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Scott Schiff and I have started a new podcast called Ayn Rand Fan Club. I met Scott on Facebook. We share an interest in discussing the Objectivist movement. Our first episode covers the issue of schisms and coalitions within Objectivism. In that context we play some clips from the Yaron Brook Show and offer our criticism. I hope you'll watch and subscribe to the channel. And if you have constructive criticism, I welcome your feedback. Thanks.

 

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Mister Swig,

I watched and subscribed.

I have a lot to say. Too much in fact. Like it or not, I was a player in one of the later schisms on the edges of the movement. OL exists because of a schism that goes back to Rand and Nathaniel Branden--and, by extension, Barbara. 

Let me limit myself to three thoughts only for this post, though. Neither of the thoughts are about Yaron Brook, who occupies a lot of your discussion, but he's not irrelevant to them, either.

 

1. The sad truth for people attracted to Objectivism, and it's really sad the more sincere the person is, is that the schisms are not about ideas. They are about power. That's all, folks. Power and only power.

However, it's not the power of the Attila (as in Rand's For The New Intellectual essay). It's the power of the Witch Doctor.

The schisms are fights over who are really Rand's heirs and progeny and who are apostates and outsiders--and who decides this.

Answer me the following. Who has decided that kind of question all throughout human history?

Yup.

The Witch Doctor. That's who.

That's the kind of power causing all the trouble. And, my God, to me that is so little to live for...

This is one reason I went my own way with OL. I do neither ARI nor TAS, but I try to be friendly to both. And, despite temptation several times, the last thing on earth I want to be is a guru.

I could write a whole book on this aspect, maybe several, but this is enough of a prompt to get something going if it is ever to get going.

 

2. The next is the sheer amount of cognitive dissonance that O-Land schisms cause. (Some of them remind me of the same processes in the fake news media :) ). And part of this is not the fault of anyone, not even the dirty rotten bastards on the other side of whatever schism you favor.

Constant schisming (to coin a word), to me, is inherent in Objectivism due a few holes in Rand's work as pertains human nature. And those holes cause a situation like the following.

Many people land in an Objectivist community, feel relief that they are not crazy or defective like they formerly suspected, and only want to kick back and live the good life around people who think like them. Suddenly, peer dynamics kick in and things start getting hinky. Things get nasty at times over nothing. Before too long, nothing makes sense like it used to, but they don't want to let go of the original vision. They still want to make the world a better place fashioned by reason. They still want to live in the world of that vision. But they can't keep pretending that what they see in the O-Land schisms has nothing to do with reason.

So they suffer their cognitive dissonance stoically and keep seeking for answers and solutions. I know this process because I lived it. I've seen many others live it, too. I believe, to some extent, you and Scott Schiff are living it. And it sucks because it seems so pointless. Believe me, you guys are not the first to discuss O-Land schisms nor will you be the last.

 

3. Social glue. One of the posters here on OL (ThatGuy) commented that religion had millennia to develop whereas Objectivism is new. There was an implied question as to whether the Objectivist community would ever get its act together enough to make an Objectivist society. Here is what I wrote in response. It is relevant to understanding why there are so many schisms in O-Land.

 

On 11/30/2020 at 9:45 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Don't be sad about Objectivism.

I predict it will change a lot over time. And here's why.

In religions and social ideologies like communism, there is a strong community organizing component. Ditto for families (there is no biological way to eliminate families from the evolution of the species, so that is a fundamental). This is not present in Objectivism except in the most distant and abstract terms.

So, at present, from the way I see it, Objectivism works best as a kind of self-help philosophy (a great one for most contexts) when it sits squarely on top of a Christian society, although it is starting to work well on top of the social glue that holds India together. 

This is a long discussion, but basically there are two pillars for this in my thinking.

The first is that the universe seems to be formed of static components that form shapes, and fluid or dynamic elements that fill out the details. It's a little more complicated than that, but that is a pretty good large-picture view.

This holds for things as diverse as stars and galaxies, rivers, narratives, societies, everything non-organic and organic. At the sub-particle level, the static elements morph back and forth, but they do so in a manner where patterns can be detected.

A good metaphor is a house. The foundation and frame are static, while the bathroom curtains can be changed at will. Walls are static, but can be swapped out or eliminated. So walls can be both, depending on what else is going on. One cannot eliminate the foundation. 

Even in the brain, you have "place" neurons and "location" neurons on and around the hippocampus. (The terms might be a little different since I am going on memory right now.) The point is one kind of neuron allows you to recognize landmarks and another allows you to see where you are as you change where you are amidst a bunch of landmarks.

Objectivism as social glue has no static frame part. So it needs to sit on top of one. Creating that is the opportunity I mentioned.

The second pillar in my thinking is I believe in fractals as one of the basic building-blocks of the universe. This static-dynamic nature of all things holds everywhere. Even in Objectivism, the axiomatic concepts are static. Context provides the dynamism. However, the habit (which comes directly from Rand) of expressing every little goddam thing in a tone of absolute certainty, often loaded with an aggressive tone or bellic metaphors, confuses many people and leads them to consider dynamic elements as static. This leads to all kinds of confusion.

It also leads to many in O-Land to being quitters when they should take out arms, haul up a flag and march to a drum. That's what you do in war if you want to win it. But not peace. In peacetime, that would be a threat if that was your main behavior (I mean one that you do on your own, not as part of a job like being in the military).

A need to be right all the time and always speak with absolute certainty, I believe, makes it hard for O-Land people to understand different social contexts.

That makes it near impossible to formulate and implement social glue.

So long as there is no social glue, no static part for society except something like NIOF, which ignores a great deal of human nature, the fractal will not be complete. So an Objectivist society will not be possible until this gets worked out.

For me, I am happy with Objectivism sitting on a predominantly Christian society that allows different things to sit on it. But I also think it's well worth looking into how to improve this if possible. One good start was what the Founding Fathers did, especially in wedding individual rights with checks and balances on power.

 

I don't know if this is the kind of comments you are looking for, but what I think nowadays when I think about the stuff you talked about--like who is really an Objectivist (or better, who has the power to determine who is really and Objectivist, etc. etc. etc.)--is more along the lines I presented than trying to figure out why this or that person acts the way they do.

I didn't dig very deep. Hell, not even a word about Trump, who I support passionately. In fact, I only keyed the surface paint.

But, please, don't think for a moment I'm above the down and dirty and don't savor gossip. 

In O-Land, as in the rest of mankind, gossip is axiomatic.

I am no exception. 

Yes, I savor gossip. Sometimes I do it myself.

:)

(Also, there's an evolutionary reason for gossip. Banter too. But that's for another time...)

I wish you guys the best of luck on your podcast venture.

May success rain down drops of goodness on your heads and hearts. May you think independently, and encourage others to so do, in the best form you can muster.

Michael

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On 4/23/2021 at 12:37 AM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

I watched and subscribed.

Thank you!

On 4/23/2021 at 12:37 AM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

The schisms are fights over who are really Rand's heirs and progeny and who are apostates and outsiders--and who decides this.

Do you trace this back to Rand naming Peikoff as her "intellectual heir"? The term strikes me as a problem, because you can't inherit ideas. So what does "intellectual heir" mean?

Peikoff answered this question on his website. He calls himself Rand's "philosophic spokesman," which I think is poor phrasing. Rand is dead. She has no spokesman. Really, Peikoff was her favorite follower, her intellectual apprentice, to whom she bequeathed her property.

Peikoff says he's not naming an "intellectual heir." That's good, but it's quite unRandian of him. 

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53 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

Thank you!

Do you trace this back to Rand naming Peikoff as her "intellectual heir"? The term strikes me as a problem, because you can't inherit ideas. So what does "intellectual heir" mean?

Peikoff answered this question on his website. He calls himself Rand's "philosophic spokesman," which I think is poor phrasing. Rand is dead. She has no spokesman. Really, Peikoff was her favorite follower, her intellectual apprentice, to whom she bequeathed her property.

Peikoff says he's not naming an "intellectual heir." That's good, but it's quite unRandian of him. 

Sexism! You have an heiress, Leonard! Don't you have the odd copyright to leave Kira, she isn't exactly burning up the bestseller lists with her novels...and what if that fancy husband takes off? Hmmm ? 

 

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18 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

Do you trace this back to Rand naming Peikoff as her "intellectual heir"? The term strikes me as a problem, because you can't inherit ideas. So what does "intellectual heir" mean?

Peikoff answered this question on his website. He calls himself Rand's "philosophic spokesman," which I think is poor phrasing. Rand is dead. She has no spokesman. Really, Peikoff was her favorite follower, her intellectual apprentice, to whom she bequeathed her property.

Peikoff says he's not naming an "intellectual heir." That's good, but it's quite unRandian of him. 

Mister Swig,

Rand never named Peikoff her intellectual heir. Peikoff named Peikoff her intellectual heir.

This issue has been debated to death in O-Land because Peikoff did that.

Just because someone is a legal heir, that does not make them an intellectual heir. To go by analogy, is Vivian Kubrick, the daughter of Stanley Kubrick and (I assume) his legal heir, and who also champions her father's work, also his intellectual heir? The head of Kubrickism? I can't think of anyone who would say that even though she is a fine documentary filmmaker and an accomplished composer. (She's also a said to be a Scientologist, so there's that. :) )

Here is what happened.

 

1. Ayn Rand used to call Nathaniel Branden her intellectual heir. You can see her do so publicly, like in the Mike Wallace interview (1959) waaaaaay before her break with the Brandens (1968). Here's the video:

You can see her say the following starting about 24:18 or so. (btw - You can find the transcript in several places, for example here.)

Quote

My best intellectual heir, Nathaniel Brandon, a young psychologist, is giving a series of lectures on my philosophy in New York.

 

2. After the break (starting with "To Whom it May Concern"), Rand never called anyone her intellectual heir again. See here:

On 12/5/2007 at 9:21 PM, Bidinotto said:

If you read Rand's "To Whom It May Concern" in 1968, and her subsequent article or two of elaboration, she made it clear that after her experience with her only publicly designated "intellectual heir," she would never endorse any organization or individual to speak in her name again. Thus, I can't conceive of her so designating Peikoff or anyone else. There is certainly no language of this sort in her will (of which I have a photocopy).

The significance of this matter is that Peikoff's statements and theories after Rand's death are regarded by many as having been given a special benediction, as if he was specifically authorized to speak for her by that claimed "intellectual heir" designation. But despite having publicly questioned the validity of this claim for years, not a single soul has ever complied with my request for a source or citation for it. In the absence of any evidence for that claim, I believe it is justifiable to conclude that such a title was never granted to Peikoff, or to anyone else, by Ayn Rand.

In support of that interpretation, Peikoff himself says only "legal heir" on his own website; in his Preface to Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand the term he uses is "chosen heir." He also has been cautious enough to concede that his own theories and books (such as his "DIM hypothesis") that have appeared after Rand's death are his interpretations alone, and not an official part of Objectivism...although you would never know it by how these ideas are discussed and treated by many in his orbit.

And sometimes, by how Peikoff himself describes his ideas. Consider Peikoff's confusing description of the relationship of his book Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand to Rand's philosophy, as he presents the matter in the last two paragraphs of that book's Preface. Is he claiming that his book is a reliable guide to RAND'S ideas, or not? If you can figure it out, let me know.

 

3. In an article following another O-Land schism (between Leonard Peikoff and David Kelley), in Peikoff's article, Fact and Value (May 1989), he made a direct claim to being Rand's intellectual heir, which, I believe, is what started the entire discussion and all hell broke out about it. Here it is from the horse's mouth (my bold):

Quote

Now I wish to make a request to any unadmitted anti-Objectivists reading this piece, a request that I make as Ayn Rand’s intellectual and legal heir. If you reject the concept of “objectivity” and the necessity of moral judgment, if you sunder fact and value, mind and body, concepts and percepts, if you agree with the Branden or Kelley viewpoint or anything resembling it — please drop out of our movement: drop Ayn Rand, leave Objectivism alone. We do not want you and Ayn Rand would not have wanted you — just as you, in fact, do not want us or her. 

 

4. As you can see, the intellectual heir controversy happened a few years after Barbara Branden's 1986 memoir-biography of Rand came out, The Passion of Ayn Rand. The story goes that even after Barbara's bio, Peikoff was denying Rand ever had an affair with Nathaniel Branden. When he came across Rand's own writings to herself about it in papers he inherited that he had not yet looked through, he became ill and that eventually resulted in a heart attack.

I think there is some truth to that. Just looking at this as a human being, it must have been devastating to be the legal heir of someone and be kept in the dark the entire time she was alive about her former affair with Enemy No. 1. I'm not sure learning about the affair in Rand's papers was the sole reason for his heart attack, but I believe it contributed. Probably strongly. There was an enormous amount of jockeying for power back then (the kind I mentioned in my previous post) and Peikoff was the Atlas carrying all that stress from all sides.

(I know calling Peikoff an Atlas might piss off some people and make others cheer because of the subliminal connotations, but I'm not switching to the ARI side. I'm not on any side except my own. And pissing off people is what I do. A is A after all... :) )

 

5. Barbara herself didn't consider the "intellectual heir" issue important enough to promote or dispute it.  She talked about it as she understood the term from her memories of when she was still a Rand insider, which I believe is the most accurate of all and even leaves the door open--in that meaning--to calling Peikoff Rand's intellectual heir. To be more accurate, I don't believe Peikoff meant Barbara's meaning back then, but would probably agree with it now.

From her website:

Quote

Q: Ayn Rand appointed Nathaniel Branden, and later Leonard Peikoff, her intellectual heir; did she ever define what that meant?

Branden: I don't know that she defined it, but I knew what she meant. Specifically with regard to Nathan, she believed that, after she was gone, he would carry on her ideas and continue elaborating and presenting them. That's what she meant by intellectual heir. It wasn't that she had placed the mantle on him. She thought that's what he planned to do, and wanted to do, to carry on her ideas and continue as she was doing, presenting them to the world in ways that would be acceptable to her and that he was the person best qualified to do it.

I think that if that had been said, people wouldn't have had the objections that they do have. It is a very strange concept, intellectual heir, unless one understands exactly what she meant by it. It's not clear from the term itself. I assume she meant the same thing about Leonard. Unfortunately it hasn't happened. It hasn't happened with either of them. 

Notice that Barbara does not correct or comment on the framing of the question. She just didn't consider it important.

My opinion is further bolstered by the fact that in the Mike Wallace interview, Rand did not call Nathaniel her intellectual heir in the singular. She called him her best intellectual heir, meaning plural, meaning she had in mind other intellectual heirs at the time. Barbara's version is the only meaning that fits this.

In other words, this whole intellectual heir controversy that has brewed and sizzled over the decades is nothing but bullshit about power. And not even world-changing power at that. It's about who gets to carry the Rand flag and who gets to decide who carries the Rand flag. Hubba hubba...

That is certainly not how to change the world, is it? :) 

 

 

6. As a bonus to your efforts on schisms, here's a thread I created back in 2006 I think you will find interesting. The formatting is a bit hinky because I changed the OL software after a hacker attack and that blew the formatting of old stuff to smithereens. I corrected it enough just now for it to be intelligible, in other words, in direct response to your post. (See? You guys are already making changes in the world. :) ) A few of the links might not work, but if you are interested in digging, you might be able to run into the respective material on the Wayback Machine or on other sites.

Selective timeline and links of the Kelley-Peikoff schism

 

 

As a final note, I don't know if you ever looked, but I finally responded to your OL thread about science fiction movies (see here). I mention it not to promote OL or my ideas, but because I've seen material by you elsewhere that show you to be interested in storytelling. So you might be interested in my thoughts from that angle and might have missed the post.

Michael

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5 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Rand never named Peikoff her intellectual heir. Peikoff named Peikoff her intellectual heir.

 

5 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

1. Ayn Rand used to call Nathaniel Branden her intellectual heir. You can see her do so publicly, like in the Mike Wallace interview (1959) waaaaaay before her break with the Brandens (1968). Here's the video:


A couple adds to Michael's post:

Rand called Nathaniel her "intellectual heir" in the "About the Author" postscript to Atlas Shrugged:

Quote

My other acknowledgment is on the dedication page of this novel.  I knew what values of character I wanted to find in a man.  I met such a man - and we have been married for twenty-eight years.  His name is Frank O'Connor.  When I wrote The Fountainhead, I was addressing myself to an ideal reader - to as rational and independent a mind as I could conceive of.  I found such a reader - through a fan letter he wrote me about The Fountainhead when he was nineteen years old.  He is my intellectual heir.  His name is Nathaniel Branden.


Leonard Peikoff wouldn’t have been Rand's sole legal heir if Allan Blumenthal hadn’t split with Rand.  Rand left her estate jointly to Peikoff and Blumenthal after her break with the Brandens.  Then she changed her will after Blumenthal's dissociating with her.  (The date Barbara gives in The Passion of Ayn Rand for Allan and Joan Blumenthal's ending their relationship with Rand is off by a year, possibly a typo.  The year was 1977, not 1978.)

Ellen

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On 4/25/2021 at 1:32 AM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Rand never named Peikoff her intellectual heir. Peikoff named Peikoff her intellectual heir.

You're the first person to tell me this. After some unfruitful research, I don't know if she actually called him that. Since I never took the term very seriously anyway, the notion is easily cast upon the garbage heap. I wonder, though, perhaps she said it during a Q&A after one of Peikoff's lectures on Objectivism?

On 4/25/2021 at 1:32 AM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

My opinion is further bolstered by the fact that in the Mike Wallace interview, Rand did not call Nathaniel her intellectual heir in the singular. She called him her best intellectual heir, meaning plural, meaning she had in mind other intellectual heirs at the time.

If she considered the inner circle her "intellectual heirs," wouldn't Peikoff qualify as one? He'd been with her for several years by that point, while she was writing Atlas Shrugged.

On 4/25/2021 at 1:32 AM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Notice that Barbara does not correct or comment on the framing of the question. She just didn't consider it important.

Or maybe she knew it was true.

On 4/25/2021 at 1:32 AM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

As a bonus to your efforts on schisms, here's a thread I created back in 2006 I think you will find interesting.

Thanks, I like timelines.

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6 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

You're the first person to tell me this. After some unfruitful research, I don't know if she actually called him that.

She didn't.

Peikoff is an intellectual turd.

He was nothing but Rand's last resort, after everyone of any talent and ability had left her.

He has done more damage to Rand's brand than any 20 other people.

J

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On 4/26/2021 at 8:11 AM, MisterSwig said:

 

On 4/25/2021 at 3:32 AM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Notice that Barbara does not correct or comment on the framing of the question. She just didn't consider it important.

Or maybe she knew it was true.

Mister Swig,

I doubt it. Back then, Peikoff was the whipping boy of The Collective. He even fell out of the good graces of Rand and got banished to the Midwest for a couple of years. (All this is history and can be checked.)

Decades after that period, as Barbara said:

Quote

It is a very strange concept, intellectual heir, unless one understands exactly what she [Rand] meant by it. It's not clear from the term itself. I assume she meant the same thing about Leonard. Unfortunately it hasn't happened. It hasn't happened with either of them. 

In other words, Barbara did not think Leonard Peikoff or Nathaniel Branden were Ayn Rand's intellectual heirs.

As you probably perceived, there are a lot of hard feelings against Peikoff, not from Rand's enemies, but from a large contingent of her supporters--people I don't think you have interacted with much. Since you are interested in building bridges across schisms, this is a reality you will encounter not just here, but everywhere. And you will either learn what to do with it, wage war, or not deal with it as your own values dictate. Rather than defend this or attack that, or even discuss it right now, I'll leave it up to you to see what you want to do, that is if you want to probe further or whatever. 

Just remember there are always two or more sides to any public issue.

In my own way of thinking, I recommend a process I call cognitive before normative. In other words, identify something correctly before judging it. Besides, how can one judge something correctly if that person did not identify it correctly?

Including hostility.

But let's set that aside for now. I want to mention something I found quite interesting. I like to read Kira Peikoff's books. She comes from our subculture and she's making it on the commercial market as a writer. She's getting better as a mystery/thriller writer she goes along and it's a pleasure to see her grow. Her characters are still a bit undeveloped and two dimensional, but she's getting better and she's doing it. She's out there doing it. She's got my respect.

Here is something about her latest book I wrote to a friend the other day. My bold in the quote from her book.

Quote

I recently read Kira Peikoff's novel, Mother Knows Best. In it, one of the heroes is a child who has escaped forced confinement in a basement and run out into the world. She encounters a stranger who helps her. Here is a direct quote from the novel:

Quote

The drive takes less than ten minutes, and my new friend is nice enough to share a PowerBar and some water with me. I’m so grateful I almost cry. Maybe it’s because of all I’ve been through, not knowing who I can trust, but her kindness hits me hard. When I grow up, I want to be just like her: a person who will help others in need.

 

How's them apples?

In Kira's context, that is one hell of a premise to check in the way she just did.

I wonder what her father thinks...

Frankly, I bet he's proud of her and doesn't mind at all.

:) 

Michael

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6 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

When I grow up, I want to be just like her: a person who will help others in need.

Interesting. Benevolence. and not altruism.  But she is still writing from the viewpoint of a younger person.  

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Yaron Brook and Michael Malice were on Lex Fridman's podcast. Interesting interplay , very long , over four hours, but on interesting new feature(?) on youtube the segments are broken up and labeled by subject on the 'timeline' bar . Michael is wicked smart :)

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On 4/28/2021 at 3:55 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

In my own way of thinking, I recommend a process I call cognitive before normative. In other words, identify something correctly before judging it. Besides, how can one judge something correctly if that person did not identify it correctly?

Do you have a thread or two on this process?

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On 4/29/2021 at 8:07 AM, tmj said:

Yaron Brook and Michael Malice were on Lex Fridman's podcast. Interesting interplay , very long , over four hours

Yeah, I need to carve out some time to listen to this. Though I'm not one who thinks a longer format necessarily translates to better content than a shorter format. I watched the first few minutes and already Brook and Malice have admitted to ignoring the list of prepared questions Fridman sent them beforehand. I prefer intellectuals who take ideas more seriously.

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Our second episode is about cancel culture. After some discussion about Leftism and the origins of cancel culture, we take a look at clips from Ben Bayer, Onkar Ghate, Stephen Hicks, David Kelley, and Yaron Brook, all giving their views of cancel culture.

 

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Posted (edited)
On 4/28/2021 at 3:55 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Just remember there are always two or more sides to any public issue.

'Struth!

17 hours ago, MisterSwig said:
On 4/28/2021 at 3:55 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

I recommend a process I call cognitive before normative. In other words, identify something correctly before judging it.

Do you have a thread or two on this process?

A good treatment can be found here: 

Understanding Is and Ought - A Personal View by Michael Stuart Kelly

Quote

{...]

Now, back to the effects of skipping the cognitive level when an evaluation is made. Shorthand "mental tags" are extremely useful for moral principles. But the danger in their constant use is that they make the mind turn off on a cognitive level. They provide an immediate emotional reaction—usually moral denunciation, but sometimes, moral praise. The "What is it?" has become so integrated into the "What should I do?" that it is no longer asked or even thought about.

But remember that a word is not a concept. It is a mental tag. It stands for a concept.

Here is what I have observed with many Objectivists. When a phrase becomes automated on a normative level and constantly used that way—i.e., when words like "turn the other cheek" are given the meaning of actively implementing altruism and constantly used in this manner—over time, I see people start to deny the cognitive truth of the phrase's meaning when Rand is mentioned.

They will say, "Roark actually did not decide against retaliation in kind by not appealing, what he really was doing was ..."

Or that, "Francisco D’Anconia actually did not decide against retaliation in kind by not slapping back, what he really was doing was ..."

Or even that Galt actually did not offer aid to his torturers to fix the broken torture device, what he really was doing was ...

But the simple fact is, they did choose those things. They chose them on a cognitive level. Such rationalizations as those I just mentioned are made possible only because cognitive meaning has lost all meaning to many people when Rand’s heroes are mentioned. But to deny the existence of the cognitive level is to evade reality.

Psycho-epistemologically, this is a case where integration broke down and a word or phrase (mental tag) substituted the concept.

Christians use this technique all the time. They say that the Bible has to be "interpreted." From what I have observed, Objectivists have been doing this for years, too, except they prefer outright denial of facts.

The reason I wrote my previous article was to shed some light on this.

Now, as to the barrage of acrimony and insults recently directed at me, in this instance I choose to practice what I preach. I will not retaliate in kind.

I will leave it up to you, dear reader, to figure out why.

If you get around to having guests, Michael would be a good choice ...

Edited by william.scherk
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7 minutes ago, william.scherk said:

William,

I just reread that. Man, that really was the beginning of my cognitive before normative idea... (I have my own post in reply to MisterSwig's request halfway done at this moment.)

Thank you for reminding me of that article. This was waaaaaay back in the beginning when I first started posting in O-Land (not too long after I came back to the USA from living in Brazil).

Here's a fun fact. The original title was "Understanding Is and Ought - An Objectivist View." Lindsay Perigo, in his immense pseudo-wisdom and sanctimony, told me if I did not take the word Objectivist out, he would prohibit the article from going up on SoloHQ. (Note to reader: SoloHQ later split into Rebirth of Reason and Solo Passion, while OL splintered off in its own direction.) 

I tried to explain that I was not preaching that my views were the way Objectivism is (as in a canonical view), but instead, I was using a perspective and epistemological way of thinking I developed from adopting a worldview based on Objectivism (different, than say, Christianity, or Kantianism, or pragmatism or whatever). He wouldn't hear it. I got nothing but pure kneejerk responses.

But, to be fair, there was a reason for his kneejerks. His vision back then was that he was going to step in as the Great Leader of Objectivism, supplanting Leonard Peikoff (and his crew) and David Kelley (and his crew), and restore Objectivism to its rightful place or even raise Objectivism to greater heights by fixing the bad parts or sumpin'. By me using "an Objectivist view" in my title, especially following the kaboom that happened after my previous article on turning the other cheek, this would somehow interfere in his plans to take over the Objectivist movement. I'm not just speculating, either. I've got emails from him that essentially say this, although in different terms. Also, it's kinda all over his behavior on SoloHQ back then. He even used to refer to himself as "an Objectivist Leader." Well, yawn... enough about that...

:) 

19 minutes ago, william.scherk said:

If you get around to having guests, Michael would be a good choice ...

I appreciate the recommendation, but I am not doing stuff like that at this time. And I don't know if MisterSwig would even want to take on the ramifications of that right as he and his pard are working their way through their own views of O-Land schisms.

I have reasons for not wanting to step into a place of visibility right now, including reasons I keep a lid on expanding the OL audience. But I will only share those reasons later, at which time I actually will step up.  (This is in the cards.) At that time, if I were ever invited as per your suggestion, I would be honored to accept.

btw - That's just stating the facts and trying to be gracious. I am not making any covert nudge to MisterSwig or anyone else, nor making any criticism of you...

Michael

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William,

Do me a favor, would you?

I once made a list of books about brain science for Tony and you recently "liked" that post. But for some reason, that post does not appear in the search results on OL or anywhere else, for that matter. Or at least not in the search terms I am using.

Would you please provide me with the link if you remember it?

Look at my next post and you will see why I am asking this.

Thanks.

Michael

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19 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

Do you have a thread or two on this process?

MisterSwig,

Unfortunately, I have yet to make a thread that gathers together the comments (or the meanings of those comments) over the years and puts forth a full exposition of the cognitive/normative thing.

However, I just looked around and I can point you to some excellent summaries and prompts.

1. To start with, go to the OL search function (somewhere at the top) and type in

normative

That will bring up a ton of posts where I, and others, discussed this. You can sort the results by relevance (the default) or by date.

You can do this with cognitive, too, and variations of the two with other words.

2. I made a recent post that pretty much sums up my idea of cognitive before normative thinking and caveats (see here).

3. You can see some of my thinking about existence and the human mind on which my normative and cognitive idea stand in this thread: SCIENCE. Of interest re your question are my comments to Ralph re Peikoff and, especially, my discussion with Stricktylogical. Also, here is another overview of how I see the human brain from an evolutionary perspective.

4. For research, here is a list (with comments) of some books I have studied. Here, too. And here is an especially interesting post on Lorentz and imprinting the brain. Re this last, I did not yet mention Howard Bloom, but the two books mentioned here (and The Lucifer Principle) have opened a gulf in my mind about the individual human brain and the human species as a whole. Bloom is an asshole about Trump, but he's a fascinating author about evolutionary science and music.

5. Just for the hell of it, since story is so fundamental in cognition and evaluation, here is a post giving some works on science and neuroscience as applied to story and storytelling. To add to that last link, here are some relevant comments by me on The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World by Iain McGilchrist.

It took me a about 3 hours to put those links together.

I do hope you get the time to at least skim through them.

OL really is disorganized for research... LOL :) 

Michael

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Do me a favor, would you?

i'll look for the post when I open up my laptop next ...

... I think this 2018 post may be what you seek:

 

Edited by william.scherk
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3 hours ago, william.scherk said:

... I think this 2018 post may be what you seek:

William,

I already included that link in my last post above. Besides, it's not addressed to Tony. The one I remember was specifically addressed to Tony. (And, of course, I am presuming my memory is working correctly, which I believe it is since your "like" was recent as was my curiosity in looking. :) )

Thanks for the effort.

Michael

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3 hours ago, william.scherk said:

If you get around to having guests, Michael would be a good choice ...

I agree. Scott and I have a couple more topics planned, then I think we'll get serious about bringing on guests.

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32 minutes ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

The one I remember was specifically addressed to Tony.

I recall your posting a list specifically addressed to Tony, but I don’t remember where.

Here's a possible clue as to when:

Quote

Ellen

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5 hours ago, william.scherk said:

Thanks. I just read it. I like it so far. I'll reserve further comment until I have had time to read the other links Michael provided.

3 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

It took me a about 3 hours to put those links together.

I appreciate it. I'll be able to devote substantial time to this next week. My next few days are booked.

Briefly, regarding this from your RoR article:

Quote

Often people skip the part about identifying "What is it?" and "How do I know it?" so they can get to the "What should I do?" part more quickly. A simple out-of-context phrase will trigger a strong reaction. An incorrect identification is made. This is because the cognitive integration was no longer present. But eliminating cognitive concepts is a completely incorrect use of reason.

This reminds me of how my quote memes trigger Objectivists on Facebook.

1082419015_aynranduniteconservativesgoalpolitics.jpg.d4567b3466c5b980d9847fa78a8f96e1.jpg

That one got me called several names recently, and I was accused of taking her words out of context.

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