exception-making" when considering nonviolence), although it does indicate a pretty nasty slippery slope. That's how I found my peace with this scene.

But it's a toughie because of the cold-blooded murder by the top Randian heroine. That's why I think it gets discussed to death in O-Land. It's pure cognitive dissonance that has not been resolved to everyone's satisfaction all the way up to today. 

Michael

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2 hours ago, Brant Gaede said:

I can't agree with "vermin" and "extermination."

--Brant

Brant,

That's the ugly truth, though.

It's what causes the cognitive dissonance in O-Land.

The guard was not killed in revenge for anything, nor executed for having committed an offense against a power that be, nor murdered in a fit of rage. He was exterminated dispassionately like you do when you step on a cockroach or swat a fly.

And ya' think Dagny felt a twinge of guilt later?

Hell no.

Who feels guilty for squashing a cockroach?

:) 

In fact, your disagreement, to me, is exactly the spiritual problem Dagny felt and wrestled with. That is exactly what she overcame and what allowed her to shoot a guard dead for the wrong answer. Don't forget, she had many other options available to get to Galt while letting him live.

When Rand felt--and portrayed contempt--she meant it. One of her favorite adjective categories in her nonfiction for bad guys was "subhuman" and similar.

Michael 

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56 minutes ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

One of her favorite adjective categories in her nonfiction for bad guys was "subhuman" and similar.

It provoked P.C. righteous indignation when Pres. Trump referred to MS-13 as subhuman animals.

MS-13-gang-member-AFPOrlando-Sierra-640x

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2 hours ago, Brant Gaede said:

I will delete this post on Sunday

Brant,

I won't quote it, then.

btw - I have been in front of death, but I did not do the killing. I know I am capable of it, though. It's not a part of me I like unless I feel protective of someone or something I love. Then I feel differently--conflicted. A part of me likes having that capability to deal with threats, and another is repelled by it.

When I talk about this, I want to change it and romanticize it, but I see no point. I am what I am and I try to be an accurate witness to what I observe. I like those things about me more than what I think they should be according to someone else's story.

Michael

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